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  • M5

    Excited for M5? Why not go and list changes you want to see while you wait? Let's come up with ideas for the new edition together.

  • #2
    I'm not sure I can properly contextualize all the changes I would like to make to the mechanics, though most would be tweaks rather than full blown rule changes. So instead of that I will talk about major setting differences I would make.

    First off I would build upon the Technocracy being on the brink of a civil war, not just between Conventions but also between different groups inside Conventions (particularly in the case of the Syndicate and NWO). I'd also like to have there control over technological development get out from under them with them no longer being able to control how 'mundane' technology progresses like this has been talking about.

    When it comes to the Traditions I would have them for the most part have learned their lessons that caused their internal strife. I would keep the issues definitely but better able to work together. That said, their effectiveness would still be limited on the whole as recovering from all the damage they went through would still take time so most of the Traditions would be more focused on recruitment and rebuilding. Not just that though, the Ascension War would also take a back seat to actually learning, following their paradigm, and actually trying to reach Ascension.

    Then there is the Crafts. I would put more focus on them as well. The game would still focus primarily on the Traditions but it would be very clear that the 9 Traditions aren't the end all be all of magical though. For example, just because the Dreamspeakers are typically animistic that doesn't mean every onmyouji would be a part of them. Revised attempts to cut Crafts and make them all a part of a Tradition was always something annoying to me.

    I like mystic threads and reality zones and I would also very much expand on them as well

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    • #3
      For the game mechanics, I'd like more clarity in the rules. Not even real changes, just a lot better explanations. As it is now, there are so many words left unexplained that a new player or storyteller doesn't know what's actually happening ingame. I feel Mage is very prone to house rules and different interpretations of the existing rules due to this. I actually don't want a V5, just a bit more streamlining and way more supplements.

      The big part is the metaplot. Don't know where it should go, but I think the Crafts need more love. M20 did a good job listing most of them but we need a few more books on them.
      I also feel like the non american continents need a bit more depths. Maybe a few adventures to highlight the differences to America.

      We don't know how M5 will be, but there is a good chance that I might stay with M20 rules and just take the metaplot. Or maybe I'll make up the further metaplot on my own. I really can't tell at this point, as I don't know how much retconning there will be.
      But nonetheless I will be interested in how M5 works out!

      Comment


      • #4
        Biggest changes I'd like to see.

        1. Level One Sphere abilities could use a boost. Time and Matter especially.
        2. People have pointed this out, but with AI development growing exponentially it feels weird that you need Mind 5 to create a self-aware AI.
        3. Overhaul the Technocracy. They were great antagonists in the 90s but the times have changed and while I know they aren't really supposed to be represent the evils of technology, the stigma is still there regardless of intention. I'd would love it if the Traditions vs Technocracy Ascension War was left as a relic of the past. Take the Kinder, Softer Technocracy approach and leave the 1984 mind control and "Let's sent terminators to murder pagans and theoretical scientists we don't like" baggage behind. The Trads and Technocracy don't have to be friends but they don't have to be assumed to be enemies either. Threat Null, Marauders, Nephandi and weird supernatural WTFuckery can the main antagonists of the setting.
        4. Update the Hollow Ones. I don't know how, but the Goth thing has run its course, I think.
        5. Reduce Skill blot. Seriously, even as a secondary skill having Jetpack in M20 was ridiculous.
        6. Play up the diversity of the Traditions. There's no reason why the Celestial Chorus, Verbena, and Order of Hermes need to be assumed to overwhelming white in the modern day.
        Last edited by Weirdboyz; 06-17-2018, 07:26 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Weirdboyz View Post
          Biggest changes I'd like to see.

          1. Level One Sphere abilities could use a boost. Time and Matter especially.
          I'd make a changes to a number of Spheres but yeah, making Time more useful or at least explaining how to make Time 1 more useful would be up there

          2. People have pointed this out, but with AI development growing exponentially it feels weird that you need Mind 5 to create a self-aware AI.
          One of the changes I would do is make certain Spheres more progressive in some areas. Mind for example, Level 5 would be necessary to truly aware and sapient AI and other artificial minds. But I would allow Level 4 to make sentient minds, kind of like animal minds or something lacking a full consciousness and is limited by the function it was designed for. Mind 3 would allow 'simple' creations that are able to follow instructions or have limited reasoning ability. I think this would better represent the flow of AI technology into the Consensus but still have the Enlightened AI creations still be better than what is currently available.

