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Indirect Combat Spells - Modifiers that affect them?

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RevenantBob

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« on: (21:22:04/02-06-19) »
The wording for indirect combat spells is poorly written and it's unclear what all affects them. It just says "Kinda like a ranged attack". This leaves so much interpretation.

What modifiers affect them? Can you aim them? Is this already in some FAQ somewhere?


Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #1 on: (00:27:22/02-07-19) »
Since they're treated as ranged attacks, all the usual modifiers would apply. Like cover and environmental conditions.

Range is tricky, since spells don't have range bands. Using the precedent of perception tests giving a -3 dice pool penalty for things "far away" is probably a fair measure for trying to cast a LOS spell on someone who's "far away".
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Reaver

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« Reply #2 on: (05:05:53/02-07-19) »
Since they're treated as ranged attacks, all the usual modifiers would apply. Like cover and environmental conditions.

Range is tricky, since spells don't have range bands. Using the precedent of perception tests giving a -3 dice pool penalty for things "far away" is probably a fair measure for trying to cast a LOS spell on someone who's "far away".

This depends also on the spell, some indirect direct spells, Like Fireball don't need a person as a target, but a spot (They are magical grenades, in effect).

Generally speaking, if you can "see" it, you can target it for a spell. How well you have to see it - is up for debate as its not precise.

This is all covered under Choose the Target in the spell casting section. (page 281)

But for ranged targets:
Quote
If you need to see the target, line of sight can be established
with your natural vision, including using reflective
surfaces and looking through transparent objects.
Cyber- or bioware visual enhancements that have been
paid for with Essence count as natural. Any technological
visual aid that digitizes or augments the visual input
for you (a camera, electronic binoculars, Matrix feeds,
etc.) doesn’t work—you’re looking at a generated image,
not the light from the real target. Spellcasting by visual
targeting is subject to normal visibility modifiers. You can
use visual targeting to target astral targets when you’re
in astral space (you’re not technically seeing them, but
the analogy works).

So the only modifiers that apply are visibility modifiers. (foggy? dark? too bright? etc...)
Range has nothing to do with spell casting; As long as you can see your target, you can cast at it.

Now, when you get to indirect combat spells and how they work (page 283) we get some specific details.
(bold for brief notes)
Quote
Indirect: All indirect combat spells originate near the
magician’s body
(most magicians use their hands or eyes,
but some use their feet for “power kicks” or emanate
power from the entire body for a kind of an aura-throwing
effect). The spell then is launched with an Opposed
Test that pits the magician’s Spellcasting + Magic [Force]
versus the target’s Reaction + Intuition, kind of like shooting
a gun
(in this case with bullets made of acid, or fire,
or something equally unpleasant to be hit by). So you
don’t really need to be able to see the target—you can
cast these spells blindfolded or with artificial image enhancement—
as long as you’ve got a clear line of fire. The
Damage Value of a successful indirect combat spell is
Force + net hits, with an AP equal to –(Force). Damage
from an indirect combat spell is resisted with Body +
Armor (adjusted for the spell’s AP). Area indirect spells
travel from the magician to the point of detonation and
then go boom
. The test is like that for grenades (p. 181):
a Spellcasting + Magic [Force] (3) Test with scatter of 2D6
meters. Unlike grenades, you get to add your net hits on
this test to the Damage Value of the spell, but only if you
beat the threshold; otherwise the spell still detonates, but
the hits are used to reduce scatter by one meter per hit..

 * Indirect spells are basically treated like "magic bullets"
 * They need a clear line of travel from caster to target
 * They don't require LOS to cast
 * anything between the target and the spell will cause it to miss (such as a window)
 * Range is not a factor - the spell goes until it hits.. something. (remember, even a "miss" with a spell - or a bullet! - still lands somewhere...)
 * Cover would affect the outcome - in some cases


So for indirect spells like lightning bolt, or flamethrower things like cover, and blind fire would apply, (and other visibility modifiers) but not a range modifier.
While for things like fireball and ball lightning; visibility modifiers (like blind fire) would apply, but things like Cover not so much. (the magical whirling flames that fills the AOE doesn't care you are hiding behind an over turned couch...)




