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> Banishing... the hidden power of it on p. 94 of Street Magic
pbangarth
post Aug 9 2011, 01:49 PM
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Everybody and his dog disses the Banishing Skill. But check this out:

On page 94 of Street Magic, under Attack of Will, it says, "The attack of will bypasses the spirit's Immunity to Normal Weapons and is otherwise resolved as a normal melee attack."

For the purposes of this attack form, spirits have no ItNW. So all they get to avoid damage is REA + Dodge and to resist damage is their WIL (ie. Force). Let's take a magician who is built to resist Drain with WIL + CHA, let's give her 5 in each, and has a Skill of 5 in Banishing. Banishing foci are limited to a spirit type, but cheap. I'll throw in one at F2 here, to allow the magician to have a couple available. Throw in a specialization, and the magician has a good spread of spirit types to get a bonus of 2 dice. An easy, ordinary build for 12 dice.

An attack of will from this magician will do base 5 DV augmented by net hits (no need for melee combat skills, MAG rating of the attacker is immaterial, no Drain, no armor to block the attack, no Counterspelling to block the attack, no Summoning Magician's MAG to block the attack, works full strength in background count while the spirit is weakened).

Yes, you can throw a high Force spirit at this magician that is too powerful. You can do that for any attack form. Every other attack form has at least one way the spirit's resistance can be bumped. This one doesn't.
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UmaroVI
post Aug 9 2011, 01:55 PM
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Umm...whee? You have a character who is highly focused on Attack of Will - you might already have wanted Will+Cha, but you spend 20 bp and one of your 5 skills on Banishing 5, and you picked up a Banishing Focus. For this... you get to make 12 dice attacks on spirits, that they resist with Reaction+Dodge - typically a bit more than Force x 2. And you have to be in melee. For 5 DV, resisted by just body.

Or... you could learn Stunbolt for 3 bp, not spend 20 bp on Banishing, and just Stunbolt the spirits. You can easily roll more than 12 dice for that, especially if you have 20 bp you freed up that you can blow on this. Your stunbolt is resisted by Willpower+Counterspelling only - not all spirits even have counterspelling, but even if they do, that's going to be Forcex2 they resist with - for almost all spirit types, that's less than they get to dodge your Attack of Will with. And you can safely cast Force 7 stunbolts for a whopping 2p drain. And you don't have to be in melee. And they don't then get to soak with Body. And this is useful for things other than fighting spirits.
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Ascalaphus
post Aug 9 2011, 02:48 PM
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I'm not sure it's really all that impressive, as attacks go. Maybe against the odd high-Force spirit with so much Magical Guard that Stunbolt isn't very effective, I guess.. but that kind of spirit would also have serious close combat defenses.
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HunterHerne
post Aug 9 2011, 02:55 PM
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Attack of Wills is a nice tool, maybe. But, it seemed to me like it was supposed to be an additional way for mundanes to have an affect on spirits, and requiring Banishing to be effective, just doesn`t do that.
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pbangarth
post Aug 9 2011, 03:07 PM
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Yes, every mage will have Stunbolt. Including my example magician, I'm sure. Spells in general, and Stunbolt in particular can be countered by a lot of things... Counterspelling, Shielding, background count, barriers, etc. Just as ubiquitous as Stunbolt is, so are the countermeasures. Or, they should be in a world where every mage has Stunbolt. This is what amazes me. "Stunbolt for the win" is the cry on the streets, yet somehow the rest of the universe won't do the readily available countermeasures?

If there are mages in the game, then there are spirits. If there are spirits in the run, then somewhere there are mages behind them. They will protect their spirits (and themselves) as well as they can from the obvious way they can be nuked: Stunbolt.

And Banishing is also a ranged attack, and can be used safely at distance for the lower level spirits that are protected as above. Some of the countermeasures that apply to Spellcasting also apply to ranged Banishing.

UmaroVI makes a good point about REA for spirits. It is better than Force for all spirits. This strengthens their resistance to the effect of attack of will.

Now, my example has the magician's Banishing Skill at 5. If I change that to 4, for an out-of-the-box magician, then the Skill level of 4 costs a whole 8 BP extra when bundled in with the other Conjuring Skills. Then 2 karma later she has the specialization I mentioned. Banishing is a more limited Skill than Spellcasting, but for the low cost it allows an avenue of attack that is far less likely or even able to be countered than Spellcasting. If a magician eschews Banishing, he opens himself up to situations in which he cannot deal with the magical opposition effectively.

