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  • Playing a Sorcerer in a Mage Chronicle?

    So the Technocracy, Traditions and Disparates all have Sorcerers working for them as Specialists, in some number or form. The Technocracy is mostly Unawakened Extraordinary Citizens, and among those (if the ST is using Sorcerers) there are many Sorcerers. So, it's not impossible that a group of Mages could be assigned a Specialist Sorcerer to assist them in some regard they excel in (transport, requisition, combat, exploration).

    Here are the two major questions: (1) Would you allow a PC to play a Sorcerer? What sort of games/settings would they suit? (2) If you did include a Sorcerer PC, how would you run Character Creation? Equal For All is an obvious choice, but Mages get 6 dots in Spheres and Sorcerers get 5 dots in Paths. What balancing factors would you include?

    (1) From what I can see, this would be best suited to a Chronicle where the Players have a certain defined goal (at least at the beginning) or unifying cause, which could allow for a certain role to be filled by a Specialist. An example might include a Scouting party into an area controlled by another group, unraveling a Technocracy/Tradition plot, dealing with some Night-Folk menace, attempting to fulfill some goal on the way to Mass Ascension. Alternatively, you have a tabletop Classic; the prison-break scenario. The PCs all begin captured by the Technocracy in a mid-sized base, all having been detected, betrayed or outsmarted. This allows for a mix of Traditions, Disparates (even Orphans) and potentially a Sorcerer. This assumes your Technocracy doesn't Kill On Sight and at least attempts conversion or study. The group break out together and this leads to the discovery of Story Threads which take them towards the Plot at large. Obviously there are notable benefits to a group including a Sorcerer, since they can ignore Paradox and Reality Zones, have good Counter-magic and are precisely limited in what they can do (potent but static) making them less prone to unexpected and frightening effects. Since they don't need to deal with The Quiet or the other downsides of being Awakened, they can more easily keep an eye on their comrades' mental health and sanity.

    (2) There are some options here. Your Sorcerer could simply be given extra Freebie points, 10 starting dots in Paths, extra Backgrounds... or they could be given some alternative source of power. Perhaps they're a Lost Revenant, giving them healing powers, blood pump, ability to soak Lethal and 2 dots in Disciplines. Revenants are sources of Quintessence roughly akin to a weak Vampire (20 I believe), making them potent Apprentices and Allies. You could simply give the Sorcerer a head-start on EXP; run character generation and then give them the EXP of someone who has been studying for 10 years rather than 5 and apply it to the sheet.

    How do you all address (1) and (2)? Does anyone have any experience with this?

  • #2
    Why do they need anything extra? Most Mage aren't self healing nor do they soak lethal without armor, especially at the start. Why would a Sorcerer need this? You just had a thread where you talked about how bad@$$ Sorcerers are now you feel they needed a boost for inclusion in a Mage Story?

    Sorcerers are fine in Mage games as they are. As I mentioned in the other thread all that is a bit out of wack is countermagic and even that is only do to all splats using 2 sourcers for a dice pool (mostly) where as the Mage get only 1 for Arete. Though most successes count as good as 2 ( for damage at least) that requiring double successes to counter them with non True Magick countering effects isn't out of line.
    Last edited by Tuch; 02-08-2017, 10:38 AM. Reason: Hit post by accident before done.

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    • #3
      I would either run a Mage game, or a Sorcerer game. Having a mixture of players is certainly possible, but it's a hell of a lot more to keep track off, especially in regards to who counts as a witness for which mage when doing vulgar magic.
      That's a headache I'm not quite ready to have.


      Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Tuch View Post
        Why do they need anything extra? Most Mage aren't self healing nor do they soak lethal without armor, especially at the start. Why would a Sorcerer need this? You just had a thread where you talked about how bad@$$ Sorcerers are now you feel they needed a boost for inclusion in a Mage Story?
        I was saying, quite simply (in a thread I didn't start, I contributed to) that Sorcerers can be "badass" in very limited spheres of life which they devote a tonne of time and energy to. A Character built from the ground up to be the perfect manufacturer is going to trump Mages of similar experience in that very very limited aspect of existence... while the Generalist Mage trumps them in everything else. If you were to torture the meaning of my words you might be able to come out with that impression, so whatever. And no, Mages aren't self-healing and don't soak Lethal, but at the same time Sorcerers aren't Spherical and can't make shit up on the fly. Obviously you can't balance Sorcerers by making them Spherical since that would just make them Mages, so you need to give them something Mages don't have. That's what balance is.

