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Old 02-16-2014, 04:11 PM   #1
lugaid
 
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Default GURPS M:tA

Hey, there. I don't get on the forums as often as many, or even as often as I would like (heck, it has been sometimes literally a year or more between posts for me). But, I was here to check up on the status of some Ogre countersheets and figured, as long as I'm here…

As we all know, back in the days when relations between gaming companies was all flowers and light, SJG and White Wolf managed to come to an agreement whereby several WW games would be converted into GURPS (3E) terms. Before that all fell apart, we did manage to get three solid offerings.

Of these, the one that interested me most was the conversion of Mage: The Ascension. It provided us with an entirely new system of magic, which has since had the identification numbers filed off and been made generic in GURPS Thaumatology, as "Realms and Power" Syntactic Magic.

The thing is, the problem that I've always had with M:tA is that the magic for all of the different Traditions was pretty much exactly the same. Only the tools used to direct the magic were different, from a mechanical standpoint. One was supposed to rely on the fluff descriptions to make the different Traditions, well, different.

Now, it seems to me that one could do things differently in GURPS. Rather than importing the generic magic system of the WW game, how about modeling the fluff using GURPS rules more directly. For example, one could give the Adepts of Hermes the standard GURPS Magic system. When I originally thought of doing this (in passing, mind), the then-current edition of GURPS Magic was the Second. In the back of that book, there was a system of Improvisational Magic based on verb-noun combinations. While that system still exists (again, in Thaumatology), it has been changed to rely directly on buying skill in each verb or noun as a skill. In the original, one would instead tally up the spells that the character knew in each college, counting 0, 1, 1 1/2, or 2 points per each, depending on the skill level, up to a maximum of either IQ+Magery or 20, whichever was less. So, my thinking was that Hermetic mages would start off buying "rote" spells, and then gain proficiency in improvising as they learned more about the college.

Most of the other Traditions are similarly easy to model. The Akashic Brotherhood would have Trained by a Master (and related ads), along with chi-based Cinematic Skills and perhaps be allowed to purchase chi-based Powers. The Celestial Chorus now has the option of buying Divine Favor. The Dreamspeakers might work with Path/Book Magic and Spirits. The Hollow Ones (and all Orphans, really) would buy Psionic Powers. The Sons of Ether would be based around Gadgeteering and TLX+N skills (I'll talk about that more in a minute). The Verbena might use the Tree Magic reorganization of the basic GURPS Magic system, perhaps with the addition of Improvisational Magic on the Hermetic model. The Virtual Adepts might work entirely based on the Machine Telepathy Power.

About the Sons of Ether, I think that the cost of a gadget is an important balancing element, so I would probably allow Quick Gadgeteering, but with the provision that any gadget made in that way would break down and stop working after a short time (basically, at the GM's discretion, but probably no longer than the current session). I'd also specify that the only characters who could buy TLX+N skills (say, the modern Steampunk TL5+3 or Dieselpunk TL6+2, or whatever) would be those with the Gadgeteering advantage at either level (or perhaps with a 10-point Unusual Background).

You'll notice that I haven't talked about the Technocracy (I'd probably just give them access to higher TL items) or two of the Traditions. That's because I just don't understand either the Cult of Ecstasy or the Euthanatos very well. I never did read their Tradition splatbooks, and they aren't well described in the original rules. Can anyone shed any light on those? Or, if you just have any comments on the idea in general, or better ways to do these or the Technocracy, feel free to chime in.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:40 PM   #2
johndallman
 
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Default Re: GURPS M:tA

There are some problems with using so many magic systems in one game, including: GM workload; difficulties of resolving their interactions, and the fact that they aren't balanced against each other for point cost vs. effectiveness. The latter is likely to lead to some players feeling they made the wrong choices and having their interest in the game impaired.
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: GURPS M:tA

That is, of course, a good point. I wonder, though, if the magic systems are not well-balanced against each other, how can they be well-balanced against the other systems in the game? It seems to me that balancing the costs of, say, the standard GURPS Magic system against the costs of learning Martial Arts, and then balancing the costs of Psionic Powers in the same way would lead to a relative balance between GURPS Magic and Psionic Powers.

