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> Concealing spellcasting, Any way to hide?
Buster
post Sep 8 2007, 12:56 PM
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Since noticing spellcasting is a mundane ability, what ways are there to conceal your spellcasting?

P. 168 says "an observer has to notice the magician’s intense look of concentration, whispered incantations, and small gestures" and even someone staring at the spellcaster with astral perception only gets +4 to his Perception roll versus a threshold of Force-6.

Obviously if you're protected by Invisibility, no one can see you casting a spell, but what if you are in a conversation with someone and you want to toss a harmless Influence spell? Would a Mask spell or the Concealment power from a spirit hide your spellcasting? Would Con or Palming skill hits help? Are there any other ways to hide spellcasting?
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Ancient History
post Sep 8 2007, 01:03 PM
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Fortune
post Sep 8 2007, 01:36 PM
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Anything other than the spellcaster that is a distraction to the viewer will help. Crowds, blinking lights, darkness, whatever you can use to draw attention away from yourself, even just a little.
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Naysayer
post Sep 8 2007, 02:07 PM
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Like full suppressive autofire from his samurai buddies?
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Ol' Scratch
post Sep 8 2007, 05:14 PM
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It's a goofy rule. Just ignore it. All the examples it cites are the curse of Centering or, to a lesser extent, using fetishes; standard spellcasting is nothing but pure thought and willpower. Randomly throwing in incantations and gestures is just pure "okay, we have to rationalize this idiotic rule; let's make something stupid up."

I'd allow the roll if the caster suffered any amount of drain with a Perception modifier or inverse Threshold based upon the final modified Drain Value, however, as that is something that others would notice. Be it a small wince caused by a sudden migraine or a trickle of blood running out of the mage's nose.
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mfb
post Sep 8 2007, 05:18 PM
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er, if the rules say it's not pure thought and willpower, then it isn't. besides, who do you know who can concentrate intently on something mental without staring off into space or muttering to themselves or counting on their fingers or just plain acting distracted?
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Ol' Scratch
post Sep 8 2007, 05:22 PM
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Feel free to find me the rule where it says you can't cast a standard spell (ie, ignoring Centering and other modifications of normal spellcasting) if completely paralyzed and/or inside a Silence effect. Hence the "oh shit, we gotta come up with a stupid reason to explain this rule" bit.
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mfb
post Sep 8 2007, 05:24 PM
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there's also no rule that says the muttering/gesturing/whatever is actually significant to the spell. it's just something you can't help doing while you're casting.
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Redjack
post Sep 8 2007, 05:36 PM
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As much as it pains me, I must agree with Doc on this. The noticing magic {BBB pg168} rule conflicts with the description of sorcery {BBB pg 171}.

I could agree with involuntary reactions allowing for perception checks in the case of drain but to say that an accomplished mage casting a force 5 detect lie spell (and easily resisting drain) gives everyone a perception test (threshold 1) to recognize a spell being cast seems pretty far fetched to me..

As to "can't help doing it" that removes willpower/training/etc from the equation...
My $.02...
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mfb
post Sep 8 2007, 05:47 PM
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i dunno. when it comes to magic and some of the sci-fi stuff, i generally believe it's better to change your ideas about how things work when they clash with the rules, rather than changing the rules.
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Fortune
post Sep 8 2007, 06:47 PM
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Except the rules have always been that, in Shadowrun, it is not necessary to gesture or use any type of incantation. These have always been additional, limiting factors for a spellcaster, and not the norm.

The rules for noticing spellcasting contradict the normal rules for spellcasting, for no good reason. If, as Doc says, you apply those rules whenever the spellcaster uses Centering, or takes Drain, or uses a Fetish, or uses a Gaes, or any other time where there is a Physical clue, then that would make much more sense, as opposed to just making it a blanket ruling based solely on nothing.
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mfb
post Sep 8 2007, 06:56 PM
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i don't know about SR1 or 2, but in SR3, the rules for noticing spellcasting mentioned gestures and muttering and whatnot. it also mentions intent stares, as i recall; if you don't like muttering/gesturing, i'd go with that. and again, these things aren't necessary to spellcasting--it's just that the effort that goes into spellcasting makes it difficult to not do them.
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Adarael
post Sep 8 2007, 06:56 PM
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I've always altered the fluff on this rule to be indicative that there's rippling in the air, sudden breezes, static electricity and so on around the caster. That makes a lot more sense for the 6 minus Force. I don't see why high force would make the caster mutter louder or move his hands more. But I CAN see it warping reality a bit more.
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Jaid
post Sep 8 2007, 07:25 PM
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i agree with adarael... it's basically an alternate form of the shamanic mask.

possible optional rule: subtract 1 die from dice pool, increase threshold to notice spell by 1, to a maximum of 6.
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Fortune
post Sep 8 2007, 07:43 PM
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QUOTE (Jaid)
i agree with adarael... it's basically an alternate form of the shamanic mask.

