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  • Optimal Sphere selection

    Greetings,

    For starting characters with Arete 3, I did the math for future costs of spheres, and the less expensive option is to start with two spheres at 3, however, it might be useful to have low ratings but broad capabilities.

    That being said, what is better to have:
    • Two spheres at 3 dots:
      I was thinking Mind 3 (easy to keep coincidental, broadly applicable) and Entropy 3 (easy to keep coincidental, broadly applicable).
    • One sphere at 3, and three at 1:
      My picks would be Entropy 1, Life 3, Mind 1, Prime 1.
    What option do you think is best, and what would be your sphere picks in both scenarios?
    Last edited by lbeaumanior; 01-01-2021, 08:26 PM.

  • #2
    Spirit 3 mostly.. because you can seriously cheat with it. Talens are your friends.



    Prime 3 would be honorable mention for raw utility if you are using Wonder sphere rules then you are functionally gadgeteer/D&D wizard.
    Last edited by Lian; 01-01-2021, 09:09 PM.

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    • #3
      In terms of cost, I'm curious how 3/3 compares to 3/2/1 where the 1 is your favored Sphere to maximize your (scant) XP discount.

      3/2/1 also opens up a bunch of options for concepts compared to 3/3 or 3/1/1/1.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
        In terms of cost, I'm curious how 3/3 compares to 3/2/1 where the 1 is your favored Sphere to maximize your (scant) XP discount.

        3/2/1 also opens up a bunch of options for concepts compared to 3/3 or 3/1/1/1.
        The calculation is assuming you want to have 6 spheres at the same rating in the end, all them at 3, 4, or 5 dots, it doesn't matter as longs as the six end up in the same value. Adding more spheres is a flat cost, doesn't modify the end result.

        All calculations had the favoured sphere at the lowest possible value when several options are possible.

        Less expensive to more expensive:
        1. 3/3
        2. 3/1/1/1 (One experience point over the first option).
        3. 3/2/1 (Three experience points over the first option).
        4. 1/1/1/1/1/1 (Five experience points over the first option).
        5. 2/1/1/1/1 (Seven experience points over the first option).
        6. 2/2/1/1 (Nine experience points over the first option).
        7. 2/2/2 (Twelve experience points over the first option).
        It is not that much of a difference but it adds up.

        That is in cost, but also there is the price to be paid in versatility: a mage with six 1's has a lot of extra senses, but next to nothing in capabilities to do new things. A mage with two 3's is limited to those 2 sphere effects, but is quite potent at them.
        Last edited by lbeaumanior; 01-03-2021, 05:20 PM.

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        • #5
          How useful 3/3 would be depends on the character's Focus per M20 terms and how much the Storyteller will allow. Entropy 3 and Mind 3 will give a lot of options, but Mind will be limited against any supernatural since it's at Willpower+3 and they can probably resist with one of their Nightfolk power. Entropy 3 might move probability and allow destruction of material objects, but then you're depending on skills for other uses.

          It's hard to know how high the spheres need to be, so for comparison, let's consider getting 4 spheres to three.
          3/1/1/1 would require a minimum of 69 XP to raise to 3 across the board (one of the spheres at 1 is a specialty sphere, so it's 7 or 8 points to get each sphere at 1 to 2 and then 14 or 16 points to get each sphere at 2 to 3).

          3/2/1 would require the addition of one of the 4 spheres after character creation. The cost to raise would be 79 XP if the sphere at 1 is the specialty sphere (since you have to have a dot in a specialty sphere). If there were two dots in the specialty sphere, that's 72 XP (34 XP to buy the new sphere and get it to rank 3 and 14 to raise the rank 2 to a 3 and 24 to raise the rank 1 to a 3).

          You can take 3/3 at character generation if you have the Arete, since a starting PC has six spheres. So, 3/1/1/1 is a little cheaper than 3/2/1 if you want to get 4 different spheres to rank 3. However, you'd be trading some flexibility later for doing rank 3/rank 2 combo effects out of the gate.

          Since Prime 2 can be used in creation, I'd rather have 3/2/1 at start with the following spheres: Pattern Sphere at 3 (Forces, Life, or Matter and Spirit if you think it's a Pattern sphere) Mind 1 (multitasking for additional actions and mental boosts) and Prime 2 (for creating Charms and creating things in the pattern).

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          • #6
            Sphere & Focus picks greatly depend on what do you want to be able to do.

            Let's remember also that in Ascencion, unlike Awakening, multi-Sphere rotes are the norm, not the exception. Having two spheres a 3 can lock you out not only of the other Spheres, but also of some uses of your own maxed Spheres

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
              In terms of cost, I'm curious how 3/3 compares to 3/2/1 where the 1 is your favored Sphere to maximize your (scant) XP discount.

