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What am I missing about the Sanctum Merit?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Falcon777 View Post
    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.
    This is your own invention.

    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.
    A temporary requisition runs for the length of a story by default.

    As to defensive spells, that's the kind of thing you put into place around a more permanent holding, not something borrowed.
    Sancta aren't running their defensive spells on temporary spell control.

    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.
    It has no Merit investment and uses a resource that can't be engineered with a singular spell. Safe Places can be as simple as a locked apartment.

    The proposed house rule is […] less restrictive, is intuitive
    "The place where you can do more with your magic is a specific place where you can do more with your magic" isn't really restrictive or unintuitive unless you're coming into it with the assumption that something normally wholly internal to the mage transfers to an external locus with minimal investment.

    and does a better job at incentivising mages to practice their magic in their sanctum.
    Sympathetic magic. It's a whole spell-intensive thing that has a whole classic visual tied to it in the genre and the fiction. If you can't use your sanctum as a place to reach out to your peers because of the houserule it's stumbled in its purpose of making a Sanctum do what a Sanctum exists to do.

    That, by definition, is better design, your opinion not withstanding.
    You open your list of proxy-complaints with "boring" and then have the gall to try and make this a subjective/objective dichotomy when I point out that your own opinion is not the metric of quality. No.
    Last edited by Satchel; 02-09-2018, 06:04 PM.


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

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    • #32
      I agree with those that say Sanctum is crap as written. I use the house rule that allows you to maintain a buff on your Sanctum for each dot in Sanctum.

      In my 1st game, one character is using Supernal Veil to mask the Hallow, another is using Ephemeral Shield to keep out spirits and the last is maintaining a Ward on the Sanctum.

      In my 2nd game, one character has cast One-Mind-Two-Thoughts and the other character - Body Control.
      Last edited by Johnny Awesome; 02-09-2018, 06:08 PM.

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      • #33
        Falcon777 No, you’re assuming I’m making a logical fallacy. What I said is it means that you -could- modify your defenses to be magical. The defenses need only provide the same level of protection as the Safe Place merit allows for, a bonus to Initiative, security, surveillance and traps capable of doing damage, on the abstract the cost and source of these protections are completely irrelevant and covered by the cost of the merit itself. The only limit I’d put in is that the more complex/complete you want your magical defenses to be would require matching levels of Sanctum and Safe Place. So for instance you couldn’t have level 5 protection with only Sanctum 1 and Safe Place 5, instead that would be one level of complexity via magic and the rest made up for via mundane sources.

        The reason I don’t much care how many spells are layered into your defenses at home is that there are still reasons for players to want to cast and relinquish spells and just protecting their home isn’t an interesting enough objective story wise to be used as an impediment unless they’re doing something truly extravagant.

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        • #34
          So once again, the “I want this stuff to be shinier in mechanics” versus “That stuff being shiny in that way is unthematic in the narrative” debate is raging.

          Unfortunately for proponents of the former, the design philosophy of CoD games seems to favor the latter. So of course the game by itself looks suboptimal in min-maxing powers. Most of that is left to the players’ own creativity.

          In that vein, did anybody try their hand in homebrewing Merits and such that build off existing Sanctum mechanics? So that the original narrative purposes of Sancta are kept and the game’s setting assumptions left relatively untouched? Maybe a Style Merit that increasingly grants the suggestions that people have been making to better the Sanctum Merit in this topic?


          MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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          • #35
            I really like the homebrew/interpretation of Safe Place that allows dots of Safe Place to hold defensive spells. Regarding whether Sanctum is a good or bad merit, all I can say is that my players went nuts with their Sanctum and Demesne. One thing that I changed though was I allowed them to pack up all stuff that made up a ritual space and demesne and install it in a new location, no fuss no muss.


            Mage: the Awakening 2E - Hogwarts: the Wizarding World Chronicle
            Mummy: the Curse - Lightweight 2E Conversion; Disciples of Duat

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Satchel View Post

              This is your own invention.

              A temporary requisition runs for the length of a story by default.

              Sancta aren't running their defensive spells on temporary spell control.

              It has no Merit investment and uses a resource that can't be engineered with a singular spell. Safe Places can be as simple as a locked apartment.

