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SR6 Mana Barriers

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markelphoenix

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« Reply #15 on: <08-22-20/1055:14> »
Anyone else dealt with this in play? It's really bugging me.

Xenon

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« Reply #16 on: <08-22-20/1344:50> »
<<deleted, see my next post instead>>
« Last Edit: <08-22-20/1858:35> by Xenon »

markelphoenix

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« Reply #17 on: <08-22-20/1442:28> »
So, a mage with sustained spells, multiple foci, not astrally perceiving, walks through an Astral Mana Barrier in the Physical world equivalent of it's location, nothing happens?

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #18 on: <08-22-20/1446:49> »
So, a mage with sustained spells, multiple foci, not astrally perceiving, walks through an Astral Mana Barrier in the Physical world equivalent of it's location, nothing happens?

Nothing happens to the mage.  The astral forms attached to him however: they get scraped off or crash the Mana Barrier.  If the Barrier wins, spells end and foci deactivate.
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

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« Reply #19 on: <08-22-20/1842:29> »
I posted inaccurate information above. Let me rephrase:

Both mana barrier spells on the physical and mana barriers spells on astral planes act as solid barriers to sustained spells, spirits, active foci and all other other active magic that have an actual astral form (just like a regular ward or medicine lodge)

The difference is that the physical mana barrier only make it harder to cast spells through it on the physical plane (but not on the astral plane) while the astral mana barrier only make it harder to cast spells through it on the astral plane (but not on the physical plane).

Game mechanic wise casting spells through a mana barrier is resolved by adding the rating of the mana barrier to the defense dice pool of the target. And if the spell doesn’t normally have an opposed dice pool then the Spellcasting test instead becomes an Opposed test against (rating of the barrier x 2).

Sorry for any confusion I might have caused. I'll remove my previous post.
« Last Edit: <08-22-20/1859:56> by Xenon »

dougansf

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« Reply #20 on: <08-24-20/1140:56> »
Both mana barrier spells on the physical and mana barriers spells on astral planes act as solid barriers to sustained spells, spirits, active foci and all other other active magic that have an actual astral form (just like a regular ward or medicine lodge)

The difference is that the physical mana barrier only make it harder to cast spells through it on the physical plane (but not on the astral plane) while the astral mana barrier only make it harder to cast spells through it on the astral plane (but not on the physical plane).

Wait, why is it that either mana barrier mucks with all sustained spells, but only block certain spells actively being cast through them?

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #21 on: <08-24-20/1151:53> »
Both mana barrier spells on the physical and mana barriers spells on astral planes act as solid barriers to sustained spells, spirits, active foci and all other other active magic that have an actual astral form (just like a regular ward or medicine lodge)

The difference is that the physical mana barrier only make it harder to cast spells through it on the physical plane (but not on the astral plane) while the astral mana barrier only make it harder to cast spells through it on the astral plane (but not on the physical plane).

Wait, why is it that either mana barrier mucks with all sustained spells, but only block certain spells actively being cast through them?

I don't think anyone is saying that only some spells are inhibited?
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.

penllawen

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« Reply #22 on: <08-24-20/1210:24> »
Oooh, this is a fun topic.

Way it reads to me, lets you combat spells to keep simple:
Astral Mana Barrier
- Physical Spells go through without penalty
Physical Mana Barrier
- Mana spells go through without penalty

Honestly seems more trouble than worth, decent House Rule would just make them all Dual Natured
When in doubt with this kind of thing, I tend to fall back to the metaphysics of 1e/2e Shadowrun, back when Paul Hume was doing his thing, as that was a very robust and well-considered system. The more modern editions sometimes leave gaps.

For my table, I think I'd start by saying that a mana barrier is a barrier on the astral plane (I wouldn't hate renaming it) and a physical barrier is a barrier on the physical plane. This gives you the desired behaviours re: dual-natured beings (blocked by either) and mages (only blocked by mana barriers if they are astrally perceiving or projecting, not blocked by physical barriers if they are astrally projecting.)

  • A "spell" is a construct that a mage makes in astral space.
  • This construct travels, in the astral, from the caster to the target.
  • When the construct hits the target, it briefly connects them to the astral plane. Mana flows through this connection, shaped by the construct in such a way as to do... whatever the spell does.
  • Mana spells affect the target's aura. Physical spells affect the target's body. But otherwise, they both behave like the above.
  • Hence, a mana barrier would act block both physical and mana spells.
  • I think it would now be clearer to say that a physical barrier wouldn't block either type of spell.
  • You could arguably introduce dual barriers too, at this point, for the paranoid mage. Or let them stack two barriers on top of each other.
  • An exception to all of the above is physical indirect combat spells. For example, acid stream. Here, the spell acts right next the mage to create the acid, then the acid moves as a purely physical object. I'd say that can pass mana barriers unaffected but would be blocked by physical barriers. This is analogous to, say, using Fling to toss an object at a barrier - that would pass through a mana barrier too.

