Shadowrun

Shadowrun Missions Living Campaign => Living Campaign GM chat => Topic started by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (16:50:16/05-02-18)

Title: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (16:50:16/05-02-18)
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.

I played quite a bit of 1st and 2nd edition Shadowrun back in the 80s and 90s, so 5th ed has had some learning curves for me.  Balancing magic in this edition is proving challenging, especially so since you can't just introduce House Rules to address power issues in SRM.  I kind of suspect that the writers never expected player to play like powergamers given examples of fireballs being thrown at force 4-5.  No, they get thrown at force 12-14 in my experience.  A) the DV is set by the Force, B) the AP is set by the force, and C) you don't get to dodge Area Indirect spells, only indirect single target combat spells are given a dodge test, rendering spell defense dice useless vs area indirect spells.

So what would be some tips from veterans of 5th ed to GM for SRM players who's shadowrunners can throw F12+ Lightning/Fireballs 3-4 times per turn? Each?  And never take drain because of course they have max casting stats and max augmented buffs from sustained/quickened spells?  I'm realizing that taking the pathfinder approach of setting up a map and showing "you're here, bad guys are there" just results in bad guys dying before they do anything.  Maybe not putting any minis for bad guys on the map until someone spends a complex action to "observe" to locate said bad guys would be a help?  Staggering bad guys so that no amount of AoE can wipe them out in one combat round?  How Kosher is it to just provide un-listed extra support (magical or otherwise) to the opposition described in SRM scenarios?



Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Beta on (17:01:13/05-02-18)
First of all, I hope that the force 12-14 lightning ball is an exaggeration.  First of all spell force is limited to 2x magic, so out of the box 12 would likely be the highest.  Second the drain on a force 12 lightning ball would be 11, so on average would take 33 soak dice to deal with it, and I don't see how even veteran characters get that many soak dice.  Third the area effected is also set by the force, so barring spell shaping the amount of secondary damage (or even damage to their own team) is apt to be high!

But aside from that, my house rule is that counter-spell successes are directly subtracted from spell-casting successes (instead of being added to individual defense tests).  Which make indirect AOE combat spells far riskier, because the odds of them scattering are far higher.  Lightning ball is still very strong, but at least it isn't as reliable.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (17:17:45/05-02-18)
No exaggeration.  F12 for those who haven't initiated yet, F14 for those with MAG7.

They just never take serious drain...usually none but never worse than 2 boxes or so. Granted they're spending edge to reroll drain failures each time they cast such a spell, but with such spells ending combat it's not THAT expensive to spend an edge or at worst 2 per combat.  Could well also be that I need to stop taking their words for it and start really looking at their dice rather than letting them tell me how many hits they got.  Still I don't REALLY doubt the result of no drain.  I mean it's F-1, so 11 or 13 hits necessary.  Between ~20 dice from drain stats, some foci, and burning edge, it's about mathematically right.

As for the area: yeah the huge area largely works in their favor as bad guys REALLY need to be spread out to not all be killed by one spell.  And those that initiate obviously take the metamagic to make friendly fire less of a concern.  Still, having bad guys just "appear" in close proximity (after having successfully snuck up or such) is a very doable idea... won't be dropping F12-14 if you're hitting your whole team, too.  And barring that, I suppose making a big deal out of the collateral damage might be a viable angle.  The regular SRM GM just flat out doesn't let the players loot the bad guys, so there's no disincentive in destroying the NPC's gear.  However leaving smoking ruins wherever you fight certainly could be "rewarded" with notoriety, and arguably even public awareness as you'd certainly be a high priority for law enforcement to put a stop to...
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: ShadowcatX on (17:22:02/05-02-18)
While there are tons of things a GM can do, SRM kind of chains you. There is an anti-aoe move opponents can do, I don't recall the move name though or it's book.

Also, if you're dealing with initiates that have enough karma to raise their magic to 7 and bond foci that help with drain (hint: there's only one anti-drain focus and it isn't available until after becoming an initiate and only if you take that metamagic) you are dealing with virtual gods, don't be surprised starter level adventures aren't especially challenging.

Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: mbisber on (18:14:31/05-02-18)
In my local SRM environment, spellcasters dominate.
So, have more spellcasters to oppose them.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Marcus on (20:01:32/05-02-18)
There very easy way to stop that nonsense. Just put some non-hostile targets in there. Force them to take collateral damage losses and they learn knock the nonsense off. How are your mages hitting 30-40 initiative is more interesting to me. In general tech should achieve higher initiatives more often, they just have stuff that adds. If you wanna discourage this stuff, just have some folks bring some tech character who can show those jokers up. Approve some sum 2 ten three A nut busters and the balance settle back out.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Senko on (20:12:09/05-02-18)
I have to say something sounds wrong in those scenarios unless your mages have a lot of karma. From the sounds of it you’ve got magic users with extremely high initiative, magic, drain resistance and multiple initations. Is this right and if so how badly are they minmaxed to get that?

The simplest way to counter it aside from hostages or the horror of background count would be narrow corridors and melee enemies. It doesn’t do them any good to avoid an allies square if the opposing fighter is attacking with an axe or martial arts rather than firearms. Send in some minions to soak the initial response then open the doors and melee attack the mages face.

