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  • Cheating Rotes

    Cleverness is often more important for a Mage than Power, so hear are a few Rotes I've bean using for the past quarter century with grate effect. I'll post a few over the next couple of days as I dig out some old character sheets and find them, for starters

    Like a Ton of Bricks (Mater 2, Forces 2)
    Instead of trying to deliver direct damage to a target the Mage weakens the structural integrity of a nearby building (or the one they are in) and brings a section of wall or ceiling down on the target, Mater is used to transmute the materiel (mortar in brick work, support beams ect) and Forces to direct the falling debris. the coincidence is practically built in to the Rote be it poor workmanship, dodgy materials or deterioration due to age and/or environmental effects.

    being indirect damage unless they are very careful the player is giving up direct control over what happens, but it can easily be potentially more than they could be capable of using a direct attack (a pane of toughened glass from ten stories up, or a literal ton of bricks has more damage potential than a four dice fireball, but not a panel of quarter inch think brick facade held in place by render, perspex skylight or gyprock floating ceiling).




  • #2
    Power Sink
    (Mind 2, Prime 2)
    Sometimes it is enough to appear powerful...
    To this end this rote gives some unidentifiable power to your aura for others to notice.

    Related is the “failure“ to hide the power you posess. A short slip in the veil you constructed to hide your terrifying might.


    So, this Zen Master walks up to a hot dog stand and says: "Make me one with everything!"

    Comment


    • #3
      That Ton of Bricks rote is really overpowered as it can potentially do a lot more damage than a direct effect rote unless you require a large number of successes. It also handwaves away a bunch of stuff like buildings actually being really difficult to demolish.

      There's a very similar example on p440 of the M20 rules where an Enlightenment 7 character knocks down a pillar with a similar strength as a brick wall, but that example has six successes going for it. A rote like this that needs to do major damage to a building should need a minimum of 4 or more successes to work (4 successes +1 for forces = 10 health levels vs durability 4 structure 6 brick walls)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Dogstar View Post
        That Ton of Bricks rote is really overpowered as it can potentially do a lot more damage than a direct effect rote unless you require a large number of successes. It also handwaves away a bunch of stuff like buildings actually being really difficult to demolish.
        Let's not go throwing around the word "Overpowered", willy nilly. For one thing, it's only Coincidental if the building is obviously in disrepair or of obviously poor quality. That makes the Rote situational (assuming you want to avoid Paradox). You also need a building over one's head or a brick wall at your side for it to work. Say what you want about the fireball's vulgarity, at least you can use it anywhere.

        You know what else a fireball does better than falling rubble? Aggravated damage. Because it's fire. Falling bricks would be Bashing, which can potentially be soaked.

        Oh! And there's the fact that, when you go around compromising the roof over your head, you are compromising the roof over your head. Collapsing one section of ceiling or stretch of wall could end up causing other sections to break. Support beams break, more weight gets put onto other areas of the structure, etc. Magick does not exist in a vacuum; a Storyteller could maintain that causing mass destruction will come back to the Mage, even if Paradox isn't involved.

        This is why I don't care for the word "Overpowered" to be used so liberally. It doesn't always take into account the larger context of the game world the play is set in.
        Last edited by Bluecho; 02-16-2017, 03:23 PM.


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        • #5
          Cazador, Rad-Scorpions, Octopodes (Life 2).

          Those little babies I made for an Etherite of mine. I was looking at Life 2, thinking how to make better use of that. So, I came up to those... And I realized that I could create a deadly supernatural army using Life 2 alone. And, that mages are pretty fucked up beings.

          You can have infinity variations here - the CrabKings, giant crabs hunters, even insane gigantic amebae hunters... "Ents" (hunter trees), and one of my favorites, the "Nydus Worms"...

          Well, have you ever played Starcraft? So, think "Zerg" and go for the most vulgar grotesque monsters your sick mind can concoct

          Cazador are gaint bees, and Rad Scorpions giant Scorpions (dah)... If anyone ever played Fallout will know them.

          Octopodes are... My little personal touch. They are... Octopus... With several changes to allow for breathing and walking inland.

          Those obviously vulgar things can only be made on Vat tanks, só you'll need a serious lab for that. After growing your pets, pherormones are used to mark targets and non-targets (basically, an Life 1 connected on them). The octopodes inky is replaced with acid, and they are little devils when swarming an enemy at the hundreds.

