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> Integrating Geasea and Aspected Magic, Good idea, or pipe dream?
Eyeless Blond
post Jun 2 2004, 09:01 AM
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Ever since I started this old thread on geasea I keep coming back to the idea of either changing geasea to make them more like the "aspect" of an aspected mage, or vice versa. It seems odd to me that there are these two very different ways in which magic can be limited in metahumans that on the surface seem so similar. I've got an idea brewing in my head of a way to unify the two and in a way simplify the whole process. If you're interested, read on.

Well, here's the idea. First off, it's pretty plain that there are two de-facto "levels" of geasea: major and minor. The major geasea are those like the shamanistic geas or the domain geas, which is usually only taken under very special circumstances or as a deliberate RP disadvantage. Others, like the Talisman geas, are taken fairly frequently and are usually less of a disadvantage. To reflect this (and to help with my take on Magical Aspects later on,) I'm going to explicitly separate these types of geasea, and make the "major" versions cover 2 points of lost Magic points. In general:

Minor Geas: These geasea work just as the geasea in Magic in the Shadows do, and can geas exactly one point of Magic loss. Examples of minor geasea include the Talisman Geas, the Gesture Geas, the Incantation Geas, the Meditation Geas, the Anchor Geas (described below,) and others. Any Major Geas can be used as a Minor Geas, if a mage so chooses.

Anchor Geas: The character must stay inside of his body for the geas to be fufilled. Any attempt to leave his body, such as through astral projection or projecting to the metaplanes, breaks the geas. Note that the character does not leave his body when Astrally Perceiving.

Major Geas: These geasea are more powerful and holistic restrictions on a magician's power. Major geasea can geas up to two points of Magic loss, but the areas they cover are usually much more restrictive than Minor geasea. For example, the Time Geas, if used as a major geas, must impact at least half of the magician's wakful hours; a Sorcerer's Geas would forbid him from using his Conjuring skill without breaking his geas; a Domain Geas would restrict the magician from using magical skills outside of a very restricted domain (for instance, occupied buildings.)

Now, on to magical aspects. An aspected magician (or magical adept) is just like a full magician. However, an aspected magician begins play with three Magic points worth of geasea, called Aspects. These Aspects may be chosen in any way the player desires--three Minor Aspects, one Minor and two Major, or even two Major Aspects. These Aspects, however, differ from "normal" geasea in one important way: an Aspect cannot be broken. These Aspects are hard blocs on the aspected magicians power, and any attempt to break them will simply cause their magic to fail until the Aspect's conditions are properly fufilled.

For example, a magician with the Fasting Aspect cannot use any magical skills or abilities for 24 hours after eating, drinking, or accepting any nourishment other than water. A magician with the Shamanist Aspect cannot perform magic that does not provide a Totem Advantage. A magician with the Gesture Geas cannot perform magic without gesturing visibly and freely.

Also, unlike geasea taken by full magicians, or any subsequent geasea taken by aspected magicians, these Aspects cannot be shed on initiation; they are quite literally forever.

One Aspect in particular that most aspected magicians begin play with is the Minor Geas Anchor as a minor Aspect. Since both astral projection and projecting to the metaplanes are magical activities, an aspected magician with the Anchor Geas cannot astrally project, nor would be be able to project to the metaplanes. Astral Perception is still fine, though, because the character does not leave his body.

All of the Aspects on pg. 160 of the BBB are available as Major Aspects. This allows backwards compatability with "older" aspected magicians, who have the Anchor Aspect, as well as their chosen Major Aspect. For example, a normal Sorcerer Adept is simply an aspected magician with the Anchor Aspect and Sorcerer Aspect.


So, how's that look?
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Crusher Bob
post Jun 2 2004, 09:31 AM
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Sounds interesting, can you come up with some more concrete examples on non-traditional non-aspected mages?

Say 'DnD mage' who has the minor aspects of: Gestures, Incantation, Visibility?

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Eyeless Blond
post Jun 2 2004, 03:35 PM
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Well, how about a druid: major Aspect: Forest Domain, minor Talisman Aspect: a sprig of fresh holly? Maybe a Christian-themed hermatic mage/Creator shaman with a wooden cross Talisman Aspect, a Meditation Aspect (to represent time spent in prayer), and an Incantation Aspect, quoting phrases of the Bible or invoking the name of Christ?

