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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Even beyond that, there's a reason the nWoD moved to buying Merits from the cWoD's "get Backgrounds whenever the ST says so, unless you can explicitly buy them with XP or there's some specific action to increase them built in."

    VtM created a really bad mechanical incentive around the Generation Background, because it was the only one that didn't increase because the ST felt you did enough to increase it, and increasing it in play was an epic pain in the ass (not easy mechanically, huge in-universe social consequences). So players would sink as many starting dots into Generation as possible, because decent social traits (and VtM is a game that encourages thus) plus vampire powers meant you could easily start collecting Backgrounds like Allies, Contacts, Influence, and so on without "wasting" any points; even if nothing stopped the ST from taking them away too.

    The whole idea of combining Backgrounds and Merits together, and having them all cost points even during play, is to avoid that sort of thing. It's acknowledging that the in-universe difference between internal and external boosts to your character aren't really distinct on a meta level, and improving your character is improving your character, whether with advanced fighting techniques or gaining new informants.

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  • proindrakenzol
    replied
    Originally posted by nofather View Post
    Seriously I hate the idea that you have to spend Experience to keep the magic rock I put in the game for you.
    You don't, it's just if they lose it it's not covered by Sanctity of Merits. Merits like Imbued Item, Enhanced Item, and Artifact are there for starting characters and for calculating requisition cost using merits like Order Status.

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  • nofather
    replied
    Seriously I hate the idea that you have to spend Experience to keep the magic rock I put in the game for you.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Originally posted by Tessie View Post
    Instead of losing MCI directly, if you lose one of the bonus Merits you've basically lost a dot of MCI despite still being a member. In such cases the bonus Merits should also be replaced and one way to handle it is to grant a different Merit of the same dot rating.
    I'm not exactly sure how you'd do so, but I'd say that whatever you did to the Merit dots MCI provides members would refresh as the cult helps you regain whatever you lost, rather than getting different ones.

    Honest question: Do you also require the players to buy the Merits for Grimoires, imbued items, etc, if the players find (or possibly steal) them in-game? Or if they create them?
    Back in 1e, this was more explicitly the case (as it was stated under specific Merits) that acquiring them in play didn't cost additional XP.

    I don't charge for any such items made by the PCs, because they paid for the powers to make them, and they have to deal with things like relinquishing spells (which costs XP to recover from fully and all).

    For non-artifact items and some artifacts, the majority of the time our group just use their mage Status(es) to borrow them. That is, after all, one of the biggest benefits of membership after the first dot. Given that mage Status works like Resources instead of like Allies, it means getting to 3 in one of them ASAP (even at creation) is insanely useful, since that means you have access to as many 1 dot rating instances of a rather large list of Merits as your ST deems reasonable, plus one 2 or 3 dot per story. It's like having a library card, going to your library all the time, and then not choosing to take a book out of the library to go steal it instead... who would actually bother? If I was running an Apostate or Nameless game where they don't have such stores of tools for the players, I might adjust my approach, but my group hasn't really expressed any interest in that. We play Mage for the occult mysteries, not as a heist game (heist games are fun, but others are a preference).

    As such, I'm comfortable with them not spending XP when getting a magical item in play, with the understanding that they're going to be expected to fork it over to the communal stores if something doesn't happen to it first (after all, it's only there because the ST wants it there, which means probably a plot thing anyway; esp. finding artifacts that don't already belong to someone alive), but they can spend XP to make it theirs (and covered by SoM if something happens to it.

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  • Dave Brookshaw
    replied
    The secret behind where mages get money for rent and such is...

    Their Orders.

    The Orders are millenia-old secret societies. They have something of a property portfolio. Seers get Resources as a matter of course, but Pentacle mages who really need to pay real money for expensive items can get the funds from their Caucus; in game terms, you requisition the resources Merit using your Order Status.

    If you were/are wealthy enough on your own bat? Good for you. The Ladder or the TELM faction of the Free Council will help you invest Wisely.

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  • Tessie
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    Yes, hence my use of the word "bonus." If you have Mystery Cult Initiation 4, and get kicked out, you get the 4 Merit points back under SoM. You don't get the 2-3 extra Merits the define the bonuses of being in the cult back as more dots.
    Instead of losing MCI directly, if you lose one of the bonus Merits you've basically lost a dot of MCI despite still being a member. In such cases the bonus Merits should also be replaced and one way to handle it is to grant a different Merit of the same dot rating.

    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    Which doesn't negate the need to spend XP on them.
    [..]
    If you want the mechanical effects of Merits, you buy those. There aren't rules for gaining friends, but there are rules for if your friends count as Allies, or any number of other Merits.
    Honest question: Do you also require the players to buy the Merits for Grimoires, imbued items, etc, if the players find (or possibly steal) them in-game? Or if they create them?

