Author Topic: two unrelated questions brought on by forbidden arcana  (Read 179 times)

Senko

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Two things from my current reading of this book. Figured I'd just make one topic.

1) Can you choose to use improved Astral form and astralnaught or is it compulsory. That is astralnaught let's you measure astral projection time in days but you need 24 hours to recover. If you take it can you choose to use it or the regular form of astral projection or are you locked into the upgraded version. Because there are times you'd want the extra time and times you'd just want a short hop and not to be stuck in a coma for a day.

2) could you make a permanent ritual for shapechange to turn someone into say a rabbit? Originally the answer people gave was no because permanent physical Spells were rare to non-existent. However this book has a shapechange variant to affect others against their will. A permanent spell to create more food and a permanent ritual to change tree types. So I'm thinking now it is viable afterall.

Mirikon

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Re: two unrelated questions brought on by forbidden arcana
« Reply #1 on: (00:53:29/08-08-17) »
1) I would say you could choose, but you'd have to choose before projecting, obviously.

2) Yes. This would have been easy to do in 4E, since they actually printed spell creation guidelines. Something like twenty magic books in, and still no spell creation guidelines for 5E though, so the drain would have to be houseruled, but yes, you could do it.
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Kiirnodel

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Re: two unrelated questions brought on by forbidden arcana
« Reply #2 on: (00:56:56/08-08-17) »
1) Both Improved Astral Form and Astralnaut say "if this technique is used ..." which would imply that the magician is able to choose not to use it. Otherwise it would just list how it modifies the projection, both of them let you puposefully put your self in this deeper slumber to gain the benefits but also the drawbacks. The only limitation is that I would say the magician would have to declare the use of these powers at the time of starting their projection. No declaring it later.

2) That's sort of what the purpose of Quickening is for. If you want to permanently shapechange somebody, you would just quicken the spell on them so the spell self-sustains. Permanently transmogrifying someone into an animal isn't really thematic to what Shadowrun magic generally does.

EDIT: I took a look at the 4E spell creation rules, and they pretty explicitly say that this sort of spell shouldn't be able to be permanent.
Quote from: Street Magic pg 160
Only spells that restore the target to its original, natural, unaltered state should be permanent in duration. Spells that heal or repair damage, disease, the effects of drugs, poisons, and so on, for example, are all good candidates. If the spell provides some sort of game bonus (other than restorative), the effect should not be permanent. The gamemaster has the final say on whether it is possible to create a permanent version of a spell.
The Forest Transformation ritual is somewhat unique in its way, mostly because in the storyline of Shadowrun they've done it. It happened, so they made a ritual for it. It's definitely more of an exception than a rule. It could also very easily be a ritual that actually accelerates the growth of the trees in the area such that it isn't really changing the trees themselves, but actually killing them off and using the raw plant matter to grow new trees in their place. Just like the Multiply Food spell doesn't technically create the food from nothing, just accelerates the natual process that made it in the first place.
« Last Edit: (01:05:36/08-08-17) by Kiirnodel »

Mirikon

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Re: two unrelated questions brought on by forbidden arcana
« Reply #3 on: (02:04:31/08-08-17) »
As anyone who has been to Aztlan or Chicago can tell you, just because there are things that Should Not Be, does not mean those things cannot be.

So, yes, it would be possible, but it would have to be a custom spell, because you're not finding a premade copy of something like that outside of some very well-guarded databases kept by some very nasty individuals. And even after your signature wore off, people could still assense the thing to determine its nature. Honestly, though, in terms of game balance, permanently turning someone into a statue isn't any crazier than a slap-patch of slab instantly sending someone to the floor, and then leaving them with some ghouls while they'll still be out for another hour. I can tell you right now which one would get more heat down on you if it got out that you did stuff like that, though. A mage with a permanent Petrify spell could do a few nasty tricks, but that's the kind of thing that gets everyone REALLY gunning for the mage, because it is scarier than the slap-patch and ghouls. The best I can say is that if you're doing wetwork, it makes for a clever way to get rid of bodies, and maybe make some extra coin on the run. But if you're going on a wetwork run, you've probably already got a half-dozen other ways to kill someone inside a combat turn, with varying degrees of noise, whether it is magic, explosives, snipers, poison, or whatever.

So would I allow someone to do a permanent Increase Reflexes? No. You're right, that is the kind of thing that Quickening is designed for. But a permanent Petrify? Yes, but we would sit down and have a long talk about the consequences that WILL come to bear if what is a cool bit of flair for your mage becomes their 'go to' for all situations and starts affecting game balance.
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The Wyrm Ouroboros

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Re: two unrelated questions brought on by forbidden arcana
« Reply #4 on: (03:21:05/08-08-17) »
When the designers of the 1-3e magic books sat you down and talked about the SR philosophy of spell design, essentially only beneficial clear-and-limited-effect Health and minor physical transmutation Manipulation spells - Healthy Glow, Heal / Treat, Fashion, and the like - could be designed to be Permanent without a Quickening; I vaguely recall Petrify losing its Permanent duration at some point due to that explanation/realization.

