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  • Prime and Yantras

    While Yantras are one of the purviews of Prime, the book doesn't do a great job of explaining how to interact with that purview mechanically. So I'm asking opinions.

    At what dot and reach can
    -dice be added or subtracted from a yantra
    -yantra casting time be accelerated or decelerated
    -useful actions be treated as reflexive actions, like Adamant Hand does
    -rote action rule be applied to spellcasting
    -yantras be made to use up more or less gnosis-defined yantra slots
    -yantras have their fundamental properties altered, such as a sacrament not being destroyed or a gun being used to mend clothing
    -a yantra be altered to disrupt the spell
    -a spell act as a yantra in-and-of itself for casting another spell
    -the symbolic power of a yantra be stored for later use. ex. Light a voodoo doll of the target on fire so the first use of magic to harm the target later that day is empowered
    -the same as above except the yantra bonus is preserved though multiple uses. ex. Light a picture of the target on fire so that all magic used to harm the target is empowered
    -yantras be shared between multiple mages
    -a target be categorically denied as a yantra. ex. making a Space mage's picture collection be unable to function as sympathetic link yantras
    -a yantra be forcefully added into another mage's spell while they are casting
    -runic yantras be made not to cause the collapse of the spell if disrupted


  • #2
    Originally posted by Lareath View Post
    While Yantras are one of the purviews of Prime, the book doesn't do a great job of explaining how to interact with that purview mechanically. So I'm asking opinions.
    -dice be added or subtracted from a yantra
    It probably can't. The published Yantra boosting spell As Above, So Below only applies dice tricks and I take that to mean that it's not intended to be possible to increase spell casting dice pools with other spells.

    -yantra casting time be accelerated or decelerated
    That would be more Time than Prime, and not even Time changes the action economy afaik.

    -useful actions be treated as reflexive actions, like Adamant Hand does
    Do you mean "useful actions to be treated as reflexive Yantras"? I don't know. Sounds like Weaving/Perfecting to me, giving yourself more symbolic oomph to grant your actions the weight necessary to be used as Yantras. Would still be limited to spells fitting to those actions, like the Order Tool Yantra granted by Adamant Hand.

    -rote action rule be applied to spellcasting
    If it's possible it would likely require +1 Reach and a point of Mana when casting As Above, So Below. Since it's not already added as a Reach option it might not be intended to be possible.

    -yantras be made to use up more or less gnosis-defined yantra slots
    Highly unlikely to be possible, if only for balance reasons. The Yantra limit (alongside Arcana and Gnosis) is what defines a mage's spell casting potential. Changing that would change the entire game and make Prime mages objectively better than all the other mages.

    -yantras have their fundamental properties altered, such as a sacrament not being destroyed or a gun being used to mend clothing
    The thing with Sacraments is that you destroy them to empower the spell, it's not that they get destroyed by the spell casting. Not destroying a Sacrament Yantra would just make it not be a Yantra in the first place.
    The gun thing wouldn't work either, unless you use Matter to turn the gun into something that can be symbolic of repairing clothes. A Yantra is a Yantra because of its symbolism. Changing an object's symbolism with a spell would open up to mages at the right Arcana levels just not care at all about what kind of Yantras they use since they can manufacture them at will. Not good gameplay.

    -a yantra be altered to disrupt the spell
    The only Yantras that has any bearing on a spell after it's cast are Concentration and Runes. You can affect those, as described in their respective rules.

    -a spell act as a yantra in-and-of itself for casting another spell
    You can use spells to manufacture Yantras in various ways, but just having a spell be a Yantra seems like it wouldn't make the game any more fun. It would just serve to remove coming up with Yantras so I would personally disallow it for gameplay reasons.

    -the symbolic power of a yantra be stored for later use. ex. Light a voodoo doll of the target on fire so the first use of magic to harm the target later that day is empowered
    Sounds like it would be conjunctional with Time. Cool idea. Due to how spell stacking works you'd only be able to have one such spell active on yourself at a time so it doesn't seem like it would be too bad for gameplay. Like having a prepackaged Yantra with you. Sounds like it would cost Mana as well, carrying a piece of

    -the same as above except the yantra bonus is preserved though multiple uses. ex. Light a picture of the target on fire so that all magic used to harm the target is empowered
    With the exception of Sacraments, you already can. You just use the Yantra one more time. But I can see it as a Reach option on the above spell, costing one Mana to per additional usage that is saved.

