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"Insidious" Elf Mage/Face - Please Critique

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life8lood

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« on: (01:18:04/01-31-16) »
It's amazing what you can achieve when you have the confidence to achieve it. When you know the only thing that will keep you from obtaining whatever you want in life, is your own self-doubt, then it's really just a matter of believing whole-heartedly in your own capabilities and know that you deserve all that you desire. I'm living proof of that philosophy...and I own it. It doesn't matter that I was born to two mundane normies for parents who still followed the outdated gospel of Christianity. Can you imagine how they reacted when their only son turned out to be a dandelion eater? Better than you think. It was like I was a gift from god or some drek like that. And then when they were told I had the gift by the school counselor and that I'd be enrolled in a special learning facility to motivate the transition into my Awakening, well the whole town knew about it then. Little did they know, I had already begun to experience strange...occurrences. Dark figures moving about my room at night, whispers calling my name, letting me know that they were waiting for me. When you're a kid, you don't really know what these things are, but after having summoned these spirits on many occasions, now I do. The mage school didn't really work out for me. It was all this theory and learning and intellect...none of it really made sense to me. But I found that I could replicate a spell's effect through sheer desire without using the mental exercises and such that the school was teaching. Needless to say, I was failing my studies at the Academy of the Magical Arts. So I left.

Some years later I had established myself as a spiritual medium in Seattle, calling on the spirits of loved ones passed. And I made some nice nuyen doing it. It wasn't hard to accomplish as people tend to believe what they want to believe. I just gave them something to believe in. Eventually I pulled the attention of some small time media corp that wanted to air my "show", and with all that my ego was, I couldn't refuse. Little did I know that this very decision would bring about my downfall and send me spiraling into the dark world of shadows. As my fame started to grow, I was getting commissioned by some high society influentials - as well as some underground influentials. Everybody has lost someone dear to them it seems, and getting to talk to them one last time - regardless of just how rich and important you are - is worth more than life truly has to offer. Unfortunately, fame also brings haters, and there were too many skeptics all too happy to try and debunk my talents. It just couldn't be done though because none could truly say who or what I was actually talking to. And I was able to come up with some of the deepest, darkest, most personal secrets that no other should know. Granted, the real talent resided in the spirits that worked for me, gathering information that only patrons of the spirit world had the means to muster. It wasn't until a very influential - and Awakened - priest of the Divine Church of Christ, spoke out against my talents and called me a fake, that people started to doubt me. The jobs quickly began to dwindle and I was getting hate mail by the masses. I truly believed my life was threatened...and I wasn't mistaken.

Apparently I had swindled someone who wasn't afraid to exact revenge the old fashioned way, with a burlap sack hat and a nice pair of cement shoes. It wasn't quite like that, they didn't actually dip my feet in concrete. But after being knocked out and coming to sometime later, the sound of water slapping against the craft that compelled us forward in a lurching motion, I knew the situation was dire. I couldn't see with the bag over my head, but when the motor stopped and two strong hands grabbed me by both arms, the last thing I heard before I died was a man's voice say, "Now you WILL be able to talk to the dead." I don't remember if I was pleading for my life or if I remained silent from the shock of it all, but I do remember how cold the water was when I sunk below the waves. I remember wondering what my life would've been like if I'd stayed in school. I thought about my parents and how much of a disappointment I would be to them if they knew what I was. I thought about all the people I conned and how happy they were. Was it really that bad to bring happiness to people's lives whether it was real or not? That's worth getting paid for isn't it? It certainly isn't worth dying over. Fuck all that! Fuck the school, fuck my parents, and fuck dying!

The thoughts were powerful enough...but I died nonetheless.

I felt the cold, wet caress of my final resting place as I sunk further into the sea, and as I gasped for my final breath, filling my lungs with the salty waters, I succumbed to an endless darkness...

......................................

But then there was that voice.

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That whisper I'd heard as a child.

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"Silly boy..."

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"This is not your end..."

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"This...is your rebirth."

