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Looking for a good spell to use against Drones and Vehicles (noob)

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Kiirnodel

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« Reply #30 on: (23:01:01/02-12-19) »
But if Levitate intended for OR to apply, then why isn't it called out when an item held by someone is being lifted? If Object Resistance is already supposed to be applied, wouldn't it apply to a held object too?

Levitate specifies the specific circumstances when a target can attempt to defend against being levitated. This implies that Levitate is normally unresisted (no defense), therefore the Manipulation general rule for what objects defend with doesn't apply. When a held item is being levitated, it is the person holding the item that gets the resistance test, not the item itself.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #31 on: (23:11:43/02-12-19) »
Because the neither rules for Physical Manipulations nor the rules specific to Levitate give any indication there's TWO resistance tests.  If Body + Str applies, you use that.  If it doesn't, you use OR.

From an in-universe rationale, probably the reason the person gets to defend against the spell targeting an object he's holding is because it's "inside" his Aura.
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Kiirnodel

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« Reply #32 on: (23:18:52/02-12-19) »
So you think a willing subject also resists with Strength+Body?

I maintain that the spell is not defended against normally. You only roll a defense test under the circumstances specified.

Same with the Armor spell, you don't defend against some spells.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #33 on: (23:24:07/02-12-19) »
So you think a willing subject also resists with Strength+Body?

Kind of a non sequitur.. a willing subject isn't resisting.  But yes I'd say that technically a willing subject is voluntarily forfeiting the opportunity to resist.

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I maintain that the spell is not defended against normally. You only roll a defense test under the circumstances specified.

Same with the Armor spell, you don't defend against some spells.

I'd say that it IS the same with the Armor spell.  Only willing subjects may (indeed, CAN) forfeit the opportunity to resist.  Inanimate objects cannot be "willing" and therefore get OR vs Armor.  If you cast Armor on a hostile NPC, yes absolutely he gets to resist it.  If he wants to.
« Last Edit: (23:27:05/02-12-19) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, youíre fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Kiirnodel

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« Reply #34 on: (23:48:17/02-12-19) »
What about an unconscious person? Do they resist these spells? Is an unconscious person resisting that Armor spell more than the willing conscious person?

In my experience, there is no "giving up" your test. There are numerous cases where opposed tests are used to determine the result of an effect. You can't voluntarily just "not resist" (Possession is my go-to on that one). As far as I know, there aren't any rules for choosing not to resist something. People subject to illusions can't voluntarily fail to see through them, you can't choose to fail your composure roll, and you can't choose to let an attack deal max damage by not resisting the damage.

Why would the Levitate spell specify that a person who doesn't want to be levitated can attempt to resist the spell? Because the spell is normally a simple test (no resistance) with a threshold based on the target's mass. That's what the first paragraph says.

For these "harmless" spells as we might call them, there isn't normally a defense against them. The general rules for Physical Manipulation spells specifies the default way to defend against these spells, it doesn't mean that you always defend.

Now, would I allow someone to try and avoid it if they really wanted to? Sure. Then maybe we might default to the generic defense against Physical Manipulations. But if a spell doesn't specify that it is normally defended against, why would we assume that all spells call for a defense?


EDIT: I thought of an example of choosing to try and fail a test. The Symbiosis metagenetic quality has rules for trying to resist succeeding on the Body+Willpower test that it calls for. If you are trying to fail, you get a -1 on the roll.
« Last Edit: (23:56:15/02-12-19) by Kiirnodel »

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #35 on: (00:05:17/02-13-19) »
What about an unconscious person? Do they resist these spells? Is an unconscious person resisting that Armor spell more than the willing conscious person?

Hypothetically, I'd say yes.  I'd say the applicable STR of an unconscious person would temporarily be effectively Zero, and therefore the unconscious body is just rolling Body + 0 to resist being levitated. Or maybe I'd rule BOD + BOD in place of BOD + STR.  Haven't thought hard on that exact scenario.

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In my experience, there is no "giving up" your test. There are numerous cases where opposed tests are used to determine the result of an effect. You can't voluntarily just "not resist" (Possession is my go-to on that one). As far as I know, there aren't any rules for choosing not to resist something. People subject to illusions can't voluntarily fail to see through them, you can't choose to fail your composure roll, and you can't choose to let an attack deal max damage by not resisting the damage.

Clearly we come from different perspectives.  As I said, in my view there's no such thing as a spell that doesn't offer a resistance test in some form or another.

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Why would the Levitate spell specify that a person who doesn't want to be levitated can attempt to resist the spell? Because the spell is normally a simple test (no resistance) with a threshold based on the target's mass. That's what the first paragraph says.