    -yantras be shared between multiple mages
    How do you mean? Using a Yantra doesn't disallow another mage from using the same Yantra, with the exception of sacraments.

    -a target be categorically denied as a yantra. ex. making a Space mage's picture collection be unable to function as sympathetic link yantras
    I'm thinking Fraying or Unravelling. Unless you're using AoE to affect the entire picture collection, each photo would have to be a subject to the spell since each photo would be used individually as Sympathetic Yantras.

    -a yantra be forcefully added into another mage's spell while they are casting
    What purpose would this even serve? Using up one of their slots with a worse Yantra than they planned on using? Generally you can't mess with a mage's Imago other than just disrupting it with Counterspell so it's a no.

    -runic yantras be made not to cause the collapse of the spell if disrupted
    This seems more like a Merit than a spell. Runes are partly based on Mantras so it makes sense to me that it would be possible to just write down your High Speech instead of speaking it out loud, and once used as a Mantra-style Yantra it wouldn't matter if it's disrupted or not.


    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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    • #3
      Originally posted by Tessie View Post
      -rote action rule be applied to spellcasting
      If it's possible it would likely require +1 Reach and a point of Mana when casting As Above, So Below. Since it's not already added as a Reach option it might not be intended to be possible.
      Notably, there's an example of this on the books, and it's a Reach effect for Superlative Luck that effectively replicates the modifiers of casting from a Grimoire.


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

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Lareath View Post
        -runic yantras be made not to cause the collapse of the spell if disrupted
        Maybe a reach on the Invisible Runes spell?


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        • #5
          -dice be added or subtracted from a yantra
          Hmm. Adding a die to a Yantra or adding two with Exceptional Success wouldn't shred things and would certainly be a nice effect. Prime 3 (Perfecting)
          Making a Yantra a pain to work with, on the other hand, is more likely Prime 2 (Fraying)

          -yantra casting time be accelerated or decelerated
          Presuming you're referring to the activation of Yantras, I still don't see it as a Prime-only thing. As a Reach 1 option for Time accelerations of mundane actions, (with Prime 2 (Ruling)) I like. I could be persuaded that there could be a "This specific sort of Yantra simply doesn't take time to activate" spell, though, for some things, like Place with Space, or Time with, gasp, Time, Runes with Matter, etc..

          -useful actions be treated as reflexive actions, like Adamant Hand does
          Not a Prime thing, really. If you go with a really broad interpretation (as many do) on the other hand, this is adding some seriously new features to what a Yantra provides, so Prime 3 (Weaving) at bare minimum.

          -rote action rule be applied to spellcasting
          Sounds about right for a Prime 3 (Perfecting) Reach 2ish upgrade.

          -yantras be made to use up more or less gnosis-defined yantra slots
          Prime 3 (Weaving) but with some hard limits. Maybe calculate it as a modification to effective Gnosis or something.

          -yantras have their fundamental properties altered, such as a sacrament not being destroyed or a gun being used to mend clothing
          Sacraments are consumed, so you'd be changing what it is from one thing to a very different other. That's a lot like Patterning, so Prime 4. Kinda sounds like a Reach 1 option. Using a thing that isn't a valid Yantra as a Yantra would be Prime 5 (Making).

          -a yantra be altered to disrupt the spell
          For disrupting the Yantra during casting, see above on dice modification, though die penalties imposed on the casting as die tricks should be an option.
          For breaking a link twixt Yantra and effect, on the other hand, such as using Prime to break Concentration or rub out the runes or similar thing? That's Straight up Prime 3 (Fraying).

          -a spell act as a yantra in-and-of itself for casting another spell
          Prime 5 (Making) and it should be nice.

          -the symbolic power of a yantra be stored for later use. ex. Light a voodoo doll of the target on fire so the first use of magic to harm the target later that day is empowered
          -the same as above except the yantra bonus is preserved though multiple uses. ex. Light a picture of the target on fire so that all magic used to harm the target is empowered

          Seems like Prime 3 (Perfecting) would work. Essentially, I'd see such an effect run on a standard Duration and, possibly, provide the lesser of Potency and Yantra bonus. For just the next use, I could see Prime 2(Ruling) being sufficient.

