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SR6 - First attempt at a magician (with a side of face)

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ZeroSum

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« on: <10-05-19/0938:04> »
Once again, thanks to Aria for the awesome character sheet. I built this character using SR CG 6.01

After having built a decker, a rigger, and a street sam, I thought it was time to take a gander at the magic section. Since Aspected Magicians actually seem better off in this edition than past ones, and since I didn't want to tackle magic AND spirits (and associated powers and abilities) all at once, I instead focused solely on Sorcery with a side of Influence and Con.

Metatype Elf and Shaman tradition are natural choices, as the potentially high Charisma doubles as both your drain stat and half the equation of your social skills. Choosing Magic at priority 1 seems to be somewhat of a trap, however; Attributes A gets you 8 attribute points over the B selection, while Magic A only gets you one more Magic rank and 2 free spells. I went all in on abilities and magic, and then spent my remaining priority picks judiciously.

I deliberately chose no combat spells. With DV being equal to Magic/2 + net hits or simply net hits depending on the spell and most combat spells having relatively high Drain Values, eliminating an opponent with magic is a potentially costly endeavour. Manipulation magic, on the other hand, could potentially allow you to freeze and opponent in their track (Control Actions with a single net hit = 1 minute of control) while also being far less obvious than a fireball. Also, less collateral damage, which is always a plus.

As a follower of Coyote hailing from AMC, this magician will be focused on using magic to aid with high-stakes negotiations, short and long cons, and both subtle and loud engagements.

Description
Jackal is a slightly-taller-than-average elf of obvious Amerind heritage; while his accent is currently that of Seattle he can switch dialects at the drop of a hat, and he has a magnetic personality that seems to almost coerce people into befriending him. He maintains a professional demeanor and appearance, and is always impeccably dressed in the latest armored fashions.

Those few individuals he allows into his life for more than a passing encounter knows that under the calm exterior hides a mischievous soul at heart. He will occasionally play pranks on people, both those close to him and those he has just met; this has gotten him into trouble more than once, but he usually manages to talk his way out of any real danger.

In the years he has spent in Seattle he has built a reputation for level-headedness even in the most heated negotiations as well as the occasional firefight. If forced into a violent confrontation, however, he will not hesitate to defend himself by using his magical powers to force his influence upon his aggressors.


Background
Matwau is a young Amerind man who was born at some point in the 2050s, to First Nation parents in Churchill, north-east in the Algonkian-Manitou Council lands. As a child he suffered greatly from prolonged illness, and as decent medical care was hard to find in the rugged wilderness just off the Hudson Bay his family moved south to Saskatoon.

For a while things were great; his father worked for the Tribal Council and was well regarded; Matwau Awakened at the age of 6; he grew out of the allergies that had compounded his physical condition; the Shamans of the tribe began teaching him the ways of their ancestors.

Then, in 2064, Crash 2.0 hit. His father and older sister were both lost in the Matrix, and within just a few days his grief-stricken mother left without notice. The prevailing theory is that she wandered off into the wilderness and perished in the cold, November weather. All that is know for sure is that Matwau was alone for the first time in his life.

While the Tribe attempted to recover from the damages caused by the Crash, Matwau's care and training was neglected. It was during this time that he found Coyote; a con against low-level mafia thugs went sideways in spectacular fashion, and forced Matwau to run for his life. Athleticism had never been his strong suit, however, and he was eventually cornered; in that moment, staring death in the face, Coyote's howls echoed through his mind and Jackal was born. Instinctively, he forced his will onto the toughs who were out for blood, and watched with shock and fascination as their bodies performed what he saw in his mind's eye. Fascination quickly turned to horror as the enforcers suddenly turned on each other; he had let his mind wander, and for just a split second imagined them beating each other to death. Before he realized his mistake, it was too late.

Jackal walked away from this encounter a changed man. He vowed to gain control of his newfound abilities, but realized that there was too much heat on him to stay in Saskatoon. Over the next several years he moved south and west, until he found himself in Seattle. Here, he quickly put the confidence skills he had acquired over time to good use, and ingratiated himself with several prominent members of local crime syndicates, international corporations, and small time celebrities. When the chance came to run the shadows and ply his trade as a social infiltrator and con-man, he howled with glee and jumped in with both feet.


