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saithorthepyro
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Certainly not from Scion. Scion has literally nothing. At all. It's not even a game, the only characters you care about are already public domain, and everything about it that's different from the thing you imagine in your head when you hear the 20 second pitch is worse than the hypothetical game you just thought up. It's kind of an achievement. Scion is worse in all ways than just playing magical teaparty with the chalk board conceit that you're all the children of various gods.

-Frank


Yeah, I remember your drunken review of the system, which was sad because it's a good concept, especially for this generation. Plenty of people would be willing to go around in a Percy jackson style universe. Which is looking and more like Scion with every book.
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Longes
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

saithorthepyro wrote:
Did White Wolf ever make anything good worth taking from WoD/Exalted/Scions, intentional or not? Because I'm currently trying to run an Urban Fantasy game.


The Technocratic Union. Yes, they are basically Men In Black, but an organization of reality police wizards is a good idea and a good explanation for the Masquerade.
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Ancient History
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Chapter Three: Archmastery
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Most of these chapters are bullshit small, just a few pages, but this is a meaty 16 pages and still doesn't have any mechanics. Let's just get this over with.

It's broken into larger headings with smaller sub-headings. So for example, Mortal Ties is the larger heading, and the sub-heading after it is The Importance of Friendship which includes sentences like:
Quote:
The friends and family you knew before Awakening are probably dead.


There's really no basis for how long it takes to become an Archmage. According to different parts of this book, you can hit the books hard and achieve archmagery-level power in a dozen years, and everywhere else they pretend it takes centuries and anybody that can't manage immortality first doesn't deserve Archmastery. Yet the mechanics just don't support the idea that it takes centuries to Git Gud at anything - and that goes for Vampire, Mummy, Wraith, and other games as well as Mage.

Aside: Which is part of the reason it is so difficult to make ancient NPCs in pretty much any game. You might declare that your lich is obscenely powerful at <arbitrarily high level>, but you are really limited in describing their power to whatever supplements have already been released, plus whatever bullshit unique abilities you feel like throwing on top as a cherry. Giving a Vampire Elder Thaumaturgy 9 and all the paths in the main book doesn't look as impressive three magic supplements later.

Of course, an alternative is to stick your loved ones in some other magical dimension, which they give absolutely no mechanics for and it sounds bollocks:
Quote:
The Technocratic Union has worked for centuries to colonize the far Realms. Some among the Traditions keep their own families in faerie lands and special Sanctums. No wonder so many humans can be found in the Horizon.

Of course, adjusting to life in these strange Realms is no easy task. Most humans just can't handle it. That's why there's an abundance of exceptional types out there. The Union isn't going to stick Joe Average on a Mars colony without training in microgravity and engineering, and the Traditions won't put a human in a castle in the ethereal void if she can't handle phasing space and magical creatures.


I don't know how this is supposed to work, because these people are supposed to be Mundanes, but also you can do magick in front of them without Paradox, because...uh...they never really explain it. I mean, if they were at least a little Awakened or Enchanted or something, that would do the trick. But...I dunno.

One of the bigger headings is Supernatural Ties, which is ostensibly about how archmages interact with other types of supernaturals like Vampires, and...well, let me quote the out-of-character sidebar:
Quote:
Warning! Crossover Stuff!
Yeah, we constantly harp on the fact that the various supernatural groups don't know jack or shit about one another, and that there's no real reason to hedge together Vampire and Mage and whatever else happens to be in the game store. Doing so can dilute themes, cause rules problems, yadda yadda yadda.

On the other hand, Archmages know a lot Even by mage standards. These guys dig up all the dirt on anything potentially useful or harmful. Archmages are likely to know more about vampires than the average mage does.

With that in mind, these stereotypes assume that you're using details from other games like Vampire and Werewolf. Don't feel bound to them, though, and always remember that if you're running a Mage game, your Mage themes are more important than the fact that Gumby #12 has the Intoxication Trait because he's from Clan Elfpants.


I'd give props except that they're still shitting on the concept of crossover while begrudgingly pandering to their audience. So I will shake my fist at them.


They don't over every group, and most of the groups they do cover are done so both inadequately and not covering all the people you'd expect. For Vampires, for example, they cover Assamites, Brujah, Followers of Set, Tremere, Tzimisce, and Malkavians:
Quote:
After an encounter with one, I recovered in a dumpster chanting nursery rhymes in Enochian.

...two of which clans don't have any blood sorcery, and neglecting pretty much everybody with Necromancy. Because fuck you.

Werewolves, Wraiths, Changelings, Sorcerers, and Mummies (who, at this point, haven't had a sourcebook in print for years) get correspondingly smaller treatments, and the sidebars loom larger. So they actually address some of these things:
Quote:
Some Splats Are Missing
This is deliberate. Not even Archmages hobnob with everybody in the World of Darkness. Some clans, tribes, changing breeds and such don't get along with mages of any stripe. The Mokole would rather restart the Impergium an the Red Talons never finished. While the Harbingers of Skulls might make great companions for Euthanatos, they only just returned and no one outside the Sabbat has had time to notice.


They the go on to claim that "Archmages are prime material for crossovers." This is a lie.

In most games, the Archmage is going to be completely overpowered compared to every other fucking character. It's why Dr. Strange usually has to have a handicap before he teams up with anyone else. While they have their hands full trying to stay coincidental around normal humans, an Archmage can just turn the vitae inside a vampire's veins into holy water for funsies or give werewolves a discount Midas touch that turns everything to silver. That's assuming you don't getting into a pissing match over mismatched mechanics.

Also, End of Empire just happened so they interrupt the section with a sidebar on the effects of the Great Maelstrom. Don't worry, this too would be contradicted by multiple books later on!

Quests and Tasks are supposed to address a critical question for any "epic" gaming: what the hell do high-level characters do? For Shadowrun, where there's usually only a little bit of space between "competent" and "world class," the answer is usually "the same thing but easier and you look cooler." For Mage, they think it means you gear up to handle bigger magical threats. But this comes into the Cosmic Bumfights problem again, because 1) you don't really have any major setting effects, and 2) if you did, it would be objectively terrible in the blowing-out-Carl-Sagan's-candles kind of way.