But the real advantage of such a system, as I see it, is that magical Aspects can be better personalized to a character's background. Say a character grew up in a circus, performing in front of a crowd. He might have the minor Aspect of Gesturing, because flambuoyant gestures are the way he grew up performing. He may have a major Domain Aspect centered around being in crowds (5 people or more), to symbolically represent his audience.
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Lantzer
post Jun 2 2004, 04:37 PM
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You could make some interesting geasa by requiring the use of Similarity and Contagion for spellcasting.

I think they'd probably count as major geasa, considering that they would require prep and/or ritual to do properly.
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A Rodent of Unus...
post Jun 2 2004, 06:16 PM
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So, basically, you're just wanting to redefine aspected magicians so that they're not the pain they should be for the free Spell Points and reduced Build Points cost under the guise of making them more flavorful?

I'd rather see geasa provide some other tangible benefit in addition to being used to fend off Magic Loss. I allow spell-focused geasa to be taken as Fetishes (with Talisman replacing the traditional fetish role) for instance. An example might be a Gesture geas to lower the cost and a Chanting geas to lower drain when casting a Lightning Bolt spell. For conjurers, they can take spirit-oriented geasa that lower the effective Force for summoning by one point for purposes of the Conjuring or Drain Resistance Test (one geas required for each). Summoning a Manitou might require a Talisman (olive branch from Greece) to reduce the Force for conjuring and a Dancing geas to lower Drain. etc.

But basically, considering the benefits aspected magicians receive, they don't deserve to just get more flavor than a full magician while still receiving all of the bonuses they typically get. And that's really all geasa are when it comes down to it; their limitations are only skin deep. *Especially* in this case, and doubly so when they only serve to give them more flexibility without reprecussion.
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BitBasher
post Jun 2 2004, 09:01 PM
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I just make the fulfillment of talsman and other "easy" gaesas take a free action to use. People think a lot more about them when there's an actual penalty.
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Eyeless Blond
post Jun 3 2004, 01:36 AM
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Hey, that's a good idea about using geasea as discounts for learning spells or on drain. The whole point of this idea is to figure out if it's possible and/or balanced to unify all the different ways to make magic easier into one system (eg. geasea.) Making spellcasting/conjuring limits similar to geasea is a really cool idea; nice one!

As for the critisism that aspected mages are getting "something for nothing," well, they're not. This system doesn't really make aspected magician characters more versatile; all it does is give the player more flexability in character design. Versatility is power, true; that's what makes magic users in the end more powerful than mundanes. A single aspected mage, however, isn't any more powerful with or without this idea; the end abilities are the same. At least that's what I'm trying to accomplish. If I've failed then tell me how I've failed: did I make alternatives too easy to get? Too hard? Is it just not an interesting idea?

The thing about full (that is, non-aspected) magicians is that, in my view, they should be *rare*. I think that a mage without at least some kind of bloc over his powers should be as common as a perfect, psychologically well-adjusted adult. That is, they should be almost non-existent, particularly in the shadows and especially in a group with such inherent mental and social stress as the Awakened.
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BitBasher
post Jun 3 2004, 02:34 AM
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QUOTE
The thing about full (that is, non-aspected) magicians is that, in my view, they should be *rare*. I think that a mage without at least some kind of bloc over his powers should be as common as a perfect, psychologically well-adjusted adult.
As a house rule that's fine, but by canon the majority of magically active persons are full mages. I don't like it either, but that's the way it is.
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Eyeless Blond
post Jun 3 2004, 05:01 AM
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QUOTE (BitBasher)
QUOTE
The thing about full (that is, non-aspected) magicians is that, in my view, they should be *rare*. I think that a mage without at least some kind of bloc over his powers should be as common as a perfect, psychologically well-adjusted adult.
As a house rule that's fine, but by canon the majority of magically active persons are full mages. I don't like it either, but that's the way it is.

Heh, well the whole thing's a house-rule. :D

I think the main reason the SR guys made aspected mages more rare than full mages is because they wanted to have a majority of the Awakened populace to have access to astral projection, but wanted magic itself to be rather rare. That's another reason I like expanding the scope of the "groggies": now even they potentially have access to astral space, but the ones that do are limited in other ways to "balance" it. At least in theory.

