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  • The Found Arcana – Chapter 5 [OOC]

     beta updated 3 months ago 4 Members · 316 Posts
  • Tecumseh

    July 27, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    I’m not ready to go full Aria yet, if only because her reward has a nuyen component that would make eliminating our debt trivial. I’m open to that once we’re all out of debt and really ready to take the brakes off, but for now let’s keep things to the GM rewards and the contracted nuyen amounts.

    I’m hesitant to award karma while we have such a rich vein of RP going in the IC thread, but here’s what I’m thinking so far:

    We had a mid-game award of 7 karma back on page 3. If you haven’t banked that yet, go ahead and do so now.

    On top of that, an additional 35 karma, for a total of 42 all-purpose karma for the chapter.

    Next, we’ll turn to knowledge karma. So far this has been limited to the Interludes but I think it’s warranted after such an RP-heavy chapter. So for that:

    7 knowledge karma to be spent on Academic / Professional knowledge skills, or contacts related to those

    7 knowledge karma to be spent on Language / Street knowledge skills, or contacts related to those

    7 knowledge karma to be spent on Interest knowledge skills, or contacts related to those

    Knowledge karma can be combined with all-purpose karma, or it can be banked if you want to save up for something following the Interlude (which will likely include a few more points of knowledge karma).

    Now contact upgrades:

    – Jawsey’s contact Green Toes is now Connection 3.

    – Jawsey’s contact Zwipe is now Loyalty 5, but his profession is now “Ganger (?) / Technician”

    – Jawsey’s and Bobby’s contact Lysander is now Connection 4, Loyalty 3 for both (I know Bobby took the lead on this interaction ICly but I don’t see any reason why Jawsey wouldn’t have been involved too)

    – Everyone’s contact Katsuo “Andrew” Musai is now Loyalty 3

    There we have it. Now I just have to review the IC thread to record what nuyen was spent so we can finalize that math.

  • jack_spade

    July 27, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    I’m using the knowledge karma to raise:

    Gangs 2 to 3 (3 Karma)

    Military 3 to 4 (4 Karma)

    Japanese – to 2 (3 Karma)

    Marketing 1 to 2 (2 Karma)

    Magical Threats 4 to 5 (5 Karma)

    Small Unit Tactics 3 to 4 (4 Karma)

    Normal Karma:

    Increase AGI from 2 to 3 (15 Karma)


    Skill Group Influence (5 Karma)

    I’m also spending 15 Karma to get the Beast’s Way (Discount as I already have a Mentor Spirit)

    I’m dedicating my Astral Perception, Killing Hands and Combat Sense as Discounted and use the free 0,5 to acquire Keratin Control (Yeah, Bobby can now grow thick fur around his nether regions to keep them warm and somewhat decent…)

    That leaves 2 Karma to spend at a later time

  • gilga

    July 27, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    AM would get her Ally spirit at least. F5 spirit with a realistic form of a black cat. (she fears rats, so cat spirit seemed obvious to me). It takes 25 threshold extended test to craft, but she has high arcana and logic so no biggie. (I’d argue she’s been working over it for a while now so the extended test is behind us).

    It has the following powers from being an ally spirit: 1. Realistic form (cat), Astral Form, and Banishing resistance.

    Its optional powers are:

    1. Animal control

    2. Concealment

    3. Movement


    5. Guard

    (let me know if there is like a super cool power that I missed, and I’ll shift it around if it fits.).

  • beta

    July 27, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    @Gilga — You might want Accident for theme of a black cat, but in SR5 I find it to be a weak power. The problem is that it is resisted by the opponent’s initiative/dodge dice (reaction+intuition), which most vaguely competent foes have at a half-decent level. And it is even more difficult to get a critical glitch.

    Note that allied spirits can also be given skills. Stealth seems like it would be a natural?

    Having an allied spirit with spells can be very nice for things that you want to put on multiple people (invisibility for example) as you can split the duties with your ally to reduce the sustaining penalty. But that does require the karma for both the spellcasting skill and the spell.

    Counterspelling has not been in much demand yet in this game, but it is another nice one on ally spirits, as for the cost of adding one skill you get its force in extra counterspelling dice to protect you.


    I’m still not entirely sure if I want to carry forward with Jawsey. His growth path is pretty painful (OK, taking the home ground quality didn’t help in that regard), but as always with SR improving your best skills is expensive, but he is so far behind in his magical development that I’m not sure that it is actually all that useful to pump buckets more karma into it for modest returns. (and his recent personal changes could make for a good opportunity for him to go back to Tsimshian and try to make a difference there. If I do stick with him, he’ll need to head ‘home’ at some point for at least a visit)

    If I were to change characters, any thoughts on the technicalities? I assume we’d stick with the original house rules for that (not a problem), but would people prefer a character straight out of character generation, or with some degree of catch-up karma (maybe not equal to what the team has earned, since lumps tend to get spent a bit more effeciently)

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  beta.
  • Tecumseh

    July 27, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    I’m going to be honest that I haven’t had a character create an ally spirit since 2nd Edition, so this is my first time going through it for 5E.

