Aces

   Since Shadowrun is starting up again, and at least one of the players wants to make a Class-A Enhancement Mage – basically a sort of upgraded physical adept – that’s the file that’s going up today.

   Physical adepts are the first expression of meta-humanities potential for innate powers – but there is a step beyond. The so-called “Aces” (a name apparently derived from some old work of fiction), first appeared in New York City – but have since appeared in a wide variety of other locations. All exhibit powers equal to those of a full mage or shaman, if far more rigidly channeled. Like a physical adept they simply have powers. Unlike a physical adept, such powers may extend far beyond themselves and their magic rating is effectively doubled for the purposes of purchasing powers. Some powers exclusively available to Class-A Enhancement magi are listed below.

The Superheroics Skill:

   Aces who need a power-use skill usually refer to it as “Superheroics”. It works a lot like “Sorcery”, and is used with most of an Aces powers, this skill also governs an aces ability to “push” or try power “stunts”. One such push or stunt is usable per adventure for each level of “superheroics” the character possesses. Concentrations apply to characters with a unifying theme, specializations are in particular powers. Note that it is possible to use a “stunt” to apply the characters “heroic pool” against an attack. Dice from the characters heroics pool may be used to enhance an inherent spell, try tricks with other powers, target your energy bolts – or pull off a weird maneuver with your flight.

Power Limitations:

  • Limitations are the ace equivalent of Geasa, and are used to reduce the cost of particular powers.
  • In general, a limitation must make sense for the power in question. Having to have space to spread your wings and maneuver makes sense for flight. It doesn’t make much sense for projecting bolts of flame – although any ruling as to “relevance” is necessarily up to the game master (and – inevitably – to how persuasive the player is).
  • Secondarily, a limitation must actually cause problems for the character to be worth anything. A protective effect which manifests as growing grotesque-looking scales all over your body when you activate it may make you more identifiable and attract unwanted attention – and so may be worth a modest modifier on the cost. If you can’t turn it off, and people regularly mistake you for a supernatural horror, it may be worth a larger bonus.
  • Limitations are rated according to how often they cause problems for the character.
    • Class-I limitations are worth 25% off and come up relatively rarely. Examples include needing some minor talisman to wield a power, being incredibly conspicuous or easy to identify while the power is in use, having to gesture and invoke the name of a power to use it, having to take some weird drug to activate the power for a brief period, your power only has a “limited energy reserve” and must be recharged before you can use it once it runs out,
    • Class-II limitations are worth 50% off, but come up pretty much all the time. Examples include a power that only lasts for a little while and causes drain when it ends, a boost to strength that can only be used when smashing through walls, extra dice which function as a pool rather than as a bonus to each roll for a high-speed character, a combination of three or four Class-I limitations, making the character look monstrously freakish, needing a blatant gadget or suit of powered armor to use a power, only being able to use a power a few times before having to recharge it –
    • Class-III limitations are worth 75% off, but must render a power almost useless. Examples include combat enhancements which can only be used when you’re defending a particular temple, effects which cause massive drain and fail to work if the user cannot handle it, a combination of several Class-II limitations, or more

Aces and Initiation:

  • Aces may undertake any of three unique “Ordeals” in order to reduce the cost of initiation:
    • A “Radiation Accident” allows the GM to pick one of the characters three new abilities and to spend 1/3’rd of any resulting magic points. This particular Ordeal may be repeated indefinitely.
    • A “Theme” forces all the character’s abilities to be related to a particular conception – Winter. Man Of Bronze. Storm Master. Shadowwalker. Whatever. While this ordeal may be repeated up to three times, the GM will tend to become more restrictive with each repetition.
    • A “Weakness” causes the character to suffer from some mental, power-related, or physical “problem” if (when) he’s confronted with a particular stimulus. The problem may be unreliable powers, being repelled by “holy” objects, being poisoned by argon, that your powers won’t work on something or in the presence of something (say, “cold iron”?), or even some form of a limited “energy reserve”.
  • Ace Initiatory Groups are normally called “Hero” or “Villain” Groups. They work exactly the same way as the usual groups.
  • Aces who can create Foci can create power foci containing Ace powers. They may also opt to leave powers which only affect or act through the focus permanently on.

