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> Questions on staging and spirits (long), Need rules clarifications
Dippy
post May 23 2005, 09:31 AM
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Hi,

I'm relatively new to SR. I have been gaming (mostly as GM) for about 20 years and have been wanting to run a 'cyberpunk' style game for half of that! I bought SRII but never got around to putting the effort into preparing to run it. Then I bought SRIII but the same happened. I suppose initially I found the system a little complicated (as do my players now), and also I hated the idea of metahumans. Well I've bitten the bullet by learning the system and have solve the metahuman problem (there are none in my game, I just have mutants instead).

I have now put my players thru their (and my) first run. Based on my experience I decided this should be something I wrote myself rather than a published module so that I could improvise when I needed to rather than stop the game so that I could plough through the rules.

The game was very successful and we all enjoyed it, however I did find that in the firefights, the PCs were often close to being killed, and on one or two occasions I needed to fudge the dice rolls to ensure they didn't. So now I have revamped the PCs to make them a bit tougher (and taking advantage of some of the newer features in the Fanpro rule expansions). At least now it will be easier to make the opposition a bit tougher if I have gone too far the other way.

Anyway, there are two aspects to the rules which are still bugging me, and I have not been able to find any help in any of the books:

1) STAGING
In parts of SRIII I have found two slightly confilicting descriptions. It states that D is the maximum level, but also that the stage up/down is based on the differences between the dice roll successes of the two parties.

I have assumed that the maximum of D should be calculated AFTER comparing the differences in successes. I.e. when my PCs fire on an opponent and score many successes, I get them to tell me the damage level plus any stages above D. Obviously it is often possible for some of them to say "D plus 2 stagings". I then make the damage resistance test and in this case need at least 3 stagings for the NPCs to survive.

Am I correct? I can't believe that the maximum damage level should be D before the damage resistance test...

2) SPIRITS
a) Conjuring
During my first run, the PCs were fighting ghouls in an abandoned subway. The player of their shaman decided to conjure a spirit to help in the fight. So he asked me if he could conjure the spirit of a subway train. Now since in SRIII it specifically mentions a city spirit taking the form of a subway train, I thought this was OK.

So now that player assumes that there must be spirits of objects as well as living beings. This is fair, and the SR concept follows that idea with native american spiritualism as the basis of shamanic magic, and the openess to all other forms of spiritualism described in the Magic rules supplement.

So later in the run when I am trying out the rigger rules, I have the PCs in a car chase. The player of the shaman says "can I conjure the spirit of the car chasing us and command it to stop?". This took me by surprise and I was unable to get help from the rules. In the end I accepted, but gave the shaman a target modifier using the object resistance rules, 'cos I couldn't think of anything else at the time.

Since then I have checked all my sources and can't find an answer. So I told the player that his shaman can summon spirits only from the planes, and the rules don't allow for what he tried. Unfortunately both of use are left unsatisfied with this. I am still unhappy that since city spirits often appear as objects (garbage is described in SRIII), it implies that objects can have spirits.

I think the idea of a shaman actually summoning the spirit of an animate object to control it is reasonable, although clearly it should be much harder than conjuring a regular spirit. So any ideas on how I should rule this?

b) Spirit combat
The rules say that spirits use the regular combat rules. The book stats never mention combat skills for nature spirits, so presumably they must physically fight by defaulting to their strength attribute. Doesn't this make them fairly weak? This leads on to the question below.

c) Low force nature spirits
I'm just preparing the next adventure in which my shaman PC gets the chance to be initiated. On his astral quest ordeal he will encounter a nature spirit. According to the rules this will be force 2. So the spirit in question would do 0M damage in physical combat. I have taken this to mean it does NO physical damage - am I right? Admittedly it should fight astrally anyway, but the astral quest rules are fairly clear that physical combat is possible in the metaplane places.

TIA,
Dave
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hobgoblin
post May 23 2005, 09:44 AM
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unless i got it backwards you dont stage damage until after any resitanse rolls have been made and then use any net successes, if the defender have net successes you stage down, if the attacker have then you stage up.

as for the spirit questions:

a) a car isnt a domain unless it have been lived in for some time, and then you summon up hearth spirits that are limited to inside the car (unless they are great forms). what he would get from the summoning is either a city spirit or some form of sky spirit i think.

b) i think spirits use their force as skill in combat.

c) the power of a damage code can be no less then 2 (as no targetnumber in sr can be lower then 2).
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Ancient History
post May 23 2005, 09:53 AM
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QUOTE
Well I've bitten the bullet by learning the system and have solve the metahuman problem (there are none in my game, I just have mutants instead).

