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  • What are your crossover homebrew rules and clarifications?

    I put this together a while ago but I'm realizing I never posted it. Over the years my troupe collected/created a bunch of homebrew rulings and clarifications (mostly among the big three), but I'm wondering what other people do? I imagine the Contagion Crossover players' guide will supercede this in almost every way, but I'm interested in knowing how others have handled this.

    The goal with these changes was to answer a bunch of "what if?" questions for my players, but also involved some narrative balance. I also included any instances of canonical cross-over elements (like from the DE2 book).
    General Notes and Clarifications
    • Character creation changes:
      • Each character gains 13 merit dots instead of 10, however 5 of these must be mundane.
    • Merit changes:
      • Professional Training removed from the game. It’s a neat idea but needlessly complicated and practically must-have. The advantages it conveyed are compensated for by having additional dots at character creation.
      • New Merit: Asset Skill (1-dot)
        • Prerequisite: Skill Level 3, at least one Specialty in that Skill
        • You have significant professional training in the chosen skill. All mundane uses of that Skill benefit from the 9-again quality. You may purchase Asset Skill more than once, representing a different Skill each time.

    Mage

    Each dot in an arcanum unlocks a swath of possible spells and spell combinations. This in itself isn’t egregious except, in their ruling arcana, mages can overpower narratives because they can continue to attempt spells with impunity as these don't cost any mana. Whereas most splats have to be judicious about their resource usage, Mages can spam a different idea each turn (or even the same one) and see what hits. The changes here are designed both to make mages more prudent with their mana use and to reinforce the theme that this power comes at a cost. The Withstand for Vampires and Werewolves wasn’t meant to be a balance thing as much as a poor attempt to answer questions like “does a Vampire count as a corpse for Death spells? Does a Werewolf count as a Spirit for Spirit spells?” We ruled that a 0-humanity vampire is practically a corpse, and a 0-harmony werewolf is practically a Spirit. I hope DaveB doesn’t read this because it’s bad and I feel bad but it works so I’m doing it.

    Spellcasting Changes
    • All improvised spells cost 1 mana (praxes/rotes free unless other cost stated)
    • Ruling arcana spells get -1 paradox dice. If you join a Legacy whose Ruling Arcanum is already one of your own, that arcanum gets -2 paradox dice.
    • Death spells trying to affect Vampires as corpses are Withstood by half of their Humanity (rounded up). The Vampire may not choose to forego this Withstand*
    • Spirit spells trying to affect Werewolves as spirits are Withstood by half of their Harmony (rounded up). The Werewolf may not choose to forego this Withstand*
    Character Creation Changes
    • Similar to the optional rules in SoS, start with 3 dots in Arcana instead of 6. No Arcana may exceed 2 dots at Character Creation. At least two dots must be in your Ruling Arcana, and you cannot start with any dots in Inferior Arcana.
    Vampire Interactions
    • Allowing a Vampire to drink your blood is an Understanding/Medium-level Act of Hubris.
    • Blood Bonds
      • As Mages are technically mortal, they cannot attempt to resist a Blood Bond (Vampire p100)
      • Blood Bond reduces the sympathetic range between the Mage and the Vampire by 1 step.
      • Entering a first or second level Blood Bond is an Understanding/Medium-level Act of Hubris.
      • Entering a third level Blood Bond is a Falling/Low-level Act of Hubris
    Werewolf Interactions
    • Mages who are in an Uratha’s pack may buy dots in the Totem merit up to their dots in Spirit. Sleepwalkers may buy a maximum of 1 dot.
    Changeling Interactions
    • Per Dark Eras 2 (p376), Fate 4 + Mind 1 can allow a changeling to learn a Contract from a Supernal entity, adding Death/Mind/Spirit 4 can make that entity a ghost, Goetia, or Spirit.
    • Per Dark Eras 2 (p377), Fate 2 + Mind 2 allows a mage to hedgespin
    • Per Dark Eras 2 (p379), Fate 3 + Mind 2 allows a mage to participate in a Wyrd-sealed Oath
    Other Interactions
    • Supernatural creatures (Werewolves/Vampires/Changelings) do not suffer from the Curse of Quiescence.
    * This is specifically for spells like Quicken Corpse, Command Spirit, etc, that specifically target the dead and spirits.

    Vampire

    I wanted adjusted vampires slightly to play up a few of their core themes: infiltration of human institutions, having to feed/harm to survive and thrive, and managing Vitae and hunger. There are also no substantive rules for feeding off various types of supernaturals so I contrived a few that I hoped would give my players interesting choices to make. Vampires who feed from Changelings feel closer to human than any time since their Embrace, and it’s a wonderful, addictive, feeling.

