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> Handling drain with Increase [Attribute]
kerbarian
post Jul 3 2011, 09:45 PM
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Now that direct combat spells increase drain value for every net success, the drain on any kind of heavy-hitting combat spell is rough -- there's a potential drain of 6-8 for most Force 5 combat spells. I was looking at ways to deal with that drain, and there are (clearly intentionally) almost none, but there seems to be one loophole left: the Increase [Attribute] spell on your drain attributes.

Theoretically a starting character could buy two Sustaining Foci 5 (via Restricted Gear), start with 5's in his drain stats (since you can't boost a stat that starts higher than the spell's Force), and then sustain Increase [Attribute] on each with the foci to boost them to their augmented maximums. For a dwarf, that could be Logic 9 and Willpower 10, plus 2 dice for a fetish -- 21 dice to resist drain. You could get it up to 22 with Focused Concentration, but it's probably better to spend the last 10 points of qualities elsewhere.

Is there any reason this wouldn't work? It makes the character gear-dependent, and you'd be lit up like a lighthouse in astral space (though with Willpower 10, that might be less of a problem), but I can't think of any other way offhand to reliably withstand the high drain of combat spells.

Of course, the safer and more effective way to take people out in combat these days is probably mind control spells...
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Summerstorm
post Jul 3 2011, 09:57 PM
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Possible, yes.

You could also just limit your net hits, and/or combine that with overcasting for effects. (For example an force 10 overcast stunbolt with just one success will be only 4 physical drain - but a (nearly) guaranteed takedown)

Also you can ask for a spiritpact (drain) +edge of the spirit to all drain tests (Costs 5*edgeofspirit BP, if i remember right)

Also if you are already ingame: pure initiations are dirtcheap (if you don't raise magic for a while... until you must). Having Absorption is totally INSANE (although it is an advanced metamagic), but even the good old centering (with centering focus) helps VERY much.

It is frightening what a say initiate 6 can do... it is pretty much no more drain EVER. Good thing all illigal shadowrunner mages are pretty much compelled to take masking, flexible signature (or cleansing) first.
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Aerospider
post Jul 3 2011, 10:25 PM
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The best solution would be to not play the optional rule of adding hits to drain value. It depends where you like your balance, but I for one don't like the punishment for doing well. Sure, you don't have to use any hits you don't want to, but dealing and suffering damage on a 1-1 basis can't make the spellslinger feel particularly awesome about the mojo setting him apart from the mundanes. 'So this thing you call a gun doesn't fry your own skull when you score a head shot? Ooh, now that's magic!'
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kerbarian
post Jul 3 2011, 10:35 PM
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QUOTE (Summerstorm @ Jul 3 2011, 02:57 PM) *
You could also just limit your net hits, and/or combine that with overcasting for effects. (For example an force 10 overcast stunbolt with just one success will be only 4 physical drain - but a (nearly) guaranteed takedown)

How do you limit your net hits? You can limit your hits on the spellcasting test, but I believe you have to do that without knowing how many successes the target is resisting with (the text about only knowing whether a spell was successful by observing its results supports that). If you try to cut it close and only get 1 net hit, it would also make a complete miss fairly likely. Is there a way to directly limit net hits that I'm missing?
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Faelan
post Jul 3 2011, 10:55 PM
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QUOTE (Aerospider @ Jul 3 2011, 05:25 PM) *
The best solution would be to not play the optional rule of adding hits to drain value. It depends where you like your balance, but I for one don't like the punishment for doing well. Sure, you don't have to use any hits you don't want to, but dealing and suffering damage on a 1-1 basis can't make the spellslinger feel particularly awesome about the mojo setting him apart from the mundanes. 'So this thing you call a gun doesn't fry your own skull when you score a head shot? Ooh, now that's magic!'


There is nothing optional about adding net hits to the drain value of direct combat spells.

QUOTE (SR4A p.204)
Direct Combat spells involve channeling mana directly into a
target as destructive and damaging energies rather than generating a
damaging effect. Affecting the target’s being on this fundamental level
with raw mana requires more focus and more power than producing
basic effects; as a result every net hit used to increase the damage value
of a Direct Combat spell also increases the Drain DV of the spell by +1.
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Mäx
post Jul 3 2011, 11:06 PM
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QUOTE (Faelan @ Jul 4 2011, 01:55 AM) *
There is nothing optional about adding net hits to the drain value of direct combat spells.

Get an updated pdf man.
It's most definedly is an optional rule in the latest version of the book, mostly cos it's a stupid as hell rule and we managed to make the devs see that.

Kerbarian: that optional rule says "every net hit used to increase the damage value of a Direct Combat spell", unless you can choose how many net hits you want to use to boost damage that sentence has many unnecessary words in it.
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Faelan
post Jul 3 2011, 11:34 PM
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QUOTE (Mäx @ Jul 3 2011, 06:06 PM) *
Get an updated pdf man.
It's most definedly is an optional rule in the latest version of the book, mostly cos it's a stupid as hell rule and we managed to make the devs see that.