          -yantras be shared between multiple mages
          One guy casts this and takes the action to invoke the Yantra and all his designated pals gain the ability to add that without counting towards the round limit on free Yantras? That's Prime 2(Ruling) or, perhaps, Prime 3(Perfecting).

          -a target be categorically denied as a yantra. ex. making a Space mage's picture collection be unable to function as sympathetic link yantras
          Space and Death already do a good job on that, but accessing that option via Prime makes sense, also, sure.
          Categorically impossible to use as a Yantra seems like a straight up Prime 5 (Unmaking) effect, but versions that degrade or suppress such uses should be Prime 3 (Fraying).or even Prime 2 (Shielding)

          -a yantra be forcefully added into another mage's spell while they are casting
          Prime 3 (Weaving) seems the lowest possible one could argue for that, but I'm considering this a pretty strange imposition into the normal nature of Yantras, so Prime 4(Patterning) seems better.

          -runic yantras be made not to cause the collapse of the spell if disrupted
          Serious upgrade, essentially granting a bonus without needing the nature to remain constant. That's Prime 4 (Patterning), again.
          Last edited by thenate; 10-23-2018, 03:12 AM.


          Grump, grouse, and/or gripe.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Tessie View Post
            snip.
            I'm left wondering: other than the example spells in the book, what do you think Prime CAN do with the purview of Yantras? Particularly at the higher dot levels

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            • #7
              I once wrote up a spell for something like you mentioned. Supernal Eidolon (Prime •••)

              Practice Perfecting
              Primary Factor Duration
              Cost 1+ Mana
              Suggested Rote Skills Occult, Expression or Academics The mage calls on her vision of a perfect magical tool for a spell she plans to work. She creates from Tass (see Platonic Form) the perfect tool for a specific spell. For each potency she achieves on Eidolon the tool provides a +1 Yantra bonus (remember a single Yantra can’t grant more than a +5 bonus) for a specific spell (which can be a Rote, Praxis or a regular spell) or increase it’s Mana capacity by 1. The spell must be from one of the mages ruling Arcana.
              As Platonic Form spell the Tass holds by default 1 Mana and 1 mana is drained from the Yantra each time it is used. The tool created by this spell is a simple representation of size 1 or 2 max and has 1 Durability. A Yantra can be made for another mage to use but it still follows all the same rules (ie: the yantra can only effect spells from the creator’s Ruling Arcana.)

              Note Spell stacking rules apply; only the highest Potency Supernal Eidolon can be used for a given spell as a Yantra.
              • +1 Reach: The tool is the perfect Yantra for all spells of a specific ruling Arcana the mage possesses
              • +1 Reach: The tool encompasses an additional Ruling Arcana the mage possesses

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              • #8
                Originally posted by thenate View Post
                -dice be added or subtracted from a yantra
                -useful actions be treated as reflexive actions, like Adamant Hand does
                Not a Prime thing, really. If you go with a really broad interpretation (as many do) on the other hand, this is adding some seriously new features to what a Yantra provides, so Prime 3 (Weaving) at bare minimum.
                Ah, typo. I meant "useful actions get treated as reflexive yantras next turn, exactly like the Adamant Hand merit does". As in "This Merit allows use of that Skill in combat as a reflexive Order tool Yantra, adding dice to a spell cast on subsequent turns, or to a spell cast reflexively in the same turn as the combat action."

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lareath View Post
                  I'm left wondering: other than the example spells in the book, what do you think Prime CAN do with the purview of Yantras? Particularly at the higher dot levels
                  Not much, tbh. It's a game balance thing. Whoever can provide substantial boosts to Yantras will gain a huge advantage on all spell casting. All Arcana are supposed to be useful, but not so useful that not having any dots in it becomes a drawback.

                  One thing that might be possible is Prime+Space Perfecting to increase the bonus of a Sympathetic Yantra one step (probably dependent on the sympathetic connection between subject and Yantra), or possibly even have it grant its original bonus during sympathetic casting.


