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Lanlaorn
So in SR4A page 187 there's a line added to the bound spirit services section, specifically under magical services:

QUOTE
To perform a magical service that involves use of a
Sorcery skill, the spiritís Force must be equal to or greater than the
Force of the spell to be affected by the service.


This is not in the original SR4 book but it's also not in the "SR4A changes" .pdf, and it's not listed as an optional rule just a sentence tacked on there.

I've searched the forums, even looked through that 40 page SR4A changes thread you guys had when it came out, and no one ever mentions this new line. Has everyone just overlooked it? Has there been a dev comment saying that it is, in fact, optional?

Because I was reading up on Spirits, thinking of getting an Ally Spirit for my current character, and this is a particularly radical change, basically making this service useless for a non-munchkin. No one needs help getting hits on their Force 4 or 5 spells, it's the 7+ where Aid Sorcery could come in handy. So for one thing, it encourages summoning monstrous spirits rather than normal ones, and once you've gone through the crazy trouble of binding a Force 7+ spirit, you're going to realize that Aid Sorcery is a waste of it's services. Next, it's a ridiculous change for Ally Spirits considering they were clearly balanced around the karma costs of Power Foci, again without hoarding Karma and betting your life on a binding ritual to get a huge spirit you won't be able to get any use out of Aid Sorcery.

So what's going on? I'm sure this has been spotted by others, what's the dumpshock take on it?
Deadmannumberone
A good catch. That rule, as well as the limitation of only one spirit aiding any action, have been a staple of SR since at least second edition (never really looked at magic in SR1) so I imagine most people just added it in to the original version of SR4 even though it was lacking.
Lanlaorn
That's unfortunate, the rule is fairly restrictive and particularly makes Ally spirits far less karma-cost-effective. As cool as the concept of a ghost buddy is I'm not sure the convenience factor of not having to summon a spirit every night for concealment, movement, guard, etc. is really worth the karma cost of a massive power focus.

Well, it'll be helpful when casting spells with penalty modifiers at least. Thanks for the heads up.
Udoshi
Its not too bad, actually.

Its only affects the Sorcery group. Spellcasting, ritual spellcasting, and counterspelling. At least for Counterspelling, its pretty useful, because counterspelling doesn't have a force.

I'd also like to point out that Ally spirits are still great. Spirits of Man aren't able to overcast the spell you give them. Ally spirits have no such restriction, because they're not spirits of man.

Also, to be honest, if you're creating an ally spirit, you should really ask your GM about karma debt. Ally spirits are -expensive-
Shinobi Killfist
Ugh if this is supposed to apply to ally spirits it is a bit unfortunate, as to me that was there primary purpose given there cost. The problem with errata like this is who knows if they intended it to apply to something in a later book that has a similar power and says to follow those rules. If it had originally said this in 4e it would be easy, but it didn't so we don't know if they would have rewritten the ally spirit section to remove the limitation similar to how they removed the limitation that it applied to only a spirit appropriate spell category.

So is this effecting ally spirits an unintended consequence or intended?

Good catch by the way, changed rules are a pain because you don't always read it since you think you already know the answer.
Lanlaorn
Ally spirit rules say:

QUOTE
An ally spirit may Aid Sorcery and Aid Study (see p. 178,
SR4) exactly as if it was a normal bound spirit. An ally spirit is
considered to be appropriate for every spell category for this purpose,
and does not count against the limit of one bound spirit aiding
in the learning of a spell.


So that doesn't leave much to the imagination unfortunately heh, "exactly as if it was" is some strong language.

Although I did not notice Aid Sorcery worked for Counterspelling, thanks for the tip Udoshi, could get some serious counterspelling dice with an ally, shielding and shielding foci. I wonder if you could get a shielding foci and bind it at chargen (obviously without having the Shielding metamagic yet)? They're 6x Force to bind but dirt cheap (Force x 5,000 nuyen) so they'd be ideal to grab with a BP chargen, lol. wink.gif
Shinobi Killfist
QUOTE (Lanlaorn @ Jul 1 2010, 12:07 AM) *
Ally spirit rules say:



So that doesn't leave much to the imagination unfortunately heh, "exactly as if it was" is some strong language.

Although I did not notice Aid Sorcery worked for Counterspelling, thanks for the tip Udoshi, could get some serious counterspelling dice with an ally, shielding and shielding foci. I wonder if you could get a shielding foci and bind it at chargen (obviously without having the Shielding metamagic yet)? They're 6x Force to bind but dirt cheap (Force x 5,000 nuyen) so they'd be ideal to grab with a BP chargen, lol. wink.gif



Sure, but that paragraph was written when the rules did not have the force limit. So we don't know if this effecting ally spirits is an intended thing or not. It is the RAW, we just don't know it it is the RAI. A lot of times errata has unforeseen consequences, it is frequently tested less than the original rules.
Udoshi
QUOTE (Lanlaorn @ Jun 30 2010, 10:07 PM) *
Although I did not notice Aid Sorcery worked for Counterspelling, thanks for the tip Udoshi, could get some serious counterspelling dice with an ally, shielding and shielding foci.


Huh. Don't even bother. This means that a spirit with Magical Guard, babysitting its summoner/binder with Aid Counterspelling and tag-teaming the Counterspelling can put up some -serious- spell defense.

Per 4a 185, 'if more than one magician protects a target with counterspelling, handle it as teamwork, p65'.

