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  • Unmaking House Rules

    Unmaking spells, as written, are vicious. Even without an exceptional success, most masters will have a spell with a minimum Potency of 5, which is enough to beat most entities Withstand. Since you can adjust the primary spell factor by arcana -4 after everything, even with the basic 1 Potency you get, can add +4 automatically.

    I was curious if anyone has house ruled Unmaking spells to make them less 'magic bullet'?

  • #2
    An Unmaking spell requires, at the absolute bare minimum, Gnosis 5 and Arcanum 5. It gets one free Reach, which means you're risking at least three dice of Paradox if you intend to deny the target the benefits of Defense and cover. The vast majority of them will be Acts of Hubris to use against thinking beings unless you Inure the spell, which bumps an instant-cast sensory-range Unmaking spell up to a base Paradox pool of at least five dice.

    All of this on top of the fact that erasing something from existence isn't easily undone without putting more strain on your spell control means Masters with more than an ounce of Wisdom hold themselves to definite standards and keep a very close eye on each other, but "a character who is at least on the cusp of being magical enough to start raising their Trait cap has access to a nuclear option" is not a problem-solving method for the kind of problems Mage is built for.


    Resident Lore-Hound
    Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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    • #3
      Masters are very scary, not just because of Unmaking spells. For example, 4 yantras means 2 dice from High Speech plus 6 dice from prepared sacraments. If there is a Fate master willing to help, that gives 5 more at no mana cost. So 13 dice, 5 Potency default plus 6 from all those dice makes Potency 11 with 1 extra dice to the roll. But this is if they had the time to work all those yantras in.

      Most of of the balancing comes from the fact that you get just one free Reach. So if you don't have time to ritual cast, you need to have invested into stats to use aimed spells reliably. They can be defended normally, so investing in Fast Spells probably would be important, or approximating the Merit with magic. Mage armor with Firearms defense can help protect you from even this. Ward and Signs can make it easy to resist, Acceleration makes it easy to dodge, etc.

      Another way to bypass that Reach limitation: you need to figure out how to touch the target. Mages being squishy might make this its own dilemma.

      Third option is to use limited resources. Some Attainments can use mana to add some more options, like Time in a Bottle or Everywhere.

      There is always the option to brute force the Paradox away with a lot of mana and/or containing it. Given that each Paradox roll gets progressively more expensive, its not the most appealing option.

      Can this still be abused ? Definitely, clever Awakened will find a way. Its why mages like to avoid all out war. Escalation can lead to mutual destruction, even more so at the Master tier.
      Last edited by KaiserAfini; 04-25-2019, 12:54 AM.


      New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.


      The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists

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      • #4
        They're also a hop skip and a jump away from archmastery which is literally cold-war stakes magical mexican stand-off, so its not a stretch that Masters control each other and *are* controlled more by their own threat-of-power, instead of limitations.

        How I cover it with my player though, is having spells thats whole purpose is to reverse an Unmaking spell instantly, kind of like a counterspell. However, this option has limits and requires foresight and depending on the arcana, isnt as useful as one would hope.

        in my game the characters all *know* this too, these counter-options are more like desperate last-ditch resorts.

        It isn't much but its something.

        Example, my player used a hung spell containing a Make Mind spell that triggers if hit with Unmake Mind by his rival.

        Ontop of that, shielding spells that invoke clash of wills are there specifically because Withstand can be bypassed. Anyway thats all I got!

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        • #5
          Thank you all for your input. I'm generally not interested in games where the sole option to solve an issue is with violence. However, when you have a player with the ability to do something... they'll usually do it.

          Most my RP these nights is online since I can't make regular tabletop scheduled games. Has anyone else played in an online, sandbox style setting where numerous splats are involved? If so, did you run into any issues with things like this?

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          • #6
            Try to prevent the main focuses of the characters from overlapping. For example, a mage with Spirit could end up outshining a werewolf Ithaeur. A vampire who is the face of the party would give a changeling a run for their money. A Purified hunter could absolutely be the best fighter in the party and a Mastigos could be great at a support role.

