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

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Marcus

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« Reply #45 on: (22:46:10/06-20-18) »
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?

Look it's not being a dick. Collateral Damage is very serious, Shadowruns overwhelmingly take place in urban environments. You drop an elemental bomb that takes out any sort of decent portion of a block in a city proper, and your better believe you're gonna have serious collateral damage. Millions in property damage, once the insurance companies, utilities, the city, inspectors, the various policy holders get done, jacking up their right offs. Also urban environments have more then just people, they lots of power lines, water pipes, gas mains, fiber-optic lines running through them, and blowing those up can have major secondary consequences. Take out power to a nursing home, can easily lead to fatalities. Blow a gas main, who knows how much damage that fire will do before it's capped off.

This isn't a Fireball goes off in the wood and no one is around here. You make an explosion in concentrated urban environment not even a very big one and odds are you ether going to have hit some one or something directly or the secondary damage is gonna kill or injure someone, very possible many someones. Anyone dumb enough to drop a force 12 elemental AoE at my table better believe they are gonna take some hits for it. And I don't just mean notoriety. You nuke down town and you better run really fast,  and pray you have masking, b/c magic law enforcement does not want to explain this crap to the Mayor without out someone to pin it on. I'd drop high force spirit on them per runner just for openers, if that's the kinda stuff they wanna sling around.
« Last Edit: (23:01:11/06-20-18) by Marcus »
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Rosa

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« Reply #46 on: (08:57:41/06-21-18) »
Creating water hazards is not punishing the casters team, especially not when you're dealing with what sounds like one-trick ponies that spam the same spell at high force 4 times during a combat turn, it's challenging them to come up with alternative strategies, especially since they of course should be warned of said water hazard before casting.

I do agree though that many of the issues with aoe indirect combat spells would be helped if they had kept the defense roll -2 test, that is implied in the book instead of the current rule. We use that in my home game, it still makes aoe spells punishing due to the high AP but less so than under the current rules.

Jayde Moon

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« Reply #47 on: (02:02:05/06-22-18) »
I would call creating water hazards 'punishing' if they were ever present or the players weren't informed about it before they cast.

Player: "I cast lightning bolt."

GM: "Ok, well, you're standing in the same pond as your target so, you die, too!"

P: "Wait, what?  Where did a pond come from?"

G: "QUACK! QUACK!  Some ducks land on your charred corpse."

If a GM had a transparent system about how do determine collateral damage induce 'hazards', I'd applaud that.

"Missing forces an edge test, threshold is the difference in hits between attacker and defender.  Failure means a critical component is hit, if, after structure and armor soak is rolled, it is damaged, it ruptures, introducing, based on a 1d4, toxic gas, flammable vapor, flammable liquid, water."

I'm not saying that's a solid mechanic, it's 1am, I'm in bed with sleepy eyes... THE POINT is thatif the players expect it and it's not something they can say is 'directed at them', it shouldn't feel like punishment.
That's just like... your opinion, man.

mbisber

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« Reply #48 on: (13:22:36/06-25-18) »
In my local SRM environment, spellcasters dominate.  Not just demographics, but combat.  And it's largely due to one thing: area indirect combat spells.  Sustained/quickened spells and/or adept initiative enhancers contribute to the problem of "initiative is rolled:  Set up the minis.  Mage goes on 30 or 40 something initiative, and kills most of the bad guys before they ever act.  And if the bad guys survive, they get one action at wounded penalties before being unceremoniously mopped up before they ever get a 2nd pass. Combat is over..." but amazing initiative isn't what I'm looking to get a handle on controlling.  I'm wrestling with how much more effective Indirect Combat spells are than Direct Combat spells.  Like, why ever even cast a Manaball levels of inferiority to Indirect Combat spells.
"All indirect combat spells originate near the magician's body..." p.283.

Are your 'good guys' doing proper Recon? How about considering preparing a Mana Barrier, p.315, or just throwing up a Manipulation Spell 6' in front of one of your offending spellcasters?

They might slow down and be more careful.

« Reply #49 on: (16:14:05/06-25-18) »
I did once play with the enchanting rules.  The SRM mission called for some extraordinarily tough cyberkillers in hardened armor to oppose the party, but they didn't give them ANY mojo support.  I knew with this group they'd need it or else it'd be yet another roflstomp.  "How much hardened armor do they have? 23? Well I guess with F12 I'll get -12 AP and only need 1 net hit to do physical damage...."


So I gave one of the mooks a mana barrier alchemical preparation.  Since I know the group throws F12s, it was a F12 spell enchanted in.  Of course after potency and hits rolled, it ended up being like a F6 barrier, but was still a huge ton of help to keeping the Lightning Balls from winning the fight all by themselves.