More to the point though, none of the half-arsed ideas about acting like an archmage feels...organic. It doesn't come out as a growth of your character's existing background or setting. It's one thing to start as a street-level hero fighting jewel thieves and work your way up to taking out international criminal syndicates, but Mage has never pursued that kind of aesthetic. You don't start out as an occult detective and become Sorcerer Supreme, you start out as a punk magical terrorist and become...uh...I don't fucking know. Somebody that fucks off out of reality to build a private dimension full of cocaine elementals and hookerbots, I guess. And that's before we get to the moralizing. When they address the possibility of actually dealing a blow to the Technocracy by destroying one of their major installations:

Quote:
First, it's murder. Yes, an Archmage can bend the universe, but does that give her the right to judge thousands of humans on a whim? The consequences of such an action are terrible -- the Technocracy has its own Archmages (Arch-Scientists?) and they react swiftly. Imagine a war across the Horizon, annihilating centuries-old Realms and Chantries, slaughtering hundreds of Mages -- for what gain? The Ascension War cannot be won through violence.



Neo disagrees.

I'm not even sure what it means that the Ascension War can't be won through violence. I'm pretty sure killing everybody that doesn't believe in your paradigm makes your paradigm win by default. This isn't exactly a philosophical struggle, because the Technocracy sure as shit is supposed to be trying to kill the Traditions.

Trials and Tribulations tries to talk about some other...things...that an archmage has to deal with. I wouldn't quite qualify these as story ideas as much as ongoing plot elements. For example, having a rival (for every Dr. Strange, a Baron Mordo) and having some set magical duel conditions like fucking Merlin and Madam Mim.



And "Tempters" which are entities that promise power-at-a-price. WoD has always sucked at demonic pacts, so I don't know why they keep bringing them up. "Supplicants" are would-be apprentices and shit, which basically reduces the PC Archmage to the guy that the heroes go to mid-quest to get the magickal macguffin. "Strange Beasts" are...fucking dragons and shit. I'm not sure how anyone involved thought that was supposed to be important in the great context of things. Go kill Godzilla without gaining any Paradox! You're the only one who can!

They do talk about Paradox as a major issue for Archmages, which is fair, since at high enough levels it can be permanent. This actually involves Paradox mechanics, which are terrible. They also talk about ways to deal with Paradox, which are also terrible, but if you decided to play the game, you might as well get used to it. Also, they feel that no matter how terrible they make the ways to get rid of permanent Paradox they will be abused (probably), and so they insist on telling the Storyteller that they can tell the PCs to fuck right off if they try to abuse it. Which is just a big middle finger to everyone, really.

They talk about Places of Power. This is the Mage equivalent of the Build A Castle sections of D&D, only involving pocket dimensions and difficulties crossing the Gauntlet. They don't talk much and they don't talk in detail, because all this shit rightfully belongs in other books.

tl;dr: You can become an Archmage, but with great power comes permanent Paradox and all your friends are dead except maybe that one vampire you snogged, and what the fuck are you supposed to do with yourself anyway?

Which leads us to Chapter Four: Ascension

[/edit] Can't sleep. Need rant. What the fuck are you supposed to do as an Archmage? I mean, Tron Legacy had Flynn/God/the User stuck in a stalemate with his Satanic counterpart, but at least for a while Flynn was building a perfect city in a new dimension. The book has a real lack of goals for Archmages, and the goals for individual mages are so vague that trying to scale them up just doesn't really...work.

One thing that's really absent is, well, self-improvement. There's not really a posthuman vibe to Archmages, beyond the immortality thing and they seem to have it taken as given that you're going to have that option toggled "on" somehow before you even hit six dots. Various bits of magical cyberware are available to the Technocracy (and, if you're stealing from earlier supplements, select other Traditions), but the idea of you turning into a dragon or something Dragon Kings style doesn't seem to cross the radar, much less something simple like, I dunno lichdom - granted, I might be thinking more along the lines of mechanical effects, and I know lichdom is an option that shows up in one of the other Mage books. But there just doesn't seem to be a major need for the power of an Archmage for all the stuff they're talking about. You can have 4 dots in Prime and still deal with would-be apprentices and dudes needing you to deal with the wraiths haunting their Node or whatever.

And again, there's a failure of scale. Archmage adventures seem to primarily take place in other Realms, where you can stretch your magical wings without getting hit so hard by Paradox, which makes a bit of sense, but you'd think they'd find some way to tie that back in to your pre-Archmage adventures and...and I'm still not sure what that's supposed to be. I guess what I mean is that the setting as it stands doesn't have enough standalone bits to really plan out anything from a player initiative standpoint. Did you want to build a dream castle? Or break into dreams and steal a copy of the Necronomicon? What are the benefits that these activities have for you? They can't all be fucking fetch quests for epic spell components and shit. Fuck I'm tired.

It's not just Mage that has this problem, D&D faces a similar problem with Epic bullshit, but with Mage the problem is worse because the power levels are enhanced - and that's before you bring backgrounds and shit into it. With enough dots fuck magick, you can control entire secret societies, private armies, and airports. I guess the thing is that at sufficiently high power levels the player character should be a designated "Player" in the setting - a force unto themselves, able to affect the setting, maybe just by their very presence. They should be able to level the occasional mountain (Paradox or not), or assassinate major political figures, or cure pneumonia, or breed a race of sentient cockroach servants. Yeah, it's a little god-complex, but the PC Archmage is basically a demigod! If they decide to go a little bit Sourceror, that's part of the job description, right?
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Mechalich
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
I'm not even sure what it means that the Ascension War can't be won through violence. I'm pretty sure killing everybody that doesn't believe in your paradigm makes your paradigm win by default. This isn't exactly a philosophical struggle, because the Technocracy sure as shit is supposed to be trying to kill the Traditions.


Well, Paradox. The thing about Paradox is that it prevents magical workings above a certain scale from even happening. The Vargo the Zeppelin Emperor example, which shows up in many mage books, in the principle case study - the guy tried to eliminate all military conflict on Earth, and the universe reacted by erasing him from existence as if he had never been to the point where you have to be awakened to even have a chance of remembering the guy.

So anything you do in Mage has to be incremental, because if you go above some point on the Paradox scale you are simply obliterated. That's going to vary from one GM to the next, but basically, if you do something that results in you gaining 30 Paradox or more at once you soul is so much confetti.

That being the case, incremental victory against the technocracy generally isn't happening. That's like saying Canada would be able to conquer the US - the strategic picture simply doesn't have a scenario where that happens.

Quote:
Can't sleep. Need rant. What the fuck are you supposed to do as an Archmage?


Honestly, the proper answer is nothing at all. Characters who have achieved Archmastery have essentially beaten the game. They have the power to do whatever they want in the otherworlds, but there's no rules for that. Paradox effectively bans them for using their powers for anything more powerful than much lesser mages while on Earth, so there's nothing there to do but pursue Ascension. That path boils down to pointless navel gazing and is also useless.

