Gunfighter/manipulation focused mystic adept comments and critiques

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« on: <06-10-13/1445:05> »
I'm looking to make something a bit unusual. I was a inspired by the mass effect vanguard. A combat character that usual psionic, or in this case supernatural, powers to work around obstacles that would normally hinder a straight fighter. Powers that are focused on surpassing an enemies ability to attack or defend, maneuvering into more advantageous positions or, if necessary straight up busting heads. It helps that this character is for a more mid powered game so I don't need to be absolutely tweaked but at the very least competent in what I do.

I'm figuring this guy fried his brain as a kid while practising magic unsupervised(high pain tolerance and low AGI). Seeing some potential in him, a local gang involved in organ-legging and illegal magic patched him up and even threw in a bit extra when they deemed him ready for some action(bioware and bad rep). He received basic training in street warfare(limited weapon training) and magic by an disillusioned Israeli cabalist (mystic adept, was also pondering over the krav-maga martial arts style but I figured I'd keep it simple). After a few years on the street carrying out this gang's dirty work our hero eventually wants out. Lucky for him the gangs strength has been waning for some time and he revives the opportunity to disappear for a price of coarse(dept 10,000, if he doesn't pay up hes exposed and some old friends will come knocking at the door) 

Essence 5.1
B 5
A 1(7)
R 4(5)
S 2
I 4
L 5(7)
W 4
E 2
M 5  Casting 3 Powers 2

Positive Qualities:
 Mystic Adept
 Surge class 1
  High Pain tolerance 2
Negative Qualities:
 Sensitive system
 Bad Rep (ran with a gang of organ-leggers)
 Debt 10,000 (still owes said organ-leggers for the bioware he posses)
 Longarms(shotguns) 3(5)
 Unarmed 1
 Dodge 1
 Spellcasting(manipulation) 4(6)
 Summoning(Spirits of Man) 4(6)
 Counterspelling 4
 Etiquette(street) 1(3)
 Data Seach 1
 First aid 1
 Infiltration 1
 Perception 1

Mind over matter (AGI)
Mystic armour 1

Improved Invisibility
Physical barrier, Limited 
Mana Cloud, Limited (a custom version of the elemental cloud spell. Lacks the elemental effect but has less drain. Already okayed by the GM)

Cerebral booster 2
Synaptic booster 1

-Force 2 Power Focus
-2 Manipulation Fetishes
-A Short Barrel Shotgun with concealable holster
-A Standard Shotgun with all the smartlinked, custome griped bells and wistles
 -EX-explosive and stick and shock ammo for each
-A shock glove
-1 month of low lifestyle
-all the basic vision and audio enhancements on goggles and headphones
-2 Rating 3 fake SINs
-some other stuff(drugs, med kit, lodge materials, doc wagon contact)
C3 L2 Fixer
C1 L3 Tailsmonger

Since I'm using LOG in place of AGI most of the rank 1 skills have base dice pools of 8 and my shotgun attacks are around 12. My drain pool 11 (Hermetic tradition so LOG(7)+WILL(4)) I'm not sure if it's high enough even if I am just a hybrid mage.
 My concern is if 2 initiative passes is enough for a combat guy. I considered a sustaining focus with improved initiative however that doesn't give a bonus to my reaction. Since I'm going with mystic adept I don't think I can detect wards wards which could blow my cover if I accidental pass through one with an active foci.   
I also wonder: could I use the levitate spell in place of normal movemnt? iirc a human can move 10m per turn if I get, say, 2 success on force 5 levitate thats still 10m except now in any direction. or if I overcast or pump my spell-casting further I could be cruising. This could make up for the poor STR which in turn makes for poor athletics. So is this really viable? Is it too cheesy or is there something I'm missing?

Any comments, improvements or points that I might have missed would be very cool



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« Reply #1 on: <06-11-13/0102:22> »
wow nothing at all
Maybe my character is just so totally kick ass that nothing needs to be added what so ever.
Or maybe it's just so abysmally horrible everyone is just too embarrassed to post in this thread at all.
Or I could just be bad at phrasing reply-able-to posts.


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« Reply #2 on: <06-11-13/0617:07> »
having a few of those skills at 1 is a bit of a waste. ie, first aid @1 is a waste of 4 BP, just take an R6 medkit and you're done. put those 4bp into perception
the data search skill at one is fine, but can easily be replicated by an agent if you need those BP elsewhere (you do)
i'd put the 4 BP into, specialisation of infiltration to urban, and specialisation of dodge to ranged. cheap and easy boost as your unarmed skill can be used to boost full defense in melee.
mystic armour isnt amazing tbh, there are better ways to spend the power points.


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« Reply #3 on: <06-11-13/0943:47> »
IMO, 1 rank in First Aid is fine. It stacks with Medkits and is the 2nd best deal in BP Skills, 2 dice for 4 BP.

