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Feshy
The lightning bolt spell has the following characteristics:
QUOTE
Type: P Range: LOS Damage: P Duration: I DV: (F 2) + 3


It also has the following text in the description:
QUOTE
These spells create and direct vicious strikes of electricity
that cause Electricity damage (p. 154).


And wouldn't you know it, but page 154 contradicts the first line:
QUOTE
Spells and critter powers such as Lightning Bolt and Energy Aura cause similar effects. [B]Electrical damage is treated as Stun damage[B/] and resisted with half Impact armor (rounded up)


So, there you have it. Spell characteristic line says the spell does Physical damage. The text on Electrical damage says all electrical is treated as Stun.

I've got no problem with Electrical damage doing physical damage -- I've seen electrical burns, and they aren't pretty. I've also got no problem with Electrical damage doing only stun in SR -- it's simpler, and except in extreme cases (overflow?) it usually fits the damage profile of Stun. Plus the game gives specific advantages to electrical damage. The problem is, the book contradicts itself. Worse, both places that mention this refer specifically to the lightning bolt spell, so I can't just say the spell is some sort of exception.

Anyone have any additional insight?
FiveVenoms
Keeping in mind I am neither a rules ninja nor an obsessive-compulsive Dumpshock member, I would just rule it as doing Phsical damage since it sounds like potential Errata to me, if only for ther sake of clarity. Although, upon closer inspection, I would say that page 154 says is that you RESIST the Lightning Bolt spell with half impact armor, yet it still does physical damage. It doesn't say that it IS stun damage, it says that that is how it is handled for damage resistance.

Does that make sense? Who cares, back to drinking....
apple
Actually it is easy: there are two damge effects with the lighting bolt: the primary effect is physical damage, the secondary effect is stun damage and the electrical special effect (drones and incapacitating).

SYL
JBlades
I wondered about this also. Is it like a Powerbolt that's resisted with 1/2 impact and has a bonus stun effect? That's kind of how I read it...
Vertaxis666
A lightning bolt should be physical damage.

When hit, it may leave burns on the skin, but if it conducts within the body, it'll cook internal organs, cause fluids and organs to superheat and/or explode, and it will kill/depolarize neurons. Death may not be instantaneous. A survivor may heal up and live. Or, a survivor may show improvement for several weeks before taking a downturn and dying.

If the electrical damage is Light or Moderate, then I'd lean towards more Stun damage and little physical damage. If the damage is Deadly, then both physical and stun damage will be massive.

Don't underestimate the power of a Lighning attack. Unlike a fireball, it will penetrate the body. If you die from it, you may still leave behind a good looking corpse.
Orient
In the absence of errata, I'd be tempted to rule it's stun damage, purely for the sake of mechanical balance. The secondary effects of electricity damage - the stunning effect - is pretty powerful. Keeping the rest of the damage as stun would balance that out.

As for lighting bolts and electricity killing people, this ruling would make that the result of stun damage overflowing to physical. Wait, does that still happen in SR4? <runs to grab the book>
Gothic Rose
It should be physical. To affect vehicles.
Orient
QUOTE (Gothic Rose)
It should be physical. To affect vehicles.

Though vehicles aren't affected by the damage itself, since it's stun, the secondary effects electricity damage still cause them to be affected for a few rounds. (SR4 p.154)

So if Lightning Bolt did only cause stun damage, it'd still have an effect on vehicles.
Jaid
yeah, well i can't say i'm big on the idea of a vehicle getting hit by a lightning bolt and only needing to reboot, though...

i mean, as it stands, a tree could get hit by a lightning bolt (or a building, or whatever), and there would be absolutely 0 permanent damage... and the only damage at all would go away in a few seconds, assuming it even has any effect (for example, a tree would just ignore lightning... that just isn't making sense to me)
Orient
I agree - common sense says that lighting should do physical damage.

But given that the 'stunned & can't act for a bit' aspect is there, electricity is pretty powerful. My argument for lighting doing stun damage is based purely on concern for game balance.

Even with drain being what it is, I'd be pretty tempted to give any spellcaster I was playing the Lighting Bolt spell. Even if it's only cast at a force of one or two to avoid major drain, the stunning effect would still be more than worth it.

Hm. On the other hand, how feasible is it to cast the spell at a high force? That's quite a bit of drain to soak, so it might not be too unbalancing to let it do physical damage.