EDITED: been drinking, cleaned up spelling and snark.
« Last Edit: (05:31:18/02-07-19) by Reaver »
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Tecumseh

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« Reply #3 on: (17:41:13/02-20-19) »
For environmental modifiers, there's reasonably good consensus that Light and Visibility modifiers apply to spellcasting.

Wind is a question mark. I don't use it, personally, but I wouldn't argue if another GM wanted to apply it.

As for range, I've seen a house rule where spellcasting uses the range bands of Sniper Rifles (50 / 350 / 800 / 1,500) to represent the additional difficulty of targeting someone far away. Again, this is a house rule, but it seems aligned with the what the rules intend, namely the increased difficulty of attacking a target that's smaller and/or harder to see.

Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #4 on: (01:51:21/02-25-19) »
Have they answered how indirect touch range spells work yet?

Mirikon

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« Reply #5 on: (11:06:46/02-25-19) »
Have they answered how indirect touch range spells work yet?
What is to explain? Specific rules trump general rules. Indirect spells roll Spellcasting+Magic [Force] vs. the target's Reaction+Intuition. Specific rule for indirect combat spells trumps general rule for unarmed attacks.
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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #6 on: (11:36:31/02-25-19) »
Have they answered how indirect touch range spells work yet?
What is to explain? Specific rules trump general rules. Indirect spells roll Spellcasting+Magic [Force] vs. the target's Reaction+Intuition. Specific rule for indirect combat spells trumps general rule for unarmed attacks.

I don't know that it's for sure as clear cut as that.  You could just as easily argue that the rules regarding those to-hit rolls are for covering ranged Indirect spells and that the extant rules for Touch attacks (requiring the additional Unarmed Combat "attack test") are clearly in play for all touch attacks.  In other words: the rules for attacking with Direct Combat Spells don't invoke specific > general with regards to Touch Attacks, so why should the rules for Indirect Combat Spells?
« Last Edit: (11:56:45/02-25-19) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
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kainite311

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« Reply #7 on: (12:57:12/02-25-19) »
We have house ruled that spell range is hampered by distance. We came up with ad-hoc -1 per 20 meters so far. We based this on how hard it is to make out any detail of something on the other side of a football field. Also we didn't want magic to compete with sniper's, nor be sniped by magic that far away (and make them nigh untouchable). So if you had anything that affected vision range, that would shift it by whatever that ability says to. For single target spells I could maybe see using assault rifle ranges, maybe. But for AoE spells, you try identifying the exact square meter next to someone over 200 meters away (more than 2 football fields). I think sometimes people assume just because you can see something, then that's all they need. I think you need to be able to identify it somehow, not just see it (I can see Jupiter at night, but I can't identify or describe it at all other then a pinprick of light - so I can cast a spell at it? extreme example but cutting to the chase when people say all I have to do is see it...). We are debating a more relaxed range of 20/80/160/320. Trying to draw the line at what is reasonable and what is just system abuse of never having to be in range to worry about getting physically in danger (Levitating mage wwwaaaaayyy up there raining fire down safely out of enemy gun range short of a sniper... who first has to find the mage)
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Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #8 on: (21:26:18/02-25-19) »
Have they answered how indirect touch range spells work yet?
What is to explain? Specific rules trump general rules. Indirect spells roll Spellcasting+Magic [Force] vs. the target's Reaction+Intuition. Specific rule for indirect combat spells trumps general rule for unarmed attacks.

