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Slamm-O
i am gming a game using sr3 and our group has been playing for years with some bug intermissions and i gm about half the time. In our current game the magician player has taken mind probe and levitate and it seems to me (and others) that these spells have too much utility for the shaman player.

first mind probe, i always figured you needed to touch the target and they would get the feeling of being 'mind raped', however both of those ended up being incorrect, allowing our shaman to just casually probe corp. executives and such for info as they walk from point a to b and he waits down the street with his binocs. The FAQ says that as for the victim sensing it gms can have them take the ame tet as feeling an astral being, which is helpful. But my big issue with the spell is how information do you get? i have told the player that he can ask for one piece of informationfor each success, but he feels that for a moment he 'experiences' the targets mind, becoming one with it so he should be able to get whatecer he wants. How do you deal with this spell in your games?

Levitate is looking like its even worse, the big problem being that the magic user can levitate himself, 1-2 friends (with them hanging on and the spell being +1 for every 150 kilos) to anyplace in space (practically) at a speed comparable to running as long as he sustains the spell. It seems like the height or distance that things can be levitated should be nerfed, especially to keep tha mage from using it as a flight spell, and takinga buddy along with him. Its made things like walls and breaking into high rise offices a cinch for the team and all while rendering cool stuff like grappling hooks and ultra lights moot. I will be stepping up things like watcher protection to stop them exploiting this but still, is this really the way the spell should be used? any sr3r ruling on this?

p.s. last note is on watchers, can projecting mages elude them? say one is set to watch the roof a building, are any stealth or perception tests made or will he see you approaching right away? can you kill him in one fell swoop w/o alerting his conjurer?


thank you for any help, i rally would like to rope in these spells to put their power level more in line with what sr magic has always seemed to us, not the end all be all of like DnD magic, but more of a nice toolbox, i mean it seems cheap if some spells make the magic user render the rest of the teams skills moot.

Wounded Ronin
I think a lot of people on this board discussed mind control spells before and many people, myself included, agreed that they're pretty damn powerful.

I would say that the easiest way to address this would just be to massively increase the drain code on those spells. That way a PC magician could use them if he or she really wanted to but it would be a huge committment of resources since taking some drain would be inevitable.

The more cannon correct but harder way would be to say that turnabout is fair play and have enemy magicians use mind control and mind probe spells on the PCs all the time. Think about how nasty that would be.
Kanada Ten
On Mind Probe, I generally give them a number of questions and depth based on successes and force. You can use the detection table as a pretty good guide to this. Also, corporations have the ability to really limit the visibility of their employees.

I limit Combat Pool while under Levitate (and with others hanging off, I'd eliminate it). Use a Masked Ward once an a while along with increased astral patrolling, and don't forget critters like the Merlin Hawk.

Stealth tests against Astral Patrolling.
Glyph
For mind probe, the SR2 flavor text story pretty explicitly depicts it as something the target is aware of - SR4 explicitly states this. So SR3 may not say it outright, but if you were aware of it in the previous edition, and are aware of it in the next edition, I would say you should be aware of it in SR3.

The rules are also explicit about letting you gain one piece of information at a time, with your successes limiting how deep you can probe. So what your player "feels" he should be able to get is a moot point. You don't really need to nerf the spell - you merely need to run it according to canon, instead of as an undetectable know-everything spell.


Levitate is not that big a deal. Being able to fly over a wall still doesn't protect them against sensor detection, and flying targets tend to both be exposed and draw fire. Remember that the awakening is old news, and security should routinely deal with things like levitating or invisible intruders.

Are they floating over a wall? They are likely to still trigger an alarm and/or get shot at. Are they floating up to a high-rise window? Their B&E specialist will probably find it awkward trying to disable alarms and cut through a window while clinging to the mage. Not to mention that their entire team is exposed, and that they are all one dispelling away from a too-speedy trip to the ground. Truthfully, the best use of the spell would be to get the stealthy person over an obstacle, then have that person open the gate for the rest of them. Plopping them all over the wall, machine-gun wielding troll and all, will get them past one obstacle at the cost of making the whole team more vulnerable to detection.

