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  • Syndicate Magic: Spheres and Tools

    I often see people suggesting a great many interpretations of how the magic of the syndicate works, and I wanted to get a definitive answer for what each of the spheres look like when a syndicate mage uses them. From my understanding money, expertise, and hidden features seem to be the main tools that the syndicate use to enact their procedures. A mage can use marketing campaigns to influence a Mind effect on people or effective management strategies to imbue objects with primal energy, or flash cash to drive somewhere instantly in a taxi. My question is, how does a syndicate mage create effects in the other spheres and what other tools can they use. What do Time, Forces, Life, and (probably the most difficult) Dimensional Science look like when a syndicate mage uses them? What does their magic look like when it actually turns vulgar? And are there more tools a Syndicate Mage can pull from to preform their effects than the ones I listed?

    Another question I have is this, what does an additional sphere level actually represent for a Syndicate mage when they are just purchasing an effect, such as a suit that can take bullets. How is that enlightened science for the syndicate mage, what is it that they have actually learned in order to create that effect?

    Love this community, and any responses/discussion are appreciated

    -Brassfist

  • #2
    Anything they buy could be considered a focus or tool, especially when its expensive and/ or 1 of a kind.

    I always have seen the Synidicate operatives as being the ones with a bunch of wonders. They pour the $ (quintessence) into RnD and have prototypes built that they then make use of.

    Also, is it still a policy that only Void Engineers take Deminsional Science or has that changed? It's been awhile since I've read up on it.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Tuch View Post
      Also, is it still a policy that only Void Engineers take Deminsional Science or has that changed? It's been awhile since I've read up on it.
      Yes and no.

      The only Convention that had an actual policy about it was Iteration X. This was in behalf of the Computer and since the Storm ItX members can and sometimes will learn DimSci.

      The thing it's that DimSci it's seen as a poor career choice if you arent a VE. Other Conventions focus on Earth and see little value on DimSci other than keeping the other worlds outside, and that's the role of the VE. That VE do everything in their power to hide the stuff they do out there doesn't help.

      If you learn a lot of DimSci you're most likely going to be asigned to jobs pertaining the VE, and everyone knows VE are cowboys that don't respect the rules.

      Everyone can learn DimSci, and at it's lowest levels (1-2) it's rather common (think that one of the most emblematic rotes of the MiB, the mirrorshades that detect the supernatural, often uses DimSci 1). At higher levels you're entering VE territory and no one want's to have that in their files.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Tuch View Post
        Also, is it still a policy that only Void Engineers take Deminsional Science or has that changed? It's been awhile since I've read up on it.
        There are rotes that use DimSci in almost every Revised Conventionbook, and it's on every convention's character sheet. It's a safe bet that the Void Engineers are still the primary users and masters of it, but I don't think it's VERBOTEN for other conventions. Especially since stuff like detecting Shifters requires at least DimSci basics, according to the NWO. I presume though, that agents require good justification for really getting deep into the stuff.


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        • #5
          So if all the other conventions can do dimensional science what does the syndicate version look like?

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          • #6
            The Syndicate it's one of the most "grounded" Conventions. To say not many of their members use DimSci it's an understatement - they're the Convention with most Masters alive because they weren't on the Umbra.

            As always, Mages are very varied and there's probably a lot of ways to use a Syndicate's Focus.

            Inclusing the use of Hypertech like any Technocrat. One thing that has to be mentioned it's that, unlike the Traditions, Technocracy often cross-train their agents. A Syndicate agent may have a Practice learned directly from Void Engineers, and I imagine most heavy DimSci users do this (providing this service the VE get to control what you learn and have an easier time brainwashing you to unsee stuff that could be problematic)

            That being said, this is how I imagine it looks when DimSci it's used within the context of Hypereconomy (something that has never been discussed in the books, as far as I know):

            A Syndicate agent knows that value makes the world go arround. Why should it be different for the other worlds?. A Syndicate agent with DimSci knows how to make a transaction that has a kind of *value* (and thus power) that transcends the barrier between worlds and comunicates with the beings that were left aside by the anthropic principle.

            Such a syndicate agent can do stuff like start a crowdfund that will atract very exotic buyers (contacting spirits of comerce to favor a business oportunity), make a job advertisement that will atract really exotic employees (sumon a spirit to do a job, possess someone, etc), appreciate or ruin a terrain from the persepective of the other side (lower or raise the Gauntlet, negotiate with an EDE so it leaves a body (exorcism).