General Rules

  • Ace powers are always unique, often weird, and can be “tweaked” in a wide variety of ways. The special effects are up to the Ace in question, and is determined when the character is set up. Boreas, master of winter, might have “hyperspeed” as an ice slide, “entangle” as ice projection, and so on. “Killing Hands” could indicate venom, a paralyzing touch, or a palm of flames. In general, special effects have minor side effects. For example, the “palm of flames” is good for lighting fires, heating cups of coffee, and providing enough light to find you keys, but it sets off smoke detectors, its pretty easy to tell when its been used on someone, and doesn’t work well under water.
  • Ace powers may double the base rating of an attribute, skill, or other rating without any problems. Boosts beyond that cost twice as much up to an upper limit of tripling the base value.
  • Ace powers are not cumulative with similar magical enhancements. With the exception of Reaction enhancements they are compatible with Cyberware and Bioware. They are always compatible with Geneware.
  • In general, all “Critter Powers” are available to Aces. It’s all magic.
  • A vast and absurd multitude of unusual ace powers are obviously possible. If a character is looking for a power that’s not on the list, and can’t be stimulated by tweaking something that is, consult your GM. He should be able to give you a price on it after you describe the power. Note that using this option just to slip some horribly abusive power past the GM is known as “asking for it”. Even if your game master refrains from arranging for something nasty to happen, he or she is still entitled to raise the price and prohibit the character from advancing otherwise until it’s been paid off. Of course, if said GM later decides to reduce the cost on some ability that didn’t turn out to be as good as he or she thought it would be, just accept the bonus.

Specific Ace Powers:

Celerity

  • 2/4/6 points to act every 8/6/5 initiative counts instead of every 10.
  • .5 points per +1 added to a character’s movement multipliers. This affects all available movement modes. For boosts to Quickness see Enhanced Attributes.
  • 2/3/5/8 to gain the equivalent of Wired Reflexes I/II/III/IV. Even for aces, level IV is usually the limit.
  • 1/2/4 points to learn to deflect incoming Thrown/ Projectile/Energy weapon attacks. Roll (Reflex + Combat) pool with a target number of 4/6/8 for Long/Medium/Short range attacks. +2 points to also protect those within arms reach.
  • .25/.5/1 points to take an extra Free/Simple/Complex action once each scene during your initiative.
  • .5/1 points to reduce a specified, non-attack, simple action to a free action/complex action to a simple one.
  • 3 points to act first, regardless of initiative, in any one initiative pass during each combat turn in which the user would normally get an action.
  • +3 points to default directly to the skill success table rather than common sense while leaping, jumping or trying to run over unsuitable surfaces.

Computer Emulation

  • This ability allows the user’s brain to act as a computer – although a Direct Neural Interface (see Neuralware) or Datajack is still required to make effective use of this ability.
  • 3. The user’s brain can replicate the functions of an Actlink, Knowsoft Link and a Level (Cha) Transducer (see: Neuralware) as well as a Display Link, Audio Link, and (Int x 1000) Megapulses of Headware Memory. The user may adapt minor programs (CAD/CAM, Word Processing, etc – designed for computers but basically “unrated”) for personal use by either writing or purchasing the program in question and expending one karma point. Rated programs cost Karma equal to their rating to adapt, but can be obtained or written in the same fashion. After adaption such programs are immune to SOTA penalties. Some characters get this just so as to be able to run various pieces of Proware conveniently.
  • 5. As above, plus the user’s brain can now operate as a full-fledged cyberdeck, with MPCP = (Int+Will+Chr)/3. Persona Ratings; Bod = (Will), Evasion = (Int+Chr)/2, Masking = (Will+Chr)/2, and Sensor = (Int). Response = (Int+Will)/2 +3D6, Armor = (Will), I/O = (Int*100), Hardening = (Will/2), Available Memory (divided between active and storage at whim) of [(Int+Will) x 1000 MP], and “Hot” ASIST. In all cases, round up. Unfortunately, “Damage” to the “Icon” or “Deck” is taken directly by the user. Fortunately, damage to “programs” “repairs” itself at one point per hour if the user’s physically healthy. Damage to MPCP or Persona “Programs” “heals” at one point a day. Virus Codes, such as Worm, do not affect the user.
  • 7. The user is now a full-blown Otaku, gains a +1 to his or her Mental Attribute Limits, suffers a -1 to his or her Physical Attribute Limits, and enjoys the use of the “Channel” skills (Access, Control, Index, Files, and Slave), Specialization, and Automatic adaption to “sculpted” systems.
    • There are several major variations on the Otaku. “Cyberadepts” equate to hermetics. They receive a +1 bonus on the effective rating of their complex forms. “Technoshamans” receive a +1 bonus on their effective channel ratings. “Servomystics” “draw on the power of matrix spirits”, gaining a +1 bonus on the ratings of their “persona”. “Netshapers” can improvise programs that they don’t really have by spending (Multiplier/3 + Rating) dice from their hacking pool. Last, but not least, “Cyberpriests” get occasional advice, data, or aid, from their “patron” AI’s.