Also, there is the added note that, so long as there is ambiguity in the system, then there is also the potential for a particular player to learn how best to use a particular system in a way that balances it against the other players and GM. That is, it seems to me that "balance" happens more from learning to use the system creatively and discovering its particular niche, if you will, and this is more important than precisely balancing the mechanical numbers. But this is all "old school" vs. "new school" theorizing, and probably not very relevant here.

Edited to add: The point about GM workload is a strong one. That would require more thought, but presuming that the GM were willing to take it on…

Last edited by lugaid; 02-16-2014 at 05:06 PM. Reason: forgot to add a thought
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: GURPS M:tA

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There are some problems with using so many magic systems in one game, including: GM workload; difficulties of resolving their interactions, and the fact that they aren't balanced against each other for point cost vs. effectiveness. The latter is likely to lead to some players feeling they made the wrong choices and having their interest in the game impaired.
If a GM went to the effort to create such a rich magical campaign world, I as a player would be more than willing to adapt during the campaign if my character turned out to be one that was overly effective. If the GM is upfront early that there may need to be some major tweaking, I like to think most players would be flexible.
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Old 02-17-2014, 02:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: GURPS M:tA

In simplistic terms, the Cult of Ecstasy is your Bards: sex, drugs, and rock and roll is how they do their magic. In similarly simplistic terms, the Euthanatoi are necromancers, with a specialty in reading peoples’ fates so that they can tell when a person is beyond redemption and deserving of being put to death.

Conceptually though, this notion misses the whole point of Mage, which is that everyone is ultimately doing variations of the same thing. For instance, the Hollow Ones aren’t psychics; they’re dabblers — magical Jacks of all Trades and masters of none. Meanwhile, each of the Traditions has mastered one flavor of magic. To capture that aspect of things, you really should have a common core system shared by all of the Traditions — although the details of how that common core is implemented can and should vary from Tradition to Tradition.

In that regard, I’d use a combination of Realm Magic, Magical Styles, and GURPS Powers to represent individual Traditions. For instance:

• The Order of Hermes would have Magery as a Power Talent, “Magical” as its Power Modifier, and various Realms as its Power Abilities. It would have Thaumatology as a core skill which would serve as a cap for the various Realm Skills. Style Familiarity with Hermetic Magic (which features the Forces Realm) would provide access to a selection of Style Perks that further modify how their magic works.
• By contrast, the Celestial Chorus would have Power Investiture as a Power Talent, “Divine” as its Power Modifier, and various Realms as its Power Abilities. It would have Theology as a core skill that serves as a cap for the various Realm Skills. Style Familiarity with Theurgy (which features the Prime Realm) would provide access to a selection of Style Perks that further modify how their magic works.
• Then you have the Dreamspeakers, who have a “Sensitivity” Power Talent, “Spirit” as its Power Modifier, and various Realms as its Power Abilities. They would have Ritual Magic serving as a cap on their Realm Skills. Style Familiarity with Animism (which features the Spirit Realm) would provide access to a selection of Style Perks that further modify how their magic works.
• The Etherites would have a “Genius” Power Talent, a “Super-Science” Power Modifier, Realms as its Power Abilities, and Weird Science as the cap on its Realm Skills. Style Familiarity with Ether Science (which features the Matter Realm) would provide access to a selection of Style Perks that further modify how their Science works.
• The Akashic Brotherhood would have a “Dharma” Power Talent, a “Chi” Power Modifier, Realms as its Power Abilities, and Auto-Hypnosis as the cap on its Realm skills. Style Familiarity with Ascetic Magic (which features the Mind Realm) would provide access to a selection of Style Perks that further modify how their magic works.
• The Verbena would have a “Sponteneity” Power Talent, a “Nature” Power Modifier, Realms as its Power Abilities, and Herb Lore as the cap on its Realm Skills. Style Familiarity with Witchcraft (which features the Life Realm) would provide access to a selection of Style Perks that further modify how their magic works.
• The Virtual Adepts would have an “Arete” Power Talent, an “Augmented Reality” Power Modifier, Realms as its Power Abilities, and Computer Hacking as the cap on its Realm Skills. Style Familiarity with Reality Hacking (which features the Correspondence Realm) would provide access to a selection of Style Perks that further modify how their magic works.

