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

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  • PixelPuzzler
    replied
    There is a weird workaround that would let you have knowledge skills by taking Jack of all Trades as a mental trait, which would let you roll knowledge skills at diff 8, which you can of course reduce to more reasonable levels with magick, and the justification of this one being that you're obviously not just gaining access to information, but simply enhancing your ability to recall the vast amounts of data in your life that would result in a weak understanding of a wide variety of subjects due to simple accumulation over time.

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  • Bluecho
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    In the WoD, there's effectively minimal difference between Mental trait and Mental Attribute, since the only other traits listed as Mental are Merits. Most Mental Merits aren't worth that much compared to what Mind 1 can already do. Maybe it might justify weaker versions of higher level Mind effects (temporarily learning a single language over having a universal translator), but that's not such a big deal. As Abilities aren't broken down in the Physical/Social/Mental scheme, raising them directly wouldn't make sense.
    Given that Mind 3 lets you comprehend any language, I doubt you'd be able to use Mind 1 to temporarily have an additional Language Merit.

    For that matter, I don't see how it's possible for Mind 1 to raise any Knowledges (or similar Traits). You're just buffing your mental prowess. It's not exactly clear how that translates to "instantly knows information they didn't already". Not in the sense of it giving any information gathering ability, but in just straight knowing it, apropos of nothing. That's the sort of thing you'd need a Past Lives or Dream/Hypercram background to do. You can't just intellect boost your way into knowing technical or confidential information, like Science, Occult, Esoterica, or Lore/RD Date. Why would any Mages bother researching things if they could just do that?

    Even the Mind 3 Effect was described as being able to push past the outside facets of a message, in order to comprehend the root meaning behind them. It's not that the character just made themselves temporary know the contents and intricacies of all languages (though an individual Mage might cite explanations like this as part of their Paradigm, such as tapping into the Collective Unconscious or communing with spirits/saints/loa/gods of knowledge/language). They've just enhanced their information gathering ability, so the language barrier is no barrier to them.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    In the WoD, there's effectively minimal difference between Mental trait and Mental Attribute, since the only other traits listed as Mental are Merits. Most Mental Merits aren't worth that much compared to what Mind 1 can already do. Maybe it might justify weaker versions of higher level Mind effects (temporarily learning a single language over having a universal translator), but that's not such a big deal. As Abilities aren't broken down in the Physical/Social/Mental scheme, raising them directly wouldn't make sense.

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  • Bluecho
    replied
    Originally posted by PixelPuzzler View Post
    Actually I managed to find it. I was just looking in the wrong place. Page 519, under Mind 1: "On a related note, he also learns how to multitask and absorb data with startling acuity. Each success he rolls allows him to either consider an additional subject or speed the processing time that a normal person might require. For a scene or two, he can even raise one of his Mental Traits by one dot per success, thanks to a Mind Empowerment Effect that concentrates his mental faculties."

    Further, seeing as it uses the word Trait this is actually even *more* expansive than even life 3, which specifically only calls out attributes. That seems a little silly to me, but hey, that's how it goes. Mind can raise anything mental at 1 dot, Life can only do attributes at 3. RAW that is, which is a pretty weak argument for Mage it seems lol. I suspect most ST's would allow Life to affect other Traits
    Considering that a vast majority of normal rolls are Attribute + Ability, it sounds like a moot point. The dice pool is going to increase by 1 die per success either way. So it's hardly more efficient to buff an Ability rather than an Attribute. If anything, it's LESS helpful to buff an Ability, because they apply to only a limited number of rolls, whereas Attributes are used widely.

    If you wanted to gauge a person's emotional state, you could buff Empathy...or you could buff Perception instead, which does the same thing but also lets you apply that Perception boost to other information gathering rolls.

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  • Saikou
    replied
    I read that as only applying to mental attributes.

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  • Nonsense
    replied
    M20 p. 519: “For scene or two, he can even raise one of his Mental Traits by one dot per success, thanks to a Mind Empowerment Effect that concentrates his mental faculties.“

    Last sentence from the Mind1 description.

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  • PixelPuzzler
    replied
    Actually I managed to find it. I was just looking in the wrong place. Page 519, under Mind 1: "On a related note, he also learns how to multitask and absorb data with startling acuity. Each success he rolls allows him to either consider an additional subject or speed the processing time that a normal person might require. For a scene or two, he can even raise one of his Mental Traits by one dot per success, thanks to a Mind Empowerment Effect that concentrates his mental faculties."

