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Can mundanes see Sustained Spells?

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« Reply #30 on: (12:01:42/04-23-18) »
You can notice spells when they are cast and in some other specified circumstances.


You disagree with my assertion that due to the description on pg 280 All magic is perceptible and subject to those Perceiving Magic rules.  Fair enough, but if you can't provide a citation that supports your claim that spells are only noticeable under certain circumstances you'll understand why I consider your claim the weaker one.

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Noticing spirits are present in the Astral is called out as being fluffy and mostly tied to the spirits being lazy and actually touching the mundanes aura, not if its sitting quietly in a corner no one is near.

And yet that's counter to what pg 280 says.  It says nothing about the spirit needing to touch the observer's aura in order to grant the observer the chance to notice the spirit's presence.  And at the same time, it does give the implication that the spirit need simply be in proximity as we have a definitive statement in "spirits sometimes cause the air to shimmer, even from astral space".  At best the only room for disagreement about this statement is a philosophical argument about whether there's a shimmer there to be seen if noone is there to see it.  (the tree falling in the forest with noone to hear rehash)   However if you're going to argue that a character can only see shimmers if the spirit touched that character's aura, I'm going to dismiss your argument as based on "this is how I think SR should work" rather than what SR itself is telling us about how it works.  Gimme a citation to support your opinion or all you got is opinion.

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Also as Marcus pointed out if sustained spells are just obvious its self defeating. It also makes a bunch of meta magics worthless as he pointed out. The whole let me invest 2 metamagics worth of initiation(masking & extended masking) into it so that even mages cant tell I have physical mask up is unless they manage to break my masking meta magic or resist my physical mask spell is self defeating when they go i beat a thresh hold 1 perception test to see the magical sparkles around you because you cast a bad ass force 8 physical mask spell. It means mages are by default the Pinkest of Pink Mohawk characters unless and untill they get to a spell casting skill of 10+ so that even medium force spells require at least 3 or 4 hits to notice.

Going backwards to front on this:  So what if mages are inherently very pink mohawk?  There's a pretty big suspension of disbelief if you're running a "black trenchcoat game but with magic" anyway.

But more to the point, keep in mind that the "but invisibility is worthless!" counter is a straw man fallacy: the example on pg 280 never says anything about the magic's effects being countered by tells, nor that the event of successfully perceiving that magic is present gives information to mundane senses about what the magic is doing, or even where it exactly is located.  So no, there's no reason to presume that just because a powerful invisibility spell might be perceived under the Perceiving Magic rules there's no reasonable justification in saying invisibility magic is worthless because it A) still doesn't let the observer know where the invisible person is and B) provide the observer the knowledge that the magic noticed even was specifically an invisibility spell.

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They have some specific rules like if your the target of a mental manipulation spell that get around this, also some of the spell descriptions themselves imply noticable effects that I would use to apply the notice a spell rules even when its being sustained. The armor spell is one of the top of my head as the spell description clearly states you have a nice magical force field glow around you while the spell is active.

Clearly a case of due cause to invoke the third paragraph of the Perceiving Magic rules (pg 281).

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I also personally apply this to the ghostly Mostly invisible hands you get from the magic fingers spell to sight some specific examples.

More power to you.


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How ever there are some spells Like body glove, which is the Armor spell with a slightly higher drain code the specifies its the stealth ops version of the armor spell that functions like the armor spell in all ways just with out the distinctive glowing forcefield effect so you can have it active without the glow in the dark problem that prevents you from sneaking around.

Citation would be appreciated, but going off what you're saying if it's just an Armor spell without the language that it has a visible glowing field, then we're back to the first two paragraphs of the Perceiving Magic rules.  Just as a guard noticing "something magic is afoot" when an invisible target is lurking nearby doesn't invalidate invisibility magic, a guard "noticing something magic is afoot" doesn't invalidate sneaking armor in to someplace you're presumably not supposed/encouraged to have it.

