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Octopiii
It's been brought up many times in the Thread That Shall Not Be Named and others of its ilk about how "broken" direct combat spells can be if used against mundanes. I, personally, don't see the problem. There are a lot of ways for a corporation to minimize the risk that a Mage will show up and annihilate their security:

1. Drones

Drones now require a threshold of 5 to affect in SR4A. That requires, on average 15 dice on your spellcasting roll, and the use of Physical spells. It is still quite doable for a starting mage, but it is not a gimme, and requires some specialization on the mage's part, to the detriment of other areas of expertise. Railguns, Steel Lynxes, and embedded turrets make formidable opponents for a mage, and importantly from the corporation's perspective, they are cheap. They can spend the minimal upfront costs to acquire technological defenses, and then either contract out to a security firm to have a Spider on standby, ready to jump in should an alert be sounded, or important facilities can have their own dedicated Spider.

2. Tactics

It's been said many a time, minimal tactics can negate a mages ability to screw you by limiting LOS. There are a lot of options here, limited only by your creativity: Have them take cover, fire smoke grenades to limit visibility, have one member of the response team engage in suppressive fire while the other members attempt to flank the team. Thermal smoke + suppressive fire usually will keep a mage from doing anything resembling an "I Win!" button. Tying in with drones, an automated drone may have a crap dice pool, but suppressive fire will still keep the mage from popping his head out - many mages have poor Edge attributes due to the demands of their build, so suppressive fire is an excellent method of keeping them in their place. And of course, never forget grenades - gas grenades in particular can be effective, as they linger. Also, having guards in personal mobility vehicles with tinted windows and a weapon mount becomes a fairly simple and effective "F U" to a mage with only mana based spells, as it completely removes LOS. Finally, one way glass is cheap, and again, effective.

3. Manatech

Street Magic and Arsenal features ways for mundanes to prevent being ambushed from the astral. Awakened Ivy, Haven Lilys, Guardian Vines, and FAB aerosol sprays can prevent a mage from Astrally Projecting into a middle of a group of guards - the better to keep them from dropping a summoned spirit on them while staying safe in the Astral. Biofiber can be used for a cheap Ward - the initial upfront costs can be expensive, but long term maintenance is cheaper than constantly contracting out with a magical security firm to continually renew a ward. Additionally, facilities can be built underground to protect against astral intrusion - the earth acts as a barrier to Astral forms.

4. Magic Security Firms

Magic counters magic, but you don't need a wagemage sitting around every facility waiting for that rare enemy mage to show up and make his life interesting. Magical security can be contracted out on a sliding scale: for a minimum rate you can have your facility warded for a few weeks. Next, we can have the off-site security mage loan a service from his bound spirit to the captain of the security team upon receiving an alarm call: remember also, that certain spirits from Street Magic have Magical Guard, which gives them the ability to provide counterspelling to a team, in addition to a spirits other powers. Moving up, we can secure a mage who will show up to the area in the astral when the alarm is sounded, manifest, and use his counterspelling ability on corporate security (with his own spiritual back up to protect him should the runners try to take the mage out in astral combat). On the next step up in the pricing scale, the contract Mage can show up astrally as above, but actually order his spirit(s) into combat.

5. Dedicated Facility Mages

Finally, we can have the dedicated facility mage for those really secure locations - this state seems to be the only method some posters believe is effective in countering magical aggression. Even then, a security mage doesn't have to be super good to be effective in limiting enemy mages. A mage focused on defense is going to specialize in different areas than a runner mage: Counterspelling, banishing, bound spiritual back up, and "boosts" to his security team are more effective uses of a rare and expensive asset than having him sit in a corridor, slinging spells, and potentially getting shot. A dedicated Counterspeller can really put the kibosh on a lot of things: Counterspelling 6 + Combat Specialization 2 + Mentor Spirit 2 + Counterspelling Foci (combat) 3 = 13 dice added to willpower scores for combat spells, or 8 for other types. The nice thing about a dedicated counterspeller is that even the crappiest, barely magical of mages (or mystic adepts) can be a ferocious magical defender, as counterspelling does not utilize the magic attribute. This makes the dedicated counterspeller relatively cheaper, more available, and still effective addition to a security team than the Super-Mage with Mighty Spirits that many GMs likely default to in order to challenge their players.

