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> SR5: Ram/Wreck/Demolish vs. Physical Barrier Spell
Black Mamba
post Jul 15 2014, 03:52 PM
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Iíve posted this topic to three Shadowrun forums in order to obtain as many perspectives as possible. Please donít feel like you need to respond to more than one of them. I donít want to be a nuisance.

Iíve got a player that wants to purchase the Ram spell and designate the Physical Barrier spell as its target. While I like the idea, it seems to go against the intention of the Ram spell. Itís always been my understanding that the Ram family of spells is intended for manufactured/processed items, not magical constructs. This assumption/understanding is based on my experience with the previous four iterations of Shadowrun.

Iím inclined to modify the Shattershield spell introduced in Street Grimoire, but donít understand why the new book didnít include a variant for targeting the Physical version of a magical barrier.

What are your thoughts?

Iíve attached the spell descriptions for those who might not have access.

Type: P Range: LOS (A)
Duration: S Drain: F - 1
This spell creates a glowing, translucent force field with 1 point of both Armor and Structure rating per hit. You can form the barrier as a dome with a radius and height equal to the spellís normal radius. Alternately, you can use it to form a wall with a height equal to the spellís Force and a length equal to its Force x 2.
Physical Barrier creates a physical wall. Anything the size of a molecule (or less) can pass through the barrier, including air or other gases. Anything bigger treats the barrier as a normal physical wall. The wall is translucent but shimmers, the equivalent of Light Fog (p. 175). The barrier does not impede spellcasting (other than visibility penalties), except for spells with physical components like indirect combat spells. The barrier can be brought down by physical attacks, but as long as you sustain it will regenerate all of its Structure Rating at the beginning of each Combat Turn. If the barrier is reduced to Structure Rating 0, it collapses and the spell ends.

Type: P Range: T Damage: P
Duration: I Drain: F Ė 5

Type: P Range: LOS Damage: P
Duration: I Drain: F Ė 3

Type: P Range: LOS (A) Damage: P
Duration: I Drain: F Ė 1
This set of spells is a variant of Shatter/Powerbolt/Powerball (p. 284, SR5) that only affect a specific type of inanimate object. Different types of objects require a separate spell such as Ram Door, Wreck Furniture, Demolish Gun, and so on. This spell cannot be used against vehicles. Objects resist this spell with their Barrier Rating (in the case of doors and walls); other items resist with their object resistance (p. 295, SR5). Partial damage reduces the effectiveness of the item similar to the way damage affects a metahumans. For every three points of damage the item suffers, there is a Ė1 modifier to any tests using the item. Body Wreck affects only a single target while Demolish is an area spell. Ram requires the caster to touch the target.

Type: M Range: T Damage: P
Duration: I Drain: F Ė 3
Shattershield is a variant of Death Touch (p. 284, SR5) designed to splinter manna barriers (see p. 315, SR5) in a very satisfying way. The caster must touch the mana barrierís physical component or astral form. The barrier resists with Force (its Structure rating) + Counterspelling (if anyone happens to be protecting it).
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post Jul 15 2014, 05:34 PM
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Don't worry, even in SR4a there was no Physical version of the Shattershield spell. And yeah, to me the Ram family of spells is intended for physical objects, and Shattershield is intended for dealing with established wards. That said, I might try for a lesser known option of Dispelling a sustained spell (SR5, page 295).

In short, it's an opposed test between Magic + Counterspelling (plus appropriate Counterseplling focus or a Power focus) [Astral] vs. the spell's Force + the caster's Magic (+ Karma in case the spell was quickened). The dispeller takes drain as if he cast the spell he was trying to dispel (and it's Physical if the Force of the spell was higher than his Magic). Any net hits the dispeller gets reduces the Force of the affected spell, and if you get more net hits than the spell's Force it obviously collapses.

In dealing with a Physical Barrier spell, it's less questionable than allowing the Ram family of spells to work on it, by RAW it's 100% completely legal, and if you fail to bring the spell down it does not come back to full power again the next combat turn like it would if it had taken direct damage.
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