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  • Locking effects

    Hey guys first time Mage player moving in from V20, had some questions about locking effects. From what my group can see, there doesn't appear to be any real or restrictions beyond the initial time/paradox cost of casting effects and locking them to objects or people. This seems too good to be true and one of the group is sure pattern bleed or permanent paradox (or at lest, paradox that won't go away until the effect is cancelled/ended) is involved to help balance things out to ensure there's a price for these effects.

    Any advice or thoughts would be very welcome, especially if we've just missed something obvious from the books somewhere!

  • #2
    I'm not really sure what you're trying to ask about.

    What's "too good to be true" in all this? That mages can... cast magic without lots of restrictions? Though you're skipping the requirements of Focus (esp. Instruments), and just the small dice pools compared to number of successes lots of things take to accomplish as far as general obstacles on magic besides time and Paradox.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Corvus642 View Post
      Hey guys first time Mage player moving in from V20, had some questions about locking effects. From what my group can see, there doesn't appear to be any real or restrictions beyond the initial time/paradox cost of casting effects and locking them to objects or people. This seems too good to be true and one of the group is sure pattern bleed or permanent paradox (or at lest, paradox that won't go away until the effect is cancelled/ended) is involved to help balance things out to ensure there's a price for these effects.

      Any advice or thoughts would be very welcome, especially if we've just missed something obvious from the books somewhere!
      Let's think of something insidious. A Dreamspeaker has Life 3 and Spirit 3. He has located the beloved wife of Void Engineer who is on a mission n the Deep Umbra. The Dreamspeaker locks an effect onto the sleeper woman's Life Pattern that weakens the Gauntlet around her, inviting curious spirits to slip through and do poltergeisty things wherever she is, threatening the local Consensus. The goal is to force another Technomancer, who lacks the Spheres to unweave the effect, to kill her to shut down the breach. When the Void Engineer returns to discover his wife was killed by a college, a vendetta plot begins to unfold in the local Symposium/Construct. - At least that is the Dreamspeaker's goal.

      Say the Dreamspeaker has Arcane 3 and casts the spell from hiding in the hopes of not being discovered as the original caster. He puts as much Quintessence into the spell as is needed to maximize chances for great success. Five successes. It works like a charm.

      So, what are the consequences to the Dreamspeaker? Answer: He leaves identifying Resonance on the sleeper target. The high number of successes he scored (the power of the spell) creates more powerful Resonance that is easier to see. Another Mage with Prime can study the Resonance on the woman to obtain information about the Dreamspeaker.


      He/Him... I just Love Witches.

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      • #4
        Well, depending on the effect it can be dispelled or unraveled later, but otherwise... no, there's no Pattern Bleeding or Permadox just 'cause an effect is locked.

        Pattern Bleeding affects the target of an effect, and even then only if the effect is above certain already high limits. Permadox likewise affect the target under vulgar effects that are really permanent, so they can't just unravel. Really big effects that somehow escape both rules may result in a Thaumivore, but that's pure ST fiat.

        Mage is a very different animal from Vampire, enjoy the power and freedom, just remember that your enemies have the same and unchecked power means that no rule will protect the world from the consequences of your actions.


        #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs
        #AutismPride
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        • #5
          Thanks for the advice guys it's super helpful. If I'm in a combat situation and staple on effects that reduce the difficulty of my rolls to attack and defence, boost damage and soak, assuming successes and time enough to set up the effects, there would be no further cost (apart from possible paradox should I use any particularly vulgar effects, or pattern bleed if I use the life sphere to physically transform my character)? I'm used to simpler, less comprehensive Disciplines and effects and limitations so it's blowing my mind a little just how much a prepared mage can set up.

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          • #6
            Yeah, the freeform nature of Mage's system can take a bit to really get your mind around.

            Though there is a rule that helps limit that particular thing a bit (if very open to interpretation): the more magic you have active, the harder magic gets. For every two effects you have going, all of your magic difficulties go up by +1. So loading yourself up prepped effects needs to be balanced with making it harder to do stuff on the fly if the situation changes.

            Though there are exceptions to what counts as an effect that requires the small concentration effort that leads to the penalty, and it's phrased in a fashion that's very up to the storyteller to draw the line on.

            For games with new Mage players, I tend to be heavy handed with that rule (and I tell them this) because (a) it cuts back on getting so wrapped up in casting every prep spell you can come up with and never getting to the actual game even if 75% of the effects never come up and (b) IME one of the best teachers of how the Spheres work in practice is to cast creatively on the fly as situations change rather than relying on stock effects. This usually leads to only having ~4 prepped effects for most PCs depending on other factors (like Avatar rating and how much access to replenishing Quintessence they have to counter that +1 or +2 difficulty) so they can come in with some decent buffs for the situation they expect, but not screw themselves for the situation that unfolds.

            This also helps players value Wonders as more than just ways to get access to spells they don't have the Spheres for yet. If you have an effect you want active a lot, but not get you into multiple active effects penalties, Wonders are a great way to expand on that. Old Hermetic masters decked out in magical bling is not just for show.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Corvus642 View Post
              it's blowing my mind a little just how much a prepared mage can set up.
              Welcome to Mage. With enough creativity and prep you can do almost anything and that's the actual point.

              First, it is a pulp style game. You're not expected to angst your hopelessness in a basement, you're expected to dramatically declare your angst (if you have it) while fighting time traveling Nazis in the moons of Jupiter.

              Second, when the drama comes it isn't about limiting you. Far from it. The part where I said that no game rule protects the world from the consequences of your actions is deadly serious, and it may come to bite you if you don't take some care (but still cares about the world at large, you may be a complete sociopathic monster in ways not even the Sabbat is allowed).

              Third, you shouldn't ever forget your weaknesses, yet you probably will at some point. At the core of all this magic is just a squishy human in a world full of other Things.


              #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs
              #AutismPride
              She/her pronouns

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