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Need help to geek the mage (first, last, I don't realy care)

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Thy

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« on: <06-08-20/1505:44> »
Hello Guys

I'm starting in the world of shdowrun 5. Already played a little to SR4 (Mostly a total amnesic and a Kabbal minotaure running in Military grade armor possessed by an air spirit. subbtle).

I now run a Dryad face/mage. And I feel like I don't play in the same court as the other players. My team is made of a panther shapeshifter/sniper, an Oni Adept which can kill most anything dead in one hit (and very few other things) be it techno/flesh/magical, a chaos mage edgemancer without spirit, a medic with few flying drones and a detective.

I'm suppose to be the face, and im' really not a great mage. As spell I have only 5, 2 being ritual (Watcher and Homonculus), 2 being mostly cosmetic (Fashion, and shape(plasteel), which I took to make homonculus and body for my spirits, but I never do, cause I already feel too powerful. I think this spell can have a lot of utility, but for now I didi not needed it) and Trid Phantasm (which seems to be the... "well i don't know what illusion spell to take, let's take them all" spell).
Still I have spirit, I have the spirit whisperer quality and a possession tradition (Vaudou). Out of chargen, I have a drain stat of 16 (10 charisma + 6 will), and thinking to ask the medic to make me a few drugs to push it to 20.
As you can see, if i can take a few drain, i did not really tried to optimise my spell list.
During fight, I just stay rear and give advice more than orders (using my face leadership). Usually one time, sometimes two cause no increased reflex... Still, with my spirits (I usually have only one in fight, not to monopolise talk time on roll20) that i almost always cast at the starting of the day/night, I can quite rule the day. With possession, I can take control of one of the most threatening oponent (try to resist 14 dice of control, edged if needed), which become then even more threatening with +4 to most every physical stat (which seems enough to make an ok fighter out of a full 1 attribute). Adding a few power, you can have quite a nasty surprise (the most obvious being energy aura, for an unarmed 11 damage +base force of the posessed thing).
Not being really there during the fight, I don't put mighself in a lot of risk (especially with the half dozen of watcher avoiding most surprises). But If things goes sideways, my posessed social armor put me at an ok 22 (without any augmentation, or spell), which should help me not dying at first glance.

Out of fight, without any investment, I have access to a lot of trick (magical finger, influence, not ever glitching, cloak, etc) which allow me to do many thing. Spirit being able to control lot of things also help (hey, who need autosoft, when one of your friend can just BE the car. with  a +4 acceleration and a movement power, maybe ...). for perception I have always few spirit watching both physical and astreal plan (14 seems quite ok when you roll more than one time ...).

I play nice. I don't use actively more than one spirit (remember that 10 charisma ...), don't bring homonculus, neither than critters (yes I got animal handling too... that was my first choice to have something for my spirits to possess if nothing else)
I don't feel invincible, far from that. I just feel like to play with the other I have to play blindfolded and handtied.

And that's not an optimisation.

No mob mind. No shapechange. No analyze device. No increase reflex.

The counterballancing of the overpowered mage is supposed the (in)famous "geek the mage first". But really, I don't understand how you should do that. Cause if you bring enouygh firepower to geek the (prepared and not playing nice) mage (if she's not prepared, i guess that can be done, but then it is just a stupid mage. note that in that game mage don't need to be smart ...), you're probably really aiming for a TPK.

Cause everything you can do, a mage can do better (sooner or later, he's greater than you. :p)
Want to use pistols. Ok I can do that. Just analyze device, and now I'm a better shotter than the sniper. Or a better haccker than the decker. Or a better driver than the rigger ... Better if I can use a spell focus to maintain it, but I can take a -2 in exchange for +4 (yeah let's say I'm not quite too powerfull neither too lucky). Wait, you get than nice reflex booster. Ok, Papa legba, spirit of man, just cast increased reflex on me. I use luck on that spell and you sustain it (for ever, since it's one of your power you use, and not a spell I cast). Ok now I'm probably faster than anyone and I't did not cost me as much as almost all your essence.
Ok. I'm a mage so I have very low physical stat (hey, can be everywhere, and if you want astral (do you ?), you need real mental stat). Maybe I could just transform myself into something bigger. Ok let's take shapechange. I have 1 body. Let's say I find a 3 body critter. For simplicity,3 everywhere. Just one hit (so force 1 spell needed. not even obvious I am casting it befor it is too late) and this is 4 to every physical attribute... Obviously, this is a man spîrit casting it for ever. Or just a sustain focus... Sadly I have to be an animal to do that. So I lose all my stuff, write ? Quite Wrong. Nothing say you can't have equipement in relation to your form. Or a form which is quite ok with your your equipement. Millspec will probably be problematic (especially because of the custom fit. Hey can you take my mesurement for a bear millspec ?), but I guess you can get most of the armor and just modify it so you can fit in with an ape, or even a big dog. A big dog will not even be tagged as a mage, since security have that kind of armored dogs ... Or maybe you could get than skinwalker level 3 and get a body at yours +18 (wait, is there even a critter at body 18 ? I think, by the book, the maximum paranormal critter body is about 20... )  ... What were those useless shapeshifter from Cyberpunk 3 ? To be fare, having a whole whale skin with you if you want to skinwalk is not exactly easy  If I really want, i can go with ape, and have usable hands and use a lot of guns and play dumb after that.

