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Machiavelli
Are indirect combat-spells always visibly headed from the mage to the target or could you choose that the effect only becomes visible as it expresses/explodes at the target?

I thought about it, because the only chance mages have to survive, is that they are not too obvious to potential attackers. If every spell would be acting this way, it would be quite simple to track the mages position. (I don´t use indirect combat spells due to the high drain, therefore i never thought about it.) According to the spell description it has to be that the mage is the centre of the spell-starting-effect, but maybe you houserule it different?
Maelstrome
people cant dodge what they arent aware of. i allowed this kind of spell to be made separately. what you end up with is spells that act like direct combat spells and have elemental effects.
Traul
Can't be clearer than that:
QUOTE ("SR4A changes")
(Indirect combat) Spells manifest at the caster and physically travel instantly to the target over the mystic link

It is labelled as a clarification, not an erratum, so it should be the way it works in SR4 too.
Jaid
actually, if you're casting any sort of decently powerful spell, it's going to be painfully obvious to any viewers that your mage is a mage. it's a perception test with a threshold of (6-spell force) to notice spellcasting going on. which means for a force 6 spell, you're looking at a threshold of 0. which is not very subtle at all.
Kerenshara
You know, I always wondered about that "noticing spellcasting" thing. Remember, that assumes the person is taking a "notice in detail" action, otherwise they're at a penalty. But I was also wondering if there was a way to bluff or something similar. And if you're hidden physically, there's not much to notice, either. This isn't D&D; unless you take a Geas or are using a centering skill, the only direct indication is a direct stare at the target. Thus the old stand-by of mirror shades. But if that's actually true, then:

*PROSE FOLLOWS*

The stunning woman with the wavy auburn hair and ice blue eyes pushes open the door to the establishment, and steps inside out of the seemingly permanent Seatle drizzle and haze, wrinkling her nose at the odors of wet cloth, unwashed bodies and stale beer and ignoring the slightly over-warm temperature. The bar is something of a dive, but she’s been in worse. Kerenshara sweeps the entire establishment with a trained eye noticing exits and possible threats, despite the gloom. A number of the patrons take notice of the new arrival, a beautiful flower out of place in a bed of weeds. Her mirrored shades match well with the roguish cut of her hair and the way her tight black jeans hug her curves. She unzips Rachel’s high-necked blood red leather jacket, exposing an ample amount of décolletage enhanced by Rachel’s black leather bustier and the regard of many of the patrons sharpens to keen interest. The stillness on her face and something about her stance deter these veterans of the mean streets. Subconsciously they recognize the wolf that has just entered amongst their flock.

The stiletto heels of Rachel’s black leather thigh-high boots clack sharply on the hard concrete floor that may once have been polished or even had a covering as she stalks over to a corner booth and drops herself casually into the back corner, the cushion’s cracked synthetic fabric squealing in protest, facing the rest of the bar. She casually puts her booted heels up on the slightly greasy looking table, crossing her ankles and turning slightly to better hide the silenced pistol concealed within the jacket, but easy to reach. The black velvet choker around her throat feels a little tighter than usual as she senses something change. There is a slight commotion across the bar, as a young woman tries to escape the pawing hands of an ugly looking human with a scar over his left eye and dressed in purple and orange synth-leathers. The girl looks like she has seriously fallen off the bus in the wrong part of town. Another male, this one an ork not much better looking than his friend and wearing the same colors steps across her path to block her way.

Kerenshara turns her head slightly away, appearing to watch somebody else in the bar. Her enhanced hearing easily picked out the hushed conversation as the two males - she would NOT give them the honor of the term “men? - explained what the price for her safety in their piss-ant gang’s territory was going to be. The girl is near tears, and the fear she is radiating tears at Kerenshara’s senses. Even the mundanes must be feeling it, but they all seem engrossed with their drinks. Most other conversations have even stopped as everybody studiously ignores the events closer to the entrance.

