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> Indirect Combat Spell Targeting?, Blind fire spell slinging?
The Jopp
post Sep 17 2008, 10:06 AM
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From the rather silly thread of echolocation targeting mages I realized that I asked myself one of those simple questions...

Spelltargeting rules are rather simple - You can use:

Touch
Astral Perception
Visual perception

To target someone or something.

But what about Indirect Combat Spells

Indirect combat spells are a slightly different ball of wax. Since they function as shooting and all shooting modifiers apply then one should be able to blind fire such spells and actually use the following gear:

Echolocation
Implanted Radar

NO, I'm not gonna say that Tarantual was right because he wasn't - at least not regarding direct combat and mana spells. But there is need of a clarification.

If indirect combat spells follows the shooting rules I should be able to blind fire a fireball around a corner with the usual negative modifiers.

At the same time I should be able to fireball soemone in a dark room even though i cannot see them by the blind fire rules as they function as shooting.

The main crux is also i HOW one visualize indirect spells.

I see them as a "shooting action" where the effect streams/shoots/bolts from the casters eyes/finger/butt etc to streak towards the target while others interpret them as "igniting" or "Exploding" at the targets location (but according to the BBB they would impact things that blocks LOS?)

This is actually an instance where indirect combat spells might shine a bit (or at least set the invisible man on fire)

So, ladies and gentlemen - What is YOUR view?
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Stahlseele
post Sep 17 2008, 10:38 AM
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i think that's been cleared up in SR3 somewhere, that in fact, any spell with elemental effect and not a mana spell travels from caster to target and has to go trough everything in the way . . the magesight fibre optical house system for magical spiders would allow you to cast mana and stunball all through the building just fine, but if you fire up a fireball spell, it's going to go boom through every wall between you and your target . .
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The Jopp
post Sep 17 2008, 10:57 AM
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Well, if i then CAN cast a fireball through my pinky as there is no real rule in HOW my casters magic work I could drill a hole in a wall and stick my finger through it.

With the radar sensor i can pinpoint where the target is and "shoot" a fireball at him gaining a -4 Blind Fire but at the same time gain an AR bonus of +1-3 aiding him in targeting.

I cannot see anything wrong with this according to RAW except that there is no such exception by RAW and that contradicts the "shooting" of indirect combat spells.
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Stahlseele
post Sep 17 2008, 12:09 PM
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if your GM does not decide to take a rolled up newspaper to your body, sure, you could do that O.o
probably with good reasoning, as i imagine such spells not to simply appear in the air but really go from the hands/fingers somehow . . ok, i probably would not allow balls from pinky, but bolts is a whole different pair of combat boots o.O
thumb is for using acid, index is for using fire, middle is for using lightning, ring is for using ice and pinky is for using light spells *snickers*
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hobgoblin
post Sep 17 2008, 12:31 PM
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makes me think about targeting area spells thru a keyhole to make it single target...

i could see myself allowing the use of radar or sonar to target indirect spells, but not drilling a small hole in a wall to blast someone using the same kind of spells.

there has to be some level of versatility for indirect spells to offset its higher drain (on top of the secondary effects).
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Stahlseele
post Sep 17 2008, 12:42 PM
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so you would allow looking through walls but not looking thourgh holes, or am i misinterpreting something there? o.O
the keyhole example being perfect use for an area kind of spell, because you cannot target anything in there using manaspells O.o
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hobgoblin
post Sep 17 2008, 01:21 PM
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more like, can use radar or sonar to offset say smoke or poor visibility, but a solid wall between caster and target? forget it. but this only applies for indirect spells, direct spells would not be usable in this way...
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The Jopp
post Sep 17 2008, 01:23 PM
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QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Sep 17 2008, 12:31 PM) *
i could see myself allowing the use of radar or sonar to target indirect spells, but not drilling a small hole in a wall to blast someone using the same kind of spells.


Eh...well, that is kind of a contradiction.

You CANNOT target someone in another room. You have to drill a hole so that you have an unobstructed path to the target as you "shoot" the spell.

The radar would only improve your chanses to hit as it give an estimate of the targets actual location.
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Apathy
post Sep 17 2008, 02:06 PM
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When you cast an indirect spell at someone standing behind [clear] armored glass, the spell has to break through the intervening barrier to get to the target. Why not say that you could use radar vision to cast an ID spell at someone on the other side of a wall, but that the spell has to break through the wall and that the target[s] get to use the wall as additional armor? Like the rules for shooting through barriers?
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The Jopp
post Sep 17 2008, 02:46 PM
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QUOTE (Apathy @ Sep 17 2008, 02:06 PM) *
When you cast an indirect spell at someone standing behind [clear] armored glass, the spell has to break through the intervening barrier to get to the target. Why not say that you could use radar vision to cast an ID spell at someone on the other side of a wall, but that the spell has to break through the wall and that the target[s] get to use the wall as additional armor? Like the rules for shooting through barriers?


I've actually never thought about that...

The issue is if indirect combat spells BEHAVE like shooting and normal weapons.