As you can see, there are a lot of ways the a facility can cheaply and realistically protect themselves from being ganked by a runner team, without having to pull out an equally powerful mage every other run just to keep your player's magical assets challenged. Comments? Tips? "You suck and your suggestions will never work!" advice? I welcome them all. smile.gif

Edit: Incorporated HappyDaze's suggestion to number 4 (loaned services), because it was good. cool.gif
Edit 2: Added Jaid's suggestion re: PMV's and LOS to number 2. Added W@gemage's point about one way glass to number 2.
HappyDaze
On point #5, don't forget that certain spirits (Guardian, Guidance, and Plant) have Magical Guard. This lets such spirits provide Counterspelling even when the magician is not directly present.
kzt
Most of the tactics don't really work well in a typical SR fight. Taking cover and smoke are only effective if you get a chance to do them, and very few will be acting after getting hit with a F9 stunbolt or stunball. Overcasting is the single biggest issue with combat spells in the game.

If you are willing to allow the mind control spells in to your game then they allow a whole horde of evil things to happen.

Wards do nothing to stop a magician without active spells or focuses from walking through, at which point he summons his bound spirits via the game breaking "metaplanar shortcut".

The cost of effective magical protection of a facility is silly high and magicians are too rare per RAW and the cost of being a magician is too low for a PC. (Though it is better then in SR3).
Kerenshara
The whole "spirit" related protection assumes that the corp is willing to spend the nuyen and effort to pay for the upkeep of spirit-based magical security. Some people don't seem to believe they would bother. I would contend otherwise.

And in the end, you don't necessarily need to stop the mage entirely, just blunt the attack: the most "hits" the mage can apply (not "net-hits") is capped by the force of the spell, and if the "defenses" can knock the first couple hits off the top, the grunt has a chance of blowing the last couple hits off entirely. Even if they don't, they aren't totally incapacitated if the mage is reduced to a hit or two, as opposed to a Force 6 Mana Ball with all 6 hits applied to the damage. With one net hit, there's just 7 points of stun damage, and the average NPC (WIL 3) is still up, and can activate countermeasures or return fire (4 guys shooting full auto wide spread at the mage will ruin his day PDQ). And there's no "soft-toss" Force 5 Mana Ball staged up to 9 or 10 stun, either, because now the mage needs those hits.

Remember, the mage still needs at LEAST one "net-hit" to effect the target.

Another thing to consider would be giving the guards a "above average" WIL score, something that can be objectively screened and tested for at hiring/assignment, which will result in a better resistance. I always thought moderately charismatic, highly intuitive and strong willed guards were a LOT more threatening than ye-old muscle.
Octopiii
QUOTE
Most of the tactics don't really work well in a typical SR fight. Taking cover and smoke are only effective if you get a chance to do them, and very few will be acting after getting hit with a F9 stunbolt or stunball. Overcasting is the single biggest issue with combat spells in the game.


I find it hard to believe that a single Stunball will take out every single person in a facility. It only takes one spell before the "Oh, Shit! Mage! Call the contractors!" response occurs - you don't need to be a guard to have that drilled into your head. Any employee can sound the alert. Furthermore, a Stunball does nothing against non-living security - turrets, railguns and the like. They are cheaper than human guards to maintain.

Remember, the perception threshold to notice as spell is 6 - Force. That Force 9 Stunball will alert even the blind smile.gif. Since we now know that cast spells have little sparkly fairy dust (or whatever) that accompany them when they're cast, the effect should be viewable over a camera after the fact - "What happened to Post A? Oh crap, there's that sparkly stuff we were warned about! Call the contractors!"

Edit: For perceiving spells.
kzt
QUOTE (Octopiii @ Jun 13 2009, 03:33 PM) *
I find it hard to believe that a single Stunball will take out every single person in a facility. It only takes one spell before the "Oh, Shit! Mage! Call the contractors!" response occurs - you don't need to be a guard to have that drilled into your head.

No, it takes one spell where someone understands it is a spell and can act on this information. As spells themselves are not detectable by mundane means...

Plus there is always the set off the burglar alarm 60 times a day approach. After the 12th or 25th time in one night you get told you need to call the security mages what happens?
Octopiii
I edited an argument re: noticing spells, but it must have been while you were typing your own. Spells have visible indicators when cast, depending on their Force, per SR4A.
HappyDaze
QUOTE
The whole "spirit" related protection assumes that the corp is willing to spend the nuyen and effort to pay for the upkeep of spirit-based magical security. Some people don't seem to believe they would bother. I would contend otherwise.

