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> Spell sustaining penalty question, To other spells or to everything?
Knight Saber
post Jun 22 2009, 07:20 AM
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Going by SR4 p. 174, I thought that a spell sustaining penalty applied to everything you did while sustaining the spell, as it says "-2 penalty on all other tests."... but then I looked more carefully at the line before that... "Draining to the magical abilities." Some people here still say "-2 to EVERYTHING" though. So which is it? -2 to other spellcasting, summoning and the like, or -2 to everything you do? It'd severely reduce the usefulness of any buff spells if it was the latter... Increase Agility by 3, then take -2 to your Agility rolls.
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kzt
post Jun 22 2009, 07:59 AM
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There is a reason why many character designs have sustaining focuses or summoning a spirit to sustain it for you as part of the concept.
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EnlitenedDespot
post Jun 22 2009, 08:03 AM
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It does seem a bit silly, if you ask me. Honestly though, the penalty for sustaining any spell at all is somewhat of a turn-off to me in the first place. I understand the goal is to not permit a mage to just stack up a billion 'buff' spells and it also gives the mage the utility of having an unending buff going if he wishes, but automatically having a penalty to everything for spells that are designed to be used in a combat situation?

For something like clairvoyance, I have no problem at all understanding how that would invoke a -2 to all tests. But Improved Reflexes/boosing attribute spells having penalties is kind of silly, as they're meant to be used in combat where penalties can get you killed.

In short, the real answer is to force the character to invest nuyen/karma into sustaining foci; however, as it is somewhat difficult to get decent sustaining foci at chargen (above Force 3 requires the use of the Restricted Item Quality, better spent on a Rank 4 Power Focus or something) and foci themselves are a bit expensive to bond karma-wise (sustaining foci not so much, but you would want multiple of them possibly).

At least Logic-based traditions benefit from this need or desire for multiple foci, since there is a lot of complaint that Charisma or Intuition-based traditions have the advantage...
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Chibu
post Jun 22 2009, 11:49 AM
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Anyway, to answer your question... You're right, it is kind of hard to understand. So, just to let you know, in all other editions, the penalty was only to magical tests, and had no effect on mundane tests. There's really no reason for it to apply to other tests. As you said, it makes alot of spells completely useless without a focus. (And really, you could do with having less of them).
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knasser
post Jun 22 2009, 05:31 PM
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Wait! What? Some people play with the -2 sustaining penalty applying only to other magical tests? I just had moment of doubt then - was in a little island all by myself playing it differently? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)

I can see the confusion in the section quoted where, though it doesn't say that it only applies to spellcasting, is clearly emphasising that it does which makes you wonder. But then that section is the section on spellcasting so maybe they just wanted to emphasize that the penalty applied to spellcasting as well - that you could enter a "spiral of death" with sustained spells.

However, page 184 in SR4A (Step 7: Ongoing Effects), repeats the statement that the -2 applies to all other tests without any hint or suggestion that it is only magical tests. If it were intended to be only magical tests, then I would hope this would have been stated somewhere.

Are many people playing differently to this?

K.

EDIT: Mostly in response to Chibu's comment about no reason for it applying to other tests, I have always understood that sustaining a spell requires concentration / effort. Note the rules for a mage accidentally dropping a sustained spell when under stress, e.g. gunfire whatever in the same section.
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Chibu
post Jun 22 2009, 05:47 PM
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Knasser: yeah, I know. I read that part as well. Mostly, I meant mechanically there's no reason. I can definitely understand that it would take concentration, etc. And I agree as well. However, that basically means you cannot sustain a spell and do anything else. Making a focus NECESSARY for a mage to have (even though everyone on these forums who plays an SR4 mage uses at least half a dozen foci anyway...) if they will ever want to sustain a spell. As noted, this makes it very much unfeasible to play a mage who 'buffs' other characters, or even debuffs an enemy.

