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Alchemical Bullet Preparations

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TH13TEEN

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« on: (21:24:42/04-12-18) »
Iíve seen the (not)love for Forbidden Arcana, but assuming for a moment my group is cool with all things FA, is the Alchemical Armorer quality stating that bullets can now be preparations for any spell or ONLY the Alter Balistics spell?

PiXeL01

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Kiirnodel

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« Reply #2 on: (01:04:02/04-13-18) »
It's worth noting that the Alter Ballistics preparation doesn't actually make magic bullets. It just improves the firing of that bullet. It's a spell that you trigger just before firing, and it makes the bullet better.

When most people start talking about magic bullets, they usually mean bullet that fires and then triggers a spell, which is not what Alter Ballistics does, nor a method that works very well in the SR setting.

Marcus

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« Reply #3 on: (01:51:53/04-13-18) »
They can carry spells, there are limits of spell type based upon trigger types, but yes in the bullet is preparation, but that's a separate issue from the alter ballistics spell as Kiir said. It must be a SS weapon, and you need be monstrously careful not to trigger the bullet by accident. Which means anti-aura gloves, and a pouch at minimum.

But yes it does mean your old giant rugger-warhawk is back with a vengeance!
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firebug

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« Reply #4 on: (09:33:34/04-13-18) »
It's worth noting that the Alter Ballistics preparation doesn't actually make magic bullets. It just improves the firing of that bullet. It's a spell that you trigger just before firing, and it makes the bullet better.

When most people start talking about magic bullets, they usually mean bullet that fires and then triggers a spell, which is not what Alter Ballistics does, nor a method that works very well in the SR setting.

This is 100% accurate.  I think I've made the same mistake, but no, Alter Ballistics does not allow you to add other preparations to a bullet.  It does nothing to allow a lynchpin to survive being fired from a gun; you have to activate the bullets before firing, so they're just sustaining a spell on themselves.  And that only works in Single Shot guns, because other guns would warp the bullet too much for even that effect.

But, arrowheads and boltheads for bows and crossbows work perfectly fine for delivering Contact preparations.  The book Hard Targets discusses it over a few paragraphs, and offers some key gear and even a couple adept powers for it.  Crossbow, Biofiber Pocket, Alchemist Gloves.  Now you can handle, manipulate, and carry your bolts without triggering them.  It's still not super effective but it can be a very enjoyable archetype for players who just love the magic archer concept.
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Mirikon

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« Reply #5 on: (11:12:46/04-13-18) »
Just remember that you can do only one attack action per pass. And the preparation and the arrow/bolt/throwing weapon count as two different attack actions. So you could choose between doing damage with the arrow and having the spell take effect if it was a contact preparation. Or you could throw a knife with a 'spell tag' on it, that you make erupt into a Fireball next pass. But the typical 'magic bullet' or 'magic arrow' people are talking about, when you get to damage the person and deal a contact-trigger damage or debuff spell simultaneously is wholly against the rules, and people need to be smacked with a phonebook until they stop trying to cheese that shit.

And this is coming from someone who primarily plays spellcasters, including ones who go more heavily on Alchemy than Spellcasting.
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TH13TEEN

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« Reply #6 on: (13:56:06/04-13-18) »
Or you could throw a knife with a 'spell tag' on it, that you make erupt into a Fireball next pass. But the typical 'magic bullet' or 'magic arrow' people are talking about, when you get to damage the person and deal a contact-trigger damage or debuff spell simultaneously is wholly against the rules

What if the attack action was just about rolling to get the bullet in the right place, not bullet damage. Then the activation occurs (maybe ruling that the bullet is consumed to a degree where it couldnít damage the target). So you have a check to target the delivery of the contact prep and then the true attack roll of the prep activation. Would that seem balanced?

Marcus

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« Reply #7 on: (14:56:56/04-13-18) »
Mirikon's point is very legit and at some point needs to be addressed. I don't agree that you get ether/or, preparations as arrow and thrown weapons got both as far I read, and was concluded in discussion on this subject in the past on this board. So I do think you get bullet damage and the spell. But I agree it does at-least in spirit impinge on the one attack per round rule.

