Author Topic: Possession and spells  (Read 896 times)

mtfeeney = Baron

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Possession and spells
« on: February 27, 2013, 06:39:17 PM »
Ok, so let's say I summon a spirit of man.  It has the latent spell(increased reflexes) power, which I have it use immediately.  Then I order it to possess me, because I have channeling.  Does it keep sustaining the spell on its own?  Am I now the one sustaining the spell?  When you tell a possessed spirit to use a power, is IT using the power or are YOU using the power?  If I'm possessed already and I tell a spirit of man to use a latent spell(whatever), does the spirit keep track of its own sustaining modifiers or is it cumulative across the board?
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Dr. Meatgrinder

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Re: Possession and spells
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2013, 07:51:04 PM »
You and the possessing spirit are considered a single dual-natured entity for the duration (p. 101, Street Magic), so there is no "you" and "it" during the possession.  (That also means you and the spirit don't get separate combat actions--the two of you are one being.)  All Channeling changes in this regard is shared control; the combined entity has access to your skills and the "you" part of the shared entity has motor control.

The combined entity (you + spirit) suffers the sustaining modifier for the spell being sustained, whether it was cast before or after the possession.  The combined entity is using the power, and it costs a spirit service as stated under Channeling.
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Falconer

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Re: Possession and spells
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2013, 08:01:30 PM »
Your example is flawed....  The spirit cannot cast the spell in the first place.

Increase reflexes is a 'physical' spell.   It cannot be cast by a purely astral entity on anything (only mana spells can be used on the astral).   The spirit would be restricted to casting mana spells on you and only while you were also present on the astral (such as astrally perceiving).   EG: the spirit could cast 'heal' on you from the astral if you were astrally percieving...


The rest is why I suggest any new GM's ban possession from their games because there are a LOT of areas of possession in which the rules are not well defined and how you choose to handle it can make a big difference.   And it can become game breakingly powerful very easy especially against new GM's who don't know how to handle it.   Or who don't cut their teeth by using it now and then as a NPC threat to familiarize themselves with it more.


Now to try and address your other points...
You order the spirit to cast the spell on you... possessing a vessel as part of this action and doesn't use up a seperate service.

In order the cast the spell... the spirit must first possess something to gain a physical plane presence.

So lets say you have a ring/beltbuckle/necklace as a prepared vessel for your possession spirits... the spirit possesses it.   Then casts the spell on you (innate spell is both a power and a normal spell) normally.   If it doesn't get 4 successes for 4 passes too bad.   The casting/using of a power used up a service.  After which the spirit will return to the astral per the rules as it's completed the service.


Now this is where the rules get grey... if you treat the spell as a spell... the spirit takes a -2 sustaining penalty as if it were sustaining as would any normal magician.   If treated as a spirit power... there is no sustaining penalty for the spirit, but it counts against his limit of active powers.


Now onto the second grey mess of possession rules.

What is the target of the spell?   Is it the newly formed combine-being dual-entity?   The vessel ceases to exist independently as the vessel during possesion that much is sure though.   Channeling does not remove this 'dual-entity problem'... the mage merely gains some measure of control over it.  And before you dismiss the problem... if a non-living vessel is used... then something like 'increase reflexes' makes utterly no sense if cast on the vessel.   As a living 'dual entity' target though it is a valid target of the spell... the problem is what happens when the 'dual entity' ceases...   does the spell remain on the vessel and the vessel alone even if the vessel is an otherwise illegal target for the spell.


So a lot of this comes down to how the GM chooses to handle all this.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 08:09:07 PM by Falconer »

mtfeeney = Baron

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Re: Possession and spells
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2013, 11:55:13 PM »
I don't see much of an issue with them casting increase reflexes on a belt buckle, since it's impossible.  Being possessed would not grant a belt buckle with a reflex attribute.  A dead person... maybe, but if they stopped being possessed, a +3 IP with their overflowed damage track would leave them just as dead as anyone else who had started out being affected by Imp.Ref. and died.

As for not being able to cast spells from the astral onto physical beings, wow... I can't believe I overlooked that.  Thanks for pointing it out.  If you're dual-natured, can they cast physical spells on you from the astral? 

Innate Spell repeatedly says it's treated as a normal magician casting a spell, including using a spellcasting skill test and drain.  Not much debate there.
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Mantis

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Re: Possession and spells
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2013, 12:02:08 AM »
Yes, if you are dual natured they can hit/cast spells on you from the astral. Double edged sword there so be careful with hostile magicians.

mtfeeney = Baron

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Re: Possession and spells
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2013, 12:04:52 AM »
I know they can cast "spells" on a dual-natured from the astral, but does that include both mana and physical spells?  or just mana spells?
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Re: Possession and spells
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2013, 12:22:11 AM »
Ah I see, just mana spells. Those are the only type you can cast from the astral, no matter the target.

RiggerBob

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Re: Possession and spells
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2013, 01:45:55 AM »
Can someone quote the rule disallowing physical spells/powers in astral space for me?

I only find things like "astral targets can only be affected by mana spells" and that's not exactly the same. Combine this with the spirit rules ("While in astral form, spirits can only perform services that affect the astral plane or that directly affect their summoner through the magical link between them.", SR4A, p.186) and i'm not even sure a spirit has to materialize/possess when only targeting it's summoner.

