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  • #16
    Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
    I love your idea of a sorcerous thug. I might steal it. And probably try to invent my own.
    BBZ is built to be thematic. Incredibly tough, and all his stats are built in that direction. ISoB is somewhat unique in that it's an entire toolkit in itself. That's the big problem with mortal sorcerors. They only get one spell (excepting weird ST setup stuff, like Yozi Cultists, or whatever). The other Terrestrial spell that might work is Claws of the Wood Dragon, since that is a serious boost to a mortal combatant, but remember that your Mortal won't have Evocations or the essence powers of the spell.

    Edit: Unbreakable Bones of Stone and Spirit Sword would be good choices, If you or your ST are porting them forward into 3E.
    Last edited by Scrollreader; 09-15-2020, 11:52 AM.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Scrollreader View Post
      They only get one spell (excepting weird ST setup stuff, like Yozi Cultists, or whatever).
      Are you taking that as a rule of the game, or a consequence of character creation?
      I don't think there's any rule saying mortal sorcerers are limited to one spell, and the rules for them say "First spell" in a way that implies there could be a second.
      Mortal character creation doesn't have charms, so there are limited means to get additional spells, but I think bonus points would work.

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      • #18
        Mmm. Apparently I misread the section on Mortal Sorcerors pretty much only having one Shaping Ritual, as only one spell. I really don't like that people without access to their own essence can manage all the Terrestrial Circle tricks, but it appears a DB is no better at Sorcery than a random mortal. Better at Thaumaturgy, sure. That seems wrong to me, but rules as written appear to back you up on this.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Scrollreader View Post
          Mmm. Apparently I misread the section on Mortal Sorcerors pretty much only having one Shaping Ritual, as only one spell. I really don't like that people without access to their own essence can manage all the Terrestrial Circle tricks, but it appears a DB is no better at Sorcery than a random mortal. Better at Thaumaturgy, sure. That seems wrong to me, but rules as written appear to back you up on this.
          They still have an excellency, which is a pretty big boost to sorcery - they can shape faster and their spells work more often.
          They also have access to a few sorcery-focused occult charms, one of which acts like a shaping ritual.
          And access to the extra effects of spells like Invulnerable Skin of Bronze and Wood Dragon's Claw

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          • #20
            And they have to buy four occult charms first. It just seems odd to me. I suppose could be Edition flashbacks. But it really seems odd to me that it's easier to learn how to cast Obsidian Death of Butterflies AND Wood Dragon's Claw for a mortal than it is to read tea leaves or get extra bread. (Unless you are born a Thaumaturge, you just can't).

            Excellencies do vastly increase speed for Combat Casting. Well, where vastly is up to an extra 3 motes/turn for the DB. Maybe 4 if you're good AND lucky. But for most of the spells where you care about combat casting are 15 motes. Let's say you have 5 from your shaping ritual (averaging out the various things). You're pretty good at stuff, so 4+4 for the roll. And a stunt for another 2 dice. The mortal gets his first spell off after 2 rounds, on average. The DB starts with the same ten dice, and adds 4 (and probably a reroll) from the Excellency. He can generally get his DoOB or whatever off after ... two rounds. The DB has the advantage of more consistency, and better shepherding his shaping mote pool, but other than anima you won't really see the benefits of an Excellency until the second time you need to cast a time critical combat spell.
            And that's for your basic blasto combat spell. Wood Dragon's Claw is super cheap, and most of the other Terrestrial Circle spells are much less time critical.

            This is kind of a problem (for me) in the setting, especially given how DB sorcerors get treated. Why not just send a bunch of mortals through the Heptagram instead? The benefits are pretty minimal for the DB, and even if you assume mortal sorcerors are rare (but it's not an innate merit like Thaumaturgy) you should still be able to get two or three or five mortal sorcerors for every DB.
            Last edited by Scrollreader; 09-15-2020, 08:49 PM.

