We've finally got it!

Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

With the help of two of my potential players, I have finally achieved my
holy grail of Mage gaming.

A paradox/consensus penalization scheme I am actually completely
satisfied with. And it's not even terribly complicated, though I'm
surprised how long the explanations are once I put them in writing.

The firm divisions of coincidental and vulgar, witnessed and unwitnessed
have been abolished. Instead, all acts will be rated on three
considerations:

Ends
Means
Witnesses

There are four ratings in each category, which correspond to difficulty
modifiers ranging from -1 to +2. The paradox accrued by an effect is
equal to the total of these difficulty modifiers (doubled or +sphere
level for a botch, whichever is higher).

_Ends_

Ends represents Consensual belief in the possibility of your effect,
considered seperate from the means used to achieve it. How common or
likely is the effect of the magic considering the circumstances?

The four ratings for Ends are Expected, Surprising, Incredible,
Unbelievable.

I'll use healing as an example throughout the explanation. Situation: a
man just took a hit from a drive-by shooting. Stoping the bleeding from
an arm wound would be an Expected effect, getting that same man
stabilized and coherant after a gut wound would be Surprising, getting
the man up and walking would be Incredible, and making the man as good
as new would be Unbelievable.

Note that for the ends it doesn't matter how the healing was
accomplished. That is covered in the next two categories.

Two things often act to modify the Ends rating. Time is the most common
and obvious one. It is Unbelievable to heal a man of a bullet wound in
minutes. It is Expected to heal a man of a bullet wound over months. The
other common modifier is circumstances. A man being hit by lightning in
a thunderstorm is at worst Surprising. A man hit by lightning out of a
clear sky is Unbelievable.

_Means_

This is where your foci, and the local beliefs in their powers, are
considered. Means rates how closely tied your methods and tools are the
effect you are casting in the cultural beliefs of the area you are
working in.

The four ratings for Means are Synonymous, Related, Tenous, Unknown. A
focus is synonymous for effects in which the a common man of the culture
would immediately and automatically connect the two. Guns are Synonymous
for deadly ranged attacks.

A hospital or first aid kit is Synonymous for certain types of healing.
A Cadeceus would be Related even in today's technocratic world, for its
symbolism is still widely recognized even if its efficacy is not. Much
eastern medicine and folk remedies would also be Related in modern
western cities, but might be Synonymous in rural areas or China. The
ancient egyptian glyph for Thoth has only a Tenous hold in the modern
culture - only a small percentage of the people would recognize its
meaning. For some things there is simply no conception of a connection
with healing at all - using chocolate to attempt to stop bleeding would
be Unknown.

For situations where a Mage uses more than one focus, first consider all
of the foci for a single sphere and choose the best. Then, choose the
worst modifier among all the spheres being used.

_Witnesses_

This deals with the belief of actual witnesses in the powers of the
Mage. Personal and institutional reputation are immensely important
here, especially when dealing with crowds of people. It is possible to
falsely claim a reputation so long as your visible foci are close enough
to those of the group or individual you are impersinating to fool the
witnesses.

The four ratings for Witnesses are Believers, Undecideds, Cynics, and
Fanatics. The worst rating from all the witnesses always applies, so one
Fanatic in your crowd of Believers can ruin everything.

A Believer is a person who believes unreservedly in your ability to
achieve the effect you are attempting with the foci you are using. An
Undecided is willing the consider the possibility you could do it, but
has doubts. A Cynic is convinced you can not accomplish what you are
trying to do. A Fanatic is another Mages' true believer - they know how
the world works, and it does not include your kind.

Witnesses is concerned only with what the person believes, knows, and
observes as of the casting. Obscuration and fake observences of other
paradigms tends to work in the favor of the Mage. CPR and EMT uniform,
even if it isn't your focus, can help a lot in getting the people to
accept your ability to restart your friends heart while chanting
Enochian (the Enochian, however, still is a Tenous Means).

To summarize:

Ends (effect): Expected (-1), Surprising (+0), Incredible (+1),
Unbelievable (+2)

Means(foci): Synonymous (-1), Related (+0), Tenous (+1),
Unknown/Unconnected (+2)

Witnesses(reputation): Believer (-1), Uncertain (+0), Cynic (+1),
Fanatic(+2)

Paradox on a successful casting = sum of all modifiers
Paradox on a botch: larger of sum of the modifiers + sphere level OR 2*
sum of the modifiers.

William
16 answers Last reply
More about finally
  1. Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

    An excellent and well thought out system.

    -Essex
  2. Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

    Essex wrote:
    > An excellent and well thought out system.
    >
    > -Essex
    I read it, liked it but forgot to say anything. It is the best system I
    have seen for paradox and not particularly complicated. Not only that, but
    it creates an atmosphere where -how- you do magic is thought about, beyond
    "I cast a fireball".

    --
    Picks-at-Flies
    "Those with the darkest imaginations have now become the most powerful."
    - The Power of Nightmares (BBC)
    http://www.werepenguin.net/
  3. Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

    Picks-at-Flies wrote:

    > Essex wrote:
    >
    >>An excellent and well thought out system.
    >>
    >>-Essex
    >
    > I read it, liked it but forgot to say anything. It is the best system I
    > have seen for paradox and not particularly complicated. Not only that, but
    > it creates an atmosphere where -how- you do magic is thought about, beyond
    > "I cast a fireball".
    >

    Thanks.

    Either of you spotted flaws that should be worked out before they come
    up in play?