          After I created the Octopodes, a friend of mine, who also loves the Etherite and loved the idea of those little creeps, so, the Octopobazooka was born.

          Octopobazooka - Octopus are fascinating creatures; even more fascinating is that their simple structures are easy to manipulate. With an well equiped lab and some Vat Tanks, they can be grown in just a few hours. Mechanical medical braces are a must have within the Vats, because many of the procedures need cirurgical intervention, but you can programe several braces to operate simultaneously, so you can safely breed some dozens every hour or so.

          First, you need to connect their stomachs with several key arteries of the heart; the stomach will be their new "lungs". Some modifications in the muscles will provide the necessary ventilation (you'll find the exact incision points on the appendix manual; if you're familiar with programming in java, the arquive contains the files to make those automatic by the medical robotic braces of the Vat Tank, youll need only to supervise). Next, an infusion of hormones and nutrients in the tank will induce the necessary muscular changes to allow them to walk in land (and they do walk REALLY fast). An injection in their months of chemicals derived from turtles DNA will induce the local production of Cheratine, strenghtening their bites to make them capable of chewing steel. Also, this will produce several claws along their tentacles, allow them to cut flesh like butter (always try to throw them at your enemies faces, for maximum damage)

          Next, it comes the inky sack.While changing the stomachs, an sterilization of the acid producing cells is needed, and that first lay of stomachal skin must be carefully removed and transplanted into the inky sac. After that, they'll drop acid on enemies. It can use the claws of his tentacles, the strong bite and the acid to attack.

          This little monster than is made to segregate an chitinous membrane, that makes the creature to be enveloped in a big egg, were it will be storaged for later use.

          The Octopobazooka is a simple, and the better of all, total mundane device. Mount it on the back od a truck for use. This equipment is simply a kind of catapult (a cannon, actually) to launch the Octopodes. It has a cadence of 10 shoots/round, and a typical storage capacity of 100 eggs when mounted on the back of a pickup car (there are versions of that equip that uses Corr 4 to increase capacity, allowing 10 thousands eggs or even more, and uses of Forces 2 or even Time 3 to increase the fire rate... Think on a thing shooting thousands of little gremlin-like little monsters per round)

          Upon the impact, the egg breaks, and the Octopus inside will Hunt for its enemies.

          Those creatures have a short live span, and turn into a pool of acid upon death, which makes them even more dangerous, since they can commit full kamikaze attacks in order to destroy their targets.

          Those things make for excellent chantry guardians... But you better not suffer a backlash while manufacturing them.

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          • #6
            Etherial Tracking Device (Prime 1)

            And

            Vital Etherial Marker (Prime 2)


            That's another piece of Engineering that I designed for Etherite use (I love the SoE).

            1) Take a little chip, transistor, radio emmiter, whatever. As long as it is as small as possible, it's good. This small device will be henceforth called the "trasmitter"

            2) Now, you'll use another device, that will be henceforth called "receiver".

            3) Using Prime 1, you'll attune the etherial emanations of both devices towards one another, until their ressonance reaches a level of perfect atunement. It is recomended to turn this change into a permanent one.

            From now one, both devices will work as a single one.

            You can now use the transmitter to track any target. Place the pill sized device on his pocket, or use mundane means to attach it to his clothes, shoes, whatever (or use other effects - place the transmitter on a weapon with glue on it, and shoot on your target, that could be made with a mundane tech, or using Forces/Matter/Entropy/Corr effects).

            With the transmitter in the target, you can use any Correspondence effects on the target as if you had a live sample of him - no need to spend ANY success on Corr.

            You can use Corr 1 to always know where the transmitter is, with Corr 2 you can see everything around the target effortlessly, and you can cast any effect on him as if he were within your line of sight.

            The Prime 2 version is even more powerful, and there is the benefit that you don't risk your device being discovered and discarded by the target.

            With the Prime 2 version, you need to inject a nuclear isotope on the target - you can do that with a handshake or a pressure gun. The isotope is small enough to enter the skin of the target (it's subatomic), so you don't need a dart to pierce his skin (althouth you can). You can place it inside his drink, in a doornut, on the inside of his clothes, whatever.

            The important thing is: this isotope is prime-attuned to a receiver device. After succesfully implanting the isotope on the target (by whatever means), you can configure your receiver's etherial emanations to match those of the target.

