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Alechmy by the numbers.

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Shinobi Killfist

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« on: (18:12:20/09-07-19) »
I'm going simple on this and assuming using gross hits of the mage and then everyone can assume potency is that -1 or -2 depending on the spell(maybe higher with amps). Starting from the steps in order.  With my commentary.

1.  choose a spell, you can amp and all the bells and whistles to spells you know.  I'd of limited it here, assuming amps get limited in standard spell casting I'd make the limit 1/2 that, though if they totally redid the test like I suggest below no need.

2. Choose a Trigger.  Personally I think it should not effect drain but be what modifies your die pool, and te whole test thing in step 3 should be irrelevant to the die pool when used.
command, act of will poof spell goes off.  Minor action.  Simple action in SR5 when only one attack a pass was the rule it worked.  Minor if you theoretically get a bunch built I think this would get exploited.  It should be major IMO.

Contact/time next person to touch it or a time delay.  I'd make these 1 higher than command in how much they cost.  But, I'd rephrase them to being inert until a command(see command trigger) is made.  Once the command is set the next person to touch them or when the time i up they'd activate. As is they are basically unusable, time can work but barely, contact you spend hours to make the thing and no no one can touch it, where exactly do you have hours to make something where this would work.  Even with minutes in SR5 it wasn't usable which is why they invented magic gloves etc. With my suggestion you'd turn some water or whatever into a preparation, pour it into a flask, command it to activate and then the next person to drink it pour it over themselves would activate it, time delay, you make it with a 5 minute trigger take it to the location, command it to activate and in 5 minutes it blows.  I'm not sold on only command triggers being able to do health spells but maybe there is something I am missing.

Step 3 create the preparation. some basic dice pool examples below.It takes hours in the drain to make. That really doesn't work unless you expect people to only make 1 or 2.  Serious min maxers can make a bunch, but I don't think it should be designed so only they can really use this. And if you do have a bunch see the issues with it being a minor action.

Hours also stops you from making them on location, or changing in the field.  some of that might be okay, but minutes already handled most of that.  You weren't making preparations while being chased or something. You still needed to be free and clear for a decent length of time.  but it did allow a enchanter to function by making a couple after he got past security that would inevitably spot and confiscate any preparations. It really should go back to minutes. Make the limitation on numbers be your magic rating. 1 prep per magic max kept by an alchemist. Maybe qualities or focuses can alter that.

example people making it
1. Basic professional 5 magic+4 enchanting
2. Basic PC alchemist mage 6 enchanting+ 6 magic.
3. Min maxed for this PC starting mage 6 enchanting+specialization alchemy+6 magic+rating 4 focus

1.  Gets 3 hits nets 1 or 2 + their 5 magic is a dice pool of 6-7, not terrible from 9, they last 2-6 hours and took 3+hours to make so you can;t really make a second before the first expires.
2. Gets 4 hits, nets 2-3+ their magic 6 8-9 dice on the roll, dropping to 8 dice is pretty harsh for your gig on a PC in SR, they last 6-12 hours, you can make another if its a low drain spell but after that they start degrading as you make them.
3. 6 hits nets 4-5+6 magic 10 or 11 dice, ouch down form 18 dice to 10 or 11, they last fairly long though 20-30 hours.  You can probably make 2-3 more depending on drain no problem before they begin degrading.

For me I think this doesn't work as the penalty of using alchemy scales against those who are better at it. A flat penalty is more balanced, easier to use and makes more sense. Basically I'd say make your alchemy test vs a threshold equal to the drain adjusted by trigger type/amps/reagents, this would limit amps pretty well and reagents would allow even low level mages to pull off a fireball here and there.

 I'd have command -2/touch/time delay-3.(min threshold of 2 or 1)  This would represent both the drop in threshold to successfully make it, but also the penalty dice against it when cast. 2 through 3 is roughly what most mages would get hit by anyways when making most preps based on the current rules.  but it would not overly punish a mage for going all in on enchanting. 

Net hits on the creating the preparation test would help it resist dispelling or break through wards while it was still in preparation form, once cast it would defend per usual as the spell.  This would increase the die pool on amped spells a bit but generally just a die or 2.  The current rules a x3 amped damage fireball would take 12 hours to make a so I would not expect many of those, but at that level you'd lose 2 dice compared to my system(which also is quicker as its minutes) though you'd have a threshold of 10 without reagents, 8 with them, so good luck making one under my system.

