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6E alchemy

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Michael Chandra

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« Reply #15 on: (02:33:44/08-16-19) »
Enchanting is tricky to balance out, because it can easily become OP if not strictly restrained. With the Vault of Ages from an SR5 extended book, mere minutes to make a preparation made them become way too powerful. I don't know exactly how to balance these things out (plus I want to know how long a preparation sustains itself when activated), but I do think Alchemy can be extremely risky. If it's too easy, you'd get an alchemist making buff items for the entire squad, for spells where every single hit helps. Heck, my entire Firewatch design is built around the Vault of Ages and Alchemical Preparations.

Incidentally, don't think active spellcaster for preparations. Think buffspells and tricks like a Timed Thunder Preparation.
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Finstersang

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« Reply #16 on: (04:36:20/08-16-19) »
Up to 2 drams of Reagents lessens the Drain by each dram used.

I guess my question is, are you the enchanter making a wand for yourself when you could just cast the spell? Or are you a decker, buying a wand from that Enchanter for a run later tonight to surprise the hell out of the sec guards in the building?

Well, thatĎs at least something, given the fact that the Drain value plays a big role in the whole process. In 5th Edition, you could only Modify the limit with reagents, which is of literally no use at all 99% of the time.

The ability to give spells to mundanes is a valid point, but it highly depends on the types of triggers available - or in other words, the hoops you have to jump through to make the preparation go off when needed and not go off by accident. Is there a way to make actual Potions now without waiting for a far away supplement and investing additional Karma for additional Perks?)
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FastJack

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« Reply #17 on: (07:58:58/08-16-19) »
Up to 2 drams of Reagents lessens the Drain by each dram used.

I guess my question is, are you the enchanter making a wand for yourself when you could just cast the spell? Or are you a decker, buying a wand from that Enchanter for a run later tonight to surprise the hell out of the sec guards in the building?

Well, thatĎs at least something, given the fact that the Drain value plays a big role in the whole process. In 5th Edition, you could only Modify the limit with reagents, which is of literally no use at all 99% of the time.

The ability to give spells to mundanes is a valid point, but it highly depends on the types of triggers available - or in other words, the hoops you have to jump through to make the preparation go off when needed and not go off by accident. Is there a way to make actual Potions now without waiting for a far away supplement and investing additional Karma for additional Perks?)
Not in the Core Rulebook. Maybe a Magic book?

penllawen

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« Reply #18 on: (08:26:05/08-16-19) »
The more I think about this, the more I think alchemy is really tricky to balance. It fundamentally allows a mage to get the upside of magic (whatever spell effect is being used) but skip the main downside (by taking Drain during downtime, when it can easily be recovered from.)

Mechanically, we see attempts to address this from a few angles: reagent cost, enchanted items quickly decaying, and now really long enchanting times. But they all feel a bit inelegant, at least to me. I wish I could think of a better way. Maybe enchanting is just best kept mostly out of PCs hands and used as a plot element for NPCs? That's basically what most tables did for 5e, I suspect, based on the fact that it was a skill with poor ROI.

I suppose similar issues exist for bound sprits. They were dropped in 6e, right?

Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #19 on: (11:33:58/08-16-19) »
Honestly if you were going to nerf something that already was weak you should have just removed it from the game. Minutes preparation never broke, slightly damaged or made alchemy even close to as good as spellcasting. Hours just makes alchemy a waste of the limited 300 page count.

Before the vault of ages which was not needed they kind of worked time wise just not effect wise. There was only so much drain you could take and recover from before you head out limiting the number of preparations you had on the active part of the run. They only lasted hours so you had to plan for that. And you. Plus easily run out and while minutes meant you could reload if you had some downtime itís not something you could swing in a fight or while plummeting to your doom or any other of the I need it now spots.

 A hard limit on numbers of preparations you could have active would work better imo. Like you can only prepare as many spells as your magic or 1/2 your magic rating or something. Itís easy enough to design a mage where drain is somewhat trivial so itís not a huge advantage to take drain early.

There are countless thread here and on reddit about how bad alchemy was in 5e and how to gimmick it so while itís still worse than spellcasting itís at least somewhat useful. And I doubt there is a single thread where people say alchemy was just too good. And the design decision in 6e was to make it even worse.

FastJack

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« Reply #20 on: (14:22:40/08-16-19) »
It's almost as if the Mana cycle isn't high enough to allow for easy-to-make and worthwhile magical preparations...

Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #21 on: (14:37:39/08-16-19) »
It's almost as if the Mana cycle isn't high enough to allow for easy-to-make and worthwhile magical preparations...

Then remove it from the game. Itís not worth the skill points as designed.

Iron Serpent Prince

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« Reply #22 on: (15:12:21/08-16-19) »
It's almost as if the Mana cycle isn't high enough to allow for easy-to-make and worthwhile magical preparations...

Then remove it from the game. Itís not worth the skill points as designed.

Pretty much this.

I mean, imagine how many required tables wouldn't have been cut from the Core Book had the Alchemy rules been cut instead - especially considering we are being told they aren't really intended for PC use anyway.

