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My first Ascension Mage

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  • #16
    I'm pretty sure the implication with every segment of instruments is you aren't using /all of them/

    My current hermetic mage has books on his instrument list.

    That doesn't mean he uses every book.

    But I sincerely doubt the Book of Mormon is going to be the only holy text of a Mormon character, same with 'swords'. Thats like taking 'Forces 3' but instead of writing forces you write 'Fire 3'. (Ignoring Sub spheres).

    Instruments obviously takes into account practices + beliefs, and more so than just their belief in how the cosmos works (If anything I find the segment on 'I believe reality is [Blank]' to be less useful than the other sections)

    My suggestions was to help him broaden out his practices + foci + get the 'correct' number of instruments down. Having only 'book of mormon' compared to 'books and other texts' or even just 'mormon holy texts' cripples your character while having 'blessings' and 'curses' as two separate instruments goes against the spirit of the game and you essentially only have 6 instruments at that point. (Book of secrets has a FAQ on the importance of 7 instruments/not just having your mage have 1 instrument)

    Of course his character could simply believe swords are the only physical weapon to bring gods wrath, but just having 'swords' as an instrument is like having 'healing' written down for Life 2.
    (This does give me a thought: I kinda feel like 'unique instruments' and 'personal instruments' should have been per like, instrument and not sphere. So instead of 'I use Tarot cards to do Entropy magick' it would be 'I use Tarot cards to do rotes that rely on games of chance' or something. Or atleast as an optional rule)

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Jihelu

      I'm pretty sure the implication with every segment of instruments is you aren't using /all of them/

      My current hermetic mage has books on his instrument list.

      That doesn't mean he uses every book.

      ...

      Instruments obviously takes into account practices + beliefs
      Well, it wasn't obvious in your post, suggesting to take "Weapons" as Instrument and leaving it at that.

      , and more so than just their belief in how the cosmos works (If anything I find the segment on 'I believe reality is [Blank]' to be less useful than the other sections)
      Before M20 it was all merged together (and within the Tradition). This wasn't optimal for many, many, reasons. But I'm starting to see it had some advantages. For one, very few people back then would have said that your Paradigm was "less useful" than your Style

      My suggestions was to help him broaden out his practices + foci + get the 'correct' number of instruments down. Having only 'book of mormon' compared to 'books and other texts' or even just 'mormon holy texts' cripples your character
      Crippled compared to what?.

      I've seen many a character have Swords or "the Bible" as "Instruments" (Foci back then) w/o feeling particularly crippled.

      The Bible may be a single book, but it's something that can be bought at any bookstore and can be carried easily. It's a very convinient Instrument when compared to "Scientific Labs", it's even better than "Ritual Swords and Knives" (M20 canon instrument) in my opinion because it can be carried in most places w/o raising suspicion. It's not as convinient as "internal" instruments like "spells". Instruments were never balanced, but as far as Instruments go, having a common enough book as one doesn't sound bad to me

      Oh, but you see "Books" and suddenly "the Bible" feels very weak...

      Hence why I'm starting to dislike that section. We didn't had this problem before, people were happy with only one type of weapon or book as their Instrument

      If anything I can see the argument that admiting only one sacred book may be weird for a religion that has many of those (then again, fundamentalists that only aknowledge the sanctity of one book do exist), but the fact that you feel the need of adding the word "just" to "mormon holy texts" kinda proves my point. You word that as if was the bare minimum, I would see that as the reasonable maximum (for the practice of Faith, only texts that are holly to the Faith in question should count)

      while having 'blessings' and 'curses' as two separate instruments goes against the spirit of the game and you essentially only have 6 instruments at that point. (Book of secrets has a FAQ on the importance of 7 instruments/not just having your mage have 1 instrument)
      I think it's useful to say that these could be one single Instrument because maybe the OP doesn't know and would have chosen them as one if he knew it was an option...but they can be treated as separate instruments too. The canon example: Maleficia has only Curses and not Blessings in their suggested Instruments

      I think they are just distinct enough as to be conceptualized in a different fashion. These are almost always used for different purposes, and they could imply different actions (the Instrument doesn't specify if these imply an utterance/spell, body language, or specific rituals).

