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> Spirits, My mage is driving me mad
Red-ROM
post Mar 23 2009, 01:54 AM
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Keeping the mage in my group balanced with the mundanes has had its challenges. the one that is vexing me most right now is the spirit summoning. heading into the basement of an abandoned warehouse full of ghouls, the mage stops, summons a force 6 earth elemental, and says"go kill all the ghouls in here". now, the ghouls are running and hiding and trying to ambush the other characters, but they have no chance against this spirit. this is pretty much the scenario everytime we have an encounter. any thoughts?
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Malicant
post Mar 23 2009, 02:02 AM
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Adjust the opposition. Add spirits (toxic work just fine) that target the mage (it's not even being a jerk, he's the greatest threat, kinda). Have mundanes use Stick'n'Shot or Spirit-Slayer (APDS) ammunition. Use mages yourself. Use Background count. Wards. Barriers. And, if all else fails, start being a jerk, let spirits use Edge to resist binding and summoning. That is a last resort measure, though. Stick'n'Shot and APDS usually do the trick just fine.
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Draco18s
post Mar 23 2009, 02:09 AM
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Summoning should take minutes to do (not the binding) at the very least. What sane man walks into a building full of ghouls to summon? The ghouls wold just eat him.

Having not actually read how long the test takes I may be talking out of my ass, but I think that's one of the things that keeps mages from summoning an army mid-combat (either they bound it, which a Force 6 is hard to bind without edge, or the summon one).
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Malicant
post Mar 23 2009, 02:12 AM
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It's one complex action to pull a spirit out of your hat. Drain is incredibly random though, so that usually works as a deterrent. But of course spirits have bad days too. I have several Great Form spirits bound with double digit services, because they refused to resist. Not that I have a need to use them, really. Assuming I have a chance to play my mage at all. Which I don't. Yay.
What were we talking about?
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Draco18s
post Mar 23 2009, 02:19 AM
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QUOTE (Malicant @ Mar 22 2009, 10:12 PM) *
It's one complex action to pull a spirit out of your hat. Drain is incredibly random though, so that usually works as a deterrent. But of course spirits have bad days too. I have several Great Form spirits bound with double digit services, because they refused to resist. Not that I have a need to use them, really. Assuming I have a chance to play my mage at all. Which I don't. Yay.
What were we talking about?


Never mind then. Carry on.
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kzt
post Mar 23 2009, 02:25 AM
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It's a problem with the game balance. To handle a powerful mage you pretty much need a powerful mage (or multiple mages) on the other side of EVERY run unless you greatly scale up the opposition so they can easily kill force 6 spirits, and can handle at least force 9 spirits with difficulty. I don't know any way to handle it without scaling up all the runs, which is likely to get your mundanes squashed unless they are fully munckinized, which seems unlikely given that you are asking.

It could be worse. He could summon a force 6 spirit with possession....
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Malicant
post Mar 23 2009, 02:38 AM
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In my current once-every-way-too-many weeks group an ork... guy (I don't want to call him a sam. He has one combat implant and like 12 Dice total to attack) took down two force 6 spirits in a single IP by means of Sasha (AK-97) and APDS and some Edge. I'm not sure the GM recovered from that yet.

But really, if brute force is you mode of combat, find ways to reduce armor and spirits will go *poof* faster then the mage will know WTF?!

The problem with mages is, they are really easy to stop. Just kill them. But that's no fun, so you don't kill them and they starts to behave like jerks. That's why I have an agreement with my GM. I don't lay waste to any cities, he does not shoot me in the face. Mages are not overpowered by the way. Great Form spirits are.

Shame I can't think of any subtle measures to counter mages without blowing them out of the orbit.

Tell your player that if he does not start behaving more reasonable, there will be repercussions and not the kind that will increase overall fun.
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Dunsany
post Mar 23 2009, 02:42 AM
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QUOTE (Red-ROM @ Mar 22 2009, 08:54 PM) *
Keeping the mage in my group balanced with the mundanes has had its challenges. the one that is vexing me most right now is the spirit summoning. heading into the basement of an abandoned warehouse full of ghouls, the mage stops, summons a force 6 earth elemental, and says"go kill all the ghouls in here". now, the ghouls are running and hiding and trying to ambush the other characters, but they have no chance against this spirit. this is pretty much the scenario everytime we have an encounter. any thoughts?