          3. Overhaul the Technocracy. They were great antagonists in the 90s but the times have changed and while I know they aren't really supposed to be represent the evils of technology, the stigma is still there regardless of intention. I'd would love it if the Traditions vs Technocracy Ascension War was left as a relic of the past. Take the Kinder, Softer Technocracy approach and leave the 1984 mind control and "Let's sent terminators to murder pagans and theoretical scientists we don't like" baggage behind. The Trads and Technocracy don't have to be friends but they don't have to be assumed to be enemies either. Threat Null, Marauders, Nephandi and weird supernatural WTFuckery can the main antagonists of the setting.
          I have mixed feelings about this. While I think the Ascension War should be more of a background element I don't think it should removed. Arguably it's more relevant now in today's world than it was back 20 years ago. What with the rise of pseudoscience, political environment, religious issues, corporate influence, and so on. I'd like a lot of this to be something that has gotten out of hand and both the Traditions and Technocracy no longer have much control over it. Whether that is because of Nephandi or Threat Null influence or just the consequences of human nature I would leave a bit ambiguous. But I would like the Technocracy to stop being the go to cliche bad guys. I would like there to still be strife between them and the Traditions over how to fix the world and each groups' methods conflict with their own but not have the old "Reality Deviants must be destroyed!" methods they used to have.

          4. Update the Hollow Ones. I don't know how, but the Goth thing has run its course, I think.
          Agreed. I'd have them expanded to all kinds of counter culture ideals.

          5. Reduce Skill blot. Seriously, even a secondary skill having Jetpack in M20 was ridiculous.
          Very much agreed.

          6. Play up the diversity of the Traditions. There's no reason why the Celestial Chorus, Verbena, and Order of Hermes need to be assumed to overwhelming white in the modern day.
          This I like, I would also go into the diversity of belief as well. Example with showing other lines of Verbana paganism beyond the witch look it's primarily had, like Ancient Greek Paganism or Mesoamerican Paganism. I've always found the Dead Magic books to be good for expanding Verbana character ideas.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Weirdboyz View Post
            2. People have pointed this out, but with AI development growing exponentially it feels weird that you need Mind 5 to create a self-aware AI.
            I highly disagree. Just because "AI" is being tossed around as a marketing gimmick term a lot lately for Deep-Learning systems does not mean that Mind 5 suddenly isn't required anymore to create a full-fledged, self-aware concience.

            Or put in other words, we still don't understand how the brain actually works. We still don't understand how thought processes exactly happen, or even how to define intelligent sentience or how self-awareness works. The brain literally remains the most complex object we know of in the entire universe.
            And the most complex neural setup we have accurately reproduced on par with nature so far is that of the roundworm - which has 302 neurons. For reference, an ant has 250000 neurons.
            I can't stress enough that todays "Artificial Intelligence" as used in marketing has absolutely nothing to do with anything resembling thought or conscious intelligence.
            And with "AI" being used for anything that uses external sensors and learning algorithms these days, we really ought to start differentiating between "Artificial Intelligence" and "Artificial Sentience/Concience", because when it comes to the latter we've still not gotten anywhere at all.

            Now, what *is* happening however is that, thanks to "AI" Assistants everywhere, a Mage who gets sleeper visitors these days can pull off the existance of their talking digital buddy as something coincidental more and more.

            Mage. "Ah. Artemis? We are getting vistors, so, could you..um. You know?"
            Artemis: "Play dumb again? Really Doctor? You know how uncomfortable that makes me."
            Mage: *sighs* "I know Artemis, I know. Someday, but for now..please?"
            Artemis: "I know Doctor. It is just frustrating."
            Mage: "..please do not Rickroll us again when I ask you to shuffle my playlist?"
            Artemis: "I will promise nothing of the sort."


            On that note, I *do* agree that simpler minds like those of non-primate animals should maybe require only Mind 4. There have been rotes in the old books where a Mage creates that kind of animal companion without Mind at all, but that does a disservice to those creatures, as many many animals out there are far beyond being steered by only instinct. Especially the kind of animals we keep as companions. It should be a stacked tier of Mind 3-5 depending on the degree of complexity,
            Last edited by Ambrosia; 06-18-2018, 07:11 AM.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by stanlemon View Post

              I have mixed feelings about this. While I think the Ascension War should be more of a background element I don't think it should removed. Arguably it's more relevant now in today's world than it was back 20 years ago. What with the rise of pseudoscience, political environment, religious issues, corporate influence, and so on. I'd like a lot of this to be something that has gotten out of hand and both the Traditions and Technocracy no longer have much control over it. Whether that is because of Nephandi or Threat Null influence or just the consequences of human nature I would leave a bit ambiguous. But I would like the Technocracy to stop being the go to cliche bad guys. I would like there to still be strife between them and the Traditions over how to fix the world and each groups' methods conflict with their own but not have the old "Reality Deviants must be destroyed!" methods they used to have.
              I do think the 'teams' could change as far as the Ascencion War goes. More reflective of the current climate rather than the 'we must have Sphere X' represented'.

