NEWS

MagicRun: New Thread For SSDR

  • 36 Replies
  • 1411 Views

Lormyr

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 794
« on: <05-25-20/1124:19> »
I invite you to go first sir! Obviously open to anyone else who wishes to discuss.
"TL:DR 6e's reduction of meaningful choices is akin to forcing everyone to wear training wheels. Now it's just becomes a bunch of toddlers riding around on tricycles they can't fall off of." - Adzling

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

  • *
  • Errata Team
  • Prime Runner
  • ***
  • Posts: 3973
« Reply #1 on: <05-25-20/1527:23> »
Ok, so the post you made for reference:

Well, the devil's in the details.  Scenario two is indeed preferable as the less-bad option if the "fix" for Scenario one is no fix at all.  Or makes the situation worse.  And a topic like "how do you fix MagicRun" goes back to the beginning.  If it WAS an easy fix, wouldn't it have been fixed by now?

Sure, but the baffling part is why haven't they just balanced it? I think it easy an easy fix for any optimizer. Hell I could legitimately balance it appropriately, right now in 10 mins, with a single post. Speaking for SR5 on the core system from the CRB:

Magic Attribute
- Maximum rating at character creation is 4.
- Initiation increases the cap as normal, to an absolute maximum of 12.
- Maximum Initiation Grade is 8.

Resisting Magic
- Every full point of essence lost to ware adds one additional die to spell resistance pools. Does not stack with the magic resistance quality or the racial spell resistance of gnomes, fomorians, ect.

Mystic Adepts
- Must choose one of spellcasting, summoning, or enchanting, like an aspected mage. They may not use the other two skill groups or options.

Spells
- The maximum number of spells a spellcaster may know equals their magic attribute x2.
- Cost 10 karma each, rather than 5.

Spirits
- Do not gain hardened armor, instead gaining armor = to force.
- Completely remove aid sorcery, spell sustaining, and spell binding from bound spirit options.
- Cannot be oversummoned without metamagic.
- Spirits higher than Force 8 always get to simply choose to heed a summoner's call or ignore it, no rolls required.
- You can never have more than one spirit actively participating in combat. You can have more than one spirit engaged in non-combat tasks, however.

Metamagic
- New metamagic: each time it is taken summoner can summon spirits with a force one higher than their magic attribute. If you are already able to summon a spirit of Force 8, each instance of this metamagic instead allows you can add one additional power to said spirits.
- Quickening: the maximum number of spells that can be quickened on a single creature or object is equal to the highest magic attribute of any awakened characters who have quickened a spell on said creature or object.

Reagents
- Can only be used to ignore the force/maximum hits limit of spells that effect the caster his/herself, rather than ignore the limit on any spell.

Foci
- Have a maximum rating of 4.
- Only rating 1 and 2 foci can be crafted. Rating 3 and 4 are reserved for artifacts and/or other objects of historical importance.
- Cost quadruple the karma and nuyen listed.
- Ki foci totally reworked: 1 PP worth of powers per rating, costs equal to power foci.

That was easy, and it will work. Some people just might not like the specific changes, but that will always be the case.

Stuff I agree with you on:

Spirits are OP and need a beatdown with the nerf bat.
Spells are undercosted and should cost more karma.
Mystic Adepts are stupidly OP in 5e. (note this is a 5e specific problem... they are very much less problematic in 4e and 6e)
It's too easy to get dice pools big enough to trivialize drain.


Specific proposals that I don't necessarily agree are necessary/addressing the problem of MagicRun:
Nerfing max MAG values (inelegant rule and doesn't parallel any other preexisting mechanics)
Needing metamagic to unlock oversummoning (if drain is fixed, and spirits are nerfed, then oversummoning is fixed!)
Capping Initiate Grade (seems pointless. the problem isn't how many metamagic techniques you have, and a stupidly high Initiate grade without a correspondingly high MAG is just a laundry list of extra metamagics you know.  And if you have the karma to push your magic from 6 to 7 to 8 to even higher... bully for you.  It's 75 karma to go from 6 to 8 MAG, and that's not even including the initiation costs.  If you have that much karma and that's what you want to spend it on, I don't see a good reason to prevent it.)
Reagents: I don't really think in terms of 5e anymore, and talk about mechanics involving limits just don't matter to me as much anymore :D  Certainly not helping balance MagicRun in 6th, at any rate.