            After that... Well, the target is your bitch. You can use effects on him from the other side of the globe as if he were in front of you. Not only that - since your receiver is as good as having the target's blood or DNA sample, you have some serious bonuses to affect him (I strongly suggest making the Prime 2 version a permanent pattern change of your receiver device. You'll turn your target EXTREMELY vulnerable to ANY of your magiks)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Dogstar View Post
              That Ton of Bricks rote is really overpowered as it can potentially do a lot more damage than a direct effect rote unless you require a large number of successes. It also handwaves away a bunch of stuff like buildings actually being really difficult to demolish.

              There's a very similar example on p440 of the M20 rules where an Enlightenment 7 character knocks down a pillar with a similar strength as a brick wall, but that example has six successes going for it. A rote like this that needs to do major damage to a building should need a minimum of 4 or more successes to work (4 successes +1 for forces = 10 health levels vs durability 4 structure 6 brick walls)
              There are far worse things you can do. Like say, transform concrete into gas. You now have a room temperature gaseous concrete that is about to horribly murder everything as thermodynamic laws start working.

              Comment


              • #8
                If you are using "Like a Ton of Bricks" you have clearly bean backed in to Maxim 20 (If you're not willing to shell your own position, you're not willing to win.) territory, either that or you are a firm believer in Maxim's 6 (If violence wasn’t your last resort, you failed to resort to enough of it.) 27 (Don't be afraid to be the first to resort to violence.) 37 (There is no 'overkill.' There is only 'open fire' and 'I need to reload.) and a few others. and no storyteller should feel that any setpice is safe around you.

                If you are going to start using "Like a Ton of Bricks" you should start asking questions about your environment. Don't attack the structure as a whole but the mortar holding the bricks in that section of wall in place, the pins & seals holding the window pane in place, also be prepared to Scarper, because if they survive that attack you shouldn't have bean tangling with them in the first place. even if you just bring down some Dress Facade or a floating ceiling it's a distraction giving you enough time to Leg It.

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                • #9
                  It's the number of successes required to get Ton of Bricks working that I'm concerned with. As written it's implied that you can knock down a wall with one success whereas I'm saying that you'd need at least four to even punch a hole in one. Yes it's highly situational but in that case it should be mentioned in the Rote's 'system/how it works' section. Effects that let you do potentially substantially more damage than the 'Base Damage or Duration Chart' need to be carefully vetted.

                  Poorly thought out effects are a potentially big problem with Mage (although it does depend on playstyle), especially when they are disseminated as 'play tested'.

                  Here are three Entropy/time effects for a mage who likes to shoot things. These are not tested.

                  Head Shot (Entropy 3, optionally with Prime 2)
                  The mage makes a lucky head shot doing substantial damage.
                  System: Enlightenment roll, base two successes to negate the increased difficulty of a head shot, additional successes add extra dice of damage, spend one Quintessence for aggravated damage.
                  (Notes: Simple Entropy effect is used to negate the difficulties of a head shot)


                  Gangsta-Style (Entropy 3, Time 3)
                  Negates the penalties for using two pistols at once and also makes those guns fire a lot faster.
                  System: Roll Enlightenment, two successes is one extra action per turn, three successes is two extra actions per turn, lasts for one scene. No penalties for firing two weapons at once - both weapons use the combatants full Dexterity + Firearms dice pool.
                  (Notes: Entropy negates difficulties of firing two weapons while Time allows those weapons to be fired faster)


                  Missed Me! (Entropy 3, Time 3)
                  By skipping backwards in time a moment the Mage changes their movements so that the attack that just hit them misses instead.
                  System: Roll immediately after being hit (provided it was not an incapacitating attack) at +3 difficulty, each success negates one attack. Cannot be used if any other Time based Effect is ongoing. If the spell fails lose the next turn.
                  (Notes: This rote is a multi turn time effect rolled up into a single effect. The expanded actions work like this: turn 1 - mage is hit by attack, turn 2 - Mage turns back time, turn 1 (again) - Mage changes action to dodge attack with Entropy effect)

                  Last edited by Dogstar; 02-17-2017, 03:35 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dogstar View Post
                    It's the number of successes required to get Ton of Bricks working that I'm concerned with. As written it's implied that you can knock down a wall with one success whereas I'm saying that you'd need at least four to even punch a hole in one. Yes it's highly situational but in that case it should be mentioned in the Rote's 'system/how it works' section. Effects that let you do potentially substantially more damage than the 'Base Damage or Duration Chart' need to be carefully vetted.
                    I don't think it must be vetoed. If I use Corr 4, Matter 2, Prime 2 to summon an Anvil in the ionosphere to go full Looney Toones on my foe, how much damage would I cause with a free fall anvil? (Not to mention that it will probably be on fire). And, how much damage will I cause using Corr 4 to teleport the target 200 km (100 miles) up? And how much damage will I cause the target, if I use Corr 5 to make him co-locate himself with Earth, thus falling in free fall until the center of the planet, and being cooked alive by the intense temperatures? And how much damage if I open a portal to the Sun in the face of an enemy?