Just move preparations to the gear section (if they aren't there already) and call it a day.

FastJack

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« Reply #23 on: (15:40:58/08-16-19) »
It's almost as if the Mana cycle isn't high enough to allow for easy-to-make and worthwhile magical preparations...

Then remove it from the game. Itís not worth the skill points as designed.
That's a good idea. If it's bothersome and it doesn't work with your game, then you can work with your group to not include it in play.

It's almost as if the Mana cycle isn't high enough to allow for easy-to-make and worthwhile magical preparations...

Then remove it from the game. Itís not worth the skill points as designed.

Pretty much this.

I mean, imagine how many required tables wouldn't have been cut from the Core Book had the Alchemy rules been cut instead - especially considering we are being told they aren't really intended for PC use anyway.

Just move preparations to the gear section (if they aren't there already) and call it a day.
I'm going to give you a bit of a warning here ISP. I'm not Catalyst, I don't represent Catalyst unless I'm GMing a game. NO ONE is telling you they aren't intended for PC use, I am stating my opinion on Alchemy in general in the Shadowrun game. I do not like it, and don't use it, but I'm not going to prevent other gamers from including it in their games. If my table wants to use them, I will endorse them and thank CGL for preparing rules to use with them. I'd appreciate if you do not pull my words and spin your own context.
« Last Edit: (15:44:03/08-16-19) by FastJack »

Finstersang

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« Reply #24 on: (16:24:16/08-16-19) »
There are countless thread here and on reddit about how bad alchemy was in 5e and how to gimmick it so while itís still worse than spellcasting itís at least somewhat useful. And I doubt there is a single thread where people say alchemy was just too good. And the design decision in 6e was to make it even worse.

Hell, the increased prep time would even be somewhat justifiable if Alchemy would not still have the nested dice pools and/or be subjected to a ton of restrictions and caveats.

Are there even any new Triggers besides Command (a.k.a you cast the spell yourself, but weaker), Contact (a.k.a. good luck transporting this/"arenīt Microbes living beings as well?") and Timer? Apparantly, even magic potions was deemed too wild of a concept.   
« Last Edit: (16:26:11/08-16-19) by Finstersang »
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Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #25 on: (18:07:31/08-16-19) »
There are countless thread here and on reddit about how bad alchemy was in 5e and how to gimmick it so while itís still worse than spellcasting itís at least somewhat useful. And I doubt there is a single thread where people say alchemy was just too good. And the design decision in 6e was to make it even worse.

Hell, the increased prep time would even be somewhat justifiable if Alchemy would not still have the nested dice pools and/or be subjected to a ton of restrictions and caveats.

Are there even any new Triggers besides Command (a.k.a you cast the spell yourself, but weaker), Contact (a.k.a. good luck transporting this/"arenīt Microbes living beings as well?") and Timer? Apparantly, even magic potions was deemed too wild of a concept.

Even then I donít think it would be justified. Without serious optimizing of your enchanting die pool with hours of preparation by the time the second one is complete the first has faded. If the vault of ages is core now your limit is however many items it can store.

 And if thatís the case just make that the limit of how many preparations a alchemist can keep active close to what the vault of ages can store and ditch the item. Preferably also make the creation time and triggers functional.

So if the Vault of ages can store 6 items well magic 6 is normal make your magic rating the limit to how many active preps you can keep.

The game math on alchemy in 6e just doesnít work. I literally thought hours was just a errata typo itís that bad. If preparations were permanent basically what I was talking about  above  and you had a limit to how many you could store it then might work though it wouldnít be ideal.

Still wouldnít like it because I liked the idea of spending a few minutes and trapping a floor or door mid run but at least the core idea of preparing a alchemical item would mathematically function to some degree.

Then just change the dice pool to a static penalty as opposed to this test based system where you progressively lose more dice as you get better. And it might kind of function. Maybe make them resistant to background count so they donít get double whammied on dice pool hits 1 from
Just being a prep and the other from the background count. Then theyíd be generally weaker but have a place to look okay.

Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #26 on: (10:28:07/08-17-19) »
Up to 2 drams of Reagents lessens the Drain by each dram used.

I guess my question is, are you the enchanter making a wand for yourself when you could just cast the spell? Or are you a decker, buying a wand from that Enchanter for a run later tonight to surprise the hell out of the sec guards in the building?

As an aside there is a solid chance you canít cast the spell yourself. Thatís a different skill. And your ability to hand them out to your decker is pretty limited by the triggers and their duration.  There are 4 magic skills taking them all up to runner standards would be 24 skill points. And you still probably want athletics for dodge, some stealth, con etc. unless you went A skills odds are you are dropping one magic skill.  If alchemy was functional you could make a choice between casting style sort of like the choice between a melee character or shooter. As is itís a waste of skill points.

The thing that bothers me about this is it was a known issue. Forbidden arcana added qualities and items as an attempt to patch it up to somewhat effective though still weaker than spellcasting level. And if you were a high enough grade initiate it mostly worked. These werenít fun qualities,gear or metamagics to add depth to a working system it was effectively done as errata to patch something that wasnít working.

