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Does anyone actually use Aimed Spells?

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  • Does anyone actually use Aimed Spells?

    By anyone, I mean players or Storytellers with actual play experience, not theoretical mages within the setting. I've played a lot of second edition Mage and it's never been used once, but all of those games were with the same players so it might just be a bias all of us share and not as universal as I'm assuming.

    So if this is a thing you've done (especially as a player), I want to know!
    If, like us, you've always avoided it, I'd like to know that, too - and what your reasons have been.

  • #2
    Our Adamantine Arrow had a lot of Athletics so relied on it a few times when they couldn't spare enough Reach for Cast-by-Sensory. They usually didn't mind overReaching (mechanically, it's not that bad) but sometimes there were situational factors that made it not the best choice, usually when other mages were around or Abyssal entities.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by nofather View Post
      Our Adamantine Arrow had a lot of Athletics so relied on it a few times when they couldn't spare enough Reach for Cast-by-Sensory. They usually didn't mind overReaching (mechanically, it's not that bad) but sometimes there were situational factors that made it not the best choice, usually when other mages were around or Abyssal entities.
      How often was missing the spell actually an issue?

      I think that's the main thing that has stopped us from using it; containing Paradox might give you some Conditions or worse, but generally, you can at least count on the spell still working as intended, at least.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by lnodiv View Post
        How often was missing the spell actually an issue?
        Just one as far as I can recall. After that they tended to throw not at a target but someplace near them, catching them in its effect and avoiding the Defense problem. Basically if you have good Athletics (or Firearms), it saves you a Reach, the Arrow never got the 'ignores Defense' Merit because they didn't have the Arcana prereq (Time, I think) but if she had that I imagine she'd rely on it a lot more..

        I think that's the main thing that has stopped us from using it; containing Paradox might give you some Conditions or worse, but generally, you can at least count on the spell still working as intended, at least.
        That's funny, it's supposed to be the first problem with Paradox, because the easiest thing for Paradox to do to a spell is alter its Reach specifications. That ended up popping up a lot, as one Paradox Reach was probably the average. No one had ever gotten 5, which was what was needed to 'accidentally' summon an Abyssal entity.
        Last edited by nofather; 04-16-2018, 03:37 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by nofather View Post
          That's funny, it's supposed to be the first problem with Paradox, because the easiest thing for Paradox to do to a spell is alter its Reach specifications.
          Yeah, this is a result of another of my group's biases, I can count the Paradoxes they've Released on one hand. That fear comes from the same place - having their magic undone or pointed at the wrong person.

          So they just go with the option where that can't generally happen, which is attempting to contain it (since even a failed Containment won't generally mess with the Reach of the current spell). I'm trying to revisit how I handle all of these options to include a little more variety.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by lnodiv View Post
            Yeah, this is a result of another of my group's biases, I can count the Paradoxes they've Released on one hand. That fear comes from the same place - having their magic undone or pointed at the wrong person.

            So they just go with the option where that can't generally happen, which is attempting to contain it (since even a failed Containment won't generally mess with the Reach of the current spell). I'm trying to revisit how I handle all of these options to include a little more variety.
            I think keeping track of Mana can help, as well as not having 'one encounter in the middle of nowhere then everyone stops for the day' types of encounters. I asked once and apparently some STs are really free with the Mana, letting everyone just get full between sessions or rests, but even with a full Hallow if you're active and casting spells, especially outside of your major Arcana, you can blow through Mana pretty fast, which makes it harder to use to reduce Paradox. And obviously the encounter thing is something that's just going to need to come up, you can't have everything be wave after wave of danger, but Bashing heals pretty fast, so it's easy to soak the Paradox rather than risk it if you are, say, just casting a spell to make the gas station attendant fill you up on a road trip and aren't going to be dealing with more magic for the next several hours. Our last sessions ended on a sort of dungeon crawl in enemy territory and they couldn't exactly take a break to heal up their Bashing and things got very tense at the climax.

            But even then, getting someone to more consistently use Aimed spells would probably take a very specific kind of character, with at least some better Athletics or Firearms. It's a more actiony type of spellslinger. I think someone made a gunslinger legacy that relied on it, though.
            Last edited by nofather; 04-16-2018, 04:24 PM.

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            • #7
              Had a dungeon run a couple nights ago, the only time I spent mana was for like 2 time spells (Life/Space mage) everything else I could improv in primary arcana and then the changeling decided he didn't like my face and drained all my mana and sent me to the hedge (in a place where any kind of speed or teleporting was shut down because infinite stat god machine)

              Even when I cast spells left and right, I think I risked a chance die paradox maybe twice the entire session, and spent like 3 mana the entire session until the changeling ate it all and fill the reward room with hedge thorns. I was in a ban, and he said "nah, I don't even need to sense you as long as you're technically in the same scene you're done for. I'll get you after my rage is done, also it works even though every realm tied to this place also has any movement oriented effects shut down." So that was hair raising, and my character certainly had some stern words for him.

