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Disclaimer: I donīt want to get anyone into trouble for answering to this post, so if the type of discussion of SR 4 Iīm soliciting is banned under the rules outlined in the stickied topic (mods?), just say so and feel free to ignore this thread thereafter.

I havenīt so far had the opportunity to play with SR 4 rules, so hereīs a question to those who have: Is it me, or have combat-mages been hit with the mother of all nerfings?

For example: After doing a few "dry" dice-rolls I found that, in one complex action, equivalent attributes being equal, a mage does the same damage with a powerbolt as a guy with a Colt Manhunter with standard (not XX) explosive ammo. He also gets about 2-3 boxes of drain for his trouble, and no extra-action giving stuff or indeed any cyberware.

If this is indeed true and representative of actual SR 4 combat, Iīld like to know your thoughts on whether this is good or bad. Having played a SR 3 mage for a long time, I would not really be comfortable with this, although I admit that SR 3 mages are very powerful indeed. OTOH, I always thought that the "geek the mage first (and for heavens sake, protect your own)" added an extra level of combat-tactics... and gave the mages something to worry about grinbig.gif
I think the single biggest thing that offsets what you're experiencing is this: Overcasting is safer and easier under SR4 than SR3, and because it's now harder to heal stun than physical (unless I missed something saying that overcasting damage can't be magically healed). That being said I personally am glad to see mages get nerfed, I personally have always disliked the power imbalance (and resultant GM time imbalance) among characters.
Kanada Ten
Don't forget that foci are rather cheap, though. Plus, one can summon a Spirit of Man to do the nasty casting for you.
You've got a totally concealable weapon that can't be detected, never runs out of ammo as long as you don't pass out, can be over-powered at will and never gets lost.

Personally, I like the SR4 changes.
So do I.

I like the current state of mages wink.gif.

I dread the upcoming magic rules book, which I am sure will make mages far to powerfull again.
Big D
If you dig around, you can find a few threads where this has been hashed around some.

My personal opinion is that pure combat mages are pretty nerfy, but mind control, unless prohibited by general agreement with the GM, is the nuke in the closet--just remember that if you can have them, so can Iran, err, Azzie sec mages.

Combat spells are best at putting somebody down NOW, especially with overcasting, particularly at extreme ranges where guns are less effective. They're not so good at general combat; for that, use a spirit.

Strongly consider keeping a high-rating medkit on you at all times. It may be an oversight, but the last time I looked at it, it seemed like you could use a medkit then cast heal (but it explicitly states that you can't use a medkit after casting heal).

Also, mana/stun spells are probably going to be more effective in general than powerbolt, unless the enemy is packing a pain editor.

Finally, if you want a chrome mage, you'll want a pain editor and platelet factories, and if somebody has astral combat covered, you might think of a magic adept so that you can grab some permanent powers (although it costs 1 PP just to *see* astral).
I never used Powerbolt as the benchmark for how powerful Mages are/were, I always used Manabolt. Things get even more in favour of the Mage if you use Stunbolt, I mean an unconscious foe can easily be finished off right? However, if you want to benchmark by doing Physical damage then compare with Manabolt, because Powerbolt is more drain than necessary. Manabolt still does Physical, has less drain, and targets the opponents Willpower which is generally lower.
Kyoto Kid
...mundanes in SR4 have a bit less defence against combat and mind mush spells since the spell's TN is no longer based on the target's Willpower or Body Attributes. In SR4 the number of net hits stacks on to the spell power on a 1 for 1 basis instead of staging up the damage code for every 2 net successes.

Firing off a force 5 Stunbolt against a character with say a WP of 6 will take an SR4 character down a lot easier than her SR3 counterpart, since there is no hit "threshold" to replace the old variable TN. (Drain aside, the mage basically gets more "effective" hits in SR4 than he would in SR3 while the Mundane gets the same number of dice to shake the damage down).
While direct combat spells seem to be a little less effective, spirits ae much more effective with the ability of hermetics to summon on the spot. Additionally, there are no longer rules (that me or my players could find) preventing and astrally projecting mage from summoning a spirit, which allows a mage to leave his body someplace safe, yet still participate meaningfully in combat.

My group found this when a player tried to do it and I said "No." The player challeneged me (politly accepting it as a house rule if that was my desire), but I (and other experienced players) all startd searching the rules, and we couldn't find a reference that said astral mages cannot summon, so I allowed it. So far, my players have not abused this too much (only abused it once, and that didn't bother me). My players to respect that NPCs can (and will) do anything they can do, so use of cheap tactics is kept to a minimum (I do expect them to take advantage of an enemy's weaknesses).

If someone finds a reference in SR4 that says an astral mage can't summon, please share it.

James McMurray
They can summon. Just be careful of the enemy mage tracking your body down and summoning a spirit there to kill you. A force 2 spirit ought to be able to do the job with almost no chance of drain to the mage. Leaving your body unattended is a bad idea.
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