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Low-Power Practical Magics for Fun, Profit, and Ease - Chronicles Edition

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  • Low-Power Practical Magics for Fun, Profit, and Ease - Chronicles Edition

    This is a parallel to the thread I made over in the World of Darkness forums. It's pretty similar, but for this side of things I have a few variations on the "rules" of the "game" to account for both the changes from 1st edition to 2nd edition and a few structural differences between WoD and CoD.

    --

    A lot of people have a tendency to focus on the higher level powers in a game, or combat-effective abilities (or both). But most supernaturals aren't going to reach those vaunted levels of power in a real world scenario, and though it will vary depending on your splat, if you are a supernatural being you aren't necessarily going to see fighting every day and night - you will have a life to live of some sort or another. And what you will have are some lesser powers, things that are easy to learn and utilize (i.e. the dots and effects you get from just adding a template to your PC, maybe after a bit of basic training). And some of those are going to be real helpful as you live (or try to live) your life outside the shadows.

    For this "game," I'm curious to know what powers you'd find useful or fun in real life, but from a practical sense. This isn't the "what would be the powers you'd use to beat up the asshole in accounting" game (as Dark Ages: Mage pointed out, we have names for the people who think about going around and beating up/killing people and looting their bodies...). This also isn't about the big, high power magics and abilities that can clearly shape the world around you for the better. This is about the lower-level effects that just make life easier or more exciting without harming anyone around you.

    For definitions/rules and guidelines:
    -Assume no powers that would be higher than a two-dot effect; the exception are supernatural merits that are available to mortals (psychics, sorcerers from Second Sight, etc, but not counting Proximi blessings) and which don't have a full progression; these can go up to three dots since some of them only exist at that level. For 2nd Edition games, this would include non-Royal contracts and Embeds, but not Royal contracts or Exploits. Werewolf gift facets are also fair game, since they don't have a level.
    --For Beasts, Atavisms can be used, but go for the basic version - no low Satiety or Expenditure effects.
    -No powers directly mess with or harm someone else (a power that makes it so that people are generally more agreeable is one thing; Dominate to make people do what you want is quite different). This is about making your life easier in general, not making other people's lives miserable. This includes most Nightmares.
    -No mage arcana; individual rotes are cool, as are Mage merits that can be interpreted as individual powers and 2nd dot attainments, but Arcana are so flexible that it's easy to come up with a use for them in general.
    -For bonus points (in as much as points are a thing in this "game"), try to go for things that don't directly "buff" someone or straight up make yourself better at things. I know that most of the mage buffs don't hit till the third level of the Life or Mind Arcana, but this also applies to things like the straight additional attribute dots from the Physical disciplines.
    -Bonus points for something that isn't a Demon Embed or a Fate rote. Fate magic is just generally useful. If you can't figure out some use for even a low-level Fate spell, you may already be an unconscious Fate mage because your life is probably a bit blessed.
    -Generally try to stick with published material; homebrew stuff is sometimes fun but often also sometimes full of broken powers that just don't work. That includes Creative Thaumaturgy.
    -Published material from any edition is fair game, as long as it's Chronicles, either first or second edition. This includes Bloodline Disciplines, 1st Attainment Legacies from Mage 1E (first two attainments in 2e since those replicate 2-dot powers), low-level Inferno investments, Purified Siddhi, and so on.
    -As mentioned, Merits are cool to use, but should represent things that are mystical or supernatural abilities or qualities of some sort - Occultation, Dream, two-dot magic items, Kinship Merits, Mantle benefits, and so on work; Invictus and Carthian social merits, not so much (though, magical effects that can help you find such friends would be fair game).
    -Powers should work on their own, with their prerequisite, or with just the native effects of the template that grants them; no "Well, this is a useless thing UNLESS you mix it with something else and then it's awesome." Reach effects are fair game for 2E spells, though - those are part of the power.