For specific to trump general, it must contradict general.  Failing to say there's a resistance test isn't the same thing as saying there is no resistance test.  As quoted earlier, Physical Manipulations are (unless said otherwise) resisted by BOD + STR/OR.  Levitate does not say otherwise. It just fails to specify entirely in the case of inanimate objects, which means the general rules for Physical Manipulations are in force.

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For these "harmless" spells as we might call them, there isn't normally a defense against them. The general rules for Physical Manipulation spells specifies the default way to defend against these spells, it doesn't mean that you always defend.

Because the rules for Physical Manipulations does say that "usually" BOD+STR/OR is used to defend, it's flexible as to whether spells like Levitate and Armor count as the spells that "usually" are resisted by BOD+STR/OR.  You like to imagine they aren't.  I prefer to rule that they are.  Neither one of us can be demonstrated as being incorrect.  Probably need to chalk it up as "different strokes for different tables".  Or whatever.

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...But if a spell doesn't specify that it is normally defended against, why would we assume that all spells call for a defense?

Three reasons. 

1) Again: Failing to say there is a defense test is not the same thing as saying there is no defense test.

2) Because a spell that's generally beneficial (Heal, Armor, etc) is generally assumed to have a subject that wants that beneficial effect.  But there are absolutely times that "beneficial" spells can impose a harmful effect (Heal, Armor, etc). The way I see it, if someone weaponizes Heal or Armor the target absolutely gets the opportunity to resist. I do not subscribe to the argument that just because the spell's description failed to mention how to handle the corner case of someone not wanting to be subjected to the spell that there is no resistance possible.  So yeah, Levitating a teammate is beneficial and generally you wouldn't want to resist it any more than Armor.  However Levitating a hostile is NOT beneficial, nor is casting "Shadowrun Faerie Fire" on them via the Armor spell.

3) (the point I made upthread about Counterspelling)  To reiterate: there's got to be a damn good reason why certain spells cannot be Counterspelled at the moment of casting.  And I'm not convinced there is one. Ever.  Counterspelling Area Indirect spells has the meta explanation of being collateral damage from the whole "Dodge or No Dodge" clusterfrag. But there's no meta nor in-universe explanation for why the magic involved in Levitate or Armor cannot be Counterspelled.
« Last Edit: (00:17:23/02-13-19) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
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Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #36 on: (02:29:40/02-13-19) »
1) for your one, maybe maybe not.  Usually is not the same as always unless specified otherwise. And in this case I'd say yeah failing to mention one is grounds to say there isn't one.  One, other defenses are specifically mentioned in the text of that spell, and those dice pools will almost universally be worse than the OR test outside trolls holding objects, so it would likely have an additional line or OR whichever is higher.  Two, other spells in the manipulation sphere do mention the OR test in their text. If they intended the rules to be read has an always unless otherwise specified as opposed to usually they are but we will let you know, none of those spells would mention a OR test as it just always happened unless otherwise specified  Not that there are many examples in the main book.  Only Animate, fling, ignite and levitate directly target inanimate objects. Spells like ice sheet or magic fingers indirectly effect inanimate objects.  Out of the ones that directly effect objects, animate and ignite specify OR is used to resist the spell, fling and levitate don't.(how craptastic would fling be with a OR test)

2.  Hey I agree there should be a way, hopefully in 6e they come up with one.  I'd probably house rule one in myself, its just never came up.

3. Same as 2.  They screwed up when writing counter spelling when they only allowed it to add dice to defense test instead of being able to create a pool when there wasn't a test. That doesn't mean we should just add on random defense tests though. Though in the case of damage manipulation AoE spells honestly you should be able to defend against AoE attacks, its not like you actually dodge bullets, the defense test is just about making yourself a harder target and the same logic could apply to AoE attacks.  But if for whatever reason certain spells can't be defended against, sure counter spelling dice should be able to be applied anyways. Hopefully they will fix that in a supplement or 6e.

Kiirnodel

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« Reply #37 on: (06:49:46/02-13-19) »
We actually have some precedence for spells that are not resisted and how they are handled. Take a look at the Magic Resistance (Core, p.76) and Arcane Arrester (Run Faster, p. 111) qualities. Magic Resistance specifies that spells that require voluntary targets automatically fail on them, while Arcane Arrester creates a pseudo-resistance against spells not normally resisted and still reduces the effective hits.

