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> Dragon challenge, Taking down a dragon, SR4 style
FrankTrollman
post Jul 21 2007, 03:27 AM
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OK. The Force of the spell limits hits, not net hits. So that calculation is applied before the spell is resisted. However, all is not lost.
  • Ritual spells don't go through intervening space, they simply go from the casters to the targets - hitting nothing in between. So while the background count at the target matters, background counts and astral barriers that are "between" you and the target don't count for shit. Ignoring LOS means ignoring impediments along the LOS.
  • Every extra die generated by the Edge expenditure is an "edge die".
  • 6s on extra dice generated by Edge are still sixes and generate more dice. Using the magic of simple calculus we find that each die generates an average of 2/5 of a hit when edge is spent.

So in your example, our hero is rolling:
QUOTE
-6 + 11 + 9 + 2 + 6 + 6 + 7= 34 + 101 = 135 dice.
Average of 45 hits. 22 of which explode for another 7. Total of 52 hits. His 7 edge dice average to 2 hits, with it unlikely to get another on exploding.


The resolution is inaccurate. The character rolls 128 normal dice and 7 edge dice. This generates about 42 hits that are capped at 20 and about 2 hits that are not. It further generates about 22 dice that aren't capped at anything. They generate more hits, and so on and so forth.

It converges of course to 20 capped hits and 11.3333 hits that are uncapped.

And then in your example, the dragon doesn't get dice from the barrier because you're bypasisng that topology. So we're looking at only 60 dice - granting an uninspiring 24 hits. Of course, he'd be a god damned idiot to do it that way, he should reroll failures instead, giving him 52 dice with a reroll, that nets an average of 28.889 hits - just short of the 31.333 hits required to not die.

A winner is you! Congratulations Tarantula, yours is the first complete writeup of a victory over the Dragon.

-Frank
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Jaid
post Jul 21 2007, 03:31 AM
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2 things:

1) hits are capped, not net hits. as such, you're looking at 23 hits.
2) the mages have spent more than that, because they have bought and bound a focus (you've calculated it into their dicepool).

that being said, you can just screw with the dragon's head... there are ways of dealing damage that are not based on direct combat spells. the dragon will need to be able to counterract combat spells (the direct approach... though arguably an indirect combat spell can be cast ritually, and will not allow the dragon to benefit nearly half as much from counterspelling. that does increase the drain, of course, but since your hits are capped anyways, move the initiate team's focus to their drain dicepool, and add in a power focus instead if you like). additionally, the dragon will need to safeguard against health spells (decrease a mental attribute to 0, and one guy sustains and they all repeat the ritual, this time the dragon doesn't have any spellcasting apart from his wards/whatever and likely won't resist a direct combat spell anyways... assuming the dragon's bound spirits don't go berserk and kill it for you, that is). the dragon must also guard against manipulation spells (horrible, horrible things can be done to it with mental manipulations, and damage can be done with ignite, incapacitation can also be accomplished using turn to goo, petrify, etc; repeat attack as for health spells). finally, the dragon must guard against illusion spells which incapacitate it... agony is the only one that i know has a guaranteed incapacitate, the rest say "at GM's discretion" (again, repeat ritual with damaging spell for best results)

so that means it needs 4 different categories of counterspelling bonuses... not looking so good for the dragon now, is it?

(not to mention that if you do hit it with an indirect combat spell, counterspelling officially only adds to damage resist, and won't make the spell fizzle... repeat for best results)

oh, and just for the record... if you can pull it off, an astral/mana window spell can be very handy for assensing people who sit around behind a astral/mana barriers... seems like the exact kind of spell a ritual sorcery team relying on being able to assense the target to craft sympathetic links would want to invest in (start by targeting the lair, or it's door, and you can proceed to scout the rest of the lair as if with clairvoyance/astral clairvoyance. note that this also helps a lot with scouting the location, should the team have to go in physically, though obviously hidden defensive devices may not be noticed.)
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Tarantula
post Jul 21 2007, 03:52 AM
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Jaid, I did note it. They have the skills nessisary to craft the foci and the lodge at cost, they bought the kits to do so. It would take time, a massive amount of it, which is covered in the time they took to aquire 12million and 200 karma collectively. Given that they're a magical group of dragon slayer following mages, it really isn't unreasonable to think that their entire focus is towards being able to slay dragons.

