NEWS

S6 Masking and Sustained Spells

  • 20 Replies
  • 263 Views

markelphoenix

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 532
« on: <07-27-20/0127:10> »
So, Masking talks about Initiate grade in foci being able to be masked along with your own aura, but what about spells you just sustain? Are they spells you are sustaining on yourself considered 'part of your aura' for purposes of masking? If I Masked my character to look mundane, but was sustaining 3 health spells on myself, would that mean that I look like a mundane who got buffed by a mage friend? Would this not draw attention and limit the use of Masking?

Looking for clarification.

Michael Chandra

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Prime Runner
  • ***
  • Posts: 9550
  • Question-slicing ninja
« Reply #1 on: <07-27-20/0235:51> »
Masking only covers Foci. Expect Advanced Masking to be covered by Wyrd Magic.
How am I not part of the forum?? O_O I am both active and angry!

Xenon

  • *
  • Prime Runner
  • *****
  • Posts: 5755
« Reply #2 on: <07-27-20/0626:30> »
Are they spells you are sustaining on yourself considered 'part of your aura' for purposes of masking?
No, for an astral observer they will have immediately obvious tangible astral forms of their own, separate from your intangible living aura.


If I Masked my character to look mundane, but was sustaining 3 health spells on myself, would that mean that I look like a mundane who got buffed by a mage friend?
Note that at a quick glance an astral observer can't tell if your intangible living aura belong to a mundane or awakened subject. In a crowd of people there is nothing that distinguish your specific living aura as belonging to an awakened subject compared to all other living auras (this have nothing to do with if you have Masking or not). They need to spend the time to actually observe your specific aura in detail to find out that you are actually awakened (but if they do it will often be quite trivial to find out, unless you have the Masking metamagic that is).


Would this not draw attention and limit the use of Masking?
You use it to pass as a mundane subject if an awakened observer for some reason single out your specific aura. You use it to blend in and to disguise your aura as mundane (perhaps because you are a social infiltrator trying to impersonate a subject that is known to be mundane). Sustaining active magic on yourself would be highly counter productive in this case.

Active magic (such as your three sustained spells) have immediately obvious tangible astral forms of their own. In a crowd of people it doesn't even require a test for an astral observer to single out the subject that have active sustained spells attached to their living aura. It is like you are walking around with drawn weapons in the middle of the day in a public place. It is guaranteed to draw attention. This is also one of the major reasons why you should not walk around with sustained spells 24/7 (and instead sustain them, perhaps by having focused concentration, right before you think you really need them).

markelphoenix

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 532
« Reply #3 on: <07-27-20/0810:03> »
Are they spells you are sustaining on yourself considered 'part of your aura' for purposes of masking?
No, for an astral observer they will have immediately obvious tangible astral forms of their own, separate from your intangible living aura.


If I Masked my character to look mundane, but was sustaining 3 health spells on myself, would that mean that I look like a mundane who got buffed by a mage friend?
Note that at a quick glance an astral observer can't tell if your intangible living aura belong to a mundane or awakened subject. In a crowd of people there is nothing that distinguish your specific living aura as belonging to an awakened subject compared to all other living auras (this have nothing to do with if you have Masking or not). They need to spend the time to actually observe your specific aura in detail to find out that you are actually awakened (but if they do it will often be quite trivial to find out, unless you have the Masking metamagic that is).


Would this not draw attention and limit the use of Masking?
You use it to pass as a mundane subject if an awakened observer for some reason single out your specific aura. You use it to blend in and to disguise your aura as mundane (perhaps because you are a social infiltrator trying to impersonate a subject that is known to be mundane). Sustaining active magic on yourself would be highly counter productive in this case.

Active magic (such as your three sustained spells) have immediately obvious tangible astral forms of their own. In a crowd of people it doesn't even require a test for an astral observer to single out the subject that have active sustained spells attached to their living aura. It is like you are walking around with drawn weapons in the middle of the day in a public place. It is guaranteed to draw attention. This is also one of the major reasons why you should not walk around with sustained spells 24/7 (and instead sustain them, perhaps by having focused concentration, right before you think you really need them).