If you still need to nerf it, then start considering how one person will feel if they are being lifted up while two or more heavy people are clinging to them. Imagine someone hoisting you up a line while a linebacker has his arms wrapped around your shoulders, then imagine how much worse it might be for a puny mage with a troll grasping him. If you're feeling really evil, you could have the mage make a concentration check when they're halfway up.
Wounded Ronin
That's a good point about levitiate...about drawing fire, I mean. People who play a lot of first person shooter games realize that while it may initially seem tempting to run up to the highest spot on the map and be able to shoot at everyone it's also the person at the highest spot on the map who is most likely to be seen and shot at by everyone at once. If you're on the ground usually only a certain amount of the people on the ground will be able to see you because of buildings and cover so you are almost always shot at less than the guy up top is who everyone can easily see.

One time in a SR game a mage tried to escape from an approaching patrol by levitating straight up. However, although this made the people directly beneath her not notice the soldiers who were futher away all took aim at this person who suddenly had shot up high into the sky. An entire squad, having no other visible target on the ground, fired on the mage and inflicted a D wound. The mage went unconscious, fell down that same height, and bounced.
James McMurray
Alarms on the inside of upper floor windows will pretty much shut down their abiility to easily fly up and in. For roof entrances you put more security then you would put on the front door because the inconvenince of security is less with the less used doors.
hyzmarca
I suddenly have this image in my head of an ork and a large troll hanging onto a flying albino gnome. At some point they have a conversation that goes something like this -

*Beep* *Beep* Beeep*

Gnome: What's that?

Ork: Its my radar detector. We're being painted by a SAM.

Troll: A SAM!! A SAM!!!! DO SOMETHING!!

Ork: Quick, drop your chaff!!! DROP YOUR CHAFF!!!!

Troll: I didn't bring the chaff. YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BRING THE CHAFF!!! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!!

Ork: OH MY GOD!!!! OH MY GOD!!!!

- Both Ork and troll release their grip on the gnome. They make big gooy smears where they land. -

-The gnome wets himself and there is a dramatic pause before he becomes not so chunky salsa-
Kanada Ten
The secret is to cast levitate on a camouflage carpet...
James McMurray
Don't you mean the giant ruthenium polymer box with eye holes?
Bodak
QUOTE (Slamm-O)
first mind probe, i always figured you needed to touch the target and they would get the feeling of being 'mind raped',
The FAQ says that as for the victim sensing it gms can have them take the ame tet as feeling an astral being, which is helpful.
QUOTE (Slamm-O)
Levitate is looking like its even worse, the big problem being that the magic user can levitate himself, 1-2 friends (with them hanging on and the spell being +1 for every 150 kilos) to anyplace in space (practically) at a speed comparable to running as long as he sustains the spell.

Is that all? He should be an Initiate and conjure a Force 6 Sky Spirit with one service just before he casts Levitate; to use its Movement power on him. Check out how your speed while Levitating is calculated biggrin.gif

Then, as Glyph said, anyone with Sorcery can dispell the Levitate if they have LOS to him. And LoneStar has this thing against Force 3 and higher spells / spirits. But it doesn't have to be the authorities - even some awakened punk kid who sees him Neo past at rocket speeds and feels like a jerk could make him a nasty stain on that plascrete wall at the end of the street.

QUOTE (Slamm-O)
Its made things like walls and breaking into high rise offices a cinch for the team and all while rendering cool stuff like grappling hooks and ultra lights moot.

Your players need to be introduced to weather. Wind makes things tricky (ahh I just dropped my 12 mill allen key - anyone down there found a tiny piece of L-shaped wire by any chance? I really really need it up here!) and rain makes things slippery and lightning makes chromies nervous.

QUOTE (Slamm-O)
I will be stepping up things like watcher protection to stop them exploiting this

If the corp can afford a skyrise tower it will have afforded astral security. It will have wage-mages under its hire. A projecting mage can't dispell Levitate since it's on the physical plane and he isn't, however, his Familiar can materialise and it has as much Sorcery as he has, so...

That's better than a dumb watcher who can't materialise and doesn't have sorcery.

QUOTE (Slamm-O)
last note is on watchers, can projecting mages elude them? say one is set to watch the roof a building, are any stealth or perception tests made or will he see you approaching right away? can you kill him in one fell swoop w/o alerting his conjurer?


Projecting mages can certainly elude watchers if it's a chase. They'll almost certainly have higher Magic than the watcher has Force.

Astral forms are fairly easy to see zipping around, but watchers are notoriously thick so it may well be "looking the wrong way" when said invading projecting mage collides with it using Fast Astral Movement... they're not going to stand up to much in the way of resisting damage. I run them with one damage track with a number of boxes on it equal to their force. Stops people exploiting Friends In Melee in astral combat.

