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Ex3 Thaumaturgy Rituals

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  • wonderandawe
    replied
    Originally posted by Morangias View Post
    And where, pray tell, did you get the idea that either sorcery or being an Exalt of any kind is more common in the setting than Thaumaturgy is?
    Page 490: "Mortal thaumaturges are exceedingly rare." It doesn't say it is rarer than Exaltation of any type, but I can see where someone could draw that conclusion. Personally, I believe there are enough Thaumaturges around to make a recruiting them for certain positions (Sijan Funeralists, Seventh Legion Sorcerer Engineers, etc) viable.

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  • Lioness
    replied
    It's probably worth noting that The Shadow Puppeteers of An-Teng are still around and are mentioned by name in the corebook and they've historically always been Thaumaturges ("Mortal Sorcerers" when that was the appropriate term back when Blood and Salt was published).

    So whatever the overall numbers are in Creation, there's probably enough in An-Teng's Shorelands to ruin your day with shadowy murder spirits.
    Last edited by Lioness; 02-02-2016, 12:14 PM.

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  • wonderandawe
    replied
    I've been rereading the Thaumaturgy Merit and what is the benefit of it outside getting access to the rituals? What is the advantage of an Exalted Sorcerer having Thaumaturgy in addition to Sorcery? Is there a point to buying Thaumaturgy if you don't buy any of the rituals? Does a character get a connection to the Essence of Creation? Sort of an Unseen Sense? Does using a line of salt for ward work better for a Thaumaturgst than a mortal without the merit?

    Edited to add: I think this may be a difference in RPG theory views. Exalted has always had "Gatekeeper XP Costs" - You have to buy Terrestrial Sorcery to have the ability to buy other charms. It's one of the things that was house ruled away in our Skype game (When you buy Terrestrial Sorcery, you get Emerald Counterspell too.)

    I'll probably do something similar with Thaumaturgy. Give the character with the merit the ability to roll Perception + Occult to sense the Essence Flow of an area or something. Exalts can refine that ability with charms to get detailed information about the Essence of an area or see dematerialized beings.
    Last edited by wonderandawe; 02-02-2016, 11:57 AM.

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  • Morangias
    replied
    And where, pray tell, did you get the idea that either sorcery or being an Exalt of any kind is more common in the setting than Thaumaturgy is?

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  • semicasual
    replied
    More ideas:

    * Melt down the weapons of warriors you have killed. Turn them into rings, bracelets, or other jewelry. Wearing their bling will grant you a measure of your fallen enemies' strength.
    * If someone you know gets stabbed, find the weapon and bathe it in rosewater. Sing to it, polish it, and rest it on a cushion somewhere warm. The injury will be miraculously healed, but if the pampered weapon gets removed from its place of comfort, then the wound will return at once.
    * You know the secret language of a particular kind of animal - cats, horses, dogs, and rats are the most common.
    * You always know which way is North, even if you are underground.
    * You can make people forget talking to you or seeing you, although this gets more difficult if you talk to them a lot or they see you often.
    * You never get sick. Ever.
    * You can turn lead into gold or iron into silver with a special chemical mixture that other people cannot reproduce.
    * You can break small and/or fragile objects by focusing on them for a minute.
    * You can mend small and uncomplicated objects by focusing on them for a minute.
    * You can change the colors of fabric by spitting on them.
    * You can sometimes pull birds or small mammals out of your hat.

    Originally posted by Segev View Post
    In a world where 85% of people are right-handed, 14% are ambidexterous, and 1% are left-handed, being left-handed isn't more impressive just because it's rarer than ambidexterity.
    Your argument appears to be entirely predicated on the assumption that thaumaturgy - ALL thaumaturgy, not just one specific gift - is rarer than either sorcery or exaltation. Why do you assume that?
    Last edited by semicasual; 02-02-2016, 09:45 AM.

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  • Segev
    replied
    Originally posted by Morangias View Post
    How so?
    They're less impressive than things that can be done by a wider range of things. "Wow! You can score a basket from 10 feet away without distractions 1 in 3 times! And you're the only man alive with exactly that skill level! ...but most college and pro basketball players can do it from a free-throw line 1:2 times."

    Originally posted by Morangias View Post
    Reading Tea Leaves - you can see the future, an ability of oracles and prophets that held sway over entire nations, nay, cultures!
    And, if they hadn't called it out explicitly as an example of this, it would fall right in there with the Occult rolls to know how to ward off fae and ghosts, to propitiate spirits and gods, or to divine the best time to set sail.

