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SR5 Spirit Services in Combat

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Hanzo

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« on: <09-01-21/0326:59> »
Howdy, chummies!

According to CRB for aid in Combat Spirits use only one Service. But what a Spirit will do ? Will it use all his powers or only Unarmed Attack? What does it depend on ?

Say a mage issues commands one by one (Materialize, Use Engulf, Use Fear, Use Elemental Attack) to a Spirit within Combat. Will this micromanagement will be considered as one Combat Service or several Services?

And the most important question: Who will control the Spirit - GM or PC?

Xenon

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« Reply #1 on: <09-01-21/0458:01> »
According to CRB for aid in Combat Spirits use only one Service.
'Combat' count as one Service. This is correct.


But what a Spirit will do ?
Whatever it feels fit to 'fight on your side in combat'.
This often involve using powers such as materialization but also other forms of attacks.

The Spirit is an entity of its own.
The magician typically don't have full control of powers a Spirit will use or which enemy it will attack.


Say a mage issues commands one by one (Materialize, Use Engulf, Use Fear, Use Elemental Attack)
'Power' typically count as one Service each time you invoke it, if this is what you are asking.


And the most important question: Who will control the Spirit - GM or PC?
Spirit are not PCs. Spirits are NPCs.

GM typically control None Playable Characters (which typically also include a player's Contacts and Spirits).

Different table handle this differently (at some tables the Player get to control Contacts that are loyal to them or Spirits that are bound to them).
« Last Edit: <09-01-21/0501:22> by Xenon »

MercilessMing

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« Reply #2 on: <09-01-21/1131:44> »
Howdy, chummies!

According to CRB for aid in Combat Spirits use only one Service. But what a Spirit will do ? Will it use all his powers or only Unarmed Attack? What does it depend on ?
It will use whatever powers it wants/needs in order to complete the task it's been given by the service.  It's under no restriction to use a minimum or maximum amount of force to do it, unless that was specified in the service.
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Say a mage issues commands one by one (Materialize, Use Engulf, Use Fear, Use Elemental Attack) to a Spirit within Combat. Will this micromanagement will be considered as one Combat Service or several Services?
Several services. 
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And the most important question: Who will control the Spirit - GM or PC?
It's an NPC with its own mind, so by default the GM should control it.  However, consider bending that rule if the player's fun is completely tied up in playing as the spirit.  Some players will roleplay the spirit as just another team member that makes smart choices with perfect knowledge of the situation, unafraid of sacrificing themselves because they're just a spirit.  This is not how they're meant to be played.  That's why the GM should control spirits.  I think it's good to let the summoner roll dice for the spirit though.  It keeps the player engaged.  The summoner and spirit have a psychic connection and it usually makes sense for her to be aware of the spirit's actions.

Beta

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« Reply #3 on: <09-01-21/1411:45> »
As to how the spirit fights, as GM I tend to be directed a bit by the details of the instruction, how popular the mage is with spirits in general, how it has treated that spirit in particular, the role that spirit type plays in the tradition in question, and even description of the spirit.

I don't track the spirit reputation (or whatever it is called) from Street Grimoire per se, but I keep a rough tally in my head of how the mage has been with their spirits.  Mages with a reputation for taking good care of spirits tend to get more willing cooperation, where the spirit will use its intelligence to choose effective methods and smart strategy (I've never had a player mage be a bastard to spirits, but I've had NPC that I'd decided are, and their spirits tend to choose less effective methods, given a choice).  And if the spirit has already been summoned for a while, how has the summoner treated it?  Did they make a fire spirit materialize in the rain or an air spirit in a narrow tunnel?  Did they greet it with some reagents to consume, or take the time to explain why its help was needed and praise its prowess?

There are variants on "fight those people" which can change things.  One key possible modifier is "until you are seriously hurt, at which time you are free to depart."  Knowing that they are not going to be made to fight until disrupted may make a spirit more willing to risk taking harm.  But there are alternatives to "fight" and "those people".  "Leave nobody conscious in this room but me" gives the spirit freedom to drive people out through fear, knock them unconscious, or kill them, for example. Or "fight any awakened who are currently between five and twenty-five meters of me."  "Do whatever you can to keep any other spirits from attacking me" (best used with a spirit that is in a good mood so that they don't decide that the easiest way is to knock you out themself, or use fear on you to drive you out of line of sight, or something).

Not every earth spirit is the same.  One factor in that is what role in plays in the summoners tradition.  If earth is seen as a healing element, an earth spirit may be more reluctant to cause real harm, may fight more defensively, prefer things like confusion or fear, use stunning attacks, and so on, while if it is the traditions combat aligned spirit it may be far happier being an effective warrior.

And finally, if the player takes the time to describe the spirit, I'll take that into account.  If the water spirit looks like a giant squid it seems like it might engulf or bind, an air spirit that looks like a thunderbird may prefer elemental attack, and so on.

Sphinx

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« Reply #4 on: <09-07-21/1038:50> »
When a magician summons a spirit, write its stats on an index card and pass it to another player (preferably one with some rules knowledge, roleplaying ability, and less to do in a combat encounter). Make that player responsible for controlling the spirit and interpreting the commands of its summoner. This shares the bookkeeping and dice-rolling workload around the table, ensures the magician and their spirit minions don't monopolize table time in combat, and creates roleplaying opportunities that good players enjoy.

Xenon

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« Reply #5 on: <09-07-21/1108:57> »
When a magician summons a spirit, write its stats on an index card and pass it to another player (preferably one with some rules knowledge, roleplaying ability, and less to do in a combat encounter). Make that player responsible for controlling the spirit and interpreting the commands of its summoner. This shares the bookkeeping and dice-rolling workload around the table, ensures the magician and their spirit minions don't monopolize table time in combat, and creates roleplaying opportunities that good players enjoy.
I will steal this. Thanks :-)