Still id like to hear more on these super powered mages because even to some relatively inexperienced at gming it sounds like something is not right there.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Marcus on (21:02:37/05-02-18)
So if you have the true cheese mongers, you run elf with max cha and will so lets say 7 base +4 from cha boost 11+5 will =16 if your really cheese and boost will too to hit 20.
Then force 13 lightening ball is F-1 so needing 12 hits the pre-edge your roll 25ish dice, with 6 exploding. average says taking a little bit of drain, a little bit lucky and your taking none. For doing a lot of damage. They would be more effect to be a little more subtle, that killing everyone kinda numbers, Just sloppy imo.


Or meta-magic centering would also work.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (21:07:02/05-02-18)
There very easy way to stop that nonsense. Just put some non-hostile targets in there. Force them to take collateral damage losses and they learn knock the nonsense off. How are your mages hitting 30-40 initiative is more interesting to me. In general tech should achieve higher initiatives more often, they just have stuff that adds. If you wanna discourage this stuff, just have some folks bring some tech character who can show those jokers up. Approve some sum 2 ten three A nut busters and the balance settle back out.

Sustained/quickened imp reflexes coupled with Adrenaline Surge adept power


Anyway, not looking to make people fail a mission or anything... just looking to actually challenge.  Making it not so automatic to be fully stat and initiative buffed (see my involvement in the "Can mundanes see magic" thread) can help, but it really won't solve anything.  Even if a mage only gets 2 passes, that's one more pass than it takes to kill everyone with a lightning ball :]

I'm really thinking I'd like to explore what kinds of things are allowed to be done in SRM.  My organized play background is just Pathfinder Society, where not only is that a game with a "Weak GM" paradigm but the GMs are also very strictly not allowed to alter the scenario as written.  SRM is much more vague on providing info about the opposition, often even lacking #s entirely.

In the case of a group of high karma/prime runners playing a non-prime runner mission, how kosher is it to just add in say an NPC mage with the Reflection metamagic?  That'd go quite a long way towards toning down "nuke them all on initiative score 42!"
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (21:11:21/05-02-18)
I have to say something sounds wrong in those scenarios unless your mages have a lot of karma. From the sounds of it you’ve got magic users with extremely high initiative, magic, drain resistance and multiple initations. Is this right and if so how badly are they minmaxed to get that?

The simplest way to counter it aside from hostages or the horror of background count would be narrow corridors and melee enemies. It doesn’t do them any good to avoid an allies square if the opposing fighter is attacking with an axe or martial arts rather than firearms. Send in some minions to soak the initial response then open the doors and melee attack the mages face.

Still id like to hear more on these super powered mages because even to some relatively inexperienced at gming it sounds like something is not right there.

I think it's mainly just that they're the Shadowrun equivalent of high levelled characters.  100+ karma at the minimum.   Hence my interest in the possibility of just cranking up the opposition to handle higher than starting level shadowrunners.  Obviously that'd be a route to be managed carefully if some prime runners are teammates with fresh-out-of-chargen noobies.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (21:19:52/05-02-18)
Also, if you're dealing with initiates that have enough karma to raise their magic to 7 and bond foci that help with drain (hint: there's only one anti-drain focus and it isn't available until after becoming an initiate and only if you take that metamagic) you are dealing with virtual gods, don't be surprised starter level adventures aren't especially challenging.

You're talking about the centering focus?  Hrm.  I think they may be using Power Foci to enhance their drain pools.  I suppose the language "any test where Magic is involved" is a world of difference from "any test where magic is involved".  Capital M infers a formal rules concept/mechanic, as opposed to the descriptive lowercase m.  I suppose I see the argument that since Drain doesn't invoke the Magic attribute, the Power Focus doesn't help on Drain?
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Marcus on (21:33:08/05-02-18)
It would have to be mystic adept, I hate those things. Adrenaline boost maxed yea that would work.

I mean you could easily develop a lot situations and put together some scenario where they go off book and then you can put the in kind
 of opposition that could put them down but it will be fairly obvious and odds are you will kill any low karma players with them if ya go to that kinda ball. But the easier option is just let Neo-tokyo arrive and retire those characters. Other solutions just go hard on background counts. They are running adepts so -5 dice everything the do. Won't break those character but it'll slow down a little.

But honestly i would really do collateral damage thing. Common sense says you just don't throw that kinda of damage in AoE.  Hitting runs in the rep and in the karma score is much more educational then try to beat stick them. Most player want tough fights, so doing that gives them what they want.

Power foci add to magic so only casting and summoning tests. Drain is pure attribute and meta-magic, where have you been SSDR not to know that?

Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: adzling on (21:47:26/05-02-18)
you need to have those enemies use the interrupt action: run for your life from Run and Gun to avoid AoE attacks.

but really your main problem is your are playing an unmodified version of the rules with some people who are apparently good at optimizing characters/ have a bunch of karma.

i've been playing since 1e.

in order to not make magic OP in 5e you need to do a few things:

1). ban MAs
2). ban Quickening
3). ban channeling and possession traditions
4). put a cap on the total force of spirits in use at any one time (we use (magic+initiate grade)x2)
5). use background counts

without the above modifications you will continue to have a single mage render the rest of the party irrelevant. the mage might as well do the run by himself and take all the money for himself.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Marcus on (21:57:17/05-02-18)
That's all well and good Adzling, but you can't do most of that in the SRM paradigm. So you gotta manage that nonsense.
Teaching players to chill i think is the safer way to go. Quickening is easily solvable, possession is a lot weaker then it was in the past editions, and is also solvable, and MA sadly for them suffer from Adept background count problems, so just run background counts, in Chicago your free to have all kinds of background counts.

Quickening you truce and if anyone pushes it, you just dispel it and loss the spent karma. They will get the message .
Possession solves itself, just have their spirit start doing things they don't want, loss of agency is a strong motivator.

Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Rosa on (22:00:41/05-02-18)
Yeah power foci add dice to any test that involves your magic attribute, which is not a drain test, only centering and centering foci add to those. Also bear in mind that centering is the opposite of subtle, so any spell casters using centering will be very obvious.

You should absolutely change the scenarios to provide some extra challenge. There's already been mentioned some good suggestions,  but remember the good old axiom "anything the players can do,  the opposition can do too ", also spirits,  visibility, surprise, background count. ....etc.  are all examples of things that can make life a little bit harder and ultimately more fun. My GM recently dropped a high force shadow spell into the fight area which was very cramped, it made the fight much more intense and difficult and ultimately more fun.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: ShadowMaster on (22:21:59/05-02-18)
Page 125 of Run & Gun, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE/DIVE ON THE GRENADE
It's an interrupt action that allows you to avoid AoE attacks. I have used the Dive on the grenade to jump on a Fireball spell.
You are limiting them to 5d6 on initiative? An average roll is 17.5 on 5 dice, so getting a 40 is not easy.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Marcus on (22:37:28/05-02-18)
Page 125 of Run & Gun, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE/DIVE ON THE GRENADE
It's an interrupt action that allows you to avoid AoE attacks. I have used the Dive on the grenade to jump on a Fireball spell.
You are limiting them to 5d6 on initiative? An average roll is 17.5 on 5 dice, so getting a 40 is not easy.

Yeah that's was my thought as well, but they are apparently running Mystic Adepts using highly stacked Adrenaline surge normally that kinda drain is  a problem but their clearly built to eat mega drain.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (22:55:53/05-02-18)
Page 125 of Run & Gun, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE/DIVE ON THE GRENADE
It's an interrupt action that allows you to avoid AoE attacks. I have used the Dive on the grenade to jump on a Fireball spell.
You are limiting them to 5d6 on initiative? An average roll is 17.5 on 5 dice, so getting a 40 is not easy.

Yeah that's was my thought as well, but they are apparently running Mystic Adepts using highly stacked Adrenaline surge normally that kinda drain is  a problem but their clearly built to eat mega drain.

Indeed.  I'm not sure how it got there, but one of them has a 30 dice pool for drain.  Not difficult with a pool that large to get lucky enough to fully soak 11-13 even w/o post-edgeing.  Counting on drain as a brake isn't in the cards, it would seem.

But there's been some good ideas expressed in the thread, and thanks to all for that.   I particularly like the idea of simply putting something they "better not break" in among the NPCs as a tool to limit the "one spell solves every combat" problem.  It can even involve "spawning" the NPCs just right there next to the PCs.. after the NPCs having snuck up on them just about into melee reach before launching the attack rather than opening up from cover at range.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: ShadowMaster on (00:26:06/05-03-18)
You are using adept drain rules for adept powers?
Page 308 has drain for adept powers as Willpower + Body. If they have maxed out that power the drain will be 6 or 7. Don't forget you won't be adding centering or center focus to is. Adept Center only decreases negative dice pool modifiers, so it won't help either.

I still say have 1 opponent abort and jump on the spell effect and take the damage themselves, and only they take the damage.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (02:34:37/05-03-18)
I'm also giving serious thought about that whole "there is no dodge test for Area Indirect Combat Spells" angle.  There are at least two instances in the book which contradict this: the rule affirming that dodge tests are somehow possible as you get a "-2 modifier" when targeted by an area spell (pg 190) and the example of spell defense dice giving everyone hit by the fireball bonus dice to their nonexistent defense test (pg 295 sidebar examples).  I know it was clarified by the devs that you're not supposed to get a defense test, but clearly at one point the intent was that you would or that language wouldn't be there.  Since CGL is taking their sweet ass time errating out such troublesome references that contradict the clarification, maybe in lieu of the House Rules I'm not allowed to bring in I can just take those rules/example at face value and say you DO get a defense test vs area indirect combat spells.  There's literally no spell defense possible if you don't allow it, since I only just now realized I shouldn't have allowed a NPC mage to try to dispell a lightning ball as dispelling is only allowable on quickened/sustained spells.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: mbisber on (05:17:59/05-03-18)
... "there is no dodge test for Area Indirect Combat Spells" angle.

... I know it was clarified by the devs that you're not supposed to get a defense test,...

After all of the quoting of Rules in the book over Perceiving Magic, why not quote the Rule for Indirect Spells on p.183, and as modified by Interrupt Actions on p.167-8?

Spellcasting+Magic vs. Reaction+Intuition

If the target has 10 Initiative Score remaining, Why not Full Defense?

'This action adds the character's Willpower to their Defense tests for the entire Combat Turn.' (And, I note that there are other Qualities that may apply.)

Defending in Combat, p.188, under Ranged Combat, reinforces this, as does Active Defenses, p.190-1, 'A character may increase their focus on defense against any form of attack at any point in a Combat Turn, so long as the character is not surprised...'

And, I note the word 'any' for form of attack, which includes grenades..

And, then, of course, there is Edge...
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Lormyr on (09:53:03/05-03-18)
Out of curiosity, how much karma are they up to at this point? Their numbers are certainly possible, but it takes a little bit of karma to get there.

Some folks above have already posted the run for your life option. That will help against at least one of the AoE's. Other options include:

1). Adjust the Mission's difficulty. Unlike Pathfinder Society, this is permitted in Missions. The following blurb is included in the opening info of every Mission.

