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  • Alternative Magic System & Playtest

    Hey everyone,

    So I have house ruled some changes to the magic system which is detailed as the following:
    # of successes = Potency + 1

    I tried out these new rules, and it seemed to make things work the way I interpret Mages as a whole. The group, all first-degree adepts, was wandering in a forest looking for a newly awakened mage when they stumbled across a werewolf. The werewolf was from the Pure Tribe Predator Kings and he instructed them that the girl would be their prey since she had wandered into their territory and the Mages should leave the area if they valued their lives. One of the group members decided no deal and decided to charge the guy and hit him with a well placed punch. He had already prepared his body for augmentation using Honing the Form so he had Strength and Stamina both at 5 meaning he felt he could take on anything.

    He rushes up and swings his staff striking the Pure right across the face, dealing 2L damage and instantly causing the werewolf to shift into Gauru form. After the surprise attack everyone rolled initiatives with the werewolves going first. The werewolves surrounded the players and rushed in attacking each of them dealing 3L to the remaining characters. The Gauru formed werewolf hit the cocky mage for 4L with a nice jagged cut across his face causing him to stagger back blinded from the blood in his face, but he also had a healing spell that would trigger should he take over 2L damage which instantly healed 1L and the tilt.

    The Moros decided to strike back and unleashed Decay as a Rote rolling 3 successes causing 4L damage to a nearby werewolf causing it to dive into the bushes in order to avoid more direct damage spells.The other mage decided to cast Aetheric Winds with a total of 5 successes which nearly fills the health boxes for that werewolf. The Thyrsus swings his staff and deals another 2L damage, so now the damage is wrapping around with the werewolf suffering 1 aggravated damage at this point. The last mage fires his sniper rifle that he had been aiming as a shadow for 4 rounds and with a willpower scores 3 successes causing the primary werewolf to suffer a total of 7 aggravated damage (+3A with Silver Bullets).

    The primary werewolf goes full Death Rage at this point having taken aggravated damage greater than its size and just lashes out at the Thyrsus, dealing another 3L damage almost enough to topple him over. The other werewolves go for another round of attack, but they hit the powerful gravitational field established by the Obrimos early on causing them to go flying into the air and landing in the bushes. Thus ending the turns of the werewolves, but the spirit allies strike out dealing 2L in damage to the mage with the sniper rifle. Another spirit causes the Obrimos to become grappled with a nearby tree roots.

    The mages go on their turn and they decide to hit the hulking werewolf with everything they got since he has become the biggest threat and could trigger the others. Another cast of decay with a point of mana for aggravated causing 1 Aggravated Damage. The Thyrsus Mage strikes him for another 2L damage with his staff. The Obrimos casts, while grappled, Celestial Fire which finishes off the Alpha of the pack.

    The werewolves seeing their Alpha dropping from battle against the Mages decide to beat a hasty retreat to re-evaluate what to do with the Mages, but not before one of them casts Knotted Path to cause the group to become lost for about 15 minutes before using Space to find their way out against a Clash of Wills that granted the mage being the winner.

    All in all, it was an interesting battle. The characters did not want to pursue the werewolves as they had barely with combined forces managed to defeat the alpha. The werewolves were ready to strike back with a surprise attack if they had not gotten out as quickly as they did.

    Had we used the RAW I would interpret the battle as performing the following:

    Thyrsus unleashes Force Assault against the first werewolf dealing 6L, which would have instantly triggered Gauru form in the werewolf. Surprise attack over and first round of combat happens.

    The werewolves actions remain unchanged from the first scenario with perhaps some spirits unleashing their effects earlier causing some damage to some of the group as the sniper was in shadow form so would have been unnoticed.

    The Moros uses Decay and deals 8L damage (easily done with over 15 die originally in their pool thanks to a willpower) against the second werewolf instantly taking it out of the fight with no chance to transform.The Obrimos turns his attention to the Alpha and unleashes Aetheric Winds causing easily 8B (another 15 die pool w/ willpower and high speech) causing that first werewolf to now suffer 6 Aggravated Damage from the roll over. The Thyrsus hits the werewolf with another 4A at the cost of some mana and reach killing the alpha. The Sniper switches his attention to the remaining werewolf and fires dealing 6 Aggravated damage with silver bullets causing it to death rage.Two werewolves are dead with the last remaining wolf going into death rage to rush the players in a futile attempt at killing them.

    Which scenario makes the most logical sense from your understanding of how Mages should be able to fight? Also, what would you have done to make this encounter even more interesting?

    Thanks in advance
    Last edited by Taldorblackfire; 02-28-2017, 11:01 AM.


    "Teamwork makes the dream work!"

  • #2
    I figure you might get as well have just kept playing 1e if you preferred its casting system.

    I'd have used the surprise round to use powers that would tie the Mages up with whatever Tilts or Conditions I could in order to keep them as hampered as possible before trying to just do damage to them. The wolves could have used better tactics, and prepared the forest ahead of time as it's their hunting ground.

    That Mages who are prepared and powerful can trounce some werewolves who just jump in swinging isn't that much of a surprise to me.
    Last edited by Mrmdubois; 02-28-2017, 11:41 AM.

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    • #3
      Hey Mrmdubois,

      I considered adding some more Tilts/Conditions, but I figured a bluff might be all that was necessary.

