Astral Sensing Redux

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
Baravakar
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Re: Astral Sensing Redux

Post by Baravakar » Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:10 pm

PG354: Mystic Shock
The spell does not require line of sight and can be cast through any object or surface, including floors and walls, which both magician and target are touching.
This spell does not need Astral Sense to be cast to hit a target not in line of sight.

People keep ignoring that Astral Sense enhances Astral sight from LoS to a 30 yard radius.

Yes there maybe a wall physically between the wizard and the target but when the wizard has Astral Sense up, their field of perception is everything in a 30 yard radius. There is no physical wall visually between the wizard and the target when the wizard's perception includes both sides of the wall and the front and back of the target.

Spell are not thrown stones. They arc thru astral space and manifest at the targets location avoiding physical objects.

Bonhumm
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Re: Astral Sensing Redux

Post by Bonhumm » Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:11 pm

What is certainly not helping in all this is the use of the term 'arc' instead of 'line'. I know the dev *seems* to imply that indeed the caster needs a 'real' line of sight' to cast a spell, using 'arc' certainly causes confusion here.

If not from previous inputs from the dev, my point of view would indeed be like Douglas: if I'm sure of the location then I could cast a spell to it even if I don't have a direct line of sight. The term 'arc' would led me to believe that spell mechanics is like a mortar, not a rifle.

Of course that would bring the question of 'how much 'arc-ing' can I do?' With a real mortar the arc is only up/downward but a spell would probably not be bound by that so you could argue that it could arc around a corner but how many corners? Can it 'arc' around 5 corners, climb 3 flight of stairs and hit that guy is standing directly on top of me (thus in range of astral sense)? What is the door of the room he is in is closed? Could the spell fit under the door? How much 'space' does the spell requires to be able to 'fit'? Does the spell affect everything on its way to the target (would there be a risk of the stairs catching fire if my previous example was a fireball?).

All of this makes me think that indeed, despite the fact that it might 'make sense' to use astral sensing to target a spell despite no direct line of sight, it would be so much troubles to figure out what is 'too much arc-ing' to be sustainable.
Last edited by Bonhumm on Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Baravakar
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Re: Astral Sensing Redux

Post by Baravakar » Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:30 pm

Watch this clip a 2:50 to see how Mystic Shock can hit a target moving thru a wall.

https://youtu.be/-t1a4anQxBA

Baravakar
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Re: Astral Sensing Redux

Post by Baravakar » Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:33 pm

Bonhumm: What is certainly not helping in all this is the use of the term 'arc' instead of 'line'. I know the dev *seems* to imply that indeed the caster needs a 'real' line of sight' to cast a spell, using 'arc' certainly causes confusion here.
Its just important to understand the rules on p254 for spell targets....
  • Any method that makes the magician certain of the target’s location allows (for the spell to be cast).

Bonhumm
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Re: Astral Sensing Redux

Post by Bonhumm » Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:40 pm

Baravakar wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:33 pm
Its just important to understand the rules on p254 for spell targets....
  • Any method that makes the magician certain of the target’s location allows (for the spell to be cast).
I would agree with you, but, in the original post, I remember a dev (Mataxes?) arguing that this still required a direct line (i.e nothing blocking the path) between the caster and the target. The example used for the 'certain of the target's location' was actually physically touching the target (thus nothing in the path).

Dougansf
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Re: Astral Sensing Redux

Post by Dougansf » Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:49 pm

Baravakar wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:10 pm
PG354: Mystic Shock
The spell does not require line of sight and can be cast through any object or surface, including floors and walls, which both magician and target are touching.
This spell does not need Astral Sense to be cast to hit a target not in line of sight.
Then how do you know where the target is? Since you can't "throw a stone" you still need to perceive them somehow for targeting.
Baravakar wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:10 pm
People keep ignoring that Astral Sense enhances Astral sight from LoS to a 30 yard radius.
At no point is that being ignored.
Technically it's changing Astral Sight from Rank x 10 yards to 30+ yard radius.
Baravakar wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:10 pm
Yes there maybe a wall physically between the wizard and the target but when the wizard has Astral Sense up, their field of perception is everything in a 30 yard radius. There is no physical wall visually between the wizard and the target when the wizard's perception includes both sides of the wall and the front and back of the target.
The wizard can sense the wall as well, it's still there, the Wizard can simply Sense through it.
Objects still provides cover to the target.
Bonhumm wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:11 pm
If not from previous inputs from the dev, my point of view would indeed be like Douglas: if I'm sure of the location then I could cast a spell to it even if I don't have a direct line of sight. The term 'arc' would led me to believe that spell mechanics is like a mortar, not a rifle.
Can you share where the devs input differs?
Total Cover prevents attacks against PD and MD. Despite the fact that you may hear them just around the corner, and know where they are, the spell still can't bend around the corner (See Bank Shot as the way around this for Archers, or Mystic Shock for Wizards).

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RazanMG
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Re: Astral Sensing Redux

Post by RazanMG » Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:53 pm

To sum things up.

