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Alternative Chargen option: opinions sought

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  • Alternative Chargen option: opinions sought

    Basically, no Paths. Each character simply has two Ruling Arcana and one Inferior Arcanum. "Path" tools and materials are selected by the player and the ST in cooperation. No other changes. The idea is to fit a character's magic more closely to concept than the Paths allow. A high energy chemist who Awakens might have Forces and Matter and Ruling and Spirit as inferior. An Awakened priest could have Prime and Spirit with Death inferior. A doctor might have Life and Mind with Matter inferior, or an astrophysicist have Space and Time with Mind inferior, and so on. Basically, a person's magic is more a direct reflection of the person's interests than is currently really allowed.
    Last edited by LadyLens; 06-23-2018, 12:32 AM.

  • #2
    Legacies become harder to join, I imagine. Mentoring the freshly Awakened will also become harder, without the broad vantage point of Path symbolism to find common ground in.

    On the other hand, Demesnes and Annulities get more colorful.


    MtAw Homebrew:
    Even more Legacies, updated to 2E
    New 2E Legacies, expanded

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    • #3
      It changes some core aspects of the setting (like the watchtowers). But presumably if you're running it you can decide how big or little that impact is in the course of things. But it also puts the players on the back foot, for all its variety there are certain things mages understand about one another, Paths have stereotypes, they are also an easy way to describe what powers someone commands, a Mastigos is Mind and Space, if one eschews Mind and Space for other things they're playing against stereotype. If everyone is different, there's less of an understood foundation to things (mind that if you build this into the setting you may see a pattern it doesn't mean the players do)..

      Also there are some arcana that are just more powerful, and pairs that are especially powerful together. Alternatively, some are going to be headaches on the storyteller. I choose Spirit and Death. Now make spirits and ghosts everywhere, because whenever the cabal goes somewhere, it's the first thing I'm going to look for.

      I'm not saying don't do it, these are just issues that might pop up.
      Last edited by nofather; 06-23-2018, 04:04 AM.

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      • #4
        If the ST is going Pathless then they have some things to deal with. First of all, Paths are a handy way to break down the kinds of things that a Mage hallucinates when using Mage Sight. Second of all this can make it more difficult for a player to figure out what kinds of tropes they're trying to embody as a Mage which can in turn make it more difficult to hit Beats based on Path.

        This isn't to say it can't work, just that careful consideration should be taken to figure out what you're aiming at. The Paths aren't necessarily exclusive though, for instance you could take a look at the Other Five Paths thread to see what other Path variants might look like, how they see the world, how they hallucinate the Supernal World, etc.

        The main downfall of just allowing arcana pairings of whatever the player chooses is that you probably haven't thought about how it might affect the character's worldview. That can be some really deep stuff, good for driving a story, or hitting certain character moments that you should take into consideration before changing things.

        Less directly, it will probably also influence the way the Orders deal with particular Mages of these unaligned Paths since the Orders have been written about from "canon" Path perspectives. Technically, the Orders are Path agnostic, but since the Paths are the basic building block and Orders are built off those...well, you probably get the idea. As 21C Hermit mentioned it can make it more difficult to meet the requirements for joining a legacy, and since legacies are typically derived from Parent Paths it means you also have to consider what the heck you're doing.

        Again, it can work, but it's a cost/benefit analysis, and there's plenty to lose by ditching the Paths as they're already laid out.

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        • #5
          As always, whatever works for your group; there can be upsides and downsides, but my primary draw to MtAw is the lore and setting, so I would ask a few questions about how such a hack impacts those.

          In my view, Paths are the most immediate way characters experience the concept of supernal truth; it well establishes there is objective Truth to the universe, and explains (or at least implies) what the nature of "magic" is and how humans can access it. With more personalized Arcana groupings, one should ask about the nature of the supernal and what that implies. Do mages Awaken to their own inner idea of Truth? Are there objective truths but hundreds of permutations? Is an enlightening perspective thrust upon them, or do they become aligned to truths which confirm their own biases and lifestyle? On related notes, what do these unique Arcana options say about Seers or Banishers, or the Bound / supernal summons, or mage sight?

          These can all be very fun questions to explore through a game, mind you, but I think removing Paths changes a lot about the setting which might not be obvious


          Second Chance for
          [ATTACH=CONFIG]temp_709_1572548741915_354[/ATTACH]
          A Beautiful Madness

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          • #6
            Generally, this alternate setup sounds like a “hard mode” for an experienced table. Challenging but rewarding.

            Oh, another thought - how would Supernal entities work? With every mage essentially having access to different Supernal Worlds, I imagine Supernal entities becoming a bit similar to spirits and Goetia in their diversity and individuality.


            MtAw Homebrew:
            Even more Legacies, updated to 2E
            New 2E Legacies, expanded

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by LadyLens View Post
              The idea is to fit a character's magic more closely to concept than the Paths allow.
              Can you expand on why you feel this is the case to the point where the issues highlighted by others really make this seem so restrictive?