Mission Difficulty
Gamemasters are encouraged to use their own judgment, and to adjust the difficulty of the encounter to take into account the abilities of the players. If the players have no magical support, replace magical defenses with mundane ones. If the players are weak on combat, reduce the number of enemies by one or two. Conversely, if they’re steam-rolling the opposition, add one or two enemies to the fight. Missions should be difficult and something of a challenge, but should not be insurmountable.
A simple method for adjusting difficulty is to simply increase the dice pools and Professional Ratings of the enemies. A simple +1 or +2 to all combat and defense tests gives enemies a minor boost in power, while a +3 or 4 will make them truly formidable. Adding to their Professional Rating will give them a larger group Edge pool to draw from, and gamemasters are encourage to use this Edge when logical.
Often a combat scene will tell you if it’s supposed to be challenging or is simply there to serve as filler or a minor obstacle that the players should steamroll through. When possible, use this as a guide to know when to tweak the enemies and encounters. If it doesn’t say, assume the scene should present a challenge to the power levels of the players.

2). Have them spend Edge to go first. Then have two or three of the enemies spend Edge to use suppressive fire to slaughter their dice pools. Multiple uses of suppressive fire will not stack, but doing it two or three times until you have a roll with enough hits is quite effective.

At a certain point, it just becomes hard to challenge characters though. The Chicago Season of Missions has so much content that completing all of it will net you more than 1,000 karma with working for the people. My current PC is a Mystic Adept at 938 karma with 9 Missions left to go. Some of his stupid includes.

- Magic Attribute of 18 (12 natural, 6 power foci)
- Initiate Grade 12 (Centering, Quickening, Power Point x10)
- Drain test of 44 (10 Intuition, 10 Willpower, 12 Centering, 12 Centering Foci)
- Melee defense test 41 (10 Intuition + 10 Reaction + 12 Combat Sense, Adept + 9 Combat Sense, spell)
- Ranged defense test 50 (10 Intuition + 10 Reaction + 12 Combat Sense, Adept + 9 Combat Sense, spell + 9 Deflection, spell)
- Toxin resistance 47 (10 Body + 10 Willpower + 12 Natural Immunity, Adept + 9 Prophylaxis, spell + 6 Chemiscal Resistance)
- Damage resistance test 48 (10 Body + 13 Sleeping Tiger + 4 Argentum Coat + 6 Ballistic Shield + 2 Ballistic Mask + 1 Forearm Guards + 3 Mystic Armor, Adept + 9 Armor, Spell)
- Adept Spell Resistance at 12
- Initiative 5d6+29

His offensive capability is good, but not especially impressive since I didn't specialize in it (24 spellcasting dice, 16 punching dice). Most of the people I play with are in the 250-350 karma range, so it's tough for the GMs to adjust to my scale without butchering the others. Because of that I generally contribute to combat by buffing and sustaining a bunch of spells for the other characters so they don't have to try.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Beta on (10:30:26/05-03-18)
One other thought:  if they are regularly using edge to cast those big spells, spread out the challenges. 
- More ambushes on the way to/from the main site,
- enemies showing up in waves. 
- Enemy is smart enough to have a sniper over there and the main guard force here and a flanking force coming up behind and a couple of spirits that haven't materialized just yet. 

At their power levels they'll still deal with that easily enough, but if they are relying on edge as a normal part of their strategy they may see it dwindling awfully quickly if they have to deal with three times as many groups of victims.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: ShadowcatX on (11:22:07/05-03-18)
If they are rolling 30 dice to resist drain before edge I'd review their character sheet for legality.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: ShadowMaster on (13:45:47/05-03-18)
I gotta ask, how do they get 30 dice in drain dice?
I can see an attributes of 6/8 or 6/7 or 7/7. Add improved attribute spells of +4 okay, 14+8 + 2 initiate and 6 centering focus?
So I guess it's possible, ridiculous but possible.
On another note the spell they are using by itself is a problem.
At force 12 this thing will have an area of 12 meters radius. Take this into consideration, that's a huge area and will affect everything within it, including the building.
Damage is Physical, so 12P with 12AP.
Now lets look at what that will do.
Depending on the type of building, say a office complex, the interior walls are most likely a 6/8 that's toast. If it's more structural like a pillar, floor, ceiling, or exterior wall you are looking at higher numbers, 10/16 or 12/20.
So at 12AP those structural objects within the area effect are now a 10/4 or 12/8.
With 14 or 20 dice to resist a 12 there is going to be structural damage. Average of 4 or 7 successes say 8 or 5 damage. The 8 damage has the structure barely there. 5 is more sound, but still missing a chunk. If this is done to a structural pillar the area is no longer safe. Although most building are built to loose a pillar or two before real problems start.  If they do this in a house, well drop the house on their heads it won't survive.
Gotta look at the environment they are in and use it against them. Look at the area and don't give them large open spaces. If it is a large open space spread out the opposition so they aren't all clumped together.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Marcus on (13:53:41/05-03-18)
Lormyr listed how to do it above. 10 in each attribute, 10 centering.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (13:56:00/05-03-18)
I gotta ask, how do they get 30 dice in drain dice?

It's something I plan to check next time I run.  Last game session the character in question summoned a F9 Spirit of Man to be his routine buffer, and I actually got 6 hits out of the nine dice!  Resulted in 12 drain, which is comparable to one of the Lightning Balls he routinely throws.  Only this time he botched the roll AND the post-edge roll, and in complaining about the drain he suffered he said he only got 6 hits out of 30 dice.  Dunno if he was exaggerating or speaking literally.  Or adding his reroll dice to the initial dice pool... that's probably what he meant now that I'm typing this out...

