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[2E Hack] Alternative Time Travel magic

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  • [2E Hack] Alternative Time Travel magic

    After today game session, my players group found corebook written version of ‘Shifting Sands’ spell to be overpowered. From our reading and gameplay it comes to conclusion that Acanthus on Time 3 can easily just rewrite all last 3 turns over and over, until end of time. So here is my own proposed version that makes Disciples and Adepts of Time a bit sweat and will lead to new Paradox dice pools.

    Shifting Sands (Time •••)
    Practice: Fraying
    Primary Factor: Special
    Cost: 1 Mana
    Suggested Rote Skills: Academics, Occult, Survival

    The mage may step back through time a short distance, undoing a few precious seconds. This spell sends the subject back through time a one turn. The subject retains any injuries and Conditions gained in the undone turns, and spent Mana and Willpower do not return. Spells cast on her person in the undone time remain as long as she cast them. All other spells she may have cast or had cast on her in the intervening time are canceled. Until the subject catches up to the present, the distortion caused by this spell is visible under Active Time Mage Sight. Once she does so, any changes she made to history become Lasting.

    +2 Reach: The subject travels back a one more turn. This Reach effect may be applied multiple times.
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 06-19-2016, 06:25 PM.


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  • #2
    This causes the spell to do absolutely nothing without Reach, which seems a step too far given that the worst comparable deficit in other spells is the need to dedicate extra or Advanced spell factors in order for the effect to have a practical outcome (e.g. many spells that one might want Advanced Duration on).


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    • #3
      In combat situation 3-4 turns on Time from Primary Factor is too practical outcome - it basically reset whole fight. ( Literally get this on today's game session. ) One turn can save your life - two will can change face of battle. Three or four will resolve combat to non-existing.

      Aiming for running jumping back time to one or two turns is practical solution. Aiming with rules on more just destroy's combat scenes with Acanthus.
      Last edited by wyrdhamster; 06-18-2016, 07:41 PM.


      My stuff for Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E & BtP
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      • #4
        This is a problem with the Potency system in general, not Shifting Sands specifically. If you wanna nerf it, just remove the Potency affecting the amount of turns you go back and make it a default one turn, for a Reach make it Potency turns, and for two Reaches make it a scene.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by arthexis View Post
          This is a problem with the Potency system in general, not Shifting Sands specifically.
          On general I like autmatic 'Arcana dots in Potency' with most of spells. Just in this particular instance this 3-4 is just way too much, on logistical takes of narrative.

          Originally posted by arthexis View Post
          If you wanna nerf it, just remove the Potency affecting the amount of turns you go back and make it a default one turn, for a Reach make it Potency turns, and for two Reaches make it a scene.
          For jumping back on scene or more is Corridors of Time for Masters, not Time 3 spell. Even then, as I mentioned above, 3-4 turns in combat situation means almost sure not live or die combat situation - it's basically 'win button'. I'm okay with this kind things on Masters level - but on Disciples it's just a way too much.

          I'm okay with character risking Paradox to get more than 1-2 turns, rising exponential Dox dice pools. You want to jump more than those 3-6 seconds? Ask your friendly Time Master. If not - just roll with big Paradox...


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          • #6
            Shifting Sands was complained about elsewhere, and I made the following suggestion for backwards time traveling spells, specifically for Sands abuse.
            How about using a Sound of Thunder/Time and Punishment/Looper model? Rather than playing out the scene or fight again, the caster identifies the outcome he wanted, and the ST imposes a penalty as the cost. Some ideas:
            • The subject may trade any of the following for another option on the list:
              • Damage equal to the spell's Potency (limited by the amount of damage taken in that scene)
              • Gain or lose a Condition
              • Close or open a Door
              • Improve or worsen an Impression, using 1 Reach to flip to or from Hostile
              • Improve or worsen a roll by one step (failure to a success, success to exceptional success), at a cost of 1 Reach if the roll would require a dice trick to achieve
              • Add dice equal to the spell's Potency to rolls leveraging information gained since the target event
              • Describe a plausible difference in events and extrapolate the outcome.
            • The ST then imposes a penalty. She may choose an option above, or another from the list below, or make something up. If she chooses the last option above, she shouldn't cancel or significantly contradict the outcome, but can certainly modify it.
              • The next spell the subject casts gains two Paradox dice.
              • The next successful Paradox roll made against the caster becomes an exceptional success.
              • Impose a Condition.
            The idea is to keep the spotlight on the present, impose a cost for altering the past too much, and keep the story moving forward.
            It's a rough take, and I'd toy with the damage options, but it might be useful.


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            • #7
              Verge: That has some promise. My group's Time mage has been reluctant to use Shifting Sands because of the "welp, there goes everything we've done with the last three hours of this session out the save-and-reload window" factor. I think I'll run something like this by him and see if he bites.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                In combat situation 3-4 turns on Time from Primary Factor is too practical outcome - it basically reset whole fight. ( Literally get this on today's game session. ) One turn can save your life - two will can change face of battle. Three or four will resolve combat to non-existing.

                Aiming for running jumping back time to one or two turns is practical solution. Aiming with rules on more just destroy's combat scenes with Acanthus.
                If it's okay to do at Mastery then it's okay to do earlier in the game. Saying that it's too good or too practical isn't qualitatively useful. You also seem to be forgetting that if the players can do it then so can the NPCs. A time jumping battle is just as likely to eventually have a victor as a more linear one. If you didn't plan on providing an opponent that can skip through time when you know the players can do it then that's not the player's fault and it's not "too practical" it's you making a goof and then complaining about it instead of learning a valuable lesson in STing.

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                • #9
                  Verge - it's interesting idea but I think it's sightly unplayable in real game situation. Like, on last game session the Shifting Sands were taken out when other PC changed whole air in one hose into mustard gas to kill rest of them ( it was PVP scenario, Diamond vs Seers ). How to count this as penalty to fight with magic?

