NEWS

HTR magic strategy

  • 9 Replies
  • 852 Views

Alrician

  • *
  • Newb
  • *
  • Posts: 36
« on: <08-23-21/0955:15> »
What spells do your HTR magicians use when it comes to a fight with the runners? What is your magical strategy (apart from spirits)? Are they on-site or projected? Do they buff their colleagues or do they actively intervene?

If you have examples or experience reports from your game rounds, please tell me.

Tecumseh

  • *
  • Prime Runner
  • *****
  • Posts: 3925
« Reply #1 on: <08-23-21/1427:49> »
It depends on how realistic you're being.

Realistically, a mage would never be on the front lines, or even part of an HTR team. Instead they would sit somewhere very safe and summon an endless stream of spirits to spam the players to death, or if not death then to extreme annoyance. But this isn't very fun from a gameplay perspective.

From a gameplay perspective - since this is a game and it's supposed to be fun - I usually try to keep the players on their toes. Or, even better, give the players an opportunity to shine. Perhaps the HTR team has an aspected sorcerer who can't summon and thus can't sit somewhere safe. Maybe this sorcerer makes the other members of the HTR team invisible, but the team decker spots their equipment and marks them with the Tag matrix action. Or maybe the sorcerer use illusions to confuse the PCs, but the samurai has just the right sensor to distinguish reality. Or perhaps the HTR team uses manipulation spells to complicate the team's retreat. Debuffing the players can make them sweat without actually putting them in mortal danger if their dice go cold.

I try to be realistic in the sense that the HTC magician isn't going to be overcasting a giant fireball if the players are carrying the fragile prototype that they stole, but I'm generally more concerned with making things entertaining. If you try to stay overly realistic then you're just going to end up with a dozen bound spirits, either overwhelming the players or slowing things to an intolerable crawl.

MercilessMing

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 362
« Reply #2 on: <08-23-21/1530:50> »
I haven't used HTR yet in my home game but HTR in my world is a hammer.  Players may give them a bloody nose or a setback by pulling out the big guns, but they can't go toe to toe with them for long.  They're an overwhelming force.  That's their story role, and I'll give my NPCs whatever they need to fulfill their role.

Tactics-wise, using a sword-and-shield approach is solid.  You take 2 of every specialty: 2 deckers, 2 riggers, 2 mages, 2 heavy weapons, along with two fire teams.  One plays defense and the other plays offense.  This puts pressure on the PCs while drawing out the engagement.  And time is always the enemy of the PCs.  The longer the fight, the more forces come to bear, the more noticed their actions are.

One mage will focus on spell defense, phys and mana barriers, armor and healing the point that the PCs are focusing fire; going full defense when needed.  The other will focus offensively.  I like using magic to alter the battlefield, so things like Ram spells, Light/Darkness, chaos/confusion, that sort of thing, along with status effect combos like water followed by lightning.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

  • *
  • Errata Coordinator
  • Prime Runner
  • *****
  • Posts: 4523
« Reply #3 on: <08-23-21/1559:53> »
In my preferred style of play, HTR doesn't HAVE stats.  If you're still there when they arrive, you lose.  Action stops, and play resumes with your lawyer trying to get you bail so you can be released from the county pen prior to your trial that you won't be showing up for.

Now, I grant that's probably an uncommon approach, and besides there ARE going to be scenes played out where there's top-tier opposition, so the question is still worthy of thought.
In the Sixth World, a tactical team isn't going to go into a crisis without having all three worlds covered, so that means there would have to be both matrix and magic specialists along with the squad. Particularly so in cases like HTR who are responding to shadowrunner or terrorist crises.

"Geek the Mage" is an in-universe meme, so ideally the magician should be wearing identical armor to the hacker and the combat specialists, and generally minimize how easy they are to pick out from their mundane teammates. They'd need to be present in person primarily in an overwatch role, providing counterspells to cover the team.  Offensively, and from a game theory point of view, nothing is as effective as spamming spirits at hostile shadowrunners.  Spells are basically "pick your poison"... no spell will ever be as efficient at taking out hostile targets as a spirit. So, arguably, the mage is there to do things that spirits cannot.  Probably most notably healing teammates, in addition to the aforementioned counterspelling.
« Last Edit: <08-23-21/1601:53> by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Lormyr

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 820
« Reply #4 on: <08-23-21/1637:21> »
In my preferred style of play, HTR doesn't HAVE stats.  If you're still there when they arrive, you lose.  Action stops, and play resumes with your lawyer trying to get you bail so you can be released from the county pen prior to your trial that you won't be showing up for.

I could get behind that in a normal range karma game, say like base characters to 150-300 karma or so. But if we are talking like really accomplished PCs, not only does that not make sense unless you get absolutely swarmed (which also doesn't make general sense because when elite people are common they aren't elite anymor), it's also not fun. If all enemies are always just going to scale evenly with you why bother gaining character advancement at all?
"TL:DR 6e's reduction of meaningful choices is akin to forcing everyone to wear training wheels. Now it's just becomes a bunch of toddlers riding around on tricycles they can't fall off of." - Adzling

Reaver

  • *
  • Prime Runner
  • *****
  • Posts: 6356
  • 60% alcohol 40% asshole...
« Reply #5 on: <08-23-21/2005:26> »
In my preferred style of play, HTR doesn't HAVE stats.  If you're still there when they arrive, you lose.  Action stops, and play resumes with your lawyer trying to get you bail so you can be released from the county pen prior to your trial that you won't be showing up for.

I could get behind that in a normal range karma game, say like base characters to 150-300 karma or so. But if we are talking like really accomplished PCs, not only does that not make sense unless you get absolutely swarmed (which also doesn't make general sense because when elite people are common they aren't elite anymor), it's also not fun. If all enemies are always just going to scale evenly with you why bother gaining character advancement at all?