    Character Creation Changes
    • Starting Disciplines: allocate a total of five dots across Disciplines. No Discipline may exceed 2 dots, and at least 3 dots must be in clan Disciplines.
    Gameplay Changes and Notes
    • Use the Blood Beats rules from VtR p 276
    • We will not be using the Blood Sorcery style mechanical changes in Cruac and Theban. Please feel free to use Rites of Damnation as inspiration for rituals you want to use.
    • Vampires players who are so inclined are encouraged to work with the ST to create a ghoul character that can make appearances in daylight scenes.
    Core Mechanics Changes and Interactions
    • The Cleansing (p 91) tries to clear Vampires of their acquired Supernatural baggage. If a Vampire is under the effect of a Supernatural effect or Condition, she enters a Clash of Wills (use Blood Potency + an appropriate resistance Attribute) against the originator of the condition. If she succeeds, the Condition is resolved (without any beats).
    • Vampires gain dots in Feeding Ground 1-for-1 with each dot they purchase in any mundane Status merit.
    • Selecting a Bane when suffering a Breaking Point protects you from all levels of that Breaking Point (e.g if you take a bane for going without Human contact for a week, you also don't suffer breaking points for going without for two weeks).
    • Resilience can work against all artificial sources of sunlight (scientific reproductions, mage spells, changeling contracts, spirit numina, etc).
    Feeding Changes and Interactions
    • Feeding near-immediately heals the kindred while feeding. Each point of Vitae extracted heals the Vampire for 1 lethal or 2 bashing.
    • All supernatural blood can be addictive, Changeling blood especially so. While players should work with the ST to determine what constitutes an addiction to any particular blood type, Changeling blood automatically causes an Addiction (per below).
    • Feeding on Werewolf: If you have Unnatural Affinity (Werewolves), gain Lycan Ichor condition.
    • New Condition: Lycan Ichor
      • You've fed on a Werewolf and survived. You gain +3 to rolls involving your Predatory Aura. You are revealed to Werewolves’ Hunter’s Aspect. Spending Vitae on Physical Intensity yields +4 dice instead of +2. Spending Vitae to heal doubles the effectiveness (4 bashing, 2 lethal, or 2 aggravated for five Vitae)
      • Resolution: Spend a Vitae on Physical Intensity or Healing. Otherwise, the condition resolves automatically during the daysleep (without a beat).
    • Feeding on Mage: Gain Supernal Ichor condition.
    • New Condition: Supernal Ichor
      • You've fed on one of the Awakened. Your blood resonates with the supernal. You gain Peripheral Mage Sight (per M:tA p 91). You may not apply your Humanity to Withstand Death spells cast by the mage whose blood you’ve taken. Your Discipline rolls (including Blood Sorceries and Dragon Mysteries) that require Vitae expenditure score an exceptional success on 3 successes instead of 5.
      • Resolution: Score an exceptional success on a Discipline roll that requires Vitae. Otherwise, the condition resolves automatically during the daysleep (without a beat).
    • Feeding on Changeling: If you have Unnatural Affinity (Changelings), gain Glamorous Ichor condition as well as the Addicted (Changeling Blood) Condition.
    • New Condition: Glamorous Ichor
      • You've fed on some manner of goblin. Your perception of reality is slightly dreamlike and you experience an unsubtle high. Your rolls that use Dexterity or Wits suffer a -1 penalty. For the purpose of computing the effects of all banes, (including sunlight) add 4 to your Humanity. If you activate the Blush of Life, you are completely unaffected by all banes other than sunlight for its duration. For the duration of the Blush of Life, sunlight deals damage as if your Blood Potency were reduced by 4 and fire does lethal damage instead of aggravated (as it would to a normal human).
      • Resolution: The Blush of Life expires. Otherwise, the condition resolves automatically during the daysleep (without a beat).
    Mage Interactions
    • Mages are mortals and may not resist the blood bond
    • Death spells trying to affect Vampires as corpses are Withstood by half of their Humanity (rounded up). The Vampire may not choose to forego this Withstand.
    Werewolf Interactions
    • Vampires and Ghouls who are in an Uratha’s pack may buy a maximum of 1 dot in Totem.