                  Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                  If it's okay to do at Mastery then it's okay to do earlier in the game. Saying that it's too good or too practical isn't qualitatively useful. You also seem to be forgetting that if the players can do it then so can the NPCs. A time jumping battle is just as likely to eventually have a victor as a more linear one. If you didn't plan on providing an opponent that can skip through time when you know the players can do it then that's not the player's fault and it's not "too practical" it's you making a goof and then complaining about it instead of learning a valuable lesson in STing.
                  If what you would say was true spells like Ex Nihilo or Contagion would be on lower dots of Arcanum - but they are not, as they give to much leeway in players hands with this. They are tiers of play in Mage and literally whole mechanic is based on idea that Disciples is a bit different game than Masters.

                  So stop thread crapping and if you still think you have right, move along, as this clearly is not topic for you. Let ourselves to hammer new mechanics for time travel in peace.
                  Last edited by wyrdhamster; 06-19-2016, 03:29 AM.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                    If it's okay to do at Mastery then it's okay to do earlier in the game. Saying that it's too good or too practical isn't qualitatively useful.
                    By that same logic, a neonate vampire should have level 5 disciplines. If it ok at "Elder" its okay at "neonate"

                    If its okay to have 9-10 primal urge/blood potency at elder then its okay to start a neonate/freshly change werewolf/vampire with primal urge/potency 10.

                    Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                    You also seem to be forgetting that if the players can do it then so can the NPCs. A time jumping battle is just as likely to eventually have a victor as a more linear one. If you didn't plan on providing an opponent that can skip through time when you know the players can do it then that's not the player's fault and it's not "too practical" it's you making a goof and then complaining about it instead of learning a valuable lesson in STing.
                    so you say that for a combat to have any kind of meaning it has always to have a mage with time which is a contrive at best.

                    @wyrdhamster I like the rule. Anything to bait PC to use reach

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                    • #11
                      You're missing my point, which is that if you don't like a character having the power to travel through time at 3 dots, you're not going to like it any better at 5. It's not the level that the power comes in at that is being discussed as the problem here, it's the power itself.

                      I'm also not saying that you are required to have a Mage with time to make combat meaningful. I'm saying that you need to take time travel into account when you plan out your encounters.

                      I'm not trying to thread crap, I'm trying to help point out that your real problem here is that you are being challenged by an unfamiliar situation and your reflexive resistance to it is not helping you create a better game by growing as an ST to handle a broader range of possible actions that your players can take. Basically, this rule change exists simply to be convenient to you instead of to contribute to making the game better.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                        You're missing my point, which is that if you don't like a character having the power to travel through time at 3 dots, you're not going to like it any better at 5. It's not the level that the power comes in at that is being discussed as the problem here, it's the power itself.
                        No, it's you who miss the point - I do not have problem with power on Master level ( well, I think about limiting it's more to rather scenes, but it's not the point ). Disciples powers are totally different than Masters ones - And Shifting Sands let you use what was spoilered before premiere as Master power ( literary I remember reading from DaveB that Time 3 let you to move back in turns times and only Time 5 to make return in scenes) - and that's a point.

                        I got noting wrong to let Time mages jumps back in time. I have with idea how far they can go this to not irritate other co-players.

                        They are power levels built in Arcana and Shifting Sands seems, RAW, as coming from Master level when he makes too easy to just win any confrontation.

                        Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                        I'm also not saying that you are required to have a Mage with time to make combat meaningful. I'm saying that you need to take time travel into account when you plan out your encounters.
                        Making Acanthus rewrite time for non cost ( RAW spell do not even cost Mana! ) means that anyone would need to kill all opposite Acanthi first, to make sure they do not change time. And whole combat just change in to 'shoot Acanthus first' contest. Not cool, play-wise, I say.

                        Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                        I'm not trying to thread crap, I'm trying to help point out that your real problem here is that you are being challenged by an unfamiliar situation and your reflexive resistance to it is not helping you create a better game by growing as an ST to handle a broader range of possible actions that your players can take. Basically, this rule change exists simply to be convenient to you instead of to contribute to making the game better.
                        Well, if all my gaming group AND me as ST see this power as totally overpower - I call it just bad written power. We had on yesterday game night literal tornado everyone do not gritt they teeth on that, only thinking it's cool power. But when Time mage use Shifting Sands easily and we understood that it him cost nothing to repeat that in the same scene - it's really broken.

                        ​Mister Mrmdubois, after this and other previous posts to my on last few days - I start to think you are trolling me, so I will not answer on more your posts.
                        Last edited by wyrdhamster; 06-19-2016, 02:55 PM.


                        My stuff for Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E & BtP
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                        • #13
                          A spell that does literally nothing unless you Reach is a poorly designed spell.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by lnodiv View Post
                            A spell that does literally nothing unless you Reach is a poorly designed spell.
                            Looking on it - you have right, I should give option to jump one turn on basis of it. Edited first post and alternative spell description. Thanks for pointing it out!


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post

                              No, it's you who miss the point - I do not have problem with power on Master level ( well, I think about limiting it's more to rather scenes, but it's not the point ). Disciples powers are totally different than Masters ones - And Shifting Sands let you use what was spoilered before premiere as Master power ( literary I remember reading from DaveB that Time 3 let you to move back in turns times and only Time 5 to make return in scenes) - and that's a point.
                              I don't understand why you think it's okay at Mastery but not earlier. My point is that you're just kicking the can down the road, when your player's become Masters you'll be right back to this same problem of time travel being a hassle and over powered.

                              If your entire group has decided they don't want to deal with the challenges that can be presented by time travel then that's fine. It doesn't mean the power is badly designed though.

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