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Originally posted by mcgonigle View Post
    As you pointed out technically lifestyle doesn't come under resources, you don't actually need to buy the resources merit to have the general lifestyle features,...
    Which doesn't get into the Wisdom issue. If you're using magic to get things instead of having wealth/assets/money and leaving an appropriate paper trail, you tend to get noticed by the people that watch these things (since it's an obvious sign of criminal activity, even if just tax evasion) and then you have to deal with that.

    Both of my "lots of wealth, disparate disposable income" examples are things that make sense to such agencies if reported properly.

    ...as your absurd millionaire example illustrates.
    There's nothing absurd about it. Let me demonstrate quickly.

    Property owner 1 has millions in real estate, all tied up into their personal home. That wealth is not actively generating any money (even if real estate appreciates as a general factor), and has significant upkeep and taxes. They can leverage this to some extent (take out a mortgage, sublet, etc.) but in general it's not going to be a significant source of disposable income despite it's value.

    Property owner 2 has millions in real estate, primarily in rental properties. While being a landlord has its own financial costs on top of simply owning the land and buildings, the revenue from tenants if handled properly should generate a net profit.

    See? Not hard, and certainly not absurd.

    As an example say I play a waiter, resources 0, due to fate magic I make slightly more than I should in tips, some of which because it's cash in hand doesn't get declared and no one is likely to be suspicious because I am declaring my full salary plus I am getting tipped reasonably well (and declaring tips probably makes you less likely to create suspicion.) But anytime my secret mage persona needs a bit of capital, it has came from magic.
    Welcome to 2020, where this is doesn't really work (even worse if you live in the US where the IRS gets to tell you what you should have gotten in cash tips)... because? Credit cards.

    If you want to make real money on tips, you have to work a lot of hours (goodbye time to be a mage) at as expensive as a restaurant as possible. But... more expensive means fewer people tipping in cash. Even if you wanted to not declare your tips, you couldn't because your boss includes credit card payments - including tips - in the record. Also your boss is going to know if you're regularly making +5% more than everyone else (and frankly, your coworkers are going to notice too, esp. if there's no obvious reason why you just happen to always get the high tipping customers).

    If you want lots of cash tips... well... then you're working cheaper places, with longer shifts, and less tips per table, so you need to serve lots of tables and the place needs to be insanely busy if a "slight" increase in tips is going to mean anything.

    You're also hosing your place of work and your customers with your Nimbus, which is going to bite you in the ass as a decent percentage of your customers are going to suffer from whatever the effects of your Nimbus Tilt is. Even if Wisdom doesn't kick in, the Guardians or the Seers (or really anyone that can sense it and doesn't approve of it) are going to be their own consequence.

    How many games have people actually played in where this character is making frequent use of spells to make money, is anywhere near top of the list of the thing the players have done which feels like it needs consequences?
    Most of the games I've played in... at least one PC had enough Resources it wasn't an issue for the cabal, rather than everyone needing to use magic to get around not having spending cash.

    And the need for consequences is thematic, even in this particular example is rare in play. Mages that rely too much on their magic get a kick in the rear from the universe for their hubris.

    Many of these examples feel confrontational, and the type of hypothetical response that are easy to trot out to an forum inquiry but would actually translate poorly to games.
    So... you're saying that you know you're arguing in bad faith, but instead of just owning up to it, you're going to obliquely accuse others of it first. Gotcha.

    The example in the text is friends, which clearly doesn’t fall into either category
    The example is more nuanced than that, as it goes into how friends that aren't defined by any Merit dots doesn't have SoM protections, but friends that do, are. Just like having the Cash Equipment isn't protected by SoM, but Resources is.

    "Friends" doesn't fall into a category until you define the characters relationship via dots (or the lack thereof), and then they do.

    (I’d even say that the Mystery Cult to me is covered by SoM (but to the value of the MC dot not all the bonus merits)),...
    Yes, hence my use of the word "bonus." If you have Mystery Cult Initiation 4, and get kicked out, you get the 4 Merit points back under SoM. You don't get the 2-3 extra Merits the define the bonuses of being in the cult back as more dots.

    But most of the social and some of the Mage merits are things you could effectively acquire in the general narrative.
    Which doesn't negate the need to spend XP on them.

    The story could go that your Mentor becomes and Infamous Mentor, but you buy that.

    whereas there are a lot of time in games where as the story progresses you end up essentially gaining merits through the narrative, build up connections with a mentor figure, find a artefact in an Atlantean ruin, spend time building security round your home. Which particularly with the CoD experience system are unlikely to be brought as merits (Like nWoD we had a habit of just taking more of them because low dot merits were relatively cheaper.) None of these are going to be explicitly written into the rules but neither is there any RAW for gaining friends.
    If you want the mechanical effects of Merits, you buy those. There aren't rules for gaining friends, but there are rules for if your friends count as Allies, or any number of other Merits.

