Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Character creation and progression: What is optimal, what's a trap?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Nonsense
    replied
    I think nobody is required to limit what they can do with their spheres. But I think that it is more fun to do so. Psionics are a good example, it is not consistent to achieve every possible effect with only a short moment of concentration.

    I think your ST should give you the “yes, but...“ treatment, as in confirming together with you how it works out in practice.

    Leave a comment:


  • PixelPuzzler
    replied
    So the upside to Enhancements is their reliability and permanency as relates to their effects, at the downside of permadox or genetic flaws and extra cost, which may or may not be worth it, depending? Have I summarized that right? And, since this thread seems to be pretty active still, I think now might be a good time to ask this question.

    I sat down with my storyteller today, and came up with a paradigm, and to summarize by picking from the list of stuff, I chose "Consciousness is the only true reality", "Psionics", and instruments like Meditation, Thought Forms, Dances and other Movements, Body Modification, Drugs, Sex and Sensuality, and similar internal or non-tool based stuff that were used to aid the character in focusing their will.

    My storyteller had a bit of an issue with this, with their argument being that it was too like the purple paradigm, whatever that means, and that any given paradigm should always place restrictions on what a mage can do with their magick, such that not every effect a sphere can theoretically pull off is something the character could actually accomplish.

    I'm wondering if this is the correct approach, just what the hell the Purple Paradigm is, and what if anything might be changed? I just wanted a paradigm that would be logically consistent with the mage universe and not require me to jump through hoops explaining why my plasma gun works just fine when I hold and shoot it, but pass it to the sleeper guy next to me after just firing it and suddenly things get fucky, or why my technology is limited in scope by a sphere system that doesn't always seem logical or consistent when applied through a technological lens. Similar issues can be extrapolated to magickal traditions too if they utilize alchemy or similar. Also I didn't want to have to take a bunch of skills just to justify my magick but that I would find little use for otherwise, such as science or high ritual or lucid dreaming. It also kinda fits the character, and I can probably expand on these details if I need to, but for the most part I'm trying to just get a larger perspective on what I did wrong.
    Last edited by PixelPuzzler; 04-23-2018, 12:47 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bluecho
    replied
    Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
    All of this is true, but the same could be said of a powerful Wonder, the kind that costs 10 Freebies. There is no way in hell a starting Mage character made it, so clearly you have discovered or been gifted with something incredible. Your "betters" could easily demand that it be handed over to someone more responsible, should you give them reason to doubt you.
    Yeah, but Wonders can be found or passed on. Enhancements cannot. They are part of you, meaning a great deal of work was put into installing them to the character's body. If someone more powerful than you comes along and makes you give up your Wonder, they just take your stuff and leave. An Enhancement being reclaimed has to be taken out of your flesh.

    Make no mistake, when I said "they can be taken away", I don't mean it in the sense of a bank repossessing your house or towing away your car. The repo guys in an Enhancement reclaiming scenario will be more akin to Repo: The Genetic Opera. At best, the Union will order you to report to surgery, and leave you with enough flesh and replacement tech to keep you alive. At worst, they'll, well, go Repo: Genetic Opera on you. THAT is one of the downsides to Enhancements as opposed to simple Wonders.

    As for the value of Primium, it is certainly one of the most valuable materials in Mage. But the idea that investing Primium is incredibly rare and important is somewhat dubious, since all HIT Marks carry it as standard. The Mark V HIT was ubiquitous in the 90s, and EACH of them had 5 points of Primium Countermeasures. Were they common? Well no, but no kind of Mage or Mage Construct is "common" in a demographic sense. My main point here is that Primium is certainly rare, but the Technocracy has enough of it to deck out plenty of cyborgs with ample amounts. People, cyborgs and robots are small and mobile, and good investments (if they stay loyal). What the Technocracy will struggle with are Primium-laced vehicles, bases and rooms, since the amount of material required to get a half-decent effect will be much greater, and the benefits will be smaller.
    Do we actually know how many HIT Mark V's there were running around? Because it might have been very few, relatively. It may have just seemed common because each appearance was a big freaking deal to the Traditionalists unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end. It's worth noting that, according to M20, the Mark 5 models used to have only 2 dice of Primium, rather than 5. Presumably, this was the state of affairs at the height of Mark 5 production; as units were phased out, those that remained were given more Primium. You know, to justify their continued operation and maintenance.

