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> A few rules questions, and possibly some advice for a novice GM
m-logik
post Sep 14 2013, 04:22 AM
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I'll be beginning a sr4a campaign in the near future and I was hoping for clarification on a few rules. Help me, dumpshock rules gurus.

1. (a) The binding/registering rules allow a maximum = CHA. If a character bumps their CHA up with a drug (let's say novacoke), does that increase this limit?
(b) If so, does the character lose additional bound spirits/registered sprites when the drug's effects end? And in the case of novacoke or red mesc, would the character also lose all but one of them from the hangover penalty?

2. Can drones or inanimate objects benefit from a magician's counterspelling? I don't see any rule that explicitly allows or disallows it, but the corebook refers to 'characters' being protected.

3. Can an astrally projecting magician counter a spell cast on the physical plane?

4. What is a fair object resistance for a drone? The table in the sr4a errata just says 5+, which leaves a lot of room for fiat.

5. The shapechange spell. Does the target or caster choose the animal that's transformed into? If the caster chooses, would the target be considered willing if she says she'll change someone into a wolf, but intends to change them into rabbit? Does cyberware count as equipment for the purpose of determining what gets transformed? If so, is a character with bone-lacing completely screwed if they're stupid enough to let themselves be transformed? Is a non-sapient creature capable of being a willing target? If she transforms a wolf into a chihuahua, disguises it as a simsense starlet's pet, and then stops sustaining the spell while said starlet is carrying it in her purse, wouldn't that be hilarious? You don't have to answer that last one.

6. Our game will be set in Las Vegas, so I let one of my characters take a moderate gambling addiction. I'm leaning toward an addiction test threshold of 2. Does this sound reasonable? What kind of withdrawal penalties would be appropriate here? And what happens if he hits the burnout stage? I've got some ideas, but I'm fishing for better ones.

That's it for specific questions. I've got six players, which is the largest group we've ever had at our table, and two of them are completely new to Shadowrun. The others are familiar with the basics, but have never really thrived in the setting (all veterans of That Other Game, they want to loot everything that isn't actively trying to kill them). I'm worried about slow gameplay, and frequent pauses to go over rules, explain modifiers, etc. Any advice for maintaining a good flow at the table would be appreciated.

Thanks to anyone who takes time to read and rely, and apologies if any of this is directly addressed in the books.
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SpellBinder
post Sep 14 2013, 05:11 AM
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To the best of my knowledge:

1a : No.
1b : N/A. No.
Reason : All of these effects are temporary. If it was a permanent reduction in Charisma, like the evisceration ordeal for an initiating magician, then yes, immediately, yes.

2 : Yes.
Reason : If it can be targeted by magic, it can be targeted for defense.

3 : No.
Reason : While spells may be noticeable on the astral they are not dual natured like some critters or a magician that is just doing the astral perception. A projecting magician is wholly in the astral. From SR5 page 313, "As the saying goes, what’s cast in astral space stays in astral space, and ditto for physical space." Manifesting doesn't help.

4 : Generally 5 is good enough. There's a vehicle mod called Redundant Process Manufacturing (WAR, page 175) that can up this to 7.

5 : Caster. Yes. No. Yes. No. Maybe (Yes if said starlet is Paris Hilton).
Reason : Even if coerced into accepting the spell, by the time the subject realizes they've been duped it's already too late. Maybe if the recipient is a magician that successfully makes an astral perception test, then it could be resisted. As for the implants, my basing is in line with the Shift power, where implants don't carry over to the other form, but return when you revert to your natural form.

6 : Sim Dreams & Nightmares is a great resource for addictions. I need to read more in that one myself.

Edit: Added elaboration to some of my answers.
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blaze2050
post Sep 14 2013, 12:01 PM
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All of these are deep into houserule territory.

Spellbinder has answered them all in the same way as I would have, but I can offer a few explanations (none of them RAW, because RAW doesn't tell us anything about these)

1. I personally might allow more spirits if you had a near permanent CHA Enhancer like Increase CHA in a sustaining focus. But as soon as you deactivate it (for example you have to walk through a ward), those extra spirits would vanish. The effects of drugs seems to short for me, to leave an impression on the spirits, but that's all interpretation.