Ok so now that I have a lot +5d6 init, what can I do with it. I could just hack things in AR with trodes. Well I don't have all that sweet bonuses from VR, but really lot of them seems not that usefull (honestly, I did not quite read that part of the rules), and the analyze device should compensate. Plus no damage.
I can also be the best fighter ever. Base skill + a lot of agility with the right critter + analyze device. And you are probably as good as the adept, and better than the street sam. Ok no problem. You ar as good as the street sam at one skill he should be the master. Not that big deal. You still don't have everything else he has. Augmentation and gear. Well, you have a lot of other spell, and you can have the same gear, as long as it is not ware. Not sur if there is a lot of ware you can't emulate with spells...
best stealth. bestfighter. best hacker. Potentially higher armor tahn anyone else.


So really, I need help to find How to geek the mage without setting the difficulty too high for everyone else. Dispell mean mage, mean same things in front, mean overpower. Barrier, will maybe dispell (if powerfull enough) but the spirit will just go back to their plane, the mage will go through, one way or another, and the spirit will comme back on the right side. It at least limit the capacity of the spirit go solo while the mage just sleep at home (which I'm considering right now, to just play a powerfull spirit. Cause I talk about force 7 spirit. But nothing forbid to team summon a power 13 spirit and send it for a remote service. Just kill that guy. Just bring me that mcGuffin out there. SR4 had the option of playing a free spirit, which, as overpowered it felt, had the big limitation of being unable to summon)


P.S. : Sorry for my poor english, not a native speaker. I just hope it is unbderstandable and not to ... painfull.




"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

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Michael Chandra

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« Reply #1 on: <06-08-20/1642:51> »
Astral Security would easily spot your Spirits and your sustained spells, unless your Initiation Grade is high enough to Mask them all.

Wards would cause you trouble with the spells.

Under errata of CRB, Possession still faces Augmented Maximum.

Analyze Device is described as helping operate, which means that no, if your GM puts their foot down you do not get to randomly grab bonus dice on attacking with an Analyzed pistol. The same goes for Decking and Driving.

And you keep talking about how you can buff yourself, but you never talk about buffing your fellow Shadowrunners.
How am I not part of the forum?? O_O I am both active and angry!

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #2 on: <06-08-20/1701:41> »
You're playing SR5?

And you want to kick the mage in the junk w/o simultaneously smearing the mundanes?

My friend, let me introduce you to Blight (tm) Toxin.  See Better Than Bad, pg 157.  Start giving your CorpSec and Response Teams spare clips of DMSO+Blight capsule rounds.

(the TL;DR: unless you can FULLY soak power 15 toxin, you're now a mundane.  No more magic until the toxin wears off.  And it takes hours.)
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

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« Reply #3 on: <06-08-20/1706:45> »
Analyze Device is described as helping operate, which means that no, if your GM puts their foot down you do not get to randomly grab bonus dice on attacking with an Analyzed pistol. The same goes for Decking and Driving.

So yes, that spell is grossly op, and yes, a GM can make any house rule they want. But that aside, you absolutely get bonus dice shooting a weapon, decking, or driving with a device under the effect of that spell. Just in case the word operate is confusing to anyone else:

op·er·ate
/ˈäpəˌrāt/
Learn to pronounce
verb
1.
(of a person) control the functioning of (a machine, process, or system).
"a shortage of workers to operate new machines"
"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

Marcus

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« Reply #4 on: <06-08-20/1717:48> »
Killing a player is never really a problem as a GM if you truly determined to do. Start fighting and keep fighting, Keep hitting'em Once they run, and reach where they think are safe, start hitting'em again. You will wear'em down .