1. Mage need to be sure where is target: can see it, touches it, uses Astral Sense.
2. Spell will hit the target if there is Line of Sight (even thru keyhole, this is what means that will avoid physical obstacles), devs clearly stated that LoS is always needed (only Mystic Shock doesn't need LoS).

Astral Sense is like radar. You are in center of the ball and can perceive magical presences inside. Its not overhead view.

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Astral Sensing Redux

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:45 pm

Any method that makes the magician certain of the target’s location allows (for the spell to be cast)
I would say that the sentence previous to this one in the rule-book gives an important qualifier to this sentence. Any primary sense that makes the magician certain of the target's location allows (for the spell to be cast). For almost all name-givers, the primary senses are sight and touch. Seeing Astral Imprints is not a primary sense for any name-giver (including magicians - it might be for some spirits, dragons, and/or horrors). Astral Sight high enough to beat the targets MD and thus see the targets true pattern, is enough to target spells at.

The first post in this thread has a link to Astral Sense and Astral Targeting thread, and is well worth reading, paying particular attention to what Panda and Mataxis say.

Here are a few other select quotes from the thread above.
Mataxes wrote:A successful astral sensing test against the local MD of astral space allows you to "see" the imprints of everything within range. You know where things are. This means it is possible to navigate/get around via astral sight.

Imprints are (relatively) easily detected but don't provide much information beyond "there's magical energy/life force here".

In order to use talents/abilities that take advantage of 'astrally sensing' a target, you need to successfully defeat the target's Mystic Defense -- thereby sensing/detecting the pattern. Being aware of the imprint is not enough.

Viewing a target pattern, learning other information, 'targeting' somebody through astral space requires beating the target's MD.
mataxes wrote:Astral Sense doesn't allow a caster to get around other targeting/casting requirements. Just because Astral Sense allows you to detect someone hiding behind a hut, it doesn't overcome other targeting restrictions, as the hut may be blocking that line. A Mind Dagger (for example) can't go through the hut's imprint/pattern. It doesn't matter that you can "see" the person on the other side. The spell is not going to arc up and over the hut. Even as a "mystic" spell, physical objects block it.

If we replace the hut with an area of darkness (magical or otherwise), once the caster is sure of the target's location -- which a successful Astral Sensing test against their Mystic Defense can do -- there isn't anything to actually block the spell.

So, whether a spell or power can be cast on a target detected by Astral Sensing depends on the spell or power in question.

The impression I get from reading the book is that Astral Imprints are sharp and clear, and that you can always and instantly get as much information from them as you can get from normal sight on a bright and clear day. The impression I always get from reading Mataxis is that looking at Astral Imprints is like looking through a foggy twilight. "There are 4 or 5 shapes about 20 yards away, they range from man to troll sized". In subsequent rounds you can focus on one at a time to get more detail.

So I can see a GM choosing to run ether way (Astral Imprints are viewed clearly, or foggy). I think it is also important to not allow Astral Sight to not impinge upon the domains of Thread Sight, Matrix Sight, Emphatic Sense, or Lifesight.
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

Bonhumm
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Re: Astral Sensing Redux

Post by Bonhumm » Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:30 am

ChrisDDickey wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:45 pm
The first post in this thread has a link to Astral Sense and Astral Targeting thread, and is well worth reading, paying particular attention to what Panda and Mataxis say.
Link not working due to typo (missing ':' after HTTP), here's the corrected link: http://fasagames.com/archiveforum/viewt ... =17&t=1818

ChrisDDickey wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:45 pm
The impression I get from reading the book is that Astral Imprints are sharp and clear, and that you can always and instantly get as much information from them as you can get from normal sight on a bright and clear day. The impression I always get from reading Mataxis is that looking at Astral Imprints is like looking through a foggy twilight. "There are 4 or 5 shapes about 20 yards away, they range from man to troll sized". In subsequent rounds you can focus on one at a time to get more detail.
I don't think what Mataxes says change anything to how imprints looks like, he just (seem) to specify that to be able to target a spell at it, you need to have beaten it's MD.

From my understanding:

WITHOUT beating the MD, you can still see the imprint, you just cannot 'analyses' the Pattern (if any) and/or target it.

Thus, even without beating the MD:

- The imprint of a non-magical object would clearly have the same form as the real object (a sword would look like a sword) but only it's shape. The 'core' of it would look like an empty (although NOT transparent) void. You would not, therefore, be able to know stuff like its color, the metal its made of or even if its rusted or not. Beating its MD might give those information. I would imagine the ability to 'see' that it is a sword would be related to distance just like an object in real life. I can clearly tell its a broadsword from 10 feet away, I might not from 100 tho.

- The imprint of a magical object would be again only the shape of the object BUT you would see it has a pattern in it that only fill PART of it. You WOULD be able to see the pattern (i.e. figure out it is magical) even without beating the MD but you would not be able to deduce anything from it (other than its magical). Beating the MD would allow you to figure out what kind of magic it is (hey, it's a desperate blow blood charm or a thread item or even a Pattern item) and/or target it for a spell.