      I would deffer to the player if these are one Instrument or two. It could makes sense for blessings to be a common practice of the character and curses an outlier that's rarely done (and thus be treated as separate Instruments for purposes of surpassing)

      Instrument choice was always a narrative process with very soft rules, I think the player should decide these things. I don't like how people start to use the Instruments of that chapter as a list of hard options rather than a list of vague examples that not only can but need to be sepparated in order to make sense for the character (you yourself think it's "obvious" that you can't use *all* the Instruments of the type)

      But I sincerely doubt the Book of Mormon is going to be the only holy text of a Mormon character, same with 'swords'. Thats like taking 'Forces 3' but instead of writing forces you write 'Fire 3'. (Ignoring Sub spheres).

      ...

      Of course his character could simply believe swords are the only physical weapon to bring gods wrath, but just having 'swords' as an instrument is like having 'healing' written down for Life 2.
      Eh, no. That's a completely wrong comparison.

      The player decides how many effects can be done with a Sword (if it's anything related to god's wrath then it's a lot of things). "Fire", on the other hand, can only do fire related effects,

      You're not limiting your options when using magick. It's not a valid comparison.

      Besides, "Swords" it's way more ample than "mormon holy texts" (which it's OK in your opinion?). It's, perhaps, too ample (do katanas count?, or only european-looking swords?), but I would allow "Swords" anyway, and let the player leeway to chose the flavor of his swords (trusting that, in general, players respect the flavor they want for their characters, even if isn't written in stone).

      (This does give me a thought: I kinda feel like 'unique instruments' and 'personal instruments' should have been per like, instrument and not sphere. So instead of 'I use Tarot cards to do Entropy magick' it would be 'I use Tarot cards to do rotes that rely on games of chance' or something. Or atleast as an optional rule)
      I agree on this. Making these Instruments related to Spheres doesn't make a lot of sense with how the new system it's build.
      Last edited by Aleph; 07-16-2019, 11:17 AM.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Aleph View Post
        It's not as convinient as "internal" instruments like "spells". Instruments were never balanced, but as far as Instruments go, having a common enough book as one doesn't sound bad to me
        I don't really have much to carry on because at this point it's just me disagreeing but,
        Fucking 'spells' were an instrument?

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        • #19
          Jihelu Aleph Do you know just how big a library I'd have to haul around if I did the whole of Mormon Texts.
          The standard works
          • The Holy Bible (King James Version Preferred, with cross references)
          • Book of Mormon
          • Doctrine & Covenants (The Complation of Mostly Joseph Smith's Visions, Prophecies, revelations and teachings with some from Brigham Young)
          • Pearl of Great Price (The books of Moses and Abraham)
          Now admittedly those are usually bound with the Bible separate and the Book of Mormon, D&C and Pearl of Great Price in one but still...That's a big much to carry around all them time.

          Now I need a 7th Tool. something fitting to my concept.


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          • #20
            Nothing says you have to bring /every instrument/ with you.

            My mage that uses books doesn't even bring his books with him, those are for specific rituals/other things.

            Hell you could even keep the books in PDF form on your phone.

            "Old Book of Mormon, Blessings, Curses, Prayers, Hymns, Armor, Swords"

            Meditation is a good one, especially for someone religious.


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            • #21
              Originally posted by Jihelu View Post
              Fucking 'spells' were an instrument?
              They still are:

              Voice and vocalization. Languages (when magick and spoken).

              I mean, it doesn't say "spells" per se, but if these don't include "spells" (as in, verbal formulas believed to have magical force) , then I don't know what that word means.

              Arguably Prayers and Invocations, True Names (when uttered), and Curses and Blessings could count to. Altrough they may be considered specific kinds of spells. And there may be other ways of doing these things that don't include spelling anything

              I guess that depending on how you interpret these Instruments, "to cast spells" may be much more limited and constrained than Languages or Voice, while more ample than Blessings and Curses...

