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Kesslan
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Mon May 24, 2010 8:22 pm

Except the reason that they do Force X10 is because free spirits have an arguably harder time getting Karma. They either A) Have to be given Karma by other group members or B) use the drain power to steal karma. There's no other way they can gain it if I'm reading the rules right.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Mon May 24, 2010 8:33 pm

The Friendship Pact allows spirits to gain Karma for themselves. Without it, Spirits can only mooch off others.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Mon May 24, 2010 11:39 pm

You know you've been playing PBP too much when you forget how to improve a character with karma... seriously, the last time I actually up-dated a character was roughly 5 months ago or so... Since them all my time spent working up chars has been in generation. So, sorry... my bad on that argument concerning the maximums.

I certainly wasn't trying to "scrap the rules" as such... only interpret them. There does seem to be a discrepancy between what is said in Runner's Companion and what's said in Street Magic.

Hmm... alright. So tell me what you think of this intepretation: Raising Force (x10 karma for the new ratign) raises all attributes. This is straight out of Street Magic, and seems to be referring to a character improvement rule that only effects character improvement. Should this then be the way to look at the matter? Street Magic refers to improving the character, while Runner's companion refers to how to build a PC FS?

If so, then should FS's be built by buying Force and Attributes separately, as Runner's Companion seems to suggest, or by buying Force at a BP cost equivalent to 10 karma? (It doesn't work out to a whole number, which would make that a bit difficult.)
If we take that Runner's Companion offers the correct character generation model, then it's more than likely that an FS character's attributes will not all be equal to its Force when it comes time for character improvement, since you buy them separately from Force (again, if I've read that section correctly, and if it's accepted that raising Force at char gen doesn't equal raising all attributes.) Therefore, in such a situation, would raising Force in char improvement only raise each attribute by the amount Force was raised by? I.e. if you raise Force by 1, then all attributes are raised by one in turn, even though they may not be equal to Force?
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Tue May 25, 2010 9:18 am

It actually would work out to a whole number. Attribute improvement is New Attribute x 5; Spirit Force Improvement is New Force x 10; Attribute at build is 10 points per point... Stands to reason that the same multiplier would work at build as for improvement, that is: 20 points per point, or double that of a regular character.
However, I wouldn't use those rules. I believe that the attempt to organize is the following: Characters earn Karma, Free Spirits have to mooch. So, FS Characters who earn their own Karma, use Character Improvement rules. FS NPCs use the Street Magic improvement rules.

Thus: Free Spirit Characters have to improve their attributes the same way normal characters do.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Tue May 25, 2010 9:41 am

It's honestly hard to say which angle I would favour. I mean you can say oh the spirit can just have a friendship pact but uhh.. there are problems with that. Yes it means the Spirit can earn Karma as normal. But it can STILL mooch off others as well. Ontop of this the whole point of a friendship pact is that the spirit makes itself considerably more vulnerable and dependant on a group of people. The friendship pact means it's force instantly drops (Along with all related attributes) by 1 for every person that dies.

Secondly, they must have the pact with 1 person per force point. So at Force 6, that's 6 people at 10 it's 10 etc.

That actually adds up to a hell of a flaw in a way.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Tue May 25, 2010 10:00 am

Oh please. The friendship pact as a limiting factor for free spirits? Come on...

They get inconvenienced if one of their friendship pact partners. Oh noes. That person who actually dies? Yeah, they lose ALL their stats. All of your attributes drop to 0 when you die. Free spirits don't share that risk. They can't get killed.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Tue May 25, 2010 2:16 pm

Yes they can get killed. You kill the group you kill the spirit, so that 'cant be killed' factor your going on about? That goes right on out the window. That's even explicitly stated in the books.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Tue May 25, 2010 2:23 pm

Uh-huh. If the entire group gets wiped out, if not a single member escapes or manages to hide or is rescued, then the spirit dies.


