Looking at the SR5 core rulebook page 47, I don't see any indication about how limits interact during opposed tests, which leads me to believe the straightforward case is true: both sides apply limits before comparing results. A (7 hit, 5 limit) vs. (6 hit, 6 limit) will result in a 5 vs. 6, and the second party will win.

The example on Page 254 seems to contradict this. A character attempting to compile a level 3 sprite rolls 4 hits (which should be limited to 3, right?) with the sprite getting 2 hits. That's a success even with the limit, but the example states that the character gets "2 net hits", which is using the non-limited value. No mention of edge or anything like that is made.

What's going on here? Is my understanding of how opposing tests use limits somehow incomplete? Does the term "net hits" ignore limits once a success is determined? Is sprite compilation special? Is my interpretation of the example wrong? Is this an oversight by whoever wrote the example?

More important than the answer is how I can verify the answer, and see how it applies/doesn't apply to other situations.


The book is most likely wrong. Problem with Catalyst is they time-crunch on their books too much and, on this iteration, missed a lot of example things like that. This isn't the only example of a mistake in the book, so don't worry too much.

When summoning a spirit (or sprite, since the summoning and compiling rules are almost identical), you go by the steps in the book (no book handy, but I have this stuff memorized).

Now, since normal summoning doesn't matter too much for this, a mage doesn't usually see this in the rules. However, when you are rolling ANY opposed test, the defender is NEVER limited. Defense pools get all successes that come up, no matter what. This goes for guns, talking, magic, anything. Defense is NEVER limited. Only offence.

Step 1: Choose the Type of Spirit/Sprite

Step 2: Choose the Force of the Spirit/Sprite (Stun Max = Magic/Resonance Rating, Physical Max = Magic/Resonance Rating * 2). This becomes the limit of the test, as all spell casting and technomancer stuff is dealt with the same way.

Step 3: Roll Magic + Summoning or Resonance + Compiling vs. The spirit/sprite rolling their force.

Step 4: Limit your results UNLESS you spent edge during the roll (or if you spent reagents when casting as a mage).

Step 5: Compare your results to the spirit/sprite's results.

Step 6: Calculate drain/fading based on spirit/sprite's force. How this is done is you first take the force of the spirit/sprite you compiled. Is it more then your magic? If yes, you're calculating for Physical. If not, it's calculating for Stun. Next, add up all the gross hits the spirit/sprite made and times by two. That is the amount of damage you'll be needing to drain/fade away.

Step 7: Enjoy your new spirit/sprite.

Take anything from summoning a spirit and it's the same thing you're doing. Again, the only difference is that the mage is able to use reagents to try and kick up his limit (to get a limit of 13, a mage would spent 13 units of reagents). That does NOT alter his magic, mind you. Even if he's only casting a Force 6 Lightning Bolt, if he uses 10 reagents on the spell and gets 7 successes, he calculates his FINAL net hits (7) and compares that to his magic (6). He's over, so that means he's taking physical damage. Now, a mage is able to limit his own successes, if he wishes, to dial down a spell in case this happens. This can happen, usually, with edge. Mage wants to only throw a Force 4 lighting bolt, edges it, gets 12 successes, and is now looking down the barrel of 16+ Physical drain. He can opt to NOT take as many successes so it's just under his force, if he wishes.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can he just opt not to take all his successes? My mage typically uses Reagents to set his Limit lower enough that he can't accidentally take Physical drain, not to raise a Limit... \$\endgroup\$ Mar 20 '15 at 4:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Using reagents to 'set' the limit can be done either way, but for what I understand it to be, most spells are only as good as the number of net hits you get. There are, however, differences to this rules, such as indirect combat spells, where the damage of the spell is set by the initial force. He can, yes, just opt to not take the successes. It'd be the same as someone saying that they want to knock someone out, but not do SO much damage as to actually hurt them. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 20 '15 at 11:07

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