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Luegene Cards
Ok, I'll admit it - this is my first Shadowrung GMing experience. As such, I've run into a brick wall with one of my characters, and that wall is chaotic world.

Basically - if I understand this correctly - how is any group of reasonably powered enemies going to make their save against this spell? I've been running the game for several months now, and with specialization the group shaman (mouse) has about a 9 sorc skill with a spec in spellcasting. Combined with his magic pool, bonus dice towards illusion spells, and a heavy dose of dice from his magic pool, he can drop a good 21 dice into a large group of enemies with a force 6 chaotic world. His target number is their intelligence and they resist with their intelligence dice against a target number of 6. There is no way that any creature or intelligence 10 or less is going to be anything but creamed by this spell.

Now, I admit that I run a high-powered campaign, but they successfully took out a bar full of 18 high, high powered vampires with body stats in the low twenties by rocking them with +6 modifiers to all their rolls. I did not intend for them to fight the vampires. I assumed it would scare them senseless. But no, the shaman just dropped a quick chaotic world and made all 18 of them effectively worthless.

What am I supposed to do about this? I'd just nerf the spell but, honestly, the shaman is the best role-player in the party and I hate to punish him. I'd jack up the intelligence score of all the enemies, but that's so lame that I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. Any ideas?
You know... maybe those vampires can be mages?
Crimson Jack
Remember that target number modifiers are your friend as a GM. Make sure all modifiers are being applied when the player is casting.

One type of scenario that always works well is enemy swarming tactics. With this tactic, the group of enemies approaching the runners comes from at least two different directions. Your mage should only be able to affect one group this way, and he may even decide to walk/run (imposing a target number mod for movement) to evade getting caught up into a melee. If he opts to try and stick it out, his odds get increasingly harder to cast the more combatants start attacking him (even if they're slightly weak, swarms suck to deal with).

This is why a large pack of devil rats can be hell to deal with.

Another thing that you can impose are wild magic zones or background counts.

Critter/spirit powers can nasty against casters too. Pretty much anything with Blind or Fear is great against casters.

You are good to not want to nerf the spell mid-game though. That would probably result in some hard feelings. Good luck with it, whatever you decide.
Yeah. A little countermojo (especially from an Initiate with the proper metamagical techniques) can go a long way towards curbing this sort of thing.
This is a problem you will have with any aria of effect spell and a caster that is good at it.

Just be glad he didnít take mana ball and dragon slayer totem (+3combat spells) that spell goes against will and the vamps would have been dead instead of just useless.

As to how to deal with it,

spread the enemies out a bit, not all in one room not all within arier of the spell, EG the vamp bar would have a back room with a couple of extras in it. Donít change things after the fact just when planing make shore not all the enemies are immediately assessable. Even if you allow the party to finish one group before starting on the next he is going to have to cast the spell a lot more often taking more drain.

Secondly include some mages with spell defence or better shielding in the enemies number. Using the vamp bar example again had there been one hermetic vamp with shielding active for 6 points (how my mage with shielding walks around most of the time if paranoid and nothing to cast at (walking down a corridor in the arcology) 12 points of shielding) the spell would almost certainly fail completely. Be careful not to over use that one however, it is not nice to take away a players abilities to often

Background count is also a good one, just the other run we went up against a blood mage and all I could do was shield the group. With a BG of 5 I am not casting anything. A vamp hangout probably deserves one or 2 (depending on size duration and mentality)

QUOTE (Edward)
spread the enemies out a bit, not all in one room not all within arier of the spell, EG the vamp bar would have a back room with a couple of extras in it. Donít change things after the fact just when planing make shore not all the enemies are immediately assessable. Even if you allow the party to finish one group before starting on the next he is going to have to cast the spell a lot more often taking more drain.

This is not always practical. The radii of area effect magic spells are HUGE. Even the base 6 meters of a starting magician can catch everyone in an average bar (like the above example).

Personally, I think he caught you (and by extension, the vampires) with your pants down. With the advice above (spell defense, background count), I think you'll be better prepared to handle that specialist mage.
It is true you can get everybody in the bar but what if the bar had a back room or if the people in eth booth on the far side where hidden by the seats. No LOS no effect.

Well, he has 9 in sorcery. That's sort of what happens. I imagine a decent willpower too, to soak that drain (it's got a pretty nasty drain code). It's a great spell for shutting down a group of enemies... so force them to fight multiple groups of enemies instead. Don't forget LOS affects casting Target Numbers, so a little glare and low light (it's a bar?) would make life harder. Background counts make it even worse, especially on the drain end.

Countermagic (the opponents are vampires = mostly powerful magicians) and increasing the TN for casting (remember light modifiers, running/walking tagert, cover) should work well against such a powerful shaman.