And so on. Everyone uses the same core system (i.e., Realm Magic); but each tweaks how that system works through the selection of Power Talent, Power Modifier, core skill, primary and supplemental skills, Style Perks, etc. (The Hollow Ones would differ from the rest in that they’d lack much of the above: no Power Talent, no Power Modifier, no core skill, no Style Perks; Realms would be purchased “raw”, and Realm Skills would be capped by a 10/level Unusual Background Advantage.)
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: GURPS M:tA

OK, that's an interesting view of it. My own understanding is that each Tradition has a vision of how the world "should" work, and they are working to ensure that their own version, as it were, of reality is the one that is accepted by the world at large. Now, being the underdogs, the various Traditions have banded together against the Technocrats in a sometimes uneasy alliance, judging by the sections which list each Tradition's opinions of the other Traditions.

That is to say, there isn't any particular underlying unified reality, but instead there are the individual realities brought along by each Tradition, and Ascension is the process of elevating humanity through the particular apocalyptic (in the original sense) vision of the Tradition. That fragmented view of competing realities seems to be borne out by the existence of the Technocracy, actually, and its near-monopolistic hold on consensus reality.

Which reminds me, I would need to figure out some way of handling the backlash of consensus reality for those Traditions which don't already have that built in to their magic systems. Hm.

Anyway, yes, those are the overviews of the CoX and Euthanatos which one can derive from the core rules. Those don't say much of anything about how their magic actually works, though, in a way that would allow those fluff descriptions to be modeled in GURPS.
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:27 AM   #7
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OK, that's an interesting view of it. My own understanding is that each Tradition has a vision of how the world "should" work, and they are working to ensure that their own version, as it were, of reality is the one that is accepted by the world at large. Now, being the underdogs, the various Traditions have banded together against the Technocrats in a sometimes uneasy alliance, judging by the sections which list each Tradition's opinions of the other Traditions.
More or less true, save for one thing: over the centuries of their “uneasy alliance”, the Traditions discovered that their different paradigms were remarkably compatible with each other, to the point that once they accepted this truth, cooperative works of magic by memebers of wildly different Traditions became possible, even routine: e.g., an Etherite and a Verbena can work together to craft an effect. Eventually, someone (among the Order of Hermes, I believe) discovered why this was so: for all their differences, every Tradition had at its heart the same core truth — that magic is the manifestation of an innate human capacity to shape reality. It’s so innate to the human condition that even Sleepers do it (albeit subconsciously, and only when large numbers of Sleepers’ efforts align with each other; thus, the Consensus and Consensual Reality).

Each Tradition has its own idea about what this core truth means (the Hermetics describe it as an act of Will; the Choristers see it as a matter of Belief; technomancers see Enlightenment as the key ingredient; and so on — I attempted to model that by patterning each Tradition’s “Power Talent” after what innate human quality that Tradition thinks is at the heart of magic, and thus which one it cultivates); but they all agree that magic is the fundamental human capacity to change the world.

In fact, the central defining feature of the Traditions is their efforts to promote the notion that their diverse views of reality don’t fundamentally conflict, and that reality should be viewed as a synergy of diverse beliefs rather than as a clash of competing realities. This is in direct contrast to the views of the Technocracy and the Disparates, both of whom view the different takes on reality as being fundamentally at odds with each other.