    William
  4. Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

    William <wilit0613@postoffice.uri.edu> wrote in message news:<30fpq5F2v2rteU1@uni-berlin.de>...
    > With the help of two of my potential players, I have finally achieved my
    > holy grail of Mage gaming.
    >
    > A paradox/consensus penalization scheme I am actually completely
    > satisfied with. And it's not even terribly complicated, though I'm
    > surprised how long the explanations are once I put them in writing.
    >
    > The firm divisions of coincidental and vulgar, witnessed and unwitnessed
    > have been abolished. Instead, all acts will be rated on three
    > considerations:
    >
    > Ends
    > Means
    > Witnesses
    >
    > There are four ratings in each category, which correspond to difficulty
    > modifiers ranging from -1 to +2. The paradox accrued by an effect is
    > equal to the total of these difficulty modifiers (doubled or +sphere
    > level for a botch, whichever is higher).
    >
    > _Ends_
    >
    > Ends represents Consensual belief in the possibility of your effect,
    > considered seperate from the means used to achieve it. How common or
    > likely is the effect of the magic considering the circumstances?
    >
    > The four ratings for Ends are Expected, Surprising, Incredible,
    > Unbelievable.
    >
    > I'll use healing as an example throughout the explanation. Situation: a
    > man just took a hit from a drive-by shooting. Stoping the bleeding from
    > an arm wound would be an Expected effect, getting that same man
    > stabilized and coherant after a gut wound would be Surprising, getting
    > the man up and walking would be Incredible, and making the man as good
    > as new would be Unbelievable.

    This is pretty good.

    > Note that for the ends it doesn't matter how the healing was
    > accomplished. That is covered in the next two categories.
    >
    > Two things often act to modify the Ends rating. Time is the most common
    > and obvious one. It is Unbelievable to heal a man of a bullet wound in
    > minutes. It is Expected to heal a man of a bullet wound over months. The
    > other common modifier is circumstances. A man being hit by lightning in
    > a thunderstorm is at worst Surprising. A man hit by lightning out of a
    > clear sky is Unbelievable.
    >
    > _Means_
    >
    > This is where your foci, and the local beliefs in their powers, are
    > considered. Means rates how closely tied your methods and tools are the
    > effect you are casting in the cultural beliefs of the area you are
    > working in.
    >
    > The four ratings for Means are Synonymous, Related, Tenous, Unknown. A
    > focus is synonymous for effects in which the a common man of the culture
    > would immediately and automatically connect the two. Guns are Synonymous
    > for deadly ranged attacks.
    >
    > A hospital or first aid kit is Synonymous for certain types of healing.
    > A Cadeceus would be Related even in today's technocratic world, for its
    > symbolism is still widely recognized even if its efficacy is not. Much
    > eastern medicine and folk remedies would also be Related in modern
    > western cities, but might be Synonymous in rural areas or China. The
    > ancient egyptian glyph for Thoth has only a Tenous hold in the modern
    > culture - only a small percentage of the people would recognize its
    > meaning. For some things there is simply no conception of a connection
    > with healing at all - using chocolate to attempt to stop bleeding would
    > be Unknown.

    This is not so good. What you've done here is penalize folks for
    clever coincidences because their paradigms are (usually)
    non-scientific. Playing a Hermetic, my chanting focus screws my even
    though the Effect could have happened by itself. Meanwhile, a
    Technocrat can pull blatantly vulgar magic with a first aid kit. This
    weights things away from player ingenuity since you get a bonus for
    character type (since that determines focus) instead of a character
    action.

    Plus, this is in itself paradoxical (small-p) because it rewards
    scientific mages for sympathetic associations they don't believe in.

    > For situations where a Mage uses more than one focus, first consider all
    > of the foci for a single sphere and choose the best. Then, choose the
    > worst modifier among all the spheres being used.
    >
    > _Witnesses_
    >
    > This deals with the belief of actual witnesses in the powers of the
    > Mage. Personal and institutional reputation are immensely important
    > here, especially when dealing with crowds of people. It is possible to
    > falsely claim a reputation so long as your visible foci are close enough
    > to those of the group or individual you are impersinating to fool the
    > witnesses.
    >
    > The four ratings for Witnesses are Believers, Undecideds, Cynics, and
    > Fanatics. The worst rating from all the witnesses always applies, so one
    > Fanatic in your crowd of Believers can ruin everything.

    In conventional terminology, fanatics would be Acolytes (at least).
    But Acolytes give different individual bonuses to spellcasting rolls.
    You should probably clarify that Acolytes help Effects by active
    participation instead of pasive witnessing.

    > A Believer is a person who believes unreservedly in your ability to
    > achieve the effect you are attempting with the foci you are using. An
    > Undecided is willing the consider the possibility you could do it, but
    > has doubts. A Cynic is convinced you can not accomplish what you are
    > trying to do. A Fanatic is another Mages' true believer - they know how
    > the world works, and it does not include your kind.
    >
    > Witnesses is concerned only with what the person believes, knows, and
    > observes as of the casting. Obscuration and fake observences of other
    > paradigms tends to work in the favor of the Mage. CPR and EMT uniform,
    > even if it isn't your focus, can help a lot in getting the people to
    > accept your ability to restart your friends heart while chanting
    > Enochian (the Enochian, however, still is a Tenous Means).
    >
    > To summarize:
    >
    > Ends (effect): Expected (-1), Surprising (+0), Incredible (+1),
    > Unbelievable (+2)
    >
    > Means(foci): Synonymous (-1), Related (+0), Tenous (+1),
    > Unknown/Unconnected (+2)
    >
    > Witnesses(reputation): Believer (-1), Uncertain (+0), Cynic (+1),
    > Fanatic(+2)
    >
    > Paradox on a successful casting = sum of all modifiers
    > Paradox on a botch: larger of sum of the modifiers + sphere level OR 2*
    > sum of the modifiers.
    >
    > William

    IMO, you should rework or ditch means. Rest looks good. Ends and
    Witnesses are kind of similar terms for the same thing (since Ends is
    the subjective witnessing of the Consensus) though.

