Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Yet another mage question...
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Emrak
A PC summoned a wind spirit. "Go into that house, locate any unattended commlinks, and bring them back out here to me."

Is this legitimate? Spirits of air, earth, etc, almost seem like game-breakers, because no matter what a PC can do, they can do better (w/o exposing the PC's to lethal damage). Barring the roll for drain, is there something else I'm missing that makes summoning spirits more difficult?

Thanks

EDIT:
And on an unrelated note, what about forcing open doors? I can't find anything about it in the book?
James McMurray
1) Spirits aren't very well versed on technology, and probably wouldn't recognize a commlink if they saw one.

2) Commlinks can look like anything. Even the mage himself might not recognize one when he saw it.

Spirits are definitely powerful. A quick search for spirit should turn up several threads about how "broken" they are and various ways to "fix" them via house rules or counteract them via security measures.
CradleWorm
Spirits also have to manifest to do anything on the physical plane. While this does keep the mage from any physical harm, it also reveals the presence of a mage nearby.

Smart NPCs may just follow the spirit back to his summoner astrally and geek him later.
Lilt
The air spirit will need to materialise, and when it does it's not going to just be an invisible patch of air. If it is in your game, then I'd suggest that's where you're going wrong. It can be a small whirlwind, a small patch of fog/cloud, or possibly even a heat shimmer or blizzard. It can conceal itself, and in doing so make itself harder to see (-Force in dice on perception tests to see it) but otherwise it's as easy to see as a human sneaking around the building.

Next we have identifying the commlink. Firstly, air spirits won't understand the term commlink. Consider what your SR3 runners would do if they were sent to find a commlink in a building. They'd probably say there wasn't anything unless they found a radio- or cellphone-like object when commlinks in SR4 can be vastly different. That's not the way they'd go about it, however. The mage could, however, define the term commlink by giving the spirit mental images of the varieties of commlinks he knew of. I may not have gone phone-shopping for a while, but I can probably identify an old-to modern cellphone without too much fuss. Why? Advertising. Unless the mage was a complete no-tech type with no commlink himself and a declared aversion to media, or the commlink's owner went to great lengths to disguide the fact that X piece of gear was a cellphone, then the mage would probably know what it looked like. The spirit could possibly also recognise an unknown-format item via logos on it (even if it can't read).

Thirdly we have the fact that a rigger can do exactly the same thing. If the air elemental can get the commlink out then there must be a hole. If there's a hole then the drone rigger can get a microdrone in. The drone rigger can identify commlinks in more shapes and sizes as he can take snapshots and do image searches for similar items on the matrix. He can also probably detect the commlink's radio activity.

If there is no hole for the drone to get in then there's no way for the spirit to get the commlink out. You can resort to blasting holes in walls but then that kindof removes the point of doing it with a spirit, doesn't it?

Lastly, why would the commlink nessecarily be unattended? You can take commlinks everywhere, and why not do so?
Phobos
Um, well, ... the mage could just send the FUNCTION of a commlink as an image, that would be enough. The spirit should than be able to find any commlink that has been used for at least a few days (the commlink aquires an imprint of its user that includes the information what it is used for, at least in general) and find any that lacks that imprint by looking out for technological items (they look different from non-tech, non-living items) and use Analyze Device on it.
For getting it out he could use some kind of telekinesis spell instead of materializing, so he'd need only enough of an opening for the commlink to go through ... and he could probably even open a door or window (Analyze Device on door/window to find out how to open it) ... a real bright one (high rating) might even figure out the whole alarms system in the progress.

So yes, it IS quite possible.

But it is NOT failproof. In fact, success depends only on the GMs goodwill. A low rating spirit might just botch something up accidently, and a high level one might even do so on purpose ("He didn't tell me not to trigger the alarm fist thing I went in. That will teach him dare summom me. Muahahaha!")
And I can only invite every GM to be extemly creative on any player that tries to abuse Summoning too much. They'll stop once they have to spent half an hour to instruct every spirit they summon. ("435.6.4 if I tell you to attack an enemy, you will NOT attack the enemy from the rear using high-powered area spells if I too am in range of that spell. 435.6.4b ...")
Abbandon
W A R D

SECURITY BOX

HIDDEN

Spirit gaurdian

Mage

Dual Natured Critters

Watcher spirit


Just a few things to make things harder on a spirit trying to steal stuff.
Jaid
QUOTE (Phobos)
Um, well, ... the mage could just send the FUNCTION of a commlink as an image, that would be enough. The spirit should than be able to find any commlink that has been used for at least a few days (the commlink aquires an imprint of its user that includes the information what it is used for, at least in general) and find any that lacks that imprint by looking out for technological items (they look different from non-tech, non-living items) and use Analyze Device on it.
For getting it out he could use some kind of telekinesis spell instead of materializing, so he'd need only enough of an opening for the commlink to go through ... and he could probably even open a door or window (Analyze Device on door/window to find out how to open it) ... a real bright one (high rating) might even figure out the whole alarms system in the progress.

