Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Questions about 1st and 2nd ed (plus advice abt spells and storytelling...)

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Questions about 1st and 2nd ed (plus advice abt spells and storytelling...)

    Ok, brief introduction, I hope it won't be too boring...

    I'm currently a player in a M:tA 1st edition campaign: from the beginning, our storyteller stated his intention of running a campaign where we would've been completely "in the dark" about everything. No player had read the manual, knew anything about the setting or about the rules, we weren't even allowed to choose our Path, our storyteller decided that for us. We're supposed to say what we want to do, and he'll take care of the rest, rolling all dices for us without us ever knowing the results (unless it's for necessary stuff, such as "you inflict 6 damage", so we can keep track). He more or less forbade us from reading the manual, so that we would more realistically roleplay our characters' discovery of things they didn't know before: this includes rules, though, not only stuff about the setting and fluff, but what to roll, when to roll, and so on.
    At times, playing his campaign has been a blast. Some other times, though, I had the nagging feeling that he was using the "players in the dark" strategy to arbitrarily change things whenever he wanted; he specified that this is not because he's making "House rules", just because "you still haven't understood the *real* reason behind this apparent change in the rule" or "you haven't read the manual, and if you did you read it wrong, it's how I say it is, period." I would appreciate it much more if he was more sincere and just said something like "I looked at this spell and decided it's too overpowered for my tastes, so I'm going to change it". This I would accept without any problem, all storytellers can set their own house rules, but changing things your players - and characters - have come to rely on without any explanation, and then simply replying that "it's always been that way, it's you who don't understand the rule" is ...annoying to say the least.

    An example.
    A player, let's call him X, decided he wanted to use the spell "Manifold Presence" (Space 5) for his everyday needs. He wanted about 5 clones: one for studying ancient tomes, one for doing some physical training, one for adventuring with the group, one for mundane needs and work, one for guarding our sanctum. That spell's description says that the clones number one per success, and multitasking must be added to the spell (cost: 1 mana, regardless of the number of duplicates) to have them act separately and do different things. The fluff says that, with this spell, you can turn into "a one man mob" or "chop a winter's worth of firewood in an hour or so": so it sounded pretty clear cut.
    Enter the storyteller, who looks almost scared: it doesn't work that way. The player has just "misread" the spell description. Here's how the spell "really" works: you can create a ton of clones, but you can only move 3 of them if they're doing extended actions, or 2 of them if they're doing instant actions: TOPS. All the other clones will just stay there, unmoving, like statues. Yeah, doesn't sound like much of a "veritable army", that. A quarrel ensues: storyteller acts almost offended - annoyed, passive aggressive tones - that we decided to double-check the manual instead of accepting his explanation as it is. That player is really furious because he feels like the storyteller is just trying to slip in an house rule without admitting it's an house rule, telling us it's RAW when it isn't. This and other similar happenings pushed him to leave, saying that he was tired of feeling he was "playing against the storyteller".
    A couple months later the group's playing, and he tells player Y, who's kinda his favorite player: "well yeah, you could control at least 5 clones with that multitasking." Apparently forgetting that to player X he had said a totally different thing...
    I'm now convinced that he's a very insecure person, that he read the manual a ton of time ago, sometimes he misread (english is not his first language, and it shows), sometimes he read correctly but just forgot, and pointing the real RAW to him will be understood as an insult and intolerable criticism.

    But he did stir an interest in this setting in me: these days I decided I want to try my hand at Storytelling as well. I'm not new to being a game master, but it's the first time I'll try it with the storytelling system (I'll try the CofD rules). It's a lot of stuff to read and learn. So I'll ask my players to be patient, work with me until I familiarize with the rules (I actually perform better when those rules are practiced than when they remain a line of text on a page) and do my best: I can't wait!

    So what am I doing here? Well:

    1) I need to know now. What DOES the Manifold Presence spell do, in the 1st edition? Can it be used as player X wanted to? Is our 1st ed storyteller's interpretation the right one RAW?