That sounds to me like playing Russian roulette.



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Blitz66
post Aug 9 2011, 03:09 PM
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Why not use Stick and Shock? It's not like you weren't carrying it anyway, and counterspelling does nothing.
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pbangarth
post Aug 9 2011, 03:14 PM
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QUOTE (Blitz66 @ Aug 9 2011, 11:09 AM) *
Why not use Stick and Shock? It's not like you weren't carrying it anyway, and counterspelling does nothing.

Because you need a weapon skill to use that form of attack, one that would cost 4 BP per level. And a weapon, and the ammunition. And you get into the argument about whether the 'hardened armor' of ItNW is still armor for stuff that isn't blocked completely by it.
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Ascalaphus
post Aug 9 2011, 03:28 PM
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Attacks of Will however aren't ranged; they have to be melee attacks. So the spirit is defending with REA+[dodge/unarmed] with optional Full Defense added. That's usually at least as much dice as the attacked (for any spirit of Force high enough for the ItNW to matter).

Sure, there's a time and place for them, but it's extremely situational. Likewise Banishing in general; most of the time it's just too hard compared to the alternatives (stunbolt, SnS, adept with a weapon focus).
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Hida Tsuzua
post Aug 9 2011, 04:37 PM
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QUOTE (pbangarth @ Aug 9 2011, 04:14 PM) *
Because you need a weapon skill to use that form of attack, one that would cost 4 BP per level. And a weapon, and the ammunition. And you get into the argument about whether the 'hardened armor' of ItNW is still armor for stuff that isn't blocked completely by it.


I'm not aware there was an argument that ItNW didn't provide armor dice to things that pieced its value. I have seen arguments about SnS and ItNW and how they interact, but that's different and is an argument for another time.

However ultimately attacks of will is basically throwing your gun at Superman. If your spells can't hurt it and your street samurai buddy can't hurt it, running up and trying to punch it and doing Charisma P isn't going to save you.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Aug 9 2011, 04:39 PM
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QUOTE (pbangarth @ Aug 9 2011, 09:07 AM) *
Yes, every mage will have Stunbolt. Including my example magician, I'm sure. Spells in general, and Stunbolt in particular can be countered by a lot of things... Counterspelling, Shielding, background count, barriers, etc. Just as ubiquitous as Stunbolt is, so are the countermeasures. Or, they should be in a world where every mage has Stunbolt. This is what amazes me. "Stunbolt for the win" is the cry on the streets, yet somehow the rest of the universe won't do the readily available countermeasures?

If there are mages in the game, then there are spirits. If there are spirits in the run, then somewhere there are mages behind them. They will protect their spirits (and themselves) as well as they can from the obvious way they can be nuked: Stunbolt.

And Banishing is also a ranged attack, and can be used safely at distance for the lower level spirits that are protected as above. Some of the countermeasures that apply to Spellcasting also apply to ranged Banishing.

UmaroVI makes a good point about REA for spirits. It is better than Force for all spirits. This strengthens their resistance to the effect of attack of will.

Now, my example has the magician's Banishing Skill at 5. If I change that to 4, for an out-of-the-box magician, then the Skill level of 4 costs a whole 8 BP extra when bundled in with the other Conjuring Skills. Then 2 karma later she has the specialization I mentioned. Banishing is a more limited Skill than Spellcasting, but for the low cost it allows an avenue of attack that is far less likely or even able to be countered than Spellcasting. If a magician eschews Banishing, he opens himself up to situations in which he cannot deal with the magical opposition effectively.

That sounds to me like playing Russian roulette.


All good points, and is one reason why I generally take banishing as a skill. It is a good option that has few counters.
But then, I am one that thinks that Banishing is actually useful in the first place. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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UmaroVI
post Aug 9 2011, 05:07 PM
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QUOTE (pbangarth @ Aug 9 2011, 11:07 AM) *
Yes, every mage will have Stunbolt. Including my example magician, I'm sure. Spells in general, and Stunbolt in particular can be countered by a lot of things... Counterspelling, Shielding, background count, barriers, etc. Just as ubiquitous as Stunbolt is, so are the countermeasures. Or, they should be in a world where every mage has Stunbolt. This is what amazes me. "Stunbolt for the win" is the cry on the streets, yet somehow the rest of the universe won't do the readily available countermeasures?

If there are mages in the game, then there are spirits. If there are spirits in the run, then somewhere there are mages behind them. They will protect their spirits (and themselves) as well as they can from the obvious way they can be nuked: Stunbolt.