The Technocracy long ago decided that the correct response to this core truth is to promote the dominance of a single paradigm that provides stability for everyone by driving all competing views into extinction, and in that it has largely been successful in its efforts. By contrast, the Disparates are primarily holdovers from before the Ascension War began and seek in vain to return the world to the way it used to be. Their perspective about the conflicting nature of paradigms left them incapable of the cooperation that the Traditions have fostered; and combined with the fact that none of them is large enough to rival the Technocracy, the result is that they’re slowly dying out.

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That is to say, there isn't any particular underlying unified reality, but instead there are the individual realities brought along by each Tradition, and Ascension is the process of elevating humanity through the particular apocalyptic (in the original sense) vision of the Tradition. That fragmented view of competing realities seems to be borne out by the existence of the Technocracy, actually, and its near-monopolistic hold on consensus reality.
Actually, the process of Ascension is pretty much the opposite of that: while a starting Traditionist has been told the the common core truth about the nature of reality, it’s initially a “head knowledge” thing: it takes a while for them to truly understand it rather than merely paying lip service to it, and it takes even longer to really grasp its implications. That process of coming to terms with the common truth of the Traditions and the ultimate irrelevance of any one Tradition’s apocalyptic vision is what Ascension is all about.

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Which reminds me, I would need to figure out some way of handling the backlash of consensus reality for those Traditions which don't already have that built in to their magic systems. Hm.
Yeah; that’s an example of the danger of not starting from a common system for all of the magic styles: you end up reinventing the wheel repeatedly, assuming that you even remember that the wheel needs to be there.

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Anyway, yes, those are the overviews of the CoX and Euthanatos which one can derive from the core rules. Those don't say much of anything about how their magic actually works, though, in a way that would allow those fluff descriptions to be modeled in GURPS.
When I get home, I’ll see if I can find my copies of the Tradition Books; I just moved, and most of my stuff is still packed up. But I don’t see why you couldn’t, for example, use the Bardic Arts (Thaumatology page 204) to model the CoX; it’s as accurate a representation of them as using Machine Telepathy to model the Virtual Adepts. Mind you, neither is a terribly accurate portrayal of the respective Traditions’ views on magic; but that’s true to some extent for most of your proposed models.

For instance, Chinese Elemental Powers is a closer match to the Akashic Brotherhood than your suggestion of Trained By a Master and Cinematic Skills; but I still wouldn’t use it for the Akashic Brotherhood. I might use it for the Wu Lung, a Disparate faction that’s based on Chinese mysticism: using a magic system for them that’s largely incompatible with everyone else’s magic systems would certainly capture their Disparate nature.
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:25 AM   #8
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More or less true, save for one thing: over the centuries of their “uneasy alliance”, the Traditions discovered that their different paradigms were remarkably compatible with each other, to the point that once they accepted this truth, cooperative works of magic by memebers of wildly different Traditions became possible, even routine: e.g., an Etherite and a Verbena can work together to craft an effect. Eventually, someone (among the Order of Hermes, I believe) discovered why this was so: for all their differences, every Tradition had at its heart the same core truth — that magic is the manifestation of an innate human capacity to shape reality. It’s so innate to the human condition that even Sleepers do it (albeit subconsciously, and only when large numbers of Sleepers’ efforts align with each other; thus, the Consensus and Consensual Reality).

Each Tradition has its own idea about what this core truth means (the Hermetics describe it as an act of Will; the Choristers see it as a matter of Belief; technomancers see Enlightenment as the key ingredient; and so on — I attempted to model that by patterning each Tradition’s “Power Talent” after what innate human quality that Tradition thinks is at the heart of magic, and thus which one it cultivates); but they all agree that magic is the fundamental human capacity to change the world.