Things that I think are problems that your proposals didn't address:
Absence of a hard ceiling on how big a dice pool can be/how many bonus dice you can stack.
Related to above: Drain being too easy to fully soak.  Also, I'd like to see some number of boxes of automatic, unsoakable drain when you overcast/oversummon.
5e specific problem: Too much AP on high force spells.
Too many GMs allow too much information to be discerned from astral reconnaissance.
LOS range.  C'mon.
And let's have some cover penalties apply to (all) hostile spellcasting when all you can see is the tip of the target's pinky.
Alchemical Preparations are too hard for mundanes to employ.  It's fine that mundanes can't make them, but they ought to at least be able to fully employ them.
Too easy/fast to erase astral signatures.
Too much ambiguity with regards to subject, target, and cross-planar sorcery. (sustaining, and effects)  Details change by edition, but at least 5e and 6e have this in common: far too many specific "well what about"s are unanswerable.

RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Lormyr

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 794
« Reply #2 on: <05-25-20/1611:54> »
Nerfing max MAG values (inelegant rule and doesn't parallel any other preexisting mechanics)

Can you explain why you believe that unlimited dice pool potential isn't a problem? To me that is pretty much the text book definition of a major mechanical oversight. Additionally, I would argue the opposite - magic not having a cap doesn't parallel the pre-existing standard, as literally every other attribute, including edge and essence, does have a racial cap.

Needing metamagic to unlock oversummoning (if drain is fixed, and spirits are nerfed, then oversummoning is fixed!)

This is potentially true, if you nerf spirits even more than I did. Unlimited force 8 spirits (easy out of chargen in SR5) under the rules I outlined would still be problematically unbalanced. Edit: Unbalanced at chargen. Still strong, less of a major problem with advanced karma characters.

Capping Initiate Grade (seems pointless. the problem isn't how many metamagic techniques you have, and a stupidly high Initiate grade without a correspondingly high MAG is just a laundry list of extra metamagics you know.  And if you have the karma to push your magic from 6 to 7 to 8 to even higher... bully for you.  It's 75 karma to go from 6 to 8 MAG, and that's not even including the initiation costs.  If you have that much karma and that's what you want to spend it on, I don't see a good reason to prevent it.)

I agree that how many metamagics you have isn't necessarily an issue on a mage, but your Initiate Grade of 22 adding to your drain pool is. A max rating of 12, combined with the foci rating reduction, really turns drain pools down on the high end game.

Absence of a hard ceiling on how big a dice pool can be/how many bonus dice you can stack.

Which is exactly what the magic attribute and initiate grade maximums do.

Related to above: Drain being too easy to fully soak.  Also, I'd like to see some number of boxes of automatic, unsoakable drain when you overcast/oversummon.

A percentage of auto damage for overcasting isn't a bad call. I could be down for some formula for that.

LOS range.  C'mon.

Excellent call, I did totally overlook that. Agree needs changed.

Alchemical Preparations are too hard for mundanes to employ.  It's fine that mundanes can't make them, but they ought to at least be able to fully employ them.

Ugh, alchemy. It is so terrible that it really deserves a whole conversation dedicated specifically and only to that.

The range is a fantastic idea, but I believe that my outline pretty much handles everything else, specifically about creating a dice pool ceiling.
« Last Edit: <05-25-20/1617:07> by Lormyr »
"TL:DR 6e's reduction of meaningful choices is akin to forcing everyone to wear training wheels. Now it's just becomes a bunch of toddlers riding around on tricycles they can't fall off of." - Adzling

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

  • *
  • Errata Team
  • Prime Runner
  • ***
  • Posts: 3973
« Reply #3 on: <05-25-20/1627:43> »
Can you explain why you believe that unlimited dice pool potential isn't a problem?

Well little bit of miscommunication.  We agree it IS a problem.  We disagree on what's the best way to do something about it.

Rather than limiting how big each contributing bonus can be, I'd rather just limit how big the dice pool can be when it's all said and done.  6e (arguably) already does this, in a way, by capping the number of bonus dice one can count on a skill test.  Doesn't help for drain shenanigans, but saying something like "no dice pool can ever be more than X dice" would.


Between that and how exactly spirits get nerfed, most of the rest of the stuff could sort itself out.  (range and LOS excepted there, though...)
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Lormyr

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 794
« Reply #4 on: <05-25-20/1639:36> »
Got you, and that's fair. Like I said, folks may not agree with my personal fixes, but it would balance it out, especially in the low karma game where most folks likely play. I sincerely believe that the designers have to know it is not well balanced, and have chosen that is what they wish. I could be wrong of course, but all evidence points to the previous.

