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  • Rotes

    I've asked this before in the simple question thread, but my ST and I are still arguing over this topic and was hoping to maybe bait some more long form responses on the topic.

    We're fighting over Rotes, and whether the free Reach and bonus dice provided by the rotes, can be freely spent or if you have to buy a locked in specific spend pattern of reach and dice effects on spell effect.

    I feel like it should be essentially free spending, since this seems like the main way to get use out of some of the niftier aspects of spell casting before you're a five fold Master with gnosis 7, since otherwise your dicepools for the freeform system are so small as to be like probability itself mocking you when you try to stack your limited yantra bonuses and get more than a basic few increases in potency or duration.

    His argument is that it is, definitionally, 'rote'. You have one specific spell you spent an experience for which was the exact suite of effects the Master who made the Rote encoded in, with the eye towards saving time in game with casting spells and giving useful things in universe for mages to bargain with each other for. A specific suite of spell effects you might want with the bonus dice of a rote skill thrown in.

    The rules as written don't really support this latter conclusion but they also don't explicitly come out for the former. Could we maybe get some advice or interpretations on this? I'm tearing my hair out over this since I basically am going to forget whole swaths of spells I paid exp for with that last ruling, but do concede that freeform spell work being in the freeform stuff rather than rotes is probably right.

  • #2
    You're right, you can spend them however you want.


    Onyx Path Forum Moderator

    My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

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    • #3
      That's about what I got in the other thread, I just feel like consensus isn't going to be a good argument in this case.

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      • #4
        Well, I mean ultimately you should go with your ST's interpretation. But in this case your ST's interpretation is contrary to RAW.


        Onyx Path Forum Moderator

        My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

        Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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        • #5
          By his logic (sure I am going into extreme here but still) When you learned to heal someone with Mend, you learned only to heal this specific person, since no one has the exact same pattern, so you'd need to learn mend for every person you intend to heal in the future? ... this is complete nonsense

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          • #6
            Hi, I'm Alpharius's ST.

            To address Elggur's point (and thank you for the strawman argument), when you learned Mend, that was a spell, not a rote. You can do whatever you want with the spell, that's what improvised casting rules are for. When you learned the specific Mend rote designed by so-and-so Master, you got a version of Mend where the 2 Reaches are spent on (and I'm just picking randomly here) healing personal tilts and being cast at sensory range instead of touch. If you want to cast Mend so that it uses Reaches to give the target a full meal and a full night's rest instead of fixing his Arm Wrack or whatever other tilt, that would not be this specific rote. You would do that with improvised spellcasting, or learn another rote.

            If the spell factor and Reach choices aren't made beforehand by the rote, then why do Masters have a Create Rote attainment? What can they actually do with it? There would only be one possible rote for any spell: "X Spell with Y free Reaches, to be used on casting." What's the difference between rotes for the same spell designed by two different masters?

            As to Alpharius's original contention, that this is how you get to use "some of the niftier aspects of freeform casting before you're a Master"... Well, I would say that no, you don't get to do those things. You're not a Master. There shouldn't be a way for you to do all the crazy improvisation that Masters do, because you're just an Apprentice. Masters get bigger pools than you, and can play with their spells more. If you want to free-form assign your Reaches and whatever, then that's what Improvised Casting is for.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Rafilar View Post
              To address Elggur's point (and thank you for the strawman argument), when you learned Mend, that was a spell, not a rote.
              You don't learn spells. You learn Rotes and Praxies. There are only three ways you can cast a spell - as Rote, as Praxis, or as an improvised spell.

              Originally posted by Rafilar View Post
              You can do whatever you want with the spell, that's what improvised casting rules are for. When you learned the specific Mend rote designed by so-and-so Master, you got a version of Mend where the 2 Reaches are spent on (and I'm just picking randomly here) healing personal tilts and being cast at sensory range instead of touch. If you want to cast Mend so that it uses Reaches to give the target a full meal and a full night's rest instead of fixing his Arm Wrack or whatever other tilt, that would not be this specific rote. You would do that with improvised spellcasting, or learn another rote.
              The book doesn't say that.

              Originally posted by Rafilar View Post
              If the spell factor and Reach choices aren't made beforehand by the rote, then why do Masters have a Create Rote attainment?
              So that Rotes can exist? Someone needs to be able to make them.

              Originally posted by Rafilar View Post
              What can they actually do with it? There would only be one possible rote for any spell: "X Spell with Y free Reaches, to be used on casting." What's the difference between rotes for the same spell designed by two different masters?
              The Rote Skill.

