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Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?


Covok posted:

Glad they finally acknowledged that M20's attempts to be progressive came off pretty regressive, IIRC.

What did M20 do differently here?

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Covok posted:

Glad they finally acknowledged that M20's attempts to be progressive came off pretty regressive, IIRC.

Where does Mage: The Awakening 2e stack with the other Mage games?

A lot of it is cleaning up and collecting the best fluff from 1e, but the spellcasting and doing of magic is entirely overhauled and much, much better.

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.


ProfessorProf posted:

What did M20 do differently here?

There is a Fatal & Friends on it. It's been forever since I read it, but, IIRC, it did that type of "positive persecution" where it tries to treat said group as a enlightened and better group and ends up showing its ignorance of the group and comes off very patronizing. Think how 90s White Wolf treated Native Americans like a group more in touch in nature who are so much better and more "properly primitive" than modern society: think white people trying to come off as understanding and just showing how little they know and think of said group.

But, I could be misremembering.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



The words 'Mystic Hermaphrodite' featured prominently.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








ProfessorProf posted:

What did M20 do differently here?
It was mostly some extremely insensitive appropriation.

LatwPIAT posted:

This means that women gravitate towards this Tradition, because when your Tradition is determined by your strongly held personal beliefs about how the world and magick works, how women-friendly they are heavily factors into this. And, of course, this gem:

M20 posted:

Two leaders (taking priest and priestess roles although both might be male, female, or transgender) govern the larger covens
Yay. Transwomen aren't actually women, transmen aren't actually men. Brucato writes loftily about inclusitivity and gender and non-traditional roles, but displays supreme ignorance about the transgender community. It makes it all seem so cynical; why should I believe the message of inclusitivity when trans people are just shoehorned in with no respect in order to fulfil some western-liberal-guilt-quota? gently caress you Brucato. gently caress you and your wishy-washy appropriation of trans identities to sell a gaming product. gently caress you. There are so many other ways to phrase this. "Taking priest and priestess roles, no matter their gender identities." "Taking priest and priestess roles, although both might be male or female, cis or trans", "Taking priest or priestess roles, though there is no actual gender requirement." "Two leaders of any gender (even if one is formally titled priest, and the other priestess)"...

LatwPIAT posted:

And then we get my un-favourite sidebar:

M20 posted:

And between the old associations of mystic power and the new freedom to transcend gender roles without getting burnt at the stake for it, the idea of gender identity is more fluid – and more magickal – than ever before. Especially in queer, polyamorous, transhumanist, neotribal, and psychedelic cultures, it’s often more unusual to be conventionally “straight” than it is to hold, embrace, and enjoy the hell out of an identity outside the traditional polarities.
Trans people are magickal! Real-world trans people are real-world magickal, even! gently caress you, Brucato. Trans identities exist for the trans people, not to validate esoteric world-views. It's also worth noting that every time Brucato mentions trans identities, he's talking about non-binary ones; transgender is almost always mentioned in the context of being a third gender, or transcending the concept of gender altogether, rather than binary trans people. The reasons this is problematic are long, complicated, and controversial, but in short it is seen by some[weasel word]/many[who?] as a form of transmisogyny that marginalizes trans women - already one of the most marginalized groups there is. Talking about this kind of stuff requires tact and understanding, and often compassion, which are qualities I have so far failed to find in this book.

LatwPIAT posted:



Gender is dynamic, not static? Ze/zir are "Generally used in socially progressive circles"? Gender is a bit of a nebulous concept, but it being "dynamic" or "fluid" (as in the earlier sidebar) is not really an established fact. Some people have proposed that it is, but this a very academic and sometimes abstract idea of gender that people in "socially progressive circles" don't necessarily subscribe to. The idea that gender is not static is not an idea that has much recognition among trans women, because these trans people have a very clear impression of their gender being set (it just happens not to match with their bodies), and on the political side of things, see claims that gender are fluid or dynamic as attacks on their identities and a transmisogynistic attempt to erase their identities. It's a claim that has a lot in common with gender being a social construct, which is a concept that in cis-trans relations is almost always used to invalidate trans identities; gender is a social construct, so you're not really a woman since that's meaningless - you're just a man (an equally meaningless term, but we'll still insist on it). I again point to how Brucato's conception of trans people seems to be non-binary identities; the things he's writing here are rather ignorant of trans women's struggles. In my experience, almost nobody uses ze/zir as pronouns; they're somewhat awkward neologisms compared to the singular they, which has gained a lot more traction among socially progressive circles.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012


The short of it is that a man who believes that he is really a hermaphroditic satyr powered by the dark magykks of the mother goddess is probably not the person you want writing about Trans issues.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


The gist of it is that Satyros doesn't know the difference between "transgender" and "hermaphrodite" and thinks the former is just another term for the latter.

Hostile V posted:

Russian robot controlled by a dog wearing a space helmet.

No intelligend dogs in the setting. Though enough cash could make you a pretty freaky otherkin.

gourdcaptain posted:

Go for the not-Shinji Ikari. Also, I have experience with being in a group trying to play this game. I look forward to you having to explain the mess that is the hilariously large chargen and the optimization step.

That's why I'll only make one example character. Everything else is madness.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?


Ah yes, I remember the "male, female or transgender" thing. Yikes.

Doodmons
Jan 17, 2009


ProfessorProf posted:

Ah yes, I remember the "male, female or transgender" thing. Yikes.

I mean charitably he might just be really misinformed and thinking of the three-gender thing that come cultures have/used to have. I have a vague recollection that it used to be a prominent thing in some native american cultures and with Brucato's fixation on native american culture it may well be where that particular line came from.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




No Thank You, Evil! (6)

So, the second two sample adventures. Without further ado:

Adventure 2: Race Against Time

The adventure begins with the PCs getting an invite from Princess Strike to a Bowling Ball. The adventure suggests you could give the players the invitation cards ahead of time, and also suggest that they've been to Bowling Balls before and suggest what might happen at one. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter that much, because the adventure doesn't actually take place in the Bowling Ball nor provide any information what happens there.

Instead, the PCs are assumed to arrive early to the Ball. After they show their invites on the door, they are taken through to a Grand Ballroom where a scientist called WhizBang (who has no stats and no description - the adventure suggests asking the players to make up what he looks like, but that's just a cop-out) has brought a time machine to the castle as a gift for the Princess. He offers to show the PCs how the time machine works, but at that point, two Pinheads barge into the room and collapse against the time machine, causing it to splutter, spurt and chuff, and finally make WhizBang disappear, replacing him with a dinosaur, a robot, and a pirate. All of them look at the PCs and flee the ballroom through three separate doors, and the Princess asks them to sort out the displaced time travellers and get WhizBang back before the other guests arrive.

Now, did you see how they fled through three separate doors? Might you suspect that each of those doors happen to lead to an environment tailored for an encounter with that creature? Well, you're right. And they lead there directly, so these creatures which are apparently scared of the PCs flee only to run into a dead end like 20 feet away and not worry about it. Now, I guess this option of "make an open part of the setting (ie, Princess Strike's castle) tiny in order to fit the adventure in" - which we saw in the previous adventure with DragonSnot Falls too - is arguably better for a game for kids and inexperienced Guides than the other sample adventure copout of "tell the GM to run a bunch of random or timewasting stuff until they get to the key location". But I'm not letting it off for that, because the option of "write the setting properly so that the castle is neither ridiculously small and specific nor massive and vague" shouldn't be off the table.

If the PCs look at the time machine, they'll find there are four buttons missing from it which need to be replaced. One of them is just lying on the floor in the Grand Ballroom and found if the PCs say they are searching, no roll required. Then, it's off to our requisite three encounters.

The Dinosaur is in the left-hand room in a room with a giant blanket fort. Even the walls have blankets and sheets hanging on them (actually, the text says the walls are made of blankets and sheets, but that seems a bit surreal). The dinosaur is Level 4, Health 4, can roar to knock down everyone Within Reach (with no explanation of what being knocked down does), but it likes sweets and will follow anyone who has one around. If any of the PCs are dinosaurs or have dinosaur companions, it interacts at Level 3. It is also explicitly described as "hungry" even though it ignored the table full of food in the ballroom and ran into a pillow fort for some reason. There are a couple of options for the players: they can talk to it and convince it to leave, lure it with food, or just beat it up (and the adventure actually says "Fight it until they kill it".. no Conking Out here!). It also suggests that if the PCs run away the dinosaur will follow them back to the time machine, which since it was just fleeing from them seems a bit out there. Unsurprisingly, one of the buttons is here; the dinosaur chewed on it a bit, but didn't eat it.