Mage Revised whipped up the Avatar storm and got rid of all the Archmasters and that was the right move. The general answer to what happens when a player puts the 6th dot in Arete onto their character sheet is that it's time to make a new character.
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Thaluikhain
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

saithorthepyro wrote:
So, this is essentially a book about where even you achieve at least some accomplishment and better than low value of magical capability, you have to deal with your fellow archmages being out for your blood if you don't follow certain rules they'll just steal your power, where it's actively encouraged you go be a greengrocer or college student after achieving the power to rewrite reality because reasons, and in general just tries to punish you for daring to try and have mechanical character growth and some more capability.


Makes me think of this:
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saithorthepyro
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Ancient History wrote:
It's not just Mage that has this problem, D&D faces a similar problem with Epic bullshit, but with Mage the problem is worse because the power levels are enhanced - and that's before you bring backgrounds and shit into it. With enough dots fuck magick, you can control entire secret societies, private armies, and airports. I guess the thing is that at sufficiently high power levels the player character should be a designated "Player" in the setting - a force unto themselves, able to affect the setting, maybe just by their very presence. They should be able to level the occasional mountain (Paradox or not), or assassinate major political figures, or cure pneumonia, or breed a race of sentient cockroach servants. Yeah, it's a little god-complex, but the PC Archmage is basically a demigod! If they decide to go a little bit Sourceror, that's part of the job description, right?


D&D at least has a slim excuse that theyíre trying to keep things split between the party, of whom a good chunk is supposed to be mundane. This fails in practice and in their own modules, but itís something Mage doesnít have. This strange idea that high-level play is off-limits to players when you give them the option is something I will never get. If you donít want people to do it, donít write the splat and make the ceiling apparent. If there are NPCís more powerful than the PCís, thatís itís own problem, but if you want a low-fantasy or low-power game, write one. Mage reads like itís trying this, but fails because the mechanics are utter garbage. It plays like a high-fantasy game because of the open-endedness of the powers, with only Paradox keeping it in check.

Quote:
First, it's murder. Yes, an Archmage can bend the universe, but does that give her the right to judge thousands of humans on a whim? The consequences of such an action are terrible -- the Technocracy has its own Archmages (Arch-Scientists?) and they react swiftly. Imagine a war across the Horizon, annihilating centuries-old Realms and Chantries, slaughtering hundreds of Mages -- for what gain? The Ascension War cannot be won through violence.


This is more BS. Iím going to ignore the fact that I would want the Technocracy to win and pretend I actually support the morality of the traditions. Why would they care about this? Isnít part of the golden age supposed to have been the dead being brought back at-will to somehow make up for constant murder by demons? If so, then why would mages care about the casualties?

Also, if they are trying to engineer some kind of cold war scenario with this, it fails. The Cold War worked because the Soviet Union and U.S. were on equitable footing and had the means to annihilate each other. With how powerful the Technocracy supposedly is, it should play out more like U.S. with atomic weapons vs Japan at the end of World War 2 then the Cold War. Iím not convinced that an attack by either side would create the MAD that would keep a war cold. And the idea that the ascension war canít be won by violence, how else can it be won? Paradox ensures you wonít be able to make people believe in magic again, unless you go for Kaelikís suicide method.
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Occluded Sun
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

It's not actually that difficult to imagine a Mundane that doesn't generate Paradox for a certain style of magic - technically that describes everyone living 'normal' lives on Earth according to the generally-accepted principles of normality. All it takes is for the person to have an intuitive and profound belief that all the things that are happening around them are permitted by reality.

The problems start when you have people exposed to the mixture of radically different paradigms, which supposedly the Traditions have managed in some Horizon Realms. That's... well, the polite way to say it is 'not well-considered'.

Stretch someone's sense of normality far enough and eventually it WILL break, with them accepting everything and anything that happens because they've lost the ability to reject anything or hold expectations. You don't want to imagine what happens to a local reality when enough people like that get together.

The problem is that the game designers wanted people from different paradigms to work together easily, when if we take the premise of the game seriously, that should be very, very difficult. A Paradigm is both 'positive' and 'negative' in that it affirms some things and rejects others. Most Paradigms are incompatible, generally speaking, and would interfere with each other if you tried to apply more than one to a given place/time/event.
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hyzmarca
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

saithorthepyro wrote:

Also, if they are trying to engineer some kind of cold war scenario with this, it fails. The Cold War worked because the Soviet Union and U.S. were on equitable footing and had the means to annihilate each other. With how powerful the Technocracy supposedly is, it should play out more like U.S. with atomic weapons vs Japan at the end of World War 2 then the Cold War. Iím not convinced that an attack by either side would create the MAD that would keep a war cold.

A better analogy would be the modern United States vs the Taliban.
The Technocracy literally rules the world. Every government is in their pocket. They have no real opposition at that level. Instead, the Traditions are basically insurgents They function either by hiding among the population, or hiding in caves. While the technocracy can nuke the caves, they can't nuke the population (well, they can, but they certainly don't want to and aren't going to).

Running a conventional war against the Technocracy is suicide, because they're so much better at it. The Traditions work by a combination of reality terrorism and cult-building.

Quote:

And the idea that the ascension war canít be won by violence, how else can it be won? Paradox ensures you wonít be able to make people believe in magic again, unless you go for Kaelikís suicide method.

There are plenty of people who believe in magic. If I walk into a Pentecostal revival and start touching people on the forehead and yelling "heal!" those people will be healed and it will count as completely coincidental, no paradox. Because those people believe.
Because there isn't really just one consensus. There are countless local consensus, depending on who is standing near you at the time.

In the real world, when Young Earth Creationists and everyone else get different results on dating tests, this is because YECs are shit scientists. In Mage, this is because in a lab full of real scientists has a real science Consensus and a lab full of YECs has a YEC Consensus, and both are wrong, because reality is a lie and we are all sleeping gods weaving our own dreams and nightmares.

A global nuclear war would most certainly help the Traditions, by destroying massive amounts of institutional knowledge and shattering the scientific Consensus, leaving numerous smaller and more easily manipulated common sense Consensuses.


But the Traditions are actually making inroads in modern America with the Resurgence of the Religious Right. This works better for the Celestial Chorus than everyone else, admittedly, but there's a large and politically powerful group that openly believes in magic and that the Technocracy has failed to stamp out or discredit. Paradox has, unfortunately, made several prominent leaders of the movement extremely gay, because people have trouble believing in leaders who aren't hypocritical and corrupt, but it's still going strong.
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Ancient History
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Chapter Four: Ascension


Ascension is how you're supposed to "win" at Mage. When you take the step beyond power, beyond the cares of trappings of traditions and conflict, and find true enlightenment...



