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  • Paradox...Toothless?

    Hi,

    We've been playing for about 16 sessions (reaching Gnosis 3 more or less across the party so 1 Arcana 4 each) so far and the few times we've had Paradox it's been contained through Wisdom for a handful of bashing bashing damage. Unleashed once as the spell was cast through an Artifact (which can't be contained) and it did some minor tweaks with only 1 success. Just now we had an attempt to Contain that failed leaving 1 Paradox success.

    First: the section says the number of successes increases the severity of a contained paradox failure but we don't really see anything that indicates what severities there are.

    Second: the player gained a paradox condition so they scoured their pattern for 1 (resistant) lethal pretty much immediately, basically bypassing the conditions effects.

    Outside of combat (which we're not really engaging in because Fate, Time and Space make it very much a last resort that only occurs when all other contingencies have been overcome) these bits of damage really aren't that much of a concern in the more narrative time of investigations, politicking and gathering resources, to the point where we players are getting pretty comfortable with reaching beyond to rolling a few paradox dice because a handful of bashing or a lethal damage isn't feeling like much of a disincentive to get silly.

    What are we doing wrong?

    I know Paradox isn't meant to be a stick to beat players over the head to stop them casting spells but it doesn't do that anyway as you can choose to cast safely by carefully controlling your Reach. I\'m not really sure what it's meant to be doing now now how the rules are encouraging that?

  • #2
    In my experience, Paradox only really became a severe problem when I forced my players into tight spaces. Combat, subterranean labyrinths, Space-warded extradimensional temples, places like that where you're counting every turn and damage is adding up. Fate/Time/Space are tools that can be countered and tricked if your PCs have enemies that can lead them into an ambush. If you're mostly operating in narrative time, consider removing the ability to scour Paradox conditions before they lapse and just treat them as things that last for "a chapter" rather than in-character units of time.

    As for what Paradox is meant to be, I would say:
    • make the session more interesting by shaking things up and complicating situations
    • provide more challenges for the PCs to manage with their limited resources
    • potentially keep the PCs from casting a useful spell because it's too dangerous, forcing them to use other methods


    2E Legacy Updates
    Brotherhood of the Demon Wind
    Choir of Hashmallim (plus extra Summoning content)
    Storm Keepers

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    • #3
      Pretty much working as intended. Ability to reliably contain Paradox is a benefit of investing into your Wisdom and keeping it healthy, which costs XP.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Scutarii View Post
        Second: the player gained a paradox condition so they scoured their pattern for 1 (resistant) lethal pretty much immediately, basically bypassing the conditions effects.

        What are we doing wrong?
        Allowing Paradox Conditions to be scoured out prematurely is the big one. Regardless of the technical reading of the section, it's pretty clear the intent is that the chart for Paradox Condition Duration is supposed to actually matter.


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

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        • #5
          Ahhh, that's a good one, we'll be doing that, removing the Scouring option for the condition.

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          • #6
            Reading page 116(I got my hardcover only right now, so no direct quote ) it says there are 2 ways of removing a paradox condition, waiting for it to lapse then scouring it, or doing its special thing(summon monster, casting a spell with no paradox, or fully containing a paradox) which resolves the condition.

            If you still want to tighten the vice around your players tempt them with unwise but potentially rewarding choices, let events land together that at a glance look completely mundane or easy to handle then let things roll out of control. Be creative and don't be afraid to get down and dirty.

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            • #7
              Of note, I'm not running, I'm a player so I don't control any of the vices

              We're also going to play around with how to use severity of the Paradox, anyone done anything with them themselves?

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              • #8
                I've always found it to be a little light on the downside. Are you ever running low or out of Mana?

                Have you raised your Gnosis much? The penalty for Reaching gets higher.

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                • #9
                  The party is pretty uniformly Gnosis 3 so 2 paradox dice per excess Reach. Mana is...not usually an issue, between Legacy Oblations, Hallows, Tass and Scouring for Mana (and one player with an artifact that can store a lot) we're usually with a few in hand in case we need it.

                  Mostly it's spent on me casting with Sympathy or for pushing mana into Mystery Investigation rolls.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Scutarii View Post
                    The party is pretty uniformly Gnosis 3 so 2 paradox dice per excess Reach. Mana is...not usually an issue, between Legacy Oblations, Hallows, Tass and Scouring for Mana (and one player with an artifact that can store a lot) we're usually with a few in hand in case we need it.

