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Do you roll Blades + Agility [Force] as the spell description states, or Astral Combat + Willpower [Accuracy] as the Astral Combat table states for weapon foci?

Manablade is one of the Spellblades located in Hard Targets, p. 192.

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Good question. From the reading of the Spellblade spell (HT, 192), there's nothing I can see that would cause either a Manablade or Powerblade to be a weapon focus. It is not a physical object - it is a "sustained damaging connection of energy". Therefor I don't see any reason why you would be able to roll Astral Combat for the creation of the weapon. You can, however, use any "melee weapon skill of the wielder’s choice.". This means Blades, Clubs, Unarmed Combat, or Exotic Melee Weapon (e.g. Monofilament Whip) could be used.

Once you've conjured your blade, as for the attack... I think the answer comes down to the introduction of Astral Combat on page 315 of SR5:

Astrally perceiving and dual-natured characters use their physical attributes and skills to fight opponents with a physical body, and their Astral Combat + Willpower to fight wholly astral entities

In this case, you are astrally perceiving and fighting against a wholly astral entity (since the spirit is not materialized), therefor you would use Astral Combat + Willpower. If the spirit materializes, you would be able to choose to attack it's aura with Astral Combat + Willpower or your physical attributes and skills to attack it's physical body.

On a related note, keep in mind that you receive a -2 penalty to ALL physical actions while astrally perceiving (SR5 312), as well as a -2 penalty to ALL actions for sustaining the Spellblade (SR5 282) (unless you've attached it to a focus, have the sustain quality/initiation, etc)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That penalty is important. Depending on the particular character's skill set, it may (or may not) be better to continue attacking it as an astral entity. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Feb 12 '20 at 21:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ So it's considered like any other weapon attack? Other spells like Manabolt still use Spellcasting + Magick [Force] on the Astral Plane, which is what had me confused in the first place, since Manablade is a spell, but it functions in a very weapon-like way. \$\endgroup\$ – Lexi Feb 15 '20 at 13:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ yes the creation of the weapon is a spell but, once created and sustained, it acts as a weapon for attack rolls. \$\endgroup\$ – jbabey Feb 17 '20 at 14:11
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From S5 corebook, P. 315

Astral combat is resolved in the same way as physical combat. Astrally perceiving and dual-natured characters use their physical attributes and skills to fight opponents with a physical body, and their Astral Combat + Willpower to fight wholly astral entities. Astrally projecting characters use their mental attributes in place of physical ones (see Astral Attributes Table) along with the Astral Combat skill.

On p. 313 under Astral Projection you can read

You’re using astral perception the entire time you’re projecting, so you can see the auras of living things. Auras alone don’t give you the mystic link you need to target spells. As the saying goes, what’s cast in astral space stays in astral space, and ditto for physical space.

On the description of the spell we can read

A Powerblade operates on the same principle as a Powerbolt or Powerball, affecting physical objects, capable of parrying and resisted by armor. A Manablade works like a Manabolt or Manaball, bypassing armor and capable of affecting spirits, but unable to parry physical attacks or damage objects.

Back on the corebbok on p 282 there is a paragraph called Physical vs Mana that says

Mana spells: When using mana spells, the magician can only affect living things with auras or astrally active entities (such as spirits or foci) even in the physical world. Mana spells can affect targets on either the physical or astral planes, but only if you’re on the same plane as your target(s).

BUT! jbabey pointed out how you can target thing in the Astral Plane while perceveing, and he's right as the manuals describe on p. 312 :

When astrally perceiving, you become dual-natured (meaning you have presence in both the physical and astral planes simultaneously) and can interact with astral objects, including through combat.

That said, and as jbabey said in his anserw, the roll is Astral Combat + Willpower.

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    \$\begingroup\$ there's a lot of good info here, but i do not think your conclusion is correct. a mage is able to cast a manabolt against a target on the astral while astrally perceiving, so you should not need to astrally project (which no adept can do) in order to fight an astral being. when it says "on the same plane", astral perception applies just as well as astral projection \$\endgroup\$ – jbabey Feb 14 '20 at 15:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Uhm, I can see your point, and I saw another phrase that I missed and explain it clearly : When astrally perceiving, you become dual-natured (meaning you have presence in both the physical and astral planes simultaneously) and can interact with astral objects, including through combat., found in p. 312. \$\endgroup\$ – Rick Starrunner Feb 14 '20 at 16:02
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That depends.

Astral Combat for the most part is the astral equivalent of a fist fight which would work perfectly fine if the target is in reach (physically).

Let's say it is and you want to hit it with you weapon (let's use a katana, because why not). Unless your katana is a focus it is not able to hurt anyones aura, which implies that you cannot hit any creature that only exist in the astral plane even if you can see that creature and it is right beside you. If however your katana is a weapon focus of power X you would roll with Blades + Agility + X since the focus needs to be active to hurt your target.

(some of the terms may be wrong since I only own the german rulebook)

Please feel free to roast and correct me, so we all can learn from my mistakes.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The question is about a specific spell, not the use of a weapon focus. \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Jan 28 '20 at 14:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ You are perfectly right, i am sorry. Thanks for that I guess I will look into how I can edit my answer to still be relevant, but will propably delete it since i do not know the specific spell \$\endgroup\$ – Chund Jan 28 '20 at 14:55

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