Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Transmogrifying Invisibility
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Crimson Jack
The FAQ/Invisibility issue is something that I've been paying close attention to on DSF the last couple of days. The FAQ answer sort of bugs me (regarding creating LOS through a wall). This poll is not intended to halt discussion on the original post, but I'm curious at to how people view the spell now and if they are planning to do anything about it.

Personally, I'm considering working out a Manipulation version of it if its truly supposed to be able to create LOS through walls. I'll put it to a vote with my group before monkeying around with it.
Kagetenshi
As usual, I'm ignoring the FAQ on this one.

~J
Edward
2 points

First I donít see hy it works better as a manipulation than a illusion

Second if you ignore the FAQ what do you see behind something that is invisible. You could say ďwhat you expect to seeĒ but what about casting improved invisibility on a door and pointing a camera at it, the camera doesnít have any expectations.

If you canít see threw an invisible wall/door you wind up with an interesting situation of a dwarf hiding behind an invisible troll, and having it work. I find the FAQ answer maintains the most consistency, (its also fun to cast invisibility on the floor of a skyway connecting 2 buildings)

Edward
Kagetenshi
It maintains no consistency. Unless you'd like to explain why Invis can extend LOS while Clairvoyance cannot?

~J
Clyde
Manipulation spells are not resisted by bystanders. If you're going to make a manipulation version of invisibility, be darned certain that it does not affect living objects or you'll have balance issues.

Frankly, I'm sick and tired of seeing this one spell over and over. It seems to cause nothing but headaches, right up there with Ruthenium. I've had fewer problems with APDS ammo, frankly.
fistandantilus4.0
Of course it would effect living objects. Manipulation effects every damn thing. It 's less powerful, because it's up to +8, where invisibility is just flat out +8.
Yes, there is no chance to resist, but how many mages out there have a lower sorcery than 6. Target numbers only 4. With spell pool, that's an easy 6 success.
How many gaurds have you seen get 6+ succeses against it?
+8 is a lot more balance IMO because you get open tests for perception.

Besides, just throw a grenade. Don't realyl have t oaim so darn much. Make it a super flash , and everyone's blind. Every security company should have those things! Seen up to 3 km off! hell of an alarm!
Let's see a mage get LOS after being hit with that!
Kagetenshi
QUOTE (fistandantilus3.0)
Let's see a mage get LOS after being hit with that!

I'll take Astral Perception for $300, Alex.

~J
Clyde
And this is the kind of pro-invisibility doublethink that always comes up! I'm sick of putting that much time and effort into one spell when there's a whole world I've got to keep running. Instead of sitting around asking myself how many angels can dance on the head of an invisible pin I'm dumping that portion of the FAQ. As far as I'm concerned, (1) Invisibility and Improved Invisibility only affect normal sight, (2) "normal sight" does not include thermographic vision, (3) no spells extend line of sight. Game balanced, coherence preserved, world continues, end of story.
BitBasher
QUOTE
"normal sight" does not include thermographic vision,
Thermographic is exactly normal vision for 2 out of the 5 basic metatypes. Bad decision.
ShadowGhost
QUOTE (Edward @ Mar 5 2005, 06:02 AM)
2 points

First I donít see hy it works better as a manipulation than a illusion

Second if you ignore the FAQ what do you see behind something that is invisible. You could say ďwhat you expect to seeĒ but what about casting improved invisibility on a door and pointing a camera at it, the camera doesnít have any expectations.

If you canít see threw an invisible wall/door you wind up with an interesting situation of a dwarf hiding behind an invisible troll, and having it work. I find the FAQ answer maintains the most consistency, (its also fun to cast invisibility on the floor of a skyway connecting 2 buildings)

Edward

What you expect to see has nothing to do with the illusion spell.

When a mage casts this illusion into a sustaining focus - the focus and the spell do all the work. Mage goes from one room to another he's never been in.... you still can't see him.

Mage closes his eyes and walks around.... he has no clue where things are anymore.... but the spell still works.

As for a Dwarf hiding behind something invisible - you still see the dwarf. Or depending on your interpretation of how the spell works, you see an illusion of the dwarf.... as the illusion spells creates the image of the dwarf hiding behind the "invisible" troll.