    Originally posted by Morangias View Post
    Unquenchable Flame - What manner of man are you that can summon up fire without flint or tinder?
    The only mortal in the world who can do this! But far better-known are the Fire Aspect Dragonblooded, who can...do much more than that. And are less rare. This just isn't that impressive, and a Survival roll of sufficient successes can let somebody do something functionally similar (if only because they can MacGuyver up faux flint). It's cute, but it's not a "miracle." Not compared to what others can do.

    Originally posted by Morangias View Post
    Second Bread - Admittedly nerfed compared to the source material, but it emulates a miracle Jesus himself performed! Also, in olden times, loaves of bread could get quite big, so it can potentially create more than what passes for a loaf nowadays.
    It was a miracle because there weren't comparable things being done. Jesus's actions are, aside from the whole Atonement and Resurrection thing, barely Herculean. What made Him stand out in then-current myth was how very differently He acted than common legends about supernatural heroes, and the fact that He was the only one around at the time. What makes Him stand out now is that Christians believe He really existed and did these things. (And, again, when you put the Atonement back in, it is awe-inspiring, beyond anything even the Exalted can do.)

    But the bread-and-fishes miracle was miraculous in scale and in comparison to the lack of other things other beings can do. It's comparable in effect and awesomeness to manna from heaven, which even mortal sorcerers can do. And again, there's ONE guy who can do the "double a loaf" trick, and hundreds of sorcerers (at minimum) who can call down bread from heaven sufficient to feed a village.

    It's noteworthy, but not a "miracle" compared to what a more common and famous subset of beings can do in-setting.

    Originally posted by Morangias View Post
    Exorcism - an ability possessed, among others, by Jesus and his chosen Apostles. In a world rife with evil spirits, being able to cast one out without bargaining is no mean feat.
    And REALLY should be something Occult can do; yes, Christ did it, as did His apostles. And a number of priests throughout history in any number of religions (at least reputedly; obviously, whether you accept other faiths and even Christ and His followers' actions as true is a matter of faith).

    Shinto priests and mikos, Buddhist monks, Hindu ritualists, faith healers and Catholic exorcists have all done this kind of thing. It's not a unique thing to Christ and His followers, at least by reputation. Nor should it be "just one guy in a generation, throughout all Creation." And it isn't, since at least Solars and probably other Exalted (even Dynasts) can pull it off.

    Originally posted by Morangias View Post
    Speak With Ozashun - commune with... whatever Ozashun is, but generally a unique being with supernatural knowledge of what happens throughout his area of influence.
    And any sorcerer can invent a spell to contact some otherworldly knowledgeable being.

    Originally posted by Morangias View Post
    Knowing either Reading Tea Leaves, Speak With Ozashun or Exorcism will not only win you bread for the rest of your life, it will make you an important figure in whatever society you're in - in the first two cases, even the Exalted may need your unique gifts (less so with Exorcism, but then again, not every Exalt comes loaded with ways of dealing with unruly spirits).
    It can, but only if the ST decides randomly that no other fortune telling exists (which makes little sense, as it's hardly a thing on the list of "just doesn't happen in Exalted" and is a pretty standard staple trope of the genres Exalted emulates). "Uh, this is a miracle because we've arbitrarily taken it from commonplace to rare. Never mind that Sidereals do it better. I hope nobody ever writes a Sorcery spell that does divination, or this will look silly again! What do you mean you think it should be an Occult roll anybody can do? Of course not, because, um... it's special! Yeah!"
    Originally posted by Morangias View Post
    In summary, nope, not being underwhelmed in the least.
    I'm only impressed if you remove the Exalted - including the Terrestrials - and sorcerers from the setting. Otherwise, this is at best "oh, so you're a weak sorcerer" level of reaction. Sure, impressive if you're the one magic-guy this group of mortals have met, but when your super-rare "miracle" is less impressive than comparable, less-rare effects...

    It reminds me of a problem I had with Melanie Rawn's Sunrunners. Sunrunners could do neat stuff "weaving light" with the bright light of the sun, and sometimes even off of campfires and torches. Sorcerers could do that, AND pull it from even the faint light of the stars. Sorcerers also had more powers. There really wasn't anything I could ever remember seeing Sunrunners do that Sorcerers couldn't, and lots that Sorcerers could that Sunrunners couldn't. But the rarity of Sunrunners was played up compared to the relative commonality of Sorcerers, and having both bloodlines was supposed to be really impressive. I never got it: why care if somebody is both a Sunrunner and a Sorcerer? He can't do anything more or better than a Sorcerer who is not also a Sunrunner. Sunrunners being rarer didn't make them better.

    In a world where 85% of people are right-handed, 14% are ambidexterous, and 1% are left-handed, being left-handed isn't more impressive just because it's rarer than ambidexterity.

