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Mage 2E System Hacks

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  • #16
    Not judging either camp, but I'd like to hear an explanation of the benefits expected by switching Wisdom from a trait measuring a character's history to an action dependent element. Aside from different intepretations of the wording "tracking Wisdom" I feel there's an overall lack of explanation.


    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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    • #17
      Originally posted by Tessie View Post
      Not judging either camp, but I'd like to hear an explanation of the benefits expected by switching Wisdom from a trait measuring a character's history to an action dependent element. Aside from different intepretations of the wording "tracking Wisdom" I feel there's an overall lack of explanation.
      You won't be able to simply ask/check someone's Wisdom (or its indirect effects) and form judgements of their nature. Acting hubristicly has an immediate impact upon Paradox pools, instead of a check to lower a stat.
      In theory.


      Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
      Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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      • #18
        You can’t do that anyway except as a meta task. It takes only slightly less effort than simply tracking how many times a character risks AoH Paradox and bases their opinion of that character’s Wisdom on that.
        Last edited by Mrmdubois; 09-21-2018, 05:36 PM.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
          Acting hubristicly has an immediate impact
          How is this a good thing?


          Resident Sanguinary Analyst
          Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

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          • #20
            I think the wisdom trackers biggest benefit is how it affects your nimbus. That's what sells it for me, is a easy indication of your progress to losing control of yourself in the narrative, for longer scale stories. How it influences the nimbus and thus people around you can set off additional story hooks or fluff for downtime.

            Now, if your wisdom is low and the character doesn't think they've been unwise, and their colleagues agree that certain recent actions were necessary, but your nimbus is still out of control, this disconnect from how the character feels about their intangible wisdom and the slow loss of control could lead into some serious soul searching drama, possibly with a cool encounter with your daimon?

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            • #21
              (Woo, first post) There's another benefit of having the wisdom stat that gets mixed in with just honest human nature of "Your judging me!" or "Don't tell me what I can't and can do." because of the name 'wisdom' and 'hubris'. Good names for by the way. It's meta-throttle the story teller has on characters in character or players out of character have a god complex. It's mage, you should be enjoying unlimited cosmic power at least a little bit.

              Consider chronicles that cross over from say mage to Hunter: The Vigil or to Werewolf: The forsaken settings. Let's be honest, a properly prepared or tuned mage can just press the "I have that Arcana covered. I Win!" button and short circuit almost anything that would have taken a party of hunters, wolves, or changelings a whole session to solve in a single ten second spell. That's going to rub a whole lot of players the wrong way or make them feel useless. Enter wisdom.

              The story teller can then say: "Alright, your mage can do that. It's perfectly in character to do that. Your rolling a derangement though. Not because it was a direct sin against your wisdom, but because that's show boating a little and in character that power is going to your guy/gal's head. Keep power tripping, and your going to go mad and lose your mage."
              Last edited by HarbingerLeo; 09-23-2018, 11:26 PM.

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              • #22
                HarbingerLeo Yeah, no. Wisdom isn’t designed to be a way to limit Mages, but to change the dynamics of how they play and what they have to consider based on their past actions. Being low Wisdom doesn’t slow a Mage down at all.

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                • #23
                  Well in my defense it wasn't a argument to slow a mage down. It was a argument to slow a mage's player down by saying they're IC letting the power go to their head.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by HarbingerLeo View Post
                    Well in my defense it wasn't a argument to slow a mage down. It was a argument to slow a mage's player down by saying they're IC letting the power go to their head.
                    Wisdom dings don't do that either, talking to your player instead of using passive aggressive punishment tactics is how you do that. Also, avoid crossover if you don't want the Mage to solve all your problems.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                      Also, avoid crossover if you don't want the Mage to solve all your problems.
                      Let's not conflate people forgetting how opportunity costs work with crossover actually being untenable if it includes mage characters with agency.

