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Mage 2E System Hacks

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  • Vent0
    started a topic Mage 2E System Hacks

    Mage 2E System Hacks

    So what are some system hacks you've tried or thought about with Mage 2E? If you tried them, how did they turn out?




    Some I've thought about a little but haven't tried yet:

    Non-Immediate Spells
    Spell resolution goes into a special post-turn phase, keeping the Initiative order they were cast in otherwise. They still take that turn's Instant action, but can be disrupted, countered, or prepared for during that Turn.
    Purpose: This gives non-Spell actions a slight advantage in that they are immediate, but doesn't otherwise nerf the power of spell casting. High-end Fraying, Unraveling, Unmaking spells go from "I win" to "I win, unless you stop me right now."

    No Wisdom Trait
    This one removes Wisdom as a 0-10 trait that is tracked (Conditions representing Enlightened, Understanding, and Falling, optional). Instead Acts of Hubris immediately apply Paradox to spells (Rolls to Contain might be the same as the Casting Pool, or Resolve+Composure, or just automatic damage, though opting for partial containment may be possible in the last one). Nimbus propagation is tied to Gnosis (11 - Gnosis = Effective Wisdom).
    Purpose: Removes any kind of relative morality as a thing that is tracked, and has Acts of Hubris immediately affect magic. Absence of AoH affecting non-Spell actions may be a bug or a feature, depending on goals.

    Supernal Shock
    More a minor addition, than a full hack, but making the Dissonace roll more than just an Integrity Breaking point. DF and ES can give the Sleeper Supernatural Merits, with DF ones being Abyss aligned (Spell eating, Paradox auras, etc.) while ES ones being "magic" aligned (having the spell as a persistent effect, becoming Relic Attuned, the other Sleepwalker merits, etc.). Oh, and Acts of Hubris and/or spell Potency are penalties to the roll (making DF more common).
    Purpose: Makes public use of magic more risky, what with leaving magical mutants and fallout everywhere.
    Last edited by Vent0; 09-20-2018, 12:56 PM.

  • HarbingerLeo
    replied
    Originally posted by Michael View Post

    Yeah, but 'combat' is a mechanical feature. We differentiate as players because it's a game, but the characters don't. First thing players are going to ask is 'can I use this outside combat?'
    I also used combat for quick simplicity. Normally I'm a believer in letting someone be clever or sneaky and front load things, but like you said the system can be gamed. Maybe answer "That is what ritual casting is. This is a use it now or loose it thing. You can't get traction on anything else. The Lie hates the supernatural and breaks any thing else up. War and combat is unique for it's closeness to the human condition."

    That has it's own loopholes. In general if someone wants to rule lawyer or power game, spitting rules or lore out at them just excites. As a plan B there is: "No, it can't without breaking other things in the game. Work with me on this one. This rule is a homebrew add-on, Abusing it will get it taken away." This does need a bit of actual wisdom from the player.

    Maybe this is my interpretation but I'd call both of these limitations rather than downsides. By downsides, I meant negative reasons for why you might not want to use this. Like how Reaching is good, but has negative consequences that need to be addressed.
    Your not wrong.

    I actually like the 'blessed with suck' group of tropes. So far the idea doesn't have a instant then done downside. It ... rewards a commitment and a theme roleplay instead of demanding a cost. It's only issues as first written you have to pick a arcana of spells and stick with it. Add in other arcana get harder as the pushed one gets easier. If you need something outside that arcana you have lose momentum (maybe something more then a -2?) or get creative by doing something a alternate way.
    Last edited by HarbingerLeo; 09-27-2018, 01:21 PM.

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  • Michael
    replied
    Originally posted by HarbingerLeo View Post
    The first, I specified 'while in combat' for this reason:
    Yeah, but 'combat' is a mechanical feature. We differentiate as players because it's a game, but the characters don't. First thing players are going to ask is 'can I use this outside combat?'

    The Second, you have to keep using the same arcanium of spells. If you want to go from healing to teleporting to spirit summoning to hiding your get away car with mind magic your out of luck.
    Maybe this is my interpretation but I'd call both of these limitations rather than downsides. By downsides, I meant negative reasons for why you might not want to use this. Like how Reaching is good, but has negative consequences that need to be addressed.

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  • HarbingerLeo
    replied
    Paradox increases after each risk of paradox I believe. That was the seed idea. I may not have been clear.

