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  • The Machine Sphere

    A while back, I posted a series of ideas for how various Spheres might get customized makeovers by the Traditions that specialize in them, in a manner akin to the likes of Data, Dimensional Science, and Primal Utility (which are the NWO’s take on Correspondence, the Void Engineers’ take on Spirit, and the Syndicate’s take on Prime). For the Sons of Ether, I suggested replacing Matter with a “Machine” Sphere that’s focused less on the basic properties of matter and more on making Wonders — that is, I was figuring that the main benefit of studying Machine rather than Matter would be that you’d be able to use Machine in a manner similar to Prime when it comes to making (techno-)magical items.

    A friend of mine is preparing to run a Mage game that will be featuring Iteration X’s predecessors, and was wanting to try out the Machine Sphere idea. Unfortunately, nobody has developed it past the rudimentary outline I presented above. So I’m asking for help from the more mechanically astute (as in, game mechanics): how would you implement the Machine Sphere?

    (Please refrain from turning this into a debate as to whether or not the basic notion should be tried at all, and focus instead on how to make it work.)



  • #2
    This is pretty off the cuff, but:

    *Control existing machines
    **Modify existing machines; turn ordinary objects into simple machines or machines into similar machines
    ***Modify or control Wonders
    ****Create Wonders
    *****Modify/program minds and bodies (in a more limited way than Life or Matter). For instance integrating machines with bodies, upgrading someone's memory, etc.

    As we come to realize that nanotechnology is far more limited than we previously thought, a lot of this would be Vulgar, but then Tenth Spheres are never known for their reliability.

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    • #3
      Could you possibly elaborate on this "Machine" sphere and the principles of what it's supposed to represent?


      What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.

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      • #4
        I think, perhaps, "machine" is a bit too limiting.

        What if you developed it as "Mechanics" in the classical physics sense (aka the interactions of matter and energy rather than the properties of matter that is covered in chemistry).

        It seems like it is a bit broader and lets you build out a lot more than Faradn's good starting outline.

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        • #5
          @Heavy Arms: Good; yes. That’s actually very much in line with what I was thinking.

          @Asmodai: Machine (or Mechanics, if you prefer) is intended as a replacement for Matter in much the same way that Data is a replacement for Correspondence — that is, a practitioner of this Sphere ought to be able to do most of the things that a practitioner of Matter can, though not always as easily. Since it’s focused more on how matter is organized and how that interacts with energy rather than on the basic properties of matter, it’s better at working with complex devices than Matter is (whether that’s gears, electronics, or something more exotic); but it’s not as good at changing matter’s basic properties: transmuting lead into gold doesn’t come easily to it. Think “McGuyver”. As an extension of this, it lets you work with Devices (and Wonders in general, such as MRev’s Gadgets) as well as devices.

          Is that more clear?


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          • #6
            Just extending on what Faradn said above with a few changes.

            1) Sense Machine. The most basic understanding of Machine is how they work, what they are made of, how they can be broken.
            Example: Sense what materials are around you, Identify how something works just by looking at it, Use machines to extend you sensory perception

            2) Hack Machine. At this level the mage can start to tinker with the nature of the Machine. They can fine tune or sabotage the patterns of machines around them.
            Example: Increase the potential of a an existing machine, exploit a machine and make it malfunction, gain access

            3) Create Machine. Machines are created to serve a purpose, at this point he Mage can create elaborate things to accomplish the task at hand.
            Example: Create elaborate machines from rudimentary parts, Disassemble one thing and turn it into something completely different, extend ones natural abilities through machines

            4) Integrate Machines. At this level the Mage can start to integrate his creations together to create wondrous and terrible effects.
            Example: Integrate machines together, Integrate machines into Mage or other, Network with Machines over vast areas, Project Self into or through machines.

            5) Forge Wonders. At the apex of his abilities the Mage can now forge Inventions, Gadgets, and Gizmos that do things well beyond what the understanding of normal people.
            Example: Create Wonders, Forge Robots (Golems/Robotic Familiars, etc)
            *Special Materials needed as per normal Wonder Creation

            Mage was never really my strong point but I think this follows the basic level rules.

