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Certification - Emancipated Minor

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  • Certification - Emancipated Minor

    I was looking at the backgrounds and certification caught my eye. Since a lot of mages start off in their teens, I wondered where being an emancipated minor would fall on this scale. I think it would fall between a one and a three, but I'm really not sure where it go. I mean, the scale by itself seems weird. A basic firearms permit is going to take way less time and effort than getting certified to teach which takes years when you take into account the school and training necessary. Yet somehow they're both a two!

    •Hunting license, business license, passport to
    an open country, etc.
    •• Teaching certificate, bodywork license, PADI
    certification, CPA, trucker’s or motorcycle
    license, basic firearms permit, etc.
    ••• Concealed weapons permit, HAZMAT disposal
    license, church-ordained clergy, lifeguard
    certification, private investigator’s license,
    private pilot’s permit, etc.
    Last edited by Alucard; 04-02-2021, 01:28 AM.

  • #2
    Honestly Emancipated minor I wouldn’t even charge background points for because it doesn’t grant you any privileges other players don’t have - unless everyone else is playing non-emancipated minors. It’s more like “I’m technically a minor but I’m not taking the flaw to have other people have legal power over my character”.


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    • #3
      I'm with glamourweaver. Not being a legal adult is a flaw, not something you have to pay Background/freebie points to avoid. Maybe take Short or something to highlight some remaining difficulties depending on how old they are.

      Though I go farther and just ignore the Certification Background altogether 99.99% of the time.

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      • #4
        Plus if you are a teen mage, there are moderately good odds you are a runaway, or your mentor is already your legal guardian.

        ​(And like Heavy Arms I don't really use it either. The more Backgrounds you use the less competent your starting characters become.)


        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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        • #5
          Agreed. Assuming that when M5 comes out, is being handled by competent people, the first thing I'd like to see them address is trait bloat. This is a game with a magic system where what you can do with it is wide open according to the rules, and restricted more by the character's Focus than anything else; let's apply that principle across the board, with “character concept” replacing “Focus” where the latter isn't appropriate.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
            Agreed. Assuming that when M5 comes out, is being handled by competent people, the first thing I'd like to see them address is trait bloat. This is a game with a magic system where what you can do with it is wide open according to the rules, and restricted more by the character's Focus than anything else; let's apply that principle across the board, with “character concept” replacing “Focus” where the latter isn't appropriate.
            I have over the years had very good results with a stripped down set of 24 total abilities (8 each of Talent Skill and Knowledge), most of them fairly broad, with "what do these abilities mean to your character and why do you have them?" being a key part of character generation. Two different Hermetics, both with Academics 3 may have very different interpretations of it (Fine Arts vs Law for example). Likewise, I keep Backgrounds to 10 (Allies, Contacts, Followers, Resources, Influence, Mentor, Talisman, Library, Sanctum, and Status), with anything else being Merits.

            In the case of being an emancipated minor, I'd probably only have it come up in a game where all the characters were underage. I'd probably make it a one dot merit, as the character is still under a lot of the normal restrictions of a minor (buying certain things, voting, etc.).


            What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
            Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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            • #7
              I'm not sure dumping things on Merits inherently solves the problem. Merits just turn into "Backgrounds you can't use your initial dots on."

              While I'll bang on all day about Ability bloat in M20, Backgrounds are harder for me to rail against how many their are (vs. the ability to just give more dots in them to make up for it) because so many are pretty important to concepts as Dataweaver put attention on. Some can be trimmed, sure, and some can maybe be merged (at the risk of making them too complicated), but I've made plenty of mages that just wouldn't have felt right if you go rid of things like Blessing, Familiar, and Totem and forced those to be freebie expenditures instead of stuff I could spend some of my 7 Background dots on.

              Of course, something Orpheus did back in the day was something that might be valuable to Mage: Two main categories of Backgrounds. In Orpheus those were general ones and ones specific to being an Orpheus agent (or one of some other group). In Mage just a simple division of Sleeper and Awakened Backgrounds wouldn't be a bad thing. It helps stress that your PC exists in two worlds, and PCs shouldn't ignore one over the other.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                I'm not sure dumping things on Merits inherently solves the problem. Merits just turn into "Backgrounds you can't use your initial dots on."
                In all honesty, most of the existing Merits are largely superfluous. I have a list somewhere of the maybe a dozen or so that we used, most of them only 1 to 3 dots. (I remember Striking Looks, Fame, Giant, and Alternate Identity just off the top of my head.) For us, most of the mechanical effects of Certification fell under the Influence background.

                Incidentally, from my Backgrounds, Allies, Contacts, Influence, Followers and Resources are Mundane, and Sanctum, Talisman, Status, Library and Mentor are Mystical. Though certain things like familiars (as Allies) and acolytes (Followers) can blur the distinction a little. (I do a similar thing with the other games; Vampires have Allies, Contacts, Influence, Retainers and Resources as Mundane background and Haven, Status, Herd, and Mentor as Kindred ones, for example.)

                The fact that we also automatically started characters at Arete 2 instead of 1 meant that everyone had that many more bonus points to spend during character creation.