              A lot of my confusion is that their mundane jobs aren't their concept magic-wise. Being a chemist, priest, medical doctor, or astrophysicist doesn't change what kind of magic you do. It might change what kind of magic a character wants to focus on, but in all but one of your examples you could make those characters with the RAW without any issues until high Gnosis/Arcana ratings, which can be offset by joining an appropriate Legacy.

              A Moros can start with Forces 3/Matter 2/Death1, and have Spirit inferior (or Matter 3/Forces 2). Why do you need to scrap Paths to get this?

              If there were specific magic-user archetypes that couldn't be captured with the existing Paths, I could appreciate additional ones. But I don't get how a character's profession not having a Path that perfectly aligns with it is a bad thing, or an issue for concepts, since mages don't do magic based on their mundane lives like that.

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              • #8
                Each Path has one Gross and one Subtle Arcanum as ruling Arcana. You might still want to keep that as a limitation just to bring down the options to a more manageable level. Or not; you do you. Just wanted to highlight that division since it's not necessarily obvious.


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

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

                  Can you expand on why you feel this is the case to the point where the issues highlighted by others really make this seem so restrictive?

                  A lot of my confusion is that their mundane jobs aren't their concept magic-wise. Being a chemist, priest, medical doctor, or astrophysicist doesn't change what kind of magic you do. It might change what kind of magic a character wants to focus on, but in all but one of your examples you could make those characters with the RAW without any issues until high Gnosis/Arcana ratings, which can be offset by joining an appropriate Legacy.
                  In the examples I chose, I'm working on the idea that with those particular characters, their (highly skilled) mundane jobs are reflections of basic aspects of their personalities, and those same aspects would be reflected in their primary magical strengths and weaknesses. The main problem with, to use your example, a Forces 3/Matter 2/Death1 Moros is that he'll always be running short of Mana (which I tend to regard as a scarce resource) because his primary stock in trade, Forces, requires the spending of Mana every time he does anything with it that's not a rote.

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                  • #10
                    Rote or a Praxis, those don't cost mana either. Anyway, obviously then the character will be interested in securing as quickly as possible either a steady supply of mana or a legacy that encodes Forces as one of his Ruling arcana. That's good motivation for driving a character to engage in a story.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by LadyLens View Post
                      In the examples I chose, I'm working on the idea that with those particular characters, their (highly skilled) mundane jobs are reflections of basic aspects of their personalities, and those same aspects would be reflected in their primary magical strengths and weaknesses.
                      The thing is, that's not how magic works in Awakening. Dedication to a highly skilled mundane job doesn't dictate the fundamental personality traits that lead nascent mages to their appropriate Watchtowers.

                      "Astrophysicist" isn't really an indicator of personality on that level. Why is someone doing that work? That's what informs their magic (even if you want to get into someone more freeform than the RAW). A character that gets into high end theoretical astrophysics because they're passionately pushing the boundaries of knowledge, another that enjoys studying the universe to see how vast expanses and dances of stars reflect back on the same principles that govern existence on Earth, and another that seeks to translate that vast knowledge into an ordered system that can be easily understood?

                      Those are three very different people, and three people that would resonant with different Paths, and thus different magical aptitudes. Their shared profession isn't enough of an indicator of the personalities that Mage cares about. A Mastigos scientist, a Moros scientist, and an Obrimos scientist are all good combinations, but reflect different motivations and reasons for being scientists by mundane training.

                      The fact that it might not be a "perfect" match is also, in my mind, a good thing. It helps highlight the differences between how your personality means you've interacted with the Fallen World, and how it guides your interactions with the Supernal. Those being different is a great source of personal story hooks, character motivations, and even Mysteries/Obsessions. And even then, it's not exactly difficult to resolve some of it via things like Legacies.

                      The main problem with, to use your example, a Forces 3/Matter 2/Death1 Moros is that he'll always be running short of Mana (which I tend to regard as a scarce resource) because his primary stock in trade, Forces, requires the spending of Mana every time he does anything with it that's not a rote.
                      I don't see why Mana is such a scarce resource. Any mage can perform oblations at a Hallow (which aren't noted as being significantly rare, just valuable enough to be protective over) for Mana, and scour if they're desperate. A mage that's at "home base" shouldn't really be having mana issues. It's a mage that's running around strange places for extended periods of time without a Prime specialist and a bunch of tass that's in more trouble.

                      And, just because it isn't the "ideal" situation doesn't disprove that you can do it.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                        Rote or a Praxis, those don't cost mana either. Anyway, obviously then the character will be interested in securing as quickly as possible either a steady supply of mana or a legacy that encodes Forces as one of his Ruling arcana. That's good motivation for driving a character to engage in a story.
                        Rotes don't cost Mana, I know that. But as far as I recall, the only advantage of a praxis is that you get an exceptional success with three successes instead of five.

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                        • #13
                          Praxes don't cost Mana either. Only improvised magic from non-ruling Arcana cost Mana.


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

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                          • #14
                            Huh. I missed that last time I reviewed the Praxis rules; that or it slipped my mind.

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                            • #15
                              Page 112 in the Praxes section tells you that a Praxes doesn't cost a mana to cast even if it comes from a common or inferior arcana. It also mentions that a Praxes is supposed to shape a character's Gnosis, which could be an interesting hook for an ST willing to take the time to think about it.

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