    Werewolf

    Gameplay Changes and Notes
    • Just like Mages have Arcane Beats and Vampires have Blood Beats, Werewolves can earn Primal Beats when thematically appropriate. Beats earned from the Siskur-Dah Condition are Primal Beats. Primal Experiences may be spent on Gifts, Rites, or Renown. Primal Beats can be earned by:
      • Dramatic failures or Exceptional Success Gift rolls
      • The Siskur Dah condition
      • Starting or ending a Sacred Hunt (successful or otherwise)
      • Entering Kuruth
      • Joining a lodge
      • Doing something renown worthy
      • Create a wolfblooded via Lunacy
    Core Mechanics Changes
    • The total number of dots in Totem limits the total number of individuals who can benefit mechanically from the Totem. Others may still be part of the pack, but do not receive the mechanical benefits. Players should choose at the time of pack creation how they wish to handle this responsibility in-character.
    General Interactions
    • This isn’t a homerule, but it’s worth pointing out that Vampires/Mages/Changelings don’t suffer from Lunacy (Werewolf p103).
    • Per Werewolf (p93), wolf-blooded may only have a single dot in Totem. The same restriction applies to all supernaturals other than Werewolves and Mages (including goblins, ghouls, etc.). Mages may buy dots in Totem not exceeding their dots in the Spirit arcanum.
    Vampire Interactions
    • Werewolves cannot replenish Essence from ingesting vampire flesh.
    • Drinking Vitae or allowing a Vampire to drink your blood is a Breaking Point towards flesh.
    • Eyes of the Dead (Gift of Death / Wisdom) used upon a vampire shows the Werewolf the moments leading up to their Embrace.




    My ideas are bad and I should feel bad.

  • #2
    Not so much a houserule or clarification, but just a fact that is often overlooked when doing a crossover game (which I see you have already tried to address in your rules) is that different supernaturals start at different Experience values even by their own respective metrics (not even considering whether the costs used in one line are roughly appropriate when compared to the costs used in a different line). Giving supernaturals which start with less value additional Experiences or straight dots can help in some cases.

    I actually did the math once on the Big 3 as you can find below:


    Vampire
    Blood Potency: 5
    Favored Attribute: 4
    Disciplines: 3x3 = 9
    = 18 EXP
    * Variance: +1 Experience for picking Out-of-Clan Discipline or Blood Sorcery as third dot.

    Werewolf (Ghost Wolf)
    Primal Urge: 5
    Auspice Skill: 2
    Renown: 2x3 = 6
    Shadow Gifts: 2x3 = 6 (Moon Gift Facet and Wolf Gift Facet respectively part of Renown)
    Rites: 2
    Merits: 2
    = 23 EXP
    Variance: +1 EXP for gaining second Moon Gift Facet instead of Wolf Gift Facet.

    Werewolf (Tribe)
    Primal Urge: 5
    Auspice Skill: 2
    Renown: 2x3 + 1* = 7
    Shadow Gifts: 2x3 = 6 (Moon Gift Facet and Wolf Gift Facet respectively part of Renown)
    Rites: 2
    Merits: 2
    = 24 EXP
    Variance: +1 EXP for gaining second Moon Gift Facet instead of Wolf Gift Facet.

    Mage (Nameless)
    Gnosis: 5
    Resistance Attribute: 4
    Arcana: 6x4 = 24
    Rotes: 3
    = 36 EXP

    Mage (Order)
    Gnosis: 5
    Arcana: 6x4 = 24
    Rotes: 3
    Resistance Attribute: 4
    Skill: 2
    Rote Specialties: 1**
    Merits: 2
    = 41 EXP

    Notes
    *: The third Renown dot for members of a Tribe does not offer the full benefit since it does not grant the character any additional Facets over a Ghost Wolf. That is why I subtracted the cost of a Facet from the cost of a Renown dot to arrive at 1 Experience for a Facet-less Renown dot.
    **: An argument can be made that this should be 2 Experiences instead. Normally, Rote Specialties have no specified cost but the core book (p. 80) says that Rote Specialties can be the third-dot benefit of a Mystery Cult Initiation. Strictly speaking, this third dot alone costs 1 Experience and includes the improved social benefits of higher Initiation, but the additional benefit from the third dot of Mystery Cult Initiation is described as "A Skill dot or two-dot Merit", which would put this at 2 Experiences. In my experience, Rote Specialties are a rather minor benefit, so I went with 1 Experience here.

    Edit: Only now do I realize all these final sums should have +3 Experiences added when compared to a vanilla Mortal, as they all gain additional Merit dots (10 instead of 7).
    Last edited by saibot; 09-01-2020, 07:40 AM.


