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What am I missing about the Sanctum Merit?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
    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.
    If you are "loading up" on spells, then the proposed house rule wouldn't apply to you since you are bringing your magic with you. The proposed rule requires the casting as well as the entirety of the effects to stay within the sanctum to benefit from boosted spell control when you leave the sanctum. You COULD still load up if you wanted to, but you would run into the exact same issue as you would with the way the merit officially is.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Falcon777 View Post
      Can you give me a page number on that requisition thing? It's not mentioned within, you know, the actual merit (status).
      "The Storyteller should assign an Availability rating to the item your character seeks, related to the power level or regular Merit rating. Consider your character’s Status dots as Resources for the purpose of procuring these magical resources (see Acquiring Services, p. 228). Availability ratings assume the service or Merit will be assigned on a temporary basis (for a single story); add •• for permanent requisitions. The group assumes she’ll return it when done with it, or make amends if it’s destroyed or lost."

      It's the first mechanical statement the Merit makes after "these Status Merits provide the benefits of a normal Status Merit."

      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.
      I'm not proposing "allow," I'm proposing "don't need." Characters do not have to be totally self-sufficient and the purpose of the Sanctum Merit is not to make a location a suitable place in which to buy the Sanctum Merit. If you have purchased or requisitioned a location as a Sanctum it is already a Safe Place without the benefits of specific mechanically enshrined magical defenses, and magical defenses are both not Experience-intensive to add and not a casual necessity for characters with access to personal-scale defenses and magcal-societal favors.

      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.
      Your dive into sarcasm is not actually supporting your argument, unless you are proposing that Beats are little chunks of banner-bearers that your character uses to buy Traits, and "buy the uncoerced consent of this character who has a metaphysical closeness with you akin to friendship to paint a target on their back" is not a thing we have a Merit for.

      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.
      This line of thinking of "if I only get my bonus some of the time then not having it is a penalty" is never not going to be bizarre.

      The magic itself is a part of you until you relinquish it. That's a whole deal with spell control and the Nimbus and mages always counting as aware when their spells are subject to a Clash of Wills. It is unintuitive to assume that casting a spell on something means it's out of your hands once you leave in this framework.

      Sympathetic magic isn't benefited by the proposed alteration.
      Yes. That was my point. Greater effective spell control makes a Sanctum a useful place to conduct the spell-intensive work of borrowing and strengthening sympathetic connections, routing blessings and curses to allies and enemies, and otherwise doing the magic-mirror routine. That benefit disappears if the entire purpose of sympathetic magic can only extend to targets in another part of the Sanctum.


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

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      • #48
        Originally posted by Falcon777 View Post

        If you are "loading up" on spells, then the proposed house rule wouldn't apply to you since you are bringing your magic with you. The proposed rule requires the casting as well as the entirety of the effects to stay within the sanctum to benefit from boosted spell control when you leave the sanctum. You COULD still load up if you wanted to, but you would run into the exact same issue as you would with the way the merit officially is.
        If the house rule is only to apply to spells completely contained in your Sanctum, for the purpose of your Sanctum then I iterate that it’s needless. Spells layered on a Sanctum are reasonably covered under the domain of the effects via Safe Place.

        Also, there seems to be some misapprehension that any “mundane” merit must be devoid of the supernatural, but that simply isn’t so. Most of the merits can be acquired by a spell for instance. The results of a merit may be supernatural as well, for instance if I take dots in Retainer a Proximi isn’t precluded from who I might employ, or more blatantly dots in Mystery Cult which is mundane but can have explicitly supernatural benefits.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
          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.
          Without question, yes. I was just pointing out that there is some means of taking those extra spells out of the Sanctum and benefiting from them under RAW.

          I agree that the easy fix house rule of not limiting the extra spell control to within your Sanctum goes against what the flavor of what Merit is supposed to represent. That being said, I understand why groups would arrive at that house rule, which is that it's really the path of least resistance. It requires no new mechanics and provides clear utility. All it does is eliminate the Merit's limitation. If you think the Merit is underwhelming but don't feel comfortable doing a full rewrite or coming up with a bunch of spin-off Merits that can make it more attractive, it's the easiest of all fixes.

          That said, I think it's still possible to take the reasons given for embracing the easy fix ("why do I have to dismiss or relinquish my ongoing experiment every time I leave the house?") and use it to come up with a slightly modified version of that easy house rule that addresses it while staying true to the Merit's concept as a place where the mage can practice her magic with greater confidence. Here's another take:

          Each of the extra spell slots can be used in one of two ways:

          1. RAW (the hyper-buffing with cost-benefit analysis option)
          2. A spell whose effects are entirely contained within the Sanctum. However, unlike the first version, these extra spells still don't count against the mage's spell control limits when she leaves the Sanctum (unless some or all of the spell's subjects leave the Sanctum).

          Voila. You can still keep the demon you're torturing for secrets in its mystical prison in your lab while you to go out to dinner with the Provost - all without sacrificing your ability to drive off the Seers of the Throne ambush on the drive back. But when you're finished with that demon, you retain the option to buff yourself and/or your cabal to deal with a known (so you hope) problem beyond your Sanctum walls, albeit with the same limits as RAW.

          This is slightly more powerful than the way the Merit appears in the core but is not as potent as the easy fix house rule. It also retains greater faithfulness to the premise of the Sanctum Merit than the easy fix without being anywhere near as radical and chronicle-shaping as the brutal Potency penalty++ of my group's homebrewed version.

          ETA: I see now that Falcon kinda ninja'd me on this fix. Ah well.
          Last edited by Eric Zawadzki; 02-10-2018, 01:59 AM.