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            • #21
              I don't think the difference in costs/prerequisites are meant to reflect in-world differences - my impression is that it is "easier" for dragonblooded to learn sorcery for mortals. I think there are developer comments, and possibly book text but I don't recall, implying that the potential for sorcery is innate even if the actualized potential is learned.
              Also, why would it be cheaper to train a mortal sorcerer than a DB? The mortal sorcerer has less other things to do with his time, and there are mort of them, but the actual training is presumably the same. You could avoid running out of students by approaching mortals, but if you run out of teachers it probably makes sense to train DBs first.
              However, in game terms a dragonblooded starts with 10-15+excellency more charms than a mortal - a school-aged dragonblooded can start with the occult excellency, 3 other occult charms, terrestrial circle sorcery, and 6 non-control spells without touching their merits dots or bonus points.

              I also think that buy assuming exactly 10 dice and average rolls the example ends up favorable to the mortal.
              In the example, the mortal has a 2% chance of finishing in 1 turn, 53% of 2 turns, 38% of 3 turns, and 7% of 4 turns, for an average of 2.5 turns.
              The DB has a 16% chance of finishing in 1 turn, 74% chance of 2 turns, and 10% chance of 3 turns, for an average of 1.94 turns. (Not including re-rolls, since I don't want to do the extra work)

              Also, they have 4 extra dice to hit with attack spell, 4 extra dice for seeing if Corrupted Words goes off, for mobility with mobility spells, to try to control demons, etc.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by autXautY View Post
                my impression is that it is "easier" for dragonblooded to learn sorcery for mortals. I think there are developer comments, and possibly book text but I don't recall, implying that the potential for sorcery is innate even if the actualized potential is learned.
                .
                I'd love to find something that said as much. Please let me know if you find it. As regards training:

                Let's take a young Dragonblooded adult. For whatever reason, he hasn't taken any occult charms yet. Maybe he went to the House of Bells. But he has Occult 3. Let's say he's a Tepet, and he wants to be a Yamabushi. It takes him 60 XP to become a Sorceror. 4 Occult Charms, and an Excellency, since Excellencies never count as a pre-requisite. (Ex3 pg 254) and Terrestrial Circle Sorcery.

                Our mortal pays 15 XP for the merit. He pays 12 XP for the spell (he can't favor abilities, and it's not clear if he gets one for free or not, so we'll assume not. This is being pretty generous to the DB). Less than half the XP. With an XP budget of 60, that leaves us enough to buy Occult (3+2+4+6+8) up to 5 from Zero, rather than the DB's starting 3. And we still have 10 XP left to spend on a specialty, or maybe a willpower.

                It's easier for a mortal with occult zero to get to occult 5 AND learn sorcery than it is for a Dragonblooded who already has Occult 3 but no occult charms to learn it. Everyone would be training mortal sorcerors. Even if you assume the Realm doesn't want Mortal Sorcerors, due to the Immaculate Order (arguable, given the contempt they have for Sorcerors. It'd be a great way for an unexalted dynast to serve his house) Lookshy and every other state would. The DB gets use out of those pre-requisite charms, to be sure. But the number of Exalted is limited. I'd certainly rather have flight of the raptor every three rounds from a mortal than say, a Gunzosha Trooper, for instance. And he's not even dying to do it. Let alone workings.
                Last edited by Scrollreader; 09-15-2020, 10:32 PM.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Scrollreader View Post

                  Occult Charms, and an Excellency, since Excellencies never count as a pre-requisite. (Ex3 pg 254) and Terrestrial Circle Sorcery.
                  Minor nitpick, but Word of Dev says that for DBs Excellencies do count as pre-reqs (I imagine this is also the case for any Exalt that has to buy them): http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...23#post1298823

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Moss Reynholm View Post

                    Minor nitpick, but Word of Dev says that for DBs Excellencies do count as pre-reqs (I imagine this is also the case for any Exalt that has to buy them): http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...23#post1298823
                    Argh. I checked all the DB stuff I could find looking for an exception to that rule. I suppose it'll be errata someday.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Scrollreader View Post

                      I'd love to find something that said as much. Please let me know if you find it. As regards training:

                      Let's take a young Dragonblooded adult. For whatever reason, he hasn't taken any occult charms yet. Maybe he went to the House of Bells. But he has Occult 3. Let's say he's a Tepet, and he wants to be a Yamabushi. It takes him 60 XP to become a Sorceror. 4 Occult Charms, and an Excellency, since Excellencies never count as a pre-requisite. (Ex3 pg 254) and Terrestrial Circle Sorcery.