The sack around my head was suddenly yanked free as my eyes shot open and in the dark canvass that was set before me, I could see the image of a glowing black bird flying towards me, and the closer it got the brighter it became. I felt the energy of the image pass through me, igniting something within that I'd not felt before. I then began to rise swiftly from the cold embrace of my grave, so fast that I could hear the water rushing past my ears, and as I burst from the gyrating currents of the sea, I took a deep breath as life filled me once again. For a moment, I hovered there over the shifting waters of the Pugent Sound, trying to take in what had just happened. I was alive, that was for sure...but how? And what was that vision I saw? And why am I suddenly able to fly?? So many questions flooded my brain that I had little expectation to get answers for. I shifted my thoughts to compelling myself forward and toward the glowing lights of Seattle.
At some point I must've passed out from exhaustion or something, because the next thing I knew, I was waking up on the docks of the Everett Marina staring into the tired yet concerned brown eyes of a middle-aged dwarf. "Ne'er thought I'd be one t' fish me out an elf from these waters...but 'round here, y'ne’er know. Ne'er thought I'd be one t' save an elf either. Yer lucky t' be 'live, boy. Yer lungs were full o' the sea and that ain't even what bothers me the most. Y'know what gets thrown in them waters?" The dwarf made a face of disgust as if he didn't want to actually mention all its contents. As I took to my feet and steadied myself against the sudden head-rush, I noticed a black bird resting on the post nearby. It flapped its wings at me a couple times, squawked, and flew off. But it didn't necessarily fly away...it just sorta...vanished. I dealt with spirits plenty before to know this wasn't an ordinary spirit. No, I had attracted the attention of a mentor spirit; Raven. And since that day, he has lead me on a path of "providence" towards something he says he's preparing me for. And over the course of the last five years, he's taught me a lot and has lead me to me some very interesting people.

Carl was only one of the people I'd met after my "rebirth". He was a good one to meet first though. I knew I couldn't go back to the life I had or the person I was. If I died...then I might as well stay dead. It was a perfect opportunity to take on a new life. One that wouldn't find me getting thrown off the back of a boat into the murky waters of the Pugent Sound. Little did I know at the time that my idea of a new life would not end up being as "peaceful" as I'd originally intended.
I played off that I couldn't remember anything and Carl was more than happy to let me stay with him until I found a place. It was a few months later and I had found myself a small apartment with surprisingly few cockroaches (they were nice enough to stay hidden during the day). I also met a talismonger with a shop just down the street who happened to be a ravan shaman (coincidence? doubt it.), who I've spent many nights over many glasses of wine talking about magic philosophies, talents, spirits, traditions, and big black birds that visit you in your sleep. But the strangest character I had a run-in with was the leader of the Ancients gang, Sting. I happened to stumble into the middle of a gang war between them and the Halloweeners (this is my luck). I didn't know who I was helping at the time, I just saw two bikes wiz by driven by elves with one carrying a chic that looked beat up pretty bad. Right behind them came five bikes screaming down the street carrying pathetic attempts at looking like scary cartoon figures. I couldn't help myself...I formed the magic barrier just as they were about to pass by my position and as their bikes impacted the wall, Halloweeners were thrown every which way. I didn't stick around to see how the events unfolded, but somehow Sting found out that I was the one who helped her and offered her assistance if ever I found myself in need of an elven go-gang. Needless to say, I felt that was something that could come in handy someday.

As a mage, I've grown more diverse and powerful. I have created a new life for myself as a motivational speaker under a different guise, speaking mostly to younger kids in colleges because they seem to be the most susceptible to influence. I have made a strong connection with a few of the spirits that tend to hang around even after I've used up all the services they owed. It's not about compassion or control...it's about a mutual desire for self-preservation. The spirits know that I'll help them if they help me and as long as we both perceive a benefit in that relationship, there won't be any conflict between us. But my strongest relationship has been with Raven. He seems hell-bent on training me for this "event" that will take place in the near future, though he won't tell me when it's supposed to happen. I don't know that HE even knows when it's supposed to happen. So until the day comes, I'll continue to train, learn, and grow, meet the right people, and become ever more powerful so that I'll never have to worry about putting those cement shoes on ever again.