To me, this speaks to the fact that spells which don't call for a defense (or resistance) is not because the target is voluntarily giving up their test. There was no test to begin with. Casting Levitate on a target doesn't call for a defense (It doesn't say "net hits must exceed..."), the spell specifies that it has a threshold equal to the mass divided by 200 kg (rounded up). Success tests have thresholds, opposed tests do not.


Your comment about Counterspelling struck a chord for me. I remembered being dumbstruck when a GM at a Missions game ruled that counterspelling couldn't be applied to a resistance test against a spell. At the time, I thought "surely that can't be right," but I looked it up, and he was right.

Still, I wanted to be sure, so I took another look at Counterspelling earlier, and I think you might be overestimating how much it should apply to. Spell Defense pretty explicitly only applies to spells that are directly targeting someone. It even specifies hostile spells too.

There is actually a pretty sizable list of spells that Spell Defense doesn't affect: passive detection spells, environmental manipulations, any illusion spell that doesn't target the one resisting the effect (like Invisibility or Mask). Even a lot of Active Detection spells wouldn't be affected by Spell Defense (by a strict reading) if it weren't explicitly called out in the characteristics for Active Detection spells. The specific rule that Counterspelling does apply trumps the general rule that it normally wouldn't.

Remember, Spell Defense only applies to you and people you've chosen to protect. You have to declare that you are protecting a particular target, which is an action (a Free Action, but those are still pretty limited in SR rules). You can't just use Counterspelling to disrupt any and all spells being cast.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #38 on: (08:37:10/02-13-19) »
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Success tests have thresholds, opposed tests do not.

That's actually a very good point. It's the same argument that proves why you don't get to dodge a Fireball.  Still, Fireball still gives an analogue to "resisting" the spell in the form of a soak roll which in turn gives an 'obvious' place to apply Counterspelling dice... but to entertain this train of thought:

So, are you also saying that if you attack someone by casting Heal or Armor on them (in order to inflict the unappealing downsides of those spells), there's no defense allowed?  How would the test work to attempt to Counterspell a weaponized Heal/Armor on a protected target? (and potentially, Levitate!)

Of course the fatal problem with saying "It's got a threshold, so there's no resistance!" is that it very explicitly DOES give a conditional resistance test.  So the door's open, the only question is do things over than living targets also get a resistance test through that opening.  I'll admit that you convinced me that it seems clear that passive objects probably shouldn't, based on the opposed test being originally implicitly ruled out.  I LIKE the idea of OR applying to make a credstick harder to lift than a boulder, but yeah it looks like maybe that's not the intent.

But is it fair to say a drone should be treated the same way as an equal mass of metal and plastic? Characters clearly aren't treated the same way as an equal mass of bone and meat, after all.  Drones aren't living, but they're still NPCs with (at least) motive agency. Do living targets get to resist because they have auras, or because they're able to physically move? (it shouldn't be because they have an Aura, because if so the resistance wouldn't be based on BOD + STR...)

Bringing it back around to the OP... living targets get to resist with BOD + STR but actively resisting nonliving objects (like drones!) get no resistance test in your view?  Going back to the general/blanket rules for Physical Manipulations, it seems that it 'should' be clear OR applies for a Drone that's trying to resist being Levitated.  Or should a drone get BOD + 0 (or BOD + STR if it has a Drone Arm) since it has those stats? (kinda)

« Last Edit: (09:51:17/02-13-19) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
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Mirikon

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« Reply #39 on: (10:17:46/02-13-19) »
All spells have a test involved. However, not all spells have 'resistance' tests. Some have thresholds to meet. Some of those have special rules modifying their effectiveness based on conditions, like health spells taking Essence loss into account.

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SPELL DEFENSE
Spell defense is used against hostile spells cast at you or at targets that are within your line of sight (using the same rules as for targeting spells) that you decide to protect with spell defense. Declaring this protection is either a Free Action or, if you donít have one left, an Interrupt Action that reduces your Initiative Score by 5. Each Combat Turn, you have a pool of dice for spell defense equal to your Counterspelling skill. When a spell is cast, you may choose to use some or all of your Counterspelling dice to defend against an incoming spell. Against each spell attack, you have to choose how many dice from this pool to allocate for defense, and you can select how many people (including yourself if you desire) are covered by these defensive dice. You can protect a number of people at one time equal to your Magic Rating. These dice are then added to the defense tests of everyone youíre covering. The pool refreshes at the beginning of each Combat Turn.

Counterspelling to use as spell defense applies to hostile spells, specifically spell attacks. These spells all have some form of resistance roll in them. Typically, these are combat spells, illusions that affect a the target (such as Agony) rather than ones that shield the target (such as Physical Mask), and manipulation spells that are 'attacking' in nature (such as Petrify or Alter Memories).

