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Mages are nothing but prey to other Supernaturals?

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  • Mages are nothing but prey to other Supernaturals?

    So this came up in a thread on another forum and I figured I'd post this here to get some input from people more familiar with Mage than I am (I have most of the books, but have never actually gotten to play a Mage game). So I'm looking for thoughts on the following quote:
    Mages should never take it for granted that they can take on other supernatural creatures. They are human and, while they can temporarily modify themselves to become superhuman, do not have any innate supernatural capabilities. They are prey, not predators, and should never assume that they are anything but prey when they deal with other supernatural creatures. They should never get into fights with other supernatural creatures without proper preparation, should always avoid unnecessary fights with other supernatural creatures whenever possible, and should never fight fair against other supernatural creatures when they have to fight.
    This sounds incredibly incorrect to me, but being less familiar with the system I can't necessarily point out why. I do agree Mages are far, far better with preparation (sometimes unbeatable). But to say they "should never assume that they are anything but prey when they deal with other supernatural creatures"?

    In any case, I'm curious to get the Mage forum's perspective.




  • #2
    For the most part a Mage will assume that they are the top of the food chain though this is largely due to hubris. And with the proper preparation they probably are. They should not seek out combat with other supernaturals, or really anything else for that matter unprepared since they are human and therefore are frail compared to the other creatures who can soak lethal damage. This is also because most Mage are not violent predators. There are a few factions such as Akashics that are more equipped for violence but still they are not the equal to a werewolf on the spur of the moment. Again, if prepared its a whole nother story.

    Also, why should a Mage expose himself to dangerous combat when they can, with the right spheres sit in safety and dispatch their enemies. The Vampire elder does the same thing but through minions of lesser vampires and ghouls instead or magick. Does this make the vampire a lesser form of combatant?

    I seriously doubt that a werewolf would consider that an unseen Mage using Correspondence and Spirit to blast him with fire and lightning wherever he trys to hide (even through the Umbra) as "prey".

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    • #3
      Originally posted by idpersona View Post
      So this came up in a thread on another forum and I figured I'd post this here to get some input from people more familiar with Mage than I am (I have most of the books, but have never actually gotten to play a Mage game). So I'm looking for thoughts on the following quote:


      This sounds incredibly incorrect to me, but being less familiar with the system I can't necessarily point out why. I do agree Mages are far, far better with preparation (sometimes unbeatable). But to say they "should never assume that they are anything but prey when they deal with other supernatural creatures"?

      In any case, I'm curious to get the Mage forum's perspective.
      If my Etherite archmage with Arete 5 and, say, Spirit 5, Matter 5, Prime 5, Entropy 5, Forces 5, Life 4, Mind 4, Time 4 and Correspondence 3 goes to the supermarket, but forgot all his weird toys that he uses as foci and forgot his Prime enchanted Exo-Squeleton that allows him to walk in the fires of hell and squash armies of demons, he better not bump on his way on that neonate vampire that made him laugh when vowed to kill him and he let live because those threaths amuzed the mighty Mage.

      Our good archmage so full of Hubris will die at the hands of the neonate in the first round.

      Now, when said archmage is controlling his mighty Ethership, a Starship Class Omega that rivals the Qui La Machine of the Void Engeneers (and that has so many permanent Effects on the ship that the thing makes reality warp around it), he can vaporize entirely packs of Gurahls or Mokole simply by pressing one buttom... Or his "Iron Man" battlesuit (and Talisman full of bullshit permanent effects) makes him a good match for many metuselahs...

      But a naked Mage, is a lot less likely to win.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Karlgust View Post
        If my Etherite archmage with Arete 5 and, say, Spirit 5, Matter 5, Prime 5, Entropy 5, Forces 5, Life 4, Mind 4, Time 4 and Correspondence 3 goes to the supermarket, but forgot all his weird toys that he uses as foci and forgot his Prime enchanted Exo-Squeleton that allows him to walk in the fires of hell and squash armies of demons, he better not bump on his way on that neonate vampire that made him laugh when vowed to kill him and he let live because those threaths amuzed the mighty Mage.

        Our good archmage so full of Hubris will die at the hands of the neonate in the first round..
        On the other hand with a non-technomancer with those stats who can yell Enochian to turn the vampire into a vam-pyre (get it? Get it?), or even has dropped their first two instruments at that point and one of them happens to be the one they used to create fire..things look quite different.

        As usual with Mage, it hightly depends on the specific mage, the specific situation, the running effects, paradigm, how much time the Mage needs to achieve their results, who the enemies are, if the Mage can handle the kind of enemies well or actually has absolutely no method to...it depends, really, on a lot of subjective things, with the specific mage as the subject.

        Both, Karlgust and Tuch are quite correct, as is my example, but that exactly shows why that post from the other forum is way, way too generalizing and a crude blanket statement. There are Mages that are anything but prey.

