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My girlfriend would like to join our Shadowrun game. She witnessed the first two game sessions and realized how cool the game and the setting is. She would like to make a mage and will start playing with us in a couple game sessions.

By that time I want to make the party realize that they don't have an Awakened character with them and how of an asset a mage could be. Last time I checked she wanted to make an Occult investigator/combat mage hybrid.

I want them to scream in the middle of the fight : I wish we had a mage! How can I do that?

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As an advice, I will avoid introducing your girlfriend's character as a Poochie ( tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ShooOutTheNewGuy ). Wouldn't it better to introduce it as a regular character, without forcing the game universe into asking for it? Even your players can dislike this kind of approach (like you're imposing their need for that character). –  Flamma Jan 25 '13 at 19:28
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Mystical impotence curse –  mxyzplk Jan 25 '13 at 21:34

4 Answers 4

up vote 22 down vote accepted

Several things you could do

  • Pair them with an NPC mage for a specific mission, showcase the things the mage can do for them then, alas, said mage has to go.
  • Face them off against a mage, the things that get thrown at them should impress and make them think about what more the group could do if they had one too.
  • Set them up against a mage-problem, something where one would be really useful (scrying a room or something) and they have to use mundane things, have their employer ask about how it went and drop a comment, "Damn, shouldn't have been so hard - ah yeah, you don't have a mage"

I'd add that you can apply this to almost any USP for a new character:

Q. A new character that has USP X wants to join, how can I make the party appreciate X?
A. Scare/impress/wow/smackdown them with X

Result: "How can we get X?" ask the party.

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Great answer, but I think your third bullet is the best. Start tossing them problems that are easy with a mage and hard without one, such as dealing with magical security. –  TimothyAWiseman Jan 25 '13 at 19:03
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I agree with @TimothyAWiseman, except for one key point: do not drop an NPC comment even vaguely similar to "oh yeah, you needed a mage". If you've set up the mage-would-really-help challenge right, they'll spot the obvious value without prompting. If you haven't, the argument won't be convincing just because you had an NPC say it. Definitely a case of show, don't tell. Still, good answer. +1. –  Tynam Jan 25 '13 at 19:48
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@Tynam Good point. Showing is better than telling. –  TimothyAWiseman Jan 26 '13 at 0:56
    
Yep, it was a bit of a blunt object of a point; but the idea was, as I say; showcase USP X to the players by impressing, wowing, hindering or smackdowning them with X; soon they'll be wanting them a pile of some X. –  Rob Jan 28 '13 at 8:50

@Rob's answer has some good points, I'd take a different tack, mainly because if there is an NPC mage that they like, and your girlfriend's mage won't fill that same exact niche then there can be some hard feelings. A few ideas to get you started.

  • Send them against a strong magical enemy. Have the fixers say something like, "Normally I wouldn't throw this to you since you ain't got magic on your team; but all my magic heavy teams are currently engaged in other runs and this guy's got a hard-core need to get this done soonest..." Have the fixer suggest a mage "in my stable" who is between teams, that mage is your girlfriend's character. This is especially useful if the team is somewhat experienced and has created a reputation for themselves. The mage can be a n00b who just moved from [somewhere far away] and needs to learn the local shadows but a friend of a friend vouches for her.

  • Have the girlfriend's mage be the Johnson! She's on an investigation and needs some backup, so she hires out the team. While on the run, bring up whatever magical/semi-magical thing that they have struggled with, then step back and let her mage brush the threat aside like it was a particularly inept mosquito.

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I've done the second approach to introduce characters before, and it works well. As a secondary way to introduce tension/make her part of the team instead of just a corp, you can also have the element of betrayal where she is considered expendable also to make her 'flip'. –  wraith808 Jan 25 '13 at 22:23

From what I gather, you want to 'punish' your team so they regret they didn't have a mage with them. Any mission where you add magical security such as watcher spirits or the like to the enemy's arsenal should have them screaming for some magical ordnance.

Example:Hostage situation

The team is hired to rescue a hostage held by terrorists in a derelict building. It looks easy, because the terrorist don't have too much hardware. The runners are constantly harassed by extremely clever ambushes that their seemingly inferior opponents have set up. The secret is that the terrorists have a mage who watches their every step with her spirits.

Have the players realize that with a mage on the team, they'd just have had to take out the watchers with some weak spells thus robbing the terrorists of their advantage.

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+1 Good example! –  Rob Jan 25 '13 at 19:38

What if you slightly tweaked your goal so it is focused on the new PC specifically, rather than on the fact that the character uses magic? In other words, focus on the value of the individual mage rather than on mages in general.

If the new player joined in with an Occult Investigator/Combat Mage, that character could provide the team detection and investigation capabilities they (ostensibly) don't currently possess, while adding to their combat power. The current team members might not immediately realize the importance of the magic that gives the character those detection and combat capabilities, but they'd probably understand pretty rapidly after they witness the power of that magic being wielded for their benefit.

This might also give the new character a smoother onramp. Rather than having to meet the high expectations of being "the long-awaited mage" the character initially would just be the new member of the team who rounds out their capabilities. As the benefits of the character's magic manifest, her reputation within the team would continue to increase.

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