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Bonus Experiences at Character Creation

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  • Bonus Experiences at Character Creation

    Let's say I want to start a chronicle where the PCs aren't newly-Awakened; rather, they're more experienced and have the stats/skills/Arcana dots to show that. In Beast, Demon and Changeling 2e (the other 2e corebooks I have access to) there's a table suggesting how many bonus Experiences to hand out for different levels of "experienced character," but the Mage 2e core doesn't have such a table. Mage also has a distinction between regular and Arcane Experience that those other games don't. On the other hand, Arcane Experience is only really necessary for buying Wisdom dots, Praxes or Legacy Attainments without a tutor.

    So my question is, could I get away with using the same tables from the other games to create more advanced Mage PCs? Or would it be better to grant bonus Experience and bonus Arcane Experience separately? If so, in what ratio?

  • #2
    It's probably fine to just give them regular bonus XP following the guidelines from those other games and then after you see the results you can tweak it by handing out either more Mundane XP or serving up some Arcane XP in addition.

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    • #3
      Also: Characters at generation are not newly Awakened. They have 6 dots in Arcana and up to 3 in Gnosis, which shows quite some profound training. You can have a mentor, status in an order and so on. A Mage at generation is probably a mediocre example of it's kind and a lot will probably never achieve much more experience.

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      • #4
        Chargen level mages are normally assumed to have about a year's worth of training.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by LadyLens View Post
          Chargen level mages are normally assumed to have about a year's worth of training.
          I know. This is for a game my husband wants to run, which would be set in post-WW2 Berlin. Since all the characters Awakened before/early on during the war, it makes more sense for them to have the bonus Experience than still be at chargen level.

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          • #6
            Makes sense to me.

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            • #7
              You can use the Vampire table as a useful yardstick. I believe the xp amounts are the same across the other gamelines.

              Rank Bonus Experiences
              Around the block 5
              Rising star 10
              Ancilla 15
              Rank elder 25
              Mover and shaker 35
              Urban Legend 50
              Methuselah 100

              P.S.: Do not believe for a second that those amount are accurate in relation to their corresponding descriptors. IMO, a PC is a mover and shaker at 100 xp and up.
              Last edited by Zooroos; 07-26-2018, 01:25 PM. Reason: Clarification

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Zooroos View Post
                Y

                P.S.: Do not believe for a second that those amount are accurate in relation to their corresponding descriptors. IMO, a PC is a mover and shaker at 100 xp and up.
                While I find the idea of building Methuselah with xp arduous and pointless, 35 xp is ALOT in CoD.


                My Mage 2e Homebrew

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Flinty View Post
                  While I find the idea of building Methuselah with xp arduous and pointless, 35 xp is ALOT in CoD.
                  Really depends on how you spend it. 35 XP can make you really great at one thing, but if you spread it out like a realistic character you're just making minor improvements. Especially for non-human characters who have both their supernatural traits and the regular Attributes/Skills/Merits.
                  We generally start with 15 extra XP and a 11/7/7 spread on Skills (amounting to an effective 21 extra XP) just to round out the characters a bit.

                  As for extra XP for mages specifically, don't worry about splitting it up between regular and Arcane XP. Just either make it all regular XP (since only Wisdom and Legacy Attainments without a tutor are restricted to only AXP) or just make starting XP count as both. Having Arcane XP separate "forces" the player to spend it only on traits that can be bought with AXP, which players generally have absolutely no problem buying anyway.


                  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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                  • #10
                    Additional thoughts: Since Arcana are so extremely powerful with great gaps between the different dot ratings (especially around the fourth dot) it might be in your interest (depending on how your players are) to put some limitations on how high they may increase their Gnosis with starting XP. Many players (myself included) would just love to start with Gnosis 4-5 and multiple Arcana at 4, and that's just crazy powerful.
                    (Gnosis 4 and two Arcana at 4 requires only 17 XP, if you use Merit dots to increase Gnosis twice.)
                    Last edited by Tessie; 07-27-2018, 06:52 AM.


