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Author Topic: Power Foci and Drain  (Read 275 times)

Hargrim

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Power Foci and Drain
« on: (09:14:04/04-10-17) »
I have a question how exactly Power Foci is working when used to determine Drain type of spellcastiog and spirit summon. Bolded parts are the parts I have problem with.

Quote from Spellcasting:

Quote
STEP 6: RESIST DRAIN
Drain calculation is listed for each spell; the Drain Value
is determined using the Force and the listed calculation,
but can never be lower than 2. After casting a spell, you
must resist Drain using the dice pool for Drain Resistance
according to your tradition. Remember that if the
number of hits you rolled when casting the spell (Step
4) exceeds your Magic rating, then the Drain causes
Physical instead of Stun damage.

Summoning:

Quote
Step 3:
Resist Drain
Whether you successfully summon the spirit or not,
you must resist Drain from the attempt. The Drain Value
is equal to twice the hits (not net hits) on the spiritís defense
test, with a minimum Drain Value of 2. If the spiritís
Force is greater than your Magic rating
, the Drain is
Physical; otherwise itís Stun.

Power Foci:

Quote
Power Foci
Power foci live up to their name. They are very powerful
foci that temporarily increase your effective Magic rating.

That means they add to your Sorcery, Conjuring, and
Enchanting dice pools, along with any other test where
Magic is involved. Power foci can take any form, but for
some reason, rings and amulets are quite popular.

Does the Power Foci affect the drain type (physical or stun) the caster gets when it is active? I think that more important here is the part that expalins what exactly does it do - it just adds dice to the pool and do not affect Drain dmg type. What is your (or maybe official?) understanding?


Jack_Spade

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Re: Power Foci and Drain
« Reply #1 on: (14:55:36/04-10-17) »
Yeah, that's been discussed quite often. The Consensus is that it does not in fact increase your magic rating for drain and such things but only for the tests described in the second sentence. The magic attribute isn't part of the dice pool in a drain test so the focus doesn't affect it.
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Hargrim

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Re: Power Foci and Drain
« Reply #2 on: (18:27:20/04-10-17) »
Thanks for answer. By any chance, do you have any idea how to find some of the discussions you mentioned?

Also, I'm asking about the damage type of the drain here - lets say I have Magic 6 and Power Foci Rank 4. I try to summon spirit with Force 8 - the rule is:

Quote
If the spiritís Force is greater than your Magic rating, the Drain is Physical; otherwise itís Stun.

So, will I take Physical or Stun Drain?

Tym Jalynsfein

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Re: Power Foci and Drain
« Reply #3 on: (18:53:41/04-10-17) »
Thanks for answer. By any chance, do you have any idea how to find some of the discussions you mentioned?

Also, I'm asking about the damage type of the drain here - lets say I have Magic 6 and Power Foci Rank 4. I try to summon spirit with Force 8 - the rule is:

Quote
If the spiritís Force is greater than your Magic rating, the Drain is Physical; otherwise itís Stun.

So, will I take Physical or Stun Drain?

Physical...
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Kiirnodel

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Re: Power Foci and Drain
« Reply #4 on: (01:03:44/04-11-17) »
Thanks for answer. By any chance, do you have any idea how to find some of the discussions you mentioned?

I'm sure they're buried in the history of the forums. It can be tough to sort through, but the search function does work for the most part.

But the conversation basically boils down to two primary interpretations:

Power Foci add to your Magic rating or they add to just what is on that list.

Quote from: Power Focus excerpt
They are very powerful foci that temporarily increase your effective Magic rating. That means they add to your Sorcery, Conjuring, and Enchanting dice pools, along with any other test where Magic is involved.

It's all based on those two sentences. The increased Magic side of the fence argues that "increase your effective Magic rating" means exactly that, while active your Magic rating is increased. The second sentence is just a reaffirmation of what having a higher Magic rating means.

The more limited effects argument is based on the concept that an increase to your effective Magic rating isn't explicitly defined. That second sentence, therefore, acts as the definition. The first sentence is not the rule of how the focus works.

It hasn't been further clarified officially, so it is primarily up to individual GMs, but the more commonly accepted interpretation is the more conservative one. That ruling being that a Power Focus only adds to your Dice Pools and nothing more.

People in the first camp are often hold-overs from the older editions (third and earlier, I believe) when Power Foci explicitly stated that they increase the user's Magic Rating. In fact, I just looked it up in a Second ed. book I have access to and it very specifically says that it increased the Force that the Magician could cast at without taking Physical Drain. However, the wording has changed dramatically (even if it is now less direct in terms of what it does) and magic works very differently both in-setting and in-rules now than it did in earlier editions. Both of these factors are straight-forward reasons to expect that the way Power Foci works to have changed.


There are two problems that I see with Power Foci as they currently stand.
1) (assuming that they don't add directly to your Magic Rating) Power Foci don't do anything unique, they just combine several other foci into one. This is a two-edged sword, on the one hand, with enough money and karma, there isn't much reason to have many of the other foci if you have a Power Focus. Specifically, Spellcasting, Spirit, and Enchanting Foci all just add their Rating to a Dice Pool that includes Magic, therefore they wouldn't stack with a Power Focus. At the same time, it also means that someone that has already invested in several of those foci has no need for a Power Focus, thus devaluing its effectiveness (and therefore its hold on the title of "very powerful foci").
2) (assuming they do add directly to your Magic Rating) Power Foci can be extremely overwhelming, the ability to summon higher force spirits and cast higher force spells without risk of Physical Drain. These are not things to take lightly, they might not seem big at first glance, but you might be surprised at how much it can start to matter quickly. Plus the ability to stack up multiple foci and get huge bonuses on a dice pool is nothing to laugh at.

