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Sholos
2009-02-26, 06:11 PM
Okay, I just started up a campaign with a dwarven mage, and I was wondering if there are any spells I should look at. I'm wanting to concentrate on control of the battlefield and/or helping other players more than directly attacking enemies.

Right now I've got:

Sleep
Ice Sheet
Improved Invisibility
Treat
Increase Reflexes

and a few others that I can't quite remember.

Also, could someone explain exactly how Spell Locks work? Right now I'm under the impression that you can cast a buff spell into one, then have it constantly affect you. Is that right?

We pretty much have just the standard book.

Occasional Sage
2009-02-26, 06:20 PM
Also, could someone explain exactly how Spell Locks work? Right now I'm under the impression that you can cast a buff spell into one, then have it constantly affect you. Is that right?

We pretty much have just the standard book.

That's essentially correct. Spell locks are very, very handy for things like this, since you can take and recover from drain while the lock maintains the spell, and you don't have to take the TN penalty on everything you do for holding an active spell. They DO have one large drawback, though: whenever you are using one, you are in constant danger.

A spell lock is astrally active when in use, and is therefore a conduit from the astral to the physical. An astrally-projecting mage can use that spell lock of yours to drop a Fireball on your group with relative immunity, and since a spell lock is by definition a force one focus, it's trivial to do. The lock then burns out and is useless afterwards, but that's OK for the caster; as long as the street sams aren't unloading on him, his life is gooooood.

You might want to wait until you can Initiate (less than 20 karma), which would allow you to mask the spell lock, essentially hiding its astral signature from less powerful mages. Initiation and its benefits are all in the Grimoire.

As for spells, it's been way too long since I've played. Magic Fingers (a small telekinesis spell, I might have the name wrong) is great for playing with other peoples' safeties and grenade pins. You have Sleep, which is a big middle finger to gun-toters. You'll be Johnny on the Spot for handling enemy mages though; any thoughts on what to do there?

Mark Hall
2009-02-26, 06:32 PM
Another thing to note about spell locks (which won't come up NOW because you're only dealing with the main book, but might come up in a bit) is that they'll prevent you from going through wards.

Occasional Sage
2009-02-26, 06:38 PM
Mark, this thread makes me feel old and really, really geeky. I remember the transition to 2e (yay for standardized staging!). I haven't played since... '97? Before 3e, certainly. And yet, I still remember all of this.

Does this happen to you too?

Xuincherguixe
2009-02-26, 11:51 PM
I was about to say, "No combat spells, what?!" Then I remembered, "Oh yeah, sleep does stun damage." Stun is for many reasons BETTER than physical, because if you really need to you can still kill the guy, but if you just leave them alone you don't attract nearly as much attention. And you can question them later!

Mind Probe might be useful. Barrier/Mana Barrier too. I forget the name of it off the top of my head, but there's a detection spell that adds to combat pool, that's a nice one too.


Confusion/Chaos are a good line too. Increases target numbers for basically everything inside of it.

Phantasm is another good spell. An Illusion spell with a wide variety of possible uses. Imagine the look of shear terror when as the police are chasing after you, and Cthulhu crashes from a side street and starts screaming. Only it's not really Cthulhu. Giving you a nice little distraction.

Or, turn a corner and put up a fake wall in front of you. Give them enough time to hit the brakes, and for the multiple inevitable rear end collision which pushes some of the cars forward.


So yeah, I guess the summary here is, don't underestimate detection spells and illusions :P

Mark Hall
2009-02-27, 12:56 AM
Mark, this thread makes me feel old and really, really geeky. I remember the transition to 2e (yay for standardized staging!). I haven't played since... '97? Before 3e, certainly. And yet, I still remember all of this.

Does this happen to you too?

I didn't pay much attention between 1 and 2, but I was active on ShadowRN for the 2 to 3 switch. Even sent Bull some money to get me a Hardcover 3e book, which I sold later when I winnowed my collection.

But, yeah, the old and geeky thing? I wrote a 3rd edition of D&D, just before WotC announced theirs (in fact, while they were still denying that they were making one on the old newsgroups).

comicshorse
2009-02-27, 08:43 AM
If you can Initiate to hide the Spell Locks Increase Charisma is a good one ( especially for dwarves who aren't exactly loaded in the Charisma stakes)

Otherwise an area affect combat spell is a good idea so Mana Ball is probably worth a try.

