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  • Archmastery, reworked

    So, a problem that both Horizon: Stronghold of Hope and Masters of the Art run into is that there really isn't much in the way of new things to do for Sphere levels beyond 5 to make available; and in terms of the former, several of the things that used to be Sphere 6 Effects have been reworked as Sphere 5 Effects in M20.

    Horizon also went with the notion that getting from the fifth dot to the sixth dot breaks the usual experience progression and essentially is something that's going to take centuries to complete. By contrast, Masters of the Art assumes that you can just keep going, picking up the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth dots simply by raising Arete high enough and then spending experience on the Sphere.

    This hack takes a different approach. First, it embraces the idea that the sixth dot in a Sphere lets you do anything that fits in its purview that isn't already allowed at Mastery. Second, the Spheres are allowed to grow all the way up to 10 at the usual experience costs; but before they go beyond 5 at all, the mage needs to undergo done sort of “second Awakening” (a concept loosely borrowed from Imperial Mysteries, a Mage: the Awakening supplement). This is to prevent players from pushing into the Archmaster territory without the Storyteller's approval, as Archmastery under this hack can be chronicle-wreckingly potent.

    That said: the main benefit of Archspheres isn't a wider range of Effects; as stated earlier, there really aren't that many new Effects to be made available. Instead, Sphere dots above 5 make magic simpler for the Archmaster by reducing the number of successes needed to perform an Effect. The sixth dot reduces the number of successes needed by one; the seventh dot reduces it by two; the eighth dot reduces it by five; the ninth dots removes ten; and the tenth dot removes twenty. Once the Feat has been reduced to a Simple Task (one success required), further reductions become difficulty reductions, to the usual minimum of a target number of 3.

    The effect of these reductions is that Archmasters can do things with ease that regular mages, even Masters, struggle to do.

    Thoughts?

    [Note: when I originally posted this, I used a mathematical progression of 1, 3, 6, 10, and 15 for the Archspheres. I have since revised it to what's now stated; but some of the posts in this thread were made in the context of the original progression.]
    Last edited by Dataweaver; 08-10-2022, 12:42 PM.



  • #2
    Seems very workable; though I'd really just go straight to a difficulty subtraction (but just a -1, -2, -3 etc. and not bothering with rolls for things at difficulty 2 or less or something);
    Because a simple -1 success and then -3 and so on doesn't feel exactly right to me for the price of the experience needed to get spheres at such levels without any increase in scope and the seekings needed to get there.

    That said, it is perfectly workable as is; and wouldn't have any problems playing in a game with such rules or running such.
    Last edited by Spacecat; 07-29-2022, 08:34 PM.

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    • #3
      Take a closer look at what that means. –1 success isn't a big deal, true; it takes a Standard Feat down to a Simple Feat. But –3 Successes takes a Mighty Feat down to a Standard Feat; –6 successes takes an Outlandish Feat down to an Impressive Feat (and removes the +1 Difficulty for being Outlandish); –10 successes takes an Outlandish Feat down to a Simple Feat and reduces its difficulty by 1 (as well as removing the +1 difficulty for being Outlandish); and –15 takes a Godlike Feat down to a Mighty Feat (and removes the +2 or +3 for being Godlike). And with a ten-dice pool, that Mighty Feat can easily be completed as a five to ten minute Rite, as opposed to the likely days-long Great Work that it would be as a Godlike Feat for a “mere” Master.

      Combine this with the optional Automatic Successes rule, and an Arete 6/Sphere 6 mage could perform a Disciple-level Standard Feat without bothering to roll; Arete 7/Sphere 7 would allow an Adept-level Impressive Feat without bothering to roll; Arete 8/Sphere 8 would allow about half of the Master-level Mighty Feats to be performed without rolling; Arete 9/Sphere 9 would allow Outlandish Feats to be performed without rolling; and Arete 10/Sphere 10 would take you about halfway to the Godlike Feats without the need to make any rolls.

      Even without the Automatic Successes rule, Sphere 6 lets you perform Standard Feats as Simple Feats; Sphere 7 lets you perform Standard Feats as if they were simple Feats two ranks lower (Matter to Disciple; Disciple to Apprentice); Sphere 8 lets you perform Standard Master-level Feats as if they were Simple Apprentice-level Feats; Sphere 9 lets you perform Mighty Archmaster-level Feats as if they were Simple Apprentice-level Feats; and Sphere 10 lets you perform Outlandish Archmaster-level Feats as if they were Simple Apprentice-level Feats.