As for a manipulation version of invisibility.... Game balance becomes a huge issue. Spell Defense, Shielding, Spell Barrier all become useless against a manipulation version of the spell.

As an illusion that can be resisted by anyone viewing it, those same things, Spell Defense, Shielding, Spell Barrier are valuable tools.

And since Thermographic vision is normal for two metatypes, invisibilty has to work against infrared (thermographic vision), just as it has to work against cyber eyes equipped with Thermographic vision.

If you can cast Improved Invisibility illusion against a door or wall, it still doesn't become transparent like glass - you just see an illusion of what's on the other side of it, so LOS spells shouldn't work against what you see in the illusion - because you're looking at an illusion of what's on the other side, not what is really there, even if the illusion exactly replicates what really is there.

So this is one part of the FAQ I don't accept.
The Jopp
The simplest solution to the invisibility spell is to limit it to living beings. I know this will limit the spell a lot but that could be alleviated with a lower drain for a specifik target. I DO believe that the main purpose/intent of the invisibility spell was to make PEOPLE invisible, not guns, doors, pots, pans, vehicles etc - well, perhaps vehicles, especially drones.

The difference with making an elemental version of invisibility is that it would be SEVERELY limited compared to the illusionary one due to one fact, physics.

The only way of making invisibility is (AFAIK) A: Bending light around an object AKA predator camouflage or perhaps B: Create a plasma shield of some kind that does not reflect light (the latter was some new invention they had a theory of for making "stealth" planes)

Problems with a physical invisibility spell. 1: Elemental effect, higher drain. 2: Easier to spot. The spell relies wholly on natural vision and ignores ultrasound, radar, astral vision, and basic sound. The point with the illusion invisibility is to make people BELIEVE there is no-one there, that SHOULD include sound, up to a point, like the sound of someone walking. Physical invisibility would be spotted almost instantly by a sensor test or ultrasound and astral sight.

talker.gif talker.gif talker.gif
Edward
QUOTE (ShadowGhost)
<snip>

If you can cast Improved Invisibility illusion against a door or wall, it still doesn't become transparent like glass - you just see an illusion of what's on the other side of it, so LOS spells shouldn't work against what you see in the illusion - because you're looking at an illusion of what's on the other side, not what is really there, even if the illusion exactly replicates what really is there.

<snip>

An interesting logic.

What your suggesting would allow Compleat freedom to shoot targets behind the invisible wall with no blind fire modifiers but applying the penalty to damage for firing threw a barrier however spells donít work.

i think itís a valid point of view, although I would rule differently. Remember there are already effects that do extend LOS. Namely refraction and reflection of light (mirrors, optical magnification equipment, fiberoptic cables).

It also creates interesting ramifications for cross room illumination (if I am in a dark room and cast invisibility on the door to a room with lots of light will my room now have more light and will technological detectors notice the change in light level).

Another interesting scenario.

Cast an invisibility spell at the minimum force necessary to affect a wall (probably 3) and achieve only 1 success, voluntarily fail your resistance roll, those on the other side will probably pass there resistance check so will still be able to see the wall, not what is behind it creating an interesting 1 way LOS scenario. Or under your ruling a ability to get very effective surprise attack assuming you donít mind shooting threw a wall.

Edward
ShadowGhost
I'd like to see the original clause enforced, with one minor change, from SR3 (not MitS) concerning Indirect Illusions "They must be cast ďaroundĒ a person or subject"- (Italics are my words to be added to the phrase).

Since a wall or a closed door would act as it's own barrier to being "surrounded" by the Improved Invisbility spell, it eleminates the possibility of firing spells, or shooting at targets through an invisibile wall, as you can now, under the FAQ.

Either that, or rule that you can't turn part of a subject invisible - you must make the entire thing invisible. So no making walls or doors invisible as they are parts of a building, just as you cannot use magic to target part of a car or other vehicle. Elemental Manipulations that are not area effects would be an exception, as they are treated as ranged combat.
toturi
The nice thing about the FAQ is, by admission of ShadowFAQ, he is not a line developer and is offering his opinions on the matter. While I respect the fact that he is willing to take up the responsibilty, I am disappointed with the quality of the answers and solutions offered by the FAQ.