The Robot is on the ballroom's central staircase, which is long, steep, and loops around - the PCs feet stick to it, so they don't fall even when upside down. The robot is at the top of the staircase and is trying to jump even higher up, thinking this will take her back to the future - but every time she jumps, she gets only a few feet off the ground. They have the same options for dealing with the robot (level 5) as they did for the dinosaur, including killing her. It's suggested they could also "make friends with her so she won't be a threat to the guests", but since she appears to have just moved away and then attempted to return to her own time without threatening anyone, it's not clear why they'd be worried about this. The robot has the second button stuck to her rear end. This becomes a problem later. Also, if the PCs sing a song about robots, she'll open her storage panel and give each PC a toy or video game from the future (after which they can presumably resume beating her to death). I have absolutely no idea how the PCs are supposed to find that out.

The Pirate is in the right-hand room, swimming around in the Princess' swimming pool (apparently fully dressed) and trying to catch one of the golden fish that are in the pool. He's level 3 with 3 health, and he can use a fishing pole to grab people In Range and move them to Within Reach. As usual, there's a couple of ways of dealing with him: talk to him, kill him, or make friends with him - plus a couple of other options. See, the main threat description for the pirate is that he's a thief. So.. making friends with him will stop him stealing from the other guests? Umm. The other options are to catch a fish for him with a Fast 3 check (hey, kids, do the thief's stealing for them and they'll apparently.. stop stealing?), or say something piratey to him ("Arrrr" is enough) in which case he'll assume they're pirates too and give them a treasure map. The treasure map leads to the room with the dinosaur, where under the blankets the PCs can find a pair of rocket boots, which belong to the robot. Giving them to the robot will enable the robot to jump high enough to get back to their own time without using the time machine presumably taking the second button with them and ruining the adventure. Oops. The pirate also stole one of the time machine's buttons, but will apparently give it to the PCs if they.. well, um, do something, we don't know. Also, if the PCs happen to go to the pirate first, the Guide gets to explain how he managed to steal the robot's boots and then bury them in the dinosaur room when the PCs just saw him arrive and then run into the pool room like 10 seconds ago.

Any of the time travelers who return to the time machine are automatically sucked back into their own time. Once the time travelers have been returned to their own times or, quote, "otherwise been taken care of" (translation: murdered) the characters need to fix the time machine with.. a Group Action. Remember this marvellously daft idea? Every PC has to make a roll and get a 3, and every PC must make their roll for the action to succeed. If anyone fails, another PC can spend an Awesome point to give them a reroll. Depending on the size of the party and the number of Awesome points around, there's still a chance of this failing, in which case the time machine is broken and WhizBang is lost forever.. but the adventure doesn't allow for this, just assuming the PCs will succeed. Dear Monte, aren't you the champion of "if you don't want a risk of failure don't roll the dice"? But we're trapped back into the tremendously negative "make the players roll dice so they feel like they are doing something".

Still, assuming this works, the PCs get 2 coins and 1 Fun each, they get to join the party (which we still know nothing about), and WhizBang will offer to take them to another time. The options are listed as "cowboy time", "dinosaur time", and "castle time".. which is perhaps unintentionally silly because this isn't Earth and all of those things exist on Storia right now, meaning that the time machine potentially doesn't do anything (or just teleports in space, which would even account for the three creatures who teleported in). This is up with the classic error in the older editions of D&D which says you can't polymorph into a "mythological creature" such as the dragon which is right over there.

Adventure 3: The curse of Adventure Kingdom

This adventure is described as being "for experienced players and Guides". What it doesn't mention is the follow-up: "for the love of god don't play this at anything lower than Circle level".

Adventure Kingdom is Storia's greatest theme park. It has lots of rides and is run by a famous gost called Monsieur Monstieur. But there's a story about it: whenever the sun turns blue, Monstieur turns evil and tries to destroy the park. This is well known in Storia. The PCs are on their way to visit Adventure Kingdom when they notice the sun is shifting and turning blue! So they figure that the park will be closed and/or no fun and go to one of the other parks instead. The End.

Oh, wait, they go to Adventure Kingdom anyway. Huh.

When they get there, they find it surrounded by pink fog and with strange noises coming out of the park. Near the gate, there's a blue button marked with a moon. If they press it, a hologram of Monstieur appears and tells them he lift this message in advance, he's been cursed, and that to save him they need to enter the park, find the three pieces of his heart, put them together and bring them to him - and he'd probably like some candy, too, thank you very much (yes, he actually says that). Apparently none of the other visitors to Adventure Kingdom ever thought to.. oh, hey, we can forgive that one, I guess.

Once they're inside, the adventure gets sandboxy, and the players can visit the attractions in the park in any order they like. To whit:

The Clockworks is a Ferris wheel that looks like a giant clock - and the PCs can see that there's a piece of the heart hanging off the number 2 on the clock. To get it, the PCs have a couple of options. The easiest is to get on the wheel, ride it around, and grab the piece - but doing so is a "Goal 4". We don't get to find out what stat it is. Alternatively, shooting it down with a weapon is a Fast 7 (!) and climbing the wheel directly is a Fast 8 (!). None of the Nouns have a Fast higher than 4, so if you're playing basic level, you can forget any of those options. If you're playing advanced level, you have a chance, but then again you can have somebody who can actually fly at that point and bypass the whole thing. The adventure says "well, they might think of another way of getting it down, and give that an appropriate Goal" but if the Guide follows the example of the previous Goal settings, it'll probably be impossible too.

The Viper is a roller-coaster in the shape of a snake. The second heart piece is in the middle of the ride, and grabbing it while the ride is going is a Fast 4. However, to get onto the ride, the PCs need to deal with two Zombie Stuffed Animals - two level 5 monsters with two damage and Armor. This means the PCs are quite probably hosed.

Let's bear in mind how hard a level 5 monster is to hit in Cypher. Any character, even with Tough or Fast 5, has to roll a 5+ on a d6 to hit it unless they spend one of their points, in which case they need to roll a 4+. The two zombies have 5 health each and Armor, and most PCs do 2 damage, reduced to 1 by Armor, so it'll take 10 hits to kill them. Even with spending stat points, the chance to hit is 50%, so on average it will take 20 rolls and thus 20 stat points. Also, the zombie will be hitting them back, with the same possibilities on the defense roll: 50% failure even if stat points are spent. Armored PCs will therefore take 1 damage plus 1 for the stat point they spent, Hustle PCs will not need to spend the stat point but will take 2 damage. So if there are 4 PCs, it'll take around 5 rounds to kill these guys, in which time the 2 zombies will get a total of 10 attacks of which five will hit, potentially stripping another 10-15 stat points (because Armor PCs have to spend a point to defend at 50%). So the potential damage in this fight, on average, will almost completely drain the stat pools of 4 PCs, unless they elect not to spend any stat points and spin the combat out. Hey, kids, lesson of the day: don't try too hard, because you'll just tire yourself out.

Oh, there's a bailout. If you give a zombie stuffed animal a treat and give it a name, it turns into a regular stuffed animal and is friendly again. Cute! Neat! Good luck finding it out. For some reason this is the hardest combat encounter in the entire adventure.

The Space Ride is a rocket that simulates flying through space. It's run by Adriana the Astronaut who keeps the ride running even during the curse and will take the players for a ride if they want. While they're riding, they get to go past the sun, and see the reason that it's blue - it's covered in weird blue aliens who are dancing to a song. (Hang on, I thought it just simulated flying through space?) She also asks the players three questions about space, and tells them that the right answers will help them identify Monstieur when they see him. The three questions are: Is Mars the red or the blue planet; is the sun a planet or a star; and true or false, the moon is made of cheese. She can't explain, of course, why she's potentially withholding useful information that would prevent the park being destroyed. As the PCs come back down to Earth (or rather don't because it's a simulation), they see the location of one of the items in the park that they don't have yet.

The Mammoth Plunge is a water ride where you climb up the back of a woolly mammoth and then waterslide down the trunk. There's an elephant called Barber guarding the escalator. He's so big the PCs can't get round him, and he won't let them on the ride because he thinks they're cursed too. Convincing that him that they are not is a Smart 4 check. He will not fight the PCs (um.. I'm not sure the author has quite grasped how not fighting works) At the top of the ride is a chest. If the PCs open the chest, they get to fight a Level 4 Occupus with 8 Health. Not quite as nasty as the zombies, but pretty harsh. If they beat him, they get 2 coins each. Of course, at this point you will really wish there were rules for falling damage if the PCs think to push the chest and the Occupus off the side of the ride.

Candy Land is the "food and games section" (um?) of the park. It's covered in cotton candy, and there's a piece of the heart on top of a cotton candy machine at the other side of a conveyer belt. To get this piece of the heart requires quite a show. First, they have to fight 2 Jinxes - level 3 monsters, with 6 health but they attack two PCs at once for 2 damage. This isn't that bad, but the damage will compound heavily. Then they have to turn the candy machine off by resetting it (Smart 4) or breaking it (Tough 4) - while it's on, the candy bursting out of it drives them backwards. Then, they have to jump over the conveyer belt, which is Fast 3. If the want to grab some candy for Monstieur while they're there, that's a trivial action.