Mantis

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Re: Possession and spells
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2013, 10:08:10 AM »
Well you pretty much have it right there. If astral targets can only be affected by mana spells, there is no point in casting a physical spell on them as they aren't affected. When in astral space the only valid targets for you are astral (this includes dual natured) so while you can technically cast a physical spell, it won't do anything. Your targets are all astral. Same goes with spirits. Pg 204 of Running Wild explains just what goes on with spirits and their powers.

Powers may be either mana (M) or physical (P), just like spells (see p. 203, SR4A). Mana powers do not affect nonliving
targets, whereas physical powers cannot be used in astral space or affect astral forms.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 10:10:33 AM by Mantis »

RiggerBob

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Re: Possession and spells
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2013, 10:49:05 AM »
If astral targets can only be affected by mana spells, there is no point in casting a physical spell on them as they aren't affected. When in astral space the only valid targets for you are astral (this includes dual natured) so while you can technically cast a physical spell, it won't do anything.

Under normal circumstances you would be perfectly right but to requote the sprit rules:
Quote from: SR4A, p.186
While in astral form, spirits can only perform services that affect the astral plane or that directly affect their summoner through the magical link between them.

The magical link between spirit and summoner exists even when the magician isn't astrally perceiving/projecting. Can a spirit use this link to cast spells/powers at the physical magician (-> an exception to the normal targeting rules)? At least that's the way i read the second part of the sentence, hence my question... ???
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 11:03:37 AM by RiggerBob »

Mantis

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Re: Possession and spells
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2013, 11:45:13 AM »
This refers to powers such as aid sorcery which a spirit can perform from the astral (pg 187 SR4A) rather than allowing them to break the mana/astral rule.

Falconer

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Re: Possession and spells
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2013, 01:21:35 PM »
mtfeeney:
While it may seem cut & dried to you... unfortunately it can be read either way as to whether it's a sustained spell, or sustained critter power.   I've seen people play it either way... and I also prefer the 'sustained spell' position... but I try to be neutral when answering rules questions.

As for the second... the problem I was pointing at... was what happens when the 'dual entity' goes away.   The spell was cast on a valid target dual-entity... When it disappears does the target of the spell disappear with it...   Spells don't  retarget themselves by the rules... they only affect one target for as long as that target is valid.    That's the grey area of the rules I was pointing at.   While possessed the mage & spirit become a singular dual entity for all purposes... when the possession ends... that dual entity ends.   The dual-entity is the target of the spell.  When it ends.. the spell cannot make decisions for itself... it's original target is gone.  Does it 'end' because it's original target is gone, or does it linger on the vessel.

And before you answer that, remember, spells are more than only physical.   What if it's a mana spell like 'mystic armor'.    If you say it lingers... then there are 2 copies on two valid targets now... one on the spirit one on the vessel.   Spells don't work like that, they don't 'split' in two.    See the issue... and mana spells and physical spells work the same as regards targetting and sustaining.  (if a materialization spirit casts increase ref on itself after materializing... then dematerializies... the spell goes away and isn't sustained til the spirit rematerializes... the physical spell doesn't bridge to the astral to go where the spirits astral form does it was cast on it's dual natured physical half).

My own opinion is.   Spells are 'dumb' they can't intelligently retarget or 'multiply' themselves.   When the possession ends... the original target of the spell disappears.   And the spell dissipates as per the rules of magic.


The reason I used a belt buckle, ring, or piece of jewelry as a prepared vessel... is because it's a very good trick commonly used by possession mages.   The spirit inhabits the ring.. can use it's powers just not move itself...  But nothing stops the spirit in contact with you from casting 'increase reflexes' on you (touch range spell) instead of on itself.    There is no 'dual entity' problem as you yourself were never possessed... your ring was... he can cast the spell on you from the ring... then go back to the astral or his metaplane to party while sustaining your spell.


Though, as a house rule... I've commonly seen spirits not be allowed to sustain spells unless they stay within Summoners magic X 100m.   (remote service range).   This way the spirit can be quickly hunted down and dispatched if need be.  Though the rules put no limits on sustaining range.

Another case in point is some spells like 'heal' cause problems here since they specifically don't work on non-living items.   You get the dual-entity which starts with damage on it from the more damaged of the vessel/spirit.   And damage rules which only cover damage inflicted... but not healing.  (healing isn't considered damage).    You starting to see why the whole dual-entity problem is such a mess and not well handled by the rules?



Mantis has it right...
p183 spell targetting... 
"A magician in the physical world can only cast spells on targets that are in the physical world.   Similarly, a magician in astral space can only cast spells on targets that have an astral form...." dual-natured can cast on either plane.   A spell is only present on one plane... and since an astral target can only cast spells on astral targets he can only cast mana spells while astral.  (spell must have a valid target to be cast).   Reiterated p182(spells 101),   The rules are very strict about a spell even a mana spell is only ever present in one plane or the other.   A mana spell cast on the physical plane... stays on the physical plane and never does anything to purely astral targets.   Physical spells can only be cast on the physical plane on physical targets.


The link is a telepathic link... which always exists for purposes of communication between the spirit and it's controller.   Also for the purposes of astral tracking... (from the summoner to any of his bound spirits... or from a bound spirit back to it's summoner).   And for the purposes of astral