Hargrim

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Re: Power Foci and Drain
« Reply #5 on: (03:02:02/04-11-17) »
Spoiler (hover to show)

Thanks, but as per Kiirnodel post this is, unfortunately, open to discussion, as the rules are not clear.

Spoiler (hover to show)

Thanks for lengthy explanation and some historical background. I checked and this was asked in the official errata thread - maybe we will get official some clarification in future. For now I will use the 1), as high force spirits available in 2) usually ruins everybody's day.

ClaytonCross

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Re: Power Foci and Drain
« Reply #6 on: (03:04:09/04-11-17) »
@ Kiirnodel

That is really interesting. I had actually discussed this with my GM and we had come to a different conclusion. We understood that it raised magic but only for those tests. So we were playing it so it did effect weather drain was physical or stun damage but that because it was only for the tests no other foci could be used on the same test. This meant you bought Power foci for drain protection. Other wise it was cheaper to get the same effect from a specific foci. So if your summoning a Power 5 spirit you with 6 magic you want a summoning foci 6 for maximum services. But it your summoning a level 7 spirit with 6 magic you want a level 1 power foci to make damage stun.

Never considered there was more than one way to read that.

Kiirnodel

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Re: Power Foci and Drain
« Reply #7 on: (07:10:07/04-11-17) »
@ Kiirnodel

That is really interesting. I had actually discussed this with my GM and we had come to a different conclusion. We understood that it raised magic but only for those tests. So we were playing it so it did effect weather drain was physical or stun damage but that because it was only for the tests no other foci could be used on the same test. This meant you bought Power foci for drain protection. Other wise it was cheaper to get the same effect from a specific foci. So if your summoning a Power 5 spirit you with 6 magic you want a summoning foci 6 for maximum services. But it your summoning a level 7 spirit with 6 magic you want a level 1 power foci to make damage stun.

Never considered there was more than one way to read that.

Cheaper for a single thing, yes. But if you want to potentially have a bonus for 2-3 or more aspects of magic, it becomes (basically) a no-brainer to just go with a Power Focus. A Power focus is 4.5 times as costly nuyen-wise and only 3 times the cost karma-wise. And I'm honestly not sure if that's a good thing or not. And here is my reason why that's so hard to decide. A Power focus adds to the same dice pools as at least 23 other foci combined.
  • (5) Five Spellcasting Foci (one for each category of Magic)
  • (1) Ritual Spellcasting (technically you would need one for each category, but any Ritual Focus would work for non-spell rituals, so we'll count this as one)
  • (1) Counterspelling (a Power focus doesn't add to spell defense, only active counterspelling, so we'll only count this as one also)
  • (15) Fifteen Spirit Foci (Summoning, Banishing, and Binding; 5 of each spirit type, based on tradition, [and that's not even counting that you can have foci for spirits outside your tradition])
  • (1) Enchanting (Alchemical and Disenchanting foci have extremely limited uses, so we'll count the two of these as just one for now also)
If it is adding to all of those things already, you sort of have to ask yourself, should it also do more that is unique to being a Power Focus? Is the increased availability/cost(nuyen&karma) meant for balancing out that aspect that it adds to (nearly) everything? On the one hand, efficient mages could just have a couple foci that add to different things and come out "ahead" but at the same time having that option for the Power focus there makes the specific foci nearly useless by comparison for the people who are more diversified.

From a game-balance perspective, I'm not sure if the intent was to make it so that "efficient" magicians really don't need to ever worry about buying a Power Focus. Or if the intent was for a Power focus to be a discounted way of getting the effects of several foci all in one thing.

If they had better defined Focus Addiction, I think I great way to balance things out (because, really, nuyen and karma become less and less of a factor as a game goes on) would have been to make it so that a Power Focus creates a greater risk of addiction. As the rules currently stand, Power Foci actually decrease your risk of focus addiction because it is an all-in-one focus (if you only use one focus, less risk). I would have kept the threshold for focus addiction at Magic x2, but then made it so that Power Foci count double (or something like that).

If your table rules that Power Foci add to effective Magic for the purposes of determining Drain effects in addition to dice-pools, and it's working for your table, that's great.

ClaytonCross

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Re: Power Foci and Drain
« Reply #8 on: (18:56:20/04-11-17) »
@ Kiirnodel

I agree with you 100%. I think the reason it works for my table is we don't have anyone who playing a character with skill in more than a few area. Also, my GM believes in a difficult world  where we fight for scraps. So Karma and money are not abundant. We had about 10 sessions and I got 7 karma and 7,000 nuyen while losing a 5,000 nuyen drone. So we pinch pennies and the karma and new yen expense is not worth it for a Force 6 power foci.

Your idea of limiting it through addiction is great. Another, non-mutually exclusive consideration would be don't have the power foci add to the dice pool at all. In stead have it only add to your magic rating for determining when you would take physical drain or stun. That way you chose between less risky casting or more hits from specific foci. I feel that makes it more unique and  I think having to choose what foci you want to specialize in is better than having a universal option. Just a thought. I have not tested it and I am sure there are some who would disagree.

 

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