QUOTE (FrankTrollman)
A winner is you! Congratulations Tarantula, yours is the first complete writeup of a victory over the Dragon.

-Frank

I'd like to hear from Talia on this one before I accept the award, but thank you, thank you.

Is it surprising that the mentor spirit best suited for making a group of dragon slayers was the dragon slayer mentor spirit?
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Talia Invierno
post Jul 21 2007, 07:32 AM
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Talia is still working through the thread.

However, one thing jumps out at me almost at once: I don't think you have factored in the making of the symbolic link. Use the "Creator is personally unfamiliar with the target" modifer for threshold = 16. Interval = 1 day. (p.29, Street Magic).

Edit: you haven't. 24 hours is still your absolute limit.

There's also a few more things you haven't taken into account wrt Counterspelling, fyi -- new post on these.
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Talia Invierno
post Jul 21 2007, 08:40 AM
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Making of the symbolic link has already been mentioned. Please factor this into your time, skills, and resources. You have not assensed the dragon until you tell me exactly how you are doing it -- combat turn by combat turn.
QUOTE (Jaid)
oh, and just for the record... if you can pull it off, an astral/mana window spell can be very handy for assensing people who sit around behind a astral/mana barriers

A touch spell, isn't it? :) (Yes, I noticed that one.) Let me know when the caster is within range.

Overcasting to 20 Force can be done.

Specific to counterspelling notes:

QUOTE (Tarantula)
Now, Dragon gets basic willpower (and counterspelling if its so paranoid to constantly be counterspelling itself) (plus edge, if we feel like being nice) for a 24 dice pool.

I'll point out that shadowrunners are habitually that paranoid -- and they don't have dragonhunters out gunning for them. ;)
QUOTE
He doesn't get the chance to see or know the spell is coming in any way shape or form. (It resolves in 1 hour, and at 1 hour is when you get a check to notice ritual magic.) I doubt he'd have his spirits aiding sorcery for him, but we'll assume he is (at the cost of a service every sunrise/sunset.)

You'll have lost much if not all of your 24 hours to the making of the symbolic link. However, even with the one hour both ways, what you get is simultaneity resolved by initiative score. The dragon's is higher.

(Outside this scenario, it's an interesting tactic to take wrt ritual magic, for very powerful PCs.)

I am going to assume you also used divination to find out whether this tactic would be successful. I can tell you it isn't -- there are a couple of very specific factors you didn't take into account. I won't tell you yet what they are: but I am rather pleased to notice that I'd already allowed for this.

(Fyi -- I finished writing up the file on the dragon yesterday, including its tactics and abilities. I'll let you know where you can find it on the Internet after the scenario is concluded.)

Quite apart from that, I find nothing in the RAW to support Frank Trollman's assertion that:
QUOTE
Ritual spells don't go through intervening space, they simply go from the casters to the targets - hitting nothing in between. So while the background count at the target matters, background counts and astral barriers that are "between" you and the target don't count for shit. Ignoring LOS means ignoring impediments along the LOS.

I've read and re-read the sections involved, and nowhere does it say that astral barriers are completely irrelevant to a ritual casting. The only even sidewise reference I find is p.174 (main book):
QUOTE
Ritual spellcasting works much like regular spellcasting, except that it is cast over a longer period of time and can affect targets outside the magician's visual range.  In addition, a group may collaborate and combine their skills using ritual spellcasting to make a spell more potent.

Regular spellcasting specifically is affected by astral barriers. P.185:
QUOTE
Should a magician try to cast a spell through a barrier, the target of the spell adds the Force of the barrier to its resistance dice pool. ... Astral mana barriers are resistant to astral spells as well as other astral forms, in the same manner as physical mana barriers noted above.