                  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
                    I’d go a different direction and allow Prime a lot of leeway. I don’t think it would make Prime the arcana you personally must have, although it would certainly be potent. It would make Prime the arcana you should make sure someone you know has, but all the arcana are like that to some extent already. This just further cements the need Mages have to make allies in their cabals and Orders. Not saying my way would be better though, just s different take that still falls under a reliable interpretation of the rules.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                      -dice be added or subtracted from a yantra

                      The published Yantra boosting spell As Above, So Below only applies dice tricks.
                      This isn't a good measuring stick. 'The published spells to interact with $Purview only do x' stifles creativity needlessly, and if applied broadly, would just result in no need for Creative Thaum period. I wouldn't allow this either because it seems inconsistent with the setting, but not because of how the published spell operates.

                      Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                      -rote action rule be applied to spellcasting

                      Since it's not already added as a Reach option it might not be intended to be possible.
                      Tessie, pls.

                      There are examples of doing this in the book via other Arcana. Allowing Prime to do it when a critical part of spellcasting falls under it's domain is more than fair. Treat it like using a Grimoire, and make it cost 2 Reach, either for As Above, So Below or some other CT spell if you don't want to modify vanilla spells.

                      Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                      -yantras be made to use up more or less gnosis-defined yantra slots
                      Highly unlikely to be possible, if only for balance reasons... make Prime mages objectively better than all the other mages.
                      No:
                      Originally posted by Mage the Awakening: Creative Thaumaturgy
                      Don’t worry about whether the effect seems “too powerful” for its dot level or “unbalanced” compared to a similar effect under a different Arcanum; part of the fun of playing Mage is coming up with clever, unexpectedly-useful applications of magic.
                      But:
                      Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                      Changing that would change the entire game
                      Yes. It's inconsistent with the setting as written; Yantra limits wouldn't matter much to any Mages at that point and one of the driving factors behind wizards doing wizard things would disappear.

                      Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                      -yantras have their fundamental properties altered, such as a sacrament not being destroyed or a gun being used to mend clothing

                      The gun thing wouldn't work either, unless you use Matter to turn the gun into something that can be symbolic of repairing clothes. A Yantra is a Yantra because of its symbolism. Changing an object's symbolism with a spell would open up to mages at the right Arcana levels just not care at all about what kind of Yantras they use since they can manufacture them at will.
                      "You can change the object's symbolism by changing it into a different arrangement of crude matter with one Arcanum, but you can't do it with the one that actually governs Yantras and Truth itself because that's bad gameplay."

                      Hard disagree. If transforming the object via Matter works, you should be able to alter the symbolism directly with Prime. Whether you allow Matter transformations to work like this is a wholly different debate.

                      Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                      -a spell act as a yantra in-and-of itself for casting another spell

                      You can use spells to manufacture Yantras in various ways, but just having a spell be a Yantra seems like it wouldn't make the game any more fun. It would just serve to remove coming up with Yantras so I would personally disallow it for gameplay reasons.
                      Again, the bias towards Matter/other gross Arcana: You're fine with a physical object or force being manufactured via magic to be used as a Yantra, but not something created by the Arcana whose domain actually covers Yantras?

                      This should work: at my table it would require Making, and the resultant Yantra would be limited to +1, or +2 with a Reach, and you could only use one spell-yantra in any given casting, but I don't otherwise see any problems here - by the time you can use Making you have several Yantra slots, and letting someone whose magical domain contains the magic of magic itself and Yantras fill one of those slots with a spell seems fine (and flavorful) to me.

                      Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                      -runic yantras be made not to cause the collapse of the spell if disrupted

                      This seems more like a Merit than a spell. Runes are partly based on Mantras so it makes sense to me that it would be possible to just write down your High Speech instead of speaking it out loud, and once used as a Mantra-style Yantra it wouldn't matter if it's disrupted or not.
                      We have spells that grant Merits, and Merits that are solely represented by having had specific spells used on you; see 'Familiar'. This should be fine as a spell if you're okay with the concept in general.
                      Last edited by lnodiv; 10-25-2018, 11:12 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by lnodiv View Post
                        This isn't a good measuring stick. 'The published spells to interact with $Purview only do x' stifles creativity needlessly, and if applied broadly, would just result in no need for Creative Thaum period. I wouldn't allow this either because it seems inconsistent with the setting, but not because of how the published spell operates.
                        Generally I wouldn't say that a spell already covers the concept and disallow another spell who goes about the same themes but differently, but in this case a spell that grants extra bonus dice is just so, so much more worth than a spell that grants 8 Again. The absence of such a spell is glaring and in this case I take that to mean that it isn't intended to work like that.


