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Free insect spirit PCs (from dark terrors)

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DigitalZombie

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« on: (15:41:18/12-07-18) »
So... what do we think of that?

Rules wise Im not sure I get it all. Can only be created with the prime runner rules, but uses the point buy rules as well?  I presume you could ignore all that and create them under any character generation rule you would prefer. Be it priority, sum2ten or modules (the last one is tricky though).

Even though its technically possible to create a female mantis spirit and thus gain access to the karma drain power, I guess most tables wouldnt allow that.
But what other spirit types wouldnt be allowed? Beetle?

What are your thoughts on the free insect spirit thang?

Reaver

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« Reply #1 on: (16:16:37/12-07-18) »
So... what do we think of that?

Rules wise Im not sure I get it all. Can only be created with the prime runner rules, but uses the point buy rules as well?  I presume you could ignore all that and create them under any character generation rule you would prefer. Be it priority, sum2ten or modules (the last one is tricky though).

Even though its technically possible to create a female mantis spirit and thus gain access to the karma drain power, I guess most tables wouldnt allow that.
But what other spirit types wouldnt be allowed? Beetle?

What are your thoughts on the free insect spirit thang?

IMO (and only IMO)

This was a bad idea... this opens ip a huge can o worms that was best left closed. Insect Spirits have was been an alien, evil entity in shadowrun (even Mantis spirits are not really all that good). Their purpose, morals, and thoughts are at odds with humanity... which makes them ideal villians (much like 'zombies' are a trope enemy)

While I acknowledge there has always been a small (and sometimes vocal) community that always to play 'the good bad guy' (thanks D'rizzt. Burn in Hell). This could be solved on a table basis by house rules.... by codifying it, well it gives ammo to that very small 'shitty  ruleslawyer' type of player that are so disruptive of tables and sometimes, communities.
(The "its in a book,  thus i can play it, regardless of what the table/GM thinks" player base)
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DigitalZombie

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« Reply #2 on: (13:35:03/12-09-18) »
I think thats some fair points you raise.
Personally Im a big fan of stuff like this, including infected, CFD etc. As long as they are played the way they are suppossed too. Im also not a fan of the redeemed insect spirit, or the vampire thats just another shadowrunner with some quirks and cool powers.

I have been toying with a oneshot scenario where the players gets to play shedims, vampires, insect spirits etc. And be some real bad guys.

Now ruleswise the insect spirit PC seems somewhat incomplete. The character creation rules are in need of an errata, while some of the powers are pretty far out (even compared to crazy stuff like immunity to normal weapons) like karma drain powers, yikes!

Also in general I find it odd that there are spider insect spirits now?


Reaver

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« Reply #3 on: (10:34:04/12-10-18) »
Always have been Spider Insect Spirits.... well as far back as Bug City...

They generally don't get used much as they are loners, and not as impressive as say a beetle spirit on a rampage.
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Reaver

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« Reply #4 on: (19:24:46/12-13-18) »
So... what do we think of that?

Rules wise Im not sure I get it all. Can only be created with the prime runner rules, but uses the point buy rules as well?  I presume you could ignore all that and create them under any character generation rule you would prefer. Be it priority, sum2ten or modules (the last one is tricky though).

Even though its technically possible to create a female mantis spirit and thus gain access to the karma drain power, I guess most tables wouldnt allow that.
But what other spirit types wouldnt be allowed? Beetle?

What are your thoughts on the free insect spirit thang?


I took a longer look at the write up to see if I could help you understand what is being laid out here.. and I agree its a little confusing.

The "Prime Runner" that they are referring to is a game mechanic that came in one of the companion books (for the life of me, I can't remember which one, or I would refer you to it to look it up as well.) but if my memory serves, it was a way to create more powerful starting runners.. It was mentioned in the same book as Sumto10 style...

Essentially,  I think the author is trying to point out that a Free Insect Spirit is a VERY powerful build and is not on the same level as regular or street level runners. (henc ethe Prime Runner mention) - this would also give the Insect Spirit a little more wiggle room to build the character (as Prime Runners start off with more open options. Again, I can't find the actual Prime runner rules, so we have to find those to find exactly what extra you get)

From there, you build the character normally, as per the rules. but you have to take the 42 karma quality. (the normal 25 karma positive quality limit doesn't apply -however the 25 point NEGATIVE quality limit does!)