But I do agree that the dice pool potential is the primary culprit, even more so than unlimited summons for me. You and I could probably completely overhaul the entire system in a way we both felt good about and was more balanced, but my suggestions were made with an eye towards minimal overhaul.

For example, I could be good with an arbitrary dice pool cap for no other reason than "because game balance", but in order for me to be cool with that we would need a rule set that doesn't provide a substantial number of ways to overcome our arbitrary cap. Currently, for SR5 (I agree that SR6 is slightly better currently, but we'll see what splat books do to that), that would mean there is just a lot of dead weight dice pool enhancements from spells and adept powers to ware and drugs that are totally unnecessary and become just dead weight since you could just take x levels of one thing and be done. I might need to explain that one a little better, but I think you get what I mean?
"TL:DR 6e's reduction of meaningful choices is akin to forcing everyone to wear training wheels. Now it's just becomes a bunch of toddlers riding around on tricycles they can't fall off of." - Adzling

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

  • *
  • Errata Team
  • Prime Runner
  • ***
  • Posts: 3973
« Reply #5 on: <05-25-20/1644:04> »
Well, if there were a hypothetical dice pool cap, gear bonuses and whatnot would only be disincentivized if attribute and/or skill were already at superhuman levels.  A skill level of 4 is supposed to be a professional level of competence in something, and a 3 (2 in 6e!) is considered "average" for an attribute.  3/2 in your attribute + 4 skill dice is supposed to be "pretty decent, actually" rather than laughably bad.   Frankly you wouldn't NEED exceptional attribute/skill maxed out at superhuman levels if there were a max dice pool that you could then instead hit via bonuses from gear/other sources.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Lormyr

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 794
« Reply #6 on: <05-25-20/1659:42> »
Sure, that's also fair. Let's delve deeper into that. Setting aside our own personal preferences and playstyles, can you recall how many folks you've sat at a table with who's character didn't have the max racial/starting rating in the attribute and skill that governed their primary role? I have personally never seen it. Not once.

If I was to say there is intuitive optimization vs. min/maxer optimization would that distinction make sense to you? Like intuitive optimization would be a player who wants their character to shoot guns well, so makes an elf, and maxes agility and firearms. A Min/maxer optimizer would do the same, then pour over the books for every last little +1 nook and cranny they could find.

Pretty much all shadowrun players are intuitive optimizers from my experience. So if we go with your view, even the fairly casual character build will pretty much be out of growth potential out of chargen. I personally would rather situation where chargen doesn't allow you to completely max on either your organic number or gear maximum potential. That way you can come out swinging well, but still have good growth potential.

A SR5 example would be you can get 1 short of organic max on your attribute, go ahead with all 6 skill ranks since the cap is much higher, and possible options for attribute augmentation out of chargen was capped at +2.
"TL:DR 6e's reduction of meaningful choices is akin to forcing everyone to wear training wheels. Now it's just becomes a bunch of toddlers riding around on tricycles they can't fall off of." - Adzling

BeCareful

  • *
  • Chummer
  • **
  • Posts: 160
« Reply #7 on: <05-25-20/1927:24> »
If I might make a recommendation or two, I once saw a proposal to separate Initiate Grade with Metamagic. I think the idea was to put a cap on Initiate Grade (so Magic has a potential maximum, just like how Essence has a potential minimum), but they don't come with free Metamagic; those, you can get for 15 karma and a week of poking about in the metaplanes each.
Though it won't help much for the "1/Initiate Grade" metamagics, it'll give you some potential stuff out of chargen without the limitless potential Essence can't match (eventually after lots of investment).

Oh, also, I like the house rule where anyone can take Assensing, but if you don't have Magic, you can just use it to look at/subtly alter your own aura, or look at the aura of anyone or anything you're touching. You can already customize yourself in meatspace and on the Matrix, and this'll be a nice thing for mundanes. It might also let mundane disguise faces, given prep time/access to the aura of the target of their impersonation, not get instantly hard-countered by the first wagemage to show up.
"Welcome to Shadowrun, where the biggest obstacle is you!"

Lormyr

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 794
« Reply #8 on: <05-26-20/0947:47> »
I'd be ok with that sort of system too, we'd just have to look at balancing the overall cost. I think a goal of keeping it simple would be best. Increasing Initiation cost overall is also not a bad idea.
"TL:DR 6e's reduction of meaningful choices is akin to forcing everyone to wear training wheels. Now it's just becomes a bunch of toddlers riding around on tricycles they can't fall off of." - Adzling

Hobbes

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Prime Runner
  • ***
  • Posts: 2881
« Reply #9 on: <05-26-20/1927:00> »
What, there was a Meta thread on Magicrun?  Those are my favorite!  Stupid Family holiday.  Stupid job I need to stay living indoors....

