So, an unfortunate event occured in our game recently. A mage with a whole 1 in both Logic and Intuition approuched a dual nature being. She was close enough, was materialized, and called the being out (not knowing what it was, really). The being turned around and attacked her.

So, here's the series of events. If something wasn't possible, please let me know in the future.

  1. The creature was within range and, because it exists on both the Material and Astral at the same time, made an attack at the materialized mage. Since it's just using it's normal melee attack, the GM rolled that and got a lot of hits.

  2. The mage could only use Logic + Intuition to 'soak' the damage. She didn't get that many.

  3. The mage took 10 boxes of damage. Since the creature didn't really specify that it was trying to stun the target, I assume this translates to physical damage on the mage.

  4. The mage had already taken some physical before, so when this new physical came through, it did enough to overflow their physical track and their overflow boxes. Mage died.

Did we do something wrong in the rules? Was there something else the mage could have done to dodge or soak the damage? Is this how astral combat works from the material plane? Could the duel nature being even MAKE an attack into the astral if they didn't have Astral Combat (this is a fuzzy area for me)? I know that a duel nature creature can get hit by astral creatures in the Astral (one of the problems about being duel nature). The more you can quote book pages for me, the better. Thanks!

  • \$\begingroup\$ How did she manage to be present on the astral plane, but not know that the being was a dual being? Did she botch some rolls to get into this situation? \$\endgroup\$
    – nvoigt
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 5:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ No...she (and the player) are dumb and don't know what a duel nature being is. Or, at least, the player decided to be dumb. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 14:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Well, the player being clueless is not good, but could have been mitigated by simply telling her. The character being dumb... well, Darwin struck home. You can hire dumb muscle, but a dumb mage is not destined to see her retirement. \$\endgroup\$
    – nvoigt
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 15:17

2 Answers 2


1) Correct, as long as a Natural Weapon is used for the attack. Without a natural weapon things would have been different. Also no Astral Combat skill is needed, if a natural weapon is used.

p. 399, Natural Weapon critter power

A dual-natured critter with a melee Natural Weapon can use this power against astral targets that are within its reach. Use the critter’s normal Unarmed Combat skill and physical Damage Value for this attack.


2) You're wrong. Dodging is done using Logic+Intuition; "soaking" means reducing the damage after a successful hit. Since the mage is only astrally present, Willpower (see table p. 314) is used to soak damage. (Manifesting doesn't make the mage vulnerable to attacks that wouldn't hurt her, if she would project without manifesting, so it's still astral combat)

p. 315 Astral Combat

Astral combat is resolved in the same way as physical combat.

p.314 Manifesting

Manifesting is a psychic effect that lets you make yourself visible and audible on the physical plane through an act of will. [...]

You can’t interact with anything physically (or be harmed by physical attacks). [...]

You’re still on the astral plane, so astral attacks can still target you.


4) Even if the mage would not be dead immediately, filling all boxes would basically kill her, since finding the body (p. 314, While you were out) would be impossible, if she is knocked out.

What could the mage have done?

  1. This is Shadowrun. You don't just walk up to a potentially dangerous stranger and say "Hi"; you gather all info you can get, then maybe you talk. A better approach would be to stay in the astral and check that being using Assensing(assuming the skill rating is high enough to make it work with that INT attribute). Most paracritters shouldn't be too good at masking, so the mage would likely get the info that she is dealing with a dual natured being and would have approached it with more care. With the high move rate in the astral evading it shouldn't be too difficult unless the mage is in meele range and surprised.
  2. What about burning edge? Not Dead Yet (p. 57) could have saved her.
  • \$\begingroup\$ This did answer this well enough for me, thank you. To the first point, the character is literally dumb given her stats. She 'shouldn't' have done that, no. But she did. To the second point, the character got angry about that and said that they should have just remade a character at that point...so yeah... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 0:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's worth noting the difference between Manifesting and Materializing. Projecting magicians can Manifest, so they can communicate with people in the real world - they are not however, physically present and remain intangible. Even a spell won't affect them (a magician could use Astral Perception to engage the projector's astral form). An astral projection cannot Materialize, it cannot become physical. A spirit can Manifest or Materialize; when Materialized, they become Dual Natured beings and follow all the same rules as creatures that are inherently Dual Natured. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 21:01

1.) The creature was within range and, because it exists on both the Material and Astral at the same time, made an attack at the materialized mage. Since it's just using it's normal melee attack, the GM rolled that and got a lot of hits.

2.) The mage could only use Logic + Intuition to 'soak' the damage. She didn't get that many.

This seems wrong to me. If the dual being was materialized and attacked the mage on the material plane, this is not astral combat. This is normal combat. And you can dodge and soak with all your normal stats and armor.

If the mage was stupid enough to project into the astral space and got attacked there, then yes... he's toast. He should have known better with stats like that. That's like having agility 1 and body 1 and laughing at a troll ganger. Suicide.

There are both spells and adept powers that provide armor in astral combat and there are probably items, too (sr5 is still somewhat new and I haven't played a mage yet). But they are not powerful enough to protect you from 10 damage if your base to soak them is 2 dice. They will probably make it something like 4-8 dice instead depending on power level of the spell and/or power level of the adept power.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is what I am thinking, but I need to get some solid rules lawyering on this, since it did result in a PC death and the PC doesn't feel it was fair. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 18:07

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