Anyway, this chapter starts with a half-page of italicized fiction you aren't going to read, and generally goes downhill from there. For starters, the chapter is, despite the title, not actually about Ascension. It's actually a fluffy description of different things you as an Archmage can strive for. This starts with going down some of the options for Immortality, beginning with vampirism.

Quote:
Obviously, old House Tremere in the Order of Hermes remains the clearest example of a bunch of bloodsucking mages, and they pulled it off just fine.


I sincerely can't tell if that's supposed to be ironic or not. They also discuss the merits of ghouldom, briefly, the last burning embers of which idea were firmly pissed on in the final Mage supplements before they killed the game line. The only other options given are Static Rebirth (basically, becoming a mummy) and Lichdom. Key point of all three options is you are no longer a mage. Which means that all three of these roads to "immortality" are basically excuses to stop playing this game.

Then, they suggest you could become Examplars. These are Archmages that seek all the dots in one sphere, becoming a living embodiment of it. This is basically the avatar route from Unknown Armies, and the character basically becomes inhuman by doing this, unable to effectively communicate with other characters and are basically NPCs in all but name.

Quote:
And, of course, the Exemplar process is a perfect example of how not to pursue Ascension, and can be used as a message to mage characters in the course of play, should they lose a friend (or enemy!) to forces too sublime for their comprehension.


Then, there's Godhood.

Quote:
Yeah, the gods have a pretty sweet deal. Their powers are greater even than those of Archmages or Exemplars. But they, too, can't Ascend. They constantly want something and, though their power lets them satisfy these cravings, it's never enough. How does it feel to be empty all the time, to have the universe within your grasp but never surpass it? Control of the universe's forms also locks the so-called "God" into that universe; it's the Archmage's dilemma on a higher level.


They don't actually go into any details about this, except that the mage finds a way to become a really powerful spirit. But they seem determine to rain on your parade.

Then you can become an Bodhisattva Oracle.



This isn't even a pretense of not ripping off Buddhism; you head toward Ascension and when you're almost there you get the choice to either ascend, or stay back and help others ascend. While they don't make it explicit, again, this is basically NPC territory. You are never going to get to the point of being an Oracle.

At this point, you might well be asking: why do all the high-end options suck, and why do they all amount to no longer playing the game? I don't have an answer to that, except that somebody thought escaping from the wheel of karma was apparently the point of the whole fucking roleplaying game exercise. I mean, what if I want to get my archmagedom on by being a tree, or starting up a casino in Heaven? What if Ascension is, ultimately, not what I want?

Well, too bad. Because the next couple pages talk about Ascension. Basically, the Traditions figure each person is a unique special snowflake that ascends at their own pace, and the Technocracy figures we can actually just get everybody to Awaken and Ascend at pretty much the same time. We're not going to actually go into the details of that, because that is seriously another fucking supplement to this game entirely - the final supplement, as it turns out. But seriously, the Technocracy straight-up comes across as the Men in Black running a food bank:

Quote:
By regulating the exchange - of information, tools, pleasures, hopes - the Syndicate protects the Masses from dangerous or unbalancing ideas, while bringing them a higher standard of living. The Syndicate's efforts free mankind from the shackles of gross subsistence so that new discoveries are possible.


A brief rundown is given on the outlook of Ascension by the different Traditions and other groups. Well, not the interesting ones, because whoever was writing this forgot about the smaller traditions and sects, even though they left like half a fucking page blank at the end of the chapter. There's literally nothing interesting here. Then it goes off into weird territory again.

For one, it suggests you as an Archmage should get rid of any of your foci (not literal magical devices like in Shadowrun, but constraints and paradigms for working your magic), giving you several shitty options for how to do that, including "Study a Sphere of magic under a different Tradition's paradigm, starting at an effective Sphere rating of 1, raising it as you iprove your restarte Sphere over again until your reach Mastery" and "Die and reincarnate with a new perspective on your avatar." So, die and/or start over. Great options, guys!

Quote:
So what do you do on the road to Ascension? Identity your flaws and overcome them. Learn from others. Practice rationality - take in what you experience and deal with it. Improving the world is important, but it's more important to see how people react to you and change yourself for the better.


I want a mage based on American Psycho, right about now.

The final part of this chapter is a long sidebar called "Ascension in the Context of Salvation," and comparing Mage's Ascension to the various flavors of spiritual awakening/you can stop playing the game now of the other settings - Golconda for Vampire, Transcendence for Wraith, etc.

I know I like to hit the "all Southern Baptists at heart" bit when it comes to White Wolf, but I think there's a disconnect here between the fundamental idea of the supernatural and the spiritual or religious. It's pretty bald for the writers to actually come and point out that there's a One True ineffableness that you're supposed to be aiming for, and anything that violates their strict interpretation of that is a False Path that will lead you into sin and degradation eternal suffering the Bad End. It's even weirder that they've tacked this on to a quasi-Buddhist framework for Mage, although I think that is largely a reflection of the New Thought movement and Christian mysticism in general, which continues to try and work out a more strangled and twisty path to communion with God than "bed forgiveness and let Jesus into your heart right before you die." You could even make an argument that the Technocracy's whole McAcsension Protocol is the counterposition of individual Born Again salvation vs. mass conversion.

So what the fuck does all this have to do with magic and Archmages?

I think the fact that this book is the ultimate expression of White Wolf's horrified reaction to "Fuck the enlightenment rules, I've got money magic." gamers is obvious. Serious, at the end of this chapter we're 64 pages into the book, and we've cover almost zero ground as far as fluff or mechanics. This was a creative exercise in "Don't Do Drugs Archmagedom," and the fact is that Archmages don't really fit into the White Wolf paradigm. Vampires are trapped into immortal lives of ennui and horror and the slow degeneration into inhumanity as a kind of romantic curse that Hot Topic clients can relate to on rainy Sunday afternoons after church; the bitchin' powers are just a sideperk, and in the next edition they tried to make those come Blessed With Suck too. Mage...doesn't even have that much focus. It's not that they don't want you to be Gandalf, but if Gandalf died fighting the Balrog, they'd have him come back with Force 1 and start over again from scratch, because defeating Sauron isn't the point man.

Next up: Appendix: The Keys to the Universe (Stats, finally)
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DrPraetor
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Ancient History wrote:
the Technocracy figures we can actually just get everybody to Awaken and Ascend at pretty much the same time.


https://wiki.evageeks.org/Human_Instrumentality_Project

I mean, obviously. Not only is the Technocracy the heroes of the setting, their master plan gets a much cooler name.