Also I always found Fashion to be a much underrated spell. Not just fro the style but for the instant disguise possibilities

Sholos
2009-02-27, 10:26 AM
If you can Initiate to hide the Spell Locks Increase Charisma is a good one ( especially for dwarves who aren't exactly loaded in the Charisma stakes)

Otherwise an area affect combat spell is a good idea so Mana Ball is probably worth a try.

Also I always found Fashion to be a much underrated spell. Not just fro the style but for the instant disguise possibilities

Could you explain the first two concepts a little more? I don't know what you mean by hiding anything (I'm totally new to the magic system, as is the GM). How do spell locks with combat spells work?

Right now I've got a spell lock with Increased Reflexes in it.

Timeras
2009-02-27, 10:37 AM
The rules for becoming an initiate should be in the Grimoire Sourcebook. You spend karma and gain a few powers such as masking your aura or that of a focus.

How do spell locks with combat spells work?
I've not read the Rules in years, but IIRC you can't use spell locks for combat spells. They are only for spells that have to be sustained, like Barrier or Invisibility

Winterwind
2009-02-27, 11:01 AM
I've not read the Rules in years, but IIRC you can't use spell locks for combat spells. They are only for spells that have to be sustained, like Barrier or InvisibilityCorrect. Another one of these would be Increase Reflexes, which, in my humble opinion, becomes a sensible spell only if one has a spell lock one can put it into, otherwise the +2 TN modifier that applies even to resisting your spells exhausting you hurts you much too much. But then, I'm not too big a friend of wizards trying to mimic sammies in the first place, when there are so many things only they can do.

(all of this under the assumption 2e was not that different from 3e in this regard, as I am only familiar with the latter)

Rasilak
2009-02-27, 11:26 AM
Well, 2e is different in this aspect, as the high-init-Sammy can act multiple times before the slow mage gets a chance. So boosting init is a basic requirement for mages who want to be of any use in combat (but, as mentioned, only with appropriate spell locks, which are near suicidal in 2e without masking, since physical spells can be channeled through them from the astral plane - another thing they removed in 3e).
You should still take a Mana Bolt spell for the occasional mage - they tend to have fairly good Willpower, but rather poor Constitution. I wouldn't recommend Mana Ball, it has way too much drain.
Also, you should take Physical Mask/Fashion - it's a great instant-disguise.
Net or Mana Net are also pretty useful if you want to disable/slow down groups of enemies. Sure, they get out eventually, but rarely in time to escape a well-lobbed grenade.

Mordar
2009-02-27, 11:56 AM
Well, 2e is different in this aspect, as the high-init-Sammy can act multiple times before the slow mage gets a chance. So boosting init is a basic requirement for mages who want to be of any use in combat (but, as mentioned, only with appropriate spell locks, which are near suicidal in 2e without masking, since physical spells can be channeled through them from the astral plane - another thing they removed in 3e).
You should still take a Mana Bolt spell for the occasional mage - they tend to have fairly good Willpower, but rather poor Constitution. I wouldn't recommend Mana Ball, it has way too much drain.

A few thoughts...

Spell Lock Reflexes is a great idea, and there's nothing wrong with using a few others early on in the game - Armor, for one, and maybe Body, Int or WP, depending on what you like best.

I understand what a lot of you mean when you suggest that unmasked Spell Locks are dangerous/suicidal, but I disagree, particularly in a game filled with new players. The intention of the Spell Lock was, in part, to give the Mage/Shaman a little more (lot more!) flexibility and survivability in a setting where the combat monster snaps off 3 bursts with his Ingram before anyone else even moves. GMs that target Spell Locks by using Astral Mages grounding spells through the lock are a lot like GMs that are always looking to make the party Paladin fall, IMO. They are actively looking to destroy the character and by extension the player's enjoyment. Yes, it can happen, but it shouldn't happen all that much, and never randomly and certainly never early in a SR story. It needs to have a reason (other than teaching a rule) and needs to be done at a time when the character can absorb the loss.

After everyone has picked up a nice heap of Karma and the initiation rules have been absorbed/introduced/recommended, *then* the GM can reasonably expect Quickened spells or Masked spell locks, and open locks can be fair game.

