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  • Service Cults (Signs of Sorcery)

    The Investiture Yantra (+ 1/2 Mystery Cult Initiation rounded up) seems to push service cults. What is a service cult? Any cult that gives the mage (most) of the following merits: Broad Dedication (*), Profligate Dedication (**), Shadow Name (***) and Theme Cabal (*). The remaining *** can by anything (though resources or professional training might fit).

    How it works. Profligate Dedication allows for up to three dedicated tools. Broad Dedications allows for the selection of Investiture, Shadow Name, and Mundras as dedicated tools. With Mundrasa character can cast a rote with a bonus of up to 6 dice (depending on if you exempt the rote specialty die for the +5 dice limit) at -2 paradox. The same can be done with a shadow name (though with a couple less dice). By taking just a little longer the mage can cast with either Mundras+ Shadow Name or Shadow Name + Investiture. In either case, you get a bunch of dice (though some are virtual to be used to offset penalties), -3 paradox and can negate the paradox chance roll (meaning that there is not a cumulative +1 to paradox).

    What this would tend to do is increase the value of praxis over rotes. Sure a rote might give you +5 (or +6 if you count the specialty) dice, but a Shadow Name can give +4. It also means a mage can throw a fireball down main street if the mage is willing to take the wisdom hit for doing it.

    One issue I can see with service cults is it's a bit hard to cheese control them. The cult is giving the mage a way to work around paradox at the same time non-mage members are getting paradox free powers. The cult is also giving a mage a shadow name to use, which kind of fits the esoteric cult theme.

    This could also be combined with the Nameless Order rules. For example:
    The Order of Hermes (ArM5 version).

    The Order of Hermes grew out of a gathering of nameless mages in Western Europe during the early Dark Ages. To hear the Order tell it, the Order of Hermes was the premiere organization of Mages in Europe from its founding to the Renaissance. The Guardians of the Veil insist that the Order grew out of repurposing of an almost forgotten Roman Era Guardian Labyrinth organization known as the Cult of Mercury. For their part, the Order claims that, regardless of any supernal blueprint, the modern Diamond orders only formed as a result of the Protestant Reformation and European Wars of Religion.

    Today, the Order is largely extinct in Europe. The organization suffered a substantial blow during the bubonic plague as many of it's older and more powerful, members passed away. What remained was soon torn to pieces as the Order's mages became caught in the violence accompanying the Reformation. Members of today's order can largely trace their lineage to European Mages in the 1500s fleeing to far flung portions of the Spanish and Portugesse Empires. The Order is strongest in central and south America as well as the Philippines.

    Membership Requirements:
    Gnosis:***
    Academics: *
    Prime: **
    All Mages of the Order know Wards and Signs (Parma Magica) as a rote.

    Order Status (a.k.a. The Gift, most Mages will have at 5).
    * Themed Cabal *
    ** Language (Latin) - counts as an Order tool
    *** Rote Specialties (Occult, Craft and Athletics)
    **** Profligate Dedication, Broad Dedication
    ***** Shadow Name (***)

    Quirks: Traditionally, Hermetic apprentices served a 15-year apprenticeship (start at some time between 6 and 9 years of age). The rarity of awakened Mages at such a young age served to restrict the Orders' numbers. It also gave Hermetic Mage's a reputation for power. A Hermetic Magus just out of apprenticeship might have the same amount of magical study as a midlevel member of the Diamond orders.

    Hermetic Magi are more likely to work with sleeper (Grog) assistants than other Mages and often suffer Wisdom damage as a result of performing magic in front of them.

    The Order has long recorded the details of useful Praxis in books and refers to these as spells. Rotes, by contrast, are referred to as either rituals or mastered spells.

    Wizard's War: By Spell & Steel
    Hermetic Law specifies the death penalty for a member that kills, seriously injures or interferes with another's ability to practice magic. Even in the Middle Ages, outside of the death of a member, fines were far more likely to be imposed than death. One exception to this rule exists, during a properly declared Wizard's War a member can kill, injury and steal from another without repercussion.

    A Wizard's War must be declared a month in advance, on the full moon, and runs from full moonrise to full moonrise after the intervening month. Unless they interfere cabal mates of the targetted Mage cannot be attacked. Modern practice allows mages in the same cabal three days after a war declaration is received to joint the war by issuing counter declarations. A Mage may have more than one war ongoing and it's possible for a single mage to declare war on all members of a cabal.