              "The place where you can do more with your magic is a specific place where you can do more with your magic" isn't really restrictive or unintuitive unless you're coming into it with the assumption that something normally wholly internal to the mage transfers to an external locus with minimal investment.

              Sympathetic magic. It's a whole spell-intensive thing that has a whole classic visual tied to it in the genre and the fiction. If you can't use your sanctum as a place to reach out to your peers because of the houserule it's stumbled in its purpose of making a Sanctum do what a Sanctum exists to do.

              You open your list of proxy-complaints with "boring" and then have the gall to try and make this a subjective/objective dichotomy when I point out that your own opinion is not the metric of quality. No.
              Can you give me a page number on that requisition thing? It's not mentioned within, you know, the actual merit (status).

              I know that sancta don't run their defensive spells on temporary spell control. The proposed house rule would allow that, thus increasing the design from x to x and y.

              So acquiring such a sleepwalker has to be earned through in game play and given to you via a ST. Hmmm....I wonder how that might potentially be represented via a mechanic...OH THAT'S RIGHT! XP! Something I was getting anyways for playing the game and is built right into how the game works, just minus actually making it a merit.

              It's unintuitive because the character already HAS a larger spell control while inside. It's unintuitive for the character to then be penalized when leaving despite the magic itself staying inside the sanctum.

              Sympathetic magic isn't benefited by the proposed alteration. The spell must be cast within and stay entirely within the sanctum for it to not count against your spell control limit (up to the limit of a spell per dot of the merit). It also isn't hindered by the change. You are still capable of casting a spell sympathetically while within your sanctum, and so long as you don't leave your sanctum you will not be penalized for having that extra spell (though if you go above your new limit based upon your sanctum dots you will, as normal). As said before, this isn't y instead of x, this is y plus x.

              I'll set a subjective complaint (boring) next to an objective one (restrictive and unintuitive) whenever I please. The fact that this merit is designed to be unintuitive and restrictive doesn't have any bearing on the objective fact that it is. The proposed house rule (which, mind you, at no point have I suggested that the developers ought to or have to change the game) gives more flexibility to players that want it and doesn't take away from the game design of the sanctum being a place where the mage practices with his magic. It in fact does a better job at that very design since you are far MORE likely to go practice your spell casting in a place where you can leave a few spells active without hurting for it; another objective fact. A sanctum being well defended is also thematically appropriate. A magical lab having active experiments while the person doing the experiments being temporarily absent is ALSO thematically appropriate. The whole hubris thing of "I can do these two things at the same time with no issue" and then being punished with the experiment going wrong is at least as (if not far more) thematically appropriate as whatever new spell the mage trying to cast going awry.

              There are several themes that are being engaged with the sanctum merit:
              1. A place to practice one's magic away from the prying eyes of sleepers.
              2. Potential paradox incursion after leaving the sanctum from greater reach being used.
              3. A place to ground one's long term nimbus.
              4. A place to potentially safely hide away from one's enemies (the merit does require safe place, after all).

              The only theme that could potentially have degradation going on is that of engaging with paradox, which this merit doesn't do very well to begin with. Any player that doesn't want to engage with paradox is going to drop their spells before they leave the sanctum. A player that does want to engage with paradox can still do so via any of the other ways available in the game, including loading up on buffing spells and then leaving the sanctum. The rest of the themes are AIDED by adding the extra benefit. Paranoia of being assaulted (aka the theme of the world being a darker, more dangerous place) is benefited by having greater access to more defenses within a set location (if the sanctum gets invaded, improvements must be made, thus more likely involving relinquishing spells as well as buying more safe place dots; if a person is assaulted outside the sanctum they're more likely to hide away inside it should they survive). Having a set location to ground your nimbus isn't changed, and since a character is more likely to experiment at the sanctum both themes are aided. And before you talk about the nimbus being not grounded by a character casting all sorts of spells outside the sanctum since he can, such a player isn't engaging with the sanctum for the purposes of grounding his nimbus anyways. The fact that he may have spells active at his sanctum is a completely separate issue.

