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Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?

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Marcus:

--- Quote from: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on ---Be a dick about collateral damage:  Haven't tried it, but it's potentially a tool in the toolbox.  Doesn't matter so much to destroy the NPC's gear as SRM already largely disincentivizes looting so no harm really done if nothing is lootable on the corpses.  But wiping out entire buildings and so on can certainly justify handing out Notoriety and/or Public Awareness points.  Thoughts on just letting a mage happily obliterate helpless opposition, but tamping down on its usefulness in this way?

--- End quote ---

Look it's not being a dick. Collateral Damage is very serious, Shadowruns overwhelmingly take place in urban environments. You drop an elemental bomb that takes out any sort of decent portion of a block in a city proper, and your better believe you're gonna have serious collateral damage. Millions in property damage, once the insurance companies, utilities, the city, inspectors, the various policy holders get done, jacking up their right offs. Also urban environments have more then just people, they lots of power lines, water pipes, gas mains, fiber-optic lines running through them, and blowing those up can have major secondary consequences. Take out power to a nursing home, can easily lead to fatalities. Blow a gas main, who knows how much damage that fire will do before it's capped off.

This isn't a Fireball goes off in the wood and no one is around here. You make an explosion in concentrated urban environment not even a very big one and odds are you ether going to have hit some one or something directly or the secondary damage is gonna kill or injure someone, very possible many someones. Anyone dumb enough to drop a force 12 elemental AoE at my table better believe they are gonna take some hits for it. And I don't just mean notoriety. You nuke down town and you better run really fast,  and pray you have masking, b/c magic law enforcement does not want to explain this crap to the Mayor without out someone to pin it on. I'd drop high force spirit on them per runner just for openers, if that's the kinda stuff they wanna sling around.

Rosa:
Creating water hazards is not punishing the casters team, especially not when you're dealing with what sounds like one-trick ponies that spam the same spell at high force 4 times during a combat turn, it's challenging them to come up with alternative strategies, especially since they of course should be warned of said water hazard before casting.

I do agree though that many of the issues with aoe indirect combat spells would be helped if they had kept the defense roll -2 test, that is implied in the book instead of the current rule. We use that in my home game, it still makes aoe spells punishing due to the high AP but less so than under the current rules.

Jayde Moon:
I would call creating water hazards 'punishing' if they were ever present or the players weren't informed about it before they cast.

Player: "I cast lightning bolt."

GM: "Ok, well, you're standing in the same pond as your target so, you die, too!"

P: "Wait, what?  Where did a pond come from?"

G: "QUACK! QUACK!  Some ducks land on your charred corpse."

If a GM had a transparent system about how do determine collateral damage induce 'hazards', I'd applaud that.

"Missing forces an edge test, threshold is the difference in hits between attacker and defender.  Failure means a critical component is hit, if, after structure and armor soak is rolled, it is damaged, it ruptures, introducing, based on a 1d4, toxic gas, flammable vapor, flammable liquid, water."

I'm not saying that's a solid mechanic, it's 1am, I'm in bed with sleepy eyes... THE POINT is thatif the players expect it and it's not something they can say is 'directed at them', it shouldn't feel like punishment.

mbisber:

--- Quote from: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on ---In my local SRM environment, spellcasters dominate.  Not just demographics, but combat.  And it's largely due to one thing: area indirect combat spells.  Sustained/quickened spells and/or adept initiative enhancers contribute to the problem of "initiative is rolled:  Set up the minis.  Mage goes on 30 or 40 something initiative, and kills most of the bad guys before they ever act.  And if the bad guys survive, they get one action at wounded penalties before being unceremoniously mopped up before they ever get a 2nd pass. Combat is over..." but amazing initiative isn't what I'm looking to get a handle on controlling.  I'm wrestling with how much more effective Indirect Combat spells are than Direct Combat spells.  Like, why ever even cast a Manaball levels of inferiority to Indirect Combat spells.

--- End quote ---
"All indirect combat spells originate near the magician's body..." p.283.

Are your 'good guys' doing proper Recon? How about considering preparing a Mana Barrier, p.315, or just throwing up a Manipulation Spell 6' in front of one of your offending spellcasters?

They might slow down and be more careful.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat:
I did once play with the enchanting rules.  The SRM mission called for some extraordinarily tough cyberkillers in hardened armor to oppose the party, but they didn't give them ANY mojo support.  I knew with this group they'd need it or else it'd be yet another roflstomp.  "How much hardened armor do they have? 23? Well I guess with F12 I'll get -12 AP and only need 1 net hit to do physical damage...."


So I gave one of the mooks a mana barrier alchemical preparation.  Since I know the group throws F12s, it was a F12 spell enchanted in.  Of course after potency and hits rolled, it ended up being like a F6 barrier, but was still a huge ton of help to keeping the Lightning Balls from winning the fight all by themselves.

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