                      The practical limitations you bring to bear on Awakened magic (in the event that "'I Win' buttons" are anything close to present) are the necessity of specialization to make rolls likely to succeed, the threat of spreading your resources too thin, and the necessity of maintenance to prevent or forestall cascade failures. A fifth-degree Adept is a character that could have become at least a first-degree Master capable of formulating their own rotes. A character who makes a habit of setting up long-term wards to deal with their problems is going to be constantly over-Reaching or dealing with a chronic Willpower deficit. Spending too much Mana in one sitting makes subsequent high-level casting that much more dangerous if you don't take the opportunity to recover immediately, and similar issues come up from the other side of the spellcasting mechanics when it comes to running out of Willpower.

                      A major chunk of Mage's gameplay loop is about pushing your limits so that you can do more things without the drawbacks of pushing your limits, and crossover puts those characters in contact with monsters that have completely different concerns vis-a-vis their magic powers and supernatural anatomy.


                      Resident Sanguinary Analyst
                      Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

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                      • #26
                        That is the awful accusing twist mixed in with game though.

                        I wince at it!

                        A big theme of both 1e and 2e is mages have a problem with sometimes having more power then they know how to handle safely or sanely. In a way orders or even the seers of the throne become to mages what alcoholics anonymous is to alcoholics. They fall to pride using their power because they can or it's thrilling, and they lose the sense of when not to use it. They become mad mages.

                        If a player doesn't pick up on he needs to work with people and step back to let other shine? Even if they could solve the problem them by selves more quickly. They're stepping over people because they can and they have the power to. Not caring about anything else. That should sound familiar. They're doing what the mage books do when they slide from grace into madness. Chipping away at their wisdom should not be something new and they could never see coming. It was there in print and explained from the beginning. (Edit2: I mean literally, chapter one, the lore. The fall of Atlantis and the silver ladder. The Exarchs reaching for power and control because they could, and didn't care what else it did the the rest of the world. It's held out as the example of mage villains.)



                        Edit: If you throw the Wisdom mechanic away your throwing a way the safety value.
                        Last edited by HarbingerLeo; 09-24-2018, 01:36 AM.

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                        • #27
                          It was suggested that Wisdom as a trait could be replaced with Conditions representing the various levels; Enlightened, Understanding, and Falling (which should be followed by Rapt). I believe that has potential, but I don't see a good way to progress through these Conditions. With less steps it just seems too easy to move up or down. Down especially if the (in my opinion way too restrictive, but perhaps not now if moving up represents a much larger step) prerequisites for regaining Wisdom still applies.
                          Then there's also the fact that Falling would be highly undesireable (which detracts from Falling being an interesting and fun angle to play your character) since the whole range of Falling characters would risk going Rapt if they were to fall again. This could be solved by giving the player the choice of whether the character goes Rapt or not, or there is a last chance stage/Condition in before going fully Rapt.


                          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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                          • #28
                            No no no no no. The Orders aren't a narcotics anonymous group.

                            Vampires' covenants are means by which vampires, who have innate urges toward becoming inhuman ravening monsters, find something to do with their time that maintains Humanity, or at least sets behavioural limits.

                            Mages (except a tiny subset of Banishers, and Rapt) *do* understand, instinctively, that wisdom is a thing. They call one another The Wise, and laud mages who have what they call Sophia. The Orders -all of the Orders - have behaviour rules that reinforce Wisdom in some ways but excuse or even cheer risking it in others. Every Order has its "you should be responsible with magic. Except when we say its okay" moments.

                            if they're narcotics anonymous, then they're really shitty sponsors.


                            Dave Brookshaw

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                            • #29
                              Wisdom limiting mages works if the players are good actors and good sports. I do it to myself and typically play around with wisdom 5 for my go to character.

                              I've also delightfully had a player figure out who to trust and who not to because they paid attention to the long-term nimbuses of my npcs, and deduces wisdoms from that.

                              I understand why people hate wisdom as a stat, its not as elegant as say, cover or harmony.

                              But it has been useful for me, at least.

                              If I could offer any homebrew advice to add a carrot ro anyone who wants something more for wisdom? Might I suggest awarding 1 extra obsession to low wisdom mages?

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                              • #30
                                While all this discussion is facinating, the primary goal of this thread was for posting and reporting system hacks. It looks like the finer points of Wisdom, it's impacts, implications, and role, deserves its own topic, yes?


                                Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                                Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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