In fact, the central defining feature of the Traditions is their efforts to promote the notion that their diverse views of reality don’t fundamentally conflict, and that reality should be viewed as a synergy of diverse beliefs rather than as a clash of competing realities. This is in direct contrast to the views of the Technocracy and the Disparates, both of whom view the different takes on reality as being fundamentally at odds with each other.

The Technocracy long ago decided that the correct response to this core truth is to promote the dominance of a single paradigm that provides stability for everyone by driving all competing views into extinction, and in that it has largely been successful in its efforts. By contrast, the Disparates are primarily holdovers from before the Ascension War began and seek in vain to return the world to the way it used to be. Their perspective about the conflicting nature of paradigms left them incapable of the cooperation that the Traditions have fostered; and combined with the fact that none of them is large enough to rival the Technocracy, the result is that they’re slowly dying out.
I suppose that's what I get for not really following the oWoD closely. There's a lot that they worked into their background that I wouldn't have, and had no idea that they had. I suppose, then, that what I'm really asking about is MWoD, which operates from the assumptions that I probably haven't made clear because I didn't even know that they needed to be.

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Actually, the process of Ascension is pretty much the opposite of that: while a starting Traditionist has been told the the common core truth about the nature of reality, it’s initially a “head knowledge” thing: it takes a while for them to truly understand it rather than merely paying lip service to it, and it takes even longer to really grasp its implications. That process of coming to terms with the common truth of the Traditions and the ultimate irrelevance of any one Tradition’s apocalyptic vision is what Ascension is all about.
So, the argument that the people writing MtA were making is that there is a core One True Reality that is singular, but everyone gets it wrong until they have the Secret Knowledge. How disappointing. I prefer the "there is no True Reality other than what you experience" interpretation, where different experience sets interface with each other in interesting and chaotic ways.

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When I get home, I’ll see if I can find my copies of the Tradition Books; I just moved, and most of my stuff is still packed up. But I don’t see why you couldn’t, for example, use the Bardic Arts (Thaumatology page 204) to model the CoX; it’s as accurate a representation of them as using Machine Telepathy to model the Virtual Adepts. Mind you, neither is a terribly accurate portrayal of the respective Traditions’ views on magic; but that’s true to some extent for most of your proposed models.
I could see that, perhaps, but it leaves out the "sex" and "drugs" parts of the CoX in favor of just the "rock 'n' roll". (Heck, throw in the Enthrallment skills, and you've got something going!) Anyway, I think that I'm starting to get a handle on how to handle the CoX, at least.

The thing is, we are presented, in the basic rule book, with a view of the Traditions that is pretty straightforward (excepting the CoX and Euthanatos): Akashics are Shaolin Monks, Celestials are dedicated to a vision of God, Dreamweavers are Shamans, Etherites are Mad Scientists in the Tesla or Steampunk (though the term wasn't yet current, the idea was) mold, etc. The individual Tradition splatbooks may have altered that basic, straightforward approach, but I don't know that, in most cases, it's really needed or warranted.

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For instance, Chinese Elemental Powers is a closer match to the Akashic Brotherhood than your suggestion of Trained By a Master and Cinematic Skills; but I still wouldn’t use it for the Akashic Brotherhood. I might use it for the Wu Lung, a Disparate faction that’s based on Chinese mysticism: using a magic system for them that’s largely incompatible with everyone else’s magic systems would certainly capture their Disparate nature.
I could probably see using Chinese Elemental Powers (though I don't actually have that as yet), and I probably would. It seems to me as though it should be able to model a version of Onmyodo, too, since that system of Japanese magic developed out of the Chinese system, so it wouldn't be limited to just Chinese Mages. But, even without that, I think that Chi Powers, as well as TbaM and Cinematic Skills, would do pretty well toward modeling the Brotherhood.