Which then makes the actual Shamanic Mask superfluous.

There are enough things that could factor into spotting spellcasting, but very few of them are actually required by the spellcaster to 'do his thing'. I don't think the default setting for spotting magic use should be 'automatic' unless the spellcaster makes it easier on the observer by using some of the aforementioned options.
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Gelare
post Sep 8 2007, 07:45 PM
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I agree with Adarael too, but I think it's too easy to notice casting. There should be some way to make it harder to notice.
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Ol' Scratch
post Sep 8 2007, 07:48 PM
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QUOTE (Fortune)
There are enough things that could factor into spotting spellcasting, but very few of them are actually required by the spellcaster to 'do his thing'. I don't think the default setting for spotting magic use should be 'automatic' unless the spellcaster makes it easier on the observer by using some of the aforementioned options.

S'why I mentioned a variant rule based on the amount of Drain the caster takes. If it's a spell that's so simple for them to cast that even they don't feel the impact of it, why should anyone else notice them casting it?
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Big D
post Sep 8 2007, 07:49 PM
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I'd allow Masking (or more likely, Extended Masking) to count against it.
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Redjack
post Sep 8 2007, 08:34 PM
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QUOTE (Adarael)
I've always altered the fluff on this rule to be indicative that there's rippling in the air, sudden breezes, static electricity and so on around the caster. That makes a lot more sense for the 6 minus Force. I don't see why high force would make the caster mutter louder or move his hands more. But I CAN see it warping reality a bit more.

This I can live with. A streak of barely visible mana as a stun bolt passes from the caster to his target, etc...
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mfb
post Sep 8 2007, 08:42 PM
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QUOTE (Fortune)
I don't think the default setting for spotting magic use should be 'automatic' unless the spellcaster makes it easier on the observer by using some of the aforementioned options.

it's not automatic at all. the threshold to spot a force 1 spell is 5; the average person doesn't have enough dice to even bother rolling. it's only at the higher end that it becomes noticeable.
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Buster
post Sep 8 2007, 09:04 PM
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QUOTE (Redjack)
QUOTE (Adarael @ Sep 8 2007, 01:56 PM)
I've always altered the fluff on this rule to be indicative that there's rippling in the air, sudden breezes, static electricity and so on around the caster. That makes a lot more sense for the 6 minus Force. I don't see why high force would make the caster mutter louder or move his hands more. But I CAN see it warping reality a bit more.

This I can live with. A streak of barely visible mana as a stun bolt passes from the caster to his target, etc...

That would be bad because Synner has repeatedly said that spells don't travel. There are several rules built around that idea. But Adareal's idea of changing the rules to say there's some sort of mystical phenomena around the caster would fit the existing Notice Spellcasting rules. Personally I would rather see the rules changed rather than the fluff. This is Shadowrun after all, not Dr. Strange, spells should be stealthy.
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Redjack
post Sep 8 2007, 09:28 PM
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QUOTE (Buster)
That would be bad because Synner has repeatedly said that spells don't travel. There are several rules built around that idea.

I understand that Synner is one of the authors but that appears to conflict with astral tracking.
QUOTE ( BBB @ pg 185)
Active spells are linked to their casters.


QUOTE (Buster)
But Adareal's idea of changing the rules to say there's some sort of mystical phenomena around the caster would fit the existing Notice Spellcasting rules.

I was actually expanding upon that idea, but if the mana just *appears* around/at the target, then the whole idea no longer makes sense to me that the fluff would occur around the caster.. rather I would see it happening where the mana is....?
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CyberKender
post Sep 9 2007, 02:12 AM
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I haven't read closely enough to know if it's still the same in 4th Ed., but in previous editions, casting non-manipulation spells consisted of funneling astral energy directly into the target from astral space. You can see the effect being done by the caster *in astral space.* So the "linked to the caster" quote is still true, but the spell never traveled from the caster to the target in normal space. The exception to this were manipulation spells. Those did travel from the caster to the target in normal space. This is different, as spells like Lightning Bolt are now Combat Spells and not Manipulations, so the previous version has to change somewhat.

Detecting spellcasting should be possible, tho. It should be able to notice that look of focused concentration, even if no visible effect other than that look occur. The rule as it stands works for me. I'd add modifiers like the ones that have already been mentioned: If the caster uses fetishes, then they have to manipulate the fetish somehow - more noticeable. If the caster has a geas that she has to speak incantations to cast spells, or make gestures, - also more noticeable. Casting a spell with a force over your magic rating should cause effects like the Shamanic Mask on the caster.
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