*shrug* I'm not entirely sure where I stand on this. For my game, I think I'll keep it as stun damage, then bump it up to physical if it looks like it's not up to par. It seems like that'd cause fewer problems than doing the reverse...
Ophis
I find the spell good enough doing only stun damage as per the rule.

The thing is that spells have cool names really it's a shockbolt, its probably around several hundred volts rather than the fucking looney amount that an actual from the sky lightning bolt is... Sure it ain't really lightning but but it sounds cooler this way.

Now a real lightning bolt spell? wait for spell design, but a powerbolt with lightning bolt in one shot sounds pretty close.
Adarael
I'm all for Lightning Bolt and Ball Lightning doing stun damage rather than physical for three reasons:

1) Stunning + Physical Damage just seems a bit much in my world, especially since there's an implication Drones and electrical equipment can't be destroyed by the spell (page 154) and are just powered down for some time.
2) The drain is really high, but dammit... I love my stun spells.
3) It gives me an excuse to eventually buy Laser....
Feshy
Well, since it seems like people are mostly giving their opinions on which would be better for balance, I think the issue is confusing enough to post in the errata thread.

Looking at the other elemental spells, I kind of get the impression lightning bolt is "special." The prolonged effects of the fire and acid equivalents have been removed -- acid doesn't hang around and dissolve things, and fireball goes out after one turn (unless the object is "flammable" -- which, if the fire is hot enough, is nearly everything.) All you get is "slightly obscuring mist" for acid, and the ability to burn easily flammable objects with fire.

Lightning, however, has its full elemental effects, including stunning and rebooting electronics.

Of course, thunder birds aren't going to be very frightening if lightning bolt does stun. "The majestic Thunderbird, nature's taser"

(Edit)
One thing to note, however, is that fireball and toxic wave have the same damage code as ball lightning. Looking elsewhere in the combat spells, Stun spells typically have their drain codes reduced by 1. This might be in favor of Lightning Bolt and Ball Lightning having physical damage codes.
jervinator
Electricity is nasty for that reason. Even if it doesn't burn you to a crisp or make your spleen explode, it will make you feel nice and tingly for a bit. At lower levels, electricity may only do stun damage, but such a spell would have a lower drain code than Lightning Bolt. There is a difference between a taser and a PPC wink.gif

The main downside to electricity really is that it's instantaneous. Fire will ignite stuff and stick around for a while. You can get soaked in Acid and it'll eat you until it is neutralized. Electricity is just a *ZOT!*, then it's gone. Sure, it MIGHT set off a fire, but that is a secondary effect if it even happens.
Jaid
i'm still gonna stick with lightning bolt doing physical damage. just makes more sense to me that way... i sure wouldn't call it lightning bolt if it was more likely to be useful for charging the batteries on your PAN then for blowing stuff up nyahnyah.gif
Azralon
High voltage tazes you. High amperage cooks you.

Technically, electricity damage could do either Stun or Physical (or both) depending on what type of juice you're using.

Abandoning real physics for game mechanics, though, I think we're stuck with another conflicting rules mystery where we have to divine the true intention of the writer(s) rather than take stuff at face value. I dunno about you guys, but I sometimes feel like an anthropologist/archeologist trying to understand ancient customs based off of some clay pots I found in the dirt.

Right, so back in the days of SR3's spell design rules, spells that did Stun damage had less drain than those that did Physical. We can see evidence of that today in the fact that Manabolt does +1 drain value over Stunbolt. The spells are identical in every way except the damage type they offer and the one point of drain modifier.

So, assuming that all elemental effects are (intended to be) created equal, one can look at Flamethrower, Acid Stream, and Lightning Bolt and see identical drain codes. From that you can assume that since Flamethrower and Acid Stream do Physical, likely Lightning Bolt is meant to as well.

