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> A spell concept, Shrink [Item]
bibliophile20
post Jun 10 2007, 06:00 AM
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I was watching The Sword in the Stone (the Disney classic) and came to one of my favorite scenes, where Merlin is packing--by means of shrinking all of his belongings so that they'll fit inside a single briefcase.

So, I present this idea for perusal, using the spell construction rules from SM:
Physical spell: +1
Touch Range: -2
Duration: Permanent: +2
Physical Manipulation: 0
Major Change: +2
_______________
Force/2 + 3

This spell will shrink a non-living target by [Force] degrees; i.e. a Force 3 spell will shrink them to 1/3 their present size, a Force 4 spell will shrink them to 1/4 their current size, etc. Mass, however, remains the same. An "Enlarge" spell (same drain) will reverse the effect.


This idea con be used, but I did it more as an exercise with the spell construction rules. So, thoughts?

____________________________________________

Modified after the discussion below:

Physical spell: +1
Touch Range: -2
Duration: Sustained: 0
Physical Manipulation: 0
Major Change: +2
_______________
Force/2 + 1

This spell will shrink a non-living target by a factor equal to the number of net hits over the object resistant threshold. For example, a commlink (resistance 3) will require five hits to reduce it's size by a factor of two. Additionally, for every order of magnitude increase in mass, there is a +1 to the threshold (base is 100 kg, so 1,000 kg would be +1 to the threshold, 10,000 kg would be +2, etc). So shrinking a car, much less a house, would be nearly impossible for anyone but a high level initiate (considering that this was inspired by a Merlin character, that seems appropriate). Mass also changes in proportion.

This post has been edited by bibliophile20: Jun 10 2007, 06:51 PM
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WearzManySkins
post Jun 10 2007, 06:12 AM
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Hmm does this mean you can cast this on the Armor a Troll Sam is wearing, reduced in size by 1/3 would to say the least give him a "wedgie". :rotfl:
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hyzmarca
post Jun 10 2007, 06:13 AM
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I'm sorely tempted to make a living-target version of the spell and have its' fictional creator go insane and beat the crap out of his wife.

I'm not sure exactly how Shrinkage fits in with the bending space-time rule. Under normal circumstances, it would be impossible to shrink anything and keep it intact without very tiny atoms and atoms are already pretty tiny.
However, Shapechange already allows massive alterations in size, so this is rather tame by comparison.

It does have a myriad of potential uses and, if allowed for living targets, would be more useful than levitate. Its most obvious use, if it remains restricted in non-living targets, would be in concealing weapons. This isn't exactly game-breaking and can lead to some interesting scenarios.

I am interested in the potential for Enlarge to allow a magician to stage Kaiju battles.
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laughingowl
post Jun 10 2007, 06:26 AM
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Hmm: One permenant spells are supposed to return an item to their natural state. Artifically compressed is not natural.

I would think this would be a sustained spell personally.


Also I would suggest instead of Force determining the reduction amount, it should be net hits. (which will always be less then force, save edge used).

You would have to beat the objects restiance, then net hits reduce it size.
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bibliophile20
post Jun 10 2007, 06:30 AM
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QUOTE
I'm sorely tempted to make a living-target version of the spell and have its' fictional creator go insane and beat the crap out of his wife.


I'm assuming that there's a movie or book reference there, but I don't know what it is. :(

QUOTE
I'm not sure exactly how Shrinkage fits in with the bending space-time rule. Under normal circumstances, it would be impossible to shrink anything and keep it intact without very tiny atoms and atoms are already pretty tiny.


My personal thought on that is that it, instead of shrinking the components of the atoms (protons, neutrons, electrons) it simply reduces the volume of the electron shell (or temporarily turns them into a type of exotic matter that I shall dub "handwavium").

QUOTE
It does have a myriad of potential uses and, if allowed for living targets, would be more useful than levitate.


How so? Levitate is pretty potent.

QUOTE
Its most obvious use, if it remains restricted in non-living targets, would be in concealing weapons.


