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> The Ignite Spell, Am I just not understanding something?
Umidori
post Feb 19 2010, 05:50 AM
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So I've been putting together a Psionic character, and I was picking out some of the more reasonable spells to use as "psychic powers" when my attention came back, as it occasionally does, to the odd little spell Ignite.

I'd never really understood the intended usage of the spell. It's low drain is nice, but cast at even moderate forces it takes agonizingly long to become permanent. Who has time in a fight to wait several combat turns for the enemy to catch fire, especially considering the lost dice suffered to all actions during the time spent sustaining the spell? Is it meant to be used stealthily, before a fight has even begun? Or is it merely intended only for non-combat scenarios, like burning down a building and the like?

Then it occured to me that maybe Ignite is intended to be an ultra low force spell? Well, okay then, so I do the mental math for a force two cast - meh, still takes two combat turns to become permanent, and then it only does 2F. Wait a minute, if it gains 1DV per turn... it's like a DOT that just gets nastier and nastier and doesn't stop until the target is dead or somehow extinguishes themselves. That could be really nice, except for the still-just-a-tad-too-long time until permanent.

Then I thought, okay, so what if it's cast at a force of one? Permanent spells are twice the DV, but the DV is half the force... rounded... down... wait... does that mean what I think it means? Force 1 divided by 2 is 0.5, which rounds down to 0, which times 2 is still 0? Suddenly the spell becomes an instant cast that starts out low damage but rapidly grows out of control if not extinguished quickly. Whoa! Now the spell is useful! But then, aww crap, I remember that the minimum DV is 1 anyway, so that ruins that. Then I realize it sucks even more. If you cast at force one, that limits the spellcasting tests hits anyway, and it'll be sure to be resisted.

So what the smeg is the point of this spell? It's got awesome potential for sheer runaway damage, especially over time, but you'll never get the spell off against a living target faster than you and your team can take that target down with practically anything else.

~Umidori
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Mendrian
post Feb 19 2010, 06:11 AM
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You could always hand it off to a spirit to maintain instead, couldn't you?

I guess that doesn't work as well for a "psychic" sort of aesthetic though.
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Squinky
post Feb 19 2010, 06:23 AM
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You got me. It's kinda like the adrenaline pump, cool idea, but it just wont work (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Dahrken
post Feb 19 2010, 06:39 AM
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QUOTE (Umidori @ Feb 19 2010, 06:50 AM) *
So what the smeg is the point of this spell? It's got awesome potential for sheer runaway damage, especially over time, but you'll never get the spell off against a living target faster than you and your team can take that target down with practically anything else.

I guess you answered your own question. It's not useful against living targets, but for vandalism and arson the low drain is rather nice and the slow effect is not a problem.
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Saint Sithney
post Feb 19 2010, 06:56 AM
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You can stare at a tank for 12 seconds and light it on fire. That's pretty ok when you've got surprise on your side.

Actually, it doesn't specify the size of the target anywhere...
"So, Deus, you think you're pretty bad hanging out in that arcology, hunh? Lets see how bad you are when every single solid inch of it bursts into flame simultaneously." jokes, but yeah, you get the point.

It's basically and anti-material spell with the capability to cause chaos and confusion if you target it right.
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Umidori
post Feb 19 2010, 07:08 AM
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Mage: I wonder...
Street Sammy: What about?
Mage: <stares at the moon>
Street Sammy: ...
Street Sammy: I really hope that red tinge is just air pollution.

~Umidori
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Dakka Dakka
post Feb 19 2010, 07:14 AM
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Don't forget that the spell must meet the target's OR. On force 1 You can only ignite natural items. OR does create some silly examples though:
It is easier to ignite a rock (OR1) than jet fuel (OR2-3).
It's magic, right?
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Umidori
post Feb 19 2010, 07:33 AM
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Another fairly useless spell: Fling.

It is exactly the same as Levitate, except that it sucks. It only works on objects up to [Force] kg (instead of 200 kg per hit), it deals thrown weapon damage derived from an effective Strength of [Magic / 2] (instead of dealing damage as chosen by the GM, which is typically considerable for a 200+ kg object flying at [Force x Spellcasting Test hits] meters per second), and it only has damage dealing utility (as opposed to incredible variety of levitation utilities).

Has anyone ever used this spell? It can't lift as much, the things it lifts it can't throw as hard or move as far, the damage it deals is almost always going to be less unless your GM is purposely trying to fuck with you, and if you miss you have to cast again and resist drain again to take another shot at hitting your target. And it costs the same amount of drain, and the same amount of karma to learn. What an utter waste.

