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Necro Tech
OK, this is about area effect EM spells. I could just ask but examples are more fun. (For me at least) wink.gif

Mage D confronts his arch nemesis. "My whole life has been a nightmare of little rubber piggies! You will pay for ruining my childhood!!!!!" Mage D then casts Toxic wave force 8 deadly at Target Z 50 meters away. Using a delayed action Minion G jumps in the path of the wave of caustic green death at 25 meters. What the hell happens to the wave?

By the rules, EM spells are physical in nature and travel on the physical plane until the reach their target. If the target is behind a barrier, the spell must break through said barrier to harm the target. So.........what is the barrier rating of Minion G? The spell is 8 meters wide and by the rules, people don't count as barriers. All area effect spells damage all people in the radius equally wether there are three or thirty so being behind another person cant help you. I always play it that an area EM spell is always F=radius wide from the time you cast it till the time it reaches the target. Large barries like cars or big trucks would help you but people/lamp posts/motorcycles wouldn't. Any opinions on this?
I'd always pictured them being like the old D&D fireball: bursting from a center point. In fact, I think in 2nd Ed SR the spell ground out through the astral at the target point.

From a pure game balance perspective, your version seems like it would let a mage cover a truly massive area: Force radius for a full range of the spell. That's like tearing a huge swath out of a downtown street or something. On the other hand, your version would look so rad! biggrin.gif

For a solution either way: just give the archenemy a cover modifier and drive on. It'll get combat over, which is usually the goal. A high enough cover modifier means that a tough opponent will resist or dodge the spell completely, frustrating your PC as is the intent of the minion.
Misfit Toy
My personal answers follow.

Area-Effect Elemental Manipulations: Any obstacle it runs into before reaching its destination into causes the spell to "detonate" prematurely. The target and everything within the area respond to it as per the standard rules. Being behind a barriers is a particulary effective defense against area-effect Elemental Manipulations in my game for this reason, though the barrier itself is still in trouble if the spell damages it, as are those hiding behind it if they are still within range.

Single-Target Elemental Manipulations: Metahuman obstacles are treated as a Barrier with their Armor Rating + Body acting as the Barrier Rating. They take damage as normally and the spell continues on its path if it successfully "fired through" the "barrier."

And yes, I know this is not necessarily the implied method by which the spells work by canon (which basically states that an area-effect spell is the same as the standard one but "detonates" at the final destination). It's just the way I prefer to handle them to give each one a strength and a weakness beyond a simple change in Drain Levels and effective area.
Area effect spells have a radius equal to the caster's Magic rating in meters, and affect all valid targets in that area. The minion won't shield the boss; he will simply be caught in the area of effect with him. You could apply a visibility modifier, but only if the minion jumps right in front of the boss - if he were even a few meters in front of his boss, the spellcaster could still see the boss just fine.

Also, a delayed action lets you go before "normal" initiative, but you have to go. You can't really let the other person do their action, then do something to pre-empt it. I would allow something like "I jump in front of the boss if I see this guy make any moves or gestures", but the minion would have to make a successful check for noticing spellcasting in order to do so. Most bodyguards would probably get in front of their boss at the first sign of trouble.
The problem is, even if an EM is interceptable, it would travel fast. At least as fast as an arrow or bolt would, probably more like a bullet. So unless the interceptor is an adept with missile parry, the spell would be too fast.

If the "obstacle" (man, car, whatever) is already in place when the spell is cast, then it is a barrier als usual. In this case, I like Misfit Toy's thought of shielding cover, though I'd beg to differ when it comes to the matter of said barrier. A metal plate would do no good against lightning spells. Nor would bales of hay against fire or blast effects.
And if the barrier doesn't hold up against a stronger spell, gone be it and the spell's reduced force hits whatever is behind.

Misfit Toy
Hmm? I didn't say they would make good shields. I said they would just cause an area effect Elemental Manipulation to detonate prematurely (at the point of impact of the barrier as opposed to the destination the mage was aiming at). Of course this usually only comes up when discussing an obstacle that is otherwise invisible since the mage needs LOS to begin with... so it's not something that comes up very often.

Likewise, I didn't mean to imply in my original response that the Minion would be able to jump in the way of the spell before it reached its destination. I was just replying to the meat of the question, not the dressing thereof.
Then have my sincere apologies, please.

And yes, invisibility seems the only viable option to hit someone who was not to be hit with an EM.

Another thought comes to my mind. If you throw a grenade or something more collaterally damaging than a stray bullet off the mark, you still see it exploding.

Since EMs work much like ranged combat, with no need to sync with the target, what about Area EMs where the caster achieved the required TN4 (modified with background count or damage) to cast spell but missed the target due to cover, reduced sight or simply a successful dodge?
Are you suggesting that a single-target manipulation would go streaking off harmlessly, with maybe a little collateral damage, and area-effect manipulations should roll scatter?

Necro Tech
Thanks for the input everyone. I just reread the section and I figure on not changing it much. According to the BBB barriers don't automatically stop AEM spells. If the spell is powerfull enough, it just mows it down and keeps going. Also, being behind a barrier doesn't help you if the spell is mondo powerfull. You have to be inside a barrier for a real chance. Just cause you are out of sight you still get cooked. I figure if you want to throw a spell with a +1/+2 DL drain code you deserve a cookie. Plus, come on, what is scarier than an 8 meter wave washing down the street. biggrin.gif
Herald of Verjigorm
QUOTE (Necro Tech)
Plus, come on, what is scarier than an 8 meter wave washing down the street. biggrin.gif

12 meter wall of sharp iron shreds.
Commonly accepted handling of area EM spells is that they leave the hand as a small sphere of the element in question and explode at the target point or the first barrier they fail to blow through. So unless you play it differently, there's no 8 meter wave washing down the street. That would give the spell a huge area of effect if you simply cast at a target a few blocks away.

Basically, use the goon as a barrier, and if the spell successfully breaks through, he's either knocked flat or has a neat (or not so neat) hole through him. Otherwise, center the effect on the goon.
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