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> Components to Magic, What do you have to do to cast?
Zemiron
post Dec 24 2007, 06:06 AM
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I'm trying to figure out if you have to do anything while casting a spell to cast one, e.g. whisper words of power or gesticulate in some way. From all the flavor stuff I've read (novels and such), this is required, but my friends have never played this way. It doesn't make that much of a difference. I'm just curious if when a mage manabolts somebody, does the mage just stare at the guy and he suddenly starts bleeding out of his nose or does the mage whisper something and/or move his hands in a certain way and the guy falls over. It makes a difference in regards to security cameras and such. Thanks!
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Kagetenshi
post Dec 24 2007, 06:16 AM
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Unless you have geasa or the spell has specific requirements, you don't need to do squat but look at the person (where "look at" means "have in line of sight", not even "look directly at"). "Specific requirements" are generally things like "be touching the target" or "be within $RANGE".

Which isn't to say that it's undetectable—canon rules make it quite detectable for more powerful magic by non-highly-powerful mages. It's never actually explained why, though.

~J
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kzt
post Dec 24 2007, 06:25 AM
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As is common in SR, the rules have it both ways. They don't have to say anything or move, but you can somehow notice it. And it's more noticeable if they are a shaman, unless you don't want it to be. I find this all kind of annoying myself, as it doesn't exactly match even the fluff and makes magic even more powerful.
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Mercer
post Dec 24 2007, 06:56 AM
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The mechanics make it detectable, the fluff says it can look like whatever you want it to, more-or-less. They aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. Going by previous editions (I don't have Street Magic, where I imagine it would be covered), a magician didn't have to gesture unless he or she took the Gesture Geas. (Personally, I always liked the Gesutre Geas as it reminded me of the Sorceress Ariel from Thundar the Barbarian. Here nor there.) So yeah, it 1) Looks Like Whatever You Want It To Look Like, and 2) Is As Detectable at the Book Says it Is. So a shaman dancing and singing to cast a Force 2 spell probably looks like a weirdo dancing and singing, whereas another mage who casts only by concetrating looks like a guy obviously calling on magical energies when he casts a Force 6 spell.

Edit: Hey, look at that, I'm not in the SR4 forum. So screw the reference to Street Magic.
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Karaden
post Dec 24 2007, 07:40 AM
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I've got to agree, the rules on this really suck. It is mentioned several times through many of the books over several editions that mages don't -have- to do anything when casting a spell, though many do out of habit or teachings.

The fluff also very often says that magic is hard to detect, but is painfully obvious on even mildly powerful spells by the rules for detecting spells.

So, the verdict is that you don't have to make any motions, say anything, or really do anything in particular, but for whatever strange reason it is really really easy to tell when someone casts a spell, despite them doing nothing more then having a moment of strong concentration.

I'd have to assume this is something the developers did so that mages couldn't get away with killing people indiscriminantly, but apperently never decided to mention to the fluff people who still somehow believe that magic is hard to detect (maybe a force 1 is hard to detect, but it is hard to -do- anything with one of those.)
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Ravor
post Dec 24 2007, 08:01 AM
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Well something to remember is that in Fourth Edition very few Mages can even cast high Force Spells, and if I remember correctly in Third it was illegal to even learn a Force 2+ Spell without a permit so it's safe to say that most of the Magic that Joe Average would be around is going to be the fairly hard to detect low Force stuff.


As for the nature of what detecting someone weaving their Mojo, personally I rule it as a sort of Sixth Sense as opposed to actually "seeing" the mage do something.
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Karaden
post Dec 24 2007, 08:16 AM
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In 4th edition it isn't all that hard to manage a force 4 or 5 spell, which only requires 1 or 2 hits on a perception test to notice. Heck, it is possable to manage much higher force spells if your willing to take a bit of damage for them, and even joe average can get 1 or 2 hits on a perception test, much less a guard or someone halfway decent at spoting things.

