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PC Powers

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Ragman

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« on: (11:20:24/11-06-10) »
After a long campaign with lots of houserules my players and i have decided to play a campaign completely RAW (no matter how stupid the rules are).

So far i have been able to to keep the the combat encounters challenging, despite their ridicules builds
(Four-armed 20Monowhip Fomori, Pixi Voodoo Summoner, Nosferatu, Commanding Voice Adept).

The non combat parts are more difficult because i can find absolutely no counters to powers.
Wards, counterspelling and even perception don't work on powers and with
Influence, Compulsion, Fear (Nosveratu)
Commanding Voice, Voice Control (Adept)
Flying, Concealment (Pixi)
Confusion, Influence, Psychokinesis, Search and Weather Control (Spirits)

they can do anything even to the most powerful and well protected NPCs without the most perceptive astral perceiving bystander noticing something.

For now i have been able to save my overexposed important NPCs by distracting the players with events at the right moment but they are catching on and it takes only one player to say "i ignore the rampaging troll gangers and keep watching Damien Knight through my Binoculars" and Ares needs a new boss...

Anyone got any RAW ideas how to limit Powers?
« Last Edit: (15:12:36/11-06-10) by Ragman »

nakano

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« Reply #1 on: (12:50:44/11-06-10) »
Honestly, the best solution I have ever found to rampant twinkery as a GM, is to use the PC's dirtiest/cheapest tricks against them.

Its not always popular, but it tends to get the point across.


The_Gun_Nut

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« Reply #2 on: (16:13:31/11-06-10) »
Sniper rifles also work.  Even concealment has its limits.
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nakano

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« Reply #3 on: (17:15:08/11-06-10) »
Do the magically active ones all have masking or not?

No masking =astral surveillance = target practice, or simply long range tracking.

Simply put they have to sleep at some point.  Just as they can (ab)use their tricks, so can NPCs.  If they are good at the patient game, and remain focused on the task at hand, so too can the NPCs. 

Beyond that, divination metamagic can provide interested parties with leads, which can be refined with investigation.  It may take time, but if they are "that damned slick" or untouchable, folks who use the shadows will want to know.

Add to that matrix investigation etc and unless they are always off the grid, results will turn up.  Its all a matter of effort skills and motivation.



Nomad Zophiel

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« Reply #4 on: (17:26:10/11-06-10) »
Drones. They don't get magically commanded, confused etc very easily. One baddie with a Tower blimp that has ramped up sensors and a cluster of smaller drones makes for an evil amount of surveillance. If Damien Knight is an example of the kind of people they're bugging, then the personal security for Damien Knight is the perfect example of the people who will be looking for them. They can afford absolutely anything in any of the books and get it legally. They can also do legwork of their own to track the PC's. Everyone you listed has at least one level of Distinctive Style. They all have to sleep sometime.

After some legwork, the KE guys are going to know to bring a combat mage and to turn off their cyberears, or just send a drone/spirit armada. Or they could sneak into the PC's houses and plant claymore mines under their beds. Or some guy they meet on the street could be an agent who's keeping them busy while the sniper, drone missile etc gets into position. You get the idea.

Realistically, just about anyone can get close enough to kill just about anyone else. Look at Presidential assassinations. Except with Kennedy they were all basically nobodies shooting at close range. Being able to spy on/kill someone isn't the trick. Surviving it is. There are a lot of things that even a normal person can do. Its a matter of impressing upon the characters that the consequences mean they probably don't want to do it.

Critias

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« Reply #5 on: (17:28:28/11-06-10) »
Just remember the golden rule -- anything the PCs can do, the rest of the Sixth World can do (and maybe better).  

Do you really think Damien Knight and his security team are completely mundane and vulnerable to this sort of thing?  That they don't have counters in place, etc, etc?  He wouldn't be the crime boss of a given large town, much less Damien Knight, one of the ten or twelve most powerful people on the planet, if all they had to do was look at him through a pair of binoculars and then need a GM distraction to keep him alive.