    -

    As I mentioned in the other thread, I find powers that help me read people to be very fascinating due to my trouble reading people naturally. 1E Auspex 2, as well as Mind 1's aura reading spell and several other similar powers, all fit in this vein, and would help out a lot in social interactions. Similarly, I sometimes can't tell if people are joking or lying; the Pierce Deception spell from Awakening 2E would be really helpful with telling when someone is being serious, when someone is acting serious as a joke, and when someone is lying (admittedly, it probably wouldn't tell the difference between those last two, but context usually would help in those cases; and with the Reach to get a hint at what the truth is, I can get a sense of that).

    However, 2nd Ed Auspex 1 and 2 also are really interesting to me... they represent a major update on the power that feels really different, and also can be helpful when meeting new people since you get more than just a "read" on them or going someplace new. Dream Visions also would be interesting for similar situations.

    The 1st Edition Contract of Hours 1 power, Restoration of Dawn's Beauty, is one that I've wished for many times, though. Get a nail in your tire? Pull it out and invoke the clause. Stained your shirt? Just hit it with some glamour. I'm also a klutz; the ability to fix something I've dropped or stepped on is real helpful.


  • #2
    If we were to include mage magics that are specific and not flexible, some hot pics are sympathetically connecting myself to my computer with forces and then getting all the work I do on my computer done and enjoying myself while splitting my consciousness between two fully-dedicated trains-of-thought, being able to psychically multitask on the computer while doing my day job or learning new practical skills. Specifically this one power would just... make life *so* much easier. It would mean living a double-life, in which I earn my living and take care of my body all without sacrificing my online work, reading, and even gaming or learning online skills. Imagine being able to start using services like Brilliant or skillshare while exercising or doing your day-job or running errands? Imagine if work-days and days-off basically existed side-by-side.

    All just a single spell. It requires 2 dots in 3 different mage arcana, but it is a single spell that basically transforms the way a geek spends her life. If I could have one spell, it'd probably be this one, given the low-dot rule you provided.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Scarlet Witch View Post
      If we were to include mage magics that are specific and not flexible, some hot pics are sympathetically connecting myself to my computer with forces and then getting all the work I do on my computer done and enjoying myself while splitting my consciousness between two fully-dedicated trains-of-thought, being able to psychically multitask on the computer while doing my day job or learning new practical skills. Specifically this one power would just... make life *so* much easier. It would mean living a double-life, in which I earn my living and take care of my body all without sacrificing my online work, reading, and even gaming or learning online skills. Imagine being able to start using services like Brilliant or skillshare while exercising or doing your day-job or running errands? Imagine if work-days and days-off basically existed side-by-side.

      All just a single spell. It requires 2 dots in 3 different mage arcana, but it is a single spell that basically transforms the way a geek spends her life. If I could have one spell, it'd probably be this one, given the low-dot rule you provided.

      This. So much this. The one time I've gotten to play a Mage in First Edition I IMMEDIATELY fell in love with that type of thing (I didn't have Forces though; I mostly "just" used it as excuse to constantly have Mind1+Prime1's aura sights active without my brain bleeding out of my ears). I've kinda wondered: what sort of mental stress does this involve? I assume it's not detrimental, or it'd be mentioned in the spell, but: am I suffering from half as much work-exhaustion as normal because I'm using half of my total brain capacity? Am I getting just as exhausted as before, but I'm also relaxing or whatever at the same time so it balances out? Does. . .one of my consciousnesses get tired, kinda like carrying a small, heavy item with only one of my hands and never switching?

      Side-tracked some, sorry.

      Mage is kind of wild for this -- Life 2's purge illness lets you do quite a lot, up to and including curing cancer. If we're going for a "wow that's useful" as opposed to "holy shit that's amazing", just. . sell your ability to cure cancer to rich people with cancer. I guess.

      In sort of the same vein, Time 2's Veil of Moments let's you do some pretty neato things. One of which is keeping just about anyone who is dying from actually dying. Same as above on the "ability you can sell", though probably less useful in that regard.

      Both of those are kind of stretching, I think; they're less about how directly useful they are in day-to-day life and more about how useful money is in day-to-day life. It's hard for me to beat Scarlet Witch's, tbh; both in usefulness and in oh-wow-I-can-play-video-games-forever.

