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Why would anyone pick Chi Healing?

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  • Why would anyone pick Chi Healing?

    I have never read M20 cover to cover, so I usually discover bits and pieces of information sporadically.

    So, I just want to make sure I understand this correctly. As far as I can tell, M20 has Life 2 and Life 3 function identically to Revised in regards to how healing works.
    as in, roll reverse damage, quintessence is needed per point of aggravated damage.

    Then I look at HDYDT and see this bit on "Chi Healing (pp.65).
    From what I can tell, the only difference this rote has on standard healing is "requires Prime 2 now". That's it, no extra benefit, not any more subtle than regular magic healing, it just requires more spheres and costs quintessence now.

    So... why?

    Is it supposed to be a paradigm thing where if you believe in Chi, then this is the ONLY way you believe you can heal someone? If so then is it basically like that whole "I'm a Shaman, all sickness is spirits, I need Spirit magic to assist in healing you" thing?

    Does that mean that Akashic healers always need Prime to heal themselves with Life 2? And if not, then why wouldn't they just do conventional Life 2 healing? What else are they getting out of it with Prime?

    I want to know if I'm missing something here, if it's because they want Prime to be a prerequisite for Warrior Monks now, or if it really is just a case of superfluous sphere bloat.

    What's going on here?
    Last edited by Saikou; 02-07-2017, 08:33 PM.


    Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running UPDATE Chapter 29: The Calm

  • #2
    I sincerely doubt you are missing anything. That's one of at least four places where HDYDT needlessly complicates things.


    Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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    • #3
      Yeah, HDYDT has some good ideas, but a lot of ideas that needlessly complicate magick. In most cases, those complications either make the Effects described overall weaker or more costly, or else punish players who don't invest in other Spheres. It's the same reason why I don't care for the concept of "locking an Effect" using Pattern Spheres. Mage: The Ascension is complicated enough to run, without more heaped onto it.

      On another note, the concept of requiring the conjunctional use of Spheres, simply because Paradigm demands it, is a point of contention with this book. Most damning being the fact that it goes against the logic of the Sphere system itself. The entire reason we use Spheres is out of abstraction and universality. Regardless of a Mage's Focus - what they belief, what their methodology is, what tools they use - they all employ the Spheres, because it all comes from the same place. Granted, the Spheres are themselves a Paradigm, but it's less important to the characters themselves than it is for the players, who need hard mechanics to use. If Mages want to heal, a Hermetic pulls out a wand dedicated to Venus, a Dreamspeaker rattles a gourd and sings a prayer to the spirits, an Etherite employs an invigorating serum, a Chorister lays on hands and utters a prayer, a Virtual Adept hacks the person's body and sets their "HP" up a few points, and, yes, an Akashic performs a breathing exercise to get the Chi flowing. But they all use Life 2 or Life 3, because that's how the game is designed to accommodate disparate magickal styles.

      Brucato and whoever else worked on HDYDT have confused this elementary fact, by bleeding matters of Focus - Paradigm, Practice, and Instruments - into the game mechanics. We don't have Process Based Determinism, or even Results Based Determinism. Now we have Focus Based Determinism. And that's unfair to the player who wants to play a character of a particular group - like the Akashayana - but is suddenly saddled with additional requirements for all Effects based on an arbitrary decision by the game designers. Etherites and NWO agents can also use Martial Arts as Focus for their Effects, but they obviously don't need to add Prime to it, or spend Quintessence. In the latter case, the Akashic suddenly has to manage valuable mystical resources his out-Tradition compatriots don't. And in the former case, the Akashic player must divert two Sphere dots - a third of their starting allotment - just to do the same thing other players get with just Life. And while they could use Prime 2 for a number of things in and of themselves, it's also two dots taken away from whatever else the character may have wanted to do. If the player must take Life 2 and Prime 2 to do any kind of self-heal, that's only two dots they can spend on Mind, or Forces, or Time, or any other Sphere the player may have wanted. One dot, if the player takes Life 3 so they can heal others. Not even mentioning the likely need to invest background dots in Node. Neither Spheres nor Nodes are cheap to buy in-game, so forcing that expenditure means a great deal.