The ability to cast a spell ritually does not require access to the metaplanes, only access to the astral -- and mana barriers block the astral.

I have just spent some time hunting through Dumpshock to look for previous discussion, in case someone turned up something I had missed. Everything I found seems to assume the opposite: that wards are indeed relevant to ritual magic.

The key point seems to be that ritual magic requires an astral link, be it material or sympathetic or symbolic -- and wards specifically disrupt astral links.

So, Frank Trollman: can you provide me a book quote that specifically states that ritual magic ignores wards?

(I find it somewhat astounding that in this tightly RAW-focused thread, not one person questioned this.)

Edit: opened a new thread to specifically ask about this. The ruling in this thread will be bound by its direction.
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Talia Invierno
post Jul 21 2007, 02:07 PM
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From p.12:
QUOTE (Vaevictis)
QUOTE (Talia Invierno)
If you want a challenge, you'll keep it a challenge and work within the spirit of a challenge.  If you just want to break the rules, go open a new thread.

The spirit of the challenge, as I understood it, was to hit the "I WIN" button against a dragon. That's pretty much the way you described it, so that's the way I took it.

If that's not what you really meant, that's fine, but I did stay within your original parameters.

Assuming this challenge is still alive after the discussion of the new thread, apparently there is a point here which requires clarification. It's a bit surprising to me that it does -- since I'd rather assumed it self-evident before, most of all in a roleplaying game.

A roleplaying scenario cannot be solved by math alone.

Corollary 1: In any roleplaying scenario there is no "I WIN" button, any more than there is a "PLAYERS LOSE" button.

Corollary 2: Winning and succeeding are not the same thing.


Numbers are important -- one reason why I took the random element entirely out of this scenario -- but numbers are far from the only factor in triumphing in a given encounter. Scenarios of this kind bring in something more than a simple mathematical clash of rules against rules. We know exactly what the odds will be for any given play: and yet people play through games of chess anyway, even at the highest levels, and have for centuries.

To try to reduce even the most basic of roleplaying scenarios down to "hitting the 'I WIN' " button is exactly the same thing as assuming that actually playing through a game of chess is no longer necessary now that a grandmaster has been beaten by Deep Blue.

If it turns out that Frank Trollman is right, then -- if the members of this thread so choose -- in combat time we run through the few points the ritual team has overlooked to find out if they succeed. If they do succeed, then they succeed. So be it.

But if it turns out that the assumption was inaccurate, then the challenge still very much exists. Not to tell anyone what is the right and wrong way of roleplaying: but you might gain much, much more out of this thread if you treat it as something more than a solely mathematical equation.


Courtesy of Talia Invierno, author of the not-yet-existing "Everything I Needed In Life, I Learned On The Chess Board."
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Jaid
post Jul 21 2007, 04:11 PM
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actually, he took care of the crafting of the sympathetic link... he rushed the job, making it take half the time (interval 12 hours) and then simply generated a sufficiently large dice pool to accomplish the task in a single interval.

as with all detection spells, touch range on mana window and astral window is deceptive; you cast the spell on the person you are giving the new sense to, and the sense can extend out to a certain distance. all they need is an accomplice (ally spirit recommended, but not required) within range of the dragon's lair, to target their spell on, and then the ally's master can look through it's eyes and whatnot.
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Talia Invierno
post Jul 21 2007, 05:45 PM
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QUOTE
actually, he took care of the crafting of the sympathetic link... he rushed the job, making it take half the time (interval 12 hours) and then simply generated a sufficiently large dice pool to accomplish the task in a single interval.

Apologies -- yes, I did miss that. Fair enough.
QUOTE
as with all detection spells, touch range on mana window and astral window is deceptive; you cast the spell on the person you are giving the new sense to, and the sense can extend out to a certain distance. all they need is an accomplice (ally spirit recommended, but not required) within range of the dragon's lair, to target their spell on, and then the ally's master can look through it's eyes and whatnot.

