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[Resource][Tradition][5th Edition] Swordmage

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Mirikon

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« on: <07-02-14/2145:20> »
Swordmage
Combat: Spirit of Air
Detection: Guidance Spirit
Health: Guardian Spirit
Illusion: Spirit of Water
Manipulation: Spirit of Man
Drain: Willpower + Charisma
The Swordmage tradition is a Possession tradition. Swordmage spirits gain the Blades skill in place of the Unarmed Combat skill.

Preferred Spells:
Increase Reflexes, Heal, Manabolt, Flamethrower, Armor, Combat Sense

Preferred Adept Powers:
Increase Reflexes, Combat Sense, Mystic Armor, Elemental Weapon

There are many mages who focus on combat, and many of those wield blades to deadly effect. But it takes more than simply swinging a sword to be a swordmage. Then what is a swordmage?

Swordmages are students of both the art of magic and the art of the blade. Swordmages tend to favor the Combat Mage archetype by their very nature. To the Swordmage, there is no difference between the discipline of the sword, and the discipline of magic. Any fool can wave a sword around, or throw fireballs at his enemies. But to the practiced user, the sword is an extension of the fighter's arm, killing intent made manifest. Likewise, to the practiced swordmage, a spell is simply his own will, his own personality made manifest in the world.

Almost all swordmages train in a style of Martial Arts. Many train in multiple styles through their careers. This is not just to improve their skills with the blade, however, but for discipline and honing skills outside of the magical realm. The blade is an extension of their arm, so therefore they must make sure that arm is strong enough that it will not falter. Just as a strong body can be undone by a weak mind, a strong mind is useless unless in a weak body. One must train body and mind together, or you risk leaving yourself vulnerable to your enemies, a fatal mistake for any warrior. Most swordmages train in their first martial art as they learn the techniques of the swordmage, reinforcing the ideal that mind and body are two sides of the same coin, and must be trained together.

Swordmages do not deal in the showy trappings of other traditions. Their symbols, if they carry any, are simple, and without great artistry. The exception is in the blades a Swordmage carries. These will often be etched with elaborate designs and arcane runes. A swordmage's blades are more precious to him than a street samurai's gun, or the rigger's car. From the day they first begin training, a swordmage is rarely found without a blade within arm's reach. The blade is his greatest weapon, and his most certain defense. Indeed, many swordmages carry multiple blades upon their person, in case they are disarmed. Even a simple dinner knife can be a deadly weapon in the hands of a swordmage. To watch a swordmage in action is like watching a ballet. Every movement has its purpose, nothing is done unnecessarily. Every act either strikes at the foe, or prepares the swordmage for the next strike.

Swordmages view the spirits of the world as powerful allies, and always treat them with respect, even those spirits from other traditions. In part, this is due to the fact that the way of the Swordmage is a possession tradition. Swordmages rarely prepare vessels for their spirits, instead preferring to have them possess their own body. To the swordmage, spirits are the souls of warriors who have gone before them, and should be treated as valued friends and allies, never as tools or pawns. A swordmage who binds a spirit often will first ask the spirit's consent, even negotiating a price to be paid beyond the normal exchange between a summoner and spirit. While a swordmage may choose to conjure an ally spirit, only in the most rare cases will they stoop to fettering a spirit, due to the offensive nature of this act.

Swordmages call upon the power of the spirits of warriors who have gone before them. The spirits a swordmage summons tend to be focused on a certain aspect of what it means to be a true warrior. The Swordmage tradition is a possession tradition. Swordmage spirits appear on the astral as metahuman warriors, dressed in armor, wielding a blade of some sort. Mechanically, Swordmage spirits are identical to spirits of other traditions, except they have the Possession power instead of the Materialization power, and the Blades skill instead of the Unarmed Combat skill.

Swordmages often find themselves answering the call of a mentor spirit. Naturally, mentors like Wolf or Shark are common amongst their numbers, but there are more than a few swordmages who follow mentors less associated with combat, such as Bear or Cat. It is almost unheard of for a swordmage to follow Rat.

Master Rimaldo Corenas is both a master of the elven martial art of Carromeleg and a swordmage of high stature. He runs a dojo in Malekthas, Tir Tairngir, where he trains young elves both as swordmages and as students of Caromeleg. Because he teaches the martial art alongside the magical tradition, he refuses to take nonelven students. While Master Corenas is the leading authority on the swordmage, some of his former students have started their own dojos in Seattle, Denver, and Neo-Tokyo, teaching other martial arts alongside the swordmage tradition.
« Last Edit: <07-08-14/0736:20> by Mirikon »
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Lucean

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« Reply #1 on: <07-08-14/0422:24> »
With the strong focus on discipline and study of their own body and martial arts, I'd deem INT or LOG more suitable as drain attributes. The description itself leans more strongly to adepts than magicians, maybe you intended it mostly for mystical adepts with more focus on physical combat?