A mouse shaman: biggrin.gif
Seriously, how do you keep 20 people in your line of sight? And no counter-mages?? That's just basic, basic ways to keep your mouse shaman in line.<

After that, add visibility modifiers (a little fog, bad light, cover), and maybe add a background count of 1 or 2, especially if the vampires get to chose the turf where they meet.

Also, IF a group is getting owned, they're not juts gonna sit there and take it. They'll run to fight another day, and THIS time they'll know the party's tricks and will counter them appropriately.
The problem with being owned is that if you are owned, you ain't goin nowhere.
How did the vampires get taken out?

+6 to all target numbers, sure, but was it shooting them from the doorway? If it was anything closer than that, then both sides have the Chaotic World penalties -- ANYONE within the area of affect gets them.

From the way you wrote it, everyone was in the bar, and it was a melee type situation.. so they all should have had the chaotic world penalties.
Technically, the penalties for a Directed Illusion spell only apply to those within LOS at the time of the casting. Then it is sustained, and anyone who enters LOS or the area of effect after the casting is not affected by the spell.
Directed illusion spells are cast at a target and affect his mind or senses. Others are not affected unless the spell is cast at them as well (or they are in the area of effect). Directed illusions only affect those within the caster's line of sight.

Key part being 'or they are in the area of effect'. My reading of that is, if you're in the area of effect, you suffer the penalties as appropriate for your intelligence/willpower. If you ignore the bracketed section, then I could see it being 'affects each target in the area, and then is just sustained on those targets'.
QUOTE (Dawnshadow @ Apr 12 2005, 09:17 AM)
Key part being 'or they are in the area of effect'. My reading of that is, if you're in the area of effect, you suffer the penalties as appropriate for your intelligence/willpower. If you ignore the bracketed section, then I could see it being 'affects each target in the area, and then is just sustained on those targets'.

Then do you roll another spellcasting test when someone enters the area? Do you "preserve" the roll and simply adjust the effect when someone walks into the area? Directed illusion spells can only affect the minds that are in the area when the spell is first being targeted and cast. Spell targeting occurs during spellcasting, not sustaining. Indirect illusions work on new individuals who view the illusion because they are targeted on either an area or around an individual.

You don't "gain new targets" during the sustaining of the spell if you "gain LOS" of someone who wanders into the effect. Consequently, if you walk away, still sustaining the spell, the spell is still in effect even though you lose Line of Sight of the targets.
Or course you could start lobbing grenades at them, and do a tech counter to their AoE. Grenades have a low availability, and are pretty cheap......Chunky Salsa, baby.

Lots of explosions will mess someone up just as well as a well placed manaball.

But, being as it was the vamp's turf, they probably didnt want to blow it away.

I dont have my books on me, and something is sticking in my mind as Vamps having regeneration.. but that may be wendigos (I prefer them to vampires anyway... I find them much, much meaner) or something else.
Same roll as before.

To explain:

You cast a sustained area effect spell at point x -- say, Chaotic World.
You roll 1, 3, 3, 5, 8, 10.

There's some visibility modifiers -- deal with those later.
So you write down:
Int 1: 6 successes
Int 2-3: 5 successes
Int 4-5: 3 successes
Int 6-8: 2 successes
Int 9-10: 1 success

Anyone who enters the area gets the modifier according to their stat and resistance roll. This is where the LOS comes in-- figure out how many successes you have to deal with by adding the visibility modifiers to your int.

The usual caveats of 'LOS' still apply -- but if someone leaves the area of effect, then they aren't affected anymore. And even then, I dislike the LOS ruling, but that's the way magic works, except for elemental manipulations, so that's how it goes.

The difference between directed illusions and indirect illusions, in my opinion, is that indirect illusions affect everyone, while directed illusions affect only targets or targets in an area.
That's not how spell targeting and sustaining works by canon. LOS is important, but only for the initial spell targeting during the act of spellcasting. New targets are not gained if someone meanders into the area of effect, and old targets aren't lost if they wander out of the area of effect. Sustaining a spell does not require continuous line of sight to the target, just as sustaining a touch spell does not require continuous contact with the target.

Really, they should have made Chaotic World an Indirect Illusion that affects everyone within a sustained area. But they didn't. There's nothing stopping people from creating a variant of Trid Phantasm that simulates this, though.
How so? Is there a quote to back up that position? I haven't seen anything in my rereads of SR3 to back it up -- although I don't have MitS to check. The way SR3 reads, it seems to work either way, depending on how you read 'or they are in the area of effect'. My reading puts that as separate from the targetting.