    AM has a solid Arcana pool (Logic 5 + Arcana 6) so she could easily buy enough hits before a Christmas chapter that’s about four weeks later.

    The ally spirit section talks about the usual summoning/binding roll, after which you pay karma. But in the ritual section (p. 122 of Street Grimoire) there’s Ally Conjuration and Create Ally Spirit. I haven’t got a clue what the difference between the two is, or how they substitute into the ally spirit procedure. Does anyone know? Is this something that would technically require initiation into the Invocation school of magic? Street Grimoire is full of gibberish so I largely tried to preserve my sanity by ignoring it. I suppose that’s a valid approach here as well.

  • jack_spade

    July 27, 2020 at 5:38 pm


    It would be a bit of a shame to give up on that character – raising attributes is damn painful, I’ll give you that, but there are ways to optimize expenditure.

    Magic 3 for example is easy to get. Chain Breaker Quality gives you two new spirit types (you just no longer can bind them – which isn’t a good option for our finances anyway)

    After that you are able to call up F6 spirits – enough power for most occasions.

    Or you could go back and rebuild Jawsey according to the normal rules (New character basically, but we can keep Jawsey in the story)


    Just ignore the request for summoning/binding – it’s a ritual and it uses the ritual spellcasting skill.

  • Tecumseh

    July 27, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    I personally play it that karma follows the player, not the character. Nuyen is more complicated, so either that doesn’t transfer or gets transferred at a partial rate. (Or players can redeem karma for nuyen.)

    I’ve spent a lot of time over the years thinking about how to readjust karma costs, both in terms of having meaningful character progression but also in keeping things more balanced between mundanes and the Awakened. New spells for 5 karma and initiations starting at 13 karma really skew things toward the Awakened, as there are no options that are remotely comparable for mundanes.

    What I did for one of the other campaigns that I GM (which just passed its 2-year anniversary last month) is to significantly lower costs for advancing skills and attributes. This is both to allow mundanes to not fall so far behind, but also to tempt the Awakened with karma expenditures outside of spells and initiations.

    – Skill = 1 karma * new rating
    – Skill Group = 2 karma * new rating
    – Attributes = 3 karma * new rating (doesn’t apply to special attributes, Magic/Resonance/Edge)

    Another approach I’ve used is to just grant an Attribute point to the player’s lowest Attribute. That would be Strength right now for Jawsey, but if we did a second one it could go into Magic. This helps round characters out rather than push them deeper into their specialties.

  • gilga

    July 27, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    I love Jawsey. Wish he’ll stay.

    I must admit that social skills feel like the most useful in this game and Jawsey has them in buckets. Also, I am quite satisfied with AM at 10 dice for magic, I do not feel like we need more than that very often. Jawsy currently has less dice – but he can improve skills and catch up if he like. E.g. 18 karma to get spellcasting to 5, and 20 karma for magic 4.

    A few extra points of logic/charisma are most common for AM’s magic. (perhaps an invisibility or two).

    As for magic, you need to bring it to the point where Jawsey can benefit from it in the daytoday. Either catch up your spellcasting and get some nice spells (e.g., petrify is really nice).

    Alternatively, consider channeling as a cost effective method of 1. increasing physical stats. 2. using spirit abilities as if they were spells without paying the karma for them. If you combine with a chain breaker, you can get access to task spirits, which would give you very high utility in this game. We’re more about flexibility than an arms race of dice-pool.

    Basically, Jawsey cannot be the “big bad wizard” but he can be an effective one if you plan it right.

  • Tecumseh

    July 28, 2020 at 2:52 am

    @gilga Not sure if you left off a period at the end of your sentence ICly, or if you’re ending on a cliffhanger!

  • gilga

    July 28, 2020 at 2:55 am

    Another color=red instead of color red.

    I fixed it.

  • beta

    July 28, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    Looking well into the future when it might be my turn to inflict myself upon you all as GM again, I’m wondering if any of you are familiar with the fan written adventure “Ping Time”? (it starts with a high school age young woman hiring the team to recover a kidnapped classmate, in case you don’t remember it by name). I wouldn’t run it as-written, but the skeleton of looks like it would be solid for this team. Still, less interesting if people are already familiar with it, so in that case I’d do something different.


