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Looking for ideas: How to keep Lightning Ball from "winning" SRM?

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Lewis Greywolf

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« Reply #30 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.

« Reply #31 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.

Lormyr

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« Reply #32 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.

Hobbes

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« Reply #33 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.   

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #34 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.
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« Reply #35 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.
« Last Edit: (16:08:11/06-19-18) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #36 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.
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« Reply #37 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.

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #38 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
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« Reply #39 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.

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #40 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
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« Reply #41 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?


Michael Chandra

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« Reply #42 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
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Rosa

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« Reply #43 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.
« Last Edit: (22:40:25/06-19-18) by Rosa »

Lormyr

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« Reply #44 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.