Boo Manor is an outright trap with nothing valuable in it. It's a ghost train, but there's a real ghost on it - "The Ghost of the Ghost of Monsieur Monstieur". It's level 5 with 10 health and 2 ranged damage. This is still pretty harsh, but nowhere near as bad as the stuffed Zombies. The PCs may well assume it is the actual Monstieur at first, but it has a red star on its chest where its heart would be. Remember the Space Ride? The answers to the space questions come out as Red, Star, False, which is how the players are supposed to know this isn't the real thing. Assuming they went everywhere in the right order, at least. If a PC tries to give the completed heart to the ghost, it instead curses them to run around in circles for their next turn. As usual, there's a get-out clause, and as usual, it's ridiculously impossible to figure out: if a PC draws a heart on a piece of paper, folds it into a paper airplane, and throws it at the ghost, it will think it's being given its actual heart back and disappear. Also, I hope none of your players are smart enough to think that if Monstieur has a "ghost of a ghost", his original ghost should logically be dead, so the curse can't be lifted..

Once the players have all three heart pieces, they need to take another Group Action (groan) to "use the heart as a compass" to find Monstieur. The fact that the heart works as a compass is mentioned in the set-up text, but nobody ever tells the PCs this in the actual adventure, so presumably this is going to require some heavy hint-dropping. Assuming the Group Action succeeds, because as usual we make no allowance at all for it to fail, the heart sends them.. to Boo Manor. Tough luck, kids! When they're partway through the ride (and presumably after fighting the ghost), the heart glows, and they can jump out of the car and unlock a hidden door with a Fast 4 check. The door leads to a tunnel which ends in another locked door (Fast 4) again. Beyond that door is Monstieur's office, where he is lying collapsed on the floor with a heart-shaped hole in his chest. Putting the heart back into his body is for some reason a Smart 2 check because apparently everyone is really stupid. If they do so, Monstieur comes back to life, the curse is lifted, and the PCs get free passes for life. All done!

So, that's No Thank You, Evil!. Could it work? Well, like most badly designed games, it has a chance of working if everything comes together perfectly, but chances are something's going to go wrong and the players or Guide are going to end up backed into a corner or seriously jaded. The "simple" adventures seem good to read, but are likely to fall apart as soon as they're actually played because of the lack of consistency making it hard to work out logical consequences of action. And I don't think we really need to encourage people to play Cypher, now, do we?

hyphz fucked around with this message at 18:49 on May 6, 2016

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012


Doodmons posted:

I mean charitably he might just be really misinformed and thinking of the three-gender thing that come cultures have/used to have. I have a vague recollection that it used to be a prominent thing in some native american cultures and with Brucato's fixation on native american culture it may well be where that particular line came from.

There were some cultures where the "Shamans" sort of ritualistically became a third gender that was exempt from the expectations of either, but that's also sort of sexist because "The genders have expectations".

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


FMguru posted:

Yeah, I was just contesting your claim that Aberrant introduced that mindset to a lot of RPG fans for the first time

Well, not all RPG fans read comics, or necessarily read a lot of comics even if they do. So it would be new to them.

gourdcaptain
Nov 16, 2012



Doresh posted:

That's why I'll only make one example character. Everything else is madness.

Yeah, A Time of War is the ultimate combination of showing how high lethality and long chargen do NOT work together. And it doesn't even price Battlemechs particularly well or have that much integration into mech combat, IMHO. Also, the calculation to determine your piloting and shooting numbers in Battletech terms are hilariously hard to wrap my head around.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Mage: the Awakening, 2nd Edition

According to Mage, Wisdom is the ability to judge the real value of when, where, why and how to use magic, and mages debate it a lot. It also represents the control you have over your magic, so at low Wisdom, your magic is doing whatever the gently caress it wants and not giving a poo poo about Paradox happening. Wisdom is lost by Acts of Hubris, in which you ignore consequences in pursuit of your goals. Stepping out of the summarizing voice: WoD 2e basically abandoned Morality as a thing, replacing it with Integrity. Vampire, on the other hand, essentially kept it under the name Humanity. Mage is kind of uncomfortably between the two still.

Anyway. Back to summary. Wisdom is lost by Acts of Hubris, but as you get lower, it gets harder to lose. At high Wisdom, it's a constant balancing act. You risk Wisdom degeneration different depending on the scale of the ACt of Hubris - a worse one is a lot harder to resist than a minor one, and having high Wisdom doesn't make it any easier or harder - it just means you can lose Wisdom from lesser acts. Committing Acts of Hubris in pursuit of your Obsessions actually makes things worse - you get -1 die on the check if you were pursuing an Obsession. However, if you were committing in Act of Hubris in defense of your Virtue, you get +1 die. On the other hand, in pursuit of Vice, you get -1 die. Exceptional Success on a Wisdom check grants an Arcane Beat, success does nothing. Failure means you lose a dot of Wisdom and get the Megalomaniacl or Rampant Condition. Dramatic Failure is that, but you also get a Persistent Condition pertaining to what you did that can be resolved only by gaining a new dot of Wisdom.

Mages with Wisdom 8-10 are known as the Enlightened. Sins against this level of Wisdom roll 5 dice, and any Act of Hubris risks losing it - essentially, anything you could do via mundame methods without any actual risk, or any time your magic or actions affect innocent bystanders. Wisdom 4-7 mages are the Understanding. Sins against this level roll 3 dice. Most mages are at this level - stuff like allowing a Sleeper to witness obvious magic, creating a soul stone, not trying to contain a severe Paradox, forcing any sapient being to act counter to its own interests, altering the nature of a sapient being for a longterm period or binding a sapient being to a task are all sins here, as si deliberate and premeditated murder or violence that leaves lasting injury. Wisdom 1-3 mages are the Falling, and sins against this level of Wisdom roll 1 die. These Acts of Hubris are terrible - killing someone in a fit of rage, destroying an Awakened soul, allowing a Supernal being to be destroyed or making deals with the Abyss. (Honestly? I'd think that impassioned murder wouldn't be as bad as premeditated murder, but Mage disagrees.)

I don't really like Wisdom as it stands, but I'm not really sure what to replace it with.

Anyway, there are ways to avoid Wisdom loss. Well. Way, singular. Any time a specific spell causes Wisdom loss, you may choose to inure yourself against it. Any future uses will no longer ever risk Wisdom loss no matter what you do...but now, every time you use the spell, you risk Paradox. From this point on, it has a base Paradox risk of two dice, not zero. You may only inure yourself to one spell per dot of Gnosis.

Oka. So. Your Nimbus. We discussed the three types. Your Long-Term Nombus produces subtle coincidences around you - purely story effects based on your Path. You cannot control your Long Term Nimbus in any way, and as your Gnosis grows, it becomes more powerful. It will also go out over sympathetic ties to you, based on your Wisdom score. Enlightened mages only affect those with Strong sympathetic ties to them. Understanding mages can affect Medium connections. Falling mages can affect even Weak connections. poo poo gets weirder as you lose Wisdom. Anyway, your Immediate Nimbus is a potent aura that flashing outwards as you cast spells. Any time you do so, it becomes visible to anyone using active Mage Sight, no matter what Arcana they're using. When your Immediate Nimbus flares, it also causes a Nimbus Tilt on anyone nearby, with a strength of the spell's Potency and a duration of the spell's Reach in turns or one turn, minimum. More on what those words mean later, when we do spellcasting. You may also spend one Mana to flare your Nimbus for one turn without casting, rolling Gnosis to dertermine its strength. Even Sleepers can perceive this flare, though after the Nimbus Tilt fades, they will suffer Quiescence. Anyway, you compare the Nimbus' strength to the Resolve of any witness nearby. If their Resolve is less than or equal to the strength, they gain the Tilt. They can choose to accept this Tilt without resisting if they are aware of it. Mages can resist it with their own Nimbus. And last, your Signature Nimbus identifies spells cast as yours. Whenever you use a spell, Praxis, Rote or attainment, you leave your identity behind, visible to those who use Focused Mage Sight on your target. If you have Gnosis 6+, it's easier to read. By default, these marks last for a week, or more at high Gnosis. The You may spend one Mana to imprint your Signature Nimbus on something or someone for several weeks, or months if you spend a Willpower as well.

Supernatural creatures often have their own ability to plac Conditions on others, such as the vampiric Predatory Aura. MAges are particularly resistant to this as well as to the Nimbuses of other mages. Whenever targeted by such effects, they can resist with Gnosis plus one of their Resistance Attributes, depending on what sort of Attribute the other person is using. Any such resistance flares your Nimbus, as well. Any successes you gain directly counter the other person's successes, one for one. If you have any left over after that, they suffer your Nimbus Tilt.



