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> Increase [Attribute], When is the attribute checked?
Dakka Dakka
post Dec 5 2009, 04:59 PM
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According to the description of the Spell the Force has to equal or exceed the (augmented) Attribute of the target to work. Is this check performed only at the time of the casting or continuously afterwards as well?

If the former is the case, does the spell still function (possibly less effectively), if the target walks into Background count, since no more checks are made?

If the latter is the case, does the caster actually need a force equal to the (augmented) Attribute + his hits on the test, since, as soon as the spell is cast, the target's augmented attribute is base attribute+other augmentations+hits?
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Draco18s
post Dec 5 2009, 05:30 PM
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For the last question, I'm going to say "no" because that would be silly and functionally identical to "force equal to the value the mage wants the target's attribute to be."
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Jaid
post Dec 5 2009, 05:34 PM
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the force must be equal to the value before the increase attribute spell.

if the spell loses force, i would say it loses it's effect if that drops the force below the pre-spell attribute. the spell may not disappear, but it will at least become ineffective.
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Falconer
post Dec 5 2009, 05:56 PM
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Disagree with both of you.

The force needs to be equal or greater than the augmented value of the attribute. And as supporting evidence I'll point at the spells drain code. With that abnormally low negative drain modifier casting it at even force 9 is quite doable for most mages. (only 2 drain for a human mage maxing out a stat, a bit more if he includes margin for BGC).


Draco: we can pick out numerous cases of where the wording is obtuse and we could rewrite it to be clearer.
Jaid: again disagree, if the spell loses force, you effectively lower how effective the spell is. (raise attribute to 7 on a force 8 casting, enter 2 point BGC, now my attribute is effectively only 6).

The main reason for the ackward wording I can think of is the interaction with background counts. Okay I have a force 7 spell w/ 4 hits, I enter a 4 point BGC. I now have a force 3 spell w/ 3 effective hits (the 4th is temporarily unavailable). The vast majority of spells use 0+net hits as their force limitation... increase attributes are unique and have unique wording which indicates the limit is attribute+net hits IMO.


Not only that there's a perverse incentive w/ this reading... why should a mage increase his native stats w/ karma when a low force sustaining focus will do much better. (remember the magic addiction rules for foci here). A mage w/ a high stat needs much stronger foci to increase his already strong stat, than a weak mage.

Also, we tried playing it like you stated for one session. It went rather poorly... Lets just put it this way... willpower 10 spellslinger. One session of that and all it's implications changed his mind real quick. (you think it's bad just effective counterspelling against wage mages... try that and putting 9 willpower on the street sam).
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Dakka Dakka
post Dec 5 2009, 06:34 PM
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QUOTE (Falconer @ Dec 5 2009, 06:56 PM) *
The force needs to be equal or greater than the augmented value of the attribute. And as supporting evidence I'll point at the spells drain code. With that abnormally low negative drain modifier casting it at even force 9 is quite doable for most mages. (only 2 drain for a human mage maxing out a stat, a bit more if he includes margin for BGC).
Good point.


QUOTE (Falconer @ Dec 5 2009, 06:56 PM) *
Draco: we can pick out numerous cases of where the wording is obtuse and we could rewrite it to be clearer.
Jaid: again disagree, if the spell loses force, you effectively lower how effective the spell is. (raise attribute to 7 on a force 8 casting, enter 2 point BGC, now my attribute is effectively only 6).
If the spell still works, the attribute actually is at base attribute+other augmentations+minimum(hits;6)

QUOTE (Falconer @ Dec 5 2009, 06:56 PM) *
The vast majority of spells use 0+net hits as their force limitation... increase attributes are unique and have unique wording which indicates the limit is attribute+net hits IMO.
No, all spells have a maximum of Force hits, not net hits. So if you cast a Force 3 spell with five hits and the target gets three hits on his resistance roll, the spell fizzles, because the five hits are reduced to three before they are compared to the defender's roll.