Yes, you're absolutely right. What a horrible, horrible weakness. Absolutely crippling. Free spirits are clearly broken for their ability to die after every single group member has been killed. It simply is not fair and we should not stand for it.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Thu May 27, 2010 8:09 am

Free spirits can be banished. In fact, it's kinda easy to banish one. And, if you're prepared, once you complete the banishing, you can attempt to make the banishing permanent.
While that isn't precisely the same thing as being killed, it would remove the character from the game for either a short or a long time. In the case of a "short" time, the GM can just advance the clock until the character can return. If it's a "long" time, then the character is essentially dead for all intents and purposes. Maybe it can become a useful NPC for the GM after that, but it's then time to build a new character.
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PostSubject: banishing   Thu May 27, 2010 8:20 am

Banishment only lasts for 28 days minus force, and it locks them in their home plane. Not a long time. On average 22 days for specialist players, 25 for non-specialist. An lder spirit/one played often and accumilated alot og exp even shorter. To kill a free-spirit you are better off binding then banishing. Either way you have to get their true name...IE alot of bbackground work and a high ascensing check.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Thu May 27, 2010 8:23 am

Free Spirits with the Friendship Pact aren't bound by that 28 days - Force limitation, by the way. They can come back as soon as their Edge refreshes, which is usually somewhere between a day and a week depending upon the GM.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Thu May 27, 2010 8:26 am

So even worse... free spirits in my opoin should only be played by responcable players, the same players you would trust with a dragon PC.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Thu May 27, 2010 8:56 am

I don't agree that it's "worse." From a PC's perspective, a meat character can get patched up from nearly any kind of damage up to the very threshhold of death depending on the damage dealt in a matter of hours. If the PC is working with a capable healing magician, that time can be improved dramatically to a matter of minutes, or even seconds. And, even while that character is relatively incapacitated due to whatever kind of injury put him/her there, it is nothing like a death experience. The character is far from useless in any sense, particularly if the character has useful knowledge.
A Free Spirit, however, is entirely and completely removed from play during the "Banishment" period. If that happens in the first combat of a complex and involved run, that means that the PC is entirely remove from play for the duration of the run. Whether the FS is able to return in a day, a month, or a year is entirely irrelevent to the remainder of the run, and to the character. Being "unkillable" under those circumstances is beyond the point, they were rendered irrelevant to the remainder of the run, and for all intents and purposes, the character is "dead". It doesn't matter if the player doesn't need to write up a new character for the next run, they have been removed from the current one.

That said, I completely agree that FS characters should be limited to a player of the highest caliber, like OU!!! stated.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Thu May 27, 2010 9:27 am

Dura wrote:
Uh-huh. If the entire group gets wiped out, if not a single member escapes or manages to hide or is rescued, then the spirit dies.


Yes, you're absolutely right. What a horrible, horrible weakness. Absolutely crippling. Free spirits are clearly broken for their ability to die after every single group member has been killed. It simply is not fair and we should not stand for it.

Yes because clearly I mean it's a massive horrible weakness of horrible horrible doom that instantly means the spirit is sure to die in mere minutes! You know rather than just a fairly major weakness compared to ohh.. only being able to be permanently harmed/killed by what? Two or three methods, all of which require that what? 4% of the population that's awakened?

Your acting like it's generally hard to wipe out a group, it's not really generally speaking and simply put the spirit goes from very difficult to kill, to something considerably easier. Sure it may take you a while but even if you only kill a few of them you severely weaken the spirit and it will only get weaker the more you kill. Because even if they get a new 'friend' for the pact they still need to reacquire and spend that Karma all over again. On top of this just as free spirits can be banished (For a time) they can also be bound.

It's not intended to be easy but there's a number of ways to deal with spirits in general. Joe blow on the street wont stand much chance of doing anything sure, but then that remains the same fact if their up against a standard 400bp build runner too by and large. That said yes free spirits get a fairly hefty bang for their buck but you act like their totally impossible to destroy. Their actually far easier to destroy if they have a friendship pact because there's a huge, comparatively far easier way to seriously harm or outright kill the spirit. You don't have to do an astral quest anymore, you just have to spend the time and resources to identify the people who are part of the pact and take them out. That's something any entirely mundane group with remotely decent resources is entirely capable. of. It also means you don't actually need a magician to do it either. Without the pact only a mage or other being capable of astral projection can try and track down the spirit and destroy it on it's home plane.