~Umidori
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Surukai
post Feb 19 2010, 07:47 AM
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The time it takes to become permanent can be reduced too. If you cast it force 6 with 6 hits on spellcasting, against OR2 you can use 4 hits to reduce the time from 6 combat turns (drain 3 x 2 = 6) to 2 combat turns and still start with 6 fire damage.

And, I agree that fling is utter useless, it doesn't even have the charm of healthy glow (That too does nothing at all). Additionally, Control Actions is a super-crappy version of Control Thoughts. The first gives control with negative dicepool on all actions AND the target can act freely when you are not issuing orders while the later is full control in all ways and the target is helplessly murdering his allies and then himself without chance to resist. Agony is a confusion/stench/orgasm/insect/hot potato spell but with 1/3rd the effect (imaginary damage per net hit (not force+ net hits) means you get at best a -2 dice pool modifier for a force 6 spell on a willpower 0 target while orgasm gives -6 to all actions... why?
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FriendoftheDork
post Feb 19 2010, 08:11 AM
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I disagree about control action, is a very cool thematic "puppeteer" spells. Also, since the target can act freely when not commanded, it means you can area affect it without worrying about hitting teammates and innocents (the former could result in your untimely death as the street sammie shakes off the spell's effect, assuming you don't want to kill off your own party right now).




Also, as soon as you are affected by Control Thoughts, you don't do anything until commanded (except natural bodily functions), which makes it very suspicious and zombie-like. With Control Actions however you can suddenly have members of the HTR team suddenly starting to shoot their mage or whatever without any indication that something has happened.

Both spells are good of course, and Control Thoughts is great, but the flavour of Control Actions and it's relativily low drain makes it a good option. A real mindbender would take both (and Influence just to be on the safe side).
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Umidori
post Feb 19 2010, 08:16 AM
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I just had an idea. Ignite + Shape [Material] (Fire).

Light up a building and let it grow into a proper inferno. Then cast Shape Fire, beat the OR1, and move around an unrestricted volume of flame at [Net Hits] meters per turn. With a good edge boosted roll at force eleven, you can surround yourself with a titanic sphere of pure flame that moves with you as you walk around at 10 m/s. Or half as fast at force six. You become a slow, lumbering ball of crispy fried death.

~Umidori

This post has been edited by Umidori: Feb 19 2010, 08:18 AM
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Oehler the Black
post Feb 19 2010, 08:25 AM
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QUOTE (Umidori @ Feb 19 2010, 02:16 AM) *
I just had an idea. Ignite + Shape [Material] (Fire).

Light up a building and let it grow into a proper inferno. Then cast Shape Fire, beat the OR1, and move around an unrestricted volume of flame at [Net Hits] meters per turn. With a good edge boosted roll at force eleven, you can surround yourself with a titanic sphere of pure flame that moves with you as you walk around at 10 m/s. Or half as fast at force six. You become a slow, lumbering ball of crispy fried death.

~Umidori

I like your style sir. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif) But bigger question, can you actually do this? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/proof.gif)

Also, is the spell really unlimited in terms of the mass it can affect? If so could you then ignite a truly massive natural object...like the atmosphere or a mountain? Hmm mountain of fire...
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Umidori
post Feb 19 2010, 08:48 AM
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QUOTE ("Street Magic @ P. 174)
This spell allows the caster to move and shape a volume of a specified element or material (air, earth, water, fire, mud, lava, plasteel, concrete, tar, etc.) within range. The caster must beat the materialís Object Resistance threshold (p. 174, SR4). The material can be moved and reshaped in any way the caster desires, at a maximum Movement Rate of (net hits) meters per turn.

Loose material can be moved and re-shaped easily, but material that is connected or reinforced (such as walls or other material part of a structure) must be broken apart by reducing its Structure rating by Force points per Combat Turn. This spell allows the caster to rapidly dig holes, redirect streams, fill balloons, create a path through a fire, construct a barricade, or create a doorway where one didnít exist before. Each element/material requires a separate spell (Shape Sand, Shape Ice, Shape Wood, Shape Concrete, and so on). Elements or materials reshaped by the caster remain in that form when the spell ends. If that form cannot be supported by the material, it will collapse. The material/element can also be spread out, extinguished, or evaporated; for example, a fire could be extinguished by reducing the Power by the casterís Spellcasting hits each turn.


Sounds like any volume is acceptable, and any shape is acceptable. My intuition would tell me that according to physics, this shouldn't work for fire, being that fire is a mass of superheated gases that must be constantly fed energy by fresh fuel, but rules, magic, and reality often clash. That said, the bit about the material remaining in a specific shape intrigues me. Since fire is a gas, can you compress it into a small volume? According to physics, that would make it even hotter and nastier. You could slowly (Net Hits m/s) condense a forest fire into a small floating orb of near plasma, that you could then maintain so long as it remains in line of sight. Upon ending the spell, the plasma sphere (whose form cannot normally be supported by the material) would explode outwards, returning to its original pressure and volume.