Enhanced Attributes

  • The cost of enhanced attributes involves three factors: how much, how high, and how many.
  • Add +3 to the cost if the attribute allows incredible feats, defaulting directly to the skill success table rather than to common sense. In general, each +1 up to twice the base attribute value costs .5, and each +1 from (2x+1) to (3x) the base value costs 1. Enhancing a second or third attribute doubles the base cost. Enhancing third or fourth attribute quadruples it.

Enhanced Senses

  • Enhancing an existing sense costs .25 and covers things like IR vision, hypersensitivity (-4 to relevant target numbers), protection from sensory overloads, and so on.
  • Adding a new sense or mystical sense, such as the ability to “read” emotions, sensitivity to magic, blind or radar sense, or a “danger sense” which prevents surprise, costs .5.
  • For weird senses, the following rule-of-thumb applies: 1 success supplies general information but no details, 2 supplies some details, 3 provides a good evaluation, and 4 or more provide detailed information. Close examination has a target number of 2, nearby of 3, in visual range 4, and further than that will be a 5 or 6.

Extra Dice

   Extra dice may be purchased for skills, resistance to particular effects, or for particular types of rolls. The cost depends on the level of enhancement, how often the roll comes up, and the nature of the roll. In general, extra dice apply each time the roll comes up, but may not more than double the base number of dice used. Unfortunately, extra dice are difficult to price fairly: a few properly-chosen extra dice may be invaluable to one character, while that same purchase would be completely useless to another.

  • The base cost is .25 per extra die.
  • “Automatic Successes” – dice which are automatically considered rolls of “12” and may reroll from there – double the base cost. This is cumulative with other multipliers, such as the x2 base cost for bonus dice for Magical Skills. Automatic Successes for Conjuring thus cost 2 points each. Characters who require even higher numbers may double the base cost again for each additional +6, up to a limit of a base of 30 at 16x the base cost. Automatic successes do not apply when you default to a skill in place of a more appropriate one; they’re just bonus dice in that case.
  • For Skills:
    • Combat, Technical, Build/Repair, and Knowledge skills double this cost. This is cumulative, hence a Technical Combat skill, such as Firearms, costs four times the base cost.
    • Specializations, such as “Escape Artist” half the total cost.
    • Magical Skills are purchased normally for specialities (“Banishing Watchers”), at double cost for concentrations (“Banishing”), and at quadruple cost for the general skills themselves (“Conjuring”).
  • For Resistances:
    • Rare effects – such as versus diseases and toxins, being knocked down or back, resisting magic loss, being injured in a vehicle crash, arrows, extremes of weather, or Illusions – are purchased at the base cost.
    • Uncommon effects – such as versus mental influence or damage from melee attacks – cost twice the base cost.
    • Common effects – such as versus drain, damage from bullets, or when resisting magic – cost four times the base cost.
    • Very Common effects – such as physical attacks – cost eight times the base cost, and are rarely worthwhile. It’s usually better to simply boost the underlying values.
  • For Types of Rolls:
    • Rare types of rolls include perception with secondary senses, escaping bonds, countering off-hand penalties, or when performing rituals. Bonus dice for such rolls are purchased at the base cost.
    • Uncommon types of rolls will often include counterattacking, disarming, healing, and when both feet are off the ground during a leap. Bonus dice for rolls in such categories cost twice the base cost.
    • Common types of rolls include counterattacking, when making perception checks with a particular primary sense. Bonus dice for these kinds of rolls cost four times the base cost.
    • Very Common types of rolls include making perception checks, when working magic, when performing technical tasks, and when attacking. Bonus dice for these kinds of rolls cost eight times the base cost.