Yes -- but it still requires someone or something not of the area to come within that distance of the dragon's lair. That's why I ask for combat turns to begin from that point.
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Jaid
post Jul 21 2007, 06:26 PM
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the astral window spell at extended range can be cast by the ritual team at force 10 and most likely go through the barrier easily (a force 30 barrier would statistically be needed to block it; we could go lower than force 10 spell, but the range on that means you can look as far as 1 km, which means the subject of the spell need not be terribly close.

of course, if there was a way to increase the range of a detection spell similar to the way to increase/decrease the AOE of a area spell, we could really get some ridiculous range, and could probably cast from several miles away.

in any event, 1 km should be sufficient to keep the dragon from knowing where to strike, and the subject need not be there for very long (ideally the subject would be a perception adept, but that's just overkill)
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Fortune
post Jul 21 2007, 06:55 PM
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Ignore me ... brain fart! :eek:
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hyzmarca
post Jul 21 2007, 08:09 PM
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The big problem is that this does rely on as an astrally projecting magician assensing the dragon - the dual natured dragon. We can see where this can go wrong, can't we? The dragon will probably notice the magician. If he does, then he has one of two choices. He can kill the lone astral idiot; he can follow the astral idiot back to the team and then kill him; he can wait and send his spirits on remote remote services to find him and kill the entire team; he can send watcher spirits out to observe them and report back to him on their actions via his mental link with the spirit, which would make their plan quite obvious. He could then easily disrupt either the ritual spellcasting or the crafting of the link by having spirits attack the team or doing it himself during the ritual (since one member of the team must be astrally active).

In the end, I believe that removing the random element is a mistake. If everyone plays perfectly, then the game will always end in a stalemate. The random element is the only thing that prevents the game from reaching Nash Equilibrium, particularly in a challenge like this.
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mfb
post Jul 21 2007, 08:27 PM
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i dunno, i mean, do dragons just kill every projecting mage they see?
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hyzmarca
post Jul 21 2007, 08:32 PM
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When they invade the dragon's heavily fortified World War III-proof top secret underground lair, I'd imagine so.
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mfb
post Jul 21 2007, 09:03 PM
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i guess if the dragon never leaves that lair, that'd be an issue. i mean, the assensing test is definitely the weak link, but i don't think it's all that hard to overcome unless there are tight time constraints. put out a few quiet feelers, find out a few general things about the dragon's habits, and then just have a mage hang out on the astral at a location the dragon frequents. you just need a few quick seconds to get a look at the dragon, and you're done.
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Talia Invierno
post Jul 21 2007, 09:27 PM
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QUOTE (Jaid)
the astral window spell at extended range can be cast by the ritual team at force 10 and most likely go through the barrier easily

Core spell, as cited, is a touch spell. We are sticking to core material, here. Yes, I know that there is allowance in Street Magic for making new spells and adapting old ones: but we are sticking strictly and solely to what is directly given for ease of common interpretation. "Slay Dragon" is an acceptable variant, covered under "One Less [Metatype/Species]". Changing the range of a spell to a non-cited variant is not.

... although extended range would also be the point at which I will be starting combat turns.
QUOTE (mfb)
i dunno, i mean, do dragons just kill every projecting mage they see?

You mean ... like the one that appears just outside his lair, aura full of "I plan to kill you" colours?

The dragon is probably at least as paranoid as any runner. After all, even a great dragon has been killed in the Sixth World -- and there are dragonhunters out there. In your favour, I'm not letting it know about you guys specifically until and unless you draw its attention.