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    • #3
      Of course, reducing starting traits to a singular metric completely ignores the non-measurable benefits and drawbacks of each splat, as well as the fact that each splat have different rates of XP progression. The latter is especially true for splats with two different XP systems as well as those with character progression without XP costs.

      I think a more (but still far from) fair comparison would be to look at what each splat gets in addition to their actual bare minimums. A mage cannot exist without two dots in their ruling Arcana (because gaining those is part of becoming a mage in the first place) so there's really no point counting those. Especially not since a mage without any of the listed traits is merely a mortal with a universal Unseen Sense, while a werewolf without any of the listed traits is still a murder machine through their shape shifting and aggravated damage fangs.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Tessie View Post
        Of course, reducing starting traits to a singular metric completely ignores the non-measurable benefits and drawbacks of each splat, as well as the fact that each splat have different rates of XP progression. The latter is especially true for splats with two different XP systems as well as those with character progression without XP costs.

        I think a more (but still far from) fair comparison would be to look at what each splat gets in addition to their actual bare minimums. A mage cannot exist without two dots in their ruling Arcana (because gaining those is part of becoming a mage in the first place) so there's really no point counting those. Especially not since a mage without any of the listed traits is merely a mortal with a universal Unseen Sense, while a werewolf without any of the listed traits is still a murder machine through their shape shifting and aggravated damage fangs.
        I noted this in the introduction. Any system to 'equalize' different splats is going to be imperfect at best (I would argue any system trying to compare entities so different would be), but it is noteworthy that at least when looking at the Big 3, starting Experience measures up surprisingly well with how powerful these splats are often perceived to be by many people, so it seems like an obvious angle to start with. In any case I would advise against giving the lower-value ones just a lump sum of Experience to match up to the highest-value one, but instead give equivalent Traits as much as possible (e. g. a vampire gets an appropriate Skill dot in a game also involving an Order Mage to balance out the free dot of Occult). Because of your point about the relationship between mages and their Arcanum ratings, I would always advise raising others to the value of the most valuable splat, instead of cutting benefits of the most valuable splats.

        The problem with evaluating the Experience worth of an entire splat in terms of inherent benefits and drawbacks is that we have little to no basis for how to do so. Some inherent supernatural abilities could be converted into equivalent Supernatural Merits and then compared to the existing ones to give them a rough dot rating, but this is going to be a very imprecise process at best. For drawbacks and Banes we have no mechanical basis whatsoever for how to translate these into Experience discounts (Deviant may change this, based on what I heard about how Scars work, but I do not know for sure as I have not read it). In some cases drawbacks and dangers may also be wrapped into the costs of the Traits to begin with (e. g. Arcana dots should probably be more expensive if Paradox was not a thing).

        On your note about different EXP gain speeds, I considered it implicit that any re-balancing that would be based on total EXP value should account for this. The entire idea would be led ad absurdum if it did not.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by saibot View Post
          Deviant may change this, based on what I heard about how Scars work, but I do not know for sure as I have not read it
          Variations, the Deviant equivalents of Disciplines, have a flat exp cost. Rather than paying more exp to increase the Magnitude (dot rating), you have to accept greater Scar (drawback) Magnitude. As such, even though it can come close to other splats' drawbacks (banes and such), I don't know if it would be super helpful in determining exp costs for basic splat features.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by saibot View Post
            For drawbacks and Banes we have no mechanical basis whatsoever for how to translate these into Experience discounts (Deviant may change this, based on what I heard about how Scars work, but I do not know for sure as I have not read it).
            Deviant doesn't scale the Experience cost of its powers specifically because raising their ratings or developing more of them requires a commensurately powerful Scar (with or without modifiers from Deviations) and having stronger Variations means you start each story at more of a Stability deficit.

            The most basic effect of almost every Scar is just "you can invoke narrative complications relating to the description of this Scar for a Beat," which is about on par with every werewolf in a pack getting an extra Aspiration and several Rites giving participants a new Ban Condition (to say nothing of Siskur-Dah), or every Beast and almost every hunter having a Persistent Condition to incentivize behaviors.

            Acclimation works backwards as a Supernatural Tolerance stat in that it costs Experiences and requires specific conditions to raise but comes with no attendant drawbacks; by contrast, raising the Magnitude of your strongest Variation requires a stronger Scar.

            Half of the Clade Adaptations play merry havoc with the Variation/Scar balancing act, in turn, because their effects are specifically "you can raise the Magnitude of one of your Variations once per chapter" or "You can lower the Magnitude of one of your Scars once per chapter."