Unfortunately, the whole sphere system is a total failure for the willworkers who are supposed to be the protagonists, and somehow manages to be even worse for the Technocracy.
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Longes
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

DrPraetor wrote:
Ancient History wrote:
the Technocracy figures we can actually just get everybody to Awaken and Ascend at pretty much the same time.


https://wiki.evageeks.org/Human_Instrumentality_Project

I mean, obviously. Not only is the Technocracy the heroes of the setting, their master plan gets a much cooler name.

Unfortunately, the whole sphere system is a total failure for the willworkers who are supposed to be the protagonists, and somehow manages to be even worse for the Technocracy.


It's not quite that. The Technocracy doesn't have the means to make everyone (or anyone) Awaken, but what it does have is the capability to continue the slow march of science to the point where Awakened and Sleepers are indistinguishable from each other. Which is better than any plan Traditions have (they don't have any plan actually).
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Mask_De_H
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Everyone getting Tanged is actually the Traditions' win condition, as of their Time of Judgment book.

It makes about as much sense as anything else.
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Mechalich
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mask_De_H wrote:
Everyone getting Tanged is actually the Traditions' win condition, as of their Time of Judgment book.

It makes about as much sense as anything else.


To go full on with the anime analogies, the Trads want to Evangelion the world, while the Technocracy just wants to Rahxephon it. The latter is a lot less raw and visceral, but has an ending that actually makes sense.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

hyzmarca wrote:

But the Traditions are actually making inroads in modern America with the Resurgence of the Religious Right.


And they certainly aren't stopping there. You haven't lived until you've heard a college-educated person deride someone as "anti-science" and then without a smidgen of self-awareness turn around and gab about how they're using the crystal prescriptions of ancient Hindu mysticism to help alleviate the problems found in their astrological chart.
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Trill
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

talozin wrote:
And they certainly aren't stopping there. You haven't lived until you've heard a college-educated person deride someone as "anti-science" and then without a smidgen of self-awareness turn around and gab about how they're using the crystal prescriptions of ancient Hindu mysticism to help alleviate the problems found in their astrological chart.


Reminds of the one philosopher (Paul Feyerabend) whose opinion on the philosophy of science was basically "use EVERYTHING".
So yes, they can say that without contradiction because they want to use both science and mysticism, not because they believe in either of them fully. To them both are just tools you can try and abandon when they're not useful any more.
Yes it is fairly stupid, but not technically a contradiction.


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Ancient History
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Appendix: The Keys to the Universe


Let's be completely fucking honest for a moment: this was pretty much the sole reason anyone bought this book. 20 pages of stats which have been padded out with 65 pages telling you not to fucking use them. I fully believe that most of the poor bastards that paid real money for this book never read the preceding pages - they probably started to, and about ten pages in just started flipping through it in increasing frustration until they hit page 65.

The Arch-Spheres
Quote:
Only the greatest self-mastery, the strongest will and the deepest enlightenment can penetrate the Arch-Spheres. Some Masters spend their entire lives on the cusp of this awareness unable to discern the true depths.


Fuck yes, let's go!

Quote:
Developing an Arch-Sphere, then, is not a simple matter of spending a double handful of experience points.

You're right, we're talking about dozens on dozens of XP.

Quote:
It's a story arc, a microcosm of the quest for enlightenment.

God dammit, shut up.

Quote:
Consider the needs of the story

Fuck you! I will invent Bad Dragon and fuck you with a griffon cock! One with spikes on it!

Quote:
Finally, these Arts take time to learn. While experience costs are the same (or whatever the Storyteller decides), each dot takes about five years of study and training.


There is an idea in gaming that higher levels of ability must necessarily be progressively more difficult to obtain; depending on how they work out the costs/XP award ratio, in level-based RPGs this generally means either that you spend approximately the same amount of time and challenge reaching each new platform of power, or you progress very quickly at low levels and then grinding to higher levels takes more and more effort and longer and longer down-time. In non-level based games (and in some level-based games that have unbalanced caps, like skill points in d20), you see a weird phenomenon where rather than chasing the highest point in <ability>, you can gain relative competence in some other, unrelated ability. So when you hit Level 14 in D&D, you increase your core class skills by a couple of points to the level cap, or you could buy an entirely new skill and raise it to relative competence; this works because skills have linear costs. In Shadowrun, instead of buying that 6th dot in an attribute, you could spend the same Karma and buy a couple points raising new skills; this works because skills and attributes have geometric costs. Some people see this as cheating, which is why D&D set hard limits on, say, caster level - so the 19th-level Fighter doesn't take one level in Wizard and suddenly start casting spells at a 20th level.

World of Darkness tends to have the worst of both worlds. Their abilities have geometric costs, which makes them fucking expensive the higher you raise them and they also have high initial buy-ins for many abilities. So the trade-off point for WoD is higher, and yet it's more expensive to raise any ability to the point of utility.

Case of point: in Mage, a new Sphere costs 10 XP. Raising a sphere costs current rating x 8 XP. So your costs for raising a Sphere from 0 to 3 are 10 + 8 + 16 = 34 XP. If you rim the Storyteller's asshole very well, you might get 7 XP per successful adventure, so that's about 5 months worth of gaming. But raising that Sphere from 3 to 4 costs 24 XP, and for that you could buy a new sphere at rating 2 and have some change. It's not easy or cheap, but it is economical for players who don't have any specific purpose in mind to max out their chosen Sphere at char gen, then dip into a lot of different Spheres afterwards. But it's not economical enough to really make it attractive compared to diving straight toward archmagery. Which, I suspect, was the fear. Raising Arete from 5 to 6 costs 40 XP and raising a Sphere from 5 to 6 costs 40 XP. So if you don't give a fuck about being a well-balanced mage, you could be knocking on Arch-Magedom's door after about a dozen adventures, depending on how you min-maxed at chargen. This is worse in WoD games like Vampire with hard caps that are lower, because it means you're generally better off expanding within a Discipline (as with paths or combo powers) than in buying new Disciplines, because the costs are prohibitive to both to improve existing abilities and to buy new abilities.

Anyway. Back to the book.

Quote:
Casting Difficulties
Most casting difficulties are based on the Effect's Sphere level plus some modifier. With the Arch-Spheres, casting difficulties can quickly become stratospheric. That's not a big problem; any time the difficulty is pushed to 9, additional difficulty increases simply require additional success from the dire roll. Thus, if you have a difficulty of 9 and receive one additional push, you now require at least two successes to achieve a base Effect. This removes successes from the total roll, so the final Effect is not as potent.


