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  • Mage Armor Piercing

    Hey everyone,

    So I have wondered about this particular attainment often and I want to think there should be an ability to pierce mage armor. Maybe it is just a mindset left over from 1E where they were spells, but I feel like Mage Armor being a perfect set of armor with no way to negate seems a bit odd to me. Perhaps that is the new thing with attainments or a way to discourage fights, but it just seems there should be away. Anyone have any house rules on this?

    Thanks in advance!


    "Teamwork makes the dream work!"

  • #2
    I mean, you could always circumvent any particular Mage Armor by using attacks that it doesn't apply to. Or you could just deal more damage. They're capped at 5/0 armor at mastery levels and second edition damage sums successes and damage modifier (except for attack spells that use Potency but they also circumvent most Mage Armor anyway) so basically everything has potential to deal damage in excess of even a Master's Mage Armor.

    Edit: I guess what I'm saying is that Mage Armor just isn't potent enough to require ways to negate it. Unlike spells and attacks they're capped, and they're not universally applicable either (except maybe Death, I don't recall how that worked).
    Last edited by Tessie; 02-13-2019, 06:15 PM.


    Bloodline: The Stygians
    Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
    Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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    • #3
      Hey Tessie,

      Here are some quotes for each armor.

      Death Armor downgrades lethal damage from kinetic attacks (bullets, claws, rocks, etc.) to bashing. A mage using Death Armor does not roll to stay conscious once her Health track is filled with damage.
      Forces Armor applies the mage’s full Forces rating as general armor, applicable against all damaging physical attacks and the automatic damage from fire and electricity. It has no effect on mental or psychic attacks.
      Life Armor adds half the character’s Life rating (round up) as both general armor and a bonus to Defense. Use the higher of the character’s Wits and Dexterity as Defense, rather than the lower.
      Matter Armor applies the mage’s full Matter rating as general armor, applicable against all damaging physical attacks. It is immune to Armor Piercing. Matter Armor has no effect on mental or psychic attacks.
      Spirit Armor downgrades lethal damage from kinetic attacks (bullets, claws, rocks, etc.) and the attacks of ephemeral entities to bashing.
      Half seem to have some type of damage degrading/ignoring capabilities. Acanthus and Mastigos being the only Mages left with just a pure defense method which could arguably be even better since a defense of 6 or higher is pretty much impossible to hit when using mundane folks.

      *shrugs* I mean, I guess if you have a military grade weapons you might be able to dent a mage. Forces 3 generates 3 armor which makes it pretty unlikely anything but a large military grade weapon will do anything. My main concern is because Seers like to use proxies and it seems without having some pretty heavy packing proxies, there really is no point in having them at all. In 1E when armor could be dispelled it made proxy encounters orchestrated by Seers deadly, but now it is just like, "Meh. I can throw up Forces Armor and your goons are going to need to pull out the military grade stuff just to scratch me." Because, again, even if you have AP bullets doesn't matter against mage armor. Also, unless you have highly skilled proxies there are never going to get above that threshold unless they are carrying some pretty heavy damaging weapons.

      One could argue maybe they do some autofire or teamwork fire (not sure if that is a thing), but again that is a lot of focus for just one mage.

      Just feels odd to me that mundanes have literally no chance against damaging mages at all anymore.
      Last edited by Taldorblackfire; 02-13-2019, 06:50 PM.


      "Teamwork makes the dream work!"

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      • #4
        If it helps, I'm pretty certain that direct damage spells bypass Mage Armor (except for Prime), so there's that. I could also envision an alternate Prime Utility Attainment that lets a mage either ignore Mage Armor for an attack or negate it for the scene.

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        • #5
          You hit a Mage before they can get their armor up, then you never have to worry about piercing it.

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          • #6
            Flame thrower

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
              You hit a Mage before they can get their armor up, then you never have to worry about piercing it.
              Possible, but extremely rare and it is a reflexive action to activate. I mean, you might be able to get a Stealth check to use it, but you better hope the one shot drops them.

              Flame thrower
              Yeah, military grade weaponry as I mentioned.

              If it helps, I'm pretty certain that direct damage spells bypass Mage Armor (except for Prime), so there's that. I could also envision an alternate Prime Utility Attainment that lets a mage either ignore Mage Armor for an attack or negate it for the scene.
              That is a food for thought, but unless mundanes have access to it pretty much my point. I mean there are plenty of ways for Mages and a few other supernaturals to make a difference, but mundanes seem left with no recourse other than that big military grade weapon.
              Last edited by Taldorblackfire; 02-13-2019, 07:43 PM.


              "Teamwork makes the dream work!"