Resist drain:  basically as normal, though I wouldn't bother with bumping it by trigger, its downtime I don't care that much.

The finished prep, currently lasts potencyx2 hours, degrades 1 potency, repeat. I really wouldn't have potency effect this.  I'd have them permanent with the limit being the number you can keep on hand. if I really needed a duration I'd go potencyx2 days or weeks. Sold preparations would have a use by date, basically how long the alchemist guarantees he wont refill that slot.  Assume a alchemist would know when a preparation is used so they can refill it then.


Finstersang

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« Reply #1 on: (07:04:33/09-11-19) »
Good crunch, thanks  ;) Fixing Alchemy is really tough, because not only are the numbers totally off compared to standard spellcasting, but the fluff and flavour as well. F.i., despite a (very small) buff an that part, Alchemy still has by far the least rewarding use for reagents.

Im about to start my first 6th Edition round soon, and one of my players really wants to play an Alchemist. We agreed to sit down together (hes a quite experienced RPGer) and cook up some houserules together, because RAW, Alchemy really is just an absolute joke right now.

My goal is to
  • Buff alchemy so its at least a somewhat reasonable alternative to regular spellcasting.
  • Improve the fluff and not just the raw numbers.
  • Better support a creative and "tinkery" playstyle, because thats usually what players have in mind when they decide to play an alchemist

Im currently thinking about this:
  • More uses for Reagents, enabling Alchemists to buff up preparations to be on par with actual spells if you can invest enough of them.
  • Additional Triggers, like actual Potions, Preparations that go off when hit by certain Elemental effects or Preparations that are primed to be set of by certain individuals only.
  • Many of these will be implemented as "Meta-Formulars" that can be bought and learned like regular "Spell"-Formulars, but instead unlock new Triggers, uses for Reagents and other Modifications to Alchemical spells.

Ill try to keep you in the loop on what we come up with. I think it may have... potential (*Ba Dum Tss*).
« Last Edit: (07:33:21/09-11-19) by Finstersang »

DigitalZombie

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« Reply #2 on: (13:43:08/09-11-19) »
In 5th, we skipped the initial casting. Instead the enchanter just said what force he would like to create, and then took the drain test.

When the preparation later got triggered it had his alchemy dicepool as if it was cast then and there as a normal spell.

It worked fine in 5th that way, and I think we are gonna keep it that way in 6th too.
As shinobi noted in its current form it doesnt scale very well.
« Last Edit: (02:38:56/09-12-19) by DigitalZombie »

Tecumseh

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« Reply #3 on: (17:58:01/09-13-19) »
In 5th, we skipped the initial casting. Instead the enchanter just said what force he would like to create, and then took the drain test.

When the preparation later got triggered it had his alchemy dicepool as if it was cast then and there as a normal spell.

This was how I house ruled it as well. Removing the nested rolls went a long way toward making alchemy viable.

6E also has the double-whammy of the preparation being resisted by the drain value of the spell (!) in an opposed roll (p. 150, step 3). For a lot of spells that means that potency will be about 3, plus or minus. That would only last six hours at full strength, and 12 hours overall.

Speaking of which, I still don't like all the bookkeeping required around Potency, especially diminishing Potency. In 5E I gave each preparation a flat lifespan, which was a bit unrealistic (going from full potency to 0 instantly is obviously a big cliff) but saved a lot of headache around when precisely the preparation was created and when precisely it was used.

I haven't done a lot of thinking around alchemy in 6E yet, but shooting from my hip I'm inclined to 1) get rid of the nested roll, 2) get rid of the opposed roll while determining potency, 3) give the final preparation a flat lifespan of Potency * Magic hours, and 4) remove diminishing potency.

Given the amount of time it takes to create a preparation (hours = drain value) - including the additional drain from triggers - plus the fact that most preparations will only last 24 hours or so, and combined with the need for sleep and/or drain recovery, that means that only a few preparations will be possible leading up to a run.

The time required to create preparations is an interesting limitation. If you allow reagents to subtract from the necessary preparation time (which seems plausible, although the book doesn't explicitly condone this) then that could greatly improve the importance of reagents in the preparation process. Two drams of reagents to lower the drain by 2 and subtract 2 hours off the preparation time would be a good deal.