To answer another post, a spirit takes a complex action to summon, so it's not *terribly* long. Though given the risks it's probably not the safest thing to do when you think people are about to attack. But it's not something too out of line. Spirits have their uses and another "body" on your side is always useful.

As to why the spirit shouldn't cause too much of a problem:
If your opponents are ghouls then there really shouldn't be much of an issue with a spirit. Immunity to Normal Weapons is effective against all weapons that are not magical. Critter powers are given as an example of magical weapons. Natural Weapons (the claws of the ghoul) are a Critter Power and so the Immunity is not effective against it. If you'd prefer that they would be and would like to rule that while a critter power it is not magical in the way that it needs to be then that's certainly your prerogative and I think a reasonable ruling.

Even if the Ghouls cannot easily dispatch the spirit, the spirit will have a very difficult time killing a lot of ghouls. It doesn't have an attack listed under it's normal powers and so it's attack would be (Agility+Unarmed Combat, 10 dice) and damage would be 5S. With only two actions a round and each attack taking a complex action, that's not a whole lot of damage output. It has a high perception skill so finding the ghouls won't be too hard (though it could be if the ghouls are decent at hiding and prepared). At Force 6 the spirit has two optional powers and these can make it much more effective but not really for killing things. Engulf can do a decent amount of damage to creatures with low Body+Strength, but a typical Ghoul has a 13 to oppose the Spirit's 16 die pool. While the Spirit should win on average, this isn't really enough to prevail against all of the Ghouls forever. The Elemental Attack doesn't do much more damage than the melee attack (6P) though it is physical, so while useful it's not going to swing things into the favor of the Spirit. Also, keep in mind that its still a Complex Action. Concealment might help it get the drop on a few of its targets, but we're talking about Ghouls here, who are notoriously perceptive (for being blind anyway) and can astrally perceive so that doesn't help the Spirit all that much. Fear and Confusion are useful for keeping a particularly powerful Ghoul off its back for a short amount of time (again for the price of a complex action), but aren't so useful when the Spirit is acting alone (though very effective if the Spirit is assisting a full team of Shadowrunners).

So, with all that said, I can't imagine that anything that would actually stand a chance against a group of shadowrunners would have an issue with an opponent with these abilities. At least not one. Certainly a spirit can assist a team of shadowrunners greatly in their attempt to wipe out a hole of ghouls. A point man with no risk of getting infected? Sign that bad boy up.
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Draco18s
post Mar 23 2009, 02:43 AM
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QUOTE (kzt @ Mar 22 2009, 10:25 PM) *
It's a problem with the game balance. To handle a powerful mage you pretty much need a powerful mage (or multiple mages) on the other side of EVERY run...


The counter to mages is spirits.
The counter to spirits are tazers and stick and shock. Or an adept with a weapon focus (or the proper adept power) or anyone with the right anti-spirit Martial Arts quality (I forget which one).
The counter to SnS is SR4A (which makes no sense) or Non-Conductivity armor (you don't put this on spirits, you put this on the guys facing off against the guys with SnS/tazers).
The counter to that is a flamethrower.
The counter to THAT is a well-aimed called shot (don't puncture the tank, that does more harm than good).

And so on.
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Shinobi Killfist
post Mar 23 2009, 02:57 AM
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Any electrical based damage attack, stick and shock or tasers. They do at least 6DV and they ignore the immunity to normal weapons power in 4e and they at least 1/2 the armor in 4A. Put stick and shock into a automatic and spray the area and low skill mooks can hit a high reaction spirit. In 4e especially since elemental damage ignores a spirits immunity to normal weapons stick and shock or a taser would be standard issue loads for dealing with the supernatural.
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Glyph
post Mar 23 2009, 03:12 AM
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Ghouls are dual-natured, so they don't need for their natural weapons to be "magical" to affect an elemental. An elemental is still a good tactic - but it shouldn't be insta-win by a long shot.

