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Blizz
This may seem glaringly obvious to the rest of you, especially veterans of earlier editions, but when a sustaining a spell does the caster suffer a -2 dice pool penalty to magical tests, or ALL tests? From page 174 of the SR4 book, "While sustained spells do offer the opportunity to have an ongoing magical effect they are also draining on the magician's magical abilities." To me this implies that sustaining a spell would only affect magical tests, however the very next sentence "For each sustained spell the magician maintains, she suffers a -2 dice penalty on all other tests." does not discriminate between magical and nonmagical tests. Page 173 also states that sustained spells are a distraction and incur a -2 dice penalty to all tests, so it would seem that no distinction is made between magical and nonmagical tests. However, if that's the case then what's the point of all these buff spells? Take for example the Combat Mage on page 90. To compete with any cybered character he's probably going to need both Increase Reflexes and Armor up, but would good does that really do him if he's now suffering a -4 to every single test he makes? Not only will he have a hard time hitting anything he'll also be unlikely to avoid any blows at all. Also, unless he got 4 or more success on that Armor spell he's actually suffering a penalty to Damage Resistance tests. In short this unfortunate combat mage is worse off then when he started in everything but Initiative Passes (which I realize are a pretty big deal, but the Street Sam has his extra IPs at no penalty other than essence loss). Was it really the game designers' intention that buffs are basically unusable without those expensive sustaining foci or constantly rebinding spirits to maintain spells?
Tarantula
All tests. I'll want to look into the damage resistance rules, but in prior editions, they couldn't be changed, so I'm betting the penalty doesn't apply to them here either. As far as to be useful? Buff someone else, or use sustaining foci.
Geekkake
QUOTE (Blizz)
This may seem glaringly obvious to the rest of you, especially veterans of earlier editions, but when a sustaining a spell does the caster suffer a -2 dice pool penalty to magical tests, or ALL tests? From page 174 of the SR4 book, "While sustained spells do offer the opportunity to have an ongoing magical effect they are also draining on the magician's magical abilities." To me this implies that sustaining a spell would only affect magical tests, however the very next sentence "For each sustained spell the magician maintains, she suffers a -2 dice penalty on all other tests." does not discriminate between magical and nonmagical tests. Page 173 also states that sustained spells are a distraction and incur a -2 dice penalty to all tests, so it would seem that no distinction is made between magical and nonmagical tests. However, if that's the case then what's the point of all these buff spells? Take for example the Combat Mage on page 90. To compete with any cybered character he's probably going to need both Increase Reflexes and Armor up, but would good does that really do him if he's now suffering a -4 to every single test he makes? Not only will he have a hard time hitting anything he'll also be unlikely to avoid any blows at all. Also, unless he got 4 or more success on that Armor spell he's actually suffering a penalty to Damage Resistance tests. In short this unfortunate combat mage is worse off then when he started in everything but Initiative Passes (which I realize are a pretty big deal, but the Street Sam has his extra IPs at no penalty other than essence loss). Was it really the game designers' intention that buffs are basically unusable without those expensive sustaining foci or constantly rebinding spirits to maintain spells?

The sustaining penalty applies to all actions. That combat mage better get some sustaining foci.
Moon-Hawk
Yes. That was really the designer's intention. Assuming you're using them to buff yourself. You don't need any of that stuff if you're using it to buff a teammate while you sit and sustain.
Blizz
Well, what good is it to sustain spells on someone else if you have to have line of sight on them? The NPCs could a) waste their ammo on a heavily cybered, magically protected sam or b) blow the unprotected mage's head off. Sure SOME NPCs may be stupid, but this isn't a mmorpg with aggro management either nyahnyah.gif

Are you certain Damage Resistance tests can't be modified? I know wound modifiers don't apply, but sustaining a spell says ALL tests. Also what about the Disorientation or Paralysis effects from toxins? Disorientation says -2 to all actions, so that might not effect resistances, but Paralysis (assuming youíre not paralyzed all together) says -2 to all tests.
Geekkake
QUOTE (Blizz @ Jun 15 2006, 02:39 PM)
Well, what good is it to sustain spells on someone else if you have to have line of sight on them? The NPCs could a) waste their ammo on a heavily cybered, magically protected sam or b) blow the unprotected mage's head off. Sure SOME NPCs may be stupid, but this isn't a mmorpg with aggro management either nyahnyah.gif

Stay in the van.

[edit]: Furthermore, I'm not entirely certain you have to have LOS to sustain. I think you just have to have LOS to cast, then you can duck down in the back of the van and let the men with the big boots and the guns do the dirty work.

Of course, then you're depriving them of counterspelling.

Get bullet-resistant windows.
Teulisch
why not grab a balistic sheild? good bonus to the armor for its -1 to all physical tests including atacks... no effect on magic use. you can get LOS through the tiny window in the sheild, while having enough protection to not be so very squishy. and in an emergency you can just drop it and RUN.

if sustaining spells is getting to you, why not take a dose of Psyche? (drug on p. 250) It drops your penalty to only 1 per sustained spells (so you can sustain twice as many), and for the average (body 3) mage will last a good 9 hours. the +1 to intuition and logic can help as well. just be aware of the mental side effects.

if you want an IP at no penalty... theres a few different drugs for that as well. but really theres a lot of balance issues with it. The sam is faster, sure. But look at it this way- sam gets to do 6 simple actions to your 2. but while he is limited to what gear he could buy and carry, you get any and all spells you have learned. sure the sam can shoot 6 guys... but you can manaball a large group behind cover, while your spirit does something else. and in the end, you can heal the sam with your magic, because he gets so many holes shot in him.
wind_in_the_stones
The book says the -2 sustaining penalty affects all tests, but I would consider it a house rule to exclude damage resistance tests, as per previous editions.

There is no LOS requirement for sustaining spells.
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