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  • #31
    You could solve these niggles by having the Syndicate all use "Wonder Spheres". Basically you pay half cost to raise your Spheres, but you can only work with Charms, Artifacts etc.

    So a Syndicate mage uses Forces 2 with the plasma grenades he made/commissioned, he can't just make a normal grenade explode.

    Big advantage with half cost, big disadvantage being stuck with wonders. I'd also allow level 1 effects to work without Wonders, since examining things is so important in mage. I'd also allow one free dot in Prime since they'll be useless if they can't get Prime to a high enough level.
    Last edited by 11twiggins; 10-05-2018, 10:31 AM.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Aleph View Post

      The thing is...that feature doesn't exists for anybody else. That's why it's magick. The sindic is SO certain that the Technocracy/The System can't fail them that it acts as a sort of faith based magick creating features that weren't there before into Technocratic or Technocracy funded products, expensive items they paid themselves...etc.

      The problem it's...what happens if the sindic actually talks with the dude that built the door?.

      -Great hidden security sistem you built there Citizen, it totally saved my life!
      -er...thanks sir!(...wtf?, I didn't built any security sistem in that door...well, better shut up and grab the money)
      So in the case of the syndicate, i shouldn’t look at it so much as enlightened science but as a mindset. The metal door doesn’t need to be built for a syndicate mage because his mastery of the economy and infrastructure they can create these effects? If a syndicate mage does this in a random building then that’s a case of vulgar magic? Or would it be impossible in the first place?
      Last edited by Brassfist; 10-05-2018, 12:29 PM.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Brassfist View Post
        So in the case of the syndicate, i shouldn’t look at it so much as enlightened science but as a mindset. The metal door doesn’t need to be built for a syndicate mage because his mastery of the economy and infrastructure they can create these effects?
        It depends, some sindics may have a bias for things they commissioned, but the mindset is always the key when magick is concenrned. Always.

        Personally, I think Instruments like Architecture are better used to create permanent things that are "altered" at the moment of their creation, as 11twiggins suggests. In this case you don't use Matter 3 to open an otherwise nonexistent door on a wall (as the book suggests you do), but rather "build" (or rather make others build) an office building that has one or several Prime 3/Matter 3 Procedures embedded allowing to open secret doors and such.

        This way the magick it's done while the building it's being built, trough your excellent managerial skills, economical accumen, or whatever...and the door is "real" (it's a Wonder , probably muggles can't use it, but maybe they can, and the magick it's used to make the door imperceptible by normal means and/or supernaturally sturdy).

        This kind of magick can be used without Prime to make things like super sturdy (or filmsy!) walls (Matter 3 hardening/weakening the substance) , or to make the building resistant to fire (Forces 2), or to make the building process itself faster or more efficient...the posibilities are endless - these effects can be embedded into the building by making the effect Permanent (or merely lasting - One Year of Guarantee!).

        And none of this requires "Wonder Spheres", it's merely a form of magick that works pretty well with Rituals and not at all with fast casting. You probably want to have other Instruments that are easier to fast cast (in this thread we mentioned a few)
        .
        .
        .
        BUT the kind of examples that books give do point that the sindics can improvise this kind of shenanigans on the fly...so, yeah.

        If a syndicate mage does this in a random building then that’s a case of vulgar magic? Or would it be impossible in the first place?
        That depends on how strict are you with Focus.

        M20 it's somewhat contradictory about this and by some rules (like the rule that allows a technomancer to hurl fireballs by literal handwavium, albeit after that it says that doing so is impossible if they can't find a justification...) do seem to allow it, albeit with the risk of being Vulgar if the ST doesn't buy it.

        I would say that you can't unless there's a very good reason to think the building could have such a feature.
        Last edited by Aleph; 10-05-2018, 02:23 PM.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Aleph View Post

          It depends, some sindics may have a bias for things they commissioned, but the mindset is always the key when magick is concenrned. Always.

          Personally, I think Instruments like Architecture are better used to create permanent things that are "altered" at the moment of their creation, as 11twiggins suggests. In this case you don't use Matter 3 to open an otherwise nonexistent door on a wall (as the book suggests you do), but rather "build" (or rather make others build) an office building that has one or several Prime 3/Matter 3 Procedures embedded allowing to open secret doors and such.

          This way the magick it's done while the building it's being built, trough your excellent managerial skills, economical accumen, or whatever...and the door is "real" (it's a Wonder , probably muggles can't use it, but maybe they can, and the magick it's used to make the door imperceptible by normal means and/or supernaturally sturdy).