And if you make a big enough enemy (Mega corp, military, government etc) They have more than the required resources to go after said spirit and take out everyone involved. Infact I wouldn't be too surprised if over the years of SR history some of the 'random' deaths that got mentioned were tied into exactly this sort of thing.

EDIT: As an added note if you go after the friends who are part of the pact you can do so without the spirit ever becoming aware that it's being targeted. As opposed to say creating a spirit formulae for it that it will become instantly aware of no matter where it is or what it's guarded by.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Thu May 27, 2010 9:48 am

So: True, Friendship Pact is a reasonable weakness. Also true, banishment (or bonding) is more than sufficient to remove the relevance of the FS PC for the duration of whatever the group is working on. End result: Either the character is killed or rendered irrelevant. Does it matter which?

All characters can, and should be able to, die.
Free Spirits, as we have discussed, are no exception to that rule.

Now it's settled.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Thu May 27, 2010 10:24 am

I have my doubts that the temporary removal of a Free Spirit via banishing can really compare to the finality of character death. For short runs, yeah, the FS is removed, but he can pop right back next run without any loss of karma or, indeed, any ill consequences. Worse, if the FS has sufficient unspent Karma, he can just buy an extra point of Edge whenever he wants and poof, he's back folks. Also, while I concur that the Friendship pact is a significant weakness compared to normal FS's, that says nothing because normal FS's are nearly unkillable. If you compare them to other player characters, it's no weakness at all. To kill a normal person, you have to kill one guy. To kill a Free Spirit with Friendship, you have to kills several people, many of whom are probably ALSO 400 BP runners. From a metagame perspective, an FS, even with the Friendship Pact, literally cannot die without a Total Party Kill, in which case you're probably screwed either way. In fact, if your Force is higher than the number of non-spirit runners, you'll still be alive, because you still have more NPCs that are a part of the pact. An FS with the Friendship spirit pact is functionally like a Lich with four or five phylacteries. Which are mobile. And can all run and shoot back.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Thu May 27, 2010 10:37 am

Uh, Vanya, didn't you get the memo? It's already 'settled.'

Now you're just being belligerent. Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Thu May 27, 2010 6:50 pm

Vanya's Devil wrote:
If you compare them to other player characters, it's no weakness at all. To kill a normal person, you have to kill one guy. To kill a Free Spirit with Friendship, you have to kills several people, many of whom are probably ALSO 400 BP runners. From a metagame perspective, an FS, even with the Friendship Pact, literally cannot die without a Total Party Kill, in which case you're probably screwed either way. In fact, if your Force is higher than the number of non-spirit runners, you'll still be alive, because you still have more NPCs that are a part of the pact. An FS with the Friendship spirit pact is functionally like a Lich with four or five phylacteries. Which are mobile. And can all run and shoot back.

The problem is if it's just the PCs in the party and say you have 5 PCs the FS PC is limited to a maximum force of 4 (Since they would be player #5) as such they have to eventually depend on an NPC. An NPC who can die as a result of deliberate targeting, or just have an honest to god accident, heart attack, die of old age etc. Not to mention that if some one seeking to control the spirit manages to track down and hold members of the friendship pact hostage, they can then likely get work out of the spirit in exchange for not killing the Person/people they have. Even one death is pretty costly in the long run, if your talking say.. a force 5 or 6 spirit that's a minimum 50-60 karma lost for one death or more. And the higher the force the higher the loss of karma from just one dead member of the group.

Also if your taling from an NPC perspective over the long term the members of the pact will likely start to die of old age. There are ways to get around that of course, but it either takes really serious cred for rejuvenation treatments or an additional living fomulae pact which while technically much cheaper leaves yet another kink in the armour (Though at least said friend wont ever die of old age)
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Fri May 28, 2010 8:33 am

...I think we're straying from the point here. The debate was over whether Spirits are nearly unkillable. Yes, you can compel or weaken them by going after individual pact members. That still doesn't change the fact that you would have to have means and resources on par with a megacorp in order to put one down permanently. Also, don't forget that a FS can burn a point of Edge to save pact members, which means you could throw a pact member off a cliff and still not manage the kill the person. With members of a Friendship Pact, it's a very literal case of "If you didn't see the body, he's probably not dead". As for the old age thing, I should remind you that a Free Spirit Shadowrunner is not someone who will likely be short on cash. Ever. And I won't even get into the possibilities of using vampires as pact members.

