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So I'm running a game of Shadowrun in which the players will soon get a rather powerful initiated mage. What I'm curious about is this:

Are there any attacks/threats that affect basically all characters equally in Shadowrun?

In addition, I'd like to have it work on a foe who is powerful enough to face the party alone as well (someone with high Body, for instance, or magical protection) without necessarily killing the party if they get hit with the crossfire.

I'm talking about stuff that will really be effective equally-the characters will be along a wide discrepancy of power, so I don't want anything that will let the troll survive but overkill the technomancer. Something scalable would be nice, so it could function as a warning shot (everyone takes one point of physical damage!) or as a TPK (and now three hundred more!), though I probably won't use it as such.

EDIT: Let's make this a little bit simpler:

Things which are scaleable and that nobody's likely to throw more than ten dice in damage resistance against, unless they're really specialized for that purpose. No magic, since counterspelling can really ruin that quick.

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Poison gas is good for this – if your players haven't already encountered it and learned to prepare for it. You can use stun gas for a warning shot and lethal gas for a TPK. It will affect some characters more than others, but there's a pretty broad “safe yet memorable” range. –  Bradd Szonye May 1 '13 at 0:09
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Toxin protection can kinda make this moot, but it's a decent one. –  Kyle Willey May 1 '13 at 0:15
    
True. It's a nice way of acknowledging players who have actually invested in it. That would be problematic for lethal gas, but it works pretty well for the warning shot variety. –  Bradd Szonye May 1 '13 at 0:22
    
More generally, anything with exotic defenses but mostly stun damage is good for this. Gas, electricity, certain magical attacks. You will probably have at least one character who can shrug off the attack, but the mostly-stun nature will keep it from overkilling anybody. –  Bradd Szonye May 1 '13 at 0:25
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Tactical nukes? –  SevenSidedDie May 1 '13 at 3:29
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3 Answers 3

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Take a leaf from the past, the very distant past... Horrors and their agents. Ristul the Action Eternally Corrupting is a good, dark, and unbeatable foe. Although, you can defeat its current plot, you will never get ride of it.

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Shhhhh, they aren't supposed to know about those...yet. This is more for the meantime. –  Kyle Willey May 1 '13 at 6:55
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My first thoughts run along the lines of a technomancer with several pets so the party numbers don't get out of hand too quickly. The pets are dangerous and relatively disposable, especially if there are more machines to meld with in the immediate area(s).

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This doesn't really solve the problem of the overpowered character/NPC-yes, it'd be a universal threat, but I'd prefer something sudden and relatively scaleable (For instance, poison gas does because it's capable of working at both low and high potency; nukes don't because they start out pretty big). –  Kyle Willey May 1 '13 at 3:36
    
I'll have to consult the book and get back to my answer. Off the bat, I can't think of a catch-all that's easily scaled otherwise I'm sure one of your players would already be one. –  CatLord May 1 '13 at 4:33
    
Yeah, that's what I'm starting to think. –  Kyle Willey May 1 '13 at 4:40
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Electrical damage is one bit that few PC's ever buy the armor upgrade for - it'll be a roll against body, so the Troll in the group will still chuck 2 fistfulls of dice, but it'll be a bit more even than, say, bullets.

Poisons and gas are another fine way to deal with it - again, it's a body roll to resist, unless you have gas-masks or other equipment.

However, I think the best way given you've got a powerful mage is to make-up an interesting new rule:

Counterspelling-Feedback: This new initiate is so powerful, that trying to counterspell his/her spells causes drain for the counterspelling mage. As in, one box of drain per counterspelling dice, or one drain per 2 counterspelling dice - whatever works best for your group.

Be sure that the group's mage(s) have at least some edge left when they first run into this effect - otherwise they might knock themselves out. Be sure to play-up the powerful nature of this new foe so that breaking the rules seems appropriate.

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