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Karoline
So, the title is fairly self explanatory I hope.

I'm curious what sort of ways there are for an individual character to protect themselves from a mage besides being one themselves or having one on overwatch for them. And no, I don't mean 'geek the mage' either. I mean actual protection.

I know that SR is a game of glass characters running around with hammers, but mages always seem to have the biggest hammer. Well, it isn't even that they have the biggest hammer, it is that there is nothing a character can really do (That I can think of) to protect themselves from magic without being born resistant or a mage.

To stop a bullet/blade you can learn to dodge to be less likely to be hit/be hit less hard. You can throw on a bunch of armor to reduce the P damage to stun, and help you soak up more of the damage.

So, my question is basically is there a magic equivalent to picking up the dodge skill (Besides counterspelling) or throwing on some armor? If not, what are some tips and tricks you've picked up to stop a mage blasting you into little bits. I believe there is some magic equivalent of the smoke grenade which blinds astral perception, but that is about the only one I can think of off hand.
Glyph
Willpower of 5 (6 if a dwarf), Edge of 5 (6 if a human), SURGE with either magic resistance or arcane arrester (or be a gnome or fomorian and get it free), along with astral hazing. You'll laugh contemptuously at most spells.

Tactics-wise, smoke grenades, plain old stealth, ruthenium, and cover. Remember that wards are fairly common, and simply darting into a building might be giving you protection from spells and spirits (a good way to ditch things like watchers if you suspect you might be magically tailed).
Orcus Blackweather
Mages can only hit what they can see. Anything that blocks line of sight, or make you less noticeable will keep them from targeting you. Obviously everyone will geek the mage when he has been identified, but if he can't see you he has to throw that first spell at someone else. As posted by glyph, the only dice you roll to resist spells are willpower for mana spells, or body for physical spells. Magic resistance is a quality you can take, 1 die of resist for 5 BP up to 4 points, and of course edge. You could also hire an npc mage to send a spirit along to help protect you. Have them summon a spirit with the counterspelling ability (not sure if that works just a thought). You can also at character creation take a burnt out mage. Give him 1 point of magic and counterspelling.
Marwynn
Mages need Visibility to cast spells. Even with Cybereyes you can still inflict penalties on them and their spellcasting.

Think about getting advanced safeties on your guns. Those Mental Manipulation spells are killer, but at least you and your friends won't shoot each other in the face at the Mage's whims.

Thermal Smoke, since the Mage is probably cybered. Nonconductive, Fire resistant armour is also a good idea if your GM's fond of combat spells. There's also the rather expensive route of FAB III... but that'll get your Awakened teammates extremely pissed.
Mordinvan
QUOTE (Marwynn @ Oct 14 2009, 10:02 PM) *
There's also the rather expensive route of FAB III... but that'll get your Awakened teammates extremely pissed.

And doesn't do much in the time span of a fight unless its really been changed.
Marwynn
Six hours still from my copy of Street Magic. And all you have to do is stop being Astrally Active for it to be a problem.

Also, the Esprit Blume grenade doesn't do much either. An 'astral mist'... Well it may help, it slightly obscures perception and assensing. It has a diameter of 10m... You can use it to slow down astral pursuit.
Blade
There's also the magic resistance positive quality which, combined with a high willpower give a good dice pool to resist spells.
Thanee
It's a design feature of SR, that only magic can truely defend against magic. Hence, Counterspelling (the Dodge equivalent against magic) being only available to mages.

But there are options to make it harder for a mage, especially stealth and line of sight disruption, as mentioned above already.

Bye
Thanee
Medicineman
A one-way-Mirror-Riot Shield (Being held a little further away so that the Aura doesn't shine through).
A Mage needs a Line of sight wink.gif.And this shield is also good vs Indirect Area Spells

with a shielded Dance
Medicineman
Cheshyr
QUOTE (Medicineman @ Oct 15 2009, 04:03 AM) *
A one-way-Mirror-Riot Shield (Being held a little further away so that the Aura doesn't shine through).
A Mage needs a Line of sight wink.gif.And this shield is also good vs Indirect Area Spells

with a shielded Dance
Medicineman


Is this also good against laser weapons?
Medicineman
It should give you quite a bonus to Dodge (and if angled right and polished) also a kind of Flash-Effect to blind the Enemy

with a polished Dance
Medicineman
crizh
How about a Doberman with uprated Armour, Gecko Tips, a Thermal Smoke Projector and some built in flash-paks?