Next time: Mage Sight.

Valatar
Sep 26, 2011

A remarkable example of a pathetic species.


Lipstick Apathy

Doresh posted:

So a while ago, I said something about doing a review relating to oldschool mechs.


From left to right: Unimpressed pilot lady, casual Samus Aran, Rebel Alliance soldier. And what the hell is going on in the left corner?

So before I get this boy started, I was thinking about making an example character for funzies. My ideas include:

  • A farmer boy who becomes an AeroSpace pilot.*
  • An emotionally unstable, spineless twat who somehow ends up in the cockpit of a high-end 'Mech.
  • A simple grunt
  • Attack on BattleMech

*) There's an April Fools' supplement that lets you build a Not-X-Wing.

I'm of course open for other ideas.

No. No, you fool. I read those rules once. I don't believe I've fully recovered from the sheer awfulness.

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




Anyone have that snippet of Phil Brucato cameo from nWOD? All I remember is "an error of Koreshian proportions."

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, not all RPG fans read comics, or necessarily read a lot of comics even if they do. So it would be new to them.

Even I don't believe that. The reason it was called "Ray Winninger's Underground" was because Winninger worked with Alan Moore on the Watchmen supplements for D.C. Heroes, so his career was built up on the popularity from that comic book.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





Mors Rattus posted:

Mage: the Awakening, 2nd Edition(Honestly? I'd think that impassioned murder wouldn't be as bad as premeditated murder, but Mage disagrees.)
Well, my explanation would be that this isn't a measure of morality, it's a measure of self-control. Premeditated murder is bad, because (implicitly) a wise Mage would have solved the problem with more subtlety, but aggravated murder is worse, because you lost control -- at least with premeditated murder you presumably considered the repercussions and tried to keep ahold of the situation, which is something Mages should do regardless of how evil they are.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Young Freud posted:

Even I don't believe that. The reason it was called "Ray Winninger's Underground" was because Winninger worked with Alan Moore on the Watchmen supplements for D.C. Heroes, so his career was built up on the popularity from that comic book.

Well, I have a lot of experience with non-comics fans (or people with only a passing familiarity) wanting to run superhero games based on some totally new twist, everyone. It may be anecdotal, but I've seen it happen time and time again.

I didn't know this was such a controversial assertion, so I'll leave it be with that.

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

I heard a horror story about a Rift Supers game run at my old meetup where the characters were caretakers to a superman analogue who was stripped of his powers and left a wheelchair bound, mentally disabled moron. None of them had powers either. There is no limit to how stupidly dark a superhero story can go.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


chaos rhames posted:

I heard a horror story about a Rift Supers game run at my old meetup where the characters were caretakers to a superman analogue who was stripped of his powers and left a wheelchair bound, mentally disabled moron. None of them had powers either. There is no limit to how stupidly dark a superhero story can go.

Oh hey, some GM read Wanted.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




It's too bad because there's a glimmer of a good idea in there. It'd be really interesting to play a kind of "superhero secret service" fighting to defend a former world-class superhuman who's been stripped of their powers in repayment for everything they've done for humanity...but of course that relies on not wallowing in pessimistic misanthropy.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


quote:

The Seers organize in the Iron Pyramid of prestige and service, ranking themselves above Sleepers (and all other mages) and below the Exarchs. Each Exarch's Ministry is led by a Minister, the Exarch's earthly servant, who leads their Ministry in pursuing a specific form of world control. Many Ministers are archmages, living in Supernal Verges to better commune with their gods. Beneath them are the Tetrarchs, who command the Seers over a wide region. All Tetrarchs in an area make up one Tetrarchy, the groups that discuss Seer goals and plans and pass commands down the chain. Beneath the Tetrarchies are Pylons. They resemble cabals in size, but have a clear pecking order of rank and prestige absent from most Pentacle cabals. Most Pylons have ranks within their number, and also report to senior Pylons. Advancement requires becoming strong enough to demand it successfully, and most Seers watch their superiors like hawks for weakness while undermining their inferiors.

I love this. It's such a perfect conspiracy theory - the world is controlled by the eye in the pyramid Illuminati who serve alien gods. Combined with the mages obsession with Mysteries, you could run it as magical X-Files. The symbolism also feels grounded and tied to the magic.

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


chaos rhames posted:

I heard a horror story about a Rift Supers game run at my old meetup where the characters were caretakers to a superman analogue who was stripped of his powers and left a wheelchair bound, mentally disabled moron. None of them had powers either. There is no limit to how stupidly dark a superhero story can go.

...I wanna hear about this.

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

That's all I know. Basically after the intro they all got confused and nothing happened.

chiasaur11
Oct 22, 2012





You know what was an actually good, recentish, "grim and real" take on superheroes?

The Winter Men.

Basically, the USSR made superheroes in the cold war, but like so many other things rendered them ineffective thanks to bureaucratic infighting. Cut to the early 2000s, and they pretty much hid the whole set of projects away and tried to pretend they never existed.

The hero's a cop who used to pilot power armor as a theoretical defense against rogue superheroes.

Now, there's rumors in the air one's back, and making a power play. So he has to get the band back together to get to the bottom of things.

Mostly, though, it's kind of just this dude's life, in a world that had something amazing once, but now it's pretty much gone.

Keiya
Aug 22, 2009

Come with me if you want to not die.


So question about Exalted 3e: Is Harmonious Jade, and more importantly her hair, still around?

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Doresh posted:

So a while ago, I said something about doing a review relating to oldschool mechs.


From left to right: Unimpressed pilot lady, casual Samus Aran, Rebel Alliance soldier. And what the hell is going on in the left corner?

So before I get this boy started, I was thinking about making an example character for funzies. My ideas include:

  • A farmer boy who becomes an AeroSpace pilot.*
  • An emotionally unstable, spineless twat who somehow ends up in the cockpit of a high-end 'Mech.
  • A simple grunt
  • Attack on BattleMech

*) There's an April Fools' supplement that lets you build a Not-X-Wing.

I'm of course open for other ideas.

Constable Alex Murphy, who was part of the Word of Blake peacekeeping forces in Space-Detroit until he was nearly killed. With the help of the Manei Domini, they've rebuilt him, and he's rather miffed about his new state of existence.

Dave Brookshaw
Jun 27, 2012

No Regrets


megane posted:

Well, my explanation would be that this isn't a measure of morality, it's a measure of self-control. Premeditated murder is bad, because (implicitly) a wise Mage would have solved the problem with more subtlety, but aggravated murder is worse, because you lost control -- at least with premeditated murder you presumably considered the repercussions and tried to keep ahold of the situation, which is something Mages should do regardless of how evil they are.

Exactly this.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Keiya posted:

So question about Exalted 3e: Is Harmonious Jade, and more importantly her hair, still around?

Sadly, she only makes a token appearance, and her hair seems to have thinned out considerably for some reason.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012


DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

Anyone have that snippet of Phil Brucato cameo from nWOD? All I remember is "an error of Koreshian proportions."

I'm on my phone and not really in the mood to figure out imgur on this thing right now, but it's in the first part of my changing breeds f&f

http://projects.inklesspen.com/fatal-and-friends/kurieg/changing-breeds/#1

Also it's from owod, not nwod, Pentex: Guide to subsidiaries.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I Forgot To Hail King Torg


Brucato really should have the same level of prominence and professional respect as Chris Fields. Who at WW/OP has such a boner for hiring him?

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


MJ12 posted:

Constable Alex Murphy, who was part of the Word of Blake peacekeeping forces in Space-Detroit until he was nearly killed. With the help of the Manei Domini, they've rebuilt him, and he's rather miffed about his new state of existence.

I'll save that for the Companion book, aka the one with all the batshit crazy cybernetics stuff.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Just throw it all out and port it into Shadowrun 5. If ever there was a setting that deserved it, it's Battletech.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Mage: the Awakening, 2nd Edition

Before we talk Mage Sight, a brief note on High Speech. All mages can comprehend and understand it, but you have to be part of an Order to learn how to use it as a Yantra in spellcasting - that part isn't instinctive. Any mage, however, can use it for a crude spoken or written language. It has restrictions, however, due to its nature as a more symbolic than actual language - it's good at facts, but you can't use it to lie deliberately. (It is, however, possible to be mistaken in High Speech.) High Speech is also incapable of using metaphor or symbol, as it is itself entirely a symbol, a Supernal concept of itself. While it can be used to make Persuasion or Intimidation rolls, any attempt to use it for Expression or Subterfuge is automatically reduced to a chance die. Sleepers who hear the High Speech hear only gibberish. While their memories are affected by Quiescence, mere hearing of the High Speech does not cause a Breaking Point.

