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  • #16
    Originally posted by Aleph View Post
    I think your house rule it's in fact canon in 3º edition, or at least optional. (You target with Dexterity + the appropriate skill (Occult, Energy Weapons...whatever) and you don't evade curses, because they aren't "energy based attacks"). The old "dodge magick" was just as you described it, an awful and preposterous rule that was added in a very old book: "the Book of Shadows".
    Should have made this an option. It's the one thing that truly irks me about M20.


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    • #17
      Having read my way through Chapter 10, and gotten what I hope to be a fair grasp of the casting rules, a somewhat radical hack has come to mind: Completely removing Attributes and Skills. Bear with me. Spheres represent the sum total of all concerted efforts to enforce the Mage's Will on reality, everything from Gregorian Chants and Voodoo ritual to extreme fitness, and social manipulation. Therefore it should be able to model just about any roll.

      The Hack would work thusly. In place of Attributes and Skills a Mage instead has practices (as presented on Page 572). Practices rate 1 - 5 dots, and describe the Mage's talent with a specific branch of her Art. When a Mage wants to perform an action, any action, she uses her Spheres and rolls Arete + Practice. This would, almost unavoidably, result in the abandonment of most of the other systems. All conflicts would be reduced to Arete + Practice vs Arete + Practice (Within reason of course, using Martial Arts to defend against a physical application of Dominance makes perfect sense, High Ritual Magic wouldn't be so reasonable an option).

      A Sample Character Might Look Like This:

      Sam The Street Samurai
      Tradition: Akashic Brotherhood
      Arete: 2
      Willpower: 6
      Spheres: Mind 2, Life 2, Forces 1, Matter 2, Spirit 1
      Practices: Craftworks 1, Dominion 2, Martial Arts 3, Yoga 1


      Weapons, Armor, Equipment, etc. all become modifiers. A Samurai with a Katana naturally is better at Martial Arts, conversely facing a suit of Full Plate Armor would penalize the Samurai's rolls (as his Paradigm indicates this is an effective defense). The same full plate would offer little help against a ray gun, or physic onslaught.

      Obviously Practices shouldn't be limited to the short list in chapter 10, some of the Secondary Abilities fit quite nicely, and I'd need to figure how to handle sleepers and sleepwalkers (probably allow them access to more mundane Practices, limited to one or two dots). Probably also needs to be an allowance for working within the established Consensus (+1 Die and always Coincidental)

      Perhaps this has been proposed before, even covered in a book, I don't know. But my fondness for dice light gameplay, and simplified systems draws me towards it.
      Last edited by PenDragon; 05-20-2015, 10:21 PM.


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      • #18
        Originally posted by falco1029 View Post

        Yeah, that. I liked the older way better, when you basically made a spirit fragment of the totem that stayed with you, rather than something more far off and out of the way. And of course I liked the more flexible benefits, too. The new way just seems stifling to me.
        You do realise you already had Familiar if you wanted a spirit companion? Totem as it stands is an excellent representation of what actually following a totem is about. It's not about powers, it's about embodying the essence of an idea.


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        • #19
          Well, now that I've had a bit more time to digest the crunch:

          One of the first things I'm going after is the damnable Ability bloat.

          I'm not really too annoyed at the inclusions of Secondaries with a lot of them clearly going after either niche concept specific stuff, or at least specific game tones (Technomagic happy ones esp.).

          However it does seem like the Core Abilities are full of strange redundancies. This is made worse by the introduction of one of my favorite rules from the 20th era books so far regarding the core cWOD system: Well-Skilled Craftsman.

          I'm not sure exactly what I want to mess around with. But I know I want to reduce the numbers. I didn't see the need to separate out Art and Expression, while keeping Leadership (a bunch of the Expression Specialties easily do whatever Leadership is supposed to do). I definitely hate having Brawl, Martial Arts, and Do. MA is getting cut, and Well-Skilled Craftsman being used to gate special maneuvers under Brawl. Do is getting cut (which other splat gets their own super Ability now?). Do will be an Esoterica specialty; whether or not all the basic bonuses stick around or not I'm not sure. But the whole point of the Esoterica Ability (heck High Rituals can go there too...) seems to be a "focus/practice based source of extra cross-Ability specialties." It also helps make Do more than Brawl+ since it can actually boost other things within its philosophy.

          I'd probably put Animal Ken back in there to replace MA; with Animal Kinship going into Esoterica as well (for practices that do a lot of spiritual animal bonding rather than mundane animal stuff). Ride can go back to being an Animal Ken specialty.

          Another thing that's been bugging me are the splat Affinity Spheres. I get that there's no real "balance" that's needed here. Some groups having a small selection and others having larger ones isn't that big of an issue. The Hermetics being stuck at Forces is a giant WTF considering the number of Houses in previous material that focus on other Spheres.