I don't know that it's for sure as clear cut as that.  You could just as easily argue that the rules regarding those to-hit rolls are for covering ranged Indirect spells and that the extant rules for Touch attacks (requiring the additional Unarmed Combat "attack test") are clearly in play for all touch attacks.  In other words: the rules for attacking with Direct Combat Spells don't invoke specific > general with regards to Touch Attacks, so why should the rules for Indirect Combat Spells?
Pretty much this.  Touch range spells have a requirement of hitting them with an unarmed combat test first.  Indirect spells have a rule for how they hit spellcasting+magic vs intuition+reaction like a normal ranged combat test but the text always talks about ranged combat or area of effect spells it never references touch range spells.  Now this could still mean that touch falls under this system, but there is not specific rule overriding the touch rules as far as I can see.

If it overrides the touch rules, that is the easiest answer and great you are done. If not, then there are a series of other questions that can pop up.  They unsuccessfully dodged your touch attack, do they get to dodge again vs the spell, if yes is it at full dice is it at -1 dice for being the second dodge, do you just use the initial roll for both defense tests.

I'm for just using spellcasting as it reduces the number of die rolls. But its not really clear and I guess it has never been answered.

Reaver

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« Reply #9 on: (21:41:26/02-25-19) »
And just what "Touch" range indirect spell are you talking about???

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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #10 on: (21:50:03/02-25-19) »
And just what "Touch" range indirect spell are you talking about???

My gut was that there was no such thing, as well.  But there's at least one: Punch.  I stopped looking for more before replying after seeing that... it may well be that's the only spell that's both Indirect and has a range of Touch.
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Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #11 on: (22:04:15/02-25-19) »
Punch is the only one i am aware of.  I like the concept of it and wish they had added more, ones with elemental effects. And sure I watch too much anime.  Oh how i miss spell creation. But, I haven't the foggiest idea of how they are supposed to work.  Spellcasting+magic to hit makes sense on some level I mean it works for why your laser beams, ice bolts etc hit so it does sub in for a combat attack roll, so why not this one as well.


edit to add Apparently there is a corrode spell as well, but it only hits objects so a defense test may be moot.
« Last Edit: (22:07:18/02-25-19) by Shinobi Killfist »

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #12 on: (00:46:57/02-26-19) »
We have house ruled that spell range is hampered by distance. We came up with ad-hoc -1 per 20 meters so far. We based this on how hard it is to make out any detail of something on the other side of a football field.
If I were you, I'd turn it into a Ranged Category rather than a separate dice penalty. That way it's properly unified with other penalties, such as Glare (including the 'heaviest counts, 2x heaviest = 1 category worse'). Maybe grab Medium Crossbow as your baseline?
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Reaver

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« Reply #13 on: (02:39:09/02-26-19) »
Wow, I never noticed Punch before!

Sadly, if you want to take a direct reading of the order of events, it would go:

"Melee attack", cast spell, determine effect, drain (page 281-282)

So, in this one case the target would actually get two "resistance" tests; the first to resist the "melee attack" and the next to resist the spell...

If the caster fails his melee attack, he doesn't have a valid target for the spell - thus no spellcasting. IF he is successful in the melee attack, then he has a valid target and can now cast the spell... and the target resists again.

Under "touch attack" on page 187 it has this to say:
Quote
TOUCH-ONLY ATTACK
If the intention of an attack is to simply make contact,
whether to discharge a spell, plant a RFID tag, or just
playing tag, than the attacker gains a +2 dice pool bonus.
Additionally, if all that is needed is contact, the attacker
and not the defender succeeds on a tie.

So the "touch attack" is not technically an attack (deals no damage), but can be used to deliver something that may cause damage. (the Spell, a Stim patch, etc)...
And, its easier to do then a melee attack (hence the +2 dice and tie to the attacker..)
« Last Edit: (02:41:07/02-26-19) by Reaver »
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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #14 on: (09:57:07/02-26-19) »
Yeah, personally I would require the unarmed touch attack test then the spellcasting test as well.  It's mechanically awkward.. a success on the first test is doing nothing but granting the second test.  But that's exactly how the Touch rules present it, so there we go.  I guess that's the mechanical "price" of the lower drain for Touch range spells: you have to make two tests to deliver them.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.