    If you want to make it team based your going to have to find some way to divide the teams, location, themes, path, cabals, or something else without messy book keeping. Otherwise as soon as one mage start's building progress, the next could reset it back down to zero before a round is even over.

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  • Vent0
    replied
    Another option is you don't track it per character, but for the whole Scene. This means other Mages can exploit the Arcana Momentum you just built up.

    Also, doesn't Paradox start to increase after repeated spell use or Paradox risk?
    Last edited by Vent0; 09-26-2018, 08:31 PM.

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  • HarbingerLeo
    replied
    It has two subtle downside. The first, I specified 'while in combat' for this reason: If you want to let people keep getting free shots at you while you ramp up to some monster spell, you've already paid your dues. The Second, you have to keep using the same arcanium of spells. If you want to go from healing to teleporting to spirit summoning to hiding your get away car with mind magic your out of luck.

    It could be added to the momentum zeroes when no longer in the heat of the moment or combat, or the bonus to one arcanium is a half penalty to the others?
    Last edited by HarbingerLeo; 09-26-2018, 07:24 PM.

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  • Michael
    replied
    Originally posted by HarbingerLeo View Post
    Spell momentum:

    Each time you roll for paradox in the same scene, it gets hard and harder to resist them. Take that mechanic and flip it. Each time a caster casts a instant spell of the same arcanum as they did the last turn of combat give them cumulative +1 dice to the roll. Edit: Every turn they don't cast a instant spell momentum drops by -1. Every turn they cast a instant spell of a different arcanium momentum drops by -2 until it reaches or falls below zero and a mage may begin rebuilding momentum. Increasing that tally by +1 or -1 per ?two? mana spent toward these goals.

    I'm not sure why you would get rid of yantras, but that could be a possible replacement.
    I quite like the idea, I'm just not sure of the mechanic. I mean, could you not just keep firing low potency harmless spells to build up a huge amount of momentum and then surprise an enemy and bring that down on them. Hell, why is it restricted to combat? Use it in your sanctum to build any amount of power.

    It's very... gamey. Bit like refilling mana by spamming praxis; possible but not terribly evocative at the same time.

    It could do with some kind of downside I guess.

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  • HarbingerLeo
    replied
    (Ok, orders are really bad support group, granted! I'm still going to argue they actively try to keep each other sane just as a function of getting stuff done, and mages without them are at risk.)

    Spell momentum:

    Each time you roll for paradox in the same scene, it gets hard and harder to resist them. Take that mechanic and flip it. Each time a caster casts a instant spell of the same arcanum as they did the last turn of combat give them cumulative +1 dice to the roll. Edit: Every turn they don't cast a instant spell momentum drops by -1. Every turn they cast a instant spell of a different arcanium momentum drops by -2 until it reaches or falls below zero and a mage may begin rebuilding momentum. Increasing that tally by +1 or -1 per ?two? mana spent toward these goals.

    I'm not sure why you would get rid of yantras, but that could be a possible replacement.
    Last edited by HarbingerLeo; 09-26-2018, 01:18 AM.

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  • Vent0
    replied
    Well, the metaphysics are still Awakening's "there is an objective reality (even if it changes sometimes)" as opposed to Ascension's "Group-think defines local reality".

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  • BlueWinds
    replied
    This one isn't a system hack so much as it is running an entirely different game:

    Throw out all the Yantras from the book. Instead, pick a Paradigm, Focus and seven Tools from M20. The Tools are your new yantras, the only ones you can use, ranging from +1 to +3 depending on inconvenience of incorporating them into spells. You cannot cast without including at least one yantra.

    Instead of Paths, just choose two ruling and one inferior arcana.

    Bam, now we're playing Ascension instead of Awakening. (many, many merits will require reworking, but you can do those as the need arises, rather than in a big list)

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  • Vent0
    replied
    Originally posted by Tessie View Post
    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.
    Well, you might be able to set it up where actual downgrading (and upgrading) is rather hard to manage, which would limit the risks. Or have Understanding be the "baseline" Condition that Enlightened and Falling "default" back to, barring actions to the contrary. Going from Falling to Rapt would then require the Mage to consistently mess up in Falling.

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  • Vent0
    replied
    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?

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  • Scarlet Witch
    replied
    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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  • Dave Brookshaw
    replied
    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.

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  • Tessie
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:

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