Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Counterspelling and Line of Sight
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Game2BHappy
QUOTE
A protected character must also stay within the magicianís line of sight in order for Counterspelling to be used (SR4 core Anniversary, p.185)

What does LOS mean here? Does a mage providing counterspelling actually have to see the person he is protecting? Or does it just require an unblocked path between the two?

Here was the situation: My group had a number of PCs walking down a hallway with the mage toward the front (looking forward). The person behind the mage was hit by a spell and was fried. Later we learned he did not use any counterspelling dice because the mage had been facing away from him. Part of our group thinks this is the way to go, part of it thinks he would get counterspelling dice.

What is the right way to do this next time?
Yerameyahu
Use Astral Perception, as it's omnidirectional. Otherwise, yes, it's my opinion that you have to have a mystical targeting LOS connection. It's more limiting and flavorful if you have to actually focus on the people you're actively protecting. Anyone is free to interpret the other option if it's a better fit for their table, though. smile.gif Either seems to fit the rules, and either can be supported by 'magical theory'.
Mardrax
QUOTE (Game2BHappy @ Feb 7 2011, 06:54 AM) *
What does LOS mean here? Does a mage providing counterspelling actually have to see the person he is protecting? Or does it just require an unblocked path between the two?

I repeat what I have said in the Perception twinking thread: RAW doesn't know facing, as far as I'm aware.
I'd go with the latter interpretation, unless in glaring cases, as it leads to less messing about with "you took an Observe in Detail" action, and haven't declared counterspelling since" or "I'm holding your face so you can't see your teammates." It also tones down on magic's lethality a bit.
Whipstitch
What Yerameyahu said. Personally, I don't like things that get my players worrying about their damned marching orders too much, so I just started limiting counterspelling to a Magic*Skill meter radius centered around the "jamming" magician rather than worry about LOS or listen to my players argue about whether one magician can protect everyone attending the Super Bowl from his seat in the Goodyear blimp for the umpteenth time. Total houserule, but whatever.
bluedao
A magician who is actively Counterspelling can even defend
against spells she is unaware of—specifically, Detection spells and
Illusion spells—as the magician is actively “jamming” the mana around
him.

SR4A p185

Suggests to me that it is not a "I swat the spell out of the air" so much as it is a I pick you, you, and you to extend my jamming around. So I would go with the everyone chosen is protected as long as their within LOS but I don't have to be actively looking at them. To be honest though I prefer Whipstitch's house rule over RAW. You could also cap it at magic targets to keep it from the loan mage in LEO protecting all of his hemisphere grinbig.gif .

Edited to correctly attribute the house rule.
Machiavelli
Usually i would never think of starting a discussion with Yerameyahu, but where the hell does the book says that astral perception is omnidirectional? It is still a "soul-version" of your 5 senses. Refereces please.
Mardrax
QUOTE (bluedao @ Feb 7 2011, 11:22 AM) *
To be honest though I prefer Whipstitch's house rule over RAW. You could also cap it at magic targets to keep it from the loan mage in LEO protecting all of his hemisphere grinbig.gif .

A mage in LEO can't counterspell due to the absence of gaiasphere. What he could do is use a really strong optical telescope to see the base on Mars, and counterspell there. Or vice versa.
Yerameyahu
Where does it say this: "It is still a 'soul-version' of your 5 senses"? And, how is *that* not omnidirectional anyway? smile.gif I'll show you mine if you show me yours.
Machiavelli
Where does it say the difference? smile.gif
Hound
I've always thought of it as an astral copy of the same senses we use on the physical plane. After quickly reading through the section on Astral Perception, it doesn't mention anything about it being omnidirectional or not. So to me that says that it's assumed to be just like regular sight. Also I'm not sure the human brain could process omnidirectional vision. Though I suppose it might not use the same parts of the brain, since it's technically a separate sense that only seems a lot like vision. I suppose I could see it going either way, but I've always assumed it to mimic the players actual vision.
Yerameyahu
Is hearing not omnidirectional? Smell? The book also repeatedly explains that it's "a" (one) "psychic sense", and that you can "taste" emotions, etc. Yes, there's lots of analogy to vision, because that's humanity's primary sense, but no, Astral Perception is certainly not vision.

Personally, I don't care. smile.gif It'd be simpler for everyone if they'd just say, 'Astral Perception *is* vision, even for blind people, and it uses LOS originating from a point between your eyes.' Screw the problems this causes with 'dual-natured bacteria', because they're just bacteria. biggrin.gif
Bodak
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Feb 8 2011, 05:57 AM) *
It'd be simpler for everyone if they'd just say, 'Astral Perception *is* vision, even for blind people, and it uses LOS originating from a point between your eyes.' Screw the problems this causes with 'dual-natured bacteria', because they're just bacteria. :D
In such a case, if you were wearing a helmet with a visor closed, would that render you astrally blind, preventing you astrally perceiving anything outside your helmet, or simply impair visibility of the astral plane?
Mardrax
It would technically be completely opaque and block all vision in the Astral. I remember a ruling saying that not applying to things like visors, glasses, contacts and the like though. In the FAQ perhaps. Can't recall off the top of my head.
cndblank
Seems two issues here.

Can a Mage Counterspell for soUse if he isn't in LOS but the split second link that forms between a Caster and the Target of the spell is in his LOS.

And how well can a Mage do Counterspell overwatch and cover in all direction for those near him but where both the Caster and the Target are out of his direct LOS.