              I'll make the exchange to aid multiple themes and appeal to more players while dropping a single, poorly enforced theme any day, especially when I'm still fully capable of enforcing that theme via other avenues. If you can find another theme that is being engaged with and would be degraded by the change I'm all ears. Otherwise my feelings are set.
              Last edited by Falcon777; 02-09-2018, 10:29 PM.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
                So once again, the “I want this stuff to be shinier in mechanics” versus “That stuff being shiny in that way is unthematic in the narrative” debate is raging.

                Unfortunately for proponents of the former, the design philosophy of CoD games seems to favor the latter. So of course the game by itself looks suboptimal in min-maxing powers. Most of that is left to the players’ own creativity.

                In that vein, did anybody try their hand in homebrewing Merits and such that build off existing Sanctum mechanics? So that the original narrative purposes of Sancta are kept and the game’s setting assumptions left relatively untouched? Maybe a Style Merit that increasingly grants the suggestions that people have been making to better the Sanctum Merit in this topic?
                Isn't that like 90% of all CofD debates? *smirk*

                This was the Style I cobbled together. Usual caveats - what worked and was appropriate for my gaming group and chronicle won't necessarily work or be appropriate for yours, etc.

                Pride of Place (• to •••••, Style)
                Prerequisite: Sanctum •
                Effect: Your Sanctum is more than simply a safe place to practice your magic. It is a source of great power to those who have harmonized with it. Each dot of Pride of Place unlocks an additional advantage:
                Harmony (•): Your Sanctum is always considered an appropriate location for the purpose of the Environment Yantra when you incorporate it.
                Divine Acoustics (••): You can incorporate your Sanctum’s Environment Yantra benefits on the same turn as you incorporate one other Yantra.
                Amplification (•••): Your Sanctum grants +2 dice instead of +1 die when you use it as an Environment Yantra. If it is a Demesne, it instead grants a 3-die bonus.
                Sacred Geometry (••••): Your Sanctum does not count against your maximum number of Yantras when you use it as a Yantra (either as an Environment or Demesne).
                Feng Shui (•••••): When containing a Paradox, add half your Sanctum dots (rounded up) as additional dice on the Wisdom roll. If you release a Paradox, reduce the the number of successes on the Paradox by -1 for the purposes of determining how much Reach is available to the Storyteller when building any resultig Anomaly. These effects only work within your Sanctum.

                Obviously provides lots of bonuses to that spellcasting roll, allowing you to bump up those spell factors more easily when you're safe at home. Divine Acoustics goes back to the "do not attack the wizard in his tower" maxim I mentioned earlier.

                The "Safe Place dots as defensive spells if it has been made a Sanctum" strikes me as a pretty solid approach, as well. It's a game about frelling wizards. If the mechanics achieve the same result, I'm disinclined to care whether it's flavored as a mundane security apparatus or something arcane but functionally identical. Might want to at least consider alternate means that non-mages can use to circumvent each feature, assuming your game includes antagonists other than the Awakened, but I suppose that some sort of "Blind the Mystical Gaze" Hunter Tactic would be effective against arcane wards but ineffective against a mundane security camera.
                Last edited by Eric Zawadzki; 02-09-2018, 11:40 PM. Reason: Combining two posts into one.


                Onyx Path Freelancer and Fantasy Author

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Eric Zawadzki View Post
                  The "Safe Place security measures with supernatural flavor" strikes me as a pretty solid approach, as well. It's a game about frelling wizards. If the mechanics achieve the same result, I'm disinclined to care whether it's flavored as a mundane security apparatus or something arcane but functionally identical. Might want to at least consider alternate means that non-mages can use to circumvent each feature, assuming your game includes antagonists other than the Awakened, but I suppose that some sort of "Blind the Mystical Gaze" Hunter Tactic would be effective against arcane wards but ineffective against a mundane security camera.
                  There is always the "Set everything on fire and shoot what comes out" Tactic.


                  Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                  Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

                    There is always the "Set everything on fire and shoot what comes out" Tactic.
                    Indeed there is! The first Tactic my Hunter group learned that wasn't in the sourcebooks quickly earned the nickname "Defile Their Holy Places." It involved going into a Hallow or Sanctum (or equivalent) and vandalizing it so badly that it stopped providing its usual benefits. That Obrimos witch was *pissed* when he came back to his church belfry and found it covered with pentagrams and notably lacking in the ability to generate Mana.