Blight is the silver bullet option if you want to be nice. Narcojets, Snipers, numerous high force spirits, there are LOTS of options, any one of those will work.
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« Reply #5 on: <06-08-20/1720:25> »
IF playing 5e,

Read up on Possession again.

First, you have touch the target... next the SPIRIT rolls its ForceX2 Vs Intuition + willpower. And naturally, as a now Dual natured entity, your possessed "ally" now has a host of other things to worry about, such as being attack from the astral by Corpsec mages and spirits, Wards and Barriers will become an issue. AND don't forget your possessed ally doesn't use the bodies' cyber/skills... it uses its own.. so while you may have taken out a "powerful enemy" (provided you can touch him, and the force of the spirit you summoned can over power the subject) he's not that effective on your side.
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

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

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« Reply #6 on: <06-08-20/1732:26> »
Quote
Analyze Device
(Active, Directional)
Type: P Range: T
Duration: S Drain: F – 3
This spell allows the subject to analyze the purpose and
operation of a device or piece of equipment within range
of the sense. The casting of the spell is opposed by the object’s
resistance (p. 295). Each net hit can be used to provide
a piece of information about the device that would
not be readily apparent (for example, it would not give the
information that it is a Renraku-manufactured device if the
thing is emblazoned with a huge Renraku logo, but it might
say what the basic function of the thing is). Each net hit also
gives the subject a bonus die while operating the device
and allows the subject to ignore any skill-defaulting modifiers
for using it as long as the spell is sustained.


This spell has been an issue for a LONG time....
The keys to this spell is the Object resistance test. And the sustaining penalty.

A firearm in Shadowrun isn't some chuck of high test steel like in the 1800s... They are made of alloys, and computers, and circuits.. with LED displays and all sorts of other useless crap that SR insists has to be in a gun nowadays.. This pushes their Object Resistance to the 15+ range.

So, if you can score hits VS the 15+ dice opposed test, good.

you then have to sustain the spell (incurring -2 dice to all tests) to keep that dice bonus...



Yes, you could use a foci to sustain the Analyze Device spell, but that that expenditure of Karma, Reagents (to push the limit), and money (foci, reagents)... would not be better just raising the skill?

Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

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

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #7 on: <06-08-20/1735:02> »
Ya, Analyze Device would be on my personal short list of stuff in 5e that still most needs fixing.
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.

Thy

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« Reply #8 on: <06-08-20/1735:38> »
That was just a few example showing that if you can create an efficient character, you can do it better with the mage. Yeah, obviously you can do the same for your teammate, most off the time with more efficiency. I did not talk about lot of other spell neither. But I use Fashion on them all the time, protect them with that trid phantasm, and that kind of things.
And inside team synergy is never a problem, since th whole team is more powerfull with it (as I said, I use my character mostly to boost everyone during battle). You can cast increase reflexe on the whole team, using spirit to sustain it as long as you cast them, then sustain it your self. And all that sort of stuff. But everything you do for the team, you can do for yourself. And you're no use for the team if you end up dead. So I stand, if you protect yourself first, how can someone kill the mage, without being able to kill everyone else without even a thought ? The mage will boost friends as long as they are able to protect or save him.

A character is never too powerfull by it self. GM can always find more nasty thing to throw at the team. But a character can have too much individual power which, imo, is frustrating for other player, and for the player since he can't find as much difficulties.

That security point is a start. but spirit can just stay in their plane and appear when asked (which at least would be time consumming). And isn't your raw power enough to be spotted ? At 6 Magic (and sometimes foci), won't the security team spot you with or without spells and spirit ? I feel like spotting a powerful mage, especially with foci, without spirit and without sustain spell would draw even more attention, since he would look like that guy with a big coat a hat and black glasses at night uner that street lamp. If you are powerfull and have all those things, why don't you use it if it is not to avoid drawing attention ? (which consequently draw attention)



That thing about augmented maximum doesn't make sence to me on that particular case. Since spirit can augment inanimate things. But consistency is not the word I think about when I think about Shadowrun. I guess it make sense balance wise, so I can be ok with it. More reason to shape thing to have all the power of spirits. (and honestly, it comes in play only for spirit of force 9 and more. not so usual. Also, not sure a materialized power 9+ spirit cause a lot less problem than a possessing one, with or without augmented maximum)

GM can always rules things out (like those edge spell on sustain focus that most everyone rules out, I think). Still Analyze Device stat explicetely that you get bonus while operating the device, and specifiacally talk about the skills, so I think RAW (and even RAI...) you get those bonus... But maybe it is my understanding of english. Not sure which skill it refer to, then.
I still think you could make a pretty powerfull decker mage, which is fun. If it is not overpowered, the better.