Priorities
Metatype C Attributes A Skills B Magic D Resources E

Karma Expenditures
Starting Karma   50
Positive Qualities   53
Negative Qualities   18
Attributes   0
Skills   10
Resources   5 (In Debt)
Remaining   0

Personal Data
Real Name/Primary Alias/Runner Name Matwau Nattawe/ Chogan Soaring Eagle / "Jackal"
Metatype Elf Ethnicity Amerind (Algonquian-Manitou)

Age 26 Sex Male Height 6' 4" Weight 170lbs
Reputation 0 Heat 0
Karma 0 Total Karma 0 Misc

Attributes
Attribute Description.....Value....Attribute Description.....Value
Body2Essence6
Agility5Magic6
Reaction2Initiative7+1d6
Strength2Matrix Initiative8+2d6
Willpower5Astral Initiative10+2d6
Logic5Composure13
Intuition5Judge Intentions10
Charisma8Memory10
Edge4Lift/Carry40kgs
Edge PointsMovement10/+5
Damage Resist2Defense Rating6
Notes: 9 adjustment points spent on Charisma (-2), Edge (-3), and Magic (-4); 24 attributes points spent on remaining, no karma spent. Also note that while both Magic and Charisma are "maxed", the rules specifically state that "only one attribute may be at the maximum for the selected metatype." As magic is not listed, I think this should be OK.

Core Combat Info
Primary Armor Actioneer Business Clothes
Primary Ranged Weapon: Ares Light Fire 75
Primary Melee Weapon Unarmed

Condition Monitor
Phys 10
Stun 11

Skills
Active Skill Name .....Specialization .....Rating .....Dice Pool
AstralSignatures511 (+2)
Athletics04
Close Combat04
Con412
Electronics04
Engineering4
Firearms04
Influence412
Outdoors4
Perception04
Piloting01
SorcerySpellcasting612 (+2)
Stealth510
Language and Knowledge Skills: English N, Algonquian 1, Amerind Culture, Business, Politics, Psychology

Notes: 24 Skill Points used; 2 specializations purchased with Karma

Qualities
Positive:
First Impression
Focused Concentration R2
High Pain Tolerance
Mentor Spirit (Coyote)

Negative:
Honourbound (Assassin's Creed)
Weak Immune System

IDs/Lifestyles/Currency
Primary Lifestyle: Low
Nuyen: ¥900
Fake IDs / Related Lifestyles / Funds / Licenses
Fake Sin R3 w/2x Fake License R3 (Licensed Negotiator; Registered Magician)

Contacts
TBD

Weapons
Ares Light Fire 75 (2P, SA, 10/7/6/0/0, 16(c)) w/integral laser sight and smartgun, custom silencer
Unarmed (DV 1S, AR 5)

Armor
Actioneer Business Clothes (DR2)

Matrix Stats
Primary Device: Renraku Sensei (DR3) w/sim module
Attack 0, Sleaze 0, Data Processing 2 (+1), Firewall 0
Attack Rating: 0 Defense Rating: 2 (+1)
Programs (Running): Virtual Machine (Signal Scrubber, Toolbox)
Matrix Condition Monitor: 10

Gear
Carried:
Credsticks (Standard, Silver)
Psyche x1
Stimpatch R6, x2
Ares Light Fire 75 w/2 spare clips w/Gel Rounds x16 each

Worn:
Micro-transceiver
Respirator R6
Trodes

Survival Kit:
Flashlight
Gel Rounds x2

Spells
Health:
Increase Attribute

Illusion:
Physical Mask

Manipulation:
Control Actions
Control Thoughts


Notes
I did consider swapping Magic B and Skills D; I would have to give up 2 points in either Body, Agility, Reaction, or Strength in order to shift 2 Attribute Points to Charisma and 2 Special Attribute Points to Magic, but in exchange I would get 8 skill points.

These could be used to add some dice to Stealth (useful for palming items during a social con), or boost Con and Influence even further. Alternatively, I could add some Athletics ranks for when drek hits the circulating air device and you need to make a run for it. Boosting Firearms and Perception by even a few points are also valid options, so this choice could grant the equivalent of roughly 100 karma worth of skills at the cost of a few abilities that I can always raise with a sustained Increase Attribute Spell when necessary.

