Shadowrun Play > Rules and such

Asensing Disians and Faustians? (Scotophobia spoilers)

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(I'm asking questions about beings and gear presented in Scotophobia, so while this is not spoiling any of the plot it may spoil things you may encounter, so if you are apt to be a player of that material I'd suggest exiting this thread.)

And for that matter chimera, and Disian devices.  Scotophobia doesn't mention how these each appear magically?

I guess the first question is whether this is covered in another book, that I either don't have or haven't read carefully enough?  If not, what are your thoughts on what metahuman asensors would make of all this stuff?

Assuming no masking or that the test penetrates the masking, does a Disian appear as a spirit?  As an awakened metahuman (they have magic)?  As a non-awakened metahuman? (after all, they have no magic score).  With enough successes could you tell someone was a Disian, once you know what to look for?

What about their spell signatures?  Can you tell that they are from a different sort of magic?

Faustians presumably mostly look like whatever they were before, but does their crystal show up to asensing (it should, being magical), and if so then what does it look like?  An unknown sort of focus?  A new type of magical device?  Clearly metaplanar?  And somewhat similar to the questions about Disians, is the magic provided by the crystal detestably different?

Then there are the chimera.  Some of them are pretty obvious for what they are, but some are much harder to tell apart from normal critters or people, so the ability to detect them with astral perception would be huge.  And I think they should show up to asensing?  They are magical in a way.  How would you describe them to a player whose character is asensing one for the first time? Just another awakened critter?  Something different?

Is it possible to tell that a spirit is under a contract created in Dis, rather than summoned to earth?  (My guess here would be 'no', but I'm curious if anyone sees it differently).

And finally, Disian devices.  We've never had good guidance on what you can asense on any magical device other than foci, I think.   So this is part of a broader case that I've struggled with in the past (tarot cards, artifacts, etc.)  Presumably asensing will confirm that the device is magical with a simple success, but how much information can be grasped with better rolls?  My thinking is general purpose of the device ('a magical storage device of some sort'), then more details ('it would let someone with the right techniques store mana and then draw it back out later, probably quite quickly') then on to general and more detailed rating type information ('it looks like it could power around ten, give or take a couple, good strength spells'). 

Lewis Greywolf:
All excellent questions. Some of it is inferred or hinted at, but I don’t think this has been actually spelled out anywhere. Between limited word count and a certain amount of tunnel vision when writing, sometimes it’s hard to get everything covered.

Native Disians will show up as possession spirits when assensed with a few additional points. Anyone with a knowledge skill such as “spirit types" or "metaplanar entities” will be able to identify them as Dis. The homunculus “body” they are in is a construct without its own essence, it will show up like cloned whimp or an anthrodrone with realistic features. Disians lack an actual magic rating, but they carry a pool of mana internally. They will show a magic rating of 10% of their internally held mana when assensed (p. 171 Scotophobia), this will typically be a really, really, high rating (never less than 10 and perhaps as high as 50 or 60).

As far as spell signatures, I don’t think you can tell tradition from assensing normally but if a character has some experience with Disians and had a general understanding of what their auras are, I would allow them to spot Disian magic with maybe 3 or 4 hits.

Faustians would be a tough call, they are still “mostly” metahuman. The most obvious tell would be if they had cyberware removed and the faux essence has been used to fill in. By their nature Faustian crystals should be hard to detect, but I would say they appear as a focus. If someone has the right experience or knowledge they should be able to spot their metaplanar origin.

For chimera, most are obvious, but there is a note on p. 165 of Scotophobia about spotting the more covert types, the ones with Blue Blood can be spotted with one wound, or 4 hits on an assensing test. Personally, I would expand that to 4 hits assensing any chimera will confirm their nature, as long as the assenser has the right knowledge skills and / or experience.

Not sure what to say about spirits, they will always be ritually bound, not summoned, and will be pretty unhappy about that, so that may be a clue. Other than that it would be GM discretion and character experience / knowledge as to what else they could ferret out.   

Just like Faustian crystals and “summoned” spirits, other than the fact they are foci, identifying Disian devices are going to be up to what information an individual GM wants to hand out and will probably be based on what knowledge skills and experience a character has. 

In terms of spirit relations, I'd say Disians are a -10 on the AsRep scale (Street Wyrd, p. 63-65) when dealing with spirits (hence the need for the ritual).

Thank you for all that, Lewis Greywolf!  Great stuff, and all makes sense.  I mostly didn't want to start down one path and then find that I was wildly divergent from written material.

Hmmm, I should go back and re-read about fighting native Disians.  We do 'kill' a Disian-in-a-homunulus in the usual way, right?  (as opposed to fighting shedim, where you need to destroy the body enough to drive out the spirit, then deal with the spirit astrally before it grabs another corpse).  Or is it similar to the shedim issue, where their spirit might whip off to their spare homunculus and be back in action soon?

Once all of that gets known, it could start making life interesting for people who summon possession spirits (less of a big deal when channelling or when possessing a person, it is clear that it is not Disian.  But even when possessing non-homunculus item,  some people may prefer to shoot first and ask questions never.

Of course, the possession-spirit summoning mage in one of my home games is 100% going to want to get their hands on a homonculus (and stasis tube) of their own :p

ETA: thanks also FastJack, good point about them being unpopular with spirits in general.

Lewis Greywolf:
You would have to be on Dis to actually 'kill' a Disian. On the material plane you could destroy the homunculus to force them into the astral and fight them there, but the best you could do is to disrupt them and send them back to Dis. They can also just pop back to their home metaplane whenever they want, it’s getting to other metaplanes that take some work. (For shedim, they don’t have a way back to their home metaplane, so they can be destroyed here, not just disrupted).

Disians are similar to possession spirits, but they do not actually have the possession power, so they will not be inhabiting except a specially prepared homunculus vessel. No body swapping and no wondering is they are possessing your buddy. They are also not standard spirits, no actual magic rating, so they can’t be summoned. To start with no one on the material plane has a formula to summon them and with an internal mana pool they would probably be too powerful to do it anyway (a 50 magic spirit anyone?).

“Of course, the possession-spirit summoning mage in one of my home games is 100% going to want to get their hands on a homonculus (and stasis tube) of their own :p”

Like most of Disian technology a homunculus would only work for a Disian, they are never going to be something available to players. Also no one in their right mind would voluntarily get into a status tube. (The main only function of a tube is to keep someone alive while whatever device it’s hooked up to drains their essence.)


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