If a drain pool is 20 (before edge) you should get almost 7 hits on average, then on post edging you're rolling 13 dice and getting just over 4 hits on average... which is mathematically just enough to be fairly reliable at soaking 11 drain completely.  And could easily be why he claimed he had "30" dice to complain about getting 6 hits with.

Of course, in illustrating this example, I'm brought back to the realization that allowing Spirits of Man to select Innate Spell repeatedly is a huge part of the power level problem.  If a Spirit of Man is only allowed to throw 1 buff no matter what its force is, alot of the shenanigans get tamped down.  But the group is used to the regular GM allowing mages to pick Innate Spellcaster multiple times for the same Spirit of Man, so not sure if I want to pick that particular fight.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Kincaid on (14:02:53/05-03-18)
A Force 12 ball lightning is 7,238m^3 of area.  That's (roughly) 16 shipping containers worth of volume.  That would envelop my 3 BR house.  If your players are using spells like this is in any area that's remotely confined, terrible terrible things are going to happen.  Assuming they somehow survive the imminent building collapse, they will pretty quickly (and correctly) be labeled terrorists.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Marcus on (14:32:13/05-03-18)
A Force 12 ball lightning is 7,238m^3 of area.  That's (roughly) 16 shipping containers worth of volume.  That would envelop my 3 BR house.  If your players are using spells like this is in any area that's remotely confined, terrible terrible things are going to happen.  Assuming they somehow survive the imminent building collapse, they will pretty quickly (and correctly) be labeled terrorists.

yeah this really the point. No one who actually does the math uses those spells. It's just to much collateral damage.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Jack_Spade on (14:34:48/05-03-18)
@Stainless Steel Devil Rat

If I were a player who had to contend with regular F12 Lightning Ball spells, I'd start using:

- Run for your life interrupt
- Mana barriers to lower the opponents dice pool and soak damage
- Spending Edge to act first and charge the group for melee
- Send expendable minions out first to soak the super spell before getting out of cover
- Counter spell
- Use spirits with the guard ability to counter spell
- Spread out Noizquitos and smoker drones, cutting down sight lines.
- Use stealth to get the drop on the mage
- Use hostages
- Send wave after wave of my men against the mages until they reach their pre-programmed kill limits.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Lewis Greywolf on (15:56:31/05-03-18)
Just to point out something from the SRM FAQ (1.4). It's in SECTION 6: GENERAL SRM RULES (Page 18) - "If I Quicken a spell during play, do I buy hits or can I spend Edge and Reagents and roll my skill as normal? You must buy hits and cannot use Edge or reagents"

So in missions play a mage buying hits and not using edge with a quickened Increase Reflexes spell should only have 3-5 net hits (or possibly 6 if they are a real monster). That should keep the initiative numbers down in the low 20's. It doesn't matter how many net hits they had when they cast it, the quickening only holds the ones you can buy.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (16:18:51/05-03-18)
Just to point out something from the SRM FAQ (1.4). It's in SECTION 6: GENERAL SRM RULES (Page 18) - "If I Quicken a spell during play, do I buy hits or can I spend Edge and Reagents and roll my skill as normal? You must buy hits and cannot use Edge or reagents"

So in missions play a mage buying hits and not using edge with a quickened Increase Reflexes spell should only have 3-5 net hits (or possibly 6 if they are a real monster). That should keep the initiative numbers down in the low 20's. It doesn't matter how many net hits they had when they cast it, the quickening only holds the ones you can buy.

Yeah, no they trust that spell to their Spirits of Man to cast and sustain on them.  AFAIK they only quicken the stat boosts, which caps out at 4 hits anyway.  Since they're used to being allowed to have a Spirit of Man do 2 or 3 buffs each, they don't need to do a whole lot of quickening.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Lormyr on (20:09:14/05-03-18)
Just to point out something from the SRM FAQ (1.4). It's in SECTION 6: GENERAL SRM RULES (Page 18) - "If I Quicken a spell during play, do I buy hits or can I spend Edge and Reagents and roll my skill as normal? You must buy hits and cannot use Edge or reagents"

So in missions play a mage buying hits and not using edge with a quickened Increase Reflexes spell should only have 3-5 net hits (or possibly 6 if they are a real monster). That should keep the initiative numbers down in the low 20's. It doesn't matter how many net hits they had when they cast it, the quickening only holds the ones you can buy.

Well, with the karma cap of Chicago being over 1,000, buying hits all the way up through 8-10 is certainly possible for hyper-specialized builds. That is not even including that bound spirits can assist spellcasting, and add their Force to the dice pool.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Hobbes on (14:30:23/06-19-18)
A Force 12 ball lightning is 7,238m^3 of area.  That's (roughly) 16 shipping containers worth of volume.  That would envelop my 3 BR house.  If your players are using spells like this is in any area that's remotely confined, terrible terrible things are going to happen.  Assuming they somehow survive the imminent building collapse, they will pretty quickly (and correctly) be labeled terrorists.

Just adding to this... as far as I'm aware Ball Lightning and such use the Overpressure rules from explosions as well.  If the Players are still in the building when a F12 AoE goes off they're likely getting cooked too.

There just can't be that many missions where a combat takes place in a wide open area with nothing the PCs care about nearby.  If "Nuke from Orbit" solved many missions my Samurai would go through a lot more explosives.