Thoughts on this approach?

Also welcome spell selection advice. Increase Attribute and Physical Mask are intrinsic to the character, and these are likely to be used with Focused Concentration 2 most times. Increase Attribute and Improved Invisibility can also be used on a team mate for when those critical situations demand it, so I'm fairly set on these two.

Control Actions and Control Thoughts I similarly consider essential. Instead of using magic to blast away at an opponents condition monitor, I like the idea of just taking control of their bodies (if the run has already gone loud) or their minds (if the run is still clandestine). Even if you have to spend a Minor Action after successfully casting the spell, a simple "freeze" or "drop to the floor and cower in fear" for a minute could prove crucial in a conflict, and is WAY less obvious than a fireball. Just have to remember to spend those 6 Major Actions to wipe your signature, if Manipulation spells are still considered a no-no. I would think the corps would prefer less collateral damage, but that's just me.

All right, into the realm of more utility, which I'm not 100% sure on:
While Heal can't be used on Drain, it could be used on team mates and any non-Drain DV suffered by the character directly. Very much a support spell, but a useful one since unlike medkit healing you can heal 1 Physical Damage for each net hit as opposed to per 2 net hits.

Mindprobe I just like for it's potential, but I could also see this being wasted a lot of the time. You pretty much need a restrained subject, but the potential to gain some pretty secret information can't be understated in the world of Shadowrun.

I like the idea of Physical Barrier being used to block off pursuers if a run goes south, but that DV of 6 is harsh! This is one I'm less sold on, but I'm not sure what else would be a good synergy for this character.

Changes for v2:
Swap Magic B and Skills D for Magic D and Skills B (-2 Magic, +8 skill points)
Lower Body and Reaction by 1 Attribute Point each, increase Charisma by 2 Attribute Points (+2 Special AP)
Increase Magic by 2 using Special Attribute Points (+2 Magic)
 - At this point, the net result is the same attributes as before, except Body and Reaction, both of which have been reduced by 1

Remove Con and Influence specializations (+10 karma)
Increase Con and Influence from 3 to 4, Astral from 4 to 5, and Stealth from 0 to 5 (-8 skill points)
Buy 2 spells with Karma (-10 Karma, for a total of 6 spells)

I also swapped out the Yamaha Pulsar in favour of a Streetline Special with gel rounds. Just figured I might as well look try to sell the illusion that I'm a fighter, not a magician.

Changes for v3:
Given the rules for carrying Karma into gameplay is unclear, and that by RAW you cannot buy Spells for Karma, I've made the following changes:
Removed Heal and Improved Invisibility spells (+10 karma)
Removed In Debt (-1 Quality, new total is 5/6; -6000 nuyen)
Spent 3 more Karma on resources to make up the difference from losing In Debt (-3 Karma, +6000 nuyen)
Added High Pain Tolerance quality (-7 Karma)

Result: karma balanced, two fewer spells but no In Debt and High Pain Tolerance instead, no RAW issues.

Changes for v4:
Minor equipment changes; as holdouts can't take accessories, replaced the Streetline Special with an Ares Lightfire 75. Dropped the Armored Jacket to have more spending money for bribes facilitation payments.
« Last Edit: <10-08-19/1128:20> by ZeroSum »

CigarSmoker

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« Reply #1 on: <10-05-19/1205:27> »
Thats an aspected mage right ? since he has 8 spells with Magic B. you wrote it ^^

Since he has no Increase Reflexes spell, investing in Jazz might help. You can cast 2 spells per Round with that.

While its true what you write about combat spells i consider it part of a mages job to deal with spirits. Since he neither has Conjuring nor Manabolt only Astral remains with 4 astral its hard to beat a mid force spirit. But it can be done when you can attack him in astral Space (there i think the Energy aura wont hit you back, half the spirits have that aura)
« Last Edit: <10-05-19/1212:39> by CigarSmoker »

ZeroSum

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« Reply #2 on: <10-05-19/1600:09> »
Jazz is not a bad idea, and while Dazed is not inconsequential it is certainly not the worst aftereffect to deal with (no Stun damage like with Cram, for example!).

Spirits is definitely something that is tough to deal with, but let's take a closer look at Astral Combat.