You could create an "atmospheric capacitor" with the Air version of the spell. Spend a day or two slowly sucking in atmosphere on the roof of a building downtown, then release it to cause an instantaneous explosion of nuclear proportions. To survive, have a friend sustain their own version of the spell that keeps a pocket of air surrounding you stable and safe.

~Umidori
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Surukai
post Feb 19 2010, 09:11 AM
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One could easily argue that the force of the spell is a quite hard limit of how much destruction you can compress. That nuclear air bomb will just become liquid air and the expansion rate of liquid gasses is not that great without sufficient heat and the compressed forest fire will probably burn through it's fuel within seconds after you start to move it away from the forest.

In all I'd let creative use of shape element cause up to it's force damage of appropriate element. Your compressed air will be stun and knockdown and possible freezing damage if exposed to the target long enough. Keep in mind that liquid nitrogen is NOT half as dangerous as you might think. I personally have dipped my completely unprotected hand fully in liquid nitrogen (no BS, I have!). It evaporates so fast around my hand that it forms a protective layer of low conducting gas that prevents further freezing. It takes a while before this effect ends.
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Umidori
post Feb 19 2010, 09:20 AM
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I just realized that Oehler was asking if the Ignite spell is limited, not the Control [Element] spell. Here's the info for that, too.

QUOTE ( SR4 @ P. 203)
The Ignite spell accelerates molecular motion in the target, causing it to catch fire once the spell becomes permanent. The spellcaster must achieve enough net hits to beat a threshold equal to the targetís Object Resistance (see p. 174). Once the target ignites, it burns normally until it is consumed or extinguished.


Again, very vague rules. You're affecting an unrestricted target, so presumably it can be any size and any material. You're increasing kinetic energy until the point of catching fire. If the spell succeeds and is sustained long enough, the object will burst into flame. It doesn't matter that burning steel requires ridiculous temperatures, the magic apparantly makes it burn no matter what, presumably by pumping enough energy into it that it simply must burn. So long as you beat the threshold, you can light anything on fire.

This seems to suggest an initial complete disregard for physics, and a could be ridiculously powerful if interpreted in certain ways.

~Umidori
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Surukai
post Feb 19 2010, 09:29 AM
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You can burn metal, no problems. Take steel-wool from your kitchen and ignite with a match. It'll burn but not get consumed since iron-oxide isn't a gas it stays with the material (increasing it's mass) instead of evaporating like CO2 does. But, it will burn and look pretty. And, as mentioned in the spell. Once it is ignited it'll burn normally and in the case of metal that doesn't last too long because the oxide will block access to the inner parts of the metal object, effectively choking the fire.

Most materials burn with enough heat, only difference is that they might not be able to sustain a fire on their own, quickly fading, just like the spell suggests.

How big objects can burn is a trickier question... I guess the objects "body" (structure rating, etc) will simply resist all the damage if the object is big enough. A big military bunker (armor 32, structure 17) will still roll 33 dice to resist damage, effectively making it immune to ignite of force 10 or less. Sure you can ignite the moon but it's massive body will just resist the damage (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)
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Umidori
post Feb 19 2010, 09:45 AM
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Steel wool burns quickly because it is made of thin fibres. Try burning an I-beam structural support in a skyscraper. It would take a ton of energy (and in most conditions the steel would just melt first), but it actually will burn if hot enough, with full flame and everything. By the point you get that mass of metal that hot, it's not gonna burn out quickly at all: it has way too much energy. Normal burning would then constitute release of that heat into the surround environment, melting through or igniting everything the steel touches. The steel itself would melt as well, if it hadn't already during the period of being pumped full of thermal energy via magic.

These spells are just badly written, and it seems the GM has the final say on their effects, which is pretty terrible as there aren't even guidelines to follow.

~Umidori
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Saint Sithney
post Feb 19 2010, 10:07 AM
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QUOTE (Surukai @ Feb 19 2010, 01:29 AM) *
How big objects can burn is a trickier question... I guess the objects "body" (structure rating, etc) will simply resist all the damage if the object is big enough. A big military bunker (armor 32, structure 17) will still roll 33 dice to resist damage, effectively making it immune to ignite of force 10 or less. Sure you can ignite the moon but it's massive body will just resist the damage (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)


I read the spell as being resisted only by living targets. Non-animate targets are just boned at threshold 1-4+, depending, not on how tough they are, but on how natural/pure they are. That armored bunker is so hot that it is visibly burning. Ignite is bananas.

This whole thread is pure monkey fuel.
I love it.


