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> SR5 Control Actions/Thoughts Spells, how do they work mechanically
j2klbs
post Jul 25 2013, 04:36 AM
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Hi all,

Manipulation spells allow the target to take a Complex action to generate hits to count against the original hits. However, the Control Action/Thoughts spells force the target to take actions that the spellcaster dictates. This seems to be a problem. There are a few ways I could interpret those spells.

1. The target takes the actions immediately on the caster's initiative. This could work except for the fact that then one could use this to have a friendly street sam act twice as often which seems abusive.

2. The target can ignore the mandated action because he is entitled to resist the spell. This makes the spell worthless.

3. The target must take the mandated action but gets a bonus complex action to resist the spell. If this were the intent, why call it a "complex action" in the first place - just state that the target gets to make the check not counting as any kind of action.

I'm really not sure how these spells are supposed to be used in terms of when the actions occur. Any insight you can offer would be appreciated.

Regards,
~Jason
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Epicedion
post Jul 25 2013, 04:57 AM
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Control Actions appears to happen on the caster's initiative. The spell isn't explicit, but the target doesn't get to act on his own Initiative except to resist. So no double-actions.

To avoid any nasty system issues, Control Thoughts should also happen on the caster's initiative, with the above "no actions but to resist" on his own Initiative.
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Skynet
post Jul 25 2013, 05:20 AM
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Plausible from a mechanics point of view. But then again: This would mean, that a fast (i.e. multiple IPs) mage could somehow accelerate a slow target through a control thoughts spell.
The "additional rolls to resist"-mechanic was a nice (and needed) change though.

Edit: Just reread that section. It says:
QUOTE (Maniplulation spells, p.292)
the target may take a Complex Action on their turn to resist
(emphasis mine)
Additionaly Control Thoughts reads:
QUOTE (p.293)
The magician mentally gives commands with a Standard Action, and the
target is compelled to obey as if it were his own idea

So: 1 additional resist roll per turn for the victim (At the end of the turn? At the mages next action?) but it uses its own actions as commanded by the mage.

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j2klbs
post Jul 25 2013, 05:28 AM
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I agree the action to resist is a very welcome change. I will also point out that the resistance is listed as "may".

So, what's to stop mage and friendly street sam from doubling up on actions? The street sam just chooses not to exercise his resist option.

Probably changing this "may" to a "must" would be best for the rules noting that a fast mage could accelerate a slow target per Skynet's suggestion. But this would probably be the cleanest interpretation.

~Jason
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phlapjack77
post Jul 25 2013, 06:00 AM
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QUOTE (Epicedion @ Jul 25 2013, 12:57 PM) *
Control Actions appears to happen on the caster's initiative. The spell isn't explicit, but the target doesn't get to act on his own Initiative except to resist. So no double-actions.

To avoid any nasty system issues, Control Thoughts should also happen on the caster's initiative, with the above "no actions but to resist" on his own Initiative.
I disagree - this seems to go against other rules (like mages commanding spirits or riggers commanding drones), and against common sense. Why should a dead-slow character get to suddenly speed up after the mage controls their thoughts?

It would make more sense for the mage to cast the spell, then need a Complex or Simple action to issue the command, then on the affected characters turn they attempt to carry out the command, with the resist roll not being defined as any kind of "action" (and happening at the end of the characters turn). Resisting a manabolt isn't an action...

One way or the other, I think these rules need refinement...
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kerbarian
post Jul 25 2013, 07:16 AM
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The wording is "The one being controlled can take this action even if they wouldn't get an action because of the spell." I'd interpret that as a bonus action usable to resist the spell. But if the spell doesn't prevent you from taking your own actions (e.g. Influence), you have to spend complex actions to resist it.

One thing I'd really like clarified is the "Standard Action" required to give commands to targets of Control Thoughts. Clearly it should be either a simple or complex action, and it makes a kinda big difference which it is. If it's a simple action, you could recklessly cast Control Thoughts and then immediately issue a command. If it's a complex action, then your target will get a chance to shoot you in the face before you can order them not to.
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j2klbs
post Jul 25 2013, 01:25 PM
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Thanks kerbarian! I hadn't noticed that wording (e.g. "the one being controlled..."). I think that does make it clear in my mind that the actions occur on the target's initiative and that he can resist even if his actions were mandated by the caster. I'd also say that the rules hint at the fact that he takes the controlled action and then resists.

I've heard that "standard action" is a typo and should be replaced with "complex action" everywhere you see it. But I cannot cite a developer's quote on this.

~Jason
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Psikerlord
post Jul 25 2013, 09:34 PM
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QUOTE (Epicedion @ Jul 25 2013, 04:57 AM) *
Control Actions appears to happen on the caster's initiative. The spell isn't explicit, but the target doesn't get to act on his own Initiative except to resist. So no double-actions.

To avoid any nasty system issues, Control Thoughts should also happen on the caster's initiative, with the above "no actions but to resist" on his own Initiative.
is this definitely right. spell doesnt say he cant still do things of his own volition, just that the mage can make him do somehing additional on the mages turn, or at least that is an open interpretation. hmm not sure

i dont think the mage swapping his complex action to give his sam friend another go is a problem, balance wise. there is no net gain in actions.
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Psikerlord
post Jul 25 2013, 09:41 PM
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QUOTE (kerbarian @ Jul 25 2013, 07:16 AM) *
The wording is "The one being controlled can take this action even if they wouldn't get an action because of the spell." I'd interpret that as a bonus action usable to resist the spell. But if the spell doesn't prevent you from taking your own actions (e.g. Influence), you have to spend complex actions to resist it.

One thing I'd really like clarified is the "Standard Action" required to give commands to targets of Control Thoughts. Clearly it should be either a simple or complex action, and it makes a kinda big difference which it is. If it's a simple action, you could recklessly cast Control Thoughts and then immediately issue a command. If it's a complex action, then your target will get a chance to shoot you in the face before you can order them not to.

interesting, would expect casting the spell inc giving the first command, too. some more clarity would be great.
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