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> Spotting Magic Auras, and physically hiding and them
BishopMcQ
post Sep 1 2004, 05:16 AM
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Are there any canon references to how far an aura extends from a focus? Mage 1 has a sustaining focus in the form of a silver ring, he activates it for his Combat Sense spell and pulls hardliner gloves on over the ring.

Can the astral signature still be targeted to dispel? Can it even be detected through assensing tests and the like?

Corollary: Armor spells shed a slight glow, presumably for game balance effects--just as normal armor is visible, so is the metaphysical stuff. But if a mage stands around in his skivvies when he casts the armor, it will adhers basically to his skin. Mage then gets dressed, does the armor spell expand outwards, or is the glow covered by the outer layers?

Lastly: I've seen the term "Astral Beacon" thrown around a lot for mages who carry active foci--can I get some kind of page reference for this, or is it just one of the many myths that creep up now and again like our AVS Silvergun Ally-Spirit which we are allowed to have sex with?
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Herald of Verjig...
post Sep 1 2004, 05:26 AM
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Yes, it can still be targeted. Why? Because if you could hide foci that easily, every mage would only invest in foci that take the form of genital piercings or something more invasive and secure.

"Astral beacon" is due to there being a slight benefit to spot character with many high force foci active when doing astral searches. By the rules, you are not blatantly obvious, the force of the focus is not blatantly obvious, but adding the focus makes you a little more conspicuous.
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Necro Tech
post Sep 1 2004, 05:27 AM
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Canon references are mostly pulled together from individual sections spread across the whole damn library. To answer your question, the usual measurement is several inches. Visibly, from the astral plane or astral perception, you can target implanted foci. If it was attached to your belt and behind you, maybe. Or attached to a long braid. You could argue line of sight (too much meat to see through) but the spell effect is Always visible on the astral plane no matter where the focus is.
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BaronJ
post Sep 1 2004, 07:17 AM
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.... Unless you're an Initate with Masking, then your foci look just as mundane as your pet rock. You just can't pass through wards as easily.

But otherwise, no, they're not obscurable, unless you're behind two walls, or somrthing else that blocks their aura (FAB or the like). They're just as astrally-hidden as your shiny metal hoop. ;)

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Sphynx
post Sep 1 2004, 09:23 AM
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First off, just wanted to let everyone know, I'm back. ;)

Secondly, since this has always been my "pet" topic, lemme give a few answers.... :P

Astral Auras are not really sight, it's just how to portray it to us mundanes playing the game. Auras do no extend even a micro-inch from the object that creates the aura. However the effect of the aura can be felt (seen at times). It's like asking how far the aura of a glowing ball extends. It just glows.

The "Astral Beacon" idea is from 2nd edition, and some people use the Astral Patrol rules to propogate it further. It doesn't exist at all. Astral Patrols are flawed in that there's no timeframe given. Since large buildings and mazes do not stop the patrol from noticing you (only mildly raises the TN), its very obvious that there are only 3 ways to interprete that Astral Patrol chart.

1) The less logical way, is that everything with magic protrudes a spotlight of neon power that forces its way through all physical objects and lets any patrol know you've entered their area.

2) A Timetable must be generated by the GM, such as rolling 2d6 to determine how long from the time in minutes, a "beacon" enters the area that the patrol finds them. (Most logical, but I don't like it)

3) Since it's not a visual notification, it's more "mystical". Ie: The hairs on the back of your neck raise as you realize someone has entered the area you've dedicated your patrol senses to. Now time to find them using basic search procedures.