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  • Morangias
    replied
    Originally posted by Segev View Post
    I would also contend that, while the term "minor miracle" is used in the Ex3 book to describe them, they are such underwhelming (albeit unique) magical effects compared to some of the mundane magic that Occult can do, let alone the Charms of Spirits or the Exalted, that terming them "miracles" is stretching the definition of the term considerably. "He can detach and re-attach his thumb, but only with his other hand and only while sliding it along in a 'ritual' fashion!"
    How so?

    Reading Tea Leaves - you can see the future, an ability of oracles and prophets that held sway over entire nations, nay, cultures!

    Unquenchable Flame - What manner of man are you that can summon up fire without flint or tinder?

    Second Bread - Admittedly nerfed compared to the source material, but it emulates a miracle Jesus himself performed! Also, in olden times, loaves of bread could get quite big, so it can potentially create more than what passes for a loaf nowadays.

    Exorcism - an ability possessed, among others, by Jesus and his chosen Apostles. In a world rife with evil spirits, being able to cast one out without bargaining is no mean feat.

    Speak With Ozashun - commune with... whatever Ozashun is, but generally a unique being with supernatural knowledge of what happens throughout his area of influence.

    Knowing either Reading Tea Leaves, Speak With Ozashun or Exorcism will not only win you bread for the rest of your life, it will make you an important figure in whatever society you're in - in the first two cases, even the Exalted may need your unique gifts (less so with Exorcism, but then again, not every Exalt comes loaded with ways of dealing with unruly spirits).

    Of the remaining two (which are notably one-dot rituals, i.e. truly lesser miracles), Unquenchable Flame is easily impressive enough for the wilderness-dwellers to make you a legend among your people - less useful in the civilized areas, but something tells me you're not supposed to be born with this gift in the City of Thousand Braziers and Free Torch Refills Every Saturnday.

    Admittedly, Second Bread may have been written solely as a setup for a joke about Jesus getting beat up in Nexus, but even then, the duplication of matter is clearly miraculous.

    In summary, nope, not being underwhelmed in the least.

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  • Segev
    replied
    I would also contend that, while the term "minor miracle" is used in the Ex3 book to describe them, they are such underwhelming (albeit unique) magical effects compared to some of the mundane magic that Occult can do, let alone the Charms of Spirits or the Exalted, that terming them "miracles" is stretching the definition of the term considerably. "He can detach and re-attach his thumb, but only with his other hand and only while sliding it along in a 'ritual' fashion!"

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  • ZealousChristian24
    replied
    Originally posted by Morangias View Post
    Doesn't Thaumaturgy literally mean "miracle working"? How is the current system not more fitting for this name than the magical natural science of yore?
    While it has been used in a way appropriate to the current usage, the older use for the term does have a noticeable real-world precedent.

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  • semicasual
    replied
    I suggest stealing stuff from Unknown Armies. Ritual magick and some Adept powers from that game fall into the same category as what 3E calls "thaumaturgy."

    * Stay awake for more than 48 hours. The hallucinations you experience from that point on give you precognitive or postcognitive insight into the events around you.

    * Make some kind of gamble that could get you hurt (e.g. "I'll flip a coin. Heads, I'll slam this door on your fingers. Tails, you slam this door on my fingers."), and do not cheat. Surrendering to fate now gives you the ability to manipulate probability in your favor later on.

    * Keep a little jar of someone's blood, hair, and urine mixed together. Looking at the color of the liquid will tell you if that person is currently healthy, injured, or dead.

    * Make a really good mask of a person. For a short time while you wear it, you are able to think as that person, maybe even becoming privy to knowledge that only they have.

    * When you are drunk enough to have your judgement seriously impaired, you are also uncannily tough.

    * By periodically cutting yourself, you gain a limited ability to reshape your own flesh.

    * Actual, functional voodoo dolls.

    * Actual, functional love potions (maybe more like obsession potions, depending).

    * Instill autonomy into a special doll you made by sacrificing emotionally important memories. The more important the memory, the more sapient the doll will be.
    Last edited by semicasual; 02-01-2016, 11:38 AM.

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  • Morangias
    replied
    Doesn't Thaumaturgy literally mean "miracle working"? How is the current system not more fitting for this name than the magical natural science of yore?

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  • Segev
    replied
    Originally posted by Zelbinnean View Post
    It's solidly on you, and not the job of the book, to dispose of notions you've carried forward from the past editions.
    So, if Ex3 had said that Charms were not the powers of the Exalted, but were instead things in which anybody can develop power by following certain 5-dot progressions, that wouldn't be a poor design decision, because it's the responsibility of the player to adapt to whatever the new edition calls for?