Once the character is built, there are some little notes about upgrading ware. (basically, good luck as you would need an awakened doctor with weapon foci tools to do the surgery). And more notes that tell you that they are not "Queens" (the most powerful type of insect spirit - probably as a way to keep the "bad" rules lawyers quiet) and are the scout/nymphs type (the most common by far. Again probably for the "bad" rules lawyer types)

Then there are notes about becoming invested (which means using the inhabitation spirit power to acquire a meat suit) and what happens karma wise..

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odd

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« Reply #5 on: (20:25:23/12-13-18) »
Quote
The "Prime Runner" that they are referring to is a game mechanic that came in one of the companion books (for the life of me, I can't remember which one, or I would refer you to it to look it up as well.) but if my memory serves, it was a way to create more powerful starting runners.. It was mentioned in the same book as Sumto10 style...

I can help here, it's in the core rule book, page 385.

Reaver

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« Reply #6 on: (21:31:41/12-13-18) »
Quote
The "Prime Runner" that they are referring to is a game mechanic that came in one of the companion books (for the life of me, I can't remember which one, or I would refer you to it to look it up as well.) but if my memory serves, it was a way to create more powerful starting runners.. It was mentioned in the same book as Sumto10 style...

I can help here, it's in the core rule book, page 385.

Those are the rules for Prime Runner NPCs. I was looking for the Prime Runner player creation rules... I knew they were out there, and I had read them recently... Just couldn't remember where. Well i found it :P

Page 64 of the CRB in the red sidebar titled: Alternate Gameplay. It has the rules for a Prime Runner creation (a tweak of the standard rules for creation)

Quote
PRIME RUNNER PLAY
• Modify the resources column on the Priority Table as follows:
• Priority A: 500,000 nuyen
• Priority B: 325,000 nuyen
• Priority C: 210,000 nuyen
• Priority D: 150,000 nuyen
• Priority E: 100,000 nuyen
• Karma: Each player receives 35 Karma to customize
characters (maximum of 70 Karma).
• Gear Restrictions: Device Ratings must be rated at 6 or less.
Maximum Availability is 15 or less.
• Nuyen Restrictions: Characters may convert up to 25 Karma
into nuyen (50,000 nuyen).
• Karma Restrictions: Instead of the normal Charisma x 3
Karma for contacts, increase this amount to Charisma x 6
Karma for contacts.
• Follow all other rules for Character Creation/Advancement
as laid out in this chapter.

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Remember: You can't fix Stupid. But you can beat on it with a 2x4 until it smartens up! Or dies.

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #7 on: (01:02:03/12-14-18) »
I still think the alternative ways are bollocks. Can't remember full details on suggested modification, but I think for street-level we ended up at 'sum-to-6, resources max c, magic max 4)' and prime 'sum-to-15'?_? I'd have to go archive-hunting...

Anyway that's off-topic, yeah they mean the more powerful starting characters. =)
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DigitalZombie

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« Reply #8 on: (06:03:43/12-14-18) »
Always have been Spider Insect Spirits.... well as far back as Bug City...
Well, color me surprised. That must have slipped under my radar :)




Essentially,  I think the author is trying to point out that a Free Insect Spirit is a VERY powerful build and is not on the same level as regular or street level runners. (henc ethe Prime Runner mention) - this would also give the Insect Spirit a little more wiggle room to build the character (as Prime Runners start off with more open options. Again, I can't find the actual Prime runner rules, so we have to find those to find exactly what extra you get)


See thats what I kinda thought too, but then the text start mentioning point buy instead.  So that migtt also have been what the author meant. The funny thing is that point buy is on the opposite scale of prime runner character generation.

Personnaly I would believe that an insect- man created with priority would be weaker compared to his priority team mates, than a prime runner insect-man would be compared to his prime runner mates. Simply because a normal priority bug-man wouldnt have any room for positive qualities or other areas where a few points of karma is needed.
Whereas a primerunner bug-man still has the option of getting the much needed qualites.
Therefore I would think a bug-man would be more balanced  in normal priority than prime runner level.

On a further note, as the bug-man doesnt gain any of the powers of scout/nymph/worker/caretaker/soldier anyway. So I in general found that section pretty odd too, as they could just have written gain allergy insecticide - severe. Done. Finito.