                    Mostly it's spent on me casting with Sympathy or for pushing mana into Mystery Investigation rolls.
                    A couple things that will generally provide some traction on Mana demand to some degree: What's everybody's Wisdom looking like? And has anybody Inured any spells yet? How often is the presence of Sleepers an issue? What kind of Dedicated Tools are they making use of? What kind of Legacies are in play here and to what level of mastery?


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

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Caladriu View Post
                      In my experience, Paradox only really became a severe problem when I forced my players into tight spaces. Combat, subterranean labyrinths, Space-warded extradimensional temples, places like that where you're counting every turn and damage is adding up.
                      Pretty much this. For someone like me who doesn't like combat in my games very often, Paradox is basically a joke.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                        A couple things that will generally provide some traction on Mana demand to some degree: What's everybody's Wisdom looking like? And has anybody Inured any spells yet? How often is the presence of Sleepers an issue? What kind of Dedicated Tools are they making use of? What kind of Legacies are in play here and to what level of mastery?
                        Wisdom is mostly 7, two players with 6 (both for killing a Seer, one killed them and the other encouraged him to do it). Personally I don't think the GM is pushing it hard enough but by and large the players are trying to retain Wisdom and avoid stuff overly harmful to others or too petty, unless Conditions get in the way!

                        No spells Inured.

                        Sleepers are an issue when we're out investigating but most action/tense scenes are away in Beast Lairs, Alternate Realms, the Shadow, Deep inside Infrastructure of the God Machine, or Seer holdings where they're trying to keep sleepers away for their own beenfit too etc. where sleepers aren't about.

                        Legacies are all self created so only done at Gnosis 3. Mine gives me Kinetic Efficiency and the ability to activate Correspondence and maintain it so long as I concentrate on it (action for the round) so basic 1st level.

                        Dedicated tools are mostly low profile (in at least one case explicitly because it made using it and carrying it easier...) while mine is the most difficult to use - it's a mask, the character is a Dancer based almost solely on the image of Yogo Kazunori
                        Last edited by Scutarii; 02-21-2017, 12:11 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Some follow-up questions:

                          Originally posted by Scutarii View Post
                          Wisdom is mostly 7, two players with 6 (both for killing a Seer, one killed them and the other encouraged him to do it). Personally I don't think the GM is pushing it hard enough but by and large the players are trying to retain Wisdom and avoid stuff overly harmful to others or too petty, unless Conditions get in the way!
                          Speaking of Conditions, did the two characters with Wisdom 6 take Megalomaniacal or Rampant, and have either of them discharged their Conditions yet?

                          Sleepers are an issue when we're out investigating but most action/tense scenes are away in Beast Lairs, Alternate Realms, the Shadow, Deep inside Infrastructure of the God Machine, or Seer holdings where they're trying to keep sleepers away for their own beenfit too etc. where sleepers aren't about.
                          So between this and the longer timeframe you mentioned it's looking like long-term extradimensional/liminal exploration and similar activity is making up the bulk of your game's Mysteries. Any tangles with vampires or cults or other weird socially-oriented phenomena? How's the cabal's mundane lives looking in relation to all the lorediving they're doing?

                          Legacies are all self created so only done at Gnosis 3. Mine gives me Kinetic Efficiency and the ability to activate Correspondence and maintain it so long as I concentrate on it (action for the round) so basic 1st level.
                          You mentioned that pretty much everyone's hit Adeptitude in an Arcanum and Oblations are making Mana easy enough to come by in the long term; what's the overlap like between those Arcana and the Legacies' extra Ruling numbers?

                          Dedicated tools are mostly low profile (in at least one case explicitly because it made using it and carrying it easier...) while mine is the most difficult to use - it's a mask, the character is a Dancer based almost solely on the image of Yogo Kazunori
                          Handy to know, and that does remind me that the Path and Order makeup of the cabal is probably also going to be helpful for piecing together viable reasons to risk Paradox, but my main reason for asking about Dedicated tools (and part of the reason I asked about Legacies) was semiotics; what kind of spells are y'all getting the full benefits of your chosen Instruments from?