2. I always saw the Object Resistance Table as a shorthand for "auto-successes on a resistance roll of the object". There has to be the possibility to roll "extra hits" to the threshhold of the Object Resistance Table, because if you didn't have this possibility stuff like Cover would also not affect objects (if you play with Cover affecting spells; there are long threads of people arguing about it).
If you put a sculpture of shadowrunner and a shadowrunner besides one another and they are behind good cover and there is a magician to give them both 5 dice of counterspelling, by RAW the sculpture has only its Object Resistance it would also have, if it were in the open without cover and without a counterspeller. The shadowrunner beside it would benefit from the extra hits of 4+5 dice. That seems strange to me and so I add hits from extra resistance dice the Object Resistance.

4. The 5+ is meant to leave the GM some room, if the mage wants to Power Bolt a super tanker. Since there is no Body rating involved if you use a direct combat spell on a vehicle, a super tanker would just get exactlly the same amount of damage as bike or a micro drone, because in the Object Resistance Table they all have the same category "Vehicle". With the "5+" the GM has room to counter this kind of nonsense.

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Slithery D
post Sep 14 2013, 03:01 PM
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Wow, I just realized that a Reduce Charisma spell is the most effective single tool to deal with high charisma military magicians leading full bound spirit strikes.
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m-logik
post Sep 14 2013, 07:11 PM
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Thanks for the responses so far.

On question 1, I was actually leaning toward allowing it, under the rationale that using drugs to commune with spirits is an almost-cliche staple of shamanic practices IRL. I also love the mental image of a black magician drawing his ritual circle in novacoke, and bumping an arcane symbol or three as the ritual goes on, or a Technoshaman that drops a tab of red mesc to go "sprite-walking" in the wild corners of the matrix. I am mostly concerned about how this will affect the powerlevel of the game; some of my players can get pretty munchkinny, and it's entirely plausible that one or two might try to speedball every CHA increasing drug in the book (although that addiction test is gonna be a real muthafrakka). As the only responses so far have been inclined to disallow it, is there anyone who thinks allowing it is a good idea? I was kind of expecting a heated debate on this question (and #5 as well), and I've come to rely dumpshock's famously contentious heated debates on rule-and-setting minutiae to guide my own thoughts.

Also, Spellbinder, thanks for the suggestion on question 6, that is a very helpful book that I didn't think to turn to in this case.
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Slithery D
post Sep 14 2013, 08:14 PM
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I think increasing your Charisma does increase the limit, but if it's from a drug it lasts such a brief time it's of no consequence.

The interesting question is which spirits you lose if your Increase Charsima spell gets nuked. First bound, last bound, fewest services? I'd probably go with last bound.
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ShadowDragon8685
post Sep 14 2013, 08:45 PM
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QUOTE (m-logik @ Sep 13 2013, 11:22 PM) *
I'll be beginning a sr4a campaign in the near future and I was hoping for clarification on a few rules. Help me, dumpshock rules gurus.

1. (a) The binding/registering rules allow a maximum = CHA. If a character bumps their CHA up with a drug (let's say novacoke), does that increase this limit?
(b) If so, does the character lose additional bound spirits/registered sprites when the drug's effects end? And in the case of novacoke or red mesc, would the character also lose all but one of them from the hangover penalty?


(a) yes.
(b) yes.

Drugs are bad for you, mmmkay? But if you need that extra boost RIGHT THIS FREAKING MINUTE, they work.

But when dealing with skills and powers that take time (binding stuff,) that doesn't tend to help much.

QUOTE
2. Can drones or inanimate objects benefit from a magician's counterspelling? I don't see any rule that explicitly allows or disallows it, but the corebook refers to 'characters' being protected.


I'd allow it, personally.

QUOTE
3. Can an astrally projecting magician counter a spell cast on the physical plane?