Or smuggling things past customs in the troll's leg compartment.

QUOTE
I am interested in the potential for Enlarge to allow a magician to stage Kaiju battles.


Careful that they don't increase their volume too much--if they go too far in that direction, there could be a serious problem when it comes to density. However, that being said, I suppose that they could just rent themselves out to Macy's on Thanksgiving.
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bibliophile20
post Jun 10 2007, 06:33 AM
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QUOTE (laughingowl)
Hmm: One permenant spells are supposed to return an item to their natural state. Artifically compressed is not natural.

I would think this would be a sustained spell personally.


Also I would suggest instead of Force determining the reduction amount, it should be net hits. (which will always be less then force, save edge used).

You would have to beat the objects restiance, then net hits reduce it size.

Good points. I shall, however, refrain from editing the top post so people can see what you're referring to.

That being said, your points would change the drain to (F/2)+1. However, the change in Drain is offset by the fact that the Force needs to be higher to get the same level of reduction.
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hyzmarca
post Jun 10 2007, 07:47 AM
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QUOTE (bibliophile20)
QUOTE
I'm sorely tempted to make a living-target version of the spell and have its' fictional creator go insane and beat the crap out of his wife.


I'm assuming that there's a movie or book reference there, but I don't know what it is. :(


Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym, AKA Ant-Man, AKA Giant Man, AKA Goliath, AKA Yellowjacket, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, originally appearing in Tales to Astonish #27 published in January 1962, founding member of the Avengers, currently the third most reviled Marvel superhero right behind Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic.
He discovered Pym Particles, which allow objects and people to shrink and use them, along with a helmet that allowed him to control Ants, to be a superhero under the Name Ant-Man. In Tales to Astonish # 37, he meets Janet Van Dyne and gives her Pym Particle based shrinking powers along with tiny insect wings and poison stingers which she uses to become The Wasp (also a founding member of The Avengers). They eventually get married. He learns how to use Pym Particles grow to huge, changes his name to giant man, changes his name two more times, builds an invincible android that becomes self-aware and decides to destroy the human race, fights a losing battle mental illness, fakes supervillain attacks to make himself look good, and beats his wife. They get divorced.

Eventually, everyone forgive him for the whole spousal abuse fiasco and he becomes a major player in the Avengers. Unfortunately, he jumps on the bandwagon of a Nazi-esq superhuman registration law (which plays as being similar to Jewish registration with the added bonus of the forcible military conscription of children but which has the support of the vast majority of the MU due to a 9/11 type incident) and to enforce this Nazi-esq registration he builds a cyborg clone of the Asgard God Thor (the ultimate act of hubris, a mortal man creating a God) which latter goes insane and kills a good friend of his (as his creations tend to do) and he currently runs a military training camp where conscripted children are taught to kill in the name of law and order using deadly-live-fire training technique (which have already killed one trainee).

Of course, this is significantly better than the Ultimate Universe version of Hank Pym, who nearly killed his wife by having dozens of ants repeatedly bite her while she is Wasp-sized.

I'm going to agree with the net hits instead of force.

As for its versatility, just imagine all of the places that a 5-inch tall person could go and all of the things that he could do. It is almost better than invisibility and it allows for the application of Pack Control on ants. And, of course, a shrunken-down mundane would make a pretty good prisoner.
Even if it remains limited to objects, the ability to rig a two-inch tall steel lynx does have great advantages, particularly if you can return it to it's original size before combat.

For ideas, read various Marvel comics starring a shrinking character (the current Ant-Man (completely different character from Pym) is supposedly pretty good).
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bibliophile20
post Jun 10 2007, 08:26 AM
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@hyzmarca

Hmm... Pym is that messed up, eh? Glad I stick to the X-Men and Spidy (I'm preferring the Ultimate titles at the moment; much less backstory).

