Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Updating and Expanding Sorcerer

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Updating and Expanding Sorcerer

    The purpose of this thread is to explore ways to take the Hedge Magic system and bring it fully into the x20 era.

    Full disclosure: I'm posting this in the Classic World of Darkness forum instead of the Mage forum because I prefer to treat Hedge Magic as something distinct from the metaphysics of Mage: the Ascension and just as suitable for use in crossovers with Vampire, Werewolf, Wraith, Changeling, or on its own as with Mage: part of the idea is that sorcerers ought to be able to serve as dangerous antagonists against the various Night People; so I'm not particularly interested in rules that are designed to make them secondary to any one gameline. I'm viewing this as a companion piece to my Acolyte Magic thread, with the idea being that Acolyte Magic represents proto-mages who unknowingly draw upon Mage's metaphysics while sorcerers represent people who have tapped into sources of power extant to the World of Darkness rather than expressing an innate human potential to change reality. For this purpose, I'm reserving "linear mage" as a term to refer to some sort of Acolyte Magic system, while all other terms traditionally associated with Hedge Magic still apply to it.

    As such, my inclination is to use the fluff from World of Darkness: Sorcerer and most of the mechanics from Sorcerer Revised, excluding only the "magic automatically fails in the presence of mundane witnesses" (I prefer the first edition's treatment of this as an optional rule to the revised edition's treatment of it as a requirement) and the inclusion of psychic powers: this is specifically about hedge magic, not about "all kinds of Numina". If ther's interest, I'll see about setting up a similar thread to discuss ways to update and expand psychic phenomena.

    Given my desire not to treat Sorcerer as a Mage supplement, it's ironic that the first option I'm going to propose (to get the ball rolling) involves incorporating an element of M20 into sorcery: namely…

    Practices. Sorcerer already includes the use of Instruments by hedge wizards as a necessary part of their magic; it only makes sense to incorporate a Practice as well, as a way of providing a framework for the use of those Instruments. With this option, every sorcerer must select one Practice from M20 to represent the style of magic he, well, practices. Whenever the sorcerer first picks up a Path, he should choose a suitable Attribute + Ability pair (confirmed by the Storyteller) with the Ability being drawn from his Practice's list of Associated Abilities, and the Attribute fitting the nature of the Practice (e.g., shamanism might end up using Social Attributes, given the shaman's focus on serving as a mediator); that becomes the Path's dice pool. For backward compatibility, assume that if no Practice is specified, it defaults to High Ritual; and treat the listed dice pools as suggestions for use with the High Ritual Practice. With this change, Hedge Magic ceases to be primarily about stock magicians and expands to easily cover alchemists, chaos magicians, craftsmen, priests, mad scientists, shamans, witches, and more.



  • #2
    (reposting as requested, I'll throw some more stuff out here later)

    Well, one advantage I found is that the Sorcerer is a bit of a specialist. One player in an online game was really jealous of the fact that I brought in a Sorcerer with mid-high level Shapeshifting while she was saving and saving for everything she needed for her character to start doing the same thing.

    As far as building them up a bit, some of the things I tend to push for are:

    1) Kill the 'no ritual' classification. For an XP break, maybe allow ritual purchases in a Path to count toward the next level of the Path.
    2) Allow for related powers to be purchased without penalty, rather than segregate them into 'Psychic' and 'Magic'. (IE, a Shaman taking Astral Projection and Ephemera without penalties.) This has already been somewhat done. If you look at Inquisition, the 'Via' include the basic paths, and then Via Ignis which functions more like a psychic ability. Gypsies (in many ways, 1st Edition Sorcerer) pretty freely moved between 'instant' powers and ritualized powers.
    3) Allow for 'Mana' to be purchased and increased via XP.

    But really, the problem I've found isn't power levels or utility as much as a player issue, similar to the divide with Fera in Werewolf. Some Mage players / STs just can not stand the idea of Sorcerer, at all. Some don't like Mage because of the complexities, but love Sorcerer as a simpler way to bring magic into a game.

    Comment


    • #3
      On your second point, it's worth noting that Hedge Magic's spells already serve as a sort of "instant powers". And IIRC, Via Ignis made its way into Sorcerer as the Path of Hellfire.

      You're right about that last point: we should be careful to avoid overcomplicating Sorcerer, as one of its main draws is that it isn't overcomplicated.

      Looking forward to further feedback and suggestions.


      Comment


      • #4
        Hellfire still requires tools, implementation, and time. Even at max level, Via Ignis is just spend a WP and the power starts. (Though I had played one character that would anoint a blade with his own blood to start it.)

