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"Free Unlimited Reach" and other issues with Supernal Entities

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  • "Free Unlimited Reach" and other issues with Supernal Entities

    I'd like y'all's help in parsing Supernal Entities into my game, given the sparse rules (at least to my dumb eyes):

    So a supernal entity can cast spells with literally "infinite free reach"? Even without abusable spells like Shifting Sands this means that every Unraveling spell deals aggravated damage and EVERY spell can be freely cast as Instant + Advanced Scale + Duration + Potency + Sensory + Remote + Indefinite. A little much? Or are they supposed to be "party-wide scene-long instant-cast debuffs at Arcana 2" OP?

    Also, what is a Supernal entity's ritual cast time? Do they not do that? Can they use yantras? If not... can they not use sympathy yantras? Can they even use attainments? Mage Armor?

    Another fun one: what is their spell control limit? Do they have one? Can they just cast infinite spells at infinite reach forever?

    I'm also curious about how manifestations come into play. I understand that, at a verge, Supernals can pop into the Fallen World but they're stuck in Twilight attuned to their Arcana and can't affect anything until summoned? Are they ONLY physically manifested in the Supernal realms (where non-archmagi get chicken-fried) or during the time between summoning + leaving/dying-in the Fallen World?

    My gut-reaction homebrews: Set reach as if they had Arcana 5 (basically treat all spells as rotes). Use Rank x 2 as effective Gnosis for spell control + ritual interval + Paradox dice. Give them relevant attainments per Arcana.

  • #2
    Don't expect much from Storyteller-side of mechanics in Mage 2nd Edition. It's extremely newcomer GM unfriendly. Still, Supernal Entities are practically gods and demons - they are more of a "Plot Device" being than "boss material" type. Their super powerful Arcana access is supposed to express that.

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    • #3
      Don't have the book with me, but if it does lack the fine rules like you say, I agree with you on using their Rank as base for effective Gnosis.

      Didn't they have limited Arcana ratings? Something like how spirits have limits on Influence derived from Rank. Will have to check later. If not, just derive them from effective Gnosis, without that pesky Ruling/Common/Inferior distinction.

      As far as I know, Supernal entities are always physical when summoned, unless they have reason to be Twilit.

      And yeah, unlimited Reach makes them frighteningly powerful. The summoning circle and Dissonance holds them back, but still.


      MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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      • #4
        Signs of Sorcery will have expanded rules for Supernal entities, including converting those given in first edition's Summoners book.

        Supernal entities are not ephemera and don't have Manifestations, p253, 'Unlike Ephemeral Entities, Supernal Entities are not formed of ephemera, and remain in the Supernal World rather than Twilight unless summoned fully into the Fallen World.' They can use their Arcana to enter Twilight but in that case they follow the Arcana's rules, p254, 'Supernal entities that have entered Fallen Reality and used their Arcana to enter Twilight are in phase with the appropriate type of entity.'
        Last edited by nofather; 02-07-2017, 08:47 PM.

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        • #5
          People overrate unlimited Reach. You can get that too in your Sanctum if you invest a Soul Stone into it, and after initial rush of POWER, UNLIMITED POWERRRRRRRR you realize that it isn't actually that overpowering.

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          • #6
            Aww, but then what's the point of the Dark Side?


            MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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            • #7
              ...

              characters
              Last edited by logos; 02-07-2017, 09:11 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
                Didn't they have limited Arcana ratings? Something like how spirits have limits on Influence derived from Rank. Will have to check later. If not, just derive them from effective Gnosis, without that pesky Ruling/Common/Inferior distinction.
                Limited by rank, secondary arcana are limited to one designated by the Mage who summons them and that must be at 3, but otherwise are limited by rank, they don't have Ruling/Common/Inferior arcana distinctions. Nothing is stopping a Mage from summoning a Rank 5 entity, it's basically just there to prevent a Mage from accessing archmastery effects out of turn.

                Anyway, as WHW pointed out it's not that big a deal considering a Mage can do the same thing. What a Supernal entity actually does in terms of power in the game is give newbies a shot at independently (almost) accessing Master level effects. It still carries the risks incurred in summoning and so on though and there's no guarantee they can pass the trial.

                Gnosis for a Supernal Entity is fluid, since the roll for activating a spell is Power+Finesse (Note this also disregards their actual arcana limit for dice per dots so while they may not be able to exceed Arcana 5 their dice pool can)[Supernal entities of Rank 4 and 5 receive the Rote quality on this roll]. They can pump this pool up with Mana expenditure, so for the most part they don't need Yantras. I would assume though that they can activate attainments, and in the case where an attainment would require a Yantra to function (Sympathy) they may use the Yantra.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                  [Supernal entities of Rank 4 and 5 receive the Rote quality on this roll]
                  Spellcasting is not a mundane roll and also is not a roll of Attribute + Rank relating to their concept.