      If it were me, I'd just as well say forget the Chi requirements nonsense. Chi is nothing but Quintessence or an abstraction of the character's Paradigm, and they use the same mechanics to accomplish the same ends as everyone else. Only the tools and techniques differ, as is how the game is intended. Anything else is needlessly discriminatory against Akashics.


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      • #4
        Its the same with Dreamspeakers and Spirit but at least that was presented as optional. Chi healing should have been presented as optional too.

        I never understood it in the first place but I think Bluecho hit the nail on the head with what hapens when belief is turned into game mechanics. It sounds like a great idea, but in practice it really screws thing up.

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        • #5
          This is how it should work:

          Akashics

          Effect: Chi Healing.

          Paradigm - with the right concentration, you can change the internal flow of Chi of a living target, healing his body

          Mechanics - the Akashic uses Life 2 to change his own internal Chi flow, or Life 3 to change the internal Chi of others.

          It's not PRIME. Likewise

          Dreamspeakers

          Effect: Spiritual Healing.

          Paradigm - using the spiritual energies at his command, the Shaman heals the target.

          Mechanics - the Shaman uses Life (2 or 3) to direct the spiritual energies (or entities) into doing the healing.

          No real spirit is being summoned, and no ether is being manipulated (directly at least). It's Life all along, the Akashic simply believes the change comes from an etherial manipulation (and it may well be, but he do that manipulation using life alone, changing the etherial pattern directly on the life pattern), and the Shaman believes his change is obtained by spiritual energies (and it may even be, but that spiritual change is made changing the life pattern of the target, the Shaman touches the spiritual energies of his flesh using his knowledge of Life, he is not ACTUALLY reaching in the Umbra to do it, but rather he is dealing DIRECTLY with the spiritual potential of his material flesh)

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          • #6
            What I took from the Spirit rules for Dreamspeakers and the Prime rules for Chi-users is something to excuse a very... permissive paradigm?

            Like, "I ask Spirits for help" is a very... flexible paradigm. There are Spirits for EVERYTHING. Same with Religious Paradigms. One possible choice is:

            - If a Paradigm relies on outside help which is hyper-flexible, then the user must match everything with Spirit.

            - If a Paradigm relies on manipulation of energies which are hyper-flexible, then the user must match everything with Prime.

            The issue with this, however, is that those are things you'd want anyways... I do feel like the Mage system should have some kind of system to deal with "The Paradigm of Changing Things with Aesthetic X", when compared with "The Paradigm of Changing Things in a Specific (and sometimes difficult) Way with Aesthetic X". But necessitating certain Spheres isn't the fix.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
              What I took from the Spirit rules for Dreamspeakers and the Prime rules for Chi-users is something to excuse a very... permissive paradigm?

              Like, "I ask Spirits for help" is a very... flexible paradigm. There are Spirits for EVERYTHING. Same with Religious Paradigms. One possible choice is:

              - If a Paradigm relies on outside help which is hyper-flexible, then the user must match everything with Spirit.

              - If a Paradigm relies on manipulation of energies which are hyper-flexible, then the user must match everything with Prime.

              The issue with this, however, is that those are things you'd want anyways... I do feel like the Mage system should have some kind of system to deal with "The Paradigm of Changing Things with Aesthetic X", when compared with "The Paradigm of Changing Things in a Specific (and sometimes difficult) Way with Aesthetic X". But necessitating certain Spheres isn't the fix.
              The Paradigm is not the same as the foci. Following your examples, there are spirits for everything, but there isn't one single, unified way to deal with them all.

              Lets take another example: psychic powers.

              Ok, my Progenitor believes himself a psyonic that can change the very continuum of space/time with the power of his mind.