                    Onyx Path Freelancer and Fantasy Author

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Eric Zawadzki View Post

                      Isn't that like 90% of all CofD debates? *smirk*
                      That, and the "What counts as a monster?" debate. *smirk*

                      This was the Style I cobbled together. Usual caveats - what worked and was appropriate for my gaming group and chronicle won't necessarily work or be appropriate for yours, etc.

                      Pride of Place (• to •••••, Style)
                      Prerequisite: Sanctum •
                      Effect: Your Sanctum is more than simply a safe place to practice your magic. It is a source of great power to those who have harmonized with it. Each dot of Pride of Place unlocks an additional advantage:
                      Harmony (•): Your Sanctum is always considered an appropriate location for the purpose of the Environment Yantra when you incorporate it.
                      Divine Acoustics (••): You can incorporate your Sanctum’s Environment Yantra benefits on the same turn as you incorporate one other Yantra.
                      Amplification (•••): Your Sanctum grants +2 dice instead of +1 die when you use it as an Environment Yantra. If it is a Demesne, it instead grants a 3-die bonus.
                      Sacred Geometry (••••): Your Sanctum does not count against your maximum number of Yantras when you use it as a Yantra (either as an Environment or Demesne).
                      Feng Shui (•••••): When containing a Paradox, add half your Sanctum dots (rounded up) as additional dice on the Wisdom roll. If you release a Paradox, reduce the the number of successes on the Paradox by -1 for the purposes of determining how much Reach is available to the Storyteller when building any resultig Anomaly. These effects only work within your Sanctum.

                      Obviously provides lots of bonuses to that spellcasting roll, allowing you to bump up those spell factors more easily when you're safe at home. Divine Acoustics goes back to the "do not attack the wizard in his tower" maxim I mentioned earlier.
                      This is good stuff. And just happens to be good in the way I wished. Perfect.


                      MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Eric Zawadzki View Post

                        Indeed there is! The first Tactic my Hunter group learned that wasn't in the sourcebooks quickly earned the nickname "Defile Their Holy Places." It involved going into a Hallow or Sanctum (or equivalent) and vandalizing it so badly that it stopped providing its usual benefits. That Obrimos witch was *pissed* when he came back to his church belfry and found it covered with pentagrams and notably lacking in the ability to generate Mana.
                        That explains why all those witches and wizards in old stories get all annoyed and pissed whenever someone bumbles into their workshop.


                        MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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                        • #42
                          Falcon777 Have you been by chance looking at the mundane Status Merit? Because the Consilium/Order Status Merit explicitly mentions Sanctum as one of the Merits available for requisition.

                          And I'm on a break and skimming at the PDF right now, but where does it say that the spells must be cast within and stay entirely within the Sanctum for Sanctum's Spell Control benefits to apply? Not questioning in a sarcastic "You don't even know this?" sense. I honestly don't remember, and I can't find such references.

                          One more before I'm off... Spell Control is basically the leash being held by a mage over his spell, right? Exiting the Sanctum and losing its bonus Spell Control sounds like dropping the leash on the mage's end. So where the leashed spell is, within or outside of the Sanctum, wouldn't matter. It's the mage losing his (temporary) control. At least, that was how I understood the part you said was not intuitive (losing Spell Control just because you left the place).
                          Last edited by 21C Hermit; 02-10-2018, 12:18 AM.


                          MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
                            Where does it say that the spells must be cast within and stay entirely within the Sanctum for Sanctum's Spell Control benefits to apply? Not questioning in a sarcastic "You don't even know this?" sense. I honestly don't remember, and I can't find such references.

                            One more before I'm off... Spell Control is basically the leash being held by a mage over his spell, right? Exiting the Sanctum and losing its bonus Spell Control sounds like dropping the leash on the mage's end. So where the leashed spell is, within or outside of the Sanctum, wouldn't matter. It's the mage losing his (temporary) control. At least, that was how I understood the part you said was not intuitive (losing Spell Control just because you left the place).
                            Top of p. 104: "Add her Merit dots to her Gnosis within the Sanctum for determining spell control. She can leave the Sanctum and retain those benefits on previously cast spells. But if she’s exceeded her Gnosis and adds any additional, controlled spells, the benefit goes away and she must Reach as if she’d cast each of those spells without the benefit."