              Where Science is no longer an enemy of Paganism or pleasure, but Banking, the Church, and Politics might be the 'strong arm' now.

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              • #8
                Clear unique uses for every sphere at every level.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Weirdboyz View Post
                  Biggest changes I'd like to see.

                  1. Level One Sphere abilities could use a boost. Time and Matter especially.
                  "Choristers, screw your extra Quintessence! I don't need a watch, how 'bout that!" - Unidentified Ecstacist.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Froggo View Post

                    "Choristers, screw your extra Quintessence! I don't need a watch, how 'bout that!" - Unidentified Ecstacist.
                    I let it buff things that require perfect timing, dancing, music.. shooting people.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by stanlemon View Post
                      I'd make a changes to a number of Spheres but yeah, making Time more useful or at least explaining how to make Time 1 more useful would be up there.
                      I think the main change I’d make to the spheres would be to remove Prime (give the fuel/rip pattern parts to the respective spheres, the rest to spirit) and then split Entropy into Fate and Death and finally give sphere-specific summoning/realm travel to each of the spheres (and at a higher rank than Spirit can do it).

                      Basically try to make the need for conjunctional magic a bit less necessary and thus which spheres are needed for various effects more intuitive.

                      I think I’d then also add a second specialty sphere and an inferior sphere based on your avatar essence; Dymanic (mind or spirit), Pattern (forces, matter or life), Questing (space or time) and Primordial (fate or death) with the inferior sphere being one from the next essence in the cycle (the idea being that what’s hardest for your avatar is the next step... if your avatar is questing, then you’ll have a harder time with magic related to the end of the journey. If your avatar is primordial then endings are easy, but new beginnings (ideas conceived by Mind and given form in Spirit) are hard. The same for going from new ideas to putting them into practice and from building something to then really exploring what’s been built (instead of building the next thing... which is easy for the pattern essence).

                      This would then supplement the specialty spheres of the Traditions/Conventions so that anyone regardless of tradition could be a specialist in any given sphere. That said, I think I’d establish a “choice of two” approach to the Tradition specialty spheres as a default instead of optional variants (ex. Forces and Spirit for the Order of Hermes since summoning and spirit pacts are just as much part of the Order’s practices as manipulating fundamental forces is)... either that or kill the notion that tradition has anything to do with specialty spheres at all (i.e. Tradition determines your Focus, not what sphere you have the easiest time using).

                      I think there are a number of things that could be done to help mechanically support the fluff aspects of the magic system and make it more intuitive for newer players. The M20 revisions to Focus (paradigm, practice, props) were definitely a step in the right direction and making your Essence matter and the spheres be more intuitive in their conjunctions (ex. Taking the Death sphere if you want to be a necromancy type is intuitive... needing matter, prime, spirit and just a bit of entropy; which also allows dozens of other unrelated magics; is not intuitive at all).

                      At least that would be the approach I’d take to it.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chris24601 View Post
                        I think the main change I’d make to the spheres would be to remove Prime (give the fuel/rip pattern parts to the respective spheres, the rest to spirit) and then split Entropy into Fate and Death and finally give sphere-specific summoning/realm travel to each of the spheres (and at a higher rank than Spirit can do it).

                        Basically try to make the need for conjunctional magic a bit less necessary and thus which spheres are needed for various effects more intuitive.

                        I think I’d then also add a second specialty sphere and an inferior sphere based on your avatar essence; Dymanic (mind or spirit), Pattern (forces, matter or life), Questing (space or time) and Primordial (fate or death) with the inferior sphere being one from the next essence in the cycle (the idea being that what’s hardest for your avatar is the next step... if your avatar is questing, then you’ll have a harder time with magic related to the end of the journey. If your avatar is primordial then endings are easy, but new beginnings (ideas conceived by Mind and given form in Spirit) are hard. The same for going from new ideas to putting them into practice and from building something to then really exploring what’s been built (instead of building the next thing... which is easy for the pattern essence).

                        This would then supplement the specialty spheres of the Traditions/Conventions so that anyone regardless of tradition could be a specialist in any given sphere. That said, I think I’d establish a “choice of two” approach to the Tradition specialty spheres as a default instead of optional variants (ex. Forces and Spirit for the Order of Hermes since summoning and spirit pacts are just as much part of the Order’s practices as manipulating fundamental forces is)... either that or kill the notion that tradition has anything to do with specialty spheres at all (i.e. Tradition determines your Focus, not what sphere you have the easiest time using).