          Onyx Path Freelancer and Fantasy Author

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Satchel View Post
            Demesnes are empowered Sancta.
            There's a difference between requiring a Sanctum and requiring the Sanctum Merit, just like there's a difference between having a place your character considers safe and having the Safe Place merit.

            (or, at least, there is in every game I've ever played in or ran)
            Last edited by lnodiv; 02-15-2018, 06:34 AM.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by lnodiv View Post
              There's a difference between requiring a Sanctum and requiring the Sanctum Merit, just like there's a difference between having a place your character considers safe and having the Safe Place merit.

              (or, at least, there is in every game I've ever played in or ran)
              The difference is largely academic unless you've been drawing an arbitrary line between locations that would be represented by the Sanctum Merit and locations that have had Experiences invested in buying stable dots in the Sanctum Merit.

              "This thing is only feasible to have in a safe place where you can comfortably work your magic" means what it means, and what it doesn't mean is "this thing is feasible to have anywhere and everywhere."


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

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                "This thing is only feasible to have in a safe place where you can comfortably work your magic" means what it means, and what it doesn't mean is "this thing is feasible to have anywhere and everywhere."
                I mean, there's the fact that creating a Demesne doesn't actually require a Sanctum at all (merit or otherwise). So that's a thing. If a mage wanted to carry around a soul stone and set up Demesnes on-demand wherever they happen to be, they can do so as long as they have a few hours to prepare. It's a terrible idea for a host of reasons, but it's also the most extreme example.

                You're probably going to be okay setting up a Demesne in your apartment, Sanctum Merit or not. Odds are, they probably refer to that apartment as their 'Sanctum', too. Maybe they even layer on protective spells that provide far more security than the extremely underwhelming bonuses provided by Safe Place? I've never played in - or even heard of - a group that required you to spend experiences on the Sanctum merit in order to 'have a safe* place where you can comfortably work your magic'. You can make a space 'safe' much more effectively through your own magic or that of your cabal than you can by spending experience on that merit. People buy the merit when they want the mechanical benefits, which are 100% overshadowed by Demesnes.

                This is actual play experience, not theorycraft. YMMV, but I'd love to hear from someone that has actual play experience to the contrary.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by lnodiv View Post
                  I've never played in - or even heard of - a group that required you to spend experiences on the Sanctum merit in order to 'have a safe* place where you can comfortably work your magic'. You can make a space 'safe' much more effectively through your own magic or that of your cabal than you can by spending experience on that merit. People buy the merit when they want the mechanical benefits, which are 100% overshadowed by Demesnes.
                  I thought I was pretty clear that I wasn't talking about spending Experiences on anything, between the quoted post's mention of drawing an arbitrary line and prior discussion's entire angle of "you can get this for free for at least an entire story with the Status of a starting character."

                  The section on creating Demesnes includes locations in line with the Safe Place Merit on its size chart and directs to the section on the effects of Demesnes, which is where the "a Demesne is like a Supernal Verge but confined to a mage's sanctum" line comes from and which itself specifies that the spell-based benefits of a Demesne (by extension of "Demesnes use the same systems as Verges except where noted") only apply to spells that fit the place's semiotics. The Yantra subsection that also directs to that part of the book likewise refers to Demesnes as an enhancement on a mage's "ritual space" and describes them as "prepared, sacred ritual space[s] where the mystic can work without the interruptions of the Lie," along with pointing to their main applicability for instant spellcasting being "in defense of the Demesne."

                  All of that is pretty clear on the whole "Sancta and Demesnes are additional layers of resources on top of a secured location where you conduct your work, not catch-all mystical pinboards for all the spells you want to load up on without losing your safe casting capacity" thing. You're welcome to call Safe Place underwhelming, but if your actual play experience is based on a misreading of the game's content it has limited utility in a discussion about how the game is supposed to work.


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

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                    Stuff
                    Parsing your posts frequently takes way more effort than my actual job.
                    I'm out.

                    Originally posted by Katana1515 View Post
                    I ask this question because as written it seem quite useless to myself and my players.
                    On topic, you're not alone, OP. Myself along with several others with actual play experience in this thread have noticed the same issue. Fortunately it's not really a huge problem and there have been some good house rules suggested here to help alleviate it. As Satchel mentioned, you can also acquire the merit via Status instead of Experience if you really need to (though that doesn't make the benefits any less underwhelming for those that find them so).

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by lnodiv View Post
                      Parsing your posts frequently takes way more effort than my actual job.
                      I'm out.
                      You could ask for clarification instead of being snarky, just saying.


                      Sean K.I.W. Steele, Freelance Writer
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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                        You could ask for clarification instead of being snarky, just saying.
                        That's fair. It was a bad day, and I should have made the effort to stop that from leaking into my tone here.

                        ​Sorry Satchel!

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                        • #57
                          Conversely, Satchel could make an effort to not talk like Eugene from The Walking Dead.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Johnny Awesome View Post
                            Conversely, Satchel could make an effort to not talk like Eugene from The Walking Dead.
                            It’s really not that bad.

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Johnny Awesome View Post
                              Conversely, Satchel could make an effort to not talk like Eugene from The Walking Dead.
                              I am an autistic man with an appreciation for language and a tendency to seize up under stress. I have no reason to encourage the phenomenon of people not bothering to ask for clarification because it's more convenient for them to assume I am trying to make them feel stupid because the words I find it easiest to work out my meaning with happen to be big ones.


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

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                              • #60
                                Fair enough. I apologize.

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