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      • #4
        One of the immensely useful and often overlooked powers available to all Changelings is the ability to use pledges to prove that you are telling the truth. There's no doubting the sincerity of my intentions if the Wyrd will cause me a heavy nosebleed if I lie, and my nose isn't bleeding. You have to be careful how you word it, but wielded properly it cuts through drama like a hot knife through butter.

        A lot of their common contracts are still quite useful. Effective invisibility, weather immunity, lots of mobility powers. It's a good splat to choose from for powers that let you go where you want unimpeded.

        Even in their base form Beast Atavisms have some super useful picks. Unbreakable and Relentless Hunter allow me to do all kinds of crazy reckless fun stuff without fear. Even if I do get hurt despite being nearly as well protected as a riot suit even while naked, anything short of catastrophic damage will be healed in a few hours.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Enokh View Post


          This. So much this. The one time I've gotten to play a Mage in First Edition I IMMEDIATELY fell in love with that type of thing (I didn't have Forces though; I mostly "just" used it as excuse to constantly have Mind1+Prime1's aura sights active without my brain bleeding out of my ears). I've kinda wondered: what sort of mental stress does this involve? I assume it's not detrimental, or it'd be mentioned in the spell, but: am I suffering from half as much work-exhaustion as normal because I'm using half of my total brain capacity? Am I getting just as exhausted as before, but I'm also relaxing or whatever at the same time so it balances out? Does. . .one of my consciousnesses get tired, kinda like carrying a small, heavy item with only one of my hands and never switching?

          Side-tracked some, sorry.

          Mage is kind of wild for this -- Life 2's purge illness lets you do quite a lot, up to and including curing cancer. If we're going for a "wow that's useful" as opposed to "holy shit that's amazing", just. . sell your ability to cure cancer to rich people with cancer. I guess.

          In sort of the same vein, Time 2's Veil of Moments let's you do some pretty neato things. One of which is keeping just about anyone who is dying from actually dying. Same as above on the "ability you can sell", though probably less useful in that regard.

          Both of those are kind of stretching, I think; they're less about how directly useful they are in day-to-day life and more about how useful money is in day-to-day life. It's hard for me to beat Scarlet Witch's, tbh; both in usefulness and in oh-wow-I-can-play-video-games-forever.
          It would depend on if you are spending WP, so to speak. WP is a better analogy to spoon-theory than spoon-theory! No wp spent, no stress. Or even recharging yourself! Comes down to you.

          I forget if it allows counterfeiting but if we wanna talk non-Mage attainments/spells and talk money and usefulness...

          *Freaking* "In my Pocket" Embed from Demon. How comfortable could you live if you miraculously had a 20 or a Benjamin in your pocket when you need it? And coupons? It wont make you rich but, you could, if it can make money that is, shave off 100 dollars from any purchase. Aside from your monthly bills you never have expenses under 100 USD! And if you wear baggy pants with pockets you could pull all kinds of crazy stuff. You wouldnt need to worry about your keys, and if you just needed a bottle of water, just looney tunes one up. You could help a lot of your friends out too, any time they need like gum or a smoke or a little cash or what have you, your the one who is always there. If you can keep people from collapsing the quantum-state of your pockets, you can always keep them guessing what useful thing you'll have next.

          (reaches into my pocket), Excellent, a tiny plastic baggie of Kona-coffee beans freshly roasted! Now I can have some of my fave coffee whenever I want >:0

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          • #6
            I almost want to grab a Demon's ability to lie, but I don't actually like lying, and it seems overall harmful to my mental health. I kinda want to grab Majesty, but it's horribly unethical. I'd probably pick out some of those luck minor template merits tho, luck is fun. Also some lair traits. Not to impose them, but to immune to bad weather, among other things.