As for shrinking people, your points are well taken--except they would weigh the same! At at 6 inch tall level, your average human (much less a troll) would essentially have the same density as depleted uranium! Besides, a four- or five-fold shrink is the greatest degree that one could get--a three-fold is probably more probable for most objects. A highly processed item like a gun or commlink is going to probably be reduced by a factor of two. Also in the same vein, for the spell to be effective, you have to beat the object resistance plus two net hits--otherwise you're going to be hit with all that drain and for naught.

So here are a few questions/applications:
Each casting of this spell: per individual object or can they be stuck in a container of some sort (say a box of ammo or a suitcase) and shrunk collectively?
An argument against using it for living beings: scaling problems. Past a two-fold reduction, the subject is going to have a hard time breathing (less surface area in the lungs), their heart is going to be having a hard time pumping all that dense blood with a smaller volume in the aorta, and waste heat will become a serious problem (smaller surface area to emit the heat away, but probably increased heat production due to exertion).
A fun one--for a Permanent version of the spell for living beings--is to use Petrify and Shrink together. Can you say, "Chess set" or "garden gnomes"?
And let's say a magical terrorist got his paws on some uranium; if he were creative--and suicidal--he could cast as high a Force shrink spell as he could. Past a certain point, send in a few loose neutrons at high enough speed and BOOOM.
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hyzmarca
post Jun 10 2007, 09:52 AM
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QUOTE (bibliophile20)
@hyzmarca

Hmm... Pym is that messed up, eh? Glad I stick to the X-Men and Spidy (I'm preferring the Ultimate titles at the moment; much less backstory).



Pym was always a good target for writers who wanted to mess someone up because he was never very popular. At the time of the spousal abuse story, he was the only major superhero who they could get away with turning into a wife-beater.

And the rest is going to be in spoiler tags because it is horribly off topic.

[ Spoiler ]




QUOTE
Each casting of this spell: per individual object or can they be stuck in a container of some sort (say a box of ammo or a suitcase) and shrunk collectively?
Good question. If the latter, it is an extremely powerful weapon (shrink the container around the object (or people) inside and see what happens). If it is the former it opens up a whole new can of worms, since you could potentially cost the spell on a container and then take hundreds of shrunken itsems out of the container.

I'm inclined to suggest that either one one item at a time and the spell fails if there is an obstruction or the hole container but the container and contents count as a single item for the purposes of the spell and the spell will fail if one object is removed.
The latter solution makes us question "what about air" so the former is probably better.

QUOTE

An argument against using it for living beings: scaling problems.  Past a two-fold reduction, the subject is going to have a hard time breathing (less surface area in the lungs), their heart is going to be having a hard time pumping all that dense blood with a smaller volume in the aorta, and waste heat will become a serious problem (smaller surface area to emit the heat away, but probably increased heat production due to exertion).


Good point. But we can just say that it's magic. *handwave*

QUOTE

A fun one--for a Permanent version of the spell for living beings--is to use Petrify and Shrink together.  Can you say, "Chess set" or "garden gnomes"? 


:twirl:

QUOTE

And let's say a magical terrorist got his paws on some uranium; if he were creative--and suicidal--he could cast as high a Force shrink spell as he could.  Past a certain point, send in a few loose neutrons at high enough speed and BOOOM.


One solution to this is to allow shrink to alter mass. This isn't unprecidented. Shapechange alters mass all the time.
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bibliophile20
post Jun 10 2007, 03:56 PM
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I had heard that the Civil War arc was controversial, but I didn't know it was that bad. Ouch.

Anyway...

QUOTE
Good question. If the latter, it is an extremely powerful weapon (shrink the container around the object (or people) inside and see what happens). If it is the former it opens up a whole new can of worms, since you could potentially cost the spell on a container and then take hundreds of shrunken itsems out of the container.

I'm inclined to suggest that either one one item at a time and the spell fails if there is an obstruction or the hole container but the container and contents count as a single item for the purposes of the spell and the spell will fail if one object is removed.
The latter solution makes us question "what about air" so the former is probably better.