That... Is a very good question. All spells have a mana presence, even the ones that are conjuring a physical effect. But at the same time, being projected is supposed to mean you can't affect the physical.

I'd split the difference and only allow it if the projecting magician is desperate enough to spend a point of Edge to do it. Or maybe make a positive quality that allows it.

QUOTE
4. What is a fair object resistance for a drone? The table in the sr4a errata just says 5+, which leaves a lot of room for fiat.


Simple rule of thumb, if you want to work with the +, is 5 + (BOD-1). But that means that huge drones will be practically impossible to affect, and they should be POSSIBLE... Just not easy.

How about 5+((BOD-5)/5) rounded up? Big drones and vehicles would be harder to affect than, say, your average Steel Lynx, but they wouldn't go impossible very quickly.

QUOTE
5. The shapechange spell. Does the target or caster choose the animal that's transformed into? If the caster chooses, would the target be considered willing if she says she'll change someone into a wolf, but intends to change them into rabbit? Does cyberware count as equipment for the purpose of determining what gets transformed? If so, is a character with bone-lacing completely screwed if they're stupid enough to let themselves be transformed? Is a non-sapient creature capable of being a willing target? If she transforms a wolf into a chihuahua, disguises it as a simsense starlet's pet, and then stops sustaining the spell while said starlet is carrying it in her purse, wouldn't that be hilarious? You don't have to answer that last one.


Caster chooses. I would say the target would be treated as unwilling as they'd realize they were shrinking instead of growing and start mentally resisting the spell. If it was paid for in Essence, it transforms along with the character; they don't get to benefit from it whilst transformed, but it doesn't pop out or anything. A non-sapient creature probably would not be a willing target unless they were unconscious. And it would be extremely hilarious.

QUOTE
6. Our game will be set in Las Vegas, so I let one of my characters take a moderate gambling addiction. I'm leaning toward an addiction test threshold of 2. Does this sound reasonable? What kind of withdrawal penalties would be appropriate here? And what happens if he hits the burnout stage? I've got some ideas, but I'm fishing for better ones.


Threshold of 2 sounds good. I'd say the withdrawal penalties should be waived - instead, he gambles at every opportunity over the Matrix. Figure out some dice you like that are weighted against him but still have a chance to come up in his favor and have him compulsively gamble like, 1% of his liquid assets every day. If he loses, he loses the money; if he glitches, he doubles down on his daily bet. If he critically glitches at any point, he gambles until he either has more money than he started with, or he's broke, whichever comes first.

Also, I'd suggest calling this one a 10-pt Poor Self Control (Compulsive behavior) negative quality than an addiction, per se. The Addiction negaquality was meant to model chemically disastrous substances, not behavioral addictions

QUOTE
That's it for specific questions. I've got six players, which is the largest group we've ever had at our table, and two of them are completely new to Shadowrun. The others are familiar with the basics, but have never really thrived in the setting (all veterans of That Other Game, they want to loot everything that isn't actively trying to kill them). I'm worried about slow gameplay, and frequent pauses to go over rules, explain modifiers, etc. Any advice for maintaining a good flow at the table would be appreciated.


Resist the urge to slam them hard at every opportunity; lootin' is good money if you know what you're doing, especially if they feel you aren't giving them enough money from Mr. Johnson. Just remind them that what they looted from who matters; nobody with the wherewithal to track the guns and armored jackets they took off some dead gangers through the black market supply line is going to give a good goddamn, but if they try to fence something extra they picked up on the way out of a Renraku Zero Zone, all the fucks will be given.
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Shemhazai
post Sep 14 2013, 09:28 PM
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QUOTE (Slithery D @ Sep 14 2013, 03:14 PM) *
I think increasing your Charisma does increase the limit, but if it's from a drug it lasts such a brief time it's of no consequence.

The interesting question is which spirits you lose if your Increase Charsima spell gets nuked. First bound, last bound, fewest services? I'd probably go with last bound.

I would say conjurer's choice. If the conjurer isn't in a position to choose, then that's a good question. You could also go with highest force.
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Sendaz
post Sep 14 2013, 09:50 PM
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And everytime the CHA decreases and the spirits depart, they leave singing the ancient chant.....

