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What am I missing about the Sanctum Merit?

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  • #16
    A demesne is a buffed Sanctum, obviously just a Sanctum is less impressive. That’s the point.

    Also, it should be noted that there are other things that Sanctums have going on besides just spell control. They serve as an environmental Yantra and a convenient storehouse for all your other Yantras, or other weird magical artifacts. Typically, they’re convenient to or on top of mystically potent sites such as Hallows or Irises. They’re also the site most heavily associated with your Shadow Name which means that’s where your Long Term Nimbus grounds a lot of your mystical weirdness when you haven’t been bad at keeping Mage and Mortal life separate.
    Last edited by Mrmdubois; 02-09-2018, 07:16 AM.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
      If you want spells invested in your Sanctum, then why aren’t you using the benefits of Safe Place to represent that?
      A few reasons:
      1. Primarily because the safe place merit isn't capable of doing justice to the sheer variety and power of placing defensive spells into your sanctum...at all.
      2. Because casting spells on your sanctum to defend it, while filling some, could still leave gaps in your defenses from lack of access to certain arcana.
      3. With the house rule of the spell has to target the sanctum itself or stay within the sanctum to not count against the mage's spell control up to the limit of the sanctums dots, the "investment" that a mage makes when he doesn't relinquish the spell is in having to recast the spell, or upkeep the sanctum. This ties the mage to the sanctum such that he can't go on long trips (depending on the the duration of the spell).

      All of these inevitably result in more potential role play action than the other way. It also doesn't preclude the sanctum from being used in the same way as it would without the house rule, even if it might slightly obscure those benefits.

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      • #18
        I disagree, the only thing you can’t actually represent via Safe Place as defensive spells on the Sanctum are spells that result in immediate death like an Unmaking spell. Other than that the sky is very much the limit.

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        • #19
          Maybe we need to play up the “the local Consilium loan Sanctums out to loyal cabals” angle more. Experience-free Sanctums that come with story hooks such as duties to the higher-ups who gave it to you, politicking to get better Sanctums (maybe crossing with a Demesne) or protect your claim to your current one, potential toys and Mysteries left by previous owners, defensive spells cast by mages more powerful than you are, and of course, a working Safe Place. All for the cost of the Sanctum not being protected by Sanctity of Merits, which may not even be that high a cost depending on the table.

          Then again, I’m biased against “property” type Merits in general, favoring narrative in-character ownership over mechanical player ownership. Especially after getting more than a few headaches from trying to digest how the rules for various magical items in Mage 2E work.


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          • #20
            Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
            I disagree, the only thing you can’t actually represent via Safe Place as defensive spells on the Sanctum are spells that result in immediate death like an Unmaking spell. Other than that the sky is very much the limit.
            Safe place is limited in dots far more than the modified sanctum would be simply by the sheer numbers. Safe place is the kind of merit that would be dot for spell; willpower dots cost one xp, merit dots cost 1 xp and hand waving away that correlation is something that I'm strongly against. The modified sanctum merit, however, would allow for more spells as the sanctum merit would provide space equal to dots multiplied by the number of mages using the sanctum.

            Most importantly, safe place is a mundane merit. I would never allow safe place to represent any kind of supernatural benefits so that the narrative differences could be forced. Mages have to recognize the potential importance of making their living spaces safe via mundane means, or potentially suffer the consequences. The players' characters don't necessarily need to have their sanctum(s) or house(s) invaded, but sometime within a chronicle it should be known to the characters that someone's sanctum/house was invaded despite having magical defenses.

            Edit: Of course, if you wish to represent the greater danger of that world compared to ours it would be better to not change the sanctum merit so that players are forced to relinquish spells or have their slots filled.
            Last edited by Falcon777; 02-09-2018, 11:41 AM.

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            • #21
              I often buy merits for their narrative effects as much as their mechanical effects, and I note that a dot of Sanctum is enough to justify a wicked cool extradimensional hideaway.