And Banishing is also a ranged attack, and can be used safely at distance for the lower level spirits that are protected as above. Some of the countermeasures that apply to Spellcasting also apply to ranged Banishing.

UmaroVI makes a good point about REA for spirits. It is better than Force for all spirits. This strengthens their resistance to the effect of attack of will.

Now, my example has the magician's Banishing Skill at 5. If I change that to 4, for an out-of-the-box magician, then the Skill level of 4 costs a whole 8 BP extra when bundled in with the other Conjuring Skills. Then 2 karma later she has the specialization I mentioned. Banishing is a more limited Skill than Spellcasting, but for the low cost it allows an avenue of attack that is far less likely or even able to be countered than Spellcasting. If a magician eschews Banishing, he opens himself up to situations in which he cannot deal with the magical opposition effectively.

That sounds to me like playing Russian roulette.


Spirits sometimes have Counterspelling and even if you assume they have counterspelling, they are more vulnerable to Stunbolt than to Attack of Will. Attack of Will is a melee attack, not a ranged attack. Shielding would require a mage be on-hand in LOS... in which case you should be hitting the mage, not limpwristedly attacking his spirit. Background Count hurts the spirit more than the mage - the mage loses Magic but keeps Spellcasting, the spirit loses Force.

I'm not sure what you mean by "Barriers" as there are different types. But you know what stops Attacks of Will? A spirit hovering in the air out of your reach! Or fighting from long range with LOS powers.

If you have Banishing 4, Charisma 5, and Willpower 5, you probably can't even take down most force 5 spirits even if they are willing to go toe to toe with you - or rather, not by using Attack of Will. A Force 5 Fire spirit will almost certainly beat the drek out of you in a hand-to-hand fight.


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Draco18s
post Aug 9 2011, 05:14 PM
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Don't forget that by being in melee with the spirit to perform an Attack of Will, you open yourself up to:

Elemental Aura (most spirits have it)
Engulf (many spirits have it)

This does not sound like a survival plan.
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pbangarth
post Aug 9 2011, 05:53 PM
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Survival plan: Cover all bases, including those not covered by Stunbolt. Hence Banishing.

Limp-wristed attack: Does as much damage as a base-level Stunbolt. Higher level Stunbolt can Drain.

Attack the mage: That's what the street sam is for.

Background count hurts the spirit more than the mage: Maybe. Doesn't mean it doesn't occur. Not only does it cut MAG, it also increases the Drain of spells, by a DV equal to the BC. So even a Stunbolt hurts. Sitting square in the middle of say a Mana Static, the spirit is gimped, doubly as both Attribute and Skill are based on Force, while the attack of will is unaffected.

Barriers: Any form of astral barrier like a ward. It hinders spells, but not spirit powers (unless the GM uses the optional suggestion) or Banishing.

Nasty spirit powers up close: in SR, he who goes first wins. So surprise or go first, or die no matter what you use.

Only useful for melee: Yes, attack of will is a melee attack.
both astral-- any distance over which one can see the other can be closed almost instantaneously.
both physical-- PC/spirit encounters up close occur often, perhaps more often than long-range.
one astral the other dual-natured-- in SR, he who goes first ...

Force 5 spirit in hand-to-hand: Has a pool of 10 dice, more or less. Fewer than the example mage with attack of will. Damage is ((F more or less)/2). Less than the attack of will.
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Draco18s
post Aug 9 2011, 06:02 PM
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QUOTE (pbangarth @ Aug 9 2011, 01:53 PM) *
Limp-wristed attack: Does as much damage as a base-level Stunbolt. Higher level Stunbolt can Drain.


Does as much as F5 stunbolt, and you can cast up to F9 before drain even becomes a possible issue (F9 is 3 drain, and a mage can easily have 14 dice to drain tests)

QUOTE
Nasty spirit powers up close: in SR, he who goes first wins. So surprise or go first, or die no matter what you use.


Spirit is likely to go first.

QUOTE
Only useful for melee: Yes, attack of will is a melee attack.
both astral-- any distance over which one can see the other can be closed almost instantaneously.
both physical-- PC/spirit encounters up close occur often, perhaps more often than long-range.
one astral the other dual-natured-- in SR, he who goes first ...


If you're both astral, it's whoever goes first (likely spirit) and the mage is better off using Astral Combat, not Attack of Will.
If one is astral and the other dual-natured, the astral entity wins.

QUOTE
Force 5 spirit in hand-to-hand: Has a pool of 10 dice, more or less. Fewer than the example mage with attack of will. Damage is ((F more or less)/2). Less than the attack of will.