And do note, that I said "in other editions", and that I've never played SR4. And also, I agree that it does say "all tests", and probably actually means it.

It'll be ok Knasser, I'm pretty sure everyone plays with is applying to all tests...
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crizh
post Jun 22 2009, 05:49 PM
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QUOTE (Chibu @ Jun 22 2009, 12:49 PM) *
So, just to let you know, in all other editions, the penalty was only to magical tests, and had no effect on mundane tests.


It has been twenty years since I started playing SR so my senility might be creeping in but to the best of my recollection the above statement is flat out untrue.

Additionally IIRC sustaining penalties to not apply to Resistance Tests like Drain or Damage Resistance...
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Larme
post Jun 22 2009, 05:57 PM
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QUOTE (Knight Saber @ Jun 22 2009, 03:20 AM) *
Going by SR4 p. 174, I thought that a spell sustaining penalty applied to everything you did while sustaining the spell, as it says "-2 penalty on all other tests."... but then I looked more carefully at the line before that... "Draining to the magical abilities." Some people here still say "-2 to EVERYTHING" though. So which is it? -2 to other spellcasting, summoning and the like, or -2 to everything you do? It'd severely reduce the usefulness of any buff spells if it was the latter... Increase Agility by 3, then take -2 to your Agility rolls.


This is a common issue with rules interpretation. People want to treat the prefatory language as the rule, even though it conflicts with operative language. To avoid confusing yourself, always do it this way: If prefatory language (i.e., the fluff that explains why the rule exists) conflicts with the operative language (-x dice to y tests), follow the operative language. That's the rule. The prefatory language is just trying to explain it and put it in context. If they didn't want -2 to all tests, they wouldn't have written that. It would have been very easy for them to write -2 to all magical tests, but they didn't. If the fluff conflicts with the rules, it is the rules that win. Only the rules are rules... Obviously if you like the fluff better than the rules, you can change them. But when it comes to RAW, the numbers always win out over the abstract and sometimes inaccurate fluff justifications for the numbers.
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Chibu
post Jun 22 2009, 06:00 PM
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Hmm... Seems in third edition, you are in fact, correct. Who knew? Guess we learn something new every day. I'll have to wait until I get home to check my 2e book though, since I don't have it here.
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knasser
post Jun 22 2009, 06:05 PM
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@Chibu - Ah, you meant mechanically. I understand now.

Regarding previous editions, I seemed to remember my late cat shaman in 1st and 2nd having problems due to sustaining multiple spells, but I don't have those books and it was always possible that we'd been playing it wrong.
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Dragnar
post Jun 22 2009, 09:22 PM
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To make it a bit more complicated: Keep in mind that "all tests" still isn't really "all tests", as there are specific tests that don't take any situational penalties, so they remain unaffected (damage resistance being the most obvious).
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Doc Chaos
post Jun 22 2009, 10:32 PM
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QUOTE (Chibu @ Jun 22 2009, 08:00 PM) *
Hmm... Seems in third edition, you are in fact, correct. Who knew? Guess we learn something new every day. I'll have to wait until I get home to check my 2e book though, since I don't have it here.


My copy of Shadowrun 2.01D (german edition) speaks of a "universal +2 target modifier per sustained spell". No exceptions mentioned.
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Chibu
post Jun 22 2009, 10:58 PM
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well then... i guess it was a houserule and no one ever told me all of these years...

*fail*
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Doc Chaos
post Jun 22 2009, 11:41 PM
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It does make some sense though. That house rule would mean that a mage only needs to channel some of his magical power constantly, thus having trouble performing other magical tasks, but doing this on a subconscious level, so it doesnt effect other, mundane, tasks. I kind of like the idea, but it does give an already powerful class even more bang for the buck...
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Larme
post Jun 22 2009, 11:45 PM
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QUOTE (Dragnar @ Jun 22 2009, 04:22 PM) *
To make it a bit more complicated: Keep in mind that "all tests" still isn't really "all tests", as there are specific tests that don't take any situational penalties, so they remain unaffected (damage resistance being the most obvious).