              HaplessWithDice : As Jihelu says, you don't need to use all your Instruments at the same time. This should be obvious: You don't need to carry every type of Sword ever made to cast a spell, why would you need to carry all holly texts with you?. It just adds more options for you to cast with (say, you don't have access to the Book of Mormon, but a christian it's selling the Holly Bible next door - you can go and grab the Bible).

              That being said, any mage that has Books as Instrument should try to have a Library at home (as per the Background). After all, they're important for your mage

              Meditation it's, indeed, a good 7th tool for religious people.

              Another very interesting, altrough perhaps too polemical, Instrument for a "holly knight" could be Vows. Within "Offerings and Sacrifices" it mentions offering "behavior". That's the very definition of taking a vow, in the religious sense. Taking Sacred Vows is both a very important element of the religious life AND very typical from knigths of stories. But it's complicated because many STs (and players) would find hard to deal with an Instrument that can only be taken from you if you do a specific activity.
              Last edited by Aleph; 07-17-2019, 09:22 AM.

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              • #22
                It may be good to look at Book of Secrets and the section on certain instruments in that one, there's an entire little area dedicated to 'prepping' an instrument prior to fighting/whatever that I think is important. You do something, pop a potion before combat, or some other action that 'preps' the effect you are trying to do. Then when combat starts you just turn it on/the potion takes effect/the nanomachines activate and you effectively have a spell that happens without the need for an instrument (At the time).

                There are also more instruments/practices and some are cool, in general.

                It's a lot easier than Time 4.

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                • #23
                  I make a point of never ever telling someone they are "doing it wrong", so please take this in that spirit. Just observation, not critcism.

                  To me this doesn't read terribly much like a traditional Awakening. Hunter or an Awakening Mage, maybe. Exalted, emphatically yes. I would think about what it means to the character (and his companions) that this guy, unlike most Mages (but like most Garou and some few vampires), has known his whole life that magic is real and demons (and probably other supernaturals) exist. What does coming in with some understanding that reality is subjective do to his sense of paradigm? What has growing up on the front lines of the Ascension War (and Awakening He-Man style with a battlefield promotion) done to his home life? His sense of morality and ethics? Of scale?

                  To me, starting life as a (somewhat) normal, relatable human and peeling back the curtain is a cornerstone of Mage. What are the implications of starting on the other side of it?
                  Last edited by Blackwell; 07-31-2019, 01:19 AM.

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                  • #24
                    Don't some Verbena families basically start on the other side of the curtain? I know they have sorcerer families but I don't know if they like, live in trees and stuff.

                    My current character was born to two Ex-Euthanatos and was more or less awake when he was born, so he has Occult 3, 0 Science, 0 Computers, 0 Technology but can make out how modern society mostly works....mostly.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Jihelu View Post
                      Don't some Verbena families basically start on the other side of the curtain? I know they have sorcerer families but I don't know if they like, live in trees and stuff.
                      They don't "live in the trees" (well, not most of the time), but it's true that Verbena had whole families living on the other side of the curtain. This was more common in the pre-revised era when some mages lived in Horizon Realms with their families and the families of their Acolites and Custos. And, yes, some of these would Awaken into their Tradition's Paradigm

                      Not only that. Hermetics get almost half their members from teaching people Sorcery. Talk about Awakening on the other side of the curtain

                      Having in mind how rare are humans that live "on the other side of the curtain", one could think that the "awakening ratio" of humans that know magick it's real it's higher than among those who don't. Most mages came from the mundane side of the curtain simply because most humans are on that side, but the percentage of "awakenings per human" it's lower in this side of the curtain.

                      But books don't say anything about this subject (and WoD isn't big on statistics), you have Awakenings from either side of the curtain. I don't think it's supposed to be harder or easier either way.
                      Last edited by Aleph; 07-31-2019, 08:17 AM.

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