    That brings me to the next point: HIT Marks in general were phased out for a while. One of the big points from the Revised Iteration X book (before the MtAs line was ended) was that the Union was shifting more towards using powered armor suits (like the Alanson Hard Suit), rather than autonomous kill robots like the HIT Marks. They're easier and cheaper to build, maintain, and replace than HIT Marks, and you can field more of them without stretching yourself thin.

    The whole HIT Mark obsession, to me, was the Union getting swept up in what they thought was a good idea. Put a whole lot of resources into one concentrated package, complete with 2 (then later 5) dice in Primium Countermeasures, in order to stomp and terrify the superstitionists. And they kept using them for a while mostly out of sunk cost. With the Dimensional Anomaly, the Union had to cut back and rethink its priorities. That meant phasing out the "All-In-One" death machines, and more into modular defenses and replaceable resources. Hard Suits can be built more readily than HIT Marks, and Extraordinary Citizens can be trained to wear them easily enough. It doesn't really matter if the guys in Hard Suits have little or no Primium, since you can send them in squads to overwhelm their foes in sheer numbers. (Assuming such force was even needed. A dubious proposition, since the post-Anomaly era saw a ceasing of hostilities between the Union and the Traditions. You just didn't NEED HIT Marks or high-Primium agents in the days when the superstitionists keep their heads down.)

    Moreover, the Union can trust a HIT Mark with Primium. It's a dumb machine, barely able to fake humanity enough to pass casual inspection by your average sleeper. Loyalty and competence just aren't a factor. Agents, however, can become conflicted. They can rebel. They can make errors, or act out. THEY are the ones who need to be watched and reminded of who is in charge.

    Furthermore, without Primium Countermeasures any Technocracy Cyborg will suffer immensely from any magickal attack which forces rejection of implants. The maneuver causes unsoakable damage equal to successes + 2, and is difficulty 7/8 (Vulgar Life 3). With some Primium you will resist this quite easily (if you match or exceed their Arete then it will usually fail), without it ALL other investment into you can be undone in a second.

    Personally I would argue that with any able cyborg, such as a promising Awakened Agent (i.e. a Mage PC at Char-Gen), is a horribly risky investment if they *don't* have some Primium installed.
    The Union is not in the habit of coddling agents. Nor is it in the habit of investing certain resources where they aren't needed. If the agent is going to march into battle against other mages on a regular basis, then yes, Primium is not a bad idea. But if the agent spends most of their time in research or investigation or some kind of social-based work, their ability to shrug off magick as an innate part of their body is not as vital. If the Union thought an agent really DID need it, they'd provide external, non-Enhancement Primium armor or defenses. Or they'd provide training in Prime to hone their ability to perform countermagic (or Counter-Science, as it were) with their own Enlightened ability.

    While the Union's resources are vast, they are far from infinite, and much of their finite resources are tied up in any number of projects and programs and the like, that the Union gets up to in their quest to bring order to the entire world (and beyond). Even a promising young agent is not a priceless resource. The Union may even actively work to disabuse their rising stars of the notion that they are so valuable that they can hold their talents ransom. The Technocracy would rather its members understand that THEY need the Union more than the Union needs THEM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Wonders, unlike Enhancements, cost 1 for 1 for freebies. So a 5 dot Wonder, costs 5 freebies, not 10, and can have one to five distinct effects bound into it. High powered Wonders tend to not but mutli-tools because once you can make a Wonder, you can make more of them, so it's more cost effective to focus a Wonder into singular powerful effects rather than lots of little ones.

    Starting mages can't make permanent Wonders, but they can easily make single use ones (Prime 2 with appropriate resonant Tass/Quintessence, Prime 3 without, as per the updated Book of Secrets rules), so they can't make the potent items of masters, but they can make plenty of useful stuff.