Angelone

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« Reply #6 on: (19:35:08/11-06-10) »
Damien Knight also has 8 body doubles. They better be sure they get the right one.
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Ragman

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« Reply #7 on: (21:32:45/11-06-10) »
I have thrown lots of spirits, drones and high level mages at them, combat challenge is not a problem.
I just cant find anything that suggests using powers can be detected (by something other than the result) so even the best drone will just see someone standing still.
In a non hostile situation standing in a crowd, i guess i can have a mage call out the Nosferatu for his >6 Essence
but being awakened (Adept) or dual natured (Pixie) is not illegal...

There are a lot of things that even a normal person can do. Its a matter of impressing upon the characters that the consequences mean they probably don't want to do it.
That seems to be the only way. tough luck for the less important NPCs.

Damien Knight also has 8 body doubles. They better be sure they get the right one.
Thats a good idea.
Knight was only an example but taking a shot at an important figure simply because they can is something they wont pass up
and they can only blame themselves (they will still blame me for being unreasonably evil though).

thanks for the help

Nomad Zophiel

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« Reply #8 on: (02:23:06/11-07-10) »
The point with the drones and spirits was assuming someone actually has a reason to be mad at your PC's. Drones are going to ignore pretty much every power you mentioned except Psychokinesis and Weather Control. Illusions just don't work on them (except physical ones) and neither do magical mind control powers.

OK, normally I'd say "someone standing still" is a good defense. Here, though, you're talking about someone on a rooftop. Someone eight feet tall with four arms, his buddy the ghoul and a Pixie. I ignore the Social Adept because he could conceivably blend in on the street. The other three are distinctive in a Distinctive Style kind of way. Trying to do legwork on any one of them is at +3. With a group this obvious I'd say its totally reasonable to look for them as a group at +9. Also keep in mind that "just standing still" is a crime when you're doing it near Knight and have no civil rights. The pixie and the nosferatu aren't even people by Seattle law, the other two may or may not be depending on how good their fake SIN is. In Bellvue, though, they're guilty of DWT (Driving While Troll). Anywhere nicer than the Barrens, they're going to be facing prejudice and everyone will remember them. The future ain't a happy place if you're not rich and human.

Having said that, let's take the other side instead, Damien Knight. Knight is powerful, blindingly rich, has thousands of employees and is not stupid. If your team, which really stands out,  is watching him through binoculars, there's a Yakuza sniper on another building doing the same thing, and a Lone Star sniper and a Mafia recon drone. Think of it this way, Knight is the brain of a Great Dragon scale character knows as Knight Errant. The chief of police for KE Seattle is one of the hands. The head of Seattle special operations is another. The body is the collective of all the facilities, resources and so forth in Seattle. The head is a vulnerable target that's easy to hit. The hands will use the resources that they have access to in order to protect the head.

On a daily basis, Knight has to deal with organized crime figures, rival corps, angry politicians, rivals from below in KE, people above him in Ares who are afraid he's gunning for their spot and the Shadowrunners that all of the above hire to make his life a living hell. He's still alive. That should tell you something. He also runs a company whose specialty is providing contract coirporate security. OK, sure, that means they're the same guys you face on an average Run but they don't all come from the Imperial Stormtrooper Academy. That Tower recon setup, he probably already has one of those. Undercover KE security? Check. Someome to run image recognition and see if a particular individual passes him on the street to often? Check. Anyone suspicious within a block of him is being watched by someone.  Crack hacker research team to look into potential threats? Check. Are your PC's conspicuous? Check.

The_Gun_Nut

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« Reply #9 on: (09:26:15/11-07-10) »
Here's another notch on the Damien Knight =/= stupid side:  Damien Knight was one of the original surviving members of Echo Mirage.  You know, the folks that beat up the first internet crashing supervirus?  He is also the brainchild that figured out the nanosecond buyout that made him the ultra-zillionaire he is today.

Think Tony Stark/Bruce Wayne without the lunacy that is running around personally beating up people.  That's why you have money, after all.  To pay other people to do it for you.
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FastJack

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« Reply #10 on: (11:18:53/11-07-10) »
Don't forget that Dunkelzahn helped him with the nanosecond buyout and (it's implied) he and the dragon had played chess on a regular basis.