Attack Rating is Magic + Tradition Attribute for 14 for me, Force x 2 for spirits (range of 2 to 12)

Defense Rating is Intuition + innate armor + astral armor, so 5 for me, and mostly Force for spirits (-2 for Air, +4 for Earth, +1 for Fire and Kin, range of 0 to 10 with some exceptions, but mostly Edge for me when attacking, and not for Spirits since they don't gain edge)

Initiative is Logic + Intuition +2d6 or 10+2d6 for me most of the time, but could be higher with Improved Intuition. For spirits it's usually Force x2 + 2d6, with some variance depending on spirit (+4 for air and fire, -1 for earth, +3 for kin, and +2 for water); say on average, Fx2 +2 +2d6.

An Unarmed Combat attack in the Astral is made with Astral + Willpower, or 9 dice for me. Spirits would be Astral F, and Willpower F for the most part, so again Fx2 (a range of 2 to 12).

Astral defense rolls are made with Intuition + Logic, or 10 for me, while spirits would mostly be rolling somewhere between Fx2 +2 (range of 3 to 14).

Astral Damage is Magic / 2 (round up) + net hits.

Spirits won't be able to use most of their powers in the astral because a lot of them are Physical, but they could use Confusion and Fear. I'd be rolling 10 dice against their Fx2 for the most part.

What the above tells me is that against most spirit types of Force 4 or lower, I will have an advantage on the offense, while defensively it's a closer call. It would take me at least 2 rounds of attacks to take out lesser spirits with a condition monitor of F/2+8 for a minimum of 9 and a maximum of 11. In other words, I would need at least 2 successful attacks with at least 3 net hits (DV 6 each) and poor resistance rolls (just straight up Willpower) to be able to take out a spirit in Astral Combat.

For a starting character, I don't think that's too bad, honestly, and that's not counting using abilities like improved attribute (Intuition and Willpower, for example) if I know there's a chance of fighting spirits.

Additionally, Control Actions (and Control Thoughts, for that matter, but I can't imaging trying to control something as alien as a spirit's thoughts will have a high rate of success) is actually a Mana spell, which means I can use it against spirits. DANCE MY PRETTIES! Oh, that's a nice elemental power you've got there. It would be a shame if someone... co-opted it!

EDIT:
TL;DR
Yes, dealing with a Force 6 Spirit of any kind is going to be rough. But if a GM throws that kind of opposition at a completely new group, well, let's just say we have other problems. Even if I did take combat spells a Force 6 spirit would be rolling their Willpower 6 + Intuition 6 against my 14 dice for direct attacks, or Reaction 6+(-1 to +4) + Willpower 6 against my 14 dice for indirect attacks; I would either do a DV of net hits unresisted, or 3+net hits resisted by Body, and hardened armor would apply.

So really, I'm not sure unarmed combat isn't the right way to go here, with a few boosts to the right attribute.
« Last Edit: <10-05-19/1604:02> by ZeroSum »

CigarSmoker

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« Reply #3 on: <10-05-19/1610:49> »
the hardened armor of spirits only works against normal weapons so a manabolt ignores that. Thats spread a bit trough the rules but i know there is a direct mention. try searching for "immunity to normal weapons"in the pdf.

Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #4 on: <10-05-19/1611:48> »
Assuming a continuing campaign I'd always go D magic. Even with full mages and only getting 2 spells. I get the intent, give it something that can't be bought up with other attribute points so there is a reason to get higher levels of magic.  Mathematically it just fails to do that though. Instead its just a eye roll and a fine I'll start with 2 spells then. Skills are just far far more valuable in karma costs and given the numbers we are talking here its not fluff skills you wont be using. Though I probably wouldn't worry about shooting people though it is usually more effective than combat spells. a separate skill is a lot of karma. 2 spells one single target one area covers your damaging needs. And while the drain is fairly high I could comfortably get 20 drain dice on a elf shaman at the start. Though personally I'd probably only have 14 and put my attribute boosts to more general survival stats(reaction/intuition/body).  Id focus on getting by with less for the first couple runs, learn the spells as you gain karma.