Sustained spells should also be alerting any Astral security set up in the mission.  A mage with several sustained (Quickened) spells, large Spirit(s) and Foci is the Magic equivalent to the Troll in Security Armor with an Assault Cannon, the world should react in much the same way.  Most Missions have some kind of Magic look outs in them, they should be screaming the moment something like that walks into the building. 

Don't forget, the bad guys can just run away with the McGuffin most of the time.  If you can't even get through the front door without setting off the alarm a lot of Missions should fail.  Often with pretty horrible outcomes when there are hostages involved.   
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (15:39:28/06-19-18)
AoE indirect combat spells use the targeting of grenades but not all the other rules. So different range rules, no damage loss over distance, no chunky salsa.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (16:02:13/06-19-18)
I'd like to see the errata team change how AP is calculated on Indirect Area Spells.  Something like the AP=net hits over the threshold for placing on target.. i.e. the bonus damage is also the AP)  But that's not SRM...

For the purposes of SRM, I'm finding it simply being better from an ease-of-play point of view to just come down on the side of the "Do you or don't you" RAW conflict that you DO get a dodge test for AoE indirect spells.  When the bad guys can just dodge the damage outright it's less of a big deal how much damage a F12 Lightning Ball dishes or how little armor it leaves you with which to soak.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (17:35:03/06-19-18)
Eh, if we treat targeting AoE spells like grenades, then 'dodging' them can be done the same way, since this involves the way they're targeted: Run away from the intended point of impact. Just costs Initiative, but so does getting hit by Lightning. That's how I've always done it. Makes no sense to be able to dodge an area, like with grenades, but you can still run away.

As for AP: Isn't that fixed anyway? I think you mean damage from bonus net hits above the 3, and that debate was 5 years ago for me so can't remember.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (17:45:06/06-19-18)
Eh, if we treat targeting AoE spells like grenades, then 'dodging' them can be done the same way, since this involves the way they're targeted: Run away from the intended point of impact. Just costs Initiative, but so does getting hit by Lightning. That's how I've always done it. Makes no sense to be able to dodge an area, like with grenades, but you can still run away.

Well, in my small pond case, I have mages whos players complain about their bad initiative result if they don't get at least four Initiative passes.  using the  Run for your Life rules is in my case just punting the problem to the next pass(es).

Quote
As for AP: Isn't that fixed anyway? I think you mean damage from bonus net hits above the 3, and that debate was 5 years ago for me so can't remember.

Couldn't tell ya.  All I know they haven't errata'd out the rule that you get -2 dice to your defense test vs area spells as well as the example in Counterspelling describing how it works vs Indirect Area Spells (explicitly in the example's case: Fireball) is giving the dice as a bonus to the presumably non-existent defense test.  And despite being directly contradictory to how it's supposed to be, they're still there in the rulebook despite CGL having had 4-5 years to issue errata on those rule and choosing to not do so.  So like I said, for SRM I'm just deciding that when it comes to reconciling "something has to be wrong" I'm willfully picking "you don't get a dodge test" rather than those two that are outright saying you do.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (17:48:21/06-19-18)
Ah, like that. Yeah, I just always went with 'no dodge test, just dodge the blast like grenades, and add counterspelling to your soak roll'.

And if they want to complain about Initiative, imagine being the Bug Queen that runs out of Initiative due to dodging Pesticide Grenades, or a Toxic failing to use his mindslave due to dodging Lightning Balls. =P
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (17:52:43/06-19-18)
Ah, like that. Yeah, I just always went with 'no dodge test, just dodge the blast like grenades, and add counterspelling to your soak roll'.

And if they want to complain about Initiative, imagine being the Bug Queen that runs out of Initiative due to dodging Pesticide Grenades, or a Toxic failing to use his mindslave due to dodging Lightning Balls. =P

heh.  There's also the practical problems of actually having enough movement allowance to get out of the area of a F12 Lightning Ball.  4-5 times in the same round.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (17:58:09/06-19-18)
Yeah at my homegame with 'Channeling lets you use Movement but with restrictions X (which still tripled the movement allotment in worst case with F9s)' it's easier than in SRM. =P
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (18:11:36/06-19-18)
So anyway, rules loopholes aside.. some other ideas I've been toying with:

Making players actually spend actions to identify their opposition before they can obliterate them:  The prime troublemakers I'm trying to keep under control are a couple of mystic adepts that have huge initiative scores.  They can't LightningBall half a dozen guards if I don't have their minis on the map when their turn is up (obviously, they're going first).  Make them spend the "observe in detail" complex actions to pick out where the opposition exactly is/who's a thread and who's a harmless civilian.  I love this idea, but it's hard to implement without forethought about coming up with excuses about why we're putting YOUR minis on the map but not mine.  Unscripted/unplanned combats make it hard to come up with such excuses on the fly.

Attack the supporting reasons that allow drain-free F12 spells: Mainly a horde of sustained/quickened buffs to drain stats.  I've been shot down on the rules here on the forum at every turn.  Yes, Spirits of Man may sustain 3 different buffs on you.  No, mundanes can't tell you're a christmas tree of active magic without astral perception.  No, you shouldn't be allowed to just use brute force to attack/break a spell/focus.  No, BGCs shouldn't be all that common.  Etc.

Attack EDG replenishment:  Granted, drainfree F12 spells still usually involves spending EDG to reroll failures.  If I'm a big mean miser about giving EDG back, I can run them out of EDG in one unimportant fight, then have the 'real' fights more as they were intended (players win, but someone besides the mages get to do something for once).  Of course being a Miser with EDG is potentially punishing everyone for the mages' power imbalance.