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            • #7
              would this be more of a Matter+Entropy sphere, or are you leaning more towards a Matter+Forces vibe?


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Derzhuzad View Post
                Just extending on what Faradn said above with a few changes.

                1) Sense Machine. The most basic understanding of Machine is how they work, what they are made of, how they can be broken.
                Example: Sense what materials are around you, Identify how something works just by looking at it, Use machines to extend you sensory perception

                2) Hack Machine. At this level the mage can start to tinker with the nature of the Machine. They can fine tune or sabotage the patterns of machines around them.
                Example: Increase the potential of a an existing machine, exploit a machine and make it malfunction, gain access

                3) Create Machine. Machines are created to serve a purpose, at this point he Mage can create elaborate things to accomplish the task at hand.
                Example: Create elaborate machines from rudimentary parts, Disassemble one thing and turn it into something completely different, extend ones natural abilities through machines

                4) Integrate Machines. At this level the Mage can start to integrate his creations together to create wondrous and terrible effects.
                Example: Integrate machines together, Integrate machines into Mage or other, Network with Machines over vast areas, Project Self into or through machines.

                5) Forge Wonders. At the apex of his abilities the Mage can now forge Inventions, Gadgets, and Gizmos that do things well beyond what the understanding of normal people.
                Example: Create Wonders, Forge Robots (Golems/Robotic Familiars, etc)
                *Special Materials needed as per normal Wonder Creation

                Mage was never really my strong point but I think this follows the basic level rules.

                To play off this outline further, Sense Machine could be used to help duplicate a machine via Craft rolls, and drawing blueprints. Hack machine could be used to put together parts that are already made, thus reducing the amount of successes needed on a craft roll, or allowing you to add Successes from Arete to said Craft roll, and finally Create Machine would allow you to substitute Arete for Craft rolls, with successes holding more weight than Craft would and not being restricted to a specialty. Integrate Machines could also be used in conjunction with prime to duplicate but not design Wonders, with a working model and Quintessence needed to duplicate said model. Finally Forge Wonders might need to be changed to Design Wonders, where a Mage could create any wonder that she or any contributing Mages could cause the effects to happen through their combined Spheres. I don't know how I'd feel as an ST about a Mage being able to duplicate any effect with the 5th dot of this sphere, unless I misunderstood what you meant in Forge Wonders.

                Edit: These are added examples of effects for the outline, or suggestions, not the extent of each dot of the Sphere.


                "He's like Karsa Orlong, if Karsa Orlong had a bigger sword"

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SixFootChicken View Post
                  would this be more of a Matter+Entropy sphere, or are you leaning more towards a Matter+Forces vibe?
                  Hmm… maybe a better way to think of it would be in analogy to Life — but talking about mechanisms instead of lifeforms. As an example, you could use it to repair a mechanism in a manner analogous to how Life is used to heal organisms. Let me refer to my copy of Mage to see if anything useful can be drawn from that.

                  (In that regard, it would be similar to a houserule that I use for Data: in addition to its Correspondence-like effects, I let it manipulate software in a manner analogous to how Mind is used to manipulate thoughts, perception, and memories.)


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                  • #10
                    I think that since the main idea behind this sphere was to provide technomancer with a more technological sphere to create wonders (instead of Prime), it's a bad idea to put that power in the fifth level (the character will likely turn to Prime anyway, as he never will reach the required Machine level)

                    ​Now, extending on the ideas of Faradn and Derhuzad (and later, taking some from Five Eyes):
                    Machine Sphere:
                    Specialties:
                    Very Complex Patterns, Tinkering, Shaping, Repurposing

                    Machine 1: Machine Perceptions
                    The most basic level allows the Mechanic to see the hidden structures, components and inner workings of the cosmos.
                    The Apprentice can sense every part of an object, understanding it's purpose, function, and substance (and the effect that each aspect has on the working of the object)
                    Examples: Finding weakness on a machine; discover hidden mechanisms; see the material composition of an object.

