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grahariel
Last session we ended just before combat was going to happen. There's a mage with a hellhound among the baddies, and I can't decide what sort of stats to give a mage mook that's just there for flavor, he's a trash mage. Does anyone know where I can get trash mob stats for a mage character? They don't have them in SR4A or Street Magic (I think). Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Yerameyahu
If he's 'trash', does he even need stats? smile.gif Can you be more specific?
Mantis
Try using the corp sec Lieutenant from pg. 282 in SR4A. She is a mook and a mage. Or else grab the stats from any magical contact, like the talismonger.
J. Packer
QUOTE (Mantis @ Jan 15 2011, 10:15 AM) *
Try using the corp sec Lieutenant from pg. 282 in SR4A. She is a mook and a mage. Or else grab the stats from any magical contact, like the talismonger.

Agreed. Magic 3, no more than 4 on skill levels, a half dozen uninspired spells to choose from. That's about a perfect fit. Maybe strip off some of the gear, but I don't know if I'd even go that far.
Ascalaphus
Fairly low Magic (3 or so), spells that don't rely on high Force to work (so pretty much no Combat spells).

Complete over the top armor, because even mook mages are a big investment, and are made as hard to kill as possible.

This mage will be fully trained in how to use cover and team formation to ensure maximum survivability. He'll be instructed to surrender rather than get killed, if it looks like the combat can't be won.

He'll have Counterspelling; you don't need a lot of Magic to make that work, and it's a valuable contribution to security.

A few Watcher spirits pre-summoned, which can be used when comms are jammed or hacked, to call for backup.
J. Packer
The Corpsec mage is a good one for many of those ideas, Ascalaphus.

Has some light combat spells like stunball (and has a spellcasting focus to help out), as well as some magesight goggles, to allow shooting around corners and the like. Needs better armor, probably, and has no mention of summoned or bound spirits.
Lugburz
Thanks- was about to ask this question myself. Unfortunately, I've got another- if you don't mind bearing with me on this, I'd appreciate it. Well, it's related at least:

What if I'd like to put my players up against a garden-variety free spirit? The team (seven of them, about 50 XP in) has a couple people who could do fair-to-decent attacks of Will, and are as a rule more than competent with conventional weapons, but there's no physical adept with killing hands among them. Some Devil rat-level paracritters are going to attempt to lure the PCs into the spirit's lair, in hopes that it will kill them and provide a meal. So if they're fighting 3-5 of these things AND the spirit, what force of spirit would put up enough of a fight to be a normal threat, say miniboss level? I'm thinking force 3 at the very highest, but some advice would be very appreciated.
Udoshi
QUOTE (Lugbûrz @ Jan 15 2011, 12:43 PM) *
Thanks- was about to ask this question myself. Unfortunately, I've got another- if you don't mind bearing with me on this, I'd appreciate it. Well, it's related at least:

What if I'd like to put my players up against a garden-variety free spirit? The team (seven of them, about 50 XP in) has a couple people who could do fair-to-decent attacks of Will, and are as a rule more than competent with conventional weapons, but there's no physical adept with killing hands among them. Some Devil rat-level paracritters are going to attempt to lure the PCs into the spirit's lair, in hopes that it will kill them and provide a meal. So if they're fighting 3-5 of these things AND the spirit, what force of spirit would put up enough of a fight to be a normal threat, say miniboss level? I'm thinking force 3 at the very highest, but some advice would be very appreciated.


Compare the spirits ItnW rating (2xforce) to your expected players non-magical damage output. (how much do they hit for with guns? Fists?), then give them a 50/50 chance of doing damage?

Also remember that NPC free spirits work differently than player free spirits, and tend to have more powers(i think). I would agree that 3-4 would be a good range. I would also look in Running Wild for some statblocks, I believe some free spirits are listed there. Keep in mind that free spirits are also full magicians, and thus can both Manifest and Materialize. (they are, however, barred from using any sort of summoning/conjuring skills)
Ryu
QUOTE (Lugbûrz @ Jan 15 2011, 08:43 PM) *
Thanks- was about to ask this question myself. Unfortunately, I've got another- if you don't mind bearing with me on this, I'd appreciate it. Well, it's related at least:

What if I'd like to put my players up against a garden-variety free spirit? The team (seven of them, about 50 XP in) has a couple people who could do fair-to-decent attacks of Will, and are as a rule more than competent with conventional weapons, but there's no physical adept with killing hands among them. Some Devil rat-level paracritters are going to attempt to lure the PCs into the spirit's lair, in hopes that it will kill them and provide a meal. So if they're fighting 3-5 of these things AND the spirit, what force of spirit would put up enough of a fight to be a normal threat, say miniboss level? I'm thinking force 3 at the very highest, but some advice would be very appreciated.