Soo, that drawn weapon example confuses me, because wouldn't that make quickening a meaningless metamagic? Why would anyone quicken a spell using karma to make a sustained spell permanent if it's the equivalent of a drawn weapon.

Also, are there any rules or fluff to support that you can point me to?

Michael Chandra

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Prime Runner
  • ***
  • Posts: 9550
  • Question-slicing ninja
« Reply #4 on: <07-27-20/0912:15> »
I'm going to guess you got me on ignore, since what I said already covers Quickened Spells, so I'll leave you alone after this. But for any onlooker, SR5 Extended Masking from its Magic book (which I expect SR6 to also have in its Magic book):

Quote
EXTENDED MASKING
Extended masking extends your masking to include
anchored, sustained, or quickened spells; imbued or
attuned items; or alchemical preparations that are in
the magician’s possession. The magician may mask a
number of items up to his initiate grade (this is in addition
to bonded foci). Each item masked in this way must
have a Force less than the magician’s Magic attribute.

So to summarize: To properly hide Quickened and Sustained Spells, you need Masking. That's a downside of Quickening, which is one of the factors in its balance.
How am I not part of the forum?? O_O I am both active and angry!

markelphoenix

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 532
« Reply #5 on: <07-27-20/0938:37> »
I'm going to guess you got me on ignore, since what I said already covers Quickened Spells, so I'll leave you alone after this. But for any onlooker, SR5 Extended Masking from its Magic book (which I expect SR6 to also have in its Magic book):

Quote
EXTENDED MASKING
Extended masking extends your masking to include
anchored, sustained, or quickened spells; imbued or
attuned items; or alchemical preparations that are in
the magician’s possession. The magician may mask a
number of items up to his initiate grade (this is in addition
to bonded foci). Each item masked in this way must
have a Force less than the magician’s Magic attribute.

So to summarize: To properly hide Quickened and Sustained Spells, you need Masking. That's a downside of Quickening, which is one of the factors in its balance.

No, you're not on ignore. I actually enjoy very much your posts.

My question was more in response to Xenon, looking for the 'drawn weapon' example in the rules or fluff, as far as sustaining spells go.

My response wasn't on, "Regular masking should cover quickened spells." It was, "If any spells sustained on a person is considered a drawn weapon, then how does that make sense to offer quickening in the core rule book with no way to 'sheath' the weapon".

My challenge is the assertion that any sustained spell is considered the equivalent of a drawn weapon.

Banshee

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 915
« Reply #6 on: <07-27-20/0949:53> »
I'm mobile and maybe Xenon will have sources for you, but ....

From memory fluff has supported that all active spells including quickened are obvious throughout the editions, older editions even had pretty straight forward rules for it.

As far as the direct analogy to "drawn weapons" remember that magic use requires a license so running around with active spells should draw attention much like h open carrying a weapon... depending on where you're at rhat is.
Robert "Banshee" Volbrecht
Freelancer & FAQ Committee member
Former RPG Lead Agent
Catalyst Demo Team

markelphoenix

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 532
« Reply #7 on: <07-27-20/1002:17> »
I'm mobile and maybe Xenon will have sources for you, but ....

From memory fluff has supported that all active spells including quickened are obvious throughout the editions, older editions even had pretty straight forward rules for it.

As far as the direct analogy to "drawn weapons" remember that magic use requires a license so running around with active spells should draw attention much like h open carrying a weapon... depending on where you're at rhat is.

Cool, if you get time, would love to read up more about it.

With magic being in public eye for several decades at this point, would be surprised if there wasn't medical providers offering health spell services to address insecurities or medical deficiencies.

Totally get it making someone or something lit up on the astral, just questioning gov, corp, and societies response to any sustained magic in the 2080s.

For me, always trying to wrap my head around what has become what in the 30 years of in-game time since 1st ed.