                (If anyone has ever wondered why the revised edition of the Mage core book devotes so much space to Merits & Flaws at the expense of important information about the Technocracy, antagonists, and other material, it's because the guy who was assigned to write that section overwrote his allotted word-count by an entire order of magnitude, apparently deciding to include almost every single Merit and Flaw ever included in the game, and then some. The additional ones in Guide to the Traditions are what was cut from the core book.)


                What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                • #9
                  Um, I think there might be some game confusion? Striking Looks and Alternate ID are Merits in the CofD. Striking Looks isn't in the WoD because of the Appearance Attribute, and Alternate ID is also a Background.

                  I also disagree that most of the Merits are superfluous. Many don't deserve core book inclusion, sure, but for Mage esp. there's a lot of Merits that cover all the weird and crazy variations mages get up to that other things don't by dint of mages redefining reality itself.

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                  • #10
                    No. We started using nWoD attributes.


                    What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                    Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                    • #11
                      Discussing potential house rules to the WoD games without mentioning that you've done some significant and relavant alterations based on the CofD rules is certainly a potential source of confusion for me though.

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                      • #12
                        I’ve got the list down to 13 at my table.

                        Allies
                        Arcane/Cloaking
                        Blessing/Enhancement
                        Chantry/Construct
                        Contacts
                        Destiny
                        Dream/Hypercram
                        Familiar/Companion
                        Followers
                        Influence
                        Mentor
                        Status
                        Wonder

                        (I considered dropping Familiar/Companion as an Ally, but there’s enough special mechanics to it under player control rather than as an npc that I decided to keep treating it as its own thing)

                        - The Quintessence function of Avatar/Genius background is just a function of Arete rating, a particularly helpful Avatar acting as a guide can be reflected in Mentor or Dream
                        - “Totem” spirits are generally shaman Avatars, which can also be Mentors, or manifest as Allies, or Familiars (less powerful than an equal rated Ally, but more under the control of the player/character)
                        - Influence covers those things that give direct power in Sleeper society including Resources, Rank, Fame, Certification, etc; I hate the idea of characters needing to purchase a job via Rank, the allowance to have the job via Certification, and the income from the job over and over seperately
                        - Past Lives is just a particular paradigmatic manifestation of Dream (can also take Mentor to have your past self be your very active Avatar who’s teaching you)
                        - Alternate ID should just be a really cheap Merit, with any real power tied to it being covered by the Influence Background
                        - Backup and Requisition are an extension of Status, Secret Weapon is just allowing for Wonders more powerful than Status would normally allow to be requisitioned with them having untested potential drawbacks if the player is cool with that
                        - Demesne is just a potential function of Dream/Hypercram
                        - Patron is just an ally for mechanics purposes
                        - Characters pooling Chantry/Construct points determines how major an established Chantry or Construct the character’s Cabal are part of, with its Nodes, Library, and Sanctum(s). A player can choose not to pool said points to have ONE of those things privately. It’s less cost effective but doesn’t come with the commitments those resources being tied to superiors would.
                        Last edited by glamourweaver; 04-03-2021, 09:41 PM.


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                        • #13
                          I'm not sure I like the idea of Totems defaulting to be Avatars, and the Totem mechanics are meaningfully distinct from the similar conceptual Backgrounds. Though given Totem is one of the odd double cost ones, you could probably replicate enough by saying Totem is a combination of Blessing and Mentor from a powerful spirit.

                          Legend seems to have been skipped.

                          Demesne as a function of Dream doesn't make sense. If you want to move Demesne somewhere, it should go with Sanctum to Chantry as a magical space your mage controls; it just doesn't exist in the physical world.

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                          • #14
                            I might consider making Contacts a particular kind of Followers: mortals who provide a service for you (information, in the case of the Contact).

                            I definitely approve of folding so much into Influence. That's the sort of thing I was thinking about when I made my initial post.

                            I had been thinking of promoting Avatar from Background to Advantage, putting it on par with Arete; I'm rather fond of the notion of having one's Magickal capability have something akin to a Potency/Finesse/Resistance breakdown, with Arete playing the role of Magickal aptitude, Avatar playing the role of potency, and a new third trait to cover Resistance. But this isn't the place for something like that, where the goal is to simplify; and folding the Avatar mechanics into Arete is definitely simpler.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                              I'm not sure I like the idea of Totems defaulting to be Avatars, and the Totem mechanics are meaningfully distinct from the similar conceptual Backgrounds. Though given Totem is one of the odd double cost ones, you could probably replicate enough by saying Totem is a combination of Blessing and Mentor from a powerful spirit.
                              yeah I just have never found Totem mechanics that interesting in the context of Mage, and mostly just feels like a vestigial Werewolf thing. Given the actual concept in shamanic practices (both real and pop culture) that they’re getting at, I think being ones Avatar, that can also be a manifest spirit if it’s an ally or mentor, has it pretty covered.

                              Legend I legit forgot was a thing, but I’m inclined to just have that be some people’s practice - embodying a Legend to evoke associated effects, possibly combined with Destiny if it’s something you don’t seem to have choice in the matter about.


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