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Banes For Mages (and the lack thereof)

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  • Banes For Mages (and the lack thereof)

    So I've been wondering something as someone's who's played a fair bit of CoFD at this point, but why is it that Mages don't have a relatively "common" bane like the other "numerous" Supernaturals in the setting? I understand it's not as ingrained as other supernatural lores like Werewolves and silver, Vampires with fire, and Changelings with Cold Iron, but mechanically it seems to be a huge omission to me that Mages don't really have any kind of "equalizer" like most other splats. I understand many people would probably point to Paradox as a type of Bane, but I see that more as just a system for spectacular failure rather than an inherent weakness. It's like the dramatic failure results on Gifts/Disciplines/etc instead of an inherent weakness of the splat. For me, at least, it takes away a lot of the feeling of "mortals are dangerous if provoked" that most other splats have that keeps you to the shadows and outskirts. Yeah you'll accrue Paradox if a guy just sees you fling a fireball out of your eyes, but there's a million little workarounds to that that makes mortals a complete non-issue for all but the lowest level of Mages.

    Do you think Mages need some kind of material weakness? Should it be a consistent weakness among all Mages or some kind of symbolic weakness for each Path? Perhaps something related to their Inferior Arcana?

  • #2
    Presumably it's because they're humans with some extra powers, and maintain all the weaknesses of normal humans. One of the signature mages had cancer, for instance, not usually an issue for vampires or Prometheans.

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    • #3
      Bullets, blunt instruments and sharp objects, yeah Mages suffer all of the usual human weaknesses more than other splats.
      Beyond that I would only see adding an additional, material bane if the antagonists in the chronicle are intended to be normal humans but in that case I think a bane that serves to protect the antagonists from magic information gathering would be the best use. Something that denies a Mage his greatest strength, the ability to prepare and plan ahead.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Voytek View Post
        I understand many people would probably point to Paradox as a type of Bane, but I see that more as just a system for spectacular failure rather than an inherent weakness.
        Here's the problem: It's not just a system for spectacular failure. It's a system for dynamically picking up flaws and weaknesses in the same vein as Anathema for Beast or Scars for Deviant, and, like in those games, there are incentives to let a consequence stick; Beast makes having one Anathema prevent any new ones from settling until you clear it, Deviant requires a certain amount of Scar Magnitude on a character to balance out their Variations, and in Mage's case putting up with a Paradox Condition lets you get Arcane Beats to spend on more Gnosis, Wisdom, Arcana, or Praxes.

        The bulk of mages don't play terribly risk-averse unless they're striving toward a certain flavor of high Wisdom, and for some the marks of Paradox are a badge of pride — they are, after all, reminders of times where you pushed your limits.

        Perhaps more notably, Mage's equivalent to Vampire's acquired Banes works by making spells always risk Paradox, and the pressures that exerts by its limited nature means a character with an Inured spell has reason to pursue its use in line with their Dedicated tools and lots and lots of Mana.

        For me, at least, it takes away a lot of the feeling of "mortals are dangerous if provoked" that most other splats have that keeps you to the shadows and outskirts.
        "Mortals are dangerous if provoked" is represented by the fact that almost none of your powers are automatic and almost all of them are routed through Wisdom and Paradox in a way that makes them more error-prone to use frequently in proximity to Sleepers. In a direct confrontation where both parties are aware of hostile intent, the mage beats the Sleeper unless they're both completely materially unprepared and completely lacking in viable Arcana and Practices.

        It's the supernatural world that mages ought to treat lightly around, because their natural inclination is to poke it with sticks and their toolkit gives them just enough insulation for the unWise to wander into the wrong corner of the map and get their souls scoured by Bound gods or their minds subverted by Astral colossi or their everything corrupted by Abyssal world-beings. Paradox is part of this "give them enough rope to hang themselves with" approach to Awakened frailty.

        Yeah you'll accrue Paradox if a guy just sees you fling a fireball out of your eyes, but there's a million little workarounds to that that makes mortals a complete non-issue for all but the lowest level of Mages.
        Run down the list, please.


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

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        • #5
          ^ That, a lot.


          Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Voytek View Post
            So I've been wondering something as someone's who's played a fair bit of CoFD at this point, but why is it that Mages don't have a relatively "common" bane like the other "numerous" Supernaturals in the setting? I understand it's not as ingrained as other supernatural lores like Werewolves and silver, Vampires with fire, and Changelings with Cold Iron, but mechanically it seems to be a huge omission to me that Mages don't really have any kind of "equalizer" like most other splats.
            Because they are not meant to be equal. Mages are meant to be superior to almost everything else by design, universe is meant to be a putty in your playful hands, and the internal conflict of any Mage is keeping finding reasons to not just drown in cosmic nihilism and "I-am-GOD" attitude. And it's a lot harder than it looks like, if my Mage games are any indication.

            Originally posted by Voytek View Post
            For me, at least, it takes away a lot of the feeling of "mortals are dangerous if provoked" that most other splats have that keeps you to the shadows and outskirts. Yeah you'll accrue Paradox if a guy just sees you fling a fireball out of your eyes, but there's a million little workarounds to that that makes mortals a complete non-issue for all but the lowest level of Mages.
            Mortals aren't non-issue. But they are moral issue, not a life-or-death one. You can easily break and reassemble them as you like in pursuit of power and knowledge. But should you? Isn't there a better way to do this? Your main issue with hunters which are against you aren't that they can hurt or kill you (though they, of course, can, and you better don't forget it). It's about stopping them without rendering their minds apart with Truths they aren't prepared to handle.

            Originally posted by Voytek View Post
            Do you think Mages need some kind of material weakness?
            No, but I do think they need a better detailed and nuanced Wisdom system to actually engage moral conflict as part of the game without ST having to invent it again and again for the purpose of the game, and STs need to play up this part of the game more, while not falling to false moral dilemmas and boring trolley problems.

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            • #7
              I suppose one of the reasons is that there aren't really the folk weaknesses of Mages, from the original stories about witches and similar in the same way there are for Vampires, Werewolves and the Fae. For Vampires they even have to move a lot of the iconic weaknesses from being generic weaknesses of Vampires to individual banes. Whereas any weakness for Mage wouldn't have the same cultural weight to all the others.

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              • #8
                It is a widely known fact that mages are generally weak to stakes to the heart.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by arthexis View Post
                  It is a widely known fact that mages are generally weak to stakes to the heart.
                  They also die pretty quick if you set them on fire or shoot them with silver bullets.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Custos Tenebrarum View Post
                    They also die pretty quick if you set them on fire or shoot them with silver bullets.
                    Also, cutting off their heads seems to work pretty well.

                    No luck with drowning them, though, for some odd reason. Can't yet speculate as to why; more data is needed.


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

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                    • #11
                      Also, considering that usually a splat bane inflicts aggravated damage, mages are vulnerable to all "generic" source of aggravated like any other splat, but have no natural means of soak or heal them.
                      They need level 4 spells to defend from this damage.
                      (The same as Unchained demon who also have no natural banes)

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Neos01 View Post
                        They need level 4 spells to defend from this damage.
                        Not really, Shielding practice allows you to get Potency of armor against specific source, if you go by Alchemist’s Touch spell. You definitely can just add general armor with Weaving or Perfecting (Aegis comes to mind immediately).

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dark Archon View Post
                          Not really, Shielding practice allows you to get Potency of armor against specific source, if you go by Alchemist’s Touch spell. You definitely can just add general armor with Weaving or Perfecting (Aegis comes to mind immediately).
                          True but about Aegis, this passage: "His armor (still 4/3) applies to aggravated damage attacks." from the Beasts Atavism Unbreakable, suggest to me that general armor doesn t protect from general aggravated sources

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Neos01 View Post
                            True but about Aegis, this passage: "His armor (still 4/3) applies to aggravated damage attacks." from the Beasts Atavism Unbreakable, suggest to me that general armor doesnt protect from general aggravated sources
                            That's just not true.

                            General armor applies to all attacks. Each point of general armor reduces the total damage taken by one point, starting with the most severe type of damage.
                            There is no addendum about how this does not include aggravated damage - on the contrary, general armor protects against aggravated damage first, as the most severe type, and Aegis specifically gives general armor.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dark Archon View Post
                              That's just not true.


                              There is no addendum about how this does not include aggravated damage - on the contrary, general armor protects against aggravated damage first, as the most severe type, and Aegis specifically gives general armor.
                              This passage "Rating: Armor provides protection against normal attacks and Firearms attacks. " , the word normal could imply non aggravated, but it is not clear, so i would understand if you don t agree

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