    The original Medieval Wizard's War was a free for all with few rules. The advent of gunpowder and the lethality of magically assisted cannonballs changed that. Under modern rules, physical attacks in a wizard's war must be made by either Spell or Steel (anything governed by the Weaponry skill). Spell includes spirits, ghosts, demons, and other supernatural allies. Sleepers may not be employed as mercenaries but may use any means to defend themselves, including firearms, if attacked or threatened.

  • #2
    Originally posted by DrSteve View Post
    The Investiture Yantra (+ 1/2 Mystery Cult Initiation rounded up) seems to push service cults. What is a service cult? Any cult that gives the mage (most) of the following merits: Broad Dedication (*), Profligate Dedication (**), Shadow Name (***) and Theme Cabal (*). The remaining *** can by anything (though resources or professional training might fit).
    Occultation fits better as the remaining three dot merit.

    Originally posted by DrSteve View Post
    How it works. Profligate Dedication allows for up to three dedicated tools. Broad Dedications allows for the selection of Investiture, Shadow Name, and Mundras as dedicated tools.
    Why Mudras and not High Speech or Runes?

    Originally posted by DrSteve View Post
    With Mundrasa character can cast a rote with a bonus of up to 6 dice (depending on if you exempt the rote specialty die for the +5 dice limit) at -2 paradox.
    There is no exception to the +5 dice limit, you can get an extra die but only for penalty mitigation.

    Originally posted by DrSteve View Post
    What this would tend to do is increase the value of praxis over rotes.
    Only for spells that fit with the Investiture theme or the Shadow Name theme.

    Originally posted by DrSteve View Post
    The cult is giving the mage a way to work around paradox at the same time non-mage members are getting paradox free powers.
    Exactly how? If you don't qualify for a merit you get its value in merit dots, not paradox free powers.
    Last edited by lbeaumanior; 09-06-2019, 06:57 PM.

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    • #3
      That isn’t how Investiture works. It only applies to mortal institutions.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
        That isn’t how Investiture works. It only applies to mortal institutions.
        You are right:

        Investiture requires an otherwise mundane organization to
        recognize the mage with a specific rank, title, or honor.
        But if a Mystery Cult just offers Merit dots (inapplicable to Mages) a mage could choose from the list of merits that DrSteve mentioned. Like this:

        Mystery Cult Initiation (Esoteric Order of the Celestial Wolf)

        Apocalypsis Fidei (A mage takes Themed Cabal)
        •• Raised by Wolves (A mage takes Broad Dedication)
        ••• Invenire Venandi (A mage takes Profligate Dedication)
        •••• Manticae (A mage takes Shadow Name •••)
        ••••• Medium (A mage takes Occultation •••)
        Last edited by lbeaumanior; 09-06-2019, 06:47 PM.

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        • #5
          That looks like you’ve still got a magical society there. Try it with being a police officer or an office worker.

          In others words to my mind, a mortal institution isn’t magical in any way shape or form. The Mage dan still derive power from it because there’s still symbolism there, but that’s incidental to the purpose of the organization. Investiture is probably best tied with things like a train hobbyist Techne or something.
          Last edited by Mrmdubois; 09-06-2019, 06:43 PM.

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          • #6
            But Mrmdubois, Mystery Cults are valid for Investiture, even highly mystical ones:

            Some mages seek out membership in secret societies and
            mystery cults
            out of their inherent love of the unknown, desperate
            to find out the truth behind anything from the Skull
            and Bones Society to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

            ...some Libertines use the trappings of Fallen sorcery, including
            their position in mundane secret societies, while Guardians of the
            Veil who infiltrate those same societies may find themselves
            invested with rank.


            ...This does not need to come from a secret society — willworkers
            who become politicians and peers can use that position as a Yantra.
            As long as she maintains that position, the mage can use it as
            a Yantra on any spell that directly reflects her position, either
            through the nature of the society or by reinforcing her position
            over her lessers.


            Effect: A mage can use investiture as a Yantra if she possesses
            the Status or Mystery Cult Initiation Merits.
            Last edited by lbeaumanior; 09-06-2019, 06:48 PM.