== Info ==
Street Name: Insidious
Name: Joseph Taylor
Movement: 6/12
Karma: 0
Street Cred: 0
Notoriety: 3
Public Awareness: 0
Elf
Composure: 13
Judge Intentions: 13
Lift/Carry: 4 (15 kg/10 kg)
Memory: 6
Nuyen: 0

== Priorities ==
Metatype: D - Human or Elf
Attributes: B - 20 Attributes
Special: A - Magician or Technomancer
Skills: C - 28 Skills/2 Skill Groups
Resources: E - 6,000¥

== Attributes ==
BOD: 3
AGI: 3
REA: 5
STR: 1
CHA: 8
INT: 5
LOG: 1
WIL: 5
EDG: 2
MAG: 6

== Derived Attributes ==
Essence:                   6
Initiative:                10 + 1d6
Rigger Initiative:         10 + 1d6
Astral Initiative:         10 + 2d6
Matrix AR Initiative:      10 + 1d6
Matrix Cold Initiative:    5 + DP + 3d6
Matrix Hot Initiative:     5 + DP + 4d6
Physical Damage Track:     10
Stun Damage Track:         11

== Limits ==
Physical:                  4
Mental:                    4
Social:                    9
   Vashon Island: Synergist Business Line [+1] (Must be visible)
Astral:                    9

== Active Skills ==
Animal Handling            : 0                      Pool: 7
Arcana                     : 1                      Pool: 2
Archery                    : 0                      Pool: 2
Assensing                  : 1                      Pool: 6
Automatics                 : 3 [Machine Pistols]    Pool: 6 (8)
Binding                    : 6 [Spirits of Man]     Pool: 12 (14)
Blades                     : 0                      Pool: 2
Clubs                      : 0                      Pool: 2
Con                        : 4 [Fast Talk]          Pool: 14 (16)
Counterspelling            : 4                      Pool: 10
Disguise                   : 0                      Pool: 4
Diving                     : 0                      Pool: 2
Escape Artist              : 0                      Pool: 2
Etiquette                  : 2                      Pool: 10
Free-Fall                  : 0                      Pool: 2
Gunnery                    : 0                      Pool: 2
Gymnastics                 : 0                      Pool: 2
Heavy Weapons              : 0                      Pool: 2
Impersonation              : 0                      Pool: 7
Instruction                : 0                      Pool: 7
Intimidation               : 0                      Pool: 7
Leadership                 : 2                      Pool: 10
Longarms                   : 0                      Pool: 2
Navigation                 : 0                      Pool: 4
Negotiation                : 2                      Pool: 10
Perception                 : 3 [Hearing]            Pool: 8 (10)
Performance                : 0                      Pool: 7
Pilot Ground Craft         : 0                      Pool: 4
Pilot Watercraft           : 0                      Pool: 4
Pistols                    : 0                      Pool: 2
Sneaking                   : 0                      Pool: 2
Spellcasting               : 6 [Manipulation]       Pool: 12 (14)
Summoning                  : 6 [Spirits of Man]     Pool: 12 (14)
Survival                   : 0                      Pool: 4
Throwing Weapons           : 0                      Pool: 2
Tracking                   : 0                      Pool: 4
Unarmed Combat             : 0                      Pool: 2

== Knowledge Skills ==
English                    : N                      Pool: 0
Fashion                    : 1                      Pool: 6
Magical Theory             : 2 [Conjuring]          Pool: 3 (5)
Magical Threats            : 3 [Insect Spirits]     Pool: 4 (6)
Sperethiel                 : 1 [Speak]              Pool: 6 (8)
Street Drugs               : 1 [Novacoke]           Pool: 6 (8)

== Contacts ==
Carl Carlson; Dockworker (2, 4)
Gloria "Glo" Watkins ; Talent Scout (2, 2)
Sinda Zique; Talismonger (4, 3)
Sting; Gang Leader (Ancients) (4, 3)

== Qualities ==
Addiction (Moderate) (Novacoke)
Bad Rep
Allergy (Uncommon, Mild) (Salt Water)
Focused Concentration (Rating 1)
Gremlins (Rating 1)
Low-Light Vision
Magician
Mentor Spirit (Raven)
Spirit Affinity (Man)