    Leave a comment:


  • 11twiggins
    replied
    Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
    All true, in the abstract. In the context of the story, though, things get more complicated.

    Primium isn't cheap. It takes a high level of expertise to create and probably a great deal of expensive or rare raw materials. Such is the price of having a Science-based Technocratic Paradigm, where what's possible and what's cheap rarely intersect, at least without difficulty and work. The entire apparatus of the modern industrial complex was created by the Syndicate to alleviate these problems. And the most powerful Effects the Technocracy can pull off - like creating new and powerful substances like Primium - does NOT benefit from economy of scale.

    So what does this mean for your character? Obviously, from a system standpoint, you can buy anything, so long as you've got enough Freebie Points and Storyteller approval. But if they DO permit you to buy Primium countermeasures - a big "If", given how potent they are - that Storyteller is well within her rights to attach a great deal of story-based riders on that advantage.

    M20 states quite clearly that, because Primium is so precious, they don't give it out to just anybody. If your character has even 1 or 2 dots of Primium, it means the Union is investing in that character. And the Union doesn't like their investments to go to waste, or, worse, to go Rogue. Any character with Primium - even small amounts - is going to be watched carefully. And if the character already proved themselves worthy of that investment, offscreen before play begins, the Union is going to have high expectations for that character to KEEP being worthy of their Enhancements.

    Any steelhead can put a BMI in his head or replace their amputated limbs with robotic versions. That's just common materials. You don't even need Enhancement dots to have machines in you, for Instrument purposes. PRIMIUM is another matter entirely. Nobody at the Union is going to want to write off the loss of precious Primium; some in the Union might consider sending teams of unEnlightened mooks into a warzone, to retrieve a pound of Primium from an agent's corpse, to be worth the expense and loss of life. They certainly don't want any of it falling into the hands of the filthy Reality Deviants. And they know that an agent with Primium in them - or any Enhancements, really - is all the more difficult to deal with in the event they rebel.

    This is one of the times when, if you're going to be running a character with some feature, it needs to be logically justified. Doubly so when you get into the 4 or 5 dot range in Primium Countermeasures. And the character will need to remain in the good graces of their superiors.

    After all, Enhancements can't just be installed. They can be taken away. The Union will make sure to remind the agent of that.
    All of this is true, but the same could be said of a powerful Wonder, the kind that costs 10 Freebies. There is no way in hell a starting Mage character made it, so clearly you have discovered or been gifted with something incredible. Your "betters" could easily demand that it be handed over to someone more responsible, should you give them reason to doubt you.

    As for the value of Primium, it is certainly one of the most valuable materials in Mage. But the idea that investing Primium is incredibly rare and important is somewhat dubious, since all HIT Marks carry it as standard. The Mark V HIT was ubiquitous in the 90s, and EACH of them had 5 points of Primium Countermeasures. Were they common? Well no, but no kind of Mage or Mage Construct is "common" in a demographic sense. My main point here is that Primium is certainly rare, but the Technocracy has enough of it to deck out plenty of cyborgs with ample amounts. People, cyborgs and robots are small and mobile, and good investments (if they stay loyal). What the Technocracy will struggle with are Primium-laced vehicles, bases and rooms, since the amount of material required to get a half-decent effect will be much greater, and the benefits will be smaller.

    Furthermore, without Primium Countermeasures any Technocracy Cyborg will suffer immensely from any magickal attack which forces rejection of implants. The maneuver causes unsoakable damage equal to successes + 2, and is difficulty 7/8 (Vulgar Life 3). With some Primium you will resist this quite easily (if you match or exceed their Arete then it will usually fail), without it ALL other investment into you can be undone in a second.

    Personally I would argue that with any able cyborg, such as a promising Awakened Agent (i.e. a Mage PC at Char-Gen), is a horribly risky investment if they *don't* have some Primium installed.