                  Resident Sanguinary Analyst
                  Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by WHW View Post
                    Don't expect much from Storyteller-side of mechanics in Mage 2nd Edition. It's extremely newcomer GM unfriendly. Still, Supernal Entities are practically gods and demons - they are more of a "Plot Device" being than "boss material" type. Their super powerful Arcana access is supposed to express that.


                    People overrate unlimited Reach. You can get that too in your Sanctum if you invest a Soul Stone into it, and after initial rush of POWER, UNLIMITED POWERRRRRRRR you realize that it isn't actually that overpowering.

                    Point 1: Perhaps? Not my cup of tea, though. I prefer balance in my game even if Mage is stubbornly resistant to the concept =)

                    Point 2: Ehhh... really? So let's say we have a Rank 2 Supernal entity with 2 ranks in Fate. They can cast a reflexive Potency 2 Exceptional Luck hex on 5 mages at sensory range lasting 1 scene with 4 Dispel Withstand (assuming Adv Potency is flat +2 vs +2 per Potency) before spell factor penalties at the cost of 1 mana.

                    Average dice pool is 13 so it can afford to add +5 to potency and still reasonably expect the casting to succeed, so resisting mages with 3 Composure get Blinded + Blinded + Deafened + Deafened. How are your chances for survival relying on taste, touch and smell?

                    There's also no limit on mana spend/turn so it could literally cast this up to FIFTEEN TIMES in the same turn. Even if the penalties for being completely blind and deaf don't apply to casting Dispel (is spellcasting "combat-related" or "reliant on vision"?), you'd have to dispel ALL castings to regain sight/hearing.

                    See what I'm getting at? Mages couldn't do this unless in an Arcadian Demense/Verge where the semiotics favor the spell (luck might be too broad... hexing?). In which case... yeah it's totally legit to be OP. But Supernals are completely OP with every spell they cast all the time.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                      Spellcasting is not a mundane roll and also is not a roll of Attribute + Rank relating to their concept.
                      Fair enough, the rest still stands though, right?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bonerstorm View Post
                        Point 2: Ehhh... really? So let's say we have a Rank 2 Supernal entity with 2 ranks in Fate. They can cast a reflexive Potency 2 Exceptional Luck hex on 5 mages at sensory range lasting 1 scene with 4 Dispel Withstand (assuming Adv Potency is flat +2 vs +2 per Potency) before spell factor penalties at the cost of 1 mana.

                        Average dice pool is 13 so it can afford to add +5 to potency and still reasonably expect the casting to succeed, so resisting mages with 3 Composure get Blinded + Blinded + Deafened + Deafened. How are your chances for survival relying on taste, touch and smell?
                        A Rank 2 Supernal entity has between 9-14 dots spread among three Traits, with a max of 7 dots per trait, a dicepool of 13 is only likely if it took one as a dump stat.

                        There's also no limit on mana spend/turn so it could literally cast this up to FIFTEEN TIMES in the same turn. Even if the penalties for being completely blind and deaf don't apply to casting Dispel (is spellcasting "combat-related" or "reliant on vision"?), you'd have to dispel ALL castings to regain sight/hearing.
                        Spells aren't cast reflexively, they're Instant Actions with Reach. You can only cast one a turn. Without Reach they take 'Ritual Time.'
                        Last edited by nofather; 02-07-2017, 10:29 PM.

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                        • #13
                          That particular spell has a Reach for casting it reflexively.


                          Bloodline: The Stygians
                          Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                          Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                            That particular spell has a Reach for casting it reflexively.
                            I see.

                            It's still not that big of a deal, Supernal entities aren't tanks your mage carries around with them, and they aren't orcs that are going to kill you for no reason, if the players are worried about such a thing they should research the entities they plan to summon to find one that isn't going to cripple them needlessly.

                            It's important to remember that mage can tend towards high power games, and the things they will be meeting are going to be capable of game-changing events at a moment's notice.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                              Fair enough, the rest still stands though, right?
                              Pretty much.

                              Originally posted by bonerstorm View Post
                              See what I'm getting at?
                              What you're getting at is that beings with natural access to the Arcana that primarily act as lower-level plot devices can ruin somebody's day if they act like a full-scale circumvent-this-thing's-capabilities problem instead of something that is sought after with substantial effort for its expertise and capabilities. That's not news — they also get their day ruined by Sleepers in multiple different ways even if they aren't operating under the timeframe of a summoning. They're not casual encounters.


                              Resident Sanguinary Analyst
                              Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

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