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              • #22
                Falcon777 After you add Sanctum to Safeplace it’s no longer just a mundane merit (You can mix and match levels of mundane and arcane protection at that point imo), and with players being able to pool dots of either you can still get multiple contributors to those defenses.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by lnodiv View Post
                  To clarify my earlier stance, I think a large portion of the problem is the overlap between the benefits of a Demesne and a Sanctum, combined with the fact that the two are not mechanically interdependent.
                  Demesnes are empowered Sancta. Even ignoring the explicit "Demesnes work like Supernal Verges but confined to a mage's sanctum and lacking spontaneous Supernal manifestations," they're ritual spaces empowered by vulnerable limited resources — they are the kind of thing that you specifically do not want to maintain outside of the type of location represented by the sort of Safe Place that you could already comfortably practice magic in.

                  That's not a tax in any more meaningful sense than "there is a middle ground between 'only worry about Paradox if you push your limits' and 'only worry about Paradox if you bring Sleepers into a place where you do things Sleepers should not see' and that middle ground is 'one of your limits stretches further.'" A Demesne being equivalent in Experience cost to at least five Merit dots in practice tracks logically for "a place where some of your spells can be pushed to the extreme and you can access the Astral for free, empowered by a chunk of Awakened soul."

                  This is, at its most personal, a place where your character's magical identity lives. If you don't intend to be doing magic in the place specifically and treating your spellcasting elsewhere more cautiously (or at least differently), you're under no obligation to buy the Merit, but the point of a Sanctum is to be a Sanctum. The meaning of that word is not "arming station" or "supernatural battery stockpile." You don't need a Hovel to play a classic drifter Frankenstein, you don't need a Haven to play a nomadic Gangrel, and you don't need a Sanctum to play a mage who does all their learning in the field or on reciprocal hospitality.


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

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                    Falcon777 After you add Sanctum to Safeplace it’s no longer just a mundane merit (You can mix and match levels of mundane and arcane protection at that point imo), and with players being able to pool dots of either you can still get multiple contributors to those defenses.
                    Safe place is still limited to five dots, which means five spells at most. That's simply not good enough for plenty of people. Also, adding safe place to a sanctum technically doesn't actually mix the merits, it just means they are being applied to the same thing which in no way confers supernatural status to the former merit. Thus, I don't allow safe place to be used to confer spells as defenses to your location.

                    Granted, you CAN still relinquish spells, but the benefits of having higher spell control in a stationary location are extremely limited in a game where you don't spend much of your time in that stationary location (and don't tell me that mage was intended to be played mostly in the sanctum. Mages are addicted to mysteries for a reason). Is the merit the beginning of potential interesting role play? Yes. Can you add a demesne to it? Yes, though I never would. Is it necessary to have before creating a demesne? Probably, I can't remember off the top of my head. But in and off itself the merit has extremely limited mechanical benefit. Changing it so that a spell you cast within the sanctum that stays within the sanctum doesn't count against your spell control up to the limits of the merit's dots still allows you to safely practice your magic in a secret location (it even does a better job at encouraging you to practice your magic in your sanctum than the official version). Doing so also allows you the benefits of potentially defending your sanctum with spells that you would otherwise have had to relinquish. It's also far less of a direct alteration than allowing you to safely relinquish spells within your sanctum for a willpower point, which to me is a reasonable alteration to the merit.

                    The main issue here is that this is a game. If mage were real then yeah, I could see sanctums working the way they are written (though they'd still suck and enterprising mages would still look for ways to alter the ways sanctums worked). The problem is that as written they're boring and restricting. Loosening a bit of that restriction helps with both problems. A player is under no obligation to cast defensive spells on their sanctum. They could instead cast spells that they want to be on going so as to do experiments. This style of play is also practically prohibited with the current sanctum rules.