It's tough, can go where you go and can apply a minimum -4 visibility mod.

An Evo Orderly with a Rigger Cocoon?

Can't target what you can't see.

Take a full length Riot Shield, put gel-packs on the back and then suck out the gel and replace it with Rating 10 FAB-II.

That last one is kinda cheesy 'cos of the stupid Military Armour rules.

Technically if you're carrying it you get no benefit, of course you could fit it with feet and fire around it with a smart gun or over it with a GL....
Cthulhudreams
Well, you can take the 10 point disadvantage that haves you astral hazing, which is awesome.

Or just blow smoke and break LOS. Duelling with mages is much like fighting with tanks. You both have weapons that insta kill each other (sniper rifle with APDS vs Mage stuff), so you need to ensure that you have the positional advantage, or you blow smoke and retreat such that you do.
Karoline
Thanks for the advice guys. Sounds like the only real defense after character creation is smoke grenades(and similar) and otherwise breaking LOS.
W@geMage
QUOTE (Cthulhudreams @ Oct 15 2009, 06:01 AM) *
Well, you can take the 10 point disadvantage that haves you astral hazing, which is awesome.
And also makes you a complete outcast.
Destroying wards everywhere you go kinda pisses people off and is not really stealthy.
Imagine never being able to enter a bar, mall, airport, railway station etc ... in your entire life without setting magical alarms off.
Having to pay for all the ward breaches you cause, Lone Star would have your records on file pretty quick.

DuctShuiTengu
Complete darkness + heavy thermal smoke renders everyone blind. Now, if you're not prepared for it, this is something of a wash (they can't see you to cast, you can't see them to shoot). However, ultrasound is still only at -3 and is pretty-much the only form of vision mod that's available in eyewear but not eyeware (pardon the pun). Radar or ultrasound systems that aren't vision based are also available in cyberware. Either way, the end result is that you can detect the mage to shoot them, but they need to actually see you to cast spells at you.

There's a few things here and there (arcane arrester, astral hazing, magic resistance, obnoxiously high willpower and edge) that can make it easier to resist spells, and a few items that were designed to screw mages (FAB springs to mind, as do magemasks or magecuffs) but in general, your best bet for not getting torn up when you find yourself facing offensive magic (and aren't being backed up by magic of your own) is to deny them LOS through one means or another.
Blade
I don't know if the Nimu Salamander (salamanders that eat mana) have made it into Running Wild and how efficient they are, but maybe that's another option.
toturi
QUOTE (Medicineman @ Oct 15 2009, 05:03 PM) *
A one-way-Mirror-Riot Shield (Being held a little further away so that the Aura doesn't shine through).
A Mage needs a Line of sight wink.gif.And this shield is also good vs Indirect Area Spells

with a shielded Dance
Medicineman

It doesn't work unless you are not holding onto the shield (then you won't be getting the shield bonus) or you are claiming that your hand isn't part of your body and doesn't have an aura.
Medicineman
You mean the Aura of your Arm "shining through"
Well if you have large Handles and some distance between your Arm and the Shield... wink.gif
Well it needs some Fumbling and your GMs approval but it can be done

HokaHey
Medicineman
Cthulhudreams
QUOTE (W@geMage @ Oct 15 2009, 10:32 PM) *
And also makes you a complete outcast.
Destroying wards everywhere you go kinda pisses people off and is not really stealthy.
Imagine never being able to enter a bar, mall, airport, railway station etc ... in your entire life without setting magical alarms off.
Having to pay for all the ward breaches you cause, Lone Star would have your records on file pretty quick.


Couple of points

A) Got a single quote demonstrate that astral hazing makes you an outcast OR that those places are warded?

B) Sustaining spells isn't illegal either - but would trigger the same effects. As sustaining spells isn't illegal, clearly these negative effects do not apply.

C) 24x7 magical security is not economical for public places. Manning a 24x7 armed checkpoint requires expenditure of ~1.5 to 2 million a year in todays dollars. Today, bars push back against retaining a single security guard because it is too expensive.