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Also as pointed out pretty much the entire illusion school of magic gets invalidated by this approach....

Aaaaaaaaand... no it doesn't.  Not because I say so btw, because you failed to provide citations that support your claim.  And some of your claims (like you only get a chance to perceive a Deflection spell if you happen to shoot a bullet and might notice the deflection) are demonstrably false.

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In the end you are choosing to read and interpret the rules a little different then most people I know who play the game. And that is ok and its always a learning process when you sit down at a new table to feel out the GM and see how he handles things. That being said they way you are interpreting things is so self defeating I cant accept that that is how it should work.

I don't see where there's something to object to in the assertation that "according to the SR rules governing Perceiving Magic, on pages 280-281 of the 5th Ed Core Rulebook, any magic is potentially perceptible".  May not be popular, may not jive with prior editions (and I'm not prepared to agree it's novel to 5th, just no point in arguing about prior editions) and hell maybe it is game changing.  Nothing wrong with any of this.

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Its like saying every point of armor you have give results in +1 DV when ever your shot.

No, no it isn't.  Me pointing out the rules as they are written isn't like you making up entirely new rules.

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Your making the only viable play style for a mage to be the pink mohawk combat mage that just floats down the middle of the street and is visible form low orbit by your naked eye because he is lit up brighter then most million candle spot lights because of his sustained spells.

I'm not making anyone walk around with say, Force 10 or 12 sustained (or quickened!) Attribute Modification spells.  If you're doing stuff like that, then you're already playing Pink Mohawk.

Honestly, if you're going to use magic in a Black Trenchcoat game, you need a rule like the Perceiving Magic, or else there's no incentive to ever use magical analogues to holdout pistols rather than assault cannons.

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...I cant influence the guards to do anything because as soon as he walks back in the guard shack and says everything is fine the other guards go Ohh your covered in magic sparkles hit the panic button and call in magic back up etc.

If we're going to be hyperbolic about what each other is claiming by implication, then allow me to shed a tear for Mages being inferior to dedicated Faces and Covert Ops Specialists at Faces' and Covert Ops Specialists' own jobs. :)

But to treat your comment with the seriousness that I'm sure you'd want:  lets say you do influence the guard to do something, and while he fails to resist he does succeed on noticing the spell.  Doesn't mean he's going to go press the panic button instead of what you influenced him to do via the spell.  Come on now.

Edit:  In fairness, didn't notice your complaint was about the other guards hitting the panic button.  Yeah, that's kind of the intended point about the Perceiving Magic rules, imo.  You need a better plan than "have the Mage cast a spell at the problem".   You'll have to incorporate your magic into a plan rather than being the plan all by itself.  I see absolutely no problem with this.
« Last Edit: (12:29:50/04-23-18) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »

Xenon

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« Reply #31 on: (12:19:24/04-23-18) »
Oh Look another person who doesn't believes invisibility shouldn't work lol.
So far I have been neutral in this topic and just cited RAW. Please don't confuse that with what I personally believe (or not) or how we treat things at our table. Thank you.


In the end you are choosing to read and interpret the rules a little different then most people I know who play the game...
I think there is an important distinction between debating RAW (which we are doing in this topic, at least as far as I can tell) and how different tables choose to play the game.


Its like saying every point of armor you have give ...
The key difference here is that (by RAW) it is clear that the purpose of armor is to calculate if the attack deal physical damage or stun damage and that the modified armor value act as a positive dice pool modifier to your body resistance roll where each hit will reduce the modified damage value by one. The book also give us rules so we know how to treat various damage types and ammo types. There is no guesswork involved. The rules are clear.

While with Noticing Magic the book first make a blanket statement that magic is rarely subtle (=almost always obvious) and Noticing Magic [when it is subtle] is resolved with a Perception + Intuition [Mental] Test. Full stop. The book does not list any exceptions, but it does list several examples from different areas where the rule is applied (such as walking through a ward, being the victim of the control thoughts spell, a spirit in the astral plane, a projecting magician traveling through your aura, noticing a magician casting a manabolt spell...)