Fedifensor

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« Reply #50 on: (15:48:52/09-08-18) »
If someone is throwing L12+ Lightning Balls, corps should be calling in HTR teams immediately.  Have the defenders use Run for Your Life to get out of the initial radius and call for backup on their first action.  Even without an active call for backup, any decent corp's security should have spirits reacting - combat spirits go after the caster, and watcher spirits run to inform their mages.  That sets an extremely short time limit before the real heavy hitters arrive...and how long does it take to erase the astral signature of a L12 spell?  Did the mage casting it take the time before leaving the area?  With the destruction caused by a Force 12 lightning ball, expect mages with 16+ dice of Assensing (with the specialization of Astral Signatures) to be digging through Masking or Flexible Signatures to find the caster's signature.  If they get it...I expect that runner to be burning a permanent point of Edge pretty soon.

Basically, high Force spells that draw a lot of attention are like terrorists using complex bombs - both have a signature that can be uncovered with sufficient resources, and the corps have effectively unlimited resources.  That is why runners normally stay in the shadows, not causing big enough waves to make it worth a corp's time to track them down.

Also, as mentioned by others, mana barriers impede spells on the plane in which they were cast.  If a corp mage has the spell and can cast it before dropping, it can cause difficulties for nearly any shadowrunning mage.  You bubble a shadowrunner with spells up, and they have to work to get through the barrier before they can go after anyone else.  If they cast an area spell, it'll detonate at the barrier.

Granted, these solutions doesn't address the initial imbalance of being able to ignore defense tests and hit large groups for a mere +2 Drain over the single-target version...but you have to start somewhere.

Finally...talk to your players.  Tell them the consequences of that level of force, and suggest that they look at alternatives.  Some players aren't throwing Force 12 spells as an 'I win' button.  They may have had previous experiences in Shadowrun which taught them that overwhelming force is needed to survive.  A different lesson needs to be taught for Missions.

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #51 on: (15:56:10/09-08-18) »
I've seen the opposition in Dragon Song. F12 makes a lot of sense.
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kyoto kid

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« Reply #52 on: (17:45:43/10-08-18) »
..read through most of this.

Collateral damage  = not just Notoriety but also Public Awareness if there are witnesses about.  PA is next to impossible to get rid of (I believe there are only two missions where you can get a favour that reduces it by one).  The only other way to remove it is spending 16 Karma for the Erased quality after chargen and we know how spell casters value Karma (looks like that next initiation needs to be pushed back a few more missions). 

Armour Resistance mods:  My PCs never go out without full Fire and Non-conductivity on their armour. One character also has electrical resistance on her Orthoskin (another +2 that stacks with the armour mod giving her + 8).  She was hit with a F-12 Ball Lightning ("friendly fire" at that) while wearing her sealed FBA (stacked with Orthoskin 4 and Titanium Bone Lacing for an additional 7 armour) and only wound up taking two boxes of stun [after post edging] as she lost just 4 dice from her soak roll.

Another deterrant:  have one or more of the NPCs with automatic weapons lay down suppression fire. Using Flechette rounds makes hitting the dirt more difficult.  In one mission two of the mooks did so in a 90 cross fire pattern and the team was pinned down with heavy penalties (I believe -8 or -9) to any actions they took.

Or lob a couple grenades at the team (even something like neurostun which has both an inhaled and contact vector).  That usually makes PCs run for cover thus reducing their initiative.

As a few have mentioned, it would be nice to draw the situation out so that the players have an idea just who who they can see, and how split up the oppos are so suddnely popping off the bit AOE xpell might not be worth the risk of physical drain. I wish this were done more often and even supplied for in the mission write up.

True even as a player I get a little dismayed when the mages roll a 40+ initiatives, cast boffo force 12 AOE spells, and my amped up gunbunny with the tricked out Yamaha Raiden, chemsealed FBA and 24 initiative becomes little more than a spectator to the show.  Kind of takes the fun out it.  Granted you cannot stop Prime Runner level characters from participating on a mission they never were on, but by the same token, you need to be careful when pushing the envelope so that the lower Karma characters aren't just there to be bullet and/or spell catchers.

As to MAs, yeah they can be game breakers.  I have one with less than 60 Karma who now has a wad of drain dice (after quickening Increase Attribute spells on her drain attributes), prefers mental manipulations and illusions, and makes use of reagents, as the effects of those spells are based off of net hits instead force.  So she casts Opium Den at say force 4, uses 8 units of reagents to raise the limit, and suddenly the mooks in an 8 metre area are standing there drooling while she doesn't break a sweat doing so. Then she has her force 8 Spirit of Man cast foreboding on them and they become quivering drooling mass.
« Last Edit: (18:06:02/10-08-18) by kyoto kid »
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