          I think I either want to drop the splat Affinities as a requirement all together and just have them be suggestions (and then beef out the Hermetics to include at least Mind and Prime), or even them out a bit (put everyone by the Hollowers and Orphans to three of them) and give everyone two specialty Spheres; one free pick and one splat pick. I'm not sure if I want to be mean to the Hollowers and Orphans and leave them with the single any pick, or give them two any picks to stay on par with everyone else.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Asmodai View Post

            You do realise you already had Familiar if you wanted a spirit companion? Totem as it stands is an excellent representation of what actually following a totem is about. It's not about powers, it's about embodying the essence of an idea.
            Yes, I'm well aware of what options there are, thank you.

            A familiar is more like a bygone retainer than anything else. It also doesn't provide any benefits. The thing I liked about Totem was the combination; there's something different about having a familiar with you in the umbra and having a fragment of a Totem avatar with you.

            And I don't see why getting a capability that's different than dice is against what totem represents; it's an affinity for what the spirit's capable with either way.




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            • #21
              I'm debating the possibility of requiring every Practice to single out one of its associated Abilities as that Practice's Essential Ability: this Ability reflects how well you understand the nuances of your Practice, and serves as a Minimum Ability for all of your Effects.


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              • #22
                That seems a tad restrictive/just going to have people game the system. If I have to pick one Ability that governs everything I do, why wouldn't drop as many dots into it as I can justify at start?

                It basically screws people wanting to play a young mage learning the ropes (because they have yet another trait capping what they can do), while doing nothing to people playing a mage that's already firmly bought into a given practice (if my Hermetic's Essential Ability was Occult, I'd just start with Occult 3 at a minimum off the bat and have everything covered until I'm working on Arete 4 and a 4th dot in a Sphere, which gives me plenty of time to get Occult 4+ assuming I don't start there anyway).

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                  That seems a tad restrictive/just going to have people game the system. If I have to pick one Ability that governs everything I do, why wouldn't drop as many dots into it as I can justify at start?
                  Because if you don't have any Spheres above two dots, there’s no point in raising the Ability in question above two dots? Because you're building to concept instead of building to efficiency? Conversely, why is it a problem if someone with, say, the Practice of Hypereconomics decides to dump a bunch of dots into Finance?

                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                  It basically screws people wanting to play a young mage learning the ropes (because they have yet another trait capping what they can do), while doing nothing to people playing a mage that's already firmly bought into a given practice (if my Hermetic's Essential Ability was Occult, I'd just start with Occult 3 at a minimum off the bat and have everything covered until I'm working on Arete 4 and a 4th dot in a Sphere, which gives me plenty of time to get Occult 4+ assuming I don't start there anyway).
                  Except that the young mage learning the ropes won't have more than one or two dots in any given Sphere anyway; so only having one or two dots in the Essential Ability isn't a hindrance.


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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                    Because if you don't have any Spheres above two dots, there’s no point in raising the Ability in question above two dots?
                    Having it as high as possible at start means I don't have to worry about raising it later when I buy up my actual magical traits. That's what your idea encourages. Picking an Ability and coming up with reasons to start with it at 4-5 so you don't have to worry about not having it cap your magic.

                    Because you're building to concept instead of building to efficiency?
                    The idea that these are separate is never good from a design perspective. What you make effective, is what you're telling players are the kinds of concepts you consider default. You house rule idea basically says that the default concepts in your game are going to be around people that are highly skilled in at least one Ability that links to their practice.

                    Conversely, why is it a problem if someone with, say, the Practice of Hypereconomics decides to dump a bunch of dots into Finance?
                    When did I say it was a problem? The problem is forcing them to have at least Finance 3 to cast procedures that use Spheres at 3; even if their knowledge of Finance and how that interacts with their Hypereconomic practice isn't really that important (for example needing a 3rd dot to cast something on someone else doesn't really require a greater understanding of Finance than casting it on yourself, even if the magic requires it, or another example if needing Time 4 to hang the spell that would otherwise only be a 2 dot effect jumps it from needing Finance 2 to Finance 4).

                    Yes, characters should have decent investment in the Abilities linked to their practice, and the minimum Ability rating rules are good for helping to enforce the relationship of mundane and magical knowledge. But when you turn it into a mandatory hard cap like that, it gets in the way as much (or more) than it helps anything.

                    Except that the young mage learning the ropes won't have more than one or two dots in any given Sphere anyway; so only having one or two dots in the Essential Ability isn't a hindrance.
                    It's a hindrance in that they have to buy their practice Ability and Arete everytime they want to improve a Sphere that's hit those caps.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                      Having it as high as possible at start means I don't have to worry about raising it later when I buy up my actual magical traits. That's what your idea encourages. Picking an Ability and coming up with reasons to start with it at 4-5 so you don't have to worry about not having it cap your magic.
                      I'm not seeing how this is a problem.

