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fool
I summon a force 4 spirit of man and order him to cast a force 8 power bolt, but he says he can't because he doesn't have a spellcasting sskill.
As a gm I was thinking that I'd give spirits of man a spellcasting rating at force, up to the limit of the summoners skill.
I would also rule that consistently asking spirits of man to overcast would have the same effect as having them sustain a spell for extended periods of time.... not in the reduction of force but in that the process is painful and therefore the character runs the risk of getting the spirit bane flaw. Overcasting is by definition a painful process since it usually causes physical damage.
FrankTrollman
Spirits of Man have the Spellcasting Skill at a rating equal to their Force by default. It's right between Perception and Unarmed Combat.

As to telling spirits to overcast spells on your behalf - I would think it would be a lot like telling water elementals to go into burning buildings. Sure, they'll do it, but they won't appreciate it. Or you for that matter.

-Frank
mdynna
Does everyone have the spirit resist the Drain of the spell? The rules don't explicitly state it, however:

QUOTE (SR4 pg. 289)
Innate Spells cast by
a critter are the same as those cast by magicians...


It goes on to say that they can be Counterspelled, but I'm extrapolating from the fact that if spells cast by a Spirit "work" the same as if they were cast by a Magician, then the Spirit would have to resist Drain. Secondly, I have always had the house rule that if a Magician falls unconscious due to drain (or dies for that matter) then the spell doesn't occur. This fixed a problem with Magicians doing an all out "death strike" with one massive spell and just saying, "Screw it, I'll take the Deadly Drain"

I also like the idea of the Spirit Bane developing if a Magician consistently asks the same type of Spirit to "sacrifice" themselves. Imagine what your Hacker/Rigger would do if every time they went full VR you yanked out their cable and giggled happily as they writhed in dumpshock.
James McMurray
Yep. It's a spell they cast, so they take drain. They seperated abilities in SR4 so that now creatures with spell-like powers (flame breath for instance) have an ability to match it. Anything with Innate Spell is actually casting a spell.
Nasrudith
One solution is to force them to make a control check if they try to have the spirt overcast. If they fail the spirt basically tells them "No fragging way." and is relased from a service.
mdynna
I like that idea too. Spirits must have some form of self-preservation. Otherwise you have mages doing the spirit-spell "tacnuke" of summoning a Spirit of Man with F = Magic x 2, then asking the spirit to cast a spell at Force x 2. Thus, getting a spell at Force x 4... ugh...
fool
I looked and didn't see the skill listed under the spirit of man listing. But obviously I didn't lok close enough.
This ability seems pretty open to abuse.
My mage could summon one , give it the incr reflex spell have it cast it and then sustain it until sundown/up. THe spirit wouldn't even have to remain physical to do so, gnarly.
I definitely like the idea of making the mage do a control test whenever tehy ask the spirit to do something they wouldn't normally do it makes it more like a negotiation with the spirit descrined in some of the shamanic traditions.
Azralon
QUOTE (fool)
My mage could summon one , give it the incr reflex spell have it cast it and then sustain it until sundown/up. THe spirit wouldn't even have to remain physical to do so, gnarly.

That part isn't so bad. You're effectively getting a 12-hour sustaining focus that can potentially give you drain every time you reuse it, and can be detected/destroyed/stolen from astral space.
James McMurray
For that example you'd be using your one spirit available for it, so it isn't quite so bad as it might seem. An actual spirit in combat can be a very useful thing as well. But yeah, there are definitely ways to abuse spirits, and they probably shouldn't put up with it for long.

One way to curtail abuse is to not allow such specific commands. No book handy, but "combat" counts as a service. If you restrict the command for that to "kill / subdue those guys" then you leave it entirely in the hands of the spirit to decide if he wants to overcast or not. It also helps add something to the spirit friend quality, because the ones you have a kinship with will be more likely to push the limits when fighting for you.
GrinderTheTroll
With spirits being potnential portable tacticle nukes, I always remind my players smart NPCs can always adopt the same policies they do with regards to spirit-nukes, APDS ammo and hacked-comlinks.

If nothing else, it helps emphasize the importance of counterspelling for more than just yourself.
James McMurray
We have a very strong policy of "whatever you do, they can do" in my gaming grou. That policy alone has turned hundreds of possible rules abuses into nothing more than something funny someone mentions as being a possibility that will never happen.
Azralon
QUOTE (James McMurray @ Apr 13 2006, 04:34 PM)
One way to curtail abuse is to not allow such specific commands. No book handy, but "combat" counts as a service. If you restrict the command for that to "kill / subdue those guys" then you leave it entirely in the hands of the spirit to decide if he wants to overcast or not. It also helps add something to the spirit friend quality, because the ones you have a kinship with will be more likely to push the limits when fighting for you.