Force 3 spirits can be shot; any rating that cant isnt fun to attack with will alone. Deny them access to high-DV weapons and use a force 5 with a surviveable selection of powers.
Makki
for a mook mage, just take a sample archetype combat mage from the corebook and set his Magic to whatever you deem fair. 3-4?!
for a spirit anything below 5 is cannon fodder everything beyond 6 needs decent gear or magic support. so 5-6
Ascalaphus
Stunball with a Magic of 3 isn't really worth it. If you cast normally, you can only get 3 hits, there's a reasonable chance people resist that. And at best you do 6S damage. You'd be better off with conventional weaponry.

Overcasting is tricky; it doesn't strike me as a standard tactic, since mages who do it a lot "wear out" quickly. And since mages are so expensive to train (have to find sane people with Talent, get them into a corporate-compatible Tradition, train them for years...) you don't want to waste them on that.
Even if they overcast, they do damage in the 7-12 range, which isn't really all that impressive. A guard with a tricked out assault riffle or neurostun gas grenades will do a much better job.

I don't think combat spells are really effective until you get Magic in the 4, maybe 5+ range..

I think if you dig around on these forums, particularly for Mystic Adept builds, you can find spells that are effective when you have low Magic. Some suggestions:

Preserve (keep forensic evidence and material links alive until backup arrives)
Mana Static (creates Background Count; can shut down enemy Adepts, Casters, Astral Projection, Spirits, Paracritters; useful if outmatched by a powerful enemy mage)
Heal, Stabilize (makes you popular with the ground troops)
Calm animal (it works on paracritters too!)
Orgasm (nice for private life, but also effective in combat, and fairly low Drain)
Analyze Truth (useful for interrogating intruders)
Levitate (versatile spell)
Whipstitch
QUOTE (Makki @ Jan 15 2011, 04:30 PM) *
for a spirit anything below 5 is cannon fodder everything beyond 6 needs decent gear or magic support. so 5-6



I really don't know why people say that sub Force 5 spirits are cannon fodder like it's a bad thing. Spirits aren't just cannon fodder, they're grade A cannon fodder that can be quite a bit of help when mixed in with standard security measures. I mean, let's look at a humble Force 3 Spirit of Fire. At Force 3, you end up with an Initiative of 9, 6 Reaction, 4 Body, 3 Dodge, 5 Agility, an optional power (We'll go with Fear for this example, since it's a security breach scenario) and an Armor Vest equivalent ItNW power. So stat wise we've already got something that can give a corebook Triad Posse Lieutenant a decent scuffle. Even better, Fear pits the Spirit's Magic+Willpower vs. a target's Willpower or else the target is forced to flee for a number of Combat Turns equaling the Spirit's net hits. So even a Force 3 Spirit will toss 6 dice on that test, which is fairly nice given that even most Magicians I see don't have more than 5 Willpower. Bump the Spirit up to Force 4 and we're talking about 8 dice vs Willpower. Now admittedly, how much taking someone out for a Combat Turn matters is debatable. Scaring the Face may not amount to much, but then again, you'd be surprised what taking a Street Samurai out of the equation for a turn can do. With 2 spirits AND a security team things can get kinda ugly pretty fast.

TLDR Version: Like Udoshi said, Force 3-4 is a solid and very playable range.
Ascalaphus
Isn't Fear resisted with Willpower(+Counterspelling)? A difference that can matter a lot.
pbangarth
QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Jan 15 2011, 06:53 PM) *
Isn't Fear resisted with Willpower(+Counterspelling)? A difference that can matter a lot.

Counterspelling works on spells, not spirit powers.
Ascalaphus
Whoa, that's... nasty...

Strange, actually. You'd think Counterspelling should be able to disrupt magical critter powers too.
Yerameyahu
In that they are spells? smile.gif You could houserule it, of course.
Ascalaphus
Well, the idea is that Counterspelling disrupts the mana around someone to make them harder to affect with magic. Since those critter powers are also magical, you'd think Counterspelling would work too.
Yerameyahu
Yes, or no. It's all arbitrary.
pbangarth
QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Jan 15 2011, 08:44 PM) *
Well, the idea is that Counterspelling disrupts the mana around someone to make them harder to affect with magic. Since those critter powers are also magical, you'd think Counterspelling would work too.

One could argue by this logic that all forms of magic could be interrupted by Counterspelling: spells, spirit powers and conjuring being only three broad categories. That seems a little broad for one sub-class of Sorcery. There are many categories across whose boundaries functions or abilities do not extend:

- the five classes of spells for which there are separate types of foci, spirit support
- the two types of spell effect, mana and physical which have clearly different areas of effect
- the three types of spirit presence in the physical plane: materialization, possession and inhabitation
...

Spells and spirit powers are similarly distinct and different types of manipulation of mana.