Please note that if you're positing the bar is warded, but the mage is not onsite, that is a completely dysfunctional ward. How is the proprietor of the bar going to be informed about the breach unless the mage is on site, or on call. If the mage is not on site, but on call, how is he going to tell the proprietor? On call services offered today have a response time in hours outside of business hours.



Kumo
I prefer to think that aura shine only through WORN armor - about 0,2 - 0,5 cm, if we can use this kind of unit in astral space. Just to be visible, or it would also shine through thin walls, car's door or cheap furniture, and magic will become even more powerful.
Ravor
Cthulhudreams your kidding right? For slightly less than $100 a month the company that I'm currently contracted to uses a 24/7 alarm system that has a real person who calls me within minutes of an alarm, holidays included.

And no, I'm not even talking about a security system, just an equipment failure alarm.


Also as cheap as wards are, I don't have a problem with most places having them, along with wireless blocking paint...
Adarael
Don't forget the ol' Ruthenium Polymer Suit. Or I guess "Chameleon Suit" in 4th Edition. If you throw one on, the vision penalty to see you also applies to spellcasting, because it is explicitly a vision penalty. So suppose you're engaged in a firefight with Raoul the Aztechnology Mage. You're behind an overturned table, firing your pistol at him, in your chameleon suit. In order to see you, he's down... what is it, 4 dice? 6? We'll go with 4, because my memory is failing. But he knows you're there, cuz you're shooting. Let's suppose there's some minor smoke in the room, because his hellblast lit some of it on fire. Let's also suppose you've hit him with one shot already, doing 4 boxes of damage.

SR4 Example!
He casts stunbolt at you! Magic 8 (He's a bad-ass!) + 6 Sorcery + 2 "Combat Spells" Specialization = 16 dice! Well, the -2 from smoke and -4 from your suit reduces his die pool to 10, and his wound penalty reduces that to 9. He will reliably get 3 successes.

You roll your willpower 5 (You're a bad-ass, too!) plus Edge 5, because you realize you might get your ass handed to you. Look, it's statistically in your favor (because of exploding 6es!) and you don't get smoked by it. Rock. Then you shoot Raoul in the face again.

In SR4 Anniversary, cover bonuses are applied to the defender's roll as extra dice, rather than being penalties on the attacker. I don't know offhand if this applies to vision modifiers to a spellcaster, but either way it shouldn't change the statistics of the outcome much.
crizh
QUOTE (Adarael @ Oct 15 2009, 05:59 PM) *
Don't forget the ol' Ruthenium Polymer Suit. []because it is explicitly a vision penalty.


No, no it is not.

It is a penalty to Perception.

Massive difference.

@Ravor

I hear a lot of folks going on and on about the prevalence of Wards and anti-wifi measures.

The former has no listed price but it isn't difficult to infer that it is very expensive from the labour cost of maintaining them.

If you start doing the numbers on anti-wifi for any sort of real world office building you'll find the numbers sky-rocketing in a big hurry.
Adarael
Well, that is certainly an opinion. But logic dictates that if I have a -4 penalty to target something because I can barely see it because of glare, smoke, or underbrush, having a -4 because it is hard to see in another fashion is also highly likely.

Edit: Huh. Apparently in SR4A, cover bonuses also apply to Indirect Combat Spells. Or so the changes doc indicates. I had thought that was always the case.
crizh
QUOTE (Adarael @ Oct 15 2009, 06:23 PM) *
Well, that is certainly an opinion.


No, it's a fact.

Perception penalties apply to Perception tests. Visibility modifiers are a completely different thing.

While Visibility modifiers apply to Perception test this does not mean that all Perception penalties are Visibility Modifiers.

Chamo makes it more difficult to detect an intruder in SR but does not make him any harder to shoot once he has been detected.
BlueMax
QUOTE (Adarael @ Oct 15 2009, 10:23 AM) *
Well, that is certainly an opinion. But logic dictates that if I have a -4 penalty to target something because I can barely see it because of glare, smoke, or underbrush, having a -4 because it is hard to see in another fashion is also highly likely.