Some of this comes down to playstyle and personal preferences. I like the idea of an alchemist having 4 or 5 tricks up their sleeve, or each member of the team having a Panic Button to get them out of trouble. I'm less keen on a bag full of multiple instances of each spell an alchemist knows. I personally think the Command requirement for Health spells is very important, so that there isn't an unlimited supply of healing from multiple alchemists who aren't even present, which would radically shift the nature of the game. (Shadowrun, in my experience, has always been about damage avoidance and mitigation. If damage is assumed, and readily available healing is assumed, then it turns Shadowrun into a game of resource management like some other RPGs that we know.) But every table will find its own balance.

Kirklins

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« Reply #4 on: (10:50:58/09-15-19) »
Does anyone see or know the rules about alchemical sustained spells? How long do they last and can they be dropped early? Is there a 'cost' for sustaining an alchemical spell, and if so who is paying that cost?



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Michael Chandra

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« Reply #5 on: (11:23:36/09-15-19) »
They're missing, I submitted it the week after agents received access so I'm sure it's on the future errata list.

My own assumption would be Potency in minutes and while I'm not sure if ending it is possible, I'd allow it with a Command Action myself.

The Preparation should sustain itself.
How am I not part of the forum?? O_O I am both active and angry!

Tecumseh

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« Reply #6 on: (15:40:50/09-15-19) »
The time required to create preparations is an interesting limitation. If you allow reagents to subtract from the necessary preparation time (which seems plausible, although the book doesn't explicitly condone this) then that could greatly improve the importance of reagents in the preparation process. Two drams of reagents to lower the drain by 2 and subtract 2 hours off the preparation time would be a good deal.

Following up on this, the example on p. 151 is explicit that the use of reagents does not reduce the time necessary to create the preparation. Still, that could be an interesting house rule to make alchemy more viable.

Finstersang

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« Reply #7 on: (18:18:17/09-15-19) »
The time required to create preparations is an interesting limitation. If you allow reagents to subtract from the necessary preparation time (which seems plausible, although the book doesn't explicitly condone this) then that could greatly improve the importance of reagents in the preparation process. Two drams of reagents to lower the drain by 2 and subtract 2 hours off the preparation time would be a good deal.

Following up on this, the example on p. 151 is explicit that the use of reagents does not reduce the time necessary to create the preparation. Still, that could be an interesting house rule to make alchemy more viable.

It takes more than that, though. The numbers are just waa too bad compared to regular spellcasting. And even with that change, it would still be the least rewarding use for reagents. IMO, using reagents should be key part of Alchemy. Right now, you can use them at best to safe a little bit of sleep time during downtime.

They're missing, I submitted it the week after agents received access so I'm sure it's on the future errata list.

My own assumption would be Potency in minutes and while I'm not sure if ending it is possible, I'd allow it with a Command Action myself.

The Preparation should sustain itself.

Vexes my how this was left out. Self-sustained spells is one of the few actual merits of Preparations (as long as you dont think too hard about Focused Concentration  ::)). Either another case of change blindness or someone really wants to bury alchemy for good  :P
« Last Edit: (18:20:53/09-15-19) by Finstersang »

Tecumseh

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« Reply #8 on: (12:33:51/09-16-19) »
It takes more than that, though. The numbers are just waa too bad compared to regular spellcasting. And even with that change, it would still be the least rewarding use for reagents. IMO, using reagents should be key part of Alchemy. Right now, you can use them at best to safe a little bit of sleep time during downtime.

Yes and no. To me, the potential time saving is less important for sleeping off Drain (although this is valuable) and more important for maintaining the Potency of the finished preparation, since it has such a limited life span. If a Potency 3 preparation is only going to last 6 hours at full strength, and 12 hours overall, then cutting off a couple hours of preparation time goes a long way toward giving the alchemist an opportunity to create additional preparations before the first one goes kaput.

Finstersang

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« Reply #9 on: (12:49:30/09-16-19) »
True dat, its inderectly helping a (very tiny) bit with the borked time management for alchemists. But what good does that do if you still end up with 2-3 spells that suck ass compared to regular spellcasting?  ::)

[irony]
Also, RAW theres a waaaaaaaaay better tool to help with that:
Just get the fixation metamagic, and you can  pay Karma to make preparations last longer ;D
[/irony]

(Seriously, who the everloving hell was responsible for Alchemy in this Edition? This is beyond insulting...)
« Last Edit: (13:02:40/09-16-19) by Finstersang »

Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #10 on: (13:10:40/09-16-19) »
True dat, its inderectly helping a (very tiny) bit with the borked time management for alchemists. But what good does that do if you still end up with 2-3 spells that suck ass compared to regular spellcasting.

