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ShortBusFury
post Jan 17 2005, 11:22 PM
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Has anyone had any problems with magic characters becoming grossly overpowered in comparison to the non-magic characters at the high-end game (100+ karma)? This has been my own personal experience with chracters that I have made in the past, but only when initiate grades were involved. Gamemasters have tried throwing armored vehicles, great dragons, and anti-magic critters at me often with little or no effect. One time I even sat down with a gamemaster and helped him create tactics solely to help him try and kill my character. The ones that could hurt him, couldn't see him. The only effective tactic we came up with seemed to be other spellcasters with a higher initiate grade. He was a beacon in astral space due to all the anchored spells, however there wasn't a single spell on him that was anchored with less than 12 karma, so all the attempts made to take down his buffs were pretty moot as is sense spells would pickup the astral attacks and he would wipe the floor with them while the opponent attacked the spell. If things got nasty, I'd just pull up a few of my rating 14 elementals I validly rolled for and kept on standby. I stopped playing him around 230+ karma just because it was exceedingly unfair and unfun to my teammates. There were other players that had more karma than I and couldn't hold a candle to my power. Currently, our GM just isn't allowing initate grades, which I agree is a really good tacitc. However it does make it pretty hard to protect your magical gear without initiate masking. Has anyone else run into similar problems and, if so, did you encounter any positive results against ongoing mage-cheese?
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James McMurray
post Jan 17 2005, 11:38 PM
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You know I haven't had that problem (because I haven't ran much). But my Wolf Shaman in the revolving game got to be pretty nasty and he never even broke the 100 karma mark. Of course, he was heavily initiated.

I think this week's session showed that combining the combat and magic pools did a heck of a lot to power down the spellcaster. It may have done more than it should have, given that the phys ad was indestructible and the shaman was a house of straw. I'd like to see how things go with the entire party there though.

And of course, we're nowhere near the 100+ karma mark (with only one player having 1 karma, we're a really long way off).

I do think that defending one's magical gear shouldn't really be an issue much of the time. If an astral spellcaster sees some sort of active focus on a character, most of them would rather try to take the enemy down without destroying such a valuable resource. Sure, if destroying that item is the only way to win, they'll do it in a heartbeat. But when your standard security mage (or even a special NPC) sees an item worth 315,000 :nuyen: (A force 3 power focus) he's likely to try and get that item for himself before he trise to destroy it.
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Crimson Jack
post Jan 17 2005, 11:54 PM
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My group (4-5 players) ranges from 260-310 karma, IIRC (about 35-40 runs total). So, its always a high-powered game. Most of the group is awakened and the threats are generally of the same type and caliber. There are plenty of ways to mess with a highly magical group though, background count and wild magic zones being just two of several easy ways out. Stacking the mundane odds heavily against them is another, as is dealing with situations where the dice don't matter nearly as much as the story elements in play. But yeah, I started noticing things getting a little crazy when an encounter with the Wild Hunt was uncomfortable, but not hair-raising.
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FrostyNSO
post Jan 18 2005, 12:35 AM
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Yep,
We've had this problem. Take a moment to think for a second. Your guy had 100+ karma.

This guy had 1000+

It became way too hard to keep up, and nothing short of a tactical nuke could take him down. Finally, on a ridiculously high-powered run, he was faced with the option of ascending to a higher, seperate existance (thus retiring the character), or trying to escape the corp facility (underwater arcoblock) before it's cache of nuclear weapons went up.

He first tried disarming the warheads, going so far as summoning elementals to try and do some of them for him, but found that there were simply too many to do in time (30 second timer). Finally he tried to contain the blast with a magical barrier (I forget which spell). After much karma pool use, this failed.

That was the worst guy we had.
It was also a nightmare trying to deal with the crap he would pull before and after the run. He basically had carte-blanche to do whatever he felt. Even GD's couldn't stop him.

edit: This was in my earlier GM days. Nowadays, problems like these get nipped before they arise.
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ES_Riddle
post Jan 18 2005, 12:42 AM
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What is your method for dealing with snipers or other assassination techniques? In the time that you've climbed to that level of karma you've definitely made enemies who are probably more than willing to spend large quanities of money to hire a well-prepared squad of killers.

Adept sniper+Shielding spotter+conjurer makes for a very effective team, especially if a troll machine gunner is there to provide a little bit of physical backup.