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            • #7
              Interesting. Will have to come back and edit this entry when I have a bit more time on my hands, but going by gut:

              Beast's Alien Allure would definitly qualify. Being more likeable is nice. Cyclopean strength comes in handy for a bunch of emergency stuff, so I'd consider it. I really like Relentless Hunter, healing quickly is just a great thing to have (Question regarding the Lair-based resistance: do we just assume Supernatural Tolerance 1?).
              Definitly seconding Scarlet Witch regarding 'In my pockets'.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Wormwood View Post
                Interesting. Will have to come back and edit this entry when I have a bit more time on my hands, but going by gut:

                Beast's Alien Allure would definitly qualify. Being more likeable is nice. Cyclopean strength comes in handy for a bunch of emergency stuff, so I'd consider it. I really like Relentless Hunter, healing quickly is just a great thing to have (Question regarding the Lair-based resistance: do we just assume Supernatural Tolerance 1?).
                Definitly seconding Scarlet Witch regarding 'In my pockets'.
                Hmmm. Forgot about things like value of Lair. I'd say up to 2... theoretically a starting beast could get as high as three with just merit points but that implies a character all but cut off from the world around them, socially, barring extra xp from the st. So go with a power stat of 1 or 2 where it matters, for greater template abilities.
                And yeah... in my pocket actually was the reason I almost just said "no demon stuff period."

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                • #9
                  What I'd like to get far more than a Demon's Embeds, maybe even more than In my pocket, is their omniglot charactertrait. Being able to speak practically any language, perfectly? Hell yeah that'd rock!
                  I'd definitly love to get Relentless Hunter and Unbreakable, as it takes care of a few serious worries. Chances of living out a healthy life: very high.
                  Other Atavisms (due to my love for and familiarity with Beast) I'd consider: Siren's Treacherous Song. You get to talk (very useful for a lot of jobs, e.g. teachers) and also sing better, but most importantly, you get perfect voice imitation. That's a hella neat party trick =D
                  I'd also love to get Heart of the Ocean, because I'd love to swim underwater for very long stretches at a time without gear (save a bunch of money on scuba classes, gear, trips... just go and swim!). Plus the speed bonus in the water wouldn't hurt. For similar reasons I'd want Storm-Lashed: no longer being bothered by any type of weather is too good to pass up, and there'd no longer be a "nah, not gonna run today, it's pouring..." excuse around.
                  Needs Must would be amazing: who hasn't at least once wished to have (more than) perfect sight/perception? Also could save money on buying new glasses =D

                  From Vampire, Auspex 1+2 (as has been mentioned) are great. Sometimes, things are just hard to tell (is that student bothered by something, or simply bored? Did that one really understand the topic?), other times, it's just comfortable and nice (What would make them most happy right now? What do they want for Christmas? etc.).
                  Obfuscate 2 I think is actually rather useful for e.g. sneaking something into the cinema or hide something potentially emberassing (or, you know, a surprise present not meant to be found yet).

                  I wouldn't dream of passing up the Common Jewel Contract Changing Fortunes, but somehow, not many other Contracts can grab my interest.


                  Atavisms that just barely didn't make the cut:
                  Eye of Heaven would certainly be helpful for e.g. therapists or doctors. And cops, lawyers etc. Useful, but no must have.
                  Mimir's Wisdom I wouldn't get because knowing you have been lied to would complicate human interaction (remember, you only know you've been lied to. Throwing a surprise party for my dad was easy, but literally impossible to do for my mom since I'm that close to believing she has some sort of in-built lie detector). Very useful for policemen, judges etc.though.
                  From the Shadows makes you amazing at hide and seek, but aside from fringe cases like snipers or private eyes etc. don't see much use.

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                  • #10
                    Eye of Heaven would be really good for me, actually... knowing what a person wants to achieve can be really helpful, as can knowing what drives them and if they're suffering from anything at the moment (especially helpful if you or they are bad at communicating). And it requires you to "study" a target for a turn per item. With six total items on a list, I just have to watch someone for about 18 seconds (a turn per item, with a turn in Beast being three seconds long) to get the whole list.

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                    • #11
                      I think I'd pick Obfuscate, seeing as having the power to sneak around in a box would just make me an infinitely more cheerful person. I'd also probably try to use it to profit off of cheap street magic tricks (like, making the card a person picked out disappear). So yeah, Obfuscate is my pick.

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