So yes, it IS quite possible.

But it is NOT failproof. In fact, success depends only on the GMs goodwill. A low rating spirit might just botch something up accidently, and a high level one might even do so on purpose ("He didn't tell me not to trigger the alarm fist thing I went in. That will teach him dare summom me. Muahahaha!")
And I can only invite every GM to be extemly creative on any player that tries to abuse Summoning too much. They'll stop once they have to spent half an hour to instruct every spirit they summon. ("435.6.4 if I tell you to attack an enemy, you will NOT attack the enemy from the rear using high-powered area spells if I too am in range of that spell. 435.6.4b ...")

and how is the spirit manipulating the object without first manifesting, pray tell?

you can only affect targets on the same plane as you. thus, the spirit must manifest in order to even be able to target the commlink with the levitate spell. (or whatever).

not to mention we're looking at force 6 or 9 now... 2 spells and maybe conceal power. the more you have to add on to this, the less effective it gets...
Lilt
@Phobos: Pretty-much what Jaid said, but with a couple of additional points.

A spirit with the Psychokinesis power would need to materialize to use it (not manifest, which is staying astral but being visible on the physical plane), as it's a physical power. The same goes for analyze device, as it's a physical spell. Even if they were manna spells, it's not on the physical plane so it can't affect physical targets.

What might work is to give the spirit an impression of auras that the commlinks may hold, which will probably have been picked-up from extended proximiy to the character. The spirit can then go around assensing objects to find their auras, and bringing back anything of an appropriate size. Of-course you may end-up with a few pens and stuff, but assuming that the spirit isn't noticed (which you really must do as otherwise sending the spirit is pointless) you should be able to do it.

@Abbandon: Whilst those precautions are all nice, they're not really readily available. I doubt you'd find even one such measure on an average house. Yes, you could have Harlequin sitting on the astral to geek any spirits that came in but it's a question of realism.
James McMurray
QUOTE
Whilst those precautions are all nice, they're not really readily available.


People hide their valuables all the time, thinking that it will somehow stop a burglar from finding them. Your average burglar knows this, which is why most burglary crime scenes are hideous messes. Spirits on the other hand may not realize it, or may not understand what typical hiding spots are.

While less common, hidden security boxes are used quite frequently as well. Of course, most people don't think to bolt them to the floor and they just get walked away with, but a spirit won't be walking away with a box it can't open on the off chance there might be a commlink inside, and if it decides to try and force the lock it's going to stand a good chance of destroying any electronics in there.
ornot
On your first point, it is questionable whether the wind sprit could find a comlink at all. Unless the building was mostly empty anyway, it's likely that someone would see it, and if the building is mostly empty why not just go in and pick it up in person? Depending on the situation, a spirit is pretty wiggy, so anyone seeing a materialised one floating about is goign to call some kind of alarm.

On your second point, I use the barrier ratings table for doors. To break one down the characters have to exert enough force on it to get through it's hardness and so on. Hits required may vary depending on any special techniques they use, equipment they might use and so on.

Hope that helps
James McMurray
Whose points are you referring to?
ornot
The OP, Emrak
Backgammon
This discussion has made me notice just now that spirit domains are gone from SR4.

This is wrong and should be shot in the face.
James McMurray
Why?
Backgammon
Cause it added tons of flavour and strategy. You don't think so?
James McMurray
Yes I do, I was just curious about your reasons. It's easy enough to house rule back in if you want.

I'd be interested in hearing the reasons they removed it, although it wouldn't surprise me to find out they got billions of emails from confused players with questions about domains and figured they weren't worth the added complexity. Maybe they'll put an optional rule for them in Street Magic.
Backgammon
QUOTE (James McMurray)
Yes I do, I was just curious about your reasons. It's easy enough to house rule back in if you want.

I'd be interested in hearing the reasons they removed it, although it wouldn't surprise me to find out they got billions of emails from confused players with questions about domains and figured they weren't worth the added complexity. Maybe they'll put an optional rule for them in Street Magic.

I figure the same thing.
Kremlin KOA
Don't use an air spirit
use a spirit of man with Analyze device as an innate spell
James McMurray
IIRC that won't help him recognize the commlink, only use it if he finds it. No books handy though, so I may be wrong. It gives bonus dice for using an object right? I don't think finding counts as using.
Jaid
well i presume it gives you bonus dice because you understand it.

so it could help the spirit identify the commlink.... provided the spirit uses analyse device on everything, one after the other. which would take an awfully long time, to say the least.

OTOH, the suggestion of having a spirit open doors from the inside for you that i think got mentioned earlier is not necessarily a bad one... depending on the door of course, since on some it won't work.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012