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              • #8
                Take the aiming penalty and apply arm wracks, leg wracks, what-have-yous. It's not always about amount of damage, Sometimes it's about how damage is applied

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by zee PaTrick View Post
                  Take the aiming penalty and apply arm wracks, leg wracks, what-have-yous. It's not always about amount of damage, Sometimes it's about how damage is applied
                  Problem is you have to inflict enough damage to inflict the tilt. Which I believe is at least 2+ since it requires damage greater than the target's Stamina for wracks. So, not only at this point do you need to do at least 5+ damage in the event of Forces Armor. You also take a penalty on the small die pool you have. Not a good choice.
                  Last edited by Taldorblackfire; 02-13-2019, 08:22 PM. Reason: Found the rules and edited my post, it is greater than for some hits.


                  "Teamwork makes the dream work!"

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Taldorblackfire View Post
                    *shrugs* I mean, I guess if you have a military grade weapons you might be able to dent a mage. Forces 3 generates 3 armor which makes it pretty unlikely anything but a large military grade weapon will do anything.
                    Two or more successes with a heavy handgun and you're through and dealing lethal damage. Hardly military grade stuff. It's tough to deal high amounts of damage, but that's just to be expected for magical means of protection.

                    My main concern is because Seers like to use proxies and it seems without having some pretty heavy packing proxies, there really is no point in having them at all. In 1E when armor could be dispelled it made proxy encounters orchestrated by Seers deadly, but now it is just like, "Meh. I can throw up Forces Armor and your goons are going to need to pull out the military grade stuff just to scratch me."
                    It would be a real pain remotely dispell a mage's Mage Armor anyway. Even in first edition it should've been much easier to buff the proxy attackers instead. Subtly, in case they're Sleepers. I really don't see how it works in second edition would change how difficult it is for mundies to damage a prepared mage.

                    Because, again, even if you have AP bullets doesn't matter against mage armor.
                    Of the armor increasing Mage Armors I think only Matter Armor specifies that it ignores AP.

                    You do have a point about the Defense increasing Mage Armors, as long as it stack with mundane Defense and Defense applies to the attack. The downside is that boosting Defense does absolutely nothing against direct damage dealing spells (unless you cast aimed spells).

                    Originally posted by espritdecalmar View Post
                    If it helps, I'm pretty certain that direct damage spells bypass Mage Armor (except for Prime), so there's that.
                    That's true for the Defense increasing Mage Armors (with the caveat for aimed spells) but armor increasing Mage Armors can help depending on what the direct damage spell actually does. For example, a Matter damage dealing spell that assaults the subject by striking them with surrounding materials (which is how both published Matter attack spells works) will have its damage reduced by any Mage Armor that grants armor against kinetic or physical attacks, like both Forces and Matter Armor. Both Spirit and Death Armor also applies on such attacks.

                    Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                    You hit a Mage before they can get their armor up, then you never have to worry about piercing it.
                    A prepared mage will always be a pain to deal with. Turns out the mage you've been shooting on is actually just an illusion (Forces 2 or Mind 2), a puppet (Life 2 or Matter 2), in a zone that bullets can't enter/penetrate (Forces 2, Matter 2 or Space 3), or actually in Twilight with a Twilight visibility spell (Death 3 or Spirit 3) all along. Neither option requiring Mage Armor and most being available to mages before they even get access to Mage Armor for that particular Arcanum.


                    Bloodline: The Stygians
                    Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                    Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Taldorblackfire View Post

                      Problem is you have to inflict enough damage to inflict the tilt. Which I believe is at least 2+ since it requires damage greater than the target's Stamina for wracks. So, not only at this point do you need to do at least 5+ damage in the event of Forces Armor. You also take a penalty on the small die pool you have. Not a good choice.
                      All Death does is down grade so all your damage gets through

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                      • #12
                        Two or more successes with a heavy handgun and you're through and dealing lethal damage. Hardly military grade stuff. It's tough to deal high amounts of damage, but that's just to be expected for magical means of protection.
                        True, but again, I guess it depends on the die pool and luck. They "might" be able to do 1 Lethal. I had no joke, a guy attacking a Mage with Forces 3 armor and had 10 Die pool, never once did they get more than 2 successes. Granted they had a light pistol, but that was an extremely accurate dude. Basically never did any damage the entire time. So, I mean your mileage may vary, but it was very interesting and luck can be like that, but I don't expect every gun toting thug to have 5 Firearms and 5 Dex either.

                        It would be a real pain remotely dispell a mage's Mage Armor anyway. Even in first edition it should've been much easier to buff the proxy attackers instead. Subtly, in case they're Sleepers. I really don't see how it works in second edition would change how difficult it is for mundies to damage a prepared mage.
                        I believe in 1E Sleepers could unravel Mage Armor from seeing their bullets not bringing the target down, even the Fate armor which made the person extremely lucky bordered upon the vulgar depending on the attacks.