I will try to create a character, not because Im gonna play it, but just to see if there are more issues popping up.

(I know Im coming of as a pro-insect PC guy, but in reality Im more of a pro-concise and correct rules guy).


@Chandra. Yeah having resources as the only main button to dial on for power level was an odd choice. We also decided to do some variations of sum2- whatever.

« Last Edit: (06:32:53/12-14-18) by DigitalZombie »

Reaver

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« Reply #9 on: (13:23:05/12-14-18) »
I am going to disagree on the power scope of an insect spirit compared to a regular runner....

Now, while Its almost impossible to compare to different builds because of all the options and choices that go into making a character, I will point out everything a Insect Spirit player gets for that 42 karma


Free insect spirits gain the following critter powers:
Aura Masking,
Dual-Natured,
Enhanced Senses (Smell, Thermographic Vision),
Immunity to Normal Weapons,
Realistic Form,
plus any powers specific to their insect type.


they also gain some weaknesses:
Allergy (Insecticides, level as described by spirit type)
 in addition to any weaknesses specific to their insect type.

However, They also may purchase one optional power for every three full points of Magic they possess for 9 Karma each.
from the following list: Animal Control (Insect Type), Compulsion, Confusion, Enhanced Senses (Ultrasound), Fear, Search.

That's a hefty list of advantages for 42 karma! And depending on the building, could almost be an insurmountable advantage!

After all, you take a Insect Spirit slap on the Mage or Adept quality, and now you have someone who slings magic and can only really be stopped by magic! (That Immunity shit gets nasty!) Worse, as he gains karma and initiates, his resistance to normal attacks increases WHILE his base power also increases (So not only is it more capable, its harder to hurt!)
Aura Masking and realistic form makes the spirit next to impossible for a mundane to suss out their Spirit nature, and makes it "hard" for awakened to determine their nature.

Dual natured is a little bit of an issue, but not insurmountable (ghouls, vamps, and critters have to deal with it too).

So yea, these are pretty powerful characters compared to non insect players, and depending on the build, can be next to unstoppable! -hence the warnings.

(Nothing says "love" like the adept or Mage with 12 points of hardened armor NAKED!)


 
« Last Edit: (15:44:02/12-14-18) by Reaver »
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DigitalZombie

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« Reply #10 on: (15:34:59/12-14-18) »
 Arianne Arachnid  (B&E spider invested elven face )
B1 A5 R2 S2 W2 I4 L3 C8 edge 3 M6 ini 6+1d6

Skillz: (A)
Stealth group 5
Acting group 5
Negotiation 6 + spec
Etiquette 6 + spec
Assensing 4
Perception 3
Pistol 6
Unarmed 6
Escape artist 2
Gymnastics 3
Locksmith 2
Astral combat 6

Spider powers
Dual natured, Aura masking (9), realistic form, enh. Smell, thermographic vision, Immunity to normal weapons (12), venom (7) binding, wall crawling.
Allergy insecticide severe.

Adept powers
Cool resolve 1 (1 pp)
Flexibility 1 (0,25)
Free fall 1 (0,25)
Motion sense (0,5)
Nimble fingers (0,25)
Combat sense  1 (0,5)
Imp. Physical limit (0,5)
Memory displacement (0,25)
Traceless walk (1)
Voice control (0,5)
 1 pp left


Karma
42 spider insect spirit
Too pretty to hit 3
Poisoner 5

Combat paralysis -12
Vendetta (relatives of the skin its wearing or minions of a bug queen) -7
Agoraphobia  mild -8

Stuff for only 6k :/

24 points of contacts. And 14 points of knowledge skills.

Created with normal priority.
____________

@Reaver immunity to normal weapons, flight, and karma drain are definetely some whacko things. But Id disagree that some of the other powers you listed are real benefits, they are more like ways to minimize insect spirits weaknesses. Dual natured is a weakness, aura masking is nice - but since the character cant turn off dual-natured he cant mask himself as a mundane (maybe a mundane on tempo?). And the dice pool for aura masking is edge + magic, versus intuition+ assenssing. Thats a reasonable dicepool, but far from fool proof.