                      ...

                      I'd certainly rather have flight of the raptor every three rounds from a mortal than say, a Gunzosha Trooper, for instance. And he's not even dying to do it. Let alone workings.
                      A non-air-aspect dragonblooded with 0 occult charms who doesn't favor Occult spontaneously deciding to learn sorcery is not the typical path of a DB sorcerer, and I don't think it makes sense to take it as anywhere close to representing the in-universe difficulty of learning sorcery. A dragonblooded who invest a few of their 20 starting charms into Occult can learn sorcery quite easily.

                      I also dispute that a sorcerer casting FotBR every 3 turns is stronger than a Gunzosha Trooper. The sorcerer rolls perception+occult to deal (init+current willpower damage) every few turns. The Gunzosha Trooper rolls (dex+ability) to deal (init damage) every few turns. But the Gunzosha trooper spends the intervening turns making withering attack instead of shaping sorcery, so their initiative is higher, and their enemies initiative is lower. Two turns of withering attacks is, depending on exact circumstances, often going to lead to more than the 3-10 damage dice a sorcerer adds from 2 turns of shape sorcery. That hasn't even included the Gunzosha Trooper's armor, which means they're a lot less likely to lose initiative than the sorcerer. It's hard to get that much initiative against an Exalt who can use an excellency on defense, but neither of them can hit with a decisive attack - a Gunzosha Trooper spamming withering attack, stealing the occasional initiative and forcing excellency usage is probably better as backup for an Exalt than a sorcerer who only forces excellency usage every 3 turns.

                      I suspect the scariest mortal sorcerer in a fight uses Wood-Dragon's Claw and Invulnerable Skin of Bronze to participate in mostly ordinary combat. Attack spells are I think only good if your shaping rituals let you cast them in 1 turn.
                      Well, actually the scariest mortal sorcerer is the one who summons 426 first circle demons, and it doesn't much matter what else they do in a fight.

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                      • #26
                        I was assuming he was an air aspect, but as noted in the post above yours, I apparently missed the Stealth errata that DB Excellencies count as prerequisites. So our young air aspect only spends 50 XP to get sorcery. As for the actual issues:

                        I agree that a Gunzosha would probably kill the Sorceror. That's cool, and in genre. But DoOB is pretty much designed to kill battle groups, and as you noted, the real power of sorcery lies in effects for which time is less critical. If I'm in a one on one fight, I want a Gunzosha suit. If I'm running a country, I want a Sorceror. The fact that he can /also/ murder a battlegroup is handy. I was mostly just using combat casting to show that Excellencies, while helpful, aren't an automatic "I win" button for the DB.

                        A DB can invest 20% of his charms (or more, if you're playing a fairer equivalent to a starting heroic Mortal, and playing a young DB at essence 1) to get sorcery and a single spell. A mortal can spend 5 or 10 BP (depending on if your shaping ritual comes with a spell or not). But the DB has social opprobrium, and also is one of a limited number of elemental supersoldiers and heroes of legend.

                        Let me make my position clear. I like that it is harder for DB to do even Terrestrial Circle sorcery than Solars. That's thematic and part of the core setting conceit. 4 charms seems about right. I like the way that the Realm has a dislike but also a dependency on the Heptagram and the sorcerors of their blood. That's fuel for a lot of interesting stories. What I don't like is how relatively easy it is for a mortal to get all the flexibility of sorcery. I'd prefer either that a mortal sorceror has access to a single spell, giving a place for mortals, but also making them far inferior to an Exalt in the same area, much like a heroic mortal bodyguard. Or else that mortal sorcery is limited to Workings, making them good for lots of things, but not really terribly effective on the dramatic time-scale. The current rules make it far too easy for a mortal sorceror to be both flexible and powerful, on a scale that threatens the Exalted for my taste. The other (semi) canon way involves invasive surgery, sacrificing half your life, and a set of artifact armor that required a First Age Exalt to have made, with the incredibly rare Gunzosha Armor. As it stands, the ease with which you can make mortal sorcerors, and the vast amounts of flexibility and power this brings to mortals causes setting issues for me. Particularly when it comes to the Dragonblooded. (Solar Excellencies and ease of access means your average Solar is a vastly more effective Sorceror, for a smaller investment, not to mention capable of reaching far beyond a DB).
                        Last edited by Scrollreader; 09-16-2020, 12:10 PM.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Scrollreader View Post
                          I was assuming he was an air aspect, but as noted in the post above yours, I apparently missed the Stealth errata that DB Excellencies count as prerequisites. So our young air aspect only spends 50 XP to get sorcery. As for the actual issues:

