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Rank 5 Spheres Passive Effects

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  • Rank 5 Spheres Passive Effects

    Okay, hello!

    So, MTA20th states the following:

    Certain situations and characters make ambush impossible.
    Sneaking up on someone when you’re wearing power armor isn’t
    feasible, and some people (especially Time Masters) seem impossible
    to surprise. Ultimately, the Storyteller gets the final call regarding
    the potential of an ambush… which doesn’t mean, of course, that
    the attacker knows in advance that her assault will fail.

    Page 416, under 'Ambush'.

    This makes me believe that, upon reaching Mastery in a Sphere, a Mage could 'potentially' and, ultimately, up to the ST, receive such a 'passive effect'. Now, I come forth to you to ask: what do you think would be suitable effects for other Rank 5 Spheres and, if possible, could you quote what passage of whichever 20th Mage Book you got this idea from, something that might suggest to it?

    Thank you!

  • #2
    I think you're reading a bit much into that. A master of Time can cast a spell such that if they're ambushed, time rewinds 10 seconds but now they know you're there... making them extremely hard to ambush not because of some passive effect, but just as a "simple" application of their mastery over Time.

    There are things you could call passive effects out there, but most of them come at the 1st dot (Prime and storing more quintessence in your Pattern for example), while any Mastery "passives" I can think of are internally focused to the applications of the Sphere rather than some neat tricks like the idea of Time Masters getting some inherent bonus to avoid ambushes.

    So... things that have precedence in M20? I'm no sure of anything that fits that.

    If you're willing to look for something more house-rules oriented, Mage:the Awakening 2e has a lot of inspiration for this via the Attainments (non-spell magical abilities Mages can learn), and Merits (which in the CofD system can be learned to represent techniques and specialized training). There's a fun Forces based one that makes your aimed attack spells shoot out like bullets instead of a thrown fireball, making them much harder to avoid.

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    • #3
      The closest I can think of to this is the optional automatic success rule when the number of dice in a pool equals or exceeds the difficulty. If using this rule, a Master (at least five dice, because Arete is at least as high as your highest Sphere) could automatically succeed at any casting of difficulty 5 or less that only requires one success to work. That doesn't cover much: a two-dot Coincidental working or a one-dot Vulgar (without Witnesses) working, assuming you don't have any Magical Modifiers working against you. Of course, that last part cuts both ways: by the time you've gotten that far, you've probably discarded a couple of Instruments; using them anyway ups your game to three-dot Coincidental or two-dot Vulgar. And if there happens to be a suitable Resonance involved, that could improve matters further. The main restriction is that it can only be a Simple Feat: things like engaging your perception, lighting a candle, changing hair color, or sitting your mind. If it requires more than one success, you have to roll for it.

      And these aren't technically “passive Effects”; they're merely “Effects that are so trivial that I can conjure them up on a whim”. That said, that's a very thin line distinguishing them.


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      • #4
        It's also very limited since the automatic success rules only generate 1 success. Very few spells are worth casting for a guaranteed 1 success outcome (not none, but not even being able to get 2 successes is very limiting compared to just rolling).

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        • #5
          That's why I mentioned that it has to be a Simple Feat.


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          • #6
            Fair, I'm not sure how I missed your phrasing when I posted that.

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            • #7
              A possible House Rule to have this kind of effect in place, if you really want, could be to let the player create it under a few limitations.

              My first idea is that for every eligible Sphere the player may create an effect that uses up to the Sphere Rating in successes and only uses that Sphere. More than one eligible Sphere may let the character have Conjunctional effects using up both slots. That would be a passive effect and could not count towards any other usual limit, maybe even have other benefits depending on what you want for your game, like not being possible to dispel, or even not causing Paradox.


              #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs
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              She/her pronouns

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              • #8
                As far as that's concerned, there's also the MRev version of the Blessed Background, which is basically a mystical version of Enhancement. That is: of you want a passive Effect, one way to get it is to use the Wonder rules with yourself as a Living Foundation for it. Requires Life and Prime in addition to whatever Spheres are required for the passive Effect, and comes with drawbacks.

                It also doesn't require or come automatically with Mastery of a Sphere, which is why I didn't think of it earlier.


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