Levitate is not one of those spells. It only has a resistance roll if the item you are trying to lift is attended (like trying to yank someone's gun out of their holster). Otherwise, it is a threshold test to see if you can lift that much weight. Spell defense would not apply unless they were attempting to affect something that had a resistance roll (a person or their gear). Using the spell on drones or unattended vehicles would not apply.


Getting back on topic:
I will also say that Powerbolt is better than Lightning Bolt for most drones, since direct spells are resisted by Body alone, and few drones have a body of more than 4, while combat drones almost always have armor, and may have riggers or autosofts to help with the defense tests.

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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #40 on: (10:33:18/02-13-19) »
...Levitate is not one of those spells. It only has a resistance roll if the item you are trying to lift is attended (like trying to yank someone's gun out of their holster). Otherwise, it is a threshold test to see if you can lift that much weight. Spell defense would not apply unless they were attempting to affect something that had a resistance roll (a person or their gear). Using the spell on drones or unattended vehicles would not apply.

What's the rationale for why living subjects get a test to resist Levitate but Drones would not.  It's just quirk of semantics/word choice in the rule, or is there an underlying logic to Levitate's exception in allowing a resistance test on a spell that uses a (normally) unopposed success test?

Take the example of an anthropomorphic drone holding a gun, and a human holding a gun.  If enough levels of Lifelike Features were present, you potentially wouldn't even be able to tell which was which!  But if you randomly select the gun in the human's hand, the human gets to roll BOD + STR to hold on to it.  Why shouldn't the drone, if you had tried to levitate that gun instead?
« Last Edit: (10:38:54/02-13-19) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
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Reaver

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« Reply #41 on: (10:49:48/02-13-19) »
My question with the drone would be "Is it being rigged or is it in auto mode?".

If it is rigged, then it is attended, although I am unsure what the pilot's body and strength have to do with the drone resisting the spell...

If it is under the power of its own dog brain,  then it is unattended, but still under the control and attention of an AI (a simple, dog brain AI, but still an AI).

Do AIs not count as attended???


See the can o worms this has opened?
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #42 on: (10:59:54/02-13-19) »
My question with the drone would be "Is it being rigged or is it in auto mode?".

If it is rigged, then it is attended, although I am unsure what the pilot's body and strength have to do with the drone resisting the spell...

If it is under the power of its own dog brain,  then it is unattended, but still under the control and attention of an AI (a simple, dog brain AI, but still an AI).

Do AIs not count as attended???


See the can o worms this has opened?

The way I see it, it's not a question of being "attended".  IMO clearly a drone holding an object ought to have the same test to resist it being Levitate'd away as would a living creature have opportunity to hold on.

But it goes beyond that... why do living targets get a BOD + STR test to resist being bodily Levitated?  Not in a "because the rule says so" sense, but what is occuring in-game when the living creature tries to avoid being levitated?

Is it grabbing something and holding on?  I don't think so, because it never says you need free hands to resist the Levitate or are penalized if there's no available hand-holds.
Is it because your aura interferes with the magic?  I don't think so, because BOD + STR is an unlikely choice of game mechanic to represent this.
Is it because.. well, you're vaguely "moving out the the way" of the gathering mana that'd lift you up if you otherwise don't?  It's weak because REA isn't invoked, but still: I guess yes, but mainly because I can't think of any other plausible explanation.

And if it is that third thing (or even the first thing), then absolutely I see no reason why Drones aren't eligible for the same opportunity for a resistance test given to "living" targets.  Essentially, reading "living" to mean motive, rather than aura-possessing, subjects.  I mean, a potted plant doesn't get to resist Levitate afterall, does it?
« Last Edit: (11:13:28/02-13-19) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
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fseperent

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« Reply #43 on: (11:38:04/02-13-19) »
I would rule that any aircraft, hovercraft, or similar would be allowed an opposed test:

# of hits vs Accel

Here's my logic, those vehicles and drones apply pressure to the air around them to move.
Other vehicles or drones that need to be on the ground to move have no way real way to act against the force holding them up.

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #44 on: (16:28:10/02-13-19) »
I would rule that any aircraft, hovercraft, or similar would be allowed an opposed test:

# of hits vs Accel

Here's my logic, those vehicles and drones apply pressure to the air around them to move.
Other vehicles or drones that need to be on the ground to move have no way real way to act against the force holding them up.
If there's no resistance test, then how can Counterspelling dice help? Or are you indeed stating that you can only Dispel a Levitate on a drone, not Counterspell it?
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