Author Topic: bonuses and penalties with indirect spellcasting  (Read 1071 times)

brombur

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bonuses and penalties with indirect spellcasting
« on: (22:20:14/02-01-18) »
I've been going over the rules and can't find a clear answer to the following question

A mage casts an indirect combat spell, say flamethrower, at a running target, what, if any modifiers do I apply to the targets defense and the mages spell cast.

It seems logical that the defender gains his bonus to his defense pool, as he can dodge the spell but I don't see anywhere clearly where that is stated

The mage taking a penalty to their spell casting roll is where this becomes problematic. I can't find any hard written info. Assigning penalties for the targets actions would also impact the glitch chance as well as the drain roll and that is where is feels a little weird to me. Is this clarified anywhere in the FAQ or rule books?

 

PiXeL01

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Re: bonuses and penalties with indirect spellcasting
« Reply #1 on: (22:25:47/02-01-18) »
Just like any other spell casting it is only modified by visual modifiers, nothing else.

firebug

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Re: bonuses and penalties with indirect spellcasting
« Reply #2 on: (08:07:35/02-02-18) »
Quote from: Core Rulebook, page 281, "Step 2: Choose The Target"
If you need to see the target, line of sight can be established with your natural vision, including using reflective surfaces and looking through transparent objects. Cyber- or bioware visual enhancements that have been paid for with Essence count as natural. Any technological visual aid that digitizes or augments the visual input for you (a camera, electronic binoculars, Matrix feeds, etc.) doesn’t work—you’re looking at a generated image, not the light from the real target. Spellcasting by visual targeting is subject to normal visibility modifiers. You can use visual targeting to target astral targets when you’re in astral space (you’re not technically seeing them, but the analogy works).

It's a bit out of the way, but there you go.  In this case though, it implies that Light/Glare doesn't affect spells ("Visibility" is its own section).
« Last Edit: (08:10:06/02-02-18) by firebug »
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brombur

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Re: bonuses and penalties with indirect spellcasting
« Reply #3 on: (08:33:20/02-02-18) »
This was my initial problem, there is not only no clear yes/no answer they also create a whole slew of vague-ness.

Does the defender still get his defense bonuses for cover and running? again I say yes

By the current wording of the rules a mage has nearly infinite range and a level of precision that is beyond what any other character can achieve at that range. by these rules you could have a mage looking through the big observation deck binoculars on the empire state building and be casting lightning bolts at people 1000's of meters away with 0 modifiers. That seems wrong. the book does list a -3 penalty for using optics to cast spells, which of course only shows up in the gear description section of the CBR Pg 444 OPTICAL DEVICES

"These devices use optical technology (glass bending or
reflecting light), not electronics, to function. They have
many uses, one of the most dramatic of which is that
they enable a magician to obtain line of sight for spellcasting
from cover, something that canít be accomplished
with electronic devices. Spellcasting targeted
through optics this way suffers a Ė3 dice pool modifier.
Optical devices canít take vision enhancemen"

The act of spell casting, used for drain and damage determinations, feels like it should be separate from the act of throwing the spell at a target. 

ShadowcatX

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Re: bonuses and penalties with indirect spellcasting
« Reply #4 on: (09:03:18/02-02-18) »
This was my initial problem, there is not only no clear yes/no answer they also create a whole slew of vague-ness.

Does the defender still get his defense bonuses for cover and running? again I say yes

Yes. Nothing about magic precludes bonuses or penalties to defense rolls, where defense rolls are allowed.

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By the current wording of the rules a mage has nearly infinite range and a level of precision that is beyond what any other character can achieve at that range. by these rules you could have a mage looking through the big observation deck binoculars on the empire state building and be casting lightning bolts at people 1000's of meters away with 0 modifiers. That seems wrong. the book does list a -3 penalty for using optics to cast spells, which of course only shows up in the gear description section of the CBR Pg 444 OPTICAL DEVICES

It isn't wrong though. However, remember this is an urban setting and lines of visibility are limited.