Oy. <rubs_eyes>

QUOTE
1) STAGING

The maximum base damage for an assault or injury is D (for Deadly).
The success of any given assault is measured by successes. For every two successes, damage may be staged up one level. Damage may not be staged above Deadly; rather for every two extra successes, the Power of the attack increases by 1.
See p.123, Big Black Book

QUOTE
2) SPIRITS

a) Spirits may appear as many things, however spirits do not represent any given physical object. Rather, spirits represent an element or location. You cannot summon the spirit of a given object. You may summon the spirit of a given place, which typically appears as an object or being common to the location it is tied to.

b)Weak is subjective. Generally speaking, spirits use Strength when engaging in melee combat on the physical plane, or make use of their various powers and abilities.

c)The minimum attribute number for a living thing is 1. The Spirit's strength is 1. Before any staging, the spirit's unarmed damage would be 1M stun, which would be resisted by the mage as 2M stun (the lowest target number is 2).

Generally speaking, however, the spirit would either use its powers during its superior initiative. Then the shaman has the choice of engaging the spirit in melee combat (with both using their astral attributes), or attempt to banish it.

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Dippy
post May 23 2005, 01:15 PM
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Thanks for the quick replies.

QUOTE
unless i got it backwards you dont stage damage until after any resitanse rolls have been made and then use any net successes, if the defender have net successes you stage down, if the attacker have then you stage up.


Yes, that's what I've been doing.

QUOTE
Damage may not be staged above Deadly; rather for every two extra successes, the Power of the attack increases by 1.
See p.123, Big Black Book


Do you mean the SR rulebook?
I'll have to think about this one. What I have learnt is that changing the TN has varying effects. If this increase in power takes the damage resistance TN above 6 then it has a dramatic effect on the staging. I think I prefer what I have been doing.


I'll have to think about spirits some more. As I noted, my SR world is a variant anyway so I'll use my imagination some more.

Thanks for the reminder about the min TN of 2 and how this relates back to attributes less than 2.
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noname_hero
post May 23 2005, 01:36 PM
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QUOTE

1) STAGING

There is a difference between ranged attacks and melee.
In ranged attacks you take the number attacker's successes and subtract the defender's successes on the dodge test. If the defender wins, the attack is a complete miss. In the case of a tie the defender has to resist the attack's base damage. If the attacker wins, the number of successes remaining after the dodge test is further reduced by the defender's successes on the damage resistance test, and the resulting number is used to modify the attack's base damage. A few examples:
Attacker uses a weapon with base damage M, gets 5 successes. Defender scores 2 on a dodge test, (5-2)=3 remain. Next comes the defender's damage resistance test, he scores 4 successes. (3-4)=(-1), not enough to stage the M damage down to L so the defender receives M damage.
Attacker scores 5 successes and the base damage is D. 2 successes on dodge test leave 3. If the defender scores 5 successes on a damage resistance test, (3-5)=(-2), meaning the defender stages the base damage down by one level to S.

In melee, the attacker's successes are compared to the defender's successes in the respective combat skill rolls. The net successes are used to determine the damage. If it is a tie, attacker causes base damage. If he wins, every two successes stage the damage code up by one until it reaches Deadly, further successes increase the Power of the attack by 1 for every 2 successes. If the defender wins, the process is similar. The resulting damage code is resisted by the losing side in a damage resistance test where every 2 successes stage it down by one level.
For example, if the attacker scores 6 successes, the defender 1, and the attacker's base damage is 5S, the modified damage is 6D. (6-1)=5, 2 successes stage the S to D, 2 increase the Power from 5 to 6, the last one succes doesn't count. If the defender rolls 2 successes against 6 on his damage resistance roll, he stages the damage down to S.

QUOTE

2) SPIRITS


Read AH's answer, it is short and reasonably precise. The things I'd like to correct are:
A materialized spirit uses Reaction to make physical attacks, not Strength.
The one thing that makes materialized spirits TOUGH is the Immunity to normal weapons power - Force 5 spirits are immune to most firearms, e.g. a 10D shotgun hit automatically causes zero damage, no need to roll any dice, and Force 4 nearly so (the power gives the spirits 2*Force armor, if Base power of the attack is lower than this the attack automatically causes no damage, so even a 17D attack by 10-round burst from a 7M SMG does ZERO damage to Force 4 spirits).
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Dippy
post May 23 2005, 01:52 PM
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Now my understanding is that only HARDENED armour (i.e. on vehicle) is such that if (half) the power of the attack does not exceed the rating the attack is incapable of doing damage.

Where does it state this for spirits?

