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Manablade being wielded by Mage. Targeting a beetle spirit.

"Unique Qualities When calculating the Hardened Armor value for a beetle’s Immunity to Normal Weapons, add +4 to the value All beetle spirits also have the Mystic Armor power (p. 399, SR5)"

  • Street Grimoire p.96

Also, is Mystic Armor a variable or static trait, and how high does/can it go for Beetles?

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Be Careful where you go

Against most Spirits, Manablade is super effective, just like Manaballs. The bad exception are the Beetle Spirits.

What Mystic Armor?

There's two different things that have the Mystic Armor name: The Adept Power and the Critter Power. They are different very much!

Mystic Armor AP has a level and is on SR5 p.322.

Mystic Armor CP has no level and is on SR5 p.399.

Spirits get the Critter Power variant, so they get:

MYSTIC ARMOR Type: M Action: Auto Range: Self Duration: Always

This power functions in the same way as Armor, except that it only provides protection from attacks on the astral plane.

These values are then reflected in the Statblock. For example the one for an eastern Dragon (SR5 p.407) lists:

Armor (Phys/Myst) : 17H/9H

That Dragon has 9 Hard armor from the Mystic Armor.

The Armor of Spirits

Since that is where the Street Grimoire points, they have the Critter Power Mystic Armor for attacks from the astral plane, following normal rules for armor for spirits...

Which do not get armor usually, right? Wrong: All Spirits, when Materialized (SR5 p. 398), get Immunity [from normal weapons] (SR5 pp. 297), which grants Hardened Armor of twice their Essence. All Spirits have Essence set to Force, so for example a Fire Spirit Force 3 has 6 Hardened Armor when materialized before any other power come into effect. So the Mystic Armor would be likewise set to that value.

This is why Spirits are best fought against with magic: it bypasses that armor.

However, remember that all the bug spirit stat blocks skip Materializing for Inhabiting (Street Grimoire p. 195), which provides other powers based on the form:

  • A True Form Beetle gets Materialization, and thus gets (while material) Armor (Phys/Myst): F*2H+4/F*2H
  • A Hybrid Beetle gets Immunity, thus he too gets Armor (Phys/Myst): F*2H+4/F*2H
  • A Fleshform Beetle also gains Immunity, and thus too Armor (Phys/Myst): F*2H+4/F*2H

So, back to normal: all Bugs have Immunity, and thus hard armor of twice the Force. What differs the Beetle from others? Well, the others only get Armor (Phys): F*2, while Beetle Bugs get the same armor against attacks from the astral plane, such as a Manaball.

In the worst case, you'll face a Force 12 Beetle Mother Spirit with Armor (phy/myst): 28H/24H and Astral Gateway to flood the area with more beetles of varouous force - including other Beetle Mother Spirits...

Sooo... What about Manablade?

Mystic Armor provides the armor against attacks from the astral plane, such as a mage blasting a manaball on the spirit, no matter if it is materialized or not.

Manablade (Hard Targets p.192) is handled akin to a Manabolt/Manaball, so the weapon has to overcome the Mystic Armor of the Beetle Spirit. This can require a very powerful Manablade spell, as you only get a Damage Value "Force plus the net hits rolled on the melee weapon skill of the wielder’s choice", while the spirit gets Force*2 hard armor against it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ 24 vs. Manablade huh? So about 8 hits, meaning the Force should probably be 9+ to secure damage, 8 just to get accuracy based hits. Looks like any way you slice it, it takes both multiple attacks and lethal drain. Manaball would be necessary for swarms, and have even higher lethal drain. Yikes. Not sure what the Force of the beetles was but the GM described them as five stories tall... so im guessing closer to the high end. Thanks for the break down! \$\endgroup\$
    – Tristian
    Mar 15, 2022 at 10:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Technically, spirits could go to infinity force, especially in an area that boosts them - like Bug city. That's also hard armor, so multiple attacks doesn't help \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Mar 15, 2022 at 12:20

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