      You don't get that if you just reduce difficulties. And when presented in that light, I think you do get what you pay for.


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      • #4
        I get the math. I just feel the -3 really doesn't do anything for things like great works and wonder creation which is what I'd really care about a that level; but that's fine if it's your intent.
        Also, I think I miswrote my idea. My replacement idea was actually 6th just expanded scope to (anything beyond sphere 6 that felt related to the sphere whcih I have many ideas for) and 7 was a -1 difficulty, 8 was -2, and 9 was -3. Basically, I felt this would streamline the progression more; but it's fine if you don't think so.

        Don't get me wrong. I would be okay with playing under the exact rules as you propose.
        Last edited by Spacecat; 07-29-2022, 09:54 PM.

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        • #5
          I'd be interested in hearing your ideas of how to expand the scope of each Sphere. The basic idea of “the sixth dot covers any and all holes that haven't been covered by the first five dots” stays; but it would be nice to get a few examples of what some of those holes are.


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          • #6
            Let's see.
            For Correspondence: Percieve everywhere on Earth at once (not just multuple places). You could probably also be everywhere on earth at once; though you'd probably have to colocate too to avoid instant death; also; the vulgar effect will probably end up under the combined scrutiny of the whole of humanity resulting in something very bad. I'd even consider allowing it to breach into near umbral and other near realms like actually showing up physically in the dreaming without being in the material banal world.

            For Entropy: Maybe direct the course of large unpredictable patterns such as the fate of nations, the long term evolution of species; or the next big emergent phenomemon. (and also unbinding fate sworn oaths and such)

            For Forces: The obvious thing would be to scale it up to potentially extinction level effects; but I'd also consider the creation of new impossible or absurd types of forces; such as a force that imparts momentum at right angles to how it is applied, implosion bombs, actual "cold" as a force, non-Galilein gravity,

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            • #7
              For Life: I'd let it treat animate beings, including spirits, undead, half spirits, magical or technological constructs, etc. as life for the purposes of life effects letting you heal your car or give a demon the flu.

              For Matter; I'd allow it to give indestructibility to matter that is beyond the ability of non archmages to unweave; Also, the power to annihilate or transmute such seeming unbreakables.

              For Mind: Maybe the forging of "living" meme entities, mystic languages that actually have effects on consensus when used; and directtly messing with consensus in a reality zone.
              Last edited by Spacecat; 07-30-2022, 12:58 AM.

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              • #8
                For Prime: The creation of copact mobile nodes not bound to place. Treating paradox like some sort of pool or resource one can store; modify, and release. Also, treating other supernatural powers as counterable awakened magic.

                For Spirit: Maybe reverse gilgul, and other messing around with shard things; Like avatars, Avatar Storm Stuff, Angel/Demon Matter, and Exalted Shards

                For Time, breaching into the ages of myth and into the future equivalent; as well as existing in multiple timelines or in longer stretches of time than just the present.
                Last edited by Spacecat; 07-30-2022, 01:00 AM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                  I'd be interested in hearing your ideas of how to expand the scope of each Sphere. The basic idea of “the sixth dot covers any and all holes that haven't been covered by the first five dots” stays; but it would be nice to get a few examples of what some of those holes are.
                  Life 6: exotic Life, hereditarity, perfect mutation.
                  Life forms can now have any kind of bizarre and unnatural change. Skeletons of adamantium (with matter), super elastic being etc. Metamorphosis powers no longer suffer pattern bleeding or genetic flaws.
                  Changes can be made hereditarian, spreading those over populations.

                  Forces 6: eternal forces, non interactive forces
                  The mage can create eternal sources of energy, like the fabled eternal motor. He can create "immunity" to certain forces - for example, making the sunlight impossible to affect a certain vampire. Making someone "immune" to soundwaves will turn that person absolutelt silent, but the person wont be able to talk either.

                  Entropy: Infinity Probability Generator.
                  If anybody ever read Douglas Adams, it's more or less like in his books. The Mage can create impossible outcomes. The most emblematic example would be ressurection
                  It's basically the power to bend Fate in order for Fate to do things that would be

                  I need to sleep now, tomorrow Ill bring more after my beauty sleep

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                  • #10
                    As an idea for Prime: Wonders with Dynamic Magick - that is, objects that grant the power of whole Spheres rather than individual Rotes

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Aleph View Post
                      As an idea for Prime: Wonders with Dynamic Magick - that is, objects that grant the power of whole Spheres rather than individual Rotes
                      That's a bit... Excessive. But... not beyond the boundaries of what should be expected.