== Spells ==
(Tradition: Black Magic, Resist Drain with WIL + CHA (13))
Ball Lightning             DV: F-1
Heal                       DV: F-4
Improved Invisibility      DV: F-1
Increase Reflexes          DV: F
Influence                  DV: F-1
Levitate                   DV: F-2
Mana Barrier               DV: F-2
Manaball                   DV: F
Mob Mind                   DV: F+1
Physical Barrier           DV: F-1
Physical Mask              DV: F-1
Trid Phantasm              DV: F

== Lifestyles ==
Everett Apartment  1 months

== Armor ==
Vashon Island: Synergist Business Line9
   +Custom Fit
   +Concealable Holster

== Weapons ==
Steyr TMP
   +Laser Sight
   +Sound Suppressor
   +Spare Clip
   +Spare Clip
   +Spare Clip
   Pool: 6 (8)   Accuracy: 5   DV: 7P   AP: -   RC: 2
Unarmed Attack
   Pool: 2   Accuracy: 4   DV: 1S   AP: -   RC: 2

== Commlink ==
Renraku Sensei (ATT: 0, SLZ: 0, DP: 3, FWL: 3)

== Gear ==
AR Gloves
Binoculars, Optical
   +Vision Magnification
Contacts Rating 3
   +Image Link
   +Vision Enhancement Rating 2
Cram x10
Earbuds Rating 3
   +Audio Enhancement Rating 3
Fake License (Mage License) Rating 4
Fake License (Firearms License) Rating 4
Fake License (Concealed Carry Permit) Rating 4
Fake SIN (Aldarius Talimaster III (Motivational Speaker)) Rating 4
Novacoke x10
Reagents x202
Slap Patch, Stim Patch Rating 6 x2
Zen

Glyph

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« Reply #1 on: (03:44:24/01-31-16) »
Solid backstory and build, although I am sure you will get some flack for having two attributes of 1.  They are a quantifiable weakness, but I have always seen them as weak but functional (you need to add negative qualities to actually be uncouth, infirm, etc.).  Others feel differently...

I am not sure about him having the bad reputation flaw, though.  He had a bad reputation, but that was his pre-runner life.  I don't see anything in his backstory indicating that people currently distrust him.

life8lood

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« Reply #2 on: (20:28:00/01-31-16) »
Thank you for looking my character over! I appreciate someone taking the time to read it, I know it's a lot. I had to think about Bad Rep as well. In reality, there's probably still plenty of people who know what I did and would like to exact their revenge on me. Yet alone people who might recognize me if they saw my true identity. The new person I've become is created by using Mask to disguise my identity. Whenever I go into the public as my alter ego, I take on that identity. So the new person people have come to know me as, is not even my face. This character has yet to enter into the shadows. He will be "found" by someone who knows his true identity and is seeking him out for his knowledge of spirits (we're playing an insect spirit module). So ultimately he will enter the shadows as his true self and have to deal with the trouble he created 5 years ago. I don't know, this is how I'm making it work but any pointers are appreciated.

Pap Renvela

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« Reply #3 on: (21:15:47/01-31-16) »
My 2 nuyen worth...
I'd drop down to meta E...so human and you end up with edge 3.
Increase Attributes to A also... that will give you LOG at 3 so you can learn two skills at a time, AGI 3 which leaves only STR at 1.

Get JOAT to round out your skills... forget about automatics and tighten up the other skills. (Perception & CON)

Personally I'd go INT tradition, lower the CHA to 5 and raise WIL to 6.



 

Whiskeyjack

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« Reply #4 on: (21:24:46/01-31-16) »
So what skills did you buy with skill points and what (if any) with karma?

Personally I'd go INT tradition, lower the CHA to 5 and raise WIL to 6.
Not a big fan of WIL 6 personally, because it's not independently tied to relevant skills. Having a hard-capped non-WIL Drain stat at least gives you another die to skills probably relevant to the kind of mage you want to be (Con for a CHA mage, Perception for an INT mage, for example). WIL 6 doesn't even get you an extra stun box.
Playability > verisimilitude.