They stake out a floor that was formerly a cubical farm (they will need the space, as you'll soon see). In preparation for whatever sort of setup you are being setup by (Johnson, faked phonecall from a trusted ally, real phonecall from a fixer who was paid more than you're worth), the conjurer draws a force 18 hermetic circle. The adept sniper takes position within the circle that provides LOS to the setup point. The shielding spotter assignes shielding dice to everyone. The troll is within the circle ready to do what he does, and that is kick ass. The conjurer starts conjuring something lower than force 18 but high enough that you will show up well before he is done.

Surprise round- (*at this point the only one you could possibly hope to notice would be the ruthie wearing sniper, the rest are not within LOS of the window that is open)
Sniper: snipes and then shoots again
you: are lucky if you are alive and doubly lucky if you know where the shots came from, probably either taking cover and calling elementals
conjurer*:keeps conjuring
shielder*: keeps shielding
troll*: keeps being ready to kick ass

Next round-
sniper: shoots some more
you: sic elementals on people
elementals: run into serious problems with a rating 18 barrier
conjuerer: keeps conjuring
Shielder: keeps shielding
troll: starts kicking ass by bombarding your location with heavy weapon fire

Basically your buddies are the only thing that can save you in this situation. You will be looking at ridiciulous target numbers to fire spells at anyone within that circle, spirits will be unable to breach it, and the only hope is to physically disrupt it. Fortunately people who do this for a living are smart and will put themselves way out of grenade launcher range.
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MagicalGirlPrett...
post Jan 18 2005, 12:47 AM
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We had a pair of mages (one mine, one a friend's) that accumulated upwards of 200+ Karma, and I think we broke our GM. He ran out of ways to try and kill us and now all we get are horrible "tactical" ninja stories based on what he read on Bullshido.com.
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Tarantula
post Jan 18 2005, 01:14 AM
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ES, of course the next thing you do is ask your elementals to sit in the window so that the sniper can't shoot at you anymore, while you wait for your buddies to do something.
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James McMurray
post Jan 18 2005, 01:24 AM
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You said "you're lucky to be alive". There's two flaws with that plan:

1) If the mage's defenses are so high (from quickened spells and sustaining foci) then you're not likely to be able to hurt him. If you do have enough firepower to hurt him, you've got more than enough firepower to destroy most other characters. It has to be carefully done or it turns into a TPK.

2) Sniping a player's character to death is not fun.

I'd personally rather ask them to retire than set up a situtation where they are lucky to be alive after the first shot.
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ShortBusFury
post Jan 18 2005, 01:33 AM
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QUOTE
What is your method for dealing with...


If the party was that powerful, then I would have used demolitions to disintegrate the support beams of the building causing it to collapse upon the entire crew. The hermetic circle would be destroyed along with the floor it was inscribed upon and the building collapse would likely kill the entire crew from suffocation, if not damage. Maybe send in some watchers to look for survivors and maybe some strong-sensor drones to do a thermal sensor sweep at the same time... anything that survives is definately going to be at a disadvantage if they can manage to crawl out of the rubble. When the media hits the scene you put the blame for the collapsed building and any death toll on the crispy runners trapped inside and say it was a terrorist action gone awry. 8)
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Buck Satan
post Jan 18 2005, 01:53 AM
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Man all this trouble with mages. =( Since I am always the GM I constantly keep my players in check especially my mages and physads that run in my party. I don't have uber elementals come and wreck their day I just enforce rules always and also they walk a very very thin line between essence loss from injuries and stimpack and focus addicition. I once had a fenrir shaman lose 2 points of magic because he was severly injured and had gotten addicted to stims and combat drugs so that he could keep up with the party. And of course he geas' but in the long haul his character was on the edge. He broke 100 karma after 28 sessions worth of roleplaying and has managed to keep himself in check also it helps to know the rules and understand the way that each of you players will act so that you can better counter what crap they try to pull as to not let them be uber.

Now about trying to kill that uber mage you having a problem with try the following: Challlenge him to a mage duel so that you can weaken his magic rating if you succeed, hit him with some strain 3 bacteria in case you are feeling particularly nasty maybe you should infect him with vitas or perhaps you should just thor him from orbit(I wouldn't recommend it as it would probably kill the party too which is never good.) Sniping is overrated and over done and billy badass mages usually never do the trick as if they are even slightly weaker than the pc's you can even making an uber mage sweat goodbye.
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Mr.Sinister
post Jan 18 2005, 02:17 AM
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Years ago, when I started playing with a group that was like the characters described above, the GM encouraged the players to turn the characters into NPCs that could become contacts for training, teaching spells, mini Johnsons, etc. The players actually enjoyed doing this since many of the runs they were going on would become boring and not much of a challenge.