    Further, seeing as it uses the word Trait this is actually even *more* expansive than even life 3, which specifically only calls out attributes. That seems a little silly to me, but hey, that's how it goes. Mind can raise anything mental at 1 dot, Life can only do attributes at 3. RAW that is, which is a pretty weak argument for Mage it seems lol. I suspect most ST's would allow Life to affect other Traits
    Last edited by PixelPuzzler; 04-20-2018, 01:10 PM.

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  • Bluecho
    replied
    Well here's your problem: this is not a capability Mind 1 seems to have in M20. But it DEFINITELY had it in previous editions.

    M20 as written went a great deal towards altering the Spheres, such as moving around powers to different levels, adding the "Lock On" rule, and paring back some capabilities of certain ranks. Some of these might have been helpful changes, like making previously vague wording in Entropy 1 JUST apply to being able to sense lies, rather than the broad ability to sense "significant statements" or the like.

    Other changes, though, are controversial. I, for one, loath the insistence on making so many classic Effects require additional Life 2 or Matter 2 to "Lock On" to specific patterns. While it can have its uses, mandating it by default comes off as a kind of Sphere tax. All of this before getting into How Do You Do That?, which is its own kettle of fish, and invokes strong feelings on this forum.

    Naturally, nothing says that you CAN'T do more with the Spheres than is specifically written in the core book. You can do anything you like with the Spheres, subject to Storyteller approval. You can even ditch them entirely, replacing them with your own original Minor Spheres (from the Revised Storyteller Handbook) or Foundation/Pillar system (from Dark Ages Mage). But even if we're talking about the main Sphere system, it is, by its nature, flexible and open-ended. Nor are you obliged to use one Edition's rules over another, or indeed all of the rules in any given Edition.

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  • PixelPuzzler
    replied
    I've seen it mentioned several times that mind 1 can be used to boost attributes, but unless this is just me misreading a statement that is intended to imply that mind can make it so you don't need them to be increased due to difficulty reductions, I'm actually failing to see where or how mind can do that? How do you do that and M20 core both do not have that sort of effect listed or suggested anywhere, and it certainly seems above the standard power curve of spheres? Now maybe it's an extrapolation based on readings of other effects that Mind can accomplish, but I also didn't see that? Would someone be able to point to me to a reference or explain why Mind 1 can supposedly do this?

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  • Aleph
    replied
    Originally posted by Saikou View Post
    RAW is that only rewinding your body, targeted with Life would require Mind to keep the memory of the events. Implying that you could use Time 3 Life 1 to heal yourself, but then you’d forget the damage was ever done in the first place.
    Thanks for the clarification, I had forgotten you exclude yourself from the loop unless you add Life.

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  • baakyocalder
    replied
    We've gotten off on a long digression on Time magick. Suffice it to say that in Mage, how well any sphere works will be up to the imagination of the group.

    If you're making a character with a sphere that can be vague in its effects at certain power levels, talk to your group.

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  • Bluecho
    replied
    Thinking on it, I have another idea for how to use Time 3: using it to temporarily turn yourself back a turn, while also having your previous self still there. Basically, you're giving yourself a helping hand.

    I would probably require the character to use conjunctional Correspondence 4, in order to invoke polyappearance. That way, you'd have two versions of yourself (for only the duration of the effect; I'd make one or the other then disappear, "going back" to "close the loop").

    Now you may be wondering: "If the point is to have two versions of yourself in two different spots, why do you need Time 3? Correspondence does that fine on its own!" This is not so. Correspondence 4 lets a Mage appear in multiple places at once, but can't let the character have each version doing different things. Not without conjunctional Life and Prime. The whole point of using Time 3 is to let the character do such poly-location shenanigans, even if they haven't invested in Life and Prime.

    Alternatively, you could use Time 3 + Life 4 + Prime 2 to do the same thing, but not need Correspondence 4. Either way, it's a rote designed to give a character options, depending on which Spheres they invested in.

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  • Saikou
    replied
    Here’s a misconception that needs to be cleared up. You do not need Mind to use Time 3 to loop time and remember that time was looped.

    Time warp rite, Mage Revised corr pp 193

    “By pulling Time back into a loop, the mage causes a small area to suffer a local “rewind” of time. The mage herself remains immunised against the Effects due to her command of Time magic (otherwise he wouldn’t know that he’d done anything and the looping would be almost pointless). From there, the mage can change her actions and responses to a given situation, already knowing how it would turn out otherwise.
    By combining Life and Mind with the Effect, the mage can actually rewind herself physically and undo the effects of physical trauma, while still retaining her memory of the events that never happened.”

    RAW is that only rewinding your body, targeted with Life would require Mind to keep the memory of the events. Implying that you could use Time 3 Life 1 to heal yourself, but then you’d forget the damage was ever done in the first place.