Again, people will still play full mages, I'm sure. Having no restrictions to your magic is pretty cool, and starting play without half of your magic points permenantly geased is even cooler. These full mages have their own built-in flavor as well: they'll have to explain how they managed to grow up through something as traumatic as their own Awakening without developing any important psycho-thaumatological blocs. :)
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Kagetenshi
post Jun 3 2004, 05:29 AM
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In general, I don't think this is that bad of an idea. The part where I really agree with the unusually-sized Rodent, though, is Projection.

Suddenly, you allow aspected mages to project. Sure, they have to take a hit in effectiveness somewhere else, but the inability to project is probably the single greatest weakness, and you allow that to be patched up.

~J
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A Rodent of Unus...
post Jun 3 2004, 05:58 AM
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In a nutshell, "aspected magicians" beyond adepts (which is arguable) are really "crippled magicians." They're magicians who've in some way never seen their magically fully developed. They're not just full magicians who decided to focus on one aspect of their abilities, they simply never manifested those other abilities. That's why they're on the rare side... just like those who go insane.

This is simply one of the cases where power overrides rarity on the Priority tables. When it comes down to it, it's similar to the logic applied to extremely low Resources alotments; it's highly improbable that a seasoned, experienced shadowrunner (the standard for starting characters) would have only accumulated 500 nuyen in his entire career, yet that's certainly a possibility... and it's a possibility that's far cheaper than a more reasonable 20-90,000 nuyen Resources alotment.
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lacemaker
post Jun 3 2004, 06:53 AM
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I love the idea, and I think the only problem with the implementation is that anchor should be a major geas - meaning that aspected mages have to take four points rather than 3, otherwise it's very sharp.

I though the old Grimoire (1st and 2nd) had a stat about there being something like 100 times as many "magically gifted" individuals as actually magically active ones - or maybe the figure was 20, certainly something like that...
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BitBasher
post Jun 3 2004, 04:15 PM
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QUOTE
In a nutshell, "aspected magicians" beyond adepts (which is arguable) are really "crippled magicians." They're magicians who've in some way never seen their magically fully developed. They're not just full magicians who decided to focus on one aspect of their abilities, they simply never manifested those other abilities. That's why they're on the rare side... just like those who go insane.
While the logic appears good on the outside that's not necessarily true. Saying they are "cripped mages" bcause they cannot do certain things is fine. Saying "they're mages that have never seen their magic fully develop" is a leap of logic. There is no canon evidence whatsoever that they even physically posess that potential. You imply that they could do everythign a full mage could if they develop the abilities, but there's nothing in canon to back that. It could be that the metagene in thim is physically missing the components that govern the aspects of magic that they cannot perform. Saying "they just never manifested" those abilities is drawing a conclusion that has no evidence other than conjecture.

That's like having a friend Bob who has no legs. Saying "Bob can't walk because he has no legs" is true. Saying "Bob can't walk beacuse he never learned how" is false, because the ability was not his to develop. He is physically unable.
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Eyeless Blond
post Jun 3 2004, 05:27 PM
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Despite the semantics, I think you and Rodent are saying the same thing. Or, rather, you are disagreeing with me with similar arguments. :) Yes, I can definately see that the canon viewpoint is that the natural state of magic users is the full mage. Aspected mages, in the canon viewpoint, are the abberation. I'd be fine with this if magic were a simple on-off switch, and characters had a simple: "Magic 1/Magic 0" binary switch. The existence of the Magic Rating and the introduction of geasea make me think there can be a different way to do it, though, where aspected mages are mages who have "psychological/thaumatological geasea" of sorts over their powers.

lacemaker's point that the Anchor geas is too cheap is well-taken. Maybe I should go even higher with it, and make it a 3-point geas, and have aspected mages start with all but one point of Magic Aspected (eg. 5 points). How's that sound?
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A Rodent of Unus...
post Jun 3 2004, 05:35 PM
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QUOTE
There is no canon evidence whatsoever that they even physically posess that potential. You imply that they could do everythign a full mage could if they develop the abilities, but there's nothing in canon to back that.

