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Forgive me if any of this is answered in books other than the basic rulebook, but that's all I have right now.

1) Can the karma cost at character creation for a spell be zero? For example, I have Entertainment at Force 2. If I make it exclusive, can I make it not cost anything to have this spell? I couldn't find anything in the rules to say otherwise, but it seems a little off to allow that.

2) Same question as above, but for drain. If I cast healthy glow at force 1, by the formula in the book the drain code would be (Force / 2 rounded down) L, or 0L. Does this just mean there's no drain for this spell?

3) When attacking an astral barrier, the book says the barrier does (Force) Medium Damage. It then goes on to say such barriers only fight if attacked. However, it then says when you attack a barrier, you do a contested roll, and the loser loses a point of magic or force. So where does the (Force) Medium damage come in to play?

4) How exactly does stunbolt work? Let's say for example I cast it at Deadly Stun level, force 2, at my opponent. I get 3 successes. Now he gets a willpower roll against the force of the spell (2), and if he gets 3 or more sucesses nothing happens (except that I roll for drain), if he doesn't then he takes deadly stun damage. Is that correct, or does he get to stage down the damage afterwords? If that is correct, it seems a bit strong... I can throw 10 dice at him, which would pretty easily result in more successes than my opponent has willpower, and still give me 10 dice to resist the 1D drain code... is that how it's supposed to be done?

Luke Hardison
Off the cuff ...

1) That's a GM call. Nothing says it can't be done. As a GM, I allow a few "free" spells, so long as the player respects this relaxed attitude and doesn't try to abuse it.

2) A zero powered drain, at least for my game, would be resisted the same as a drain power of 2 ... with 2 as the target number. Same way as if you get hit with a bullet whos damage is lower than your armor rating. (non-hardened armor)

3) I'm not too sure on that one, I'll have to look it up to see what I think.

4) You are correct. However, I don't see how you can throw 10 dice at him and still have 10 dice left over for drain resist .... that would be 6 sorcery and willpower and a spell pool of 8 ...

I guess with a munchied character that would be pretty easy .... willpower 8+ and sorcery (spellcasting) 7, with a spell pool of ... 7. Doable.
Zeel De Mort
You are indeed correct about 4. Remember though that your target number is his willpower, which will usually (hopefully!) be a lot more than 2. So although he has less dice to roll, he has a lower target number too. That's assuming someone isnt shielding him.

It seems it's almost standard for fairly high level characters to have willpower 6 just so they have a fighting chance against mana/stunbolts. Anything less and you'll get hammered most of the time.
Err, right, it's his combat pool that's 8, not his spell pool. Still could throw 9 and use 9 to resist though.

2. Target numbers can never drop below a 2. So, a 0L drain is still rolled against a 2. However, if you have a drain penalty because you're sustaining a spell or simulcasting, then it does act as an offset, and your TN remains at 2.

4. You got it. The mage can stage up the damage with additional successes; however, the target either resists or takes all the damage. He doesn't get an additional soak roll.
John Campbell
1. The rules don't forbid it, but a lot of GMs (myself included) do.

2. No, it just means that the Drain TN is 2. It's like soaking gunfire... if you get shot with a 4L holdout, and you're wearing your standard shadowrunner-issue long coat with 4 Ballistic armor, you still have to soak 2L, even though the armor reduces that Power to 0.

3. Got me. I've got Masking; I don't get in fights with barriers much.

4. You are correct; your target does not get to stage the damage down after the resistance test.

Note also that you do get to stage the damage up with your net successes, so if you're expecting to get a lot more successes than your opponent, you can cast at a lower damage level to make the Drain easier on yourself and rely on your net successes to stage up to Deadly. I frequently cast {Stun,Mana}bolt at M... with a 7 Willpower, I can reliably soak 2M Drain without touching my pools, and getting the 4 net successes to stage it up from M to D is usually pretty easy.
Well, as an addendum to number 4, do the target's successes during the resistance test stage down the damage?

John Campbell
QUOTE (JaronK @ May 23 2004, 11:18 PM)
Well, as an addendum to number 4, do the target's successes during the resistance test stage down the damage?

It's staged up by net successes.

Say I cast a 5M Manabolt at someone with a 5 Willpower. I throw 14 dice (Sorcery + Spell Pool) at a TN of 5 and come up with 5 successes. They throw 5 dice (their Willpower) at TN 5 (spell Force), and come up with 2 successes. That means I've got 3 net successes, so the damage stages up once to S. They don't get to try to soak that damage further.

If they'd been less lucky and gotten only 1 success, I would've had 4 net successes and staged up to D.

On the other hand, if they'd gotten really lucky and rolled 5 successes, I would have had 0 net successes and the spell would've failed and they wouldn't have taken any damage at all.

It will never get staged down, because if the target's rolled more successes than the caster, the spell just fails and does nothing at all.
Thanks John, that makes sense.

QUOTE (JaronK @ May 23 2004, 08:18 PM)
Well, as an addendum to number 4, do the target's successes during the resistance test stage down the damage?

Not unless it is an elemental manipulation. Most spells as soon as they meet your successes on the casting, the spell dissipates entirely.

Mage 1 casts a Manaball Force 6 at Serious and gets 3 successes on Goons A/B each with a Willpower of 5.

Goon A rolls his Willpower TN 6 to resist and gets 1 success. Spell stages to D, Goon A is dead or bleeding out.

Goon B, same resistance test, gets 4 successes. Spell Dissipates, Goon B prepares to geek the mage who must soak drain.

Mage 1 soaks 3D (1/2 Force [DL+1])

EDIT: Just not fast enough today.
Entropy Kid
3) They only fight if attacked because astral combat is the same as melee combat (except where it says different), meaning the barrier gets a counterattack. They never get "turns" so they never go on the offensive.
Well I can tell when they "fight back" as it were, but it says the results of attacking a barier and losing is the loss of magic... does the barrier to Force M damage in addition to that?

Well, as an addendum to number 4, do the target's successes during the resistance test stage down the damage?

No. John covered it pretty well; the thing to remember is that the target either takes it all, or takes nothing. The caster can stage it up, but the target either resists it fully or takes damage. The target cannot stage it down; there's no need because if he has any net successes, he's not taking any damage at all.
Thats cleared some stuff up for me too, cann anyone hepl me with this one:

Invisibility is a mana based spell, if you astrally project and cast the spell are you invisible on the astral plane?
Well, projecting is an Exclusive action, so you can't sustain the spell and then project.

But if you project, then cast the spell... while you'd be invisible, the spell would still stand out on the astral plane. On a sufficient Assensing test, someone could even tell what spell it was. So, yes you can; the question is, why would you do so? "Hey, look over there, Jeb! Some moron's running around with an invisibility spell on!"
I wonder how I'd rule someone sustaining an astrally-useless invisibility spell while projecting... and trying to manifest.
But since invisibility is a mind effecting spell, wouldn't you be invisible in the astral anyway? As in, they would have seen the astral effect of the invisibility, but because of the mind effect of the invisibility spell, they don't?

John Campbell
No illusion spell can create or disguise auras. That being the case, they're all pretty much useless on the astral, boiling down to fancy versions of the Entertainment spell. You can cast mana illusions on the astral, but the illusions created are obviously illusions and can be trivially "seen" through, because the illusionary things that aren't really there don't have auras, and the auras of the things that are there aren't concealed.
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