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Old 04-11-2021, 02:28 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Thaumatology: using physically-resisted spells while insubstantial

T228 mentions:

It’s better to say that insubstantial beings can use mentally resisted abilities
(including spells, advantages, rituals, etc.)
on substantial targets at -3.
A “mentally resisted ability” is anything resisted by IQ, Will, or Per
In GURPS Magic the Spell Table on M223 conveniently organizes stuff like this under the 2nd column (Class) where resisted spells are singled out by a forward-slash followed by R, a dash, and then the attribute you roll to resist a spell.

Age/Agonize are R-HT while on the next page it's R-Will for Animal Control / Animate Machine, and M227 has R-IQ for Fascinate and M228 has R-DX for Fumble. M230 has R-ST for Long March.

In some cases we see "R-spell" when the skill in a spell is rolled against, or even the name of a spell category (like "R-Inform" meaning the appropriate information spell) or a specific spell like "R-Gate". Or there is R-Spec for special circumstances.

I guess I'm trying to figure out how the IQ/Will spells (I didn't see anything with R-Per) would operate differently than the HT/DX/ST spells when an insubstantial foe is casting them.

The last paragraph's last sentence (parenthesized) under T228's "Insubstantial Beings Affecting the Material World" (~IBATMW) gives the option of not taking the +100% enhancement:
waive Affect Substantial on Insubstantiality for individuals whose mentally resisted abilities can’t enter the material world
So I'm not sure if one should read that as:
1) physically resisted abilities can still enter the material world without the enhancement
2) physically resisted abilities could never enter the world even with the enhancement so there's no need to mention them being excluded
If this is the case and even AS-enhanced ghosts can't use R-HT spells like Age/Agonize on substantial targets, would that mean they would need to make modified versions of them?

T39's "Trading Energy for Enhancements" (~TEFE) seems like it could be used in that case, applying B102's Based on (Different Attribute) +20% (~BODA) for +4 energy and -4 to skill to shift it from HT to something like IQ or Will, which would then allow it to be used (if you have the +100% enhancement) at -3 to skill, or a total of -7 to skill?

T228 also notes:
"Abilities enhanced with Affects Substantial (p. B102, p. 199) can cross into the material world at no penalty."
This which should in theory eliminate the -3 penalty for a spell and it's not disallowed under TEFE, but since that's a +40% enhancement it'd be 8 energy and -8 to skill to do, so that'd be pointless unless you reduced it to +8% (-80% limited enhancements) in which case 2 energy and -2 to skill to offset a -3 to skill might make sense in some obscure situation.

Since you can buy off "TEFE" penalties as a technique it might be fair to allow ghosts to buy off the -3 penalty (separately for each spell) as a technique too though. If that's not totally legal, then the next best thing would be buying off the -2 to -8 for the +40% enhancement's technique.
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Old 04-11-2021, 06:07 PM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: Thaumatology: using physically-resisted spells while insubstantial

The point of that last sentence is just to say that GMs can, if they wish, waive the requirement to buy Affects Substantial if you have mental abilities that can't (for whatever reason) affect the material world.

See earlier in the box. AS (B63) is required on the Insubstantiality ability itself if an insubstantial being can affect the material world in some manner. That's either mental abilities, or physical abilities with AS (B102) on that individual ability (say, an attack). If you can affect the material world while insubstantial in any way, you have to buy AS (B63) on your Insubstantiality. Two separate considerations: does Insubstantiality need AS (B63), and does the attack ability need AS (B102)? Four possible combinations.

That AS on Insub cost is independent of the cost of buying an ability that's good at affecting the material world. Physical abilities will _also_ need AS if they're to affect the material world; mental abilities _may_ have AS if you want to buy off the default -3 penalty for using them cross-plane, but they affect the material by default.

It's possible to have a concept where the character can't affect the material world at all while insubstantial, because they lack any such abilities. The baseline assumption for Insubstantiality is a middle case -- mental abilities / spells / psi can affect material targets at a penalty, physical ones can't at all. But if your concept calls for being completely unable to affect the material world while insubstantial -- even though you have a mental ability that normally could -- the GM can allow you to skip that requirement that you add AS to your Insub just because you have that mental ability.

To make it more concrete, assume a horrible Danger Room training accident puts Jean Grey's mind in Kitty Pryde's body. So she can turn insubstantial, because Shadowcat. She's also a telepath, because Jean. But, for *insert reason*, she can't use her telepathy while phased. So, no need for Jean to drop a lot of CP upgrading all her psi abilities. The concept calls for an exception to the default rule that Insub lets you use psi at -3 but requires AS on Insub. But here, we skip the AS on Insub at the cost of not being able to use psi while phased. Kittyjean could use psi normally when she's not phased, though.

Your default phasing telepath would normally be able to use their psi at -3, and so has to buy AS on their Insub ability. The centuries-old ghost with lots of practice at contacting mediums can use their otherwise identical TP at no penalty, so they buy AS on it, _and_ on their Insub. Their poltergeist buddy has TK which can throw things around in the material world even while he's completely undetectable, so he has to buy TK with AS, _and_ add AS to his Insub. The newbie ghost from the PC that just died has no TP or TK, can't contact the material world at all, and so doesn't need to add AS to his Insub, at least until they acquire some cross-plane ability.
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affect substantial, agonize, boda, ibatmw, tefe

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