It seems fair that a Mage can Counterspell to protect a friend behind him from any one casting magic where he could see it or the path of the spell connection crosses his LOS.

My chummer Jack is over there behind the desk and out of my LOS but someone is sending a powerful Manabolt his way so Counterspell it!

As long as he could see some part of the link being formed between the caster and the target he could jam it.


I agree you don't want to be unreasonable or it would be a real pain.

Certainly if a team is spread out there will be a time where the target is not in the LOS of the mage (Caster waits till the mage goes around a corner).

On a side note, I always figured a Mage could sense a spell coming to glance back and Counterspell for someone very close to him (say their magic rating in meters).

And it is certainly believable if the Mage is touching the target he could counterspell any magic cast at the target since he can counter spell for himself even if blinded (his aura is touching the Target's aura and feels the link forming).
Yerameyahu
Yeah, Bodak, it would 'blind you' if that were the rule. Which is how we know for sure that astral sense *isn't* a vision that comes from your eyes, or any specific point of your body. smile.gif Still, I'd be willing to force mages to never use glasses, contacts, or helmets. wink.gif
Bodak
That's something that changed from 3rd to 4th. I still find SM p114's contrast between preventing targeting and simply impairing visibility confusing. If the authors meant to define transparent and opaque objects alike as being equally astrally opaque, differentiating between them by saying only transparent objects simply impair visibility is a misleading and needless distinction.

Perhaps it is analogous to normal vision: while blocking LoS with a mountain prevents targeting, merely ripping the observer's eyes out simply impairs visibility to the tune of a -6 penalty.
Yerameyahu
It is certainly analogous inasmuch as they're both bad rules. smile.gif Alas.
Game2BHappy
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one confused by this.

We ended up going with LOE (Line of Effect) instead of LOS (Line of Sight) to avoid trying to constantly determine where the mage was looking at any given moment.
Ascalaphus
There are quite a few spells that you need LOS or closer to touch, but can continue to sustain once the target wanders out of range. It seems consistent to apply the same idea to counterspelling, to a certain degree. I'd base the criterion on "able to see from where he's standing, with turning around if need be". It can still be tricky when going around corners, but not all that much.

I don't like megascale counterspelling, I think the Magic*Skill radius is a nice solution to that. It also gets around the question of whether a mage can protect an attack helicopter: yes, if his Magic+Skill is big enough to completely enclose the chopper.
phlapjack77
I know this isn't how it actually works, but it seems like it would make sense to play counterspelling the same way many of the spirit powers work, e.g. Concealment. You could counterspell-protect a number of targets equal to your magic; you need LOS to start protecting, but once established, you don't have to keep LOS...
Ascalaphus
For a long time I'd been under the impression that that was the rule, actually. It works well enough, except that it feels odd to count an attack chopper as equally costly for protection as 1 person. Also, counterspell protection of someone standing on the other side of the enemy mage feels kind of wonky.

I think I prefer the idea of a radius of protection; a superior countermage can still protect a vast area, but not an entire stadium.

It also raises the possibility of a metamagic to "trump" other mages' radius of protection with your own somehow. I get this mental image of two mages dividing the battlefield into zones where they control all the countermagic.
phlapjack77
I like this idea too. Kind of fits with the part that says mages can counterspell even spells they don't know about. Like setting up something akin to an anti-magic field around you.

Have it be (Magic + 1 (if the mage has shielding metamagic)) * Skill?
Doc Byte
QUOTE (Bodak @ Feb 7 2011, 11:43 PM) *
In such a case, if you were wearing a helmet with a visor closed, would that render you astrally blind, preventing you astrally perceiving anything outside your helmet, or simply impair visibility of the astral plane?


It's not possible to astrally perceive through glass or the like in SR4.

QUOTE (cndblank @ Feb 8 2011, 01:16 AM) *
As long as he could see some part of the link being formed between the caster and the target he could jam it.


And how's the mage supposed to see this? Constant active astral perception? Direct combat spells don't show up on the physical plane until they hit the target.

QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Feb 11 2011, 12:09 PM) *
QUOTE (phlapjack77 @ Feb 11 2011, 10:48 AM) *

I know this isn't how it actually works, but it seems like it would make sense to play counterspelling the same way many of the spirit powers work, e.g. Concealment. You could counterspell-protect a number of targets equal to your magic; you need LOS to start protecting, but once established, you don't have to keep LOS...


For a long time I'd been under the impression that that was the rule, actually.


Me 2.
Whipstitch
QUOTE (phlapjack77 @ Feb 11 2011, 09:34 PM) *
I like this idea too. Kind of fits with the part that says mages can counterspell even spells they don't know about. Like setting up something akin to an anti-magic field around you.

Have it be (Magic + 1 (if the mage has shielding metamagic)) * Skill?


I left Shielding and Shielding Foci exactly as they are, but removed the "school" distinction from Counterspelling foci and included them as a range multiplier just like Skill or Magic. So, for example, a Magic:5 shaman with Counterspelling:4 and an active Force 2 Counterspelling focus has a range of 5*4*2. It has the somewhat goofy side effect of a Force 1 focus being an expensive paper weight, but other than that I like it because it gives counterspelling foci its own distinct role rather than just being the poor man's Shielding focus. Oh, and yeah, a skilled mage with a force 3 focus or higher starts covering quite a crazy amount of ground, but, then you could argue that pretty much any mage can do that now so in practice it's not that big of a deal.

Man, I'm starting to have waaay too many house rules.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012