              3/2/1 also opens up a bunch of options for concepts compared to 3/3 or 3/1/1/1.
              I've always said Forces 3, Prime 2, Mind 1 is the vampire hunter's starter pack; physical invisibility, fireballs, and mind shields (oh my).


              Sig

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              • #8
                Would it be worth buying up to Arete 3 even if you don't intend on bumping your spheres that high at character creation? For example, if I was going to make an Alchemist in an efficient way, I'm assuming you would want Life, Matter and perhaps Forces, so let's put 2 in each. If you wanted to get to the point where you could turn skin to steel, blood to acid, etc would that 8 FP investment be better so you could spread the relatively cheap FP around in backgrounds, abilities, etc be good or do you feel it is best to have a sphere at 3 if you are going to buy Arete that high?

                I hope that isn't confusing or stupid.

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                • #9
                  Arete 3 gives you 3 dice to roll in your casting pool. It's also the only source of dice for your casting pool. That alone makes it worth taking.

                  If you want your Alchemist to make magical potions, you'll want Prime, too. Off the top of my head, I'm not recalling how many dots; I think it's 2 to make Charms (batches on one-use Wonders), though it might be 3.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dataweaver
                    I think it's 2 to make Charms (batches on one-use Wonders), though it might be 3.
                    2 with Tass that has an appropriate resonance, 3 otherwise

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lian View Post
                      Prime 3 would be honorable mention for raw utility if you are using Wonder sphere rules then you are functionally gadgeteer/D&D wizard.
                      Originally posted by Aleph View Post

                      2 with Tass that has an appropriate resonance, 3 otherwise
                      I do not understand the fascination with Wonder creation for an starting character, if I read the book right: "In order to craft a wonder, the character must have all of the necessary Spheres.", so what good is being able to craft it without many other spheres to create something?

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                      • #12
                        I'm going with Prime 2 because then I can thrown Fireballs if I go with Forces, make stuff with Matter, create simple Life with Prime and so forth. If I go Life 3 Prime 2, I can make healing potions and better body potions. Charms in a batch could be quite useful, even for low levels. Just being able to see Forces or Life or Spirit can allow a lot of detection possibilities. Entropy 2/Prime 2 you can make luck items and hand them out. . .

                        However, the utility of Prime varies greatly on how much Quintessence is available in the chronicle. If Quintessence is rare, then making a Wonder is less important than if Quintessence is readily available. The same is true for Spirit based on how hard it is to safely enter the Umbra (hence why I use the Avatar Storm as existing but not a constant danger).

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post
                          I do not understand the fascination with Wonder creation for an starting character, if I read the book right: "In order to craft a wonder, the character must have all of the necessary Spheres.", so what good is being able to craft it without many other spheres to create something?
                          The biggest thing is that a lot of effects are rated lower if you're using them on yourself.

                          So, if you're making a character that focuses on healing, you can heal others directly with Life 3, or make healing Charms with Life 2/Prime 2; though they have to be activated by the injured party.

                          Those healing Charms are lower in difficulty to make, and can be made ahead of time to take advantage of ritual casting and so on.

                          Mage isn't that different from other RPGs where having healing spells is good, but having healing spells and lots of healing potions is even better.

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                          • #14
                            Note that Prime 2/3 it's also the easiest way to get Agg damage by enhancing weapons. And it makes Qintessence gathering a lot easier. And it's also required for many powerful rotes, like the Gift of Prana.

                            However, it's true that Prime's utility greatly depends on its synergy with other Spheres. It's not that great by itself.
                            Still a solid choice to have from the start, as it helps all things magick.
                            Last edited by Aleph; 01-03-2021, 05:20 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Aleph View Post
                              Sphere & Focus picks greatly depend on what do you want to be able to do.

                              Let's remember also that in Ascencion, unlike Awakening, multi-Sphere rotes are the norm, not the exception. Having two spheres a 3 can lock you out not only of the other Spheres, but also of some uses of your own maxed Spheres
                              Thanks for the answer. I was thinking something about the lines of:
                              • Paradigm: Everything is Data
                              • Practices: Psionics
                              • Instruments: symbols; writings, inscriptions, and runes; languages, eye contact, energy, thought forms, meditation
                              The character believes that reality is a simulation and understands that simulated computers inside the false reality would not be effective to alter the simulation itself (a disagreement with the Virtual Adepts), only privileged users of the system with the right permissions can alter reality; therefore everything should be "mental" magic, sending orders to the simulation while being aware of the true nature of reality, close to how The Matrix justifies Neo's abilities in the first movie.

                              For a reality-is-just-information based character Entropy 3 + Mind 3 seemed adequate, and she would be able to do all the things both spheres offer (except those that require conjunctional effects).

                              I was planning to have the character do a lot of information gathering that seemed like crazy intuitive for someone else, but for her, it is just listing permissions. I was using Contessa's powers in Worm as an inspiration.
                              Last edited by lbeaumanior; 01-03-2021, 03:58 PM.

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