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Low-Power Practical Magics - What Are Your Examples?

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  • Low-Power Practical Magics - What Are Your Examples?

    This is similar to my earlier post in the Ascension forum about examples of Parlor Tricks, but it's a lot broader and focused on a wider ranger of splats.

    A lot of people have a tendency to focus on the higher level powers in a game, or combat-effective abilities (or both). But most supernaturals aren't going to reach those vaunted levels of power in a real world scenario, and though it will vary depending on your splat, if you are a supernatural being you aren't necessarily going to see fighting every day and night - you will have a life to live of some sort or another. And what you will have are some lesser powers, things that are easy to learn and utilize (i.e. the dots and effects you get from just adding a template to your PC, maybe after a bit of basic training). And some of those are going to be real helpful as you live (or try to live) your life outside the shadows.

    For this "game," I'm curious to know what powers you'd find useful or fun in real life, but from a practical sense. This isn't the "what would be the powers you'd use to beat up the asshole in accounting" game (as Dark Ages: Mage pointed out, we have names for the people who think about going around and beating up/killing people and looting their bodies...). This also isn't about the big, high power magics and abilities that can clearly shape the world around you for the better. This is about the lower-level effects that just make life easier or more exciting without harming anyone around you.

    For definitions/rules:
    -assume no powers that would be higher than a two-dot effect (i.e. first and second level gifts and rites, first two dots of disciplines, level one or two rotes, etc; this includes innate effects from Arcanoi, Kith birthrights and, in the MET, any supernatural effects that come from belong to a specific faction, like Mages sometimes had for Traditions) or a three-dot merit (giving a little extra leeway there) or a Basic level effect in MET;
    -no powers directly mess with or harm someone else (a power that makes it so that people are generally more agreeable is one thing; Dominate to make people do what you want is quite different);
    -no mage spheres; individual rotes are cool, as are backgrounds and merits, but spheres are just really powerful. Same for C20 Unleashing.
    -For bonus points, things that don't directly "buff" yourself or straight up make yourself better.
    -Generally try to stick with published material; homebrew stuff is sometimes fun but often also sometimes full of broken powers that just don't work.
    -Published material from any edition is fair game, as long as it's WoD (I'll be doing other threads for Scion and CoD and maybe Exalted later). That includes any of the official LARP systems - some of those powers work a bit differently, especially in the pre-revised era, from their tabletop counterparts.

    EDITS: Couple of other suggestions: Backgrounds are cool to use, but should represent backgrounds that are mystical abilities of some sort - Arcane, Dream, Ancestors, and two-dot wonders/fetishes/etc are cool, but not Influence (especially MET style influence). Same goes for Abilities - if the Ability itself is indicative of something that is a supernatural talent, such as Kenning, Do (though that's more for combat in most cases), and so on, it's fair game. Powers should work on their own or with just the native effects of the template that grants them; no "Well, this is a useless thing UNLESS you mix it with something else and then it's awesome." And for Wraith Arcanoi, assume that either: a) you are, in fact, a Wraith and either in the Shadowlands or Risen [if it works for Risen]; or b) are able to project into or physically enter the Dark Umbra/Shadowlands/Underworld and gain access while there; or c) are a living sorcerer emulating the arcanoi in this world (but only if they would be usable by the Risen).

    -

    For me, I think one of the straight-up most useful is the example of a one-dot Blessing from Guide to the Traditions. Blessings are basically Wonders but cast on the person. They can be built as Wonders, but also can represent generally beneficial turns of fate from a powerful benefactor. The one-dot example of the latter says that there's always a spot open for you right in front of your destination (or as close as possible), and if applicable, there's time left on the meter when you get there. Something small and flavorful in most games (unless you're racing against time to get somewhere), but also really handy in real life situations.

    Also, Aura Perception in its many forms. As someone who's on the spectrum, I can't always read people accurately, if at all... the ability to get a sense of their emotions by looking at something else would just help a lot. It doesn't interfere with them as a person or their free-will, but lets me know more about them in that moment (and, if using some of the older Laws of the Night versions, also gives me a sense of their Nature as well).

    Just two examples for now, but I have plenty more. What are yours?
    Last edited by EndlessKng; 03-16-2019, 03:02 PM.

  • Lian
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    Hrm, misread that part I guess... seems a bit cheap that bumping up a Realm from 1 to 2 costs the same as taking a Realm you don't have and bumping it to 5.... but on reread yeah, that's how it goes.
    Realms are also your Dice Pool. While Bunks are awesome.. if I wanted say to have always the best bit of tech available I'd want serious prop investment(plus its the cheaper of the two... and you CAN always unleash!)