You have a very resource intensive build, it's good you don't have to be "tweaked"- otherwise it'd be hard to be viable, but you still need to be efficient with this build. Specializations are a waste of resources at chargen, at 2 BP they are twice the cost that you can get them in play. You should drop the ones you have and don't pick up any new ones. It may hurt, but as an Augmented Myst-Ad you've chosen a painful start, in one fashion or another.

Hard-maxing your MAG with this build is a bad move. Again, it's super-BP-intensive and you are wasting BP on spending more BP on an Attribute than you should have to. Lose a point in MAG and lose it from your Casting. Unless you don't expect the campaign to last very long, then I could see saying, "Forget the efficiency, I want it now!"

Is the pain tolerance really worth the BP? I'd say not, but YMMV.

You need to take the full 35 BP in NQs (you've only done 30 I believe).

Drop Unarmed let your Spirits defend you, and drop Data Search it's simply not your responsibility, instead put Spellcasting at 6. Maybe get rid of Ettiqutte too, pick it up later, get Longarms to 4.

Definitely switch Mystic Armor to Improved Ability (Longarms).


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« Reply #4 on: <06-11-13/1159:23> »
All right this is all good to know. I'll be shuffling my skills and attributes around. Also what of IPs, will 2 be enough? Should I invest in a sustaining focus and switch my synaptic booster to something like reaction enhancers? I am a bit worried about the whole lighting up in the astral thing and, like I'v mentioned, mana wards that my guy can't perceive.
Also have you found the Cloud spells from WAR to be effective at all? 

Ted Fast

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« Reply #5 on: <06-11-13/1237:42> »
I'm kind of a noob when it comes to SR but I do have some comments that you should take with a lump of salt.

0 Which books and/or PDFs are you allowed to use in the making of this character? Does your GM use any house rules, if yes which?
This information is really helpful to anyone trying to help you so they know what limitations they are working with.

1 You choose of weaponry. Do you have any particular reason for using longarms over automatics?
Automatics have a wide selections of weapons, the somewhat concealable automatic pistols and SMGs, the jack-of-all-trades assault rifle and the semi-sniper battle rifle.
Sure several longarms can be owned by a civilian and therefore not raise a lot of attention but I think you have to ask yourself if that is going to matter for your character?

2 Generally it is considered inefficient to start with specializations. One BP is generally worth 2 karma points and specializations cost 2 BP during chargen and 2 karma during play. That means that you are paying double price for your specializations right now. This isn't a absolute truth however, for example, if you play in a one-shop campaign and you won't be getting any karma specializations look a lot better.

3 Armor, if your gonna be a fightan-man you're gonna need more of it. With a bod of 5 you should be able to really stack it up. I don't know if you can use the gear from Arsenal but Secure Tech PPC-armor and Form-Fitting Armor are your friend in your quest to turn into a plasteel brick-house.

4 On IPs. I have been told by other people on this forum that 2 maybe 3 IPs are what you wanna have on combat focused characters. 4 Ips is from what I have read considered overkill.

5 I really think you need to look at your qualities, especially  High Pain Tolerances. For what it gives you it's not worth 10 BPs.

Well I hope you can get some use of this post.


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« Reply #6 on: <06-11-13/1257:36> »
Longarms was mostly a stylistic choice. The look and feel seemed to suit the character. Also I usually choose automatics and felt like trying something different. Also also you generally need less bullets for longarms so theres that.

Although I will rethink the specializations I don't think its too big of a concern. My group is doing an alternating GM thing for each run. Since I have the most experience is terms of running table top games I'm probably going to get a few more turns in the GM's seat than usual. I mostly want this guy to be able to kick ass when I do get the opportunity to play.

I'm not to sure what to do with armour. we are running a mid-level game so I'll have to talk with the other players in terms of what armour would make sense.

I'v decided to bumb high pain tolerance to rating one, mostly just keeping it around for character purposes. 


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« Reply #7 on: <06-11-13/1310:34> »
If you don't have Battle Rifles, a burst-fire Shotgun is better for damage than an Assault rifle, there's a small one that acts like a pistol and it comes with the added bonuses of special ammo types and sniper rifle ability. I understand why people like going for Automatics, but Longarms has some nice potential too and being able to wield a Barrett 121 means you can destroy Spirits.
How am I not part of the forum?? O_O I am both active and angry!


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« Reply #8 on: <06-11-13/1338:29> »
I think you've managed to make a competent mystic adept so you can pat yourself on the back for that.

Mystic Armor is not a good power - it's just too expensive and not good enough. Combat Sense is better (1 dice to dodge > 1 dice of armor) although I'd still rather have a utility power like Quick Draw or Improved Noncombat Ability myself.

If you haven't already, you may want to look into how your group/GM thinks Heightened Concentration (Digital Grimoire) works - it's either good or great for mystic adepts, or crap for everyone, depending on interpretation.

Again if you haven't already, you may want to check the first link in my sig and the Transhuman Mystic for a comparison character built along generally similar lines.