                      Spirit 6: awaken Avatar, "devour" soul, Avatar manipulation
                      Awaken Avatar is exactly that; "devouring" another Avatar is a bit like the vampiric diablerrie... And equally disturbing. You can use it to "eat" Sphere levels from other mages, turning you into a "spiritual cannibal". I wont bother trying to come up with rules for that, particularly for the possible consequences. Ill let each individual sick minds work on that. Suffice to say thou, anyone that used this would become such a massive treat that he/she would be universally feared and despised.
                      Avatar Manipulation may be more interesting; "curing" the marauders and nefandi certanly is a possibility.
                      Again, that one I'll leave to each ST to come up with their own rules..


                      Correspondence 6 - Omnipresence
                      The Mage disappears from Space entirely... Because now he exists everywhere and nowhere at once.
                      The entire Tellurian becomes "line of sight" for the Mage, and he can project his senses any where he wishes at will, and only wards can prevent his scrying.
                      His not also omniscient simply because he cant deal with the overload of information, thus the mage can "only" project his senses and thoughts to as many successes he has, be the Mage can change where he's "looking at" at will in a split second. Also, the Mage can "touch" any where in the Tellurian at will - the archmaster of correspondence can use a single "hand" to grab someone in the entirety of a person's body (including in the inside of the body).
                      At the same time thou, the archmaster is "nowhere", meaning that any other Mage trying to hit him needs Correspondence to do it and it's at the lowest end of the table to do so.

                      Matter 6 - Impossible Properties
                      Not content with just bending the laws of physics, the archmaster of Matter outright ignores them. This means that the archmage can create "adamantium" for example, a metal that is absolutely undestructable. Or the "super acid", an acid that dissolves everything without ever stopping (meaning it would probably end in the center of the Earth and remaining there forever), or "Vibranium", a metal that is 100% immune to ANY kind of energy, reflecting back any sort of energy or absorbing it all, or any other kind of fantastically impossible material (such as an "eternal fuel" that is an endless energy source).

                      Time 6 - Chronolocation, Paradoxical Erasure, Alternate Timelines
                      The mage can Chronolocate (himself or others), existing at different times simultaneously. This means the Archmaster can affect past, present and future at will. In fact, at this level, this becomes a silly concept, just a construct of the mind, and the archmage no longer perceives the passing of time as a flowing river, but rather as an endless amount of static photographies, with whom he can interact at will.
                      This is a very different form of immortality from what can be achieved with Life 6, Entropy 6 or any other. Killing the Archmaster of time is meaningless, since he will continue to exist both after AND BEFORE he is "killed" at any fixed point in time. Also, age no longer affects him, since the archmaster exists beyond the flow of time itself.
                      The archmaster can also erase things from the time flow; whatever ends up being the target of this is not properly destroyed but rather NEVER EXISTED AT ALL. The entire Tellurian tries to accomodate for that loss, reshaping the entire time continuum to adequate. For example, erasing Hitler or Stalin could have profound changes - maybe Germany turned communist and the USSR became ruled by Trotsky, but nobody would ever know that anything happened at all. THIS IS DANGEROUS.
                      Finally, the Archmaster of Time can try to escape temporal determinism allthogheter, and step in an alternative timeline; for example, he could escape the famous "Grandfather Paradox". Imagine you go back in time and kill your own grandfather before your father/mother was born. This should generate a terrible time paradox, where the Mage himself would never have been born, and thus would never have travelled to the past to kill his own grandfather, in an endless paradoxical loop.
                      Well, the archmaster of time however exists outside the time continuum, and keep exists even in a world where he was never born.
                      This means that Archmasters of Time are unnafected by temporal distortions. They also can ALWAYS tell if time has been tempered with, at any point; thus, doing a massive change like killing Hitler when he was trying to become a painter or killing Stalin as he was studying to become a priest would immediatly be picked up by all other time archmasters. Small changes however would mostly go unnoticed except if another archmaster passes by.

                      Note: probably it's best to never combine Time 6 with Correspondence 6. I'll let your imagination tell you why.