    2) How would you convert that spell in 2nd edition? (is there a thread of 1st edition spells convertions to 2nd edition? It could be useful until I really get into it)

    3) Another thing our storyteller told us is that the same spell can't be used more than once, not even on different targets. So let's say I'm a Moros and want to cast "suppress others' life" (a Death 4 version of "suppress own life") on a person, then on another one: the first person would suddenly wake up. Let's say I'm a Thyrsus and want to cast "Ultimate Honing" on a person, then "Ultimate Honing" on another person: I can't. I must cast "Hone another's form" on the second person, otherwise the first ultimate honing will dissipate. Mind you, this is another thing he says it's RAW. I found nothing about this on the 1st ed manual, and nothing on the 2nd ed manual: the "no stacking of same effect on same target" rule seems the only things that vaguely resembles this "rule". So is this another of his "moments", or what?

    Sorry for the excessive length of the post, hope you'll be able to give me some answers!

  • #2
    It sounds your previous storyteller gave you extremely suspect information. My suggestion would be to forget everything they said about the rules, and just read the book yourself with completely fresh eyes. Create your own process for determining a ruling for how to make and use spells, and develop your own understanding of the Creative Thaumaturgy rules. You’ll get better as you go, but it sounds like it would be way better if you started with 0% understanding, rather than try to sort out if that ST was right about anything.

    As for #1 and #2, I don’t know that spell specifically, so I’ll let someone else give advice on that. But for #3 I can definitively say that you can cast the same spell as many times as you want, and that it’s only based on the Spell Control and Relinquishing rules.


    Second Chance for
    [ATTACH=CONFIG]temp_709_1572548741915_354[/ATTACH]
    A Beautiful Madness

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Avenging Hathor View Post

      2) How would you convert that spell in 2nd edition? (is there a thread of 1st edition spells convertions to 2nd edition? It could be useful until I really get into it)
      Space 4 Patterning spell. Potency is primary factor, make a number of copies equal to Potency that manifest somewhere in targeting range (target factors are needed for multiple different spots). By default, the copies only ever mirror the actions of the true body (although the caster gets to reflexively decide which presence can act physically). +1 Reach to make them capable of distinct actions, +2 Reach to give them all physicality. Add Mind 2 to the casting to allow one to distribute awareness and action through all the copies simultaneously.


      I have approximate knowledge of many things.
      Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree that this storyteller is not honest, i would change him from this role at the first.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Seraph Kitty View Post
          It sounds your previous storyteller gave you extremely suspect information. My suggestion would be to forget everything they said about the rules, and just read the book yourself with completely fresh eyes..
          You're probably right. At first I thought that having a bit of game experience would help me with storytelling, but the truth is I'm running the risk of creating a huge mess, mixing together 1st ed rules, 2nd ed rules and you-thought-it's-1st-but-it's-not ST mess. Ok, I'll start from scratch then!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

            Space 4 Patterning spell. Potency is primary factor, make a number of copies equal to Potency that manifest somewhere in targeting range (target factors are needed for multiple different spots). By default, the copies only ever mirror the actions of the true body (although the caster gets to reflexively decide which presence can act physically). +1 Reach to make them capable of distinct actions, +2 Reach to give them all physicality. Add Mind 2 to the casting to allow one to distribute awareness and action through all the copies simultaneously.
            What about Space 4, Making, with Potency as primary factor, then making it conjunctional with Mind for distinct actions, and with Life for physicality? Wouldn't you use conjunctionals at all here?