Edit since ... lot of answer. (and I think i'm a robot)
Not agreed with that resistance of 15 for weapon (but obviously, GM choice). If this is true for weapon, this is true for everything, and either something is res 3 either it is res 9. For information, clothe and armor are hjinted (in fashion) to be 6 to 9, 9 being those with wireless and all chunk of augmentation in them. And armor seems a lot higher tech to me than weapon. For me 15 is nano and cyberware, mostly. Cyberdeck would be 15, probably.

For the possession part. I don't think you have to touch the target. The spirit has. It is the spirit which have the possession power. not you.


The part about cyberware and possession seems tricky to me. For me it means the spirit can't activate things by itslf, but can still use articulation. Can't use a reflex booster or a hand taser, but the hand will still move, for the same reason a cyber eye allow to cast spell. But I admit I'm biased on the subject, and wouldn't found surprising, neither chocking, to have my GM rulling it the other other way. Wouldt hat mean the original user can still keep control of it ? That would be fun ^^ (for me if that was the intended rule, that last point would have been treat. But, there is to much missing point for me to bet on that)







 
« Last Edit: <06-08-20/1759:02> by Thy »
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

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Lormyr

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« Reply #9 on: <06-08-20/1753:14> »
Ya, Analyze Device would be on my personal short list of stuff in 5e that still most needs fixing.

And you would be right to do so. I have always appreciated that you correctly acknowledge what the spell says and does though, and then note your personal preference (which I share) that it is bonkers and needs addressed.

As far as the gaming world is concerned, my single biggest pet peeve is when someone attempts to present their personal preference or balance to a given rule when it is perfectly clear it says otherwise. Drives me nuts!
"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

Reaver

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« Reply #10 on: <06-08-20/1800:21> »

That security point is a start. but spirit can just stay in their plane and appear when asked (which at least would be time consumming). And isn't your raw power enough to be spotted ? At 6 Magic (and sometimes foci), won't the security team spot you with or without spells and spirit ? I feel like spotting a powerful mage, especially with foci, without spirit and without sustain spell would draw even more attention, since he would look like that guy with a big coat a hat and black glasses at night uner that street lamp. If you are powerfull and have all those things, why don't you use it if it is not to avoid drawing attention ? (which consequently draw attention)


What does a mage look like to you???

A Mage, is just a person. That can channel mana into spells and call forth spirits. End of list. They look like PEOPLE! There is no style of dress that ALL mages are forced to wear. They don't all wear pointy hats and carry wants you know :D

A mage can wear whatever the heck his personal sense of fashion dictates! Be that $100,000 Zoe-Armani Tres Chic attire, or paper clothing from a dispenser (actually a thing in SR), all the way to Heavy Military Specialized armor (if appart of the military).
 
Physically there is nothing outward that tells you someone is awakened. Only an other awakened can naturally spot another awakened, and even then they need Astral Perception, and must make an asensing test.


THIS is one of the reason why mages are just so feared... You can't spot them in a crowd, and you have no idea if they are using magic until the end results of the spell can be seen.. (and when many spell effects have NO visible clues.... like mind control! Or Control Actions!) Well.... I am sure you can see why people fear mages....


which is also why when Corpsec knows they are dealing with magic (another reason for mages to keep their heads down on runs), they bring magic of their own.

IF Magic back up will take time to get there, Corpsec falls back of the usual tried and proven anti-magic techniques...

*Limit line of sight:
Mages need to see you for most of their spells to work, So don't be seen!!! Use those handy gun cams on Smart links to shoot around corners.

*AOE is your Friend
Sometimes you can't shoot at a mage because of where he placed himself... Pepper punch grenades, flashbangs, Tear Gas, are all great, non destructive options for getting to a mage in a spot a bullet can't get to... And they don't hurt the property! If property damage isn't an issue... Frag grenades work better.. Just saying.

*Reach out a touch them
Snipers on Runner teams are just not a great idea. Too much work to set up in the city (after all, you almost have to do an entire other run to get the sniper in place!). But the Police have no such issues under a police emergency... Add to that that Drones, especially flying drones, make great mobile sniper platforms... and can be outfitted with all sorts of weapons.. from Tranq guns to missile launchers. And pesky sensors like  Ultrasound to bypass Invisibility spells (if the high OR of the drone didn't defeat it)

*Wait them out
If all else fails.. Time is on Corpsec's side. They don't have to defeat you, they just have to keep you from leaving. Once that is done, they will. Eventually you need to sleep, They don't (There are HUNDREDS of Corpsec that can be called in.. you are... Just you.)