                        Tessie, pls.

                        There are examples of doing this in the book via other Arcana. Allowing Prime to do it when a critical part of spellcasting falls under it's domain is more than fair. Treat it like using a Grimoire, and make it cost 2 Reach, either for As Above, So Below or some other CT spell if you don't want to modify vanilla spells.
                        I thought it was weird that such a Reach option would be omitted but Satchel already pointed out that I'm wrong.


                        No:
                        That excerpt isn't relevant to my point.


                        "You can change the object's symbolism by changing it into a different arrangement of crude matter with one Arcanum, but you can't do it with the one that actually governs Yantras and Truth itself because that's bad gameplay."

                        Hard disagree. If transforming the object via Matter works, you should be able to alter the symbolism directly with Prime. Whether you allow Matter transformations to work like this is a wholly different debate.
                        Again, the bias towards Matter/other gross Arcana: You're fine with a physical object or force being manufactured via magic to be used as a Yantra, but not something created by the Arcana whose domain actually covers Yantras?

                        This should work: at my table it would require Making, and the resultant Yantra would be limited to +1, or +2 with a Reach, and you could only use one spell-yantra in any given casting, but I don't otherwise see any problems here - by the time you can use Making you have several Yantra slots, and letting someone whose magical domain contains the magic of magic itself and Yantras fill one of those slots with a spell seems fine (and flavorful) to me.
                        The thing is, you can at most only provide +1 Yantras with the Gross Arcana if you just cast a spell on the spot without additional work, and you still need to come up with good examples which might not always be possible depending on your Arcana spread. If you remove the need to work for the symbolism, then absolutely everything can be a Yantra for absolutely any spell and that's not something I think is intended or conducive to good gameplay even if it's just +1 Yantras.

                        Prime already has the ability to create the Runes Yantra for a +2 bonus, but it comes with built in drawbacks and limitations that makes it enhance gameplay. If you can come up with other ways to create Prime-related Yantras (like the point below) I'd welcome that. What I don't welcome is the universal Yantra that doesn't provide any flavour.


                        We have spells that grant Merits, and Merits that are solely represented by having had specific spells used on you; see 'Familiar'. This should be fine as a spell if you're okay with the concept in general.
                        Sure thing. I've even heard compelling arguments for providing temporary Masques through spells, though likely with drawbacks when/if losing them as the compartmentalisation breaks down.


                        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
                          I'm in the camp that some of this should be possible, but in a fairly limited way. Using extra Reach to get Rote Action is fine. Things that at higher dots can grant +1 Yantras, sometimes +2 is fine.

                          No way I let anything like Supernal Eidolon +5 reusable Yantras in our games. It's setting altering. You're basically saying that Obrimos are flat-out the best spellcasters. If you allow it at Prime 3 then starting characters even at Gnosis 1 can have 11 dice on spells without a Rote even. You're practically forcing players to take Prime at that point AND making it so that no one would bother hunting for Sacraments or Environments etc...thereby reducing game flavor.

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                          • #14
                            If your argument is that Mages with Prime get the best spell casting then consider that Mages with Time can time travel and render your spells irrelevant. Mages with Mind, Death or Spirit can contact rank 6 editors who ignore your spells, and any Mage who is a Disciple can call up a Supernal entity with a boon that makes your power pointless and stupid.

                            Yeah, a guy with Prime can do some pretty amazing stuff, but it simply isn’t the absolute game changer. A Mage equally dedicated to another field can counterbalance it.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                              Mages with Mind, Death or Spirit can contact rank 6 editors who ignore your spells
                              Rank 6+ entities are generally immune to the more powerful mage spells sans imperial magic.
                              Regardless, the point isn't that Prime becomes too powerful in comparison to the other Arcana. The point is that Prime makes all the Arcana better if you can use Prime to substantially boost your spellcasting. Take two Moros who go through a journey to the Underworld. One has Death and Matter, and the other has Death and Prime on same levels. The second Moros has a distinct advantage if such effects are allowed because having Prime would just make him better at casting powerful Death spells.


                              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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