[For the OP] Spell Locks leave an active astral signature that could allow magical attacks to be made against people in the physical world near the spell lock. Think of it as having an open, unsecured line into your computer. If someone wants to, they can log in and cause havoc. Quickened spells are effectively spells that you spend Karma (experience points) to make permanent. They are still vulnerable, but a ton harder to impact. Back to the computer network reference...they can still be hacked, but it takes a dedicated professional to do it, and there are better ways for them to spend their effort. Masking is sort of in-between the two...the link is active and available, but hard to find.

Now then, back to spells...

Someone recommended Mana Bolt, but suggested it for Mages. Mana Bolt is based on Willpower (target), so that's the primary anti-Street Samurai spell in the casters' arsenal. Keeping it in the back pocket is often a good idea. It's perhaps trite and cliché (ala Magic Missile) but that's for good reason - its extremely useful, and I highly recommend it, particularly for new players.

Power Bolt (or was it Force Bolt in 2e?) is the anti-caster version, and probably not necessary in a normal group. Casters blast non-casters while your gunmen take down the bad casters.

A very enjoyable but ever-so-slightly-broken option is Decrease Charisma, if you've got the spell points to spend. If you wonder why...well, look at your friend's Street Samurai character sheet (or the templates in the book, etc). Seems everyone likes to dump Charisma if they're not the designated Face character. Reduce that Cha 2 to Cha 0 and they take a nap. Funny how having your personality drained makes you sleepy. Plus, it has other enjoyable uses, though generally less combat-oriented. Something to consider, should you have the urge.

I strongly recommend you talk to the GM about the Spell Lock issue and be sure that it won't become a detriment to the game. As long as (s)he doesn't have a GM vs. Players mentality in the early stages it should go fine.

Anyway, congrats on finding an extremely enjoyable game to play, and I wish you success!

- Mordar

comicshorse
2009-02-27, 12:17 PM
Posted by Sholos

Could you explain the first two concepts a little more? I don't know what you mean by hiding anything (I'm totally new to the magic system, as is the GM). How do spell locks with combat spells work?

This has been mentioned by Occasional Sage but I'll try to make it as clear as possible.
It will help if you think of Spells coming in roughly two types : Instant and Sustained.
Instant have an effect and are then over. A good example is a Fireball, you cast it, it hits the target and damages him and then is gone.
Sustained spells continue to have an effect as long as the Mage maintains them. So you're Increased Reflexes spell will continue to mke your mage faster as long as the spell is maintained.
Obviously Maintaining a spell requires a certain amount of concentration which is why you are on pluses to other tasks while Maintaining a spell.
This is obviously a pain so Spell Locks are a way to Mainain a spell without having to think about it.
Obviously only Sustained spells can be maintained so it is impodssible to spell lock a combat spell.

But Spell Locks have a major disadvantage, it creates a link between the Astral ,where the magical energy for the spell is drawn from, and the mundanel world. This means a Astrally Projecting Mage ( one travelling purely in Astral space and so invisible and untouchable to those in the mundane world) can use the link created by the Spell lock between the Astral and mundane to cast a spell onto you.
However when a Mage Initiates he can gain more advanced powers. One of these is masking where you can alter how your 'aura' ( how you appear to watchers in Astral space) looks. This means you can look like a non spell caster but it also means you can use this power to hide spell locks so astrally projecting can't spot them and use them to kill you and you are party

Hope that clears it up

Xuincherguixe
2009-02-27, 05:25 PM
I thought Sleep was a Mana spell?

Raum
2009-02-27, 05:58 PM
SR2...many good memories from the early 90s. :)

As others have mentioned make sure you take Mana Barrier (surprisingly useful when running as well as useful against paranormal threats and deadly against motorcycle riders), a single target stun bolt (it's something you can use repeatedly or when hurt - very little drain), and physical illusion / invisibility spells (cameras are endemic, the nonphysical illusions are seldom worth bothering with).

Use the spell lock, it should be safe until after you irritate another mage. When that happens you're probably gunning for him anyway. Just make sure you deactivate, mask, remove, or destroy the lock if you leave him alive and still pissed off at you. That's when I (as GM) would be sending him out hunting astrally...