“I can’t afford to blow this identity? Kerenshara thinks to herself, watching the human’s hand begin working its way up the girl’s skirt, resisting the urge to draw the pistol and splatter the contents of their skulls all over the walls. She can taste the adrenaline starting to sing in her veins, and fights the need to destroy them as time begins to slow down. By main force of will, she holds herself in place and even manages to remain outwardly disinterested. Then she hears the human tell the ork that he saw her first. Now Kerenshara has to fight not to smile as she focuses on the ork out of her peripheral vision, feeling the mana rushing to meet the adrenaline in her veins and reaches out to the crude metahuman. She feels the emotions on the surface of his mind, and the black laced red haze of bitter anger is everywhere. She mentally blows on the embers of anger, stoking them to rage and simultaneously whispers an indignant curse before pulling back out as easily as she had entered, just as the Ork screams the same indignant curse and swings a massively calloused fist at the human. In seconds the two are too focused on each other to notice the girl bolt out the door. “Smart girl? Kerenshara thinks to herself with a mental smirk as a glint of metal reveals that the fight just turned deadly. A third man, this one a not-bad-looking troll in the same colors stands up suddenly and shouts to the two males, who instinctively freeze and turn to him in fear and back away from him as he herds them out the door with a flurry of kicks, punches and curses.

The bar seems to breathe for a moment, then like an old Wild West saloon, conversation resumes as though nothing has happened. Not a soul even turns toward her, and Kerenshara permits herself a very tight but indulgent smile as the adrenaline fades from her system. Before she can draw the attention of one of the detached wait staff, the door opens again and an Asian man with a suit that marks him as much an outsider as a jay amongst a flock of wrens steps inside. His shoes shine in the dim light, and the crease in his slacks refuse to acknowledge the drizzle outside. He scans the bar and his eyes fall on Kerenshara. He seems to nod to himself, and walks directly over to her table, and bows marginally to her. “Good evening, Ms. Smith,? he says in only slightly accented English. The accent’s Chinese, but the bow’s Japanese. Body language’s harder to train out, so the voice is probably the lie. “Mr. Johnson. Good evening. Will you join me for a drink??

*END SNIPPET*

It all depends on who's looking for what, and you should be able to bluff...
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Kerenshara @ Jun 16 2009, 05:34 PM) *
You know, I always wondered about that "noticing spellcasting" thing. Remember, that assumes the person is taking a "notice in detail" action, otherwise they're at a penalty. But I was also wondering if there was a way to bluff or something similar. And if you're hidden physically, there's not much to notice, either. This isn't D&D; unless you take a Geas or are using a centering skill, the only direct indication is a direct stare at the target. Thus the old stand-by of mirror shades. But if that's actually true, then:

*PROSE FOLLOWED*

It all depends on who's looking for what, and you should be able to bluff...[/font]



Very Well Done...
Jaid
a force 3 spell is likely enough to have your desired result. a force 3 spell is a threshold 3 test. most people don't reliably make threshold 3 tests. if you want to go even further, you could probably make it force 4 or potentially even 5 in such a case; most people there won't be looking at her, probably don't have perception skill, and in other words probably have a dicepool hovering near 0.

unless of course your character has a shamanic mask (which is supposed to make it more visible after all) or some of the people are watching you specifically, or are awakened and/or assensing. in any case, it still leaves you with plenty of room... it just means you can't drop a force 6 manaball without it being fairly obvious.
kombofink
Follow up question:

What if I'm firing a potent (like force 6) spell while being invisible? I assume that this will reveal my position and give them a possibility for a shot at me. This would still be at a -6 for blindfiring though?
Or am I wrong?
Dakka Dakka
Not necessarily. The noticing spellcasting paragraph only talks about signs made by the casting itself, not the spell. If the spell does not do anything visible, there is no indication from where it is cast. If an invisble person starts sweating and makes a strained expression, you still cannot see it.
Bob Lord of Evil
QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Jun 17 2009, 09:18 AM) *
Not necessarily. The noticing spellcasting paragraph only talks about signs made by the casting itself, not the spell. If the spell does not do anything visible, there is no indication from where it is cast. If an invisble person starts sweating and makes a strained expression, you still cannot see it.


Excellent point!

Kerenshara,

Very well done.
Chibu
(Not that I agree with it but...) Didn't SR4A give magic sparkles so that people could notice it better?

But yes, if no one is paying attention to you, they won't be able to tell.


Also, as a 'house rule' I think that the noticing spellcasting check should probably be (Caster's Magic Rating - Spell Force). Because well, if you're a high-grade initiate or something with a magic rating of 12 or so, casting a force 6 spell is not going to be particularly difficult for you. I'm pretty sure it's mostly concentrating, and straining (along with any totem stuff and centering). I think of casting a Spell at force equal to your magic rating as similar to picking up the heaviest box that you can (based on your strength, i don't recall rules for this at the moment) without needing to make a roll or something. You have to prepare yourself, tense up your muscles and you probably get a strange look on your face. You could also have particularly stupid NPCs make a check to see if they think you're crapping yourself. XD

Dakka Dakka
QUOTE (Chibu @ Jun 17 2009, 01:51 PM) *
(Not that I agree with it but...) Didn't SR4A give magic sparkles so that people could notice it better?
Neither mages nor vampires sparkle in daylight or otherwise.