While I cannot say 100% that this rule has never appeared before in WoD, I am 90% sure this is a specific asspull just for this supplement to deal with the fact that floating target numbers are terrible. Anyway, this gloss is basically there to force PCs to spend quintessence and do rituals so they have enough dice to throw around to actually pull off the high-level effects.

We still haven't hit the actual effects yet, because they want to talk about crossover stuff, specifically how Arch-Spheres work against high-level Disciplines and shit:

Quote:
When comparing powers, the easiest method is to cross-reference the mage's Sphere rating against the rating of his opponent's Discipline/Gift/whatever. A vampire with six dots of a Discipline can effectively counter a sixth-level Sphere, for instance. A werewolf of elder rank can contest any Archmage power. Simply roll the appropriate dice pools against one another; unless the other creature's Traits are (dare we say it?) twinked out to uber-dice status, chances are than an Archmage's Arete is equivalent to most other powers.


First observation: Wraith Arcanoi max out at 5, so Wraith are fuxxored against Arch-Necromancers. Sorcerers also cap out at 5, but they're fuxxored anyway.

Second observation: Most of the Disciplines/Gifts/etc. don't...work that way. I mean, they don't directly oppose other powers. Giovanni don't usually roll a big pile of Necromancy dice when they want to achieve an effect, the higher levels unlock specific effects they can try.

Third observation: There is another paragraph, and it's all ass-pulls anyway.

Quote:
However, mage powers are abstract enough that, again, story considerations come first. In some cases, an Archmage's Sphere Mastery may blow away the competition. In others, it may seem appropriate for a specialized power of another creature to defend against or subvert the mage's Effect. Use your best judgment. An Archmaster of Mind may be skilled at all sorts of invasive tricks, but a vampire elder with six dots of Dominate and a few centuries of practice may be able to slip in unnoticed. If a mage's paradigm doesn't account for a specific attack, defense or divination, then there's no way for even an Archmaster to counter it.


So in the specific case about - a vampire with Dominate 6 and an Archmage with Mind 6 - if the vampire makes eye contact, that's probably pretty much game over, unless the Mage has set up a specific defense ahead of time.

Okay, enough bullshit about hypothetical cross-supernatural dick measuring Olympics - on to the Archspheres! This basically amounts to description of levels 6-9 for each Sphere, with no rotes given. Honestly, some rotes would have been nice; the descriptions of the powers are very broad and sometimes vague, and some specific examples of execution would be nice.

Correspondence
6: Fold Space/Create Space - You can manipulate distance. Not sure how this is different from Correspondence 5, except that you can "create space." Best not to think too hard about all that.

7: No Warding - Archmage realizes they can bypass wards and barriers and step inside magic circles and shit. Surprise the fuck out of anyone that summons you!

8: Limits of Spirit - You can teleport anywhere, and take a bit of space with you. This is described very poorly and even at Correspondence 8 it doesn't work everywhere, which seems to be missing the point.

9: No Limits - "At this level, any movement is possible." Warp 10, basically. Although, again, I'm not clear on what the difference is between this and lower levels except it's supposed to be easier or something.

Entropy

6: Stultifying Order/Utter Chaos - You can determine how the dice roll. In the game. Not at the table.

7: Destiny of the Species - Can control evolution of species. Not sure how this actually works, some gobblety-[EDITED] about "meta-Patterns."

8: Breach Shroud/Deny the End - Open the Shroud or close it off. Since the default is "closed," the latter should not be a huge issue; technically this is supposed to let an archmage return someone that's died to true life, but I know there's more complicated rules for that somwhere.

9: True Destiny - Archmage can fuck with the Destiny Background. Suck it, whoever invested points in that!

Forces
6: Economy of Force/Sense Universal Force - Magical equivalent of using a sniper rifle instead of a fireball.

7: Plate Tectonics - You can move continents, etc. Amazingly not very applicable on a local scale.

8: Toss Around Realms - You can move Realms. Moving pocket dimensions is a bit like Superman pushing the Earth out of the way, in that it seems unworkable and of questionable utility, but there you go.



9: Alter Universal Forces - Mage can alter, eliminate, or create Forces. Example given: "This is the Force of Thon, which removes the distinctions of gender!" No actual details of how this works, except that "such a change lasts only a few turns at most."

Life
6: Prefect Transformation of Others/New Life - You can shapeshift others without turning them into mutants or idiots, even create new lifeforms.

7: Scale of Life/Infection - Instead of just affecting an individual or a group, the Archmage can target every critter of a given type within range. Like, mammals. Or opossums. And they can make their effects infectious. So you could potentially create a virus that turns humans into wolves. Just in case there wasn't enough dog-fucking in your game.

8: Create Shifter/Virus - Okay, apparently I lied. You can't create a virus until this level. However, it also lets you create new shapeshifter species. Although they lack any of the spiritual abilities of Changing Breeds. Still.

9: Perfect Immortality - Character can be functionally immortal - no worries about age, disease, or physical damage. Not clear if this is an innate effect, or something you have to roll for. Or if it's something they can apply to someone else.

Matter
6: Alter State - Like level 5, but easier. I wish I was making that up. Like the Thaumaturgy Path of Transmutation.

7: Transform Pattern - Change things into other things. But, y'know, better than at lower levels.

8: Create Pattern - Create a new thing. But, y'know, better than at lower levels.

9: Subjective Reality - You create things that appear as different things dependent on who is looking at them. So, like, a cottage that contains a giant ball pit, but only for children. That kind of thing.

Mind
6: Relive Past Lives/Sense the Universal Mind - Uh...okay, you can dive into your past lives. I don't see how that's a mind thing. Whatever.

7: Universal Subconscious/ Reprogram Avatar - How did Archmages deal with this shit before Jung and computers came along? Anyway, you self-edit your Avatar. Like Dilber the magical psychologist.

8: Self-Awareness - Archmage achieves zen, masters emotions, can remove Mental Flaws.

Quote:
The mage who progresses this far understands the true insignificance of mental achievement in attaining Ascension. The process of thinking is not nearly so important as the state of being.


9: One Mind - Well, you no longer require a body can can exist as pure intelligence. Which sounds like something that they could have addressed as a goal a couple chapters back. Like Life 9's "Perfect Immortality," it isn't clear if this is automatic or something you have to roll for.

Prime
6: Paradox senses - You can see Paradox, and use Quintessence to cancel Paradox.