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                      • #12
                        Mind 6: Consensus Manipulation, Reaching the Collective Inconcious
                        The archmaster of Mind can change the Consensus in a location, and people inside the area of affect wont know any better. This works as the "reality bubble" of Marauders.
                        The archmaster can also change universal concepts changing the Collective Inconcious. This means the Archmage could for example change the meaning of "Love" to "Possession" for instance.
                        This change is UNIVERSAL. From the moment the archmaster change a concept in such a way, the new concept become the defining trait of it.
                        If you have trouble understanding this, just think about the "Newspeak" language from the book "1984". In the book for example, they erased the word "Peace". Therefore, there's only "War" and "Not-War". The very concept of "Peace" gets erased, thus people become incapable of even thinking about it.
                        There's one real life example of this. Portuguese has a word that is "Saudade". There's no literal translation to it in any other language, this concept exists in Portuguese alone. The closer aproximation to it in English is to "miss someone". However, when you say "I missed you" in english, it's a "passive" feeling, you're feeling the abscense of someone. The portuguese word "saudade" however is an "active" feeling, it's the burning desire of longing to be with someone (or something or some place).
                        It's hard to even describe it, and unless your mother tongue is portuguese, you'll NEVER properly feel this emotion. Im not making this up; our language determines HOW we think.
                        Likewise, the archmage of mind can also create entirely new concepts (this MAY be an ingame possibility, but this one is probably something that no player will EVER be able to use - since we cannot think of a concept that is beyond our own imaginations).

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                        • #13
                          Did I miss some?

                          I had already created those lvl 6 Spheres YEARS ago. And yes, insanely powerful each one of them, as they should.

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                          • #14
                            Suggestion: these additional uses with one of mighty, outlandish, or godlike. That determines the minimum number of successes needed to pull off that effect.

                            A lot of these suggestions are not things that I would be comfortable allowing with a mere to successes, especially considering the size of the dice pools involved. And that becomes especially true when you take into account the reduced successes rule that this is supposed to be implementing — though I'd want the Mighty/Outlandish/Godlike qualifier even if Sphere 6 Effects are exempt from the difficulty reduction.

                            Frankly, I'm of the opinion that we could use a catalogue of Effects by Feat, or a more detailed write-up of Effects that includes advice as to what they can do at dieting numbers of successes. But that's something to address in another topic. For here, the main point is that the sorts of things being suggested here don't strike me as Standard Feats by any stretch of the imagination; event the “weakest” of them comes across as Might or Outlandish, and should be tagged accordingly. (As well, there are things suggested here that I would allow with 4 or 5 dots… provided that they're treated as Outlandish or Godlike Feats. As an example, I would consider omnipresence to be a Godlike application of Correspondence 4 Colocation.)

                            Alternately, start suggesting Sphere 6 Effects that you think would count as Standard Feats.
                            Last edited by Dataweaver; 07-31-2022, 10:48 PM.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                              Suggestion: these additional uses with one of mighty, outlandish, or godlike. That determines the minimum number of successes needed to pull off that effect.

                              A lot of these suggestions are not things that I would be comfortable allowing with a mere to successes, especially considering the size of the dice pools involved. And that becomes especially true when you take into account the reduced successes rule that this is supposed to be implementing — though I'd want the Mighty/Outlandish/Godlike qualifier even if Sphere 6 Effects are exempt from the difficulty reduction.

                              Frankly, I'm of the opinion that we could use a catalogue of Effects by Feat, or a more detailed write-up of Effects that includes advice as to what they can do at dieting numbers of successes. But that's something to address in another topic. For here, the main point is that the sorts of things being suggested here don't strike me as Standard Feats by any stretch of the imagination; event the “weakest” of them comes across as Might or Outlandish, and should be tagged accordingly. (As well, there are things suggested here that I would allow with 4 or 5 dots… provided that they're treated as Outlandish or Godlike Feats. As an example, I would consider omnipresence to be a Godlike application of Correspondence 4 Colocation.)

                              Alternately, start suggesting Sphere 6 Effects that you think would count as Standard Feats.
                              You do have to take into consideration that archmages are on par with methuselahs and anti diluvians. Perhaps even more.

                              An Arete 10 Mage is a de facto god. That's why lvl 6 Spheres are so potentially insanely powerful. They are to be the feats of the likes of antidiluvians or perhaps even more, perhaps as Caine or Lucifer themselves.

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