        Comment


        • #5
          As I mentioned in the other thread
          Maybe if you removed the WP cost and took all the dot ratings down a step.
          By removing the WP cost, Sorcerers can cast as often as they need to, like Mages, with the main risk being that they could botch. That's a big thing, normally, that WP cost, because even though there's ways to get around it, they're complicated and only work for 2 levels below your max, if I recall (book isn't open right now). Plus, that makes things simpler; there's no WP negation mechanic to be confused by because there's no WP to negate.

          By moving the powers down a step in requirement, the power levels more closely match up to what other creatures (Mages, Vampires, etc) can do at similar levels; full shapeshifting at 4 dots, for instance, and ranged hellfire attacks with 1 dot. The mechanics there are pretty simple; just lower the dot ratings and combine the first dot into the second where appropriate (meaning you have either option), or override when not. For instance, for S/B/W you'd combine Levels 1 and 2 into what you can do at Level 1, but with, say, Conveyance, you just override dot 1 to be a 100 foot limit, as quickly as if you drove, with up to 20 pound of stuff.

          I'd still have Sorcery fail on large public scales like animating the statue of liberty or the like, but not for throwing a fireball down the street, even if it's pretty packed (That should be more of a social issue for you to deal with).

          I like the idea of using practices for them, and as a way to define the abilities they use. Can then remove the focus on, er, foci, as it's more about how they do it than the specific tools involved, for Sorcerers.

          I also agree about killing the 'no ritual' classification. If you want a closed power set that's just easy to use, that's what psychic powers are for, and those no ritual powers have always confused me in that I can see a bunch of potential rituals that could be used there and that are blocked for no good reason.


          EDIT: I'd also personally remove the '1 turn per dot level' casting time some (most) paths use, and use make it a base of 1 turn, with the typical extended rules if you want more than 1 roll.
          Last edited by falco1029; 06-18-2015, 08:23 PM.



          Storytellers' Vault supplements (WoD, CoD)
          My Patreon! (CofD bonuses include: Fae Sorcery/Technomancy for Vampires, Quick Conversion for Inferno, and more!)

          Comment


          • #6
            Following this even if it's old. I'm very interested in using this as the basis for magic in my games. I like Mage but the magic system is too open for my purposes.

            Comment


            • #7
              I definitely haven't forgotten this thread. I merely haven't had access to either edition of Sorcerer in order to evaluate the suggestions.

              It occurs to me that if falco1029's suggestions were to be implemented, you'd either have to settle for each Path only having four levels or you'd have to make up a fifth dot out of whole cloth. Maybe, instead of dropping the dot levels by one, we should just acknowledge that level-to-level, Path powers are weaker than the major splats — and price them accordingly, so that a sorcerer gets to buy more?

              I do like the notion that sorcerers generally don't need to spend Willpower to activate their magic. Maybe pair that with an option that lets you spend Willpower in order to boost the spell somehow…

              I also like the suggestion to shorten the casting times, with the option of extended casting if you want to take more time.

              But again, I don't have my books handy; so I can't do a proper review right now.

              Are there any specific spells, rituals, or even paths that need to be rethought?


              Comment


              • #8
                One thing to keep in mind is that (IIRC) a Ritual could be bought to one level higher than the character's Path (in most cases). I actually allowed that cost to go toward the purchase of the next level.

                Anti-Psi, to gel with a psychic getting 5-6 points. (IE, an off switch.)

                Summoning, Binding, and Warding. Various forms of these were merged in order to streamline. However, it seems to be the one that got the most head scratching post Sorcerer-Revised. I can see this needing quite a bit of space to cover Necromancy, Ephemera, Cyber Summoning, and Physical.

                Some extra love for some non-fire versions of Hellfire.

                I'm sure a few Paths could use some 'style customization', IE, Dr. Moraeu pretty much inverted Shapeshiftings path ratings.

                Alchemist / Enchanter as a style vs as a Path. Or perhaps as a compliment to Paths. IE, Prof X building Cerebro.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'd be inclined to fold Alchemist and Enchantment together into a single Path, and then to make the contents of that Path sensitive to the magician's chosen Practice. For instance, you might phrase it in terms of Instruments: say, Enchantment/Alchemy lets you put magic directly into a physical instrument (matching the selection of Instruments associated with your Practice), such that anyone can use it. Possibly use “spell factors” to determine how long enchantments last, how many times they can be used, and so on, with your “dot rating” in the Path “merely” determining how quickly you can gather the necessary successes; then supplement that with a catalog of effects that you can enchant into your Practice's instruments. Possibly associate each such Ritual with another Path, with the idea that if you know the associated Path, the enchantments in question are much cheaper to learn.