            It's the kind of dude you want to have in the ship when you enter Ferengi space. If you get what I mean.

            Of course, the basic it's to apreciate the value of the other worlds (DimSci 1). And within the Syndicate even suggesting that it's going to cause some serious eyebrow raising.

            The Tools, as can be seen from my example would be the same a Syndicate agent uses to do, say, Primal Utility, but applied within the context of wanting to lure the beings and "economy" that are outside the anthropic principle...

            This could look a lot more like shamanism than engineering, not that they would appreciate the comparison

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            • #7
              I could also see Syndicate reps with DimSci leaving "offerings" that have terms of service of sorts attached. There's a contract that an otherdimensional being must fulfill in order to gain the benefits of whatever the Syndicate is leaving for them to enjoy. It might have a tag (written in whatever esoteric language DimSci attaches to such beings) that reads, "By accepting this [Offering], you agree to guard [Syndicate agent] against attacks." The Syndicate rep brokers service, treating all "spirit" interactions in the form of potential business deals.

              It's the sort of thing that a member of the Syndicate has to engage in carefully and subtly, lest they attract negative attention from their Convention.


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              • #8
                You two bring up the issue of Spirts. Now I've always felt that by cannon it is implied that the Technocracy doesn't actually believe in spirits after the fall of the Gabrielites and that doing so to loudly could bring about their same fate. That all Umbral entities are simply aliens from outer space or other deminsions.

                Now I'm not saying Sindicate members would not trade with these entities because I'm sure some would but they wouldn't consider them spirits.

                Or am I off on this?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tuch View Post
                  Now I'm not saying Sindicate members would not trade with these entities because I'm sure some would but they wouldn't consider them spirits.
                  They would consider them EDEs.

                  But you and me know that this is synonymous of spirits in the books.

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                  • #10
                    Most Syndicate Mages perform magick in a way which isn't really suitable for a PC. Most Syndicate operatives are casting effects over weeks and years, meticulously controlling ventures and acquiring specialized gear. There isn't really a "click your fingers and create fire" type of mindset in most of them.

                    However PCs are often the exception. A Syndicate PC might believe in the universe being a hypereconomic simulation, and act much like a VA, simply integrating ideas of Value and Worth and Market Correction (Paradox) into the Data viewpoint. Another Syndicate PC might use Wonder Spheres; they cost half as many EXP to raise but they can only use their Spheres to make Charms and other Wonders.

                    Your average Syndicate mage is slightly limited in terms of what they can do with preparation of gear, and that's a disadvantage sure, but they have a huge advantage in Coincidental effects and being integrated into society. We believe it when we see a police officer looking the other way for a cash bribe. We don't believe it when someone gets them to forget what they saw by chopping the head off of a doll dressed in a police universe dipped in absinthe. Syndicate Mages are excellent at what they can justify, and a lot of that is social. So less flashy jetpack stuff (although they can buy them) and more subtle manipulative stuff.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tuch View Post
                      You two bring up the issue of Spirts. Now I've always felt that by cannon it is implied that the Technocracy doesn't actually believe in spirits after the fall of the Gabrielites and that doing so to loudly could bring about their same fate. That all Umbral entities are simply aliens from outer space or other deminsions.

                      Now I'm not saying Sindicate members would not trade with these entities because I'm sure some would but they wouldn't consider them spirits.

                      Or am I off on this?
                      They 100% believe in spirits, they just don't call them "Spirits"; they think of them as aliens, post-life-entities, extra-dimensional-entities and dimensional anomalies.

                      Remember that in the WoD, spirits and spiritual realms are viewed through the eye of the beholder. A Werewolf, a Vampire and a Syndicate Mage will all see something quite different when confronted with an individual spirit. Only extremely powerful Spirits have a strong enough identity to seem basically identical to all onlookers (Thor, for example, won't just look like Zeus to a greek pagan onlooker; they're different Spirits).

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
                        Most Syndicate Mages perform magick in a way which isn't really suitable for a PC. Most Syndicate operatives are casting effects over weeks and years, meticulously controlling ventures and acquiring specialized gear. There isn't really a "click your fingers and create fire" type of mindset in most of them.

                        However PCs are often the exception. A Syndicate PC might believe in the universe being a hypereconomic simulation, and act much like a VA, simply integrating ideas of Value and Worth and Market Correction (Paradox) into the Data viewpoint. Another Syndicate PC might use Wonder Spheres; they cost half as many EXP to raise but they can only use their Spheres to make Charms and other Wonders.

