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  • Dataweaver
    started a topic M20 House Rules

    M20 House Rules

    Yeah, yeah; I know that the book just got released to the KS Backers. But a key feature of the book is a declared intent to make the game your own; that's one reason why it's chock full of rules variants and options. With that in mind, I'd like to explore house rule ideas above and beyond whan M20 provides. To start off:

    I think the very first house rule I’m going to implement will be to ignore the ±3 limit on magical modifiers: if a lot of circumstances are going against you, the difficulty should skyrocket, even if you're casting a one-dot Coincidental Effect; and I want to reward players who put the work in to get the lower difficulties. Besides, it helps offset the quirk in the system where higher-Sphere Effects inherently have more trouble achieving big effects than lower-Sphere Effects, replacing it instead by higher-Sphere Effects tending to layer on the difficulty-reducing modifiers (i.e., putting more effort into it). There will still be a minimum difficulty; but I think I'll base that strictly on vulgarity (4 for Coincidental Effects, 5 for Vulgar Effects, and 6 for Vulgar Effects with Witnesses).

    The second house rule will be to explicitly tie the “taking extra time” modifiers to your choice of instrument: the more time it takes to use an instrument, the more the difficulty gets reduced. This, as much as a matter of pride, is why a mage might choose to use a slow instrument when an equally suitable fast instrument is available.

    Comments, criticisms, and your own house rules are welcome.

  • Dataweaver
    replied
    Originally posted by HorizonParty2021 View Post

    Maybe just a high Willpower cost. I want my players thinking mostly about what they alone can do with Magick, Conjunctional Magick being an infrequent but significant event.
    Personally, I prefer this to be a Focus driven choice, with some approaches to Magick trending toward the solitary workings while others prefer cooperative castings.

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  • Dataweaver
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    I can see the point to making group casting more prohibitive... it's an extremely potent thing if you can get the right group of mages together.

    But don't expect to see people build "tall" instead of "wide" mages regarding Sphere selections on that alone. The game heavily incentivizes having at least 1 if not 2 or 3 dots in most Spheres in enough ways that you'd need to house rule a lot more than this to get the desired effect (though Awakening is a good resource for what to do).
    Yeah. Even though Awakening has gone its own way since, especially in 2e, it was originally created by the former MRev development team as “what we wish we could have done with Ascension but couldn't because so much was already established before us”. With that in mind, borrowing from Awakening is a fertile source of potential M20 House Rules — and dare I say, something that I'd encourage the M5 developers to look at, too. A big difference between the two gamelines is how Awakening tries to make the Conjunctional use of Arcana the exception rather than the rule and that's something that I'd very much like to see “backported” into Ascension.

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  • HorizonParty2021
    replied
    Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
    The only one of those that I have a problem with is the Fused state lasting beyond the time it takes to do the spell.
    Maybe just a high Willpower cost. I want my players thinking mostly about what they alone can do with Magick, Conjunctional Magick being an infrequent but significant event.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    I can see the point to making group casting more prohibitive... it's an extremely potent thing if you can get the right group of mages together.

    But don't expect to see people build "tall" instead of "wide" mages regarding Sphere selections on that alone. The game heavily incentivizes having at least 1 if not 2 or 3 dots in most Spheres in enough ways that you'd need to house rule a lot more than this to get the desired effect (though Awakening is a good resource for what to do).

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  • Dataweaver
    replied
    The only one of those that I have a problem with is the Fused state lasting beyond the time it takes to do the spell.

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  • HorizonParty2021
    replied
    Conjunctional Magick does not require casters to have any dots in the Spheres used by other participants. They cast as if they were a single Mage with Arete based on the average of all participants. They take on a Fused status, during which they cannot do individual casting as normal, making them more vulnerable. The Fused status lasts for three times as long as it takes to do the spell. Quiet can spread from a single participant to others. Intense Resonance can spread from one Mage to another while Fused. So, Conjunctional Magick isn't something you would want to do very often, but players can spend precious XP on the Sphere ranks they want to take, rather than spreading it across the bottom.

    Paradox erases the memory of sleepers who witness Vulgar Magick, with some exceptions. Similar to Awakening.

    The number of witnesses to Vulgar Magick affects the amount of Paradox the caster gets and how much of it discharges immediately, the severity of the form the discharge takes.

    As long as a Mage character hasn't completely dismissed the most recent Seeking assigned by their Avatar, the Avatar can manifest as a counteracting influence when the character is targeted by Mind effects that would lead them to corruption or demise.




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  • Dataweaver
    replied
    Note that that only works in MRev. Before that, there was no Blessing Background; and M20 rewrote Blessing into something fundamentally different. The nearest thing that M20 has to MRev's Blessing is Enhancement; and that's Technocrats-only.

    Which is ironic, because MRev's Blessing was supposed to be the mystic counterpart to Enhancement. So my proposed fix is to just expand the types of Enhancements that are allowed to include some that are suitable for mystical Foci, such as enchanted tattoos or blessings designed to empower.

    Another option to consider, though, would be Charles Siegel's Rotes, found in the appendix to his STV supplement Enlightened Grimoire. If you want it to be available without meeting the Arete or Sphere requirements, he addresses that in Sorcerer: Paths of Power with the Rote Sorcerer Merit (p.67).

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  • Tytalus
    replied
    Originally posted by Otto D'Fey View Post
    Beginning Mage characters, for all their reality warping skill, often feel like that 1st level D&D wizard hoping his single cast of Magic Missile will do the trick. Therefore, the next time I run a Mage game, I'm giving each character a knack, some ability they can perform that wouldn't normally be available at their starting Arete and Sphere level. If the knack is limited in application (I can grow wings and fly!), then I'd allow +2 to the Sphere rating in order to meet its requirement. If the knack is broader (I can manipulate my appendages in all manner of ways) then the PC would need to be within 1 dot of the necessary Sphere.

