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So long story short, Shadowrun 5th Edition seems to continue a love affair with mystic adepts (and hey, who wouldn't?) by introducing the new Way of the Magician, which, in short, says:

"Unlike their physical counterparts, mystic adepts following this Way have access to all non-adept metamagic abilities for which they meet the prerequisites." (SG, 178).

What I take this to mean is the following:

An adept following the Magician's Way can use any non-adept metamagic without purchasing it the normal way.

My question is:

What does this mean for an uninitiated magician using the Magician's Way? Namely, do they they wait for their first Initiation in order to use this?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I haven't read the book yet, unfortunately, but that quote seems to mean that you can learn non-adept metamagic abilities, not just have them all for free \$\endgroup\$ – Cristol.GdM Aug 2 '14 at 23:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't bet on that. Nowhere in the book or in research do I recall anyone saying anything about mystic adepts being restricted from metamagic normally. The only restriction given that I can see is "Some metamagics are for adepts only, and some are pretty useless to adepts." (SR5, 325), but that never excludes either physical or mystical adepts from taking metamagic, only warning the former about the futility of doing so. \$\endgroup\$ – Kyle Willey Aug 3 '14 at 0:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ways are one of the poorest written sections of a very poorly written edition. I'm loving the SR5 game that I'm in, but just go ahead and assume you're going to have to do a lot of interpretation and table ruling and divining of intent to figure out the Way's chapter. \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Aug 3 '14 at 17:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, that's basically what I'm getting. I'm a little disappointed in Catalyst; SR5's an improvement in some ways in my opinion, but the quality's been dropping like a rock since Hazard Pay and it's not just in the "optional" books either. \$\endgroup\$ – Kyle Willey Aug 3 '14 at 21:17
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The quoted sentence places no restriction on its benefit, and says nothing about initiation. It should apply as of character creation. Following your interpretation, a mystic adept with magician's way would have access to the metamagics immediately, and should use initiation for other purposes.

However, "free use of all regular metamagics" is a very powerful feature that people would talk about in online discussion forums. They don't. It's also problematic from a game balance perspective. Should a character instantly become more capable whenever you buy a splatbook?

Therefore, logic indicates that the RAW phrase "have access to" means RAI "are allowed to purchase". When the sentence is viewed as a redundant restriction on physical adepts, the rules are consistent, although worded poorly.

Update

Reading the section on Ways more closely, I note two things:

  1. "Because they [...] do not receive a bonus besides the discount on Power Point cost, followers of this Way are able to choose any power they want for the discount." The only quantitative benefit of Magician's Way is the discount, gaining up to PP=(Magic/4) for 20 karma.
  2. In general, the Ways suck. Beast's Way is marginally worthwhile due to the mentor spirit, and maybe Athlete's Way if you have 3 IPAs to get max discount, but the rest are karma-squandering traps. Your interpretation pushes Magician's Way way beyond the others, to be a mandatory Mystic Adept tax.

p.s. An alternate interpretation of the sentence is that Magician's Way adepts are allowed to poach metamagics from the various Schools without having to be a member (i.e. if you enforce "These metamagics are only available to those who initiate into this school of magic" from p.139).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Keep in mind that Magician's Way is 20 karma, which is a lot at character creation. \$\endgroup\$ – Kyle Willey Aug 7 '14 at 18:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, I'm not disagreeing with anything you're saying; the things are exactly what I'm thinking, but there's no real answer here. Also, we do actually see discussion of it (the third link in that Google search: forum.rpg.net/…), with the consensus being that either it shows that Mystic Adepts were supposed to be locked out of metamagics (which means a major oopsie in the core book), or that they get a sizeable upgrade now. \$\endgroup\$ – Kyle Willey Aug 7 '14 at 18:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Technically, your explicit question is answered by my first paragraph. The benefit applies immediately, even before initiation. Exactly what that benefit entails is still up for debate, but you didn't ask that. ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Foo Bar Aug 7 '14 at 21:14

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