Glyph

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« Reply #5 on: (22:17:12/01-31-16) »
Intuition traditions are the most optimal for a pure mage, but Charisma traditions are the best for face hybrids such as this build.  Plus, they let you use that elven Charisma for soaking drain.

life8lood

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« Reply #6 on: (01:04:35/02-01-16) »
My 2 nuyen worth...
I'd drop down to meta E...so human and you end up with edge 3.
Increase Attributes to A also... that will give you LOG at 3 so you can learn two skills at a time, AGI 3 which leaves only STR at 1.

Get JOAT to round out your skills... forget about automatics and tighten up the other skills. (Perception & CON)

Personally I'd go INT tradition, lower the CHA to 5 and raise WIL to 6.
Thank you much for the feedback! Going elf is pretty much locked in for the character concept, but from an optimization stand point, I can see how going human for extra edge would benefit. I actually got to play my character tonight for the first time, and I found that when I had to use my face skills, getting the desired outcome was a lot more important than when I used my magic skills. With that said, I feel keeping my CHA highest is most beneficial to my role. And I just felt naked without having some kind of mundane combat option. If I've taken on too much drain or am in a low background area where magic isn't functioning as well...I need to have a backup plan. And for metagame purposes...throwing some lead around may keep "Geek the Mage" from spawning. Plus, my character just things he looks cool toting a machine pistol around.  8)

So what skills did you buy with skill points and what (if any) with karma?
I put 2 points into Influential Skill Group and the 2 times I used negotiation with a 10 dice pool worked out in our favor nicely.

Also, I wouldn't typically make a character with two 1 stats...I actually have to have a really good story-based reason to have one stat at 1. But because this character is more of a "module runner"...and it was allowed...I played a little bit of the munchkin (I imagine this is what it would feel like to sell your soul to the devil).
« Last Edit: (01:11:55/02-01-16) by life8lood »

FST_Gemstar

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« Reply #7 on: (01:33:55/02-01-16) »
Looks fun! Glad the run went well!

Just noting that Novacoke Addiction. I'm all for drugs in Shadowrun, just be mindful that it's going to be tough to avoid Addiction tests if you need to use every two weeks, and these tests are going to be risky especially when having to making both a psychological and physiological test with lowish Body and low Logic. Also noting that Novacoke has some nasty crash effects, dropping your Willpower and Charisma to 1 for a while, which will make your bread an butter, any face abilities and magic abilities (Drain), pretty difficult.

If your GM lets Detox be used to mitigate attribute related crash effects, I would suggest picking up the Detox spell and perhaps Alleviate Addiction (Novacoke). Black Magic allows you to summon spirits of man... before crashing make sure you have a Force 3 one around that knows Detox to cast on you, and poof, Willpower and Charisma are safe! Perhaps a bound spirit can know Alleviate Addiction to cast and sustain on you if ever go into withdrawal or choose to in order to avoid an addiction test, so you don't have to deal with those effects.
« Last Edit: (11:36:24/02-01-16) by FST_Gemstar »

FST_Gemstar

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« Reply #8 on: (11:39:22/02-01-16) »
Unless Detox has to be cast at Force of the addiction rating of the drug... I'm not sure this is spelled out anywhere though. In that case, just cast it on yourself when you need it, as even at Force 7, you only have 1 DV of physical drain coming your way.  You still have a chance of resisting that too with Willpower + Charisma = 2.
« Last Edit: (17:00:04/02-01-16) by FST_Gemstar »

prionic6

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« Reply #9 on: (15:55:45/02-01-16) »
dropping your Willpower and Charisma to 1 for a while

Wow! I always read that as "dropping CHA and WIL _by_ one". That's a massive crash...

Marcus

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« Reply #10 on: (18:00:26/02-01-16) »
Yeah the double 1 is rough.
I'd also recommend not running only AoE spells, it reduces flexibility, and makes drain more of an issue then need be.

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life8lood

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« Reply #11 on: (01:41:48/02-04-16) »
Looks fun! Glad the run went well!

Just noting that Novacoke Addiction. I'm all for drugs in Shadowrun, just be mindful that it's going to be tough to avoid Addiction tests if you need to use every two weeks, and these tests are going to be risky especially when having to making both a psychological and physiological test with lowish Body and low Logic. Also noting that Novacoke has some nasty crash effects, dropping your Willpower and Charisma to 1 for a while, which will make your bread an butter, any face abilities and magic abilities (Drain), pretty difficult.