          This kind of magick can be used without Prime to make things like super sturdy (or filmsy!) walls (Matter 3 hardening/weakening the substance) , or to make the building resistant to fire (Forces 2), or to make the building process itself faster or more efficient...the posibilities are endless - these effects can be embedded into the building by making the effect Permanent (or merely lasting - One Year of Guarantee!).

          And none of this requires "Wonder Spheres", it's merely a form of magick that works pretty well with Rituals and not at all with fast casting. You probably want to have other Instruments that are easier to fast cast (in this thread we mentioned a few)
          .
          .
          .
          BUT the kind of examples that books give do point that the sindics can improvise this kind of shenanigans on the fly...so, yeah.



          That depends on how strict are you with Focus.

          M20 it's somewhat contradictory about this and by some rules (like the rule that allows a technomancer to hurl fireballs by literal handwavium, albeit after that it says that doing so is impossible if they can't find a justification...) do seem to allow it, albeit with the risk of being Vulgar if the ST doesn't buy it.

          I would say that you can't unless there's a very good reason to think the building could have such a feature.
          I mean, from a mechanics standpoint it only makes sense that they can preform the effects of they have set it up ahead of time. I always found that aspect of mage confusing because the syndicate mindset is so different. There isn’t a clearly drawn line of what exactly they do and what technocrats actually do with enlightened science. Having pre created infrastructure makes sense but makes them super limited when creating certain effects compared to other paridigms. Technocrats aren’t really allowed to do spontaneous effects if they are syndicate are they?
          Last edited by Brassfist; 10-05-2018, 02:48 PM.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Brassfist View Post
            I mean, from a mechanics standpoint it only makes sense that they can preform the effects of they have set it up ahead of time. I always found that aspect of mage confusing because the syndicate mindset is so different. There isn’t a clearly drawn line of what exactly they do and what technocrats actually do with enlightened science. Having pre created infrastructure makes sense but makes them super limited when creating certain effects compared to other paridigms. Technocrats aren’t really allowed to do spontaneous effects if they are syndicate are they?
            They are allowed spontaneous effects.

            It's just that some Instruments are more cumbersome than others, and some Focuses are more intuitive than others.

            The Verbena that has a 10 tons monolith and a magic wand as Instruments will probably depend on the wand to fast cast. However, if you reasoned her Focus well, the monolith shouldn't be useless. Probably the wand controls the surrounding elements and the monolith serves to cast potent curses at distance with the help of ancient gods, or something like that.

            The Syndicate has some of the most cumbersome Instruments out there. Carrying a 10 tons monolith it's a joke compared with translading a massive megacorporation. However these instruments are quite potent because the people working for your enterprise count as assistants for the ritual. It's also harder to interrupt a megacorporation working from several locations arround the world than to interrupt a witch and her three assistants chanting around a monolith

            The Syndicate has also more common and portable instruments. Many were discused in this thread (for instance: a show of money and your power swit to control minds). The Syndicate uses social manipulation as Instrument, and their thugs use agent-level marksmanship and martial arts too (which can acount for some neat Forces/Life/Matter effects). Also any Technocrat can be trained in the Instruments of other Conventions, they are more unified than other mage groups so they can do that.

            The Syndicate also likes to play Coincident, but it's effects can be as Vulgar as those of any mage. Mindset it's everything and the mindset of the Syndicate IT'S very esoteric: I also have problems wrapping my mind arround their worldview, but they can do a lot of things. It's just harder to explain than just saying "god wills it".

            Think that the Syndicate believes that someone will litterally vanish from existence if his total net worth reduces to zero. The 'value' of things is magical for the Syndicate, and that can explain why their 'faith' in the System can craft such odd effects. Expensive it's good, and good can get pretty surreal.

            Following that reasoning I could say that my sindic takes one turn to examine the gun of the Traditionalist acolites. If they're the best money can buy (not very likely with Tradition level Resources) nothing happens. But, seeing that they're cheap, I state that they should break any time now (my knowledge of balistics and understanding of the value of things says so). And they do break!. A Syndicate agent may be able to pierce a Traditionalist Ward surounding a chantry merely because "he owns the land" - I own the mansion, you can't keep me out.

