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Making money with magic

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  • Making money with magic

    I've heard it said on these forums that any mage is just a Ruling spell away from never worrying about money again.
    I would like to take this further and explore the various means mages have of using magic to get rich. I would also like to highlight and explore the risks and problems involved in every method.

    I'll write down a few examples myself by Arcana, marred by my limited imagination and knowledge of the gameworld. Please contribute with examples as well. I would very much like to hear of more unique and unexpected ways to make money in this game.

    Use any magic to become an incredible artist / musician / actor / stage magician
    This method will draw attention to you very fast. You generally do not want attention as a mage. If you are going this route, hope that you can build up your fame to shield you from sympathetic magic. The only way I see this work is if you restrain your magic to not perform too well and stay below the radar, but this kind of defeats the purpose I'd say.

    Use any magic to augment / enhance / hone your mundane Skills and Attributes, helping you get successful at a day job, albeit not famous
    An indirect method of using magic to make money. I am not sure if many mages would object to this, at least not the Pentacle. The main problem has to do with laying low. The more successful you are at your job, the more you are likely to play an extremely important role in whatever career or domain you pursue, which will make it more difficult (though not at all impossible) to really stay anonymous.

    Use any magic to steal money
    Stealing money and valuable artifacts using magic is just a matter of imagination and can be done with any Arcana, but I would expect it is viewed as very petty. You may not need to care about Sleeper law enforcement, but repeatedly commiting crimes using magic is sure to draw the attention of much more capable entities.

    Use any magic to lie, cheat and finagle your way in life
    This is very similar to the above example, but is more about commiting many small acts of subterfuge and larceny to get specific things you need or want but not to amass lots of money. As long as you keep it discreet and small-scale and do not let other mages find out about your lifestyle I see few problems with it.

    Use Death magic to become a successful medium
    Mundane fakers make tons of money doing this, using unimpressive tricks. A mage who is actually doing it for real should be quite successful as well. Though, thinking about the way ghosts and anchors work in CofD, Death magic ironically seems to have little utility for a medium, as the typical medium works at a fixed location and the clients come to them. A real necromancer would need to go where the ghosts actually are and could do so for their clients. The necromancer could also use trickery just like a typical medium and augment it by using actual ghosts as part of the show. Both venues would probably be viewed as a serious breach of secrecy and put the necromancer on the watch list for Guardians of the Veil.

    Use Fate magic to guarantee a comfortable life without accidents or misshaps, removing the need for money in the first place
    I don't see many mages objecting to this as it seems discreet enough and I supposed it is something a typical Fate mage would do. It won't make you rich, but if you have modest ambitions it will serve you well enough.

    Use Fate or Time magic to pick the right lottery ticket
    There was an entire thread about this ( A summary of the arguments had it that lottery winners are watched closely by all kinds of interested parties, mundane and magical alike, making it a risky proposition.

    Use Fate or Time magic to pick the right stocks and do the right investments in the stock market
    I would think the Seers have the stock market firmly under watch and grasp. You would not be able to break into that business in my games without joining them.

    Use Life magic to perform medical miracles
    If you are doing it as a doctor you risk drawing unwanted attention to yourself. If the miracles are simply too miraculous, dissonance will set in. If you are doing it as a faith healer it might reasonably be easier to get away with it, at least if you are working for the Guardians of the Veil as a cultor. That very position might not net you that much money though.

    Use Life magic to eliminate the need for food, water and sleep
    A very indirect method. Not to get rich, but definitely to keep expenses down and productivity up. I see no direct problems with this other than risking detachment from what it means to be a human.

    Use Matter or magic to counterfeit money
    As with any criminal activity, this method is sure to draw attention to the uncareful mage who cannot keep it small-scale. As large amounts of fake money come into circulation in the economy, many interested parties would take notice. Reading the economy for strange disturbances would probably be a Seer specialty, I think.