    You also can't fake money exactly, you can fake the value of money that's of the same style. You can't turn a quarter into a $50 bill, you can turn a $5 bill into a $100 bill. It's great if you need bus fare and only have a crumpled up dollar. It's not great if you try to keep using it to pay for stuff, especially where you live, since people are going to notice their numbers are off since you're not going to be rolling 4+ successes all the time if you're doing it that often.
    But being able to turn a 5 into a 50 when you just need it would be pretty awesome.. though mostly I'd probably mess with gold bugs.

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  • EndlessKng
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    Hrm, misread that part I guess... seems a bit cheap that bumping up a Realm from 1 to 2 costs the same as taking a Realm you don't have and bumping it to 5.... but on reread yeah, that's how it goes.

    You also can't fake money exactly, you can fake the value of money that's of the same style. You can't turn a quarter into a $50 bill, you can turn a $5 bill into a $100 bill. It's great if you need bus fare and only have a crumpled up dollar. It's not great if you try to keep using it to pay for stuff, especially where you live, since people are going to notice their numbers are off since you're not going to be rolling 4+ successes all the time if you're doing it that often.

    Yeah, the glamour cost is super cheap to cheat realms, I definitely admit. I definitely would not blame an ST who house ruled so that it cost one per dot. But, it is what it ia.

    So had a thought on an odd one. In the Revised Laws of the Night, Potence 1 (Prowess, I think?) Actually has some powerful mundane benefits. In MET you had to bid traits (so, if I throw a punch, I am bidding a Physical trait, which is usually a keyword of some sort). On a loss, you lose the bid traits, which also lowers your test pool later in the session for that attribute type - representing being tired, beaten down, and drained from your efforts. You can refresh each pool once per night with willpower, but Willpower is slow to come back.
    However, Potence 1 helps with that. Rather than straight buffing your strength, it gives you a free refresh each session of specific physical traits. Which means that it effectively gives you more energy and drive with regards to physical activity- sort of a "pep up." Not useful every day unless you are doing a lot of physical labor, but if you have it anyways (and as a ghoul you would, and can get it fairly easily as a vampire too), it is definitely helpful when, say, a friend needs help moving a couch up a couple flights of stairs.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Hrm, misread that part I guess... seems a bit cheap that bumping up a Realm from 1 to 2 costs the same as taking a Realm you don't have and bumping it to 5.... but on reread yeah, that's how it goes.

    You also can't fake money exactly, you can fake the value of money that's of the same style. You can't turn a quarter into a $50 bill, you can turn a $5 bill into a $100 bill. It's great if you need bus fare and only have a crumpled up dollar. It's not great if you try to keep using it to pay for stuff, especially where you live, since people are going to notice their numbers are off since you're not going to be rolling 4+ successes all the time if you're doing it that often.


    Leave a comment:


  • Lian
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    If you consider cheating Realms valid for consideration, there's still a lot of shine taken off some cantrips. If you just have Metamorphosis 2 and Prop 2, spending 4 Glamour (3 to cheat, 1 to use it as a Wyrd cantrip) to change an iPhone 8 to an iPhone XR temporarily isn't exactly a great deal.

    ITs one to cheat to the cost is Glamour 2 since its wyrd. Not 4. With the right bunks and time frame you could have your Celphone always upgrade every six months which.. is neat but not game breaking. Being able to fake money is also neat but not game breaking(Its also not the only level one changeling power that lets you mess with money... amazing that)

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Not to derail... but I'd imagine that unless the app you need is standard on the new phone, or is an updated version that you can't get but have the old version of on your old phone.. it wouldn't suddenly appear. But this gets into a pretty ST call/gray area.

    Like I said, it's a good Cantrip, it's definitely a super useful one for everyday life if you get clever. It's just not really a 'game changer' to have like, say, the Persuasion Gift can be.

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  • EndlessKng
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    If you consider cheating Realms valid for consideration, there's still a lot of shine taken off some cantrips. If you just have Metamorphosis 2 and Prop 2, spending 4 Glamour (3 to cheat, 1 to use it as a Wyrd cantrip) to change an iPhone 8 to an iPhone XR temporarily isn't exactly a great deal.
    Not untrue. But, it still can be pretty useful if you need a thing for a specific purpose. It's not the most powerful option in the world, but it is technically an option if you really need a certain app at the right moment.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    If you consider cheating Realms valid for consideration, there's still a lot of shine taken off some cantrips. If you just have Metamorphosis 2 and Prop 2, spending 4 Glamour (3 to cheat, 1 to use it as a Wyrd cantrip) to change an iPhone 8 to an iPhone XR temporarily isn't exactly a great deal.