                      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                      The idea that these are separate is never good from a design perspective. What you make effective, is what you're telling players are the kinds of concepts you consider default. Your house rule idea basically says that the default concepts in your game are going to be around people that are highly skilled in at least one Ability that links to their practice.
                      Yep. Again, I'm not seeing the problem.

                      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                      The problem is forcing them to have at least Finance 3 to cast procedures that use Spheres at 3; even if their knowledge of Finance and how that interacts with their Hypereconomic practice isn't really that important (for example needing a 3rd dot to cast something on someone else doesn't really require a greater understanding of Finance than casting it on yourself, even if the magic requires it, or another example if needing Time 4 to hang the spell that would otherwise only be a 2 dot effect jumps it from needing Finance 2 to Finance 4).
                      Yes, there are a few fringe cases where it might not make sense — such is always the case when you're attempting to model a complex concept in a way that's playable — but for the most part, a strong case can be made that an understanding of Finance is essential to being able to properly wield Hypereconomics.

                      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                      Yes, characters should have decent investment in the Abilities linked to their practice, and the minimum Ability rating rules are good for helping to enforce the relationship of mundane and magical knowledge. But when you turn it into a mandatory hard cap like that, it gets in the way as much (or more) than it helps anything.
                      This, I think, is very dependent on a given group's style of play. Note that M20 all but suggests this as things stand already, for some Practices: Hypertech comes to mind as an Ability that doesn't particularly serve any purpose other than providing a Minimum Ability rating.

                      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                      It's a hindrance in that they have to buy their practice Ability and Arete everytime they want to improve a Sphere that's hit those caps.
                      Given how easy it is raise an Ability compared to the difficulty of raising Arete, that's not much of a hindrance.


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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                        I'm not seeing how this is a problem.
                        You're the one putting "concept over efficiency" and then saying that you want to use efficiency to enforce a particular mode of play.

                        The problem is that you're adding a rule that doesn't seem at actually add anything to the game if people are already playing under the assumptions you want to play under, but will frustrate people that aren't.

                        Which seems the solution is just set your expectations. Not add mechanical kludges.

                        Yes, there are a few fringe cases where it might not make sense — such is always the case when you're attempting to model a complex concept in a way that's playable — but for the most part, a strong case can be made that an understanding of Finance is essential to being able to properly wield Hypereconomics.
                        Except the rules as-is don't fall for this by (1) making it optional and (2) have it apply to the application of Abilities as instruments.

                        Those factors make sure the rule doesn't get in the way. Yes, technological paradigms (you keep harping on this, but your house rule was phrased for all practices, not just technological ones) are going to be more fringe cases. But more mystic styles are going to be less fringe and more annoying. In your house rule, my PC with Martial Arts 3 as his primary Practice Ability, and Meditation 4, can't use Meditation 4 with a 4th dot Mind effect when using Meditation as his instrument... because he doesn't have Martial Arts 4.

                        Given how easy it is raise an Ability compared to the difficulty of raising Arete, that's not much of a hindrance.
                        More than not.

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                        • #27
                          Okay so this is well worn territory I think but as someone who's never actually gotten Mage to the table, does a casting pool of Arete+Sphere break anything? If it does, can you reign it in with the Revised Divided Successes option?


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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            You're the one putting "concept over efficiency" and then saying that you want to use efficiency to enforce a particular mode of play.
                            Actually, my position is that I don't care which way efficiency supposedly drives the players; because in my experience, it's not a big enough factor to worry about.

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            The problem is that you're adding a rule that doesn't seem at actually add anything to the game if people are already playing under the assumptions you want to play under, but will frustrate people that aren't.
                            By that reasoning, nobody should ever use the Minimum Abilities option; because either the players will already be taking their competence or lack thereof with the Ability into account (in which case imposing a Minimum is pointless) or they won't (in which case imposing the limit will frustrate them). Newsflash: restrictions frustrate players who are restricted by them. A power-gamer who wants to play God (literally) will be frustrated when you tell him that he can't. This isn't a bad thing.

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms
                            Except the rules as-is don't fall for this by (1) making it optional and (2) have it apply to the application of Abilities as instruments.

                            Those factors make sure the rule doesn't get in the way. Yes, technological paradigms (you keep harping on this, but your house rule was phrased for all practices, not just technological ones) are going to be more fringe cases. But more mystic styles are going to be less fringe and more annoying. In your house rule, my PC with Martial Arts 3 as his primary Practice Ability, and Meditation 4, can't use Meditation 4 with a 4th dot Mind effect when using Meditation as his instrument... because he doesn't have Martial Arts 4.
                            If his Practice is Martial Arts, that's appropriate. If his Practice isn't Martial Arts, then making Martial Arts the Essential Ability isn't appropriate.

