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Artifact/Invention vs. Talisman/Device (Source?)

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  • Artifact/Invention vs. Talisman/Device (Source?)

    Hi All,

    After finding a fair amount of inconsistency about Prime 3 vs. Prime 4 in crafting capabilities throughout all of the books I have, I reached page 46 of How Do You Do That? I observed "Artifacts" as an option for someone with Prime 3. This word appears throughout various sources without a consistent definition, and at times is described as something better than a Talisman.

    But I have also read (mostly on the forums here, referencing a work Forged by Dragon's Fire?; also on the white wolf wiki) that Artifacts/Inventions are similar to Talismans/Devices except that Artifacts/Inventions require the user's Arete/Enlightenment (but would not require any knowledge of any sphere in the Artifact's effect?). I would love a solid book reference to this; I have failed to observe it in M20, Revised, or 2nd Edition. Is Forged by Dragon's Fire a reliable actual game supplement for this?

    To provide a more concrete example of the issue our group is having (some very fresh Technocrat characters [and some players] don't quite have a full grasp on what we are doing yet): one of our characters found Hypertech schematics for an energy gun (possibly like a freeze ray of some kind; this involved absurd successes on the research roll and was a fairly creative way for the ST to handle it) while researching another issue.

    Our original roadblock was me reading in M20 that one needs Prime 4 to make this Device (it would be a Forces effect to make it for a character who does not have Forces at all, so it would not merely be an Apparatus/Focus for the character). That was pretty depressing to learn, as our characters (all Enlightenment 3 as starting characters) don't have Prime at all (yet). Some of us could get to Prime 2 quickly with accumulated experience (which would only permit Trinket or Charm crafting, in my understanding), and Prime 3 is semi-feasible for our characters who are more into the crafting side of things. But getting up to Prime 4 would require Enlightenment 4, then a seeking (and not failing it), then deciding if they really want Prime 4 or to increase another sphere or too first, etc.

    If I understand correctly, one of our characters could get to Prime 3 and create an Invention (aka Artifact) based on the hypertech schematic (assuming a sufficient Quintessence supply, which is another problem for us at the moment) or multiple of these Inventions. We would just rely on our own Enlightenment rolls to determine success with this Invention.

    An alternative in my understanding is creating such a gun as a temporary Device with Prime 3, but that seems like a lot of work for it to all go poof and have to start over again.

    I would love some book that clearly describes this (and will be happy to purchase the pdf if I don't have it already). It just seems a bit concerning to me that I was unable to find a solid answer in M20, Revised, or Second Edition (and in other books, if not one or more of these, found conflicting use of the term "Artifact").

    Thanks to anyone who has the patience to direct some reliable source(s) my way.

  • #2
    The Revised era had some terms that I suspect M20 isn't using, and which may be cropping up on the forums.

    There's stub rules for wonders in the Revised Storyteller's Companion, which are expanded in Forged by Dragon's Fire. Those rules use this jargon:

    Wonder: Any magic item.
    Charm/Gadget: Single- or limited-used enchanted item. Can be used by initiated Sleepers.
    Artifact/Invention: Durable enchanted item that provides one or more powers. Cannot be used by Sleepers.
    Talisman/Device: An Artifact invested with a portion of it's creator's Arete. Talismans can roll their own Arete during use (and therefor can be used by initiated Sleepers, or act "autonomously.")
    There are also Pseudo-Artifacts which are objects enhanced by magic but which are not magical, such as a Matter-enhanced sword or a Life-enhanced tree. M20 calls these "Trinkets."

    In M20, there's no "Artifact/Talisman" split, and its use of Artifact as a category appears to me to just be an error in transcription or an omission - the sample "Artifact" has an Arete rating, etc.

    Under Revised rules:
    It takes Prime 3 to make an Artifact or Talisman using Tass of the appropriate type.
    It takes Prime 4 to make an Artifact or Talisman using raw Quint (users of Primal Utility cannot do this.)

    It takes Prime 2 to make a Charm using Tass of the appropriate type.
    It takes Prime 3 to make a Charm using raw Quint. (as above.)

    It takes +1 Prime to enchant a living object or otherwise "get clever."
    Pseudo-artifacts are beneficiaries of permanent Sphere Effects and don't require Prime (unless the effect is a Prime effect.)

    I attack people with giant insects both on and off the court.


    • #3
      Truth be told the whole thing is a big mess.

      Let's begin with a good starting point:
      Before M20 Wonders were classified thus (Mage the Ascension Storyteller's Companion Chapter 4):

      Artifacts & Inventions: an apparently ordinary object empowered with some extraordinary ability, typically with one or two powers that are either continuous or able to be activated at need.
      They are crafted with Prime 3 if the mage uses Tass of appropriate Resonance, Prime 4 with regular Quintessence or Prime 5 in the case of making a living Artifact.
      They are made in a ritual requiring Artifact Value x2 Successes & Artifact Value x2 Quintessence

      An Artifact or Invention's value is equal to the Sphere rating of each of its powers. The price doubles if the Effects remain active continuously (always on or can be left on). Therefore, if an Artifact Standard Effects are built in and can only be activated by only an enlightened user.

