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Mage House Rules

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:14 am
by SoulGambit
I love Mage. I play a Mage. Part of what I love about Mage is all of the crazy stuff you can do and the sideways ways you can use magic to tackle problems. Unfortunately, in a large scale crossover chat environment like this, Mage has some serious issues playing well with the format and playing well with the rest of the setting. I feel like the following house rules should be implemented to bring Mage closer in line with the rest of the venues and (more importantly) make it function well in a PvP enabled large chat environment like this one.

1) Withstand can not be ignored. Spells that that can defacto ignore Withstand, need to not be allowed. (I.e. Ban to lock someone away with no resist, Matter to solidify air into steel around a person, etc).
2) Everyone can always spend willpower to raise their Resistance Attribute for purposes of Withstand.
3) You may use your Supernatural Tolerance trait in place of your Resistance Attribute to Withstand spells. This does not prevent you from raising your Withstand through willpower.
4) Containing Paradox should deal lethal damage. (Note: in a tabletop game a strong case can be made for bashing, but here there is a lot of time to rest up).
5) You should not be able to scour paradox conditions.
6) If you choose to unsafely relinquish a spell, the Paradox roll is every day instead of every week.
7) The total bonus to any dicepool or trait from supernal magic may not exceed +5. That means if you get +5 Attribute and +5 to a skill and +5 Equipment, you still only count 5 bonus dice total from all of that combined.
8) Vampires may Lash Out at spells to suppress them for a scene. Werewolves may use Hunter's Mark to do the same.
9) Positive Conditions do not affect spellcasting rolls unless they explicitly say they do.
10) Core thematic elements of other templates, as decided by the STs, should be considered sacred. I.e. You can't remove a Vampire's need for blood, remove a werewolf's ability yo change shape, or rewrite a changeling pledge.

In addition to those blanket rules, there needs to be a tuning pass through the spells to identify and handle problematic ones. I.e. spells that predict the future need to be exceptionally unreliable, because there is no way the STs are going to have the information they need to answer your questions.

Re: Mage House Rules

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:44 am
by GarethTheLoud
I would like to see the game played RAW before trying to "fix" mage. The venue has not even had an ST plot yet so it is a bit to early for the chat to to try and re-write the rules of the game (which is what house rules are). If things come up that prove abusive, I trust the ST team will be able to implement a solution (such as players doing 30 hour rituals to kill a PC with a lightning bolt and sympathy, cuz reasons). Lets see how the game designers' at Onyx Path who built this thing did first.

TLDR: Too early for the Nerf Bat.

Re: Mage House Rules

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:25 am
by Regentwill
As a comedic note, the designers of the game have actually gone on record as saying "F*** balance" lol. Im not saying either way works, I'm just saying that's a thing.

Re: Mage House Rules

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:38 pm
by SoulGambit
I am specifically talking about how Mage interacts with a pvp enabled chat with over 150 characters, not how they perform during PrPs or ST ran scenes (where the STs have more control).

This is already a problem. Buffs are already out of control. Mages are already doing things that are hard for the STs to respond to.

I'm not ritual casting a spell to kill someone. I'm instant casting a spell that has no Withstand, no non-mage / non-(Contract of Abjuration) answer to get rid of someone. I'm ritual casting to wipe out venues.

If I were in to that sort of thing, which I am not.

Re: Mage House Rules

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:50 pm
by ChrisF
We're planning to wait and see what happens with Mages in various plots. I already have a fair number of house rules ready to implement if/when we see Mage becoming a problem, whether through PvP or simply making it so others can't contribute to plots at all.

Re: Mage House Rules

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 1:40 pm
by Regentwill
Here's a picture of ChrisF watching Mage.

Image

Re: Mage House Rules

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:11 pm
by Desse
SoulGambit wrote: 10) Core thematic elements of other templates, as decided by the STs, should be considered sacred. I.e. You can't remove a Vampire's need for blood, remove a werewolf's ability yo change shape, or rewrite a changeling pledge.
I'm a big fan of this one. I'm not against mages being powerful but I am against them violating the other games thematics just because they're mage. Mages really like to try to and stuff everything into their personal world view but that doesn't mean they're right just because they have supernal magic any more than it means Acanthus mages are servants of the True Fae because they went to an Arcadia and loved it.