                        Your average Syndicate mage is slightly limited in terms of what they can do with preparation of gear, and that's a disadvantage sure, but they have a huge advantage in Coincidental effects and being integrated into society. We believe it when we see a police officer looking the other way for a cash bribe. We don't believe it when someone gets them to forget what they saw by chopping the head off of a doll dressed in a police universe dipped in absinthe. Syndicate Mages are excellent at what they can justify, and a lot of that is social. So less flashy jetpack stuff (although they can buy them) and more subtle manipulative stuff.
                        Really, it's not that Syndicate mages don't make for good PCs, or that you can't run one in a Mage game. You just have to modify your expectations about how that game is going to work. Less instant fireballs, more influence peddling and power politics. Think Diplomacy, not DnD.

                        It's the same sort of adjustment of game expectations that need to go into an Order of Hermes game, where High Ritual and heavy research become greater focuses. Where a Hermetic is able to swing an Effect towards Coincidental by performing a big Ritual, that uses its successes to play out the magick over a long period of time. It's the sort of game that actually uses Downtime, rather than stringing together storylines with the bare minimum of in-universe time spent between scenes. And that one might have a different metric for defining success, like being able to successfully write and trade a treatise on an esoteric subject.

                        Or, in the Syndicate rep's case, being able to run a successful ad campaign to restore consumer confidence in Capitalism. There are many ways to play Mage: The Ascension, not just the kind involving fireballs being thrown at people.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                          Really, it's not that Syndicate mages don't make for good PCs, or that you can't run one in a Mage game. You just have to modify your expectations about how that game is going to work. Less instant fireballs, more influence peddling and power politics. Think Diplomacy, not DnD.

                          It's the same sort of adjustment of game expectations that need to go into an Order of Hermes game, where High Ritual and heavy research become greater focuses. Where a Hermetic is able to swing an Effect towards Coincidental by performing a big Ritual, that uses its successes to play out the magick over a long period of time. It's the sort of game that actually uses Downtime, rather than stringing together storylines with the bare minimum of in-universe time spent between scenes. And that one might have a different metric for defining success, like being able to successfully write and trade a treatise on an esoteric subject.

                          Or, in the Syndicate rep's case, being able to run a successful ad campaign to restore consumer confidence in Capitalism. There are many ways to play Mage: The Ascension, not just the kind involving fireballs being thrown at people.
                          I definitely agree with you, I could have been more clear. Most Syndicate Mages are suited to a more slow paced game. The same could be said of some high ritual mystics, however regardless of how much value a Chorister or Hermetic place on Ritual, they still have the ability and belief required to throw a fireball if they need to. They aren't cut off from fast pace.

                          And a Syndicate Mage isn't fully cut off from this either, they just need a Wonder or a bulky focus before chucking fireballs starts to feel reasonable to them. It's not that they're weaker, it's that they win battles by foreclosing on your house and tanking your credit rating, and placing you on a credit blacklist which they can use to track you all over the world under the guise of protecting the marketplace from a con artist / serial debt evader.

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                          • #14
                            While the Syndicate certainly doesn't excel at hurling fireballs without proper devices, they can cast a lot of the more "social stuff" on the fly.

                            For instance: they can use expensive clothing and body language to "charm" a security guard creating powerful sensation of "you know that if you don't let me enter its going to be trouble" (bonus points because it's actually true).

                            If you think about it, a Syndic can be a pretty good "bard". The face of the team charming onlookers, doing the talking and "motivating" fellow Technocrats (as a way to recharge their Quintessence or increase their odds with Entropy, perhaps?).

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Aleph View Post
                              While the Syndicate certainly doesn't excel at hurling fireballs without proper devices, they can cast a lot of the more "social stuff" on the fly.

                              For instance: they can use expensive clothing and body language to "charm" a security guard creating powerful sensation of "you know that if you don't let me enter its going to be trouble" (bonus points because it's actually true).

                              If you think about it, a Syndic can be a pretty good "bard". The face of the team charming onlookers, doing the talking and "motivating" fellow Technocrats (as a way to recharge their Quintessence or increase their odds with Entropy, perhaps?).
                              And a big advantage is that most of what they do is super coincidental. Pulling on mythic threads even. Of course flashing some cash is the best way to solve many situations; it might even have worked WITHOUT the mind effect.

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