That's another thing that people forget when interpreting rules -- specific trumps general (obviously you get it Dragnar, I'm just speaking generally). If one says "all tests" and the other says "no modifiers apply to this particular test unless otherwise noted," you know that the general rule is pushed aside in favor of the specific. One thing that D&D4 did right is that it started the book off with rules of interpretation, i.e. rules about how to interpret the rules. That way, if there's an ambiguity somewhere, it's a matter of applying the rules of interpretation. For my part, the only reason I know these basic meta-rules is that I went to law school -- that shouldn't be a prerequisite for figuring out the ambiguities in SR4, but it's very nearly there sometimes (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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Chibu
post Jun 23 2009, 12:07 AM
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QUOTE (Doc Chaos @ Jun 22 2009, 07:41 PM) *
It does make some sense though. That house rule would mean that a mage only needs to channel some of his magical power constantly, thus having trouble performing other magical tasks, but doing this on a subconscious level, so it doesn't effect other, mundane, tasks. I kind of like the idea, but it does give an already powerful class even more bang for the buck...


And it actually makes alot more sense in SR2 where there is no Sustaining Focus. The Spell Lock, while seemingly similar, only allows you to hold a specific casting of a spell. So, once the spell is cast, it's the only thing that can be in it unless you re-bond it. Example: If you cast improved invisibility on yourself and then spell lock it, you cannot later drop that spell and cast improved invisibility on your friend unless you spend karma to re-bond the spell lock. So, this being the case, as well as my group never having a problem with overpowered mages... makes this ruling fairly intuitive (so much so that I didn't even know it was a houserule for the past... what? 8 years or something?) We also don't allow first-aid skill (or even magic) to heal drain becuase you can't fix an anurism with band-aids™. So we therefore are more concious of how much drain we take, and I'm the only one in my group that I know of that has ever really over-cast spells (after calculating how much I could do while rarely, if ever, taking drain).

But as you mentioned, with the way people around here seem to play mages (that is, self-loathing, inhuman, battle machines) it is probably not a good idea to use this rule.

However, I do not agree that sustaining a spell makes a bullet hurt you more. But apparently I'm not real good with rules about magic and sustaining spells lol.
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kzt
post Jun 23 2009, 03:58 AM
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QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 22 2009, 04:45 PM) *
One thing that D&D4 did right is that it started the book off with rules of interpretation, i.e. rules about how to interpret the rules. That way, if there's an ambiguity somewhere, it's a matter of applying the rules of interpretation. For my part, the only reason I know these basic meta-rules is that I went to law school -- that shouldn't be a prerequisite for figuring out the ambiguities in SR4, but it's very nearly there sometimes (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

SR does that too. Which they then proceed to completely violate in examples. The Powebolt vs motorcycle one is the obvious example of how they ignore how they defined a success test and thresholds.
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The Jake
post Jun 23 2009, 04:19 AM
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QUOTE (crizh @ Jun 22 2009, 06:49 PM) *
It has been twenty years since I started playing SR so my senility might be creeping in but to the best of my recollection the above statement is flat out untrue.

Additionally IIRC sustaining penalties to not apply to Resistance Tests like Drain or Damage Resistance...


Seconded and quoted for truth.

- J.
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Doc Chaos
post Jun 23 2009, 11:26 AM
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QUOTE (Chibu @ Jun 23 2009, 02:07 AM) *
However, I do not agree that sustaining a spell makes a bullet hurt you more. But apparently I'm not real good with rules about magic and sustaining spells lol.


In SR4 the negative modifier does not apply to damage resistance tests.

QUOTE (Chibu @ Jun 23 2009, 02:07 AM) *
We also don't allow first-aid skill (or even magic) to heal drain becuase you can't fix an anurism with band-aids™


In SR4 healing Drain by any other means than natural healing time is an optional rule.

