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Rokur
I was curious if people think stunbolt may be overpowered or not... Personally I think it is, considering that you cast a Force 11 Stunbolt, and resist 4 physical drain for it.... that's a lot of damage, and a high chance of soaking all the drain too... overpowered? or are mages supposed to be just that much better than anyone else 1v1?
Big D
You cast your Force 11 stunbolt, and I'll cast a pair of Force 12 Fragballs.

Any questions?

Oh, if you insist that I have to do S damage, I'll use a pair of stun minis (DV6/AP-3 each) instead of the frag minis.

Combat spells are probably overrated. There's a place for them (emergency nukage, quiet AE, operating without visible weapons, sniping with optical vismag from long range), but they're not always the fastest or the surest way to put somebody down.
Xenith
Well, for one thing, stunballs usually leave witnesses. And bodies. Powerballs just leave bodies.

It also only affects living beings.... so if they got a mage... break out your drone rigger! Drone helis with LMGs are just fun! Makes me all happy and warm inside. grinbig.gif
Rokur
QUOTE (Big D)
You cast your Force 11 stunbolt, and I'll cast a pair of Force 12 Fragballs.

Any questions?

Oh, if you insist that I have to do S damage, I'll use a pair of stun minis (DV6/AP-3 each) instead of the frag minis.

Combat spells are probably overrated. There's a place for them (emergency nukage, quiet AE, operating without visible weapons, sniping with optical vismag from long range), but they're not always the fastest or the surest way to put somebody down.

that's a retarded thing... stunbolt wins 1v1...

here's how... wow, ok, if mage is in astral.. your bullets do no thing! congratulations...

mage is there, he's not gonna stand there stupid like, either he's on improved invisibility (what are you shooting at again? unless you're a troll with natural Thermo)....and he'd probably Increase Body himself anyway.
or let's say an ork mage... turns into a Lion Form... and gets 4 hits on his spellcasting roll, he's now a Lion with a body 10, agility 9, reaction 8, and Strength 9....and he'd probably Increase Body himself anyway.
and yes he can still stunbolt you in Lion Form.
Or he's just got a decent reaction and full body armor + a ballistic riot shield... wow....and he'd probably Increase Body himself anyway.

PS- i'm just asking because one of my PCs is overusing it, and getting unoriginal with how he runs... Fly in astral recon, take out major sec forces, other runners clean up.
Big D
How many sustaining foci does he have?

That's a lot of active spells to be running, at -2 dice each.

Increased Body only helps so much when facing 2 shots of 12P damage, plus maybe a few more from excess hits on the heavy weapons roll. Or, give one of the guards a MGL with stun minis, and you could care less what his Body is, because you dropped a couple of DV6 bombs on his Stun track. Likewise, stick-n-shock will tend to ruin his day.

If he's running astral... you need some astral defenses. Watcher spirits, awakened critters, something. Unless they're knocking over some anti-magic policlub or the little old mundane ladies' bridge party, there's a decent chance that there will be at least some magic on the other side. If the opfor goes on full alert because he was spotted coming in, then his team is going to have some problems.

Now, he can still snipe from distance or cover (using endoscope), so give your guards biomonitors that squawk when the guard goes down. Again, opfor goes on alert, forces the team to at least move faster if they're going to make a noisy entry.

Oh, and is the mage cleaning up his astral signature after each cast?
Xenith
And call me wacky, but spells only function on the plane they are cast from right? So only dual natured(see also astrally perceiving) or astral creaures would be harmed by said stunbolt from the astral.
Glyph
If he's been letting the group mage stunbolt everybody from the astral plane, then no wonder he has trouble with game balance! And even for recon - like Big D says, a corporation will have magical security, so astral intruders shouldn't be able to simply breeze in.
KeyMasterOfGozer
Yes, that's 2 reasons.

1) I know in SR3 you could not cast spells onto Real world targets from the astral, and I suspect the same is true in SR4. You could attack through an active sustaining focus, since that would be active on the astral.

2) in SR3, spells over force 4 are illegal, casting them would leave astral signatures, which Lone Star could use as easily as fingerprints. I'm sure there is something similar in SR4.

I know it sounds like I don't play SR4; I do, but I haven't been living with the rules as long.
Abschalten
It doesn't matter what Force the spell is cast at for determining whether or not it does damage -- It's dependent on net hits. A decent counterspeller (you're currently playing with Bodhi in a game on these forums, and this is her forte) would more than likely smack down his Stunbolts, especially if they have a good Combat Spell-attuned Counterspelling Focus. And the spell fizzles, and he still has to eat shit on drain.

Also, like others have said, if you're on the astral, you can't Stunbolt targets on the physical plane.

Also, check this shit out. A Force 11 Stunbolt has an astral signature that lasts for 11 hours. Unless he spends 11 Complex Actions cleaning that shit up EVERYTIME HE CASTS IT then he's basically leaving magical investigators a buffet of evidence to use to link to his crimes and track him down.