      As for prepared mages, these were not prepared mages aside from the one in Shadow form who did not have Mage armor. None of them used Mage armor during the fight or any attainments just basic attack spells.

      As for using 1E system, I like the reach effects and better adherence to practices in 2E. Stealing some power from Potency is far from just using the 1E system altogether.


      "Teamwork makes the dream work!"

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      • #4
        I'd disagree on their not being prepared, they put XP into arcana and rotes thinking they might need them for situations like this. Not all preparation is about using buffs.

        Anyway as the scenario played out either way, a bluff wasn't enough so the werewolves got their buts kicked. They'll probably think better of it next time.

        As for the Potency thing, it makes results of spells to wishy-washy for my tastes. I prefer the game's assumption that Mages can and should exert consummate control over their power, and part of that includes the conscious decision of how much harm they wish to do. They can't say, "Killing that guy was an accident." when they so precisely control the power they put into their spells.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
          I'd disagree on their not being prepared, they put XP into arcana and rotes thinking they might need them for situations like this. Not all preparation is about using buffs.

          Anyway as the scenario played out either way, a bluff wasn't enough so the werewolves got their buts kicked. They'll probably think better of it next time.

          As for the Potency thing, it makes results of spells to wishy-washy for my tastes. I prefer the game's assumption that Mages can and should exert consummate control over their power, and part of that includes the conscious decision of how much harm they wish to do. They can't say, "Killing that guy was an accident." when they so precisely control the power they put into their spells.

          It's interesting that it's really hard to kill or hurt someone by accident. Damage spells are pretty safe, because Paradox has actually no means of increasing damage you are doing - it can flip flop with Reach all day, but it can't directly reduce or increase Spell Factors. So unless your spell had innately more damaging Reach Option, you literally can't accidentally kill someone if you lose control of your power. Probably because you can't use Advanced Potency to make spells actually more damaging.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by WHW View Post
            So unless your spell had innately more damaging Reach Option, you literally can't accidentally kill someone if you lose control of your power.
            Then again, the possibility of gaining splash damage or multishot is not to be discounted for danger-potential.


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

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            • #7
              What makes it cool is the fact that if you are smart, you are Shielded from the way the spell does damage and embrace your Falling Wisdom considering any such change as a potential for improvement!
              Falling Wisdom is refreshing. I tend to gravitate towards Enlightenend-Understanding Wisdom on my characters, so playing a Fallen Mage is...something new and challenging.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                I'd disagree on their not being prepared, they put XP into arcana and rotes thinking they might need them for situations like this. Not all preparation is about using buffs.

                Anyway as the scenario played out either way, a bluff wasn't enough so the werewolves got their buts kicked. They'll probably think better of it next time.

                As for the Potency thing, it makes results of spells to wishy-washy for my tastes. I prefer the game's assumption that Mages can and should exert consummate control over their power, and part of that includes the conscious decision of how much harm they wish to do. They can't say, "Killing that guy was an accident." when they so precisely control the power they put into their spells.
                I guess we shall have to agree to disagree on the matter of preparedness since I don't really equate XP = Preparedness. To me having more XP just means you are more seasoned and thus able to take a beating or use more of the power you have unlocked through your experience.

                As for Potency, you can pull back power to deal less damage don't really see the problem with this and in fact, I think accidently killing someone fits with the horror of using magic and the consequences and with Satchel's mention paradox can really make it interesting.

                I feel the effect on Potency does make it wishy-washy which is why using magic should be for the prepared instead of the improvised, which as explained in my previous statement results in taking steps to ensure success versus XP expenditure.

                Outside of combat, when the players use magic their Potency is unaffected. It is only in combat that they see this because of the fight effecting their ability to fully manifest the imago as concrete as they would normally be able to when performing it safely. Rotes help with their shortcuts and honestly it would have been better if the players just straight up traded some die for potency to be extremely deadly.


                "Teamwork makes the dream work!"

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                • #9
                  It's cool that you are home brewing to your tastes, but I definitely prefer the new system with defined results. For one thing, I like that you have to decide what you want to achieve and that there is always the temptation to take just one more penalty...

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                  • #10
                    Hey Johnny Awesome,

                    It does seem to work well from my experience and has definitely taught the players that jumping into combat is probably a horrible idea so they have grown more cautious about these types of things. The temptation you state is also present in my house rules. In fact, the players with 15 Die could have increase the Potency by 5 or 6 and dealt 8L or 8A on their next spell, they just did not think to do so. It would have left them either with a 3 or 5 die pool which is typically enough for 1 success.


                    "Teamwork makes the dream work!"

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Johnny Awesome View Post
                      It's cool that you are home brewing to your tastes, but I definitely prefer the new system with defined results. For one thing, I like that you have to decide what you want to achieve and that there is always the temptation to take just one more penalty...
                      This is one of the things I really like about the 2e casting system as well. It really feels like Awakened Magic should, in my opinion. Just as the character must form the whole Imago before attempting to impose its truth on the world, the player must decide exactly what the spell is going to do before making the roll. Doing more damage with an attack spell isn't about getting lucky, it's about making the conscious choice that this is how much damage you can reliably cause, given your Gnosis and your knowledge of the relevant Arcanum.

                      That said, I don't want to come into thread just to pooh-pooh Taldor's house rule. More power to you if it works better for your group.


                      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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