    Leave a comment:


  • EndlessKng
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    Entropy 1 (Sense Disorder, Sense Probability), Life 2 (Heal Self), Mind 1 (Empower Self). As a person living comfortably in the digital age of modern human society, all of the things civilization provides for me are mostly taken care of. Now I can avoid those annoying diseases that we don't have good cures for, and ignore the negative impact of my sedentary lifestyle (also cut back on these annoying health insurance bills until the US can get its act together on health care). I can use the Internet to both gamble and invest in financial products with Entropy and Mind to ensure I'm profiting enough to make a decent living. And I can catch up on the forty bazillion shows, movies, and books I want to get to.

    Basically, it's the perfect suite to just kick back and enjoy the comfort and safety we already have; if lazy and decadent.

    For WtA.... that list is just too big with the number of insanely useful level 1 and 2 powers that have nothing to do with hurting people. Though Persuasion.... damn how I'd love that IRL.

    -------

    On the CtD front, I think people do need to remember the 'rules' would also include Realms, not just Arts. Something like Metamorphosis 1 only gets really crazy when you get into higher level Realms to go with it. Using it make your phone a newer model requires Prop 5, and thus shouldn't really be considered part of this. When you keep it to things covered by Prop 1 and 2... it's much less impressive (though still easily qualifies for this anyway).
    Ahhh. I HAD forgotten about Realms. That is a limiting factor indeed. Though still, that is a dope power.
    EDIT: so actually you don't "need" the realms in c20. You have to pay extra glamour if you lack one or more realms, and the pool will be smaller, but at least in c20 you can use a cantrip without an appropriate realm.
    Last edited by EndlessKng; 03-18-2019, 04:51 PM.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Entropy 1 (Sense Disorder, Sense Probability), Life 2 (Heal Self), Mind 1 (Empower Self). As a person living comfortably in the digital age of modern human society, all of the things civilization provides for me are mostly taken care of. Now I can avoid those annoying diseases that we don't have good cures for, and ignore the negative impact of my sedentary lifestyle (also cut back on these annoying health insurance bills until the US can get its act together on health care). I can use the Internet to both gamble and invest in financial products with Entropy and Mind to ensure I'm profiting enough to make a decent living. And I can catch up on the forty bazillion shows, movies, and books I want to get to.

    Basically, it's the perfect suite to just kick back and enjoy the comfort and safety we already have; if lazy and decadent.

    For WtA.... that list is just too big with the number of insanely useful level 1 and 2 powers that have nothing to do with hurting people. Though Persuasion.... damn how I'd love that IRL.

    -------

    On the CtD front, I think people do need to remember the 'rules' would also include Realms, not just Arts. Something like Metamorphosis 1 only gets really crazy when you get into higher level Realms to go with it. Using it make your phone a newer model requires Prop 5, and thus shouldn't really be considered part of this. When you keep it to things covered by Prop 1 and 2... it's much less impressive (though still easily qualifies for this anyway).

    Leave a comment:


  • EndlessKng
    replied
    Originally posted by Dogstar View Post

    Note the key word in the rules you've quoted: plausible, also note that you can only change one discrete feature. None of the examples you gave in your original post, and that I said should be knocked back, meet either of those requirements - you were interpreting the rules quite favourably.
    Hate to say it... but the examples he gave were right there in the power. "Discrete" is really an imprecise word to use in the context of the power, since changing the model of the phone does change a lot of little things, but I would actually argue given the wording of the power that ignorance of those aspects is actually a benefit to using it - if you don't understand that there are a lot of little differences, just that this phone can do things better or that this is a ten-dollar bills and this is a hundred, that right there can be the "discrete" difference.

    And honestly, in a game balance sense, it isn't super broken. This isn't making a sword that shoots lasers or something game breaking (or rather, combat or encounter breaking) it's really about making little changes to enrich your life for comfort or enjoyment. Unless you are doing a game that is simulationist and the dollar values and phone model numbers have to be exact and you have to justify every dollar you spend on things, you aren't necessarily going to ruin the whole experience by spending a Glamour and making things change. That it would be absurdly power IRL doesn't break things in the game; hell, that wouldn't break the top ten list of things I have seen break the game in the last year of running a Chronicles of Darkness crossover larp that includes 2e changelings, mages, and beasts in the cast.