My opinion would be "You shrink a case of ammo/suitcase/packing crate, but the case has to remain sealed. Once the case is opened again, the spell is disrupted and ended and the container and the objects within immediately returns to their natural size."

I'm personally ignoring air; I'll assuming that it'll get forced out of micro-sized holes as the object shrinks.

QUOTE
Good point. But we can just say that it's magic. *handwave*

Sorry, but you're not getting off that easily; the only way to get around that is to allow the spell to change mass in proportion to size.

QUOTE
:twirl:

Liked that idea, eh? I think I've found my next evil magician; a chess playing mage that turns subordinates that fail him into statuary, various curios and playing pieces.

QUOTE
One solution to this is to allow shrink to alter mass. This isn't unprecedented. Shapechange alters mass all the time.

I suppose... and it is more in line with the original idea of Merlin's packing spell. But then just think of the applications:

Smugglers would love it--you could put the entire contents of a ship into a packing crate (and potentially the ship as well); hell, the shipping industry would love it, and for the same reason. But the smugglers would have to then watch out for customs mages going around and dispelling their spell--which would be bad when the cargo suddenly returns to it's previous size.

Want to make someone really uncomfortable and send a message? Shrink a decent sized rock (can't be too big or you won't be able to shrink it enough, say, the size of your fist) and put the resulting grain of sand in their food. An hour after eating or so, stop sustaining the spell.

Burglary is suddenly a cinch; walk in, shrink everything, dump it in the backpack and walk out.

Hmmm... that being said, there needs to be a way to show the stress of shrinking larger objects vs. smaller ones. Why? Well, to put a new spin on "house theft" the thief just comes up, shrinks the house and walks away. Personally, I think for every increase in size past troll--say, every order of magnitude of mass past baseline human (pulling a random number out of thin air), the number of hits to beat the object resistance increases by 1.
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Catharz Godfoot
post Jun 10 2007, 04:18 PM
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This would kinda go counter to the current functioning of magic, which seems to be 'anything you can do with a nanite cloud'.
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Lagomorph
post Jun 10 2007, 04:51 PM
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There should be size limits based on force. Imagine "I shrink the Arcology" or "I shrink the world"

The applications of your spell for armor and weapons are pretty crazy. Increasing the density of an item like armor would tend to be more absorbant of energy imparted to the object by bullets/swords. shrink a XXL troll sized jacket to human size, density goes up, the abliity for it to stop other matter goes up.

On the whole, I think that it would be tough to shrink items down by more than a factor of 6, most items would be less than that. So it's not likely to turn a troll or human into a 6 inch figurine. That would be a 10+ reduction factor.

Here's some interesting info about shrinking/enlarging.

The Biology of B-Movie Monsters
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hyzmarca
post Jun 10 2007, 05:29 PM
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QUOTE (bibliophile20 @ Jun 10 2007, 10:56 AM)
I had heard that the Civil War arc was controversial, but I didn't know it was that bad.  Ouch.

Anyway...

QUOTE
Good question. If the latter, it is an extremely powerful weapon (shrink the container around the object (or people) inside and see what happens). If it is the former it opens up a whole new can of worms, since you could potentially cost the spell on a container and then take hundreds of shrunken itsems out of the container.

I'm inclined to suggest that either one one item at a time and the spell fails if there is an obstruction or the hole container but the container and contents count as a single item for the purposes of the spell and the spell will fail if one object is removed.
The latter solution makes us question "what about air" so the former is probably better.

My opinion would be "You shrink a case of ammo/suitcase/packing crate, but the case has to remain sealed. Once the case is opened again, the spell is disrupted and ended and the container and the objects within immediately returns to their natural size."

I'm personally ignoring air; I'll assuming that it'll get forced out of micro-sized holes as the object shrinks.

QUOTE
Good point. But we can just say that it's magic. *handwave*

Sorry, but you're not getting off that easily; the only way to get around that is to allow the spell to change mass in proportion to size.

QUOTE
:twirl:

Liked that idea, eh? I think I've found my next evil magician; a chess playing mage that turns subordinates that fail him into statuary, various curios and playing pieces.