The various spirit powers can be really tough, and some of those shouldnt even be left remotely near players. But karma drain is also disruptive with prime runners.

I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on the prime runner/point buy/priority builds. And besides even if prime runner is a requirement, insect spirits are optional and shouldnt be allowed unless its a special campaign/scenario (imo). So prime runners would would likely be perfect anyway.


they also gain some weaknesses:
Allergy (Insecticides, level as described by spirit type)
Its always severe, as you can only be scout or nymph I presume.
« Last Edit: (15:38:10/12-14-18) by DigitalZombie »

Reaver

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« Reply #11 on: (16:13:50/12-14-18) »
The key point to aura masking is in the first sentence of the power, and later on the write up:

Quote
You learn to change the appearance of
your aura (and astral form)
. You can make it look mundane,
or make your Magic Rating look higher or lower
by up to your grade. When someone tries to read
your masked aura, the Assensing Test becomes opposed
by your Magic + initiate grade—if they get any
net hits, they see both your mask and your real aura.
If you can use astral perception, you can even make
your aura look like a different type (like a spirit or a
focus—great for astral costume parties).


THIS is key!
Normally, the singular way to tell the difference between "Us" and "Them" (the uninvested and invested) is their aura. But you have the ability to hide your investment, and thus your nature by making your aura seem to be that of something else entirely.... SO you are not an invested elf, but merely an awakened elf...

you ARE the Wolf in sheep's clothing.


So lets look break this down from your character:

For 42 Karma you got:

Aura masking to hide your true nature (and stop you from getting geeked on the first astral perception you run across, but may not hold up to a dedicated look, true)
Realistic Form (again so you can hide your true nature as a spirit, and as a consequence of your investment)
Enhanced Smell and Thermo vision (smell, while disgusting, shouldn't be overlooked! and vision in total darkness... very handy)
Immunity to normal weapons (nothing like 12 free points of armor with 6 auto successes for damage resistance! Enough said :D)
Venom attack
Binding (not as in spirits mind you, but as in "I stop you from moving by throwing webbing at you, spider-man style)
Wall crawling. (great, now I have to worry about you blasting me from the ceiling?!!? Fuck.)

And you get very sick around a can of RAID!... ok....

Everything else an other adept could get so I am not worried about it in the least. 

However, don't forget that as you progress, you can pick up any one of the these CRITTER powers (they work a little differently then spells in some cases) for just 9 karma at a rate of 1 for every 3 points of magic:

Animal Control (Insect Type), Compulsion, Confusion, Enhanced Senses (Ultrasound), Fear, Search.
 
Again, those are some great abilities to have the option to take for a low cost which are not tide to your power points. (even if they cost more karma to get).



Now, don't get me wrong, I am not saying you shouldn't run a specialized game with this character (in fact I think that is a far better option than trying to drop an Insect Spirit Player into a regular game). Just saying you want to keep your eyes open to the power level and the abuse that this concept brings with it so you are better prepared for it and it doesn't derail a game session through an unnoticed flaw!

For example, basing the game around an opposition  of a bunch of street toughs with no magic support and the best weapon they have are light pistols may not be the best mission concept when a player has 12 points of hardened armor. :P


Again, I'm not saying you shouldn't. Just that you should, with eyes wide open. 
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Michael Chandra

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« Reply #12 on: (02:21:05/12-15-18) »
Leaving op-problems in hands of players aside, I actually had a background detail to an NPC where he, a former-Star former-Runner Knight, realised there were some insects in Seattle bureaucracy and rather than just taking them down, he arranged for some Mantis Spirits to take them over. Willing to deal with the devil and all that. So I like the idea of having specific PC-rules so you can develop a few Prime Runner NPCs as possible allies to a team. Imagine helping a Mantis (without knowing it's a Mantis) take out a crazy mage non-lethally, then later on you meet the 'converted' mage again as new ally...
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DigitalZombie

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« Reply #13 on: (15:32:46/12-15-18) »
@Reaver I agree on all points  ;)

@Chandra Actually my plan was to have the runners take down an infected badguy, and gain access to his sim module.
Now instead of me the GM telling them what they see/experience on the sim recordings, they get to play it.
Enter a whole new team of nasty infected, invested etc.  The players get to play them and carry out their sinister mission.
After the sim recordings the runners now know their plans amd need to take them out.