              First of all, when he puts his hand on his forehead and press his eyes in order to open a portal home, or to transmutate water into liquid gold or to levitate an object, he is not using the Sphere Mind to "unlock" his mental powers to allow using the effects. No, he is just concentrating, according his Paradigm, using his raw willpower in a pure Corr, Matter and Forces, respectively, effects. No Mind AT ALL being used for those.

              Secondly... No ST needs to allow that HIS ONLY FOCUS FOR EVERYTHING have to be holding your head and pressing your eyes

              A psyonic can have many other foci:

              - Enhancement drugs, that he needs in order to do some effects
              - Special technologies (tinfoil hats LOL)
              - Special technics (dances, meditative prayers, gesture, yoga positions, breathing exercizes, maybe the psionic need to look at water, on a mirror, or maybe he needs some sort of self hipnotic state - like watching color discs rotating, etc)

              The same restrictions applies for Shamans and Chi monkeys - necessity of incenses, sacrifices, special meditation, festering, special prayers, and so on

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              • #8
                A classic example: professor Xavier from X men is a powerful psychic, even so however, there are some things that he cannot do without the help of the technological enhancer called "The Brain"

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Saikou View Post
                  So... why?
                  This is one of the places where, when reading HDYDT?, I couldn't help but roll my eyes and say, "for fucksake...".

                  I was playing an Akashic at the time HDYDT? came out, and as such I'd read anything and everything Akashic I could get my hands on, to improve the character and how I roleplayed her. That one little rule pretty much invalidates the entire Akashic paradigm. Especially since, going by any reasonable, logical route to justify the Akashic paradigm in light of that rule, their specialty spheres should be Prime and Mind, not Life and Mind.

                  And, hilariously enough, for as Spirit-heavy Dreamspeakers are, they aren't as handicapped as Wu Lung are by the animistic/shamanic requisites by half and again.

                  You're better off ignoring it all. Especially since that ruling is quite arbitrary and hit-and-hit...and hit...certain paradigms/groups. Don't see a requirement for "it's all a simulation" type foci to have Data no matter what, do ya?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Theodrim View Post
                    You're better off ignoring it all. Especially since that ruling is quite arbitrary and hit-and-hit...and hit...certain paradigms/groups. Don't see a requirement for "it's all a simulation" type foci to have Data no matter what, do ya?
                    The only thing similar to this for "it's all an illusion" is all the rotes in Digital Web 2.0 which require Forces to move the data around. Difference is that this is only for this environment, and everyone in the Digital Web gets a boost to Forces magic (which will operate at 1 sphere rank above what the mage has max 5) and in order to do anything they have to shift their focus to something analogous to the Data paradigm anyway.


                    Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running UPDATE Chapter 29: The Calm

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                    • #11
                      Or you should require ALL Euthanatoi to always use Entropy 2 with every effects to match their "Fortune Paradigm"

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                      • #12
                        And then you'd just be saying "All people who use Paradigm X need Sphere X", but that isn't Balancing anything since those Spheres are still very useful.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
                          And then you'd just be saying "All people who use Paradigm X need Sphere X", but that isn't Balancing anything since those Spheres are still very useful.
                          It's also still unfair to the player, as it requires them to invest two Sphere dots from their starting allotment in a specific place, taking them away from whatever the player might have wanted to do instead. Sure, having Prime 2 or Spirit 2 or Entropy 2 is useful unto itself, but not to every player's particular character concept.

                          Plus, we already have a allotment requirement of 1 Sphere dot. Every group (aside from Orphans) has such a thing. The difference is not just one of scale (1 dot instead of 2), but because M20 did the right thing by opening up which Spheres a character could take as their primary. Revised has something like that, in the fact that various Factions within individual Traditions had their own requirements. But those were costs on top of the Tradition's requirement. I think we can all agree, in retrospect, that this was kind of excessive.