                    Machine 2: Hack Machine
                    The technomancer can now work slightly altering the structures and parts of an object. He can perfect (or degrade) the function of an object slightly altering its elements.
                    The mage can control the working of mechanical objects as long as the object it's used within it's parameters.
                    At this level the mage can create or repair small mechanical items (maximum size of a bike, thoug bigger objects can be repaired or built one part at a time), providing he has spare parts. The exact stats of the object created depends on the nature of the parts, and the good judgement of the Storyteller.
                    Combined with Prime sphere, the mage can create or repair such items without spare parts.´
                    Examples: creating a gun that shoots needles with needles, gunpowder, a metal tube and a few bolts, springs and tape;
                    repairing a broken car motor; remotely controling a car

                    Machine 3: Alter Form/Function or Greater Hacking
                    The Disciple of the Machine can create or repair objects of any size (though bigger ones require more successes) not only that, but he can alter the components of material objects to greater extent, being able to perfect, control and harm and object beyond it's normal function.
                    At this level the technomancer can utterly destroy any mechanical object (like the Disciple of Entropy), but also can repurpose them: altering the form of it's parts and even the way they interact metaphysically with each other far beyond any mundane hacking. The technomancer can make an object do things alien to its normal function (however, the fundamental material and physical properties of the object can't be direclty changed). A car might transform into a robot, or might grow wings and fly, but it won't turn into water, as such changes are alien to the Sphere.
                    However, the Disciple it's skilled enough to create complex objects (or alter existing ones) so they can be capable to produce wondrous effects far beyond any mundane machine, though the technomancer isn't yet skilled enough to make such alteratios lasting, nor repairing or repurposing such special properties(the mage can create mechanical Charms).
                    Examples: destroy any object, transform a handgun into a car, create Gadgets

                    Machine 4: True Invention
                    The Adept of the machine can create true wonders, ranging from Devices to the most complex Inventions, not only that, but he can also repair such objects and slightly repurpose them, altering their wondrous properties (so it can perform a different function that is similar in nature and Sphere scope to its normal effect). Restoring broken Devices to it's former glory (providing that the Paradigm of the mage it's appropriate, of course) or hacking into the inner workings of any Device.
                    Now the technomancer can alter the ways objects interact with each other, fusing disparate machines or objects and even redefining the way physical laws interact with an object, for instance, a car can be made to travel on water (altering the relationship between liquids, solids, and weight).
                    With other Pattern Spheres, the way Matter interact with other patterns, like living tissue or energy, can be altered as easily.

                    Machine 5: Greater Tinkering/Alter Machine
                    The Master of the Machine can repurpose a Wonder (again, providing that it fits its paradigm) in any way he sees fit, even giving it new effects or altering the ones that already has (to give a Wonder a greater effect than the ones that already has, it's necessary to spend the difference in Qintessence and succeses, and to have acces to any level of Sphere that the wonder doesn't has integrated).
                    The technomancer now can combine or integrate such wonders or destroy them in a way that recycles its components (turning the invested Quintessence into Tass). He can even interfere with the usage of the effects of a mechanical wonder, impeding its usage without damaging it or controlling its effect.
                    The technomancer can also create Matrices (providing they have appropiate Tass) and can discharge Paradox but only if it's in technological wonders.
                    The ultimate mastery of the Machine allows the technomancer to treat immense interlocking engineering systems, such as a city's power grid, waterworks, or an entire factory, as a single mechanism, and refine, repair, or disrupt its functioning more easily.
                    Last edited by Aleph; 03-05-2015, 05:28 AM.

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                    • #11
                      I like this idea. I think my inclination would be something like this:

                      As with Life, I am using some fuzzy categories:
                      'Basic mechanisms' are anything from lever/pulley complexity to anything that, roughly, a hobbyist could maintain themselves without specialist training; most every common device and appliance.
                      'Complex mechanisms' are high-precision systems that require a specialist or engineering background to maintain, repair, etc. including high-tech or high-precision hardware.