- The imprint of a namegiver (unsure about creatures, magical or not) would again be 'only' the shape of the person (thus you could not necessarily recognize who it is) but with the pattern filling up the imprint completely. Thus, again, you would be able to tell for sure that this is a name-giver even without beating the MD and figure out from the shape whether this is a dwarf or a troll. If it is someone you are very familiar with you might even recognize him/her from demeanor/walking pattern just like you could do from someone's shadow. I'm unsure if you could figure out (without beating the MD) if a person is an Adept or not (I would expect the 'intensity' of the pattern to be radically more powerful from an Adept but how easily that could be figured out just from a quick look I'm not sure). Beating the MD would provide much more information but again it would have to be provided by clues, not direct information (you would not get a 'this is a Swordmaster' report from the Astral Sight but instead the pattern might show signs of weapons dancing around its core or something like that).

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Astral Sensing Redux

Post by ChrisDDickey » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:53 am

Thanks for picking up the bad link.

Here are a few quotes (from that thread) that make me think Astral Sight does not deliver "crisp" images.
Mataxes wrote: Imprints are (relatively) easily detected but don't provide much information beyond "there's magical energy/life force here".
Panda wrote:
ChrisDDickey wrote:Focusing your attention on the back of the cottage, you pick up the astral imprints of their weapons and armor. Again you need to roll at least an 8 to more closely observe these astral imprints and the astral imprints of their gear.
For this kind of information, you are going to need to have astrally sensed the target, which is made against their Mystic Defense. Even then, I would be skeptical of providing these details unless they have a true pattern of their own. A generic sword has as much of a pattern as rocks - this quickly leads down the path of information overload. If it doesn't have a living pattern, it shouldn't be showing up here. Again, if you would like to provide this information, it is your game and you should do so.

Along those lines, I would consider requiring additional successes to do so: at one, you get basic information. After that, each additional success allows for a question similar to Evidence Analysis. This narrows it down to what the adept is actually paying attention.
Panda wrote:The first test to perceive astral space allows you to differentiate between what you are seeing, just with no real details. It's not that you are seeing the imprint of a dead log, you are seeing the imprint of "stuff". There is a bunch of impenetrable "stuff" on the ground and astrally it is completely uninteresting. You aren't seeing a mundane sword because it may as well not exist compared to the true pattern using it. When you get down to it, Astral Sight is primarily interested in true patterns. If you will, true patterns are visible at the astral wavelength, everything else is some level of background noise.

To be fair, the topic of astral space has been left deliberately vague and mysterious for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons is so GMs aren't boxed in by any "official" answers and you can tell the stories you want. This explicitly isn't a setting where all of the answers are known. Magic isn't fully understood. Arguably, it isn't even well understood. There are a lot of general rules and guidelines, but also a lot of exceptions. Thread items spontaneously generate, here seem to be some correlations, but no one knows how to trigger the event. Same with pattern items. Pattern items cannot be thread items, except when they are (a Weaponsmith's heartblade is the prime example of this). The entire field of true illusions is more like a number of strangely connected loopholes in the "laws" of magic as they are understood by Wizards. Basically the magical equivalent of somewhere between quantum mechanics and mysticism, fully leveraging the observer effect.
Mataxis wrote:If you are aware somebody is there --- typically with normal vision, but at GM discretion awareness through other methods may apply -- then you can astrally sense them with a single action. The level of astral corruption acts as a modifier to their MD.

In the latter case, where you aren't aware of the spirit, it would take two. You could do a 'generic' astral sensing (DN 6+mod) to detect imprints in the area (Note 1), and then once you are aware of the imprint, can focus in on it with a new roll (Note 2).

Note 1: I would rule that most concealing magic would hide the imprint (as discussed with the Stealthy Stride talent) and the generic sense roll would need to overcome that DN (modifed by astral space).
There is also an official quote somewhere in a different thread that I did not find today that an Adept or other living name-giver hiding in (or even just standing next to) a living bush is quite easy to overlook with Astral Sight/Sense. Yes, if you look closely at the bush you CAN sense the name-giver. But if you are not looking specifically at that bush it is easy to overlook the name-giver. Because it is something living in/near something living. Easy to get the two confused if you did not roll very high on your Astral Sensing test.

So my understanding is that the "scan" is pretty blurry and just gives you blobs of "dead mater", blobs of "alive mater", and "air". You have to focus on stuff to get clearer image, and even then you will more easily see the true pattern of a target more then their equipment.

But once again GMs (not players) are free to make the sight as detailed or obscure as they like.

On a different topic...
Bonhumm wrote:Beating the MD would allow you to figure out what kind of magic it is (hey, it's a desperate blow blood charm or a thread item or even a Pattern item) and/or target it for a spell.
I think that is something that would require study with Thread Sight, not a few quick glances with Astral Sight, and again I think it is also important to not allow Astral Sight to not impinge upon the domains of Thread Sight, Matrix Sight, Emphatic Sense, or Lifesight. Astral Sight is good but meant to be limited. Wizards always try to do too much with it.

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