Quote
The act of spell casting, used for drain and damage determinations, feels like it should be separate from the act of throwing the spell at a target.

I don't know what you mean here.

brombur

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Re: bonuses and penalties with indirect spellcasting
« Reply #5 on: (13:36:56/02-02-18) »
The last part about drain and targeting is my thoughts on the system in general. I understand that to streamline things they removed redundant dice rolls, thus baking into the casting roll the actual act of hitting the target with the spell. So if you don't apply penalties to this roll based on the circumstance (distance, target running, etc) then you have given magic a pretty size able perk, added to the massive AP mod and the massive range.  If you do mod the roll for all of these circumstances then you are artificially softening the drain roll since the switch from Stun to Physical is based on total net hits, which reducing dice pools impacts, meaning you can create a massive damage spell but minimize the risk of the drain becoming physical.

It would a non issue if the casting roll to determine damage and drain was separate from the act of hitting the target.

Also the game is an urban setting but players are clever enough to find and use any rule to their advantage and will create scenarios to abuse it. I can clearly see the chance for a player to build a massive range mage sniper using optics that would be far better than anyone with a gun. Even direct spells can be abused this way potentially.

ShadowcatX

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Re: bonuses and penalties with indirect spellcasting
« Reply #6 on: (14:09:11/02-02-18) »
The last part about drain and targeting is my thoughts on the system in general. I understand that to streamline things they removed redundant dice rolls, thus baking into the casting roll the actual act of hitting the target with the spell. So if you don't apply penalties to this roll based on the circumstance (distance, target running, etc) then you have given magic a pretty size able perk, added to the massive AP mod and the massive range.  If you do mod the roll for all of these circumstances then you are artificially softening the drain roll since the switch from Stun to Physical is based on total net hits, which reducing dice pools impacts, meaning you can create a massive damage spell but minimize the risk of the drain becoming physical.

It's trivial to throw around powerful spells without having them become physical drain with reagents.

Quote
It would a non issue if the casting roll to determine damage and drain was separate from the act of hitting the target.

Also the game is an urban setting but players are clever enough to find and use any rule to their advantage and will create scenarios to abuse it. I can clearly see the chance for a player to build a massive range mage sniper using optics that would be far better than anyone with a gun. Even direct spells can be abused this way potentially.

Again, this happens. And again, the world is built around it. Windows are mirrored so mages can't see inside, just as an example.

P.S. Sniper, wether mage or not, is not a great fit for Shadowrun.

firebug

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Re: bonuses and penalties with indirect spellcasting
« Reply #7 on: (15:30:51/02-02-18) »
It's very rarely the case that Drain becomes Physical anyways; you need to cast something at a higher Force than your Magic (or use Edge to break the limit) and then roll very well.  Most mages I've seen do not roll 7+ hits on average.  To do that you'd probably need to be using some very powerful foci, or else just stacking miscellaneous buffs.  Most I usually see is 16, which can occasionally roll above 6, but again, not enough that "getting penalties to the dice pool, thus making them not take Physical as often" is even a consideration.  If you feel like mages are OP, this isn't the area that needs balancing.

And yeah, max range is actually not as useful as it sounds.  Most runs don't take place in wide open areas or on the street, but inside buildings.  Cars come with tinted windows as standard features, and yeah, most building windows have something similar (mirrored or tinted) because, well, the people of the Sixth World know that magic is very dangerous.
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PiXeL01

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Re: bonuses and penalties with indirect spellcasting
« Reply #8 on: (18:49:39/02-02-18) »
The fluff has always stated that as long as a mage can see through natural vision a part of his target then he can connect to that targetís aura and dump mana to various effects into the targets body.