Look I said from two weeks after alchemy came out, this would inevitably have to be addressed, and really only got a lot push back about it. As I said then We can certainly build guns and ammo, that won't deform upon firing. There are weapons out right now that do this, Essentially firing very high velocity darts. That concept and the technology isn't at all new, the OSS had a dart round that fit in a standard Colt M1911. I guess you can make the argument it's an arrow if you like, but it's fired from a gun. Sure non-deforming bullets will have various issue, lacking rifling they won't go as far or be as accurate, they may not develop muzzle velocity as gas may be wasted. But current crop of guns that are/have been developed are addressing all those issues, and are totally functional, most of this stuff has been developed btw to get around current gun laws. 

As GM's it's time to stop saying this isn't Shadowrun. If we accept alchemy as a part of SR, then this gonna happen. Which means, addressing the one attack rule and determining from the system point of view how we want this to work. There are obvious risks using this sort of weaponry, and there is ever reason to make very expensive.

« Last Edit: (15:07:38/04-13-18) by Marcus »
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Beta

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« Reply #8 on: (11:23:42/04-16-18) »
I don't agree with Mirikon's interpretation here.  Let's assume for a moment that
- You have two throwing knives, one of which has a touch preparation on it
- You have a way of handling the knives without triggering the preparation
- You are ambidextrous and have both knives readied
- You happen to have the same initiative roll as your opponent.

case 1:
- Pass 1, you throw the non-enhanced knife, missing your target but hitting the wall they were standing against.
- Pass 2, they pick up the knife you just threw, at the same time as you throw the enhanced knife, successfully hitting them.

case 2:
- Pass 1, you throw the enhanced knife, missing your target but hitting the wall they were standing against (this does not trigger the preparation).
- Pass 2, they pick up the (enhanced) knife you just threw, at the same time as you throw the non-enhanced knife, successfully hitting them.

case 3:
- Pass 1, you throw the enhanced knife, missing your target but hitting the wall they were standing against (this does not trigger the preparation). (same as case 2, pass 1)
- Pass 2, they pick up the (enhanced) knife you just threw, at the same time as you make ready weapon and take aim actions with a pistol, having decided that knife throwing is not for you (i.e. you don't make an attack action)

case 4:  One difference, the preparation has a timer trigger, and it is going off next turn.  And you both have terrible init values and are only getting one action per turn
- Pass 1/turn 1, you throw the enhanced knife, missing your target but hitting the wall they were standing against (this does not trigger the preparation).  You both have terrible init, so this ends the turn.
- Pass 1/turn 2, You throw the non-enhanced knife, successfully hitting them.  Also in the this pass the timed trigger on the preparation activates, casting whatever the prepared spell is.

In case 2 or 3, surely when they touch the knife, it would trigger the preparation.  In case 4, surely the preparation goes off at this point no matter what you are doing.  That this happens to occur on the exact same initiative pass/value as when you made an attack role is not relevant, surely?  That is, it would seem to make no sense that the preparation would not trigger just because you happened to be attacking them that pass instead of doing something else.

So then, how is case 2 different than case 1, with regard to the preparation?  I'd argue that they are not different at all.

But then what about the 'only one attack roll per pass' rule? I think this still follows the rules, if we assume that touch and timed preparations are considered to be their own actor.  You make a knife throwing attack, the preparation makes a spell attack, each is making one attack roll.  (and the same logic would apply to grenades with a timer trigger -- you making another attack action does not somehow stop the grenade from going off)

What I'm less sure of is how this would work out with voice activated triggers.  My instinct is to say that the one giving the command is the actor here, not the preparation.  But I'd certainly be willing to listen to other arguments.
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Marcus

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« Reply #9 on: (21:25:00/04-16-18) »
The rule is not an attack per Pass, it's an Attack Per Action.
As a note, it's not a successful attack per action, it's an attempted attack per action.

Systematically it makes no difference if the action is successful or not. To me the question is can we make the argument that b/c an attack is created during another action, and is only trigger on this action due to current attack action, thus we aren't actually making two attacks per an action. While I think that logic is cute, it's really self serving and still clearly against the spirit of the one attack per Action Rule.