24 hours. Kill or be killed. Considering all the objection to that time limit, I suspect several people are probably discovering another reason for it -- that is, besides avoiding the army v. army scenario :spin:
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mfb
post Jul 21 2007, 09:41 PM
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i wasn't aware of the 24-hour limitation. that seriously, seriously favors the defender.
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hyzmarca
post Jul 21 2007, 09:51 PM
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The use of mana window to look into the lair would most likely trigger and one of the numerous intrusion detection spells that a sane dragon would have quickened, such as detect magic. Actually, detect magic would be the exact spell that this triggers, meaning that the dragon would be aware of the clairvoyant intrusion. For that matter, as a dual being he might notice the magical floating point-of-view, assense it, and use its signature to track down the mage. All he's have to do is send a spirit with Search to find the character that cast the spell. It is less dangerous, but it is still very dangerous.
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Ravor
post Jul 21 2007, 09:52 PM
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Also there is nothing preventing a ritual casting of Astral Window by touching the subject and then allowing the subject to use the spell at range, and an extended range version of all Detection Spells is RAW, hell the book even tells you to simply take the existing Drain Value +2.

*Edit*

Sure, it's still dangerous, but under Talia Invierno's wargame rules the Dragon doesn't get to spend Karma, so no quickened spells, no sustaining foci, ect...
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hyzmarca
post Jul 21 2007, 10:35 PM
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He'd still get a perception test to see the floating point of view that the spell creates, since he is dual-natured. I don't know if you'd be able to use infiltration when directing a magical point of view.
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Fortune
post Jul 21 2007, 10:44 PM
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QUOTE (Talia Invierno @ Jul 22 2007, 07:27 AM)
QUOTE (Jaid)
the astral window spell at extended range can be cast by the ritual team at force 10 and most likely go through the barrier easily

Core spell, as cited, is a touch spell. We are sticking to core material, here.

No, the Core Spell has the standard range for the Detection category of Force x Magic in meters. The 'Touch' aspect of the Spell comes into play because the Sam the mage can cast it on another Subject (whom he must touch) like Joe, and Joe could then use the Spell himself.
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Vaevictis
post Jul 22 2007, 12:14 AM
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QUOTE (Talia Invierno)
Assuming this challenge is still alive after the discussion of the new thread, apparently there is a point here which requires clarification.  It's a bit surprising to me that it does -- since I'd rather assumed it self-evident before, most of all in a roleplaying game.

A roleplaying scenario cannot be solved by math alone.

Corollary 1: In any roleplaying scenario there is no "I WIN" button, any more than there is a "PLAYERS LOSE" button.

Corollary 2: Winning and succeeding are not the same thing.



This type of of scenario cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called "roleplaying." If Shadowrun is ever a "rollplaying" game, this is when it would be so.

You are having us create a team with millions of nuyen and karma, IN A VACUUM, to address exactly one KNOWN scenario. These characters will show up, attempt to kill the dragon, and then disappear into the ether. As such, we are encouraged to create characters that are overly specialized to deal with this exact one known scenario; this isn't "roleplaying", it's a flipping board game.
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James McMurray
post Jul 22 2007, 12:30 AM
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You never play one shot scenarios?
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Vaevictis
post Jul 22 2007, 12:57 AM
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QUOTE (James McMurray @ Jul 21 2007, 07:30 PM)
You never play one shot scenarios?

In my experience, one shots, especially ones as simplistic as this one -- "Yeah, you've got a contract to kill a dragon. It's here *points at lair on map*. Get at it." -- have little or no role playing.

There's little or no time to bond to or flesh out the character, and because you're going to can the character when it's over, there's little or no consequence for failure/dying.

All in all, the forces involved tend to reduce the game to rollplaying, and to expect otherwise is... naive.

IMO.
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James McMurray
post Jul 22 2007, 02:10 AM
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LOL! Sorry, I didn't realize you were the one being in creation whose experiences were truly universal. :D
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Vaevictis
post Jul 22 2007, 02:11 AM
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Hence, IMO.

But even so, don't you agree that expecting the assumption role playing in such a "challenge" scenario is a bit much?

I mean, take a look at Tarantula's group. Does that really look like role playing to you? Cause it looks like roll playing to me.
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