            That's how the Syndicate works. And yes, it IS rather complicated to throw a fireball with it. But they can do spontaneous effects, just not fireballs or the like.
            Last edited by Aleph; 10-05-2018, 04:04 PM.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Aleph View Post


              That's how the Syndicate works. And yes, it IS rather complicated to throw a fireball with it. But they can do spontaneous effects, just not fireballs or the like.
              Well said, I always confuse the difference between understanding something and believing in something. Power comes from belief, not an understanding of science.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
                You could solve these niggles by having the Syndicate all use "Wonder Spheres". Basically you pay half cost to raise your Spheres, but you can only work with Charms, Artifacts etc.

                So a Syndicate mage uses Forces 2 with the plasma grenades he made/commissioned, he can't just make a normal grenade explode.

                Big advantage with half cost, big disadvantage being stuck with wonders. I'd also allow level 1 effects to work without Wonders, since examining things is so important in mage. I'd also allow one free dot in Prime since they'll be useless if they can't get Prime to a high enough level.
                Which Spheres do you think would be fitting and appropriate for Technocrat Mages of the Syndicate to use as Wonder Spheres ? Matter, Life, and Forces are clear and obvious ; what about Prime, Time, Correspondence, and Entropy ?

                Considering in regards to this, do you think Technocrats of the Syndicate would have some Magick Effects as especially common within the Convention, or that they would be more capable in regards to some Effects, through the use of Wonders made by them ?

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                • #38
                  Infrastructure: the Syndic accesses the “back end” of a product or service — that is, his Magick results in the product or service having a “hidden feature” that extends its usual functionality just a little beyond its advertised capabilities. Or, if the Syndic is willing to go Vulgar, a lot beyond.

                  Personnel: This is the “Management and Human Resources” box on p.595 of M20, and does for people what Infrastructure does for products and services. One fairly extreme example comes from Doctor Who: Also, various “I am the Doctor; don't mess with me!” moments can be thought of as empowering his Fame to achieve extraordinary results that really have no business working, such as driving back whole flotillas of aggressors out to destroy him.

                  Expertise: the Art of Desire isn't just about possessions and clout; it also “involves plenty of self-perfection: athletic exercise, meditation, mental gymnastics, self-reflection, etiquette, and other social graces” (M20 p.573). This is to Abilities what Personnel is to social Backgrounds: it lets you use mundane training to achieve the seemingly impossible. Consider Veidt from Watchmen: Veidt is a consummate Syndic, up to and including the aforementioned athletic exercise which has put him in peak physical condition — a physical Expertise which he exploits here to catch a bullet.

                  Money: perhaps the best known instrument in the Syndic toolkit, but in many ways the least impressive on its own; this does for Resources what Expertise does for Abilities. Take the flamboyant purchases you often see in movies; that's what this Instrument does: In reality, no one can just whip out a checkbook and buy a hotel on the spot, no matter how much money they have; but that's exactly what hypereconomics lets you do.


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                  • #39
                    Dataweaver is correct. Syndicate reps operate by pushing the limits of mundane resources. Whether that's money, style, etiquette, architecture, consumer products, or the physical limits of the human body and mind. It's an Art of Desire they've been practicing since the Renaissance - when they were the High Guild - and have now refined into a science. That science being, of course, their personal unified field theory called Hypereconomics. Wherever there is a bit of leeway - a gap in the ways things work - a Syndicate rep can use money, people skills, expertise, and raw Charisma to exploit that gap and wedge themselves in.


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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                      Infrastructure: the Syndic accesses the “back end” of a product or service — that is, his Magick results in the product or service having a “hidden feature” that extends its usual functionality just a little beyond its advertised capabilities. Or, if the Syndic is willing to go Vulgar, a lot beyond.
                      (...)
                      In reality, no one can just whip out a checkbook and buy a hotel on the spot, no matter how much money they have; but that's exactly what hypereconomics lets you do.
                      Isn't the Syndicate as you described them more mystical than technocratic ? Going by what you, and other posters in this thread, wrote it seems that the Mages of the Syndicate are similar to ( for example ) the Cult of Ecstasy Mages to a much greater extent than they are to Technocrats of other Conventions. This is because of a lack of a technocratic and/or scientific basis for their Effects, and the focus on personal actions, qualities, and the Mage's lifestyle in regards to their Magick.

                      There are places in M:tA books that do give this impression in regards to the Syndicate ( and Technocrats in general ) ; that they can cast mystical Effects through symbolism and belief. At the same time, there are many indications that the members of the Syndicate are Technocrat Mages in a similar - or at least comparable - way that the Technocrats of the four other Conventions of the Technocracy are.