                          Mage is supposed to be about the ability to create whatever kind of mage you wanted. Sphere taxes like this limit the possibility space for character creation, by mandating what a mage from a given Tradition or other group must be in order for them to be "legitimate".


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                            It's also still unfair to the player, as it requires them to invest two Sphere dots from their starting allotment in a specific place, taking them away from whatever the player might have wanted to do instead. Sure, having Prime 2 or Spirit 2 or Entropy 2 is useful unto itself, but not to every player's particular character concept.

                            Plus, we already have a allotment requirement of 1 Sphere dot. Every group (aside from Orphans) has such a thing. The difference is not just one of scale (1 dot instead of 2), but because M20 did the right thing by opening up which Spheres a character could take as their primary. Revised has something like that, in the fact that various Factions within individual Traditions had their own requirements. But those were costs on top of the Tradition's requirement. I think we can all agree, in retrospect, that this was kind of excessive.

                            Mage is supposed to be about the ability to create whatever kind of mage you wanted. Sphere taxes like this limit the possibility space for character creation, by mandating what a mage from a given Tradition or other group must be in order for them to be "legitimate".
                            I kinda liked Revised's required sphere for each tradition. It made the traditions feel more rigid compared to the Orphans. Also, a few of the traditions just don't make any sense to have a mage without their signature sphere. A Dreamspeaker without Spirit sense just seems weird, as would an Akashic who couldn't improve their mind or block out those who invaded their mind. Similarly, if a Euthanatos could not sense fate, then they have no real way of properly judging when it is right to apply the Good Death. And a VA without Correspondence is a VA who is locked out of the Digital Web.

                            If they want to be a member of a faction who has an alternative speciality sphere, I'll often let the player chose which one they want as their speciality. They are not then obligated to take the other sphere, one sphere obligation is enough.


                            Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running UPDATE Chapter 29: The Calm

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                            • #15
                              Not trying to be combative, I'm just a pedantic person:

                              Originally posted by Saikou View Post
                              A Dreamspeaker without Spirit sense just seems weird...
                              A Dreamspeaker without spirit could have just preferred to focus on medicine work. Not everyone from tribal or animistic cultures has to talk directly to spirits. Granted, many of them do so anyway, but that's a Focus issue, not a Sphere one.

                              (Although I will admit, if they aren't going to go into Spirit at all, they might as well be an atypical Verbana.)

                              ...as would an Akashic who couldn't improve their mind or block out those who invaded their mind.
                              And the primary factor determining a person's place in the Akashayana is adherence to Do, both as a martial art and a lifestyle. Even unAwakened people could, technically, train in Do. I suspect many Akashic acolytes have. There's also a strain of Eastern thought that maintains seeking power is a distraction from Enlightenment.

                              Similarly, if a Euthanatos could not sense fate, then they have no real way of properly judging when it is right to apply the Good Death.
                              Other than ethics, debate, and cost benefit analysis. People have been making judgement calls on people for millennia, without needing to read their fates with magic. Some folks are obviously too dangerous to be left alive, and show no signs of reforming. Some people are so sick or injured or broken that healing is a virtual impossibility, and a simple Medicine check could tell the person that. (Indeed, the Euthatanos might just need to check with the patient's doctor to see if they have any chance of improvement).

                              And a VA without Correspondence is a VA who is locked out of the Digital Web.
                              I seem to recall 2nd Edition stating (and I know M20 confirmed it) that even unAwakened mortals are capable of accessing the Digital Web. So long as they have VR equipment, and the right knowledge. Equipment and knowledge that's more abundant now that they've ever been. A Virtual Adept doesn't need Correspondence to have a presence in the Digital Web.

                              That's assuming a given Virtual Adept even cares about it. Some might prefer to focus on technologies and techniques around themselves, rather than at a distance. Some might prefer to hack their own bodies (or "source code"), or use cybernetics to effect a transhuman ideal.


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