        One thing is always true though: A Mage without any running effects, prepared wonders, permenant changes or magic at hand is just that - a human. When you strip everything away, they are just a human, most had a human upbringing and life before their awakening, and when they are young they all mostly still also think like normal humans, broadened view of reality or not.

        And it highly depends on a lot of variables if a Mage is stripped of everything or, as a matter of fact, is not.
        Last edited by Ambrosia; 01-21-2017, 03:20 PM.


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        • #5
          Karlgust Your etherite archmage with Arete 5 has already abandoned two of his foci and can just will miracles into existence.

          But really, that's why being a hermetic and using enochian spells as a focus is so good. You are never going to leave your tongue in your other trousers.

          idpersona Mages are tough. Very, very tough, especially if rules for ritual magic are being used. A chargen Life mage can easily run around with 5 in all physical and mental attributes and ability to soak Aggravate damage, all at a cost of spending a few days each month doing rituals. If said mage is an akashic, then the average ancilla Gangrel and his droogs who decide to bully said akashic will leave the fight as an artistic interpretation of a vampire centipede.

          But of course, that doesn't mean Mages are unbeatable. You still need to maintain those rituals so there are times when you are a vanilla mortal. Mind control works perfectly fine against most mages (though the older the mage the more likely he's to have Mind 1), and vampires have a shitton of mind control. Overwhelming alpha strike also works perfectly fine on mages. Buy ten AKs, unload full auto bursts in a drive-by.

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          • #6
            You'll hardly find a Mage in such situations thou... And the more powerful, the less likely. That máster Etherite, for example, even naked would have A LOT of permanent effects... His own body would be a relic (a living being with permanent magikal effects), since he knows every Sphere AND Time above 4 and Entropy above 3, his eyes would have nano cibernetical modifications, that allows him to see in infra red, ultra violet, sound waves sonar (like Batman in the Dark Knight), to detect any life pattern with hostile intencions and to detect any magick around, or any hostile spirit, and to know how far away that "hostile presence is"... Plus, that would auto activate at any moment that he could be endangered (every level 1 allows him to see... Well, basically, anything. If he asks, the ST describes to him - at details). That "spider sense" can detect ANY danger to him. Since he also has Entropy, that means this effect will always get on whenever he could be endangered in the near future.
            This Etherite don't need to do nothing to have that; it's a permanent boon he his from his ciborg eyes (or quantum brain chip, or whatever)... That effect is always on BY DEFAULT because it is a "talisman", a "magikal" item with a permanent always on effect.
            That means he can never be surprised.
            Never.
            Not only that, he will always know what's comming for him... Vampire, Werebeast, Mage... Hell, it's possible that by the time his ambushers get to him, he would know them better than themselves

            But hold on, because thats only what he would have with only the level 1 of Spheres.

            One of the things that make Mages ridiculously power, is the fact that they can make items with permanent effects. It doesn't matter that I only have 3 Arete dices, if Control gave me one of their highly experimental anti-matter portable blaster cannons that have a permanent 10 successes Forces 5 nuclear Ray, it will ALWAYS cause 21 aggravated damage on enemies.

            I may need a full day to make my luck ritual do give me more dices in one skill; but if I put that effect on my rabbit tail, I'll have that effect always on on me (and I don't take penalties for multiple effects). Besides, my Arete pool of 3 may grante only 2 successes at most of the best situations, buy I can accumulate 10 successes on my luck charm (and, once again, it will be always on).

            That's one of the reason that technocrats are so ridiculously overpowered... They simply use A LOT of magikal items... First of all, they have ridiculous amounts of Primium ON EVERYTHING. Secondly, a typical Hit Mark will have dozens of perm effects.

            Besides, if you piss the Etherite Archmage, he won't be the one knocking on your door. He will be sending his killer assassin automatons that can chew bubble gun while ripping Nexus Crawlers appart and that have 100 perm effects on them and a huge Prime battery with 50 quintessence points each (or even more, when I were ST on a Order of Reason/Technocracy game where my PC where part of Control, one of my PCs, a gabrielite, made a giant turtle with 5.000 thousands of periapts on it - quintessence batteries, so that thing could storage 250.000 quintessence points... He made the turtle into a Dimensional Traveler, and the creature had to feed on entire spiritual realms to fully recharge after spending some like half of it - that wasn't a problem thou.
            Another creation where a satelite with a might Ion cannon. Every 10 meters (roughly 10 yards) of lenght of the cannon, he placed a special eletromagnetic propelent ring. The Cannon, with 1 km (half a mile I guess), had 100 of those magnetic rings.
            Each one of them were enchanted with 10 aggravated damage. Each pulse of that thing consumed 100 quintessence (it needed A LOT of periapts - Tass bateries), but caused ONE THOUSAND AGGRAVETED damage by use

            EDIT: I forgot to say it were 1.000 damage per round in an 50 yards area at a high cost of 100 quintessence/round... Which wasn't really a problem, given their vast resources
            Last edited by Karlgust; 01-21-2017, 04:39 PM.

