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Mage is biting us in the ass every step of the way

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  • Mage is biting us in the ass every step of the way

    I've been running a mixed supernatural game now for about four weeks. Every session, at every turn it's the mages. Issue after issue. Perhaps the biggest that I'm not liking at all is the lack of resistance to spells for non mages. For instance, most Supers have some kind of resistance built into a power . Say for a vampire's Possession power it's :Intelligence+Intimidation+ Dominate – victim’s Resolve" And if it includes a super splat it applies across the board. so say it's - blood potency then it includes others like Wyrd. Part of the problem is that we are all learning the CoD rules together and I'm just not knowledgeable with the Mage rules enough.

  • #2
    Well the obvious problem is you're trying to run a mixed game with a system that wasn't made for it. I get that they run off the same system, but they all have different themes to them, so when you put a mage in a mortal or vampire game it can be as drastic a change as starting a Mutants and Masterminds character alongside a group of Dungeons and Dragons characters and also a Call of Cthulhu investigator.

    You're not going to find balance between them because there wasn't any attempt to balance them.

    Also you seem to be starting learning a game by actually playing multiple different games, which can be a problem too and probably won't help the learning curve any.

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    • #3
      One of the important things to know about Mage is that the game rarely questions whether or not an individual mage can or cannot do something (this is mostly built into the mage's gnosis and arcana ratings and/or praxis/rotes known). Rather, the game asks SHOULD or SHOULDN'T that mage do something. In fact, that distinction is a central theme to Mage the Awakening.

      That being said, if your mage players are casting offensive or reality distorting spells on sleepers they should be rolling for both paradox and wisdom loss. And if they make a habit of doing so, they will quickly find themselves laden with rapid wisdom loss and/or paradox conditions.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Falcon777 View Post
        That being said, if your mage players are casting offensive or reality distorting spells on sleepers they should be rolling for both paradox and wisdom loss. And if they make a habit of doing so, they will quickly find themselves laden with rapid wisdom loss and/or paradox conditions.
        I think this is rather missing the point of the OP that Mage seems unbalanced compared to the other major splats.

        That said, Blue Thomas the closest anyone gets to being able to resist Mages are if a spell cast on them isn't calculated with enough Potency to overcome their Withstand. nofather did an eloquent job of explaining why you're experiencing these problems with Mage in a mixed splat game.

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        • #5
          It seems to me that paradox doesn't seem all that bad (at least for the moment. no one is over 2 gnosis) They are careful around sleepers, but supers they let the fur fly. Wasn't one of the main goals of the new rules were to make all splats playable with each other?

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          • #6
            God, no. It was to have them use the same rules so you could use them as Storyteller characters. The various game protagonists are anything but balanced against one another - mages, mummies, and demons are far more potent than anyone else, by design.


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

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Blue Thomas View Post
              Wasn't one of the main goals of the new rules were to make all splats playable with each other?
              Not particularly.

              It'd be good if you provided some examples of issues you've had, maybe there are ways around them.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Blue Thomas View Post
                It seems to me that paradox doesn't seem all that bad (at least for the moment. no one is over 2 gnosis) They are careful around sleepers, but supers they let the fur fly.
                Planning accordingly can help with that.

                Wasn't one of the main goals of the new rules were to make all splats playable with each other?
                As in you can put a mage as an antagonist in a werewolf game, or go from playing a werewolf game to a vampire game without needing to get used to a drastically different rule set. Everyone uses the same Attribute + Skill rolls, for the most part, with variations of superpowers.

                Not for a werewolf, mage and Sin-Eater to be part of the same player group. It's doable, it's just increasingly complicated the more games you add and you have to make cuts when it comes to the various settings and possibly even mechanics.

                Technically the only game that's actually meant to be played with others, so far, as in everyone is on the same team is Beast.
                Last edited by nofather; 02-26-2017, 08:15 PM.

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                • #9
                  Mage 2e was explicitly designed without reference to other lines.

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                  • #10
                    I think compatible, not playable. As in, the ST can bring in any elements from any other gameline and have no problem with conflicting rules. But I might be wrong. Either way Mage has a different power level compared to other splats and I would never advise using mages in a mixed group of player characters.
                    ​Edit: What nofather and Axelgear said. Why do I type so slowly?


