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Shadowrun 4e newbie questions
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Stahlseele
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Joined: 14 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

i do
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Nath
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Shadowrun/Earthdawn mana cycles are what you get when multiple writers contribute to a setting over several years and the only available references are in-context description that no one even takes the time to look up (let alone consider their implication) and instead rely on what they remember from what they read one decade ago, merged with Internet insight. That is, a snowballing pile mostly made of shit.

About the so-called Sixth World, I find enlightening to look at how the expression was initially introduced in Shadowrun, first edition :

Quote:
Shadowrun, 1st Edition, page 14
Some mystics point to the Mayan calendar as an authority, noting that it predicts the start of a new cycle of humanity on December, 24, 2011. They also say the appearance of the Dragon Ryumyo is the signpost making what the Mayans called the Sixth World.
Had they done better research, these dreamers would have discovered that the Mayans also predicted a world-destroying calamity that would herald the birth of a new, improved race of humans. Where were these things? It is true that we faced trials, disasters, and great change, but we do not have a new world. It's still good, old Mother Earth, even if she has entered a new phase.

Really. The whole "Sixth thingie" was supposed to be, by 2049, a bizarre expression in use only among the tenants of fringe theory. Sure, the existence of a previous era of magic was pretty much implied by the existence of grown-up dragons. And the plan was to introduce later information about the existence of immortal elves that could pass a fringe theory as well.

The first step was the "Humans and the Cycle of Magic" article writen by Jordan Weisman and attributed to Ehran. It was given considerable clout because 1 Ehran was established as a powerful character and as such, as someone clever and 2 it gave actual, precise dates, which immediately looks more serious.
The funny part is that, for all its references to the Mayan Long Count, none of the dates in the article actually match the Long Count. I'm not mentioning the fact that the December 24, 2011 has not been considered as a correct corelation for the Mayan calendar for several decades IRL. I mean, the three dates Ehran gave would make the Fifth World 730 days shorter and the Sixth World 31 days shorter than the Long Count thirteen baktuns. The Mayan Long Count is not predicting anything. That or Ehran may look even more stupid when he explains the Awakening is so incredibly difficult to predict, if just counting 1 872 000 days is going to make the cut twice in a row better than any other method.

I'm still not sure anyone at FASA actually read any archeology book about the Mayas. It is equally possible they just picked the dates from some New Age literature. For what it worth, they could have called it the Age of Aquarius just as well.

Humans the Cycle of Magic is the original source that suggest the duration of magical and mundane eras have always been the same. More accurately, it does state the "average" length is 5200 years and that the "Fifth World" was 5124 years long, and predicts the "Sixth World" is going to be 5126 years long. It should be pointed out Ehran has only observed the "Fifth World" in full, so he had to get data from someone else to calculate an average length and be convinced the "Sixth World" is also going to be about that long.

Tir Tairngire expanded a bit upon the Ehran article. It's noteworthy for using the word "cycle" correctly and mentioning "a full cycle taking somewhere between five and ten thousand years" (which would mean the "Fourth World" could have been as late and short as 3000 BCE-500 BCE).

Quote:
Tir Tairngire, page 140
>>>>>[The Fourth World ties into a theory that's been knocking around for a decade or so now. Supposedly, the theory sprang from a private lecture Ehran the Scribe gave to a group of young elven technologists some time back. Someone pirated the trideo and it's been making the covert rounds. Ehran tried to have it squashed, with minimal success.
Anyway, the theory say that time and history move in cycles, like a sine wave (turn an 'S' and its side). During the 'down" part, the world's mana (magic energy) ebbs, hence no magic. During the 'up' part, the level of mana increases and magic appears. This pattern of low mana/high mana continually repeats itself, a full cycle taking somewhere between five and ten thousand years. Every half-cycle, each independent low mana or high mana period creates a separate "World." According to the story, the Awakening market the beginning of this World.]<<<<<
-Pele (11:02:39/3-13-54)


I am a lot less savvy regarding Earthdawn books, but I'm actually not sure they ever numbered any era as the Fourth something. I know they mention an "Age of Dragons" that appear to be the previous age of magic, during which almost all Great Dragons of Barsaive have been born. The Dragons sourcebook also introduced a world origin legend as told by the dragons, but it does not state the Age of Dragons came right after. Actually, considering the Great Dragons are said to be born during the previous magical eras, expressions such as "As each generation of dragon learns from the great dragons before them..." suggest a way much longer history.

Now, everyone who has read those texts twenty years ago would tell you it always has been clearly established there were six eras who all lasted 5214 or 5200 years, and that the mana peak that allowed the Horrors in happened at the middle of the two previous magical eras.
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Nath
Master


Joined: 28 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
It's rather odd, because Earthdawn actually has a really tiny and myopic focus and is centered around some fantasy adventures people are/were having in what is now the Ukraine / Russia. There's no particular reason for people in North America, East Asia, or even Western Europe to ever see anything that ever made a fuck width's of difference in Earthdawn, and all of the crossovers were kinda strained when you thought about them in that light.

Well, Earthdawn is a game about adventuring in one rebel province in an Empire that stretches around all the Mediterrean Sea and the Black Sea, with scarce mentions of remote locations. As far as RPG are concerned, it's not particularly tinier or more myopic than most other games (Shadowrun included, if you consider the coverage the world outside of North America did get prior to the 3rd edition).