QUOTE (Falconer @ Dec 5 2009, 06:56 PM) *
Not only that there's a perverse incentive w/ this reading... why should a mage increase his native stats w/ karma when a low force sustaining focus will do much better. (remember the magic addiction rules for foci here). A mage w/ a high stat needs much stronger foci to increase his already strong stat, than a weak mage.
Because of the addiction, those pesky mana barriers and the fact that most foci can be destroyed quite easily.

QUOTE (Falconer @ Dec 5 2009, 06:56 PM) *
Also, we tried playing it like you stated for one session. It went rather poorly... Lets just put it this way... willpower 10 spellslinger. One session of that and all it's implications changed his mind real quick. (you think it's bad just effective counterspelling against wage mages... try that and putting 9 willpower on the street sam).
Invisibility with a lot of hits is worse, or Mind Control spells, these don't even need many net hits
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Ol' Scratch
post Dec 5 2009, 07:03 PM
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This is one of those painfully worded spells where they were trying to fix a balance issue but failed to consider the impact of the words they used.

The spell itself is contradictory. It says that the Force of the spell must meet or beat the desired Attribute rating you want, but the very next sentence says that you get a boost equal to the hits (which is only limited by Force). The former rule does not put a limit on the hits or the benefit of the spell, only the minimum Force at which it must be cast. Which is paradoxical since you can't guarantee that you won't get more than [Force - Attribute] hits on a spell that is only limited by [Force] hits. So if you have Strength 3, cast it at Force 6, and get five hits, the universe explodes or something. Because the rules do say you get a bonus equal to the number of hits with no limitation on the actual adjustment to the attribute. So, for example, you could wind up with a Strength of 8 on a casting of the spell that's supposed to be, but is in no way, limited to Strength 6 by the strict reading of the spell's rules.

It's even worse because there's no eloquent way to word the spell that keeps it in line with the basic rules. If you add a line such as "the spell has a threshold equal to the unadjusted Attribute," it becomes all but impossible to augment a decent attribute for most magicians. If you instead add, "the number of hits cannot exceed [Force - Attribute]," it sets a precedent that leads to even more confusion with other spells that don't work that way.

Personally I'd get rid of the limitaiton altogether and let it work the way it used to. They don't seem to have any trouble letting possession work that way, so why this spell? Boost the Drain Code and be done with it. The balancing factor comes in the form of sustaining penalties, quickening hindrances, and sustaining foci requirements. Just toss in a limitation like "only one such spell can be active on a subject at any given time, so you cannot use both Increase Body and Increase Agility on the same subject."
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JoelHalpern
post Dec 5 2009, 07:40 PM
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Given that you have to choose the force of a spell before you cast, and you normally (optional strange drain rules excepted) don't get to choose how many hits you get, it would seem very strange if the force had to be greater than attribute + existing augmentation + hits (there is no net here).

Hence, I have always assumed that the force requirement was compared against the pre-spelled attribute (natural + non-spell augmentation). The limit seems to be there to make it harder to raise attributes that are naturally high (particularly those above 6 naturally) even higher. I have never been able to decide if I like or dislike this limit, but it is RAW, so I tend not to discard it without a good reason.

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Jaid
post Dec 5 2009, 08:37 PM
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i disagree that you need to have a force equal to the attribute after the spell is cast. the spell indicates that "The Force of the spell must equal or exceed the (augmented) value of the attribute being affected."


since the attribute being augmented is not yet augmented by the spell, it does not worry about the post-spell augmented attribute rating, merely the original pre-spell rating.

in the event that you lose sufficient force due to background count to have a force lower than the pre-spell attribute, the spell ceases to have effect, although it would still be present.

and as has been said, this really isn't a very big problem. wards alone make it such that sustaining spells for days on end is an unlikely proposition. the average mage may not have a problem with that. the average shadowrunning mage can expect to pass through hostile wards on a regular basis, some of which will not have been immediately apparent until already passed through. if every time you pass a ward you need to spend half a dozen complex actions re-sustaining spells (or risk alerting security) that is already a drawback. it may not be very high drain, but with the number of times you're likely to have to re-cast, it will cause problems for you sooner or later.
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pbangarth
post Dec 5 2009, 09:43 PM
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I agree with Jaid. The "(augmented)" is included to account for implants, adept powers, etc. that may already be in effect, not for some unknown, future level the spell itself might give the Attribute. The Drain code is low because it follows the guidelines for Drain that reduce the Drain because of its Range, Area of Effect and Sustainment.