As far as I am concerned, the FAQ is non-canon.
ShadowGhost
QUOTE (Edward @ Mar 5 2005, 10:44 AM)
Another interesting scenario.

Cast an invisibility spell at the minimum force necessary to affect a wall (probably 3) and achieve only 1 success, voluntarily fail your resistance roll, those on the other side will probably pass there resistance check so will still be able to see the wall, not what is behind it creating an interesting 1 way LOS scenario. Or under your ruling a ability to get very effective surprise attack assuming you donít mind shooting threw a wall.

Edward

This is part of the FAQ I disagree with too - that the caster can be fooled by his spell - I think the caster of a spell should always be able to see the subjects of spells he cast.

I don't think you can voluntarily fail a resistance test so much as you can choose not to resist spells - Heal, and Detection spells are evidence of this.
BitBasher
I'll tell you what. For free I will keep the FAQ maintained. Myself. Then I'd agree with all the answers, and problem solved! biggrin.gif
Crimson Jack
Who voted to have it removed altogether?
John Campbell
IMAO, the FAQ ruling is not just silly, but flat-out WRONG.

There's some fuzziness in the rules, but I do not believe the FAQ ruling to be a valid interpretation of the text as written. It's not a clarification, it's an outright change in the rules.

Of course, FanPro is free to do that. It's their rules. It's beyond the purview of the FAQ, though. And, in this case, I think it would be a Really Bad Idea to make this an actual rules change, because it's inconsistent with the way magic has been presented as working since day one, and opens a whole can of worms that should really be left closed.

Let me take the rulings one at a time:

1. Eh. Good and bad.

Friendlies should clearly be affected by the spell. SR spells don't discriminate in their targeting. However, the person who is creating the illusion should not be fooled by the illusion, because, as the creator of the illusion, he knows exactly what it is that he's covering with illusion. The caster, therefore, shouldn't be affected. But I'm not particularly wedded to that ruling... it's a personal feeling, not a hard logical necessity of the rules, nor something that could be terribly prone to abuse (unless combined with 2, below, in which case it's bad craziness). If a GM told me that it worked as per this ruling in their game, I wouldn't argue.

2. Oh, Bloody Shambling Zombie Jesus. Tell me that they didn't make that official. This is a terrible, terrible ruling, inconsistent with the existing rules, illogical, and it opens the door wide for brutal abuse of the system.

Illusions cannot produce line of sight for casting. It's been clearly established since the beginning that the caster needs to be able to see the original photons that bounced off the target, possibly reflected or refracted, but not artificially repeated in any way. Illusions do not provide access to those photons.

As per the description of the workings of illusion spells, mana illusions don't provide any physical sensory input at all... they merely trick the mind into thinking it's receiving the illusionary sensory input. With mana illusions, you're not seeing the things behind the invisible barrier at all... you just think you are.

Physical illusions create actual sensory input, but this is explicitly created input. Again, you're not seeing the things behind the invisible barrier at all. You're seeing a false image that's being generated at your eye.

In either case, the subject, the barrier, isn't being altered at all. It isn't made actually transparent, nor are photons being bent around it or any other such thing. It's still very much present and opaque, and the original photons necessary to establish LoS for spellcasting are striking it and stopping. That the target is being provided with a false image, either a pure hallucination or actual false input, is irrelevant. It's still a false image created by the spell, not made up of those all-important original photons, and therefore cannot be used for targeting spells.

I'm not going to bother outlining the potential abuses of this FAQ ruling... I'm sure you can all fill those in yourself.

3. Uh... I don't think this one is even internally consistent.

If the spell is being cast on the (inanimate) subject, as is implied by having to beat the subject's OR, then it should require the physical version of the spell, because mana spells can't affect inanimate objects. If the mana version works, then it's clearly not being cast on the subject, because mana spells can't affect inanimate objects, and therefore shouldn't have to beat the subject's OR.

Since the rules are clear that the division between mana and physical illusions is ability to affect inanimate viewers, not inanimate subjects, and the ruling even acknowledges that, I'm going to assert that even internal consistency requires that it's the viewer's OR that the spell must beat, not the subject's.

And since it's the viewer that the spell attacks, and the viewer that has to resist the spell, it's only reasonable that it's the viewer's OR that should be considered.

