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Any system to develop Rotes? also, do they become coincidental?

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  • Any system to develop Rotes? also, do they become coincidental?

    I read time ago that Rotes can be coincidered coincidental (even if they are quite blatant). is this truth? and second. how do you as a DM allow your players to develop Rotes? do you charge them exp?


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  • #2
    They should be for free ( as per m20 RAW ), but require time to learn and similar paradigm to comprehend them. They can be coincidental or vulgar but just like with normal magick it depends on the effect.

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    • #3
      Actually in M20, rotes are a roleplay thing. They do not require XP and do not have any game system benefits. Which is perfectly fine if you play Mage mostly as a narrative game (which is my case ^^).

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      • #4
        To be honest I'm not that sure what's the big deal with rotes anyway - they seem to be a described spell - one that players can emulate themselves if they want anyway ( provided it works with their paradigm and they have enough imagination to figure it out ) ?

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        • #5
          Rotes don't do anything special in M20. They are a good way to keep track of commonly used effects though, or effects that you might use one day and want to have a prepared write-up for them.

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          • #6
            Correct me if I am wrong, but would using an effect that is _not_ a rote involve the +1 TN modifier for Fast-Casting? Thus, there is a minor impact for rote vs. non-rote?

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            • #7
              Well... that's complicated. Rotes do remove the +1 difficulty modifier for fast-casting as their sole mechanical effect, but there's no explanation of what the line between fast-casting and not-fast-casting is. So it's a minor benefit at best.

              Of course part of the issue is that the game makes the setting as one where rotes matter, but the mechanics don't reflect it.

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              • #8
                As FrostFox said, no game mechanics in M20 concerning the rotes. Just a way to make more roleplay. It can also be a way for the ST to create stories. Indeed, the players could pursue a specific ritual to make some great magickal feat. They could find someone to teach them the ritual and share with them the knowledge. As a ST, I also use rotes as money for trade between Mages. Not all Mages pursue power in the form of Quintessence and of course if it is of great value, knowledge in its pure form is too.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                  Well... that's complicated. Rotes do remove the +1 difficulty modifier for fast-casting as their sole mechanical effect, but there's no explanation of what the line between fast-casting and not-fast-casting is. So it's a minor benefit at best.

                  Of course part of the issue is that the game makes the setting as one where rotes matter, but the mechanics don't reflect it.
                  "Rituals" remove that fast casting penalty as well and rituals don't have a minimum length so you could have a 1-turn ritual, no? There's too much stuff that's I'll-defined and vague.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                    Well... that's complicated. Rotes do remove the +1 difficulty modifier for fast-casting as their sole mechanical effect, but there's no explanation of what the line between fast-casting and not-fast-casting is. So it's a minor benefit at best.

                    Of course part of the issue is that the game makes the setting as one where rotes matter, but the mechanics don't reflect it.

                    Thanks much. I could easily understand the benefit of a rote in combat (fast-cast vs. non-fast-cast). Maybe using rotes as a requirement for making a wonder that duplicates it (since you're going to need to detail the effect anyway for the wonder)?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by FrostFox View Post
                      "Rituals" remove that fast casting penalty as well and rituals don't have a minimum length so you could have a 1-turn ritual, no? There's too much stuff that's I'll-defined and vague.
                      Depends on which of the ritual rules your using. M20 gives a few options some of which make this an option and others that don't, probably for the sake of preference of the group.

                      Originally posted by tzizimine View Post
                      Maybe using rotes as a requirement for making a wonder that duplicates it (since you're going to need to detail the effect anyway for the wonder)?
                      We'll have to see in the expanded Wonder rules that are supposed to come out. If they're an update of the Forged by Dragon's Fire ones, I wouldn't bother with another requirement for Wonder crafting. If you're using the loose core rules for it, I think it could make the game more interesting.

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                      • #12
                        How I've come to interpret Fast-Casting is how it sounds: it's casting spells very quickly. As in, using an Instrument and having the Effect go off in the same turn (or in any case much faster than the Instrument might call for). The increased difficulty comes from rushing the act of reality manipulation. A regular Effect requires at least a turn to do "right", and may indeed require much more than that (using a cauldron to literally brew up a storm might take several minutes, for example).

                        This is also why the M20 rule about Violence As Focus is so powerful. It says that the very act of using the Instrument is integral to the Effect, not just the cause of it. You fire the laser pistol, swipe with the blessed blade, or perform the Five Point Exploding Heart Technique with martial arts. In this case, the Fast-Casting penalty must be waived by the nature of the Effect you want to use.

                        A "Rote", in my view, is another name for an Effect (and M20 treats it this way for simplicity's sake). You use your Instruments in the way you believe you need to, and the magick happens. Whether this is off-the-cuff or a well-learned power is the same as the difference between a chef preparing a dish with their intuition and understanding of their ingredients, and a chef using a recipe. In the end, the result is basically the same, the Rote was just proven.

                        That said, I've considered whether a Rote can be used as a -1 to the difficulty, because it represents a well understood application of Sphere magick. This creates incentive for the Storyteller to be very exact about what a Rote requires (specific Instruments done in specific ways under specific circumstances in order to create a specific Effect), and for the players to roleplay the development and acquisition of new Rotes. If they do a particular Effect often, it behooves them to formalize it as a spell (or whatever the character calls it).

                        If they want to do a particular Effect they've never tried before, and want to minimize risk of it going wrong, they would do well to research the principle well before attempting (or finding a Rote for it already in existence). If they want to do a slight variation on that Rote's Effect, while also retaining the difficulty reduction, they need to go to the drawing board to modify the existing material into a new Rote (which a Storyteller could make easier to accomplish that inventing wholecloth). And if they don't have the right Instruments the Rote specifies (the Hermetic doesn't have a pendent stamped with the right Seal of Solomon), they forgo the Rote difficulty reduction and use Instruments on hand (the Hermetic compensates by speaking in Latin and gesturing), or they research a modified version of the Rote that circumvents the lack (the Hermetic FORMALIZES the use of speech and gestures).


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                        • #13
                          EDIT: I mostly agree with Bluecho, though I tend to treat “Rote” as “a particular Effect that the message is so familiar with that she can cast it instinctively” — or at the very least more effectively than usual.

                          In MRev, a distinction was drawn between “rote casting” (no difficulty penalty) and “fast casting” (+1 difficulty, and was presumed to include improvised castings). That perspective is unique to MRev: apparently, the developers of that edition were trying to give teeth to rotes that they felt were lacking in 2e; and when Brucato regained control of the line with M20, this was one of the previous edition's revisions that got summarily dropped.

                          If you're willing to get into house rules, I have some thoughts on the topic. The most relevant part is that if you want rotes to have a mechanical benefit, consider granting a new “Rote casting” -1 difficulty Magical Modifier when casting a rote.

                          I have another house rule with a different take on rotes, where they're treated as training wheels for inexperienced mages and even paradigm-appropriate “extraordinary citizens” but with their benefits diminishing as you progress through Arete and the Spheres so that Masters find them to be a complete waste of time.
                          Last edited by Dataweaver; 11-15-2016, 06:59 PM.


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