    M.
  5. Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

    In the borning days of the third millennium, Malcolm Sheppard wrote:
    <snip>
    >> A hospital or first aid kit is Synonymous for certain types of healing.
    >> A Cadeceus would be Related even in today's technocratic world, for its
    >> symbolism is still widely recognized even if its efficacy is not. Much
    >> eastern medicine and folk remedies would also be Related in modern
    >> western cities, but might be Synonymous in rural areas or China. The
    >> ancient egyptian glyph for Thoth has only a Tenous hold in the modern
    >> culture - only a small percentage of the people would recognize its
    >> meaning. For some things there is simply no conception of a connection
    >> with healing at all - using chocolate to attempt to stop bleeding would
    >> be Unknown.
    >
    >This is not so good. What you've done here is penalize folks for
    >clever coincidences because their paradigms are (usually)
    >non-scientific. Playing a Hermetic, my chanting focus screws my even
    >though the Effect could have happened by itself. Meanwhile, a
    >Technocrat can pull blatantly vulgar magic with a first aid kit. This
    >weights things away from player ingenuity since you get a bonus for
    >character type (since that determines focus) instead of a character
    >action.

    Actually, it's penalizing mages whose paradigms don't match the prevailing
    consensus. This is fair, IMO. They are swimming against the current, which
    is going to be harder than swimming with the current. Not all paradigms are
    as easy to work with.

    Plus, it encourages logical foci. If your focus isn't related to the task at
    hand, it becomes harder to use. Change that chanting focus to poultices.
    If you draw the Mystic Sigils of Arn on a burn with some powdered mandrake
    root and water drawn from a mystic spring, it would probably be synonymous.
    You're just applying burn cream in a rather eccentric manner.

    --
    Brian Merchant (remove 'remove' and 'example' from email)

    Puritanism didn't keep the puritans from sinning, it just kept
    them from enjoying it.
    --Father Joe Breighner
    Country Roads
  6. Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

    Malcolm Sheppard wrote:


    >
    > This is not so good. What you've done here is penalize folks for
    > clever coincidences because their paradigms are (usually)
    > non-scientific. Playing a Hermetic, my chanting focus screws my even
    > though the Effect could have happened by itself. Meanwhile, a
    > Technocrat can pull blatantly vulgar magic with a first aid kit. This
    > weights things away from player ingenuity since you get a bonus for
    > character type (since that determines focus) instead of a character
    > action.

    I do not believe all methods to the same effect should have the same
    vulgarity. Stopping an amputated leg from bleeding by slapping a
    super-adhesive patch on it and some quick sewing with carbon-fiber
    thread is easily accepted by the consensus, despite the fact that
    band-aids and stiches can't actually do that, because they are so
    strongly associated with the healing of wounds in people's minds.

    Also, the requirements are very loose in this category. There is only a
    1 difficulty difference between using modern medical equipment and
    praying to the Virgin or placing a poultice on it, because the
    connection is still recognized in the consensus, even if it is not
    currently dominant.

    >
    > Plus, this is in itself paradoxical (small-p) because it rewards
    > scientific mages for sympathetic associations they don't believe in.
    >

    It should not need to be stated that no mage can use a focus they don't
    believe in, so there is no paradox - the penalty for using a sympathetic
    association you don't believe in is infinate, which renders the
    consensus's beliefs moot.


    >
    > In conventional terminology, fanatics would be Acolytes (at least).
    > But Acolytes give different individual bonuses to spellcasting rolls.
    > You should probably clarify that Acolytes help Effects by active
    > participation instead of pasive witnessing.
    >

    You are right.

    >
    >>A Believer is a person who believes unreservedly in your ability to
    >>achieve the effect you are attempting with the foci you are using. An
    >>Undecided is willing the consider the possibility you could do it, but
    >>has doubts. A Cynic is convinced you can not accomplish what you are
    >>trying to do. A Fanatic is another Mages' true believer - they know how
    >>the world works, and it does not include your kind.
    >>
    >>Witnesses is concerned only with what the person believes, knows, and
    >>observes as of the casting. Obscuration and fake observences of other
    >>paradigms tends to work in the favor of the Mage. CPR and EMT uniform,
    >>even if it isn't your focus, can help a lot in getting the people to
    >>accept your ability to restart your friends heart while chanting
    >>Enochian (the Enochian, however, still is a Tenous Means).
    >>
    >>To summarize:
    >>
    >>Ends (effect): Expected (-1), Surprising (+0), Incredible (+1),
    >>Unbelievable (+2)
    >>
    >>Means(foci): Synonymous (-1), Related (+0), Tenous (+1),
    >>Unknown/Unconnected (+2)
    >>
    >>Witnesses(reputation): Believer (-1), Uncertain (+0), Cynic (+1),
    >>Fanatic(+2)
    >>
    >>Paradox on a successful casting = sum of all modifiers
    >>Paradox on a botch: larger of sum of the modifiers + sphere level OR 2*
    >>sum of the modifiers.
    >>
    >>William
    >
    >
    > IMO, you should rework or ditch means. Rest looks good. Ends and
    > Witnesses are kind of similar terms for the same thing (since Ends is
    > the subjective witnessing of the Consensus) though.
    >
    > M.