Does a firebolt/ball detonate on IMPACT or on TARGET

The rules actually says nothing about this.
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Tarantula
post Sep 17 2008, 03:23 PM
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First, great catch on utility for indirect spells.

I'd definately allow it, but yes, walls would get in the way. I'd rule it the same as shooting through barriers. Compare barrier armor (modified to 1/2 or 0 depending on the spell) to the force+net hits (modified DV) of the spell. If spell damage > barrier armor, then spell is able to go through. The target then gets to add the full barrier armor rating to his own armor rating before it is modified for the elemental effects. The magician would suffer a vision penalty depending on how they were targetting the user. I'd probably start with -6 for a base wall, with a +1to3 AR bonus for using radar. (With a net of -3to-5 penalty).

The problem with allowing this is the screech/soundwave spells.
They modify the armor to 0 (note, that when destroying barriers, against indirect combat spells barriers explicitly use base armor value for damage resistance). So, this means you can use radar and screech, and kill people through walls without much trouble.
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noonesshowmonkey
post Sep 17 2008, 04:44 PM
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In the past when this issue came up I used a very similar system to what Tarantula described.

My method of handling it was when a player asked me if he could use augmented senses to find a target for indirect spells I replied that only natural senses can target spells. You can't, in my games at least, drop a fireball on a grid reference (well, maybe a cabal of mages could...) which is essentially what radar, and to some extent echolocation, represent. I allow targetting of indirect spells through barriers as long as their natural senses allow for a valid targetting. Spells track along a direct-fire route to the target and encounter all barriers along the way for determination of to-hit modifiers. Depending on the spell, barriers in close proximity or even all the way to the target must be defeated before the spell 'hits'. The barriers are handled just as normal ranged or physical combat handles barriers - the spell must defeat the barrier rating and is reduced in power if/when it punches through. The example of casting through plate glass is an excellent one. Imagine a target in an armored car transporting payroll or whatever. A mage must contend with target movement and partial cover (since he can only see the upper torso of the target seated in the car) for to-hit modifiers. Should he succeed in hitting the target he must only contend with the barrier rating of the glass. If he fails and the spell still has an AoE that includes the target, the spell deals reduced damage to the barrier and must still break through to have any effect on the target.
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Tarantula
post Sep 17 2008, 05:03 PM
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In SR4 normal attacks that go through a barrier don't have their power reduced, but the target gets the barriers armor as a bonus to their armor.

This could be interesting, as say a flamethrower of power 6, 6 net hits, total dmg 12. Going through a 10 armor barrier. Target has 14 impact armor (they're a melee fighter or something). 14+10/2=12, making the flamethrower do stun damage!
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Apathy
post Sep 17 2008, 08:38 PM
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I've always visualized ID spells as the magical variant of bullets or minigrenades. The travel in the physical world from the caster to the target, have to overcome any intervening barriers, and do damage once they reach their detonation target. But if you fire a minigrenade at an armored window you risk having the grenade bounce off and come back at you.

Say your casting a Fireball (ID, AoE) spell at someone on the other side of an armored glass window. If your spell overcomes the barrier rating and hits the target, I'd rule that it actually knocks a hole in the glass. Does everyone else see it this way?

But what if your spell fails to penetrate the glass? Does the spell fizzle, giving the caster drain but causing no outside effect? Or does the spell detonate at the glass and possibly unintended damage on people near the altered detonation point?

I can imagine this happening to some mage trying to cast spells from the safety of his heavily armored van.
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Tarantula
post Sep 17 2008, 08:41 PM
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I wouldn't put a hole in the glass, as I don't see the effect expanding until it hits the target. Maybe a small one thats insignificant.

I'd probably rule it that if it doesn't have the power to break through the barrier, then it just sizzles the barrier, not detonating there, as the barrier wasn't the target, so it wasn't setup to explode there. Drain is always caused yes.
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Apathy
post Sep 17 2008, 08:53 PM
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As far as the hole goes, I guess I can think of the question a different way. If I cast Flamethrower at a target, the spell travels from caster to target (unlike Power Bolt which manifests at the target without traveling the intervening distance.) Does the spell traval astrally until it reaches the target before manifesting, or does the spell manifest at the caster and travel in the physical to the target?

I have always imagined the spell as traveling in the physical. I always imagined flamethrower being a literal stream of flame. Which was in part why the target got a chance to dodge - they could see the attack coming. If that is the way it works, I can't imagine a flamethrower spell *not* burning a hole in the window. How else would the flame get to the target?

For AoE spells, I'd always imagined the effect similar to those minigrenades. Little mote of fire travels to detonation point and then expands to a great big inferno. Which still give the target a chance to react and dive out of the area and justifies them getting a dodge role. So to me the spell still has to burn a hole to reach the target.
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Tarantula
post Sep 17 2008, 09:05 PM
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It would burn a hole, but a small hole. I'm think a narrow jet of flame that expands just before reaching the target.

AoE spells we're on the same page with.