Okay, Mage Sight. We've discussed the concept - what are the mechanical notes? First, Peripheral Mage Sight. You perceive all magical occurrences through the lens of your Path and Nimbus. Often it is not perceived as actual sight, but some other feeling - a smell, a touch, a sound. While most Mage Sight relies on the Arcana, the Periphery responds to any and all supernatural events...but only active ones. Any supernatural attempt at concealment will automatically defeat it. It will not detect a ghost hanging out in Twilight, but will detect if the ghost uses any of its Numina or if it manifests itself. Peripheral Mage Sight will not, however, tell you anything about what happened beyond 'something just happened.'

Use of the Active Mage Sight requires more concentration. Any use of Active Mage Sight automatically uses your two Ruling Arcana from your Path and can freely use any Legacy-granted Ruling Arcanum. You must spend 1 Mana to add use of a Common or Inferior Arcanum for a scene. It is a far greater sensory experience than the Peripheral Sight - it interprets everything you see through the lens of your Path and Arcana, causing oyu to hallucinate the connections of the Arcana. It is a vast torrent of information, hard to deal with and make sense of, and it does not grant new senses - you have to be able to perceive something for the Active Sight to tell you about it. Other magic will be needed to expand your senses or the Mage Sight. Each Arcanum does provide a minor benefit on top of the ability to perceive active magic, however.
Death Sight allows you to detect any ghostly Anchors, manifested ghosts or related phenomena. Further, you can tell at a glance if someone has a soul or if a body is actually dead.
Fate Sight allows you to detect when anyone you can perceive rolls a dramatic failure or exceptional success. Further, you can tell if someone has a Destiny and when they use it, though not the Destiny's details.
Forces Sight allows you to detect motion and the presence of environmental tilts, fire, electricity and other similar hazards. Further, you can tell at a glance if a device is powered.
Life Sight allows you to detect life signs, whether something is alive, and how injured anyone you can perceive is. Further, you can detect toxins, diseases and physical Tilts at a glance.
Matter Sight allows you to determine the Structure and Durability of any object you look at, as well as its value and quality.
Mind Sight allows you to detect at a glance if something is a thinking being, as well as if someone is asleep, comatose, awake, meditating or astral projecting. You are also aware when anyone you can perceive spends or gains Willpower.
Prime Sight allows you to tell at a glance if anything you can perceive is usable by you as a Yantra, as well as the presence (though not the composition) of any Awakened spell or Attainment effect. You can also recognize tass, Hallows and Nodes at a glance.
Space Sight allows you to judge distance, range and cover instantly, before taking any action. You can also detect spatial warps, scrying windows and the presence of Irises.
Spirit Sight detects the local Gauntlet strength, the presence and nature of any Resonance Condition or other source of Essence, and any manifested spirits or related phenomena.
Time Sight detects split-second temporal adjustments (and so allows you to detect the Initiative ratings of anyone you can perceive), makes you aware of it when anyone is trying to act, even reflexively, and allows you to, if you are able, preempt them, though you will not know what they are doing. You can also detect temporal warps and time travelers.
On top of the above, any Active Sight detects supernatural effects that fall under purview of its Arcana, or any Awakened magic as it is being cast, including the Nimbus. Concealment magic will work against it, but only if it would logically mask the target from the purview of the relevant Arcana. Even then, if the concealment uses the relevant Arcana, there is a chance to detect it via a Clash of Wills against the power. Active Mage Sight lasts (Gnosis) minutes for free, and then costs 1 WP to maintain for the rest of the scene. While active, you get -2 to all rolls unrelated to use of or perception of magic.



Focused Mage Sight allows you to scrutinize a single subject through the lens of an Arcanum. Unlike the other Sights, this requires you to focus all your attention on a single thing - a persona, an object or a place no larger than a small room. Instead of perceiving them physically, you see the Supernal as filtered through the target. Magic pourts through them, shaped by the Fallen World, and by examining that interaction, you learn about them. You may also release Mana into the world to study its patterns. This is not entirely safe, however. Looking so deeply into the Supernal is no passive act. It is a thorough, persistent, invasive investigation, flooding the area with energy. Anything that can sense magic will notice it...and so will otherworldly beings, which might well get annoyed at you. You must be using the Active Sight to be able to Focus. There are two stages of Focused Sight: Scrutiny and Revelation. Both are more difficult, the more complex the Mystery you are staring at. This is represented by the Mystery's Opacity - a sort of abstract measure of how deep you have to go to understand it. You can attempt Revelation at any time - it's a simple glance or taste test. Useful, yes, but not indepth. For that, you need Scrutiny - time-consuming and occasionally dangerous study of your target. These are two different actions, possible to be used in either order - you can Reveal to get some idea of what you're dealing with first, or Scrutinize first to try to reduce Opacity. What you cannot do, however, is Reveal twice without Scrutinizing the object. Once you have Revealed an object, that's all you get without Scrutiny.

Revelation is an Instant action, usable when you first encounter a Mystery to gain its surface information, or when you have reduced or eliminate the Mystery's Opacity. It's a roll of (Gnosis+Arcanum-Opacity). Success grants the surface information, and exceptional success also allows you to lower the Mystery's Opacity by 1 or, at the ST's discretion, gain one piece of deep information. Failure gives you nothing but uses up the Revelation attempt anyway. Dramatic failure, however, overloads your perceptions and floods the target with mana. No one may attempt to Reveal or Scrutinize it for 24 hours or until someone uses the spell Cleanse Mana on it.

Scrutiny requires 1 WP to activate. While using it, the penalty for all non-magic-related rolls from Mage Sight increases to -3, as you become unable to perceive most of the Fallen World meaningfully. If you are Scrutinizing something magically concealed, you get the rote quality on your Clash of Wills roll. Scrutiny is a variant extended action. Each roll takes one turn, so you can't speed it up any more than it already is on an exceptional success. You do not have a target number of successes, either. Instead, each time you roll a number of successes equal to the Opacity, the Opacity is reduced by 1. So if you start against Opacity 4, once you get 4 successes, it drops to 3. Then 3 successes drops it to 2, and so on. Further, there is no maximum number of rolls you can make. However, maintaining Scrutiny becomes dangerous. After (Gnosis+Arcanum) rolls, your magic begins to leak into the Mystery. At this point, any time you fail a roll at Scrutiny, add (Gnosis/2) to the Opacity, rounding up. This Opacity increase applies to any and all mages attempting to Focus on the object, not just you. You may spend Mana while Scrutinizing, to watch the patterns it makes for information. Each point of Mana adds a success to your roll...but only if the roll gathers at least one success naturally. If the roll fails, you lose the Mana uselessly. You are still capped by your Gnosis' ability to spend Mana per turn.

The pool here is Gnosis+Arcanum. Successes are used as above, but an Exceptional Success also lets you choose: You can apply all the successes in the roll, even if that would reduce Opacity more than once, you can spend a point of Mana to increase the object's Opacity for all other magi by (Gnosis), or you can spend a point of Mana to obscure any trace of your Nimbus on the area, causing a penalty to anyone searching for your Scrutiny. Failure, unlike most extended actions, lets you continue...but as noted above, it can increase Opacity after a while. Dramatic failure adds 2 to the Opacity and, if you've done too much Scrutiny already, attracts the attention of a Supernal entity related to your Path, which may use its powers on you for as long as your Mage Sight remains active.

You can Scrutinize with multiple Arcana at once, but it's dangerous and harder to filter. For each Arcanum beyond the first that you are using, subtract one roll from the period before your failures start to affect Opacity. The base number of rolls is (Gnosis+highest Arcanum used).



Opacity is assigned by the ST. The higher the Arcana involved in a Mystery, the higher the Opacity should be. As a general rule, the base Opacity should be at least equal to the highest rated Arcanum in a spell, plus one Opacity per Arcanum used beyond the first. Note that Opacity is not linear, but exponential - Opacity 4 takes 10 successes to get rid of, not 4. High Opacity can also represent cloaked magic - decoy spells and Prime-laid false paths. Also, for non-Awakened magic, Opacity should be higher - roughly 1.5 times higher, usually, than a similar effect using Awakened magic.

A Mystery's surface information as revealed by Revelation generally includes:
  • If the Mystery is the result of Awakened magic.
  • If so, what Arcana were involved and what the Signature Nimbus of the caster is, unless it was cast using a Rote.
  • Roughly how old the Mystery is - hours, days, months, years or centuries.
  • Optionally, what Practice the spell that made the Mystery was, or at least what Practice it resembles for non-Awakened magic. More on Practices later.

