Suggested new karma costs for Ally sprits and Attune/empower animals

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  • Omae
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« on: (15:02:43/02-22-18) »
First off, IŽll admit: Im a sucker for henchmen/companions etc. for player characters. Not only in shadowrun, but also in D&D and Chronicles of darkness etc.
The Drone rigger fills that role pretty decently in Shadowrun (We have slightly modified the repairing rules for drones, so he not THAT expensive).

This post is about the awakened characters and their methods of acquiring allies and non meta-human henchmen.

First off the Spirit ally.
In our meta the spirit ally has 2 roles in the party
Role 1: be a source of frustration for the awakened as its far too expensive to acquire at Force 6+ in one go. This means that the awakened usually spends many many game nights NOT using his karma, instead saving it up to make a crazy splurge of 50-60+ karma in one go on a spirit ally. (this will instantly bring the spirit ally to its second role below). Alternatively he will give up and use his karma on something else.
Role 2: Super powerful entity that makes a lot of the other players feel cheated. This is because the ally spirit is almost always bought at some crazy force level like 6+. and thus will have a  multitude of powers and abilities, and on top of that will have a karma-starved magician as a henchman.

Both of those roles are pretty unsatisfactory for us. In the current rules the system punishes the player for buying an ally spirit at low force level- with the intent to level it later when the campaign progresses. (karma costs are doubled for force increases after creating the spirit). At the same time the karma cost is a flat 8/16 per force level- which again reinforces the idea that its better to start off with as much force as possible. Organic growth of the ally is thus less rewarding.

My proposed rule would be this:
Cost of creating ally spirit is changed to the following:
Step 1: Choose force: The base cost of the force is 5 karma for each new level of force. (like upgrading attributes on a character).
Step 2-5: as normal on page 201 in Street grimoire.

Enhancing an ally:
The ritual enhance ally is potentially deleted the awakened always has the ability to pay for advancements-given Karma and time. Enhance abilites etc as a normal character. (enhancing the spirits force from 3 to 4 would cost 4*5 karma = 20 karma).

This rule would mean that the spirit is much more obtainable costing "only" the ritual(s) and then 30 karma for a nice Force 3 spirit ally with some cool stuff. (and yes the crazy force 6 ally would cost a crazy amount of karma).
The old rule wouldnt advice a F3 spirit, instead going for the gamechanger F6ish. Costing 53-58 karma.

PS: Does the spirit require 2 different rituals to make ? Ally conjuration (page 122) and Create ally (page 126)? I would reduce that to only a single ritual (which aspected conjurers may use without ritual spellcasting).

Does the community see any pitfalls or suggestions with this new rule?
(Other than the standard response of working as intended because its shadowrun) :)

Second New karma cost: the Attune Animal Ritual:

The original cost structure goes like this:
5 karma for the ritual
Animal handling+charisma (12,1 week) to befriend it
Bonding: force = willpower of animal, F hours
Karma expendure equal to Essence of animal. (this means augmented animals are easier to create as companions)
Very limited: the ritual should be named Attune [animal type] as only crows, lynx, etc can be attuned with each ritual.
Material link to the adept.
May only have (initiation grade) of attuned animals at a time. (this means that even though an adept could choose the ritual without having initiated he cant use it for anything.)
Gain: sense link and possibility of further enhancing the animal through the empower animal ritual

My suggestion would be this:
5 karma for the ritual
Animal +charisma (18- animals essence, 1 week) Makes the befriending process slightly longer for augmented animals.
Material link to adept.
May only have initiation grade +1 of attuned animals at a time.
Gain: sense link and possibility of further enhancing the animal through the empower animal ritual

As the only real gain at this point is sense link, I feel that the limit on low number of animals and the time it would take to acquire a new one and befriend should be costs enough. The adept would also be able to have some ravens, a horse and wolfdogs at the same time without needing 3 separate rituals. (but would still need to be a crazy initiate).
In that regard does the community see any pitfalls here or other suggestions?

