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The ultimate Mastermind [Fate + Mind combo]

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  • The ultimate Mastermind [Fate + Mind combo]

    Hello there, so I'm a storyteller and just started to play Mage the Awakening [2e] recently. And there is this player who created an Acanthus (Gnosis 3 / Mind 3, Fate 3, Time 2 / Rotes: augment mind, exceptional luck, enhance skill; Praxis: Clear thoughts, Psychic Domination). And this player came up with a combo, which he called: Self-improving routine, that I'm not entirely sure if it's even possible, so I would like to listen to your opinions and hints about it.

    1) He uses Exceptional Luck and the reach to allow applying the bonus to spellcasting rolls, in order to grant some extra dice while casting mind magic to buff himself.
    2) He always uses a point of Willpower to boost 3 dice in spellcasting, then uses Clear Thoughts and the +1 reach to regains a point of Willpower.
    3) He uses mind magic to grant the condition Steadfast in order to always have at least one success.

    [ from now on, keep in mind he always repeats step 1 2 and 3 before each spellcasting ]

    4) Now it starts: He casts Augment Mind 6 times to set Intelligence, Wits, Resolve, Presence, Manipulate and Composure to 5 point in each attribute for duration of one week, then unsafely relinquish spells spending one WP point, (always repeating steps 1, 2 and 3 for Exceptional Luck, steadfast and regain Willpower point, between each Augment Mind).
    5) Then he casts Enhance Skill 11 times, duration of one month, to set many skill to 5 points each, and again unsafely relinquish spell spending one WP point, always repeating steps 1 to 3 between each Enhance Skill cast to grant the bonuses and conditions).
    6) He finishes this Self-Improving Routine combining fate and time to "suspend" some spells, and only activating them when he speaks a command word or in some named situations that he specified in advance, in order this spells only get activated in this situations or when he speak this command word, this spells are:
    • [Mental Shield + Warding Gesture];
    • [Constant Presence + Shield of Chronos];
    • [Veil of moments + Universal Language];
    • [Two Toughts, one mind + Perfect Recall];
    • [Goetic Summons];
    • [Incognito Presence];
    • [Clear Toughts];
    • [Fool's rush in];
    • [Memory Hole];
    • [Monkey's paw];
    • [The right tool];
    • [Serendipity];
    • [Shared Fate];
    • [Shifting the odds];
    In the end, I'm kinda new at storytelling Mage the Awakening and I'd like some insights on how to proceed in this situation? what would you do in this situation? I mean, besides relinquising 31 freaking spells, unsafely, only spending 1 willpower point that supposedly is regained with Clear Thoughts.
    Can someone stack Augment Mind 6 times and Enhance Skills 11 times, but in different attributes and skills?
    Isn't walking around, interacting with sleepers using all mental and social attribute and skills at 5 dots, rolling 10 dice pool, any sort of act of hubris?
    Isn't the rule for relinquising spells broken or something? I mean, on the book mention that relinquishing unsafely is forbidden in most concilia, but this claimed Self-Improving Routine puts me in a situation where all mages should do a similar routine to deal with this over-buffed mage player, or there will be a witch-hunting because this player will be considered a criminal?
    So can you help me? Any thoughts?
    Last edited by Saerion; 08-25-2020, 12:50 AM.

  • #2
    Yep, that is doable. As a matter of fact, he could just use a dedicated Perfecting of Mind to heal [Potency] Willpower. The one thing I think is not valid is Steadfast, which only affects mundane rolls. Technically the reasons unsafe relinquishing is badly viewed are:

    1- The spell warps after being released if you over Reached, even after using mana, the Guardians and the Lex Magicka will not be happy when it happens
    2- Loss of control, unless you used Conditional Duration, you cannot stop the spell without a dispellation. An extreme example is that you will remain in Incognito presence until it wears out, even if that takes a year !
    3- You are doing the metaphysical equivalent of yelling through a megaphone to all nearby Peripheral Sights, which means any Seers and Banishers will have a much easier time tracking you
    4- Loss of finesse, you cannot fine tune the effect, your Shieldings will affect your own Fate and Mind effects, even the benign ones. All hung spells will fire once their timer runs out.
    5- Trust issues, mages will be less likely to want to deal with the person who made themselves a social butterfly. If your point has so much merit or your actions are sincere, why not let them stand on their own ?
    6- Paranoia issues, why do you need a standard Arrow level operation's worth of spells constantly on ? Are you planning to call Nemesis on someone ? Put the Veil in jeopardy by antagonizing vampires, is that what all the mental defenses are for ? Just because the spells are hung doesn't mean they don't ping the Peripheral Sight.