I think this ruling is a product of the same broken thinking that produced 2. It only makes even the slightest bit of sense if you assert that the illusion is somehow physically affecting the thing to be made invisible... making it transparent to light or something like that. However, that's obviously wrong for mana illusions, and less obviously but still clearly wrong for physical illusions.

4. Got one right. Well, one out of four ain't bad.

Oh, wait, that's only 25%. That's terrible.
BitBasher
That's a good point, the mana invis can only turn living things invisible according to this ruling. That's completely worthless. I hadn't even considered that.

QUOTE
Who voted to have it removed altogether?
My fault, I accidentally clicked ont he wrong thing. embarrassed.gif
Eyeless Blond
QUOTE (Crimson Jack)
Who voted to have it removed altogether?

I did. Invisability and Stealth should be removed entirely from SR, and be replaced by an analogue of the Camouflage spell. Such a spell would add its Force plus the number of net successes (possibly up to the spell's Force) to an Perception Test to locate the subject by the specified sense (vision, auditory, tactile, etc.)

Okay I guess that's more a complete rewrite than a removal, but the option's not there. Invis definately doesn't need to be a Manipulation, as that would remove the ability to resist it altogether.

While I'm on the subject of resistance rolls, does anyone else think that the FAQ ruling on spell defense against area spells have a huge, gaping flaw in it?
QUOTE
Spell Defense takes away successes from the spellcaster. For an area affect spell, are those successes taken away from everyone who is hit by the spell, even if only one person in that area is protected by spell defense?
Yes. The spell defense works against the entire spell.

According to this ruling, you can have something like this happen: Mage A casts a Force 4 Invisability on himself, scoring 3 successes. Now, Mage B has three points of Spell Defense active on Grunt B' and Mage C has three points allocated on Grunt C'. Grunt B' with his Int of 2 hasn't a prayer of resisting A's mojo, but his mage buddy's Spell Defense gets lucky, scoring two successes. Now it's Grunt C'-s turn. *His* mage buddy's spell defense dice roll well too, scoring another two successes. Now, since both instances of spell defense "work against the entire spell," the combined four successes cause the invisability spell to fail, and now Mage A is open to being fired at. All this even though not one person actually scored more than two net successes compared to Mage A's three.

That is a bit complicated of a scenario, but it illustrates a problem with the FAQ's ruling when it comes to area spells. Allowing spell defense to actively subtract away from a spell's successes makes sustained illusions, detections and other resisted spells really difficult to keep active, as every mage you bump into with Spell Defense will start adding up all their successes to defeat it. Maybe that's how the designers intended it, but I've never heard of anything like that until now, and it really sounds a bit nonsensical to me.
Crimson Jack
QUOTE (Eyeless Blond)
Invis definately doesn't need to be a Manipulation, as that would remove the ability to resist it altogether.

Would it though? If the spell description was written well enough (ahem), then one might be able to understand the concept of something being 'see through' without being as invisible as say air (similar in concept to the drawing on page 103 of MM).
John Campbell
QUOTE (BitBasher)
That's a good point, the mana invis can only turn living things invisible according to this ruling. That's completely worthless. I hadn't even considered that.

Actually, they explicitly acknowledge that mana invisibility can turn inanimate subjects invisible. If they were to state that it couldn't, that'd be consistent with using the subject's OR to limit the Force of the spell. It'd be stupid, and clearly contradict the existing rules, but it'd be internally consistent.

As it is, they've got a ruling that not only makes no sense in the context of the existing rules, but isn't even consistent with itself.
BitBasher
That was my point actually, that this new ruling completely disregards internal consistency. With this ruling it shouldn't be able to affect inanimate objects, as that contradicts the nature of magic. Of course, it already contradicts the definition of "Target" as defined by the spell and in the section on spell targeting. The FAQ's batting 0 for a whole lot.
hahnsoo
QUOTE (Eyeless Blond)
That is a bit complicated of a scenario, but it illustrates a problem with the FAQ's ruling when it comes to area spells. Allowing spell defense to actively subtract away from a spell's successes makes sustained illusions, detections and other resisted spells really difficult to keep active, as every mage you bump into with Spell Defense will start adding up all their successes to defeat it. Maybe that's how the designers intended it, but I've never heard of anything like that until now, and it really sounds a bit nonsensical to me.