A watcher's owner never knows what happenned to the watcher unless he sees it expire. He doesn't know if it got lost, got confused, got killed, ran out of time, met an astral ward, etc nor whether it completed its orders before it did so.
eidolon
QUOTE (Bodak)
QUOTE (Slamm-O)
first mind probe, i always figured you needed to touch the target and they would get the feeling of being 'mind raped',
The FAQ says that as for the victim sensing it gms can have them take the ame tet as feeling an astral being, which is helpful.

Not really. All that happened in that thread was some people said "you know" and others said "you don't know".

See Glyph's post above in this thread, however. That covers it. Modify to taste.
Laser
QUOTE (hyzmarca @ May 18 2006, 07:06 PM)
I suddenly have this image in my head of an ork and a large troll hanging onto a flying albino gnome. At some point they have a conversation that goes something like this -

*Beep* *Beep* Beeep*

Gnome: What's that?

Ork: Its my radar detector. We're being painted by a SAM.

Troll: A SAM!! A SAM!!!! DO SOMETHING!!

Ork: Quick, drop your chaff!!! DROP YOUR CHAFF!!!!

Troll: I didn't bring the chaff. YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BRING THE CHAFF!!! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!!

Ork: OH MY GOD!!!! OH MY GOD!!!!

- Both Ork and troll release their grip on the gnome. They make big gooy smears where they land. -

-The gnome wets himself and there is a dramatic pause before he becomes not so chunky salsa-

Funny you should mention that... I fondly remember an incident of skydiving out of a stolen space shuttle (so we wouldn't get caught when it landed... long story) while duct-taped to an albino gnome (a naked one, no less) and Concealed by a spirit. Of course, that was an ork and a human, and between the shuttle and the concealment no one noticed us (except for some surprised people on the ground, who were told we were "filming extreme videos, dude! woohoo!")

Anyhow, on topic: Levitate, Mind Probe, and Control Thoughts are all powerful (and versatile, which is I think where they get scary for most GMs; it's not the kind of thing you can plan for easily) but remember that they're magic, and effects which limit magic limit them. Actively sustained spells can be attacked in astral space, or disrupted by disrupting the mage who cast them. A handful of patrolling elementals, a ward, strategic use of the mana static spell... all of these can really discourage egregious uses of magic.
Kyoto Kid
...In my book...

...Mind Probe is the Campaign Killer.

...Control thoughts makes NPCs a pain in the butt for the GM.

...Levitate + Invisibility, that is the only one that I have successfully dealt with (as has been put forth in earlier this thread) with just beefing up mundane & magical security. These spells may spoof normal sensors but throw in Scent and Pheromone scanners, or Critters (especially paranormals) and watch the expression on the runners' faces when the lead (or spells) start flying their way as they are caught in mid air.

Above all, doors/windows locked with mechanical locks (with appropriate sensors attached along with microwire in the glass which when broken sets off the alarm) are the simplest ways to alert security and slow down a break in. Yeah the mage may have Magic Fingers, but who ever takes Lock Picking skill?

...well my character Margo Grande had it...but she was a self styled Laura Croft/Indiana Jones wannabe.
James McMurray
Mind Control in my group is one of the things that are on the Cold War list. If it gets used by the players it will get used on the players. Since one of the worst things my players like to experience is having their control of their character removed it doesn't happen often. One of our current characters has used it once. He ended up in jail and the guy made a new character rather than waitt he sentence out.
Laser
QUOTE (Kyoto Kid)
...Yeah the mage may have Magic Fingers, but who ever takes Lock Picking skill?

...well my character Margo Grande had it...but she was a self styled Laura Croft/Indiana Jones wannabe.

well, yeah, but lockpick guns are one of the few cases where having equipment can substitute for having a skill, and they're light enough to manipulate with magic fingers.
hobgoblin
last time i checked, mind probe was a touch spell. so its not like some caster can look down on a crowd and mind probe each person there from the top of a building.

QUOTE
A projecting mage can't dispell Levitate since it's on the physical plane and he isn't


thats only for spell targeting. a mage on the astral can both see and dispell a physical spell, no problem. but i think he will find it simpler to just attack the spell in astral combat...
Kyoto Kid
QUOTE (Laser)
QUOTE (Kyoto Kid @ May 19 2006, 11:50 AM)
...Yeah the mage may have Magic Fingers, but who ever takes Lock Picking skill?