                            It doesn't make those spells go away, so yeah, you can hyper-buff yourself and then go on a rampage beyond the Sanctum walls. But you lose the flexibility to cast new spells without potentially hitting that spell control wall rather hard. If you have a 4-dot Sanctum and are maxed out on spell control within it, and then go out for the hypothetical pizza but encounter the sort of trouble that all but demands that you call on additional magic, that first spell is *three* spells over your spell control limit (ouch).


                            Onyx Path Freelancer and Fantasy Author

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                            • #44
                              Which isn't actually a problem, you can relinquish your spells or pay the Reach and risk the Paradox. That kind of cost benefit analysis is right at the core of the game. If you loaded up on the wrong spells before leaving your Sanctum and are now facing troubles those spells didn't account for that's the price of Hubris. Houserules that make Sanctum more flexible by effectively allowing you to access the benefits of a Sanctum once you're outside of it are basically tossing one of the main themes of the game.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
                                Falcon777 Have you been by chance looking at the mundane Status Merit? Because the Consilium/Order Status Merit explicitly mentions Sanctum as one of the Merits available for requisition.

                                And I'm on a break and skimming at the PDF right now, but where does it say that the spells must be cast within and stay entirely within the Sanctum for Sanctum's Spell Control benefits to apply? Not questioning in a sarcastic "You don't even know this?" sense. I honestly don't remember, and I can't find such references.

                                One more before I'm off... Spell Control is basically the leash being held by a mage over his spell, right? Exiting the Sanctum and losing its bonus Spell Control sounds like dropping the leash on the mage's end. So where the leashed spell is, within or outside of the Sanctum, wouldn't matter. It's the mage losing his (temporary) control. At least, that was how I understood the part you said was not intuitive (losing Spell Control just because you left the place).
                                Yes, I know that it can be requisitioned. The fact that you CAN borrow a sanctum doesn't necessarily mean that it is an effective use of your influence. As a place to experiment with your magic there would have to be some obvious benefit or need to use someone else's sanctum to push me to not acquire my own. Knowing that someone else's sanctum is better secured is an obvious possibility, but in general having your own place set to your own standards makes more sense for such a personal thing. Furthermore, purchasing the merit normally means that you can then use the benefits of your status for more useful things (aka things that will more clearly help you in growing as a mage, like information on the location of a mystery, knowledge of a mystery, or access to rotes or imbued items).

                                The sanctum merit DOESN'T currently say that it requires you to keep a spell completely within the sanctum to benefit from the spell control limit boosting (you just have to be within the sanctum when you cast it). However, if you leave the sanctum then any spells cast while you were inside the sanctum count against your control limit such that you could immediately have to reach in order to cast any more spells, providing you were over your normal spell control limit as it is outside the sanctum. The proposed house rule is one where you can "keep" the benefit of the boosted spell control when you leave so long as any spells that would take up those "extra" slots were held completely within the sanctum.

                                You could describe it as a leash, yes. If I remember correctly, a spell that is still under the control of a mage can have its spell factors reduced after casting, but never boosted. You could thus theoretically reduce the power of a spell after leaving the sanctum (or, of course, "turn off" the spell, thus removing it from existence), but the benefit of the sanctum is provided while within the sanctum. As it currently stands without the house rule, yes, it doesn't matter whether the spell is inside or outside the sanctum when you leave. Your "grip" on the leash is lessened. Or rather, the analogy would be that the sanctum grants you the ability to hold a greater number of leashes while within, but you still hold all the leashes when you leave. My contention is that if a spell on such a leash stays within the sanctum, I don't see any reason why I have to keep a hold of the leash and the sanctum couldn't hold the extra leashes itself. By this analogy (which seems to be fairly accurate the more I think about it), such spells that would stay within the sanctum (as proposed by the house rule) would not actually be under the control of the mage and would require the mage to actually return to the sanctum in order to "turn them off" or "reign them in," though they could, of course, run out of duration in the mean time. Something I didn't think of before, but I like it.

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