The fear that a mage might limit his natural attributes at chargen in order to cheaply bump them later with Foci and spells does not withstand close study. As has been pointed out earlier, many, commonly experienced ways exist to drop sustained spells. A natural Attribute, or one augmented by permanent effects, is far harder to reduce. The number of Foci Bindable and their total Force is limited by the Magic Attribute, and to a lesser extent the risk of addiction. A low base Attribute will give a low starting point for the improvement, which itself will be limited in amount by the Force of the spell. If the mage keeps an Attribute low in order to allow a low Force spell/Focus, he will be defeating the purpose of the exercise: making his Attribute large. A character predicated upon an array of sustained spells is doomed to a nasty comeuppance.
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Draco18s
post Dec 5 2009, 10:40 PM
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QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ Dec 5 2009, 02:03 PM) *
The spell itself is contradictory. It says that the Force of the spell must meet or beat the desired Attribute rating you want


No, its meet or beat the attribute rating the character has. If you have 6 strength you cast a force 6 spell, get 6 hits, now you have 12 strength and a force 6 sustained spell.
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Dakka Dakka
post Dec 5 2009, 10:43 PM
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QUOTE (Draco18s @ Dec 5 2009, 11:40 PM) *
No, its meet or beat the attribute rating the character has. If you have 6 strength you cast a force 6 spell, get 6 hits, now you have 12 strength and a force 6 sustained spell.
Only if your metatype has an augmented attribute maximum equal to or greater than 12. The normal maxima cannot be exceed by the spell, no matter which interpretation you use. for humans that is 9.
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Draco18s
post Dec 5 2009, 10:44 PM
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QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Dec 5 2009, 05:43 PM) *
Only if your metatype has an augmented attribute maximum equal to or greater than 12. The normal maxima cannot be exceed by the spell, no matter which interpretation you use. for humans that is 9.



True, more than likely such a spell will hit that cap.
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Ol' Scratch
post Dec 5 2009, 11:03 PM
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QUOTE (Draco18s @ Dec 5 2009, 04:40 PM) *
No, its meet or beat the attribute rating the character has. If you have 6 strength you cast a force 6 spell, get 6 hits, now you have 12 strength and a force 6 sustained spell.

I see where you're coming from and, honestly, that's how I always read it myself. Every time I've seen it mentioned in an actual game, however, the GM always tended to read it the other way that's been described in this thread. I just assumed I was wrong since I could see how it could easily be read that way.

The main point remains though: It's a horribly, horribly written and confusing set of rules.
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pbangarth
post Dec 5 2009, 11:21 PM
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QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ Dec 5 2009, 04:03 PM) *
The main point remains though: It's a horribly, horribly written and confusing set of rules.


This point has been made many times, by lots of people. It just struck me: games tend to be written by gamers, or fiction writers bending their skills to the genre. I wonder what would happen if a game company hired a crew of technical writers, people who have cut their teeth on explaining clearly how things work.... things that break or blow up if you don't use them correctly.
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hahnsoo
post Dec 5 2009, 11:58 PM
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QUOTE (pbangarth @ Dec 5 2009, 07:21 PM) *
This point has been made many times, by lots of people. It just struck me: games tend to be written by gamers, or fiction writers bending their skills to the genre. I wonder what would happen if a game company hired a crew of technical writers, people who have cut their teeth on explaining clearly how things work.... things that break or blow up if you don't use them correctly.
That's crazy talk, because it makes sense! Therefore, it will never happen! *laughs maniacally*
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Jaid
post Dec 6 2009, 05:57 AM
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QUOTE (pbangarth @ Dec 5 2009, 06:21 PM) *
This point has been made many times, by lots of people. It just struck me: games tend to be written by gamers, or fiction writers bending their skills to the genre. I wonder what would happen if a game company hired a crew of technical writers, people who have cut their teeth on explaining clearly how things work.... things that break or blow up if you don't use them correctly.