Edit: Huh. Apparently in SR4A, cover bonuses also apply to Indirect Combat Spells. Or so the changes doc indicates. I had thought that was always the case.


I made the same honest mistake. About two months ago when those in my group who had ordered though B&N had their shiny new SR4A, I opened one to check this and I was shocked Direct Combat spells take only a tiny portion of the possible modifiers.

Direct combat spells are amazingly potent.


BlueMax
Marwynn
I believe it was ambiguous previously.

Perception isn't constant... that is it's a roll to determine if you spot something in the first place. Visibility is the difficulty of observing something. It does make sense that a hazy outline of someone in a Chameleon Suit would be harder to shoot, but it doesn't inflict any visibility penalties in terms of targeting.

So no -4 to spells or attacks. Though some sorta penalty in the difficulty in maintaining a "lock" on the target would be good, but that's up to the GM.

Wards are not that expensive. It's 100 nuyen.gif per hour of the ritual, which is equal to the Force of the Ward. A basic Force 3 Ward would cost you 300 nuyen.gif and it lasts several weeks equal to the hits of Magic + Will. Total cubic meters is equal to Magic x 50.

Not too shabby. A decent day job if you ask me.
Adarael
Well, I'm gonna merrily go on applying perception penalties to ranged combat. Because camo DOES make it harder to effectively hit a target, even if you know he's there, because it breaks up his outline, and makes it harder to tell where center of mass is.

Either way, the point still stands. Wear a ruthenium polymer suit. DON'T shoot at Raoul. Does Raoul take an observe in detail action to notice you flanking him? No? Well, then shoot Raoul in the side of the head.

You may note that this is equally effective against all enemies.

Edit: I'd also like to point out that if you go strictly by the rules, there are also no 'visibility penalties' for shooting at someone through loose underbrush or a blizzard, because it is not strictly 'cover'. And that is horseshit, IMO.
Thanee
Yep.

If you hold your gun into the exact same direction (against camouflaged and non-camouflaged target in exactly the same position) you will hit them exactly the same.

But... will you hold your gun into the exact same direction, based upon what you can see and your coordination (which is essentially, what your Firearms skill does)?

Bye
Thanee
crizh
QUOTE (Marwynn @ Oct 15 2009, 06:44 PM) *
It's 100 nuyen.gif per hour of the ritual


Not to be rude but, where the hell did you find that number?

Even at that low cost that's 300 nuyen.gif every couple of weeks for an area the size of a very small store.

That's a shit load of cash for something that only prevents you being annoyed by Watcher Spirits and that regularly gets kicked over by Wiz-gang vandals.
Marwynn
The rule book. SR4A, p.194, the section about Wards.

QUOTE
A number
of firms and freelance magicians contract to maintain wards for those
who value their astral privacy, generally charging around 100 an hour
(per magician).


It's a small amount of money if you value your astral privacy. And since it's a business and you can sign up for a contract with discounts and so on.
crizh
QUOTE (Adarael @ Oct 15 2009, 06:50 PM) *
And that is horseshit, IMO.


I concur.

But as the rules stand, RAW, you haven't got a leg to stand on trying to tell the GM that you are 4 dice harder to hit because of your ruthenium sneak suit...
crizh
QUOTE (Marwynn @ Oct 15 2009, 07:01 PM) *
The rule book. SR4A, p.194, the section about Wards.



It's a small amount of money if you value your astral privacy.


Christ, I've only read that paragraph about fifteen times in the last hour...

Still, like I said, a very big wedge of cash for very little return.

edit

Compared to the cost of Insurance against other, far more likely, knocks to your balance sheet I don't think it adds up until you get to very high nuyen.gif per square foot businesses.
ScandRun
Hmm this defending against mages seem kinda tough without throwing in a mage on the opposition side all the time. I myself only GM atm but my PC mage seem to destroy most what I throw against them all the time. Elite soldier teams without mage support gets blasted with force 12 mana bolts and whatnot. I seem to have the best success throwing large number of foes against them even with magical support my runners where kinda stressed out fighting 25 drugged up bikers with pistols and chains.

I have considered giving my more high end teams astral support from mages. Summoning spririts with magical guard assisting them with magical guard or just popping up in the face of the mage in question.