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  • mcgonigle
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    mcgonigleIf all you want is to live off as a hermit in the woods, sure, using magic to solve your problems is generally going to not be a problem.
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    If you want to live in a city as a person of means? That's more of an issue. When you use magic to Jedi mind trick an IRS agent into not looking into the discrepancies in your income, that's an Act of Hubris against Understaing Wisdom. And so on.

    As you pointed out technically lifestyle doesn't come under resources, you don't actually need to buy the resources merit to have the general lifestyle features, as your absurd millionaire example illustrates. It's specifically can you access that money when the game wants you to when honestly given the dual life and secrecy which are consistent CoD themes - I honestly can think of a lot of cases where those holes and gaps could help distance your Shadow and real lives. Yes, the money I used for our dodgy purchase found on the street 2 hours ago, is probably more helpful than being a card payment from your normal account. Like maybe I don't want my donations to get the homeless demon a really good tailored suit, to have an easily followed trail back to me.
    But many of these arguments are and this is where the slippery slope of using magic in this way leads and then you have some extreme cases at the end of the slope. I can see how it could result in that scenario, but it's far from certain, and with skilled use of subtle magic (and like mundane lying) it can be avoided. You have given two extremes and honestly most use of this is going to fall somewhere in the middle. (Also magic opens up some really rich array of 'hermit' life options.)
    As an example say I play a waiter, resources 0, due to fate magic I make slightly more than I should in tips, some of which because it's cash in hand doesn't get declared and no one is likely to be suspicious because I am declaring my full salary plus I am getting tipped reasonably well (and declaring tips probably makes you less likely to create suspicion.) But anytime my secret mage persona needs a bit of capital, it has came from magic.
    How many games have people actually played in where this character is making frequent use of spells to make money, is anywhere near top of the list of the thing the players have done which feels like it needs consequences? I can’t think of a single game I have run or played in where there aren’t consequences for actions that are more tightly tied to the ‘central’ plots and subplots (and rely less on an offscreen NPC having followed a trail of really subtle clues and discrepancies.) Many of these examples feel confrontational, and the type of hypothetical response that are easy to trot out to an forum inquiry but would actually translate poorly to games.
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    Among other things, the base rules avoid the whole "Merits not protected by SoM" as much as possible. Only things like Mystery Cult Initiation's bonus Merits, or Merits generated by magic, are supposed to not be covered by SoM.

    The example in the text is friends, which clearly doesn’t fall into either category (I’d even say that the Mystery Cult to me is covered by SoM (but to the value of the MC dot not all the bonus merits)), But most of the social and some of the Mage merits are things you could effectively acquire in the general narrative.
    whereas there are a lot of time in games where as the story progresses you end up essentially gaining merits through the narrative, build up connections with a mentor figure, find a artefact in an Atlantean ruin, spend time building security round your home. Which particularly with the CoD experience system are unlikely to be brought as merits (Like nWoD we had a habit of just taking more of them because low dot merits were relatively cheaper.) None of these are going to be explicitly written into the rules but neither is there any RAW for gaining friends.

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  • 2ptTakrill
    replied
    The way I run it in my games if the players decide their character needs something and he has the merits to obtain it then it's theirs's, if they obtain it by other means instead (such as magic) then I make them play out obtaining it and dealing with any complications in game.
    I also require an explanation for how they obtained the merits in game and playing it out works as a viable reason. I don't demand that they play out obtaining new merit dots, but it does make them more meaningful and interesting if they do.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    mcgonigle

    If all you want is to live off as a hermit in the woods, sure, using magic to solve your problems is generally going to not be a problem.

    If you want to live in a city as a person of means? That's more of an issue. When you use magic to Jedi mind trick an IRS agent into not looking into the discrepancies in your income, that's an Act of Hubris against Understaing Wisdom. And so on.

    Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
    What I had understood was that it could be used to buy them, but it used up your entire supply of Resources for the month (or perhaps X months of payments).
    There are people that house rule it that way, but it's not how the RAW work.

    Among other things, the base rules avoid the whole "Merits not protected by SoM" as much as possible. Only things like Mystery Cult Initiation's bonus Merits, or Merits generated by magic, are supposed to not be covered by SoM.
    Last edited by Heavy Arms; 01-04-2020, 08:54 PM.

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  • KaiserAfini
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

    This is correct; both technically and in the spirit of the rules. The Resources Merit is your disposable/liquid assets, not your net worth. Two characters could both be worth millions of dollars in what they own, but one could be Resources 1 because it's all tied up in non-liquid wealth, and another could be Resource 5 because they can easily draw assets down as money to spend.