As for covering spells/trinkets, Hiding a foci under clothing is legal, and common I believe. However, if assensing succeeds, the spell itself will be seen with your aura, though the focus will remain hidden. As for the Armour spell, there is no canon reference other than pictures which tend to show a decent 3 to 5 cm aura extending from a person. :P

Sphynx
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Bigity
post Sep 1 2004, 12:36 PM
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I don't believe active foci can be hidden by mundane clothing on the astral plane.
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Dashifen
post Sep 1 2004, 02:05 PM
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QUOTE (Sphynx)
The "Astral Beacon" idea is from 2nd edition, and some people use the Astral Patrol rules to propogate it further. It doesn't exist at all. Astral Patrols are flawed in that there's no timeframe given. Since large buildings and mazes do not stop the patrol from noticing you (only mildly raises the TN), its very obvious that there are only 3 ways to interprete that Astral Patrol chart.

I've actually read it that if you have an astral patrol that notices the people infiltrating their patrol area, they do so instantaneously. It doesn't represent that the "light" has penetrated walls or some such, just that because there was a success on the roll, the team infiltrated at the same time as that patrolling earth elemental floated by. If the astral patrol roll fails, then there was no spirit there when the team infilirated -- roll again when the team crosses another patrol line. I always saw it more like mundanes patrolling in the physical -- if you're there when they are, they get a perception test to see you.
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Kanada Ten
post Sep 1 2004, 02:16 PM
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QUOTE
Mage 1 has a sustaining focus in the form of a silver ring, he activates it for his Combat Sense spell and pulls hardliner gloves on over the ring.

Can the astral signature still be targeted to dispel? Can it even be detected through assensing tests and the like?

To understand how "far" auras extend consider that one can determine the nature of cyberware implanted in the body of a mercenary completely encases in military armor by perceiving the aura.

QUOTE
Corollary: Armor spells shed a slight glow, presumably for game balance effects--just as normal armor is visible, so is the metaphysical stuff. But if a mage stands around in his skivvies when he casts the armor, it will adhers basically to his skin. Mage then gets dressed, does the armor spell expand outwards, or is the glow covered by the outer layers?

The glow is not covered by clothing, obviously. One could cast invisibility on the Armor spell in my opinion.

QUOTE
Lastly: I've seen the term "Astral Beacon" thrown around a lot for mages who carry active foci--can I get some kind of page reference for this, or is it just one of the many myths that creep up now and again like our AVS Silvergun Ally-Spirit which we are allowed to have sex with?

Simply put, the more foci you have active the easier you are to spot on the astral plane. Whether the rules directly state it or not, many GMs will treat it as such, using FAB III and references to other statements. Here are a few:
QUOTE (SR3 @ pg 171)
"Spells, whether cast on the physical or astral plane, create a visible aura around the person they are cast upon"

QUOTE (MITS @ pg 89)
Astrally Patrolling.
Intruder has active foci or spells: -1 per 2 Force Points (unmasked)

QUOTE (MitS @ pg 82)
The glare from the auras of living creatures, which are bright and vivid on the astral plane, can be distracting to an astral traveller and impede astral visibility when grouped tightly or gathered in large quantities.
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Sphynx
post Sep 1 2004, 05:27 PM
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Dashifen, Does that mean that the more spells on a person, the better chance that they walk into a place at the exact point an Astral Patrol is at? Kinda wierd that....


QUOTE (SR3 @ pg 171)
"Spells, whether cast on the physical or astral plane, create a visible aura around the person they are cast upon"


Visible Aura, true. However, more visible than the person's aura without the spell? A person's Aura is "around the person" as well, the text doesn't imply that the aura of the spell would be more 'around' than your own aura. I don't think this quote has any bearing at all on the "Easier to spot".

QUOTE (MITS @ pg 89)
Astrally Patrolling.
Intruder has active foci or spells: -1 per 2 Force Points (unmasked)


True that, and the only real arguement for the "beacon" theory, however, as pointed out, the effects don't seem to be visual, or the blocking barriers would reduce the chance of notice to 0. I still believe it's an awareness, but not a precise location given as via sight.

QUOTE (MitS @ pg 82)
The glare from the auras of living creatures, which are bright and vivid on the astral plane, can be distracting to an astral traveller and impede astral visibility when grouped tightly or gathered in large quantities.