      Charms and Gadgets: Ether) single-use Wonders usually created for a single purpose, sometimes with multiple applications under that purpose.
      One builds a Charm or Gadget just like an Artifact or Invention, but with Prime 2 if the mage uses Tass of appropriate Resonance, Prime 3 with regular Quintessence or Prime 4 in the case of making a living Charm or Gadget.

      If a Charm duplicates a particular Effect or Merit, then its value is one-tenth the Sphere rating or Merit cost
      Charms and Gadgets are usable by the uninitiated (They only require simple instructions)

      Fetishes are items empowered by an inhabiting spirit.
      Generally it is made by a spirit and a mage has to negotiate with a spirit for this.
      At Spirit 4, you can bind a spirit into an item to turn it into a fetish. Generally this should only be done to spirits you don't like and who don't already like you and it would best be made with a permanent duration.

      A Periapt is or Power Matrix is a Quintessence battery.
      Each point of a Periapt's power gives it a storage capacity of five points of Quintessence. To access this power, the mage's player must make a Wits + Meditation roll or use the Prime Sphere.

      Each dot of the Periapt's power requires 10 points of similar Tass, fused together with a Matter 5
      ritual (or Life 5, for a living Periapt).

      Talismans and Devices are items with an Arete rating: The mage may use the Talisman or Device's Arete instead of her own.

      Creating a Talisman requires Prime 3 using Quintessence of the appropriate resonance or Prime 4 with the same number of points of Quintessence invested by the same mage who grants the point of Willpower (or Prime 5 in the case of creating a living Talisman, unless you have Tass of the appropriate Resonance, in which case the may require only Prime 4.)

      [It gets confusing here because it references the value of a talisman + it's ability to store quintessence (5 times Arete). Apparently they wanted to separate those things in revised but weren't very clear about it. There's also some weird bits here and there that are hard to make sense of like how it only talks about the use of Tass and not the option of quintessence of a mage]

      So to make things less confusing, set the Value to Arete x 2 (Arete + Quintessence storage) + the value of any powers you want to add to it like an Artifact or Invention (Like an Artifact or Invention. Use this as the successes needed to complete the wonder and the quintessence required (1 is used each roll). If you get no successes on a roll, the work stops, and you can proceed no further. If you botch, everything you've done and the Tass you've used is wasted. At the end of this ritual, the mage spends 1 permanent willpower

      Now if you look at M20 you can either rule that they got rid of the rule where you can use Tass of the Appropriate type or rule that the book simply neglects to mention you can use Tass of the appropriate type to lower the necessary Sphere values.

      Other notes: M20 seems to want to change the Artifact creation rules altogether and classifications but isn't very clear about this.
      Using the book by itself it seems to suggest successes = to Arete? + Effect Successes + Enough Successes or permanent duration and a 5 times background rating Quintessence + 1 Quintessence per roll. But this is all just my guess.
      Last edited by Spacecat; 04-13-2017, 06:48 PM.


      • #4
        Thank you for the sources! Just to highlight, it seems to me that perhaps M20 just left out the full discussion without intending to eliminate artifacts/inventions? I am guessing at those only because of the chart/bulleted list at page 46 of M20 How Do you Do That?:

        -At Prime 2, the mage can create Trinkets and simple Charms;

        -At Prime 3, she can craft Artifacts, Periapts, temporary Talismans, and similar Wonders;

        -And at Prime 4, she can create permanent Talismans and also (by adding Life 3) turn living things into Charms.

        Thanks for the heads up on the Storyteller's Companion and confirming Forged by Dragon's Fire. I am also seeing How Do You Do That? reference Chapter Two of The Book of Secrets, so I will look there as well.

        Again, thanks everyone. At least I am clear about my understanding (and the lack of clarity here), and I have places to look too.


        • #5
          Might want to wait till the M20 book of secrets is out first


          • #6
            Unsure on M20.

            But in Revised, Artifacts were sort of like Rotes packaged with a Focus. A wand of fireball that helped you focus your will. Their main effect was that rather than needing however many miscilanious successes to devote to everything. you needed one. They did one thing, and they did that thing well. Inventions was an alternate word for this.

            Charms/Gadgets, were one use magical effects secured in objects. Destroy the object, release the magic. Their benefit was that they only required one success to activate, and the rolls for, and paradox backlash for, were handled during the creation. So you make a fireball stick. Snap it in the middle of a public event, and hurl a fireball at some celebrity you don't like. And don't get smacked to death by paradox. Also mortals could spend a willpower point to use them.

            Talismans were artifacts, except they had a chunk of your willpower imbued into it to power an arete score. Meaning they doubled the number of magical actions you got.

            Devices were like talismans, only they cost no willpower, and don't let you break the action economy.

            Periapts store quintessence/paradox.