The only reason LOS matters after is because it is canon that if you can't see them, you can't affect them -- otherwise it would have just been on the sorcery test, and LOS to where you're centering the spell. Everyone within it is caught. That's what makes the most sense to me, but that one does violate canon -- because manaball doesn't hit anyone you can't see. Only fireball etc does that.
The way you're describing makes more sense, but it isn't backed up by canon (and I'm really digging to try to find some evidence that it isn't the case that I've stated). SR3 says:
Sustained spells can be maintained over time. As long as the caster concentrates on the spell it remains in effect. This requires no action on the part of the caster. When concentration is lost, the spellís effects disappear.
No statement of LOS, just simply "as long as the caster concentrates, it remains in effect". One can possibly argue that you cannot sustain a spell if you can't see it, I guess, but that's extrapolation.

The order of spellcasting is as follows:
1. Preparation
2. Spell Targeting
3. Sorcery Test
4. Spell Resistance Test
5. Spell Effect
6. Drain Resistance Test

Targeting is the second step, and occurs before the Sorcery test is even made. While the visibility modifiers adversely affect the Sorcery test, the targets are within the area of effect of the spell when you decide the cast the spell, before the Sorcery roll, but after choosing the Force (and damage level, for damaging spells).

Since spellcasting is based on discrete events, the Spell Resistance occurs before the Spell Effect, and it is done at the time of the spellcasting (rather than changing in a sliding scale of successes when the visibility modifiers in the room change).

It all technically works that way. I really wish I could find something that states otherwise. Mechanically, that's not how our group does it, and that's not how most groups do it, I'll bet (simply having your fellow team members standing out of your sight when you chuck the Chaotic World spell sounds too good to be true).
To sum up:
  • Either the mage cast with his back to the wall (in which case the even his own runners were zapped as well), or he probably didn't see everyone (and those he didn't see weren't effected. Even those in front of him that were out of the LOS (hidden in booths, etc.) wouldn't be effected.
  • The best way to keep mages from becomming overpowered is TN modifiers: dim light, + 2, background count, +2, if any mages throw up shielding, +1 or 2. If the vamps average int = 4, the average actual TN = 8 or 9.
  • Vamp magic users might very well have spirits on call for protection. Since the spirits weren't in LOS when spell was cast they wouldn't be effected.
  • Owners of a vamp bar would be likely to be prepared for 'terrorist' attacks from non-vamps. Neuro-stun gas system, anyone? (the vamps themselves have Immunity to Toxins, so they would be uneffected).
  • Vamps have regeneration, so it actually takes a long time to kill one, even if he's not resisting. He'll just keep regenerating until he fails his regeneration roll. Unlike most opponents, who would die before they had a chance to run away, these guys would probably mostly escape LOS before they got permanently killed. Even if confused, a vamp could just mist form, and float off.

I'm not saying the spell isn't sustained though, or that it doesn't continue to affect people -- just that when you can't see the spell, no new targets are added when they step into the area of effect. I'd RATHER it work just like fireball, and LOS to the center affected the casting difficulty, but otherwise, once you're there, you're affected according to your intelligence and their successes, until you leave. but that one doesn't work by canon descriptions. Worth house ruling in my view, but not canon.

By canon, you have to see them for it to take affect -- not for it to maintain affect. So if you know they're in the area, then they're affected until they leave the area -- since that's what the spell is cast on, the area.

Rereading what I said earlier, it wasn't quite clear enough: it should have been more like above: If you can't see someone, a spell can't take affect on them, but can continue to have an affect as long as they are subject to it.

Most targetted spells: not subject to it means they're dead.
Most area spells: not subject to it means not in the area, or dead. (Because it's not targetting them, it's targetting everything in the area.. they leave the area, they aren't targets anymore, because the characteristic that made them targets is no loger true.)
The LOS issue is a sticking point because of "only affect those within the caster's line of sight". So depending on how you rule on this issue:

1) You cast the spell. Anyone in LOS at the moment of casting is affected and then the spell is sustained such that those targets remain affected.

2) You cast the spell. Anyone in LOS is affected and anyone in your LOS remains affected without any regard as to whether he was in your LOS at the moment of casting.

What is the defination for LOS? Someone or something you can see? Then how is an invisible target(that you are unaware of) affected?

The 2 choices above fulfill the 2 spell requirements: a) the people that are NOT affected are those NOT targeted or are NOT in the area of effect b) the caster must have LOS to those people who are targeted or are in the area of effect.
Luegene Cards
Thanks to everyone for the replies - making the ruling that CW basically pollutes an area will really add some game balance... Also taking into account some visibility modifiers and using some spell defense will help a lot as well. To let everyone know how it went down, the party approached the bar, and at the point when the vampire bouncer threatened to rip the street samurai's teeth out, he got cut in half by said samurai. The shaman walked up to the window of the bar and nuked the place, then the party got jumped by the few berserker vampires who were still unaffected. I know that generally isn't the best vampire starteg, but I based the vampires off of Brujah from VTM, so they were insanely violent. Next game is a Tremier, so I'll be able to it them up with some magery, some seperate groups from seperate directions, and, knowing vampires, all sorts of mortal ending traps.
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