Living Creatures being the key word here. Wearing some foci or having quickened spells dont' seem to make you brighter, you're already bright.

Personally, I see a spell as meshing into ones aura (that is a personal view, not neccessarily canon). It's like taking that glow-in-the-dark yellow ball (representing your Living aura), and adding some red glow-in-the-dark material to the inside. Doesn't make it more visible, just different. And a patrollers "sense glow in the dark" causes his hair to stand upright a bit faster as there's "more" colors/aura/magic in the area.

Sphynx
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Kanada Ten
post Sep 1 2004, 05:45 PM
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Beacons are not always visible. A beacon is something that draws the attention of something else, however it does that. Your assessment of Astral Patrolling is not typical either. Patrollers that are astrally present sense the psychic presence of more powerful magic (high Magic Attribute helping to diffuse the level of power during casting, IMO) and are drawn to it in the same way one can sense the direction of sound.
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Sphynx
post Sep 1 2004, 06:50 PM
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I'm not really sure you're correct on the "drawn to it". I see nothing that even implies that. The Astral Patrols "Detect the intruder". That can admittedly be translated various ways I suppose, but I'd think it's obvious that they don't immediately see the intruder (since that's not even possible in some situations). Other than that, I see no other statement anywhere that would imply that one is drawn to the intruder.

However, instead of debating other quotes, lemme add one for the other side of the arguement.

SR3 pg 172 (in the grey table). 3+ successes needed to detect that a spell you notice on someone is higher/lower than your own magic rating. 5+ successes to know the actual force.

A person with a Magic of 6, and 3 successes can't tell the difference between a force 2 and 5, nor the difference between a Force 8 and a Force 20. I'd allow 4 successes to "Get close" as in: It's between force 6 and 10.

That tells us that there's really not a brighter/dimmer aspect for force, or it'd be alot fewer success (like 1) to do what 3+ does. Even with an intelligence of 5, the average result won't get the 3 successes, and a 5 intelligence isn't all that common (3 = Typical, 5 = Superior), even amongst mages.

According to page 171 it takes a Simple action to even do this, not a Free Action, so it's also not default-knowledge. Without spending time actually checking that aura out, you can't tell if it's a Force 1 or a Force 20 spell. Definitely another wrench in the "beacon" theory. According to page 106, that's roughly as much effort as you'd take to "Observe in Detail".

Sphynx
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Kanada Ten
post Sep 1 2004, 07:13 PM
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That's not even how I'm using the beacon in context, Sphynx. I'm almost solely referring to Astral Patrolling, FAB III, and with other nasties that are attracted to powerful magic.
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BitBasher
post Sep 1 2004, 07:25 PM
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QUOTE
Dashifen, Does that mean that the more spells on a person, the better chance that they walk into a place at the exact point an Astral Patrol is at? Kinda wierd that....
No, cause as odd as it sounds something astrally patrolling knows automatically when something enters his area, whether he is physically there or not. Sounds a wee bit goofy, but its in the book IIRC.
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GrinderTheTroll
post Sep 1 2004, 07:28 PM
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QUOTE (McQuillan)
Are there any canon references to how far an aura extends from a focus?  Mage 1 has a sustaining focus in the form of a silver ring, he activates it for his Combat Sense spell and pulls hardliner gloves on over the ring.

Not sure if someone answered this, but I thought you had to assence something before you could tell it it was magical or not? Something in the back of my mind is telling me all living things give off auras (people, trees, the earth, etc.) but you had to assence them to find out more detailed information.

I don't rememeber about Foci having an astral presence (unless you assence you don't know). Anyone know for sure?
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Kanada Ten
post Sep 1 2004, 07:33 PM
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Active foci are dual natued.