                    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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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                      Additional thoughts: Since Arcana are so extremely powerful with great gaps between the different dot ratings (especially around the fourth dot) it might be in your interest (depending on how your players are) to put some limitations on how high they may increase their Gnosis with starting XP. Many players (myself included) would just love to start with Gnosis 4-5 and multiple Arcana at 4, and that's just crazy powerful.
                      (Gnosis 4 and two Arcana at 4 requires only 17 XP, if you use Merit dots to increase Gnosis twice.)
                      Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I think it’s actually counter-productive to imply that there is.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                        Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I think it’s actually counter-productive to imply that there is.
                        You're right. I think I kinda just assumed that people on this forum would look down on that sort of behaviour when I wrote that. My mistake.

                        However, it still stands as a warning because starting so powerful can remove the feeling of character advancement during longer games. Especially for Mage where there's a soft ceiling not far above multiple Adepthood, when you've mastered your three ruling Arcana and your supernatural powers either stagnate because you're buying mundane traits, or starts growing sideways where they risk overlapping with other PCs (which can be a real problem in Mage where unique/custom powers are highly limited). On top of mages easier reaching such a ceiling (by virtue of how their powers are structured and starting with double the amount of dots as usual) they also have a system for gaining an extra type of XP with relatively few restrictions on how to use it, compared to other splats. That makes advancement even faster.
                        So, despite wanting to play a multiple degree Adept, I still just gave my own group suggestions to slow down progression in the Arcana.


                        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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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                          You're right. I think I kinda just assumed that people on this forum would look down on that sort of behaviour when I wrote that. My mistake.

                          However, it still stands as a warning because starting so powerful can remove the feeling of character advancement during longer games. Especially for Mage where there's a soft ceiling not far above multiple Adepthood, when you've mastered your three ruling Arcana and your supernatural powers either stagnate because you're buying mundane traits, or starts growing sideways where they risk overlapping with other PCs (which can be a real problem in Mage where unique/custom powers are highly limited). On top of mages easier reaching such a ceiling (by virtue of how their powers are structured and starting with double the amount of dots as usual) they also have a system for gaining an extra type of XP with relatively few restrictions on how to use it, compared to other splats. That makes advancement even faster.
                          So, despite wanting to play a multiple degree Adept, I still just gave my own group suggestions to slow down progression in the Arcana.
                          You’re reaching a cap in your arcane power and mechanical benefits, I can agree with that. However, overlap in powers or abilities as you grow sideways isn’t a problem as that will lead you to being an even better team player. The real differences in Mage shine through in characterization and the actions you’re willing to take. You’re doing a disservice to yourself if you say that you can’t play a high level Mage completely different than the guy sitting next to you with a similarly powered high level Mage when the ST has been doing that with the NPCs for the entire course of the chronicle. I mean really it may as well be a complaint of humans being too samey just because most of us fit a general set of specs.

                          Also, feeling like your character is growing can be accomplished via advancement of agenda just as much as marking dots on a sheet, and the stuff you actually do in the game are the parts you will remember regardless of whether it’s tied to an XP expenditure.

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                          • #14
                            I started writing a pretty long post, but it ultimately just boiled down to this: Psychology.
                            My investment in my character is partly based on my character's ability in the game, and the feeling of redundancy (which, admittedly, may be lessened if taking different approaches) can undermine my investment in my character. Other people may approach their games and characters differently.


                            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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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                              I started writing a pretty long post, but it ultimately just boiled down to this: Psychology.
                              My investment in my character is partly based on my character's ability in the game, and the feeling of redundancy (which, admittedly, may be lessened if taking different approaches) can undermine my investment in my character. Other people may approach their games and characters differently.
                              Yeah, I get that. I'm not saying it's wrong either, I tend to try playing unique characters myself. I'm just saying that there's more than one way to avoid redundancy than simply avoiding mechanics overlap.

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