The description of Counterspelling is clear:
QUOTE (SR4A page 177)
Counterspelling is used to interrupt other spells, either as they
are being cast or while they are sustained. For spell defense,
Counterspelling dice are added to each protected defenders dice pool.
When dispelling, a Counterspelling + Magic Opposed Test is made
against the target spells Force + casters Magic, with net hits reducing
the hits scored to cast the spell.


QUOTE (SR4A page 185)
Counterspelling is used to interrupt other spells, either as they are
being cast (counterspelling) or while they are sustained (dispelling).
Ascalaphus
I've gone through SM and SR4A, and you're right; there's only ever talk about using Counterspelling against spells. However, the explanation of how Counterspelling works would suggest that it's not such a strange idea:

QUOTE (SR4A, p. 176)
The metaphor continues with counterspelling, which equates to jamming the mana field, disrupting all frequencies within an area of effect so that a spell is jammed and thus disrupted.


Furthermore, isn't it strange that there's no actual magical defense against magical critter powers? Is it because they didn't spend nearly as much time on proofing those (Movement, Concealment!)?

QUOTE (SR4A, p. 292)
Powers
Powers are special abilities that critters possess as part of their physiology. Some powers are natural in nature, such as claws or armor. Others,
such as Concealment or Engulf, are magical. The game mechanics given for the powers below are not intended as hard and fast rules, but as guidelines for the gamemaster. Players should never be absolutely certain of the capabilities of a critter, particularly Awakened ones. There is always a chance that a power may work slightly differently for one particular paracritter, especially one designated as a prime runner critter. Uncertainty is a wonderful dramatic tool.


In short, I think there's a case for any of the following:
A) Allowing Counterspelling to work against critter power
B) As 'A' above, if you have a special Metamagic to defend against Critter powers
C) Spells to block/dispel Critter powers.
Whipstitch
If you want to do things that way, I'd go right ahead. It always hit me as a "Perhaps unusual, but not unfeasible" that powers slide right by counterspelling. I do think the change would make most critters even sorrier against Magicians than they already are though. As far as I'm concerned it's bad enough that many awakened critters are dual natured but don't really have an answer to the infamous stun bolt astral drive by.
Mardrax
As a metamagic, I could see it working. Altering Counterspelling as is I think would make picking up the skill too much of a no-brainer, since it's adding more bang to an already (in?)valuable buck.
A spell? I don't know. I think the karma cost for a single spell would still be quite a small investment for such a move from the fundamental "Powers just work funky, and nothing you can do can equal or counter them in most cases" that we have so far. Not necessarily a bad thing, though.
Ascalaphus
Yeah, I think I like putting it in a Metamagic best myself. It's a bit of a niche metamagic, but some mages with Shielding and Absorption might take it, particularly dedicated critter-hunters.
Makki
QUOTE
Sorcery Cannot Summon or Banish Spirits.
These abilities are the province of the art of
Conjuring. Spells can, however, be used to dam-
age or affect spirits or to create barriers that
block or contain them.

I've always interpreted this as an indication that there's a separation between a Sorcery and Conjuring. For what ever reason there are different usages of mana. But some advanced studies (=metamagic) should work to understand each other...
Mx
QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Jan 15 2011, 11:48 PM) *
Stunball with a Magic of 3 isn't really worth it. If you cast normally, you can only get 3 hits, there's a reasonable chance people resist that.

Whut, an average willpower is 3, meaning average pool for resisting spells is 3.
Can't really see how you can claim a 100% hits to be something people has an reasonable chance to get.
QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Jan 15 2011, 11:48 PM) *
And at best you do 6S damage. You'd be better off with conventional weaponry.

That's 6S(5S after the oppositions average 1 hit) damage to every enemy you can see in a 3m radius of the point you targeted, not too shappy i would say.
And that's for one spell, multicasting 2 of those raises that damage to 10S, meaning you knock out every one without above-average willpower.
QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Jan 15 2011, 11:48 PM) *
Even if they overcast, they do damage in the 7-12 range, which isn't really all that impressive. A guard with a tricked out assault riffle or neurostun gas grenades will do a much better job.

Neurosutn grenade, maybe.
The assault rifle, hell no.
I would like to see your tricked out assault rifle that does 11S damge to every target the guy can see in 6m radius.

Really you don't need very high magic to be a good combat mage, a solid drain resistance pool is much more important IMO(as that limits how high a force and how many spells you can savely cast)
Neraph
QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Jan 16 2011, 05:56 AM) *
In short, I think there's a case for any of the following:
A) Allowing Counterspelling to work against critter power
B) As 'A' above, if you have a special Metamagic to defend against Critter powers
C) Spells to block/dispel Critter powers.