QUOTE (OurTeam)
MitS p. 82 Astral Visibility: "The uniform gray color of the Astral Plane..."
MitS p. 82 Astral Visibility: "The lighting level on the physical plane has no effect on astral visibility..."
SR3 p. 173 Astral Senses: "The astral plane is lit by the glowing auras of living things..."
SR3 p. 171 Astral Perception: "You ... see glowing auras surrounding living and magical things..."
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Haereticus
post Sep 1 2004, 08:41 PM
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What if you had a focus that could be implanted under your skin? Would someone be able to detect it through your own aura?
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GrinderTheTroll
post Sep 1 2004, 08:50 PM
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QUOTE (Kanada Ten @ Sep 1 2004, 12:33 PM)
Active foci are dual natued.

QUOTE (OurTeam)
MitS p. 82 Astral Visibility: "The uniform gray color of the Astral Plane..."
MitS p. 82 Astral Visibility: "The lighting level on the physical plane has no effect on astral visibility..."
SR3 p. 173 Astral Senses: "The astral plane is lit by the glowing auras of living things..."
SR3 p. 171 Astral Perception: "You ... see glowing auras surrounding living and magical things..."

So are all dual-natured things (Astral Projection, Astral Perception, Critters, Focii) obviously "set-apart" from the normal "greyness" of Astral Space? What I am trying to get at is, just because someone is a mage doesn't mean you'll know unless they've got some Focii handy or are Astrally Percieving (or some other Astral thingy, like spell-casting, etc), right?

This post has been edited by GrinderTheTroll: Sep 1 2004, 08:50 PM
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Kanada Ten
post Sep 1 2004, 08:56 PM
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QUOTE (Haereticus @ Sep 1 2004, 03:41 PM)
What if you had a focus that could be implanted under your skin?  Would someone be able to detect it through your own aura?

One can detect cyberware implants in an aura, I don't think a foci would be more difficult to spot.

QUOTE
So are all dual-natured things (Astral Projection, Astral Perception, Critters, Focii) obviously "set-apart" from the normal "greyness" of Astral Space? What I am trying to get at is, just because someone is a mage doesn't mean you'll know unless they've got some Focii handy or are Astrally Percieving (or some other Astral thingy, like spell-casting, etc), right?

Dual natured things are obviously set apart from the greyness, yes, requiring no (or maybe one) success[es] on an Astral Perception test. Active foci are also detected though determining function, force and so on requires multiple successes. The Metamagic of Masking is required to make Astrally active spells, beings, items, and whatever else appear mundane and it can also make Astrally Perceiving magicians look as though they are not Astrally present.
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Sphynx
post Sep 1 2004, 09:26 PM
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QUOTE (Kanada Ten)
That's not even how I'm using the beacon in context, Sphynx. I'm almost solely referring to Astral Patrolling, FAB III, and with other nasties that are attracted to powerful magic.

Just curious about this reference. I wasn't aware of any creature being attracted to magic. Even FAB, I thought, required the magic person to go through it, it couldn't go a hunting. I can't think of any creature that auto-detects magic. There is one creature in Critters that 'if' you cast a spell in its vicinity can detect it....

I could be wrong, no Critters book with me ATM...

Sphynx
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Haereticus
post Sep 2 2004, 09:26 PM
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QUOTE (Kanada Ten)
One can detect cyberware implants in an aura, I don't think a foci would be more difficult to spot.

But you don't detect the cyberware in the aura, IIRC. What you see is a lack of aura on a person. So a cyber-arm doesn't have a different color of aura or whatnot. Instead, there is a void or even blackness (if you keep your aura color cooridinated) where an arm should be on a person, so you can infer he has a cyberarm. You cannot tell what kind of cyberarm it is, or what other implants he may have in the cyberarm from the aura. Because of that, I maintain that the question of detecting an implanted foci still is open for debate.
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Necro Tech
post Sep 3 2004, 10:39 PM
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Detecting a foci yes, you would have to be able to see it to assence it. Detecting an active foci, no problem. It actually says that active cyber implant foci are valid targets for spell attack and dispelling while they are still sheathed.
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Rory Blackhand
post Sep 4 2004, 04:02 PM
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This is a confusing part of the rules for me.