                    Satchel The way the sanctum and demesne rules are currently, sanctums are MORE like "arming stations" and "supernatural battery stockpiles" when you toss a demesne on a sanctum than with the change being proposed. By changing the rules, you're LESS likely to add the demesne for the infinite reach rules (supernatural battery stockpile) or buff up at your sanctum (arming station). Instead you cast some spells that you leave at your sanctum and then go on your way.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Falcon777 View Post
                      Satchel The way the sanctum and demesne rules are currently, sanctums are MORE like "arming stations" and "supernatural battery stockpiles" when you toss a demesne on a sanctum than with the change being proposed.
                      As written they are places to practice your magic and be especially dangerous to face within. They don't exist as a place where you can pin spare control slots or draw up extra spells that don't count toward your limit and that's part of the whole reason that the archetype of the reclusive Master still works and why Shadow Name's extra Withstand works the way that it does instead of being always on. An arming station doesn't make weapons you take from it not encumber you and a battery stockpile doesn't translate to infinite energy.

                      Instead you cast some spells that you leave at your sanctum and then go on your way.
                      That is literally already the purpose of a Sanctum — you just don't get more ability to cast outside of the Sanctum by having it. That some people want it to also allow them to still cast on the fly as though their character fully extended into every ritual space they maintained does not make that a sensible outcome for a Merit that anyone in a Sect can borrow for an entire story on the time budget of a single chapter.


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

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                      • #26
                        Falcon777 There isn’t anything in the text of Safe Place that says each dot represents only one form of protection, instead it’s an abstract of the level of complexity of your protection. At one dot you might have a proximity sensing spell of some sort, maybe a Ward, maybe both. At five dots you’d have a fairly complex level of layered spell protections in terms of surveillance and traps, maybe some bribed spirits patrolling the halls, for an enemy to work their way through.

                        Also, I don’t see how you can reason that Sanctum isn’t a modification of Safe Place to make it magical, if that were the case one wouldn’t be the prerequisite of the other.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Falcon777 View Post
                          Granted, you CAN still relinquish spells, but the benefits of having higher spell control in a stationary location are extremely limited in a game where you don't spend much of your time in that stationary location (and don't tell me that mage was intended to be played mostly in the sanctum. Mages are addicted to mysteries for a reason).
                          I'm going to put forward a crazy idea here: maybe the purpose of the Merit is "you go to your Sanctum to cast more spells than you could otherwise safely maintain outside of it" and not "you cast more spells than you could safely maintain outside in your Sanctum and then leave to cast more spells."

                          It's a Merit for a secure place of power that you have an affinity for, whose benefits are limited in roughly the same way as Verges are. The trajectory is not "I am using this constantly," it's "when things are kicking into overdrive, I need to get back to the lab to analyze/fortify/consolidate my resources."

                          An addict maintains their drug den as a place to retreat to do drugs, not a place where they go before they pick up the drugs.


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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                            Falcon777 There isn’t anything in the text of Safe Place that says each dot represents only one form of protection, instead it’s an abstract of the level of complexity of your protection. At one dot you might have a proximity sensing spell of some sort, maybe a Ward, maybe both. At five dots you’d have a fairly complex level of layered spell protections in terms of surveillance and traps, maybe some bribed spirits patrolling the halls, for an enemy to work their way through.

                            Also, I don’t see how you can reason that Sanctum isn’t a modification of Safe Place to make it magical, if that were the case one wouldn’t be the prerequisite of the other.
                            That last bit is a logical fallacy. Just because you need a place to be safe in order to practice your magic in secret does not mean that you are modifying the safety measures themselves to become magical.

                            The reason that there MUST be a one to one ratio for safe place dots and spells being a part of the merit is that you have no incentive to safely release your spells as defensive measures if you can just buy a mundane merit to cover the difference. Just because the merit doesn't give a hard and fast description of what mundane protections it is providing per dot doesn't mean you should ignore the mechanical correlation, nor that you ought to allow any number of spells per dot (granted, I wouldn't expect you personally to allow a ridiculous number of spells within your safe place merit, but the principle still stands).

                            Satchel "That is literally already the purpose of a Sanctum — you just don't get more ability to cast outside of the Sanctum by having it. That some people want it to also allow them to still cast on the fly as though their character fully extended into every ritual space they maintained does not make that a sensible outcome for a Merit that anyone in a Sect can borrow for an entire story on the time budget of a single chapter."