            Btw 1st ed manual says: "manifold presence is an advanced version of colocation - space 4". But Colocation is Patterning, Manifold Presence is Making. Making is not an advanced version of Patterning no matter how you slice it, it's something completely different - one is profoundly and unnaturally changing something that already exists, one is creating the arcanum ex novo. And this spell seems to take something that already is (someone's body) duplicating it ...what exactly is duplicated here? The connection all new bodies share?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Avenging Hathor View Post

              What about Space 4, Making, with Potency as primary factor, then making it conjunctional with Mind for distinct actions, and with Life for physicality? Wouldn't you use conjunctionals at all here?
              Well a spell with the Practice of Making is going to require Space 5 anyway. My initial thought would be Patterning as a kind of transformation of somebody's individual spatial presence, kind of splintering them along multiple axes, but the logic of Making as just creating additional presences modelled off the subject works as well. I think it mostly comes down to which level one feels is balanced.

              I think Second Edition mostly tries to cut down on unnecessarily intricate Arcana makeup for spells, so I don't think you'd need Life in a Space spell like this any more than you need it for teleportation; anything to do with the physicality is already being covered by the spatial manipulations. The inclusion of Mind is because I would think there's a necessity for altering one's own consciousness to conduct different actions with multiple bodily presences simultaneously, a frame of reference that humans just do not naturally possess. It's two dots because I imagine it as more advanced than the one dot One Mind, Two Thoughts in a way that I think wouldn't quite be covered by that spell's Reach (although that depends on what Reach based enhancements means for added Arcanum dots anyway).

              Originally posted by Avenging Hathor
              Btw 1st ed manual says: "manifold presence is an advanced version of colocation - space 4". But Colocation is Patterning, Manifold Presence is Making.
              When it comes to transcribing First Edition spells, I think one should follow the Second Edition baseline of "it requires the lowest Arcanum level whose Practice would describe the effect, and more advanced versions come from Reach". First Edition had issues with calling spells Making just because they required five dots, even when they were explicitly just more powerful versions of lower Arcanum spells (and then sometimes just called five dot spells "Patterning" or whatever in any case, making them feel a lot more arbitrary). Second Edition streamlined and consolidated a lot of that*.

              So along that logic, I'm basically proposing that Co-location and Manifold Presence are just one spell, where the stronger version of all of them having physicality is Reached for. A pretty high amount of Reach at that, considering that it's a fairly strong effect; three Reach to be able to act in multiple places in different ways is a fairly big ask that close to Mastery. I think that keeps it from allowing too much while still providing the basic concept.

              Originally posted by Avenging Hathor
              And this spell seems to take something that already is (someone's body) duplicating it ...what exactly is duplicated here? The connection all new bodies share?
              When one of the base ideas of the Space Arcanum is that physical distance is illusory, I would see this spell less in terms of being actually duplicated and more as kind of twisting space so that one body is occupying multiple points simultaneously. It's about like in the Portal video games, where you can make two portals opposite each other on the walls, meaning that when you stand in front of one you can see your physical presence in front of you when it's also standing behind you, even though you remain completely intact. It's why I would think letting the presences perform independent actions rather than being mirrors would call for Reach, beyond just being the more advanced side of the spell; the character getting to push the boundaries of what it means to intersect with multiple spaces simultaneously while still technically adhering to it.

              (Note that in Second Edition, "Co-location" is given as the name of a three dot spell that allows one to make different places occupy the same space, functioning as the premise for portals. One would probably use "Manifold Presence" to describe the effect of a person being in several areas at once, at every level of power.)

              * This often means that certain effects are available earlier than they used to be so long as one Reaches for them, and sometimes means an effect is pushed further back. Transformation of all substances rests at Matter 4 now, and there's no early teleportation for small objects and animals.