If there are exceptions (and it for example is impossible to notice high force sustained illusion spells) then the book does a poor job at explaining them.

If there are no exceptions (and it for example is possible to notice high force sustained illusion spells) then it make sense that there are no listed exceptions since it would fall under the general noticing magic rule like everything else.

I think a big reason why some people in this thread are arguing that it should be impossible to notice a sustained spell is because they want their high force Invisibility spell and multiple quickened spells without risking people report feeling chills, dread, or other unnatural sensations they can’t quite put their finger on... Not because of RAW. Again, I am not saying they are wrong. Or right. I am just saying that as far as I can tell they don't have much support from the book as it is written (there is also nothing about noticing magic in the official errata).

On the other hand there is also no explicit example with people that report feeling chills, dread, or other unnatural sensations they can’t quite put their finger on when a subject under a high force Invisibility spell and multiple quickened spells walk pass them in the corridor.


I cant influence the guards to do anything because as soon as he walks back in the guard shack and says everything is fine the other guards go Ohh your covered in magic sparkles hit the panic button and call in magic back up etc.
It is clear that you can notice magic if you observe the magician as he cast the spell (twitching fingers).

It is also clear that the victim of this specific subtle manipulation spell get a chance to notice magic (feeling chills, dread, or other unnatural sensations they can’t quite put their finger on - not "glowing sparks" or "lit up brighter then most million candle spot lights").

SR5 p. 292 Manipulation Spells
A victim of mental manipulation spell may roll to notice the magical effect according to the usual rules for Perceiving Magic (p. 280).


Having said that, I know what I believe and I have a good idea on how to handle it. I just can't find a lot of support from RAW...


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« Reply #32 on: (12:37:11/04-23-18) »
I think there is an important distinction between debating RAW (which we are doing in this topic, at least as far as I can tell) and how different tables choose to play the game.

I think this is very important to remember.  This is a discussion about a rule.  It's a place to discuss how the rule is.  How it "should be" is better argued in person with your own gaming buddies, as that's where the game actually matters in a practical sense anyway.  If you don't like the rules on page 280 or any other page for that matter, by all means ignore or change them.

If someone's opinion is "Well the Perceiving Magic rules are just stupid, and I'm not using them as-is" I have no retort.  That's not my intent.  Hell, I can sympathize.. I'm no RAW is LAW robot... I find the rules as written for spotting hidden matrix icons to be stupid and unplayable.  I'm just not arguing that RAW is saying something other than what it says.  So I totally get opinion based pushback... I'd just appreciate facts and logic rather than opinion in the thread.

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Not sure what that means... should I be flattered or offended? :}

Xenon

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« Reply #33 on: (12:53:15/04-23-18) »
Not sure what that means... should I be flattered or offended? :}
It mostly just mean that you managed to reply while I was typing my reply to the previous poster.

Marcus

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« Reply #34 on: (14:04:30/04-23-18) »
Oh Look another person who doesn't believes invisibility shouldn't work lol.
So far I have been neutral in this topic and just cited RAW. Please don't confuse that with what I personally believe (or not) or how we treat things at our table. Thank you.

LOL, Oh Really? Well Xenon, it's really simple. You ether agree with the argument of performing means you can only roll at casting, or you agree that spotted with perception at anytime. It can't work both ways. So which is it Xenon?

Noticing magic is a Simple Perception + Intuition
[Mental] Test with a threshold equal to the Skill Rating of
the being performing it minus the Force of the magic, or
6 – Force if there’s no skill involved (minimum 1 in either
case).
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« Reply #35 on: (14:09:40/04-23-18) »
LOL, Oh Really? Well Xenon, it's really simple. You ether agree with the argument of performing means you can only roll at casting, or you agree that spotted with perception at anytime. It can't work both ways. So which is Xenon?