    There are also time constraints, do they have the time available when they want to do this every time ? They should also worry about resource use, each hung spell requires a point of mana.

    Mages can accomplish a lot when they have the time to prepare. But normally the question isn't if they can, but if they should. What are the consequences of their choices ? Not only the social ones, but also the lack of subtlety and the edge cases. Make them realize that having fallback contingencies is a path to Wisdom, but its only part of the equation. Being able to act with discretion and having the common sense to know when a more mundane solution can get the job done are just as important.
    Last edited by KaiserAfini; 08-25-2020, 01:01 AM.


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

    The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
    The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

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    • #3
      This is a particularly old shenanigan, so to summarize:

      1. Allowing Exceptional Luck to apply any of its possible boons other than 9-Again or 8-Again to spellcasting rolls is not explicit within the spell, contradicts the basic writeup for how boons work at the start of the Fate Arcanum writeup, and (in the case of Steadfast in particular) outright defeats the purpose of having spellcasting work by taking penalties to the roll instead of needing to roll more successes. The Mind Arcanum presents no readily persuasive workaround to applying where Fate would not in this manner. Do not let this ride.

      2. Unsafely relinquishing a spell with a long-term Duration means it risks losing effectiveness every chapter; combined with the Exceptional Luck cheese being nonviable, this means the "self-improving routine" amounts to "make seventeen rolls at the start of every chapter to see if a spell your character can cast trivially degrades or wears off early." Nothing to worry about.

      3. A bunch of those suspended spells aren't going to be much use without a predefined target, and each batch of hung spells uses up another bit of spell control. The timeframe in which such suspensions are useful is likely less than a chapter, so relinquishing them is mostly just a way for him to bleed Willpower. Kind of silly, but not much cause for concern.

      4. Speaking of silly: He's taken Clear Thoughts as a Praxis rather than a Rote and is explicitly using a Reach effect — at Mind 3, this means he is either risking Paradox every time he recoups his Willpower or spending an entire hour casting a spell to recoup his Willpower, which he plans to do every time he engages the Exceptional Luck cheese that (as described above) doesn't work. Even if the loop he was building was functional, both of these are risks and resources that dramatic hooks can be put into.

      tl;dr It doesn't work that way, and as long as you both recognize that the game involves a certain amount of Unintended Consequences from ill-advised applications of magic (and/or the preparation or lack thereof therefor) you should be golden.


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

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      • #4
        That's a really bad issue, because the Guardians are not happy with all this situation, and as I said isn't that almost and act of hubris? I mean walking around all buffed and influencing the sleepers with such a 10 dice pool for any mental or social roll?

        And it's going to be annoying to deal with Guardians, banishers and seers, and a number of supernaturals hunting down this mage, I mean imagine his magic aura, it should shine like a lighthouse.

        What about his nimbus? How would it react in this situation with such a number of active and hung spells?

        My other question is, even after he relinquished 6 Augment Mind and 11 Enhance Skills, to not account the defense spells, shouldn't they count as active spells for reaching accountability when casting the next spell? I mean, even after relinquished, the spell is still active affecting and improving his pattern.

        What do you suggest me to do?
        Last edited by Saerion; 08-25-2020, 01:24 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Saerion View Post
          That's a really bad issue, because the Guardians are not happy with all this situation, and as I said isn't that almost and act of hubris? I mean walking around all buffed and influencing the sleepers with such a 10 dice pool for any mental or social roll?
          It is only an Act of Hubris at the highest levels of Wisdom.

          And it's going to be annoying to deal with Guardians, banishers and seers, and a number of supernaturals hunting down this mage, I mean imagine his magic aura, it should shine like a lighthouse.
          Not his aura, but yeah, he'll be really obvious to any Mage that he happens to be nearish.

          What about his nimbus? How would it react in this situation with such a number of active and hung spells?
          His Immediate and Signature nimbus wouldn't change, but his Longterm nimbus is entirely narrative, so it's up to you if it changes.

          My other question is, even after he relinquished 6 Augment Mind and 11 Enhance Skills, to not account the defense spells, shouldn't they count as active spells for reaching accountability when casting the next spell? I mean, even after relinquished, the spell is still active affecting and improving his pattern.
          That's sort of how it worked in 1e (you could only have a number of spells in your pattern equal to Stamina), but in 2e only Active spell control matters, if it's relinquished it's not under Active Spell Control and so doesn't count for the number of Active Spells with regards to having to expend additional Reach.

