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Psychic Domination being "obviously magic"

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  • Psychic Domination being "obviously magic"

    Is Psychic Domination always an Act of Hubris on sleepers, even if the order isn't counter to the nature of the subject?

    The order is recognized by the subject as being foreign, and that, to me, would be obviously supernatural, thus causing a potential breaking point, and following from that risk, an Act of Hubris for the caster.

    I ask because one of my players insists that it should be possible to give orders with the only Act of Hubris possibly being forcing a sapient being to act counter to her nature. This initially became a Mind 3 version of Psychic Domination, and later on was reworked into essentially using the additional orders reach on Psychic Domination, with the order being "Don't think of these orders as being foreign", and only lasting the duration of the spell. The reasoning here is that to avoid the Act of Hubris, the caster either has to have the spell active long enough that when it fades the subject isn't thinking about the orders anymore, or use a secondary spell* to turn off the subject remembering the period in which she was being ordered.

    I'm assuming the reason why the book states that modifying spells already in the book is a no-no is balance. I'm assuming the foreign-ness of the orders from Psychic Domination is partly this and partly thematic, is there any other reasons I should be considering when working with this spell?

    Adding to that point, the same player is generally unhappy with me following the "no modifications" statement. Any advice on dealing with a player who insists that written spells should be freely modifiable? (I've tried dealing with it in-game by clarifying that their characters probably also find this weird, and that it may be a Mystery worth investigating)

    * Another home brew spell in my campaign, allowing current events to not be remembered as a lasting effect, as an alternative to Memory Hole, which at best becomes indefinite, with the downside that it only works on whatever is happening to the subject while she is under the influence of the spell.

  • #2
    There was a No Modifications On Official Spells clause in the book? Not even as extra Reach/Arcana options? Strange. Adding a Reach to make Psychic Domination etc “subtle” sounds like a perfect place to use Reach.

    If it’s solely the Hubris at concern, one way could be initiating into a Legacy that has it as an Attainment. Less flexibility/power, but more stability.


    MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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    • #3
      The act of using magic to force somebody to do something even if its within their nature is an act of hubris. You are using magic to get somebody to do something rather than trying to convince somebody by conventional means at least for 8+. Lower wisdom might get away with it but note the spell says "act counter to its interests" and not counter to its nature. a subtle yet important difference. Just because you can command a murderer to kill somebody and claim his nature is a murderer, it'd still be counter to his interests wouldnt it? I mean even commanding somebody who is on his way to work could be counter to his interests if whatever was commanded is going to make him late for work. Its also an act of hubris for 4-7 "binding it to a task" so as soon as you give something a task its an act of hubris....
      Last edited by totalgit; 05-03-2018, 04:08 AM.

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      • #4
        I don’t think there are any rules that say not to modify printed spells, that would run counter to the game’s consistent message that everything can be changed to suit your table’s needs.

        If the player wants mind control without Hubris tell them to Inure the spell or join a legacy.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
          I don’t think there are any rules that say not to modify printed spells, that would run counter to the game’s consistent message that everything can be changed to suit your table’s needs.

          If the player wants mind control without Hubris tell them to Inure the spell or join a legacy.
          Nah i also remember there being text to not just alter written spells willy nilly, i just cant seem to find it..

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          • #6
            The only other way I can think of Psychic Domination being used in a manner that doesn't invoke Hubris is when you make up a person's mind about something they were thinking about doing already that won't have a major impact on their or anyone else's life. For example, you know from reading their mind they think their hair is getting a bit away from them and maybe they should get a haircut. Psychic Domination to ensure they get a haircut at that point is probably not a problem, especially if you don't make it an immediate compulsion.

            Originally posted by totalgit View Post
            Nah i also remember there being text to not just alter written spells willy nilly, i just cant seem to find it..
            I'll believe it when I see the reference and the context.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
              The only other way I can think of Psychic Domination being used in a manner that doesn't invoke Hubris is when you make up a person's mind about something they were thinking about doing already that won't have a major impact on their or anyone else's life. For example, you know from reading their mind they think their hair is getting a bit away from them and maybe they should get a haircut. Psychic Domination to ensure they get a haircut at that point is probably not a problem, especially if you don't make it an immediate compulsion.



              I'll believe it when I see the reference and the context.
              So i think the text SimonPip describes is actually "The Primary Factor of a given spell effect is always the same; you can’t make a creative thaumaturgy spell that’s identical to another spell except with a different Primary Factor."? Its also why i vaguely misremembered it.
              Im not a big fan on just slapping extra reach on printed spells to overcome their limitations and id rather just creative thaum the desired effect from the ground up i think SimonPip has taken that small bit of text out of context.