You forgot Elemental Aura and Engulf.
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UmaroVI
post Aug 9 2011, 06:08 PM
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So just to be clear, you are arguing that a mage can use their Banishing 5, Charisma 5, and Willpower 5 with "Attack of Will" specialization has a reasonable chance to beat a Force 5, say, Spirit of Fire in a melee fight, where the Spirit of Fire isn't going to use its flight to run away and the mage is going to try to Attack of Will the spirit of fire down?
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Megu
post Aug 9 2011, 07:05 PM
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QUOTE (HunterHerne @ Aug 9 2011, 08:55 AM) *
Attack of Wills is a nice tool, maybe. But, it seemed to me like it was supposed to be an additional way for mundanes to have an affect on spirits, and requiring Banishing to be effective, just doesn`t do that.


That's why I've always houseruled that mundanes can take Banishing for the explicit and exclusive purpose of Attacks of Will. Always wanted to make a Tai Chi mundane banisher like that. You might be able to do it without Banishing if you minmaxed Edge and Willpower all to hell, though.
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Lanlaorn
post Aug 9 2011, 07:19 PM
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I understand that people like the sound of "Banishing" a spirit and may want to have an exorcist tone to roleplaying their characters. But Banishing and Attacks of Will are simply completely inferior to many other options i.e. direct combat spells, firearms. And the really damning point is that the other options are useful on EVERYTHING not just spirits. You can stunbolt or long burst SnS a security guard OR a spirit. Banishing is not only worse in literally every way against the spirit, but it's completely useless for anything else.
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Mardrax
post Aug 9 2011, 07:27 PM
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You're going about this all wrong. You need to apply this to a pornomancer.
Or at least a pixie mage, or some funky infected.

Because attributes of 5 being regarded as 'high' is so vanilla SR4. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wobble.gif)
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Hida Tsuzua
post Aug 9 2011, 07:58 PM
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QUOTE (Mardrax @ Aug 9 2011, 07:27 PM) *
You're going about this all wrong. You need to apply this to a pornomancer.
Or at least a pixie mage, or some funky infected.

Because attributes of 5 being regarded as 'high' is so vanilla SR4. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wobble.gif)


You'll be surprised, pornomancers are about stacking dice pool modifers. But on the charisma front, the highest you can get is 15 or so (8 elf + 1 metagentic improved + 1 genetic optimization + 5 from 5 hits on a force 10 increase charisma). That is respectable damage, but a pornomancer is going to have a lot of issues hitting said spirit. And at that level of power, you'll be casting force 12 stunbolt for the lol and if the spirit is likely going to use less dice to defend and definitely far less to soak (none to body score) you'll be doing about the same amount of damage.
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Aerospider
post Aug 9 2011, 08:14 PM
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QUOTE (Mardrax @ Aug 9 2011, 08:27 PM) *
You're going about this all wrong. You need to apply this to a pornomancer.
Or at least a pixie mage, or some funky infected.

Because attributes of 5 being regarded as 'high' is so vanilla SR4. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wobble.gif)

IM(not very)HO, any rules that require a munchkin build in order to have any impact are not worth printing.

As it happens, though, I'm with TJ in the pro-banishing camp (when the conditions suit, ofc). The only major differences between banishing and other anti-spirit methods are that the condition monitor is replaced by the number of services owed, which is awesome, and that the drain is akin to summoning, which sucks, especially since the spirit will often be spending Edge (I would think, but YMMV). But certainly against weak to moderate unbound spirits banishing can easily be the quickest way to take them out.

I think the clincher, one way or the other, may come down to how you play the rule for controlling the spirit. The text states that the banisher or any magician in LOS can try to control the spirit with a Summoning Test before it departs, which happens on its next action. The key question is, does this require an action? If yes, then you'll rarely be able to do it without spending a point of Edge to go first in the next IP (and possibly a second point of Edge just to be able to go in the next IP). If no, then how to work it? I'd be all for allowing the banisher to attempt it in the same action as the banishing, but what about the other magicians?

Perhaps it would work best if the banisher was allowed a free attempt whilst all other magicians in LOS needed to spend an action. Thoughts?