My suggestion for how to deal with this is rule that the mage makes gestures and incantations as a means to help relax himself/get in the spirit of it/whatever, but doesn't need to. Meaning that he will do it even if he is trying not and be secretive, simply because it is subconcious. But if he is bound or something he can still manage that magic, but he'll try to move his arms and such.
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Mercer
post Dec 24 2007, 08:18 AM
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I remember something similar about noticing astral spirits in the real world. It was supposed to be near-impossible, but the Perception Test TN was something like 10-Force, which was tough for low to mid force spirits, easy for high force spirits, but never really "near-impossible". (A Force -2 Spirit would have been near-impossible, if such a thing existed.)
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Fortune
post Dec 24 2007, 08:19 AM
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QUOTE (Ravor)
... if I remember correctly in Third it was illegal to even learn a Force 2+ Spell without a permit ...

Yep. Anything of Force 3 or above, be it Spell, Focus, or Spirit, needed a permit. Incidently, nothing has been said in SR4 to change that.
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Fortune
post Dec 24 2007, 08:21 AM
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QUOTE (Karaden)
... even joe average can get 1 or 2 hits on a perception test ...

Joe Average has an Intuition of 3 and a Perception Skill of 0. ;)
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kzt
post Dec 24 2007, 08:35 AM
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QUOTE (Fortune)
Incidently, nothing has been said in SR4 to change that.

Except that you don't learn spells "at force X" in SR4, you just cast them at whatever force you choose to take drain at. Which means anyone with magic 2 can cast it at force 3 or more.
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Fortune
post Dec 24 2007, 08:40 AM
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It was never really the 'learning' that was the problem. It was the 'casting' of spells higher than Force 2 (or the summoning of Spirits greater than Force 2), being that after a Spell is learned, there is no way to tell at what Force it was learned (outside of associated formula, which might not be available). , Possession only really comes into play when referring to actual Foci and formulas of too high a Force rating.
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Karaden
post Dec 24 2007, 09:05 AM
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QUOTE (Fortune @ Dec 24 2007, 03:21 AM)
QUOTE (Karaden @ Dec 24 2007, 06:16 PM)
... even joe average can get 1 or 2 hits on a perception test ...

Joe Average has an Intuition of 3 and a Perception Skill of 0. ;)

I would assume Joe Average has invested a single point into perception so that he can buy a single hit on percpetion tests, thus allowing him to not walk into the middle of the road when a truck is coming at him, or perform even fairly simple tasks of finding stuff.

*edit*
But even if he hasn't a single hit isn't very far fetched, and hardly makes it the 'almost undetectable' the fluff is always refering to it as.
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Stahlseele
post Dec 24 2007, 09:21 AM
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wasn't there the little tidbit about magic allways being obvious despite what the fluff is saying?
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Fortune
post Dec 24 2007, 09:24 AM
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A skill of '0' does not mean a person is incapable of doing something (unless the skill os a non-defaultable one). Merely that they have not been trained in the finer techniques of that skill. The books even say that while most of the people in the world are computer-literate, they have a skill rating of '0' in computers. Anything higher is for people that actually work with them.
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Mercer
post Dec 24 2007, 11:58 AM
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Given that in earlier editions you only had to hit the TN rather than generate multiple successes (in non-opposed tests), noticing spellcasting actually became harder in SR4. A guy with a Intelligence of 3 in SR3 would hit a 6 roughly half the time. Getting 3 hits on 3 dice is somewhat harder (1:27 or so, using my primitive understanding of math).

Granted, in SR4 the dice pools tend to be larger (at least on non-combat rolls), but for pedestrians without the perception skill it shakes out about the same. (On the other hand, they're pedestrians, what else do they have to spend it on?)
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tisoz
post Dec 24 2007, 01:14 PM
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I do not think the magician has to do anything noticeable. The environment around him could display the presence of magic. Perhaps the air around the magician gets blurry like it does when looking at heat waves. Or the hair on the back of a perceiver's neck stands on end, or a chill runs through them.
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Kagetenshi
post Dec 24 2007, 03:03 PM
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QUOTE (Mercer)
Given that in earlier editions you only had to hit the TN rather than generate multiple successes (in non-opposed tests), noticing spellcasting actually became harder in SR4.