                  Certainly though, Alchemy is a Practice. Paths studied by an Alchemist would generally represent alchemical workings he can implement on the spot, while Enchantment would let him mix up something a bit more permanent. That said, Enchantment would likely be the primary Path studied by an alchemist.

                  Yeah; I could go with that.


                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                    I definitely haven't forgotten this thread. I merely haven't had access to either edition of Sorcerer in order to evaluate the suggestions.

                    It occurs to me that if falco1029's suggestions were to be implemented, you'd either have to settle for each Path only having four levels or you'd have to make up a fifth dot out of whole cloth. Maybe, instead of dropping the dot levels by one, we should just acknowledge that level-to-level, Path powers are weaker than the major splats — and price them accordingly, so that a sorcerer gets to buy more?

                    I do like the notion that sorcerers generally don't need to spend Willpower to activate their magic. Maybe pair that with an option that lets you spend Willpower in order to boost the spell somehow…

                    I also like the suggestion to shorten the casting times, with the option of extended casting if you want to take more time.

                    But again, I don't have my books handy; so I can't do a proper review right now.

                    Are there any specific spells, rituals, or even paths that need to be rethought?
                    On the sorcery side, in the sorcerer revised book at least, all paths have 6 dots, which is why I had the idea to compress them into 5 like everyone else, both strengthening and standardizing in one go.



                    Storytellers' Vault supplements (WoD, CoD)
                    My Patreon! (CofD bonuses include: Fae Sorcery/Technomancy for Vampires, Quick Conversion for Inferno, and more!)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      shouldn't paths cost less xp than spheres? after all the guy making the description explicitly states they are easier to learn

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        They are expensive because they are available to everyone and require a huge commitment of time and resources to actually learn. The Spheres are harder to learn because the entry level for spheres is a whole different game.


                        What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                          I'd be inclined to fold Alchemist and Enchantment together into a single Path, and then to make the contents of that Path sensitive to the magician's chosen Practice. For instance, you might phrase it in terms of Instruments: say, Enchantment/Alchemy lets you put magic directly into a physical instrument (matching the selection of Instruments associated with your Practice), such that anyone can use it. Possibly use “spell factors” to determine how long enchantments last, how many times they can be used, and so on, with your “dot rating” in the Path “merely” determining how quickly you can gather the necessary successes; then supplement that with a catalog of effects that you can enchant into your Practice's instruments. Possibly associate each such Ritual with another Path, with the idea that if you know the associated Path, the enchantments in question are much cheaper to learn.

                          Certainly though, Alchemy is a Practice. Paths studied by an Alchemist would generally represent alchemical workings he can implement on the spot, while Enchantment would let him mix up something a bit more permanent. That said, Enchantment would likely be the primary Path studied by an alchemist.

                          Yeah; I could go with that.
                          I remember one game I was in with an 'Alchemist' style character, we moved the 'casting time' into 'prep time' and dropped the cost of 'holding' spells for the sake of simplicity. (He did have to have specially crafted containers for his elixers, or the magic would decay over the course of a month.)

                          In another, I was allowed to create magical items related to the characters path without having to buy Enchantment or Alchemy.

                          I've also had an ST require both Healing Path and Herbalism path to create a salve.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            To clarify: I think it should be entirely possible to be an alchemist without being able to make what are traditionally called elixirs, potions, etc. For instance, if your Practice is Alchemy and you take the Path of Healing, you'd use brews and potions, formulae, and laboratories to heal someone; those are your instruments. But without a Path of item-making (whatever you end up calling it), you wouldn't be able to make brews and potions that have an inherent ability to heal someone, that can be stored and used at a later date or passed around.


                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I actually have some houserules typed out somewhere for Sorcerer 20 but it was based mostly on Mage Revised and the the whole Arete not sucking ass thing. Way I did it was say you use Willpower to cast spells but you also have the Mana background (which doubles as Avatar rating) to help with that. Mana Manipulation thus became essential. Casting was done with Path Rating + Ability. You could cast spells at your Rating-1 without willpower. Each success was akin to Mage's. Though it could vary for Path. Like Hellfire was basically Forces but you could only toss up to twice your rating in dice of damage (Used dice instead of levels because everything else in OWoD pretty much does dice and dice are more fair). Rituals I treated like rotes, very practiced spells that do their job well. No xp for getting them and you get some amount per dot for free, rest need training time.
                              I also let mages learn sorcery, and to mix them together with their true magick, which made order of hermes maged and technocrats scary as all hell. Players did love it.


                              Check out my Sorcerer 20th homebrew and my update to Highlander: the Gathering for 20th Anniversary edition.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X