Thanks for the info.
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kerbarian
post Jul 3 2011, 11:36 PM
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QUOTE (Mäx @ Jul 3 2011, 04:06 PM) *
Kerbarian: that optional rule says "every net hit used to increase the damage value of a Direct Combat spell", unless you can't choose how many net hits you want to use to boost damage that sentence has many unnecessary words in it.

True, that does seem to imply that there's something else you can do with your net hits. When describing damage for combat spells, though, the rules just say "Any net hits scored on the Spellcasting Test increase the DV by 1 per net hit," which certainly doesn't sound optional.
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HunterHerne
post Jul 3 2011, 11:43 PM
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QUOTE (Mäx @ Jul 3 2011, 08:06 PM) *
Kerbarian: that optional rule says "every net hit used to increase the damage value of a Direct Combat spell", unless you can't choose how many net hits you want to use to boost damage that sentence has many unnecessary words in it.


MAybe a custom spell that has alternate effects? You know in some games that could happen, with open minded GMs.
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Aerospider
post Jul 3 2011, 11:49 PM
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Incidentally, for the hardcore magician there are blood fetishes from Digital Grimoire for +4 instead of +2.
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HunterHerne
post Jul 3 2011, 11:55 PM
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QUOTE (Aerospider @ Jul 3 2011, 08:49 PM) *
Incidentally, for the hardcore magician there are blood fetishes from Digital Grimoire for +4 instead of +2.


Which are a whole different level of crazy. I would say a character would have to be pretty desperate to use one of those.
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Fikealox
post Jul 4 2011, 12:43 AM
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QUOTE (kerbarian @ Jul 4 2011, 09:36 AM) *
True, that does seem to imply that there's something else you can do with your net hits. When describing damage for combat spells, though, the rules just say "Any net hits scored on the Spellcasting Test increase the DV by 1 per net hit," which certainly doesn't sound optional.


Per "Step 5: Determine Effect" (p. 183 of my copy of SR4), 'the spellcaster can always choose to use less than the total number of hits'.
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kerbarian
post Jul 4 2011, 12:55 AM
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QUOTE (Fikealox @ Jul 3 2011, 05:43 PM) *
Per "Step 5: Determine Effect" (p. 183 of my copy of SR4), 'the spellcaster can always choose to use less than the total number of hits'.

Yes, you can reduce your hits -- the hard part is net hits. Since you don't know how many opposing hits your target will get, reducing your hits to avoid drain also means you're more likely to miss. What you really want to do is cast Stunbolt with 5 hits, find out that your target got 2 hits to resist, and then only use 3 of your hits for a result of 1 net hit. But I don't think there's a way within the rules to do that.
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Aerospider
post Jul 4 2011, 01:13 AM
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QUOTE (kerbarian @ Jul 4 2011, 01:55 AM) *
Yes, you can reduce your hits -- the hard part is net hits. Since you don't know how many opposing hits your target will get, reducing your hits to avoid drain also means you're more likely to miss. What you really want to do is cast Stunbolt with 5 hits, find out that your target got 2 hits to resist, and then only use 3 of your hits for a result of 1 net hit. But I don't think there's a way within the rules to do that.

As per SR4a (later version):

"After the Spellcasting is resisted the caster chooses whether or not to apply any net hits to increase the damage value of the spell as normal (the net hits used to increase the damage value may be declared after the target's resistance test)."
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Fikealox
post Jul 4 2011, 01:22 AM
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Ahh, sorry, I should've read back a few more posts to get context before I replied (or I should've waited till after my coffee) (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

IMO, the rules are wholly ambiguous regarding the mechanism of withholding hits. However, the 'Anatomy of a Shadowrun' document from the Runner's Toolkit makes it relatively clear that the spellcaster can choose to apply net hits after the target's resistance roll is made. Personally, I just don't use the optional rule, because it sucks.

[edit: ninjaed, and apparently I need to get a new version of SR4 too]
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kerbarian
post Jul 4 2011, 04:55 AM
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QUOTE (Aerospider @ Jul 3 2011, 06:13 PM) *
As per SR4a (later version):

"After the Spellcasting is resisted the caster chooses whether or not to apply any net hits to increase the damage value of the spell as normal (the net hits used to increase the damage value may be declared after the target's resistance test)."

Ah -- well, that certainly addresses it. Is there any way to get the errata without getting a completely new copy of SR4A?

With that rule, direct combat spells are no longer dangerous to the caster (no moreso than other spells), but you generally won't want to use net hits to increase damage, assuming you're already tuning the force to the drain you think you can handle. So direct combat spells are less damaging with SR4A than SR4, but you can still throw them around with the same impunity. That sounds just fine, actually.
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StevenAngier
post Jul 4 2011, 10:46 AM
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That way, direct combat spells are still likely to easier overcome the resistance test. Yet if you want to one hit your target you have to actually take the risk of drain (in most cases where DCS are overcast effectively EVERY time the risk of physical drain). That's fine by me.
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Summerstorm
post Jul 4 2011, 10:56 AM
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I have a houserule ( i think my only one so far - my group doesn't like me making the game better *g*) that to "pull punches" you lose 2 dice from your pool. No matter what, want to make sure you only knock someone out while puncheng him? - 2 dice, want to make sure you don't use to much magicto kill yourself with drain? -2 dice - etc.