Deep information is the truth and intent of the Mystery, its Supernal resonance. It will only be revealed if you remove the Opacity and then succeed at Revelation. The GM has a few options. First, you must hit Opacity 0 before you can learn any deep information - appropriate for low-Opacity Mysteries that have little deep information to begin with, or Mysteries so complex that they are impossible to grasp without their full context. A second method is to parcel out deep information each time Opacity drops, without requiring a Revelation. The third method is between the two - you get minimal information as Opacity drops, but still need to perform Revelation at the end to get the rest. Either way, the ST decides which method is used in any given situation, and need not be consistent. It's a case by case thing to make the ST's life easier.

Deep information can include:
  • The Signature Nimbus of the caster, if it was Awakened magic using a Rote or Attainment.
  • The spell factors of an Awakened spell, any remaining duration, and whether it caused Paradox, and, if so, whether that Paradox was contained or released, as well as whether the spell's control has been relinquished.
  • If the phenomenon is related to one you've Scrutinized before.
  • The rough power level relative to your Gnosis, if applicable, for non-Awakened magic.
  • How the Arcanum you used relates to the Mystery - so Scrutinizing a ghoul for deep information via Death would reveal things related to undead blood in their system and any powers they've gained from it, while Fate would reveal any powers a changeling uses are formed by mystical bargains.

Next time: Summoning Supernal beings

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


wiegieman posted:

Just throw it all out and port it into Shadowrun 5. If ever there was a setting that deserved it, it's Battletech.

But first I run it through HERO System to make sure that the balance is spot on

(Though I guess Traveller is closest in terms of action resolution.)

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Mage: the Awakening, 2nd Edition

Mages are actually able to call forth the beings of the Supernal into this Fallen world. It's never easy, and it risks Paradox as you pull the being across the Abyss. But it's doable. And there's good reasons to try it. Sometimes, you need answers. The beings of the Supernal can answer pretty any magic-related question in their purview. Sometimes, they bear Artifacts of great Supernal power from their home Realms. Plus, they can do magic that is beyond your abilities, unfettered by the rules of the Fallen World. Of course, you'll have to bargain with them, but like I said, it's never easy.

There are two broad categories of Supernal being, depending on whether they are summoned by a Gross Arcanum or a Subtle Arcanum. Those summoned by Gross magic are manifest beings - forthright, obvious, animalistic. Subtle summonings draw forth recondite beings, clever, subtle and manipulative. Summoning either kind of being requires a ritual space - ideally a Demesne of the appropriate Supernal Realm or a Supernal Verge to that realm. Even in these places of great magic, however, there is a risk of Paradox and the Abyss. Shielding against that takes time and effort even there. Now, you can only summon entities with the two Ruling Arcana of your Path, and you must have at least three dots in an Arcanum to use it. Supernal entities correspond to two Arcana each, at least. They may cast spells of those Arcana up to their Rank. If you have 3 dots in a second Arcanum, you can specify what you want the second Arcanum of the entity to be; otherwise, the ST decides.

The summoning itself is an extended Gnosis+Arcanum roll, with each roll taking one hour. It takes 1 Mana to perform the usmmoning, or 2 if you specified the secomd Arcanum. You need a base of 10 successes...but that's base. The entity at base will be a Rank 1 ephemeral entity. Add 5 successes per rank past that, max of Rank 5. Add one success to extend the duration it can remain in the world without suffering damage. Each success adds 30 minutes; you start with none, base - it will take damage immediately. Add successes to protect the area against the Abyss. Each success allocated here allows you to make one additional roll without the ST checking for Abyssal corruption. Add one succes per Sleeper present; note that any Sleepers will suffer breaking points and Quiescence. Add one success per mage present not of your Path. Add one success if the summoning is in a Demesne oriented to a Realm other than your Path's. Add one success if you've caused any Paradox in the past week, even if it was contained. Subtract 3 successes if the summoning is in a Demesne oriented to the realm of your Path. Subtract successes if you incorporate items and conditions correspending to your Path's Realm into the summoning, as determined by the ST or by an Int+Occult roll (every 2 successes removes one success from the target number).

This is a normal extended action, but if you dramatically fail you automatically cause the space to be flooded with Abyssal energy. You and any other mages in 50 feet take (Gnosis)A damage, and the taint lasts for (Gnosis) days. Abyssal entities can form in the area at any time in that period, and the place may develop into a full Abyssal Iris or Verge, if an Annunaki notices and gets involved.

Beyond this, there are other Abyssal risks. Once the summoning begins, if it goes too long, the Abyss will notice. You get (Resolve+Composure+any successes allocated to avoid Abyssal intrusion) rolls without risk. After that, the ST rolls yur Gnosis every time you roll. If they build up successes equal to your Gnosis plus the primary Arcanum of the summoning, the Abyss breaks through and what you get is not a Supernal entity - it's an Abyssal ne. The ST is instructed to keep their rolls secret.

Once a Supernal being arrives in the Fallen World, it is protected by your summoning circle for a brief period (assuming you assigned successes to that). After that period, it suffers one point of Corpus damage each hour. If it leaves the circle, this becomes once every half hour. Contact with Sleepers reduces this to once every 15 minutes. If a Mage causes Paradox within 50 feet of it, even if the Paradox is contained, the being suffers one damage per success on the Paradox roll. Every time the being suffers damage, the ST rolls its Power, Finesse and Resistance. Failure on a roll reduces the appropriate stat by 1. You can use magic to boost its traits, but the dmaage is resistant and cannot be healed by magic. Further, raising its Resistance does not increase its Corpus for purposes of remaining the world. Once it runs out of Corpus, it vanishes. It can sense when this is coming and will attempt to return to the circle. If it 'dies' in the circle, it returns to its home Realm. If it 'dies' anywhere else or is killed by deliberate magical attack, it vanishes into the Abyss forever, a fact which is obvious to anyone watching. Directly contributing to a Supernal being dying in this manner is always an Act of Hubris against Falling Wisdom.

All Supernal beings demand a test - a condition or action that must be met by their summoner. This is similar to a spirit's ban - if you don't perform the test, the entity literally cannot help you. It may even attack you. Powerful beings often have complex Trials, while lesser ones may simply demand honesty and respect, or that you show your dominion over magic forcefully. Research into Supernal beings usually reveals the nature of their Trials indirectly - for example, records on the Primal Wild are recorded as respecting those who do what it takes to survive. The GM should allow an Int+Occult roll to get hints as to how to extrapolate that out to what a given denizen might ask.

The beings of Stygia are Shades. The recondite Shades are the Specters, beings of Death. They are called on for advice on matters of mortality, immortality, loss, grief, the dead, lost civilizations and the Underworld. Often, they resemble beings traditionally associated with death or deities of death. The manfest Shades are Apeirons, creatures of Matter whose name is derived from the theoretical substance all matter is made of. They sometimes take human form, or the form of something shifting between states of matter. They are useful in advice on magical materials and how to work with them, alchemy, and finding lost Artifacts.
The beings of Arcadia are Fae, and the recondite Fae are Moirae, beings of Fate. They manifest in many ways - humans, balls of energy, a sense of potential. Moirae provide advice on destiny, changing your fortune and cheating your fate...but they are often known to turn the tables on this sort of thing. The manifest Fae are Anachronism,s creatures of Time. They are, by nature, unstuck in time. They appear in forms related to the passage of time, often speeding through a life cycle over and over or wearing the shape of something related to timekeeping. They are useful for questions of the past and future and how to change them, and their knowledge of the timestream is unequaled...but they do not like allowing people to alter the past or future too much.
The beings of the Aether are Angels. The recondite Angels are Cherubim, beings of Prime. They understand raw power and magical potential more than any, and are more nuanced than Seraphim. They appear in many forms, but always glow with Mana and often have many eyes. Some take animal forms. They are usually summoned for advice on making Grimoires, Imbued Items, Demesnes or other magical things, as well as how to counter or alter powerful spells. The manifest Angels are Seraphim, beings of Forces. Many are resplendent and terrifying creatures of sword, wings, fire and light or other elemental phenomena. They are useful in matters of elemental magic, war, virtue and morality.
The beings of the Primal Wild are Beasts. The recondite Beasts are Totems, creatures of Spirit. They resemble spirits in most ways, taking the forms of animals and natural phenomena, but unlike spirits, they have autonomy and choice. They can be more than what they are. They can advise on spirits and anything to do with them, or how best to avoid offending them. The manifest Beasts are Atavisms, beings of Life. They are primal, brutal creatures of animal instinct. They can give material components for spells and rare magic items, as well as advice on animals and plants or knowledge of ways to use Life to shapeshift in new ways.
The beings of Pandemonium are Demons. The recondite Demons are Wraiths, creatures of Mind. They are terrifying and dangerous things that take the form of an image from your mind, usually one related to trauma or fear. They aren't always malicious, but the Trials are highly stressful on your psyche. They are useful for self-discovery and memory, but also to learn secrets of the Astral. The manifest Demons are Imps, creatures of Space made flesh. They are sometimes immense monsters or skittering, hiding horrors. They have great knowledge of scrying and magical sympathy, and are often good at knowing where to find sympathetic Yantras, or at opening portals.