I think it's called Counterspelling for a reason. Otherwise it would be called Dispel Magic - speaking of which, that as an additional skill, replacement skill, or a new spell would be fairly decent. Possibly too much Other Game for some, but workable none the less.
Ascalaphus
QUOTE (Mx @ Jan 18 2011, 11:32 PM) *
Whut, an average willpower is 3, meaning average pool for resisting spells is 3.
Can't really see how you can claim a 100% hits to be something people has an reasonable chance to get.

No, on average they'll get 1 hit - but that means you do just 5 damage. And keep in mind that a low-grade mage would have a casting pool of only 6-8 anyway, meaning you're not even all that likely to get those 3 hits to begin with.

QUOTE (Mx @ Jan 18 2011, 11:32 PM) *
That's 6S(5S after the oppositions average 1 hit) damage to every enemy you can see in a 3m radius of the point you targeted, not too shappy i would say.
And that's for one spell, multicasting 2 of those raises that damage to 10S, meaning you knock out every one without above-average willpower.


Multicasting means you have to split your Magic+Spellcasting pool, (which is about 6-8 dice to begin with), so you'd be throwing 3-4 dice and they roll just as much to resist it - with fair chances of resisting it completely.

For a company, it doesn't really make all that much sense to train their low-Magic mages in Combat spells. The damage they do doesn't compare to grenades (gas or explosive) for groups of enemies or automatic fire for individual targets. It's a pathetic return on investment, because a mage that starts using combat spells will become a prime target for geeking, which would mean your entire investment is lost. Grenades cheap, mages expensive.
Mx
QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Jan 19 2011, 01:27 AM) *
No, on average they'll get 1 hit - but that means you do just 5 damage. And keep in mind that a low-grade mage would have a casting pool of only 6-8 anyway, meaning you're not even all that likely to get those 3 hits to begin with.
Multicasting means you have to split your Magic+Spellcasting pool, (which is about 6-8 dice to begin with), so you'd be throwing 3-4 dice and they roll just as much to resist it - with fair chances of resisting it completely.

For a combat mage, i would say at the minimum magic 3, spellcasting 3, specialization for combat spells and a force 2-3 combat spell casting focus(thats a pretty cheap investment for a megacorp and makes the caster much more efective at combat).
Thats gives a casting pool of 10-11 dice or 7-8 if casting 2 spell, that's pretty damm good chance to affect anyone who isn't protected by counter spelling.

And getting the make to follow a combat type mentor ups those to 12-13 and 9-10 respectively.
Yerameyahu
If your GM lets you abuse the stacking/splitting rules, of course. smile.gif
Ascalaphus
Personally I don't think Mentor spirits are all that extremely common for wagemages. They're noted as rare for "secular" traditions like Hermetic and Wuxing. They're more common among the traditions that also tend to double as a religion, and they pull the mage in directions not all corporations are all that happy about. Nonmaterialistic and divided loyalties.
---
And yeah, applying all the modifiers after splitting looks rather iffy to me.
Yerameyahu
I mean, it's generally accepted as RAW, but it's obviously stupid. biggrin.gif If the potential for abuse was *as* large for dual wielding guns, it'd be the same problem.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Jan 18 2011, 05:41 PM) *
I mean, it's generally accepted as RAW, but it's obviously stupid. biggrin.gif If the potential for abuse was *as* large for dual wielding guns, it'd be the same problem.


PoTAYtoe, PoTAHtoe... smile.gif
Yerameyahu
Sure, if one potato is merely edible and the other makes you a god. wink.gif
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Jan 18 2011, 08:48 PM) *
Sure, if one potato is merely edible and the other makes you a god. wink.gif

Is this abused a lot at your table? In all honesty, I have YET to see it at ANY table I have been at over the years, let alone see it abused as the comments indicate... The only time that I have really seen it done, the Mage killed himself with almost no effect on target...

And yes... I know... but this statement covers all the tables I have been at, not just my traditional one... wobble.gif
Neraph
Especially for a low Magic mage I would say Illusion or Manipulation would be the best bet, with an actual gun and some training to back them up. For example: Control Thoughts, Improved Invisibility, and Confusion/Chaos would be far more dangerous in the hands of a mage with only a 3 magic and spellcasting than would Stunbolt. Alternatively, the wage mage could be support for the security team, throwing Increase Reflexes, Armor, and Combat Sense on some of them while having spirits place Movement, Concealment, and Guard on them. With a little investment of Sustaining foci both of those list options are really good (and dangerous).
Ryu
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Jan 19 2011, 01:41 AM) *
I mean, it's generally accepted as RAW, but it's obviously stupid. biggrin.gif If the potential for abuse was *as* large for dual wielding guns, it'd be the same problem.

Abuse would call for multicast force 3/5/7 manaballs, I think. Even better without net hits on direct spells increasing drain.
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