Footnote: for fun, after writing the above I checked my copy of SR 2e. Physical Barriers in 2e act as a pure wall; any physical object "larger than a molecule" is blocked but spells are unaffected. Mana barriers block all living beings, things on the astral, and spells, but don't affect objects at all. That's a more logical interpretation of "mana" and "physical" in the context of barriers, although I think you'd need to rebalance the two spells to use that mechanic. It makes mana barriers more multi-purpose than they are in modern SR.
« Last Edit: <08-24-20/1224:48> by penllawen »

Xenon

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« Reply #23 on: <08-24-20/1218:58> »
why is it that either mana barrier mucks with all sustained spells
Sustained spells (and all other active magic like vampires, magician using astral perception, spirits, activated foci, wards, mana barriers etc etc) all have a tangible astral form on the astral plane. If you try to move an astral form through another astral form then you risk causing astral intersection which might lead to disruption.


...but only block certain spells actively being cast through them?
First of all:
  • Spells, not just mana barrier spells, can only be cast on one plane. Either the physical plane. Or the astral plane. You can never cast spells on both planes at the same time.
  • Mana barrier spells don't "block" spells from being cast through them, they act as "Boosted Defense" against spells being cast through them (on the plane they were cast).

A magician on the physical plane using Boosted Defense (counterspelling) will not add defensive dice against astral spells (same as a magician casting a mana barrier on the physical plane will not add defensive dice against astral spells).

A projecting magician using Boosted Defense will not add defensive dice against spells cast on the physical plane (same as a magician casting a mana barrier on the astral plane will not add defensive dice against spells being cast on the physical plane).

Wards and medicine lodges etc act on both the physical plane and the astral plane at the same time (they are considered dual natured active on both the physical and the astral plane at the same time) so they add defensive dice against spells being cast on both planes.

Edit: They are still mana barriers though, not physical barriers. Even if they add defensive dice against spell being cast on both the astral and the physical plane they still only have an actual astral form. They don't prevent physical objects from passing through them.

Edit2: (except the circle of protection which actually act as a physical barrier, an astral mana barrier and a physical mana barrier at the same time...)



I don't think anyone is saying that only some spells are inhibited?
Unlike all other mana barriers (rituals, lodges etc) which add defensive dice against spells being cast on both physical plane and astral plane, mana barriers spells can either only be Astral of Physical. An astral mana barrier will add defensive dice against astral spells.

SR6 p. 161 Mana Barriers
Astral mana barriers are resistant to astral spells
« Last Edit: <08-24-20/1257:55> by Xenon »

Xenon

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« Reply #24 on: <08-24-20/1254:02> »
I tend to fall back to the metaphysics of 1e/2e Shadowrun
By using his logic you could also ground an area of effect spell through a dual natured object or being from the astral plane into the physical plane.

Things changed since then.


In later editions astral and physical are now clearly separated.
What happens in the astral stays in the astral.

If you wish to cast a line of sight spell on the physical plane then you need to see the target with your natural vision (reflections count).

If you wish to cast a line of sight spell on the astral plane then you need to sense the target with your astral perception.

While auras of subjects and objects on the physical plane can be sensed on the astral they are not sufficient for establishing the mystical link needed to target the spell.



For my table, I think I'd start by saying that a mana barrier is a barrier on the astral plane (I wouldn't hate renaming it) and a physical barrier is a barrier on the physical plane.
We are not discussing physical barriers right now.

We are discussing a mana barrier spell that is either cast on the astral plane (which make it harder for enemy magicians on the astral plane to cast spells on targets on the other side of the barrier) OR the same mana barrier spell but that is cast on the physical plane (which make it harder for enemy magicians on the physical plane to cast spells on targets on the other side of the barrier).


...and mages (only blocked by mana barriers if they are astrally perceiving or projecting...
This is how it works in later editions.

In earlier editions mana barriers blocked all living entities on the physical plane (even if they were not magically active).


You could arguably introduce dual barriers too, at this point, for the paranoid mage. Or let them stack two barriers on top of each other.
This would be the circle of protection ritual that we have in later editions.
« Last Edit: <08-24-20/1259:50> by Xenon »

dougansf

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« Reply #25 on: <08-24-20/1258:43> »
    • Mana barrier spells don't "block" spells from being cast through them, they act as "Boosted Defense" against spells being cast through them (on the plane they were cast).