QUOTE
Also, as a 'house rule' I think that the noticing spellcasting check should probably be (Caster's Magic Rating - Spell Force). Because well, if you're a high-grade initiate or something with a magic rating of 12 or so, casting a force 6 spell is not going to be particularly difficult for you.
I would have liked, if the threshold were calculated like this by RAW.
Kerenshara
QUOTE (Chibu @ Jun 17 2009, 07:51 AM) *
But yes, if no one is paying attention to you, they won't be able to tell.


Also, as a 'house rule' I think that the noticing spellcasting check should probably be (Caster's Magic Rating - Spell Force). Because well, if you're a high-grade initiate or something with a magic rating of 12 or so, casting a force 6 spell is not going to be particularly difficult for you. I'm pretty sure it's mostly concentrating, and straining (along with any totem stuff and centering). I think of casting a Spell at force equal to your magic rating as similar to picking up the heaviest box that you can (based on your strength, i don't recall rules for this at the moment) without needing to make a roll or something. You have to prepare yourself, tense up your muscles and you probably get a strange look on your face. You could also have particularly stupid NPCs make a check to see if they think you're crapping yourself. XD

Ooooh! OK, now THAT's a game mechanic I can live with! Another way might be 6-[Drain Code]?
Inncubi

The rulebook states that you can notice the spellcasting process. The spell is a different matter and its one I'd rule according to the player's previous descriptions on how it looks when he/she casts a spell. Shamanic masks reduce the difficulty to spot the caster working his mojo, and thus makes the mage more identifiable. Apply the old maxim: "Geek the mage first". But where that mage may be, when he's invisble and such, if there's no indication of physical effects -like indirect elemental spells- I'd rule it in favour of the mage. This gives an advantage to stealthy player mages, but can also be used against them: Like very subtle Jedi-like influence spells.

Kerenshara mentioned this, as well as Jaid. This is about SR4 since I don't have SR4A, and thus can't give an informed opinion on it.
And I like the fact that Force 6 spells are detectable even when cast by magic 12 spellslingers. Yes they don't strain hard to cast it, but the energy pouring from astral space is, in my records, the same as if cast by a magic 3 spellcaster. However I'd say you could conceal it via metamagic techniques: either develop one on your own, or apply masking if your GM would allow it. Magic 12 will probably suffer no drain from his casting but it is still obvious. Magic 3 will burst one or two main arteries from the casting, besides being obviously casting a spell. There is fluff on obvious spellcasting on the description for the magic section on the SR4 BBB, it shows a girl overcasting an indirect combat spell IIRC.

Kudos to Kerenshara on the prose part. It illustrates the point in a very descrpitive way, and what's more, makes the fluff help understand the rules. That's why I always liked Shadow, even if you have to strain a bit -handwaivium material issue, for example- but you can fit a rule into the fluffy description.

As a side point, I like Shamanic masks, but for them to be "more" characteristic I apply a little house-rule. If your caster has obvious spellcasting effects -call it a shamanic mask, but can apply to hermetics- and oyu describe it, you get +1 die to the drain test because you are channeling some of the excess energy into ambient effects. Reduces the damage done to your body. Yes, it can be abused, but my players aren't that sort of players so it works perfect for my table.
Dakka Dakka
QUOTE (Kerenshara @ Jun 17 2009, 03:27 PM) *
Ooooh! OK, now THAT's a game mechanic I can live with! Another way might be 6-[Drain Code]?

I prefer the other houserule. It takes the expertise and power (Magic rating) into account. If you want to take the drain into account as well, maybe use the drain modifier as dicepool modifier for the observer.
Traul
Noticing spellcasting is irrelevant to indirect combat spells. Those ones create a physical medium. It exists on the physical plane, can be recorded by sensors, and should be obvious enough not to require any perception roll.

The usual mana twist around the mage also happens, but it should be so much less noticableble that it does not really matters.
Kerenshara
QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Jun 17 2009, 09:30 AM) *
I prefer the other houserule. It takes the expertise and power (Magic rating) into account. If you want to take the drain into account as well, maybe use the drain modifier as dicepool modifier for the observer.