I should also add that you are using terminology that is unknown to me. Keep in mind that I left WW games behind before they ran out the oWoD clock, so a lot of the later concepts (Disparate?) are unknown to me. I'm supposing that Disparates are factions that are minorities in the Reality game, like the Traditions, but which have not got the alliance thing of the Traditions down?
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:30 AM   #9
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I suppose that's what I get for not really following the oWoD closely. There's a lot that they worked into their background that I wouldn't have, and had no idea that they had. I suppose, then, that what I'm really asking about is MWoD, which operates from the assumptions that I probably haven't made clear because I didn't even know that they needed to be.
“MWoD”?

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So, the argument that the people writing MtA were making is that there is a core One True Reality that is singular, but everyone gets it wrong until they have the Secret Knowledge.
Umm, no; that’s the nWoD’s Mage: the Awakening.

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How disappointing. I prefer the "there is no True Reality other than what you experience" interpretation, where different experience sets interface with each other in interesting and chaotic ways.
“There is no True Reality other than what you experience” is a declaration of there being “One True Reality” — namely, the One True Reality is that reality is subjective. This has the drawback that it declares that Technocrats aren’t just morally wrong, but also objectively delusional about the true nature of reality. Granted, the “subjective reality” line is the most common theory voiced by the Traditions; but it’s exactly that: a theory. The underlying truth that I referred to isn’t so much that there’s a singular One True Reality as it is that every form of magic featured in Mage: the Ascension shares the common feature that magic is based on some sort of inherently human quality. What that quality is and how it manifests varies by Tradition, so (in theory at least) you still get interesting and chaotic interactions between them. I’ll agree that Mage: the Ascension didn’t go as far as it could have in featuring the practical distinctions among the Traditions, which is why my proposal goes further; but I’d be leery about going as far as to give each one a wholly distinct and largely incompatible magic system of its own.

If you’re looking for a setting that features a large number of fundamentally different magic systems coexisting, you don’t need Mage: the Ascension to do so. Eden Studio’s Witchcraft and Conspiracy X both feature multiple systems of supernatural powers; Deadlands features at least four such systems (gambler card magic, preachers wielding holy power, Native American shamans, and literally mad scientists).

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I could see that, perhaps, but it leaves out the "sex" and "drugs" parts of the CoX in favor of just the "rock 'n' roll". (Heck, throw in the Enthrallment skills, and you've got something going!) Anyway, I think that I'm starting to get a handle on how to handle the CoX, at least.
Well, I did say that it’s not a particularly good fit. But it’s as good a fit as your approach to the VAs; and if you’re comfortable with grossly oversimplifying the VAs as Machine Telepaths, then you shouldn’t have a problem with similarly grossly oversimplifying Cultists of Ecstasy as bards.

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The thing is, we are presented, in the basic rule book, with a view of the Traditions that is pretty straightforward (excepting the CoX and Euthanatos): Akashics are Shaolin Monks, Celestials are dedicated to a vision of God, Dreamweavers are Shamans, Etherites are Mad Scientists in the Tesla or Steampunk (though the term wasn't yet current, the idea was) mold, etc. The individual Tradition splatbooks may have altered that basic, straightforward approach, but I don't know that, in most cases, it's really needed or warranted.
Not just individual splatbooks; later editions of the game expand the scope of each Tradition so that it’s less of a rigid stereotype. For instance: even in the second edition, Etherites are no longer just mad scientists in the Tesla or Steampunk mold: they’re the guys responsible for Quantum Mechanics; and it’s entirely possible and appropriate to play an Etherite who’s Science is straight out of bleeding edge sci-fi.

Basically, every Tradition had its philosophical roots deepened as of the second edition; and while every Tradition has room for the stereotype that the first edition of the game pushed, none is restricted to it. My single biggest issue with your approach is that it narrows the Traditions back down to shallow stereotypes — sometimes very shallow.