The description of learning how to fight combined with martial arts is imho not a good combination with possessing spirits. They don't access the knowledge of the owner, they can't use a possible weapon focus, no personalized grip or attuned item. Why do they let themselves be possessed, if they are supposedly so much weaker in their core concept? And the existence of the Channeling Metamagic is imho not enough, since you need to initiate for it. Making a specific metamagic a requirement for a tradition would be a strange exception.

Mirikon

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« Reply #2 on: <07-08-14/0750:16> »
Actually, Lucean, there is nothing in the rules saying a spirit possessing a vessel can't benefit from personalized grips designed for the vessel. Likewise, there is nothing saying it cannot make use of the vessel's gear, minus those with AR or cybernetic interfaces. A weapon focus is, in the end, bound to the vessel, and while the vessel lives and remains Awakened, then the weapon focus would be usable by that vessel. The only reason most possession spirits don't make use of any available weapon foci is primarily due to skills. A typical spirit has Unarmed Combat, but not, say, Blades. Which reminds me, I forgot to copy over part of the tradition as I had it written in 4th... Fixed now.

Spirits of the Swordmage tradition trade Materialization for Possession, and Unarmed Combat for Blades. This does make them less effective when possessing any vessel without a bladed weapon on them, but I think the flavorfulness makes up for it.

As for making them weaker? Being possessed gives you ITNW, increased physical stats, and the ability to ignore some wound modifiers. When bringing a sword to a gunfight, those sound like good things, no? And yes, there is Channeling. Channeling is often the first initiation swordmages take, for obvious reasons. As with most magical traditions, initiating shows you have truly come into your craft, rather than just dabbling.

Regarding the attributes, I disagree. The swordmage tradition is more shamanic in outlook, much like Shinto or Vodou. INT and LOG are more analytical and mathematical, suitable for hermetics and the like. Do you think that shamans don't have discipline or study? Just because you train, does not mean you work of INT. The swordmage is also a possession tradition, and if we look at the two other possession traditions in Street Grimoire, you see that Vodou is CHA based, as they tend to 'bargain' with the spirits more, while Qabbalism is half-hermetic in outlook. Since you can't take Willpower twice, CHA is the best attribute for the tradition.

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Lucean

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« Reply #3 on: <07-09-14/0150:50> »
A focus is not attuned to the body wielding it, but the person. And the possessing spirit is not the person who bound the focus (p. 318 CRB)
Quote
that the magician it is bonded to can draw upon it for a specific magical task
So even if your channeled spirit can access your skills and whatnot it doesn't change anything about the fact, that the focus is bound to the mage/adept.

I can agree to the reasoning for Personalized Grip, though.

You may view the tradition as more shamanic, but as I understand it the description clearly puts fighting and training as main focus, not bargaining with spirits.

It's not only about being weaker when possessed, it's about losing the benefit of the training one had. You go to lengthy descriptions about the focus on blades and martial arts, that any follower of this way will have a way higher Blades skill than Summoning. So for them letting a spirit possess themselves is losing this:
Quote
To watch a swordmage in action is like watching a ballet. Every movement has its purpose, nothing is done unnecessarily. Every act either strikes at the foe, or prepares the swordmage for the next strike.
Maybe I don't understand your descriptions in the way you meant them, so sorry.

Mirikon

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« Reply #4 on: <07-09-14/0827:02> »
For a weapon focus, please show me somewhere, anywhere, that a focus (of any type) bound to someone who is possessed shuts off during possession. The spirit uses its own skills, but there is nothing saying it cannot benefit from things already active on the host at time of possession. For example the host has an Armor spell sustained through a focus, the focus (and spell) don't suddenly turn off while he's possessed. A spirit wouldn't be able to make use of a power focus bound to the vessel, and wouldn't be able to take the weapon focus's aura onto the astral, as those are both actively changing the mana flowing through the foci, but they should be able to benefit from a weapon focus that was already active prior to possession. But this is likely in the realm of GM's call, minus hard rules either way.

The tradition is a combat-centric tradition, yes, but that does not make it hermetic or analytical. The goal is to make the blade as though it were a part of your arm, your magic as though it were your killing intent made manifest. And spirits are not tools to the swordmage. They are companions, allies, teachers, the spirits of past warriors, always to be treated with deference and respect.

And yes, Lucean, a mage who has not Initiated and gained the Channeling metamagic would hamper themselves when having their spirits possess them. It is the same as training wearing weights which hamper your movements, so that when the weights are removed, the movements are faster, stronger. A swordmage who has yet to pick up Channeling is still a novice. Only when they've Initiated can they be considered a master, much like how when taking certain martial arts gaining a black belt signifies you as being a master. So yes, swordmage with 300 karma, been doing things for years, but never picked up Channeling would still be considered a novice to other swordmages, or at best someone who has been too scattered in their training, so they have not remained focused on mastering their craft.
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