            Also remember, players are free to choose, even the nuclear option. But they are bound by the consequences. A mage who uses Unmaking liberally can probably expect his enemies to go for the kill or use brutal methods to capture/interrogate them, simply out of sheer fear. If it becomes commonly know, they can expect to lose allies, be subjected to scrutiny by the Lex Magicka and Guardians, etc.
            Last edited by KaiserAfini; 04-25-2019, 08:48 PM.


            New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.


            The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists

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            • #7
              Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
              Try to prevent the main focuses of the characters from overlapping. For example, a mage with Spirit could end up outshining a werewolf Ithaeur. A vampire who is the face of the party would give a changeling a run for their money. A Purified hunter could absolutely be the best fighter in the party and a Mastigos could be great at a support role.

              Also remember, players are free to choose, even the nuclear option. But they are bound by the consequences. A mage who uses Unmaking liberally can probably expect his enemies to go for the kill or use brutal methods to capture/interrogate them, simply out of sheer fear. If it becomes commonly know, they can expect to lose allies, be subjected to scrutiny by the Lex Magicka and Guardians, etc.

              Add to that a Mage with a reputation for going straight to the Nuclear option is going to very quickly attract a lot of enemies, including the Guardians of the Veil. A Mage who throws that kind of magic around liberally is very likely to lose Wisdom to Hubris, and that's dangerous for everyone. Other people have the Nuclear option too, and that fact should remain an omnipresent threat of retribution, potentially from enemies he doesn't even know are watching him. Hell, doesn't even have to be enemies, just people who'd rather put down the threat before something goes horribly wrong.

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              • #8
                Yep, the classic example is a well meaning but far too passionate mage. For example, a Free Councilor who zealouly believes in Destroy the followers of the Lie. He might be a charismatic leader, magnanimous with his allies. But he still goes around Unmaking Seers left and right. Suddenly a lot of Bound start running amok, or his loved ones get mangled in retaliation. Maybe the Seer was a member of a mafia family of the Iron Master and they call a Sacred Hunt. Maybe he was related to the city's head of the Pyramid, maybe said leader simply has enough and sends in the army, or the Praetorians. Maybe a mundane detective investigates the unusual murders. Perhaps Banishers are drawn to the city.

                So lets say the mage survives one of those scenarios, miraculously without going Mad or being a suspected Banisher. He is out of targets and Hierarchy fosters the Lie , so how long before he goes after the Consilia ? This is assuming that his low Wisdom and lack of foresight hasn't caused all sorts of Abyss related troubles.

                At any point of that scenario multiple faction could form alliances, even begrudgingly, to simply cut their losses before chaos escalates. Such a mage would likely have a very short life expectancy. Should they even survive, their growing messes would make them a bigger pariah than a member of the Camarilla's Red List. But it might make for a cool villain to drive in the importance of restraint and forethought.

                Wisdom is not a measure of how good a person they are, but of how careful. Harry Dresden is a low Wisdom Obrimos, whereas John Marcone has high Wisdom.
                Last edited by KaiserAfini; 04-30-2019, 02:55 PM.


                New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.


                The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists

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                • #9
                  I think the issue is less killing too much and more that any fights you do get into ending very very quickly.

                  I mean, you don't need unmaking magic to kill a lot of people.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Michael View Post
                    I think the issue is less killing too much and more that any fights you do get into ending very very quickly.

                    I mean, you don't need unmaking magic to kill a lot of people.
                    You only need to three dots and some creativity.


                    Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                    The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
                    Male/neutral pronouns accepted, female pronouns enjoyed.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                      You only need to three dots and some creativity.
                      *Two dots and some knowledge of physics.


                      Mentats - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Mind/Forces) built around being a human computer; Thaumatech Engineers - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Matter/Prime) focusing on the creation of Imbued items and the enhancement of Sleeper technology

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                      • #12
                        Just buy a gun.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Michael View Post
                          Just buy a gun.
                          You can kill more people with a plague than a gun.


                          Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                          The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
                          Male/neutral pronouns accepted, female pronouns enjoyed.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                            You can kill more people with a plague than a gun.
                            It's not a competition. We can all find our own ways to be horrible monsters.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Michael View Post

                              It's not a competition. We can all find our own ways to be horrible monsters.
                              The premise was killing a lot of people. I think that's precedence for a competition in regards to most efficient means for largest total results.


                              Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                              The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
                              Male/neutral pronouns accepted, female pronouns enjoyed.

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