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Certification - Emancipated Minor

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  • #16
    "I don't personally find it interesting" is something worth being careful about though. It's hard to push back on with not finding the difference between Dream and Past Lives interesting (they have mildly different effects to get to pretty much the same end result), but Totem is unique enough that making people have to buy a dozen dots in different Backgrounds to get what they could have gotten in one place is a harder sell; and plenty of people probably like the mirroring of Werewolf and Changeling here rather than trying to have it be something different.

    Legend, conceptually, might not need to be separate, but losing the mechanics can hurt a lot of concepts. Anyone that doesn't have access to a Node, but can play into such legendary archetypes successfully is a lot more viable as a character. Its function as an alternative source of Quintessence isn't present if it's just fluff around something like Destiny or Blessing.

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    • #17
      Maybe I’d feel better about it if there was a good alternate term for it that wasn’t a gross misappropriation of the Anshinaabe Clan system that many Ojibwe people really want us to stop misusing.


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      • #18
        I think the generic term is probably Spiritual Patron or something similar.

        My personal opinion has always been that when Dreamspeakers talk about such things in the context of themselves and their paradigm, it means their Avatar.

        In hindsight, I kind of wish there'd been a WoD: Shaman book that discussed people from around the world who interact with and draw power from Spirits in a way completely different from Path Magic/Sorcery or what Mages do (something more akin to what Werewolves do, maybe), including the use of Spiritual Patrons that could be totems, Loa, guardian angels, kami, or other things, with the idea of them being their own "mini-game" the way 2nd ed Mummy, The Inquisition, and the like were.


        As to the original topic, having looked at it, it seems like being an Emancipated Minor doesn't do all that much. Minors can already enter into legal contracts and run their own finances to a limited degree, and being Emancipated expands that to not needing any guardian's assistance/co-signing to do so. The biggest thing is being able to totally control one's own medical care. Most US states automatically consider a minor emancipated if they get married or join the military. So it really shouldn't be more than a single dot, I think.


        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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        • #19
          Note that in the RAW, a Manifest Avatar can also be taken as an Ally, making it a fully realized character existing independently of the mage. If that Ally happens to be a spirit, then you have something conceptually very similar to the Totem Background. Heck, there's nothing saying that two mages with Manifest Avatars can't choose to have the same Ally, which would allow something akin to multiple mages having the same Totem Background.

          Now, I do debate whether or not Merits like Manifest Avatar or Circumspect Avatar are needed. I'd definitely like to see the list of Merits and Flaws trimmed back, with a lot of existing Merits and Flaws bring recast as creative interpretations of Backgrounds, or merely as character flavor. If you want your Avatar to be Manifest, just say that it's Manifest; ditto with Circumspect.

          The point, though, is that a lot of the traits that exist in Mage strike me as being needless complications that end up bringing an element of point accounting into the game that we're probably better off without. I'd much rather have a small set of traits that can be creatively interpreted according to character concept than a large number of hyper-specialized traits that you have to sift through in order to fine-tune your concept.


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          • #20
            Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
            Maybe I’d feel better about it if there was a good alternate term for it that wasn’t a gross misappropriation of the Anshinaabe Clan system that many Ojibwe people really want us to stop misusing.
            While I'm not trying to dismiss this aspect of the issue, renaming something to be non-appropriative is vastly different than saying it should just be cut. So this is a pretty big goal post shift.

            I'm all for renaming the trait to something else more generic, but that's a different topic than if the mechanics of what it does are sufficiently distinct from other options, and if it serves a strong conceptual purpose. Spiritual Patron is great, esp. if Patron is taken out.

            Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
            My personal opinion has always been that when Dreamspeakers talk about such things in the context of themselves and their paradigm, it means their Avatar.
            What's this based off of though? It's not how the books have generally represented it (the closest is that Dreamspeakers tend towards Totems that are more specific aspects of their Avatars, similar to how a Garou pack with Stag as a Totem is dealing with a minor Stag spirit, not the grand Incarnae Stag that is the Totem of the Fianna Tribe). Of the past two dozen or so Dreamspeakers in the games I've been in, most either started with or ended up with Totem at some point, and none of them had Totems that were indistiguishable from their Avatars.

            So even if your Avatar can be the same concept as the source of your Blessing, and your Legend, and your Totem, and be a Mentor, and an Ally, etc. it doesn't mean it is all of those things, and all of those things are inherently your Avatar. The books point out that these sorts of things can be combined, because the default assumption is that they aren't.

            Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
            Note that in the RAW, a Manifest Avatar can also be taken as an Ally, making it a fully realized character existing independently of the mage. If that Ally happens to be a spirit, then you have something conceptually very similar to the Totem Background.
            You can flavor it very similar to the Totem Background, though it is mechanically quite different, but you can also flavor it completely differently. You can also stack Manifest Avatar with your Familiar and that's not the same as taking Ally with your Manifest Avatar.