    Ends and Witnesses have one major differance. Ends is the what, where,
    and when. It is totally unaffected by who and how - those are what are
    important in Witnesses and Means.

    William
  7. Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

    Brian Merchant wrote:

    > In the borning days of the third millennium, Malcolm Sheppard wrote:
    > <snip>
    >
    >>>A hospital or first aid kit is Synonymous for certain types of healing.
    >>>A Cadeceus would be Related even in today's technocratic world, for its
    >>>symbolism is still widely recognized even if its efficacy is not. Much
    >>>eastern medicine and folk remedies would also be Related in modern
    >>>western cities, but might be Synonymous in rural areas or China. The
    >>>ancient egyptian glyph for Thoth has only a Tenous hold in the modern
    >>>culture - only a small percentage of the people would recognize its
    >>>meaning. For some things there is simply no conception of a connection
    >>>with healing at all - using chocolate to attempt to stop bleeding would
    >>>be Unknown.
    >>
    >>This is not so good. What you've done here is penalize folks for
    >>clever coincidences because their paradigms are (usually)
    >>non-scientific. Playing a Hermetic, my chanting focus screws my even
    >>though the Effect could have happened by itself. Meanwhile, a
    >>Technocrat can pull blatantly vulgar magic with a first aid kit. This
    >>weights things away from player ingenuity since you get a bonus for
    >>character type (since that determines focus) instead of a character
    >>action.
    >
    >
    > Actually, it's penalizing mages whose paradigms don't match the prevailing
    > consensus. This is fair, IMO. They are swimming against the current, which
    > is going to be harder than swimming with the current. Not all paradigms are
    > as easy to work with.
    >
    > Plus, it encourages logical foci. If your focus isn't related to the task at
    > hand, it becomes harder to use. Change that chanting focus to poultices.
    > If you draw the Mystic Sigils of Arn on a burn with some powdered mandrake
    > root and water drawn from a mystic spring, it would probably be synonymous.
    > You're just applying burn cream in a rather eccentric manner.
    >

    <nod> Yup. But the thing that I think is the most important is that all
    foci are no longer equal for all tasks. A poltice would be synonymous
    for burns, related for most other healing tasks, and tenous or unknown
    for pretty much anything else (the mystic sigils don't really effect
    things much, as poltices have a much stronger hold in the consensus for
    most applications a mage would think to use a poltice for).

    William
  8. Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

    Brian Merchant <remove.cheebie2001@comcast.example.net> wrote in message news:<f6l9q09ffoqglbirahf7e096lrltsq673l@4ax.com>...
    > In the borning days of the third millennium, Malcolm Sheppard wrote:
    > <snip>
    > >> A hospital or first aid kit is Synonymous for certain types of healing.
    > >> A Cadeceus would be Related even in today's technocratic world, for its
    > >> symbolism is still widely recognized even if its efficacy is not. Much
    > >> eastern medicine and folk remedies would also be Related in modern
    > >> western cities, but might be Synonymous in rural areas or China. The
    > >> ancient egyptian glyph for Thoth has only a Tenous hold in the modern
    > >> culture - only a small percentage of the people would recognize its
    > >> meaning. For some things there is simply no conception of a connection
    > >> with healing at all - using chocolate to attempt to stop bleeding would
    > >> be Unknown.
    > >
    > >This is not so good. What you've done here is penalize folks for
    > >clever coincidences because their paradigms are (usually)
    > >non-scientific. Playing a Hermetic, my chanting focus screws my even
    > >though the Effect could have happened by itself. Meanwhile, a
    > >Technocrat can pull blatantly vulgar magic with a first aid kit. This
    > >weights things away from player ingenuity since you get a bonus for
    > >character type (since that determines focus) instead of a character
    > >action.
    >
    > Actually, it's penalizing mages whose paradigms don't match the prevailing
    > consensus. This is fair, IMO. They are swimming against the current, which
    > is going to be harder than swimming with the current. Not all paradigms are
    > as easy to work with.

    Here's the thing: In our world, occultists claim that things that
    could have happened on their own were actually because the occultist
    chanted thus and so. In our world, these occultists notably fail to
    explode.

    Mage is designed to emulate those claims. These rules do not.
    Generally, any system that makes making it rain on a cloudy day when
    forecasts call for rain vulgar is flawed according to the basic
    conception of the game. Nothing's wrong with changing that, mind --
    but that's what's going on.

    Plus, we've got sundry problems like:

    *Miraculously healing somebody with a caudecus can be less vulgar than
    sensing the extent of someone's injury with a spoken angelic
    invocation.

    *Using a raygun is less vulgar than entching a rune on a gun to make
    it shoot a bit better.

    > Plus, it encourages logical foci. If your focus isn't related to the task at
    > hand, it becomes harder to use. Change that chanting focus to poultices.
    > If you draw the Mystic Sigils of Arn on a burn with some powdered mandrake
    > root and water drawn from a mystic spring, it would probably be synonymous.
    > You're just applying burn cream in a rather eccentric manner.

    This robs the player of the ability to take control of the game's
    narrative, and of the character to make use of actual coincidence. If
    my character uses faith healing and I, the player, want it to manifest
    as the burns being less severe than originally thought or as the
    patient using the placebo effect to ignore the injury even though it
    appears to still be a nasty wound -- well, you've just legislated that
    I cannot be creative in this fashion. Plus, of course, I can now never
    use the frame of complete coincidence that is explicitly supported in
    the game without drawing some sort of penalty.