          What do you suggest me to do?
          Listen to Satchel.

          Shut down the Steadfast cheese. Roll for degradation of every spell every chapter. Hell, have some irritated Mage with Prime 4 dispel all the active effects every time he interacts with the Consillium.


          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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          • #6
            What about hung spells, are they affected by dispel the same way as the relinquished ones too?

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            • #7
              Yep, its a spell that delays the beginning of other spells. Dispel it and all of them fire at once, not only the ones applied to themselves (such a Warding Gesture cast on themselves) but also ones such as the Mind attack you placed to defend your Sanctum.

              The solution to all this might be to use alternative ways to relinquish safely, but most of those come with a requirement of resources or dangerous consequences (destroying souls, suffering a breaking point, killing, etc). The closest thing on hand would be a variation of Sworn Oaths to make another willing supernatural pay the relinquishment cost for them, but that has diplomatic challenges built in. At that point, you would want to wait until you can cast indefinite spells to get the greatest cost benefit.

              Lastly, they could use a Perfecting of Fate to allow safe relinquishment on exceptional successes. But that would then make them commit to using Superlative Luck , which means using mana each cast without a rote (or Grimmoire) and having to deal with Paradox. So they could technically make everlasting bonuses using fate boons, a common Conditional Duration ("this item cannot be used by anyone but me"), a mantra and a rune. But that would use time, resources, would require extra care handling the "lucky charm" and risk Paradox, so it all balances out.
              Last edited by KaiserAfini; 08-25-2020, 02:38 PM.


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

              The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
              The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
                Yep, that is doable. As a matter of fact, he could just use a dedicated Perfecting of Mind to heal [Potency] Willpower. The one thing I think is not valid is Steadfast, which only affects mundane rolls.
                i'm new to the game, but i didn't find anywhere in the 2nd edition core book that Steadfast affects only mundane rolls. I wonder if someone could help me find this information. i'm assuming that this is a written rule, and not some kind of players agreement, but if not the case, please let me know.

                i'm not a native english speaker so i apologize in advance for mistakes.


                "The universe is basically an animal. It grazes on the ordinary. It creates infinite idiots just to eat them."

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Redzone View Post
                  i'm new to the game, but i didn't find anywhere in the 2nd edition core book that Steadfast affects only mundane rolls. I wonder if someone could help me find this information. i'm assuming that this is a written rule, and not some kind of players agreement, but if not the case, please let me know.
                  Steadfast is a Condition that pre-dates the publication of Mage 2e, like Inspired, Informed, Shaken, Spooked, et cetera.

                  Mage 2e has rules for what boons can do, printed at the front of the section on the Fate Arcanum.

                  The rules for what boons can do include giving beneficial Conditions (examples of which specifically include Steadfast), giving bonus dice, or giving the 8-Again/9-Again quality to rolls.

                  The rules for what boons can do (printed at the front of the section on the Fate Arcanum) include adding Reach to allow the 8-Again/9-Again variety of boon to affect spellcasting rolls and other powers.

                  The stipulation that you can allow a boon to affect spellcasting rolls is only in the bullet point describing giving 8-Again/9-Again to rolls, which is the first bullet point in the list and therefore clearly not an inclusive element for the entire list but formatted wrong (for which an argument could be made if it was in the last bullet point in the list).

                  Spellcasting rolls specifically differ from other supernatural power rolls by the fact that more successes mostly do not produce a more effective spell (exceptional success notwithstanding); all increases in spell factors beyond those provided to the primary spell factor for free are gained by taking penalties on the spellcasting roll, the offsetting of which is therefore the primary purpose of Yantras.

                  The Steadfast Condition, when applied to any roll with one or more non-chance dice, allows you to resolve it to convert a failed roll into a successful roll; in the case of spellcasting rolls, this means that the Condition can be used to guarantee the success of any spell whose spell factors do not reduce your dice pool to a range of zero through -10.

                  As this use of boons breaks the function of spellcasting rolls and lacks the specific allowance that dice-trick boons have, it can be inferred that (at the very least in Mage games for Mage purposes) common Conditions like Inspired, Informed, and Steadfast are not meant to apply to spellcasting rolls or other powers.


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

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Redzone View Post

                    i'm new to the game, but i didn't find anywhere in the 2nd edition core book that Steadfast affects only mundane rolls. I wonder if someone could help me find this information. i'm assuming that this is a written rule, and not some kind of players agreement, but if not the case, please let me know.

                    i'm not a native english speaker so i apologize in advance for mistakes.

