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Drain

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Spade

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« on: (07:01:45/10-10-18) »
I know that this is NOT in the book but I thought it was a great addition to spell casting in “regular” shadow run. I had considered having hits over the casters willpower equal the drain damage to the caster, but I was curious if anyone else has other ideas to bring drain over to SR:A

Gingivitis

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« Reply #1 on: (17:28:46/10-10-18) »
There are a lot of ways that groups add Drain to the system. I have seen a lot of them and a few have some merit. Here is mostly what I have seen:

- Hit Comparison: Any method where the number of hits are compared to Sorcery or Willpower are used to calculate Stun Damage. The trouble with this one is that if you compare to Hits to Willpower, then the more points you put into Sorcery (ie. the better you are at casting), the more likely you will experience Drain. Also you could experience the same Drain casting "Super AOE Fireball" as you do casting "Stun Bolt."

- Flat Drain: Take Stun based on a preset condition of the spell/spirit. Perhaps an AOE spell always causes 1 Stun. Maybe an Amp Level 3 spell always causes 1 Stun and Amp Level 4 causes 2 Stun. Spells that affect all rolls (rather than a single Skill Test) might cause 1 Stun. The advantage is that it takes up less time to calculate. The disadvantage is that the damage is static and you lose the surprise/risk factor.

- Glitch Swapping: Roll a number of Glitch dice equal to the Amp Level. Any dice that come up 1 cause Stun damage (no advantage for rolling an Exploit). The advantage to this is that it is based on the power of the spell (unlike Hit Comparison). The disadvantage is that it takes up extra time to calculate and roll the extra dice which can break scene flow (probably less time that Hit Comparison though).

- Live Dangerously Only: You only take Drain when you Live Dangerously (because you played it or it was played on you) and you come up with a Glitch. The Stun can be flat 1 or based on the Amp Level of the spell.

- Cooldown Drain:Assign a cooldown time to each spell (usually 1-3 Narrations) and if you cast the spell again within the cooldown period, it causes Stun damage (usuall 1-2 or Amp Level). Interesting mechanic. The advantage is that you do not have to break flow by calculating or rolling anything and it helps with keeping narrations fresh and imaginative. Disavantage is you have to keep track of how long ago you cast that Fireball, and you have to assign a cooldown time to each spell ahead of time.

I think Live Dangerously Only is the easiest to implement. I use the Flat Drain mechanic for speed. I think I would liked to have tried Glitch Swapping but I am too far into my two campaigns to switch now. Cooldown Drain is interesting but I feel that the bookkeeping on the Narrations would be burdensome. The only one I don't like is the Hit Comparison because of the counterintuitive aspects of getting better at casting but taking more drain.

Also remember that you have to decide how Conjuring, Banishing, and Counterspelling factor into your Drain Mechanics...

Hope that helps.
« Last Edit: (17:30:27/10-10-18) by Gingivitis »
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Tecumseh

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« Reply #2 on: (00:46:43/10-11-18) »
I knew Gingivitis would draw up a list of possible options, saving me the trouble.

My personal experience is that Drain is not necessary for spells, any more so than guns need to track ammo. I find that spellcasting is well balanced with other offensive options and does not need to be curbed. I haven't run into trouble with casters abusing non-offensive spells either.

Spirits are a different matter. Currently there is no mechanical limit to summoning and resummoning, either to land the biggest spirit possible or to spam the opposition with hordes of cannon fodder. Not only are they infinite, but spirits don't even require Shadow Amps like drones do. Furthermore, summoned spirits are not limited by the number of services - their only duration is sunrise or sunset - so that a summoner in the party is perpetually doubled in strength. (Or, rather more than doubled, as spirits are tremendously powerful.)

One table I talked to used a version of Glitch Swapping that Gingivitis described. For each service that a spirit provided, a number of Glitch dice would be rolled equal to the spirit's level. (1 die for a Lesser spirit, 2 dice for a normal spirit, 3 dice for a Greater spirit.) The number of 1s would be the amount of drain incurred. Thus the odds of a Lesser spirit generating Drain for any given action would be low (17%) while a Greater spirit would be rather likely to generate a least a box of Stun (42% chance of at least one 1.)

I haven't played with this rule personally, but I like the way that it scaled the risk and created some opportunity for Lesser spirits to play a meaningful role. I also like how the Drain roll per action (rather than per summoning) curbs the motivation to have spirits perpetually hanging around to do everything for you.

I believe I also talked to a table that was much more vigilant about treating spirits as independent NPCs, to the point where they could only be given specific instructions (that would have to be followed) by spending Plot Points. The Plot Points effectively served as the spirit's services. That's a different approach than Drain, but was another viable approach to prevent spirits from dominating the action.

I know those are anecdotal, but I hope it provides some food for thought.