    Mana barriers page 161 first sentence:
    Quote
    Mana barriers are magical walls that impede or block magic and astral forms.

    And for the physical plane version
    Quote
    Mana barriers on the physical plane are invisible (except to astral perception), but they act as solid barriers to spells, manifesting entities, dual-natured entities, spirits, and active foci.

    Reads to me that in either version, the Mana Barrier spell impedes or blocks Mana spells. The Astral version doesn't impede or block Physical spells.

    Xenon

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    « Reply #26 on: <08-24-20/1326:04> »
    I agree that mana barriers (no matter if cast on the astral plane or physical plane) act as solid barriers for anything that have an actual astral form (like a sustained spell or a projecting magician or an activated foci etc etc).

    If you have an actual astral form traveling through the barrier then you would resolve it as an astral intersection (perhaps a magician in an elevator using astral perception as it travel through a ward or a sustained spell on the street samurai as he walk into a bar that is protected by a ward).


    I also agree that mana barriers don't prevent physical objects or regular living subjects at all (bullets, people that are not using astral perception, deactivated foci etc).


    Having said that; When you cast a line of sight spell on a target on the other side of the mana barrier it no longer act as a solid barrier like it does against astral forms, instead it act as boosted defense (add defense pool to the opposed spellcasting test):

    SR5 p. 161 Mana Barriers
    Anybody trying to cast a spell through a barrier must contend with the rating of the barrier, which is added to the defense dice pool. If the spell doesn’t normally have an opposed dice pool, the Spellcasting test becomes an Opposed test against (rating of the barrier x 2).


    Reads to me that in either version, the Mana Barrier spell impedes or blocks Mana spells. The Astral version doesn't impede or block Physical spells.
    I agree that the book is not very explicit and can be read in more than one way.

    But as I read it casting mana barrier on the astral plane make it harder to cast spells through it on the astral plane ('astral spells'), while if you cast the mana barrier on the physical plane it instead make it harder to cast spells through it on the physical plane ('spells' as in both mana spells and physical spells).

    ...and that a mana barrier (no matter if you cast it on the astral plane or the physical plane) will not make it harder to shoot bullets through them.
    « Last Edit: <08-24-20/1333:27> by Xenon »

    penllawen

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    « Reply #27 on: <08-24-20/1334:46> »
    If you wish to cast a line of sight spell on the physical plane then you need to see the target with your natural vision (reflections count).

    If you wish to cast a line of sight spell on the astral plane then you need to sense the target with your astral perception.

    While auras of subjects and objects on the physical plane can be sensed on the astral they are not sufficient for establishing the mystical link needed to target the spell.
    Umm, as far as I recall, that was always true? You were never capable of casting a spell from the astral at a physical target (for very good game reasons), with the exception of grounding though active foci etc (which has, of course, been removed.)


    Quote
    We are discussing a mana barrier spell that is either cast on the astral plane (which make it harder for enemy magicians on the astral plane to cast spells on targets on the other side of the barrier) OR the same mana barrier spell but that is cast on the physical plane (which make it harder for enemy magicians on the physical plane to cast spells on targets on the other side of the barrier).
    Oh I seeeeeee. I misunderstood that, and in fact, hadn't realised that was a thing. Ta!

    markelphoenix

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    « Reply #28 on: <08-24-20/1339:59> »
    You could arguably introduce dual barriers too, at this point, for the paranoid mage. Or let them stack two barriers on top of each other.
    Quote
    This would be the circle of protection ritual that we have in later editions.

    SR6 CRB pg 162, Mana Barrier Table:
    MANA BARRIERASTRAL OR PHYSICALREFERENCE
    Circle of Protection ritual Both p. 144
    Magical lodge Both p. 129
    Mana Barrier spell Either p. 141
    Ward ritual Both p. 145

    All other methods of creating a Mana Barrier are Dual Natured, except for the spell Mana Barrier, unless you interpret Either as giving the option to choose both as an option, but that would be an extremely liberal reading of the table.
    « Last Edit: <08-24-20/1347:13> by markelphoenix »

    Xenon

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    « Reply #29 on: <08-24-20/1353:16> »
    Both = the mana barrier protect against enemy line of sight spells being cast on both astral and physical plane (but it does not protect against bullets).

    Either = they only protect against enemy line of sight spells being cast on either astral or physical (but it does not protect against bullets).


    Dual Natured = have an actual form or body on both the astral plane and the physical plane (protect against bullets).


    SR6 p. 145 Circle of Protection
    The circle acts as a combination of the Physical Barrier and Mana Barrier spells...The mana barrier is dual-natured.