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I am the GM in a SR4 game, and am considering setting my PCs' next run in space (interesting + dangerous + unique = perfect location).

However, as far as I know Magic is impossible in space, and I have a mage and a dual-natured drake adept in my group. I don't want to just remove their magic / powers for a whole scenario (seems unfair), but I don't want either to allow unrestricted magic in space (changes the whole setting).

Is there a way to combine both, show that magic in space is an issue but without frustrating my PCs?

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Note: it was extremely difficult not to add the tag "spaaaace". –  Scrollmaster Jan 26 at 22:57
Do they know they're going into space? Could they bring some magical source with them? –  okeefe Jan 26 at 23:30
@okeefe They will know beforehand - they will receive a mission along the lines of "go get [McGuffin] in Space Station Y", and enough time/money to prepare a bit. –  Scrollmaster Jan 26 at 23:49
Did SR4 get rid of the whole "if you use magic at all in outer space the mage dies instantly"? –  Pulsehead Jan 27 at 2:33
@Pulsehead Nope (well, instantly dead or insane), that's actually my whole issue. –  Scrollmaster Jan 27 at 6:36
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1 Answer

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Removing their powers is clearly a bad idea, as you've stated. Players really don't like that. So you're left with

  1. Don't go to space
  2. Change the game so magic works in space just like it works elsewhere
  3. Invent a reason why magic-users can go to space and still use magic for this mission

So give them an item of some sort which lets them use magic safely if they're inside its effective radius, or carrying it on their person, or whatever. It's very rare, it's possibly experimental and may or may not always function, but it's good enough that they can expect to be useful while off-planet.

Then make sure it gets lost, or stolen by a charming band of child pickpockets (spontaneous group singing by said band of child pickpockets is entirely optional), or damaged.

If it's an unreliable item, maybe alongside the chance of failure make sure there's a chance that things will turn out better than expected - maybe it overpowers 5% of spells, which could be good or bad depending on what kind of spell it is and what you're using it for.

Or maybe it works perfectly, but was created by a process so atrocious that the characters are going to be very reluctant to carry on using it once they find out how it works.

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+1, and also you can make the search for that item be a whole quest by itself. They need a pre-mission run to extract said magic-in-space item from from the vaults of Evil Space Magic Inc, as preparation. In fact, you can use it as a seed for many more adventures regarding magic and space and various attempts to reconcile the two. –  lisardggY Jan 27 at 9:37
Good points. I didn't quite realise as I was writing that how much of a shift in the balance of power the possession of such an item could instigate. Any magic-heavy faction is going to be desperate to get their hands on it, and maybe taking it away from the people who developed it is as important to the PCs as having it so they can do their space mission. –  Matthew Walton Jan 27 at 11:28
Ooooh, that's beautiful, thanks :) –  Scrollmaster Jan 27 at 18:04
You could also make the "Magic Field Generator" simply burn out after so many hours active, or so much energy used, or have it detonate upon return to an area where magic normally works. –  aramis Jan 29 at 8:12
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