Also, while I am not a big fan over over-using background counts, wouldn't the basement lair, where a pack of ghouls tear apart their sceaming prey, have some background count, like 1 or 2? That would make the force: 6 elemental less powerful.
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Kingboy
post Mar 23 2009, 03:58 AM
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QUOTE (Draco18s @ Mar 22 2009, 10:43 PM) *
The counter to that is a flamethrower.
The counter to THAT is a well-aimed called shot (don't puncture the tank, that does more harm than good).


Aww, but that takes all the fun out of it...


Ok, maybe I played jush a leetle too much Blood (with alt fired Flare Guns Akimbo) as stress release in the past.


One thing to remember for pretty much every runner is that, by definition, the things they do/use are illegal, especially the more high powered (and noticable) stuff like PACs and Force 6 Spirits. If he's not taking the time to clean up his astral signature, have The Man take a little more notice of the wiz in question. It may not get him into direct trouble, but the more rolls he has to make on Fake Sin/License checks, the more likely he'll flub one and have to burn that ID, necessitating some emergency cash expenditure. Yeah yeah, I know, mages supposedly tend to roll in cash, but the cash instead of incarceration might at least get him to ponder a more subtle approach now and then.

Then again, a poorly worded request (always a bad idea if the spirits aren't fond of you) could definately get him noticed, even if he is erasing his sig. I mean, if I were an Earth Elemental told to kill all of the ghouls in the basement, I'd see about knocking the rest of the building down on them and calling it a day. Abandoned or not, someone will likely notice and be displeased about falling buildings.
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Dunsany
post Mar 23 2009, 04:23 AM
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QUOTE (Glyph @ Mar 22 2009, 10:12 PM) *
Ghouls are dual-natured, so they don't need for their natural weapons to be "magical" to affect an elemental. An elemental is still a good tactic - but it shouldn't be insta-win by a long shot.


I agree, though I believe a GM that decided that being dual-natured wasn't enough to overcome the Immunity to Normal Weapons clause of requiring magical weapons would be reasonable in that interpretation. It's not the one I would make as I'd just look at the Natural Weapon critter power and note that the Immunity specifically doesn't apply to Critter Powers, but I think reasonable people can disagree here.

QUOTE
Also, while I am not a big fan over over-using background counts, wouldn't the basement lair, where a pack of ghouls tear apart their sceaming prey, have some background count, like 1 or 2? That would make the force: 6 elemental less powerful.


I also agree with this. I pointed out the general limitations of a spirit as its own powers and abilities apply to the situation, but there are many more counters to spirits. Background count, the social ramifications of abusing spirits (from that spirit and others as well as possibly from other mages), wards, elemental based attacks (keep in mind that most halve armor, even the spirit's armor). I'm sure others could mention a few more.

As to the specific situation, I do think that a background count might apply, though I'd suggest reading the material on background count carefully and using it sparingly. It's a very powerful counter to magic in general and can make games very interesting or very boring for the players of magically active characters. As to social problems for abuse of spirits, nothing in the original post states that these would apply, but I'd suggest reading this section of the book. Again, these issues can make the game much more interesting for the player of the summoner or much more frustrating, depending on how you use the information.
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Draco18s
post Mar 23 2009, 04:52 AM
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QUOTE (Kingboy @ Mar 22 2009, 11:58 PM) *
Aww, but that takes all the fun out of it...


Our cybersam got hit by a flamethrower last session, I killed the guy wielding it. I had initially wanted to Call a shot on the tank, but wanted to know the rules for doing so first (obviously it'd be bad, it was just worse than I had thought) so I just Called for more damage.
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Cain
post Mar 23 2009, 05:06 AM
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I mentioned this in another thread, but I have a semi-retired PC mage in my game, who successfully summoned, bound, and Invoked a Force 16 spirit. He treated it well, gave it a name and everything, and used its services carefully. When the player retired the character, he still had over 9 services left on it. And that wasn't the only high-force Invoked spirit he had bound; he even had a Force 8 Ally spirit!

