Author Topic: How does Sheldon work?  (Read 428 times)

Senko

  • Ace Runner
  • ****
  • Posts: 2364
Re: How does Sheldon work?
« Reply #15 on: (18:26:19/08-22-17) »
@Firebug
Fair enough personally I thought it was one of their better offerings but I admit there's a lot about the lore/background I still don't know and I agree with you on the toxic/insect spirits. Blood magic too to a certain extent more information is useful but they should remain villain/NPC for the majority of games. Of course I like some of the new spells and abilities (like being able to summon more spirit types) but I do agree it raises a lot of questions especially in how its been implemented. "I can create a copy of a 12 course banquet why can't I create a copy of his right leg to replace his severed left?".

@Beta
I believe its been stated in a book as mentioned earlier in the thread that there's now some kind of barrier to master shedim summoning more of their kind so you no longer have a risk of them creating an army by wiping out a town and possesing them.
« Last Edit: (18:36:38/08-22-17) by Senko »

Shinobi Killfist

  • Ace Runner
  • ****
  • Posts: 1434
Re: How does Sheldon work?
« Reply #16 on: (19:45:32/08-24-17) »
@Firebug you are awesome! 

I feel like I can grab maybe 10 things out of forbidden arcana that is usable or wanted. There probably is more it's just not worth the effort to comb through it, especially since I'm against the general direction it went by expanding the UFT of magic. I do dig the alchemy help but quite frankly it kind of should be a lot cheaper like 1 point qualities as it's more of a patch making alchemy almost  useful instead of making alchemy awesome. A couple other qualities are neat but I'd never allow others.

Mechanically shedeim are okay I guess but any possession spirit would generally do. Thematically there have been plenty of death cults in reality or fiction. So I can see them as a fairly nifty enemy group. I see no need to make them accessible to players, but I pretty much just skipped the blood magic etc setting as I prefer stuff like that as npc only.

Agent_Juice

  • Newb
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Re: How does Sheldon work?
« Reply #17 on: (17:22:18/08-28-17) »
Wow. People really want to forbid Forbidden Arcana. I've never read it and thanks for the warning. Does look like there are some neat concepts aborted by screwy rules.

The Wyrm Ouroboros

  • Prime Runner
  • *****
  • Posts: 4378
  • I Have Taken All Shadowrun To Be My Province
    • VU93 Writeup for The Wyrm Ouroboros
Re: How does Sheldon work?
« Reply #18 on: (02:45:42/08-29-17) »
Forbidden Arcana is written so that the GM has rules - simply put, using our general statement that 'the rules apply to everyone', they've given general rules so that the GM knows WTF 'is going on', as it were.  Whether the GM wants to allow the PCs to use those rules is up to him; typically, the answer for a lot of that (e.g. blood magic, toxic, insect spirits, shedim) is going to be 'no'.

Rules for such things - for mages using such things - has been in existence since at least 3rd Edition, and 1st if you want to get technical about it.  Because of the way 5E is being written, however, it gets presented as 'this is what we know, this is how we know it, this is the viewpoint from someone who does this crap' - which means that it's written from the 'used by a PC' viewpoint.

While there are failures-to-launch on a few things, overall I understood perfectly that most of the areas in Forbidden Arcana Firebug is working out his blood pressure over were to be read as being 'these are all options, but if your player wants to go there, you'd best think long and hard about saying yes to them'.  When you get down to it, it's a flavor preference in regards to writing style and presentation.  Because there are always going to be people who want to know the rules for blood magic, or toxic, or etc.  God knows we did back in 2E, when all we knew was 'Druids in England use GOOD blood magic, Aztlan mages use BAD blood magic', and we had no way of knowing specifically what the difference between the two was.  Now we have something that is very clearly hammered out and put up for us to see.