If your GM lets Detox be used to mitigate attribute related crash effects, I would suggest picking up the Detox spell and perhaps Alleviate Addiction (Novacoke). Black Magic allows you to summon spirits of man... before crashing make sure you have a Force 3 one around that knows Detox to cast on you, and poof, Willpower and Charisma are safe! Perhaps a bound spirit can know Alleviate Addiction to cast and sustain on you if ever go into withdrawal or choose to in order to avoid an addiction test, so you don't have to deal with those effects.

Great input man, thank you! This is what I'm thinking with the drugs: The novacoke lasts for 7 hours (10-Body) and then you crash for the same amount of time, which means more than likely, I'll be sleeping off the effects. But I did manage to summon a level 6 Spirit of Man and Bind him with a total of 6 services, so he could certainly come in handy if the need should arise. Also, Novacoke doesn't cause an addiction test for 4 weeks with a threshhold of 2. So I could really use the Nova as much as I wanted to for 2 weeks and then stop for 2 weeks and not even have an addiction test and even if I only take 1 week off that's still only 1 hit I have to get on my test.

Yeah the double 1 is rough.
I'd also recommend not running only AoE spells, it reduces flexibility, and makes drain more of an issue then need be.

Yeah, that was something I had considered a lot about...spells were something I probably spent the MOST time deciding on. I decided I have other ways to handle a single threat, the area effect spells are really there for those BIG game-changer moves. Plus I can always use manaball at a Force 1 and bump limit up using reagents, because damage is based on net hits not force.
« Last Edit: (01:48:41/02-04-16) by life8lood »

FST_Gemstar

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« Reply #12 on: (01:59:09/02-04-16) »
I'm always wary of a GM who throws in some surprises after a long night of a run :(. where your character will have not an easy time talking out of it and will wear down fast if throws mojo. Good you have a bound spirit handy and a gun just in case too. :)

You can take those two weeks off to avoid an addiction test (to see if the addiction gets worse), but you have a moderate addiction quality, I believe meaning you have to use once every two weeks or deal with moderate addiction withdrawal. So for those two weeks "off," you are going to be dealing with withdrawal effects (not near my core book now but it's some kind of cross the board dicepool modifier).

life8lood

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« Reply #13 on: (11:02:29/02-09-16) »
I'm always wary of a GM who throws in some surprises after a long night of a run :(. where your character will have not an easy time talking out of it and will wear down fast if throws mojo. Good you have a bound spirit handy and a gun just in case too. :)

Very true, good point! I'll just have to hope I can beat the 1 threshold when that time comes.

You can take those two weeks off to avoid an addiction test (to see if the addiction gets worse), but you have a moderate addiction quality, I believe meaning you have to use once every two weeks or deal with moderate addiction withdrawal. So for those two weeks "off," you are going to be dealing with withdrawal effects (not near my core book now but it's some kind of cross the board dicepool modifier).

Tarislar

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« Reply #14 on: (15:22:52/02-14-16) »
Arcana                     : 1                      Pool: 2
Assensing                  : 1                      Pool: 6
Automatics                 : 3 [Machine Pistols]    Pool: 6 (8)
Binding                    : 6 [Spirits of Man]     Pool: 12 (14)
Con                        : 4 [Fast Talk]          Pool: 14 (16)
Counterspelling            : 4                      Pool: 10
Perception                 : 3 [Hearing]            Pool: 8 (10)
Summoning                  : 6 [Spirits of Man]     Pool: 12 (14)

Spirit Affinity (Man)

Ball Lightning             DV: F-1
Manaball                   DV: F

Skills:
Drop those L1's IMHO to boost other skills.
Pick up L1's with Karma post Chargen
Also, I'd remove the specialization from Summoning to put that elsewhere too.  Summoning is fairly easy compared to binding.

I'd also drop Spirit Affinity to pick up Spirit Whisperer & Joat.

I would swap one/both of those over to Single Target &/or Stun.
2 ways to do AE-Death damage isn't really needed.
My own caster uses Lightning Bolt & Stunball.    I've seen many suggest Ball Lightning & Stun Bolt.   Blast is also great. 
But regardless I wouldn't double up on AE-Death.