[irony]
Also, RAW theres a waaaaaaaaay better tool to help with that.
Just get the fixation metamagic, and you can  pay Karma to make preparations last longer ;D
[/irony]

(Seriously, who the everloving hell was responsible for Alchemy in this Edition? This is beyond insulting...)

Yeah it helps a bit in that you may have 3-4 preparations instead of 1-2 but its still a very small pile of preparations and they still have a terrible die pool.

They really need to go back to minutes imo. And fix the die pool. Maybe if the standard was minutes and fixation took hours for the preparation but did not cost karma it would be a decent Metamagic. Id personally ditch duration of preparations entirely and make the limit the number you can keep. Something kind of cool about bumping into a preparation left there years ago maybe by a dead alchemist.

Main reason I think they need it to be minutes is because you will lose all your preparations once you go thorough security. If its minutes they can spin one up in the bathroom so a alchemist has something.

1. Better define what can be a preparation. Small and moveable. Is weird if its a liquid and a pour it on a couch is it no longer a preparation. Id explain that small moveable object and then use liquid examples and what it means.  Imo(partly because we have a street painter alchemist in our group) is explain that things like a liquid medium work if the liquid becomes part of a larger object its just the medium that is damaged when it is activated though obviously a explosive spell may cause damage on its own.

2. Reduce the time to make back to minutes. It never broke in 5e with this and a alchemist needs to be able to function past a security checkpoint. And should have the ability to change up on a run at some point. Too many runs dont give you hours from meet to action.

3. Change the die pool penalty to a flat penalty so it is weaker than spell-casting which risks drain on the spot but doesnt scale so you lose more dice for being better.

4. Change it to a major action. The new initiative mechanic you can have too many minors for this to work if someone finds a way too load up.

5. Sustained spells needs to be potency minutes. Personally thats all potency would really cover, that and maybe how it pushes past wards.

6. Id make them permanent and make the limit you can keep magic potency items. But if you are degrading them on time Id double the duration at each level. They should pretty much cover the day at the default.

7. Change fixation so it bumps the creation time up to a hours but has some other perk. If they normally degrade in hours its now days. If they are permanent fixation like Id prefer and limited to magic make that some background count resistance equal to potency.

DigitalZombie

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« Reply #11 on: (13:31:17/09-16-19) »
@ Killfist
I agree with most of your reasoning.

I wonder what triggered all the nerfs to preparations, if its simply some unlucky typos, or if someone really didnt like alchemists.

sigfriedmcwild

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« Reply #12 on: (18:57:56/09-16-19) »
Ok, I'm utterly confused.

Where in the rules is this penalty that gets bigger the better you are?

Reading the PDF (but I don't see any errata in the errata document, so it should be the same as the book) on p150 I see that a preparation is created by rolling Enchanting + Magic vs Drain Value, Potency is the net hits on this roll.
The Drain Value is: spell Drain Value + effects + trigger Drain Value - reagents used
The time taken to create is: Drain Value hours (hey look reagents do reduce the time taken?)

Am I missing something?

Serin_Marst

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« Reply #13 on: (23:16:02/09-16-19) »
It's not so much a penalty as diminishing returns.

As it stands, the more you invest, the less you gain.  The ratio of base dice pool to final result is not constant.  I don't entirely agree with SK's assessment, but i do agree this doesn't pass the smell test.  The current idea on preparations is that you trade raw power and flexibility for drain mitigation and utility(cheaper action economy and self-sustaining(?, 6e isn't clear and it's built into manipulation spells)). 

I'm noodling on an idea that the final potency should be a fixed penalty based on trigger.
Something like alchemy(focus) - trigger penalty.
Probably tweak the trigger penalties to something like:
Touch: -1
Timed: -2
Command: -3
"Potion": -4

Kirklins

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« Reply #14 on: (23:23:18/09-16-19) »
Minor pedantry, but I think potions are just liquids with a touch trigger.

It's not the drinking, it's the touch to the lips. Which happens to answer the question, "how can you give an unconscious person a healing potion?"
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