In regards to most of the other issues that Firebug rants about (such as the Focused Awakened and the various Traditions), as I read it these things are optional slants for full mages or mystic adepts; give up these things in order to get those.  Because of the balance between the advantages and the disadvantages (and if you think that the Drake Tradition's having to learn every new metamagic from their Dragon Overlord is not a disadvantage, you're definitely playing some variant of the Shadowrun world) of such things, IMO they're a wash on the 'purchase' point - but perhaps those should specifically be addressed ...
Pananagutan & End/Line

Old As McBean, Twice As Mean
"Oh, gee - it's Go-Frag-Yourself-O'Clock."
New Wyrm!! Now with Twice the Bastard!!

Laés is ... I forget. -PiXeL01
Play the game. Don't try to win it.

Senko

  • Ace Runner
  • ****
  • Posts: 2364
Re: How does Sheldon work?
« Reply #19 on: (16:02:23/08-29-17) »
I know there's things in there I like such as the expanded range of spirit summoning or being able to shapechange to critters with a body of +/- 6 rather than 3 (and finally a clarification of how that is meant to be read). Its got problems like sadly most of these books do but unlike howling shadows its not a purchase I regret.

firebug

  • Troubleshooter
  • Ace Runner
  • ****
  • Posts: 2388
  • Scraping the bottom of the Resonance Barrel
    • Moth's Mad Path
Re: How does Sheldon work?
« Reply #20 on: (16:06:09/08-29-17) »
In regards to most of the other issues that Firebug rants about (such as the Focused Awakened and the various Traditions), as I read it these things are optional slants for full mages or mystic adepts; give up these things in order to get those.  Because of the balance between the advantages and the disadvantages (and if you think that the Drake Tradition's having to learn every new metamagic from their Dragon Overlord is not a disadvantage, you're definitely playing some variant of the Shadowrun world) of such things, IMO they're a wash on the 'purchase' point - but perhaps those should specifically be addressed ...

You should examine those again.  What do you trade to become a Seer?  Do you get the same if you has a D in MAG/RES or A in MAG/RES?  Are they only available to full magicians?

The traditions often don't have trade-offs.   The Draconic tradition by the way does not make you have to learn metamagic from dragons...  It actually specifies you don't.  And I don't think anyone would claim that not having the option to buy a Mentor Spirit is enough of a downside to justify the huge boosts the tradition gives.  Planar Mage is almost entirely downsides, and doesn't function properly as written.

Sigh, just...  If you don't understand the problems evident in having "Paradigm Shift: Toxic", then I'm not sure I should bother trying to explain them.  It's like this...  The other books have the layout set well to divide "intended options for players" and "mechanics for the GM".  Forbidden Arcana doesn't do that--  Am I saying that players will go over their GMs head and somehow play these things?  No, I'm not.  But it will lead to frustration as the players think the GM is denying them a perfectly valid option.

Let me examine Paradigm Shift: Toxic in details here.  The placement of this in the book alongside other options intended to be available for all players implies that this too, is something most players should expect to be a normal option for them.  Add in further that, for a GM, this metamagic is entirely worthless.  You don't need to have an NPC do a karma-refunded initiation to become toxic.  Why would you?  There was never ever a need for that before, they just had a change in their tradition, or the GM just had them that way from the start.  This makes it seem even more like the book is presenting this so players can just choose to be Toxic whenever they like, and that the GM saying "no" is not the intended effect.  Look at that "metamagic" and tell me what good it actually brings to the game.  If a player is becoming Toxic, and the group has decided they wanna roll with it, because everyone's a skilled roleplayer and the GM knows what they're doing, then why have it require this weird psuedo-initiation?  In that scenario, it should simply happen as part of the story, as it would have with any Tradition change up to this point.  And if it's an NPC, tracking their Karma expenditure that precisely is meaningless; their change to Toxic should be based on the events in the story, not something they are saving up Karma to achieve.

Forbidden Arcana has many other issues, as well...  Trying to write it all out here would be incomprehensible, I've made almost a dozen errata threads trying to analyze the layers of problems with this book.  There is so much more to developing material for a tabletop than simply "some rules presented for the GM to use as they see fit".
Firebug's VU93 Profile
Jeeze.  It would almost sound stupid until you realize we're talking about an immortal elf clown sword fighting a dragon ghost in a mall.