    This wouldn't be without danger, of course. The PC's Arete doesn't increase for the purpose of casting this spell. Eventually, Sphere and Arete level would reach the point where the knack is just another rote. In that case, I'll give it a bonus to casting of some sort.

    My thought is you could give the PC's free dots in the Blessing background, as something they "naturally" can do.

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  • Otto D'Fey
    replied
    A couple things to note. The Knack isn't a gimme. It's a regular spell vulnerable to Paradox and the necessity of casting with a limited Arete dice pool. They will also be limited in scope, likely tied to events during character Awakening (thus things like Nullify Paradox won't be a part of it--my players know how much I adore Paradox). I've run a lot of Mage over the last 20+ years or so and enjoy trying new things. I also trust my players to look for something very character appropriate rather than OP outlandishness. I'm pretty sure it'll work out just fine; at the very least, it will be an interesting experiment. Assuming we ever get to start that new chronicle, in the face of so many other games we want to play around with.

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  • Nonsense
    replied
    I would strongly recommend to change the knack to bonus dice (1 or 2).
    That way they can't accomplish more, but they feel they have a knack for their thing. Sorta like a speciality is handled in M20.
    Powerful stuff gets 1 die (Fire, damage/healing and the likes) more toned down knacks receive 2 dice (sensing stuff, alterations and such things).

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    I'd also worry about potentially giving players access to Master level effects like that. Being able to, say, Nullify Paradox at start for free on top of having Prime 3 seems like it would really skew with the game.

    The Attainments system from Awakening 2e always seemed like a better idea to port to Ascension for this kind of house rule. Rather than effects they couldn't normally cast, they'd be effects they can cast but with some bonus factors without needing to assign successes, or eliminating the need for a low level conjunctional Sphere, or removing the risk of Paradox but capping how powerful the successes you can get below your max; trading safety for weaker spells.

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  • Bluecho
    replied
    Originally posted by Otto D'Fey View Post
    Beginning Mage characters, for all their reality warping skill, often feel like that 1st level D&D wizard hoping his single cast of Magic Missile will do the trick. Therefore, the next time I run a Mage game, I'm giving each character a knack, some ability they can perform that wouldn't normally be available at their starting Arete and Sphere level. If the knack is limited in application (I can grow wings and fly!), then I'd allow +2 to the Sphere rating in order to meet its requirement. If the knack is broader (I can manipulate my appendages in all manner of ways) then the PC would need to be within 1 dot of the necessary Sphere.

    This wouldn't be without danger, of course. The PC's Arete doesn't increase for the purpose of casting this spell. Eventually, Sphere and Arete level would reach the point where the knack is just another rote. In that case, I'll give it a bonus to casting of some sort.
    Aside from the fact that this would undercut gaining things like Wonders or other Merits (like, just as one example, Parlor Trick), I think the idea would work at cross purposes to the tone Mage: The Ascension is going for. Everything is supposed to be subtle, and magick is something characters go to great lengths to learn. It's supposed to be a world where magick is rare, because it's (supposedly) dying out. Because of this, every successful act of True Magick represents a major accomplishment.

    In DnD, being able to cast Magic Missile is elementary, because Dungeons and Dragons is a High Fantasy game. Mage: The Ascension wants you to remember that even small feats of Reality-breaking are wondrous and palpable, and should be treasured.

    Making everything based on Arete rolls - which start at low dice pools - also incentivises the sort of prolonged rituals and major build projects that typify Real Life mystic practices and scientific invention. If a character wants to inflict a curse on someone from a distance, they are well served to make a big deal out of the act of laying that curse. As well as going to the trouble of ensuring they have as many advantages working in their favor (to give them as many difficulty breaks as possible).

    Letting you just DO an Effect at the word "Go", above and beyond what they can normally do, sounds like it would turn into a crutch for players. Why would they go to the effort of crafting a spell tailored to their situation, or work for a great ritual, when they can just rely on their Knack? If a character can just grow wings and fly, why tackle 90% of their problems any other way? They can fly. Flight doesn't solve all problems, certainly, but it's easy for a player to get trapped in the "If all you have is a hammer" mindset, and spam their flight ability for as many problems as they can get away with. It's the most potent tool they'll have for a while.

    All of this, of course, ignoring Paradox. That's an entire other kettle of fish, and one I don't feel like tackling.

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  • Otto D'Fey
    replied
    Beginning Mage characters, for all their reality warping skill, often feel like that 1st level D&D wizard hoping his single cast of Magic Missile will do the trick. Therefore, the next time I run a Mage game, I'm giving each character a knack, some ability they can perform that wouldn't normally be available at their starting Arete and Sphere level. If the knack is limited in application (I can grow wings and fly!), then I'd allow +2 to the Sphere rating in order to meet its requirement. If the knack is broader (I can manipulate my appendages in all manner of ways) then the PC would need to be within 1 dot of the necessary Sphere.

    This wouldn't be without danger, of course. The PC's Arete doesn't increase for the purpose of casting this spell. Eventually, Sphere and Arete level would reach the point where the knack is just another rote. In that case, I'll give it a bonus to casting of some sort.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dataweaver
    replied
    Simple House Rule: restore MRev's version of the Blessing Background as a Mystical version of the technomantic Enhancement Background. Since M20 has its own Blessing Background, call it the Gifted Background. It can represent such things as mystical tattoos, psychic powers, or cases where the character has become a Relic (see Book of Secrets).

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