            Now, I do debate whether or not Merits like Manifest Avatar or Circumspect Avatar are needed.
            Given the original intent of Merits and Flaws being optional traits, they shouldn't feel needed anyway. They're there for people that want more granular ways to define their characters than the base traits allow.

            One of the reasons I think Backgrounds shouldn't be overly trimmed, or shoved into Merits/Flaws is precisely that. Backgrounds a default traits, Merits/Flaws are optional traits (though the 20th books blur that line a lot, and the CofD, V5, and Ex3 have dropped it completely).

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

              While I'm not trying to dismiss this aspect of the issue, renaming something to be non-appropriative is vastly different than saying it should just be cut. So this is a pretty big goal post shift.
              Yes that’s why I said I might feel better about it and less biased if it wasn’t for that problem, but honestly the things Totem does RAW doesn’t add anything to the game for me that having a strong bond with a spirit mentor, who might also be your avatar doesn’t provide. I get that the cuts out some short cuts to free ability dots, but what the hell does free ability dots have to do with the concept in question in the first place? It’s only there because it’s in Werewolf, which is there because a totem binds a pack together for a utilitarian purpose, and not because it’s inherent in the concept as born out in Mage of a spirit guide toward shamanic enlightenment.

              I don’t maintain rules at my table for the sake of a player being used to a short cut to certain dots if that rule doesn’t narratively work compared to something more elegant to fill the narrative function.
              Last edited by glamourweaver; 04-04-2021, 05:54 PM.


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              • #22
                Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post

                Now, I do debate whether or not Merits like Manifest Avatar or Circumspect Avatar are needed.
                They’re not. They should be free with concept. If they provide mechanical benefit that can bare out via Ally (Manifest) or Destiny (Circumspect)


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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                  One of the reasons I think Backgrounds shouldn't be overly trimmed, or shoved into Merits/Flaws is precisely that. Backgrounds a default traits, Merits/Flaws are optional traits (though the 20th books blur that line a lot, and the CofD, V5, and Ex3 have dropped it completely).
                  In that regard, I also wouldn't mind a return of the Adversarial Backgrounds, but presented alongside the regular Backgrounds (e.g., “Mentor: blah blah blah; the Adversarial version of this Background is the Apprentice: blah blah blah.”)

                  That, and perhaps have something for each Merit and Flaw to the effect of “if you're not using Merits and Flaws in your game, here's what you'd do to get a similar effect.” Though repeatedly saying “just wing it” would get tiresome, so maybe not. My point is that Merits and Flaws shouldn't represent things that you can only do if you use Merits and Flaws, because that interferes with them being optional: that is, they're only “optional” of you're willing to limit your options by skipping the things that Merits cover.
                  Last edited by Dataweaver; 04-04-2021, 06:05 PM.


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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                    In that regard, I also wouldn't mind a return of the Adversarial Backgrounds, but presented alongside the regular Backgrounds (e.g., “Mentor: blah blah blah; the Adversarial version of this Background is the Apprentice: blah blah blah.”)
                    This is one of the few places I think V5 could be useful for looking at cleaning up the WoD games. While it still has Merits and Backgrounds the only real difference is Merits don't have to be scaled 1-5. But what it does is have a core concept as a header, with bonuses and flaws listed. So under Feeding there's both the classic VtM Flaws like Prey Exclusion, and a new Merit called Bloodhound which interacts with V5's Blood Resonance system. Under Fame, there's also Infamy and Dark Secret.

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                    • #25

                      This thread has gone in an interesting direction, but with regards to the original question I think I've come to agree with those who say it doesn't need any dots. It's just an absence of a flaw.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                        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 folded Contacts into Allies long ago. Players kept asking me what the difference was between the Backgrounds and I never felt like I had a good answer, especially when in-game interactions with Contacts and Allies wound up playing out pretty similarly. Both are people who provide you with favors and assistance, information is just one variety of that.

                        Followers works for Contacts who are more subservient than Allies.


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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post

                          I folded Contacts into Allies long ago. Players kept asking me what the difference was between the Backgrounds and I never felt like I had a good answer, especially when in-game interactions with Contacts and Allies wound up playing out pretty similarly. Both are people who provide you with favors and assistance, information is just one variety of that.

                          Followers works for Contacts who are more subservient than Allies.
                          I’ve considered that too. The one thing not covered by Allies or Followers are just information sources you know who aren’t going to stick their neck out for you, but you can shake the trees for info as it were.


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                          • #28
                            I think the way that the CofD handled the division is more useful from a practical perspective: CofD-Allies is more like WoD-Influence. It represents your friends within an organization that are will to help you out, with more dots meaning more ability to get that organization to do favors for you. CofD-Contacts are a sphere that you have information sources in, and the more dots the more spheres you have ears in.

                            There's still some overlap in what they can get you (but there's always going to be some if you look close enough), but why you'd invest in one or the other is more apparent.

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