I too would contend otherwise.

Binding a Force 4 spirit costs only 2,000 nuyen, and it's services (remote and loaned) last until used. For an 'average' wage-magician with a dice pool of 8, that's an expected 1 net hit so 1 service. That service can be 'protect (location X) from anyone designated by (people Y)' effectively making the spirit a one use deterrent. You really get a lot out of it for 2,000 nuyen - and even if you contract for a few more of these every week, that's small change for most corp sites.

Consider that 30 guards (on multiple shifts) paid 5,000 nuyen monthly (Day Job used as a base) = 150,000 nuyen. We're going to assume that our guards have a shitty contract and have to provide their own equipment and ammo so that doesn't factor in. Take 8% of this and you get four Force 4 spirits ready to go at all times. If they get used, they cost a bit to replace - but far less than those guards will unless we assume that they also have to cover their own medical costs. If we are assuming all of this, we can assume that the contract for spirits is to have X number of Y Force available at all times. If the going is tough, the magical security provider makes less profit d/t constant resummoning , but in quiet times, a set of spirits summoned up might last for months or years.
Stahlseele
Combined Spell-Anchors?
One with detection Spell that detects any magic that does not belong there, be it spirit or spell that does not match up with the signature of the corporates wagemage.
Another that reacts when the first one says:"Dude, someone's here!" and does only one thing. it slings one strong manastatic spell. Nothing Magical will work as intended anymore.
HappyDaze
QUOTE
Nothing Magical will work as intended anymore.

Including, IIRC, your own wards. This might actually make it easier to astrally breach your 'magically secure' location in some situations.
Stahlseele
Yeah, but right now, it seems to be that Guards should be helped against Spells, nothing else.
At least, the title of this very thread leads me to believe that. Granted, we are some posts downthread . .
So the probability of the thread having changed so everything and their mom has to be guarded is approaching 1
kzt
QUOTE (Octopiii @ Jun 13 2009, 03:46 PM) *
I edited an argument re: noticing spells, but it must have been while you were typing your own. Spells have visible indicators when cast, depending on their Force, per SR4A.

No, PEOPLE can notice it, but there is nothing a machine can sense. And it's all very vague, nothing that would allow you to tell that anyone other than a shaman did anything. 1/4" inch drill bits and borescopes are the mages friend.
Cain
The problem here is that the security setup described in the OP would only work for the highest of high-security facilities. If you're running anything else-- a mid-level security corp, a gang battle, and so on-- then you can't use that setup without charges of foul play.

For example, I just ran the Kowloon Massacre scenario in Ghost Cartels. Even splitting up the hordes of junkies on kamikaze, they were pretty much laid to waste by manaballs. I couldn't legitimately give them significant drone support; and the only fair way to make things tougher would be to add even more cannon fodder.

Oh, and one other thing:
QUOTE
"What happened to Post A? Oh crap, there's that sparkly stuff we were warned about! Call the contractors!"

Unless I miss my guess, that "sparkly stuff" isn't visible to cameras.
Meatbag
Magic can't be sensed by cameras, no, that's why you deploy GloMosss liberally, preferably coupled with a security rigger.

This has obvious downsides if you also have spirits or mages, but in that case, use those.

Mages are instructed either to eliminate threats if feasible or deploy mana static if not. If you have spirits on Remote Service, simply have them use Magical Guard on the fleshy mooks.

Between these, you should at least be able to slow the mage down a bit.
Matsci
QUOTE (Cain @ Jun 13 2009, 10:38 PM) *
For example, I just ran the Kowloon Massacre scenario in Ghost Cartels. Even splitting up the hordes of junkies on kamikaze, they were pretty much laid to waste by manaballs. I couldn't legitimately give them significant drone support; and the only fair way to make things tougher would be to add even more cannon fodder.


In the middle of a rating 3 background count? How were your mages not exploding?

QUOTE (Cain @ Jun 13 2009, 10:38 PM) *
Unless I miss my guess, that "sparkly stuff" isn't visible to cameras.


There is nothing in the rules or flavor text that even hints at this. Where did you get that idea?
kzt
QUOTE (Matsci @ Jun 13 2009, 11:51 PM) *
There is nothing in the rules or flavor text that even hints at this. Where did you get that idea?

Perhaps you are using a different set of the rules than us?