And thanks for reminding me how bad the "sustaining focus" in SR2 was... its been years since I played SR2. Now I remember why I seldomly played a mage (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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Chibu
post Jun 23 2009, 12:35 PM
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QUOTE (Doc Chaos @ Jun 23 2009, 07:26 AM) *
In SR4 the negative modifier does not apply to damage resistance tests.

Larme seemed to be saying that this was not the case (But, like I said I don't agree).

QUOTE (Doc Chaos @ Jun 23 2009, 07:26 AM) *
In SR4 healing Drain by any other means than natural healing time is an optional rule.

Actually Street Magic, p. 31, says that the optional rule is to let drain be healed by magical means, and that it can already be healed by "mundane medical attention". We don't allow either, as the rule is that magic cannot heal drain and, as I said, band-aids™ can't either. So, if you take drain, you're on your own.

QUOTE (Doc Chaos @ Jun 23 2009, 07:26 AM) *
And thanks for reminding me how bad the "sustaining focus" in SR2 was... its been years since I played SR2. Now I remember why I seldomly played a mage (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

Yeah, I guess without the rule that we use they are pretty bad (assuming you sustain spells).

Well, this thread has been very informative. Thanks everyone!
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nezumi
post Jun 23 2009, 12:50 PM
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QUOTE (Chibu @ Jun 22 2009, 06:49 AM) *
So, just to let you know, in all other editions, the penalty was only to magical tests, and had no effect on mundane tests.


In SR3 it specifically says it applies to all tests except damage resistance tests.
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Doc Chaos
post Jun 23 2009, 01:09 PM
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QUOTE (Chibu @ Jun 23 2009, 02:35 PM) *
Larme seemed to be saying that this was not the case (But, like I said I don't agree).


SR4A p.184:
Note that wound modifiers or sustained spells have no effect on the character’s dice pool for Drain Resistance Tests.

This leads me to the assumption that normal damage resistance tests also are not affected, as they also state that wound modifiers do not apply (even though sustained spell modifiers are not mentioned explicitly)

QUOTE (Chibu @ Jun 23 2009, 02:35 PM) *
Actually Street Magic, p. 31, says that the optional rule is to let drain be healed by magical means, and that it can already be healed by "mundane medical attention". We don't allow either, as the rule is that magic cannot heal drain and, as I said, band-aids™ can't either. So, if you take drain, you're on your own.


You are right, my mistake. Sorry.
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Chibu
post Jun 23 2009, 01:26 PM
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QUOTE (Doc Chaos @ Jun 23 2009, 09:09 AM) *
You are right, my mistake. Sorry.


Yeah... I was actually hoping you were right, and had a long post written up about how people shouldn't use that rule to make their mages not overcast as much... but then i decided to look it up to make sure. Ah well.

QUOTE (nezumi @ Jun 23 2009, 08:50 AM) *
In SR3 it specifically says it applies to all tests except damage resistance tests.

And this is why you should read the rest of the thread (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif) Thanks though.
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Larme
post Jun 23 2009, 02:27 PM
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QUOTE (Doc Chaos @ Jun 23 2009, 08:09 AM) *
SR4A p.184:
Note that wound modifiers or sustained spells have no effect on the character’s dice pool for Drain Resistance Tests.

This leads me to the assumption that normal damage resistance tests also are not affected, as they also state that wound modifiers do not apply (even though sustained spell modifiers are not mentioned explicitly)


I thought I was pretty clear, but I do agree with you. Apparently when I said "you get it, Dragnar," someone didn't get that I agreed with him? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/ohplease.gif) Specific trumps general. "No modifiers apply to this specific test" beats "this counts as a modifier to everything."
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Chibu
post Jun 23 2009, 07:32 PM
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Larme: Huh, yeah *fail again* I guess I did think you were saying the opposite.
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