    Without delving too deeply into my theories about character creation, with Jawsey I got excited by trying something different, and made the classic mistake of too much emphasis on enabling skills and reactive skills, and not enough on proactive skills. In the detective business astral perception and projection are great, and social skills can be key in gathering information, and when dealing with people interested in the tarot there are apt to be magicians, so being able to deal with spirits astrally has its uses. But that is all more passive or reactive.

    But in the (common in RPGs) situation of “here is a situation where you can’t proceed casually, what will you do to force your way forward” his only strong proactive skills are social. Magic obviously has that potential, but it is still another bucket or two of karma before it will even reliably deal with ganger level people, and is well short of dealing with professionals. He can get there eventually with magic, but likely his magic will always lag the competence level of the team in other ways of solving problems.

    It is like, say, denting the side of your car on a concrete pillar in a parking garage, because you forgot how close you were to it when you went to pull out. You can live with the dent, it isn’t a big deal, if a stranger had put it there maybe you’d even stop noticing it. But as a reminder of the foolish mistake you made? It will bug you always! I just have to decide if it bugs me enough to replace the car.

  • Tecumseh

    July 28, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    Let’s end Chapter 5 on that sexually charged note. I’ll initiate the Fourth Interlude some time today.

    @beta Never heard of “Ping Time”.

    I guess I’m not following the concern about enabling vs. reactive vs. proactive skills. In Shadowrun, the assumption is that you’re a member of a team and that you don’t have to (and, in fact, can’t) do everything yourself. If there’s a gap in your skill set, so what? That’s someone else’s time to shine.

    I suppose the difference between reactive vs. proactive is a bit subjective. I would actually call social skills “proactive” in the sense that you’re trying to neutralize or avoid trouble before it starts. For me, the combat skills are the reactive ones, the skills of last resort, for when the sneaking or the talking didn’t work out as planned. Context is part of it. An ambush is proactive, I suppose, but this isn’t an action-heavy campaign. In fact, I’m not sure Mato has performed a single attack through four chapters. This is amusing to me, rather than frustrating, and is a sign of success. (Mato was in two other one-shots before this, during which he used his shock hand to no great effect precisely once before the target turn and ran. So six chapters and he’s been in about one-half of one fight.) Jawsey wasted some shedim on the astral with his weapon focus and killer charisma, meaning that he’s had more offensive output than the street sam.

    So what is it exactly that Jawsey’s missing, in your estimation? The ability to barbecue someone’s brain? There are other options. For example, Gilga is right: Petrify is horribly broken and thus super awesome.

  • gilga

    July 28, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    Well, I get how you feeling and would understand if you rebuild him or make a fresh character.

    I admit that when selecting Ally spirit as AM’s progression with magic I was thinking about Jawsey and the utility for the team more than on optimizing AM. I mean, instead of getting more spells, or more magic – the entire team gets a magical pet that can disappear to the astral at will and help us as an extra fuzzy NPC (or if someone feels like playing the spirit a PC). I was thinking especially of Jawsey, and tried to involve him ICly in the creation process and design of the spirit (we all have Arcana) because it can ‘aid sorcery’ but not just AM’s sorcery – also Jawsey’s so whenever Jawsey needs help, the cat can appear next to his leg and help Jawsey cast the spell. It is not as good as always having a high dice pool, but I think that it can add more utility.

    (but that also applies for a new character if you make one. I am just sharing my perspective on the ally).

    AM would still feel safer in the car when there is a chance for violence, and she would still be a decker with a dash of magic for augmenting her natural skills rather than a field mage.

    Our cat would probably be away from her in most runs, helping out wherever it is needed.

    So we can view the cat as AM placing 53 karma to benefit the team. Rather than a personal buff that places Jawsey lagging after her for the entire game. Even if AM created it, we can all be his friends, and it can be Jawsey’s ally too.

    I looked for some progression that would make sense in AM’s quest to use the magic she has to connect with the spiritual world, but I selected an ally also to give Jawsey the time to progress without feeling left behind by the more potent mage.

  • jack_spade

    July 28, 2020 at 4:16 pm


    Never heard of that run before

  • gilga

    July 28, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    @beta me neither.

  • beta

    July 28, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    OK, so if you could all refrain from looking it up, perhaps after this next run I’d like to run a variant on that adventure.


    OK: enough navel gazing on my part about Jawsey. Unless I say differently in the next couple of days I’m sticking with him. (I can’t quite articulate the source of my malaise, and so it is hard to say what exactly would help … sometimes words are not an easy way to capture a gut feel, you know?)


    On a different note: great scene with Bobby and AM! Strong finish to a fantastic run 🙂

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