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  • Mechanics of Delayed Paradox

    Context: I'm trying to figure out the actual mechanics to implement for a game I'm running.

    So according to page 243 "as long as a spell that qualifies for the bonus doesn’t leave the Verge, it doesn’t risk Paradox unless a Sleeper is present at some point during the spell’s duration." The same also applies to a mage in their own Oneiros.

    Which is all well and good. But say somebody steals the soulstone. Now how do I as the DM mechanically resolve this potential paradox that happens outside the standard casting sequence?

    For that matter, what counts as the "the spell ... leave(ing) the Verge"? Is it just a matter of being cast from the inside onto the outside? What about an Acanthus travelling back in time inside the Demesne and then walking out of it with the 10 reach Shifting Sands spell on them? What if they personally don't leave but they call someone outside the Demesne and thus the temporal impact of the spell leaves?


  • #2
    Originally posted by Lareath View Post
    Now how do I as the DM mechanically resolve this potential paradox that happens outside the standard casting sequence?
    Context would suggest that "the spells duration" means "the time spent casting the spell," because that's how Paradox rolls work.

    What about an Acanthus travelling back in time inside the Demesne and then walking out of it with the 10 reach Shifting Sands spell on them?
    If they're casting Shifting Sands in the Demesne then they're going back to wherever they were ten scenes ago regardless. That's leaving. Time magic doesn't cause you to teleport from your original frame of reference to wherever you were when you cast the spell.

    What if they personally don't leave but they call someone outside the Demesne and thus the temporal impact of the spell leaves?
    As above. The temporal impact of the spell is leaving regardless unless you're dealing with a situation where you rewind strictly within the time you were in the area.


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

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Satchel View Post
      Context would suggest that "the spells duration" means "the time spent casting the spell," because that's how Paradox rolls work.

      If they're casting Shifting Sands in the Demesne then they're going back to wherever they were ten scenes ago regardless. That's leaving. Time magic doesn't cause you to teleport from your original frame of reference to wherever you were when you cast the spell.

      As above. The temporal impact of the spell is leaving regardless unless you're dealing with a situation where you rewind strictly within the time you were in the area.
      Yes, I should have clarified. I meant the Acanthus had stuck around inside the Demesne for a few days before casting the spell. Rewinding to the time just after they entered the Demesne.

      What happens if they then walk outside? Is that different from making a phone call? What if in the original timeline they walked outside or made a phone call and in the NEW timeline they don't?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Lareath View Post
        What happens if they then walk outside? Is that different from making a phone call? What if in the original timeline they walked outside or made a phone call and in the NEW timeline they don't?
        See "that's how Paradox rolls work."


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

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        • #5
          "as long as a spell that qualifies for the bonus doesn’t leave the Verge"

          If you cast, say, Gain Skill on yourself with a duration of a day while you are inside your library Demesne, you don't risk Paradox despite all the Reaches spent to grant multiple Skills. You never intended to leave the Demesne with that spell because you planned on writing a paper all day and night.
          But then something happens that forces you, and thus the spell on you, out of that Demesne. Does that mean you're supposed to roll Paradox right there despite it not being in concert with the casting of the spell as is otherwise always the case? If yes, can you spend Mana at that moment to reduce the Paradox dice pool?


          Bloodline: The Stygians
          Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
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          • #6
            I don't think so. I think what they are trying to say is you can't cast Sympathetic spells with unlimited Reach on a target outside the Demesne from within the Demesne, for example. After the spell is cast the idea of Paradox is meaningless.

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            • #7
              I agree that the bit about not leaving the Verge could be read as "the spell, when cast, has no effect on a subject or area outside the demesne or Verge", in isolation. However, when combined with "unless a sleeper is present at some point during the spell's duration" it becomes pretty clear (to me at least) that Paradox can apparently happen after the initial spellcasting.

              I'd rule it as follows:

              If you cast a spell in a demesne or Verge, note your paradox dice pool, but do not roll it. When the spell leaves the demesne, e.g. by being cast on you and you leaving, roll your paradox dice pool at that time. You can contain, and you can spend mana up to your turn limit to mitigate the paradox. Using dedicated tools and soulstones as yantras to mitigate paradox must have been done when forming the Imago. If multiple spells leave in one turn, roll each paradox pool in succession, from first spell cast to last, adding dice as normal for previous paradox rolls.