        Mages can combine, reframe, invert and balance their powers as they wish, within the scope of their Paradigm. While the Sorcerer Masters healing, a Mage with Life learns not just to heal, but also to transform, grow and fundamentally alter life. It would be idiotic to say that Sorcerers when compared to Mages are generally superior, they are very very specifically superior if they are devoted to one field of study.

        Furthermore, just reading the books, Sorcerers are touted by the Sorcerer books as being good for non-Mage games since Mages simply can't be compared to other Splats mechanically. The books make it patently clear that a starting Mage trumps a starting Sorcerer overall, and it's only when a Sorcerer is built for a purpose (transport, combat, espionage, logistical support) that they can really shine. When thrown into a coterie of Awakened Mages, I think it's fair that the precisely limited Player Character be given some boost for the purpose of fun, which is what this is all about. If they're infinitely weaker that won't be fun, the majority of the time, as they become a dead weight holding the group down.

        Also, dude, that's just threadcapping. At least tell me why you think Sorcerers don't need bonuses at start, rather than just saying they don't.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Saikou View Post
          I would either run a Mage game, or a Sorcerer game. Having a mixture of players is certainly possible, but it's a hell of a lot more to keep track off, especially in regards to who counts as a witness for which mage when doing vulgar magic.
          That's a headache I'm not quite ready to have.
          Sorcerers count as Sleepers in only two situations. One, we have Techno-Sorcerers, who have been conditioned by the Technocracy to believe that reality deviance is impossible. They'll count as Sleeper Witnesses for all Mages who are non-Techno. Secondly, we have Sorcerers who come from a place where they have never ever seen Technology. Here they also count as Sleeper Witnesses for Technological Magick.

          Those two situations are simply dealt with. Either make your Technocratic Technosorcerer part of a Technocracy game (don't want them stopping the Mystics from having fun), which would make them a potent ally as they would be an effective weapon against Antagonist Mages, or you make them play as a type of Sorcerer who will never count as a Sleeper for anything (the vast majority of Sorcerers, including all but a few Mystics and quite a lot of Scientifics).

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          • #6
            Saikou mildly brings up a great point. One I have for crossovers in general though a Sorcerer/Mage crossover is less problematic than most. Crossover characters work best under the STs controll, otherwise their are alwaya headaches involved. Many of which you don't immediately see comming. Of course many people play crossovers all the time but the amount of work by the ST is much more involed than a game without.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post

              Sorcerers count as Sleepers in only two situations. One, we have Techno-Sorcerers, who have been conditioned by the Technocracy to believe that reality deviance is impossible. They'll count as Sleeper Witnesses for all Mages who are non-Techno. Secondly, we have Sorcerers who come from a place where they have never ever seen Technology. Here they also count as Sleeper Witnesses for Technological Magick.

              Those two situations are simply dealt with. Either make your Technocratic Technosorcerer part of a Technocracy game (don't want them stopping the Mystics from having fun), which would make them a potent ally as they would be an effective weapon against Antagonist Mages, or you make them play as a type of Sorcerer who will never count as a Sleeper for anything (the vast majority of Sorcerers, including all but a few Mystics and quite a lot of Scientifics).
              And what about sorcerers with True Faith, with Psychic Numina, with Qi energy powers? If you're going to lump them all in the "mystic" bin, then what's the point in defining them at all?
              Last edited by Saikou; 02-08-2017, 11:00 AM.


              Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Saikou View Post

                And what about sorcerers with True Faith, with Psychic Numina, with Qi energy powers? If you're going to lump them all in the "mystic" bin, then what's the point in defining them at all?
                I'm not lumping them in the Mystic bin, the rules are. If you can move stuff with your mind, and you see a person moving something with a staff with runes, you will think "huh, they're a psychic with this weird magical fetish". If you have True Faith and you see someone summoning up spirits, you'll think "the adversary has granted this person power" or "My Father's House Has Many Rooms" or "is this some other form of Faith?". If you think that your clearly supernatural Karate (which can do superhuman things) is fueled by Qi, and you witness someone breathing fire, you'll think "CAN I DO THAT?!?!". Also, I'm not personally a big fan of psychics, I don't consider them "Sorcerers", but I'm glad they were in the book.

