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New player, eradicate energy, and character optimization

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  • New player, eradicate energy, and character optimization

    I got Chronicles of Darkness and Mage: the Awakening pdfs and the core rulebooks are along the way.

    I read online that eradicate energy instantly kills a creature.

    Pariah turns the whole world against a subject so I assume if it doesn't count as a creature it's a valid target.

    Is this true and if so overpowered?

    Besides taking force and fate arcana, I'm having trouble deciding what to pick so what's optimal?

    Is 3 gnosis generally better than merits?

    Other mage character creation tips are appreciated.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Originally posted by BillyN831 View Post
    I read online that eradicate energy instantly kills a creature.
    It's an Unmaking spell. There's a lot of those effects in that Practice.

    Pariah turns the whole world against a subject so I assume if it doesn't count as a creature it's a valid target.
    I have no idea what you're getting at here.

    Is 3 gnosis generally better than merits?
    Only if you really want to start with an extra Obsession and a shorter ritual interval or intend to race to Mastery; ten Merit dots are generally better spent on stuff like Shadow Name, Professional Training, and Consilium/Order Status, not least because if the only thing you have going for you is raw magical might, you've got relatively little recourse for dealing with sideswipes from characters who have the same level of Gnosis plus a pile of favors and swag. A measured buildup will generally serve you better.


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

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    • #3
      I mean, you're looking at five-dot spells here. You are not typically going to ramp up quickly from character generation to becoming a Master, and an Unmaking spell is probably going to be able to wreak some havoc no matter what Arcanum it's for. The deadliness of a mage is going to derive from her creativity far more than system mastery in picking Arcana to specialize in.

      You can probably get far more enjoyable bang for your buck with ten Merit dots than with two flat dots of starting Gnosis. Gnosis is useful, but it is a bland kind of useful when compared with all the different character options ten Merit dots could access.

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      • #4
        It's hardly overpowered, those are capstone abilities and only accessible at the peak of your mystical advancement.
        To get to the, you need to reach Mastery, which requires Gnosis 5, and the Arcanum at 5. Even burning all of your starting merits for Gnosis and putting an Arcanum to max you'll still need to accumulate 18 experiences before you can access even one those spells. 35 experiences if you want both Forces and Fate at Mastery.

        Furthermore, those abilities are hardly overpowered in the face of being stuff like being able to force someone to do anything (such as commit suicide) with Mind 2.
        I should also hasten to add that all of those abilities are pretty heft Acts of Hubris.

        Try and think about what's cool rather than what's optimal. Look at the Magical abilities and think about what you want to do with your character.
        Same thing with Gnosis/Merits. Sure Gnosis 2-3 is helpful, but Merits can be pretty goddamn awesome.

        Basically my advice is to create a concept for a character before you try and select their powers.
        Mages are potent enough already that you don't really need to optimise that much.
        Just have at least one Arcanum at 2, and try not to brush up against Withstand, and you're golden.

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        • #5
          I couldn't agree more with the opinions to get 10 dots of Merits over starting with 3 Gnosis.

          In the hands of a creative Storyteller every Merit, Rote, Yantra, Obsession, Aspiration, and even Skill Speciality is a potential plot hook for that character. Each one will add to the world as well as to the character. If you keep that in mind and have an open dialogue with the ST, then you'll be building to the story right alongside the Story Teller. And that is a beautiful thing about CofD.
          Last edited by Dusksage; 03-12-2017, 11:42 PM. Reason: Spellcheck

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          • #6
            Gnosis 3 offers reasonable Ritual Interval Time, dropping from 3 hours to 1 hour. This allows for stuff like adding extra intervals in exchange for extra dice; for a Gnosis 1 Mage, these things are very clunky to use. Doing three hour ritual as a Gnosis 3 Mage will give you +2 dice for extra intervals and +2 dice for Gnosis difference between you and Gnosis 1 Mage. Add the fact that you also get a third yantra slot, which might get used to add another +1-+3 to the roll; this will make you better at magic in general than Gnosis 1 Characters, and it also gives you ability to 60 percent bigger dicepool using Ritual rules [Gnosis 1: Arcanum 3 + Gnosis 1 + Yantra UpTo5 +1 extra Interval; 6 hours total. Gnosis 3: Arcanum 3 + Gnosis 3 + YantraUpTo5 + 5 Extra Intervals; 6 hours total]. If you know how to use Ritual Casting and plan on using it a lot, Gnosis 3 can be good.

            Gnosis 3 also offers three Spell Control slots instead of just one. That's three times more out of the gate. However, Gnosis 3 also unlocks ability to cast Combined Spells, which is basically ability to remove two dice from your spellcasting roll in exchange for casting two spells at once. This is incredibly potent - in action scenarios, it offers incredible action economy. Outside action scenarios, it gives you ability to cast two spells for a price of one spell control slot. This means that your effective spell control is not three, it's six. Six times more than that of Gnosis 1 character.
            This, combined with the ability to do really powerful rituals, really allows you to experiment with long term self targeted spells. Basically, buffing yourself. It's a great tool of customization for your character, and it's also very flexible, as you are not locked forever in your choices and don't have to actually pay XP for them. Spells often have benefits on par or stronger than merits, so assuming you leave yourself one spell slot for instant castings, you can bestow upon yourself equivalent of four different, multi-dot Merits. With Mind Magic you could, for example, boost one of your mental or social attributes far beyond 5, do the same for a skill you rely on a lot, bestow a Shield upon yourself that protects you from mind-related attacks and concepts, and gain ability to understand all languages.
            Life Magic could give you big package of physical bonuses including faster regeneration/better initiative, incredibly high Physical Attribute, heighten your senses and boost your Perception acumen, and ability to speak with animals. You could write up a lot of these for each Arcanum.

            Gnosis 3 also gives you two extra praxes, which can be quite nice.


            With above in mind, compare what you could get for your Merit dots, and if you don't think that you like your options, go for Gnosis 3. Merits can be really powerful - especially Order Status, Mystery Cult Influence and Shadow Name [first two basically because they are merits that produce more merits]. Trading Merits for Gnosis 3 isn't a trap and it is a very powerful options, but in order for it to "pay for itself", you need to play to it's strengths and Ritual a lot while creatively using your Combined Spell Control slots. Gnosis 1 and ten merits isn't a trap either, because wisely spend Merits can indeed enhance your gameplay experience by quite a lot.
            Only real trap is, honestly, paying 5 Merit dots for Gnosis 2. Gnosis 3 is amazing because it's overloaded with bonuses and new options; Gnosis 2 only gives you +1 dice on spellcasting and one extra spell control slot. Merits will pretty much always be better than that.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by BillyN831 View Post
              Pariah turns the whole world against a subject so I assume if it doesn't count as a creature it's a valid target.
              "Pariah" was written to target human beings. However, it makes sense for it to affect other subjects. For instance, an automobile under its effects will get vandalized and all attempts to repair it will fail.


              Find my Homebrew Fangs of Mara 2ed update Here

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              • #8
                Originally posted by HerbertIsBestBert View Post
                Try and think about what's cool rather than what's optimal.
                Good advice applicable to most ChroD games in general.

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                • #9
                  Resources 4 or 5 is also an interesting option. Play as a millionaire. Money is the best superpower.

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