Noticing magic is a Simple Perception + Intuition
[Mental] Test with a threshold equal to the Skill Rating of
the being performing it minus the Force of the magic, or
6 – Force if there’s no skill involved (minimum 1 in either
case).


Look at it this way Marcus:

You must make a Ritual Spellcasting skill check to cast a Ward.  The example given says that when someone later encounters that Ward, you ignore the "perfoming skill" and it counts as the 6-F scenario instead of Skill-F.

Either you accept that the deciding factor in relevancy of Skill-F vs 6-F is chronology rather than type of magic, or you tell us why there should be different rules for noticing spells vs wards.
« Last Edit: (14:23:22/04-23-18) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »

Jack_Spade

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« Reply #36 on: (14:36:31/04-23-18) »
@Xenon
I appreciate your effort of collecting and clearly labeling sources.

Capitalizing on your work I'd like to point out a few things:

Perceiving is not the same thing as being able to pinpoint magic. In fact Aura contact seems to be very much important for this, as indicated by quote 3 and 8.
Just because there is magic around doesn't tell you that it is this one particular guy. I'd even say, you can't even be sure if you aren't imagining this as the effect is pretty subtle.
I'd go even so far as to say that without aura contact you won't even get that much. Which is supported by the fact that you have to move through a ward to notice it just as an astral form has to move through you to give you a chance to react to it. In fact quote 7 spells it all but out that it would have to be an area spell with you inside the area of effect for you to get a chance to notice anything.

That interpretation would neatly solve this conflict: You can feel sustained magic under certain circumstances - but only if you are in direct aura contact.


1. It is clear that magic in this edition is almost always obvious and doesn't require a test to notice at all (that you only need to take a test if magic is subtle to begin with).

SR5 p. 280 Perceiving Magic
Magic is rarely subtle...But if the magic is subtle, then you have to pick up some dice.


2. It is clear that the victim of a subtle manipulation spell can notice it.

SR5 p. 292 Manipulation Spells
A victim of mental manipulation spell may roll to notice the magical effect according to the usual rules for Perceiving Magic (p. 280). Some of the less subtle mental spells (Control Actions) are pretty obvious, but more subtle spells (like Control Thoughts) can be pretty insidious.


3. It is clear that mundanes in this edition can notice when an astral form passes through their aura.

SR5 p. 314 Astral Detection
Physical beings may sense when an astral form passes through their aura.


4. It is clear that anything active on the astral plane in this edition have an astral form.

SR5 p. 312
Anything active on the astral plane, including spirits, active foci, dual-natured beings, etc., has a tangible astral form.

SR5 p. 319 Foci
While activated, a focus also has an astral form.

SR5 p. 280 Magical Ldoges
Then spend a number of days equal to the lodge’s Force dedicating the space, setting up the physical components, building its astral form, setting up barriers, and harmonizing it to your aura.

SR5 p. 301 Spirit Basics
Spirits are naturally astral forms, much like you’re naturally a physical form.


5. It is clear that spirits in this edition cause the air to shimmer (which mundanes can notice).

SR5 p. 280 Perceiving Magic
Spirits sometimes cause the air to shimmer, even from astral space


6. It is clear that you in this edition can notice magic that is being cast

SR5 p. 280 Perceiving Magic
Sometimes it’s obvious through a magician’s gestures or incantations (magicians seen by non-Awakened people are sometimes called “twitchy fingers”).... For example, if a magician with Spellcasting 6 casts a Force 4 manabolt, the threshold for spotting her do it is 2 (Skill Rating 6 – Force 4).


7. It is clear that you in this edition can notice when magic is in the area

SR5 p. 280 Perceiving Magic
People have reported feeling chills, dread, or other unnatural sensations they can’t quite put their finger on when magic is in the area.


8. It is clear that mundanes in this edition can specialize in noticing magic

SR5 p. 314 Astral Detection
Security personnel are trained to recognize this feeling as a sign of an astral intruder. This specialization of Perception is called Numinous Perception, which includes both the chilly tingle of astral forms and the “bad vibes” of noticing magic (p. 280).