So, souls. Your soul is not your mind, spirit or morality. It's more like the metaphorical supports of your psychology. Remove it, and your sense of self starts to collapse. Souls are insubstantial and invisible to anything but Death Sight when proper part of a person. When outside a body, any subtle Arcanum's Mage Sight can see them as a vague humanoid aura. They are clearest to Death Sight, and are insubstantial even to ephemeral beings, most of the time. All Supernal beings, however, can spend a Mana to physically interact with loose souls. Mages need spells to do it. The origin of souls is a Mystery even to mages - they appear at birth and vanish utterly at the moment of death. In theory, a Master of all five subtle Arcana should be able to make one, but all attempts at soul creation have failed. Mages believe, often, that souls originate from the Supernal and cannot be recreated by earthly magic.

Souls have valu,e however. Destroying a soul is always usable as a sacrament Yantra for Death, FAte, Mind, Prime or Spirit. A mage's soul can be studied to determine their Legacy by the marks left on it, and can be used to recreate that Legacy in yourself. Even when integrated in a host, Death magic can reveal quite a lot about someone's wellbeing via their soul. Further, many Left-handed Legacies, known as Reapers, can consume or manipulate souls to produce strange powers. Loss of your soul is very dangerous - it will slowly drain your Wisdom or Integrity, then your Gnosis and Willpower, until you become a barely conscious sort of half-person, unable to care about anything, until a soul is returned to your body. While you have no soul, any spells you cast are PAradox risks, and you can't contain any Paradoxes or enter the Astral realm. Full descent into the Thrall condition prevents any spellcasting at all.

Any soul can recover you, not necessarily just your own. Recovering a soul ends the Soulless, Enervated and Thrall conditions. Willpower regenerates at 1 point each time you rest or fulfill your Birtue until you reach your normal Willpower cap from before losing your soul. Lost Gnosis returns at one dot per scene if your soul was a mage's, or one per arc if not. Legacy Attainments return once your Gnosis is sufficient for them. Once your Willpower is normal, you regain one Integrity or Wisdom dot every time you regain Willpower from rest.

It is possible to place a portion of your soul inside an object, a soulstone. These objects have several purpose.s They can be used to create Demesnes. They serve as proxies for their maker for sympathetic purposes. When used by another mage as a tool Yantra, they offer a +2 bonus, or +3 if the soulstone's creator had higher Gnosis. When used by their maker as a tool Yantra, they count as a Dedicated tool. Peripheral Mage Sight will reveal to your any magic cast around, at or using your soulstone. Mages can study a soulstone to determine or learn the creator's Legacy. Every Order also has a simple method for resolving conflicts in which one mage has taken another's soul stone. The stone must, legally, be returned after the creator does three services for the holder. Even the Seers acknowledge this rule.

It's easy to make a soulstone - take an object up to Size 2 and imprint your Signature Nimbus on it, then spend a full dot of Willpower. Bam, soulstone! However, you reduce your maximum Gnosis by 1 while it exists - so if you have three soulstones, you can't raise Gnosis above 7 without destroying them. A mage always knows when one of their soulstones is destroyed. Creating a soulstone is an Act of Hubris against Enlightened and Understanding Wisdom.

A Demesne is made by taking one or more soul stones and placing them into an area as part of a ritual. Up to five soulstones can be used for any one Demesne, and the more that are used, the bigger it is. One stone can cover one to two rooms, while 2 can cover 3-4. Three stones can handle 5-8 rooms or large enclosures. Four stones can handle the equivalent of 9-15 rooms. And five stones can be as big as you fuckin' want. Once the stones are gathere,d they must be enchanted and kept within the Demesne, but can be anywhere within it. If a stone is destroyed, the Demesne obviously shrinks until it's replaced. It takes an extended action of Gnosis+Arcanum, with 3 successes per stone and one hour per roll to make a Demesne, and costs 1 Mana per stone. Dramatic failure blows up all the soulstones involved, dealing 1A damage to each mage whose stone was used.

Next time: Magical merits

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




AmiYumi posted:

Brucato really should have the same level of prominence and professional respect as Chris Fields. Who at WW/OP has such a boner for hiring him?
Maybe he's pleasant to deal with in person and his books sell well despite the content? I mean it is still a hobby industry here, even with White Wolf.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Mage: the Awakening, 2nd Edition

So, new merits! Let's go down the list.