NOTICING MAGIC
Just how obvious are magical skills? Not very, since most
spells and spirits have little, if any, visible effect in the physical
world (unless the magician prefers to have flashy effects, or her
tradition calls for it). An observer has to notice the magician’s
intense look of concentration, whispered incantations, and
small gestures. Magicians of some traditions display a more
visible change when practicing magic known as the shamanic
mask. Th e shamanic mask typically changes the magician’s
features temporarily to display characteristics appropriate to
her mentor spirit or tradition—an eagle shaman, for example,
might seem to have feathers or beaklike features while spellcasting
or summoning.

Matsci
QUOTE (kzt @ Jun 13 2009, 11:59 PM) *
Perhaps you are using a different set of the rules than us?


And where does it say that the observer can't be a camera?

Also, the rules part of the paragraph, which you seems to have left out.
QUOTE
Noticing if someone is using a magical skill requires a Perception Test (p. 135) with a threshold equal to 6 minus the magic€™s Force. More powerful magic is easier to spot with the gathered mana normally appearing as a disturbance or glowing aura in the air around the caster. The gamemaster should apply additional modifiers as appropriate, or if the perceiver is Awakened themselves (+2 dice), astrally perceiving (+2 dice), or if a shamanic mask is evident (+2 dice).
Cain
QUOTE
In the middle of a rating 3 background count? How were your mages not exploding?

We're in a longrunning game where each character has at least 175 earned karma. The mages have become very good at what they do. It only took three mana/stunballs to decimate their ranks, and that's easily survivable even with a low background count.

QUOTE
There is nothing in the rules or flavor text that even hints at this. Where did you get that idea?

Don't have the time to dig up the exact quote, but Mana effects are invisible to cameras. That's been a longstanding staple of Shadowrun magic since, well, forever. Non-physical spell residue would definitely fit under this category.
Matsci
QUOTE (Cain @ Jun 14 2009, 12:26 AM) *
We're in a longrunning game where each character has at least 175 earned karma. The mages have become very good at what they do. It only took three mana/stunballs to decimate their ranks, and that's easily survivable even with a low background count.


That gives them a magic of 10-11, which is nearly on par with great dragons. Of course they are exploding people with magic. That was a problem with the low karma cost for advancing magic. Still, Assuming F10 mana balls, your eating 10P drain. That isn't easy to soak.
Bob Lord of Evil
Layer your security and don't limit yourself to inside the box. In one instance I had the guards fall back, trigger thermal smoke, and deploy builtin mono-wire in a corridor. The gung-ho troll charged forward and had his legs taken off below the knees. Which actually derailed the run horribly because dragging a -troll- around is rather problematic, in the extreme. I had to pass around a cheese platter with all the player 'whining'. grinbig.gif
kzt
We never run long running fights like that. If you do you lose, as the bad guys have a stream of reinforcements on the way and you don't. Having to fight you way out against two HTR teams plus air support, numerous spirits, combat drones, etc just doesn't work. It's the ending of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Octopiii
QUOTE (Cain @ Jun 13 2009, 11:26 PM) *
Don't have the time to dig up the exact quote, but Mana effects are invisible to cameras. That's been a longstanding staple of Shadowrun magic since, well, forever. Non-physical spell residue would definitely fit under this category.


Mana effects may be invisible but that does not mean that the casting is. The rules and the fluff paragraphs concerning noticing magic slightly contradict each other. The fluff states that magic is hard to notice, but the rules give a pretty generous test to perceive a reasonably powerful spell. The rules section makes it clear that there is some sort of disturbance centered around the caster when he casts a spell; powerful spells have much clearer disturbances. It takes a bit of a leap to assume that these disturbances are invisible to cameras. Since it's not clearly determined either way, you're free to rule that cameras do not notice the disturbances, but it's also not a required conclusion.
Octopiii
QUOTE
The problem here is that the security setup described in the OP would only work for the highest of high-security facilities. If you're running anything else-- a mid-level security corp, a gang battle, and so on-- then you can't use that setup without charges of foul play


That's an interesting charge, as I specifically designed the options to be available to low level and price-conscious types. Only tactic #5 requires a large allocation of resources. Realistically, how much do you think contracting with a security firm for the services of a Rigger should an alarm be sounded cost? I would imagine not much, as one Rigger can realistic handle dozens of facilities as he doesn't need to be jumped in unless an alarm should be sounded. The same goes with the contract Mage. He spends 2k to bind a Force 4 spirit with a few services. Then he goes on with his life, until he gets a commcode call - one of his customers needs spiritual help! He pulls up a picture of the captain, ceo, head researcher, whomever of the facility, calls his spirit, and tells it to obey that person's one command. It may be months, or even years, until he gets that call from one relevant facility - in the meantime, that one spirit can realistically be utilized for coverage for dozens of facilities, much as the security rigger.