Re: Mage House Rules

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:32 pm
by orion330
Desse wrote:
SoulGambit wrote: 10) Core thematic elements of other templates, as decided by the STs, should be considered sacred. I.e. You can't remove a Vampire's need for blood, remove a werewolf's ability yo change shape, or rewrite a changeling pledge.
I'm a big fan of this one. I'm not against mages being powerful but I am against them violating the other games thematics just because they're mage. Mages really like to try to and stuff everything into their personal world view but that doesn't mean they're right just because they have supernal magic any more than it means Acanthus mages are servants of the True Fae because they went to an Arcadia and loved it.
Isn't the whole point of the beat system to make dramatic choices? Shoving other people/things into your world view regardless of what they think, seems to me to be the perfect set up for a dramatic choice/conflict. I am not saying said mages who do that are right, but it seems like an appropriate choice to make with this new xp system.

Frankly, with the exception of permanently disabling or killing my character, it would be nice if any scene I was in actual involved more than just ic chatting. i.e. some kind of conflict. Let them tell me they are not the faeries/monsters I think they are and that my rules don't apply to them (unfortunately my character is not stupid enough to try that though, so it would not likely come up).

----

As a side note I just wrote a 3 page rant on why I think SoulGambit is wrong on lots of things, but decided not to post it, because I don't think it will change his mind, and OOC I don't want to start an argument. Long story short, I disagree with SoulGambit

I think the problems he mentions, mainly of overpowered combat abilities, can be present with any splat type if they build for it (see my post about other splats with their 14+ dicepool combat pool and stacking powers, and super healing/damage reduction). His other suggestions for the most part do nothing to address mages other abilities to find out things and get answers that no other splat could.

Mages, at best, might be easier to build powerful characters, but they are not the only ones by far.

As to SoulGambit, proposed houserule of othersplats being houseruled to turn off spells (Mages only real power), then Mages should be able to flair their aura to turn other things into mortals for a scene (i.e. turning off all their powers). Which at that point, why don't we all just play mortals and be done with it.

As someone pointed out the splats are not balanced, there is no way to defend from every danger (and believe me I've spent a lot of time trying to do just that), so at some point you're going to have to just deal with what STs/other players throw at you and hope for the best.

Re: Mage House Rules

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:57 pm
by Regentwill
1) Withstand can not be ignored. Spells that that can defacto ignore Withstand, need to not be allowed. (I.e. Ban to lock someone away with no resist, Matter to solidify air into steel around a person, etc).


I would agree with this if supernatural talents did not apply to withstand. Having Resilience or being a Lost boy with 8-10 stamina would be a little silly. The problem with ignoring withstand is Praxis. I would propose the house rule to say the exceptional success benefits of a Praxis spell are applied as normal, save for ignoring withstand.
2) Everyone can always spend willpower to raise their Resistance Attribute for purposes of Withstand.
Agreed here.
3) You may use your Supernatural Tolerance trait in place of your Resistance Attribute to Withstand spells. This does not prevent you from raising your Withstand through willpower.
I disagree with this one, I feel if you want to play a character that is focused on resisting spells, you should spend the points to represent that. There are also merits for covenants out there that can make you effective at resisting magic (For instance, in Vampire, Psychic Lobotomy or Magical Eunuch).
4) Containing Paradox should deal lethal damage. (Note: in a tabletop game a strong case can be made for bashing, but here there is a lot of time to rest up).
when talking with other Mages when I was designing my character, Paradox was completely laughable. It's like they designed a system that, at its heart, was supposed to be challenging (Limited die pools for non-ritual cast spells, Paradox for over-reaching) then added a number of ways to counter these inherent drawbacks (rote spells with high skill ratings, Willpower, Spending Mana to reduce Paradox, Paradox only dealing bashing damage). Paradox should be something mages fear, but it's nothing more than a calculated and acceptable risk.