Also resisting indirect spells is still a resistance test, it isnít a defense roll to dodge the effect. That means grazing hits doesnít come into effect either. Hell, even Combat Sense for adepts doesnít work.

firebug

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Re: bonuses and penalties with indirect spellcasting
« Reply #9 on: (19:05:29/02-02-18) »
Are you sure about that?  That does not sound accurate or sensible...  That might be technically how it is, but there's no way it's intended.  If you weren't able and weren't trying to dodge the effect, it wouldn't use your REA + INT, it would be different like every other type of spell in the game.  I'm absolutely confident that the pool used to defend against Indirect spells is a defense test in all regards and can benefit from all the bonuses you'd get from dodging any physical projectile (which is what an indirect spell is).
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PiXeL01

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Re: bonuses and penalties with indirect spellcasting
« Reply #10 on: (19:19:51/02-02-18) »
Well that depends on how you interpret this phrase

ďĒThe spell then is launched with an Opposed Test that pits the magicianís Spellcasting + Magic [Force] versus the targetís Reaction + Intuition, kind of like shoot- ing a gun (in this case with bullets made of acid, or  re, or something equally unpleasant to be hit by).ď

Combat Sense only applies its bonuses to melee and ranged attacks which indirect spells arenít.

Itís the same debat whether a control rig implant offers the same benefits of a Datajack implant because it is described as having a jack just like a datajack implant.

firebug

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Re: bonuses and penalties with indirect spellcasting
« Reply #11 on: (19:43:17/02-02-18) »
I mean, that feels really pedantic and semantic.  There'd be no reason to include the line "kind of like shooting a gun" if you weren't physically dodging the spell; the mechanics (it being REA + INT) back this up.  The sentence is there to illustrate that this is definitely a projectile that you are physically avoiding ("or something equally unpleasant to be hit by").  There's logic behind what attributes form the defense pool, they aren't picked at random.  It would be pretty blatant rules lawyering to try and claim indirect spells have that benefit (a benefit they don't need) and that bonuses like Combat Sense and cover don't apply.  If you think this is really a legitimate problem, I'll tell the errata team, but I can't imagine there being a different consensus.

As for the Control Rig, it gives a DNI, a port, and cable.  That's what a datajack does.  There's no reason to assume it would include the wireless bonus; if it did, the Control Rig would have a section for its wireless bonus.  There's no other augmentations that literally include the entire function and all the benefits (wireless bonus) included, which is quite a big reason to assume this isn't the one exception.  I'll give you that the "have a private conversation via cord" is more ambiguous, but that's supposed to just be what happens if two people with DNI plug into eachother.

Neither of these things are really a common debate.  But I suppose someone who wanted to be that guy could argue about it.  That said, anyone can argue about something endlessly.
« Last Edit: (19:49:07/02-02-18) by firebug »
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Re: bonuses and penalties with indirect spellcasting
« Reply #12 on: (20:47:11/02-02-18) »
It does need a ruling or at least a rewrite if it brings up questions and debates due to being ambiguous. Instead of saying kind of like a ranged attack, it should say following the rules and modifiers of a Ranged attack.

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Re: bonuses and penalties with indirect spellcasting
« Reply #13 on: (23:58:37/02-02-18) »
The way I have seen it worked at many tables is thus:

Direct spells require line of sight, thus as long as the caster can see the target, he spell effect happens.

Indirect spells (like fireball, throwthower): require line of sight to the target*, if he can see the spot, he can cast.

Basically, because most indirect spell effects create "something" that does the damage, they can be "dodged" as appropriate. And spells such as Fireball can hit multiple targets if placed well (such as tossing a fireball into the center of a small room).

Direct spells, require you to actually see the target to establish a link, and transmit the mana directly to the target (Stunning, wounding, taking over their mind, etc). This means a foe hidng around a corner of a wall wouldn't be affected by a AOE direct spell...



Now, I can't point you to a direct rule, but that is the way I have seen it played out. 
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PiXeL01

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Re: bonuses and penalties with indirect spellcasting
« Reply #14 on: (00:38:14/02-03-18) »
Honestly i think I used to play an indirect spell like a gunshot back when I had a group last time although the CRB isnít clear in the matter.
Given the damage potential of indirect spells having them being treated like mundane ranged attacks for defense purposes, but it could be argued either way RAW I would say.