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For the first time in my campaign I had someone cast the Physical Barrier spell. When I went to look up the rules I was shocked to see that after casting a F-6 spell that caused significant drain (3-4 boxes after a decient drain resistance test) the shaman had managed to create a barrier no tougher then a piece of "plastiboard" (I assume this is something like drywall). This was with an above-verage 4 successes on spellcasting. I was also shocked to discover that force makes no diffrence in the strength of the ward (asside from capping successes).

Am I doing this correctly?

Does this work for other people?

Would a house rule be appropriate here?
Slithery D
Force is a surprisingly unimportant metric everywhere but combat spells, where it directly increases damage, and to a lesser extent detection area detection spells, where it increases range. For everything else you'd almost never want more than a Force 5, because the odds of you getting more success than that probably won't justify the extra drain.

As for barriers, they basically function as an area effect armor spell with special additional uses and vulnerabilities. Shots through the barrier at your team will be resisted by the barrier rating in addition to body/armor/whatever, but attacks against the barrier itself can destroy it without too much hastle. For special uses, I don't know the vehicle/barrier/structure rules well enough to know if they're any good for causing a crash test or any significant damage to a vehicle if you block off a road with one. I suspect so.

Mana barriers provide area spell defense against ranged attacks from outside the barrier with the additional benefit of slowing down any spirits that are trying to get you. They'll press through eventually, but at least it uses up an action or two for you to prepare or banish/manabolt them before they can attack you.

Not useless, but they won't make you immune to anything, either.

Edit - And of course they hinder your attacks in the other direction, too. Don't forget that.
Also, just to be complete, the higher the Force of a spell, the more difficult it is to Dispel it. For reference, Dispelling is a Counterspelling + Magic vs. Force + caster's Magic (+ Karma for Quickened Spells) test.
higher force spells could also be useful for ritual spellcasting. but otherwise, the ones in the BBB at least don't benefit all that much...

however, i would say a lot of the SM spells seem to benefit more from being higher force...
I'm also pretty dissapointed in the Barrier spells, especially that once they are penetrated, they pop.

However, they are GREAT in vehicle chases. Even if they pop the barrier, they still have to make a crash test from ramming an object. And resist damage for hitting the object. It's even better for air vehicles.
The barriars arent supposed to be used as ultimate protection they are so you can buy your self some time, so you can heal someone run away and that kind of stuff
Well, they don't buy me a lot of time when the team mage pops one up and the next enemy action pops it and kills said mage with a single burst.
Slithery D
I interpreted the the "pop to destroy" as an attack on the barrier intended to do just that, not an attack that passes through the barrier. If the latter is the case, barriers really are entirely useless. Maybe the occasional hold out won't be able to punch through (maaaaaaybe), but that's about it.

Of course, it's not obvious that the separate rules for shooting a barrier to destroy it and shooting through a barrier to hit something on the other side actually make any sense. Quite the contrary. But they are there and are necessary to make barrier spells useful, so I say use them.
You could always houserule the barrier rating to be equal to Force + Successes, rather than just Successes...
Pretty sure it's talking about an attack on the barrier that results in structure rating being reduced to 0. Otherwise, useless, and no point for the spell to mention that the barrier regenerates its structure rating, is there?
James McMurray
An attack through a barrier and an attack on a barrier are two seperate things. The attack on the barrier can destroy the barrier, but does not hurt anyone on the other side. Attacks on barriers do not use the weapon's damage value, they use a value based on the chart in the barriers section of the combat rules (2DV per bullet)

The attack through it lets the target add the barrier rating as extra armor. I don't recall if it counts as hardened armor or not.
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