Also, I'm not saying that this is overpowered; I think the staggering BP cost makes it so that a FS would NEED to be nearly unkillable to survive early on, especially at 400 BP. I'm just saying that there are Norse Gods less immortal than Free Spirits are. (Baldur, I'm looking at you.)
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Fri May 28, 2010 9:59 am

But the response I made, which you have not refuted, is that killing them is unimportant. It is easy to make them irrelevant. From a game-play perspective, that is, in fact, FAR more effective than attempting to kill a normal player. From that perspective, they can be treated as any other player, and with similar limitations. A competent mage can make a FS PC irrelevant quite easilly. True that only 5% of the entire population is awakened, but most of them can render a FS PC of relative unimportance for a short period of time. And that short period of time is inifinitely long compared to a combat, or even an entire run operations.
So, you have an immortal scout. Who, until significant growth energy can be diverted into it, is nearly useless to normal operations? I don't think that that is something a competent GM needs to fear.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Fri May 28, 2010 10:32 am

Actually, I did address that, but only briefly, so I'll go over it again in more depth. A free spirit with Friendship who has a high Edge attribute is really hard to banish. Unless the mage specializes in banishing (yeah, not likely), he's not going to get five hits on a banishing test very easily. And, as we said earlier, a Free Spirit with enough Karma can just buy a point of Edge and return immediately so long as he has the Friendship pact, which all FS PCs have. Plus, all those Edge points? An FS can spend them to resist banishing, which can make banishing really difficult when the spirit is rerolling his failures every time to prevent you from knocking off more than a point of Edge per IP. Hell, if he sees the mage, the spirit doesn't even need to bother confronting the guy. Not when he can just slip back to his home metaplane, wait for the others to geek the mage, and then come back immediately.

Also, like I said earlier, there's more to it than just the character's relevance to the current run. There's the fact that the spirit cannot die. There is a finality to death that has a profound effect on the game. The major threat in a run is not "Oh, gee, I hope I don't get temporarily incapacitated." The major threat, the one that is at the forefront of a players mind, is "Oh God, please, I do not want to die!" You cannot claim that removing that threat, the threat of "You might die today", doesn't impact the game. For one thing, it means that, for the vast majority of runs, the FS PC is risking next to NOTHING. If he gets disrupted, who cares? He gets to keep his Karma, and if the other runners succeed he still gets paid. And most importantly, he's still alive, which means he can come right back to participate again, except now he's even stronger and tougher to get rid of than before. That is why a GM must think very carefully before allowing an FS character. The mitigation and removal of risk is not something a GM should ever take lightly.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Fri May 28, 2010 11:45 am

Yeah but if the FS pc just sits the fight out all the time you dont give him Karma for it. As such the other PCs advance and he doesnt.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Fri May 28, 2010 11:55 am

He's not sitting out all the fights. If he's regularly getting disrupted, that means he's participating enough that he's getting beaten up on. Which means he gets Karma. But when other PCs make a mistake, they die and have to make a new character. When the FS makes a mistake, he just gets sent home to sleep it off before coming back for more.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Fri May 28, 2010 1:12 pm

Actually, the way I see it, the FS needs 1 friend in its pack for every point of force to earn karma, right? If the spirit were to lose all those friends, it's force would effectively drop to zero. At that point, I would consider it well and truly dead. It's force of will, or personality, or whatever you assume binds a FS's magical energies together, is no longer strong enough to hold it together, and those energies would disperse throughout the metaplanes. So long, farewell, don't bother to write.

But that's just my take on it.
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PostSubject: Re: Free Spirits   Fri May 28, 2010 1:50 pm

That's absolutely correct, T_Hawk. I was making the point that that's really not something that'll come up much, especially since the whole party is probably gonna be composed of friends so you'd likely need a Total Party Kill plus the death of one or two NPCs to kill the Free Spirit.
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