Skip 5!
6) If you choose to unsafely relinquish a spell, the Paradox roll is every day instead of every week.
For a chat setting, I agree, but every day seems a bit much, I would suggest perhaps something like days equal to gnosis with a max of up to one week.
7) The total bonus to any dicepool or trait from supernal magic may not exceed +5. That means if you get +5 Attribute and +5 to a skill and +5 Equipment, you still only count 5 bonus dice total from all of that combined.
I can get behind this with the exception that this does not count against spells that specifically say you can reach to go above a bonus of the 5 limit.
8) Vampires may Lash Out at spells to suppress them for a scene. Werewolves may use Hunter's Mark to do the same.
There is already a precedent for this with spells or abilities that have some kind of aura, but I think this would be really powerful. It would give Werewolves / etc two separate resists (One to resist a spell with lashing out, then they would roll with a withstand rating to bypass for most spells.)
9) Positive Conditions do not affect spellcasting rolls unless they explicitly say they do.
I can agree with this, if only because Inspired is too much of an easy way to get both benefits of a praxis and a rote on one spell.
10) Core thematic elements of other templates, as decided by the STs, should be considered sacred. I.e. You can't remove a Vampire's need for blood, remove a werewolf's ability yo change shape, or rewrite a changeling pledge.
I 100% agree with this one.

Re: Mage House Rules

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:00 pm
by ChrisF
orion330 wrote: Isn't the whole point of the beat system to make dramatic choices? Shoving other people/things into your world view regardless of what they think, seems to me to be the perfect set up for a dramatic choice/conflict. I am not saying said mages who do that are right, but it seems like an appropriate choice to make with this new xp system.

Frankly, with the exception of permanently disabling or killing my character, it would be nice if any scene I was in actual involved more than just ic chatting. i.e. some kind of conflict. Let them tell me they are not the faeries/monsters I think they are and that my rules don't apply to them (unfortunately my character is not stupid enough to try that though, so it would not likely come up).

----

As a side note I just wrote a 3 page rant on why I think SoulGambit is wrong on lots of things, but decided not to post it, because I don't think it will change his mind, and OOC I don't want to start an argument. Long story short, I disagree with SoulGambit

I think the problems he mentions, mainly of overpowered combat abilities, can be present with any splat type if they build for it (see my post about other splats with their 14+ dicepool combat pool and stacking powers, and super healing/damage reduction). His other suggestions for the most part do nothing to address mages other abilities to find out things and get answers that no other splat could.

Mages, at best, might be easier to build powerful characters, but they are not the only ones by far.

As to SoulGambit, proposed houserule of othersplats being houseruled to turn off spells (Mages only real power), then Mages should be able to flair their aura to turn other things into mortals for a scene (i.e. turning off all their powers). Which at that point, why don't we all just play mortals and be done with it.

As someone pointed out the splats are not balanced, there is no way to defend from every danger (and believe me I've spent a lot of time trying to do just that), so at some point you're going to have to just deal with what STs/other players throw at you and hope for the best.
Chats inherently require some level of balance, and while we know we can't make it absolute and even, mages are on another tier entirely, and others simply being able to twink a single dice pool otherwise doesn't change that fact.

That said, for now, the rules we already have are what they are, but if Mage as a venue causes the staff and other players grief, it will be dealt with. It doesn't matter if Mages are intended to be overpowerful or not, what matters is if it causes trouble for the chat as a whole.

Re: Mage House Rules

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:32 pm
by orion330
I think what everyone is missing is the non twinked out spells.

Yes a Mage with a enough preparation or design can make very powerful spell do crazy things, just like other splats can do with thier powers, but for everything else with a withstand it is difficult to actual get work.


I will give an easy example. Let's say mage A has Mind 2 and gnosis 3.

Target has a stat of 3 for withstand.

Mage a casts a mind reading spell, arcana 2 spell he has a base dicepool of 5. He needs a potency of 4 to have the spell work at all. He doesn't actually know the targets withstand stat. If he gives the spell a potency of 3 or less, regardless of if spell goes off for or not he fails.