From what I get so far, it looks like an astral patrol is able to detect the presence of anyone entering it's patrol area unless masked, (but can't pin point them?). Whether it can actually find and intercept them is something I am not clear on? An example of how they can be aware something is in the area but not know exactly where is maybe like an alligator in a pool of water hears something splash into the water, but has to go looking for it to see if it is something to eat? Active foci and spells get a -1 to the target number to locate the intruder per every two force levels so the more power you have the bigger the splash you make when entering the pool so to speak?

Foci are automatically visible even hidden inside the body, but determining what type of foci, it's power level, or it's function requires a test.

What creature is attracted to high force ratings and how is it attracted? From what I can tell power level and visibility are separate issues. Someone with alot of active spells and foci draw more of "the force", but there is nothing visible to see from an observer without a test. Maybe like magnetism? I thought I read spirits were attracted to this?

How does this account for clothing? Since you can't see thru a door in the astral, why are you able to see thru a jacket? What about a heavy cold weather parka that is very thick? Thicker than a door.

Is it possible that having the extra force levels reduces the target to find you, but that is all? Once the spirit arrives, (is drawn to the magnet so to speak), it would see a humanoid covered with clothing it can't see thru. If it wanted to determine more information it would have to press it's face up against the clothing to look thru it and see what is on the other side of the clothing. But just a casual glance would only reveal what information is apparent from exposed flesh areas?

Not sure if that made sense. But humans wear clothing, so it should hide auras from remote viewing. Force level of spells and foci do add to the "pull" of the character, but not to the casual visibility. I have not read the rules on this so let me know if I am out in left field. Thanks.

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Sphynx
post Sep 5 2004, 10:19 AM
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Something to not forget in this discussion/thought-process, is intent.

I think most people, having been raised in a culture where clothing is not only required, but actually defines a person, the person's aura would include their clothing (unless maybe they were wearing something they were very uncomfortable with). Ever hear the phrase "The Clothing makes the man"?

However, keeping with that same definition of intent in the Astral Plane, hiding something under your clothing (that focus), would hide it within your own aura which extends to your clothing.

These aren't canon rulings or anything, but reading on how the Astral Plane works, it's easy to see that this might well be the intent of the rules.

Sphynx
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Rory Blackhand
post Sep 5 2004, 04:47 PM
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It is confusing. I was hoping some of the more experienced players would step in and clear it up.

I am sure I read somewhere that the aura extends out from the body a ways and that a spell or focus would show up in that aura as well. But the example I remember was that you couldn't target the aura itself if let's say the mage was just barely hiding around a corner and all you could see was the glow of his aura. Does that make sense?

The problem is that non living things are opaque, so a piece of clothing would darken an aura I think. Not that it wouldn't completely stop a glow, for example if you turn a flashlight on under a blanket it still glows a bit in a darkened room. And if you are saying that the aura leaks out thru clothing then what about other things like a thin wall? And the final question would then be can a mage cover himself with material so tight that no aura could leak out? Not that he would be able to move around unless his eyes were exposed to see where he was going.

With that in mind could you build a wire frame like a lamp shade that extended out from your body past where your aura extends and make a sort of mobile duck blind? Not sure how practical it would be, but is it possible?
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Necro Tech
post Sep 5 2004, 08:55 PM
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Since you can still magically target people in hardened armor, the blind would have to be pretty huge. Also, you couldn't see unless you had a one way mirror thing going. Then of course, you would be so obvious it would be silly and everyone would just shoot you instead or use Elemental manipulations. As far as clothes go, they are thin and for foci purposes they count as part of you. The rules for foci state that you don't even have to have them touching you, they can be carried in a pouch as long as it is "on your person" and they are still active.
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