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Metamagic using Death

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  • Metamagic using Death

    I want to find out what you think about using Death to manipulate active spells along the lines of the Decay, Enervation, and Endings purviews.

    Dispelling using Death has already been discussed multiple times here and so I don't think it's useful to revisit that one.

    The first thing to tackle is targeting a spell. I think that there are three ways to target a spell:
    1. The Death mage herself is the subject of the spell to be targeted, placing it in "touch" range
    2. The Death mage can see the target spell in Active Mage Sight, either by using Prime AMS or the relevant AMS for at least one of the Arcana of the target spell (sensory range).
    3. Sympathetic Range casting using either the caster or subject of the spell as the sympathy yantra and a suitable representational yantra (e.g. a piece of armor for the Aegis spell)
    It should be possible to target active spells with Durations greater than one turn as well as Hung spells.

    Here are some possible effects Death magic could have on spells.

    • Cause a relinquished spell to go awry more quickly or immediately... possibly even for spells relinquished safely through the expenditure of Willpower.
    • Attenuate the signature nimbus imprinted on a spell
    • Reduce the effective Potency or Scale of a spell
    • Strip Reach effects from a spell that continue to apply after casting. It doesn't make sense to strip the Instant Casting or Sensory Range Reach effects, but might make sense to strip away something like the Reach effect for Aegis that makes the armor immune to the Armor-Piercing effect.
    • Veil the ending of a spell from its caster such that the caster continues to believe that spell consumes a spell control slot (at least until she tries to relinquish or end that spell or "exceed" her spell control slots). This might also work as a conjunctional effect with dispellation to inhibit the caster of the dispelled spell from realizing that it has been dispelled. Probably requires a Clash of Wills.
    • Reduce the Duration of a spell.
    My initial feeling is that I would allow these kinds of effects in my game, but not effects that bolster spells. Even leaving balance concerns aside, that just seems against the theme and logic of the game. Maybe I could be convinced that Death can bolster a spell temporarily through the expenditure of mana and by achieving Potency that matches the Arcanum dots of the spell. I take the Conditional Duration attainment as an example of how to carefully balance metamagic that bolsters a spell.

    Prime can duplicate any spell-targeting effect that Death can produce (and more) while Death is limited to effects that fall under its own purviews.

    Would you allow this kind of thing in a game you run? I'm trying to make up my own mind about it and want outside opinions before my Storyteller characters start doing this stuff.
    Last edited by galivet; 02-11-2020, 12:31 PM.

  • #2
    Those certainly sound within its purview

    Decay: Attenuating the Nimbus sounds fine, you are Ruling it to naturally wear off.

    Making the spell become unstable sounds within the purview of Ruling. But if it didn't go beyond free Reach, it would probably require a Fraying.

    Ennervation: I would probably ask for conjunctional Space to reduce Scale, because its not a primary factor and therefore doesn't decay by itself.

    Removing reach would probably require a mana each, because its extremely powerful and to counterbalance any Paradox the other mage may have payed for it. I would probably require paying an extra Reach and mana to degrade Indefinite duration.

    Endings: Reducing the duration of a spell probably requires Uraveling. I am not 100% sure if its Ruling, Fraying or Unraveling, therefore I am placing it within the same level of complexity as Supernal Dispellation. I would probably demand a similar Practice if they wanted to do it with Time.

    Overall I would allow it, because nothing stops other mages from utilizing this toolkit.
    Last edited by KaiserAfini; 02-11-2020, 02:48 PM.

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    • #3
      All of these sound fine to me. Altering a spell that isn't relinquished will probably cause a CoW. In 1e, Death was the other arcana along with Prime that could end or reduce any spell, and I don't see a problem with that continuing to be the case in 2e as it fits Death's themes. Though yes, there's no ability for magic to reinforce a spell.

      Just a note, if you have a Representational Yantra that -is- the Sympathy Yantra. The caster or subject of the spell is where you get the Sympathy from, if you don't have it already, because to cast Sympathetically on anything you have to have a link to the thing you're casting on from you to it. Then you also need the Sympathetic Yantra, which is a category of which Representational is a subset inside that category.


      • #4
        So my first thought is thematically it's increasing game focus on the mechanics of spellcraft, it's going to have some minor cultural effects on how your story is being told. I think there are some cool options that this provides, but if some of the group were already struggling with the intricacies of mage casting, I wouldn't complicate it more.
        On Bolstering once you have all these effects I would allow repair to the original, rather than bolstering of spells, although Death definitely wouldn't be the Arcanum I would be placing these effects under.

        Also I would have a real thought about what effects would fall into other Arcanum. I'd bring aggressive Metamagic into the game, rather than just into two Arcanum, or one Arcanum and another as fallout. (I think there is something interesting in Fate/Prime to add an exception into an existing spell.) Similarly I suspect that a Prime/Space what existing spells is this mage retaining feels like it would be important for 3).)
        I think removing Reaches is something I feel is too varied in what it means to just default allow it, I'd be more tempted to define this is the rough level where it exists if the Reach effect falls into the purview of the specific Arcanum. Rather than Death can do it but there are these exceptions, (and then finding more that don't make sense as they come up.)
        ​Reducing Scale feels conceptually heavily under the purview of the Space Arcanum, if I was throwing in Metamagic effects I would probably place this as something that can be done purely with space (and Prime ) but not Death.
        ​On Relinquished spells and going awry, Time seems the more obvious choice than Death, that isn't to say it shouldn't exist in Death, both works, but it seems more resonant with Time than Death. ​I wouldn't do this with safely relinquished spells, because it's not part of how that spell would decay/progress.
        I suspect the Veiling an ending of a spell feels like it should be targeting the caster rather than the spell. On the topic I think the subject about how much awareness a Mage has of their spells might be important for these changes.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
          Altering a spell that isn't relinquished will probably cause a CoW.
          If the new spell is Withstood, then that's all that should be needed. Whether the old spell is relinquished or not doesn't factor into it unless it's about taking control of the spell.

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