ZeroSum

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« Reply #5 on: <10-05-19/1659:03> »
the hardened armor of spirits only works against normal weapons so a manabolt ignores that. Thats spread a bit trough the rules but i know there is a direct mention. try searching for "immunity to normal weapons"in the pdf.
Ah, of course! Thanks for the reminder, I should have known better :)

Assuming a continuing campaign I'd always go D magic. Even with full mages and only getting 2 spells. I get the intent, give it something that can't be bought up with other attribute points so there is a reason to get higher levels of magic.  Mathematically it just fails to do that though. Instead its just a eye roll and a fine I'll start with 2 spells then. Skills are just far far more valuable in karma costs and given the numbers we are talking here its not fluff skills you wont be using. Though I probably wouldn't worry about shooting people though it is usually more effective than combat spells. a separate skill is a lot of karma. 2 spells one single target one area covers your damaging needs. And while the drain is fairly high I could comfortably get 20 drain dice on a elf shaman at the start. Though personally I'd probably only have 14 and put my attribute boosts to more general survival stats(reaction/intuition/body).  Id focus on getting by with less for the first couple runs, learn the spells as you gain karma.
I agree 100% with Magic as a priority pick, and on your point regarding shooting.

I've been running the numbers in between painting my wife's spooky Halloween dollhouse, and I think I've come up with a workable solution.

Changes for v2:
Swap Magic B and Skills D for Magic D and Skills B (-2 Magic, +8 skill points)
Lower Body and Reaction by 1 Attribute Point each, increase Charisma by 2 Attribute Points (+2 Special AP)
Increase Magic by 2 using Special Attribute Points (+2 Magic)
 - At this point, the net result is the same attributes as before, except Body and Reaction, both of which have been reduced by 1

Remove Con and Influence specializations (+10 karma)
Increase Con and Influence from 3 to 4, Astral from 4 to 5, and Stealth from 0 to 5 (-8 skill points)
Buy 2 spells with Karma (-10 Karma, for a total of 6 spells)
 - Spending 10 karma on spells in exchange for 2 skill rank 3 to 4 (20 karma each), 1 rank 4 to 5 (25 karma), and 1 rank 0 to 5 (75 karma) represents a net karma gain of 130. The two attributes (Body and Reaction) would cost 30 karma if I planned on raising them during a campaign, but with so much else to spend karma on I don't think I would consider doing so for quite some time. As such, I'm not counting the loss of the rank 3 to 2 attributes against the net karma gain.

This does mean I lose two spells, and since Mind Probe and Physical Barrier are both highly circumstantial I'm choosing to keep Heal, Increase Attribute, Improved Invisibility, Physical Mask, Control Actions, and Control Thoughts.

As a follower of Coyote, it costs me 1 less Edge to use boosts for Con tests and Manipulation spells. Unfortunately, it does not seem as if casting spells other than Combat grants Edge (no AR and DR to compare, only attribute vs attribute in some cases), so I will have to rely on talking my way into some Edge during the legwork and/or infiltration part of a run. However, social edge is also highly circumstantial, so earning edge may be a challenge. At least the character starts with 4, which is respectable.

EDIT:
Aha, I remembered why I was dead set on taking First Impression. Any time you get to use this ability, you gain 2 Edge. Try to con or influence some information out of a guard or employee, boom, 2 Edge. Legwork is going to be important to generate Edge for this character, as he won't have many ways to earn edge once the run start. Assuming the run isn't one big social infiltration, of course...
« Last Edit: <10-05-19/1738:03> by ZeroSum »

Kirklins

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« Reply #6 on: <10-05-19/1752:43> »
Increase Con and Influence from 3 to 4, Astral from 4 to 5, and Stealth from 0 to 5 (-8 skill points)
I make that -7 skill points, leaving you with one.

This does mean I lose two spells ...
Four spells. You get two per magic at priority, you're reducing by two magic, you lose four spells.

Or so I'm seeing it. Might be wrong.
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CigarSmoker

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« Reply #7 on: <10-05-19/1802:16> »
He bought 2 spells with Karma which is at the moment a pure GM decision. Houserule territory. But its certainly something i would allow.

ZeroSum

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« Reply #8 on: <10-05-19/1835:36> »
Wait, what?

Customization karma is spent according to the Character Advancement section according to the Character Creation section. The Advancement section contains rules and costs for skills, attributes, and spells, among other things. Why would buying spells for karma be prohibited?

The Creation section only limits how many free spells you get, and does not mention any limitation on buying more with customization karma.