    M.
  9. Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

    William <wilit0613@postoffice.uri.edu> wrote in message news:<30k5ueF30p28mU1@uni-berlin.de>...
    > Malcolm Sheppard wrote:
    >
    >
    > >
    > > This is not so good. What you've done here is penalize folks for
    > > clever coincidences because their paradigms are (usually)
    > > non-scientific. Playing a Hermetic, my chanting focus screws my even
    > > though the Effect could have happened by itself. Meanwhile, a
    > > Technocrat can pull blatantly vulgar magic with a first aid kit. This
    > > weights things away from player ingenuity since you get a bonus for
    > > character type (since that determines focus) instead of a character
    > > action.
    >
    > I do not believe all methods to the same effect should have the same
    > vulgarity. Stopping an amputated leg from bleeding by slapping a
    > super-adhesive patch on it and some quick sewing with carbon-fiber
    > thread is easily accepted by the consensus, despite the fact that
    > band-aids and stiches can't actually do that, because they are so
    > strongly associated with the healing of wounds in people's minds.
    >
    > Also, the requirements are very loose in this category. There is only a
    > 1 difficulty difference between using modern medical equipment and
    > praying to the Virgin or placing a poultice on it, because the
    > connection is still recognized in the consensus, even if it is not
    > currently dominant.

    You're missing a step: What the *player* proposes will happen. If I
    pray to the Virgin and the response is that EMT's find and treat my
    friend, how is that different from someone directly using medical
    equipment? That's the sort of thing the game is meant to support.

    Plus, as I meantioned in the other response, the looseness works the
    other way too, where complete coincidences can earn as much or even
    more Paradox than vulgar Effects with moderately convicing tools.

    Finally, there's an argument to be made that mages cannot use the
    unknown/unconnected category in the first place, because anything
    without even a symbolic connection violates the mage's paradigm
    anyway, providing the "infinite penalty."

    > > Plus, this is in itself paradoxical (small-p) because it rewards
    > > scientific mages for sympathetic associations they don't believe in.

    > It should not need to be stated that no mage can use a focus they don't
    > believe in, so there is no paradox - the penalty for using a sympathetic
    > association you don't believe in is infinate, which renders the
    > consensus's beliefs moot.

    So you're saying that even though technocrats get this bonus, they can
    never use it without violatiung their own paradigm? You're right --
    that's *really* moot:-)

    Seriously though, there needs to be more to it than bullshitting your
    way with the right tool. making it centered on the tool takes away the
    player's ability to control the narrative and punishes magical styles
    predicated on coincidences that character does not plan for, but which
    make the effect happen.

    > Ends and Witnesses have one major differance. Ends is the what, where,
    > and when. It is totally unaffected by who and how - those are what are
    > important in Witnesses and Means.
    >
    > William

    Means use subjective standards. Subjective standards by definition
    require subjects.

    M.
  10. Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

    On Mon, 22 Nov 2004 22:41:09 -0500, William
    <wilit0613@postoffice.uri.edu> wrote:

    William, I like that a great deal. Very nice work.

    How does it play? I've looked through it and it still requires a
    degree of subjectivity on the rating of each portion, but it's a neat
    mechanic.

    C
  11. Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

    Charlie B wrote:
    > On Mon, 22 Nov 2004 22:41:09 -0500, William
    > <wilit0613@postoffice.uri.edu> wrote:
    >
    > William, I like that a great deal. Very nice work.
    >
    > How does it play? I've looked through it and it still requires a
    > degree of subjectivity on the rating of each portion, but it's a neat
    > mechanic.
    >
    > C

    Don't know how it plays - game doesn't start until december. We might
    have a one-off or two before then, but most of the players are in
    college and can't start a new game before finals.

    William
  12. Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

    Malcolm Sheppard wrote:

    >
    > You're missing a step: What the *player* proposes will happen. If I
    > pray to the Virgin and the response is that EMT's find and treat my
    > friend, how is that different from someone directly using medical
    > equipment?

    You have just added the element of time, which as I stated, lowers the
    Ends - in this case, from Unbelievable (miraculous healing) to Expected
    (miraculous healing - stabilized in a few minutes, fine in weeks/months).

    That's the sort of thing the game is meant to support.
    >

    And it still does.

    > Plus, as I meantioned in the other response, the looseness works the
    > other way too, where complete coincidences can earn as much or even
    > more Paradox than vulgar Effects with moderately convicing tools.

    Yes.

    Calling on the virgin Mary and getting EMTs is a bit tougher (though it
    shouldn't get any paradox - Expected/Related/Uncertain or Cynic = -1 or
    0) than turning on the cell phone and calling them. Same coincidental
    effect, technologically oriented mage gets less paradox.

    >
    > Finally, there's an argument to be made that mages cannot use the
    > unknown/unconnected category in the first place, because anything
    > without even a symbolic connection violates the mage's paradigm
    > anyway, providing the "infinite penalty."
    >

    Unknown doesn't mean unknown to the Mage. It means unknown to the
    populace at large. Mages can believe/unearth/discover a lot of wierd
    connections absolutely no one else believes in.

    >
    >>>Plus, this is in itself paradoxical (small-p) because it rewards
    >>>scientific mages for sympathetic associations they don't believe in.
    >
    >
    >
    >>It should not need to be stated that no mage can use a focus they don't
    >>believe in, so there is no paradox - the penalty for using a sympathetic
    >>association you don't believe in is infinate, which renders the
    >>consensus's beliefs moot.
    >
    >
    > So you're saying that even though technocrats get this bonus, they can
    > never use it without violatiung their own paradigm? You're right --
    > that's *really* moot:-)
    >
    > Seriously though, there needs to be more to it than bullshitting your
    > way with the right tool. making it centered on the tool takes away the
    > player's ability to control the narrative and punishes magical styles
    > predicated on coincidences that character does not plan for, but which
    > make the effect happen.
    >

    I can not understand what you are saying or what point you are trying to
    make here.