                            BTW, I wasn't "harping" on the techno paradigms; as you noticed, I had phrased it more generally. It's just that techno-practices are the ones that tend to come to my mind first. (I mention this only because you have a nasty habit of throwing around terms such as this in a way that portrays the guy you're arguing as being unreasonable in some way — in effect, an ad hominem attack. It's not conducive to the friendly discussions that these forums try to promote, and I wish you'd just stick to arguing the facts and ditch the innuendos.)
                            Last edited by Dataweaver; 05-22-2015, 12:29 AM.


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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Kirby Jerusalem View Post
                              Okay so this is well worn territory I think but as someone who's never actually gotten Mage to the table, does a casting pool of Arete+Sphere break anything? If it does, can you reign it in with the Revised Divided Successes option?
                              If you get larger casting pools, you're more likely to reach the success thresholds. You can correct this either by pushing those thresholds higher or, as you suggest, by dividing successes among multiple factors — though the latter only really works if a given Effect has multiple factors; and the more factors you have to divide your successes among, the more important it is to start with a large pool.


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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Kirby Jerusalem View Post
                                Okay so this is well worn territory I think but as someone who's never actually gotten Mage to the table, does a casting pool of Arete+Sphere break anything? If it does, can you reign it in with the Revised Divided Successes option?
                                Arete+Sphere doesn't break anything I can see in M20 that it wouldn't have broken in previous editions.

                                Dividing successes isn't just a Revised thing.

                                The one thing to be careful with with increasing the dice-pool is the damage that goes with direct Pattern attacks. When 3-4 successes can kill a target, just rolling Arete isn't so bad. If you're looking at Arete + Sphere, and can drop the diff for a big whammy blast, it's makes killing people really easy

                                -----------------

                                Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                                By that reasoning, nobody should ever use the Minimum Abilities option;
                                No, because the actual rules in the book aren't nearly as restrictive as your house rule. Since the RAW are linked to instruments, not practices, it's a situational restriction.

                                As well, as an optional rule, yeah, saying your enforcing it or not (which is part of setting expectations) is important.

                                Newsflash: restrictions frustrate players who are restricted by them. A power-gamer who wants to play God (literally) will be frustrated when you tell him that he can't. This isn't a bad thing.
                                Actually, it is a bad thing. This is a game. For fun. You don't get good things by frustrating players with different play styles from your own with house rules on the mechanics. You get good things by heading this off at the pass by discussing expectations before you start play.

                                Limitations are a good thing, but they only work when everyone's on the same page. Frustrating a power gamer in your group on purpose isn't good GMing; it's GM-dickery. If they frustrate themselves because they can't get into a satisfactory social contract with the group; that's on them. No RAW or mechanical house rules change that.

                                If his Practice is Martial Arts, that's appropriate. If his Practice isn't Martial Arts, then making Martial Arts the Essential Ability isn't appropriate.
                                Except, as many a Kung Fu movie will tell you, how good your are at hitting people (the Martial Arts Ability) is not actually the pinnacle of Kung Fu (aka Martial Arts as a practice). So no, it is not inherently appropriate that how good you are at hitting things limits your ability to magically meditate.

                                BTW, I wasn't "harping" on the techno paradigms; as you noticed, I had phrased it more generally.
                                All your examples are techno-practices (and hypereconomics really). Regardless of why, that falls into the category of "harping" if it is coming off to the person you're talking to (me) as a negatively heavy focus. That's what harping means; that you're overly focused on one thing.

                                (I mention this only because you have a nasty habit of throwing around terms such as this in a way that portrays the guy you're arguing as being unreasonable in some way — in effect, an ad hominem attack. It's not conducive to the friendly discussions that these forums try to promote, and I wish you'd just stick to arguing the facts and ditch the innuendos.)
                                Oh yeah, my favoritest thing ever, when people whine about the tone of a thread/post in the fashion of shitting all over being friendly by making things personal. You know me so well... that you pick the thing that probably gets me in trouble the most when it comes to tone problems in my responses because I find it incredibly unfriendly. Thanks!

                                I didn't make an ad hominem attack on you by saying you were harping on something. It's not innuendo; it is my direct impression of your posts. So stick to arguing the facts. If you feel that my comment about your focus on hypereconomics isn't fair, talk about that, or acknowledge that and start talking about other practices. You could also... not respond to criticism about your ideas by being defensive and dismissive of it. You do want to hear it don't you? If you don't find merit in a criticism, why engage? If you're engaging, why dismiss any elaboration on things?

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