Karma is a theme in Shadowrun for a reason...
K2Grey
QUOTE (Rokur @ Apr 15 2006, 05:08 PM)

that's a retarded thing... stunbolt wins 1v1...

here's how... wow, ok, if mage is in astral.. your bullets do no thing! congratulations...

mage is there, he's not gonna stand there stupid like, either he's on improved invisibility (what are you shooting at again? unless you're a troll with natural Thermo)....and he'd probably Increase Body himself anyway.
or let's say an ork mage... turns into a Lion Form... and gets 4 hits on his spellcasting roll, he's now a Lion with a body 10, agility 9, reaction 8, and Strength 9....and he'd probably Increase Body himself anyway.
and yes he can still stunbolt you in Lion Form.
Or he's just got a decent reaction and full body armor + a ballistic riot shield... wow....and he'd probably Increase Body himself anyway.

PS- i'm just asking because one of my PCs is overusing it, and getting unoriginal with how he runs... Fly in astral recon, take out major sec forces, other runners clean up.

1) Mage in astral can't do anything meaningful other than scope the place out. And he has to watch it with enemy mages, because if the opposition spots him then they will do something about it. It's not good to give advance warning that you're coming.

2) That's many spells to sustain. He'll need sustaining foci or else deal with many -2 penalties and at char creation the max force on those is 3. Also, I don't really feel that increasing one's Body is that useful since it's 3 points of Body for every 1 point of damage reduction, on average, and there's a cap on how high you can boost it anyway.

3) Full body armor isn't available at chargen, and again it doesn't really help you soak that much damage.

4) I think the main benefit of mages is in summoning spirits, astral perception, and screwing with other mages. In many departments it's not that easy for a mage to own the place. For example, 1 Force 10 Stunbolt is going to crash anyone, but since a mage's initiative score is usually low he will go after everyone else goes. He'll need to sustain an Increase Reflexes to have more than 1 initiative pass in a round. He can't use AoE often for fear of hitting party members. He does need to soak drain which is not that high, but it will add up (and if it isn't adding up, that means the rest of the team is taking out many more people than the mage is, so the mage isn't getting that many opportunities to cast anyway). But on the other hand a gunbunny can shoot two times a round with a heavy pistol. With a good agility, pistols skill, smartlink, and so on, he will surely hit the hapless opponent who rolls Reaction to dodge, and then since it takes 3 points of body/armor to reduce DV by 1, he will surely do a ton of damage, and then he gets to do it again in the same IP, and take no drain. If the gunbunny is allowed to bring bigger weapons the mage is sort of outgunned.

5) A mage with binoculars is a great sniper but so is a guy with sniper rifles.

Edit: Anyway, while I'm a bit new to Shadowrun I get the strong impression that combat is quite lethal and it doesn't really matter if you can kill everyone in one shot, or roll 15 dice to dodge, there are still too many ways to get killed. If the mage can sustain those spells and take out the entire corp facility on his own then there is something really wrong with how the opposition is being handled, and if he's part of the team then the victory should be attributed to the team and not the mage being godlike.

Besides, why bother putting yourself in danger when you can summon a whupping big spirit and tell it to pound the opposition with its Reaction of 30+ and hardened armor that takes a Panther Assault Cannon to damage wink.gif
hyzmarca
Purely astral beings cannot cast onto the physical plane but they wreck havock on dual-natured mundanes.
James McMurray
Dual natured mundanes?
hyzmarca
Shapeshifters, ghouls, cyberzombies, and certain changlings. Mostly things that SR4 doesn't have rules for yet. Its just ghouls at the moment.
Big D
QUOTE
4) I think the main benefit of mages is in summoning spirits, astral perception, and screwing with other mages.


I would add healing/buffing (eg, P2 sustaining (healing) foci and Improved Reflexes, or if the team already has max IPs, there are detection, illusion, and manipulation buffs out there), and if you think you can prevent the GM from doing the same to you, munchy mindslave stuff, which only needs really one net hit and can therefore use F1-F2 spells.

I also think that any mage, when his team is packing F-rated gear, should carry a MGL-12 with smart/airburst-link and have at least a 1 in heavy weapons. With minigrenades, hitting the broadside of the barn is good enough, and you're guaranteed to do that with A+3 dice and airburst-link. You just have to keep spatial awareness and make sure that you don't have friendlies or collateral within the burst radius, which can be as tight as 5m.
Edward
Of the mage is astral all he can do is poke his tong out at you, unless your dual natured.

You canít cast spells from the astral to the physical.

Shape change for fights is a bad idea, your sustaining a spell so your at -2 to all dice pools. And you cant were the same clothing so a sustaining focus is all but out of the question.