As for the lunacy... there's nothing that says he isn't running the shadows. Hell, for all we know, he could be me/FastJack!

voydangel

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« Reply #11 on: (12:36:01/11-07-10) »
Rule wise, Powers can be astrally assensed, and have a signature which can be tied back to the user, same as spells. The idea is the same as psychometry, even if the effect isn't magical, it's an extension of the person, which leaves traces.
Also, use the fact that the PCs stick out like a sore thumb. With that group composition, anyone trying to find any one of the characters with legwork/data trails, etc is going to get a hefty bonus, not to mention that logically you would get a bigger bonus to find the group than you would for any individual in it. The sum is after all greater than its parts.

As soon as they start pulling off some crazy shit, there will be witnesses - there always are. always.
Then you can track them down and hit them where it hurts. Kidnap friends, contacts & family, ruin lifestyles (burn a house or 2 down), etc. All by the book.
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The Cat

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« Reply #12 on: (13:17:54/11-07-10) »
I have thrown lots of spirits, drones and high level mages at them, combat challenge is not a problem.
I just cant find anything that suggests using powers can be detected (by something other than the result) so even the best drone will just see someone standing still.
In a non hostile situation standing in a crowd, i guess i can have a mage call out the Nosferatu for his >6 Essence
but being awakened (Adept) or dual natured (Pixie) is not illegal...

I'm with voydangle here.

So, they're all SINners?  Being awakened and NOT registered IS illegal.  They're walking WMDs.  Beyond that, they're SINless, so any organization that figures out how powerful or useful they are can simply pick them up off the street for being an illegal (SINless is also illegal).  If they ARE SINners, then it is only a matter of time before someone IDs them from their astral signature or other forensic evidence left behind.

Also, any magical power is A) Noticeable in astral space and B) Leaves a trace in astral space.  Unless they're masking, their astral signature is all over those powers (arguably even more closely associated for the "critter powers" than a standard spell since it's an innate ability).

And then there's the "social aspect" of having such a band of "freaks."  Do you really think the 4-armed troll is going to walk around without some troubles, even from other trolls?  Or just anyone is going to associate with a ghoul?  The only one that's going to escape obvious scrutiny at every turn, even in the most liberal areas, is the Adept assuming he doesn't grow another head, and even he will be memorable thanks to being "that guy who hangs out with the freakshow."

Add to that that they're apparently taking on some seriously high-level "bad guys" judging from your Damien Knight example.  That sort of opposition can field hit teams made up of things that make the PCs look like infants, so once they've pissed them off it's game over if they've made enough of an annoyance of themselves.  One Ritual Ceremony later and the PC vanish in a solid wall of gunfire to become little misty red splatters on the nearest wall, ceiling and floor.

Think of it this way.  The more powerful the NPC the more people are after them.  Some of the people after them make PCs look like rank amateurs.  Top-of-the-heap NPCs are top-of-the-heap NPCs for a reason.

voydangel

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« Reply #13 on: (13:39:32/11-07-10) »
Also, as for the what a person would see when the PC is using a power. you said:
...
I just cant find anything that suggests using powers can be detected (by something other than the result) so even the best drone will just see someone standing still.
...

I disagree, I think there would be tell-tale signs that the character is using a power. It would depend a lot on you as a GM making the world "come alive" though, so it's not technically RAW. If this really is causing such issues though, I feel you are well within your rights as a GM to embellish a little and make these powers have somatic and/or verbal components. The same as a Magicians Tradition dictates how he casts spells, and what it looks like (shamanic mask, hand-waving and chanting, etc.), it stats to reason that when a Nosferatu uses Fear, his eyes might glow red, when he uses influence they might turn full milky white, when the Adept uses voice control or commanding voice, anyone not being directly targeted might recognize the power as "something weird or unusual (at the very least they would remember it and tell their friends - making the PC easier to track down later), and anyone who successfully resists commanding voice might become instantly aware that the character was trying to manipulate them, they might even realize it was magical manipulation - such is the nature of magic sometimes. Concealment is also a direct modifier to Perception, not an invisibility spell, so regardless of how good the effect is, if the characters are standing in front of a light that would "silhouette" them, the concealment instantly fails - it cant bend light beams. There are many other cases where concealment is just really not all that useful, just think of concealment as a "look! whats that over there?" power, it reduces the observers perception dice pool as though they were distracted, but it does not act in the same way as invisibility type spells. If what the characters are doing is obvious enough, concealment is worthless.

just my 2 cents. hope it helps a little. :)
My tips for new GM's
Unless it is coming from an official source, RAI = "Rules As Imagined."
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