                          A DB can invest 20% of his charms (or more, if you're playing a fairer equivalent to a starting heroic Mortal, and playing a young DB at essence 1) to get sorcery and a single spell. A mortal can spend 5 or 10 BP (depending on if your shaping ritual comes with a spell or not). But the DB has social opprobrium, and also is one of a limited number of elemental supersoldiers and heroes of legend.

                          Let me make my position clear. I like that it is harder for DB to do even Terrestrial Circle sorcery than Solars. That's thematic and part of the core setting conceit. 4 charms seems about right. I like the way that the Realm has a dislike but also a dependency on the Heptagram and the sorcerors of their blood. That's fuel for a lot of interesting stories. What I don't like is how relatively easy it is for a mortal to get all the flexibility of sorcery. I'd prefer either that a mortal sorceror has access to a single spell, giving a place for mortals, but also making them far inferior to an Exalt in the same area, much like a heroic mortal bodyguard. Or else that mortal sorcery is limited to Workings, making them good for lots of things, but not really terribly effective on the dramatic time-scale. The current rules make it far too easy for a mortal sorceror to be both flexible and powerful, on a scale that threatens the Exalted for my taste. The other (semi) canon way involves invasive surgery, sacrificing half your life, and a set of artifact armor that required a First Age Exalt to have made, with the incredibly rare Gunzosha Armor. As it stands, the ease with which you can make mortal sorcerors, and the vast amounts of flexibility and power this brings to mortals causes setting issues for me. Particularly when it comes to the Dragonblooded. (Solar Excellencies and ease of access means your average Solar is a vastly more effective Sorceror, for a smaller investment, not to mention capable of reaching far beyond a DB).
                          If he was an air aspect occult charms would cost 8xp - 4 charms+terrestrial circle sorcery = 40xp, not 50
                          A dragonblooded can spend 20% of his charms to gain a single spell, as well as 4 other occult charms. He spends 0% of his bonus points or merit dots. One of these charms will probably be the excellency, making him faster and more powerful a sorcerer than the mortal could ever be.
                          Mortals arguably don't have access to Solar or Dragonblooded XP, while dragonblooded do, so a DB earning xp earns up to 1.8 times as much as a mortal. That Dragonblooded xp can't be spent on occult charms, but can be spent on learning several spells as soon as he initiates.
                          My impression is a "Young DB" is around 14, and a starting DB is 21. While the mortal character creation rules don't specify and age they are for, I'd expect they are intended to be older than 21, and definitely older than 14.

                          I can't find any textual statement that only some people can be sorcerers, but the writeup of Ysyr implies that, in a society where learning sorcery is the sole route to political power, or even to freedom from slavery, where a first age artifice specifically makes people more able to learn sorcery, most people don't learn sorcery, which is evidence for something along those lines.
                          I think this strongly implies that it is not easy to get mortal sorcerers. That if you make sorcery the most important thing in determining your life path, that catapults you from slavery to aristocracy, and also build your city on top of a malfunctioning first age sorcerous engine that sometimes attunes people to sorcery, you get enough mortal sorcerers to populate your aristocracy - "a handful ... these few form the ruling class". I assume that a first age sorcerous engine deliberately attuning people to sorcery might be more efficient, but most societies are going to have a lighter incentive structure (also, I don't think anyone in Creation has a working first age device designed to attune people to sorcery). Still, this implies to me a range of somewhere from 1/50 to 1/10,000 mortals who are sorcerers in Ysyr. (More than1/50 people in a city doesn't sound to me like a handful, less than 1/10,000 doesn't seem functional as a ruling class). Presumably a society that deliberately encouraged mortals to learn sorcery, but to a lesser extent, would have noticeably less than this, and the many places in Creation where sorcerers are seen as weird and shunned unless you need something would have even fewer.
                          Assuming a very questionable figure of 500 million mortals in creation, and a fairly reliable figure of 25,000, 1/20,000 people are dragonblooded. Which might mean that globally dragonblooded are more common than mortal sorcerers.