              Same thing happens if one or more sleepers walk in on your spells, except that a die is added to each paradox pool if the corresponding spell is obviously magic.

              My logic for that is that the Verge or demesne protects your spells from the Lie. However, when your spells then exit that protective bubble and go back into the Fallen World proper (or a sleeper brings his Abyssal shard into your demesne, breaching that protection), the Abyss goes "oh, no, you don't" and hits you with Paradox.

              Edit: Additionally, I've previously stolen an idea from a post here to increase the power of the Sanctum merit, allowing spells to be "hung" in the sanctum, instead of each mage getting "free" spell control while in the Sanctum. With this change, a Sanctum with a demesne can protect any spells "hung" in this manner, such that when the spell leaves the demesne, they do not provoke Paradox. However, sleepers entering the demesne will still trigger Paradox, as the protection is breached. This provides a thematic reasoning for why mage towers tend to be far away from civilization.

              Edit 2: I didn't notice Satchel explaining his reasoning for the duration point.

              Originally posted by Satchel View Post
              Context would suggest that "the spells duration" means "the time spent casting the spell," because that's how Paradox rolls work.
              I do not agree with that interpretation. It's pretty clear elsewhere in the book that the duration of a spell is the duration of its effect, not its casting time. If that was the intent, I suspect they'd have written it as "unless a sleeper is present while the spell is being cast"
              Last edited by SimonPip; 10-18-2018, 06:48 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SimonPip View Post
                I do not agree with that interpretation. It's pretty clear elsewhere in the book that the duration of a spell is the duration of its effect, not its casting time. If that was the intent, I suspect they'd have written it as "unless a sleeper is present while the spell is being cast"
                Wordcount is a thing, errors slip through errata passes, and if it was intended for Paradox rolls on spells to be able to occur after the fact then there would be more information on how to handle that situation than nothing at all, because the choice to contain or release a Paradox occurs before the spellcasting roll is made, the primary danger of releasing a Paradox is its impact on the spellcasting roll, and the limit of a spell's ability to go wildly wrong after casting is already represented by Dissonance.


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                • #9
                  SimonPip your interpretation of how to handle Paradox is incorrect. Sleepers can enter Verges, at which point any spells cast that they witness run the risk of Paradox. They’ll also add to the unraveling of the Verge in all likelihood, but that’s an aside.

                  The restrictions on Verges and Demesnes is for spells being cast that cross the place’s boundary while being cast. By the way, casting a spell does have a duration from one to several turns depending on the number of yantras which is what Satchel meant by that.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                    SimonPip your interpretation of how to handle Paradox is incorrect.
                    Yes and no. As I interpret that section, you risk Paradox based on future events (i.e. if the spell "leaves" the demesne, the spell being a pattern attached to another pattern, or if a sleeper enters the Demesne during the duration, again based on an interpretation that assumes the writers did not word this section poorly)

                    This will very likely run into issues when a character is forced to leave their Demesne or a sleeper enters. Hence I will, in my games, run with the ruling outlined, which will move the Paradox rolls to when they are required, even if this clashes with how Paradox rolls normally work. I do not find this to be a big problem, since Demesnes and Verges already modify how Paradox works.

                    If your meaning was that the correct interpretation is that it only risks Paradox when the spell affects subjects outside the Demesne at the time of casting, or if a sleeper is present during the casting of a spell, well, at that point you're arguing that your interpretation is correct by stating that same interpretation. For the record, I do not claim that my interpretation is necessarily correct, as it is an interpretation. I do not think that your interpretation is necessarily correct either, though, as it is just that: An interpretation.