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            • #7
              At 3ed, you just start being able to abandon foci from Arete 6 and above... I don't know in M20 if that still stands, correct me if it isn't.

              Even so, at least for teachies, the ability to abandon foci were left at ST decision.

              Oh well, better toys, worse abilities... That's life...

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              • #8
                Maintaining permanent effects is not without its downsides, as you get permanent paradox for each effect you have.

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                • #9
                  Without any spells up, mages are effectively just mortal. Mages can certainly cast spells to do things, but this can often take time and requires some level of preparedness. Further, spell casting can often carry the risk of Paradox with it and not every mage can "hang" spells to let them come into effect later, and many don't want to suffer the Paradox from getting permanent spells.

                  Vampires, werewolves and such don't really have to worry about that quite as much, are often far more free to use their supernatural abilities without blowback, and their physical bodies are often a heck of a lot stronger than a mage's. Every Vampire (thanks to their ability to spend blood to increase their natural Attributes) and Werewolf (thanks to their shapeshifting) are going to be pretty damn powerful in a fight, straight out of the box.

                  In contrast Mages are often "Theoretical Schrodinger Boxes" - in theory a Mage can do anything and everything. In reality though, most mages don't have every Sphere at 5 and are going to be rather limited in how they can react and respond to a given opponent. One mage might be able to instantly destroy any Vampire, but most mages will probably find themselves in a bit of trouble if a Vampire suddenly decided to jump them in a dark alleyway.

                  As a result, in general, most mages probably are going to be "prey" to Vampires and Werewolves, with the understand that most Vampires and Werewolves are going to be prey to Archmages.

                  I think the real prey splat in the WoD wasn't Mages but rather Changelings, who had a lot of issues in tangling with other splats.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                    In reality though, most mages don't have every Sphere at 5 and are going to be rather limited in how they can react and respond to a given opponent. One mage might be able to instantly destroy any Vampire, but most mages will probably find themselves in a bit of trouble if a Vampire suddenly decided to jump them in a dark alleyway.
                    I have to disagree with this. A mage with one of the real spheres (i.e. Forces, Life or Matter) or Entropy has a virtually limitless toolbox even at level 3. Forces and Matter (and Life) cover literally everything that actually exists. The possibilities are endless.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
                      Maintaining permanent effects is not without its downsides, as you get permanent paradox for each effect you have.
                      Isn't that just for VULGAR effects? Like having attributes bellow 5 or making your harder to soak aggravated damage... I think that keeping a mind shield or "luck aura" doesn't generate that

                      Besides, you can circumvent that by placing those effects on wondrous creations... Artifacts, amulets, talismans, periapts, relics... All created using Prime. Those items can even "soak" or mitigate the paradox, and some rules at Forged at Dragon's Fire are very powerful options

                      Oh yes, you can also have familiars

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
                        I have to disagree with this. A mage with one of the real spheres (i.e. Forces, Life or Matter) or Entropy has a virtually limitless toolbox even at level 3. Forces and Matter (and Life) cover literally everything that actually exists. The possibilities are endless.
                        You have a lot of options, but at the same time you're still going to have a hard time battling something like a werewolf or a vampire. In general, dealing with a supernatural threat is not easy even for many mages. For example, to directly affect a werewolf with magic you generally need to both Life and Spirit (and possibly Prime too). A Matter mage or Life Mage or Forces mage could inflict some damage on a werewolf (possibly aggravated if the mage is a Matter mage who conjures something silver) but werewolves are pretty damn good at healing damage.

                        Meanwhile a very powerful mage would simply rip the werewolf's soul of his body and call it a day. When you're looking at the capabilities of high end Mages and low end Mages you're dealing with two very, very different power levels.

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                        • #13
                          I think permanent effects, vulgar or not, give paradox. But I could be wrong and can't be bothered to check.

                          Crafting wonders requires Prime 4 + sphere from which you want to draw the effect, so very few mages are capable of that. It's entirely possible that in the town of adventure no one is capable of that.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kammerer View Post

                            But really, that's why being a hermetic and using enochian spells as a focus is so good. You are never going to leave your tongue in your other trousers.
                            Not actually a certainty, given the WoD.

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                            • #15
                              Well, in WtA, Possessed have access to a Power called Homogeneity that cancels all effects in five yards on a Manipulation plus Occult roll (only opposable by the target's Willpower if the target understands what the Possessed is trying to do). You can recast the effect, but you are stripped until you can recast the effect.

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