Just an thought/option.
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ShortBusFury
post Jan 18 2005, 02:18 AM
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Yeah, so far the most effective tactic has been to nip the problem before gets the chance to occur. That's an idea. Powerful mages never like competition... it'd be understandable if all the mages in a city were secretly being watched by powers that were interested in not being contested. Alot of NPC spell-slingers aren't listed with higher initiate grades than 4. You could always create a story reason for that which the players won't know about till they start getting odd warnings as they begin their mystical assent. Anyone trying to go about reaching initiate 5 is harmlessly subdued by individuals far superior in power to them for the first couple of attempts. Then, if the player persists trying to ascend despite the warnings, things could start getting deadly. The only way to go about getting safely to initate grade 5+ would be to join the order in question, causing the player to become a pawn in their schemes and lose more and more freedom as they get involved in shady magical politics... I think I like that idea. :love:
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MinMaxShadowrunn...
post Jan 18 2005, 05:08 AM
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Well well well, It's true magical characters can get VERY buff, however it's all up to the GM to have the awareness not to allow a mage to just walk around. The GM's I play with constantly keep us in check. Making barriers so we'd either battle the barrier and alert possible enemies or lose the spell. Effectively it has prevented us from dumping Karma into spells that unbalance our characters. I don't think it's right to limit initiating, I think it's a good tactic limiting how many mages/shamans characters can be in a group. Of course a group of only mages/shamans would fall pretty hard to most physical attacks. A good astral run annilates mages to...... 1 or more horrors will destroy mages/ everything. By the way if you have the money to by MULTIPLE force 14 elementals/ get more than one service, your GM is being really generous on the money. If you like to waste the usual one service, as a gm I say go ahead. there's more to come. I like the idea of background counts, always work. Visual modifiers tend to make things harder too. In the end it's up to the gm. Rule # 2 of shadowrun always geek the mage first.
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MinMaxShadowrunn...
post Jan 18 2005, 05:13 AM
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It doesn't make sense that high level initiates would waste their time watching over peons. Typically they only care if the runner in question interfere's with their affairs. Runs should be designed to give runners a challenge, if the runners are all mages, throw a electronic/stealth run in their face. Balance the opposition, book runz are not meant to be followed to the T. they are guide lines to create a challenge. Push the envelope, give more karma pool to the opposition. If the NPC's dont have a mage givem one.
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Crimson Jack
post Jan 18 2005, 05:17 AM
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QUOTE (FrostyNSO)
This guy had 1000+

Dude. That's hardcore.
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FrostyNSO
post Jan 18 2005, 05:42 AM
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I know someone on this board has a dude that made like 2 or 3 thousand.
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Wounded Ronin
post Jan 18 2005, 05:52 AM
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QUOTE (MagicalGirlPrettyMatt)
We had a pair of mages (one mine, one a friend's) that accumulated upwards of 200+ Karma, and I think we broke our GM. He ran out of ways to try and kill us and now all we get are horrible "tactical" ninja stories based on what he read on Bullshido.com.

Hey, bullshido.net/forums tells me everything I need to know about the world. That and certain segments of e-budo.com.


Everything you need to set up your game world:

Overweight and incompetent ninjas: http://bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php...=David+Dantonio

(That one is the one who actually flamed realultimatepower.net; here is his website: http://www.geocities.com/bufusite/index.html)





Delusional weirdo Frank Dux claiming to be a ninja/Vietnam War hero/CIA assassin even after having been exposed as a fraud several times: http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/showthread...&threadid=11243

There's an enormous record of Dux and some of his supporters making feeble attempts to defend his lies. The overview article by M. C. Busman has a broken link, so here is the new link giving you all the evidence against Dux in one place: http://bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php...light=Frank+Dux




Overweight fat white guy named Jason Hamilton calls himself "Yo Hiroshi Sato" and claims to be a ninja grandmaster: http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/showthread...ight=Sato+Jason

Too bad that "Yo" isn't even a Japanese name. Furthermore, if you actually look at Hamilton/Sato's site, you'll find stances and crap that can't even be pronounced in Japanese.