    The power absolutely could be worded better if that wasn't the intent, but from how it's written, assuming there wasn't an errata we are missing, Lian is right - that pretty much can do all they suggested. And it would be a really useful power irl as a result.
    Last edited by EndlessKng; 03-18-2019, 03:02 PM.

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  • Dogstar
    replied
    Originally posted by Lian View Post
    So no a "Sensible" sT who allows you to take the power shouldn't be going "Oh and it doesn't do any of the things the book says it does because... I"m sensible"
    Note the key word in the rules you've quoted: plausible, also note that you can only change one discrete feature. None of the examples you gave in your original post, and that I said should be knocked back, meet either of those requirements - you were interpreting the rules quite favourably.

    Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
    Total Situational Awareness (Correspondence 1, Entropy 1, Forces 1, Life 1, Matter 1, Mind 2, Spirit 1, Time 1)
    One word of caution - running all those effects together in M20 gets you quite a penalty:

    In game terms, each Rank 1 Sphere Effect in play adds a +1 difficulty to that character’s Perception-based rolls (+1 for one Effect, +2 for two Effects, and so on)

    From 'How Do You Do That' p53

    Eight different effects is a +7 penalty to Perception rolls - not exactly impressive...

    However individually the rank 1 effects are definitely very good, mages who overlook or dismiss them are missing out on a lot.
    Last edited by Dogstar; 03-18-2019, 02:22 PM.

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  • Lian
    replied
    Originally posted by Dogstar View Post

    I think you're massively overpowering that ability, any sensible ST would knock this down to size with a few simple points:

    Or the ST could litterally Read the power where those are examples given.

    This cantrip allows the changeling to set her target apart
    from himself, changing one fundamental feature into some
    plausible alternative. She could change a man into a woman,
    a redhead into a brunette, make a short woman tall, or a black
    man white. She could make a boggan into a nocker, a cheap
    pressboard table into gleaming mahogany, an oak tree into
    an elm tree, a black cat into a calico, a stick shift car into an
    automatic, or a five-dollar bill into a 100-dollar bill. The only
    restrictions on this metamorphosis are that the changeling
    may change only one fairly discrete physical feature about
    her target, and she must change it into an alternative feature
    that the target might reasonably possess. A person might be
    dark-skinned rather than light-skinned, but couldn’t generally
    be green-skinned, for example (some Kiths notwithstanding),
    a table might be made of teak rather than oak, but certainly
    wouldn’t be made of depleted uranium, and a car might be the
    2014 model rather than the 2009 model, but would never be
    able to fly or to contain ejector seats.

    So no a "Sensible" sT who allows you to take the power shouldn't be going "Oh and it doesn't do any of the things the book says it does because... I"m sensible"

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  • Possessed
    replied
    Even though it will mold your world view, especially your opinion on people, I gotta say that Daimoinon 1, Sense the Sin, can be extremely useful as my Revenant character has learned. But like said having it means you know how broken just about every person you meet really is and that can get tiring.

    Every level of Auspex is useful including the first two, Heightened Senses and Aura Perception, and both would be rather helpful in life.

    Personally I can see Valeren/Obeah level 1 to be extremely useful as well. Ability to sense or see what ails people and diagnose them on the spot. Level two of Obeah, Anasthetic Touch (or something similar), sounds really nice as well, take peoples pain away with a touch.

    Animalism 1 I could see to be a fun, and potentially useful, ability as well.

    I must say that Vicissitude 1, not to mention 2, would be just awesome. Ability to change minor, or major, things about yourself at will, and same for others at level 2. Coolest thing ever if combined with the Merit from Lore of the Clans, I think it is 2 point one that allows you to use Vicissitude to create cells that can alter their colour.

    Personally I think I would enjoy practical jokes with Obteberation 1 but whether it would be actually useful I’m not so sure.

    Protean 1, the ability to see in the dark. Simple and useful as hell.

    This is without touching any of the Blood sorceries which can be rather useful at 1 and give access to nice rituals as well.

    Just a few things from the top of my head. And of vampire this time due to me playing a Revenant at the moment and thus have been thinking of first level powers and their utility quite a bit.

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  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    Total Situational Awareness (Correspondence 1, Entropy 1, Forces 1, Life 1, Matter 1, Mind 2, Spirit 1, Time 1)

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