Inherent Spells

  • Inherent spells operate much like the ordinary versions, but the user is immune to drain, uses the Superheroics skill for any required rolls, and has an effective force rating equal to his or her essence. Characters who take spells which must be sustained take the usual penalties for doing so. Spells with L Drain cost 1, M costs 2, S cost 4, D costs 6, and V costs 8.
  • A character may opt to limit a sustained spell which could normally be applied to others to himself or herself alone, in which case it becomes a permanent innate ability. Any physically-based personal enhancement spell so modified is considered subject to a Class-I limitation as well.
  • Some of the more common requests along these lines have included
    • Flight (in general a physically-based personal enhancement spell) has a drain of M for running speeds, S for motorcycle-type speeds, and D for aircraft-type speeds.
    • The ability to tangle people up in webs, vines, nets, or whatever is M, S if you can also use the effect to make barriers and/or move through your own barriers easily.
    • Leaving no traces is normally L for ground movement, M for tinkering with electronics and such, S if you want to be able to do things like kill people while leaving no clues.
    • Wall-Crawling, Clinging, or “Spider Climb” is a M drain existing spell, although an Ace may want an improved version.
    • Power Drain temporarily reduces the victim’s essence rating by 1 at S, 2 at D, and 3 at V. Flesh contact is normally required, adding range increases the drain level by +1.
    • Teleportation is discussed in the Sparrowhawk Grimoire. Suffice it to note that it’s very expensive and the range is very short.

Luck

  • 1 point per point added to your Karma Pool. Such points cannot be used to buy successes (this option can be added for another .5 points each, in which case they return the next session). In either case they cannot be contributed to team karma pools or spent on self-improvement.
  • 4 points to get a miraculous escape, usable once per session.
  • 1/2/3 points to get a minor/notable/major lucky break once per session.
  • 4 points to give all opponents a +1 penalty on all of their target numbers against you. This may be taken up to three times.
  • 6 points to reduce all of your target numbers by one.

Metamorphosis

  • 0/.25/.5 to create “comics code shadows”/a single alternate costume/any normal outfit desired as needed. This includes the ability to camouflage yourself with the usual results.
  • 2/3/5 to be able to conceal 1x/3x/5x (Magic Rating) pounds of material inside yourself, detectable only by a detailed astral inspection. +2 points to be able to keep such items functioning.
  • 3/6 to be able to squeeze through spaces which are obviously too small or to escape from bonds/become entirely intangible.
  • 5 points to be able to absorb, store, and discharge some form of energy, +3 points to be able to do so with fine control and manipulation. The GM may opt to modify these costs dependent on the energy type.

Mystic Strike

  • You may supernaturally enhance your unarmed attacks.
  • .5/1/2/4/7 points to inflict L/M/S/D/V lethal damage in HTH or 1/3/6 points to raise the usual M stun damage to S/D/V. In any case this counts as a magical attack.
  • 1/2/3/4 points to deliver an attack with a simple touch/at a range of (magic) meters/at a range of up to (20 x Magic) meters/within LOS. Range modifiers do not apply.
  • 1 point to make your unarmed strikes explosive, at -1 power/meter. Most characters spend another +1 point on personal immunity.
  • 1/2/5 points to increase the power of your unarmed attacks by (Magic/3), (Magic/2), or (Magic) via some form of elemental attack. +1 point to be able to vary the type.
  • +1/2/3 points to be able to delay the effect of your attack for up to (Magic) days/weeks/months. +1 additional point to be able to trigger it on command, although this is limited to a maximum of (Magic) delayed attacks at any one time.
  • +2 points to have the effect continue for (Magic/2) turns.

Negate Penalties

  • .25 per -1 negated from uncommon penalties, such as for Movement, darkness, for fighting multiple opponents (double cost if it also negates their usual bonuses), or recoil.
  • .5 per -1 off of common or voluntary penalties, such as those for called shots, for using magic against high-tech targets, or firing blind.

Power Pool

  • Every 3 points invested in a power pool provides 1 point which can be shifted into any power suited to the theme of the pool as a free action. Power pools must have a restrictive theme; they’re not licences for omnipotence.
  • Common themes include Darkness, Magnetism, Solar Powers, (Element) Manipulation, Illusion Generation, Plant Control, Transmutation, Vibration, Telekinesis, Telepathy, Animal Powers, and Shapeshifting. Severely restricted themes may provide a pool of 1 point for every 2 invested.
  • For +3 points the user may add a secondary, related, theme. For example, an Ace could be a master of Light and Darkness, a Telepath/Telekinetic, or control Electricity and Magnetism.
  • The Game Master should feel free to disallow any power which doesn’t clearly fit a theme, any theme which seems troublesome, or power pools entirely.