    >
    >>Ends and Witnesses have one major differance. Ends is the what, where,
    >>and when. It is totally unaffected by who and how - those are what are
    >>important in Witnesses and Means.
    >>
    >>William
    >
    >
    > Means use subjective standards. Subjective standards by definition
    > require subjects.
    >
    > M.

    Yes. Millions of subjects- the people of the society you are currently
    surrounded by.

    William
  13. Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

    Malcolm Sheppard wrote:

    > Brian Merchant <remove.cheebie2001@comcast.example.net> wrote in message news:<f6l9q09ffoqglbirahf7e096lrltsq673l@4ax.com>...
    >
    >>In the borning days of the third millennium, Malcolm Sheppard wrote:
    >><snip>
    >>
    >>>>A hospital or first aid kit is Synonymous for certain types of healing.
    >>>>A Cadeceus would be Related even in today's technocratic world, for its
    >>>>symbolism is still widely recognized even if its efficacy is not. Much
    >>>>eastern medicine and folk remedies would also be Related in modern
    >>>>western cities, but might be Synonymous in rural areas or China. The
    >>>>ancient egyptian glyph for Thoth has only a Tenous hold in the modern
    >>>>culture - only a small percentage of the people would recognize its
    >>>>meaning. For some things there is simply no conception of a connection
    >>>>with healing at all - using chocolate to attempt to stop bleeding would
    >>>>be Unknown.
    >>>
    >>>This is not so good. What you've done here is penalize folks for
    >>>clever coincidences because their paradigms are (usually)
    >>>non-scientific. Playing a Hermetic, my chanting focus screws my even
    >>>though the Effect could have happened by itself. Meanwhile, a
    >>>Technocrat can pull blatantly vulgar magic with a first aid kit. This
    >>>weights things away from player ingenuity since you get a bonus for
    >>>character type (since that determines focus) instead of a character
    >>>action.
    >>
    >>Actually, it's penalizing mages whose paradigms don't match the prevailing
    >>consensus. This is fair, IMO. They are swimming against the current, which
    >>is going to be harder than swimming with the current. Not all paradigms are
    >>as easy to work with.
    >
    >
    > Here's the thing: In our world, occultists claim that things that
    > could have happened on their own were actually because the occultist
    > chanted thus and so. In our world, these occultists notably fail to
    > explode.

    So: Making it rain via pyramid magic (chosen randomly as something not
    really connected to weather):

    Ends: Making it rain = Expected (people are not surprised when the
    weatherman is occasionally wrong - doing it repeatedly might run you up
    against the Domino effect): -1
    Means: Pyramid Magic = Tenous (people have heard of the possibility of
    it affecting "chaotic systems", but the ideas have no strong cultural
    connection). +1
    Witnesses = Uncertain (ie, none). Presumably you do this while
    meditating, or in a seancy thing without anyone dragged there by a
    girlfriend or something. +0.

    End result? 0: no difficulty penalty, no paradox unless you botch.


    >
    > Mage is designed to emulate those claims. These rules do not.
    > Generally, any system that makes making it rain on a cloudy day when
    > forecasts call for rain vulgar is flawed according to the basic
    > conception of the game. Nothing's wrong with changing that, mind --
    > but that's what's going on.

    But it _doesn't_. Even doing a rain dance to summon an immediate, mild
    shower is barely vulgar. +1 Surprising, -1 Synonymous, -1 Cynic: +1
    difficulty, 1 paradox.

    >
    > Plus, we've got sundry problems like:
    >
    > *Miraculously healing somebody with a caudecus can be less vulgar than
    > sensing the extent of someone's injury with a spoken angelic
    > invocation.

    Only if the healing is really inconsequential. Assume you have a cynical
    crowd and aren't trying to disguise what you do:

    Ends: Instantaneous healing of substantial injury = Unbelievable +2
    Means: Invocation and gesture with Cadeceus = related +0 (the concept
    exists widely but isn't really held to be effective)
    Witnesses: Cynics +1
    Final: +3, 3 paradox

    Ends: Correctly evaluating major injury at a glance= expected -1 (Oh,
    look, he's losing a lot of blood and you can see that the liver was
    damaged and I think he's in danger of dying of shock)
    Means: Invocation of angels. Tenous +1 (most people won't connect the
    angels names with healing anymore, unless you are in a highly catholic
    area.)
    Witnesses: Cynics +1 (though, honestly, if the character makes the
    slightest effort at all to act/look like he knows a bit of medicine it
    would probably be Undecided +0)
    Final: +1, 1 paradox.

    >
    > *Using a raygun is less vulgar than entching a rune on a gun to make
    > it shoot a bit better.

    Hmmm...

    Need to think on this one, though not for the exact reason you meant.
    I'm having trouble deciding, in the case of the rune, if the gun is part
    of the means or the ends.