U.G.L.Y you aint got no alibi you ugly!

Ya, you UGLY

Don't be shy, don't be blue..

But your Charisma is now a 2!

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Chinane
post Sep 15 2013, 08:36 AM
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QUOTE (m-logik @ Sep 14 2013, 05:22 AM) *
Is a non-sapient creature capable of being a willing target?


I'd say for social (mostly herd, some pack) animals it might work, once you manage to establish a basis of complete trust.
Question is if it would be a one shot effect though (due to the traumatic nature killing trust) or if it's possible to train an animal into accepting it regularly.

Given how for example horses could be trained into warhorses (behaving completely opposite to their instincts) it might actually be possible.
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m-logik
post Sep 15 2013, 08:04 PM
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Thanks for the replies everyone, and especially ShadowDragon for the very detailed information.

I've got a new one. The entry on sprites in sr4a (p. 240) says that their stats aren't limited by the attributes of the nodes they're in. The entry on nexi in Unwired (p. 50) exempts "agents, IC, AIs, sprites, and e-ghosts, which are limited by Response per standard rules" from the increased processor limit of a nexus. The inclusion of sprites on that list suggests that either their attributes ARE limited by the node, or that despite the fact that a sprite "runs on other, inexplicable resources" it will still count against a node's processor limit. Neither option seems to square with my conception of sprites. Is this an error, or is there a rule about this that I've missed?

As to the question of casting shapechange on a critter, suppose the critter in question were the loyal pet of the caster, or that an animal handling test were used for a non-hostile critter. Or even a homemade version of the mindlink spell, specialized to animals, to allow the caster to convey her intentions the animal? Could any of these conditions result in an animal that is a willing target? The player with the spell is playing an animal handler druid, and will definitely want to try this at some point, and I'm trying to think of a way to allow it.
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pbangarth
post Sep 16 2013, 03:33 AM
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I just skimmed the responses, and they seem OK to me, except for the response to Counterspelling aiding drones, etc. Spell Defense requires an active resistance roll, which Counterspelling can aid. Objects don't get that. They have an Object Resistance which is used to determine whether a spell has any effect or not. It is not a roll and therefore cannot be aided by the Spell Defense aspect of Counterspelling.

Dispelling, on the other hand, is used to counteract a sustained spell directly. So, if an object like a drone has a spell on it, for example Reinforce, that spell can be directly affected.
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SpellBinder
post Sep 16 2013, 03:50 AM
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So I'll look at you and cast "Wreck Pants", and as a magician you can't do anything about it because the spell is targeting an object and not you.
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pbangarth
post Sep 16 2013, 05:51 AM
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That's the way it reads. Interestingly enough, the Shattershield spell allows the astral barrier it attacks to have a resistance roll, and that resistance roll is specifically described as being able to be protected by Counterspelling.
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Sendaz
post Sep 16 2013, 07:13 AM
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Definitely need to have this clarified or I am breaking out a 'Wreck Armor' spell that shreds Armor Jackets, flak vests and FFA. Gonna get chilly for some. ;P

Oh an in the UK, pants is the term for underwear like boxers, briefs and panties so that would be a fun one to cast, but probably get you slapped. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)

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SpellBinder
post Sep 16 2013, 07:31 AM
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If it helps, from SR5: "Spell defense is used against hostile spells cast at you or at targets that are within your line of sight (using the same rules as for targeting spells) that you decide to protect with spell defense."

Sadly the rest of the entry talks about people only, and not objects.
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xsansara
post Sep 16 2013, 07:34 AM
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Hmmm, and how would you get in LOS to said pants? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)

And Wreck Armor sounds good to me (Manipulation)... just, why don't you just kill them instead? Even with Counterspelling, most people have less than 5 hits for defense most of the time.
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Sendaz
post Sep 16 2013, 07:34 AM
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QUOTE (SpellBinder @ Sep 16 2013, 02:31 AM) *
If it helps, from SR5: "Spell defense is used against hostile spells cast at you or at targets that are within your line of sight (using the same rules as for targeting spells) that you decide to protect with spell defense."