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                      • #41
                        I was describing it from a “gamist” perspective: how the player of a Syndic should approach things. The Syndic himself, though, doesn't view it as magick creating a “hidden feature” or spending cash achieving an impossible result: to him, the “hidden feature” has always been there; it's just “hidden”.

                        The money? The impossibility of buying a hotel at the drop of the hat has more to do with the amount of paperwork that's involved with making such a purchase than with the amount of money involved, which is why someone with decent knowledge of finance transactions would call BS on the scene in question; so yeah, there's some “mysticism” involved here — but no more than you get with a professional biologist looking at some of the things the Progenitors do, or a professional mechanical and/or software engineer looking at a HIT-Mark. Technocratic hypertech of all stripes takes liberties with the limits placed by real-world science, especially when dealing with Vulgar Procedures. Let's not even get started on the lack of a scientific foundation for most of what the Void Engineers do: force fields, paralysis beams, teleporters, and space opera tropes all over the place.

                        The only difference, as I see it, is that more people are inclined to see economics as an esoteric study to begin with (as opposed to the hard sciences that Iteration X and the Progenitors focus on), and so the more “impossible” effects that hypereconomics produces are more likely to be seen as mystical. The NWO's focus on psychology and sociology has a similar effect, but tends to get mitigated by the fact that they also draw heavily from the superspy tropes — which means that a lot of their magick takes the form of “spy-tech”: exploding cuff-links, lipstick lasers, etc. But when their magick gets into the realm of mental manipulation and their Practices shift from more tangible fields to Dominion, their effects can get just as “mystical” as anything the Syndicate does.


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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                          I was describing it from a “gamist” perspective: how the player of a Syndic should approach things. The Syndic himself, though, doesn't view it as magick creating a “hidden feature” or spending cash achieving an impossible result: to him, the “hidden feature” has always been there; it's just “hidden”.

                          The money? The impossibility of buying a hotel at the drop of the hat has more to do with the amount of paperwork that's involved with making such a purchase than with the amount of money involved, which is why someone with decent knowledge of finance transactions would call BS on the scene in question; so yeah, there's some “mysticism” involved here — but no more than you get with a professional biologist looking at some of the things the Progenitors do, or a professional mechanical and/or software engineer looking at a HIT-Mark. Technocratic hypertech of all stripes takes liberties with the limits placed by real-world science, especially when dealing with Vulgar Procedures. Let's not even get started on the lack of a scientific foundation for most of what the Void Engineers do: force fields, paralysis beams, teleporters, and space opera tropes all over the place.

                          The only difference, as I see it, is that more people are inclined to see economics as an esoteric study to begin with (as opposed to the hard sciences that Iteration X and the Progenitors focus on), and so the more “impossible” effects that hypereconomics produces are more likely to be seen as mystical. The NWO's focus on psychology and sociology has a similar effect, but tends to get mitigated by the fact that they also draw heavily from the superspy tropes — which means that a lot of their magick takes the form of “spy-tech”: exploding cuff-links, lipstick lasers, etc. But when their magick gets into the realm of mental manipulation and their Practices shift from more tangible fields to Dominion, their effects can get just as “mystical” as anything the Syndicate does.

                          You are right about the hypereconomics that is practiced by the Syndicate, in that it is comparable with what the other four Conventions of the Technocracy do. The hypereconomics part of the Magick of members of the Syndicate has enough of both technocratic ( and scientific ) basis and complexity, that it is what I consider to be a developed and appropriate Foci, and a fitting Paradigm-related activity ; that is consistent with the rules and themes of Mt:A ( and WoD ) as a setting. This Foci can be used for an amount of Prime and Entropy Effects by Mages of the Syndicate ; this amount is relatively limited, as it must involve transactions within, or ones somehow connected with, the economical systems that are established.


                          Besides this, I think that in regards to the vast majority of Magickal Effects that are listed as possible in Mt:A, the Syndicate's Paradigm and Foci are extremely lacking and barely, unclearly developed and presented. I get that in regards to using Mind and Entropy ( technocratic ) Magicks for influencing minds, they are supposed to have Adjustments and Procedures that are different but comparable to the New World Order's Procedures ; but this does not get described beyond "The Technocrats of the Syndicate are charismatic and use displays of elegance and wealth intricately.". How ( and for example why, or to what extent ) exactly does a Mage of the Syndicate make it so that they can do an Entropy 5 Affect Thought ? "They are tough, experienced, and assured." is a simplistic answer so unlike what I - and others, I think - expect from M:tA as a game and as a setting.