                      The Machine/Mechanics Sphere has access to the material transformation effects (Matter's "Straw into Gold", "Alloy", "Melt and Reform", etc.) to create new materials, melt walls, etc. but cannot perform these effects directly; as when using a "Wonder Sphere", they have the capacity to program these effects into Wonders.

                      This is a substantial drawback, which I believe is counterbalanced by having access to the most pertinent Wonder-creation effects from Prime without having to branch out into that Sphere. These are placed at the dot rating for direct-Quint creation but still have the Tass requirement; a Prime user will retain an edge in Wonder creation. You could make these the same dot rating as their Prime equivalent, but I think (from a balance perspective) that would be a little too favorable - the mage is already getting the parts of Prime they want the most.
                      One Dot: Comprehend Mechanism (Understand how a machine works, its purpose and limitations, any structural damage, etc.); Mechanism Savvy (Scrutinize a device to get a benefit to acting on it, such as repairing it, picking a mechanical lock, etc.)

                      Two Dots: Manipulate Mechanism (Make a device do anything in its normal functioning; a vault door opens, drive a car, etc.); Refine Mechanism (Correct minor design flaws, overcome wear and tear, increase durability; with other Spheres, 'harden' against deleterious conditions [There's an analogous Life function at this dot rating to fireproof or bulletproof a life form]); create and maintain Extraordinary Devices.

                      Three Dots: With appropriate Tass, create Gadgets. Repurpose Basic Mechanisms (As if transforming simple Life), Repair or Destroy Mechanisms (As if healing or destroying Life), Improve or Perfect Mechanisms (As Better Body or the beneficial Entropy effect).

                      As Matter 3 + Life lets an object be integrated into a living form, a Disciple Mechanic with Life knowledge can create cybernetic Devices. Machine 3 + Mind permits a device to be controlled by thought, while Machine + Spirit can make devices manipulable for extradimensional users.

                      With Prime 2, a Disciple Mechanic can temporarily re-purpose a technological Wonder to perform a different function that is similar in nature and Sphere scope to its normal effect, such as turning a Mind 3 memory probe into a translation device.

                      Four Dots: With appropriate Tass, create Devices and Inventions. Repurpose complex mechanisms. Combine and integrate mechanisms (car + plane = carplane, dart gun + wristwatch = spy gadget; this allows the in-the-field creation of Extraordinary Devices.)

                      As Matter 4 + Life or Forces permits transmutation between life/forces and matter, Machine 4 + Forces or Life allows the creation and manipulation of biological or nonphysical "machines", such as DNA computers and sound systems composed solely of coherent laser arrays.

                      Five Dots: With appropriate Tass, create Matrices. Repair or destroy, or combine and integrate, mechanical Wonders. A limited form of Prime's Paradox-discharging function that can be used solely to discharge Paradox that is causing malfunctions in mechanical Wonders. Masters of Mechanics can, mirroring the archmastery target factor redefinitions, treat immense interlocking engineering systems, such as a city's power grid, waterworks, or an entire factory, as a single mechanism, and refine, repair, or disrupt its functioning more easily.


                      I attack people with giant insects both on and off the court.

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                      • #12
                        You have made some pretty good rules. I particularly like the working on the interaction with other Spheres, and the level 5 powers (which I took the liberty to add to my definitions, among others )
                        Last edited by Aleph; 03-05-2015, 05:29 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Ah, I misread and thought it was supposed to be a 10th Sphere.

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                          • #14
                            I think Aleph's compilation captures the sphere very well, its both versatile but confined to the concept. Makes me want to play a technomancer lol.

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                            • #15
                              *applauds* Bravo! Aleph’s post does indeed capture the essence of the Sphere I had in mind.
                              Last edited by Dataweaver; 03-05-2015, 05:50 PM.


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