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When a Magician with Spellcasting uses indirect combat spells such as Fireball, what is the maximum range?

Looking at the rules for choosing the target of a spell (core rulebook, p. 281):

If you need to see the target, line of sight can be established with your natural vision, including using reflective surfaces and looking through transparent objects.

This seems to be the only limitation. There also seems to be no limitation on how detailed the character needs to see the target. A Magician who uses purely optical binoculars would then be able to target someone possibly very far away. Is that correct?

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The type of spell determines the range

In your instance, you're casting a fireball, an indirect spell that doesn't exactly require line of site to the target. Pg. 283 says of Indirect spells:

So you don't really need to be able to see the target — you can cast these spells blindfolded or with artificial image enhancement — as long as you've got a clear line of fire.

An example of something different would be Detection spells (pg. 285):

The standard range of the sense a Detection spell grants is the spell's Force x caster's Magic in meters as a radius from the target of the spell. Extended-range detection spells have a Force x Magic x 10 meter range.

So, technically, if you're casting Fireball you could use digital binoculars if you wanted. Essentially follow the directions you listed, then read the introduction for the section that holds the spell you're casting.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So, LOS combat spells can reach pretty far. If someone was using an optical telescope they could cast one several blocks down a straight road, think Manhattan? \$\endgroup\$ – Jonas Schäfer Jul 12 '15 at 10:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep. As far as I can see, SR5 RAW would make that doable. Depending on the spell they would even need that telescope. \$\endgroup\$ – Codeacula Jul 12 '15 at 11:38

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