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Are Hedge Magics too miscellaneous?

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  • Are Hedge Magics too miscellaneous?

    https://whitewolf.fandom.com/wiki/Sorcery_(WOD)

    Almost all major lines have their own hedge magic book. I know that’s because WW wants players of every single line can start their own Sorcerer game, but to be honest I think it’s too overlapping and surplus

  • #2
    They used to try uniting it (Sorcerer 1st edition), but may end not that successfully

    For me I always think Sorcerer Revised is the best hedge magic book. Although it’s a Mage stuff and concerns much with it, this is not a big problem

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Rock113 View Post
      They used to try uniting it (Sorcerer 1st edition), but may end not that successfully

      For me I always think Sorcerer Revised is the best hedge magic book. Although it’s a Mage stuff and concerns much with it, this is not a big problem
      The biggest problems for sorcerers(super-humans in general) is that they're nerfed hard compared to big supernaturals and white wolf seemed to want to double-down on that rather than make sorcerers able to be their own thing. Campare sorcerer revised to kinfold: a breed apart and hunters hunted 2, the paths given in the later 2 books are several steps down from what was presented in the former and sorcerer revised began with an number of unnecessary nerfs compared to WOD: Sorcerer.

      Their's also an inherent problem with the mechanics. It's obvious they were trying to make sorcery feel more diverse and free-form than vampire discipines or garou gifts without being a clone of mage spheres, but the way they go about doing that is clunky and frustrating. Players have to declare before rolling what dot-level their character is using on a spell to determine the difficulty, number of Turns it takes to cast, and to figure out how many successes the character can place into any of the spells aspects. This means that casting lower level spells leads to a lot of extra successes that a player can't use and casting higher level spells makes the player unable to get the number of successes they need to actually use the higher levels of aspects. This also means that players have to spend massive amounts of mana just to use their powers and even then they'll get paisted by Any other supernatural because they're the only splat that requires multiple turns to use all of their abilities.

      An example of sorcerer play goes like such: Player one has path of conjuration 5 and 10 dice to roll, which on any other splat would make them pretty formidable. In order for them to cast a spell they first need to determine the level they're casting at. If Player A casts at 5 dots, they roll at a difficulty of 9, must spend 5 turns casting, and average at 2 successes without spending mana(not nearly enough to get Any aspect to 5). If they spend mana(which is a background, so you can't raise it with XP unless the storyteller takes pity on you), at Max mana background they can lower the difficuly by up to -3(down to 6, average successes now 4-5) and "add" two successes in a reverse version of the mage threshold system, bringing the average up to 6-7. After spending 5 turns and expending all of their mana on hand, the things the sorcerer can do are Still unimpressive because a resisting humanoid increases the difficulty by +2 and successes are split between aspects(so you couldn't move that human very far even if they weren't resisting).

      If player B had only the 1st level, they'd roll 10 dice at difficulty 5, but only be able to use 1 success for all apsects(and the first success counts as 1 success for all aspects). Meaning they're left with a excess amount of successes they can't use.

      A better solution would have been to tie the "power" aspect of paths to their dot level and uncap the number of successes they can spend on other aspects(and dump the multi-turn requirement into a fire). In this way player A casting at path 5 would roll at difficulty 9, but could always move an object the size of an elephant or a resisting humanoid as long as they got at least 1 success. On the other hand, Player B may only have been able to move around coins, but they could use their success to move those coins up to 50 miles away, move up to 500 of them, or give that coin a mind of it's own to defend the conjurer.
      Last edited by Prometheas; 09-28-2020, 06:23 AM.

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      • #4
        First, I tend to use the term 'numina' even though that technically describes powers humans have that other supernaturals usually don't, outside certain exceptions like the Bastet or Thin Bloods. Hedge magic (along with psychic powers and Faith) are considered kinds of numina IIRC.

        Second, I think much of it depends on what you're goals are and the hedge magic stuff can serve lots of purposes:

        - It's a way to achieve 'hybrid' characters in a storyteller system while keeping the systems separate and triggering certain author's biases (remember that 'samuel Haight' in-joke). Sure, sorcery isn't as powerful as sphere magic, but more people can use hedge magic.

        - It gives a non-Hunter/Imbued way of giving normal humans a leg up over vampires. It doesn't make them equals (which again also fits with why sorcery doesn't match up with the dedicated powers of other storylines. Its not meant to) but it can give them an edge (no pun intended.) Although if you consider humanity's numbers.. enough application of numina on a larger scale CAN make such a difference.

        It may seem odd, but it's fair noting that in HtR the imbued were mostly NOT supposed to go toe to toe with supernaturals either (and if you were able to, you probably had become akin to what you hunted and quite deranged to boot, so you'd be as much a threat in the eyes of others as the things you opposed.)