Its the perspective here that matters. Yea a team of runners of great skill and karma CAN wipe the floor of a team of HTR, but can they beat 20 teams? And if they can, AND are in Seattle: can you beat 2 platoons of UCAS Heavy infantry??(because THAT is a thing...)

Once the Cops are there in HTR force, they are a pack of pitbulls going for the kill: doesn't matter how many skulls you bash, there is another set of jaws ready to bite.
Sure, the tactics will change, they are not going to throw oeople into a meat grinder. If the direct aporoach didn't work, send in the army of drones. Drones go down? Contain and gas the area with nerve agent. Nerve agent not effective? Contain with magical spirits and spells. Spirits and spells not effective? Send in the Riggers in Citymasters and Banshees.

If HTR is on the scene  that means you fucked up, and people are dead. Probably cops. You are not walking out of this, and you are not shooting your way out of this.
Try something else, or die.
« Last Edit: <08-23-21/2008:19> by Reaver »
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

Remember: You can't fix Stupid. But you can beat on it with a 2x4 until it smartens up! Or dies.

Michael Chandra

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Prime Runner
  • ***
  • Posts: 9804
  • Question-slicing ninja
« Reply #6 on: <08-24-21/0354:51> »
The way I see it, if HTR arrives, you need to distract them and hold them off. They WILL be tactical and careful, so use that to your advantage, force them to turtle, then get out asap. My own HTR tactics designs that I never completed, included having the mages be careful and have multiple spirits ready to counter runner magic.
How am I not part of the forum?? O_O I am both active and angry!

Lormyr

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 820
« Reply #7 on: <08-24-21/0517:28> »
In my preferred style of play, HTR doesn't HAVE stats.  If you're still there when they arrive, you lose.  Action stops, and play resumes with your lawyer trying to get you bail so you can be released from the county pen prior to your trial that you won't be showing up for.

I could get behind that in a normal range karma game, say like base characters to 150-300 karma or so. But if we are talking like really accomplished PCs, not only does that not make sense unless you get absolutely swarmed (which also doesn't make general sense because when elite people are common they aren't elite anymor), it's also not fun. If all enemies are always just going to scale evenly with you why bother gaining character advancement at all?

Its the perspective here that matters. Yea a team of runners of great skill and karma CAN wipe the floor of a team of HTR, but can they beat 20 teams? And if they can, AND are in Seattle: can you beat 2 platoons of UCAS Heavy infantry??(because THAT is a thing...)

Once the Cops are there in HTR force, they are a pack of pitbulls going for the kill: doesn't matter how many skulls you bash, there is another set of jaws ready to bite.
Sure, the tactics will change, they are not going to throw oeople into a meat grinder. If the direct aporoach didn't work, send in the army of drones. Drones go down? Contain and gas the area with nerve agent. Nerve agent not effective? Contain with magical spirits and spells. Spirits and spells not effective? Send in the Riggers in Citymasters and Banshees.

If HTR is on the scene  that means you fucked up, and people are dead. Probably cops. You are not walking out of this, and you are not shooting your way out of this.
Try something else, or die.

If we're looking just at mechanics it is very edition dependent. In SR6 the auto lose style is a lot more tolerable because there is pretty much no point in karma career where a dozen grenades doesn't party wipe you.

In SR5, it is entirely possible to have a PC or group of that simply cannot be harmed by standard to slightly better than average HTR without ludicrously improbably rolls.

If HTR responds, dice get rolled, and a party gets whooped then that's all good. If you are running a game for large PCs (which happened frequently with us in Chicago Missions locally in Columbus), even when you scaled the HTR up a bit (some of out tables just gave NPCs a flat +5 dice to all pools to compensate) they would get straight smote, even in numbers.

Rather than scale up the HTR to unrealistic levels (all 4 teams full of guys with 600 karma!) I think the better way to handle a run that goes south to this point is to hurt the PCs indirectly. HTR realizes the team is too swole to directly oppose without unacceptable losses after the first response, so instead they use the myriad of god-like omniscience abilities (spirits with search, spells, rituals, ect.) to track you down and target the much, much softer people around you. Like your contacts. Like your fixer. Like your family. When some start to disappear and others refuse to work with your anymore it that style still inflicts consequences without having to be dealt with via combat.
"TL:DR 6e's reduction of meaningful choices is akin to forcing everyone to wear training wheels. Now it's just becomes a bunch of toddlers riding around on tricycles they can't fall off of." - Adzling

Alrician

  • *
  • Newb
  • *
  • Posts: 36
« Reply #8 on: <08-24-21/0823:32> »
Thanks for all your great answers!

While I am getting my HTRs (stats-wise) into position, I notice how much time and Nuyen the usual company has already invested in a "normal" shooter (based on the templates from the CRB, slightly changed in terms of plausibility). So healing would be a major thing for the mages.
My basic strategy will lbe based on the 2-team proposal from MercilessMing. A magician sends three ghosts into battle and will heal the expensive corporate soldiers himself. The second magician will be an aspect magician (simply for plausibility: they should be so common) and project with confusion or fight barriers near the front.

Michael Chandra

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Prime Runner
  • ***
  • Posts: 9804
  • Question-slicing ninja
« Reply #9 on: <08-26-21/1256:53> »
Incidentally, my elite force HTR design involved Alchemical preparations in a Vault of Ages, which were transfered to a weapon rack inside the HTR van on deploy. Before exiting the vehicle, they'd touch the preparations and get some buff-spell boosts that make them harder to hit.
How am I not part of the forum?? O_O I am both active and angry!