    Use Matter magic to produce gold and other valuable materials
    Just like the above post, doing this in a large scale is sure to draw lots of unwanted attention as the global economy constantly keeps tabs on what goods are in circulation on the market. Doing this large scale would of course decrease the value of the goods, but I think the mage has been put out long before it came to that.

    Use Matter Magic to create facilities, equipment, vehicles and other goods so you won't have to buy them with magic
    As long as the mage can keep it discreet (producing legitimate paperwork for their housing and car for example, and not showing off terribly) I don't think there should be a lot of trouble with this venue.

    Use Prime magic to produce and sell mana to mages
    Mana does not seem all that scarce and expensive in 2E when any legacy makes a mage into a walking Hallow, but I still see a market for it even if it might be a bit crowded. The biggest problem however that I can see is that mana is the only real currency for mages to begin with, and that trading mana for money is ultimately short-cutting yourself when you could do better things for you by using it.

  • #2
    Going to talk only about direct methods to get money through magic, because just being better at your job is...

    Forces: Matter allows you to control mechanical devices at 1 dots, so it's safe to assume that Forces do the same for electronics at 1-2 dots. So go ask an ATM for some cash.
    Prime: No direct methods
    Fate: has a spell that gives you [Potency] Resources
    Time: Doesn't give money directly, but allows you to stretch resources indefinitely at 3 dots. Eat a sandwich, shifting sands, eat it again. Refill at a hallow, shifting sands, refill again.
    Spirit: Summon a spirit, has it influence/possess people to give you money.
    Life: Augment your body, steal/earn money.
    Matter: Use Shaping and Machine Invisibility to rob banks and ATMs.
    Death: use ghosts to possess people. Blackmail people by holding the soul of their grandpa (or theirs) hostage
    Mind: come on
    Space: Scrying and Break Boundary make you sleuth and criminal extraordinaire.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
      Refill at a hallow, shifting sands, refill again.
      Would you actually allow that?


      • #4
        Originally posted by Michael View Post

        Would you actually allow that?
        It's either that, or refund people the mana that was spent in the shifted period.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
          It's either that, or refund people the mana that was spent in the shifted period.
          In the shifted period, you either performed an oblation for an hour or cast Channel Mana, and neither option actually allows a full refill without the kinds of contexts in which you'd have the time to top off anyway.

          Resident Lore-Hound
          Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e


          • #6
            Originally posted by Satchel View Post
            In the shifted period, you either performed an oblation for an hour or cast Channel Mana, and neither option actually allows a full refill without the kinds of contexts in which you'd have the time to top off anyway.
            Um. What?

            Variant 1. Mana travels with you.
            If this is the case, then you can perform an oblation/drain artefact/drain a familiar, shift back in time, do it again, shift back and have all the mana before you ever did anything.

            Variant 2. Mana doesn't travel back in time. This is explicitly contrary to how Shifting Sands work. But if it wasn't then spending mana and then using Shifting Sands should give mana back. Useful for pumping mana into information gathering spells.

            Variant 3. Mana is a cosmic constant and when you Shifting Sands the drained hallow remains drained. In this scenario mages should spontaneously lose mana all the time because some Acanthus somewhere Shifting Sandsed after they drained a hallow/cast a spell.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kammerer View Post

              Um. What?
              Variant This Has Nothing To Do With Your Mana Total. If you can spare multiple iterations of an hour to do an Oblation at a Hallow the multiple times it would take to gather the free Mana the Hallow generates, you can spare an hour engaged in low-level Praxes to gradually refill your Mana total. If you can personally cast both Shifting Sands and Channel Mana, you have at least three dots in two Arcana and very probably also have rotes of one or both of the effects and thus are running a rather more specific or experienced build and therefore have bigger fish to fry than topping off your safety margin.

              The stress point of Mage's fuel economy is not "I have a spare hour and access to time travel and a Hallow."