                    Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                    By the way, casting a spell does have a duration from one to several turns depending on the number of yantras which is what Satchel meant by that.
                    I understood what Satchel meant. What I mean is that during the "Casting Time" section, the word duration does not show up once. However, the section for how long a spell lasts (past the casting time) is literally called "Duration", and starts with "Duration is simply how long a spell lasts once cast".
                    Last edited by SimonPip; 10-19-2018, 06:59 AM. Reason: Replaced section with more thought-out response.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SimonPip View Post
                      I understood what Satchel meant. What I mean is that during the "Casting Time" section, the word duration does not show up once. However, the section for how long a spell lasts (past the casting time) is literally called "Duration", and starts with "Duration is simply how long a spell lasts once cast".
                      Here's the thing: Setting aside the fact that this reading produces a mechanical outcome that the book does not offer any actual support for, every time the phrase "the spell's duration" shows up throughout the book except for two instances, the word "duration" is written with a capital letter to signify that it is a proper noun referring to the spell factor. The two instances that it doesn't are the Sleeper section's mention of Stealing Fire and the passage under discussion.

                      Demesnes — which are one of two things the section under discussion is talking about — are specified to mostly help with ritual spells, which can take hours to cast under normal circumstances and have an option available to extend that time even further. Which is more likely: that the book is using "duration" to mean "the length of the spell's active runtime" for prompting a roll that only occurs before the spell starts running, or that when the book says "a Sleeper is present at some point in the spell's duration" it means "at some point during the several minutes to multiple hours of ritual activity necessary to trigger the instant action roll of spellcasting, a Sleeper is present to trigger a Paradox in the same way as they would for any other spell"?


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

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                      • #12
                        Heck, if it was the latter then we wouldn't have Dissonance, you'd just roll for Paradox every time a Sleeper popped up around magic.

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                        • #13
                          First off, I will reiterate, I do not actually think the book is saying "do Paradox rolls during the duration of a spell", I am interpreting it as "do it at the time of casting, but have it be dependent on events past the time the spell is cast". Therefore, a spell cast in a Demesne which remains within the Demesne, but where a sleeper enters during the effect of the spell, you roll Paradox immediately when casting, as normal, and then the spell suffers Dissonance when the sleeper enters.

                          That is, however, very difficult to work with in a game, so I noted that I would house rule it so that Paradox happens when that future event happened (and perhaps the word ruling was ill-advised, and muddied my intention; that last part is a house rule, for my games, which I shared for others who may share my interpretation of the section)

                          Now, as for duration vs Duration, there are a couple more places where they slipped and wrote duration instead of Duration. Spell factors learned as Deep Information and limiting Imbued Items to only store spells that do not have an indefinite duration. Additionally, whenever they use the word duration (or Duration) they refer to the duration of the spell effect, not the casting time. When they refer to the casting time, they use the term "casting time".

                          So which is more likely: That they missed pressing the Shift key in 4 places instead of 3, or that they accidentally used a term they explicitly define and consistently use as the duration of the effect to refer to the casting time (which they explicitly define and consistently refer to as "casting time")

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SimonPip View Post
                            First off, I will reiterate, I do not actually think the book is saying "do Paradox rolls during the duration of a spell", I am interpreting it as "do it at the time of casting, but have it be dependent on events past the time the spell is cast". Therefore, a spell cast in a Demesne which remains within the Demesne, but where a sleeper enters during the effect of the spell, you roll Paradox immediately when casting, as normal, and then the spell suffers Dissonance when the sleeper enters.

                            That is, however, very difficult to work with in a game,
                            It is, in fact, actually impossible barring extremely consistent intruder totals, because that one circumstance can apply both bonuses and dice tricks to a roll whose total successes, as mentioned, matter significantly to the outcome of the spell.

                            So which is more likely: That they missed pressing the Shift key in 4 places instead of 3, or that they accidentally used a term they explicitly define and consistently use as the duration of the effect to refer to the casting time (which they explicitly define and consistently refer to as "casting time")
                            I'm still gonna stick with the one that doesn't require out-of-character precognition to use in a fashion that's consistent with the rest of the game mechanics.


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

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                            • #15
                              I agree with Satchel. There is no mechanical justification for post-casting Paradox rolls. That's what Dissonance is for as Mrm dubois rightly pointed out. It's clumsy wording. Nothing more.

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