                    Originally posted by Dogstar View Post
                    Head Shot (Entropy 3, optionally with Prime 2)
                    The mage makes a lucky head shot doing substantial damage.
                    System: Enlightenment roll, base two successes to negate the increased difficulty of a head shot, additional successes add extra dice of damage, spend one Quintessence for aggravated damage.
                    (Notes: Simple Entropy effect is used to negate the difficulties of a head shot)
                    Why Entropy 3 instead of 2?

                    Originally posted by Dogstar View Post
                    Gangsta-Style (Entropy 3, Time 3)
                    Negates the penalties for using two pistols at once and also makes those guns fire a lot faster.
                    System: Roll Enlightenment, two successes is one extra action per turn, three successes is two extra actions per turn, lasts for one scene. No penalties for firing two weapons at once - both weapons use the combatants full Dexterity + Firearms dice pool.
                    (Notes: Entropy negates difficulties of firing two weapons while Time allows those weapons to be fired faster)
                    Once again, why Entropy 3 instead of 2?

                    And here, a few notes - the penalties for using 2 weapons is -2 to your right hand and -4 to the offhand. Entropy allows you to get extra dice, like in "magik enhancing skills". So, in order to nullify those penalties, you'd need 6 successes... Am I right? Plus any success you'd like for extra shootings with Time.

                    A better alternative is to simply use Mind 1 and emulate the merit "ambidextrous", thus removing all penalties with a single success, and adding the Time effect on top of that

                    Originally posted by Dogstar View Post
                    Missed Me! (Entropy 3, Time 3)
                    By skipping backwards in time a moment the Mage changes their movements so that the attack that just hit them misses instead.
                    System: Roll immediately after being hit (provided it was not an incapacitating attack) at +3 difficulty, each success negates one attack. Cannot be used if any other Time based Effect is ongoing. If the spell fails lose the next turn.
                    (Notes: This rote is a multi turn time effect rolled up into a single effect. The expanded actions work like this: turn 1 - mage is hit by attack, turn 2 - Mage turns back time, turn 1 (again) - Mage changes action to dodge attack with Entropy effect)
                    That would be Time 4. Entropy is not necessary (the Mage will have the chance to roll again. You can use Entropy 2 if you wanna extra dice for your dodge or to remove dices from your opponent's attack, but that's some extra effect, it's not necessary for such a "second chance" effect)
                    Last edited by Karlgust; 02-17-2017, 05:13 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nonsense View Post
                      Power Sink
                      (Mind 2, Prime 2)
                      Sometimes it is enough to appear powerful...
                      To this end this rote gives some unidentifiable power to your aura for others to notice.

                      Related is the “failure“ to hide the power you posess. A short slip in the veil you constructed to hide your terrifying might.
                      I dont think you'd need Mind 2 AND Prime 2 for that. Rather, you can do that effect with Mind 2 OR Prime 2.

                      With Prime 2, you can do a Vulgar effect that will amplify your ressonance to palatable levels. In terms of mechanics, how about this - each success gives a temporary increase of 1 point on one of your ressonances (or 1 point in 2 ressonance, or 1 point in each one of the 3, as you see fit). With 5 points in anyone ressonance, reality warps around you, and your power aura is the kind of shit to turn your pants brown (5 Jhor will make ghosts visible for example, plants will wither and die, things will become rusty, your very breath may be a frozen air, etc. A dinamic 5 will cause electrical storms around you, and pattern 5 will stop even the air, even raindrops will halt on air, living creatures, everything will halt, and so on).

                      With Mind 2, it's just a majestic aura, a mix of awe and terror to anyone that looks at you. In little doses it's coincidental, making people hold you on high regards, as someone to be respected and feared. But, if people start bending down on their knees at the very sight of you, filled with aspirations and terror for looking at a "living God" (if, for example, you put 20+ successes on it), it will be vulgar as hell

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                      • #12
                        Now, you guys were talking about overpowered? Well... I'll give you overpowered.

