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A Mage's First Dedicated Tool

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  • A Mage's First Dedicated Tool

    I'm playing through a Chronicle right now that started during the Awakening of the characters, so things are a bit different than usual - starting with only three dots of Arcana, no Rotes, no High Speech, etc. One thing that's come up recently is the use of Dedicated Tools. We had assumed that our characters would need to go through the process of Dedicating a Tool by using it in every spell cast over the course of a month, since that's the process we remembered about Dedicating Tools.

    On a re-read, though, the book has this to say:
    The Dedicated tool is often the first Path tool that the mage used, or something that she grabbed at the moment of her Awakening. If it gets destroyed or lost, she can replace it — but
    at a price. She must use her chosen tool as a Yantra in every spell she casts for a month (counting against her limit), regardless of whether doing so gives any benefit. Effect: Using a Dedicated tool as a Yantra penalizes any Paradox dice pool by –2; the mage can also use it as a Path or
    Order tool.
    This has a few implications, and I'm not sure if I'm reading them right:

    The Dedicated tool is often the first Path tool that the mage used
    Does this mean that your first Path Tool doesn't take a month of constant use to Dedicate, in light of it being your first symbolic connection to your Path post-Awakening? Or is it simply that the first Tool that a Mage uses, they're likely to use often, and therefore most likely to end up Dedicating it, even unknowingly?

    or something that she grabbed at the moment of her Awakening.
    Can you have an object that's neither a Path nor an Order Tool as your Dedicated Tool, with the rationale that it's something you bonded with at the moment of your Awakening?

  • #2
    As for the latter question my group has always answered yes, and it’s actually pretty typical.

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    • #3
      There is a lot of flexibility possible, an Acanthus could have been Macbeth in the Three Witches scene during their Awakening. When they return to normal, they have gone to a junkyard and magically transformed and sculpted scrap into a silver pocket watch with the 3 fates on one side and the witches on the other. A Mastigos could have plucked a star from the sky and forged it into a choker. A Moros who Awakened whilst buried alive, desperately clawing his way out of Stygia and his shallow grave could find himself clutching an obsidian dagger with a fine rowan handle sculpted like his vision of the Watchtower of the Lead Coin.

      You can also have it be part of building their Shadow Name. You have to work the symbolism into all your spells until you internalize it, become it, then it resonates instantly and becomes dedicated, a prize for passing the first milestone in becoming a trained mage. Maybe you get the raw materials, a souvenir from the Awakening that just "feels right", but will only become your Dedicated Tool after you refine it into its proper form, until it is complete and instantly resonates with your Art, something your mentor can guide you into doing. Maybe you need to assemble it, your Awakening gave you visions of how important it was, now you need to figure out what the clues mean, even after you get it, how do you put all these components together ? You know, make it an introductory adventure in itself.
      Last edited by KaiserAfini; 07-04-2018, 11:10 PM.


      New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

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      • #4
        Does this mean that your first Path Tool doesn't take a month of constant use to Dedicate, in light of it being your first symbolic connection to your Path post-Awakening?
        I think that's right. The part about using the tool repeatedly seems to me to be referring to the 'price' from the previous sentence.

        Originally posted by lnodiv View Post
        Can you have an object that's neither a Path nor an Order Tool as your Dedicated Tool, with the rationale that it's something you bonded with at the moment of your Awakening?
        I believe so. I think it mentions a mage using a drum as their dedicated tool, and that's not a path or an order tool. (Actually, I guess it could be an Order tool but it doesn't seem to be in this instance). I guess it probably wouldn't then give you the +1 yantra bonus but I'd be tempted to just ignore that though.


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        • #5
          Personally I've interpreted it to mean that the first dedicated tool a mage gets comes naturally as part of the awakening, or as mentioned above, as part of the process of choosing and establishing a Shadow Name. I've actually come to like the later option better after reading it. Either way, I doubt this is something that a mage could do 'accidentally', though I would consider it to be intuitive. They might not think of it right away, but even without a mentor I would expect any mage to figure out how to dedicate an item, and why they would want to. Remember, Mages don't understand the game mechanics like we do, but they understand magic way better than we ever could.

          The price of having to use it for a month does seem to only be referring to replacing a lost or damaged dedicated item.

          As to your campaigns particular situation, I think it would be a really great session topic. The players themselves could really guide the majority of the session as they set about choosing and establishing both Shadow Names, and Dedicated Tools.

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          • #6
            I always took it as meaning the tool you were trained with while being tutored by another mage. You get a bunch of other things due to being trained by one of the orders too.. Rote skill, high speech merit, atribute dot..
            Last edited by Yelesom; 07-05-2018, 08:24 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Yelesom View Post
              I always took it as meaning the tool you were trained with while being tutored by another mage. You get a bunch of other things due to being trained by one of the orders too.. Rote skill, high speech merit, atribute dot..
              I would disagree with that because the implication would be that a Mage without a tutor (who never ends up joining an Order or Ministry) would never develop a dedicated tool, which doesn't agree with the description or the intent.

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              • #8
                Any mage should eventually be able to make a dedicated tool, its all a matter of how long it takes to reach that understanding. Orders just make it easier, they codify what can be taught and make it available faster than if they were out on their own, but it doesn't mean it cannot happen. A Nameless mage can find a few rotes in an old grimmoire. And a Banisher can learn to use High Speech as a yantra, provided he dives into the Astral, reaches the Omphalos and has an epiphany, but that is one big if, the inherent danger means that, without help, this might come later in their career. The cool thing is that magic having a very big intuitive component gives that freedom to the storyteller. Its why despite High Speech not being a language (its a platonic ideal of one), one mage can say something that sounds as nonsensical as "the yakastrug that goes chowa chowa chowa" and the other one can grok the meaning, because its something they intuitively pick up by being in a close enough wavelength.

                So a mage could be using the same yantra for a while and accidentally make one, or they could have an unorthodox tutor that does not know how to make one but can point them in a general direction (like a Nameless Thrysus who was mentored by the spirit of the old WW2 battleship that is rusting at the docks). Also, no one said it had to be a mage, it could be the ghost of a mage, or a Sleepwalker retainer who picked up the basics by being a lab assistant, a vampire who is old enough to know these things, a former familiar, etc. The mage could be going on a family vacation to Yellowstone Park, only to realize that the geyser eruptions show images of mages practicing different techniques, including a tool dedication ritual, now he can learn the basics despite never having met the Orders, while also having a starting Mystery ("Why do they show these images ? What happened here ? Is it dangerous to learn these techniques ? Are they changing me ? Preparing me ?").

                In short, if it helps to flesh out the characters or to setup a cool story, go for it, the system is more than flexible enough to accommodate it.
                Last edited by KaiserAfini; 07-10-2018, 08:07 PM.


                New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

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