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  • Staving off Paradox

    Reading from the M20, there's this paragraph at page 549, section "Stave Off Disaster"

    A player who decides to put off the backlash will discharge all of her Paradox points, except permanent ones, at the end of that scene. (The permanent ones still count, however, toward the backlash dice pool.) The eventual results of willing the Paradox not to happen might be messy, but that scene – while it lasts – can certainly be dramatic.

    I'm not sure to understand the underlined phrase. For example, if Peter has 7 points of Paradox, and he spends 1 WP to delay the backlash until the end of the scene. When that moment arrives, the ST rolls his 7 dices, and gets 4 successes. Does Peter receive a Backlash of 4 points, discharging his 7 Paradox points? or does he receive a backlash for 7 points and discharge all of these points?

    Thanks in advance for any clarification.

  • #2
    As I understand it, it's the latter. It's a rule that kind of assumed you have a little paradox already. Meaning you increase the potential backlash.

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    • #3
      Yeah, I would think the latter. You're trading the ability to not have Paradox hit during a critical moment, in return for setting the whole supply off at once. Moreover, it makes further use of Vulgar magick inadvisable during the scene, as more Paradox gained leads to a bigger backlash.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
        Yeah, I would think the latter. You're trading the ability to not have Paradox hit during a critical moment, in return for setting the whole supply off at once. Moreover, it makes further use of Vulgar magick inadvisable during the scene, as more Paradox gained leads to a bigger backlash.
        The problem with this is that it can be abused.

        "Oh no, I have 5 points of paradox. I want to get rid of this so it doesn't add up. I know! I'll do a random vulgar effect, suppress the paradox, and get rid of 6 points for a nice small backlash in the privacy of my own home. Paradox managed."


        Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running UPDATE Chapter 26: Towers of Glass

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Saikou View Post

          The problem with this is that it can be abused.

          "Oh no, I have 5 points of paradox. I want to get rid of this so it doesn't add up. I know! I'll do a random vulgar effect, suppress the paradox, and get rid of 6 points for a nice small backlash in the privacy of my own home. Paradox managed."
          That's intended. And in fact what most mages do in character.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Saikou View Post

            The problem with this is that it can be abused.

            "Oh no, I have 5 points of paradox. I want to get rid of this so it doesn't add up. I know! I'll do a random vulgar effect, suppress the paradox, and get rid of 6 points for a nice small backlash in the privacy of my own home. Paradox managed."

            If you're not afraid of Paradox then you're doing something wrong. Backlashes happen naturally after 10 points don't they? Even if you hold that a little longer it's still very dangerous, it would be preferable to just let it happen unless you really really needs to hold it back or if somehow you know how to get rid of those points.

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            • #7
              I prefer to always roll, keep it unpredictable and make my mages consider vulgar magic carefully.


              Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running UPDATE Chapter 26: Towers of Glass

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Saikou View Post

                The problem with this is that it can be abused.

                "Oh no, I have 5 points of paradox. I want to get rid of this so it doesn't add up. I know! I'll do a random vulgar effect, suppress the paradox, and get rid of 6 points for a nice small backlash in the privacy of my own home. Paradox managed."
                Except as the ST you decide if the paradox backlashes at that point or not. I would point to page 548 in M20 (it's been a time since I have read any of the older books, so apologies). That section in M20 very much suggests that getting up to 5 points generally prompts a roll for backlash, but it's not required. A player trying to mess around with this at home could just end up driving their character into quiet trying to force an all-out backlash, or end up generating enough bashing damage to roll over into a dying state.

                You could also reserve the all-out discharge (from the way I read the rule, you still roll the pool for permanent paradox points, then you discharge+bashing damage automatically all non-permanent paradox) for when players aren't abusing it (e.g., they are fighting for their lives against the Technocracy and use the willpower point to hold it off until they get some temporary respite), but use your rolling method (the standard rule) when they are trying to abuse it at home (or again, just smile at the player and do nothing).

                I think it would be glorious to watch a player try again. "Okay, mark down another paradox point. You'are at 7 now?" *smiles, but does not do anything . . . yet* "Would you like to do another vulgar effect?"

                Edit: I would also note that the 'rule' in M20 is "[a]t dramatically inconvenient times," noting that this is "generally at times when a player has earned five points of Paradox or more in a single stroke" and that "[g]enerally, this comes about when your mage has done something stupid, glorious, or gloriously stupid." (M20 at 548). If the Mage is doing this in the safety of their home, it's not dramatically inconvenient, stupid, or glorious. Everything except for having 5 points or more counsels against permitting the Mage to safely backlash at home. The rule/test itself is "dramatically inconvenient times," with an observation of general times this would occur as examples of satisfying the rule, not parts of the rule.
                Last edited by Imperator; 03-30-2017, 12:28 PM.

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                • #9
                  Indeed, the Storyteller can work around attempts to game the system. If the player makes a habit of forcing backlashes at minimal Paradox points, the Storyteller can just let the points accrue for longer.


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