The part that is difficult is making a preparation has failure chance, and packing it around has risk. If you make one, you should get a benefit from doing so, as it cost significant character resources to create it.

To Address beta's point, doing multi-attack is accepted in the rules, same can be said casting multiple combat spells, so long as your dividing your dice pool between the attacks/spells. Which is also very much against the spirit of the single attack per action rule. So the question needs to be clarified by someone with greater authority over what is intended.

What is going to far down that road?

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Beta

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« Reply #10 on: (21:41:00/04-16-18) »
Talking it over with my shaman player, we've concluded that for us preparations will be treated more like very simple spirits, that do one specific thing.  So just as you can shoot a gun while your spirit is grabbing someone (assuming you previously summoned and commanded the spirit), you can shoot someone while a preparation is going off.

And when it comes to voice triggers, again spirits tell us that one player can be doing this, because you could command a spirit (simple action) who then uses a held action to attack, while you are making a simple attack action (shoot a gun, cast a hasty spell, etc). 

In short, it just seems to make the logic of preparations work better to treat them more like spirits and less like cast spells, imo.
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Mirikon

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« Reply #11 on: (14:06:52/04-18-18) »
Systematically it makes no difference if the action is successful or not. To me the question is can we make the argument that b/c an attack is created during another action, and is only trigger on this action due to current attack action, thus we aren't actually making two attacks per an action. While I think that logic is cute, it's really self serving and still clearly against the spirit of the one attack per Action Rule.
The logic is cute, but not in line with things as they stand, since triggering the preparation is the attack action, same as with casting a spell.

The part that is difficult is making a preparation has failure chance, and packing it around has risk. If you make one, you should get a benefit from doing so, as it cost significant character resources to create it.
The primary benefit from preparations has always been the fact that you can 'front-load' drain, and sleep it off before the run. Spend the morning making talismans, and then hit the target that night, taking a nice nap in between so that when you need to, you can pop that Increase Reflexes preparation, or pass out Heal talismans to the group that you can trigger from across the room, or toss a Physical Barrier that you can fire and forget to cut off pursuit while you de-ass the area.

And just because it takes resources to create doesn't mean it wouldn't be too overpowered for a game. To use a famous example from another system, I give you the 'Sword of True Striking'. In D&D 3.X, you can make magic weapons and armor. You can also put spell effects on magic weapons and armor, allowing you to do things like creating armor that gives you Invisibility, for instance. A +1 sword costs 2000 GP for the enchantment. Adding a Level 1 spell effect with caster level 1 that is 'use-activated/continuous' is another 2000 GP. So for 4000 GP you can take a masterwork sword and make it a +1 Sword of True Strike. True strike is a lovely little first level spell that adds +20 to your next attack. So for 4000 GP, you get a sword that has a +21 to attack. All perfectly legal under the rules. All guaranteed to get you smacked in the face with the DMG.

To return this to Shadowrun, I want you to picture the Troll Bow Adept, maxed out as much as he can be for using the bow. Now I want you to picture him with arrows that not only do damage, but also have spells loaded on them. Now I want you to picture that instead of regular arrows, they are injection arrows with K10 and loaded with contact-trigger Combat Reflexes spells. Now picture using those in the middle of a crowded room. There is a gorram reason this line of thought should be Thor-shotted before it can gain traction.

To Address beta's point, doing multi-attack is accepted in the rules, same can be said casting multiple combat spells, so long as your dividing your dice pool between the attacks/spells. Which is also very much against the spirit of the single attack per action rule. So the question needs to be clarified by someone with greater authority over what is intended.

What is going to far down that road?
The multiattack and dual-casting rules are pretty explicit on that point, actually. You're taking a single attack action, but splitting dice pools to do two things badly instead of one thing well. The problem is that there is no splitting of pools when you are dealing with a contact preparation on a throwing knife. There is just the single pool, because everything is preloaded on the preparation. So unless you preemptively split the pool while creating the preparation, the only way to abide by the spirit and letter of the rules would be to make it a choice between dealing damage and setting off the preparation, chosen before making the attack.
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