Not to mention that Spell Defense would be infinitely better than trying to Dispel a sustained spell (which is the usual method of whacking a sustained illusion). I was under the impression that Spell Defense could only be used in the act of spellcasting, which was the reason you are able to cancel the spell in the first place.
Kagetenshi
QUOTE (John Campbell)
However, the person who is creating the illusion should not be fooled by the illusion, because, as the creator of the illusion, he knows exactly what it is that he's covering with illusion.

I agree, he is not fooled.

QUOTE
The caster, therefore, shouldn't be affected.


Here's where, in my opinion, your logic takes a long walk off a short pier. Again, Shadowrun magic doesn't work like that. Illusions don't not work if you disbelieve them. I see no reason why a caster should be special in that regard. Sure, you aren't fooled, you know there's really someone there, but that doesn't mean you see them.

~J
Jebu
The normal use for Invisibility is to get past people/cameras undetected. If it's used for that, problems rarely arise. There are things like hiding behind an invisible character, but I don't think that's a common problem. Invisible walls/doors are a much more serious problem, though. I haven't needed to handle invisible doors/walls myself, fortunately. I don't like the idea of Invisibility spell creating false images of objects that are behind the wall/door. I wouldn't mind if you cast Phantasm to create a false image of a doorway with door open, or without a door, but then the caster would have to know what really is behind the door, or just create any image he thinks would be appropriate.

As I said I haven't run into problems with Invisibility in my games, but if the players started casting it at objects, be it doors or walls or whatever, I think I'd house rule a modified version of the spell.

In the eye's retina, there's a blind spot where the optic nerve begins, there are no photoreceptor cells in that spot. But we almost never notice the blind spot, it's filled in by our brain, according to the surrounding area. Also because we have stereoscopic vision, the individual images from eyes overlap, filling in the blind spot if it's possible. You have probably seen the picture with two black dots, and when you close one eye and look from certain distance, the other dot disappears, it's where the blind spot is. Even then, there seems to be nothing odd in the picture, the brain fills the blind spot with the background colour, so it looks like a picture with only one dot. The other dot is invisible to you. Only because you know the dot should be there, you can see your brain was fooled.

Now, if I made a modified version of the Invisibility spell, I'd make it work like that. If the viewer does not resist the spell, it's like a blind spot for him. It's totally invisible unless you have other means to determine something should be there. This changes almost nothing when it's used to make people invisible. If he walks past a painting, the viewer's brain fills in the image his eyes see, and he doesn't notice anything. Only if he was specifically looking at the painting close enough, he could notice something odd. And if the invisible person didn't stop between the viewer and the painting (a stupid thing to do), the viewer would probably blink his eyes couple times, and shrug. Unless he was trained to look for anomalies like that to spot invisible intruders.

Now, when it comes to inanimate objects, this modified spell would be a lot worse than the original one. It couldn't be used at all to see through things, just to prevent people from seeing them. Which to me makes much more sense when the invisibility is an illusion and doesn't really make photons travel through the target. It wouldn't make much sense anymore casting it at doors, because people know where the doors should be and would quickly notice it. It would, however, still work if you wanted to make an assault rifle invisible to carry it around without raising suspicion.

In case the viewer notices something odd, I think he still shouldn't see the invisible thing if it's still sustained. If it's a door or other object he bumps into, or finds out about because he knows there should be something, he could close his eyes and feel for the handle, for example. If he looked straight at it, his brains would still try to fill in the image, and if the blind spot is a big one, he might feel like his eyes just couldn't focus on it. If it was a person walking past a painting for example, and he kept moving, the viewer would lose track of him very fast. He could quickly punch or shoot at the invisible person with less than +8 I think, and if the person would be stupid enough to stand still in front of the painting, the penalty would be quite low, the viewer could see a rough silhouette which makes aiming a lot easier than firing blind.

I see I poured out quite a bit of text. Oh well, if someone read through it all, comments are welcome. And keep in mind this isn't my interpretation of the original Invisibility, but a proposal for a modified substitute.

Edit: Heh, I just realized my signature is kind of appropriate for this thread. nyahnyah.gif
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