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            • #7
              Honestly comparing starting xp doesn't feel meaningful to me, because (for example) I can't put an xp value on "transform into a hulking monster and fuck everything up." You and Tessie already discussed that.

              My focus is on trying to attain narrative balance. That is, not balance in any mechanical sense but balance in as far as the characters' ability to take control and move the story while maintaining their thematic and individual niches.

              Losing three dots of arcana at CC is not actually that much of an imposition. In fact, this is literally just the Signs of Sorcery recommendation for completely new mages. Most players will buy up the arcana they want soon anyway. The far bigger change is that all improvised magic costs a mana, which forces mage players to actually be judicious with their spellcasting, and makes rotes and praxes more valuable (as well as a good xp sink that really helps define a character).

              Trying to achieve mechanical balance is completely hopeless, because there are so many dimensions to consider (combat, social, investigative, etc etc). But what you can do is try to give each player roughly the same amount of leverage on the story vis-a-vis their characters.

              I can't speak to Deviant as I've never played or STd it so it would be pure theorycraft, whereas this document has at least been "playtested."
              Last edited by Kvark; 09-01-2020, 01:19 PM.


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              • #8
                I like what your Withstand rules conceptualize, but feel it could use some minor polish since at the point they hit 0 they would be easier to affect than normal entities which fall under that purview. I don't have any notes on vampires atm, but IIRC spirits typically use Rank as their withstand - so for Werewolves, you could either choose to let their withstand apply as their honorary spirit rank or half their harmony, whichever is higher - or if you want their half-spirit nature to somehow make it difficult you could add the two sums together.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jakondite View Post
                  I like what your Withstand rules conceptualize, but feel it could use some minor polish since at the point they hit 0 they would be easier to affect than normal entities which fall under that purview. I don't have any notes on vampires atm, but IIRC spirits typically use Rank as their withstand - so for Werewolves, you could either choose to let their withstand apply as their honorary spirit rank or half their harmony, whichever is higher - or if you want their half-spirit nature to somehow make it difficult you could add the two sums together.
                  Unless they're meant as additional Withstand ratings rather than to replace the regular Resistance Attribute.


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                  • #10
                    They would follow the normal withstand rules, so you use your highest withstand rating +1 for each additional Withstand (instead of just adding directly).


                    My ideas are bad and I should feel bad.

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                    • #11
                      Just to note, supernatural creatures not suffering Quiescence isn't a house rule. Supernatural creatures of all stripes count as Sleepwalkers.

                      I'm not sure I agree with some of your changes, but I imagine this isn't about that.

                      On my own end, I definitely do tend to use Experience to help level out some of the lines. Beyond that, one thing I do is make sure most splats have an Aura mechanic. I treat Bedlam as an aura for changelings, for instance, and I sometimes let beasts use Thicker Than Water as one. Demons tending to be an exception as it makes sense they'd typically lack one.
                      I also have some rules I use for Withstand in crossover somewhere in my posting history....



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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kvark View Post
                        The far bigger change is that all improvised magic costs a mana, which forces mage players to actually be judicious with their spellcasting,
                        I will point out that this is less than ideal, considering that part of the point of mages working the way they do is that they're narratively primed to be the Poor Impulse Control splat — one of the consequences of Wisdom loss is specifically "you have to spend Willpower to do stuff normally when you could do it with magic instead," and the comparative incentives and requirements for raising Gnosis make that rising rate of Paradox sneak up on characters who don't make an effort to cast within their means.

                        Also, free improv is limited to spells cast with just a character's Ruling Arcana, which already narrows the range of hammers characters have at their disposal substantially — the magic of a character's Path is roughly equivalent to shapeshifting or the Kiss or basic Satiety-free Nightmares/Atavisms or Variation use (in that for Deviants, their superpowers primarily are their template). A mage who doesn't have an appropriate tome-learned mudra or signature spell should not be worse-than-useless if they're out of Mana when working spells on an actionable timescale already costs them limited resources and potentially makes things harder to boot.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by falco1029 View Post
                          Just to note, supernatural creatures not suffering Quiescence isn't a house rule. Supernatural creatures of all stripes count as Sleepwalkers.
                          Yes, that was a canonical clarification, like Lunacy, though I guess I don't have a page source for it. Actually, it might not be explicitly stated in the book but I'm pretty sure the intention was for it to be canonical.

                          Originally posted by falco1029 View Post
                          I'm not sure I agree with some of your changes, but I imagine this isn't about that.
                          You're totally welcome to discuss disagreements! I'd love to hear your thoughts. But I'm mostly interested in what other people are doing!