I've been mulling over that (non)mechanic on and off. Initially I love it, as it puts much of the spirit (im)balance back in the hands of the GM. Plus, my players are mature enough to be able to stomach it.

My only reservation is that it'll be more work for the GM, especially if you've got a binding addict amidst the PCs. Right now it's sort of an "invisible hand" to not have too many spirits running at once because I have the players controlling their little helpers; if I say that I'll adopt the maintenence on their disposable armies then they'll have less reason to hold back.

A somewhat selfish reservation, I admit, but I'd prefer to spend more mental energy running my bad guys than someone else's spirit brigade (plus the bad guys). I still haven't decided if the tradeoff would be worth it.
James McMurray
Can the players handle knowing that what the spirit does it up to it but still running the spirit? i,e, you only jump into the hotseat if they try to do something unreasonable with it.
Azralon
I see what you mean and that isn't bad; it runs into possible inconsistency concerns, though.

Example: Bob Player runs his fire spirits as wanton balls of destruction, while Steve GM tends to have them act as more flighty and capricious critters.

Not that inconsistency of spirit personality is altogether a bad thing, but it becomes undesirable (to me anyway) when it becomes a reason to stop everyone's game and have a sidebar discussion over "how my/your spirits should really be acting." It doesn't matter if it's a mature discussion or not, it's an interruption that I'd prefer to avoid.

So, bottom line is that I'd probably want to run it as an all-or-nothing kinda deal. Either it's all the player, or all the GM.
Modesitt
QUOTE
That policy alone has turned hundreds of possible rules abuses into nothing more than something funny someone mentions as being a possibility that will never happen.

Same thing in my group! Shadowrun is littered with all sorts of munchkin bullshit that we just don't tolerate in my group. If the PCs can have it, so can the NPCs. We have some very strict player-imposed limitations to keep things from getting out of hand. If a player couldn't obey such simple, common-sense limitations, we'd just kick him out of the group. Here are some examples of the rules we obey:
  • No one ever starts with a seven in a skill. That just leads to the NPCs being forced to get sevens to compete with us.
  • No one ever starts with an attribute maxed out. That just leads to NPCs having maxed out attributes to compete with us.
  • No one ever spends the maximum allowable attribute points. We spend those points on skill groups. It simply isn't realistic for everyone to be uber-skilled and to have skill-groups to match. IRL, people constantly expend lots of effort learning things they have no natural talent(ie attribute) in. This leads to greater NPC variety.
  • No one ever uses fully automatic weaponry. That just leads to the GM being forced to use mobs of enemies against us to balance it out, so we give him the option of just using single uber enemies.
  • No one ever plays to racial type. Troll melee warrior? Hell no! That'd be munchkin! We'd only accept troll faces. This allows our GM to be a lot more flexibile with the kind of NPCs he puts up against us. Elf faces? He doesn't NEED to do that to compete with us, he can just use an ork face.
  • No one ever tries to play an effective archetype. This is not quite the same as the above. We don't let people play riggers, hackers, street samurai, or any of those other munchkin concepts. We only let people play concepts like 'prositute', 'Guy in a gimp suit', 'Stuffer Shack employee', and so on. One time someone almost introduced a rigger into our game. We sacrificed him to Cthulhu IRL because that asshole almost got our characters killed! We'd been working on these characters for MONTHS and had really built them up and then he dared walk in with something effective. If you're worried about law enforcement, remember that you only need to kill one munchkin for the rest of them to get the point.
  • No one ever starts with the weapons they bought with skill points. You say "...But that's so ineffective!" and to you I say STOP ROLL-playing and start ROLE-playing! You should just use whatever weapon your charater would want to use regardless of how skilled they are. Since we don't min/max our equipment neither do our enemies resulting in much cooler battles. Katana vs Monowhip baby!
  • No one ever picks their spells to fit a magical role. IRL, people never learn skills with the intention of taking a specific job, they just pick up whatever skills they think are cool and that's exactly how we make our magicians. They just pick up spells willy-nilly based on whim and not 'What would be useful in their job' or 'What they would learn in school'. You didn't learn anything in school, did you? NO! You just learned what you thought was cool! This means our GM can use NPCs with much weirder spells since they don't have to min/max spell selection.
  • No one ever uses all their build points. We always leave a little left over to represent people having wasted potential. This means NPCs are also lower powered resulting in fewer PC deaths.
  • No one ever CHOOSES their merits. We have a chart that you can roll on for your merits. You can't choose them IRL so what makes you think you should choose them in a game? This definitely cuts down on the min/maxing. We're considering expanding this system to race and attributes in order to almost completely eliminate all that powergaming. We're just not sure how to go about doing it.
  • No one ever makes a plan. Making a plan is pure metagaming. If anyone ever DARED try to make a plan, I'd bust out my pimp-hand, SLAP him across the face and say, "Bitch, how DARE you try and make a plan! When you make plans, you force the GM to think and make plans and give him more work! You should give him more flexibility by not planning!" and then the slapee would shut up and understand EXACTLY what I meant.