« Last Edit: <06-08-20/1804:15> by Reaver »
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

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

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #11 on: <06-08-20/1805:37> »
Ya, Analyze Device would be on my personal short list of stuff in 5e that still most needs fixing.

And you would be right to do so. I have always appreciated that you correctly acknowledge what the spell says and does though, and then note your personal preference (which I share) that it is bonkers and needs addressed.

As far as the gaming world is concerned, my single biggest pet peeve is when someone attempts to present their personal preference or balance to a given rule when it is perfectly clear it says otherwise. Drives me nuts!

Just for the sake of playful disagreement:

I'd call it a dumpster fire, instead of bonkers :D
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.

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« Reply #12 on: <06-08-20/1811:38> »
Quote

object resistance table
INITIATIVE TYPE dice pool

Natural Objects 3
Trees, soil, unprocessed water, hand-carved wood, metal cold-worked by hand)

Manufactured Low-Tech Objects and Materials 6
Brick, leather, simple plastics

Manufactured High-Tech Objects and Materials 9
Advanced plastics, alloys, electronic equipment, sensors

Highly Processed Objects 15+
Computers, complex toxic wastes, drones, vehicles

That's the list from page 295.

And in Shadowrun, Guns contain Computers. (And electronic firing, LED heat/ammo displays - which means process control and measurement.) and this is on top of add ons like smartguns, laser sights, Bioinfomatic security systems... all of which can be integral to the firearm...

And THIS is on top of the fact that a firearm is a highly engineered piece of equipment that directs EXPLOSIONS!

The different between a BOMB and a GUN? Engineering.

Or course, you are free to disagree.. but I would point out that the end category is 15PLUS.

Thus, you GM is free to rule is much higher...
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

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

Thy

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« Reply #13 on: <06-08-20/1812:40> »
By that big coat thing, i would mean you would look like this :



Trying not too be spoted, and everyone astraly perceiving beeing able to see that.

I know a mage have no special appearance. My Mage is actually an actress in her daylife (or was). Playing a remake of Buffy. :p



Yep. Nothing about weapon. So open to interpretation (but for me it is a 9, electronic equipment). I'm okay for vehicle. More different things in it. (did't really thought about this one. In fact, I never used that spell, just seeing it potential)
Fact is you need to add smart gun to have any smartness in your gun. And even think that smartgun don't have anti friendly fire anymore, so not realy smart. So not so high tech if you don't link it to your pan. It is your commlink that does all the work. As I said before, the spell fashion state that armor are always between 6 and 9. And armor have biomonitors and all kind of stuff on it...
Still 15 is far from impossible. Resistance will rarely get help. You can start at 16 and have few help (team work/leadership, spirit ...) if you need it. But ok. difficult to become the perfect driver from nowhere.




And for the grenade. Ok that's an ok move. For now we have been essentially inside (sewer, casino, building sized LTAV), so sniper weren't a problem. grenade. Would be a problem, i guess. And since they are expendable ressource, what you throw at the mage cannot be thrown again, so it qualifies as not a TPK aiming, i guess. Still not easy since you have to go through the whole party, but i guess a grenade launcher can shoot mostly everywhere., spirit comming at the mage, while totally a problem are a problem for whole the team, and if the mage fall incoscious fightiong them, the party will probably die, since the mage is the best weapon against spirits... same for security mages (my team being very dual entity would not have too much problem killing spirit, i guess. But a mage dying is half a dozen ally being taking out. And the opponent spirits are still there ...)
« Last Edit: <06-08-20/1845:35> by Thy »
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« Reply #14 on: <06-08-20/1812:46> »
Ya, Analyze Device would be on my personal short list of stuff in 5e that still most needs fixing.

And you would be right to do so. I have always appreciated that you correctly acknowledge what the spell says and does though, and then note your personal preference (which I share) that it is bonkers and needs addressed.

As far as the gaming world is concerned, my single biggest pet peeve is when someone attempts to present their personal preference or balance to a given rule when it is perfectly clear it says otherwise. Drives me nuts!

Just for the sake of playful disagreement:

I'd call it a dumpster fire, instead of bonkers :D

The RAW is goofy enough that in actual play this spell was so far down on a optimizer list they had broken the game 3 sustains back.

GM: "Where did you get the extra 7 Dice from...?  Never mind, just roll."