(Maybe the total borkness of Ignite is why the NAN won their independence. Threshold of 1 to light every visible bit of earth on fire. "Back off it Pale Eyes, or I'll stare at Nebraska and burn it to the ground!")
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Dakka Dakka
post Feb 19 2010, 10:32 AM
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Shape Fire is still an Area Effect spell. The maximum volume is a sphere with a radius of Force m.
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Surukai
post Feb 19 2010, 02:15 PM
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QUOTE (Saint Sithney @ Feb 19 2010, 11:07 AM) *
I read the spell as being resisted only by living targets. Non-animate targets are just boned at threshold 1-4+, depending, not on how tough they are, but on how natural/pure they are. That armored bunker is so hot that it is visibly burning. Ignite is bananas.


Of course, but Ignite is not a direct combat spell and does not ignore damage resistance roll. Even if you beat Object Resistance they still get to resist the actual damage using Armorx2 (x1 for elemental damage) and you have a table of typical Armor/Struture rating of materials in the barrier rating table to give a hint. Huge buildings, big vehicles and so on will simply buy enough hits to not take any damage at all.

Ignite is not capable of setting an entire city on fire using "entire seattle" as target. I see no problems at all with that part of the spell.
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Dakka Dakka
post Feb 19 2010, 02:34 PM
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QUOTE (Surukai @ Feb 19 2010, 03:15 PM) *
Of course, but Ignite is not a direct combat spell and does not ignore damage resistance roll. Even if you beat Object Resistance they still get to resist the actual damage using Armorx2 (x1 for elemental damage) and you have a table of typical Armor/Struture rating of materials in the barrier rating table to give a hint. Huge buildings, big vehicles and so on will simply buy enough hits to not take any damage at all.
Where did you get that? No spell has such a double resistance. Instead of rolling against the caster an inanimate object poses a threshold to resist the effect. The effect of Ignite is that the object ignites and is consumed by the fire, unless extinguished. Only living targets get a numerical damage value which can be reduced by damage resistance.

BTW OR has nothing to do with the object's size, only with its complexity. Mount St. Helens is still OR 1 whereas a microdrone is OR 5
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Achsin
post Feb 19 2010, 03:23 PM
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On the positive side, it is easier to use against a someone who is tricked out to counterspell Combat spells.
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Shinobi Killfist
post Feb 19 2010, 04:04 PM
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QUOTE (Umidori @ Feb 19 2010, 02:33 AM) *
Another fairly useless spell: Fling.

It is exactly the same as Levitate, except that it sucks. It only works on objects up to [Force] kg (instead of 200 kg per hit), it deals thrown weapon damage derived from an effective Strength of [Magic / 2] (instead of dealing damage as chosen by the GM, which is typically considerable for a 200+ kg object flying at [Force x Spellcasting Test hits] meters per second), and it only has damage dealing utility (as opposed to incredible variety of levitation utilities).

Has anyone ever used this spell? It can't lift as much, the things it lifts it can't throw as hard or move as far, the damage it deals is almost always going to be less unless your GM is purposely trying to fuck with you, and if you miss you have to cast again and resist drain again to take another shot at hitting your target. And it costs the same amount of drain, and the same amount of karma to learn. What an utter waste.

~Umidori


It's intent is to be a throw dagger spell which levitate really doesn't do very well since the weight of the object thrown would make the damage virtually non-existent. But it does suck though because they were hit by the stupid stick and decided on effective strength of magic/2. If it had been magic it would be an okay spell. Lets see throw a shuriken and you have a magic of 12 because you are epic bad ass. Effective str of 6, hits for 3 damage adjusted by successes. It is like they forgot that damage for all throwing weapons is 1/2 strength. So it gets 1/2d then 1/2d.

They could of gone with throw an object up to a weight of 1/2 magic with an effective strength of force. That way there is a reason to cast it at past force 4 and it is a somewhat effective thrown weapons spell, though like every other attack fails miserably in comparison to direct damage spells.

As for ignite, yeah it sucks. And yes not coming up for rules on effecting objects based on size is a failure of the system. Ignite isn't the only one though, Mask for example you could mask the Arcology if you wanted. I'm fairly sure this is not the intent and I would not let it fly in my games but hey them's the rules.
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X-Kalibur
post Feb 19 2010, 07:09 PM
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I find ignite is great for lighting cigarettes.

Or intimidation purposes, do you want your hoop set aflame? I didn't think so.
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McCummhail
post Feb 19 2010, 07:12 PM
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QUOTE (X-Kalibur @ Feb 19 2010, 02:09 PM) *
Or intimidation purposes, do you want your hoop set aflame? I didn't think so.

In some cases the LOS needed to ignite their hoop would be more punishing to you than their hoop on fire...
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