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Backgammon
MiTS gives a test for wacher spirits finding a person as some sort of Intelligence vs a flat TN. All in all, watchers are VERY good at finding people, the only problem being their short lifespan. But if you use materials to make a watcher that lasts weeks instead of hours...

Now my problem is that my runners are in Morrocco (north africa) while their target is in South Africa... I find it a bit hard to believe they can just summon a watcher and find her that easily. Isn't there some sort of maximal range??
Demosthenes
No...but the Watcher also has to find its conjuror.
And the astral is full of all kinds of things that think Watchers are crunchy and good to eat...
Backgammon
Are you saying the watcher has to make another test to find the conjuror after it finds the person? It might be argued the watcher has a link to it's master and simply knows at all times where he is.

Af for things eating up watchers, yeah, that's the "excuse" I used but it didn't fly too well with the players. Seems kinda like an arbitrary shot down of their idea, which isn't very good. At least some sort of test or roll might be better. Maybe an "Astral Peril" table you roll on?
Kanada Ten
Nothing in cannon to that effect, though the target being behind a ward is enough to fool the watcher for as long as she remains so and any area with a ward might also have an astral patrol, which would eat the watcher for lunch if so ordered.

For some reason I thought the conjuror had to have assensed the target at one time, something I always considered limiting.
Fortune
The Conjurer does have to describe the target accurately enough for the dog brain of the Watcher to understand.
Backgammon
Well, the description process is integrated in the test. Checking the books now that I'm home, the test is simply TN-(summoner intelligence). And it takes a MAXIMUM of 2 hours for any traking. It doesn't even have to physically move at this point, by juging from the example given in the book.

This is ridculous. I'm gonna email shadowfaq about this.
Kanada Ten
I sorry, but you have a problem with a 1,000 phone call?
Backgammon
I have a problem with a universal person locator. Kinda takes the wind out of "find that person" plots.
kevyn668
That's why they call it "magic," I guess.

If your person is so important, have him/her behind a ward or in a medicine lodge or in a high background count area or some such.

I almost like the "Astral Peirl" check but it reminds me of "Wandering Monsters" just a little too much.
toturi
QUOTE (kevyn668 @ Jan 19 2005, 10:18 AM)
I almost like the "Astral Peirl" check but it reminds me of "Wandering Monsters" just a little too much.

Random Encounter Table?

And there you were, minding your own business and looking for the guy you master told you to and suddenly, Blood Spirits!
kevyn668
"There's one thing I never could stand about Santa Carla: all the damn vamp--"

Er, I mean,

"There's one thing I never could stand about South Africa, all the damn Blood Spirits..."

But yeah, that's what I was getting at. If there's one for watcher spirits, its only a matter of time before there's one for astrally projecting mages.
Backgammon
QUOTE (toturi)
And there you were, minding your own business and looking for the guy you master told you to and suddenly, Blood Spirits!

Ever take a look at the Wild Magic table in MiTS?

Besides,
QUOTE
And the astral is full of all kinds of things that think Watchers are crunchy and good to eat...

Everyone always says that, but concretely, what are the risks? Unless you simply decide that something happened, thus arbitrairly crushing a player attempt at something, there is no such risk. There should be some sort of roll to see if the watcher hits a random ward, crosses a place guarded by bound elementals and is destroyed, gets randomly eaten by a free spirit, etc.
kevyn668
Even though watchers are stupid, I'd still expect them to avoid wards and patrolling spirits. Unless they're crossing a notoriously astral unsafe area, like the Dreamtime, I'd say they'd be able to get there and back in relative safety.
Backgammon
QUOTE (kevyn668)
Even though watchers are stupid, I'd still expect them to avoid wards and patrolling spirits. Unless they're crossing a notoriously astral unsafe area, like the Dreamtime, I'd say they'd be able to get there and back in relative safety.

MiTS specifically states Watchers have problems facing unexpected problems such as wards. In any case, here's what I got out of shadowfaq on watcher:

QUOTE

Good questions.

Watchers have to *Track* someone in order to locate them, so they have to
astrally go to the target. They are really good at it because they can
follow an aura-trail.

In addition to the time it takes the watcher to realize where someone is, it
has to go to the target. It can go no faster than astral 'fast' speed (SR3
p. 173 -- roughly 1200 km/hr for each point of watcher Force). So add in the
travel time. I doubt the aura-trail goes in a straight line, and certainly
the watcher has to slow down from time to time to make sure he's still
following the aura-trail.

There is nothing in the books, that I know of, that describes what is meant
by the phrase 'known to the summoner' (MITS p. 101, Watchers and Astral
Tracking). Certainly friends of the summoner are 'known'. But beyond that it
requires a GM judgment call. For example, in my game, I allow the summoner
to easily tell a watcher to search for someone that the summoner has
assensed. Watchers can only see the astral-side of people, not their
physical characteristics, so in my game there is a TN penalty for the
watcher if the summoner has only viewed a person from the physical plane and
an even bigger penalty if the summoner has only seen a picture of the person
(even a 3-D picture). However, these penalties are only house rules. It will
be up to the GM in each campaign to determine what it means to be 'known to
the summoner'.

And lastly, the watcher doesn't know where in the physical world he is when
he does find a person. He is unable to describe physical world locations in
a meaningful way to the summoner.

In addition, you should feel free to roll the dice for the watcher in secret
(or in the open) and describe the watcher as leaving in an apparent search
to locate the aura-trail, but never coming back.