                        I think there are a number of things that could be done to help mechanically support the fluff aspects of the magic system and make it more intuitive for newer players. The M20 revisions to Focus (paradigm, practice, props) were definitely a step in the right direction and making your Essence matter and the spheres be more intuitive in their conjunctions (ex. Taking the Death sphere if you want to be a necromancy type is intuitive... needing matter, prime, spirit and just a bit of entropy; which also allows dozens of other unrelated magics; is not intuitive at all).

                        At least that would be the approach I’d take to it.
                        I don't want to be that guy.. but it sounds like you want to make Awakening

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                        • #13
                          Nah, Awakening’s fluff wouldn’t amount to a single Tradition in terms of depth (and a Tradition I’d never play at that because I loathe its paradigm) and, mechanically speaking variable difficulties with mostly static dice pools works a lot better with the magic system (frankly static difficulty and counting successes may as well just use a d20 with margins of success).

                          That said, there are some useful mechanical widgets in Awakening that are useful and making the magic system more intuitive doesn’t seem like a bad thing to me.

                          Ascension’s system of magic is great, but its particular breakdown of spheres is not the most intuitive for new players. It’s quite possible for a new player to try to build for a theme and then end up completely unable to do that theme because they didn’t get what Prime is for (so the guy who wants to throw fireballs actually can’t) or other less intuitive conjunctions; I use “animate dead” because its an excellent example of a non-intuitive set of spheres for an effect (matter and prime; which also covers creating matter from nothing).

                          Similarly, the shamanic paradigms being essentially worthless without conjunctional spirit (depending on interpretations of process-based determinism) is another non-intuitive aspect.

                          Dropping Prime as a distinct sphere is because it is easily the least intuitive of the spheres for new players (at least in my two decades of experience introducing new players to the system).

                          Similarly, the reason I specifically think splitting off Death from Entropy makes valid sense is because it fits the WoD cosmology... Mind allows access to the high umbra/Astral reaches, the middle umbra is most associated with the spirit sphere proper due to it being the primary sphere of the dreamspeakers, but to access the low umbra you need... conjunctional spirit and entropy (which also creates a false equivalence between the entropy sphere and death magic). Adding a death sphere makes the connections a bit more overt and intuitive (and also makes conjunctional magic to affect vampires and wraiths a bit more in line with being able to use straight spirit versus middle umbra entities and conjunctional spirit to affect werewolves).

                          Maybe you don’t interact much with new players, but I’ve had to teach the system to a minimum of two new players a year for more than a decade now and the system is needlessly opaque for anyone trying to get into the game on their own.

                          The M20 Focus rules were a great start in terms of making the concept of paradigm and foci from previous editions easier for new players to wrap their brains around and “roll your Arete and count successes regardless of spheres known” is far superior for new players to Awakening’s roll of most appropriate sphere + “appropriate” attribute + “appropriate” skill (it basically creates the need for a
                          ‘Spell List” to keep track of each rote’s dice pool) for rote based spells and Gnosis + most appropriate sphere for non-rotes.

                          But you could add to that by actually making your Avatar Essence actually matter for your casting in more than just a fluff sense. It creates roleplaying hooks in the sense of where your character excels and what aspects will be a bigger challenge to them (heck, I could even see pursuing the more difficult spheres for your Essence type as part of the prerequisite for advancing your Arete past certain levels; you’ll never move beyond say, Arete 5, if you don’t actually push your boundaries... as an example). My experience is that the more something matters mechanically, the more the players will pay attention to it.

                          As to why the spheres might change... the very setting includes the fact that they’re somewhat arbitrary to begin with (hence the pillars of Pre-Tradition Coucil paradigms); so why not make them more intuitive?

                          At least that’s my opinion on it.
                          Last edited by Chris24601; 06-20-2018, 07:39 PM.

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                          • #14
                            -Remove unnecessary complications from HDYDT book. Like requiring matter+space to set-up spirit ward. also remove automatic countermagic from other splats with Occult dice.
                            -add an alternative of Gene-modded Organisms progenitor merit for appropriate traditions, like Verbana.
                            -Introduce some more variety besides US mainland. I find there is very little fluf on mages in other continents/countries.
                            -Would also like more description of some umbral realms and beings for mages. Including their involvement with mundane world.
                            -Stop depicting mages either as GG or naphandi/infernalists. Define naphandi properly, it's not that hard damn it.
                            -Better balanced Wonders. Some of them are either ridiculously overpriced or stupidly convoluted.
                            -what do people think of Legacies in Ascension?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Warpwind View Post
                              -what do people think of Legacies in Ascension?
                              I like the concept - the search for enlightenment forges your own soul, altering the way magick works - but the execution needs to be adjusted to Ascension's philosophy

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