7: Weave Odyllic Paradox/Violate Pattern - You can steal Quintessence from avatars and throw Paradox at people you don't like.

8: Channel Paradox - You can offload all your Paradox on other people. Or take on somebody else's Paradox.

9: Expel Base Paradox/Create Universe - You can get rid of all of your Paradox without fucking anyone over. Also, you can create pocket universes. This latter ability was hinted at in a previous bit of intro-chapter fiction, and I'm not entirely sure how it differs from creating your own pocket dimension/Realm except you don't have to sustain it and can't control it once you've done it. You just...create a universe. Maybe keep it on your desk, in a snowglobe or something.

Spirit
6: Awaken Ephemera - You wake up "the sleeping spirits of objects, trees, and places." In case you wanted to give the statue of Abraham Lincoln its own consciousness.

7: Create Realm - You can create a tiny Realm with its own Gauntlet. Not sure how this is different from other ways of creating a Realm. Would have been nice if they had consistent metaphysics for this shit.

8: Remember the One - Lets you bring overlapping Realms together, with no Gauntlet. That sounds a lot like removing the Shroud, which is what Clan Giovanni wants to do, but which is strictly speaking what Entropy is supposed to do, so idk.

9: Awaken Avatar - Force a mundane character to Awaken if possible. This is supposed to be unpleasant, so less Shazam to Billy Batson than "point out on the doll where the Ancient One touched you."



Time
6: Aid the Past - You can send objects and Quintessence back in time. That sounds hideously badwrongfun and can result in Paradox on both your future and past self.

7: Go to the Past - You can go back in time and change shit! Doc Brown is an Archmaster of Time for the Sons of Ether. At least in my headcanon.

8: Time Door - Create a portal that leads into the future or the past. "Time Doors could be better named Plot Doors."

9: Exist Apart from Time - This is, as they describe it, a bit of a Bad End where the Archmage exists outside of time, and while they can enter and interact with time at any point, this just generates alternate timelines. "About the only thing that the mage can do at this point is create Time Doors for others."

Now, that was all very long, but I thought we should go through it because that is the vague meat and questionable potatoes of the whole fucking book. 36 powers with few stats and which don't make a lot of sense, and a lot of magickal technicalese. Which is hilarious, given the Tradition's position on such things. The notable thing about all these Sphere descriptions isn't that they suck - although many do - but that it highlights all the shit that this book could have covered, like more in-depth look at the metaphysics of the fucking setting, and greater history of the Traditions and their understanding of how things work. Instead, we get this cut-rate nonsense. And the thing is, whoever wrote this bit gets the idea of lots of possibilities and potential posthuman powers that people really fucking wanted. They just can't be arsed to deliver it in any way.

So, as we head into the last ten pages we're given an optional rule for Cascade Spheres, which means that going into Archmastery in one Sphere gives the ability to fake powers in related spheres. For those playing the home game, that means:

Dynamic - Correspondence, Mind, Time

Pattern - Forces, Life, Matter

Primordial - Entropy, Mind, Spirit

Which is good, because 1) it means less Spheres you have to buy, and 2) you're just pissing Quintessence away on these things anyway.

So if you have Entropy 6, you can also do Mind 1 and Spirit 1 effects. Fun, neh?

Also, for reasons I do not understand, a naked woman with blurred-out nipples is on this page (75).

Paradox gets three paragraphs with no mechanics, so it can't be important.

Two rotes are given for achieving immortality:

Shed the Years (Prime 5, Entropy 4, Life 3, Mind 2, Time 2) - You brew a potion of youth or whatever and it makes you younger. Has to be done periodically.

Serenity of the Stone (Prime 5, Time 5, Entropy 4, Life 3, Mind 3) - Aging is slowed drastically (50 years in real time = 1 biological year). Has to be done once.

I'm 95% sure there are other ways, but this at least provides something for non-archmage PCs to pick this supplement up for.

There's some paragraphs on Quiet and Jhor, but no mechanics, just a pointer to the Book of the Weaver, which needs an OSSR (not it). Then we move on to Friends and Enemies...a large part of which is dedicated to what happens when an Archmage outgrows their familiar. Shadowrun already had this down, where you just spend more Karma and improve your familiar so that it isn't a liability, but Mage resists this, and instead wants you to set it free and summon a better one. There's some other crap about Spirit Mentors, Arch-Nephandi (which apparently don't exist). Then they talk about how other Archmages and the Technocracy can fuck with you.

Quote:
The real threat from the Technocracy comes from specialist op teams or colonies. [...] Furthermore, the Technocracy can encroach on an Archmage's paradigm with its technological toys. Reality stabilizers, orbital arrays and special sensors can quickly strengthen the Gauntlet and neutralize magical constructs, wrecking years of changes to the Umbra.


Then, despite literally spending the entire fucking book telling you not to play an Archmage, they give us a Creating an Archmage section. Did they not learn anything from the Elder rules for Vampire? I guess not!

New Background: Spirit Mentor. They spent a lot of words a couple pages back talking about how these have no game mechanical benefit to Archmages, and can't have it higher than your Spirit Sphere, but you can buy it up to 10 anyway. WTF.

There are some Archmage merits and flaws. You don't care. Shit like Grand Reputation, Years of Wisdom, and Powerful Allies all don't have any actual mechanical benefits. Ascension Message (3 point "merit") is special because you can't take it if you're an archmage, and the benefit it provides is that it doesn't allow you to ever become an Archmage. You can also access other paradigms with a +4 difficulty, but still, wtf. Being an Exemplar is a 7 point merit. Permanent Paradox Flaw is a 2 point flaw, which includes geasa like "All technological devices that you touch rapidly fail, but almost never to your benefit" and "You are incapable of speaking certain words, letters, or sounds."

Then there's the story questions, some final considerations ("If some of these numebrs seem low, remember that an Archmages has spent years, even decades, studying one Sphere to the exclusion of all other knowledge."), and the stupidest fucking bit to end on:

Quote:
Above all, of course, remember to have fun If you want big explosions and mindless devastation, it's your game. If you want a more cerebral experience with ancient, wizened mages, you can do that, too. Better still, give both a try. These are, after all, infinite worlds out there.


Fuck you. Fuck you fuck you fuck you you fucking fucks. THIS ENTIRE GODDAMN BOOK, YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT TRY TO SUCK ALL THE FUN OUT OF THE ARCHMAGE EXPERIENCE. YOU DO NOT GET TO TELL US TO HAVE FUN NOW. YOU TWATWAFFLES.