So the mage puts out his Spell Defense, with his likely specialty. The spirit adds directly to that with aid sorcery. THEN rolls its magical guard to assist the primary counterspeller, and adds its net hits to the 'magic no-no' field.

Niiiice.
Lanlaorn
QUOTE
Sure, but that paragraph was written when the rules did not have the force limit. So we don't know if this effecting ally spirits is an intended thing or not. It is the RAW, we just don't know it it is the RAI. A lot of times errata has unforeseen consequences, it is frequently tested less than the original rules.


Oh I completely agree with you there, just pointing out that without some kind of developer commentary or FAQ resolving this the RAW is ridiculously strict. Is there any way to officially ask for rule interpretations? Like an email address or online form or something?

My intent with the original post was to see what people thought of this and if they use it in play, like you I'm disappointed about the implications with regards to Ally spirits.
Lanlaorn
QUOTE (Udoshi @ Jun 30 2010, 11:35 PM) *
Huh. Don't even bother. This means that a spirit with Magical Guard, babysitting its summoner/binder with Aid Counterspelling and tag-teaming the Counterspelling can put up some -serious- spell defense.

Per 4a 185, 'if more than one magician protects a target with counterspelling, handle it as teamwork, p65'.

So the mage puts out his Spell Defense, with his likely specialty. The spirit adds directly to that with aid sorcery. THEN rolls its magical guard to assist the primary counterspeller, and adds its net hits to the 'magic no-no' field.

Niiiice.


Actually Ally Spirits are Magicians so you don't even need to have Magical Guard available to your tradition, just spend 5 Karma to teach it Counterspelling and it can just use the skill directly. Shielding still seems like a good investment though, +initiation dice can get up there fairly quickly, and it'll be more karma cost effective than actually increasing your Counterspelling skill to 5 or 6.
Udoshi
Sorry - i meant to say, the implications of that rule are that you can use the Counterspelling+magical guard trick with a regular bound spirit. No need for an ally spirit at all.

Expensive, sure, but if it saves your bacon from being fried....
Wasabi
OP: This was news to me and I really appreciate the heads up!
Falconer
Actually this is a fairly nasty catch.

I always took this to mean as the innate spell capping force to stop the overcast a spirit, then have it overcast a spell problem.

But this really does limit the aiding dice to lower force spells... which typically don't need the aiding (they cap out much faster). Though in the case of illusions/some others I could see it being usefull for getting that OR5 more reliably. Though even there it's not all that great as you run into... well the spirit can either provide no dice... or 5 or more... there is no middle ground of say binding a low force spirit w/ a lot of services just to pull +3 dice on an aid sorcery.


But I must disagree.. Counterspelling is a sorcery group skill. By the raw wording of the text... it makes magical guard severely limited. "The spell to be affected" is the limit, not the spirits 'force' of the counterspelling. So this would mean a low force spirit w/ magical guard or an ally spirit would be unable to counterspell or dispel a something with higher force than itself!


I sincerely don't think that's RAI, though I can see the first part applying to aid sorcery tests. (really the only two I can see are aid sorcery direct, and aid sorcery ritual spell casting). Though to repeat even there I'm not sure it's a great ruling... as it means you really twink out and get a lot of dice or get none at all.
Lanlaorn
I can see a limit being placed on Aid Sorcery for Counterspell tests to dispel magic, since you are targeting a spell that has a certain force, but not for protective counterspelling. You're not targeting anything when you're shielding yourself and your friends, you're just adding to their spell resistance. Remember you don't even need to be aware of the spell to counterspell it.

And yes I agree it's a silly rule since it discourages sane spirit conjuration and encourages Force 7-8+ nonsense and it's especially ridiculous with Ally Spirits since you pay karma for them. I don't like it but I'd feel bad just outright ignoring it or hoping the GM didn't spot it either. Plus I do agree with the spirit of the rule, clearly it was meant to curb the Conjuror type with 12 charisma and a whole menagerie of bound spirits who didn't need to actually bother with skill ranks in Spellcasting, just have a bound spirit help whenever he actually wants to cast something. Although with Spirits of Man and their Innate Spell I'm not sure why they bothered, such a character likely never casts for himself. And with a rule this clunky you just hurt the Sorceror build who only casually summons and binds spirits (and is weaker for it, given how absurd spirits are). Alas.
Falconer
It doesn't say 'targeted' it says 'affected'.


Key wording difference which underpins your entire argument Lanlaorn.
By RAW not all spells are subject to counterspelling either... (only living targets protected by counterspelling roll resistance and add counterspelling dice by RAW). If I cast a barrier spell in free space or levitate that chair to throw it at you, it doesn't get counterspelling (though it can be dispelled after the fact). That's according to strict RAW.

p183 SR4a. Determine Effect: "Spells cast on living or magical targets are often resisted and an opposed test is required.... may add Counterspelling..."
Next paragraph: "A spell cast on a non-living non-magic target is not resisted.... requires a success test with a threshhold ... object resistance"

The only dodge I see is to say counterspelling affects the living targets protected by it, and they in turn resist the spell. It all hinges on the ambiguity of 'affected' the spell is obviously affected by counterspelling if it's rolled, but directly or indirectly.

Like I said I'm just applying a very strict RAW reading of the text. I make no claims on RAI.
Lanlaorn
That was my point heh, defensive counterspell affects people, not spells.
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