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  • New terms for M:tA concepts

    I had thought some time ago that Vulgar Magick is definitely not a term that True Mages would use, and that it should not be used at all as a term/name for Magick Spells and Rotes in M:tA . I think that Manifsted Magick is a very good term. It describes very nicely both the nature and the results of such Magickal Spells or Rotes ; it also puts across the idea of a Mage putting forward an effort and demonstrating their, for example, brilliance and power through the Spells or Rote that they cast.

    Instead of Paradox I would use the term Consequences, singular - a Consequence. Not every case of Paradox Backlash and not every situation which has Paradox within itself is paradoxical. As such, Consequences is much more appropriate, very expressive, and also fittingly succinct.

    The Sphere of Entropy (or as I prefer to call it - the Entropy kind of Magick) should be called the Sphere of Order and Chaos. The name and the term Entropy indicates disorder and inevitability. It also fails to describe the possible, for example, bolstering and rebuilding uses of this kind of Magick. Order and Chaos as a name and a term excellently describes the dual nature of this kind of Magick ; and also does not indicate inevitability in any way, which I think is right - this kind of Magick is not directly about inevetibility, whether inevitability as a concept or inevitability in practice.


    For now I have thought of these three new terms.
    Perhaps I will write more about those three ideas for new terms for these concepts in the future - to elaborate why I think these should be the terms, and also to define what those new terms/names mean in regards to those concepts ; and how Mages act in M:tA in practice in regards to those elements in the storyline, and during game sessions.


    Anyone else has thoughts in regards to what concepts in M:tA should be given new terms/names, and/or ideas in regards to what new terms/names for M:tA concepts can be ?
    Last edited by Muad'Dib; 03-04-2018, 04:07 PM.

  • #2
    It's funny that you dislike the term "Vulgar", because the one that irks me is "Coincidental." The reason for this is that there's a setting difference and a slight mechanical difference between Magick that follows the rules of a reality zone vs magick that doesn't follow those rules, but is disguised through coincidence and subtlety.

    For instance, an Iteration X Armature can test her cybernetic weapons in a target range on Autochthonia without accumulating paradox, but a Hermetic in the same room can only disguise his machine failure Entropy effects as bad luck only so many times before the coincidences strain credulity and start stacking paradox. The rules refer to both Mages' Effects as "coincidental."


    Mage: the Ascension - Redesigned Prime Sphere; Streamlined Wonder Creation
    Mage: the Awakening 2E - Hogwarts: the Wizarding World Chronicle
    Mummy: the Curse - Lightweight 2E Conversion; Disciples of Duat

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    • #3
      I don't see the issue with Vulgar. Vulgar as a word to mean something obscene dates back far enough compared to its other meanings to not be an issue in that sense, and with the magical reality of the early Traditions (aka the Sorcerer's Crusade era) it makes sense as a word to describe how mages would see such blatant magic; even if it might be a bit outdated as a term for present day mages I don't see the rush to change it having much hold.

      I agree with Octavo that a more useful addition would be something like "Compatible" to describe magic that directly obeys the laws of the applicable Reality Zone, and "Coincidental" to describe magic that attempts to disguise itself (and is then subject to things like the domino effect).

      "Manifested" doesn't really communicate much to me, because what magic isn't manifested? If I coincidentally change vodka to water, did I not manifest magic? Likewise "Consequence" seems too vague. Paradox is used because the act of magic is inherently paradoxical. You are altering the rules of reality to cause something to happen, so there's allows a paradox between reality and your rules. How bad that difference is, is what the game focuses on. There are also non-Paradox consequences to magic that I feel would be blurred by changing that name.

      Entropy is definitely a word choice that deserves examination (unlike Vulgar, it doesn't really make sense in historical sense), though "Order and Chaos," isn't really much better. The idea that entropy is in common use associated with disorder isn't really a problem to me, because Spheres can increase or decrease things under their purview. Life can harm or heal, so Entropy can increase or decrease disorder. The problem with Entropy is that what the Sphere covers is too big for any concise term without biasing it. "Entropy" gives it a negative connotation that the other Spheres avoid. "Order and Chaos," doesn't really gel with why luck, fate, and destiny are part of it. Something like "Systems," is pretty on point because Entropy is basically a Macro-Sphere that deals with ho elements of systems interact with each other, bu it's confusing for how RPGs use system as a term. Etc.

      I'm generally hesitant to mess with the Mage jargon too much, because there's already a lot of it. I've run Mage for a lot of people, and the density of terminology can be off-putting. Anything new has to serve a useful purpose towards playing the game in my mind, not just resolve a semantic quibble. I love M20's expanding terms for Focus, because it's useful for helping players define their characters in ways that just calling it all Paradigm in the past was not. I hadn't though of Coincidental being an issue until Octavo brought it up, but I completely get the value in dividing coincidental into two categories.

      So I'd advocate for the thread to focus on naming things that are not named, rather than simply renaming for flavor. I haven't come up with a full set yet, but I'd love to see Avatar get a similar treatment to what Familiar got in M20, with a break down of different styles of Avatar (not just Merits that modify them), which can be expanded on to help guide Seeking construction.