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I should also add that you are using terminology that is unknown to me. Keep in mind that I left WW games behind before they ran out the oWoD clock, so a lot of the later concepts (Disparate?) are unknown to me. I'm supposing that Disparates are factions that are minorities in the Reality game, like the Traditions, but which have not got the alliance thing of the Traditions down?
“Disparate” isn’t a later concept; it’s a more recent name for what the game originally called Crafts. So yes, that’s exactly it: they’re Ascension War minorities who never forged any alliances, and thus suffered for the lack thereof.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:39 PM   #10
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“MWoD”?
"My World of Darkness".

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Umm, no; that’s the nWoD’s Mage: the Awakening.
It didn't interest me on a general basis, and that makes me even less interested. But I digress.

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“There is no True Reality other than what you experience” is a declaration of there being “One True Reality” — namely, the One True Reality is that reality is subjective. This has the drawback that it declares that Technocrats aren’t just morally wrong, but also objectively delusional about the true nature of reality. Granted, the “subjective reality” line is the most common theory voiced by the Traditions; but it’s exactly that: a theory. The underlying truth that I referred to isn’t so much that there’s a singular One True Reality as it is that every form of magic featured in Mage: the Ascension shares the common feature that magic is based on some sort of inherently human quality. What that quality is and how it manifests varies by Tradition, so (in theory at least) you still get interesting and chaotic interactions between them. I’ll agree that Mage: the Ascension didn’t go as far as it could have in featuring the practical distinctions among the Traditions, which is why my proposal goes further; but I’d be leery about going as far as to give each one a wholly distinct and largely incompatible magic system of its own.
That seems fair enough.

One of the things, though, that I've noticed about 4E is that, even though these systems may seem incompatible on the surface, it seems as though the generally smoothed-out mechanics removes much of that incompatibility. That is, whether you are using a gun or a missile spell, it has DMG, Range, 1/2 D, ACC, and so on. Other effects are given similarly according to general conditions in the rules, such as "Agony" or "Euphoria" (p.B428), and so on. That is, the powers interact with elements in the basic rules, rather than directly interacting with each other's idiosyncrasies, for the most part.

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If you’re looking for a setting that features a large number of fundamentally different magic systems coexisting, you don’t need Mage: the Ascension to do so. Eden Studio’s Witchcraft and Conspiracy X both feature multiple systems of supernatural powers; Deadlands features at least four such systems (gambler card magic, preachers wielding holy power, Native American shamans, and literally mad scientists).
All of which are good choices, but my interest here is in MtA.

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Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
Well, I did say that it’s not a particularly good fit. But it’s as good a fit as your approach to the VAs; and if you’re comfortable with grossly oversimplifying the VAs as Machine Telepaths, then you shouldn’t have a problem with similarly grossly oversimplifying Cultists of Ecstasy as bards.
That brings up another point, though. You say that the VAs are more than just Machine Telepaths. That may be the case, but I don't see much reason to go further, myself. What, specifically, do you think could or should be added?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
Not just individual splatbooks; later editions of the game expand the scope of each Tradition so that it’s less of a rigid stereotype. For instance: even in the second edition, Etherites are no longer just mad scientists in the Tesla or Steampunk mold: they’re the guys responsible for Quantum Mechanics; and it’s entirely possible and appropriate to play an Etherite who’s Science is straight out of bleeding edge sci-fi.

Basically, every Tradition had its philosophical roots deepened as of the second edition; and while every Tradition has room for the stereotype that the first edition of the game pushed, none is restricted to it. My single biggest issue with your approach is that it narrows the Traditions back down to shallow stereotypes — sometimes very shallow.
I don't see how modeling the Etherites (to choose the available example) as Gadgeteers simplifies them overmuch. Just allow those to purchase High TL and pick up higher TL skills, in addition to or as an alternative to TL N+X. Problem solved.

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Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
“Disparate” isn’t a later concept; it’s a more recent name for what the game originally called Crafts. So yes, that’s exactly it: they’re Ascension War minorities who never forged any alliances, and thus suffered for the lack thereof.
Ah, OK. Thank you.
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