    As for removal, M20 makes it clear that Primium will be removed first if anything causes the Technocracy to doubt your loyalty. And a backstory for a character should at least include some conditioning or special clearance, yes.
    Last edited by 11twiggins; 04-22-2018, 06:55 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bluecho
    replied
    Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
    For 10 freebie points you can get 5 points of Primium Countermeasures (plus a few extras, as you've only used 10 of your 15 Enhancement points), meaning that 2.1 successes will be subtracted from all attempts to use magick against you on average (thank you for your useful chart, by the way, I share it with every WoD player I meet). Comparing against an Arete of 3, this will, all things being equal, simply negate most attempts to influence you with magick. Sure, it comes with some Permanent Paradox, but in the long run you will accrue less paradox if you are not subject to the whims of other mages, don't you think? You only need to use that Vulgar healing effect because you took all of that damage from that burning curse after all. And this comes without effort or expenditure in-game.
    All true, in the abstract. In the context of the story, though, things get more complicated.

    Primium isn't cheap. It takes a high level of expertise to create and probably a great deal of expensive or rare raw materials. Such is the price of having a Science-based Technocratic Paradigm, where what's possible and what's cheap rarely intersect, at least without difficulty and work. The entire apparatus of the modern industrial complex was created by the Syndicate to alleviate these problems. And the most powerful Effects the Technocracy can pull off - like creating new and powerful substances like Primium - does NOT benefit from economy of scale.

    So what does this mean for your character? Obviously, from a system standpoint, you can buy anything, so long as you've got enough Freebie Points and Storyteller approval. But if they DO permit you to buy Primium countermeasures - a big "If", given how potent they are - that Storyteller is well within her rights to attach a great deal of story-based riders on that advantage.

    M20 states quite clearly that, because Primium is so precious, they don't give it out to just anybody. If your character has even 1 or 2 dots of Primium, it means the Union is investing in that character. And the Union doesn't like their investments to go to waste, or, worse, to go Rogue. Any character with Primium - even small amounts - is going to be watched carefully. And if the character already proved themselves worthy of that investment, offscreen before play begins, the Union is going to have high expectations for that character to KEEP being worthy of their Enhancements.

    Any steelhead can put a BMI in his head or replace their amputated limbs with robotic versions. That's just common materials. You don't even need Enhancement dots to have machines in you, for Instrument purposes. PRIMIUM is another matter entirely. Nobody at the Union is going to want to write off the loss of precious Primium; some in the Union might consider sending teams of unEnlightened mooks into a warzone, to retrieve a pound of Primium from an agent's corpse, to be worth the expense and loss of life. They certainly don't want any of it falling into the hands of the filthy Reality Deviants. And they know that an agent with Primium in them - or any Enhancements, really - is all the more difficult to deal with in the event they rebel.

    This is one of the times when, if you're going to be running a character with some feature, it needs to be logically justified. Doubly so when you get into the 4 or 5 dot range in Primium Countermeasures. And the character will need to remain in the good graces of their superiors.

    After all, Enhancements can't just be installed. They can be taken away. The Union will make sure to remind the agent of that.
    Last edited by Bluecho; 04-22-2018, 06:26 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • 11twiggins
    replied
    Originally posted by Ambrosia View Post
    On a note, I love Enhancements from a roleplaying-perspective. I think they're damn sweet. I just really need to re-read about their creation, because so far they seem to have way more negatives than positives compared to Wonders.
    I'm just not sure about investing in Wonders at character generation. For 10 freebies you can get a 5 dot wonder, which will do one cool thing, and comes with no real downside in an immediate sense. And sure, this powerful artifact could simply be a small and easily concealed object like a ring, which you wear at all times. But any benefit that comes from it is transient in my opinion.

    For 10 freebie points you can get 5 points of Primium Countermeasures (plus a few extras, as you've only used 10 of your 15 Enhancement points), meaning that 2.1 successes will be subtracted from all attempts to use magick against you on average (thank you for your useful chart, by the way, I share it with every WoD player I meet). Comparing against an Arete of 3, this will, all things being equal, simply negate most attempts to influence you with magick. Sure, it comes with some Permanent Paradox, but in the long run you will accrue less paradox if you are not subject to the whims of other mages, don't you think? You only need to use that Vulgar healing effect because you took all of that damage from that burning curse after all. And this comes without effort or expenditure in-game.