On-site defense is not the only option available to corporations. More secure, perhaps, but equivalencies can be contracted cheaply and then written off for tax purposes.
Kerenshara
QUOTE (Bob Lord of Evil @ Jun 14 2009, 05:51 AM) *
Layer your security and don't limit yourself to inside the box. In one instance I had the guards fall back, trigger thermal smoke, and deploy builtin mono-wire in a corridor. The gung-ho troll charged forward and had his legs taken off below the knees. Which actually derailed the run horribly because dragging a -troll- around is rather problematic, in the extreme. I had to pass around a cheese platter with all the player 'whining'. grinbig.gif

First, excellent point. Good security is always implemented in collapsing layers, just like good vehicle armor.

Second: having done the same trick in 2nd ed with the barrier spell anchored between two buildings (horizontally, parallel to the road and paper thin at about shoulder height) while being chased by a go-gang at 100 kph+, I think that's brilliant. OK, and the parrt about he troll as baggage is a hoot, too. How the DREK did they get the bleeding stopped, anyhow?
Cain
QUOTE (Octopiii @ Jun 14 2009, 02:14 PM) *
That's an interesting charge, as I specifically designed the options to be available to low level and price-conscious types. Only tactic #5 requires a large allocation of resources. Realistically, how much do you think contracting with a security firm for the services of a Rigger should an alarm be sounded cost? I would imagine not much, as one Rigger can realistic handle dozens of facilities as he doesn't need to be jumped in unless an alarm should be sounded. The same goes with the contract Mage. He spends 2k to bind a Force 4 spirit with a few services. Then he goes on with his life, until he gets a commcode call - one of his customers needs spiritual help! He pulls up a picture of the captain, ceo, head researcher, whomever of the facility, calls his spirit, and tells it to obey that person's one command. It may be months, or even years, until he gets that call from one relevant facility - in the meantime, that one spirit can realistically be utilized for coverage for dozens of facilities, much as the security rigger.

On-site defense is not the only option available to corporations. More secure, perhaps, but equivalencies can be contracted cheaply and then written off for tax purposes.

Judging from how much it costs to outfit and equip a Rigger PC, I'd say having live spider security would cost a lot. Also, what happens if there's two alarms at once? The rigger can only be jumped into one drone at a time. Similarly, magic security, even minimially, cost a great deal. THe spirit can't be at more than one site at a time, so the mage needs to summon one for every site. Additionally, it needs to be of a type that can provide Magical Guard, in order to provide counterspelling; and those types tend to not be as good at the actual fighting.
HappyDaze
QUOTE
those types tend to not be as good at the actual fighting

Guardian Spirits are pretty damn good at 'actual fighting' IME.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (HappyDaze @ Jun 14 2009, 07:35 PM) *
Guardian Spirits are pretty damn good at 'actual fighting' IME.



Yeah, Mine too...
HappyDaze
Our groups current magician is a Wiccan with Great Mother as a mentor. She uses Plant spirits quite a bit, and aside from their slow movement rate, they're pretty impressive in combat.
kzt
QUOTE (Cain @ Jun 14 2009, 06:08 PM) *
Judging from how much it costs to outfit and equip a Rigger PC, I'd say having live spider security would cost a lot. Also, what happens if there's two alarms at once? The rigger can only be jumped into one drone at a time.

If the rigger at an off-site location can talk to the drones and building security system, so can your hacker. Not to mention things like jammers and bolt cutters. It's likely to be a false economy.
HappyDaze
QUOTE
If the rigger at an off-site location can talk to the drones and building security system, so can your hacker.

There is the possiblility of hardwired dedicated lines to connect the Rigger to the remote sites. These may be vulnerable, but are most likely underground and fairly difficult to illegally access both quickly and unnoticed.
kzt
"I'm from ATT and am here to check on a trouble ticket."
Cain
QUOTE (HappyDaze @ Jun 14 2009, 05:53 PM) *
There is the possiblility of hardwired dedicated lines to connect the Rigger to the remote sites. These may be vulnerable, but are most likely underground and fairly difficult to illegally access both quickly and unnoticed.