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              • #8
                Ok. So here's how I handle it at our table:

                I'll start with an example. The Wisdom 7 Mastigos needed to get into a warehouse guarded by a couple gangbangers. He used Psychic Domination to order them to "go to McDonald's for an hour". It was against their interests, but he was being mindful in proposing a non-violent solution so I gave him 5 dice instead of 3 on the roll. I ruled that it wasn't a Breaking Point as going to McDonald's was something the gangbangers might have done anyway and they weren't obviously aware of the magical suggestion.

                I think you need to find the balance point between making this spell too Wisdom roll inducing and too abuse-able. Mind is a super powerful Arcana that I believe needs some Wisdom brakes put on it for balance reasons, but you still want it to be fun for the players. "Jedi mind tricks" here and there shouldn't send the caster's Wisdom plummeting, but anyone who really wants to dominate other sentient beings on a regular basis should have to pay the price in either Wisdom, Paradox (Inuring) or joining a Legacy with that focus.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Johnny Awesome View Post
                  Ok. So here's how I handle it at our table:

                  I'll start with an example. The Wisdom 7 Mastigos needed to get into a warehouse guarded by a couple gangbangers. He used Psychic Domination to order them to "go to McDonald's for an hour". It was against their interests, but he was being mindful in proposing a non-violent solution so I gave him 5 dice instead of 3 on the roll. I ruled that it wasn't a Breaking Point as going to McDonald's was something the gangbangers might have done anyway and they weren't obviously aware of the magical suggestion.

                  I think you need to find the balance point between making this spell too Wisdom roll inducing and too abuse-able. Mind is a super powerful Arcana that I believe needs some Wisdom brakes put on it for balance reasons, but you still want it to be fun for the players. "Jedi mind tricks" here and there shouldn't send the caster's Wisdom plummeting, but anyone who really wants to dominate other sentient beings on a regular basis should have to pay the price in either Wisdom, Paradox (Inuring) or joining a Legacy with that focus.
                  I agree with what you're saying but not with your example. The mage in question could have just as easily turned themselves 'invisible' and gone on with their business. But my bias is that the most obvious solution isn't always the wisest solution.

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                  • #10
                    We'll just agree to disagree on the example.

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                    • #11
                      In this example, if the Mastigos was looking to cause some ruckus inside the warehouse (or just risk accidentally making too much noise) sending the guards away might've been the wiser option because then you don't risk involving them after you've managed to sneak past them.
                      On the other hand "go to McDonald's for an hour" could have unintended side effects if that's the literal wording. "Why can't we stop standing outside this closed building? We've been here for half an hour!" Since the spell already required the Reach for complex orders I'd word it differently if I tried to play a wise character. "For the next hour go do something you both enjoy that doesn't cause any trouble for you."


                      Bloodline: The Stygians
                      Ordo Dracul Mystery: Coil of Smoke
                      Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                      • #12
                        I always rule that Psychic Domination on Sleepers as being Witnessed, and hence an Act of Hubris for most PC's regardless of whatever other circumstances are in play. To my mind having your conscious thoughts abruptly overwritten by an outside force is pretty much always going to be a traumatic experience, and one that will draw the attention of the abyss. If a player wanted to more subtly influence an NPC I would point them towards different spells like Emotional Urging and encourage them to be clever in its application instead.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by totalgit View Post
                          So i think the text SimonPip describes is actually "The Primary Factor of a given spell effect is always the same; you can’t make a creative thaumaturgy spell that’s identical to another spell except with a different Primary Factor."? Its also why i vaguely misremembered it.
                          Im not a big fan on just slapping extra reach on printed spells to overcome their limitations and id rather just creative thaum the desired effect from the ground up i think SimonPip has taken that small bit of text out of context.

                          To clarify, it was both that bit, as well as remembering posts on this forum talking about additional reaches on written spells not being allowed. Having found no indication of that in the book, and not being able to find the posts here, I think I may need to start loosening up a bit on their modifications of those.

                          As for the original question, I think giving him the option of extra reach and long duration, additional spells along with it, or using the Mind 1 version is probably going to appease him. Inuring will likely not fly (he would likely think his character, a Guardian, would not do that) and he is of the opinion that legacies are weak and useless.

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                          • #14
                            ... and he is of the opinion that legacies are weak and useless.
                            * whimpers in a corner

                            Jokes aside, I imagine Psychic Domination as a 4th/5th Attainment would be terrifying.


                            MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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                            • #15
                              Guardians would totally Inure, it feeds into their martyr complex.

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