In this edition it is not clear that a sustained spell would be impossible to notice.





edit to rephrase my comments from "sometimes" to "can"
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« Reply #37 on: (15:21:28/04-23-18) »
That interpretation would neatly solve this conflict: You can feel sustained magic under certain circumstances - but only if you are in direct aura contact.

It's an interesting idea, and certainly a much more helpful contribution to the discussion than many other posts have been. ;)

I'm honestly not sure what I think about its appropriateness, but absolutely worthy of thought/further discussion.

To support your idea: The mentions about "magic in the area" are giving no guidelines at all about raw distances. The quoted text in Xenon's point 7 is certainly badly worded if it's supposed to mean "within a spell's area of effect", but then again I'm saying it doesn't cleanly say that because it wasn't meaning to make that exact delineation- just "close enough to be within reason".  But moving on:  even if one were to say auras don't have to come into direct contact but simply be in proximity, you're having to put "how close is close enough" firmly in the realm of GM jurisprudence.  And as expressed upthread, opinions can be expected to vary wildly from GM to GM :)  So taking that variable out is absolutely an intriguing concept.

To possibly rebut the advantage of your idea: "Contact" is still fuzzy from an Astral perspective.  If a mage casts a spell  upon a target in a social encounter clearly the subject gets a perception test to notice the spell being cast (and presumably, everyone else present also gets the chance as well due to the spell being cast in that moment as opposed to being a precast sustained/quickened spell brought into the scenario).  OTOH a mage walking into the social encounter with a quickened Enhance Charisma spell is only at risk of triggering perceptible shimmers/chills/feelings of dread/etc from people he comes into contact with.... is engaging in a one-on-one conversation represented by an opposed social skill check sufficient to count as "contact" and allow the participant to potentially notice the magic that is making his conversation partner supernaturally good looking/insightful/interesting, or only those social encounters that truly involve physical skin-to-skin contact would permit a perception check?
« Last Edit: (15:29:46/04-23-18) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »

Marcus

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« Reply #38 on: (15:45:53/04-23-18) »
I'm still waiting for an answer Xenon.

Some kind of Aura contact rule could be a work around. However from a RAW perspective, it's one or the other, and nothing anyone has said has convinced me otherwise. The consequences of this are fairly far reaching. There isn't anything in the system that defines how aura contact could be defined. Wards are a fairly clearly Line, while personal aura is fairly nebulous concept arguably equivalent to personal space, it would be closer then melee range. So grappling or the gymnastic version of grappling.


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Xenon

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« Reply #39 on: (18:02:24/04-23-18) »
If it was easy, Marcus, then I would have given you an answer in my first reply on this topic ;)

While it is clear that you can notice magic as it is being cast (twitchy fingers, p. 280), it is also clear that you can sense magic in the area (bad vibes, p. 280, p. 281, p. 292, p. 314), notice astral plane spirits (cause the air to shimmer, p. 280) and feel astral forms passing through your aura (slight breathless, p. 314). Can you notice magic when being targeted by a subtle manipulation spell? Yes you can. Can a mundane person notice a ward? Yes. Magic Lodge...? Same thing. Are we even limited to just noticing subtle Spllcasting and Spirits? Nope... Any form of magic changes the world around it (including, but not limiting to, enchanting and conjuring). In fact I can't seem to find a single exception where they mention magic that you can not notice... It should be noted that the test you take for "noticing magic" (not only "noticing magic as it is being cast") is just a regular perception test (p. 135) and in the book we are given at least three different thresholds that we can use for the test depending on the situation (when magic in question have "skill and focus", only "focus" and even when "no focus" is involved). If successful it basically means that you noticed something subtle or important.


Scenario;

A mundane security guard with Numinous training takes the elevator up to the top floor. The guard does not know this, but in the elevator with him is a magician Shadowrunner with an active high force invisible spell as well as multiple high force quickened spells and a few active foci.

Do we let the security guard take a perception test to see if he notice magic?