The cross-over itself, on the other hand, is a tiny one, one both sides of the connection. What you really get is, like, eight ED characters who were in Barsaive and moved to North America, four of them preventing a group of SR characters from bringing back other ED characters, and the four other establishing a SR nation that will speak an ED language.

The only thing that makes the cross-over looks big is the threat to destroy the entire setting is the former fail.
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Voss
Prince


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 3887

PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Nath wrote:
Now, everyone who has read those texts twenty years ago would tell you it always has been clearly established there were six eras who all lasted 5214 or 5200 years, and that the mana peak that allowed the Horrors in happened at the middle of the two previous magical eras.

Mostly what everyone actually tells you is 'this is why recorded history doesn't have real magic. Shut up, there's magic now, because cycles.'

Get on with shadowrunning already.
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kzt
Knight-Baron


Joined: 03 May 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The motto of the FASA owner was, per the marketing guy at FASA, 'sell the sizzle, not the steak'. So nothing needed to make sense at second glance, much less deep analysis.
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Wiseman
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Joined: 09 Mar 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

How do sinless mages work? Only 1-2% of the population can use magic, so being awakened means you automatically have marketable skills that would make corporations want you.
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Trill
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Joined: 26 May 2017
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

From what I recall there are a few reasons to be a SIN-less awakened
A) While the number of awakened has miraculously both risen and stayed at 1% of the population, this includes all awakened. That means it includes the MAG 6 Adepts/MysAds/Mages. But it also includes MAG 1 Adepts, Aspected Mages and Mages. So while they are awakened, a pair of cybereyes is going to turn them mundane and they likely can't do much (Aspected Conjurers that can summon Force 1 spirits or Force 2 spirits with physical drain ain't that useful)
B) While they may have powers it could happen that they aren't noticed. Detecting awakened needs Assensing or noticing magic being worked. While there is Fluff about people going into barrens and looking for potential recruits, it is likely that they won't be that thorough. And so the awakened either look for mentors in the streets or try to get the attention of corps in flashier ways (which might get them geeked)
C) While the corps are looking for magical talent they are also looking for talent which they can mould into obedient mage-slaves. So being too rowdy or rebellious can make the corps not take them. Which leads me to
D) Even if they have enough power to be noticed and have the opportunities, some don't want to. This may be because they think it's better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven (metaphorically) and that they would lose so much power going legit. It may be rebellion against the corps, not wanting to be a slave to a megacorporation and toil their entire lives in soul-numbing work. It may just be that they see more opportunity in going alone or in a group of others (which may lead them to Wizgangs, Syndicates or Runner teams). It might just be that they don't want to take the responsibility of the job. Or of course it could be that they already have other plans.


Last edited by Trill on Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:35 pm; edited 2 times in total
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FrankTrollman
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Wiseman wrote:
How do sinless mages work? Only 1-2% of the population can use magic, so being awakened means you automatically have marketable skills that would make corporations want you.


While you have marketable skills, you're also crazy dangerous and have laser eyebeams that are roughly the equivalent of an assault rifle you can't put down. While you definitely have skills that would make you hirable, the threshold for getting blackballed and thrown out of corporate life altogether is also relatively speaking much lower. Shadowrun is full of stories of people who started talking to totem spirits while living as a corporate citizen only to have managers freak the fuck out and remove all their access to the archology.

-Frank
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TheSystem
NPC


Joined: 28 Jan 2018
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Wiseman wrote:
How do sinless mages work? Only 1-2% of the population can use magic, so being awakened means you automatically have marketable skills that would make corporations want you.
You may want to clarify what question you're asking since you've gotten two different answers so far.

However, speaking to the one interpretation that hasn't been addressed, technically being SINless is not a permanent state. A corporation can give you a SIN if they want to hire you. If you show magical talent and a propensity to follow rules, it would be correct to assume that you can acquire a job in a corporation, and as such would be issued a SIN with the corporation as a sponsor (potentially even the provider). It's a fair bet if a talented mage is not employed by a corporation, it's either because they don't want to be, or they've done something (or potentially something like mental illness) to make themselves unemployable. You're right in that market forces would clearly propel mages towards employment, all things equal.

Quote:
If you consider the effect on the world: long lines at the security check-point because cyberware is supposed to be common in the world, there are not a lot of places where it would be reasonable to implement. Can you imagine the corps wanting people to waste the first hour of work waiting in line for security to determine if they installed new cybereyes?

This would imply it is impossible to program the scanners to disregard common or legal modifications. The description of the cyberware scanner in 4A even specifically denotes that if it makes the Threshold it determines location and basic type, meaning the software is smart enough to not go off every time somebody with cybereyes or a datajack wanders though.
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Longes
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

On top of what others said - many awakened are total weirdoes who don't want to be SINless in the first place. Mentor spirits drive people to act in bizarre ways and so do the traditions. "Shaman" is one of the most popular traditions in the world (alongside "Hermetic") and many Shamans are environmentalists, maintain a strict regimen of hallucinogenics, and/or want to live in very specific places - all things incompatible with being a corporate drone.
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phlapjackage
Knight


Joined: 24 May 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Wiseman wrote:
How do sinless mages work? Only 1-2% of the population can use magic, so being awakened means you automatically have marketable skills that would make corporations want you.
you lost your job to a chinese/indian mage who works for a tenth of the salary
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