                          Can a Provider or an Extraordinary Citizen working for the Technocracy be helped by a powerful Mind 4 Adjustment done by a Syndicate Technocrat that makes her feel like living ' the American dream ' for a few hours, or a few days ? From how the Syndicate Mages are presented, this is a definite possibility ; but it is never said how the Technocrats of the Syndicate prepare such Effects. I think that this one of the main reasons the Magick Effects of members of the Syndicate end up being much more mystical ( as in the Traditions or the Nephandi kind of mystical ) instead of being distinctly and primarily technocratic, as I see it.
                          Last edited by Muad'Dib; 10-11-2018, 01:26 AM.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
                            Besides this, I think that in regards to the vast majority of Magickal Effects that are listed as possible in Mt:A, the Syndicate's Paradigm and Foci are extremely lacking and barely, unclearly developed and presented. I get that in regards to using Mind and Entropy ( technocratic ) Magicks for influencing minds, they are supposed to Adjustments and Procedures that are different but comparable to the New World Order's Procedures ; but this does not get described beyond "The Technocrats of the Syndicate are charismatic and use displays of elegance and wealth intricately.". How ( and for example why, or to what extent ) exactly does a Mage of the Syndicate make it so that they can do an Entropy 5 Affect Thought ? "They are tough, experienced, and assured." is a simplistic answer so unlike what I - and others, I think - expect from M:tA as a game and as a setting.

                            Can a Provider or an Extraordinary Citizen working for the Technocracy be helped by a powerful Mind 4 Adjustment done by a Syndicate Technocrat that makes her feel like living ' the American dream ' for a few hours, or a few days ? From how the Syndicate Mages are presented, this is a definite possibility ; but it is never said how the Technocrats of the Syndicate prepare such Effects. I think that this one of the main reasons the Magick Effects of members of the Syndicate end up being much more mystical ( as in the Traditions or the Nephandi kind of mystical ) instead of being distinctly and primarily technocratic, as I see it.
                            They're both Social Scientists and Con Artists. If they want to shape minds with Entropy 5 they make an advertisement with lot's of symbolism and cues, not in vain they have a Marketing Methodology. Their self-assurance it's just part of their training, a training that alows them to provide extraordinarry motivational talks like those every competent manager knows how to give (except that in the case of the Syndicate they actually work because Mind 4)

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Aleph View Post

                              They're both Social Scientists and Con Artists. If they want to shape minds with Entropy 5 they make an advertisement with lot's of symbolism and cues, not in vain they have a Marketing Methodology. Their self-assurance it's just part of their training, a training that alows them to provide extraordinarry motivational talks like those every competent manager knows how to give (except that in the case of the Syndicate they actually work because Mind 4)
                              I have no doubt that they can do it within economical or social systems, and it is an perfectly acceptable Foci and a set of methods, that is also technocratic. However, I think that the Syndicate is severely undeveloped in regards to the wider breadth of Magick Effects that that are defined within their methods, Foci, and Paradigm. For example, what are their Entropy 4 Bless and Curse Foci and methods in regards to Effects cast on single persons, including themselves ? Can they cast Entropy 5 Effects involving changing somebody's fate, future, and actions ? How do they carry out such Effects ?

                              The impression I get and conclusion I come to, is that the Technocrats of the Syndicate Convention simply don't have their own technocratic Foci for such, and many others, of their Magickal Effects. They are like the Mages of the Order of Reason whose Magick is in many cases based on and cloaked in "intuition", "luck", "giving your best", "peak human capabilities", "fortune", or "insight" . With a decent dose of helping those methods and concepts along with specific types of behaviors that to a significant extent are similar to mystical channeling or mystical rituals ; or by carrying seemingly mundane items that are actually Foci for Effects of such a Mage.

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                              • #45
                                Blessings and curses? They give a call and suddenly somebody’s credit score is in the shitter. That phone bill / mortgage/ credit card is starting to pile up because your interest rate went through the roof. Oops you can’t rent now because your credit score shows that you are horribly unreliable(even if you have paid every bill on time since forever). Sure that works best on people interacting with the mundane world, but making it known that you are bad at holding up your side of bargains is going to effect your interaction with spirts, and then you get into the exotic effects of how a bad credit score enhanced by Awakened Will is fucking you up in terms of probability until you pay it back.

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