              I have approximate knowledge of many things.
              Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                I think Second Edition mostly tries to cut down on unnecessarily intricate Arcana makeup for spells, so I don't think you'd need Life in a Space spell like this any more than you need it for teleportation; anything to do with the physicality is already being covered by the spatial manipulations. The inclusion of Mind is because I would think there's a necessity for altering one's own consciousness to conduct different actions with multiple bodily presences simultaneously, a frame of reference that humans just do not naturally possess. It's two dots because I imagine it as more advanced than the one dot One Mind, Two Thoughts in a way that I think wouldn't quite be covered by that spell's Reach (although that depends on what Reach based enhancements means for added Arcanum dots anyway).
                I can see the reasoning behind cutting down on unnecessary Arcana makeup for spells, but OTOH, when I look at the "Create Life" spell, I can't help but notice that the inclusion of Mind is necessary, not only for very mind-driven creatures like humans, but for *all* kind of animals. You can't even create the simplest insect, with its base instincts, without adding Mind *****.
                Considering that for a Thyrsus (the "default" heavy life-arcanum user) learning Mind is something very difficult from the get-go, too.
                So, the fact that for a Mastigos casting Manifold Presence and creating autonomous living bodies from nothing doesn't require Life *****, (which a Mastigos can attain without the burden of the inferior arcana weighting on him/her) while creating an animal's instinct and natural behaviour DOES require Mind, and at a maxed level as well... Sounds rather off to me.




                Comment


                • #9
                  It’s the difference between cloning a creature already alive and kickin’, and creating a lifeform from scratch, I guess. The end result is the same… only from Phenomenal perspectives. The Supernal sees the two actions as separate, and thus requires different workings. (At least, that’s how I see the logic flowing.)


                  MtAw Homebrew:
                  Even more Legacies, updated to 2E
                  New 2E Legacies, expanded

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Avenging Hathor View Post

                    I can see the reasoning behind cutting down on unnecessary Arcana makeup for spells, but OTOH, when I look at the "Create Life" spell, I can't help but notice that the inclusion of Mind is necessary, not only for very mind-driven creatures like humans, but for *all* kind of animals. You can't even create the simplest insect, with its base instincts, without adding Mind *****.
                    I don't think that's quite correct. The wording of the spell states outright that without Mind to give it intelligence, it will act purely on instinct. That does leave the game group in the position of needing to decide what the line actually is between instinct and real consciousness for any given creature.

                    Originally posted by Avenging Hathor
                    So, the fact that for a Mastigos casting Manifold Presence and creating autonomous living bodies from nothing doesn't require Life *****, (which a Mastigos can attain without the burden of the inferior arcana weighting on him/her) while creating an animal's instinct and natural behaviour DOES require Mind, and at a maxed level as well... Sounds rather off to me.
                    Perhaps, but my own priorities are not really with fairness, just with determining the logic of any given spell and making them streamlined wherever possible.

                    In this case, following the logic that the spell isn't creating a thing ex nihilo, just altering how many spaces an existing thing can occupy at the same time. You're not creating a different hand elsewhere, your hand just becomes capable of touching two things at once (and with some more fine tuning, touching two things in different ways at once).

                    That's my suggestion for it, but if added Life for the sake of parity or requiring a bit more to get a powerful effect or just because it feels like it makes more sense is what works for you, then it's ultimately your call at your table.


                    I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                    Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My perspective so far has been that Life as an Arcanum can and should include at least all nonhuman, animal minds as well, with an option for living human minds too.
                      The "Many Roads" rule about following different ways and using different Arcana to reach the same objective made me feel that there should be more than a way to approach the "Life or Mind?" question, and personally I think more is better.
                      "A mind weaving spell can force a target to feel love", "a Life ruling spell can cause a brain to release dopamine and other hormones to create a similar effect". The way I read it, it's as if Mind delves in "more abstract" symbols of emotions and sentiments. Love, Friendship, Regret, Virtuousness and Viciousness, while Life can reach similar or even equal effects by manipulating simpler symbols, grounded in Life's "bricks": hormones, proteines, DNA, electrochemical reactions in the brain, and so on. It's more complicated and would require the Mage to have a good knowledge of what he's doing: maybe some Medicine skill.

                      Could a Mind spell prevent a pregnant woman from developing a loving bond with her child, preventing formation of "love"? Would that be Shielding? (I didn't mention Space, because such a mother could develop a strong bond with its child, only it would be something very different than love... resentment? Hate?) Could a Life spell do the same, by blocking all oxytocin and beta-endorphines and disrupting the bio-behavioral feedback loop?