I agree with Lormyr that Magic (and Resonance) should have hard caps just like the other 9 Attributes.  Honestly combo that with a +4 Skill Cap and most dice pools have an effective cap.  For 6th Edition, Combat Sense would need a power specific limit.  Anything else that adds directly to a "Test" of some sort would need to be limited in scope and scale, but there aren't many of those anyway and a majority of them have only been +1 or +2 dice in previous editions.  Combat sense was the big one for 6th off the top of my head.

I don't know that Spirits need a nerf, but Spirit Powers do.  Most specifically Immunity to Normal Weapons, Innate Spell, Concealment and Movement.  Bring those down to sanity levels and I think Summoning starts to be more in line with Drone Riggers.  But those powers right there are "I Win" buttons in a lot of scenarios.  And personally I'd like to see more differentiation between the Spirit types than we've had in 5th and 6th.  Maybe less powers out of the gate and less overlap of optional powers so specializing in a specific type of Spirit, and Tradition choices actually locks a Summoner out of certain things. 

Otherwise, pretty much the obligatory +1 to what SSDR said. 


Shinobi Killfist

  • *
  • Prime Runner
  • *****
  • Posts: 2597
« Reply #10 on: <05-26-20/2042:50> »
I'd focus as much on boosting the mundane as nerfing magic. The 2080 street Sam pretty much feels the same as the 2050 street sam and that's a shame to me. Give cyber torsos glider packs, let full armor do physical mask, and linked to your cyber network allow it to change quickly, make smart gun links better. Make a lot of it cheaper. Finally I'd allow mundanes ways to get virtually unlimited advancement as well.  For karma expenditures they could by back essence lost while keeping the ware. Basically adapting so their bodies saw the cyber as a natural part of their bodies. 

While I wouldn't cap the magic attribute I'd have a absolute cap on what a dice pool could reach for mortals. So if someone wanted to get their magic to 100 that's fine but after their dice pool hit i don't know 30 it didn't help them there. If you ever increase the cap for prime runners or whatever, you increase the limits on augmented pools so mundanes can hit it easily as well.

Then I'd like increases to penalties to mixing cyber and magic, so mixing the two is at best a neutral power option for character and not a boost. Adept, cyber/adept, cyber should be equal options and if not I'd prefer cyber/adept be the worst option. A max pool would solve this on the end game, but wouldn't fix it on its own out of the gate,

This part goes to my disappointment with 6es action system. I wanted 1 major and multiple minors like it is, but the minors would be spent to up your actions. like instead of a edge action to remove penalties for multiple targets I'd prefer that was done through spending more minor actions. Like for a minor action spent, you can shoot one more time, and also for each additional one spent you can either remove the penalty for one of the shots or add another target. Multiple increases in called shots, disarms and a variety of other combat maneuvers up with minor action costs, many of which would defy human capabilities but with wired reflexes etc it is now possible.

Going in hand with this I'd of had spells cost a minimum of 1 major action but also potentially cost additional minor actions at their default to cast, sometimes a slow enough mage with a powerful enough spell would take multiple rounds to cast. So mana bolt might just be a major action, mana ball might be major+1 minor.  I think this worked pretty well in earthdawn, where some spells required 3 threads or more to tie to your matrix before they could be cast you could attempt to tie multiple threads in one action but it got really damn hard fast and sill at least took one action.  Similarly spells might cost minor actions to maintain concentration and spirits not on stand by might cost minor actions to keep active.

I'd of removed force from both spells and spirits. But, I wouldn't have had a Amp system which is just force in disguise. Spells and spirits would then be designed in line with mundane capabilities.  You want your fireball to hit harder, get a bigger dice pool like a mundane has to when he wants his ares predator to hit harder. Or buy a bigger spell like a mundane buys a bigger gun.

And the last thing I can think of off hand when it comes to dice boosting focuses, I'd have designed the cost as a discount on improving your magic. Like lets say spell focus 25%, power focus 50% cost. You want a force 1 power focus, we look at your current magic of 6, to go to 7 it would be 35 karma, a spell focus would cost 9, a power focus 18.(or 8/17 depending on rounding rules).  You naturally increase you magic, your focus is no longer bound to you until you pay the difference in cost between what it cost and what it would cost now.  A lot more math, but its not hard math and its balanced with what they do. 