                            Are you kidding me? It makes far LESS sense for the sanctum to not hold your spells for you. You have to attune yourself to it and suddenly the sanctum is literally doing NOTHING for you when you leave it? THAT is what isn't a sensible outcome. The fact that you can borrow one using social influence has no bearing on its nature.

                            Edit: Also the whole drug analogy doesn't work very well since it is mysteries that mages are addicted to, not magic. Anything a mage is capable of doing isn't something that is mysterious to them.

                            You're missing the point. I'm not saying that the sanctum rules are written as they are to be what I and these other people are proposing it to be. I'm saying the current design of the sanctum merit is a lesser and poorer design than what we are proposing. Thus, the home brew rules.

                            Last edited by Falcon777; 02-09-2018, 05:26 PM.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Falcon777 View Post
                              Are you kidding me? It makes far LESS sense for the sanctum to not hold your spells for you. You have to attune yourself to it and suddenly the sanctum is literally doing NOTHING for you when you leave it? THAT is what isn't a sensible outcome. The fact that you can borrow one using social influence has no bearing on its nature.
                              It has plenty of bearing on its nature, as a matter of fact. Look: the only thing that explicitly does what you want Sancta to do? Sleepwalkers that you have a more-than-casual sympathetic connection to. Does that sound like something that you should be able to replicate by borrowing a quiet cavern from the local enchanter's co-op?

                              It's an add-on to Safe Place that gives an area you're already more comfortable in a magical bonus within that area. There are other Merits like that in other gamelines which similarly do not extend their benefits beyond their bounds because that's not how places work. It's a place to do bigger work, not an extra organ.

                              Edit: Also the whole drug analogy doesn't work very well since it is mysteries that mages are addicted to, not magic. Anything a mage is capable of doing isn't something that is mysterious to them.

                              You're missing the point.
                              Mysterious and volatile phenomena are generally better-handled and better-considered in a controlled environment, which is why a space in which you can bring more of your magical power to bear in a controlled fashion is usually used to more fully examine those things instead of loading up on Veiling spells and blitzing your chakras in the back alley behind the penanggalan shack.

                              I'm not saying that the sanctum rules are written as they are to be what I and these other people are proposing it to be. I'm saying the current design of the sanctum merit is a lesser and poorer design than what we are proposing. Thus, the home brew rules.
                              No.
                              Last edited by Satchel; 02-09-2018, 05:32 PM.


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

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                                It has plenty of bearing on its nature, as a matter of fact. Look: the only thing that explicitly does what you want Sancta to do? Sleepwalkers that you have a more-than-casual sympathetic connection to. Does that sound like something that you should be able to replicate by borrowing a quiet cavern from the local enchanter's co-op?

                                It's an add-on to Safe Place that gives an area you're already more comfortable in a magical bonus within that area. There are other Merits like that in other gamelines which similarly do not extend their benefits beyond their bounds because that's not how places work. It's a place to do bigger work, not an extra organ.

                                Mysterious and volatile phenomena are generally better-handled and better-considered in a controlled environment, which is why a space in which you can bring more of your magical power to bear in a controlled fashion is usually used to more fully examine those things instead of loading up on Veiling spells and blitzing your chakras in the back alley behind the penanggalan shack.

                                No.
                                Given the fact that the nature of what a mage would want to do with it runs directly counter to borrowing it, yeah, the fact that you could potentially borrow a sanctum doesn't have any bearing on its nature. You have to attune yourself to it. If you need to have your experimental spells up and running for a long duration then you're not talking about borrowing it, you're talking about co-opting it. As to defensive spells, that's the kind of thing you put into place around a more permanent holding, not something borrowed. Also, the whole sleepwalker thing is less limited than the home brew proposal since the spells being held are not anchored to a location. Is it more fragile in its own way? Do you have to become close to the person in question? Sure. However, that's just the pros and cons of using a sleepwalker instead of a sanctum.

                                The proposed house rule is less boring, less restrictive, is intuitive and does a better job at incentivising mages to practice their magic in their sanctum. That, by definition, is better design, your opinion not withstanding.

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