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                          • #28
                            I swear I looked at that XP chart multiple times, and still somehow conflated spell costs and charm costs. Thanks!

                            As for the other, we'll never have hard numbers, I suppose. But it seems that a skill that can be taught (the Heptagram), given by a Patron (Mara, Ifrit), or accidentally gained by falling into a sea and almost/actually drowning (Wanasaan) is probably more common than than 1/20000. Most people are going to be peasants and serfs, sure. But if every decent sized kingdom in the threshold has a cabal of mortal sorcerors AND an Outcaste ruler or bodyguard or whatever it feels off to me. Like I said to begin with, it might just be my prior Edition background making it feel really weird for mortals to be weilding real actual Sorcery. I don't necessarily mind (difficult) workings or Thaumaturgy.

                            Anyways, I really do want to thank you for taking the time to help talk this stuff out with me. I'm likely to make mortal sorcerors rare in my Creation unless sponsored by demons or the like, as a point of personal preference, but this stuff has been helpful for figuring out why and how I feel the way I do.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Scrollreader View Post
                              But it seems that a skill that can be taught...
                              That's your big mistake in assumptions, though. Sorcery is not a skill. It's a transformation attained by few.

                              Originally posted by Scrollreader
                              given by a Patron (Mara, Ifrit)
                              They don't give it to just everyone, though; you've gotta have that special, indescribable stuff that lets you even be a candidate.

                              Originally posted by Scrollreader
                              ...or accidentally gained by falling into a sea and almost/actually drowning (Wanasaan)...
                              This is straight-up mischaracterization. There's a difference between "accidentally... falling into a sea" and people of a specific bloodline being near-drowned in a discrete ritual fashion in one exact spring surrounded by a distinct uncanny type of fog. And those who don't have the stuff for it? They just die.

                              Originally posted by Scrollreader
                              But if every decent sized kingdom in the threshold has a cabal of mortal sorcerors AND an Outcaste ruler or bodyguard or whatever it feels off to me.
                              Have you considered that a decent-sized kingdom in the Threshold might not have either?
                              Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 09-16-2020, 04:42 PM.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                                That's your big mistake in assumptions, though. Sorcery is not a skill. It's a transformation attained by few.
                                It's taught at the Heptagram and at Valkhawsen. And even in core there's the Sorcerous Archives shaping ritual. The examples in the core book include a mortal learning it in a demonic cult, and an Exalt compelling Initiation from a captured Fair Folk.


                                Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                                They don't give it to just everyone, though; you've gotta have that special, indescribable stuff that lets you even be a candidate.
                                The merit isn't innate. You can pass it on, as above. It's 15 XP, or about as hard as getting from zero to four dots in an Ability.

                                Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                                This is straight-up mischaracterization. There's a difference between "accidentally... falling into the sea" and people of a specific bloodline being near-drowned in a discrete ritual fashion in one exact spring surrounded by a distinct uncanny type of fog. And those who don't have the stuff for it? They just die.
                                What Fire Has Wrought pg 127 - A Bloodline Touched By Frost "Wether she fell into the Spring of Echoes or drowned herself of her own volition, none can say".

                                I'm not saying that anyone who drowns gets Sorcery, obviously. But there are lots of weird places and ways to self initiate.

                                Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                                Have you considered that a decent-sized kingdom in the Threshold might not have either?
                                Not anywhere particularly relevant, no. Even in the Hundred Kingdoms there are Outcaste champions. If it's worth your Exalt (or even more, your circle) taking over, it's probably worth an Outcaste or an Elemental, or a Small God having done so. Or local rulers having come up with a champion or disincentive to do so. I mean, if you and your players want to Seven Samurai a village and turn it into a kingdom, cool. But you get to be king by monopolizing, or at least cornering the market on local power. In Creation that's usually supernatural, on some level (A cabal of sorcerors, an ancient Artifact, an alliance of local gods, that sort of thing).

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