you'd probably wind up with something that likes like D&D fourth edition. either that or something monstrously large that attempts to cover every single scenario possible.
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Falconer
post Dec 6 2009, 06:02 AM
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QUOTE (Draco18s @ Dec 5 2009, 05:40 PM) *
No, its meet or beat the attribute rating the character has. If you have 6 strength you cast a force 6 spell, get 6 hits, now you have 12 strength and a force 6 sustained spell.


Wrong and wrong.

You're still capped by augmented maximum, you can only use 3 hits to increase strength on a basic human.

I still say you'd need a force 12 casting, to reach an augmented maximum of 12. (which ONLY requires a magic of 6, and only has a drain of 4, 3 if you go to 11... easily manageable).


Actually, try playing under your reading that and you'll see the spells quickly become broken.

Lets put it this way, force 5 casting has ZERO drain. by the time you hit force 9... a mere 2 drain. These spells have zero issues being cast at high force.

You also fail to address other potential situations... okay I have an ork w/ 9 strength... using increase attribute under your reading you could easily get him up into the mid/high teens w/ a high force casting.

Or another example... casting it and sustaining agility boost on the gunbunny, or reaction. Then hiding in the back while sustaining the combat buffs. Without augmented maximum casts, and force limitation the drain is negligable, and you can do silly stuff like cast a 1 drain spell repeatedly til you get say 5 hits on it, which will typically double someone's attribute.
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Draco18s
post Dec 6 2009, 12:22 PM
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AHEM.

QUOTE (Draco18s @ Dec 5 2009, 05:44 PM) *
True, more than likely such a spell will hit that cap.


I was ignoring augmented maximum (as I left it unstated) but you are still bound by it.
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Ol' Scratch
post Dec 6 2009, 03:40 PM
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QUOTE (Falconer @ Dec 6 2009, 12:02 AM) *
Lets put it this way, force 5 casting has ZERO drain. by the time you hit force 9... a mere 2 drain. These spells have zero issues being cast at high force.e's attribute.

Except for the whole sustaining thing.
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Dakka Dakka
post Dec 6 2009, 03:45 PM
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And the fact that the minimum drain is 1.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Dec 6 2009, 03:55 PM
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Falocners Point is that one way it logically works (I know, It is magic, but still) and the other way it does not...

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pbangarth
post Dec 6 2009, 07:10 PM
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QUOTE (Falconer @ Dec 5 2009, 11:02 PM) *
You're still capped by augmented maximum, you can only use 3 hits to increase strength on a basic human.
I still say you'd need a force 12 casting, to reach an augmented maximum of 12. (which ONLY requires a magic of 6, and only has a drain of 4, 3 if you go to 11... easily manageable).
Actually, try playing under your reading that and you'll see the spells quickly become broken.
Lets put it this way, force 5 casting has ZERO drain. by the time you hit force 9... a mere 2 drain. These spells have zero issues being cast at high force.
You also fail to address other potential situations... okay I have an ork w/ 9 strength... using increase attribute under your reading you could easily get him up into the mid/high teens w/ a high force casting.
Or another example... casting it and sustaining agility boost on the gunbunny, or reaction. Then hiding in the back while sustaining the combat buffs. Without augmented maximum casts, and force limitation the drain is negligable, and you can do silly stuff like cast a 1 drain spell repeatedly til you get say 5 hits on it, which will typically double someone's attribute.