It took a lot of work to keep every run from turning into telling the spirits to sic 'em. Eventually, it took a discussion with the player, which is what led to the semi-retirement of the character. Not the best of solutions, really; but what else coudl you do?
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GreyBrother
post Mar 23 2009, 06:09 AM
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Couldn't the Ghouls use traps? Electrical based Traps. I mean, c'mon they sound like classical ghoul-basement-dwellers. Why should they hoard enough SnS to freak a sprite?
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crizh
post Mar 23 2009, 11:46 AM
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Sorry, somebody just said Electrical attacks ignore ITNW. Care to substantiate that with a quote? I'm pretty sure that's nonsense. It's the targeting half impact that makes SnS useful against Spirits.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Mar 23 2009, 11:57 AM
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QUOTE (Red-ROM @ Mar 23 2009, 02:54 AM) *
now, the ghouls are running and hiding and trying to ambush the other characters, but they have no chance against this spirit.

Why exactly? They are dual natured and thus can actually hurt the spirit, right?
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kzt
post Mar 23 2009, 12:58 PM
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Well they can't much hide from something with 12 dice to spot them, but I'd have taken a fire elemental if I wanted a spirit to just kill the ghouls. The energy damage aura will tend to do a number any that want try claws while it firebolts them. And the mage can always cast armor on it.
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DireRadiant
post Mar 23 2009, 01:49 PM
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So what are the umpteen bazillion ghouls that are not being munched by the earth spirit doing while the one is being killed? Are they all waiting in line? Or are they organizing and executing the all out assault to infect the rest of the runner team with HMHMV? What happens when 4 ghouls attack the earth spirit at the same time? Do they get teamwork and teammate in melee bonuses? Even if they just to do a few DV each time to the spirit the damage adds up. What happens when the Earth Spriit has trouble finding the ghouls? Ghouls can hide from the spirit as well as the runners? What happens when the ghouls ambush the spirit? They can do it, ambush bonus, friends in melee bonus, edge to go first, beat on that spirit and probably take it out.

Sure, a force 6 earth spirit one on one with a ghoul will probably win. But that's not the scenario. The ghouls lost to the spirit the moment you decided they had no chance, when in fact there are many ways they could deal with it successfully. Once you chose that limit and thought that the ghouls could not win, then you were stuck with the consequences of that thinking.
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Dunsany
post Mar 23 2009, 02:19 PM
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QUOTE (crizh @ Mar 23 2009, 06:46 AM) *
Sorry, somebody just said Electrical attacks ignore ITNW. Care to substantiate that with a quote? I'm pretty sure that's nonsense. It's the targeting half impact that makes SnS useful against Spirits.


I was going to ask who said this, since I certainly didn't, and then read back and saw that someone had. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
I believe the person in question might have overstated their position. Electrical attacks (and most elemental attacks) are against half armor (usually half impact armor but Spirits only have armor and do not distinguish between ballistic and impact.) The only effect of Immunity to Normal Weapons is to give Hardened Armor versus any attack not magical (as defined in the write-up of the power.) Hardened Armor's effect is to ignore any attack who's value is not greater than its rating. Since elemental attacks reduce the armor's rating by half it is much easier to effect creatures with the "ITNW" power.

I hope this clarifies the issue and I hope I haven't put any words in anyone's mouth. If there is somewhere else in the rules that say electrical attacks fully bypass the Immunity power then I'd be happy to know about it.
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crizh
post Mar 23 2009, 04:18 PM
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Which makes Spirits above Force 6 virtually immune to SnS.
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Neraph
post Mar 23 2009, 04:48 PM
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QUOTE (crizh @ Mar 23 2009, 10:18 AM) *
Which makes Spirits above Force 6 virtually immune to SnS.

Net successes raise DV. A force 10 spirit is in danger if you get (somehow) 4 successes or more.
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Shinobi Killfist
post Mar 23 2009, 04:49 PM
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QUOTE (crizh @ Mar 23 2009, 11:18 AM) *
Which makes Spirits above Force 6 virtually immune to SnS.


Why?

Do a wide spread to reduce the dodge test and up the base DV with successes. Any decent Sam can probably up the damage to 9-10DV and the spirit will resist a decent portion of it but not close to all of it. Take a force 8 earth spirit, it would roll 19? dice to resist and probably take 7 boxes off that 9. 2 Boxes wont drop it but you only need to do 2 boxes a few times beofre the spirit is hurt and then dispersed. And that is vs the highest body spirit in the game. I can also guarantee my Sam would do a hell of a lot more than 9DV on my shots.
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crizh
post Mar 23 2009, 04:51 PM
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Somehow.
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