QUOTE
One solution to this is to allow shrink to alter mass. This isn't unprecedented. Shapechange alters mass all the time.

I suppose... and it is more in line with the original idea of Merlin's packing spell. But then just think of the applications:

Smugglers would love it--you could put the entire contents of a ship into a packing crate (and potentially the ship as well); hell, the shipping industry would love it, and for the same reason. But the smugglers would have to then watch out for customs mages going around and dispelling their spell--which would be bad when the cargo suddenly returns to it's previous size.

Want to make someone really uncomfortable and send a message? Shrink a decent sized rock (can't be too big or you won't be able to shrink it enough, say, the size of your fist) and put the resulting grain of sand in their food. An hour after eating or so, stop sustaining the spell.

Burglary is suddenly a cinch; walk in, shrink everything, dump it in the backpack and walk out.

Hmmm... that being said, there needs to be a way to show the stress of shrinking larger objects vs. smaller ones. Why? Well, to put a new spin on "house theft" the thief just comes up, shrinks the house and walks away. Personally, I think for every increase in size past troll--say, every order of magnitude of mass past baseline human (pulling a random number out of thin air), the number of hits to beat the object resistance increases by 1.

I was exaggerating slightly, but there is a great deal of inconsistency in the writing. Some people present it as perfectly reasonable while others present it as Naziism. There doesn't seem to be any overarching editorial vision and no editorial control if there is. It is, in fact, a brilliant example of how not to run a shared universe. In many ways, it is like the asshat SR novels that don't even remotely conform to what is presented in the rulebooks but somehow remain cannon anyway and it gives me some great appreciation of the consistency of the SR metaplot.

In fact, it is a lesson to everyone who works in a shared universe that consistency is a necessary thing which should not be handwaved away, which is somewhat on topic since a spell like this can easily breed inconsistency.

For very 100 base kilograms, add 1 to the threshold. That reduces the chances of shrinking an entire house. It also beings it in line with Levitate. As for the rock issue, in order to prevent irresistible internal explosion attacks I would be inclined to accept that the object which is shrunk is the one that is destroyed if enlarged within a confined space, instead of the container. This drastically limits its usefulness and makes it slightly less useful than Petrification as a purely offensive spell. That way, you can kill someone/destroy something by shrinking him but you can't kill with a shrunken weapon.

I'm I the only one who wants to make a pissed off female IE with a pointy Madonna chestpiece and a throwing wand geas looking down onto the Earth from her moon palace and yelling "make my monster grow!"?
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FrankTrollman
post Jun 10 2007, 05:39 PM
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It's a permanent alteration, right? So it can be repeated for credit. Once you've shrunk an item, you have an item that is proportionately denser. That new item can itself be shrunk, creating something that has an even higher density.

Or to put it another way, imagine for the moment that your starting object is a big tank of water and you're casting Shrinks that merely halve the size. That takes 9 seconds and virtually meaningless drain. After 50 castings (less than 8 minutes), you have a proportionately tiny chunk of neutronium.

After 50 more castings, you have a singularity. Total time: 15 minutes.

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Shadowrun =/= Alpha Centauri, and adding Singularity Engines is not desirable at this time.

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hyzmarca
post Jun 10 2007, 05:51 PM
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That is one of the reasons I support making it a sustained spell, as seems to be the general consensus. Casting a sustained spell twice on the same target won't give you double the effect (I don't think it will and no one has ever said it will).

It is also one good reason to support proportional alteration of mass along with shrinkage.