              Originally posted by Rafilar View Post
              As to Alpharius's original contention, that this is how you get to use "some of the niftier aspects of freeform casting before you're a Master"... Well, I would say that no, you don't get to do those things. You're not a Master. There shouldn't be a way for you to do all the crazy improvisation that Masters do, because you're just an Apprentice. Masters get bigger pools than you, and can play with their spells more. If you want to free-form assign your Reaches and whatever, then that's what Improvised Casting is for.
              I mean, you're free to run your game that way if you want to, but like I said, it is contrary to the rules as written.


              Onyx Path Forum Moderator

              My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

              Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Rafilar View Post
                There shouldn't be a way for you to do all the crazy improvisation that Masters do, because you're just an Apprentice. Masters get bigger pools than you, and can play with their spells more.
                This is represented by Masters having higher Arcanum ratings (with the attendant intervening Attainments from between the spell Practice's level and Create Rote), a higher floor on their Gnosis ratings (with the attendant increased bus space for Yantras and decreased interval for ritual casting) and getting rote benefit on their own rotes without having to ritual-cast at double the interval.

                The difference between rotes for the same spell designed by two different Masters is that they use different mudras. Even if they use the same encoded Skill, a Libertine and a Mystagogue are going to have different perspectives that inform the mnemonics they build into a spell to bind a spirit or shape matter.

                And none of this changes the fact that you don't need a rote to raise your ceiling on applicable Reach effects — suitable Demesnes outdo Mastery-level Reach for facilitating crazy improvisation, and literally anyone can use those.

                What you want rotes to do is covered by how Legacy Attainments work. Spellcraft necessarily works on modular allocative principles.


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

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                • #9
                  Rotes are just simplified imagos taught to students via mudras helping lower gnosis mages
                  to compress, memorize, recall,
                  and cast the spell as quickly and efficiently as improvised spells
                  . The master doing most of the work before hand gives them a easier time reaching. The book doesnt say anything about preselected reach etc.
                  Last edited by totalgit; 02-25-2017, 02:36 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                    The difference between rotes for the same spell designed by two different Masters is that they use different mudras.
                    I know this is basically undermining my own point, but this is a fluff difference rather than a pure mechanical one. I don't know if that's really a good difference since in theory almost any mudra can be done as long as you're relatively free to move.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Alpharius View Post
                      I know this is basically undermining my own point, but this is a fluff difference rather than a pure mechanical one. I don't know if that's really a good difference since in theory almost any mudra can be done as long as you're relatively free to move.
                      Also the Skill associated with the Mudra. A small mechanical difference, but a mechanical difference nonetheless.


                      Onyx Path Forum Moderator

                      My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

                      Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Alpharius View Post
                        I know this is basically undermining my own point, but this is a fluff difference rather than a pure mechanical one.
                        If you were to include and highlight my next sentence, sure, but not all Masters are going to encode the same rotes with the same Skills, particularly across Order lines — regardless of how useful Occult is, if you're not in the Mysterium or the Seers (or specifically the Paternoster) you can expressly do better with another Skill for less investment. Using Computer to facilitate "reprogramming" a spirit is distinct from using Expression to rewrite it is distinct from using Crafts to reshape it and so on, if only because each of those implies a different area of focus/competence for the Master that devised it.

                        Further, this is a game where an explicit limiter on the mechanical bonuses for spellcraft is based in whether the fluff is appropriate or not — the distinction is moot, because there is no "pure mechanical difference" in a storytelling game about characters who use semiotic aids to better work their magic.


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

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                        • #13
                          Rotes do not dictate spell factors, adding attainments like sympathetic range, or how you spend Reach. Otherwise they would only work for the Master who made them and only on the specific subjects/potency/scale that they first used.

                          The Rote's "formula" incorporates wildcard-like sections for the user to fill in what they're casting it on, etc. That's why Rotes cost xp to learn and why they're difficult to write in the first place.


                          Dave Brookshaw, Mage and Deviant Developer, writer of many things

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                          • #14
                            Just in case you're wondering, mr Rafilar , that's the game's lead developer

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dave Brookshaw View Post
                              Rotes do not dictate spell factors, adding attainments like sympathetic range, or how you spend Reach. Otherwise they would only work for the Master who made them and only on the specific subjects/potency/scale that they first used.

                              The Rote's "formula" incorporates wildcard-like sections for the user to fill in what they're casting it on, etc. That's why Rotes cost xp to learn and why they're difficult to write in the first place.

                              Thanks Dave. That was my interpretation but obviously we had to solicit other opinions on this since we were at loggerheads. I wonder what value praxes have for lower ranked spells then, since bonus reach and some more dice pretty much read better to me than 3 dice exceptional sux. Am I just mentally undervaluaing the utility of that?

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