    For 6 Enhancement Points (out of the 15 from 10 Freebies) you can have retractable Aggravated claws. Free Aggravated damage, built into your pattern. For 3 Enhancement points, functional and retractable wings. And no paradox from using them, you've paid the price in advance.

    The Armor Enhancement is also great value. 1 point spent gives 1 soak die against Lethal/Bashing, and every 2 points spent give 1 soak die against Aggravated. Coincidental resistance to Lethal and Aggravated damage, permanently built into your character, without the need to buff anything... I mean sure any Mage with Life 2 can buff their Stamina, and any Mage with Life 3 can soak damage as they wish, but this requires Arete rolls, foresight, fast-casting penalties... you see where I'm coming from.

    Enhancements are just reliable. They're with you when an Iterator tries to snipe you while you're relaxing in a pool with another Mage. They're with you when you're only in your pajamas. They're with you when you've been beaten and thrown into the back of a truck. A neat magic wand which incinerates people? I mean it's still awesome! But I think overall the two are quite similar.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ambrosia
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    As well, despite the Permadox/Genetic Flaws issues, they're easier to pass off as coincidental in the current dominant Reality Zone. A robotic arm hiding a gun in it that fires enhance rounds is going to be easier to play off (current prosthetics are getting very advanced) than a wand that shoots fireballs.
    Myeeees, but! Only Technomancers or Techgnosi can use cybernetic Enhancements, so the Wonders those Mages can make could be just as technological-ish and subtle in a reality zone in the first place. Mystics need not apply.

    Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
    I DO know that external Wonders only require Prime 4 to make (Spirit 4 for Fetishes), while Enhancements require that PLUS high level Life and Matter. You know, because you're grafting Matter to Life, before you even think about making those grafts technomagickal.
    Mh, so would any other wonder you want to graft onto your body, but..yeah. The Enhancements are also harder to make.

    I guess the only thing that Enhancements got going for them is that, at least on the Technocratic side, they are produced according to already documented methods and blueprints (unless the enhancement in question is a prototype), so technically they *should* be easier to manufacture by them.

    On a note, I love Enhancements from a roleplaying-perspective. I think they're damn sweet. I just really need to re-read about their creation, because so far they seem to have way more negatives than positives compared to Wonders.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bluecho
    replied
    Originally posted by Ambrosia View Post
    ..now that I think about it, I don't remember if Enhancements are easier to create than Wonders, or even follow the same rules. If they do, they are one of those things that sadly might be in need for some re-balancing.
    I DO know that external Wonders only require Prime 4 to make (Spirit 4 for Fetishes), while Enhancements require that PLUS high level Life and Matter. You know, because you're grafting Matter to Life, before you even think about making those grafts technomagickal.

    Leave a comment:


  • 11twiggins
    replied
    Originally posted by Ambrosia View Post

    Also, higher level cybernetic Enhancements stop working if they run out of quintessence, which they require on every use.
    And technically, with a Life/Matter combo and a high roll, even those cybernetic Enhancements can be taken from you..forcefully, AND with serious damage and crippling effects to your character. :|
    And those that are veterans at fighting cyborgs might be quite good at that...


    ...in retrospect, cybernetic Enhancements have near zero advantages over old-fashioned Wonders that I can spontaneously think of, while having several disadvantages.
    ..now that I think about it, I don't remember if Enhancements are easier to create than Wonders, or even follow the same rules. If they do, they are one of those things that sadly might be in need for some re-balancing.
    Oh I'm not fond of the more demanding implants. I mean for example, 10 of your 15 Enhancement Points could go on a really vulgar and energy-demanding plasma canon. It's dangerous, sure, but you need to find fuel for it, and a botch might blow your arm off. And it will only be coincidental in your lab and some realms.

    Contrast this with implants which demand no energy. For 2 points you get +2 health levels with no downside. For 1 point you get a really simple computer with internet access. For 10 points you get 5 points of Primium Countermagick. Furthermore you can access all of the Enhancements, which can give Aggravated brawling options, Armour, Health Regeneration, Wings... yes there's a serious limit to how much you can have out of all of these, but they can make a cyborg very cool at character gen.