Unless I missed some obvious section, it seems to me that RAW is pretty straight forward on that.

CigarSmoker

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« Reply #9 on: <10-05-19/1841:20> »
Well there are a lot of Threads about that ^^ basically when you read it

quote p.66 SR 6th Core rules
Spend Customization Karma
Every runner gets to wrap up their creation process with a little touch of reality. After the original points are spent, it’s time to think about a little development. Each character receives 50 Karma to make a little move forward. The points are spent on skill or attribute advancement, as well as additional funds to get those last gearpieces you might have missed or an additional quality (though the limit of six qualities still applies). See Character Advancement (p. 68) for the price of buying these advances. Remember that you can spend Karma to buy cash for the next step at a rate of 2,000 nuyen per point of Karma, or 5,000 with the In Debt quality.

Now we have Attributes, Skills, Nuyen

On first reading it was for me clear that its only the following examples:
raising Body 1 to 2 10 Karma, Raising Piloting 0 to 1 5 Karma , Getting indebted 5000 Y or normal 2000Y, 1 Karma each, Getting Qualities

note that Specialisations are only in a very wide sense "Skill Advancements" . That whole problem is totally silly since Karma will be very differently awarded on every table, but its a big deal for some ppl.
« Last Edit: <10-05-19/1842:51> by CigarSmoker »

Kirklins

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« Reply #10 on: <10-05-19/1854:01> »
CigarSmoker hit most of it, but the point that locks this in for me is pages 65 and 66.
Quote
Full magicians gain access to the full range of
magical abilities, spellcasting, summoning, and enchanting,
as well as offering full access to the astral
plane with both astral perception (p. 159) and astral
projection (p. 160). During character creation,
they get a number of spells or rituals equal to their
Magic x 2—the rating used for that calculation is
the Magic in the Priority table, not as altered with
any points, Karma, or any other adjustments.


Aspected magicians are only able to utilize one
of the three aspects of magic: spellcasting (Sorcery),
summoning (Conjuring), or enchanting (Enchanting).
They can access to the astral plane with astral perception
and projection. Sorcerers select a number of free
spells or rituals equal to their Magic x 2—as before,
the rating used is the Magic in the Priority table, not as
altered with any points, Karma, or adjustments.

(my emphasis by bolding)
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Hobbes

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« Reply #11 on: <10-05-19/1857:05> »
P66  Spend Customization Karma:

 "The points
are spent on skill or attribute advancement, as
well as additional funds to get those last gear
pieces you might have missed or an additional
quality (though the limit of six qualities still applies). "

So RAW no Spells, no Initiation, no bonding Foci, no Complex Forms...  Only Skills, Attributes, Nuyen, or Qualities can be purchased. 

ZeroSum

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« Reply #12 on: <10-05-19/1922:55> »
First of all. Wow. That makes no sense.

Second of all, thanks for pointing that out, I do appreciate it.

Oh well. That's just a definitive house rule right there. I can see not allowing initiation, maybe, but extra spells? Really? That's just silly.

Honestly, even with just four spells I would stick by the changes I made, because you save SO much Karma down the line. Worst case I could just drop In Debt and get another quality... And/or get more money and just buy a bunch of formulae.

Man, I can't get over that.

Really!?

So being able to summon 18 Force 1 spirits out of character generation is just fine, but buying extra spells is where they draw the line? What...

ZeroSum

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« Reply #13 on: <10-05-19/1925:57> »
CigarSmoker hit most of it, but the point that locks this in for me is pages 65 and 66.
Oh, i was totally aware of the limitation on free skills; you'll note that I had to drop spells when I reduced my Magic priority, and intended to buy them back with Karma. I don't even mind the concept of getting free stuff based on your priority picks, because that makes the picks impactful.

I can see how this would mess up Adepts, though.

Just... Wow.

Kirklins

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« Reply #14 on: <10-05-19/1949:58> »
Quote
Oh well. That's just a definitive house rule right there. I can see not allowing initiation, maybe, but extra spells? Really? That's just silly.

Well, no it's not. Step back and consider: what is/are the decision cost penalties to magic abilities for choosing magic C instead of magic D (or any other pairing, if you wish)? Minor though it is, the only fixed cost is the number of spells you start with.
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