I'm actually more concerned with the effects a mass-altering Enlarge spell, particularly the aforementioned Kaiju and giant-robot battles.
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bibliophile20
post Jun 10 2007, 06:50 PM
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So, to avoid confusion, here's the spell broken down again, with the modifications from our discussion (I will also be editing the top post with this added):

Physical spell: +1
Touch Range: -2
Duration: Sustained: 0
Physical Manipulation: 0
Major Change: +2
_______________
Force/2 + 1

This spell will shrink a non-living target by a factor equal to the number of net hits over the object resistant threshold. For example, a commlink (resistance 3) will require five hits to reduce it's size by a factor of two. Additionally, for every order of magnitude increase in mass, there is a +1 to the threshold (base is 100 kg, so 1,000 kg would be +1 to the threshold, 10,000 kg would be +2, etc). So shrinking a car, much less a house, would be nearly impossible for anyone but a high level initiate (considering that this was inspired by a Merlin character, that seems appropriate). Mass also changes in proportion.
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FrankTrollman
post Jun 10 2007, 08:03 PM
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So to halve the size of the Earth, destroying all life and ending the world, one would need to get 23 hits.

That's a lot, but actually well withing the realms of possibility for someone who spent Edge. nder the circumstances, Drain doesn't even need to be amazingly high.

-Frank
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bibliophile20
post Jun 10 2007, 09:04 PM
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QUOTE (FrankTrollman)
So to halve the size of the Earth, destroying all life and ending the world, one would need to get 23 hits.

That's a lot, but actually well withing the realms of possibility for someone who spent Edge. nder the circumstances, Drain doesn't even need to be amazingly high.

-Frank

Hmmm... Hadn't considered that.

At that point, I think the GM needs to go and say "and the mage explodes simply by virtue of channeling so much mana through his body."

There does need to be a cap, though, in practicality if not in the wording of the spell... perhaps have it that the threshold increases in a Fibonacci series?
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hyzmarca
post Jun 10 2007, 09:24 PM
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Make the threshold-increase mass linear instead of exponential. That would solve many problems, though it would make shrinking a car very difficult. And, while I like the idea of making the players learn the Fibonacci sequence, it is inconsistent with the intent of SR4.

With a linear increase for every 100 kilograms, shrinking an object weighting 1000 kilograms would require 10 hits, while shrinking the earth would be a difficult feat for an IE and in the real of powerbolting the moon into dust.
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bibliophile20
post Jun 10 2007, 09:42 PM
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"inconsistent with the intent of SR4"? How so?

*snip* and having worked it out and seen where my train of thought went, I have to say that a linear increase--perhaps every 400 kg?--would be the way to go.
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hyzmarca
post Jun 10 2007, 09:58 PM
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SR4 was intended to be simple without any need for higher math like exponents or sequences.
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odinson
post Jun 10 2007, 11:08 PM
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QUOTE (Lagomorph)
There should be size limits based on force. Imagine "I shrink the Arcology" or "I shrink the world"

The applications of your spell for armor and weapons are pretty crazy. Increasing the density of an item like armor would tend to be more absorbant of energy imparted to the object by bullets/swords. shrink a XXL troll sized jacket to human size, density goes up, the abliity for it to stop other matter goes up.

On the whole, I think that it would be tough to shrink items down by more than a factor of 6, most items would be less than that. So it's not likely to turn a troll or human into a 6 inch figurine. That would be a 10+ reduction factor.

Here's some interesting info about shrinking/enlarging.

The Biology of B-Movie Monsters

So does this mean that trolls should be taking more damage not less? Creatures like great dragons should have their legs shattered when hit by a car? Sounds slightly more realistic but a lot less fun.
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bibliophile20
post Jun 10 2007, 11:29 PM
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QUOTE (hyzmarca)
SR4 was intended to be simple without any need for higher math like exponents or sequences.

Fair enough.
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FrankTrollman
post Jun 10 2007, 11:39 PM
Post #24


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Yeah, under no circumstances am I going to raise Phi and phi to any power during a game.

-Frank
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bibliophile20
post Jun 10 2007, 11:48 PM
Post #25


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So have the threshold modifiers increase at +1 per 500 kg. Not too excessive, but not too small either, and it completely avoids the problem of any higher mathematics. :cyber:

As a side note, I'm enjoying this discussion; it's nice to have a friendly debate on the finer points of an enjoyed pastime. :)
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