Empower: (page 128 street grimoire)
The original had this on the animal itself. Im contemplating on making it slightly different.
Temporary transfer:The adept spends karma equal to 4 times the power point cost of the power. Once the ritual has been compleed he has the ability to transfer that power to any of his attuned animals- loosing acces to the power whilst it is lent out. 
Qi marked: maybe use as is?

Naturally for both the spirit ally and the arruned animals are that the GM has the final say to disallow imbued tortoises sitting safely at home while sustaining spells on the adept all day. Or having the spirit ally create alchemical potions for the party 24 hours a day etc.

And lastly Attune item and Imbue items need s an overhaul too. I mean look at attuning a bike as the book uses as an example. After the adept has familiarized himself with the bike he needs to make a FORCE 15 RITUAL! and then pay 9 or 10 extra karma to bond it... he then gains a +1 limit on using the bike. If he then wants to attune it he needs to have another ritual and make another force 15 ritual and pay 9 or 10 karma. He can then choose amongst the list of 7 different imbue traits. one of which is purely negative and 2 others are meant for foci, not attuned items. This leaves him with 4 choices, one of those is meant for weapons. So that leaves him with Loyalty (penalty to others using his bike), Perceptive (he can find his bike when within 10 * magic meters, even if its hidden by magic) and Respect (lowers social penalties when on his bike) all of these naturally also requires him being initated..
« Last Edit: (15:31:34/02-22-18) by DigitalZombie »


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« Reply #1 on: (18:11:16/02-24-18) »
I'd be curious if you would change anything for fettered spirits. It's completely reasonable to start with a fettered force 10 spirit (even assuming spirits use edge to resist summoning), and its plausible to start with force 12 (although force 12 at least minorly risks killing you).

While fettering is supposed to be a big no no, it doesn't increase your spirit index quite enough to cause problems by yourself - so if you really do embrace 'play a spirit with a magician henchmen' then I could see your spirit index even going back down, making fettering potentially better (and far far cheaper) than ally spirits for the same role.

Personally I think this is a bigger problem with ally spirits than the base cost you have issue with, and the difference in abilities isn't justified.

That being said, I do agree that your suggestion is better than RAW and would encourage what you want. But it's also super expensive. Even a force 3 spirit is actually more expensive than by RAW; and while I agree that force 6 has issues, I'm not sure making force 3 more expensive is actually a good idea. Have you considered 3 karma per new force? So force 3 ally spirit would cost 18 karma, cheaper than RAW, but force 6 would cost 63 (distinctly more than RAW).


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« Reply #2 on: (18:46:49/02-24-18) »
Wouldn't it be Easier just to house rule a limiter on ally spirits force values? Say Magic -1 or Magic -2? Or if you don't like that and want to make sure your mage is spending karma on the character link it to initiation count, say force no greater then the character's initiation count?


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« Reply #3 on: (22:55:40/02-24-18) »
I've thought the flat 8 karma per Force for an ally spirit was just fine, considering all of its skills are equal to its Force.  The upgrade cost, however, I never felt was justified in being doubled or increased in any way, shape, or form.  If Invoking was worth it this edition, I'd suggest using that to improve your ally spirit.

As for Animal Attunement, I've never messed with it as it's seemed completely underwhelming to me in the past.  Qi Marking may change that.

Attuned Item was good in the previous edition.  Now it's a complete waste.  I wouldn't bother with it other than deciding that it no longer exists or using the benefit given in the previous edition.


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« Reply #4 on: (16:44:14/02-26-18) »
@Nelphine aah havent really looked at fettered spirits yet. Luckily the players havent either. But yeah it seems like an issue that might be in need of houseruling a bit.
5 karma per level might be a bit much. The goal was afterall to have more force 3ish spirits in my game. Maybe 4 karma? Then the force 3 spirit would cost the same as the old one. But a force 6 would cost 84. I dont know if force*3 is too low? I'll have to look into it.

@Marcus a limit would also work. (Still ignoring that tax of double karma cost after creation though). But maybe pure initiation is a bit too restrictive. We rarely see anyone at more than 2 at our table.

@spellbinder yeah I been trying really hard to see what Ive missed regarding attuned item... it seems there is nothing there to miss- as it hardly does anything