                      In this case, following the logic that the spell isn't creating a thing ex nihilo, just altering how many spaces an existing thing can occupy at the same time. You're not creating a different hand elsewhere, your hand just becomes capable of touching two things at once (and with some more fine tuning, touching two things in different ways at once).
                      Really? In the 1st edition I was under the impression that this spell, with Life 5 added, was actually duplicating the subject's body, not only letting a single body touch 2 things in different ways. That's why if someone's body was hit during a fight, with the no-Life version all bodies immediately felt the same pain and registered the same wound, while with the Life version all bodies were totally independent and A didn't have any negative (or positive) effect from what B experienced.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hmm. I feel trying to create a thinking mind (as opposed to one running on animal instincts alone), whether it’s the sapient mind of a human or the educated-by-kin-and-experience mind of an animal, solely via Life, would require a lot of Reach. Perhaps enough Reach for a Life mage to go think “You know, instead of risking it every time I do this, maybe I could try and learn some Mind on my own. Could help me out on the long run, right?”


                        MtAw Homebrew:
                        Even more Legacies, updated to 2E
                        New 2E Legacies, expanded

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Avenging Hathor View Post
                          My perspective so far has been that Life as an Arcanum can and should include at least all nonhuman, animal minds as well, with an option for living human minds too.
                          The "Many Roads" rule about following different ways and using different Arcana to reach the same objective made me feel that there should be more than a way to approach the "Life or Mind?" question, and personally I think more is better.
                          "A mind weaving spell can force a target to feel love", "a Life ruling spell can cause a brain to release dopamine and other hormones to create a similar effect". The way I read it, it's as if Mind delves in "more abstract" symbols of emotions and sentiments. Love, Friendship, Regret, Virtuousness and Viciousness, while Life can reach similar or even equal effects
                          Some overlap is fine, some edge cases for the whole Many Roads thing are acceptable, but I wouldn't go so far as to allow one Arcanum to use technicalities to appropriate large swaths of what another one can do.

                          When we've got things like the Arcana, I would find that the game's cosmology is largely coming down on an idea that the mind really is a thing that transcends some of the material brain, in a similar manner to how the existence of Divination spells means that the game needs to take a philosophical stance against full determinism.

                          Originally posted by Avengeing Hathor
                          by manipulating simpler symbols, grounded in Life's "bricks": hormones, proteines, DNA, electrochemical reactions in the brain, and so on. It's more complicated and would require the Mage to have a good knowledge of what he's doing: maybe some Medicine skill.
                          I think getting into Skills as providing certain extra means of applying spells can become a bit messy. Spell casting as presented as largely a matter of mages determining effects through symbolic understanding rather than fine manipulation of physical phenomena, and I would find that also means there are certain things that operate at a resolution magic isn't really concerned with, which leaves out targeting Life on the level or manipulating in terms of proteins or nucleic acids.

                          I think getting too hung up on quantifying the way this stuff works is the kind of thing that leads to looking at how a Ruling of Forces can control the weather and analysing that in terms of manipulating large masses of air and water and complex temperature and pressure gradients, rather than "the weather" being perceived and touched as this discrete thing.

                          Remember that things in the Supernal exist as Patterns and Forms, and the Supernal is where the processes that create spell effects take place. You're not really messing with DNA as a particular thing, but you get to transcend it by just straight up causing a body to sprout new appendages and change into an entire new species.

                          Originally posted by Avenging Hathor
                          Could a Mind spell prevent a pregnant woman from developing a loving bond with her child, preventing formation of "love"? Would that be Shielding?
                          Shielding protects a phenomenon or harnesses that phenomenon to protect. Denying a person a certain emotional reaction seems to me more like Fraying.