I'd still keep things like background counts, but the point wouldn't be to balance the mage but to add thematic elements and extra challenges for the player to overcome.

BeCareful

  • *
  • Chummer
  • **
  • Posts: 160
« Reply #11 on: <05-27-20/0118:19> »
One issue with Nice Things for Mundanes is that magicians can take them as well. As long as it doesn't cost Essence, anyone can try it! Even if it does, there may end up being some wacky burnout synergy with it.

As for Movement, was 6th copy&pasted from 5th? I'd heard 5th's was copy&pasted from 4, but not the bit about what the spirit's domain meant. Since none of my players could figure it out, the way I nerf it is by saying it means the spirit picks you up and carries you using it's movement. So, instead of flinging you at car speeds, or pushing your car so hard it makes a sonic boom, your spirit can do a makeshift Levitation, carry a body for you, or you can even ride your Beast Spirit into battle!

Plus, that way you don't have to worry about pursuit if they have a conjurer ending in guaranteed failure.
"Welcome to Shadowrun, where the biggest obstacle is you!"

Michael Chandra

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Prime Runner
  • ***
  • Posts: 9649
  • Question-slicing ninja
« Reply #12 on: <05-27-20/0216:23> »
Movement got copied from SR3 iirc in SR5. The Domain part is really vague yes. I only know one way for a spirit to truly make a domain, and it involves being a Free Spirit.
How am I not part of the forum?? O_O I am both active and angry!

Lormyr

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 794
« Reply #13 on: <05-27-20/0717:46> »
Combat sense was the big one for 6th off the top of my head.

And foci, as wording presently stands.

I don't know that Spirits need a nerf, but Spirit Powers do.  Most specifically Immunity to Normal Weapons, Innate Spell, Concealment and Movement.

I agree that those powers are the primary problem in general, but only when speaking of sane level force spirits. But in our Missions group it was not uncommon to see PCs with spirits at force 12, or even 15-18 in some cases. Granted these were characters 500+ karma, but the fact that a mortal could even summon a creature of such stature I find silly. And when you start getting close to that double digit range of force, other powers start to become problematic too, like elemental attack.

Finally I'd allow mundanes ways to get virtually unlimited advancement as well.

I am in the other camp on this one. A big part of the reason I want to see Magic have a cap is because I don't believe anyone should have unlimited advancement in a single field. What I would rather see is after that mage with his 12 Magic, 8 Initiate Grade, 24 spells, and max spellcasting rank has become the best mage he can be, they now have to make a choice about what new field that want to branch into or master.

While I wouldn't cap the magic attribute I'd have a absolute cap on what a dice pool could reach for mortals. So if someone wanted to get their magic to 100 that's fine but after their dice pool hit i don't know 30 it didn't help them there.

Something like this could potentially work if maybe force was based on magic, but dice pool was not. I am confident a formula could be built to support it well, but I am also a fan of the simpler the better.
"TL:DR 6e's reduction of meaningful choices is akin to forcing everyone to wear training wheels. Now it's just becomes a bunch of toddlers riding around on tricycles they can't fall off of." - Adzling

Hobbes

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Prime Runner
  • ***
  • Posts: 2881
« Reply #14 on: <05-27-20/1030:24> »
Combat sense was the big one for 6th off the top of my head.

And foci, as wording presently stands.


Agreed.  But if the +4 cap to Skills is in, Foci are less problematic.  Still cheap though.

I don't know that Spirits need a nerf, but Spirit Powers do.  Most specifically Immunity to Normal Weapons, Innate Spell, Concealment and Movement.

I agree that those powers are the primary problem in general, but only when speaking of sane level force spirits. But in our Missions group it was not uncommon to see PCs with spirits at force 12, or even 15-18 in some cases. Granted these were characters 500+ karma, but the fact that a mortal could even summon a creature of such stature I find silly. And when you start getting close to that double digit range of force, other powers start to become problematic too, like elemental attack.

[/quote]

Cap Magic at 6.  7 With some flavor of Exceptional Attribute.  Skill cap from Foci at +4.  So Magic 7, Foci 4 gets you 11 dice.  Skill 6 plus Expertise, total of 20 dice summoning after a few runs?  Still potentially disruptive depending on the exact changes to powers.  But compared to a dedicated Drone Rigger that comes out of the gate with a dozen drones with automatic weapons?  I think they're in the same ballpark anyway.