And re: banishing foci I houserule that banishing foci are all general rather than type-specific. Otherwise their utility is piss-poor for the hassle of owning them, nevermind the karma and nuyen costs.
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Ascalaphus
post Aug 10 2011, 12:14 AM
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A F5 spirit doesn't actually have enough ItNW (10) for it to truly matter;

* SnS, of course.
* Taser
* Ruger Super Warhawk with Ex-Ex ammo; DV 7 and AP -3
* Ares Alpha with Ex-Ex ammo (DV 7, AP -2, 2+ net hits on shooting)
* Trollbow (DV around 10)
* Monowhip (DV 8, AP -4)
* Sniper Rifle (DV 7 and better, AP -3 and better)
* Adept with a weapon focus ignores ItNW and Counterspelling (and likely has a better chance to hit in melee than an Attack of Will does)
* Adept with Killing Hands

ALL these are available to starting characters. And they're ALL more versatile than Banishing.

In practice, ItNW rarely gets to cancel damage outright, not from PCs who have gotten good weapons for their role.
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Mardrax
post Aug 10 2011, 12:43 AM
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QUOTE (Aerospider @ Aug 9 2011, 10:14 PM) *
The only major differences between banishing and other anti-spirit methods are that the condition monitor is replaced by the number of services owed, which is awesome, and that the drain is akin to summoning, which sucks, especially since the spirit will often be spending Edge (I would think, but YMMV).

A spirit voluntarily spending Edge on resisting being released from servitude and magical slavery? Why would it ever do so?

For the record, I'm all for Banishing. I find it flavourful mostly. Inferior mechanics compared to the mage's catch-all Stunbolt be damned.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Aug 10 2011, 12:58 AM
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QUOTE (Mardrax @ Aug 9 2011, 06:43 PM) *
A spirit voluntarily spending Edge on resisting being released from servitude and magical slavery? Why would it ever do so?

For the record, I'm all for Banishing. I find it flavourful mostly. Inferior mechanics compared to the mage's catch-all Stunbolt be damned.


Easy, they wouldn't. "You want me to go Home? Okay, just help me get out of those pesky services I owe that asshole over there."
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Aerospider
post Aug 10 2011, 01:22 AM
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QUOTE (Mardrax @ Aug 10 2011, 01:43 AM) *
A spirit voluntarily spending Edge on resisting being released from servitude and magical slavery? Why would it ever do so?

I take your point, but I don't know that it holds universally true that spirits do not wish to serve. In fact I have assumed it's generally in their nature to do so, since there is such emphasis on treating them well. Why treat them well if they already hate you? In many traditions spirits are worshipped and in all they are respected (or are meant to be). Consider the following:

UNCONTROLLED SPIRITS, SR4a p.189
"Most spirits resent attempts to bind them, as it turns the relationship between magician and spirit from a short-term contract between equals (or near equals) to a forced servitude for an extended period of time."

BOUND SPIRITS, SR4a p.187
"Spirits also dislike being bound, as it forces them into a level of servitude they find distasteful, and so they sometimes fruitlessly struggle against the bond."

I'm now thinking that it could make sense for an unbound spirit to at least consider using Edge to resist a banishing attempt, as being banished would prevent it from fulfilling their obligations (and the chances are they have already been instructed to take hostile action against the banisher). Meanwhile, bound spirits perhaps almost never would use Edge because they already think their situation is unreasonable.

Another factor to consider might be the nature of the relationship according to the tradition. The ROLEPLAYING SPIRITS AND SERVICES section (SR4a p.188) describes hermetic spirits as servants to be commanded whilst shamanic spirits are as much as gods or venerated elders who expect something in return from the summoner. Personally I don't incorporate any such distinction, colourful though it might be, because I don't believe it keeps the traditions balanced (or as balanced as they are) to work it differently between them. Besides, who's to say the hermetic spirits don't like being considered subservient? The rules certainly don't say as much.

I suppose the fact that they have to be forced into servitude with a summoning test with drain, regardless of tradition, does imply they would rather not do anything for the summoner if they could possibly help it, so your notion is not without merit.

QUOTE (Mardrax @ Aug 10 2011, 01:43 AM) *
For the record, I'm all for Banishing. I find it flavourful mostly. Inferior mechanics be damned.

Good man.
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Rubic
post Aug 10 2011, 02:01 AM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Aug 9 2011, 08:58 PM) *
Easy, they wouldn't. "You want me to go Home? Okay, just help me get out of those pesky services I owe that asshole over there."

The exception being Mentor spirits that truly value their followers. I can't risk the details, but I do have a planned encounter using such a mentor spirit that has, as much as spirits can, a strong emotional connection to the mage in question. I'm willing to concede details in PM if anybody is REALLY curious as to why that would occur.
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