Elemental Strike (5e): how does your group use it?

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« on: (10:22:07/12-14-17) »
Hello fellow runners,

We just started a new group and I play a physical Adept who is now thinking of activating his "Elemental Strike" power. Having read what felt like hours of posts on this topic I realized that the rules as written for Elemental Strike are... lacking to say the least and leave a lot of room for interpretation when combined with the Corebook Elemental effects.

Now there is plenty of material discussing the issues/problems of the RAW and pages of personal opinions and suggestions. But what I am interested in is hearing concrete solutions to the problems surrounding this power and the secondary elemental effects in your games. What problems have you faced with the elemental rules/Elemental Strike power? How did you/your GM deal with these?

Some examples of inconsistencies:

- Acid: on pg 170 of the Corebook it speaks of a "base DV" for acid based attacks that decreases with each combat turn. What kind of DV does acid used with Elemental Strike have? The DV of the attacker, based on Str.? Probably not... The Magic rating of the Adept? Perhaps, but no RAW...

- Acid/Cold: Both of these decrease or outright destroy Armor, making it evident that the two elements deal significant structural damage just by contact with matter (i.e. Armor). What happens when there is no Armor? Are naked people immune to Elemental Strikes from Acid&Cold? What about cyberlimbs?

- Electricity: Does the effect only apply if I deal Physical damage? Or also just stun dmg? What if my opponents armor is non-conducting? The text says "The Non-conductivity armor upgrade (p. 438) adds its full rating to the Armor value." But to the armor value of what? I'm still punching the opponent dealing damage based on my punch. Does he now have more armor because of non-conductivity vs. my strength based DV punch?

- Do you have any other examples that came up in your game?

Again I am interested in real experiences and not personal opinions on how this power should be dealt with, as there are plenty of posts for this already.

- Does your group have an Adept with the Elemental Strike ability? If so, how have you dealt with the above inconsistencies?

- Has your group run into similar problems with the base elemental effects as described on pg. 170 of the corebook outside of Elemental Strike and if so how have you ruled them?

Thank you all for your help and never stop running!

« Last Edit: (10:27:03/12-14-17) by Tao »


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« Reply #1 on: (17:10:06/12-14-17) »
Acid: Given that elemental strike is magic, i treat like toxic wave. It is acid so will strip armor but being magic evaporates near instantly. No reapplications of dmg.

Acid/cold: By RAW things that reduce armor(like AP) cease to have an effect once armor is gone. Not the most logical result. I would probably apply DP penalties rather then reducing attributes for when acid/cold occurs with no armor. Also in colds case someone with inherent cold environment protection(magic or geneware) would suffer no effect.

Electricity: The only additional affect i preserve here is the initiative dmg. Non-conductivity armor doesn't apply. This is the simplest interpretation.

My general preference is for interpretations that require the least bookkeeping and special rules. Granted this may weaken elemental strike/elemental weapon as a pick, but given that you can have multiple effects active at the same time i dont feel its to much of downgrade. Very few other abilities allow you to obtain multiple elemental effects at once.

I don't recall any specific examples since it has been some time since i dealt with this particular wrinkle in SR.


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  • Omae
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« Reply #2 on: (14:38:26/12-21-17) »
We just treat it exactly the same as hitting someone with an elemental spell. Essentially Elemental Strike just turns your punch into an elemental spell, resolve exactly as you would for an elemental spell of its DV, with any AP your punch would have had without the power. (So likely not a whole lot!)

And that's it, one simple ruling that makes the entire power work consistently with no additional questions or problems. I'm quite sure this is the RAW/RAI too. Honestly, most "hours of discussion" happen when people try to do stuff the power doesn't ever even allude to, like making it increase your AP and what not. But that is clearly not intended.


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« Reply #3 on: (03:43:38/12-28-17) »
Elemental strike, as per its description, grants you elemental damage with your unarmed attack (including killing hands). The DV is the same as your unarmed DV, but instead of doing Physical damage, you're doing Physical (Elemental) damage.

The rules for each element work as explained in the core book :

- Acid : According to the Core rulebook, there are two cases. Lingering acid, and Spell-based acid. Elemental strike doesn't specify it, but it should go along the Spell-based acid (remember that Core predates SG), and only deal -1 Armor with each strike, the exact same way the Toxic wave spell works.

-Acid/Cold : When there is no armor, there is nothing to strip with elemental effects. Armor accessories are in a grey area for this purpose, especially concerning Cold damage. Concerning cyberlimbs, they also are in a grey area. Allowing for Acid and Cold to utterly destroy them would be quite overpowered compared to their cost, however you can decide that
  • acid only strips the armor part of the cyberlimb, possibly making all the circuitry visible (and applying a social penalty).
  • for cold, same problem as armor accessories.

However, it's perfectly reasonable to apply these effects only on a called shot targeting the said limb.

- Electricity : Electricity applies whether the damage is Stun or Physical. Non-conducting armor doesn't negate electricity damage, it only adds to its armor vs Electricity damage. It applies its rating to the armor value of the armor it's installed in.
  • Armor jacket (12) without special properties. Vs standard damage: you soak using 12+Bod-AP dice. Vs Electricity damage:
     you soak using 12+Bod-AP dice
  • Armor jacket (12) with Nonconductivity[4]. Vs standard damage: you soak using 12+Bod-AP dice. Vs Electricity damage:
     you soak using 12+Bod+Nonconductivity[4]-AP dice
And finally yes, if you try to hit someone with Nonconductivity using Elemental strike(Lightning), your target will have more armor, even if your damage is based out on your strength, your punch is covered with a mana-based lightning aura.

In our current campaign, I'm playing a Cold-focused mage so I can relate a lot. Concerning the armor-breaking ability of cold, we chose to apply AP to the Cold elemental effect Armor test (so if I cast Ice spear Force 4 - Dmg 4P AP-4 - against an armor jacket, it'll have 8 dice on its Armor test)

Lightning and Fire are pretty self-explanatory. For Acid, we basically ruled that every Magic-based acid source does not apply continuous acid damage, unless specifically said (Elemental Strike/Body/Weapon are included)


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  • Omae
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« Reply #4 on: (01:39:01/12-29-17) »
Only ever had one Adept choose this power, and ultimately he never used it.  The fights went so quickly that if he ever activated the power the combat was said and done by the time he had a chance to do anything else.  Was pretty much left by the wayside afterwards.


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« Reply #5 on: (10:11:51/12-31-17) »
Great feedback so far! Thank you everyone  :D

Hopefully we'll be able to balance the whole topic with my group and make the power useful but not overpowered.