The vault of ages I think was a bad setting add. For the players it kind of worked though honestly I didnít think it was needed once you took one of the qualities that extended a preparations duration. But corporations could theoretically have 100 of them at their facility and then send teams out with dozens of preparations. Which sort of works depending on how far the GM pushes it.

markelphoenix

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« Reply #27 on: (16:15:47/08-17-19) »
Up to 2 drams of Reagents lessens the Drain by each dram used.

I guess my question is, are you the enchanter making a wand for yourself when you could just cast the spell? Or are you a decker, buying a wand from that Enchanter for a run later tonight to surprise the hell out of the sec guards in the building?

As an aside there is a solid chance you canít cast the spell yourself. Thatís a different skill. And your ability to hand them out to your decker is pretty limited by the triggers and their duration.  There are 4 magic skills taking them all up to runner standards would be 24 skill points. And you still probably want athletics for dodge, some stealth, con etc. unless you went A skills odds are you are dropping one magic skill.  If alchemy was functional you could make a choice between casting style sort of like the choice between a melee character or shooter. As is itís a waste of skill points.

The thing that bothers me about this is it was a known issue. Forbidden arcana added qualities and items as an attempt to patch it up to somewhat effective though still weaker than spellcasting level. And if you were a high enough grade initiate it mostly worked. These werenít fun qualities,gear or metamagics to add depth to a working system it was effectively done as errata to patch something that wasnít working.

The vault of ages I think was a bad setting add. For the players it kind of worked though honestly I didnít think it was needed once you took one of the qualities that extended a preparations duration. But corporations could theoretically have 100 of them at their facility and then send teams out with dozens of preparations. Which sort of works depending on how far the GM pushes it.

From what I am reading, seems like I would have a Contact that was my source for Alchemical items. Would send him an order, with a desired time for completion (preferably soon before a run), then have them delivered or pick them up before hitting the streets.

Finstersang

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« Reply #28 on: (06:52:46/08-21-19) »
Now that Iīve seen more snippets of that hot mess that is Alchemy in 6th Edition:

Command: The individual who made the preparation can trigger it by an act of will [...] A command trigger adds 2 drain to the preparation and is the only trigger health spells can use.

They really just donīt want potions to be a thing, donīt they? Yet whenever thereīs an alchemist depicted in the art, they are usually fumbling around with beakers and flasks and such. Whoever did the new Alchemy section really couldnīt be bothered at all to have a look in the forums and do some research on the most common grievances with Alchemy in the previous Edition. Just do the olīcopy and paste, change a bit about the resisted test to determine the potency (no real change here, the preparation just "defends" with drain now, while the expected outcome is still just a shittier version of spell cast in the normal way), increase prep time by a factor of 60 and call it a day. Even the added Reagent use is capped at 2.

"BuT nO oNE iS fORciNg yOu To pLaY An aLcHEmIsT"

Yeah, no shit. But guess what? A lot of players want to. They like the idea of playing a kind of gimmicky "mastermind" Magician that needs more prep time, but is rewarded by interesting tactical options. And this players will rightfully feel mechanically punished for all that prep time and planning once they realize that they spend half a day crafting 2-3 spells that every "real" spellcaster could spam out at will and with a higher dice pool.

This whole section should go right in the bin and get an updated version, at least with the next Magic supplement. Hereīs what Alchemy really needs IMO (instead of gloves, fridges and other gimmicky shit) to be interesting and worthwhile:

  • More Triggers: Most importantly, an "Ingestion" trigger for actual Potions, but thereīs so much more that one could think of if youīre actually willing to do some creative work at all (Combustion, Contact with Blood, Contact with a certain individual...). Triggers are supposed to give Alchemical spells more "angles of attack" than conventional spells if your planning is right, but right now, they often add more hoops to jump through to get your spell working where and when you want it.
  • More uses for Reagents: Increasing the Potency or the Magic rating, increasing the durability, Increasing the sustenation time after the spell goes off, adding Amps. Once the Spell Kit is released, you could even add options to modify certain aspects about your learned alchemical spells on the spot.
  • Better Results: As an Alchemist, you invest a lot of time (and possibly, other ressources) into making prepartions. At the very least, the results should not be significantly worse than those of of a conventional spell.
With all that, even the increased time might have been justified. But right now, that time increase is more like giving the mercy shot to a horse with 4 broken legs.

Side note: I just happen to do some academic research about historical western alchemy. Thereīs a lot of fancy, pseudo-sciency terminology out there that one could use as keywords for such modications ("Fixation", "Sublimation", "Transmutation", etc. ...)
« Last Edit: (07:02:13/08-21-19) by Finstersang »
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Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #29 on: (17:10:02/08-21-19) »
What bothers me is for me alchemy was the only good setting add to 5e. I knew the math was terrible but the idea was awesome. Everyone knew how bad the math was and how it didnít work. This wasnít some hidden mystery. And hell they had freelancers who tried to fix it in a supplement. And somehow they actually made it worse, fixing none of its problems.

My first run spin of fixes with 0 play testing would be better than this. Though to be fair Iím guessing this section also got 0 play testing.