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?

Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (18:20:38/06-19-18)
Officially, you must declare your actions before you execute your Pass. So you literally cannot attack enemies you haven't properly figured out yet (e.g. a player running around a corner and only then spotting enemies, without having declared 'walk around corner and shoot anyone looking ugly in the face').

Aren't AoE F12 spells 11 drain? O_O How do they get away with that? The only player that used to use these spells would go K.O. almost every time without statbuffs, even with statbuffs for 18 dice we're still talking 1.42 drain damage average on rerolled drain (granted: that's enough to throw out multiple...).

I must admit, I almost never give back Edge. When your default M.O. is going all-out, you're not getting Edge back by doing so.

Yeah, accidentally knocking out the support beams of the building sounds like a good idea. =P
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Rosa on (22:34:10/06-19-18)
Water  hazards.  Ruptured water coolers, sprinklers set of, big puddles. ..etc. "Sure you can throw your big bad lightning ball, but you'll electrocute yourself and your entire team". Something on a similar note to trying to cast the spell under water.

The opposition might even create water hazards on purpose after the runners have used the spell a couple of times.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Lormyr on (09:40:29/06-20-18)
@Michael Chandra:

I agree that dodging a several meter radius explosion is unrealistic. However, giving a defense test against them is certainly far more balanced in terms of playing a game. Where and when do we draw the line between suspension of disbelief vs. good game mechanics?

Run for Your Lives works pretty well for one Initiative Pass, but after that, most characters are just sitting ducks.

@Rosa:

Manufacturing environmental factors to cause AoE spells to hit the casters team seems pretty punitive, unfair, and/or unfun to do to players just for using the tools at their disposal. I agree that AoE indirect spells are a problem in terms of power, but they rarely hold a candle to semi-auto burst grenades or rockets.

All AoE damage effects just need a defense test.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Marcus on (22:46:10/06-20-18)
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?

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.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Rosa on (08:57:41/06-21-18)
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.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Jayde Moon on (02:02:05/06-22-18)
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.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: mbisber on (13:22:36/06-25-18)
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.
"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.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (16:14:05/06-25-18)
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.

Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Fedifensor on (15:48:52/09-08-18)
If someone is throwing L12+ Lightning Balls, corps should be calling in HTR teams immediately.  Have the defenders use Run for Your Life to get out of the initial radius and call for backup on their first action.  Even without an active call for backup, any decent corp's security should have spirits reacting - combat spirits go after the caster, and watcher spirits run to inform their mages.  That sets an extremely short time limit before the real heavy hitters arrive...and how long does it take to erase the astral signature of a L12 spell?  Did the mage casting it take the time before leaving the area?  With the destruction caused by a Force 12 lightning ball, expect mages with 16+ dice of Assensing (with the specialization of Astral Signatures) to be digging through Masking or Flexible Signatures to find the caster's signature.  If they get it...I expect that runner to be burning a permanent point of Edge pretty soon.

Basically, high Force spells that draw a lot of attention are like terrorists using complex bombs - both have a signature that can be uncovered with sufficient resources, and the corps have effectively unlimited resources.  That is why runners normally stay in the shadows, not causing big enough waves to make it worth a corp's time to track them down.

Also, as mentioned by others, mana barriers impede spells on the plane in which they were cast.  If a corp mage has the spell and can cast it before dropping, it can cause difficulties for nearly any shadowrunning mage.  You bubble a shadowrunner with spells up, and they have to work to get through the barrier before they can go after anyone else.  If they cast an area spell, it'll detonate at the barrier.

Granted, these solutions doesn't address the initial imbalance of being able to ignore defense tests and hit large groups for a mere +2 Drain over the single-target version...but you have to start somewhere.

Finally...talk to your players.  Tell them the consequences of that level of force, and suggest that they look at alternatives.  Some players aren't throwing Force 12 spells as an 'I win' button.  They may have had previous experiences in Shadowrun which taught them that overwhelming force is needed to survive.  A different lesson needs to be taught for Missions.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (15:56:10/09-08-18)
I've seen the opposition in Dragon Song. F12 makes a lot of sense.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: kyoto kid on (17:45:43/10-08-18)
..read through most of this.

Collateral damage  = not just Notoriety but also Public Awareness if there are witnesses about.  PA is next to impossible to get rid of (I believe there are only two missions where you can get a favour that reduces it by one).  The only other way to remove it is spending 16 Karma for the Erased quality after chargen and we know how spell casters value Karma (looks like that next initiation needs to be pushed back a few more missions). 

Armour Resistance mods:  My PCs never go out without full Fire and Non-conductivity on their armour. One character also has electrical resistance on her Orthoskin (another +2 that stacks with the armour mod giving her + 8).  She was hit with a F-12 Ball Lightning ("friendly fire" at that) while wearing her sealed FBA (stacked with Orthoskin 4 and Titanium Bone Lacing for an additional 7 armour) and only wound up taking two boxes of stun [after post edging] as she lost just 4 dice from her soak roll.

Another deterrant:  have one or more of the NPCs with automatic weapons lay down suppression fire. Using Flechette rounds makes hitting the dirt more difficult.  In one mission two of the mooks did so in a 90° cross fire pattern and the team was pinned down with heavy penalties (I believe -8 or -9) to any actions they took.

Or lob a couple grenades at the team (even something like neurostun which has both an inhaled and contact vector).  That usually makes PCs run for cover thus reducing their initiative.