              Also why bother aiming a spell without the adamantine hand merit. If I'm rolling athletics I might as well be firing my bow or running out of their range/into cover. A mage with a dedicated tool handy should be able to cast with 1-2 reach really reliably unless they're casting spells a bit above their ability (ie you get your 4th dot of Life, and you're casting the damage spell you just learned at sensory range instant cast constantly over and over gradually building paradox.) Mage is honestly more elegant than just direct damage spells I've only run into a couple encounters either I or the other mage couldn't incapacitate our foes in 3 spells or less. The boss was obviously hard, but it also had upwards of 20 or more dice for just about everything and 17 defense lol. The DM had clearly had enough of us xD
              Last edited by Arduras; 04-16-2018, 06:36 PM.

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              • #8
                Something to remember: Every time Paradox is invoked in a scene, it adds a +1 to their Paradox. In really intense scenes, that can add up pretty fast. I finished a scene not too long ago where my Thyrsus was eating ten Paradox dice on some rolls. In the end, she nearly died because she couldn't risk casting a healing spell to heal herself without making it worse.

                If you only expect to need to risk one Paradox in a given scene, there's not much mechanical reason not to take the risk, but when your back is to a wall, it gets tense very quickly.

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                • #9
                  I have used Aim on more than one occasion. Ended up missing about 80% so not bad. In another game I played a Mage that had fast spell and alot of other stuff that helped me hit what i aimed for. That character was alot of fun also.

                  I was even looking into making a custom legacy that revolved around spell slinging.
                  Last edited by Hardwire99; 04-16-2018, 10:11 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Players I've played/run games with/for tended to approach the situation as Inodivs group, at least once the system had been understood. Aimed spells are only used when there is little consequence to the spell not "hitting". I think one Acanthus player in a game of mine even took the fast spells merit and still never used it.

                    Same for Paradox, I've yet to see a spell let loose from a mage who knows how to contain a paradox IC. Personally I houserule that the spells still can run amok if you fail the containment roll, so that works out fine.


                    My Mage 2e Homebrew

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                    • #11
                      I've never seen Aiming used in the 15 sessions I've run, but partly because players typically forget about the mechanic.

                      On the issue of Reach & Paradox I think that 2e is better than 1e in this regard for making the consequences harsher for over-Reaching, but it's maybe still a little too easy to Reach into whatever you need.

                      Typically it might go something like this in any give scene:

                      Spell 1: Over reaching by one - dedicated tool = chance die for Paradox
                      Spell 2: Over reaching by one + 1 for earlier Paradox chance - dedicated tool = chance die for Paradox
                      Spell 3: 1 + 2 - DT = 1 die (not likely)
                      Spell 4: 2 dice (50/50)
                      Spell 5: 3 dice - Probably had to deal with a small Paradox easily contained by Wisdom

                      I mean you aren't really affected until you're 5 Spells in and that's if you even over-Reach 5 times in a row instead of interspersing some other things in between.

                      The net result for my players is that they've had maybe 2 or 3 Resistance Bashing each maximum in any given Scene.

                      Now, to be fair one of my players ended up going into resistant lethal due to damage wrap-around and he's been carrying the wounds for a few sessions now. I had a talk with him and he agreed to take a Persistent social Condition from permanent scaring from that fight, just for the coolness factor.

                      I'm not saying that the rules need changing necessarily, but beginning players aren't going to worry to much about Paradox IMO. It's more flavour than anything else.

                      I don't have any experience with Gnosis 3 characters, so I'm not sure how well using Mana to mitigate the potentially larger Paradox pools works.
                      Last edited by Johnny Awesome; 04-18-2018, 12:13 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Yeah, and even with the above examples you can spend mana to reduce paradox dice 1 for 1 so it really never comes up outside of the chance die unless I'm _really trying to get paradox_ lol.

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                        • #13
                          Aimed spells having to use area of effect scale makes it a very niche thing to do. Also what if the area is big enough that if you throw the spell between two targets you can impact both. Is the roll just Gnosis + Firearms/Athletics since a spot on the ground has no defense? And if so why would you ever want to throw an aimed spell at something rather than just near it? The idea that a person in the same room as you gets defense vs a room sized area effect when you can just throw the spell at your feet to affect him (and you unless fated to ignore it etc) is odd.
                          Last edited by totalgit; 04-18-2018, 07:08 PM.

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                          • #14
                            But then if you don't make the area large enough people can dive for cover. And if you do you're going to be taking a lot more dice penalties.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Johnny Awesome View Post
                              But then if you don't make the area large enough people can dive for cover. And if you do you're going to be taking a lot more dice penalties.
                              If they're behind cover they can be out of sensory range.

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