The Way of the Adept: One Man’s Opinion
By Russell “Critias” Zimmerman
This is meant as a clarification of portions of The Way of the Adept, a Shadowrun e-book. This is not necessarily an official errata, as it is something I have put together on my own time and in my own way (albeit as sole writer of the sourcebook). As this hasn’t passed through official channels, been overseen by line developers, or been tweaked by editors and proofreaders, feel free to consider it as optional as you’d like.
Q: ZOMG, Adeptrun! Like Awakened characters really need the help and blah blah blah what the hell are you thinking?
A: I’ll cheerfully concede that I think mages have it a little easy in SR4(A). I disagree, however, with the notion that adepts do, compared to their mundane, cybered and bio-augmented, counterparts. If adepts are so friggin’ awesome, why do so many of them feel the need to dip into augmentation, themselves, to get some of their core attribute and init boosts? Given that so many options exist for cybered characters to discount their special abilities (with multiple Positive Qualities, ‘ware grade discounts, adapsin, cyberware package deals), and with a few adept powers – IMHO – criminally overpriced, I thought I’d try to even the odds a little bit. This is a set of optional rules that players and GMs can use if they think they’re needed. No one’s allowed to hold a gun to their GM’s head and insist they get these discounts, but the rules are there, now, for gaming tables that think their adepts are lagging behind.
Q: Does Unseen Hands really give Invisible Way adepts a bonus to all those skills for just .5 per level?
A: Yyyyyyup. Just like Natural Survivors and Prodigious Physicality, too. Why should Kinesics-hogging Speaker’s Way types have all the fun, getting hyper-efficient discounts on powers for just half a point per level? Note, however, that as Way-specific powers, these new ones aren’t eligible for a discount (unlike those Speaker’s Way guys, who talked me into cutting them a deal on Kinesics).
Q: Confidence Man and Swift and Terrible don’t work like that. What gives? Why aren’t Warriors and Speakers getting more dice to roll, like everyone else?
A: Speakers already have a lot of dice to roll. Hell, Speakers often have more dice than they might reasonably need to roll, given how several of their powers, pieces of gear, and various other things can stack. I didn’t think Pornomancers really needed another handful of dice to add to the pile, so I thought I’d put together something a little different for them. Likewise, Warrior’s Way adepts have some of the most heavily discounted powers available to them here in The Way of the Adept, with some real points sinks like Improved Reflexes. Instead of giving them a new Way-specific power like “Killy McKillyPants” that let them sling more dice on, I dunno, every combat skill ever, I thought I’d give them something a little unique. They’re supposed to be the unrivaled masters of melee combat in Shadowrun, so giving them a speed boost after they whoop someone’s butt seemed like it might be a way to let the melee specialist really shine.
Q: ‘Round as normal?’ WTF is that supposed to mean? *flails*
A: Yeah, sorry about that. It was my intent to just make sure that my new discounts made sense with how other adept discounts had been done earlier in this edition (Street Magic, here’s lookin’ at you, kid), so I just figured I’d describe my optional discounts the exact same way as they’d described their optional discounts. It turns out that they, well, hadn’t. So for my take on it? Pile up all your discounted powers, apply the 25% discount to ‘em, and just go with the nearest full “.25” power point cost you’ve got. 1 PP discounted nets you .25, 2 PP discounted gives you .5, etc, etc. The cheapest adept powers are .25 per level, so it’s easiest, neatest, cleanest, and the least math-intensive to just keep your discounts in .25 PP increments. The rule is here to cut adepts some slack and let them get a few more goodies, not to make you whip out the slide rule and calculate .1875 PP costs for stuff like one of those cyberware guys squeezing the last .0001 Essence out of something. Pick out your most expensive powers, apply a twenty-five percent discount, and get a few more levels with the leftovers. Don’t give yourself a headache.
Q: Do you have to be an Adept (or Mystic Adept) to take a Way?
A: Yup. I mean, I guess if some knucklehead street samurai wanted to spend 10 BP in order to get a discount on powers he can’t buy, he’s, uhh, more than welcome to...but realistically, yes. You need to be an adept to follow a Way. My mistake for not wording it as particularly and specifically as Mentor Spirit or other Qualities, I’d hoped the name of the book and the context kind of made that clear. So yeah, you need to have invested in the Adept or Mystic Adept Qualities in order to then invest in a Way, or in Walking the Ways (see below). I wanted ‘em to be free, but playtesters thought otherwise, and them’s the breaks.
Q: Can you take more than one Way?
A: My intent was for Ways to function (sort of) like a Mentor Spirit or something for Adepts; so no. However, in the book as written -- without “Walking the Ways” from later in this doc -- I don’t think it would necessarily break the game to let folks double-dip. If they can’t take Walking the Ways. If someone wants to be a cool assassin who’s inhumanly good at sneaking and murdering people right in the face, and the only way they can get the combination of powers they want is to take Warrior’s Way and Invisible Way? Well, heck. If your GM’s on board, I’m cool with it. Way of the Adept is all about shoehorning the rules to make them fit your concept, after all. Walking the Ways gives you enough versatility I don’t think this option is required, but if you’re playing without WtW, as far as I’m concerned, knock yourself out.
P. 14, FAVORED POWERS boxed text. Please insert the following at the end of the first paragraph:
“For campaigns choosing to pile optional rule atop optional rule, players should stack these bonuses before calculating power costs. If an adept has a Geas upon a power and also has that power as a favored/discounted choice, for instance, the .25 and .25 discounts would be combined prior to calculating power cost, offering a total of a 50% discount to that power.”
P. 14, NEW QUALITIES subchapter, insert the following new Quality just after The Warrior’s Way and prior to NEW POWERS:
“Walking the Ways
Cost: 10 BP
Not every adept can be put neatly into a hermetic theorist’s box. There are those who walk the Invisible Way in mindset and temperament but do so while sliding panzers beneath enemy radar. There are those who strive like Athletes while kickboxing or wrestling as dangerously as any Warrior. There are those who think like Warriors while wielding drones instead of their own fists. For more versatility, adepts may purchase this Quality for 10 BP. Doing so allows them to add to their own discounted power list, selecting one power for every two Magic points they possess. These powers are discounted in addition to powers they may already have discounted from being on another Way. While powers may be selected from more than one Way with this Quality, note that the discounted powers still may not be Way-specific powers. They do not get any other benefits of a Way for this Quality, merely the flexibility of discounting additional powers. Walking the Ways may be taken in addition to another Way Quality, or as a stand alone Quality.”
P. 14, CONFIDENCE MAN, power description. Please change the following sentence so that it reads:
“Using this power is a Complex Action, and allows the adept…etc.” Whoops. My bad!
P. 15, NATURAL SURVIVORS, please insert the “(max 3 levels)” after the Cost of this power, similar to PRODIGIOUS PHYSICALITY and UNSEEN HANDS, later that same page.
P. 15, SWIFT AND TERRIBLE, please change the appropriate sentence so that it reads…
“For every enemy combatant beaten in armed or unarmed close combat during a single combat round (by successfully hitting them with a melee attack of any kind), apply a +1 to the adepts Initiative...etc.” This change simply specifies what is meant by “beaten.”