    >
    >
    >>Plus, it encourages logical foci. If your focus isn't related to the task at
    >>hand, it becomes harder to use. Change that chanting focus to poultices.
    >>If you draw the Mystic Sigils of Arn on a burn with some powdered mandrake
    >>root and water drawn from a mystic spring, it would probably be synonymous.
    >>You're just applying burn cream in a rather eccentric manner.
    >
    >
    > This robs the player of the ability to take control of the game's
    > narrative, and of the character to make use of actual coincidence. If
    > my character uses faith healing and I, the player, want it to manifest
    > as the burns being less severe than originally thought or as the
    > patient using the placebo effect to ignore the injury even though it
    > appears to still be a nasty wound -- well, you've just legislated that
    > I cannot be creative in this fashion. Plus, of course, I can now never
    > use the frame of complete coincidence that is explicitly supported in
    > the game without drawing some sort of penalty.
    >
    > M.

    Why?

    All that changed is that coincidental must now be tied to time and
    place. True, the coincidence "cast magic now, gun I need was dropped in
    wastepaper basket yesterday" is now more difficult (acquire gun in a few
    seconds = surprising in most circumstances, can't think of an angel or
    saint well known enough to be associated with finding guns, so Means =
    tenous, and there might well be a cynic watching "You can't find a gun
    just because you prayed for one", so total -2).

    But less blatent coincidences will still generate no paradox, because a
    +1 penalty in Means can be overcome easily in Ends as long as you are
    willing to take time. Find a gun after 5 minutes searching someone's
    apartment? Not surprising: -1 difficulty!. Pray for someone's good
    health and they survive a potentially fatal wound with only a few weeks
    in the hospital? Not surprising. Guy chasing you trips and falls? Not
    surprising. Enemy gets run over by a car on lunch break? Not surprising.
    Rocks fall and crush werewolf during fight on mountain in thunderstorm?
    Not surprising.

    William
  14. Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

    Malcolm Sheppard wrote:
    > Seriously though, there needs to be more to it than bullshitting your
    > way with the right tool. making it centered on the tool takes away the
    > player's ability to control the narrative and punishes magical styles
    > predicated on coincidences that character does not plan for, but which
    > make the effect happen.
    It seems to me that you are saying that the system punishes paradigms which
    don't fit the consensus. I thought -that- is what Mage is about.

    Not only that, but that paradigm which always uses coincidences in such a
    manner will (nearly) always garner the -1 for Ends even if they gain a +1
    for means. End result, no paradox except for any garnered from witnesses.
    What was your problem again?

    Also this system tends to throw "complete coincidence" out the window by
    breaking it down into much smaller stages rather than,er, 3.
    --
    Picks-at-Flies
    "Those with the darkest imaginations have now become the most powerful."
    - The Power of Nightmares (BBC)
    http://www.werepenguin.net/
  15. Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

    William <wilit0613@postoffice.uri.edu> wrote in message news:<30kpadF31kslbU1@uni-berlin.de>...
    > Malcolm Sheppard wrote:
    >
    > > Brian Merchant <remove.cheebie2001@comcast.example.net> wrote in message news:<f6l9q09ffoqglbirahf7e096lrltsq673l@4ax.com>...
    > >
    > >>In the borning days of the third millennium, Malcolm Sheppard wrote:
    > >><snip>
    > >>
    > >>>>A hospital or first aid kit is Synonymous for certain types of healing.
    > >>>>A Cadeceus would be Related even in today's technocratic world, for its
    > >>>>symbolism is still widely recognized even if its efficacy is not. Much
    > >>>>eastern medicine and folk remedies would also be Related in modern
    > >>>>western cities, but might be Synonymous in rural areas or China. The
    > >>>>ancient egyptian glyph for Thoth has only a Tenous hold in the modern
    > >>>>culture - only a small percentage of the people would recognize its
    > >>>>meaning. For some things there is simply no conception of a connection
    > >>>>with healing at all - using chocolate to attempt to stop bleeding would
    > >>>>be Unknown.
    > >>>
    > >>>This is not so good. What you've done here is penalize folks for
    > >>>clever coincidences because their paradigms are (usually)
    > >>>non-scientific. Playing a Hermetic, my chanting focus screws my even
    > >>>though the Effect could have happened by itself. Meanwhile, a
    > >>>Technocrat can pull blatantly vulgar magic with a first aid kit. This
    > >>>weights things away from player ingenuity since you get a bonus for
    > >>>character type (since that determines focus) instead of a character
    > >>>action.
    > >>
    > >>Actually, it's penalizing mages whose paradigms don't match the prevailing
    > >>consensus. This is fair, IMO. They are swimming against the current, which
    > >>is going to be harder than swimming with the current. Not all paradigms are
    > >>as easy to work with.
    > >
    > >
    > > Here's the thing: In our world, occultists claim that things that
    > > could have happened on their own were actually because the occultist
    > > chanted thus and so. In our world, these occultists notably fail to
    > > explode.
    >
    > So: Making it rain via pyramid magic (chosen randomly as something not
    > really connected to weather):
    >
    > Ends: Making it rain = Expected (people are not surprised when the
    > weatherman is occasionally wrong - doing it repeatedly might run you up
    > against the Domino effect): -1
    > Means: Pyramid Magic = Tenous (people have heard of the possibility of
    > it affecting "chaotic systems", but the ideas have no strong cultural
    > connection). +1
    > Witnesses = Uncertain (ie, none). Presumably you do this while
    > meditating, or in a seancy thing without anyone dragged there by a
    > girlfriend or something. +0.
    >
    > End result? 0: no difficulty penalty, no paradox unless you botch.

    You're cherry-picking the difficulties here. I obviously mean no
    connection/expected.