Banshee

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 915
« Reply #8 on: <07-27-20/1018:00> »
It has always been kind of left vague, but for the most part the response in "patrolled" areas is to at least take the time to "observe in detail" to determine the type of spell or stop you to check for a license.
The trick to it is to balance it against how paranoid the patrol is given what the environment is that your in.
Walking down the street in a AAA zone would have more leeway than hanging out in the Renraku lobby for example... but having active spells in either place will cause at least a closer look.
Robert "Banshee" Volbrecht
Freelancer & FAQ Committee member
Former RPG Lead Agent
Catalyst Demo Team

Hobbes

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Prime Runner
  • ***
  • Posts: 2805
« Reply #9 on: <07-27-20/1059:02> »
There would be exceptions to rule.  The wealthy and powerful would likely have licences and permits to keep sustained spells going in areas where they're in control.  And those licences would be very expensive to attain and probably not work on other corporate or government property.

Evo's latest hot property can come and go through the studio with a crackling escort of Spirits and Sustained spells.  Other folks are going to get stopped and questioned, because they don't want sneaky criminal terrorists running off with Evo's latest hot property.

It's absolutely a double standard. 

It's like this, the plane that flew Carlos Ghosn out of Japan was cleared by customs.  They didn't even open the box that Carlos was being transported in, they literally helped load it on the plane.  Why?  Private jet, wealthy clients, all that.  The rest of us over there flying commercial?  Yeah, they're going through every suitcase and back pack. 

It's a double standard that exists in Shadowrun.  PCs can certainly try to exploit it and try to crash/fastalk/whatever through the VIP entrances of the world.  But if you're walking around with the rest of the unwashed masses, expect to be stopped if you're sustaining spells or other obvious magics. 

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

  • *
  • Errata Team
  • Prime Runner
  • ***
  • Posts: 3768
« Reply #10 on: <07-27-20/1120:41> »
Spells (and active foci) have their own astral forms.

Astral forms are distinct from one another.

If Masking says it can affect foci but does not mention spells, then it does not affect spells.
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.

Xenon

  • *
  • Prime Runner
  • *****
  • Posts: 5755
« Reply #11 on: <07-27-20/1133:38> »
If you are trying to keep a low profile then you should probably not wield weapons in public. At the very least someone will pull you to the side for a SIN validation and also checking that you have proper licences (while moving in public you should probably conceal them or get them from the van just before you think you really need them).

If you are trying to keep a low profile then you should probably also not cast or sustain active spells in public. At the very least someone will pull you to the side for a SIN validation and also checking that you have proper licences (while moving in public you should probably mask them or only sustain them just before you think you really need them)

If you let your magician walk around unhindered while sustaining active unmasked spells 24/7 then you should probably also let your street samurai walk around unhindered with drawn weapons 24/7.



Many establishments have MAD scanners to detect weapons. Even if you conceal your weapons you might still get caught in the scanner as you walk in, and this will probably draw attention to yourself (at places like this you might want to consider leaving your weapons in the van, or at the very least be prepared to take some tests in order to smuggle in your weapon).

Many establishments also have wards or other mana barriers. Even if you mask your spells they might still cause astral intersection as you walk in, and this will probably also draw attention to yourself (at places like this you might want to consider dropping the spell, or at the very least be prepared to take some tests in order to sneak your spell through the barrier).

If you let your magician in with masked spells (without even take a test) then you should probably also let your street samurai in with concealed firearms (without even taking a test).



...then how does that make sense to offer quickening in the core rule book with no way to 'sheath' the weapon".
Unlike quickening (which require initiation which cannot be taken during chargen) the book offer you Focused Concentration directly at chargen which (unlike quickening) don't require karma each time you sustain a spell and can now (unlike previous edition) sustain one spell per rank (they actually buffed this quality considerably and the end-result is that it is now a lot easier to drop spells when you no longer need to sustain them and also to switch between spells you wish to sustain right now).