                          Originally posted by falco1029 View Post
                          On my own end, I definitely do tend to use Experience to help level out some of the lines.
                          What does this end up looking like in practice? Like, who tends to be on the up-and-up in xp and who needs slowing down?

                          Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                          I will point out that this is less than ideal, considering that part of the point of mages working the way they do is that they're narratively primed to be the Poor Impulse Control splat — one of the consequences of Wisdom loss is specifically "you have to spend Willpower to do stuff normally when you could do it with magic instead," and the comparative incentives and requirements for raising Gnosis make that rising rate of Paradox sneak up on characters who don't make an effort to cast within their means.
                          I know that was the point of Paradox and Wisdom but in practice, and maybe this has been my luck with players, it never actually works out this way. Mages can work very effectively without ever invoking paradox and beyond that, even DaveB has said most will end up wearing paradox as a badge of honor. It's never actually quite the impediment you would think it is.

                          Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                          Also, free improv is limited to spells cast with just a character's Ruling Arcana, which already narrows the range of hammers characters have at their disposal substantially — the magic of a character's Path is roughly equivalent to shapeshifting or the Kiss or basic Satiety-free Nightmares/Atavisms or Variation use (in that for Deviants, their superpowers primarily are their template). A mage who doesn't have an appropriate tome-learned mudra or signature spell should not be worse-than-useless if they're out of Mana when working spells on an actionable timescale already costs them limited resources and potentially makes things harder to boot.
                          I can't speak to Deviants or Beasts much, sadly, but I can most assuredly say that while I get your argument from a thematic standpoint, there is really no way in which path spellcasting is comparable to the Kiss in terms of their narrative impact. One is a pretty niche action that will tend to impact the story in similar ways whenever it comes up, whereas the other is a broad swatch of incredibly general problem-solving tools. My homebrew wasn't really constructed from theoretical or philosophical principles as much from pragmatic and empirical considerations. Mages under these rules can still do all the same things, it just makes it harder for them to escape the costs or consequences of doing those things. Overall, when you have a troupe of mixed-splat player sitting together, it just ends up *feeling* like each player has more equal capacity to manipulate and move the story along, and ultimately my goal was to make a more fun player-experience. This one change, adding mana costs to improvised magic, actually accomplished more than anything else on the list in terms of "distributing the spotlight," so to speak. I'm sure it's different if you allow Demons and Beasts, but at least for games with the main 3, it's been effective at my tables :P. Which isn't to say it's a good system, just that it's worked for me. Curious what others have done to alleviate this issue.


                          My ideas are bad and I should feel bad.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kvark View Post
                            I can't speak to Deviants or Beasts much, sadly, but I can most assuredly say that while I get your argument from a thematic standpoint, there is really no way in which path spellcasting is comparable to the Kiss in terms of their narrative impact. One is a pretty niche action that will tend to impact the story in similar ways whenever it comes up, whereas the other is a broad swatch of incredibly general problem-solving tools.
                            I considered comparing it to riding the wave instead of the Kiss (though upon reflecting the Predatory Aura may be the better comparison), but the point is that the vast majority of a mage's always-available supernatural abilities are free improvisation within their Path — every mage doesn't have access to shapeshifting or imposition of thematic maladies or casual escape from grapples, but any Moros can tell you stuff about Matter and Death and (with a bit of time) mess with just those things without having to go tap a Hallow or initiate blood sacrifice or engage in a tightly-metered act of self-mortification.

                            Out of curiosity, how much of this problem has arisen from players having advanced characters, not taking the time to leverage Yantras or look for alternate solutions, or facing obstacles that fit within their Path's portfolios?


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                            • #15
                              It certainly does change the themes for mages, but in a crossover game the themes of each individual game have already been greatly compromised by necessity. A further change to a theme (that many don't even invoke in exclusively Mage games) for the sake of gameplay is not a big deal.

                              Also, six free spells from character creation, with each additional free spell costing 1 XP, is not a bad deal. Compare to a vampire who starts with three dots (with no guarantee that either is free to use) as well as the fact that most of the inherent abilities of a vampire also costs Vitae (or comes with other drawbacks). Coincidentally, both have a relatively easy way to refuel, if the player just gives some thought to it during character creation.
                              Depending on the specifics of the campaign it could work to have Knowing/Unveiling spells from the ruling Arcana be free, as an extension of how Active Mage Sight using those Arcana is free. That'd play up the inquisitive nature of mages.


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