    Though I think some groups would benefit from the 1e Luxury Merit being updated to 2e, as it actually established having the possessions of a given expensive lifestyle (whether your character was being responsible with their money so they'd have both high Resources and Luxury, not so responsible with low Resources buy high Luxury and this method means losing dots of Luxury could be transferred into dots of Resources via SoM, or Luxury could even be provided by an external source rather than your personal finances).



    Resources can't directly buy Merit dots. You can buy equipment or services, and it makes justifying some Merits being increased easier, but you still need to pay the XP. Though lots of groups use some sort of XP debt house rule if it makes sense that you could use money to expedite a process but don't have the XP for it, without letting you off the hook for the XP.

    Keep in mind the "buy equipment or services," thing goes a huge way, and doesn't force you to have Merits that aren't covered by SoM on your sheet.

    Renting a secure location as a service is going to tie up your Resources until you stop paying, at which point you also lose access to what you're renting.

    Buying a text from a rare book shop might get you a +X dice bonus to a specific subject covered by the book, but it's not going to stretch beyond that.
    What I had understood was that it could be used to buy them, but it used up your entire supply of Resources for the month (or perhaps X months of payments). So no daily expenditures apart from basic needs until it comes back. Meaning you sacrificed one month of use of the merit to buy another. And that if your HQ, Library or otherwise was destroyed, you got no refund for it and would need to invest months of Resources to rebuild it.

    So one moth to make a safe place, one month to build a library, another for an esoteric armory, etc. But when you do, you get that and nothing more. I think a metaphor would be trading a pretty good DPS for a powerful burst of damage and a massive cooldown.

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  • mcgonigle
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    There's a really really important reason why mages still bother with Resources:

    Wisdom.

    Mages that opt to solve all their creature comforts with magic are on the fast track to low Wisdom, and all the complications therein.

    A huge point of the game is the struggle to use massive power responsibly, which means not doing things like solving all your basic needs with magic.
    The incredibly Low Wisdom of Wisdom 7 to be precise (So all the complications that a starting character has Wisdom wise), relying on magic as an income is a barrier to gaining enlightenment, but it's only an act of Hubris against Enlightened Wisdom. (Achieving and maintaining such is far from the default of the game.)

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Originally posted by Michael View Post
    Something else I do that I can't really remember if it's technically correct or not (or maybe a previous version of the merit) is to treat the merit as more purely as a mechanic. So if you have Resources, that means you have money you can actively use in the game. Without it, the character might still have money more broadly, they just aren't able to use it constructively for the game for whatever reason.
    This is correct; both technically and in the spirit of the rules. The Resources Merit is your disposable/liquid assets, not your net worth. Two characters could both be worth millions of dollars in what they own, but one could be Resources 1 because it's all tied up in non-liquid wealth, and another could be Resource 5 because they can easily draw assets down as money to spend.

    Though I think some groups would benefit from the 1e Luxury Merit being updated to 2e, as it actually established having the possessions of a given expensive lifestyle (whether your character was being responsible with their money so they'd have both high Resources and Luxury, not so responsible with low Resources buy high Luxury and this method means losing dots of Luxury could be transferred into dots of Resources via SoM, or Luxury could even be provided by an external source rather than your personal finances).

    Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
    Is it possible to utilize the monthly use of Resource dots to purchase or upgrade location merits ?
    Resources can't directly buy Merit dots. You can buy equipment or services, and it makes justifying some Merits being increased easier, but you still need to pay the XP. Though lots of groups use some sort of XP debt house rule if it makes sense that you could use money to expedite a process but don't have the XP for it, without letting you off the hook for the XP.

    Keep in mind the "buy equipment or services," thing goes a huge way, and doesn't force you to have Merits that aren't covered by SoM on your sheet.

    Renting a secure location as a service is going to tie up your Resources until you stop paying, at which point you also lose access to what you're renting.

    Buying a text from a rare book shop might get you a +X dice bonus to a specific subject covered by the book, but it's not going to stretch beyond that.

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  • lnodiv
    replied
    You can totally buy a safehouse with Resources. If you want the Safehouse Merit, though, you'll be wanting to spend experience, too.

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  • KaiserAfini
    replied
    Is it possible to utilize the monthly use of Resource dots to purchase or upgrade location merits ? For example, buy 3 dots of Safe Place and two of Library with Resources 5 ? Or even ones like Esoteric Armory ? With no Sanctity of Merits, naturally. I do remember reading something about Free Council Lorehouses or their online auctions selling magical items (to the utter horror of the Guardians and Mysterium), but I am not sure if mundane currency would even be used (I have yet to read the Order book).

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