Now, if the secondary effect of Electricity is meant to be quantifiably cooler than Fire and Acid (which it is IMO, but note the 'O' part), then maybe they want to weight Electricity as beefier than those other two and therefore it'd be worth a higher drain code. I don't think that was their intention, though; I think they just ended up making Electricity too neat for its own good.
jervinator
Agreed. If only the effects lingered like SR3 and RL....
Orient
Except that the elemental effects of fire, lightning, and acid spells aren't equal. Acid as a secondary spell effect, for example, doesn't really do anything. Lighting does quite a bit. We can assume that since Lightning Bolt and Acid Stream have the same drain code, their effects should be balanced. Acid Stream causes physical damage, and doesn't do anything else. If Lightning Bolt does stuns the target and does physical damage, then it is clearly superior to Acid Stream - and their respective drain codes should reflect that. If Lightning Bolt stuns the target and only does stun damage, then has both a bonus over Acid Stream (the stunning effect) and a drawback compared to Acid Stream (the lack of physical damage). This bonus and drawback, together, roughly cancel each other out. So it wouldn't be unbalanced to say that the two spells have the same drain code and that Lighting Bolt does stun damage.
Jaid
acid stream has the advantage of destroying the evidence =P

also, i would argue that the ability of fireball to cook off ammo and explosives is much better than the acid one (mechanically speaking) as well, and it has the same drain code too.

quite frankly, acid is silent (in and of itself... noise coming from the target notwithstanding), and not very flashy compared to the other elements currently available. it destroys the target, rather than leaving a corpse, which can be important. it could be used (as another example) to destroy any potentially incriminating DNA you leave behind (like if you bleed on the floor), and it can destroy objects (such as walls) without causing pieces of the object in question to fall and draw attention.

i see acid as having it's uses... sure, it may not be as immediately cool (or mechanical as cool) as lightning bolt, but it has it's upsides IMO.
Vaevictis
Just compare it to the drain code for Fireball. If it's got the same drain code, it should probably be physical. Spells that are stun have a lower drain code than their physical damage counterparts (as are those that are mana based versus physical, or elemental versus non-elemental).

I don't have my SR4 handy, but I'm guessing that both Fireball and Lightning Bolt are F/2 +1 (Physical Type) + 1 (Physical Damage) + 1 (Elemental).

Yeah, it's confusing, and you can make a case either way given what's written as of now, but that's how I'd look at it.

(I'm drawing on MiTS SR3 for this, and I know this is SR4, but it does make sense)
Azralon
QUOTE (Orient)
Except that the elemental effects of fire, lightning, and acid spells aren't equal. Acid as a secondary spell effect, for example, doesn't really do anything. Lighting does quite a bit. We can assume that since Lightning Bolt and Acid Stream have the same drain code, their effects should be balanced. Acid Stream causes physical damage, and doesn't do anything else. If Lightning Bolt does stuns the target and does physical damage, then it is clearly superior to Acid Stream - and their respective drain codes should reflect that. If Lightning Bolt stuns the target and only does stun damage, then has both a bonus over Acid Stream (the stunning effect) and a drawback compared to Acid Stream (the lack of physical damage). This bonus and drawback, together, roughly cancel each other out. So it wouldn't be unbalanced to say that the two spells have the same drain code and that Lighting Bolt does stun damage.

smile.gif I did disclaim:

QUOTE (me)
Now, if the secondary effect of Electricity is meant to be quantifiably cooler than Fire and Acid (which it is IMO, but note the 'O' part), then maybe they want to weight Electricity as beefier than those other two and therefore it'd be worth a higher drain code. I don't think that was their intention, though; I think they just ended up making Electricity too neat for its own good.


We'll (hopefully) see more evidence -- direct or circumstantial -- in the next/first expansion book.
Fortune
QUOTE (Vaevictis)
Just compare it to the drain code for Fireball.

You'd be better off comparing it to Flamethrower, as Fireball is an Area Effect spell, while Lightning Bolt usually only affects a Single Target.
Orient
QUOTE (Azralon)
We'll (hopefully) see more evidence -- direct or circumstantial -- in the next/first expansion book.

I hope so, too.

I wasn't trying to argue that the rules say any one particular thing - obviously, since they say two particular things.. smile.gif

I was just trying to back up my opinion that it should do stun. Either way, it's sort of in House Rule territory until we hear more.
Vaevictis
QUOTE (Fortune)
You'd be better off comparing it to Flamethrower...

You are correct. Sorry, I always think in terms of "fireball." Must be that whole AD&D thing. smile.gif
RunnerPaul
Your hat's on fire, FizbanVaevictis. smile.gif
Vaevictis
QUOTE (RunnerPaul @ Nov 8 2005, 11:09 PM)
Your hat's on fire, FizbanVaevictis. smile.gif

Isn't my name Fiznab? Or Fizzleban? I can't remember... Damn dragon can never help me with that.
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