The augmented maximum does indeed apply, so a normal human cannot go above 9.

A Force 9 Increase[Attribute] has a Drain of 3, not 2, and for most mages this is physical Drain. That is not inconsequential. Not 'easily manageable', especially if you keep doing it. I play a couple of characters with this spell, and the repeated casting of spells to get the best effect *always* comes back to bite you. Furthermore, while the RAW does not say to do so, most GMs apply a rule of diminishing returns to repeated attempts at the same spell.

Yes, the mage can cast the spell on another and sit back and hide, but then he is not participating in many of the other ways mages can. Sustaining -multiple- spells really drags on all of your actions, including things like Initiative rolls, the casting of successive spells on second and third party members, or Dodging. Sure, the other team members may be nova hot, but you are a sitting duck with a target painted on you.

Imagining the absolute worst application of the spell that could possibly happen and suggesting this makes it 'broken' is a common tactic, but it doesn't help us approach a reasonable appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of that spell.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Dec 6 2009, 07:19 PM
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QUOTE (pbangarth @ Dec 6 2009, 12:10 PM) *
The augmented maximum does indeed apply, so a normal human cannot go above 9.

A Force 9 Increase[Attribute] has a Drain of 3, not 2, and for most mages this is physical Drain. That is not inconsequential. Not 'easily manageable', especially if you keep doing it. I play a couple of characters with this spell, and the repeated casting of spells to get the best effect *always* comes back to bite you. Furthermore, while the RAW does not say to do so, most GMs apply a rule of diminishing returns to repeated attempts at the same spell.

Yes, the mage can cast the spell on another and sit back and hide, but then he is not participating in many of the other ways mages can. Sustaining -multiple- spells really drags on all of your actions, including things like Initiative rolls, the casting of successive spells on second and third party members, or Dodging. Sure, the other team members may be nova hot, but you are a sitting duck with a target painted on you.

Imagining the absolute worst application of the spell that could possibly happen and suggesting this makes it 'broken' is a common tactic, but it doesn't help us approach a reasonable appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of that spell.


Besides, there are many ways to not take the penalty for sustaining the spells... give them to spirits (Binding or Sustaining), have the Spirit of Man actually cas the spell., Sustaining Foci, Anchoring, Quickening, using Living Link (the Adept has the Quality)... Sustainment is not that difficult... especially if you are prepared to do such things...

And besides, if you are casting with 15-17 dice (as many Mages tend to do, hell our mage at our table casts with 17 dice as a Combat Mage), are 2 sustained spells really going to cause you a lot of grief... not in my experience...

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JoelHalpern
post Dec 6 2009, 08:54 PM
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Actually, one of the things that bothers me about requiring that increase attribute use the resulting attribute level is that it means that any significant "increase attribute" can not be used with a sustaining focus, since without special dispensation they can not be above force 6.

If, as GM, you feel that Increase Attribute is too powerful a spell, and you want to seriously reduce its effectiveness, then this path works.

And I can see how one can conclude that such a reading is "correct". But please do not asssrt that it is the only "correct" reading. Given the wide spread vagueness in the rules, it is very reaosnable to think that the writer understood "augmented rating" as "augmented rating when the casting is started", and used "augmented" make sure we understood that the required force inclluded any drug, cyber, or biowear based increases.

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Dakka Dakka
post Dec 6 2009, 09:23 PM
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QUOTE (JoelHalpern @ Dec 6 2009, 09:54 PM) *
Actually, one of the things that bothers me about requiring that increase attribute use the resulting attribute level is that it means that any significant "increase attribute" can not be used with a sustaining focus, since without special dispensation they can not be above force 6.
Where does it say that you need special dispensation for foci of a force greater than 6? At character generation only a rating is capped at 6 not force, and availability will probably make even a focus of a lower force (2/3 normally or 4/5 withrestricted gear dependding on the type) unavailable. Afterwards there is no such restriction.
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