The drones themselves have to be on the wireless or be severely hampered in their movement. That means stealing them is easier, especially if they don't have a live security rigger.
The Jake
QUOTE (Octopiii @ Jun 14 2009, 11:14 PM) *
That's an interesting charge, as I specifically designed the options to be available to low level and price-conscious types. Only tactic #5 requires a large allocation of resources. Realistically, how much do you think contracting with a security firm for the services of a Rigger should an alarm be sounded cost? I would imagine not much, as one Rigger can realistic handle dozens of facilities as he doesn't need to be jumped in unless an alarm should be sounded. The same goes with the contract Mage. He spends 2k to bind a Force 4 spirit with a few services. Then he goes on with his life, until he gets a commcode call - one of his customers needs spiritual help! He pulls up a picture of the captain, ceo, head researcher, whomever of the facility, calls his spirit, and tells it to obey that person's one command. It may be months, or even years, until he gets that call from one relevant facility - in the meantime, that one spirit can realistically be utilized for coverage for dozens of facilities, much as the security rigger.

On-site defense is not the only option available to corporations. More secure, perhaps, but equivalencies can be contracted cheaply and then written off for tax purposes.


I agree. There would be a huge market in Shadowrun with protecting small/medium size enterprises through subcontracted security firms with a very well thought out business model - standardised security architecture and repeatable processes. This gives me some ideas for my campaign...

Although I would still expect that there should be one rigger per site. Or who knows, maybe that might be for corporations looking to pay for a 'premium' service. smile.gif

QUOTE (Cain @ Jun 15 2009, 02:08 AM) *
Judging from how much it costs to outfit and equip a Rigger PC, I'd say having live spider security would cost a lot. Also, what happens if there's two alarms at once? The rigger can only be jumped into one drone at a time. Similarly, magic security, even minimially, cost a great deal. The spirit can't be at more than one site at a time, so the mage needs to summon one for every site. Additionally, it needs to be of a type that can provide Magical Guard, in order to provide counterspelling; and those types tend to not be as good at the actual fighting.


I don't make a habit of memorising spirit types, but I thought all spirits had Unarmed Combat equal to their Force rating? If so, any spirit with Magical Guard would be awesome. Even if that isn't true, you're relying on spirits in this instance with Magical Guard to provide counterspelling assistance, not necessarily waste the opposition (although granted it would be ideal to have both). Using their powers to complement the mundane security (guards, drones, etc) would work however.

- J.
The Jake
Assuming background count of 3, Magic Rating of 9 (which is actually very conservative in a high karma game) would be Magic 6. Throwing around Force 6 Manaballs would still hurt. Assuming the average Joe has a Willpower of 3, I'd say 3 of them would more than likely do the job.

- J.
Cain
QUOTE
I don't make a habit of memorising spirit types, but I thought all spirits had Unarmed Combat equal to their Force rating? If so, any spirit with Magical Guard would be awesome. Even if that isn't true, you're relying on spirits in this instance with Magical Guard to provide counterspelling assistance, not necessarily waste the opposition (although granted it would be ideal to have both). Using their powers to complement the mundane security (guards, drones, etc) would work however.

Since according to the fluff, most wage mages are Hermetic, I think that means that they don't have any spirits they can summon with Magical Guard. I don't think Shamans have any, either. You have to go to the esoteric traditions in order to find spirits with that power, and they're much more rare.
The Jake
QUOTE (Cain @ Jun 15 2009, 03:31 AM) *
Since according to the fluff, most wage mages are Hermetic, I think that means that they don't have any spirits they can summon with Magical Guard. I don't think Shamans have any, either. You have to go to the esoteric traditions in order to find spirits with that power, and they're much more rare.


Spirits of Man can cast one spell that the caster can. Assuming you are correct, that one spirit could still do a lot.

- J.
HappyDaze
QUOTE
I don't think Shamans have any, either. You have to go to the esoteric traditions in order to find spirits with that power, and they're much more rare.

Outside of the NAN, shamanism is no more common than many of the other traditions from Street Magic. It may seem to be so as a remnant of the early SR focus on Native Americans, but that's largely gone (no more Tribesman arcetype or Tribal Shaman) and so too should be the belief that Shamanism is the #2 most practiced tradition (I still agree on Hermetic magic being the worldwide standard of comparison - much like English is the worldwide standard language for pilots).
Cain
QUOTE (HappyDaze @ Jun 14 2009, 08:17 PM) *
Outside of the NAN, shamanism is no more common than many of the other traditions from Street Magic. It may seem to be so as a remnant of the early SR focus on Native Americans, but that's largely gone (no more Tribesman arcetype or Tribal Shaman) and so too should be the belief that Shamanism is the #2 most practiced tradition (I still agree on Hermetic magic being the worldwide standard of comparison - much like English is the worldwide standard language for pilots).