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

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Scutarii View Post
                            Hi,
                            and the few times we've had Paradox it's been contained through Wisdom for a handful of resistant bashing damage
                            Always thought it should be resistant aggravated damage. That'll make players really think if they want to contain it.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                              Some follow-up questions:

                              Speaking of Conditions, did the two characters with Wisdom 6 take Megalomaniacal or Rampant, and have either of them discharged their Conditions yet?
                              The one who convinced th eother player to kill the Seer took Rampant - they imposed their will and got their way and now they feel able to do it again. They discharged it but rather enjoyed having an excuse for being indiscriminate (they risked another breaking point but passed it). The player who actually killed them took Guilty as it seemed more relevant at the time, as far as I know that still remains (Guilty seems a really tough one to clear in general actually...).

                              Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                              So between this and the longer timeframe you mentioned it's looking like long-term extradimensional/liminal exploration and similar activity is making up the bulk of your game's Mysteries. Any tangles with vampires or cults or other weird socially-oriented phenomena? How's the cabal's mundane lives looking in relation to all the lorediving they're doing?
                              Mostly yes, we're in a hub city where the previous Consilium has fallen apart and the surrounding areas are also falling apart under the presures of Seer activity (that might be coordinated, we don't know for sure but suspect). The collapse of the Consilium in the city and deaths and failings of the mages in there has led to much damage and escaping of experiments, oddities, unchecked magic going haywire, etc. and we're stuck right in the middle of it.

                              Basically we're hopping from one bit of weirdness to the next going off and untangling some mages foibles and fall outs and fixing what we can.

                              Limited social interaction but we had a meeting with some Vampires last session - some incestuous small grouping in a small city where they were all bonded through blood to the leading family members. However the Time focused Mage 'Oracle' rolled a crazy 10 successes on a freak roll with her praxis to see the future of the meeting, checking to see what threats awaited us. So we played out the scene inside her vision to prep ourselves and kind of evaded most of the risk there (GM basically decided that when a player rolls 10 successes on the thing they made as the crux of their character they should win pretty big and not screw it over!).

                              Outside of that mortal lives aren't a major factor. Mine has briefly come up (character used to be in mental health care as they had strange visions all through their life until they finally awakened and the character realised what they had been seeing glimpses of all along...the health authorities were less convinced when he told them he was actually a wizard and not hallucinating at all...honest!) but some bribery in the right places from the Silver Ladder rich guy in the group deflected that by and large.

                              The Moros has been rebuliding connections with military friends and associates from their mortal life and trying to find the ghosts of fallen comrades.

                              Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                              You mentioned that pretty much everyone's hit Adeptitude in an Arcanum and Oblations are making Mana easy enough to come by in the long term; what's the overlap like between those Arcana and the Legacies' extra Ruling numbers?
                              Most people have used their Legacy to get a third ruling - arguably cheesy but obviously expected as it's called out in the Legacy section as a thing to do. Mana used to be more of an issue (especially for me, I gained Space as a third ruling - started Obrimos - and casting sympathetically was very expensive prior to that).

                              Actually that's probably a big part of why mana is less of an issue now. XPwise pushing three Arcana to strong levels is costly so by this point the bulk of casting will be done using their three preferred arcana whereas before people would have had one of their preferred arcana as non-ruling.

                              Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                              Handy to know, and that does remind me that the Path and Order makeup of the cabal is probably also going to be helpful for piecing together viable reasons to risk Paradox, but my main reason for asking about Dedicated tools (and part of the reason I asked about Legacies) was semiotics; what kind of spells are y'all getting the full benefits of your chosen Instruments from?
                              Pretty sure we have one of each Path. No one is a Guardian but we have two Silver Ladder. Not certain about what everyone gets but 'Oracle' gets it on spells to reveal hidden things and for seeing the future (funny that...), the Thyrsus is getting it on spells to alter the bosy (growing gills, buffing strength, etc.) and I am getting it on things to do with motion and physically traversing space (teleporting doesn't count) as I am 'The Dancer' - schtick is treating sympathetic threads as literal strings like on an instrument, pluck them to make music and dancing to the music of the world around me and through that 'divine dance' travel along sympathetic threads (hence Forces and Space as my focus, movement/sound and traversal).

                              I know a Mask doesn't really line up with what I have it do but I designed the character from an image first so we bent things a little to make it fit

                              http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/...20130120181914

                              And yes to claim my Shadow Name benefits I have to dress in the loose flowing robes and dance...I don't tend to get the Shadow Name benefits very often

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