Adamant Hand (2 dots): Requires Adamantine Arrow Status 1+, and one of Athletics, Brawl or Weaponry at 3+ dots. Essentially, it allows you to use combat techniques as Yantras for instant-speed spells. When you take the merit, you pick Athletics, Weaponry or Brawl. You can use that skill in combat as a reflexive Order tool Yantra, either to add dice to a spell cast in a later turn or to cast reflexively this turn. You can take this merit separately for each skill, and it's part of why the Arrow is terrifying.
Artifact (3+ dots): You own an Artifact, an item from the Supernal that is both a symbol of magic and a unique magical item that can creates its own power. These items have their own Mana, Gnosis and Arcana, casting spells when a mage who owns them knows how they work. An Artifact's cost is based on its greatest effect. The base cost is equal to the highest Arcanum used, or 3, whichever is higher. Every additional efect adds to the cost, but only at half the highest Arcanum used in dots per effect. You can apply Attainments to an effect at the cost of one dot per Utility Attainment added. An item can hold (Artifact dots*2) mana, and has effective Gnosis of (Artifact dots/2), rounded up. You can use its Mana as if it were your own, or just to fuel the Artifact. It has effective Arcana equal to the highest Arcana used in its various effects. They cannot Reach, however, beyond the 'free' Reach their Arcana provide. If they risk Paradox, you can spend Mana to mitigate it and can choose to contain it; if without a wielder, the Artifact will always release Paradox rather than contain it. Each Artifact has specific circumstances under which it will use its powers, determined when they are (OOCly) made. (ICly, they are from the Supernal.) You can use your Gnosis and Arcana in place of the Artifacts or in combination with them to get the best pool. Every Artifact is also a Path rool Yantra worth +1 for mages of the Path of its highest Arcanum.
Astral Adept (3 dots): You must be a mage or Sleepwalker. You can spend a WP to meditate your way into the Astral Realms via a ritual ceremony even without access to the normal methods of Astral entry.
Between the Ticks (2 dots): Requires Wits 3+, Time 1+. You can, once per scene, give yourself -1 Initiative for a turn to get +1 dice to your action that turn, or -1 from an action to get +1 Initiative that turn.
Cabal Theme (1 dot): All members of a cabal must have this merit for any to benefit. All members are counted as having 1 extra dot of the Shadow Name merit for purposes of persona Yantras, even if they don't have the merit at all or it would take Shadow Name over 3 dots.
Consilium Status: On top of the normal benefits of Status, you can access Artifacts, libraries, Grimoires and other magical resources based on your Status level, treating Status as Resources for the purposes of getting those things, which cannot be bought with normal Resources most of the time. You can get temporary access to all kinds of merits - Alternate Identity, Retainer, Imbued Item, ARtifact, Grimoire, Mentor, Hallow, Sanctum, Library, Advanced Library, Safe Place, Familiar and Resources are all possible, with 'cost' of their dot reating, or +2 dots if it's a permanent gift.
Order Status: Obviously, this unlocks various Order merits and also will get you access to people to teach you more dangerous rotes of the Order. Seers Status also directly adds to your Resources score for getting mundane items and services. Sleepwalkers can only get the first dot of one version of this Merit. Mages can get one dot of a second Order status, but no more than that. You may use your Order Status in Caucuses outside your main one, but at -1 dot in the same Consilium/Assembly, -2 in the same Convocation and -3 dots anywhere else.
Destiny (1-5 dots): Each arc, you get a pool of (Destiny) points to spend. Each one can be spent to make a single mundane roll gain the rote quality or to reroll a single mundane action after seeing the result of a roll. You can spend a WP when spending a Destiny point to apply either of those benefits to a spellcasting roll instead. This is very powerful...but there's a cost: your Doom. You must define a means by which your life as you know it will end - addiction, betrayal, crippling, devouring, enslavement, imprisonment, maddening, murder, etc. This will either kill you, leave you alive and suffering or turn you. Whenever you spend Willpower to avoid your Doom, you only get +2 dice, not +3, or only +1 to a static value. However, when you spend Willpower on an action that will bring your Doom closer but fail, you immediately regain the Willpower. The ST decides what actions will delay or hasten your Doom.
Dream (1-5 dots): Whenever you sleep or meditate for four hours, you can ask the ST a yes/no question about the topic at hand. They must answer accurately, but can say 'maybe' if the answer really is neither yes nor no. You may then ask additional questions based on that answer, or wait to use the merit again. You can ask a total of (Dream dots) questions per arc.
Egregore (1-5 dots): Requires Mysterium Status. Essentially, it is progress through the Mysterium's secret mystery cult. At one dot, you do not suffer the normal -3 penalty to teamwork spellcasting without the necessary Arcana, and if you have it, you get a free success. However, all members of the ritual team need to have the merit. At two dots, you apply your full MYsterium status to all Mysterium Caucuses, not just your local one. At three dots, you can access any Library held by your cabal or Caucus mentally rather than physically, and once per arc you can gain the Informed Condition regarding the local Mysterium's membership and their abilities and focuses. At four dots, the first magical tool you use in any spell always counts as Dedicated. At five dots, you are considered to have a Medium sympathetic connection to any Mysterium member in the world, as long as you are in a Mysterium Sanctum.
Enhanced Item (1+ dots): Each dot you purchase in this reflects one dot worth of spells placed permanently on an object to boost its capabilities, or +1 to the object's bonus as a tool, +1 to its Structure or +1 to its Durability. You can have more than 5 dots in this, and the cost of a spell is always its highest Arcanum. Can be combined with Imbued Item but not Artifact.
Familiar (2 or 4 dots): You have a pet ghost, spirit or Goetia that has a greed to serve you in exchange for safety from Essence bleed. You can choose if it is entirely Twilight or Fettered to an object or animal. Two dots means it's Rank 1, four is rank 2.
Fast Spells (2 dots): Requires Firearms 2+, Time 1+. Your Aimed spells do not apply Defense unless someone can apply Defense against firearms.
Grimoire (1-5 dots): You have a Grimoire! Each dot allows it to contain two rotes of any level. You can use the Grimoire to learn these Rotes or to cast them following its instructions, as detailed later.
Hallow (1-5 dots): You have a Hallow! It produces one Mana per dot each day. You determine how Mana left in it congeals into tass. It can store (dots*3) Mana in tass before it becomes dormant and stops producing anything until all the tass is harvested. You can pool dots in this with your cabal.
Imbued Item (1+ dots): You have an item that contains a spell and the Mana to cast it. You pick a spell, and anyone - even a Sleeper - can cast it from the item if they know how to trigger it. The spell always costs at least 1 Mana, even if it normally wouldn't. The pool to cast it is the spell's Arcanum rating, plus the user's Gnosis if they have any. Each dot is one dot worth of spell contained. For multiple Arcana, use the highest to determine cost. Utility Attinments increase the cost by 1 per Attainment. By default, an Imbued Item has only one MAna inside it; points in the Merit can be applied to purchase a battery of 2 Mana per dot. Recharging it takes one hour per point and Mana to transfer into it. An Imbued item can have only one spell in it, but can go over five dots of cost because of this. Imbued items can cast spells that risk PAradox, and you can spend their MAna to mitigate it, but limited as normal by Gnosis. You can't contain a Paradox from an Imbued item. This can be combined with Enhanced Item but not Artifact.
Infamous Mentor (1-5 dots): You must have Mentor at equal or higher level. Your Mentor has a reputation; when taking this merit, determine their Order and Consilium Status, generally close to their Mentor dots, and Social merits equal to (Infamous Mentor dots*2). You may access the STatus and Merits, as long as you're willing to live with the consequences of name-dropping your Mentor...which generally includes people looking down on you later for relying on that.
High Speech (1 dot): You can use High Speech as a Yantra.
Lex Magica (2 dots): Requires Silver Ladder Status. When you act in an official, titled capacity, you may add either your Silver Ladder or Consilium Status, depending on where the title comes from, to your Doors when anyone tries to socially maneuver against you. Further, others can't spend Willpower on Social actions or magic to influence your behavior when you act in these capacities. Finally, you may use your higher of Silver Ladder or Consilium Stats as a Yantra in spells that directly enforce the Lex Magica, including investigating possible crimes, pursuing offenders, defending the innocent or any spell to help the rule of law. The benefit of this Yantra is (relevant Status/2), rounding up.
Mana Sensitivity (1 dot): Requires Prime 1+, Wits 3+. You can sense Hallows and stored Mana with Peripheral Sight, even without any active magic.
Masgue (1-5 dots): Requires Guardians of the Veil Status. You have a Masque, an alternate persona you can assume by spending a point of Willpower, which you may not regain while in the Masque. Removing a Masque requires a full minute to 'get out of character.' You may buy two-dot merits to reflect additional Masques, which have all the powers of the main Masque this merit represents. At one dot, you choose a Virtue and Vice different than your own. While in the Masque, you use those. At two dots, you choose (Masque dots) Specialties. You use those instead of your own while in the Masque. At three dots, you choose a new Signature Nimbus, using that instead of your own while in the Masque. At four dots, choose two Acts of Hubris you'd normally suffer. While in the Masque, they do not risk Wisdom. At five dots, choose up to five Merit dots. You have access to these while in the Masque, but they must be logical parts of the identity and cannot include more Masques.
Mystery Cult Influence (3-5 dots): You have influence over a Mystery Cult without being a member - you may be their god or a power behind the throne. You have the benefits of Mystery Cult Initiation at the same dot level as this merit, but need not have ties to the cult.
Occultation (1-3 dots): You are magically hard to notice. Any time someone tries to use a spell on you via a sympathetic connection, it is at a -(Occultation dots) penalty. Further, any attempt to read your aura or otherwise magically determine truth from you is at the same penalty. Finally, any attempt ot scrutinize your Nimbus to identify or track you suffers a similar penalty, and the Withstanding level of sympathy for any spells targeting you is a minimum of your Occultation dots. However, if you ever gain the Fame merit or otherwise become noticed by the public at large, you can lose this merit.
Potent Nimbus (1-2 dots): For purposes of determining your Nimbus Tilt's effects, add 2 to your Gnosis (at 1 dot) or 4 (at 2 dots). Additionally, you get a bonus of (Potent Nimbus dots) to any rolls to flare your Nimbus.
Potent Resonance (2 dots): Requires Gnosis 3+. Whenever someone scrutinizes your Signature Nimbus with Mage Sight, they siffer the effects of your Immediate Nimbus and its Tilt.
Prelacy (1-4 dots): Requires Seers of the Throne Status 3+. You are int ouch with your Exarch. At one dot, you get the Persisent Condition 'Mystery Commands.' At two dots, you may use the patron Exarch's symbolism as a patron Yantra worth (Prelacy dots/2), rounding up. At three dots, you get a special Attainment based on your Exarch's symbolism. At four dots, if one of your soul stones is part of a Demesne, that Demesne becomes a Verge keyed to your Exarch, inhabited by loyal Supernal entities. The entire thing will collapse and destroy all soul stones involved if you try to link it to multiple Exarchs. The drawback of all this? You can only earn Arcane Beats from other Obsessions in an arc if you've already earned one for obeying the one granted by Mystery Commands.



Sanctum (1-5 dots): Requires Safe Place. Add (Sanctum dots) to your Gnosis for purposes of spell control when in the Sanctum. You can maintain these benefits on previously cast spells when you leave, but if you add any new spells the benefits immediately end and you must Reach as if you'd cast each spell without benefit. For an extra three dots not counted towards the 5 dot limit, the Sanctum includes a Demesne. You may share this merit within the cabal.
Techne (2 dots): Requires Free Council Status. Choose a focus in the form of some mundane activity, such as gaming or computer programming or dancing. You treat this focus as an Order tool for the Free Council as long as you include it in your spellcasting. Further, you can treat the presence of Sleepers performing this focus as a separate Order tool, as long as the spell is not obvious. If all mages using the teamwork rules have this Merit and the same focus, the leader gains 8-again on the spellcasting roll. You can buy this multiple times for new focuses.
Shadow Name (1-3 dots): You have developed a magical persona of great power. Determine your Shadow Name and its symbolism. You may use those symbols as a personal tool Yantra worth (Shadow Name dots). Further, apply (Shadow Name dots) as a Withstand rating to any spell attempting to identify you or cast sympathetically on you while you are in your mundane persona, or to spells using temporal sympathy to target a time you were in your mundane persona, and as a penalty to any mundane skill rolls related to identifying your mundane persona and your magical persona as the same person.

Last, a general Merit imported from Beast: Advanced Library (1-5 dots): Requires Library 3+ and Safe Place at least equal in dot level. You have a thorough library on a secret, supernatural topic. For each dot, choose a topic - vampires, mages, whatever. When you consult your library on a topic it contains, once per arc per topic, you gain the Informed Condition related to that topic. You may share this merit with the rest of the party.

Next time: spellcasting! Finally.

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Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Asimo posted:

Maybe he's pleasant to deal with in person and his books sell well despite the content? I mean it is still a hobby industry here, even with White Wolf.

Satyros sells.

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