While the Native American variant would be limited, shamanism as a belief system exists worldwide, and in fact is one of the most common belief systems out there. The writeup in the BBB doesn't even specify Native American beliefs, so the core book shamanism would indeed be very popular. Maybe not the #2 system, but one of the more relatively common ones.
Larme
QUOTE (Cain @ Jun 14 2009, 02:26 AM) *
We're in a longrunning game where each character has at least 175 earned karma. The mages have become very good at what they do. It only took three mana/stunballs to decimate their ranks, and that's easily survivable even with a low background count.


Lol, now I get your problem. Your mages have become the Magic Apocalypse by this point. Wtf are you doing having them fight junkies? That's like hiring Blackwater to take down some fuzzy bunnies. If you're not running with the canon characters by that point (or at their level at least), everything is just too easy to be any fun. This is the same exact problem I see over and over, post after post of "I send the PCs after gangers and the gangers just die! What nerf must I use???" The more you talk about your SR4 experiences, the more certain I am that your GMs just have no clue. I wish I could phrase it less offensively, but dude. That's just weak. 175 karma characters against a horde of unenhanced mundanes. That's called "not even trying." Like it or not, but power level has to scale with karma level. If it doesn't, there's no more game, it's a turkey shoot, where the turkeys have no feet and clipped wings.
HappyDaze
QUOTE
While the Native American variant would be limited, shamanism as a belief system exists worldwide, and in fact is one of the most common belief systems out there.

Many of those worldwide 'variants' have become their own traditions in 4e. The Shaminism tradition as it remains is pretty narrow once you cut those away.
The Jake
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 15 2009, 05:40 AM) *
Lol, now I get your problem. Your mages have become the Magic Apocalypse by this point. Wtf are you doing having them fight junkies? That's like hiring Blackwater to take down some fuzzy bunnies. If you're not running with the canon characters by that point (or at their level at least), everything is just too easy to be any fun. This is the same exact problem I see over and over, post after post of "I send the PCs after gangers and the gangers just die! What nerf must I use???" The more you talk about your SR4 experiences, the more certain I am that your GMs just have no clue. I wish I could phrase it less offensively, but dude. That's just weak. 175 karma characters against a horde of unenhanced mundanes. That's called "not even trying." Like it or not, but power level has to scale with karma level. If it doesn't, there's no more game, it's a turkey shoot, where the turkeys have no feet and clipped wings.


Its in Ghost Cartels. You have to read the book. That scene has a fairly big climax. Although with Cain's PCs it was probably a walk in the park.... biggrin.gif

- J.
Cain
QUOTE
The more you talk about your SR4 experiences, the more certain I am that your GMs just have no clue. I wish I could phrase it less offensively, but dude. That's just weak. 175 karma characters against a horde of unenhanced mundanes. That's called "not even trying." Like it or not, but power level has to scale with karma level. If it doesn't, there's no more game, it's a turkey shoot, where the turkeys have no feet and clipped wings.

I was the GM. Have been for the better part of 20 years, with various groups. And you know it. Reported for personal attack.

Literally hundreds of gangers on kamikaze should be a threat to even the most seasoned runner. A Yama King should make them lose sphincter control. It should not go "Manaball-manaball-grenades-manabolt" and it's all over.
Larme
QUOTE (Cain @ Jun 15 2009, 12:12 AM) *
I was the GM. Have been for the better part of 20 years, with various groups. And you know it. Reported for personal attack.


You overestimate what I know about you. I had no idea that you were the GM, or how long you've been doing it -- maybe you've told me, but it sure didn't stick in my memory. The point is that you can't take characters that are way too powerful for the challenge, have them mop the floor, and claim that this proves that some aspect of the game is broken. I was not intending to make a personal attack, but only to emphasize something you seemed not to accept, that putting PCs against challenges they cannot possibly lose against is not going to expose flaws in the system, but only flaws in the use of the system.
Cain
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 14 2009, 09:39 PM) *
You overestimate what I know about you. I had no idea that you were the GM, or how long you've been doing it -- maybe you've told me, but it sure didn't stick in my memory. The point is that you can't take characters that are way too powerful for the challenge, have them mop the floor, and claim that this proves that some aspect of the game is broken. I was not intending to make a personal attack, but only to emphasize something you seemed not to accept, that putting PCs against challenges they cannot possibly lose against is not going to expose flaws in the system, but only flaws in the use of the system.