              This is explicitly contrary to how Shifting Sands work.
              It isn't, actually — "spent Mana is not recovered" does not imply "gained Mana is not lost." The nearest point of ambiguity is whether Channel Mana counts as a spell cast on something other than yourself.

              Resident Lore-Hound
              Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e


              • #8
                I would argue Death wouldn't make you a more successful medium. People don't want the truth, they want pretty soothing lies.

                I'm So Meta Even This Acronym


                • #9
                  Not to mention ghosts are twisted versions of the people they once were, Virtue/Vice flip and all that.

                  Shifting the Odds straight up gives you Resources so that would be a fairly easy way to hit Resources 5 whenever you want. Sure it only lasts as long as the spell, but you can just do it over and over again.


                  • #10
                    Rather than make money using ghosts as a medium, you could go the Necroscope way. Many of the worlds dead are authors, artists, academics and so forth. One could use them to continue their work and profit off of it. Since you can make a ghost of a living person you wouldn't even necessarily need to find a dead one.

                    Others might have knowledge of hidden treasures. Find the lost Axis gold or mineral veins or petroleum deposits.


                    • #11
                      Praxis and ES makes refilling mana trivial, whats the need for shifting sands and oblations?

                      So Colocation and sympathy to any location with valuables means you can steal them at your leisure. You can pinch it, pawn it, pinch it from pawn shop, replace it. Only having to deal with a pawn shop thats in another state/country cos ya know Space.

                      Matter 3's crucible can make things more valuable easily, get shit, make it worth more, sell it, profit.

                      Forces 3 and platonic form can make stuff that looks non magical, which you can sell, profit.

                      Most of the stuff mages will have to worry about is what happens when the spells runs out. But give your spells a reasonable duration and its not your problem if stuff vanishes weeks later is it.


                      • #12
                        A couple off the top of my head.

                        Life: A knowing magic to find valuable forage items like truffles or furbearers
                        Matter: Run an exceptionally profitable scrapyard/foundry
                        Prime: Knowing if someone is lying to you would be spectacularly useful when flipping cars, houses, thrift shop finds, etc.


                        • #13
                          Time 4 can sorta give money directly if you Rewrite History to rearrange your merits to resources 5 and buy stuff during its duration. Not quite sure the specifics of what happens when the spell ends? The money came from a alternate timeline so doesnt vanish?


                          • #14
                            Life: Use it to generate valuable tissues and possibly organs. Blood isn't the only thing you can donate that can make you a decent chunk of change.
                            Spirit: There are an insane amount of Influences that could make you money. However Spirit 1 -Coaxing the Spirit and ask an ATM if it wouldn't be a dear and spit out some cash. Same goes with cars if you don't mind being a car thief. Even riskier would be to use it on a service (Like say some Dating App) to give you personal information about someone which you can use to blackmail someone or just get useful info.
                            Prime: There's plenty of options here as well. Create an object out of Tass for selling, doubly useful if it's something easy to lose like jewelry.
                            Matter: The easiest way would be to go to a junkyard or other place that sells or has broken/damaged good and just magic them new. The spell is Lasting so you don't have too much to worry about and if anyone asks you have a garage or whatever.
                            Mind: Blackmail/Command someone to give you money. Pretty blatant but not terrible. Mind 2 - Telepathy, go to a casino and read the dealer's mind. Easiest with games like Blackjack.
                            Fate: Way too easy.
                            Time: Shifting Sands back every hour at a casino until you hit it big. Time 1 - Perfect Timing would let you win any games of chance where timing matters. Time 1 - Divination works on things like 'Will this X win?'
                            Forces: Insurance fraud could be a thing here for various valuables. There's always the ATM trick to hack it for money. Straight up manipulate something like a roulette wheel or pickpocket people from a distance.


                            • #15
                              Id say Matter 1's remote control with the reach for complex objects covers ATM's. Forces isnt really the goto for controlling electrical devices anymore is it? Sure you can control the power inside it, heat n whatnot but hows that going to get a atm to spit cash out just from controling a force?