        - To a lesser degree It might give you a way to simulate other systems without having that system on hand or using the setting's own supernatural elments (EG vampire disciplines to imitate True Magick.)

        - It covers a gamut of things that don't really fit with the existing 'large' systems all that well, which is kinda why its a hodgepodge.


        I'm also pretty sure Sorcerer: Revised had options that allowed you to tweak hedge magic to make it more powerful (and competitive) with the other lines, even if it wasn't recommended (risk of powergaming, eroding thematic qualities of story, etc.)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mister_Dunpeal View Post

          ...It may seem odd, but it's fair noting that in HtR the imbued were mostly NOT supposed to go toe to toe with supernaturals either (and if you were able to, you probably had become akin to what you hunted and quite deranged to boot, so you'd be as much a threat in the eyes of others as the things you opposed.)
          "Hunters hunted" 1 and 2 aren't a "Hunter" splat books, they're VTM splat books for playing normal humans fighting vampires. Neither book has anything to do with the imbued. Sorcerers also aren't imbued and don't have the "uniting weak humans against strong supernaturals" theme that HtR had.

          Second, the sorcery paths were presented as updated versions of sorcerer revised paths, but with a number on nerfs onto a system that was already much weaker than a "normal" splat's abilities. Personally, I like sorcerers better than mages because they have less problems with powergaming and make crossovers easier, but the continued nerfs make them less useful and nearly unplayable in some cases.

          Originally posted by Mister_Dunpeal View Post
          I'm also pretty sure Sorcerer: Revised had options that allowed you to tweak hedge magic to make it more powerful (and competitive) with the other lines, even if it wasn't recommended (risk of powergaming, eroding thematic qualities of story, etc.)
          Which I kind of hate sorcerer revised for. The WoD: Sorcerer book treated sorcerers as their own splat the same way mummies and wan kuei were their own splats, but Sorcerer Revised treats them like wannabe mages in the same vein as ghouls to vampires or kinfolk to garou. It's a massive change in direction as opposed to mummy and KotE who got expanded upon and buffed in many ways.

          Maybe the original splat stepped on Mage's toes too much for the author that took it over, but I don't think nerfing it into the ground fits what the original book was going for.

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          • #6
            I prefer a single resource for all game lines like the original WoD: Sorcerer book. I get a lot of use of that. I've never run a Sorcerer game. I've only ever used them for NPCs in other chronicles (and not as NPCs related to the main groups; but potential antagonists and others outside that gameline's "community"). I like how we have traditional magic, psychic powers, and religious miracles. It covers all the bases.

            I generally give any NPC who has such powers only a few paths appropriate to their role. I don't try to beef them up like they're D&D wizards or make them equal to the others. I only give them what's needed to fit their concept.

            I like the many paths because there are many potential inspirations for NPCs. I don't use all the Paths. Some I think directly go against certain aspects of the setting - Shapechanging and Hellfire are just too blatant for what they are trying to do. But most of the powers are subtle enough I think they emulate the kind of low key magic expects in a world of gothic horror.

            I think Sorcerer Revised for Mage expanded things a bit too much, and I'd pare down some of the excess from that. Certain powers, like Psychic Vampirism, while based on real modern day supernatural lore are vastly overpowered. But if you keep them extremely limited in numbers, I could find still them useful as a specific plot as opposed to a general setting element.

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            • #7
              I think Sorceries are "tricks" rather than "magics", they can give you some minor abilities but by no means much. Of course it's what WW wants to do

              And 5 to 6 is a break point for most of them. In level 5 you are still trick, you are only equal to level 3 true supernatural powers. But in 6 it is quite different. Alchemy for example, 6 dots may give you true immortality

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Rock113 View Post
                I think Sorceries are "tricks" rather than "magics", they can give you some minor abilities but by no means much. Of course it's what WW wants to do

                And 5 to 6 is a break point for most of them. In level 5 you are still trick, you are only equal to level 3 true supernatural powers. But in 6 it is quite different. Alchemy for example, 6 dots may give you true immortality
                I wouldn't say level 5 sorceries are equal to level 3 powers. Alchemy 5 for example, which let's you copy level 3 powers, let's you temporarily copy multiple powers from most supernaturals at the same time. That includes gifts, disciplines, certain rotes, shintai, psychic powers, and mummy spells, which can make for a veritable arsenal of abilities and weird synergies.

                I'd actually put sorceries as roughly equal to thaumaturgy paths and weaker than typical vampire disciplines or garou gifts.
                Last edited by Prometheas; 10-01-2020, 03:55 AM.

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