That a ritual can be permanent, on the other hand, does make perfect sense to me; I haven't taken a look at the Forest Transformation thing, but it strikes me as a version of 'Heal' - granted, 'Heal Land', but still ...
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Senko

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Re: two unrelated questions brought on by forbidden arcana
« Reply #5 on: (03:57:39/08-08-17) »
Well everyone's different I do understand where your coming from its why I initially accepted no. Now however we have Spells to change someone against their will or create permanent alterations. So to me it doesn't seem unreasonable especially since as you said you could achieve the same effect simply by using quickening. It also seems fairly appropriate given the stories of people turned into animals, trees or stones in real life.

Thanks for the feedback on the astral projection ones.

The Wyrm Ouroboros

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Re: two unrelated questions brought on by forbidden arcana
« Reply #6 on: (04:11:28/08-08-17) »
Dude, throwing a combat spell changes someone against their will; in previous editions, you could ALWAYS do that if you were willing to accept a higher drain for the spell.  You actually received a lessening of drain if it was a) willing only, b) touch range, and/or c) self only (which included both those previous discounts).

Understand that causing a permanent effect to an unwilling target SHOULD take something out of you, and require knowledge of how to make such things as permanent as possible, e.g. the karma expenditure to Quicken the spell, and of course how to use Quickening.  I would never permit a significant unwilling-target spell like Petrify or Shapechange to be designed in such a way as to avoid those costs.
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Kiirnodel

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Re: two unrelated questions brought on by forbidden arcana
« Reply #7 on: (04:16:50/08-08-17) »
I'm not sure how the possibility of changing someone against their will affects whether or not making a permanent Shapechange should or should not be possible within the rules.

The primary difference between a Permanent transformation and a Quickened Shapechange is that Permanent implies that the magic takes hold, changes and then becomes permanent to the point that there is no longer any magic holding the effect in place, it just IS. A quickened spell is effectively "sustained indefinitely" which means that there is still magic holding it together. The big part is that a quickened spell can be dispelled, reversing the change, a permanent spell cannot.

I feel that Shadowrun lends itself more to the idea that magic would continue holding the spell in place, rather than an unnatural transmutation of a person into an animal becoming a permanent effect with no discernible magic keeping it that way. Tranforming Trees into other trees is much simpler in comparison, particularly since as I mentioned before, it could very easily be growing the new trees from scratch instead of shaping the old ones. Plus, most of those "stories" end with the people turning back, which wouldn't be possible with a permanent spell.

Jack_Spade

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Re: two unrelated questions brought on by forbidden arcana
« Reply #8 on: (04:30:57/08-08-17) »
I'm pretty sure such a spell could be created - at least theoretically. After all there is the Crystaline Entity from Shadow Spells with it's Crystalize ability.
This is a permanent effect that can be reversed through a ritual (Decrystalize).


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Mirikon

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Re: two unrelated questions brought on by forbidden arcana
« Reply #9 on: (13:17:48/08-08-17) »
From a game balance standpoint, a permanent Petrify is no worse than a lot of the other, very legal, things players can do. A slap-patch of Slab can be used by anyone, and costs a couple hundred nuyen, and immediately drops someone into total paralysis, making it a one shot killer, only defended by toxin resistance and an attack roll. How is that better, from a balance standpoint, than a spell (which can only be used by those who invest priorities to gain the ability to cast spells) that costs the equivalent of 10000 nuyen (5 karma), plus whatever costs for the formula (either in time and nuyen to track down someone to write a formula for you, or karma in buying the Arcana skill to do it yourself), and is resisted by spell resistance and an attack roll, and also is going to draw aggro like walking into a KE precinct with a Panther XXL? Both are instant kills, but one takes a lot more work to set up, and is a DAMN sight more likely to make you feel like a clay pigeon if you do it too often, or where there are witnesses. As a flavorful tool for covert assassinations, it is pretty badass, especially if you have a cover as an artist who uses magic to shape sculptures (which is more resources pumped into this trick). But how many times are you really going to get a chance to use it over the course of a run, without bringing worlds of hurt on yourself? Whereas that slap patch will get less attention turned your way than the sammy's AK-97.

And Kiirnodel, it depends on the spell, and what was done to change the person back. A ritual to change them back may be able to fix things, even if it was a permanent spell. Pattern magic (which was mentioned in Forbidden Arcana) could potentially do the same. And there's a lot of stories about magic being done to change someone where they didn't get changed back, especially when you start talking about witches and curses or hexes.

But I stand by the idea that such things aren't unbalanced, as far as mechanics go, but due to lore they should be things that any players who get their hands on them should be circumspect about using, since they feed into the worst stereotypes of mages, which tends to bring the pitchfork and torches crew around.
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