                          Originally posted by Avenging Hathor
                          Could a Life spell do the same, by blocking all oxytocin and beta-endorphines and disrupting the bio-behavioral feedback loop?
                          A spell isn't commanding with that level of granularity. A maternal bond is still something instinctual, and that lets it be something that Life spells can affect. Triggering instincts in the absence of usual stimuli is a Ruling spell, but I feel as though blocking such an instinct from taking place would also be Fraying.

                          What might a neurologist or endocrinologist observe if they examine the brain of a person under the effect of such a spell? Maybe they see those hormones failing to be secreted or bonding to receptors. Maybe they see the hormones functioning as they ought to, and yet the effect just does not take place. I think that what one finds when looking at how Supernal commands play out in the Phenomenal World differs and is not really in the control of the mage, and if looked at too closely can lead to Dissonance over how inexplicable it is in a way that breaks the spell down.

                          Originally posted by Avenging Hathor
                          Really? In the 1st edition I was under the impression that this spell, with Life 5 added, was actually duplicating the subject's body, not only letting a single body touch 2 things in different ways. That's why if someone's body was hit during a fight, with the no-Life version all bodies immediately felt the same pain and registered the same wound, while with the Life version all bodies were totally independent and A didn't have any negative (or positive) effect from what B experienced.
                          See this is what I mean by approaching the subject in terms of translating it not just according to the letter of Second Edition's rules but the intent behind why those rules were written this way in the first place.

                          So I would not look to translate the exact implementation of spells whole cloth, I'd think of the basic idea of what the spell was intended to do and think of how it would be built from the ground up with Second Edition's rules.

                          Now this would be its own case where I would think the Many Roads principle applies. I would think of Life 5 as something that lets you create additional bodies for yourself; not just meat puppets that cosmetically resemble you in every respect, things whose Pattern is defined as "my body". The capacity to exist as a being with multiple bodies as a creation of the spell, whose full extent is determined by the Reach. It would work in ways resembling but distinct from getting to use Space to manipulate qualities of where things are to be one body in multiple areas simultaneously.


                          I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                          Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                            Shielding protects a phenomenon or harnesses that phenomenon to protect. Denying a person a certain emotional reaction seems to me more like Fraying.
                            I thought shielding prevented an Arcanum-related phenomenon from taking place (that's why it can be used to protect yourself against an Arcanum-related incoming attack), while Fraying acted on an already-happening Arcanum-related phenomenon. No matter if the phenomenon is "good" or "bad" from ethical (or utilitarian) point of view.
                            i.e. spell Ghost Shield:

                            "The caster creates a shield that protects her subject from ghostly
                            Numina, Influences, Manifestations, Death spells, and any
                            death-related powers of other supernatural creatures. Any power
                            attempting to pierce the shield provokes a Clash of Wills roll.

                            This is a Shielding spell. It could prevent a beneficial influence or numina from affecting the spellcaster: nowhere in the spell it says that it only blocks damaging or harmful spells. Hence my understanding of how Shielding works.

                            So, protecting someone's Mind from all effects, natural or supernatural, that could affect it and change it - and the creation of a mother-child bond is something radically changing someone's mind, I think - keeping that mind "untouched", sounded like Shielding to me.

                            Btw, thank you, everyone, for taking the time to answer my questions It's so refreshing to have people clearly answering questions about rules' interpretations. Even when I disagree, I feel I'm learning a lot.
                            At the moment I think I'll apply the Many Roads rule rather generously, but I'll try to keep some noticeable differences, both in short term and in long term spell effects and descriptions, as to make things more interesting, and encourage players to try different ways to reach the same objective, and experience all nuances. Won't be easy and I'll have to be careful not to get overboard, but it could be promising.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Avenging Hathor View Post
                              nowhere in the spell it says that it only blocks damaging or harmful spells. Hence my understanding of how Shielding works.
                              But the creative thaumaturgy rules clearly state just that. Also, the spell is quite clearly meant to be a form of protection; it's just wide enough to also catch other stuff.


                              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

                              Working...
                              X