Skill Mastery

  • .5/1/2 points for 2/4/6 skill levels that can be shifted around given a few hours of study and practice. Such “Floating” skill levels cannot raise a skill above 6.
  • 1/2/3/4 points to be able to spontaneously translate human and metahuman/exotic species and alien/computer/ encrypted languages.

Vigor

  • 1/3/5/8 points to regenerate one box of damage per Hour/Minute/Turn/Initiative Count. +1 point to gradually regenerate lost limbs and organs, +1 to gradually recover drained essence up to your current maximum. Often will not affect damage from particular sources.
  • 2 points to get an additional damage monitor.
  • .5/1/3 points to adapt to any single environmental condition (extreme heat, breathing underwater)/a package of related factors (e.g. Water Adaption; water breathing, pressure adaption, eye adaptions for underwater, etcetera. Another character might take “Need not breathe, drink, eat, or sleep)/survive in any environment. This does not offer protection against attacks, only against reasonably stable environments.
  • 2 points for immunity to damage from any single elemental effect, such as “Fire” or “Electricity”. Yes, “Time” – and thus immunity to aging – is a valid choice, as is “toxins” or “pathogens”. .
  • 5/8/12 points to purchase partial invulnerability – 3/5/7 automatic successes against any external damaging effect (i.e: not versus drain). Specialized versions, such as psi- shields, bulletproof skin, energy resistance, etcetera half the cost.
  • 1 point to automatically stabilize when mortally wounded.
  • .5/1 point per point of inherent Impact/Ballistic armor. This is cumulative with worn armor, but is limited to a maximum of +6.

Weird Science

  • “McGuffins” are universal gadgets like “Utility Belts” or “Sonic Screwdrivers”. They can be readily adjusted (via Superheroics rolls) to accommodate an immense variety of features, with a total equivalent mundane cost of 5KNY per .5 cost up to a cost of 7, 90K for 8, 120K for 9, 160K for 10, 200K for 11, and 250K for 12. Unique features are possible, but their costs must be assigned by the Game Master.
  • Gadgets with arcane functions may simply be treated as Power Pools with an “item required” geas included.
  • Both types of functions may be combined in a single item.
  • Being a Gadgeteer simply requires taking a severely restricted form of a Power Pool with additional requirements -a Kit (to modify things) or Shop (to build them), weird Requirements, a Gadget, strange Side Effects, and occasional Dramatic Failures – which reduce the cost to 1 to 1. In general, the user describes and names his or her gadget, announces what strange components are going into it and what side effects he or she considers most likely, and makes a Superheroics roll. Each success (the target number is set by the GM) will let the gadget work once in a dramatic situation (tests don’t count). The GM should keep the exact target number secret; characters should never know if their gadget will work this time.
  • Characters should, however, have a general idea of whether or not it’s a high number though, since they may opt to put in side effects to reduce it. Minor side effects reduce the target number by 1-2, major by 3-5, and catastrophic ones by 6-7. GM’s may also allow -1 for any of the following conditions; Large laboratory, special components, extra time, and a “good” explanation of the device. Attempts at “Weird science” can fail spectacularly if no roll comes within at least 6 of the target number.
  • Modifying items using weird science is a lot easier, but such items only work once per success rolled, regardless of drama. Modifying a stereo set to work as a white noise generator is quite possible, and fairly simple. Turning a microwave and a TV set into a radar system is fairly difficult. The GM will, as usual, give your weird scientist some idea of what the target number is, but will not provide the exact value. Serious failures may wreck the base device, or may simply result in a device that doesn’t work properly. In some cases it may do something else entirely, explode, or simply appear to work without accomplishing anything.
  • Using Weird Science requires turns or minutes to modify things, hours or days to build them. Interestingly, the bigger the emergency the less time it takes.
  • As a side effect, Gadgeteers may roll Superheroics and check their pockets once per scene to produce some minor tool or implement, such as a screwdriver or a wrench. While the target numbers are, once again, set by the GM, they’re rarely very high for this. Karma works as usual; “Wait a minute! I’ve got one after all!”. Optionally, if they only fail by 1, they can produce a tool which is close, but not quite the item needed – although it can substitute for it at a penalty.
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