But yes, one of the balancing factors of quickening is that you will 'lit up' on the astral plane. Magicians in previous edition that had a 'perfect storm'-mix of increase attribute spells typically had to think twice before approaching potential wards or when moving around in regulated public areas. At some point they also typically got the extended masking metamagic.

Fluff about the fact that magic really is regulated:

SR5 p. 277 Magic - Introduction
While magicians and adepts have caught the public’s imagination, they’ve also gotten the attention of the world’s various governments and corporate rule-makers, leading to a whole host of regulations covering the use of magic. Anyone with magic ability is supposed to list the fact that they are Awakened on their SINs, and generally they need to possess a license to practice magic as well as a permit for possession of “magic-related paraphernalia.” Guilds have to register to be legal, which means they have to prove that all their members are legal magicians. Without registration, they’re subject to being raided at any time by Awakened cops on astral patrol, looking for any gathering of Awakened people that may not be authorized. The authorities seem to think that any unapproved discussion between magicians will eventually lead to chaos and/or destruction. They are not entirely wrong.



My challenge is the assertion that any sustained spell is considered the equivalent of a drawn weapon.
Spellcasting (which sustaining a spell is a result from) is a restricted (not legal) activity (same as possession of firearm is also restricted). If you walk around with active sustained spells (or drawn firearms) in regulated public areas you will be (at the very least) required to to present a license for it (fake or otherwise).

SR6 p. 237 Fake License
For those who can’t or won’t go through the standard legal channels, fake licenses are available for all kinds of restricted items and activities. ... Each type of item/ activity permission requires a separate license. Things that require licenses include ... possession of a firearm, concealed carry of a firearm (separate license), spellcasting ...

markelphoenix

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 532
« Reply #12 on: <07-27-20/1147:53> »
Really appreciate y'alls thorough and cited responses! In regards to security zones, is there a specific security rating where one expects awakened surveillance capable of noticing?

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

  • *
  • Errata Team
  • Prime Runner
  • ***
  • Posts: 3768
« Reply #13 on: <07-27-20/1204:59> »
Really appreciate y'alls thorough and cited responses! In regards to security zones, is there a specific security rating where one expects awakened surveillance capable of noticing?

Theoretically, Paul Blart the Mall Cop can notice magic.  The rules for Noticing Magic (pg 129, SR6W) don't restrict the roll being possible only during the moment of casting.  The rules for noticing magic in SR5 explicitly mentioned (in the descriptive fluff) that ongoing phenomena like spirits lurking in astral space are potentially perceptible by mundanes, as well.

Of course, if you prefer sustained/quickened spells to be absolutely undetectable from physical senses, there's no guideline for who has what kind of magic security.  But wards are cheap to erect and maintain, and should be present pretty much anywhere someone has a reasonable worry about keeping secrets.  Frankly, wards "ought" to be almost as common as high rating maglocks.   Watcher "spirits" tasked with watching for magical activity are almost as readily available.  A step up from there is bona fide spirits, which are now much more available (read: cheaper) than in 5e because mages aren't limited to one at a time, AND they last longer.  One security mage can protect a half a dozen, even a dozen different campuses 24/7 just by putting a swarm of spirits out there to act as upgraded watcher spirits.   

And lastly, if there's real money in the security budget (e.g. any corp site ever, any organized crime enterprise where illegal activity takes place, etc) there's the money to keep a mage (or physad with Astral Perception) on retainer.
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.

Hobbes

  • *
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Prime Runner
  • ***
  • Posts: 2805
« Reply #14 on: <07-27-20/1241:41> »
Keep in mind that Magic Security is like any other security.  It's main purpose is as a deterrent so it's better if its obvious.  Manifested spirits at the security checks.  AR signs floating around with lists of proscribed magical items and activities.  Folks in pointy hats waiving magic wands at any "weird stuff". 

Magical security shouldn't be a sneaky "gottcha" thing.  It should be as obvious as a chain link fence when possible.