                        That's a brutal one. And a personal little pet of mine.

                        Damn to Hell (Correspondence 5) - The master of correspondence can make several things occupy a same space at the same time.

                        With this effect, thats what the máster will do with his target... And everything else.

                        Basically, the target will "share" the same space... As everything else.

                        Meaning: he will sink inside the planets core... In free fall.

                        The huge temperatures of the planets core will take care of vaporizing the target.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Karlgust View Post
                          Now, you guys were talking about overpowered? Well... I'll give you overpowered.

                          That's a brutal one. And a personal little pet of mine.

                          Damn to Hell (Correspondence 5) - The master of correspondence can make several things occupy a same space at the same time.

                          With this effect, thats what the máster will do with his target... And everything else.

                          Basically, the target will "share" the same space... As everything else.

                          Meaning: he will sink inside the planets core... In free fall.

                          The huge temperatures of the planets core will take care of vaporizing the target.
                          If you already share the space of everything, why bother with falling? The Victim IS already in the same space as the core of the Earth.

                          Also I don't consider a Master level effect to kill someone "cheating"

                          Some STs would rate this as a godlike feat, thus requiring more successes (20?) as simply dealing damage (4 for 8 levels)


                          So, this Zen Master walks up to a hot dog stand and says: "Make me one with everything!"

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                          • #14
                            Now, that next one may have profound impacts on the scenario.

                            Memory Storage USB (Mind 3, Prime 2)

                            This effect allows the Mage to storage memories on objects for later use.

                            The best use of this effect however, is to storage skills.

                            The VA are particularly good at this, and they can storage any skill them have on Pen Drivers, which they can share amonsgt each other.

                            Worth of notice, this effect can also be used to copy the storaged memories between different objects.

                            Any one that possess an USB-skill can use another effect, Memory Integrational Retrieve (Mind 3) to access the memories contained in the storage device, and gain access to whatever skills it may contain.

                            Each successes in the effect Memory storage USB places one memory inside the recipient or one skill point that the caster possess; and each success on the effect Memory Integrational Retrieve allows access to one memory or to one skill contained within (up to the maximum skill level contained).

                            It is said that the VA keep a huge virtual library not of books or enconded knowledge that you need to study in order to absorb the information, but rather, it's a library of pure thoughts, of direct mental knowledge, which you can turn on and off, like a switch, without needing the hard effort of learning it.

                            It's said that the VA have many useful skills storaged, which they past and copy among each other, on regular basis. The VA masters puts a huge value on new skills they dont have in their library yet; such prices are higly valued, because once a new skill is added on their secret mental library, it is forever after avaiable towards ALL members of the Tradition that knows how to access it.

                            Those VAs with the necessary Prestige background, can access the library without ANY effect whatsoever; the masters of the VA keep an effect on the library that allows the apprentices within the Tradition to download the memories using only their computers. All that the VA will need afterwards will be Mind 3 to gain access to the skill.

                            You can consider that the VA mental library have ANY possible skill at lvl 5 AT LEAST (I'll explain that one).

                            The VA Masters have developed a very powerful effect to keep their library up to date

                            Quantum Skill (Entropy 5)

                            Each success gives the Mage one dot on ANY skill. Even if this makes him go beyond 5.

                            The VA reach this using super quantum computers, capable of generating tought processes that would be impossible by any other means.

                            So, with that, the Masters can use the Mind 3 Prime 2 rote to keep the copies of their skills up to level 10.

                            So, there is a high likelyhood that the VA can download skills up to level 10 from their shared library.

                            Just remember the rules for pattern leaking and permadox for skills beyond 5

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                            • #15
                              >why Entropy 3 instead of 2
                              For the Headshot rote you're right, it should be 2, however for the two gun rote I'm requiring a higher level of entropy as it is more like controlling then influencing. Entropy has some pretty subtle distinctions between 2 and 3 and I'm choosing that this effect is more difficult to pull off than a similar but easier Mind 1/Entropy 2 effect.

                              With regards to Time in the M20 sphere descriptions you can 'Rewind Time' and retcon an action at rank 3, not 4 which is what inspired me to work up this particular rote and I'm trying to emulate the OP with clever uses of spheres rather than going straight to full on Archmage levels.
                              Last edited by Dogstar; 02-18-2017, 05:38 AM.

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