And consider an elf gunslinger bumping out 2 narrow bursts on an SMG with full recoil compensation. Each of those roles more dice for the attack than the spell caster did, and has a damage code of 7P+ammunition modifiers. If were going for the best we can get at char gen that would be gel rounds for 9S damage. And if the target gets successes on the resistance test there is still some damage, its not an all or nothing thing like the spell is.

Edward
Voran
The SR world, especially as we go into later editions, seems to scream the need for layered defenses. Layered and coordinated. Frankly, if your target doesn't have it, they shouldn't have anything worth taking. (I suppose they could go the other route, so secret a location/existance that they avoid supersecurity to avoid drawing attention)

Any target area that has gaps in an area of security, magical, mundane, matrix, whatever, deserves to get reamed.

It's kinda a trade-off too, if you demonstrate you're a mage of considerable threat, you'll be treated as such. If the mage is blasting through security, you can bet the backups will be doing the age-old 'geek the mage' trick.
Thanee
QUOTE (Rokur @ Apr 15 2006, 11:08 PM)
either he's on improved invisibility (what are you shooting at again? unless you're a troll with natural Thermo).

Why natural thermo? What's the difference there? Is there even any?

Also, I don't think thermovision can detect invisible mages, that should be taken care of by Improved Invisibility, because it's still a visual sense.

Ultrasound should work just fine to 'see' invisible mages, since it's not really a visual sense. Only 1,025• for the glasses.

QUOTE
Fly in astral recon, take out major sec forces, other runners clean up.


You cannot affect physical beings from the astral, you can only manifest, not materialize (like spirits).

What i'm not entirely sure is, whether you can summon spirits on the astral now, since then you could let those cause some havok.

Anyways, there are many, many countermeasures against mages out there, which can keep them from flying around in secured areas at their leisure.

A simple guard spirit can easily alarm the security forces, which then call for magical backup and soon after the mage finds him- or herself in unpleasant company. There are methods to keep mages out with barriers (not entirely sure, whether there are still the mundane barriers (bacteria, plants, etc), which block astral travel).

Also, leaving astral signatures can prove highly inconvenient in the future.


If you are worried about overcasting low-drain spells being too powerful, maybe - as a house rule - limit overcasting to Magic x 1.5 instead of Magic x 2? Or have them resist Drain twice (physical + mental, each with full DV)?


Mages are certainly powerful, but they are no gods; and unless they are careful, they can run into a lot of trouble, too.

Bye
Thanee
Abschalten
QUOTE (K2Grey)
Besides, why bother putting yourself in danger when you can summon a whupping big spirit and tell it to pound the opposition with its Reaction of 30+ and hardened armor that takes a Panther Assault Cannon to damage wink.gif

Check the errata on spirits -- they fixed the screwed up Reactions for spirits, among other things. There's no more of that 30 Reaction b.s. going around for spirits now.
pragma
Something that I find valuable to remember about magical (and I suppose matrix) security is that, unlike physical forces, reinforcements are fractions of a second away. A magical HTR can be present on astral in no more than one combar round and once there can really ruin your life (summoning spirits, relaying information, clobbering anyone who is dual natured and preventing the team mage from doing anything on astral).

The same holds true for a team of HTR decker ... hackers, thought they're not really being discussed here.
fool
It seems to me that there is a constant discussion of whether or not mages are too powerful. It comes up all the time.
Shadowrunners are supposed to be more powerful than the geekboy working the stuffershack. either they're powerful as mages or they cut ice like a thermite bar or they have so many skills that they might as well be encyclopedia brown.
One way or another, a character is goiing to be more powerful than another. It's about balancing these powers thats important. If your team is all uberpowered mages, then your matrix presence will be nil, as will be your ability to melee... better not get caught with a couple drones attacking you.
Azralon
QUOTE (Voran @ Apr 16 2006, 07:26 AM)
The SR world, especially as we go into later editions, seems to scream the need for layered defenses.† Layered and coordinated.†

<snip>

Any target area that has gaps in an area of security, magical, mundane, matrix, whatever, deserves to get reamed.

Quoted for its wisdom.

A well-constructed RPG is going to place a lot of emphasis on coordinated team play. Shadowrun does that very nicely, requiring the typical motley crew of complimentary specialists who can, as a team, deal with a large number of situations.

Need some intel or infiltration? Look to the faceman. Is there Matrix security? A hacker's the best qualified to deal with it. Is there magical security? You'll probably need a mage. Are you dealing with hostile infantry? You'll need some samurai. Are you dealing with hostile armor? You'll need a rigger.

Don't have one of those five food groups? Well, you might be able to get by because each role has some degree of crossover capacity, but ideally you'll want a specialist. "Dual-classing" certain archetypes is very easy in Shadowrun if your team roster can (or must) support a multi-role character.

I don't view the archetypes as a linear hierarchy, where any one is inherently and globally "better" than any other one. It's more of a rock-paper-scissors relationship. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, but each has enough flexibility and customization of playstyle to keep things fun.
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