                In the case of True Faith, if they have True Faith and nothing else, and have never used it for supernatural purposes or encountered the supernatural, they would count as a Sleeper, but that's not what we're talking about. We're assuming the ST has the sense to only include a Nun with True Faith who assists the Celestial Choir if they are open to the concept of Magic existing, since otherwise this agent would be actively hampering the Traditions. STs can exercise some good judgement here.

                The only reason that purely Technologically enlightened Sorcerers can't accept magic is that their paradigm is so restrictive that it simply can't explain "breathing fire" ever. The Hermetic can see 1000 people breathing fire in 1000 ways and identify his method as the REAL reason they're able to do it. That doesn't work the other way around.
                Last edited by 11twiggins; 02-08-2017, 11:09 AM.

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                • #9
                  If I was running a mage game, I'd probably caution players if they wanted to play a Sorcerer. I don't really see any appeal to playing a sorcerer when you could play a mage in an explicitly mage game. And to that extent, I probably wouldn't go out of my way to give them anything special for character creation beyond what a mage is being giving for creation. I guess I would see it as if someone wanted to play a kinfolk or ghoul. If that's what you want and enjoy, seems fine. The emphasis is going to be (hopeful) on character. I guess I don't see a need to balance the sorcerer to the mages if they are intentionally choosing to play a weaker mini-splat.

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                  • #10
                    11twiggins Would the same rules work on these sorcerers being able to use wonders? Because the way that Artefacts have worked historically is that only sleepers (sorcerer or not) who believe in the principles behind their inception would be able to use them. You can only use your fairy wings to fly if you believe they have fairy powers (ignoring changeling stuff for the moment.) You can transform water into wine with a special chalice because you're a devout christian. You can only use a magic wand because you're so certain all this occult stuff is real. You can fiddle with a Lightning Gun because "I've seen these work at expos!!".

                    However, if they are all functionally the same where they won't count as witnesses, then a Qi energy sorcerer should have no problem wielding a wand.

                    Conceptually, I have a problem with that.


                    Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Monalfie View Post
                      If I was running a mage game, I'd probably caution players if they wanted to play a Sorcerer. I don't really see any appeal to playing a sorcerer when you could play a mage in an explicitly mage game. And to that extent, I probably wouldn't go out of my way to give them anything special for character creation beyond what a mage is being giving for creation. I guess I would see it as if someone wanted to play a kinfolk or ghoul. If that's what you want and enjoy, seems fine. The emphasis is going to be (hopeful) on character. I guess I don't see a need to balance the sorcerer to the mages if they are intentionally choosing to play a weaker mini-splat.
                      Do you allow freebie points from Flaws? Why do you feel a need to balance characters who intentionally choose to play someone with a limp or mental illness?

                      And I agree, there should be an emphasis on character! The implication that wanting mechanical recompense for playing as a mini-Splat somehow goes against RP or organic characters is The Stormwind Fallacy, however.

                      I agree that Ghouls and Kinfolk can be fun with no balancing whatsoever, and I've seen them both work well. However, those are differences of degrees, not kind. The Kinfolk have weaker gifts and a single form, the Ghouls have weaker Disciplines and a lesser status. Mages, on the other hand, are not just Sorcerers who start with higher levels in Paths, they don't use Paths at all. Kind, not Degrees. Now playing a Sorcerer with no balancing whatsoever certainly could be fun, however if an ST decided that they did want to balance it, what would you recommend? That was basically my initial request, ideas on balancing the two types of Starting Character at least a little bit.
                      Last edited by 11twiggins; 02-08-2017, 11:30 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Saikou View Post
                        11twiggins Would the same rules work on these sorcerers being able to use wonders? Because the way that Artefacts have worked historically is that only sleepers (sorcerer or not) who believe in the principles behind their inception would be able to use them. You can only use your fairy wings to fly if you believe they have fairy powers (ignoring changeling stuff for the moment.) You can transform water into wine with a special chalice because you're a devout christian. You can only use a magic wand because you're so certain all this occult stuff is real. You can fiddle with a Lightning Gun because "I've seen these work at expos!!".

                        However, if they are all functionally the same where they won't count as witnesses, then a Qi energy sorcerer should have no problem wielding a wand.

                        Conceptually, I have a problem with that.
                        Well isn't that a whole other issue? So our Ki-user isn't a "Witness" when he sees someone using a wand ("ah, that stick must allow them to focus their Ki! Unfortunately the fool doesn't understand that the body is the best tool for focusing Ki, even if he is mighty"), however that doesn't mean you can just hand it to him and he can use it. Two separate issues.