I don't think it is clear. The rules as they are written are ambiguous and can be read in more than one way. There is no explicit rule that allow the guard to take the perception test. There is also no explicit rule that forbid the guard to take the perception test. There are good arguments for both sides. Would the guard be allowed to take the perception test if he explicitly spend a Simple Action to Observe in Detail...?

This problem have several possible solutions and, depending on your reading, none of them (or maybe all of them?) break RAW.


Noticing Magic was also a hot topic on this very board when I was active back in 2012-2014.... A conclusion some tables came to back then was that you should quicken spells at force 1 and break the limit with reagents.
« Last Edit: (18:10:06/04-23-18) by Xenon »

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« Reply #40 on: (18:09:35/04-23-18) »
Wow. I had no idea this topic would spark so much discussion. I agree fully with everything SSDR and Xenon wrote. Thanks for making such careful and thorough arguments.

For the record, this is how we play it, even though it's not quite RAW: Mundanes get a Perception Test to notice magic in the same room with them, or within about 10 meters in a large space or outdoors. How much they're able to tell depends on how many net hits they get above the (Skill - Force) threshold, from a vague sense of "I smell sorcery!" at one net hit, to "Somewhere over there" at two hits, to "That direction" at three hits, to "That guy right there" at four net hits.

In the specific case of invisibility, with four net hits I would give them a "heat shimmer" description exactly like a spirit in astral space, and I'd still apply the -6 blind fire penalty for attacking someone invisible ... but it's never once come up at the table. Security goons never get anywhere near enough hits on the Perception Test.

« Reply #41 on: (18:36:20/04-23-18) »
A funny thing about the Numinous Perception specialization is you get the same bonus for a 1 point investment in a Magic-related knowledge skill.

Quote from: SR5 Perceiving Magic, pg 281
You get a + 2 dice pool
modifier on this test if you have any magic-related Active
or Knowledge Skill.

Of course, no reason they wouldn't stack so get the specialization AND 1 rank in a magic knowledge skill for +4 dice to perceive magic.

Xenon

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« Reply #42 on: (18:53:22/04-23-18) »
Thanks for making such careful and thorough arguments.
Note that there are good arguments for both sides.

Rules can also be read as you (only) take a:

1. Perception + Intuition (Skill rating - Force) [Mental] Test when someone is actually casting a spell or when you are the victim of a (any) manipulation spell.

2. Perception + Intuition (6 - Force) [Mental] Test when passing through various mana barriers.

3. Perception + Intuition (4) [Mental] Test when an astral form pass through your aura (with a positive dice pool modifier of 2 dice if you are awakened).

« Reply #43 on: (19:21:40/04-23-18) »
If someone were to argue #2 only ever applies to Wards/Mana barriers it'd be a weak one.

If that were true, the rule would say it only applies to this case.  Taken in context with the first half of the rule, it's clear that F-6 applies to all other cases where magic doesn't have a skill that's being actively performed at the moment of perception.  Literally, it can mean nothing else.

As for reconciling #3 with 1 and 2..  folks may not like it but it's easy.  You get a #2 if the ghosting spirit comes "close" to the observer, however "close" is defined.  And then another #3 if the spirit goes so close as to touch the observer's aura.  In the case of ghosting mages..they have a Magic rating but not a Force rating.  So whereas a Spirit's astral presence can physically detected, the rules don't say a mage's astral projection can be.  Unless it potentially directly contacts someone, granting a #3...
« Last Edit: (21:07:16/04-23-18) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »

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« Reply #44 on: (22:17:51/04-23-18) »
If it was indeed true that they meant you'd get to roll to notice magic everytime you encountered it then the very specific mentioning of being allowed a roll when you're the target of a mental manipulation spell would be totally superfluous. Why mention it specially when it's just the normal rule? That makes much more sense if it is actually an exception to what you would normally be allowed to do. It is worth noting that this "exception " is only mentioned in regards to mental manipulation spells.