Hey! Now THAT is why we come here! An open discussion of ideas for how to tweak the gray areas of the rules to suit, and THAT idea is VERY appealing! Thanks for the input, that one's going on a 3x5 card!
Kerenshara
QUOTE (Inncubi @ Jun 17 2009, 09:29 AM) *
And I like the fact that Force 6 spells are detectable even when cast by magic 12 spellslingers. Yes they don't strain hard to cast it, but the energy pouring from astral space is, in my records, the same as if cast by a magic 3 spellcaster. However I'd say you could conceal it via metamagic techniques: either develop one on your own, or apply masking if your GM would allow it. Magic 12 will probably suffer no drain from his casting but it is still obvious. Magic 3 will burst one or two main arteries from the casting, besides being obviously casting a spell. There is fluff on obvious spellcasting on the description for the magic section on the SR4 BBB, it shows a girl overcasting an indirect combat spell IIRC.

I was actually thinking that things like Metamagic Centering (which HAVE to be obvious) would make it harder, if not impossible, to conceal your "casting".

I hadn't considered the idea of a "concealing" Metamagic technique. Interesting.

I was mainly going off the bits I remember reading that said the most noticable thing is the focus of concentration on the target, and if that's the case, undercover officers routinely give intense scrutiny to people while concealing their interest with the equivalent of Disguise maybe or Con. focusing through the peripheral vision while convincingly appearing to be focused on something else. That was the idea I was driving at: it should be an opposed test if the mage is trying to conceal their focus, but they'd suffer the usual -2 DP modifier due to having to "maintain" the spell while they try to avoid notice. That means the average mage isn't going to have a lot of success, but one very skilled at the Stealth and Influence groups would be able to disguise what they're up do pretty easily as long as the spell's power isn't too high, and I would combine that with the other bits people suggested above, like being Perception (Magic - Force) with a modifier to the observer's dice pool equal to the Drain Code.

QUOTE
Kudos to Kerenshara on the prose part. It illustrates the point in a very descrpitive way, and what's more, makes the fluff help understand the rules. That's why I always liked Shadow, even if you have to strain a bit -handwaivium material issue, for example- but you can fit a rule into the fluffy description.

Thank you. Glad you enjoyed. I felt an itch and gave into it. No polish or editing, but it's not TOO bad as far as I'm concerned. Rachel C. Parker is the "Rocker" persona of Kerenshara, whose real name is Cheryl.

QUOTE
As a side point, I like Shamanic masks, but for them to be "more" characteristic I apply a little house-rule. If your caster has obvious spellcasting effects -call it a shamanic mask, but can apply to hermetics- and oyu describe it, you get +1 die to the drain test because you are channeling some of the excess energy into ambient effects. Reduces the damage done to your body. Yes, it can be abused, but my players aren't that sort of players so it works perfect for my table.

That's an interesting idea... I need to run that by my GM and see what he thinks. Kerenshara isn't technically a shaman, so wouldn't benefit from that, but I often play a conventional shaman, and it makes sense. Plus, it's simple and not overpowered. I WOULD say it only helps on spells with a Drain Code higher than a set number, like BOD or WIL, because mana has to chanel THROUGH the mage, and there's not much drain to "dump" into that mask, since the old rules clearly stated the mask got more obvious as spell Force rose.
Mx
QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Jun 17 2009, 12:18 PM) *
Not necessarily. The noticing spellcasting paragraph only talks about signs made by the casting itself, not the spell. If the spell does not do anything visible, there is no indication from where it is cast. If an invisble person starts sweating and makes a strained expression, you still cannot see it.

Actually
QUOTE
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. The 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.
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).

Important line bolded by me.
Kerenshara
QUOTE (Mäx @ Jun 17 2009, 11:16 AM) *
Actually

Important line bolded by me.

What page and book was that?
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Kerenshara @ Jun 17 2009, 11:04 AM) *
What page and book was that?



Hey Kerenshara...

Page 168 of the BBB (SR4) under the heading Noticing Magic...
Mx
QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Jun 17 2009, 08:15 PM) *
Hey Kerenshara...

Page 168 of the BBB (SR4) under the heading Noticing Magic...

Actually page 179 in SR4A, the explanation in bolded part is new.
Kerenshara
QUOTE (Mäx @ Jun 17 2009, 02:01 PM) *
Actually page 179 in SR4A, the explanation in bolded part is new.


Ah, another "clarification" that dramatically changes things. Lovely. Thank you. I haven't had time to read the drekking PDF cover to cover... where's that dead tree compilation I ordered?

Oh well - you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have, the facts of life... the facts of life...
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