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            • #7
              Mystery Cults work, but they have to be Sleeper Mystery Cults. Not Awakened Orders or Nameless Orders.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by EW-Matias View Post
                Mystery Cults work, but they have to be Sleeper Mystery Cults. Not Awakened Orders or Nameless Orders.
                Yes, my example Cult is geared towards sleepers, and mages just take a different merit because the listed ones are unavailable to supernatural creatures:

                Mystery Cult Initiation (Esoteric Order of the Celestial Wolf)

                Apocalypsis Fidei (A mage takes Themed Cabal)
                •• Raised by Wolves (A mage takes Broad Dedication)
                ••• Invenire Venandi (A mage takes Profligate Dedication)
                •••• Manticae (A mage takes Shadow Name •••)
                ••••• Medium (A mage takes Occultation •••)

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                • #9
                  A Sleeper Mystery Cult shouldn't offer you Mage only merits.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by EW-Matias View Post
                    A Sleeper Mystery Cult shouldn't offer you Mage only merits.
                    You dont seem to understand, the text for Mystery Cult initiation states:

                    When this Merit would grant a character a Merit she does not
                    qualify for (such as Awakened-only Merits or Sleepwalker-only
                    ones), she gains the value of the reward in Merit dots instead.
                    The cult gives you Sleepwalker-only merits, a mage does not qualify, so the mage uses those merit dots to obtain the ones listed in parentheses.
                    Last edited by lbeaumanior; 11-12-2019, 08:49 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post
                      The cult gives you Sleeper-only merits, a mage does not qualify, so the mage uses those merit dots to obtain the ones listed in parentheses.
                      What Sleeper-only Merits would that be? Those are few and far between.


                      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)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tessie View Post

                        What Sleeper-only Merits would that be? Those are few and far between.

                        There are many merits that are either mortal only (51, some of them with variable dot rating), sleeper (8), sleepwalkers (7), wolf-blooded (14), or ghouls (15), some merits are mutually exclusive, but the point is that there is a vast list of mortal only merits to play with.


                        Mystery Cult Initiation (Esoteric Order of the Celestial Wolf)
                        Apocalypsis Fidei
                        •• Raised by Wolves
                        ••• Invenire Venandi
                        •••• Manticae
                        ••••• Medium


                        But I can easily make another list:

                        Mystery Cult Initiation (Sons of Suffering)
                        • Supernatural Resistance •
                        •• Hardened Exorcist
                        ••• Vengeful Soul
                        •••• Curse Effigy
                        ••••• Clairvoyance

                        In the end this is just powergaming, but it is a curious exercise to see what DrSteve mentioned in action. It is not as far reaching as he mentioned but it is still very good.
                        Last edited by lbeaumanior; 09-09-2019, 11:09 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          So you meant Mortal/Sleepwalker Merits, not Sleeper Merits.

                          Regardless, you should not get Mage-only Merits because the Mystery Cult does not provide any basis for them. A mage in a Sleeper/Sleepwalker Mystery Cult should take alternate Merits that still reflect the Mystery Cult, not spend them on absolutely anything.
                          Last edited by Tessie; 09-09-2019, 11:32 AM.


                          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)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                            So you meant Mortal/Sleepwalker Merits, not Sleeper Merits.

                            Regardless, you should not get Mage-only Merits because the Mystery Cult does not provide any basis for them. A mage in a Sleeper/Sleepwalker Mystery Cult should take alternate Merits that still reflect the Mystery Cult, not spend them on absolutely anything.
                            Why? Not being facetious, I really want to know why it must be that way? Why cant a mage (or any other supernatural) use the cult of spirit obsessed mortals to get money and human resources? (Resources and Contacts/Allies dots) or mystically hide himself with the cult symbolism (Occultation, Shadow Name, Cabal Theme) and expand her understanding of Yantra use (Broad Dedication, Profligate Dedication)
                            Last edited by lbeaumanior; 11-12-2019, 08:51 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post

                              Why? Not being facetious, i really want to know why it must be that way? Why cant a mage (or any other supernatural) use the cult of spirit obsessed mortals to get money and human resources? (Resources and Contacts/Allies dots) or mystically hide himself with the cult symbolism (Occultation, Shadow Name, Cabal Theme) and expand her understanding of Yantra use (Broad Dedication, Profligate Dedication)
                              I said shouldn't, not can't. And I said Mage-only Merits. If the cult amasses money that the mage can access, then Resources is a very valid Merit to take. If the cult doesn't teach or otherwise offer access to Broad Dedication (which a Sleeper/Sleepwalker cult wouldn't because it has no place or use within their teachings) then you shouldn't be able to take that Merit for being a member in that cult.


                              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)

                              Comment

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