So that balances a tiny bit against this. (So the hyper-mage only throws 14 dice for an attack, not 16. When someone is counterspelling and the targes has cover or something this might be the tipping point)
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hobgoblin
post Jul 4 2011, 11:25 AM
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QUOTE (kerbarian @ Jul 4 2011, 06:55 AM) *
Ah -- well, that certainly addresses it. Is there any way to get the errata without getting a completely new copy of SR4A?

With that rule, direct combat spells are no longer dangerous to the caster (no moreso than other spells), but you generally won't want to use net hits to increase damage, assuming you're already tuning the force to the drain you think you can handle. So direct combat spells are less damaging with SR4A than SR4, but you can still throw them around with the same impunity. That sounds just fine, actually.

Sadly the release of erratas are lagging, thanks to a change in SR management and the need for getting new books out there to generate a positive money flow for CGL.

And i thought the ultimate workaround for the direct combat spell drain was to multi-cast several lower force version of the same spell. A kind of magical burst fire, except that the spells are resisted individually.
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hobgoblin
post Jul 4 2011, 11:54 AM
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Funny, some quick poking turned up only one other way (outside of directly increasing the relevant stat) besides counterspelling that would help in resisting direct combat spells. And that is the mana barrier spell. I am somewhat surprised that in all these years, no corporation or government have found some more passive ways to protect their personnel against magic.
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HunterHerne
post Jul 4 2011, 12:08 PM
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QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Jul 4 2011, 08:54 AM) *
Funny, some quick poking turned up only one other way (outside of directly increasing the relevant stat) besides counterspelling that would help in resisting direct combat spells. And that is the mana barrier spell. I am somewhat surprised that in all these years, no corporation or government have found some more passive ways to protect their personnel against magic.


There is another way. Every astral percieving awakened character can create wards, which provide a dual-natured mana barrier, with force chosen at the time of creation, and lasts for a number of weeks equal to the magic+willpower hits. The ward cannot be moved, but it can be re-established (or extended when it is about to fail), or just made permanent by spending karma equal to the force. That would protect certain areas, at least, from magical use.

There is also the possibility of Mana Lodges, but those are more costly, and best used for magical research sites anyway.
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hobgoblin
post Jul 4 2011, 01:24 PM
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Well i was mostly looking at things that could be moved around with the individual being protected, or easily erected as needed. Wards and lodges take time to set up. What surprised me mostly was that astral armor did not hold such an effect (and the offhand "mystic armor" comparison in its description confuse me).

Anyways, using Street Magic one can draw up a mana manipulation spell with either touch or LOS range that basically gives extra dice on spell resistance tests equal to its force. If that makes it "restricted effect" then the drain values would be something like:

LOS version: F/2-1
Touch version: F/2-3

This spells can then be kept up by sustaining foci, or quickend to a person or object (not sure if a jacket with such a spell would protect the wearer or just the jacket).
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HunterHerne
post Jul 4 2011, 02:15 PM
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QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Jul 4 2011, 09:24 AM) *
Well i was mostly looking at things that could be moved around with the individual being protected, or easily erected as needed. Wards and lodges take time to set up. What surprised me mostly was that astral armor did not hold such an effect (and the offhand "mystic armor" comparison in its description confuse me).

Anyways, using Street Magic one can draw up a mana manipulation spell with either touch or LOS range that basically gives extra dice on spell resistance tests equal to its force. If that makes it "restricted effect" then the drain values would be something like:

LOS version: F/2-1
Touch version: F/2-3

This spells can then be kept up by sustaining foci, or quickend to a person or object (not sure if a jacket with such a spell would protect the wearer or just the jacket).


I can see that working. I think I would allow it, if I was the GM, since it only works against Mana Spells.

I think the Wards are only really effective at making sure no magically active characters get through without being noticed, especially magicians, or with sustained spells active if they want to really avoid being noticed. This can limit magicians a little, but once they get past the ward it won't be much help, this is true. But something that forces an infiltrator to risk their preperations is better then nothing at all.
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hobgoblin
post Jul 4 2011, 02:57 PM
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Technically speaking it would work against all spells, in the same way that the mana barrier gives spell resistance dice against all spells crossing the barrier (iirc).

Yea, wards help keeping the astral rifraf out (or perhaps in, if the magican wants to hold some astral entity for study) of the warded space. Like say low rating free spirits and ghosts.
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Irion
post Jul 4 2011, 03:03 PM
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@kerbarian
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Theoretically a starting character could buy two Sustaining Foci 5 (via Restricted Gear), start with 5's in his drain stats (since you can't boost a stat that starts higher than the spell's Force), and then sustain Increase [Attribute] on each with the foci to boost them to their augmented maximums.

Well, and every time you walk in a BC of 1 your spells drop.
The increase attribute spell is quite broken, anyway.
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