                        Generally speaking, with very few exceptions, Sorcerers count as Night-Folk and are not Sleepers, since they see the supernatural on a daily basis (see M20). HOWEVER they can count as Sleepers in very, very rare circumstances, such as when they have the Sleeper Merit (an optional merit in the optional merits system which the ST can simply disallow, as they would ruin ALL of the Magick) or have a backstory which makes them a Sleeper for non-tech or for tech (something you can disallow if it would get in the way of the Magick).
                        Last edited by 11twiggins; 02-08-2017, 11:30 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post

                          Well isn't that a whole other issue? So our Ki-user isn't a "Witness" when he sees someone using a wand ("ah, that stick must allow them to focus their Ki! Unfortunately the fool doesn't understand that the body is the best tool for focusing Ki, even if he is mighty"), however that doesn't mean you can just hand it to him and he can use it. Two separate issues.
                          Why? That's how Wonder's work, you can only use them if you believe they will work. If you don't believe it could work, and your avatar isn't awakened, you're a sleeper witness. Otherwise they'd be an acolyte.


                          Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Saikou View Post

                            Why? That's how Wonder's work, you can only use them if you believe they will work. If you don't believe it could work, and your avatar isn't awakened, you're a sleeper witness. Otherwise they'd be an acolyte.
                            In this specific case, you can say that they believe it works, but simply isn't for them. The Ki-user sees the wand as something apart from them, but doesn't doubt that it works since it's no more weird than him punching something and it crackling with electricity/flames/light. He'll see it in his terms, pouring your Ki into an object, but he won't assume he knows how to use the object or that it will work for him.

                            If Wonders are "if you believe in this it will always work", then that's a slightly un-nuanced approach. Surely it would make more sense within the wider scope of Paradigms and the Mage Lore if Wonders only worked if you believe that they will work for you? Why does the non-sleeper who uses a wand suddenly think that a set of magical wings will work for him on the first try? They can doubt that they can use them and still not be a sleeper.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post

                              In this specific case, you can say that they believe it works, but simply isn't for them. The Ki-user sees the wand as something apart from them, but doesn't doubt that it works since it's no more weird than him punching something and it crackling with electricity/flames/light. He'll see it in his terms, pouring your Ki into an object, but he won't assume he knows how to use the object or that it will work for him.

                              If Wonders are "if you believe in this it will always work", then that's a slightly un-nuanced approach. Surely it would make more sense within the wider scope of Paradigms and the Mage Lore if Wonders only worked if you believe that they will work for you? Why does the non-sleeper who uses a wand suddenly think that a set of magical wings will work for him on the first try? They can doubt that they can use them and still not be a sleeper.
                              Storytellers Companion pp.65
                              "Sleepers and the Tools of Wonder
                              While most Sleepers cannot recharge Talismans, they can make use of them, as long as they both believe in the paradigm of the mage who created the item and they Resonate strongly with the maker's personality. Depending on the Talisman, Paradox might also apply to the Sleeper who uses it - one of the most classic Paradoxes being loss of the Talisman. Talismans will not work for those who do not accept their paradigm. However, mages are strong-willed enough that they may override the Nature and Demeanor of any Talisman except in the case of an extraordinarily powerful magic object and an unusually weak-willed mage.

                              Charms and Gadgets will work for anyone who accepts the paradigm under which they were made, or is in the area where that paradigm holds sway (even if that person doesn't know that the object is in fact magical). For example, if Kate, who lives in the Irish countryside and believes in witchrat, faeries and all the rest, were to put on some flying salve, thinking it was just hand creme, she'd find herself airborne whether she wanted to or not. Her cousin from Dublin wouldn't have any such troubles, unless he came out to the country and was far away from citified things. Paradox might also apply were Kate to use that Charm in a vulgar Fashion- like going to New York and flying over the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - but since such a thing might be explained as some kind of high-tech advertising stunt, this penalty applies at Storyteller discretion. Fire-time uses and accidents should be treated as static magic, but flying through the air is Paradoxical enough for most Sleepers."

                              So unless you want to claim that Sorcerers are like Mages, then they can't use the objects unless they believe in the paradigm, and if they don't believe in the paradigm, they are effectively sleepers.

                              To decide sorcerers are "near enough" to mages to not count as witnesses would imply that static magic and awakened magic are more alike than any source indicates.


                              Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

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