This concerns me. I have just arranged for a new encounter for my players where their PCs will be attacked by a force 4 fire elemental. I realise that it will have armour 8 against the PCs, but was happy that this will just reduce its damage resistance TNs to 2 for most attacks. But if what you're saying is true then if the spellcasters were unable to attack the elemental it could wipe out the other PCs!
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noname_hero
post May 23 2005, 02:08 PM
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SR3, pg. 264: In addition, if the Power of the damage does not exceed twice the creature's Essence, it automatically has no effect.

And here's a quote from the official FAQ:
Treat the Immunity power as you would the Hardened Armor power--only use the base Power of the weapon, unmodified by burst fire, ammo type, etc.

Personally, I've always allowed the bonus from Ex or ExEx ammo to count, but I'm not sure what's the official view on this, and it is not much of a help anyway.
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Dippy
post May 23 2005, 02:39 PM
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Thanks, I've seen the same info in the Critters book now.

I have a feeling if I play this rule then my players will just start getting the highest powered weapons they can and it'll start getting silly. So far having hardened armour on vehicles and one mutant critter I let them meet has been OK, but if I play the rule for spirits it'll cause problems.

I think I'll play it as 'normal' armour and see how it goes - I've been open with my players that's I'm learning the rules just like they are and reserve the right to change them.

So what happens in everyone else's game when the PCs meet a force 5 or above spirit? Do all the mundanes step back and leave it to the spellcasters?
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toturi
post May 23 2005, 02:46 PM
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QUOTE (Dippy @ May 23 2005, 10:39 PM)
So what happens in everyone else's game when the PCs meet a force 5 or above spirit? Do all the mundanes step back and leave it to the spellcasters?

It is usually either the magicians or adepts with Killing Hands or Weapon Foci to take down the spirit. It is a generally accepted rule to kill the magician as quickly as you can, this is one reason why. A mundane could theorectically bring down a material spirit, but that requires a very high Willpower and Charisma.
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hobgoblin
post May 23 2005, 02:54 PM
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and can only be done in hand to hand combat. not something you would normaly do when faced with a walking bonfire :silly:
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noname_hero
post May 23 2005, 03:20 PM
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Well... Yes, more or less. Mundanes are deep in troubles when faced with a powrfull spirit and no spellcaster on their side.
Let me give you a few possibilities, though.

Get an adept with either Killing Hands power or a Weapon Focus (neither is affected by the spirit's Immunity) and a high skill. Engage the spirit in melee.

Get a sniper rifle - works against Force 6 spirits, and that's about the maximum force most spirits will have.

Change a domain - nature spirits and spirits of Man have to be Great Forms to be able to leave a domain, and most of them aren't (it takes an Initiate with Invoking metamagics to summon one, and they don't use it for all summonings, especially for high-force spirits).

Get a Ranger-X bow and a troll - with a Str 10 he'll be doing 14M base damage.

Give the boosted sammy (or adept) Monosword or Katana - with (Str+3)M damage he'll be able to defeat some spirits.

Get gyrojet pistols - the weapons are damn unrealistic, but with 12M base damage you'll be able to disrupt Force 5 or weaker spirits.

Have a 10S shotgun or 10M pistol around, loaded with Ex - will help against Force 4 spirits, even against Force 5 with some GMs.

Have the mage create a high-force Ward on your primary vehicle, and hide inside.

Run away - most of the time a failed run is better than ending up six feet under.

Get a mage or two! The magic is there for 50 years, runners should know it by now.
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noname_hero
post May 23 2005, 03:21 PM
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QUOTE (toturi)
A mundane could theorectically bring down a material spirit, but that requires a very high Willpower and Charisma.

Errrr...

I thought this possibility no longer exists in 3rd edition??? We're still using it, but I've always considered it a houserule now...
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toturi
post May 23 2005, 03:25 PM
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QUOTE (noname_hero)
QUOTE (toturi @ May 23 2005, 02:46 PM)
A mundane could theorectically bring down a material spirit, but that requires a very high Willpower and Charisma.

Errrr...

I thought this possibility no longer exists in 3rd edition??? We're still using it, but I've always considered it a houserule now...

p 188 SR3.

Dial 1900-Rulesninja for all your canon rule needs! :P
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Eyeless Blond
post May 23 2005, 03:30 PM
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Also I seem to remember a rule about "elemental attacks" bypassing Immunity... so find a fire hydrant and hose the fire elemental down. :)
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noname_hero
post May 23 2005, 03:46 PM
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QUOTE (Eyeless Blond @ May 23 2005, 03:30 PM)
Also I seem to remember a rule about "elemental attacks" bypassing Immunity... so find a fire hydrant and hose the fire elemental down. :)

Elemental attacks halve the power's effects so they're going against (Force) hardened armor, but most commonly available elemental-based attacks have low Power (e.g. 6 for a water cannon) so they won't work very well. Some GM's consider shock weapons to use the elemental effect of lightning, but that rulling is not very common, and the same goes for many other "smart" ideas...