    >
    > >
    > > Mage is designed to emulate those claims. These rules do not.
    > > Generally, any system that makes making it rain on a cloudy day when
    > > forecasts call for rain vulgar is flawed according to the basic
    > > conception of the game. Nothing's wrong with changing that, mind --
    > > but that's what's going on.
    >
    > But it _doesn't_. Even doing a rain dance to summon an immediate, mild
    > shower is barely vulgar. +1 Surprising, -1 Synonymous, -1 Cynic: +1
    > difficulty, 1 paradox.

    Nonetheless, making it rain on a cloudy day is now vulgar. Whether
    it's "only a wafer thin" amount of Paradox doesn't detract from the
    fact that it fundamentally behaves in a fashion opposite to the
    default asumptions of the game.

    > >
    > > Plus, we've got sundry problems like:
    > >
    > > *Miraculously healing somebody with a caudecus can be less vulgar than
    > > sensing the extent of someone's injury with a spoken angelic
    > > invocation.
    >
    > Only if the healing is really inconsequential. Assume you have a cynical
    > crowd and aren't trying to disguise what you do:
    >
    > Ends: Instantaneous healing of substantial injury = Unbelievable +2
    > Means: Invocation and gesture with Cadeceus = related +0 (the concept
    > exists widely but isn't really held to be effective)
    > Witnesses: Cynics +1
    > Final: +3, 3 paradox

    > Ends: Correctly evaluating major injury at a glance= expected -1 (Oh,
    > look, he's losing a lot of blood and you can see that the liver was
    > damaged and I think he's in danger of dying of shock)
    > Means: Invocation of angels. Tenous +1 (most people won't connect the
    > angels names with healing anymore, unless you are in a highly catholic
    > area.)
    > Witnesses: Cynics +1 (though, honestly, if the character makes the
    > slightest effort at all to act/look like he knows a bit of medicine it
    > would probably be Undecided +0)
    > Final: +1, 1 paradox.

    Again, you're cherry-picking the numbers here.

    > >
    > > *Using a raygun is less vulgar than entching a rune on a gun to make
    > > it shoot a bit better.
    >
    > Hmmm...
    >
    > Need to think on this one, though not for the exact reason you meant.
    > I'm having trouble deciding, in the case of the rune, if the gun is part
    > of the means or the ends.

    The gun is not a method used to create magic in this case at all. It
    is the subject of a magical Effect.

    > >
    > >
    > >>Plus, it encourages logical foci. If your focus isn't related to the task at
    > >>hand, it becomes harder to use. Change that chanting focus to poultices.
    > >>If you draw the Mystic Sigils of Arn on a burn with some powdered mandrake
    > >>root and water drawn from a mystic spring, it would probably be synonymous.
    > >>You're just applying burn cream in a rather eccentric manner.
    > >
    > >
    > > This robs the player of the ability to take control of the game's
    > > narrative, and of the character to make use of actual coincidence. If
    > > my character uses faith healing and I, the player, want it to manifest
    > > as the burns being less severe than originally thought or as the
    > > patient using the placebo effect to ignore the injury even though it
    > > appears to still be a nasty wound -- well, you've just legislated that
    > > I cannot be creative in this fashion. Plus, of course, I can now never
    > > use the frame of complete coincidence that is explicitly supported in
    > > the game without drawing some sort of penalty.
    > >
    > > M.
    >
    > Why?

    Because none of that description matters in your rules compared to the
    tools I use, which are decided upon by Tradition rather than my own
    basic inventiveness.

    > All that changed is that coincidental must now be tied to time and
    > place. True, the coincidence "cast magic now, gun I need was dropped in
    > wastepaper basket yesterday" is now more difficult (acquire gun in a few
    > seconds = surprising in most circumstances, can't think of an angel or
    > saint well known enough to be associated with finding guns, so Means =
    > tenous, and there might well be a cynic watching "You can't find a gun
    > just because you prayed for one", so total -2).

    Well, that just about kills it for me, you see. You've implicitly
    prejudged the value of the coincidence before even hearing about it
    from a player.

    > But less blatent coincidences will still generate no paradox, because a
    > +1 penalty in Means can be overcome easily in Ends as long as you are
    > willing to take time. Find a gun after 5 minutes searching someone's
    > apartment? Not surprising: -1 difficulty!. Pray for someone's good
    > health and they survive a potentially fatal wound with only a few weeks
    > in the hospital? Not surprising. Guy chasing you trips and falls? Not
    > surprising. Enemy gets run over by a car on lunch break? Not surprising.
    > Rocks fall and crush werewolf during fight on mountain in thunderstorm?
    > Not surprising.

    And making it rain on a cloudy day can give you Paradox.

    M.
  16. Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

    "Picks-at-Flies" <aidan@nospam.werepenguin.co.uk> wrote in message news:<co4akj$lrj$1@newsg3.svr.pol.co.uk>...
    > Malcolm Sheppard wrote:
    > > Seriously though, there needs to be more to it than bullshitting your
    > > way with the right tool. making it centered on the tool takes away the
    > > player's ability to control the narrative and punishes magical styles
    > > predicated on coincidences that character does not plan for, but which
    > > make the effect happen.
    > It seems to me that you are saying that the system punishes paradigms which
    > don't fit the consensus. I thought -that- is what Mage is about.
    >
    > Not only that, but that paradigm which always uses coincidences in such a
    > manner will (nearly) always garner the -1 for Ends even if they gain a +1
    > for means. End result, no paradox except for any garnered from witnesses.
    > What was your problem again?
    >
    > Also this system tends to throw "complete coincidence" out the window by
    > breaking it down into much smaller stages rather than,er, 3.

    If the counterargument is, "You'll only be punished for foci you'll
    never use," it merely means the system is redundant.

    M.
Ask a new question

Read More

Video Games