For what it's worth, that's immensely misleading. Noticing magic is a perception test, and as such is subject to the perception success table. One success is enough to know that "something is there", but you need two to suspect magic and three to to suspect an exact spell (unless it's obvious from context).

~J
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CircuitBoyBlue
post Dec 24 2007, 03:32 PM
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No, no, no. You sense a "great disturbance in the Force."

At least that's how I've been explaining to the GM that everybody knows when my shaman's possessed by a spirit. He wears a mask, so we can't let it be just obvious changes to his face (I'm not trying to do anything twinky by covering it up; I just thought my city shaman should have a war mask for when he goes to war). I would imagine detecting spells would work in roughly the same way, explanation-wise, as detecting spirits.

Also, this sort of thing is why I LOVE geasa. They add a ton of flavor to the game, and really give you a chance to flesh out your character. I always think it's kind of lame when a shaman looks at someone and wilts them with his mind. I believe shamans should dance, or at least have fetishes or something. But in addition to geasa, in 4th (I never played a magician in 3rd, and I just can't remember what it was like in 2nd or 1st) there's the option of limiting your spells to make drain easier by requiring talismans for them. So in addition to his geasa, my shaman also has to have a necklace with all of his talismans on it, and he usually takes the necklace off and shakes it to cast the spell.
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Ancient History
post Dec 24 2007, 05:00 PM
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There's been the suggestion of late that most metahumans have a very rudimentary ability to sense changes in the mana level around them (note the ability to notice ritual spellcasting), but most people go a bit overboard in assuming that magic is easy to spot. Remember, modifiers apply to the Perception Test, so a careful (and sneaky!) magician can stack them in her favor-or simply make sure that someone is looking the other way.
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Mercer
post Dec 24 2007, 09:40 PM
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QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
For what it's worth, that's immensely misleading. Noticing magic is a perception test, and as such is subject to the perception success table. One success is enough to know that "something is there", but you need two to suspect magic and three to to suspect an exact spell (unless it's obvious from context).

~J

That is similarly misleading. A single success in SR3 meant you noticed "something", in SR4 you have to hit the Threshold to get that same effect. Hitting a Threshold (3) is the baseline, if you get two hits on the test you don't notice it the same as if you'd rolled too low in SR3. (Getting two hits on a Threshold 3 test is analogous to rolling a 5 on a TN6 test.)
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Kagetenshi
post Dec 24 2007, 09:56 PM
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No, it isn't similarly misleading, because I didn't make a statement about the comparative difficulty.

~J
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Mercer
post Dec 24 2007, 10:25 PM
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All right. For pedestrians (the specific group I was mentioning), it became much harder to hit the baseline of success. Whereas a guy with 3 dice in SR3 had about a 50% chance of noticing something was there against a TN6, that same guy with 3 dice has only a 1 in 27 chance of noticing "something was there" versus a Threshold (3) in SR4. Therefore, it became much more difficult for people with low dice pools to achieve the baseline of success in SR4 compared to SR3. (On small dice pools, more successes are harder to generate than high numbers.)

In SR4, "a single net hit on a Perception Test indicates that the character has noticed something; additional net hits provide more levels of detail to the character." This is pretty much the same as SR3, with the variable Threshold standing in for the increase in TN's. On 3 dice, it is possible for a character to get multiple successes on a TN6. A character with three dice could potentially get three successes against a TN6, although it is unlikely. In SR4, a character with three dice can't exceed the Threshold (3); he has a 1:27 chance of making it, and it is impossible to get more than that (without spending Edge, but then the SR3 character can spend Karma, but since we're still talking about pedestrians, its unlikely they'll have either).

For the lowly pedestrian, in SR3 he had about a 1:2 chance of barely succeeding at a TN6 test, and increasingly slim chances of knowing more (up to 1:216 to hit triple boxcars). In SR4, he has a 1:27 chance of barely succeeding, and that's the absolute limit. So its a lot harder for the pedestrian to succeed in SR4 than it was in SR3. A TN4 is roughly a Threshold (1), easier for the SR3 pedestrian (he needs one 4 versus the SR4's one 5). A TN12 for that same pedestrian is 1:12, for the SR4 pedestrian going against a Threshold (4), its impossible.
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