This post has been edited by noname_hero: May 23 2005, 04:01 PM
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Bearclaw
post May 23 2005, 03:52 PM
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QUOTE (noname_hero)
SR3, pg. 264: In addition, if the Power of the damage does not exceed twice the creature's Essence, it automatically has no effect.

And here's a quote from the official FAQ:
Treat the Immunity power as you would the Hardened Armor power--only use the base Power of the weapon, unmodified by burst fire, ammo type, etc.

Personally, I've always allowed the bonus from Ex or ExEx ammo to count, but I'm not sure what's the official view on this, and it is not much of a help anyway.

To expand, and give the whole entry:

Immunity:
This power gives the creature an "armor rating" equal to twice it's essance when resisting damage from whatever it has immunity against. In addition, if the power of the damage does not exceed twice the creatures essance, it automatically has no effect. This power works against both magical and non-magical effects.
<snip>
Immunity to normal weapons has no effect against Combat Spells or Weapon Foci. Against elemental damage (such as fire, water cannon, elemental manipulation spells and so on) the effect is halved (Armor rating equal to essance). APDS, AVM and other armor piercing ammunitions are treated as normal ammunition against creatures with this power.


So, a flame thrower, taser, stun baton, etc., will all be a big help (the super-shock is 7S stun. Add a couple successes and you'll drop a rating 6 spirit in one shot.)
There has also been discussions of "Ice Bullets", "rock salt shotgun loads" and other such things as being "elemental" but I don't have an opinion on those yet.
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shadow_scholar
post May 23 2005, 04:41 PM
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Do regular spirits and elementals even have Immunity to Normal Weapons? Also, aren't ranged attacks just useless against them? Doesn't it have to be melee to have any kind of effect?
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Herald of Verjig...
post May 23 2005, 04:47 PM
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The immunity to normal weapons is a side-effect of materialization. All spirits that can materialize get that benefit when material.

The only other restriction I currently remember on what can affect them at all is some text about the attack needing an intent to do harm, which I think was a 2nd edition descriptive that made spirits immune to drones and bombs but bullets still worked at reduced ability.
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hyzmarca
post May 24 2005, 11:37 AM
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Leave a couple of longhandled (reach 2) brooms or ten-foot-poles lying around. If the PCs can shoot the elemental they can at least pick up the booms and charge it.

Force of Will attacks bypass a spirit's immunity completely. The character rolls Willpower, the spirit rolls Force. The spirit does (force)M damage the character does (CHA)M damage. Reach modifers apply.

A high force spirit can defeat a low willpower character but a high willpower face can kick serious spirit hop..
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Eyeless Blond
post May 24 2005, 01:37 PM
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With the ironic consequence that the Reach 2 pole provides much more of an advantage than a knife or a gun. :)
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Jrayjoker
post May 24 2005, 03:18 PM
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Stand back you naughty spirit, or I will sweep you!

lol :rotfl:
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Bearclaw
post May 24 2005, 07:13 PM
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QUOTE (hyzmarca)
Leave a couple of longhandled (reach 2) brooms or ten-foot-poles lying around. If the PCs can shoot the elemental they can at least pick up the booms and charge it.

Force of Will attacks bypass a spirit's immunity completely. The character rolls Willpower, the spirit rolls Force. The spirit does (force)M damage the character does (CHA)M damage. Reach modifers apply.

A high force spirit can defeat a low willpower character but a high willpower face can kick serious spirit hop..

Could you please give a reference for the "force of will attack"?
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Herald of Verjig...
post May 24 2005, 07:30 PM
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SR3 page 188. Under the bit on physical forms.
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hyzmarca
post May 24 2005, 07:40 PM
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QUOTE (Bearclaw @ May 24 2005, 02:13 PM)
Could you please give a reference for the "force of will attack"?

SR3 page 188.

Since friends in melee bonuses apply, as well, it is the best way for groups to take out spirits. Even the best spellcaster can get hurt duking it out magically with a high force spirit. The best spellcasters poking a spirit with a stick along with several friends will almost certainly disrupt it with little effort.'

I just had an interesting thought. Weapon damage codes don't modify a force of will attack, but what about vulnerabilities?

Say I'm cooking an omlette when a giant cockroach suddenly materializes in my kitchen. I spot a can of raid I left out and grab it, charging the roach while screaming at the top of my lungs and spraying as hard as I can. Does my attack do (CHA+1)S because of the insect's vulnerability to the poision or is the insecicide damage resolved seperatly?
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Jrayjoker
post May 24 2005, 09:01 PM
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I would treat them as separate attacks, even if you coated your hands with the toxin. But hey, thats me.
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