                    Bloodline: The Stygians
                    Ordo Dracul Mystery: Coil of Smoke

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Blue Thomas View Post
                      Wasn't one of the main goals of the new rules were to make all splats playable with each other?
                      "The new rules" (i.e. the 1e/nWoD rules) were made so that every gameline's characters were mechanically compatible. This is not and should not be mistaken for the same thing as having mechanical parity.

                      Paradox is there primarily to steer character behavior toward methodical and prepared activity and make the stakes of oversight compound with experience — containing a Paradox is relatively easy and low-risk early on, but eventually you're likely to hit the point where risking a Paradox Condition is just more of a problem than having the chance that a spell goes sour.


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

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                      • #12
                        If you want mages to play well with other splats you'll probably need to give said other splats a bit of bonus Experience, at least.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Blue Thomas View Post
                          I've been running a mixed supernatural game now for about four weeks. Every session, at every turn it's the mages. Issue after issue. Perhaps the biggest that I'm not liking at all is the lack of resistance to spells for non mages. For instance, most Supers have some kind of resistance built into a power . Say for a vampire's Possession power it's :Intelligence+Intimidation+ Dominate – victim’s Resolve" And if it includes a super splat it applies across the board. so say it's - blood potency then it includes others like Wyrd. Part of the problem is that we are all learning the CoD rules together and I'm just not knowledgeable with the Mage rules enough.


                          I think you may have jumped the gun a bit on this endeavor, but that doesn't mean you won't succeed.

                          My first world of darkness experience was ST'ing Mage (after playing as a PC in many D&D games and hosting a couple of games of the Descent boardgame.)

                          Mage, on its own, is hard to digest. I've read many threads stating that it can be one of the most demanding tabletop games just because of the sheer freedom that players enjoy. The task of digesting MULTIPLE rule-sets for splats is herculean to me. Mechanically, Vamps/Wolves/Mages enjoy all sorts of perks and weaknesses (as stated before, Paradox is its own system). They also have complex laws, communities, politics, social graces, goals, etc.

                          I toyed with letting my players choose whatever splat they wanted and bought the Demon/Vamp/Wolf corebooks. I've perused through them to get a gist, but the material is pretty substantial. I decided against it because I didn't want to make declarations that would later be revealed to be nonsensical, contradictory, or just plain ignorant.

                          Anyway, I sometimes wish I started with Hunter or Vamp, to get used to the systems and rudimentary rolls without having to juggle wanton creativity and OP mage shenanigans. I could also severely curtail active times (sunlight being a huge obstacle for Vamps), and with either Hunter or Vamp I could craft pretty straight forward villains that don't run the gambit of being too prepared or under prepared.

                          I assume it is too late to fall back into a single splat since characters have already been created.

                          I think you can make it work, but you'll basically end up studying all the material like you have a midterm on it. The biggest help for me was Reddit and these forums. You get immersed in the methodology of playing and running these games. So look up keywords associated with whatever issues you're running into and consume. Pay special attention to disagreements about mechanics, as they often reveal how or why something was designed a certain way. People are usually pretty good with supplying simplified analogies for confusing concepts, too.



                          N/A

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                          • #14
                            A common houserule was to have supernaturals add their Supernatural Tolerance trait (Blood Potency, Primal Urge, etc) to their Withstand ratings.

                            Or use the higher of the two traits, if straight adding it reverses the tables and make the mages impotent at affecting non-humans.


                            MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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                            • #15
                              Changelings with high clarity can add their clarity to the their withstand rating when spending willpower I think according to 2e Changeling play test.

                              I wouldn't be surprised if this was the primary reason that was added to clarity, so Mages could just run rough shod over Changelings.

                              I have to be honest, I bough Mage more for the insights into the WoD cosmology, then to actually play it, because I find Mages rules extremely complex compared to other splats, its the least beginner friendly of the games along with Mummy.

                              Both have great flavour however.

                              But if your new to CoD you should go with Mortals, Paranormal Mortals, Vampires, Werewolves (I'm guessing), Changelings, Beasts, and maybe Demons (I'm not complete certain about demon, but from what I've heard to rules are likely more easily grasped then Mage or Mummy).

                              If I wanted to use the Mage or Mummy settings I'd use their near Mortal Splats instead, like Proximi. Simpler, infact they're likely perfect training wheels for mage and mummy games.

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