    Personally I think such upgrades are much more reliable than those which need Quintessence and come with Arete ratings.

    Leave a comment:


  • 11twiggins
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    Enchancements have a lot of drawbacks for the investment. It isn't bad, but in a game that allows as much flexibility as Mage does, it drives you down a very specific path. Two 5-dot Wonders can do a lot of that, trading, "can be taken from you," for all of the constant flaws Enhancements demand.
    Hmm. But I feel like "can be taken from you" is a big deal. If you have a suit which acts as the equivalent to full riot gear in terms of armour, then you only get the benefit while you have it on. It can be stolen, destroyed, or inappropriate for a situation. And with offensive wonders, like a wand that fires lightning bolts, it can reasonably be confiscated when you are entering a space full of Mages. Think of it like a Brujah's Katana and a Gangrel's claws; one of them is a deliberate choice, you have brought something offensive with you. But in the latter case you *are* something dangerous, and allowances will be made for that. You always have your gear with you, and it's unreasonable to demand that you uninstall things for meetings.

    Leave a comment:


  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    I'd need to check the numbers, but generally speaking Enhancements are cheaper for permanent/constant effects, while Wonders will require rolling for the most part. As well, despite the Permadox/Genetic Flaws issues, they're easier to pass off as coincidental in the current dominant Reality Zone. A robotic arm hiding a gun in it that fires enhance rounds is going to be easier to play off (current prosthetics are getting very advanced) than a wand that shoots fireballs.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ambrosia
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    Two 5-dot Wonders can do a lot of that, trading, "can be taken from you," for all of the constant flaws Enhancements demand.
    Also, higher level cybernetic Enhancements stop working if they run out of quintessence, which they require on every use.
    And technically, with a Life/Matter combo and a high roll, even those cybernetic Enhancements can be taken from you..forcefully, AND with serious damage and crippling effects to your character. :|
    And those that are veterans at fighting cyborgs might be quite good at that...


    ...in retrospect, cybernetic Enhancements have near zero advantages over old-fashioned Wonders that I can spontaneously think of, while having several disadvantages.
    ..now that I think about it, I don't remember if Enhancements are easier to create than Wonders, or even follow the same rules. If they do, they are one of those things that sadly might be in need for some re-balancing.
    Last edited by Ambrosia; 04-22-2018, 03:21 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Enchancements have a lot of drawbacks for the investment. It isn't bad, but in a game that allows as much flexibility as Mage does, it drives you down a very specific path. Two 5-dot Wonders can do a lot of that, trading, "can be taken from you," for all of the constant flaws Enhancements demand.

    Leave a comment:


  • 11twiggins
    replied
    New sub-topic (relevant to OP)...

    Are Enhancements an ideal investment of Freebies?

    So the Background costs double the usual investment. You're investing 10 freebies if you want 5 dots of Enhancements. But this gives:

    - 15 points to spend on enhancements, such as Primium Countermeasures, Reinforced Bones, Internet Access (with 5 dots of Permadox)

    OR

    - +5 dots in Attributes (with 5 Genetic Flaws; you can pick 1 point Physical Flaws and get 1 freebie back from each of these however; if they're worth more than 1 point you only get 1 point)

    I feel like Primium Countermeasures are a great investment. Up to 5 dice of countermagick, to be rolled at difficulty 7. This will subtract roughly 2 successes from all attempts to harm you with magick, on average. It will also counter positive magick in some cases (a witch's healing touch) so you need to be self-sufficient. But that's what cyborgs are FOR. The reinforced bones give +2 health levels and are dirt cheap.

    The boosted Attributes... I mean you can have Intelligence 8 at start, if having intelligence which surpasses all known human limits interests you. I'd recommend it if you intend to hang a PC off of a specific Attribute. A construct engineered to have perfect sex appeal (Appearance 8 and Charisma 7) might seem trashy on the surface, but imagine the RP experience if it is handled with maturity and sense. What does that do to a person? How does it shape their personality? And the same could be done with Intelligence and Perception, for example.

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X