But I'm saving the best for last. Christopher Hunter, aka Ashida Kim! My god, talk about fantasyland. You wouldn't believe the crap this guy spins and sells. Here's an overview: http://www.xeroth.org/pcults_stories/chris-ashida.html

Here are some hilarious quotes from his book selling enterprise...follow the link to read THE LEGEND OF KOMUSO DRAGON! http://bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php...ight=Ashida+Kim

Here's a tidbit:
QUOTE

It was my custom at that time to practice kata every morning before most anyone else was awake. The cool morning air and mist rising from the swamp made an excellent, if somewhat surreal, setting, conducive to the slow movements of the Great Dance. Naturally this did not go unnoticed by the staff and other counselors as several cycles of different age groups had come and gone and some of them who had practiced martial arts began training in their techniques with me during these dawn patrols.



But we can't mention Chris Hunter without also mentioning John Keehan, a 1960s martial artist who started calling himself Count Dante and claiming that he was descended from Spanish nobility. He is best known for selling his book, "World's Deadliest Fighting Secrets" through comic book ads, but in the end he really went off the deep end. From a news archive (http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:tKll7xa2AGUJ:www.blackbeltmag.com/archives/blackbelt/1970/aug70/bbt.html+John+Keehan+dante&hl=en&lr=&strip=1)

[ Spoiler ]





Anyway, I think that *all* of these people have appeared at least once in my SR campaigns as NPCs, with the possible exception of David Dantonio and Jason Hamilton. In one adventure, the PCs had to burglarize Ashida Kim's "Ninja Temple 2000" (http://ashidakim.com/temple2001.html), a pagoda filled with traps.

Another time, the PCs had to defeat 1000 Dux Ryu ninjas sent by Frank Dux, but they failed. However, this was but one part of political machinations involving Frank Dux, Ashida Kim, and Yamatetsu. In the end, Ashida Kim managed to outwit both Frank Dux and Yamatetsu.


In another adventure the PCs were hired to perform security at a martial arts tournament being held by John Keehan.

So, see? That's all the source material you need.
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Kanada Ten
post Jan 18 2005, 06:03 AM
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Frag, all I do is read the news...

QUOTE
U.S. planning for possible attack on Iran

"The president assigned a series of findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other special forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as 10 nations in the Middle East and South Asia," [Seymour Hersh] wrote.


And that's nothing compared to the gang crap that is shuffled through everyday. Not that I don't have hordes of Ninja guarding missile silos or whatever...
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RedmondLarry
post Jan 18 2005, 08:21 AM
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QUOTE (ShortBusFury)
Has anyone had any problems with magic characters becoming grossly overpowered in comparison to the non-magic characters at the high-end game (100+ karma)?

We've run into problems with Magician-type characters around the 300-Karma mark. I've seen this in 3 different campaigns now, and all around the same point. We pretty much retire characters then. When we do that, the players find they're having more fun with the newbies because the likelihood of death is increased.

Instead of Anchoring, for the spells attached to the magician, I think you meant Quickening.

Spells that powerful are very difficult to mask, and any character with even one unmasked force 6 quickened spell will attract attention from time to time. Having three visible on the astral will occasionally attract a lot of attention from a megacorp, as well as being an easy identifier for the magician. Shadowrunners typically don't want to be easily recognized.

I would love to see a scanned-in copy of the character sheet for the magician who is a problem. Can you post it somewhere?

Do you play using the following rules:
Focus addiction?
Astral Signatures (SR3.172)
Masking limits for Foci and Spells (MITS.76)
Magic Loss test after Astral Disruption (SR3.176)
Allocation of Sorcery dice between Spell Defense and Spell Casting (SR3.183)
FAB I, II, and III (MITS.90)
Astral patrolling by spirits or magicians?
Alarm Wards (MITS.89)
Masking Wards (MITS.89)

Our team also plays with the following house rules:
When doing Astral Quests to reduce the Karma Cost when learning a spell, we give only half the Quest Rating as a reduction, instead of the full Quest Rating.
The magical-Glow from an Armor Spell is not cancelled by the magical affect of an Invisibility Spell.
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ES_Riddle
post Jan 18 2005, 08:42 AM
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QUOTE (ShortBusFury)
QUOTE
What is your method for dealing with...