As a few have mentioned, it would be nice to draw the situation out so that the players have an idea just who who they can see, and how split up the oppos are so suddnely popping off the bit AOE xpell might not be worth the risk of physical drain. I wish this were done more often and even supplied for in the mission write up.

True even as a player I get a little dismayed when the mages roll a 40+ initiatives, cast boffo force 12 AOE spells, and my amped up gunbunny with the tricked out Yamaha Raiden, chemsealed FBA and 24 initiative becomes little more than a spectator to the show.  Kind of takes the fun out it.  Granted you cannot stop Prime Runner level characters from participating on a mission they never were on, but by the same token, you need to be careful when pushing the envelope so that the lower Karma characters aren't just there to be bullet and/or spell catchers.

As to MAs, yeah they can be game breakers.  I have one with less than 60 Karma who now has a wad of drain dice (after quickening Increase Attribute spells on her drain attributes), prefers mental manipulations and illusions, and makes use of reagents, as the effects of those spells are based off of net hits instead force.  So she casts Opium Den at say force 4, uses 8 units of reagents to raise the limit, and suddenly the mooks in an 8 metre area are standing there drooling while she doesn't break a sweat doing so. Then she has her force 8 Spirit of Man cast foreboding on them and they become quivering drooling mass.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Fade on (03:33:40/12-14-18)
As soon as I hear "Opium Den" as a spell I get suspicious. It's just as bad as Ball Lightning.

It's literally the same effect as Mass Confusion, except it gets the total incapacitation added to it for the same drain. Drain code needs to go up on that one for sure, but that's an errata thing. I wouldn't have noticed it, except for this year at Origins and Gen Con every mage and their dog was using it and Ball Lightning, so it prompted me to do a little research. This spell has become a pet peeve, but honestly, I can't say I blame the players who use it. It just means they read more of the spells!

Anyway, just make your goons be a little smarter. Use the whole area, not just a cramped little room, and shoot the hell out of the mage. Someone walks into a bar in Full Chem-Sealed Body Armor, or Military grade Armor, its safe to assume they aren't there for a beer. Really, I mean REALLY pay attention to he social problems that wearing that kind of obvious armor would attract. Its not "Illegal" to wear body armor, but when's the last time you saw a non-cop or soldier wearing any kind of ballistic gear just going down the street?

If you really want to turn the screws, a Force 12 spell will leave a heck of an astral signature as well.

It is frustrating as a GM for sure, to have things just be overran because of a weak point in the rules, in this case severity of drain.



Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: DringDring on (11:35:40/12-14-18)
Hello there; I'm coming a little after the battle but... Yeah. I can see where your problem is.

First thing first : How the heck did they never get catched by the police, IRH, or a wandering spirit who smelled all the good magic ?
Do they have the metamagic to suppress their aura or do they only fighted gangers in their home ?

No brcause, once you hit a corpo with runner capable of doing that... The corpos want thoses runners to either :
- Be dead
- Working for them
- Hunted like dog
- Victim of a vivisection.

Anyway. You had receive many path to try and find a solution to your first problem (the better, imo, is to user corridor and situation here the AoE is not only a bad idea, but a dumb idea, the PA and, for the lolz, security team who run like chicken to trap the path of the runners).
Because, yeah, a F12 Lightning ball is something. But if the camera see that... The rest of the security team won't even make it a fair fight : gaz attack, closing door, grenades, other trap like cutting of power on a elevator and forcing them to use stair, etc.
As long as the security don't have the mean to fight an overwhelming power, they won't fight fair but using everythings to help (the flash grenade help as well. After all, the mage can't use spell if he can't see heh).

Anyway, I'm digressing (get used to it !).

Once you manage to make them think differently you're going to have a new whole set of problem : their 40+ of initiative.
What. The. Actual. Heck.
That's... Well. Imagine, if you will, a mage, that act 4 time in one combat Turn. A Combat Turn is a few minutes (3 ? I forgot). It's like having The Flash fighting in front of you but unless fist you see spell being throw at you.
Terrifying.

Because with that much Initiative, losing their electrical toy is not going to complicate life much. Either they're going to use meanier spell (chaotic wolrd, wouhou ! The Hot Potato spell is funky as well). Or simply geek the opposition one by one. And if they can launch a F14 Lightning Bolt without so much as breacking a sweat... So many lower, but as deadlier, spell is not going to scare them.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (11:43:29/12-14-18)
Mystic Adepts.  It's absolutely stupid what's possible when you combine Spellcasting, Summoning (Spirits of Man to sustain your buffs), and Adept powers all in the same character.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: DringDring on (11:50:08/12-14-18)
Unless I'm mistaken. Aspected magician can only do "one" things... And can't be MA.

They can be summoner, but they lose the possibilité to spellcast (and a runner who only summon spirit for him...)
They can be spellslinger but they can only use the spellcasting skill

So either your whole tea has been created as a unit to be "as broken as possible while cleaning all possible mistake". Or they cheating.
Title: Re: Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (11:53:19/12-14-18)
No, you're right. I meant Mystic Adepts.  Post is corrected.

Although for what it's worth, the problem has somewhat diminished in SRM's new setting: Neo-Tokyo.  Whereas there largely never were consequences for blowing up a whole city block in Chicago's CZ, the NTMP will ruin your day in Neo-Tokyo.

But that "come on, be reasonable" effect on the players has largely only impacted high force spellcasting... the underlining/contributing factors are as irresistible to the players as ever. Force 9 spirits are still the rule (for beginning level PCs, no less) and init scores over 40 are still expected.