                    Its an often adopted house rule, although their effect is not that crazy overall. I personally allow it, but its such a commonly seen house rule that I automatically took it into consideration, sorry for the confusion. Dave, who spearheaded the development of 2ed, commented on this:

                    Originally posted by Dave Brookshaw View Post
                    They affect spells too. Many people house-rule that they don't, but as written AND as intended, they do.
                    However, there are certain Conditions that cannot affect spells. For example, Informed specifically mentions it can only be used on Skill rolls. Keep an eye out for them and you should be good to go.


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

                    The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
                    The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
                      Dave, who spearheaded the development of 2ed, commented on this:
                      That's a post from 2014, talking about spells from 1e that apply dice tricks.


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

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                        That's a post from 2014, talking about spells from 1e that apply dice tricks.
                        Right, 2ed is from 2016, that slipped my mind. In that case, so far I found no official statement confirming or denying it.


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

                        The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
                        The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                          Steadfast is a Condition that pre-dates the publication of Mage 2e, like Inspired, Informed, Shaken, Spooked, et cetera.

                          Mage 2e has rules for what boons can do, printed at the front of the section on the Fate Arcanum.

                          The rules for what boons can do include giving beneficial Conditions (examples of which specifically include Steadfast), giving bonus dice, or giving the 8-Again/9-Again quality to rolls.

                          The rules for what boons can do (printed at the front of the section on the Fate Arcanum) include adding Reach to allow the 8-Again/9-Again variety of boon to affect spellcasting rolls and other powers.

                          The stipulation that you can allow a boon to affect spellcasting rolls is only in the bullet point describing giving 8-Again/9-Again to rolls, which is the first bullet point in the list and therefore clearly not an inclusive element for the entire list but formatted wrong (for which an argument could be made if it was in the last bullet point in the list).

                          Spellcasting rolls specifically differ from other supernatural power rolls by the fact that more successes mostly do not produce a more effective spell (exceptional success notwithstanding); all increases in spell factors beyond those provided to the primary spell factor for free are gained by taking penalties on the spellcasting roll, the offsetting of which is therefore the primary purpose of Yantras.

                          The Steadfast Condition, when applied to any roll with one or more non-chance dice, allows you to resolve it to convert a failed roll into a successful roll; in the case of spellcasting rolls, this means that the Condition can be used to guarantee the success of any spell whose spell factors do not reduce your dice pool to a range of zero through -10.

                          As this use of boons breaks the function of spellcasting rolls and lacks the specific allowance that dice-trick boons have, it can be inferred that (at the very least in Mage games for Mage purposes) common Conditions like Inspired, Informed, and Steadfast are not meant to apply to spellcasting rolls or other powers.

                          Thank you for your reply!
                          I know that the boon rules (on page 134) presents three options, and only the first one specifies a possibility to apply to spellcasting rolls by taking the +2 Reach.
                          My question was regarding resolving steadfast condition (despite how the character has gained it) to gain an automatic success on a spellcasting roll. I see the reason to not allow it, i agree that it breaks the function of spellcasting rolls, but i was curious if that was a written rule that specifically doesn't allow it, or it was just a rule of thumb because it's broken otherwise.

                          Again, thank you for your time and apologies for the bad english


                          "The universe is basically an animal. It grazes on the ordinary. It creates infinite idiots just to eat them."

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Redzone View Post
                            I see the reason to not allow it, i agree that it breaks the function of spellcasting rolls, but i was curious if that was a written rule that specifically doesn't allow it, or it was just a rule of thumb because it's broken otherwise.
                            There's no direct statement to the effect of "spellcasting can't benefit from Conditions," (there's Conditions that affect your spellcasting, after all!) but things like the above and the similar lack of a statement to the contrary suggest that for simplicity's sake it's better to default to the assumption that Conditions that don't specifically work on spellcasting can't apply their benefits to the roll.


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

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                            • #15
                              What I do is limit things like Steadfast to categories, anyway. You might have Steadfast [Combat], Steadfast [Social], or even Steadfast [Spellcasting]; conditions with the [Spellcasting] tag resolve into Arcane Beats. This is obviously a house-rule solution, but you might find it helpful, and it allows you as the ST to control how often it comes up: I've only given out Steadfast [Spellcasting] a few times, and each time it has been used to great effect with interesting narrative consequences (once it was used to summon the goetia of the Catholic conception of the Sin of Wrath).


                              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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