If the party was that powerful, then I would have used demolitions to disintegrate the support beams of the building causing it to collapse upon the entire crew. The hermetic circle would be destroyed along with the floor it was inscribed upon and the building collapse would likely kill the entire crew from suffocation, if not damage. Maybe send in some watchers to look for survivors and maybe some strong-sensor drones to do a thermal sensor sweep at the same time... anything that survives is definately going to be at a disadvantage if they can manage to crawl out of the rubble. When the media hits the scene you put the blame for the collapsed building and any death toll on the crispy runners trapped inside and say it was a terrorist action gone awry. 8)

So you set demolition charges for the people that you don't even know are there? If you have demolitions capable of destroying an office building with only 1 round of planting, then you've got problems beyond out of control mages.

Even a 300 karma mage isn't omniscient, and unprepared but ridiculously powerful can be an interesting matchup against well prepared and moderately powerful.
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ES_Riddle
post Jan 18 2005, 09:00 AM
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QUOTE (Tarantula @ Jan 17 2005, 08:14 PM)
ES, of course the next thing you do is ask your elementals to sit in the window so that the sniper can't shoot at you anymore, while you wait for your buddies to do something.

That is the kind of bright thinking that is necessary! This isn't supposed to be a certain death trap, it is supposed to be a challenging experience to overcome. If this degenerates to a dice rolling contest, the players will lose. If they are clever about it, they will live and know that they have an enemy they need to take care of. If they are really smart they will manage to get one of their assailants out alive for interrogation.

In this particular case the sniper is probably still going to get shots at you since she will likely move to another window without leaving the circle. That thing is dang huge. Depending on how far away the building is from the mage he may have troubles with radius of control, too. Plopping the elementals in her field of vision is a good tactic to start messing with her, though.

QUOTE (James McMurray)
You said "you're lucky to be alive"


I'm a master of overstatements. It is unlikely that even a ridiculously buffed mage will be able to take an APDS sniper round unharmed from a sniper adept, especially since they are most likely without combat pool (and without milspec armor if they've been properly set up). The mage should probably live (and the encounter should be tailored so that the first shot will most likely not be a kill shot unless you're a sick GM). I didn't actually post the build, but I would assume that it is an initiate with IR 3 and skill (or specialization at least) of 8 before improved ability dice and/or dice from a reflex recorder or enhanced articulation. Depending on the specific setup, either smartlink or vismag-3. It isn't hard to build a really sick sniper adept, especially with an initiate grade or two.
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ShortBusFury
post Jan 18 2005, 01:19 PM
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QUOTE
By the way if you have the money to by MULTIPLE force 14 elementals/ get more than one service, your GM is being really generous on the money.


Summoning elementals is actually pretty fraggin' cheap. You just need enough conjuring materials to equal it's force rating. At 1,000 per unit that's not too expensive. Consider again that you're using the downtime skills for harvesting your own materials and it all becomes free. Also consider that you're using a portion of the most recently harvested materials to summon an Earth Elemental to sustain the AE control thoughts that you have going on the talismongers that turned on you a few weeks ago so they can harvest resources for you... thus freeing up your valuable time for more conquest.
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ShortBusFury
post Jan 18 2005, 01:29 PM
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QUOTE
So you set demolition charges for the people that you don't even know are there? If you have demolitions capable of destroying an office building with only 1 round of planting, then you've got problems beyond out of control mages.

Even a 300 karma mage isn't omniscient, and unprepared but ridiculously powerful can be an interesting matchup against well prepared and moderately powerful.


Who said anything about one round? If you're corp security team is meeting unseen death from the building across the street and you've already lost two squads and some assault helicopters to some "unseen foe of ultimate power" then getting an elite corp covert ops squad to run in and plant charges would be my priority at that point. If the situation changes, then you change to meet it. Not too mention that a rating 18 hermetic circle is almost one-hundred feet across and would be a fraggin' beacon from astral space so you would be hard-pressed to hide your location in the first place...
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hyzmarca
post Jan 18 2005, 01:45 PM
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The easiest way to deal with a powerful mage is to send the party on a run that takes them through a decent immitation of Hell: malicious Free Blood and Shadow spirits, enough human suffering to create a background count between 8-10, and mutant toxic critters of all shapes and sizes.
Have hoards of mutants for the mundane team members to take out, leave the Spirits for the near-impotent 200+ Karma mage.
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Fortune
post Jan 18 2005, 01:49 PM
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Or send them into Space.
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