Again, I said it would make a hole, but a small inconsequential hole. (Like the hole a bullet puts in a wall when you shoot through a barrier at someone).
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Falconer
post Sep 18 2008, 12:10 AM
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I don't see anything in the rules making it work like this. This strikes me as a poor house rule.

Also, under indirect combat spells... it states that inanimate objects resist damage w/ 2x armor (so your barrier ratings get doubled, no). Indirect combat spells are already fairly weak.. I don't see any need to do this.

Single target flame spell I see as just being a very small fireball which pops into existance at the target (say the size of a head) and winks out quickly... the reaction roll is just reflexes to avoid getting caught. The small size of the effect means you need to be able to clearly see the target to place it giving rise to the normal visibility mods problem to the point in space you're trying to cast on. Similarly, the strength of indirect area attacks is the ability to put them where you can clearly see and hit things which are where you can't see. (EG: the UWB radar spots the guards just around the corner, waiting to ambush you. You cast the fireball and they're within 5m of the corner so they get scorched).


Here's another question... the reaction roll to avoid getting hit... lets say you start the fireball behind them where they're not looking while focusing on the street sam gunbunny are they 'unaware' and denied a reaction roll (especially if the mage was hidden/concealed/invisible). It's pretty cut and dried that a ranged attack would get this.
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hobgoblin
post Sep 18 2008, 02:36 AM
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QUOTE (Tarantula @ Sep 17 2008, 07:03 PM) *
In SR4 normal attacks that go through a barrier don't have their power reduced, but the target gets the barriers armor as a bonus to their armor.

This could be interesting, as say a flamethrower of power 6, 6 net hits, total dmg 12. Going through a 10 armor barrier. Target has 14 impact armor (they're a melee fighter or something). 14+10/2=12, making the flamethrower do stun damage!


heh, sounds like a very bad heat shock (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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Cain
post Sep 18 2008, 02:45 AM
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I agree with the window thing-- you need to break through first-- but here's what's blowing my mind.

Let's say you drill a hole in a wall. It's large enough to look through; but while you hear people talking and moving about, you can't actually see anyone. So, you whip up a quick Fireball, and launch it through the hole into the room.

Do people really have a problem with this??
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TKDNinjaInBlack
post Sep 18 2008, 03:06 AM
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I don't see any problem with casing an indirect spell through the wall. It's no different if you shoot a gun through a hole in the wall by pointing the gun through it. You'd have to take the appropriate shooting from cover and probably limited visibility for the target's cover modifiers. But, the spell goes through the hole in the wall much like the bullet would. As far as casting through the armored glass as a barrier, if the spell goes through, the glass's armor would be added to the target's armor, just like any other attack through a barrier. But, if the barrier holds against the spell, the spell stops there. However, the way I see it, it's like grenade rules. If the barrier stops the blast with a grenade, you have to contend with the bouncing back of the blast. Similarly to that, I'd see the secondary effects of the spell (lets use flamethrower as an example) toss fire all over the place. The wall would be on fire, certain things nearby would be caught in the path of raining bits of flame and most likely catch on fire. That's at least how I'd always thought it happened. Never had to deal with it in game. It's a good strategy though if you really want to spook someone on the other side of a barrier with a blast of flame to say hello.
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Fortune
post Sep 18 2008, 04:36 AM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Sep 18 2008, 12:45 PM) *
Let's say you drill a hole in a wall. It's large enough to look through; but while you hear people talking and moving about, you can't actually see anyone. So, you whip up a quick Fireball, and launch it through the hole into the room.

Do people really have a problem with this??


I don't have a problem with this. With Indirect Combat spells, only the specific target needs to be sighted, which wouldn't be a problem with what you have described.
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The Jopp
post Sep 18 2008, 04:55 AM
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QUOTE (Fortune @ Sep 18 2008, 04:36 AM) *
I don't have a problem with this. With Indirect Combat spells, only the specific target needs to be sighted, which wouldn't be a problem with what you have described.


But the question is also if you can just stick a finger through a hole and launch a fireball by Blind Fire rules as it counts as a shooting attack.

Also if there is a dark room and you cannot SEE your target but you can still blind fire at him.
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Fortune
post Sep 18 2008, 07:15 PM
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QUOTE (The Jopp @ Sep 18 2008, 02:55 PM) *
But the question is also if you can just stick a finger through a hole and launch a fireball by Blind Fire rules as it counts as a shooting attack.

Also if there is a dark room and you cannot SEE your target but you can still blind fire at him.


Shrug. Those are totally different situations, and I would rule against both (and in my opinion, canon agrees).
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Tarantula
post Sep 18 2008, 07:20 PM
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In either case, you cannot see where you are casting, so you can't cast.

Though, in the dark room situation, you could make a perception -6 visual test to try to make out enough to shoot them, and if successful, cast at them with a -6 vision penalty.

With the stick your finger in the hole example, no, it doesn't work, cause you can't see them... though, if you just stick your eye to the hole (like a peeping tom) the rules would be to let you cast on them.
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