I hope my observations are useful. As GM, you have to adjust and interpret
the rules of Shadowrun so that they make sense to you, for your campaign.
Remember, as you make your decisions, that for 3000 nuyen worth of ritual
materials a magician can have a watcher that stays around for 3 weeks (MITS
p. 100). That's plenty of time to do a lot of searching.


Thx Shadowfaq
nezumi
An aura 'trail', huh? I was in a spot and made that up for a character who was doing too much astral tracking. I said that if someone travels the same routes again and again, eventually they can leave a trail that even he can see (so my commute to work every day has my aura trail, along with that a bajillion other DC commuters).

So the watcher has to find the guy's aura trail first, then follow it towards the target. Is it just me, or does it smell of some serious house ruling? It sounds like if I'm in DC looking for someone in Australia, it would be one heck of a lucky hit to find any of his trails in Melbourne.

In general, I think this is broken. It doesn't make a lot of sense. In local conditions, or if you had somewhere to start (like the guy's apartment) I wouldn't complain, otherwise it's pretty much guaranteed that you can 'find' anyone who's disappeared unless they have some magical backing on their side.
Garland
Like Shadowfaq kind of said, a problem I usually play up is that the watcher can't read street signs (or provide any other useful real-world details). Sure, it might be able to find somebody, but he's probably really poor at giving directions, especially since he's going to be describing astral landmarks. If you're not that far from your target, this isn't so bad. If you're a continent away, good luck.
Rev
Yea, they ought to have a search space limitation, or some other wierd limitation like the watcher can go find anybody, but can't tell anybody else where they found them and can't be followed while doing it. Like they have this super built in find-people ability to the degree that asking them where the person is doesn't even make sense to them. Thus you can have them go deliver a message, or annoy someone, but can't actually figure out where a person is over long distances that way.
Crimson Jack
I don't see what's so messed up about having one's watcher biting the astral dust (ie getting munched on by a magical baddie). Unless the conjurer believes that the mark is close, why would you send a weak little watcher on a nation-hopping search for someone without thinking of this as a plausible outcome? I mean, why doesn't the team just hire some runners to do the run for them if that's the case? Isn't the whole point in a "find someone" run to actually do the run, rather than leaving up to a watcher?

Color me confused. question.gif
Tarantula
How about the watcher returns and says they're in a ward/I can't find them.

Why? Said person happened to be having a meeting with someone in a club thats worried about astral security. The backroom is warded, preventing watcher from finding him. The more important the guy is, the more meetings he'd be having behind wards.
Voran
I suppose if the players are arguing that the TN for finding a target with an astral tracker should remain as listed, and apparently super easy, you could point out that means for the most part any corp or powerful group they've pissed off, should also have a TN of 2 (or whatever) to find the runners.

Any precautions the runners themselves take to prevent themselves from being tracked down by watcher spirits, I imagine could also easily be replicated by anyone else with connections/resources such as their target.

Also MitS (if i read it correctly) indicates if a mark enters an area with an astral barrier the spirit immediately loses track. It makes a force check vs 4, if it succeeds it goes back to the summoner and says it screwed up. I imagine if the spirit still has duration in it, it canbe sent out again, if it doesn't make any successes it twiddles its astral thumbs at the barrier and forgets to call back until it poofs.

An amazing potential waste of a 1000+ nuyen sustained watcher. I could see it being more useful for having sustained watchers to run guard dog duty, but it just doesn't seem worth it to do it for any of the other listed tasks of a watcher spirit. A watcher may be nice to track someone down who wants to be tracked down, but not so much for someone who wants to be left alone. While the watcher spirit is linked to the mage, and can't be taken control of by another mage, it doesn't mention if the summoner has a rigger's drone awareness. If the poor thing goes poof, the mage probably wouldn't know. Also, since the mage doesn't have any telepathic link to the spirit (illustrated by the fact the spirit has to find the summoner to report on their task once completed), the summoner won't know their 3 week watcher they sent to go look for someone, is going to spend the next 2.9 weeks staring at an astral barrier cause it failed its check to come back.

Mensche
moving thtough the astral is hella fast remember.
Morroco to South Africa, no problem....considering the watcher spirit flys at the speed of thought, right?
Mensche
I think the hardest part is identifying the target....might require alot of watchers, with may draw unwanted attention...
kevyn668
Why would it take a pack of watchers to ID some guy?
Voran
QUOTE (Mensche)
moving thtough the astral is hella fast remember.
Morroco to South Africa, no problem....considering the watcher spirit flys at the speed of thought, right?

The actual movement part of the watcher spirit's duration is the easy part, at like 1.2kph per force speed, the travel is darn near instant unless you're halfway around the world. The part that chews up the watcher's lifespan, is the actual task of finding the track/trail.
Gilthanis
Considering that this astral trail thing is based off of a lot of house rules, I would have to pose the question: How many trails does it have to sift through and how many different trails can one person make? If the guy was a cabbie, it might be the entire city. Not to mention over and over again, that the watcher needs to know what aura to track. There is no way the watcher can know the physical image matched up without this. (especially with a "dog-like" intelligence) I know my group argues this a lot and most of the time you wind up with a watcher that says he found the person but the directions are wrong or the person has moved on since then and you are starting over again. It would be more conceivable for the mage to project themselves for better accuracy or to project with the watcher, but then....that could skew the results too and yes bring more attention.

I would have to agree that the astral munchie stuff may be too much for some players, but that astral lonestar patrol that finds a watcher spirit bouncing in and out of buildings without an escort....just might be a little suspicious and possibly send a little escort with your watcher back to you. (not saying this would be common)
Fortune
I think I'm going to go with the limitaions of the summoner either having Assenced the target, or having a Ritual Link in his possession for the Watcher Search Engine to work properly.
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