    Originally posted by Zelbinnean View Post
    I get that that can be frustrating and difficult, but, it is what it is, and the writers have basically been saying this for months if not years before the backer release to try and get people prepared for it.
    Doesn't change that it was a bad choice. "Hey, guys, Ford Motors speaking, here; we're going to be rolling out our 2020 line of trucks as 1-door vehicles with no bed, a 200-lb frame, and just a single seat for a driver with storage in the form of gift cards to U-Haul to rent trailers! Just a heads up, so you're aware." Yeah, doesn't make the decision any better just because we have 4 years to "prepare" for it.

    Snark aside, if what they rolled out as "thaumaturgy" was not better, more cleanly, and with less word-count represented by a merit called, say, "minor miracle (o-ooo)" and thus wouldn't require the multi-page dedication to trying to justify calling it something that has a lot of baggage in Exalted, I wouldn't be complaining.

    Heck, "Occult is used to perform thaumaturgy, the folk magic and science of creation that includes[list of things, and common difficulties]. Like melee or lore, knowledge of the occult is all that's required to make the attempt," would have gotten barely a blip of complaint, would have held to both real-world arguable definitions of the word and to expectations from prior editions, and not even been a change from the rules we've been presented, since what most people are looking for in thaumaturgy HAS been rolled into a generic use of Occult. Which is good.

    It's just a really, really weird choice of insisting that thaumaturgy is something entirely different and unique but not really worth players' attention, in multiple pages of text, while not pointing back to the Occult skill to help those looking for what it used to be. This choice causes friction and problems where there needn't have been. And thus, I wish they'd chosen differently.


    Originally posted by Zelbinnean View Post
    I actually love it. It makes more sense to me to gate those things behind "stuff you can basically learn" but not take it to the level of pseudo-scientific applications. Warding and the like feels very much like hedge magic, but something rooted in folk knowledge and tradition, but actually being "mundane" in nature (or rather, mundane in the world of Creation - these are not supernatural effects in-setting, they're wholly natural effects, given the way Creation works - magic and spirits are proven to exist, prayers have actual and provable impact in-setting upon spirits, etc).
    Great! Glad you like it. I don't mind the mechanics. I just think the name is a bad choice, and a huge waste of word-count to justify it while muddying the issue and diminishing clarity for those coming from earlier editions and looking for something specific (i.e. that which is now just something you can do by rolling Occult).

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  • Zelbinnean
    replied
    Originally posted by Segev View Post
    The trouble is that what the book calls "Thaumaturgy" in 3E doesn't really feel like what it has been presented as in the past.
    Originally posted by Segev View Post
    That does seem to be what it is. I just wish they hadn't called it "thaumaturgy," because it fits neither the old editions' definition nor mythic/historical definitions.
    It's solidly on you, and not the job of the book, to dispose of notions you've carried forward from the past editions.

    I get that that can be frustrating and difficult, but, it is what it is, and the writers have basically been saying this for months if not years before the backer release to try and get people prepared for it.

    Originally posted by Segev View Post
    Most of what we, as legacy players of Exalted, think of as Thaumaturgy is now just applications of Occult, Medicine, and Lore in a mundane sense - and that can be a good thing. You know the rituals to do things "mundanely," and it looks like magic because magic is just a part of Creation. Salt to ward off ghosts, iron to ward off the Fae, a treatment of burning incense and prayer to drive off disease spirits, a harvest dance to increase its abundance and a fertility festival to enrich the planting, all magical things, all rituals that are "thaumaturgy" in the old sense, but are just part of how things work in Creation and thus mundane applications of Abilities.
    I actually love it. It makes more sense to me to gate those things behind "stuff you can basically learn" but not take it to the level of pseudo-scientific applications. Warding and the like feels very much like hedge magic, but something rooted in folk knowledge and tradition, but actually being "mundane" in nature (or rather, mundane in the world of Creation - these are not supernatural effects in-setting, they're wholly natural effects, given the way Creation works - magic and spirits are proven to exist, prayers have actual and provable impact in-setting upon spirits, etc).

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  • Ejtaka
    replied
    Let me rephrase. Something you don't want every pc picking up because it is that useful, and something you don't want the pcs teaching every villager and farmer. What I don't want is super scifi games because the pcs teach super science courses.

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  • Xanandithras
    replied
    Originally posted by Ejtaka View Post
    My reading is that thaumaturgy is there for a blanket 'I know how do to something that is not normal in the setting, kinda breaks the rules, and I don't want to give to other players, is not reproducable, but is awesome.'

    If you can't explain it, and no one else can do it, it's thaumaturgy. Here's some of my ideas....
    Except that thaumaturgy is something someone can learn from a person capable doing specific tricks if they will teach you and you have the capacity to learn thaumaturgy (by having the merit as a mortal, or just being an exalt with terrestrial sorcery.)

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