...well my character Margo Grande had it...but she was a self styled Laura Croft/Indiana Jones wannabe.

well, yeah, but lockpick guns are one of the few cases where having equipment can substitute for having a skill, and they're light enough to manipulate with magic fingers.

...agreed, but I haven't had a mage character in the scenarios I've run yet consider buying one.

Heck, most runners I've seen rarely anticipate running into such "old school" tech ("...everyone uses maglocks, right?"). When they do they usually use brute force to bypass it which of course alerts security.

stevebugge
QUOTE (Kyoto Kid)
QUOTE (Laser)
QUOTE (Kyoto Kid @ May 19 2006, 11:50 AM)
...Yeah the mage may have Magic Fingers, but who ever takes Lock Picking skill?

...well my character Margo Grande had it...but she was a self styled Laura Croft/Indiana Jones wannabe.

well, yeah, but lockpick guns are one of the few cases where having equipment can substitute for having a skill, and they're light enough to manipulate with magic fingers.

...agreed, but I haven't had a mage character in the scenarios I've run yet consider buying one.

Heck, most runners I've seen rarely anticipate running into such "old school" tech ("...everyone uses maglocks, right?"). When they do they usually use brute force to bypass it which of course alerts security.

I just find it hilarious that my group, after being stopped on multiple ocasions by locked or barred doors still hasn't acquired the skills or equipment to get by them without breaking them down. They come up with brilliant, elaborate plans to take on guards, magical security, sneak by motion sensors, cameras, guard animals, critters, and drones. Only to get stopped by a locked door.
eidolon
QUOTE (hobgoblin @ May 19 2006, 01:55 PM)
last time i checked, mind probe was a touch spell. so its not like some caster can look down on a crowd and mind probe each person there from the top of a building.

Nope. It's a detection spell, granting a new sense to the subject, and has a range of (Force x Magic Attribute) meters.

You're thinking of "subject", which does have to be touched during the casting. "Target" is the person whose mind you are probing.
Jagermech
So, easy way to tone down Mind Probe would be to turn it back to a touch based spell, skin to skin contact only.
Taran
I did that in my game, and have been pleased with the results.
Crusher Bob
If I remember right, in SR2 with was touch range and something like (F/2)+2D which made it much more balanced
hobgoblin
ye flippin gods. what genius made it a "range of sense" spell?!

ugh, forget it. in my games its touch and touch only!
mmu1
QUOTE (Taran)
I did that in my game, and have been pleased with the results.

Is that how we'd been doing it? I thought there were at least a couple of instances of NPCs getting into our heads without requiring touch, not so long ago.

Kagetenshi
Sure, plenty of themóbut unless I'm mistaken, they've all been sending things, not reading our minds.

Or if you mean whatsisname, clownguy, Detect Truth is not so limited.

~J
mmu1
QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
Sure, plenty of themóbut unless I'm mistaken, they've all been sending things, not reading our minds.

Or if you mean whatsisname, clownguy, Detect Truth is not so limited.

~J

I thought the Freaky Bald Kid was trying to read our minds?

With Deadeye (I'm assuming you mean him, as opposed to the Staked to the Ground Clownguy, or Burning Clownguy? smile.gif ), I figured it could have been something like that, and the stuff in the desert was definitely an attempt at mind control, not probe, but I still think there were at least a couple of times when someone tried to read the PCs mind.

Not that it actually bothers me, or anything.
Kagetenshi
Hm. I'm not finding those logs, I'll see what I can dig up. Was this back when we first met him, or after?

~J
mmu1
QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ May 22 2006, 12:13 PM)
Hm. I'm not finding those logs, I'll see what I can dig up. Was this back when we first met him, or after?

~J

This was when we first went into the UB building, and he tried to convince us to abandon our lives of violence and embrace a future of unity and peace.

Though who knows, maybe he was just making guesses based on reading our auras and figuring out our emotional states?
nezumi
Just remember, everything the PCs can do, the NPCs can do as well. if the PCs feel they should be able to randomly mind probe people without anyone noticing, let the NPC mages do the same. They have some brief encounter with the enemy runner group and come home to find all their safehouses rigged with explosives, their girlfriends kidnapped and their dogs dead. Then you also have a good excuse to start working off those phobia flaws that never get activated (he's dressed like a four foot tall martian?? No way, you're just trying to bring my phobia into play. Oh, he mind probed me? Oh, umm...)
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