      So a "distant entity" style Avatar like a specific deity, might not directly interact with the mage, but sends servants to instead, leading to Seekings that lean towards "go on a quest" narratives. Meanwhile a "collective" style Avatar, like all nine of the Muses, comes to you in the guise most relevant and Seekings probably take on forms that represent tests linked to each specific aspect (could also be useful for framing with Instruments you surpass). Etc.

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      • #4
        Oh, I like "Compatible." I was thinking "Contextually Appropriate", but yours is better.


        Mage: the Ascension - Redesigned Prime Sphere; Streamlined Wonder Creation
        Mage: the Awakening 2E - Hogwarts: the Wizarding World Chronicle
        Mummy: the Curse - Lightweight 2E Conversion; Disciples of Duat

        Comment


        • #5
          Back when Mage: the Awakening was more of a clone of Mage: the Ascension than it is now, it used the term “Covert” instead of “Coincidental”, and “Improbable” for those Covert spells that would start taking penalties if you overused them in the presence of Sleepers.

          Instead of “Vulgar”, you might consider “Blatant”.

          I like “Paradox” just fine as a general term.

          I personally refer to Entropy as “Fate” or “Metaphysics” — as in, it's the Sphere that deals directly with the triple concepts of Dynamism (Luck and Chance), Stasis (Destiny and Order), and Entropy (Decay and Endings). I have deeper problems with the Sphere, as described in the above link.


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          • #6
            For 'Coincidental,' I'd go with 'Subtle,' though I also like 'Covert.' Vulgar is good as it stands, though I wouldn't have a problem with 'Blatant.' In my game, most magick is Coincidental unless specifically vulgar because I take a broad view of reality. It helps that Portland, Oregon, is know as a weird city with a lot of different types of people, if one is a Tradition mage.

            As for Paradox, Consequences is an appropriate substitute but since Mage is about how we view reality, I think Paradox is a great term.

            I don't have a problem with Entropy as it is written, having played Mage about when it came out, but the sphere is definitely a metasphere and going the way of Mage: the Awakening to break it into parts makes sense.

            I'm really the only one in the groups I've played or GMed Mage for who cared about Avatars, so while having more structure is nice, that means adding on more vocabulary to a game chock-full of vocabularly.

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            • #7
              Paradox is not a consequence ; this word implies thay there is causality effect. Yes, paradox can happen without reason, since the reality is broken.

              If you want to find a more mundane word, look for modelisation error/ artifact/ bug

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              • #8
                I mean, there's a point to the absurdity there, but from a game design standpoint terminology does matter. Especially in-game jargon that the characters are expected to use. As a game tool, language needs to make a certain amount of sense. Why are mages using a confusing term that can mean two different things instead of having two words? Why are mages using a word apparently for hundreds of years that hasn't meant what mages mean by it until fairly recently? In-game jargon that doesn't have a sense of verisimilitude can impede play.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                  I mean, there's a point to the absurdity there, but from a game design standpoint terminology does matter. Especially in-game jargon that the characters are expected to use. As a game tool, language needs to make a certain amount of sense. Why are mages using a confusing term that can mean two different things instead of having two words? Why are mages using a word apparently for hundreds of years that hasn't meant what mages mean by it until fairly recently? In-game jargon that doesn't have a sense of verisimilitude can impede play.
                  Normality is defined by consensus. If we all decide the terminology is apt, then verisimilitude has been achieved.

                  There is no reason behind any of these words outside of the fictional vernacular we create for them.


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

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                  • #10
                    I think that the Destruction Widderslainte Mage Essence should be called ' Burning Essence ' instead. I think and feel that this word is much more evocative of the concept as it is written in the Essence's description. ' Destruction ' sounds very much too limited and too narrow for a Mage Essence ; and it also sounds too destructive, which is innacurate.

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                    • #11
                      I'm honestly glad that the game-line doesn't weight itself down with 100 names for Paradox and Quintessence. Traditions Mages have a common vocabulary, and so does the Technocracy (with some exceptions). That's good since you don't have a lot of IC confusion when talking about Spheres and Paradox. The Hermetic terms caught on, and the Technocracy has strict guidelines for these things, with some variation between Conventions.

                      With that said an Orphan PC should probably have their own words for these things, which they may still hold onto when they meet other Mages.
                      Last edited by 11twiggins; 05-11-2018, 03:02 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
                        With that said an Orphan PC should probably have their own words for these things, which they may still hold onto when they meet other Mages.
                        With Quintessence, I like to think that every single Mage ( maybe except Technocrat Mages ) - whether one who has met other Mages or one who hasn't yet - calls it Quintessence in English. There just doesn't seem to be a term that comes close to calling it right, compared to this word. And every Mage senses and considers just how important Quintessence is, feels it, and chooses this word - as the only appropriate term for Quintessence in English that comes to her or his mind.

                        Of course if a Mage doesn't know this word, then she or he will choose a different word as her or his term for Quintessence.
                        Last edited by Muad'Dib; 05-11-2018, 04:43 PM.

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                        • #13
                          I'm kind of sad. I thought this was for the names players came up with for effects that there aren't good words for.

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