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« Reply #9 on: <06-11-13/1453:31> »
yeah actually the transhuman mystic is were I got the idea for makeing a mystic adept with mind over matter+cerebral boosters, so thanks for that. Like I said originally my idea for this guy was to be less about buffing himself up and more about using spells as kind of battle field control abilities. I grabbed levitate as a means improving my manoeuvrability and possibly as a way of pulling targets out of cover(as well as all the other nifty stuff that you can do with telekinesis). Physical barrier to create cover for myself and allies.I also chose cloud because its sort of "suppressing fire the spell"  it fits with the gun mage theme and looks like a good way to pin down enemies without using up rounds and freeing my up to do some shooting myself. any other spells that could be recommended for this build? 


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« Reply #10 on: <06-11-13/1647:09> »
As you have less dice on spellcasting than a pure mage, I'd recommend focusing on spells that don't rely on getting lots of hits or opposed rolls to work.

-I'd think about swapping Physical Barrier for Metal Wall. The reason is that Physical Barrier is transparent which means it is actually quite easy to shoot people through it. Metal Wall is opaque, and thus much less bullet-permeable.

-I would also think about swapping out Mana Cloud for Sound Cloud. Not adding net hits to damage means that you won't really hurt people much, however, doing a small amount of Sound damage is still good because you can Nauseate people.

-Levitate is solid

-Stunbolt is simply such a good spell that it's worth having anyways

-Manaball I would rethink. Stunball is nearly always better (less drain, and there's a lot fewer things with huge Willpower than with huge Body). Soundwave is also a potential option that gives you more utility, but higher drain and less power in general (it's better at lower force, though).

-Improved Invisibility is kinda meh on this character. First, it is inherently kinda limited - it doesn't work on non-visual senses, which there are tons of. Second, you really need a lot of hits to make it reliable, as it is 5 hits to fool technological sensors. Illusions are really specialize-or-get-out.

-Mana Static is a very powerful Manipulation spell; it's great against spirits and other Awakened.

-(Extended) spatial sense and/or some other general purpose detect (metahumans, life, enemies) can be handy.

-The various spying spells (Clauraudience, Mana Window, and Astral Window are the best IMO) are neat tricks that don't rely on a large dice pool.

-Detox is another neat trick that you don't need a huge dice pool for.

-Increase Intuition/Charisma are handy spells to know, and again don't rely on huge dice pools. You can cast them on other team members before they do tests relying on those stats (e.g. cast Increase Charisma on the face before he goes on a shopping spree).


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« Reply #11 on: <06-11-13/1732:12> »
I'll definitely give sound cloud and mana static a look. As for stunball we don't really use it a whole lot due to players having bad experiences with mages ruining everything's shit with it. We already have a mage in the party who's focusing on buffing and surveillance spells and I don't really want to be stepping on his toes.
So invisibility is a no, are there any other ways to improve my characters sneakiness?
Metal wall and Sound cloud sound good but being elemental spells they have pretty heavy drain. My guys drain pool is about 12 dice, 14 with a fetish is that enough to deal with +5drain spells?


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« Reply #12 on: <06-12-13/0652:57> »
Well, you'll be taking some damage from them, but my view is that it's better to have a good spell that can do something impressive for a few drain, than a spell with less drain that's also not very good. Metal Wall and Sound Cloud are both usable at Force 4-5 so you can at least limit it to Stun.

I also want to point out how much better Increase Reflexes in a Sustaining focus is than Synaptic Boosters. You are paying 16 bp and .5 essence for SB. You could pay 3 (spell)+6(focus)+3(bind focus) - so 2/3 the cost - for twice the bonus IPs, and +2 initiative instead of +1 Reaction.

Your best bet for sneaky as a mage is summoning spirits with Concealment.


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« Reply #13 on: <06-12-13/1823:18> »
This char looks pretty fun. I'd play him.

Most of the advice here is good. Longarms (Shotguns) fits with his ganger origins. Similarly, if you're still considering the IP issue, drugs are an easy way to get the 2nd IP and cost approximately 0 BP. Cram and Jazz would certainly fit with the ganger background. That would free up a considerable amount of BP for other pursuits. Addiction (Mild, Stimulants) would round out your negative qualities and give you an excuse to pop a wide array of pharmaceuticals in an IC manner, including the magician-friendly Pscyhe. (Expensive, but many Awakened characters inevitably stockpile nuyen hand-over-fist while they go begging for karma.)

Umaro's right that Spirits + Concealment are the way to go for enhanced sneakiness. Spirits of Man have Concealment as a regular power so you're covered there.

For your adept powers, as Umaro noted, Combat Sense > Mystic Armor.

As for spells, Magic Fingers is another spell that can be used to great effect by clever mages. If you're playing in a game where resourcefulness is prized, it's a gem. Seems like it would fit with your telekinesis/psionic theme too.

For your attributes, I'd certainly prefer Body 4 and Willpower 5 rather than the other way around. Body 5 + Strength 2 is an odd image anyway, and probably comes with a cruel nickname related to his weight issues. I don't see any armor listed but Body 4 will take you a long way, especially in a mid-powered game.