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Dakka Dakka
Almost all illusion spells that have a direct inconveniencing effect on the target(s) are mechanically much more effective than agony/mass agony.

Is this intentional? Or are pleasure and digust so much more powerful?

How do I propose this for an erratum?

[edit]Added SR4 Icon[/edit]
Does damage not have an effect on characters in 4th edition? It was a good spell in 2/3. Basically, if you have 10 successes (admittedly difficult), the target was completely incapacitated (in 2e and 3e), while the spell was sustained. Other spells like Bugs (which has drain of 2 higher than Agony) gives a -1 dice pool modifier to the target per success of the caster. It's hard for me to judge the relative effectiveness of these spell in 4th edition since I've only read some of the book and never played. But, as far as I can tell, people on here talk about having dice pools of 14-18 all the time, so losing a couple of those won't be much different than taking some false damage. I'm not sure if Agony stacks with current REAL damage or not. I'm not sure if it ever did because it's never come up for us. But if it does, then it becomes a very good spell. a decent hit from a teammate and then Agony makes the enemy fall over and not be able to do anything. then it's easy enough to stab him or her in the face.

Again, my reasoning is based mostly on SR2/3 so, these figures may not reflect how it works, exactly, (those I am look at Street Magic while I write this) but it still seems like it's pretty good as it stands.

EDIT: After re-reading the damage section of combat and how condition modifiers work, I am going to assume that Agony Temp Damage does, in fact, stack with normal damage. An average Human has 10 boxes for damage still, though one could have between 9 and 16ish (i don't know how high you can get it in 4th edition, that's a total guess). Therefore Agony gives a -1 dice pool modifier for every 3 successes (from the modifiers for having damage) and if the condition monitor gets filled up by a combination of Agony and real damage, the target is unable to act. This, coupled with the fact that it has much lower drain [ (f/2)-2 ] than other spells that give a straight -1 die modifier per net success (Bugs, for example is DV: (f/2) ) makes it seem to be pretty much on par with these other spells in terms of power.

That being said, at low force, or rather, if you have a small dice pool for casting your illusion spells, Spells like Bugs that give the straight dice pool modifier are definitely better. But when you're using more dice, it's definitely possible to take out an enemy with Agony, while not taking any drain yourself, where using something like Bugs will only hinder your opponent by making him roll less dice.
Why have different spells at all if they should all do the same thing in the same way? Why do you want to remove my choices?
QUOTE (DireRadiant @ May 15 2009, 09:18 AM) *
Why have different spells at all if they should all do the same thing in the same way? Why do you want to remove my choices?

You want completely irrelevant choice in spell choice, compare and contrast Turn to Stone and Turn to Goo.
Remember in second edition, when they remove the first edition spell "Turn to Goo" from the game because it was overpowered and didn't fit the style of the game? Ahh, good times nyahnyah.gif (the one if 4e is much more balanced lol)
Dakka Dakka
I'm not saying that Agony/Mass Agony does not work, but that Bugs/Swarm and Orgasm/Orgy in SR4 are more than three times as effective.

With Agony/Mass Agony the target gets -1 on his dicepools per three net hits, with the rather theoretical possibility of incapacitation. I say theoretical because to get 11+ hits a)you'd have to cast it at force 11+ b]to consistantly pull it off, you'd need a dicepool of 33+ (with one hit on the defense) and c) the spell description does not mention explicitly that the target passes out if the condition monitor is filled.

Realistically with 3-6 net hits the target gets a measly -1 or -2 to his dicepools.

Now let's look at Bugs/Orgasm, which mechanically do the same thing, but the fluff is different.

With the same 3-6 net hits the target gets -3 to -6 to his dicepools. At the gamemaster's discretion, the target can even be completely incapacitated, if the net hits exceed the target's willpower!

While Bugs has a higher drain than Agony, Orgasm has not.