The book ends with three sample characters/archetypes: Burnout, Exemplar-in-Training, and Horizon Explorer. Unlike other Mage characters sheets, theirs have six dots. The makers of this booklet gave so little shit, they didn't even give you a blank character sheets to copy.
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Trill
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
Fuck you. Fuck you fuck you fuck you you fucking fucks. THIS ENTIRE GODDAMN BOOK, YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT TRY TO SUCK ALL THE FUN OUT OF THE ARCHMAGE EXPERIENCE. YOU DO NOT GET TO TELL US TO HAVE FUN NOW. YOU TWATWAFFLES.

AH, don't you know? You have to earn your fun.
Only if you manage to get through the entire book telling you that you are a horrible person and fucking min-maxer munchkin rollplayer That Guy and not falter, only then are you worthy of some fun.
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Mechalich
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
Now, that was all very long, but I thought we should go through it because that is the vague meat and questionable potatoes of the whole fucking book. 36 powers with few stats and which don't make a lot of sense, and a lot of magickal technicalese. Which is hilarious, given the Tradition's position on such things. The notable thing about all these Sphere descriptions isn't that they suck - although many do - but that it highlights all the shit that this book could have covered, like more in-depth look at the metaphysics of the fucking setting, and greater history of the Traditions and their understanding of how things work. Instead, we get this cut-rate nonsense. And the thing is, whoever wrote this bit gets the idea of lots of possibilities and potential posthuman powers that people really fucking wanted. They just can't be arsed to deliver it in any way.


The problem with these powers is that sphere rankings above 5 are largely redundant. The fifth dot already had enough power attached such that - so long as you are in a decent Mother May I circumstance, ordinary mastery and a decent bit of creativity is moth than enough to crack the world like an egg. If you can generate gravitic forces on your own, you don't need a 'move continents' power - you can already do that by oh, maybe, bouncing gravity-lasers off a micro black hole embedded in the earth's mantle (something a very Etherite-style character did in the David Brin novel Earth), it's just a matter of how many successes are required and how to mitigate the Paradox from squashing you when you do.

Honestly, if you interpret the rules of MtA in an even remotely liberal fashion, then Archmasters are simply too powerful for the WoD. Heck, garden-variety masters practically are and ordinary starting characters can turn elder vampires into lawn chairs. There is no possible set of rules that can fit Archmasters into either storyteller system or the WoD. The ToJ book for Mage is evidence of this, since the canon plotline involves how a single archmaster, Voormas, manages to almost destroy reality itself.

Achieving archmastery probably should mean that Paradox spirits show up at your house and serve you a 'leave this dimension now' warrant and then you take that character and go play as a planeswalker in some entirely different game. Unfortunately, WW was never willing to commit to that and so they tried this stupid effort to dance around the issue.
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Longes
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mechalich wrote:
The ToJ book for Mage is evidence of this, since the canon plotline involves how a single archmaster, Voormas, manages to almost destroy reality itself.


In Mage's defense - Voormas doesn't do it instantly by being the biggest badass in the world. Voormas poisons the concept of necromancy so that all necromancers want to bring down the Shroud, and then waits for centuries for Augustus Giovanni to break the Shroud for him. Which is a weird plot, but it's a more interesting plot than "VOORMAS BLOWS THINGS UP PEW PEW"
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
Correspondence
6: Fold Space/Create Space - You can manipulate distance. Not sure how this is different from Correspondence 5, except that you can "create space." Best not to think too hard about all that.


So archmagery starts out by selling closet organizers...?
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Mask_De_H
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yes, Josh; now unfuck your tags.

Since this question was raised in the Mage vs Mage thread: how would one go about making a game of Archmagery without shitting on the readers' hopes and dreams?
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

First, make a setting robust enough where archmage is a thing you can aspire to and want to be so you can achieve some of your character goals. Then you need mechanics that make it interesting, and provide appropriate challenges. Getting to archmage shouldn't be "Great, you're all powerful! End of game." and it shouldn't be "Great, you're an archmage! The newest bitch on the block, because everybody else has been archmages for centuries ahead of you."

A lot of that applies to epic characters in general, not just archmages. But the big thing about being an "archmage" is that Mage makes it both an explicit thing - you have 6+ Arete and 6+ in at least one Sphere - and yet also a social ranking bullshit thing, where you might have the power but nobody treats you like it and might gang up on you. Those are both kinda shitty options. Being an archmage should be relative to the level of your campaign as well as the setting, and it should be decidedly informal. In Shadowrun, anyone can call themselves an Archmage. No one does because it makes them sound like a douchebag, and the really powerful mages prefer to be underestimated anyway. But Shadowrun also explicitly lacks a lot of higher-end stuff unless you get into metamagic, and most of that is weird utility crap tht only applies in special circumstances (how often do you want a physical adept with Limited Astral Projection and Possession?)
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Longes
Prince


Joined: 04 Nov 2013
Posts: 2507

PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I feel like a theoretical archmage game should basically be Chronicles of Amber. There's you and your peers, and everyone else doesn't really matter. And like in Chronicles of Amber, if there are spirit worlds or inifinite realities or whatever, there should be some central nexus over which everyone wants to fight rather than bailing into the World of Blowjobs.
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Thaluikhain
Knight-Baron


Joined: 29 Sep 2016
Posts: 872

PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Longes wrote:
I feel like a theoretical archmage game should basically be Chronicles of Amber. There's you and your peers, and everyone else doesn't really matter. And like in Chronicles of Amber, if there are spirit worlds or inifinite realities or whatever, there should be some central nexus over which everyone wants to fight rather than bailing into the World of Blowjobs.


That...sounds like a decent way of doing it.
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G‚tFromKI
Knight


Joined: 02 Sep 2011
Posts: 378

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Longes wrote:
I feel like a theoretical archmage game should basically be Chronicles of Amber. There's you and your peers, and everyone else doesn't really matter. And like in Chronicles of Amber, if there are spirit worlds or inifinite realities or whatever, there should be some central nexus over which everyone wants to fight rather than bailing into the World of Blowjobs.

This raise the question: why did Dworkin create Amber instead of the City of Blowjobs ?

In Amber, the characters are Super Special Snowflakes, which means:
1/ They can't really hide. The can hide for a short time, but eventually their peers (...or normal wizards) will locate their Special Snowflakeness.
2/ Their blood, and other part of their body, is valuable.
Should they spend 1000 years in the World of Blowjob, they won't train during that time. Eventually they will be discovered and they will be seen as an easy source of Special Snowflakeness. Even if they don't want to rule Amber, they can't just say "screw that shit, I have World of Blowjobs".
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