Another idea I have considered is targeting the mage through focis, I remember playing an awakend character my GM was always on about focis lighting up like a Christmas tree on the astral plane .

Could I for example target a mage through active focis ? What would be the effect if I manaballed the mages active focis. This possibility of affecting targets in the regular world while the magical support would only be on the astral plan would be essentail for this strategy to be effective.

Just a few thoughts from a GM perspective on defending vs magic.

Would be really interesting to get some feedback on the astral support angle from you guys.

Regards,

Scandrun



Kumo
Well, if mage can't spot an enemy, he will not attack him. When he can - chamo will not help. But his enemy can try to hide again.

BTW: total darkness, thermal smoke and chamo do not block an Astral Sight...

I'm not sure about wards - probably most places of any importance has them. But at public areas... rare at best.
Wi-fi inhabitants are relatively cheap, so they are common in any place. Not public areas, again - these are places where pepole should have access to Matrix.
Apathy
Options vs mages:
  • a large volume of individually weak opponents (12 ghouls poping in an alley popping out from behind dumpsters and trash piles, or a swarm of 100 devil rats mobbing you in the sewer). But you've got to be able to use cover, visibility modifiers, and closing to melee range to prevent the mage from taking everyone out with a single stunball, though.
  • a few high-end opponents with spell defense. This has a significant chance of TPK, though.
  • drones
  • area attack weapons and gas.


Mages will potentially be buffed with armor or invisibility spells, making them hard to hit and hard to damage when you do hit, so grenades are always nice. Gas grenades don't need to be precisely targeted, and bypass the armor and barrier spells.
Stahlseele
camo . . it's CAMO . . from Camouflage . . not Chamo from Chamaeleonflage . .
crizh
QUOTE (Stahlseele @ Oct 15 2009, 07:33 PM) *
camo . . it's CAMO . . from Camouflage . . not Chamo from Chamaeleonflage . .


Calm, calm.

Take a breath.

It's easy enough to get confused when talking about Camouflage and Chameleon Coating in the same breath.

And far from the worst English grammar/spelling I've seen/perpetrated on these boards...

grinbig.gif
Cheshyr
Huh. I thought we were talking about the Chameleon Suit too... hence the references to ruthenuim polymers.

I would generally deal with mages using stealth or area effect as well, unless I wanted to play things a little coy. Definitely wouldn't go head to head with one on their terms.
BlueMax
QUOTE (Apathy @ Oct 15 2009, 10:27 AM) *
Options vs mages:
  • a large volume of individually weak opponents (12 ghouls poping in an alley popping out from behind dumpsters and trash piles, or a swarm of 100 devil rats mobbing you in the sewer). But you've got to be able to use cover, visibility modifiers, and closing to melee range to prevent the mage from taking everyone out with a single stunball, though.
  • a few high-end opponents with spell defense. This has a significant chance of TPK, though.
  • drones
  • area attack weapons and gas.


Mages will potentially be buffed with armor or invisibility spells, making them hard to hit and hard to damage when you do hit, so grenades are always nice. Gas grenades don't need to be precisely targeted, and bypass the armor and barrier spells.


I would dispute the listing of Drones. OR is easy to hit until a very large drone. Drones get no defense. Thus a mage with 15 dice to cast spells is way ahead of drones. Thus Drones have nothing on the mages. Its harder for the mundanes to destroy the drones unless you let them walk around with Gauss Rifles. (new scatter rules are *tough* ).

The large volume works though... something about angry masses with pitchforks killing wizards is a classic.

BlueMax
ravensoracle
I think you deal with mages the same way you'd deal with anyone that can kick your butt. I mean a decked out Sam can be just as dangerous. I'd make sure the fighting was on my terms. Get cover or better yet Surprise the mage. He can't do anything if you get him first. I've found drones to be pretty effective. I just say you have to play it smart.
Screaming Eagle
Mages do have the biggest hammers, but they tend to be made of rather brittle glass.

A fiercly dedicated mage - the kind that tosses the 14+ dice on relavent tests - will go down FAST once you hit them. The best defence is to see them first and go first. Toe to toe I have run into few mages that can out "fast draw" a Sami of comperable specialisation (similar points and $$$ dedicated to being bad arse).