    However, I’d say that this would depend on whether your mage believes in mind and body duality, or if they consider the mind to be a separate entity completely divorced from the body, and instead resides in some kind of spirit world, say the astral realm.

    If that’s the case then altering the body with Life would not affect Mind at all, so any Life 4 effects like physiological emotion Control would be impossible with Life magic, but might instead be possible with Spirit magic.
    Last edited by Saikou; 04-19-2018, 11:52 AM.

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  • Ambrosia
    replied
    Originally posted by Saikou View Post
    I’d handle it as a retcon.

    The mage casts their “in the past” spell and if it’s successful, then events are retconned.
    There is a few important distinctions in my approach and yours, both IC and OOC at the table.

    Your case:
    Round 1) Mage casts fireball, powerful enemy survives
    Round 2) Mage tries to dodge like crazy because the enemy just went stabhappy on them.
    Round 3) Mage casts another fireball, splitting action because he still needs to dodge like mad. Enemy luckily dies.
    Round 4) Mage finally can calm down and gather the necessary concentration to cast a fireball back at Round 1 for...some....reason..? Let's say, perhaps to prevent harm that happened to another character from the same enemy during those rounds. Enemy dies back in time earlier, everything gets retcon'd....

    ... then you are back at round 1 and the enemy dies from two fireballs. Everybody else at the table also had their actions retcon'd and one or two might be potentially in a lesser mood as some suprisingly great dice rolls are suddenly gone and the enemies they previously managed to smack down are still alive. But, the other character's injuries are prevented! Plan worked.

    My case:
    Round 1) Mage decides that powerful enemy needs to be gone ASAP, and things get handled as I described in my last post. ST does their hidden rolls, and through luck the powerful enemy instantly gets melted from three fireballs instead of one.
    Round 2) ST puts the Mage into a timeout as they are forced to cast fireballs the next two rounds (as the player agreed to immediately do this after, and the ST rolls were with according difficulty.). The already performed future enforces itself, in a way, and the Mage has doomed themself to whatever potential paradox they subjected themself ahead of time. The other players never had their rolls retconned and are taking care of the other baddies, but potentially have to protect the Time Mage, which might bring its own slew of problems and trouble.

    Both approaches have their pros and cons - the key difference is that one is a reactive approach (hence retcon), the other is a proactive approach (hence forcing you into actions later that you have not performed yet). One gives you the option to revert bad things that actually have happened, the other is a lucky guess at preventing them. One has the potential to retcon dice rolls the co-players at the table were all 'Hell yeah!' about, the other provides a smoother flow for the other party members, but might make things harder during the next round(s) depending on situation.

    So yeah, I'm almost inclined to say that both those things are equally viable options - perhaps even in the same game - as to how perform those time shenanigans. And both are a matter of subjective appeal, both to players and the ST - ultimately deciding wether or not one or the other, or even both are doable in a particular game.
    Last edited by Ambrosia; 04-19-2018, 10:54 AM.

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  • Aleph
    replied
    Yeah, I've always interpreted that Time 3 can't send things back, only "rewind" everything. With Time 5 you could theoretically send a fireball to the past, and when you do the past changes (people do tend to change their course of action after a fireball appeared from nowhere, after all ).

    The power to retcon a particularly horrible turn (combined with Mind so you remember why you did it) it's whitin Time 3 scope, but it's very Paradoxical - and good thing it is, last thing we want it's Time guy forcing the entire party to replay a turn because he fucked up (albeit if the roll was realy catastrophical, like, say, Botching Stealth when the party it's in enemy base, I think people will understand).

    Time 3 can lower the speed of an enemy so my party can catch him, create a "time dilation area" (with Corr) so you can end stuff quicker, buff your car so it goes faster, retcon turns or perhaps particular rolls (in no place it's stated you can't retcon less than a turn, for instance, to aid a frined before he ruins everything). Everything very Vulgar, albeit one can make it Coincident if cleverly used (i.e, to accelerate a machine within the limits of what's technologically possible, which it's a lot, or whitin virtual reality - everything that looks normal should be Coincident).

    But the jewel of Time 3 it's asceleration, and that can be handled better with a Wonder- and if the Wonder it's a Talisman, it can be activated in the same turn you use magick - if you need Time because you need Celerity, then buying the whole 3 levels it's a real deathtrap.

    I think that, from an optimization viewpoint, I would either start with 1 (timers and a few bonuses), get 2 with px (great intel) and leave it there to focus on other Spheres (perhaps buying a Wonder with Time 3 asceleration) OR have build with Time 3 that can handle the 'dox (a build with Familiar, Sanctum, Node, Prime - to fuck Reality with impunity)
    Last edited by Aleph; 04-19-2018, 10:17 AM.

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