As you can see, we're pretty close to eliminating all of the rule abuses in SR4 just by policing ourselves. If everyone else would embrace this play style, FASA wouldn't have to issue errata or do play testing. Why? Because there's no such thing as bad rules, just bad GMs. Anyway, then FASA could write more books and wouldn't that be great?
Azralon
QUOTE (Modesitt @ Apr 13 2006, 05:36 PM)
No one ever starts with a seven in a skill.

No one should; every skill is capped at 4 except for the option of two 5's or one 6.

As for the rest, Modesitt, that's way too fascist for my tastes. To the point where I have to wonder if you're joking. smile.gif

Oh. You were. Thank goodness. You honestly had me going for a minute!
James McMurray
I'm not talking about the roleplaying stuff, that can be covererd just by saying that not all fire spirits are alike. It's probably best to say that anyway, as you really don't want the Fire Spirit's guild harassing you for racism. smile.gif

I just meant that if the player did something unbelievable or unwarranted (like tossing out a Force x 2 spell) then you step in and askf or the spirit's justification. After all, the runners are actually getting paid to do the things they do, and it's probably pretty rare that they dump Magic x 2 into a spell.

Or you could just have free spirits start harassing summoners who develop a reputation for unfairness. After a while the more cautious summoners may even begin finding ways to pay their "allies" just to avoid the possible repercussions.
James McMurray
Modesitt: That's an awful lot of typing. You could have just said "I disagree with that line of reasoning, would you care to hear a laundrey list of absurd things that could happen if it was taken to extremes?" smile.gif
Azralon
I heartily condone the pimpslapping, though. Can we integrate that part into the 1.4 errata?

QUOTE (SR4 errata @ p54)
Above all, the rules are here to facilitate telling good stories. Donít get bogged down in rules disputes when itís important to keep the plot moving, just fudge it, bitchslap anyone that gives you sass, and move on.
James McMurray
Bitchslapping is always part of our plans.
fool
I PLAN on adopting all your rules.
James McMurray
SLAP! (you knew it was coming)
fool
as far as persaonalities go, i kind of like having the spirits personality be a bit of an extension of the players modified by type of spirit.
But I think that making the mage do control tests for having the spirit do things it wouldn't like (GM's discretion) is a good idea.
GrinderTheTroll
QUOTE (Modesitt)
QUOTE
That policy alone has turned hundreds of possible rules abuses into nothing more than something funny someone mentions as being a possibility that will never happen.

Same thing in my group! Shadowrun is littered with all sorts of munchkin bullshit that we just don't tolerate in my group. If the PCs can have it, so can the NPCs. We have some very strict player-imposed limitations to keep things from getting out of hand. If a player couldn't obey such simple, common-sense limitations, we'd just kick him out of the group. Here are some examples of the rules we obey:
[ Spoiler ]

rollin.gif
fool
actually a character can start with a skill at 7 kit just requires aptitude in that skill and costs double the build points.
Thank you siur may I have another
Moon-Hawk
If you have aptitude, the 7th point costs double. Got it. Duh. What about the 6th point? I know it usually costs double, but once you have aptitude it's not the max, so how much does the 6th point cost, with aptitude?
Mr. Unpronounceable
only the last point is the higher cost - just like how racial mods affect attribute prices (an elf with 8 charisma only spent 65 bp)
Azralon
Ahh, yeah. This is the part I was clinging to:

QUOTE (SR4 p75)
The maximum skill rating for starting characters is† either one skill at Rating 6 (with the rest at Rating 4 or less) or two skills at Rating 5 (with the rest at Rating 4 or less). Your character cannot start with both one Rating 6 skill and two Rating 5 skills.


And this is the part that I had forgotten:

QUOTE (SR4 p77)
The Aptitude quality may be taken during character creation to allow a beginning character to start with a skill of 7. If a character takes advantage of this quality, the cost for raising the skill from 6 to 7 is also twice normal, or 8 BP.


The really shameful part is that six months ago I had built an Aptitude guy specifically to have a 7 skill out of chargen. Not that this has anything to do with spirits of Man, mind you.
mfb
edit: nevermind. nevermind! i'm not involved! i was not here!
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