Actual defence? I advise EVERY character to have a will and body of at least 3, preferably higher, one for mages the other for bullets. Spend and edge and you might just get lucky enough not to be deadified. Once you are not deadified GEEK THE MAGE. Even with a 2-4 die penalty from wounds a good Sami is rolling 10+ dice on their main weapon.

Worries about the invisable? Aren't we all? Ares new line of sonic, ultra sound and tremor sensors will pin point that pesky invisable intruder in a Nano and will place a representational ARO in your HUD for your convinience. Coupled with Ares Brand Smart Link ™ this will make anyone coming into your home uninvited regret having crossed you.
Ares, a name you can trust.
BlueMax
QUOTE (Screaming Eagle @ Oct 15 2009, 01:41 PM) *
Worries about the invisable? Aren't we all? Ares new line of sonic, ultra sound and tremor sensors will pin point that pesky invisable intruder in a Nano and will place a representational ARO in your HUD for your convinience. Coupled with Ares Brand Smart Link ™ this will make anyone coming into your home uninvited regret having crossed you.
Ares, a name you can trust.


Game
Set
Match
Screaming Eagle
crizh
QUOTE (BlueMax @ Oct 15 2009, 10:01 PM) *
Game
Set
Match
Screaming Eagle


frown.gif

I never even got to the FAB-II laced walls, the FAB-II sprinklers and the FAB-II tipped Heimdalls...
Jay
QUOTE (BlueMax @ Oct 15 2009, 03:17 PM) *
I would dispute the listing of Drones. OR is easy to hit until a very large drone. Drones get no defense. Thus a mage with 15 dice to cast spells is way ahead of drones. Thus Drones have nothing on the mages. Its harder for the mundanes to destroy the drones unless you let them walk around with Gauss Rifles. (new scatter rules are *tough* ).

The large volume works though... something about angry masses with pitchforks killing wizards is a classic.

BlueMax


They might have specified drones (over drone) to go with the numbers game again. Can you arm drones with pitchforks?
biggrin.gif
Screaming Eagle
QUOTE (Jay @ Oct 15 2009, 05:35 PM) *
They might have specified drones (over drone) to go with the numbers game again. Can you arm drones with pitchforks?
biggrin.gif

Now I have a vision of 2 dozen hover drones with smily faces and pitchforks painted on in AR...

All of them with 5 kilos of explosives strapped to them.

Approching the target from all angles and co-ordinated so that no 2 are viable and within 10 metres of each other untill they are far too close...
cndblank
QUOTE (Kumo @ Oct 15 2009, 01:14 PM) *
Well, if mage can't spot an enemy, he will not attack him. When he can - chamo will not help. But his enemy can try to hide again.

BTW: total darkness, thermal smoke and chamo do not block an Astral Sight...



Smoke is a physical barrier (if a thin one) so it would apply to Astral Sight just the way a curtain would apply to Astral sight.

Apathy
QUOTE (BlueMax @ Oct 15 2009, 03:17 PM) *
I would dispute the listing of Drones. OR is easy to hit until a very large drone. Drones get no defense. Thus a mage with 15 dice to cast spells is way ahead of drones. Thus Drones have nothing on the mages. Its harder for the mundanes to destroy the drones unless you let them walk around with Gauss Rifles. (new scatter rules are *tough* ).

I was under the impression that if casting a direct damage spell drones would resist with their OR, which is 5+, right? Of course, you could still fry them easily with indirect spells, especially lightning bolt. But at least it's forcing the mage to cast higher drain spells. And drones are cheap in SR4, even cheaper than security guards.
Marwynn
Direct damage spells must achieve enough hits to beat the OR, yeah. That means Force 5 minimum for Drones, needing 5+ to affect it. Net hits add the damage.

Indirect Combat Spells have to deal with Armour x 2, treating them like Barriers. Which gets very confusing. The Combat Spell section says Armour x 2 and treat them like Barriers with a reference to p166. But then Indirect Combat Spells are mentioned using only Armour in a damage resistance test.

That does just mean Armour x 2, but the recursive error's there.

Direct Damage spells would still be the best bet, however how many wagemages can cast at that Force? That is, if the GM didn't turn them into badasses.
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