The Wyrm Ouroboros

  • Prime Runner
  • *****
  • Posts: 4378
  • I Have Taken All Shadowrun To Be My Province
    • VU93 Writeup for The Wyrm Ouroboros
Re: How does Sheldon work?
« Reply #21 on: (00:35:06/08-30-17) »
I get that you want everything spelled out; that's fine.  I disagree with your ferocious despite for the product, that's all, and in my opinion (probably due to my disgustingly extended experience with the game) it's perfectly serviceable.
Pananagutan & End/Line

Old As McBean, Twice As Mean
"Oh, gee - it's Go-Frag-Yourself-O'Clock."
New Wyrm!! Now with Twice the Bastard!!

Laés is ... I forget. -PiXeL01
Play the game. Don't try to win it.

SunRunner

  • Chummer
  • **
  • Posts: 162
Re: How does Sheldon work?
« Reply #22 on: (08:59:13/08-30-17) »
It has been stated pretty clearly in Street Grimorie and such that Blood Magic, Toxic magic and insect magic are generally the province of NPCs. I think they did not feel like the needed to repeat themselves in Forbidden Arcana. Also in a most cases good GMs dont just say NO when players ask about stuff, they try to ascertain why the player wants to use something and explain the cost / consequences of that to the players. Also some things like Toxicity and Blood magic etc. are choices for the whole group to be involved in assuming the GM is open to working with stories involving them as the Party mage getting into those forms of magic is going to affect the rest of the party sooner or later. Everything from the rest of the party being cocooned up for insect in-habitation by the newly minted PC insect shaman to the effects of all the pollution and such a toxic mage starts working with, and then you get into all the fun of the high end bounties and VERY drastic responses from the powers that be if the PCs actually start getting any serious traction and making forward progress. I mean Chicago has set a pretty clear president, if an insect shaman gets anywhere near critical mass on building a hive they will just out right nuke it from obit in the most literal sense, regardless of whether said hive is in the middle of a major city or not.

I will agree with firebug on the point that some clarity on some of the options presented would be useful, with a lack of guidance I assumed that the alternate versions of traditions were supposed to be a self balanced option because for the most part you gained a few things and lost a few things and I assumed they were supposed to be a Net Zero operation. There are some things that I saw that I can see where they are mostly unplayable do to being to costly for little to no benefit. But then most of the previous books have had stuff in them that I looked at and said meh its not changing any thing any one is doing.

Forbidden Arcana may need more errata then some of the other books and I can understand your frustration on that point but you seem to be letting get you unreasonably worked up. I can definitely say I think they should try some internal with limited external testing with new books, heck sounds like they have an official errata team and they should possibly consider giving you play test material so you can look at it before its been to lay out and printing procedures so you can let them know they have a steaming pile of drek in some cases. Alot of games have gotten much more interactive with their player base in the brave new world we live in so I know its possible. I will site DnD 5E's Unearthed Arcana section as one example I have worked with personally and seems to be producing good results. They periodically post up a public access PDF with new rules that anyone can download and then about a month later they put up a feed back form where people can answer questions the devs had as well as submit their own observations about what is wrong or right with the material as presented. So far I have seen it lead to some pretty good stuff, the community caught a few things that were totally game breakingly over powered and let the Devs know about it and submitted suggestions as to what could be done to make it fun and playable with out shattering the game in the process. I have also seen stuff that was broken in the unplayably under-powered and clearly and mathematically inferior to other existing options that again were brought to the Devs attention along with suggestions on how to correct the deficit. 

UnLimiTeD

  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 765
Re: How does Sheldon work?
« Reply #23 on: (15:49:55/09-03-17) »
FA,in my opinion, is by far one o the better books of the SR5 series. The digital formatting, f.Ex., including an Index for both "paper" and pdf.... *swoon* .
Ok, maybe my expectations were low. I certainly don't envy the errata team.
As for actual Shedim: Why not summon them because you have a serious grudge on your entire village and you're willing to risk ending the world if they just die first.
I bet we'd find a few thousand of those people. Wasn't there a story about someone summoning a Shedim to save a lost loved one in some past book?
Still waiting on a Vector-Thrust Liminal Body.