@DireRadiant: While Bugs and Orgasm have the same mechanic, and Agony should at least have a similarly effective mechanic, the fluff is quite different, which is also part of a good game. Talking about important but mechanically almost irrelevant choices. look at the traditions of SR4, while the magic mechanic is largely the same, there still is a big difference in game between a hermetic mage and a Shaman or Druid or Witch.

@Turn to Goo: Decrease Logic/Charisma is much more effective against the heavy hitters.
Let's look at an example, assuming the following stats: Magic 6, Spellcasting 6

Force 6, Drain 3S, Max Hits: 6, Max Penalty: -6
Force 12, Drain 6P, Max Hits: 12, Max Penalty: -12
Expected Average Hits: 4, Expected Average Penalty Inflicted: -4

Force 6, Drain 1S, Max Hits: 6, Max Penalty: -2
Force 12, Drain 4P, Max Hits: 12, Max Penalty: -4 or incapacitation
Expected Average Hits: 4, Expected Average Penalty Inflicted: -1

The drain is much lower, but the effect is also much lower. If you look at Force 6 Agony, the most you can expect to do is a -2 penalty. If 4P Drain doesn't bother you, then why not just go for a 3P Drain with Confusion? Either way, the Force only limits the hits you get. With the assumed 12 dice pool, you will probably still only get 4 hits no matter what spell you are using. Confusion will net a -4 penalty while Agony will only inflict a -1 penalty.

If the target is already injured with physical damage, there is a chance you can completely incapacitate the target, but if you are looking to hinder your opponent, confusion is much more efficient. Also, if the target only has stun damage (from a brawl, or has decent armor to turn received physical damage into stun), then you are still starting out with 0 physical damage and you probably won't incapacitate the target.

To expect to get 10 hits, you need to have a dice pool of around 30. If you could get ten hits, why not just inflict a -10 penalty? On the other hand, maybe you like causing pain. If that is your goal, obviously Agony, by its very nature, is the way to go.

EDIT: And of course, Dakka Dakka gets there first smile.gif
I have a character (Haven't had the opportunity to play them yet frown.gif ) who has the agony spell, not for combat use, but for interrogation. She has the mind probe spell too, but that takes all the fun out of it.
Dakka Dakka
I guess Bugs or Orgasm would work pretty well for interrogation as well.
After re-reading the spell I would say that the spell stacks with existing physical damage, and further more since the effect is physical damage (even though it is only imaginary) if you effectively "killed" the target they would be rendered unconscious (as if they were killed). Bugs/Orgasm can't do that. Mass Agony with suppressive fire can quickly turn the odds in your groups favour if needed (though if your in that bad of a gun fight you haven't been doing your job).
QUOTE (TBRMInsanity @ May 15 2009, 01:07 PM) *
(though if your in that bad of a gun fight you haven't been doing your job).

Or doing it very well!
I'd just pretend Agony doesn't exist, and call it the flip side of the Orgasm spell (applying the same modifiers, drain, yadda yadda, exact same game-crunch but with a different name) if it's really bothering you.
QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ May 15 2009, 11:06 AM) *
I guess Bugs or Orgasm would work pretty well for interrogation as well.

She actually has both the Agony spell, and the Orgasm spell. It's the wrong answer / right answer combo.
QUOTE (Chibu @ May 15 2009, 01:11 PM) *
Or doing it very well!

I respectfully disagree.

Any time your in a big gun fight with trained security personnel to the point that you have to use advanced tactics like a mixture of tech/magic, you've done something wrong. Now getting out alive means your doing it very well.
lol, I disagree with the statement that I made as well.

It was a joke nyahnyah.gif
QUOTE (rathmun @ May 15 2009, 02:39 PM) *
She actually has both the Agony spell, and the Orgasm spell. It's the wrong answer / right answer combo.

Heh, my mage has the same spells for pretty much the same reason. Though, with him, it's "the hard way" (Agony) vs "the easy way" (Orgasm). People just don't believe him that the easy way really is easier frown.gif
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