But we'll assume he guesses he needs potency 4. That means to get his spell to work he needs to add 3 potency (that's -6dice). So now he's down to a -1 die pool. He needs 2 dice of Yantra just to get to 1 die. Most Yantra are 1 (yes there are some exceptions but chanting in strange languages or pulling out strange ingredients to crush are usually kind of a give away). Each Yantra takes a turn beyond the 1st. So 2 Yantra mean that he is taking 2 turns to cast this spell for a total dicepool of 1.

With 1 die he is not likely to succeed.

Even if he spent 3 turns for 3 Yantra (the most he could have) his whopping dicepool of 2 is not likely to be much better.
But assuming he is lucky then his spell will last a whole 1 -2 turns.

Let's compare to a vampire.
They have a dicepool of Stat+skill+power - stat- power stat.
Assuming equal stats that's skill +power - at most 3.
In most cases, I would guess this a is a dicepool of greater than 2 and the power lasts longer than 1 round.

Also vamps are not capped to a power of 3 or less or creation like mage.
Also vamp powers cost less xp to advance than mage.

Those advantages/disadvantages are what some might call balance.

I will completely agree that the flip side to this is a Mage could build a rote to have a dicepool of 10+ with multiple free reaches and do some crazy stuff, like go back in time and make the scene never happen, turn a person into a toad, throw them into a ban, etc.
I would even admit that multiple arcana have this kind of save or suck spell.

But my point is a vampire/wolf/ling could also build a pool to pretty much 1 hit disable/kill a person too, and no one seems to be suggesting we nerf this.

How about we just make a house rule that no one can roll a dicepool higher than 5 for combat or do more than 3dmg in a single hit. Or no one can kill /control another character. I mean simple house rules like this effect everyone equally regardless of what crazy powers they have (though I bet if you proposed anything like that suddenly all the other splats would be complaining too).

As opposed to saying if you do 10 dmg with magic it's broken but if you 10 dmg with an obscure weapon, a fighting style merit and high stats it's okay.

Both cost xp (arguably magic is more expensive xp wise an arcana to 2 is 8xp, fs merits are 1xp each,cool bonuses usually being at 3 or 4 so 4xp, and weapons just require access to someone with enough resources).

Re: Mage House Rules

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:56 pm
by ChrisF
orion330 wrote:I think what everyone is missing is the non twinked out spells.

Yes a Mage with a enough preparation or design can make very powerful spell do crazy things, just like other splats can do with thier powers, but for everything else with a withstand it is difficult to actual get work.


I will give an easy example. Let's say mage A has Mind 2 and gnosis 3.

Target has a stat of 3 for withstand.

Mage a casts a mind reading spell, arcana 2 spell he has a base dicepool of 5. He needs a potency of 4 to have the spell work at all. He doesn't actually know the targets withstand stat. If he gives the spell a potency of 3 or less, regardless of if spell goes off for or not he fails.

But we'll assume he guesses he needs potency 4. That means to get his spell to work he needs to add 3 potency (that's -6dice). So now he's down to a -1 die pool. He needs 2 dice of Yantra just to get to 1 die. Most Yantra are 1 (yes there are some exceptions but chanting in strange languages or pulling out strange ingredients to crush are usually kind of a give away). Each Yantra takes a turn beyond the 1st. So 2 Yantra mean that he is taking 2 turns to cast this spell for a total dicepool of 1.

With 1 die he is not likely to succeed.

Even if he spent 3 turns for 3 Yantra (the most he could have) his whopping dicepool of 2 is not likely to be much better.
But assuming he is lucky then his spell will last a whole 1 -2 turns.

Let's compare to a vampire.
They have a dicepool of Stat+skill+power - stat- power stat.
Assuming equal stats that's skill +power - at most 3.
In most cases, I would guess this a is a dicepool of greater than 2 and the power lasts longer than 1 round.

Also vamps are not capped to a power of 3 or less or creation like mage.
Also vamp powers cost less xp to advance than mage.

Those advantages/disadvantages are what some might call balance.