                        Of the armor increasing Mage Armors I think only Matter Armor specifies that it ignores AP.
                        You know... I never really thought about this specific phrase. I mean, one could argue they just felt it was redundant to mention this because from my understanding Armor Piercing doesn't work on supernatural armor of any kind.

                        A prepared mage will always be a pain to deal with. Turns out the mage you've been shooting on is actually just an illusion (Forces 2 or Mind 2), a puppet (Life 2 or Matter 2), in a zone that bullets can't enter/penetrate (Forces 2, Matter 2 or Space 3), or actually in Twilight with a Twilight visibility spell (Death 3 or Spirit 3) all along. Neither option requiring Mage Armor and most being available to mages before they even get access to Mage Armor for that particular Arcanum.
                        These are fine, because that is spell control. Not really a concern of mine. My concern is that attainments cost no spell control and pretty much make mundane proxies useless unless they are extremely lucky or having very heavy weaponry.
                        Last edited by Taldorblackfire; 02-13-2019, 08:33 PM. Reason: Missed a quote tag


                        "Teamwork makes the dream work!"

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by zee PaTrick View Post

                          All Death does is down grade so all your damage gets through
                          Good point, that works for those types of armor.


                          "Teamwork makes the dream work!"

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                          • #14
                            They still cost Mana and are still only situationally relevant. It most certainly does not make mundane proxies useless. You just've got to be smarter than going full frontal assault on one of the most powerful beings in the setting.
                            Order/bribe/mind control a waiter to poison the mage at a mundane restaurant. Now they can't use any flashy spells to help save themselves without causing Paradox and fucking up their standing in the Consilium.
                            Or have a proxy plant a bomb somewhere. They either bypass or overwhelm all Mage Armors. It doesn't even have to be a bomb. Cast a fun spell combined with Hung Spell on a mundane item that is hidden close to the mage's sanctum and release it when there's a fitting opportunity or just let the duration of Hung Spell run out.
                            If you're set on using your crazed domestic terrorists in a shoot out, direct them towards mundane friends and family members instead of the mage directly. Or towards any Sleepwalker assistants, if the mage has any.
                            And if you're still dead set on using armed violence directly against the mage, just buff the proxies. Have Exceptional Luck cause the next firearms attack gain a ridiculous amount of extra dice, 8 Again, and/or Rote action. Relinquish unsafely and recast the spell two more times on each proxy soldier and suddenly they'll tear through even a Master's Mage Armor during at least three rounds (as already cast spells don't deteriorate until after they've had an effect that can trigger Quiescence, and only one spell will be "spent" per attack).


                            Bloodline: The Stygians
                            Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                            Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                            • #15
                              It most certainly does not make mundane proxies useless. You just've got to be smarter than going full frontal assault on one of the most powerful beings in the setting.
                              Order/bribe/mind control a waiter to poison the mage at a mundane restaurant. Now they can't use any flashy spells to help save themselves without causing Paradox and fucking up their standing in the Consilium.
                              Depends on the mage, this could risk Paradox very true. I also considered this option. The Seers probably would do something sinister along these levels assuming you don't have a Paranoid mage, but it has a chance of working. This of course doesn't really work in all situations but you are accurate in this being a possibility and one you can't really re-use a lot since granted the next time they go eat at a restaurant there is always going to be that check for poison.

                              Or have a proxy plant a bomb somewhere. They either bypass or overwhelm all Mage Armors. It doesn't even have to be a bomb. Cast a fun spell combined with Hung Spell on a mundane item that is hidden close to the mage's sanctum and release it when there's a fitting opportunity or just let the duration of Hung Spell run out.
                              Bombs are messy, again this also refers to heavy weaponry.

                              If you're set on using your crazed domestic terrorists in a shoot out, direct them towards mundane friends and family members instead of the mage directly. Or towards any Sleepwalker assistants, if the mage has any.
                              This is a viable option in the event they can find out about their background. This might be for a dedicated Seer that has been working on a plan for sometime and is also another option, but again can be used sparingly.

                              And if you're still dead set on using armed violence directly against the mage, just buff the proxies. Have Exceptional Luck cause the next firearms attack gain a ridiculous amount of extra dice, 8 Again, and/or Rote action. Relinquish unsafely and recast the spell two more times on each proxy soldier and suddenly they'll tear through even a Master's Mage Armor during at least three rounds (as already cast spells don't deteriorate until after they've had an effect that can trigger Quiescence, and only one spell will be "spent" per attack).
                              This is what I have actually decided upon doing. It is possible to sneak this past since the thugs might just think these are good weapons from the "right" guy. It requires the least amount of effort and still makes mundane proxies a threat at all times against mages.


                              "Teamwork makes the dream work!"

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