I did up the challenge, but in a fair manner. That means, giving the gangers high-force spirits and nastier weaponry was out of the question. The only fair thing I could do was up the number of gangers, and put a lot more of them on Kamikaze and K10. I sent literally hundreds of gangers, and added a runner team equivalent that was trying to sneak in. They all fell to manaballs or grenades. Adding anything else would have been unfair.
The Jake
QUOTE (Cain @ Jun 15 2009, 06:12 AM) *
I was the GM. Have been for the better part of 20 years, with various groups. And you know it. Reported for personal attack.

Literally hundreds of gangers on kamikaze should be a threat to even the most seasoned runner. A Yama King should make them lose sphincter control. It should not go "Manaball-manaball-grenades-manabolt" and it's all over.


Cain, how did your guys handle the Yama King btw? biggrin.gif

Larme it was expressly clear from his post he was running it. What part of "I am running Ghost Cartels" didn't you get?

If you read Ghost Cartels, you can see that the violence in Kowloon is a steady escalation of force. One homeless person on kamikaze might be an easy nut to crack. Try a few hundred, and even seasoned runners with automatic weapons will run out of ammo eventually and start panicking.

- J.
Octopiii
QUOTE (Cain @ Jun 14 2009, 06:08 PM) *
Judging from how much it costs to outfit and equip a Rigger PC, I'd say having live spider security would cost a lot. Also, what happens if there's two alarms at once? The rigger can only be jumped into one drone at a time. Similarly, magic security, even minimially, cost a great deal. THe spirit can't be at more than one site at a time, so the mage needs to summon one for every site. Additionally, it needs to be of a type that can provide Magical Guard, in order to provide counterspelling; and those types tend to not be as good at the actual fighting.


It's a security firm, not a one man operation. I'm sure the firms have several riggers working shifts at all times. The odds of having more than, say, 10 alarms tripped at once are astronomically small. The same goes with magical security firms. The mage doesn't need more than one bound spirit, as there are probably two or three mages working with the firm, each of whom can have up to their charisma in bound spirits. That should be more than sufficient coverage, unless you anticipate mass magical threats to happen at the same time, which would likely be a plot point in itself.
Octopiii
QUOTE (kzt @ Jun 14 2009, 06:50 PM) *
If the rigger at an off-site location can talk to the drones and building security system, so can your hacker. Not to mention things like jammers and bolt cutters. It's likely to be a false economy.


I don't follow your point. That a hacker can steal drones? That's kind of a staple of the game. We're not talking about a large, well funded facility here - I imagine that a mid-size facility probably has one person whose job is to moniter cameras etc, which would include drone status. This person does not have the skill of a dedicated Rigger. Should hostiles enter the facility, it is this person's job to hit the panic button to bring the Rigger into the location. Should the drones become subverted, they may choose to shut down all drones. None of this pertains to off-site v. on-site Rigger however. I imagine combat drones are switched off until it becomes necessary to deploy them - so a hacker turning them on remotely is going to raise danger signals, which will necessitate calling the off-site rigger, who will then fight the team's hacker in matrix combat to re-control the drones, or failing that, just reboot all automated security. How is any of that less secure than an on-site Rigger?
Blade
Three things I'd add:

* Wards: not only do they prevent the astrally projected mages and their spirits friends from looking inside, but they'll also warn someone as soon as they're under attack.
* Two-way mirrors: the guard can see the mage, the mage can't see the guard.
* Off-site magical security: having a security mage/spirit on site 24h might be expensive for a lot of places, but I'm pretty sure you can get off-site magical security for a relatively cheap monthly fee. As soon as there's a magical alert (triggered by the ward, or some manatech or by a security guard), they can send one or two astrally projecting mage(s) and/or spirits right away. The magical security can be on site just a few seconds later.
crizh
Ballistic Shields + Gel Packs + Force 10 FAB II

Discuss.
Blade
I might be mistaken, but I don't remember that FAB2 offers any protection against spells.
You can also have all guards have a pet Nimu Salamander.
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