Sadly the rest of the entry talks about people only, and not objects.

I would probably say if you are wearing the pants/armor in question it comes under your aura so counterspelling on you should apply, but yeah it seems sort of vague.

*and thus the Panty Destroying Mage was born, bane to women and crossdressers everywhere*
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Sendaz
post Sep 16 2013, 07:37 AM
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QUOTE (xsansara @ Sep 16 2013, 02:34 AM) *
Hmmm, and how would you get in LOS to said pants? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)

And Wreck Armor sounds good to me (Manipulation)... just, why don't you just kill them instead? Even with Counterspelling, most people have less than 5 hits for defense most of the time.

Because maybe I don't want to kill them? Plus having the Sammie playing coverup with their hands also good for a chuckle.

Guess he should have spent karma on a few other 'enhancements'. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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toturi
post Sep 16 2013, 07:42 AM
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QUOTE (Sendaz @ Sep 16 2013, 03:37 PM) *
Because maybe I don't want to kill them? Plus having the Sammie playing coverup with their hands also good for a chuckle.

Guess he should have spent karma on a few other 'enhancements'. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

Reminds me of the kilt wearing Fomori street sam.
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mister__joshua
post Sep 16 2013, 07:49 AM
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QUOTE (Sendaz @ Sep 16 2013, 08:13 AM) *
Definitely need to have this clarified or I am breaking out a 'Wreck Armor' spell that shreds Armor Jackets, flak vests and FFA. Gonna get chilly for some. ;P

Oh an in the UK, pants is the term for underwear like boxers, briefs and panties so that would be a fun one to cast, but probably get you slapped. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)


A better spell would be 'constrict pants'. Imagine the stun damage, just imagine... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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mister__joshua
post Sep 16 2013, 07:53 AM
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QUOTE (m-logik @ Sep 14 2013, 05:22 AM) *
That's it for specific questions. I've got six players, which is the largest group we've ever had at our table, and two of them are completely new to Shadowrun. The others are familiar with the basics, but have never really thrived in the setting (all veterans of That Other Game, they want to loot everything that isn't actively trying to kill them). I'm worried about slow gameplay, and frequent pauses to go over rules, explain modifiers, etc. Any advice for maintaining a good flow at the table would be appreciated.


Most of your questions have been answered so I'll just add on this last point as this is a similar situation to what I was in. I'll say this; For players, learning a new ruleset and a new setting (especially if it's vastly different from anything you've played before) is a tough ask. What I did was, to start with, eliminate the Magic and Matrix rules from the equation. Have everyone play a sammie, even if it's a sample character, and give them a simple run in the barrens or something to get familiar with the rules. Then add the other stuff in later as people get more comfortable. Even if you don't do this, don't let anyone play a Technomancer as their first character. We had a new player do this, and it was a disaster.
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Sendaz
post Sep 16 2013, 08:00 AM
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QUOTE (mister__joshua @ Sep 16 2013, 03:49 AM) *
A better spell would be 'constrict pants'. Imagine the stun damage, just imagine... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)

*winces*

No I would rather not.

Course some might like it, but then you can charge for that.


Good spell idea though.
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ShadowDragon8685
post Sep 16 2013, 11:11 AM
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"Wreck Pants" is an awesome spell that needs to work. Naturally it would work on trousers, because trousers are called pants in the US, but it would also work on underthings, because they're called pants in the UK. So it's your one-stop spell to render someone nekked between shirt-hem and socks. As long as they're not wearing a skirtkilt. Or a loincloth.
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Sendaz
post Sep 16 2013, 04:10 PM
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Now if the UK pants are worn under the trousers, if you try casting Wreck Pants you don't have true LOS for the undergarments, unless they are wearing their pants low in which case they deserve whatever they get running 'waistless enabled'.

Otherwise are we going to need a couple of detection spells like Locate Pants to allow us to detect and target?
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