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There have been a lot of good anti-mage threads lately. I'm curious about the other side of the table - what kind of tricks can my NPC mages use?

I'm pretty familiar with mages fighting in person, but if the corp sends a wagemage in Astral to check out an alarm, what can he do?
Bring along some friends and gang up...

I mean, he's a rare asset, why risk it going out alone?
I don't know how other GMs do it, but I usually use patrolling spirits as my alarms.

Spirits are generally instructed to patrol an area, and alert the WageMage on duty if anyone comes too close, and prevent anyone in astral form from coming within a certain range, by force if necessary.

If the spirit is attacked, the Mage immediately knows it, and can be on the scene in one or two combat rounds, assuming he's not in another city. If it's something that the mage can take care of himself, I'd have him either summon an additional spirit, or engage in Astral combat. If it's something he's a little more iffy about handling on his own, he'd likely return to his meat body and signal an alert calling for additional astral security to step in. Not the most elegant system, but it's worked for me so far. My players don't go too nuts with magic, but they do use spirits and astral scouting.
The wagemage would probably have a bound spirit on the company's dime. If he's scouting in Astral and found something, he can summon another Spirit and order those two to kill/stop/fight the intruders.

Then he goes into the meat and calls it in, sending a Watcher Spirit to go and warn the main office in case comms are down or hacked.

Hopefully, the company's drones are sent in.
Okay, spirits, sure...but can the Mage do anything himself? If the team's mage doesn't go Astral, can he be targetted from the Astral? Can the rest of the party be targetted? Is the Astral Form good for anything but recon and spirit stuff?

Technically they're only "broadcasting" into the Astral, they're not really there so you can't cast anything at a non-astrally active target. You can, however, use Astral Perceiving and cast into the Physical world as you are dual-natured. But while Projecting, nope.

As I understand it in SR3 it was called 'grounding' which made that possible.

Oh, and be careful. The group might use a Spirit's Concealment power which also hides them in the Astral. So your wagemage might not see them bright and neon in astral at your first glance. And vice versa.
If the PCs are all fully on the physical plane unless the wage mage is a free spirit he can't directly hurt them. (But that would be mean - the free spirit bit smile.gif.) Otherwise, no. He can summon a spirit on the astral and then have it materialize under concealment, then crush the PC mage like a bug. It really sucks fighting a F6 spirit who uses fear on the dangerous PCs, has -6 to perception and keeps shifting between the astral and material plane to attack from different directions.

Of course, if the PC mage decides to do a bit of astral perception, at that moment he's dual natured and should be promptly manabolted.

If the PCs are not looking at the astral the LS/KE mage goes back to his office, fires up IM and asks every mage who isn't otherwise busy to summon up a convenient spirit and send it to 26th and Tucker so he can instruct it. Then he goes astral again, goes to 52nd & Tucker (3 blocks away from the site) and tells the assembled 10-30 F3-5 spirits to go to the site he will point out and when there to render unconcious or dead any mage not wearing a Lone Star/KE uniform or anyone with a gun who is not wearing a LS or KE uniform.

This takes a minute or two....
I agree that seriously secure sites are going to either send in several spirits with the wage mage or send in more than one wage mage.

I usually have my Spirits looking for intruders with Magic.
I always figure Magic would be lot noticeable to a Spirit and you wouldn't have to constantly be introducing the security guards to the Spirit.

Also couldn't the Wage Mage summon a watcher then go astral and take the watcher along so that once he knows what is going on, he sends the Watcher to report in to the Security Chief.

Finally other than being worried about it being a distraction, the Corps can put a lot of magic Talent in astral space.

It is 1450 km from New York to Atlanta, so it would take a New York Wage Mage at 6000 km per hours about 15 minutes to show up at Atlanta from New York.
That range would also include Miami, Chicago, and Dallas and every thing in between.
Screaming Eagle
I had a long post going over most of the options I have used over many years of playing and GM'ing... but this one is funnier.
Run with kzt's advise here.
It contains more awesome because it turns a break and enter job into a "B" horror film in under the lenght of time it takes to hard boil an egg.
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