I will completely agree that the flip side to this is a Mage could build a rote to have a dicepool of 10+ with multiple free reaches and do some crazy stuff, like go back in time and make the scene never happen, turn a person into a toad, throw them into a ban, etc.
I would even admit that multiple arcana have this kind of save or suck spell.

But my point is a vampire/wolf/ling could also build a pool to pretty much 1 hit disable/kill a person too, and no one seems to be suggesting we nerf this.

How about we just make a house rule that no one can roll a dicepool higher than 5 for combat or do more than 3dmg in a single hit. Or no one can kill /control another character. I mean simple house rules like this effect everyone equally regardless of what crazy powers they have (though I bet if you proposed anything like that suddenly all the other splats would be complaining too).

As opposed to saying if you do 10 dmg with magic it's broken but if you 10 dmg with an obscure weapon, a fighting style merit and high stats it's okay.

Both cost xp (arguably magic is more expensive xp wise an arcana to 2 is 8xp, fs merits are 1xp each,cool bonuses usually being at 3 or 4 so 4xp, and weapons just require access to someone with enough resources).
None of this realistically represents the issues or likelihood of what happens in game in a crossover chat setting. Saying Arcana are more expensive is very misleading, given mages get at least a half dozen powers per dot, as opposed to just 1, and theyre often more powerful than others splats' equivalents.

Rather than going into more depth than that, I'll just say this: I am NOT currently putting new house rules into place. As I said, we are waiting to see what happens. No matter what people say or theorycraft, what will decide it is what happens in play.

Re: Mage House Rules

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:20 am
by SoulGambit
@ChrisF: My only concern is that being reactive will produce more work, grief, and retconing when it comes time for the hammer to fall.

@Conflict / Dramatic Decisions being the point. Houserules are geared towards enabling conflict.

@"Its only combat." Mage is better than the others and gets excponentially better the more mages you involve because of how buffs stack. That said, its more that Mages play a completely different game and can do things like murder entire venues without any defense or any recourse.

@Mage's ability to get information not being addressed. That is done, as needed, by addressing those spells individually via point 9. That *said*, mages should be above curve in that area. Its their thing.

@Other splats dispelling Mage spells should mean Mages can dispel. ... Mages already can. Not only can they dispel every other effect in the game, amd they can be immune to every other effect in the game (requiring clash of wills). This is to prevent permanent, unanswerable curses.

@Non-Twinked Spells. Mage is not built to easily be super effective on the fly without using Yantras (esp. Rotes). That said, in your example, the Mage would have +1 Potency free. Thats 1 die base, +3 with Willpower, for 4 dice. Thats a good chance for success without rotes.

@Arcana being more expensive. 4 exp for 2-3 *classifications* of powers. Mind 2 can replicate Obfuscate 1-4, Dominate 1-2 (and some of 4), and Majesty 1-3 for 8exp. Mage's issue is scope.

Going to go to an old anecdote about the Justice League. You see, Superman isn't the problem when creating challenges for the rest of the team. Ultimately Superman is just strong and fast and Invulnerable. The writer can just keep him busy or provide challenges that can't be punched. The issue is the Green Martian, who has super attributes and Telepathy and Phasing through things and shapeshifting and on and on. The Green Martian can solve almost any problem, and thats why the Green Martian needs to be disabled or have a headache almost every story.

@Regentwill
Thanks for the in-depth reply.
1) Mages can target all three resistance attributes, so Im not too worried about Stamina being untargetable.
3) I feel like Mages should have a hard time affecting elders. It feels right that a BP6 elder be harder to affect just by being an elder. That said, its a minor point and I wouldnt be disappointed if it didnt happen.
6) Every day is much longer than you get in a tabletop environment. I feel pretty strongly on this one.
8) It is powerful, but its also a stopgap against spells we miss and permanent curses to make characters unplayable. I feel pretty strongly this one is a good idea as well.

Re: Mage House Rules

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:01 am
by Zerd
Now i want to build a Mage, but i dont know/overly understand Mage... thank you :P

Re: Mage House Rules

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:35 pm
by Xyld
I came here to play Mage