No I'm not. I'm saying that they're on par with a troll who only goblinized on the left side of his body. They're freaks of the magical world; crippled in that they never fully developed like other mages. It has nothing to do with a lack of training or honing their abilities; they never had those other abilities to begin with.
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BitBasher
post Jun 3 2004, 06:03 PM
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QUOTE (A Rodent of Unusual Size)
QUOTE
There is no canon evidence whatsoever that they even physically posess that potential. You imply that they could do everythign a full mage could if they develop the abilities, but there's nothing in canon to back that.

No I'm not. I'm saying that they're on par with a troll who only goblinized on the left side of his body. They're freaks of the magical world; crippled in that they never fully developed like other mages. It has nothing to do with a lack of training or honing their abilities; they never had those other abilities to begin with.

Aaaah, okay that is not the impression I got from your wordage.

And no, I don't have a problem with this idea as a whole it's just not something I want to do in my games, as I already make gaesa far more restrictive, and mages losing magic for cyber, magic loss is more of a loss. I would also never ever allow projection to a wider class of people because that's a line I'm not willing to cross. I think magic is already FAR too common.

In my games 1 in 100 people have magical ability, with a very small minority of those being full mages, whith the majority having token magical abilities, like only Perception, Enchanting, ect. Adepts and real aspected mages are more rare, while full mages are the rarest. Also, only a small percentage of those with magical potential are ever found and trained properly, or smart enopugh to have any ambition to use it.

See, ever bit of flavor text in the game is blown to hell by the fact that by canon there are four assloads of full mages running around. You'd see magic fairly often with the number of them, it sure as hell isn't rare, more like uncommon.
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Kagetenshi
post Jun 3 2004, 06:16 PM
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Only three assloads.

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BitBasher
post Jun 3 2004, 08:34 PM
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If it's only three assloads then they're Roseanne Barr sized assloads! :grinbig:
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lacemaker
post Jun 4 2004, 07:25 AM
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Again, I believe there is a canon (though perhaps out of date) reference to 1% of the population as in some way "magically special" (my words, no paid writer would have used that phrase) and 1% of those people, being 1 in 10,000 actually being a full mage...
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Eyeless Blond
post Jun 4 2004, 08:03 AM
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Not quite. The only 3rd edition statistic I know of is on p. 29 of MitS. It does say that 1 in 100 are Awakened, but only say that, "A fraction of that percentage are aspected, never get the proper training, or go crazy trying to deal with their gift." That line's actually where I got this idea to maybe change how Aspects work with magic. It just seemed that using geasea for aspects like this makes for more interesting potential styles for mages.

The more I look at making aspected mages have five points of Aspecting (normally three points in an Anchor Aspect, and the other two in their particular restriction Aspect), the more I like it. In fact, for point buy you could use this to establish a continuom of magic/Aspect types:

30 bpts: full mage: 0 Aspects, 25 default Spell points
29 bpts: Aspected: 1 Aspect, 27 Spell points
28 bpts: Aspected: 2 Aspects, 29 Spell points
27 bpts: Aspected: 3 Aspects, 31 Spell points
26 bpts: Aspected: 4 Aspects, 33 Spell points
25 bpts: Aspected: 5 Aspects, 35 Spell points

How's that sound? I think it makes sense for aspected mages to have more spell points than less aspected mages for the same reasons they do in canon. By accepting limits on their powers they're spending time learning new spells rather than bothering with being "well-balanced."
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A Rodent of Unus...
post Jun 4 2004, 03:50 PM
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If you lose the extra Spell Points OR lose the reduced Build Points, I'd personally have little problem with it. I know by cannon aspected magicians get extra spell points, but they also don't get around being severely crippled either. This house rule basically allows a full magician to take some geasa in exchange for spell points *and* reduce build points, which is a bit much for my taste.
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Eyeless Blond
post Jun 4 2004, 11:40 PM
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Well, see, my line of reasoning here is that *five* permenant geasea is just as "severely crippled" as aspected mages are already. Do you not agree? Or does the fact that other options exist make level 5 aspected mages more powerful than full mages?
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Crusher Bob
post Jun 5 2004, 04:43 AM
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Why are you rating the ability to astrally project so highly? I don't remember anything so special about it that it should be worth that much.
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BitBasher
post Jun 5 2004, 04:52 AM
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QUOTE
Well, see, my line of reasoning here is that *five* permenant geasea is just as "severely crippled" as aspected mages are already.
I completely disagree. The total inability to do something is far more dehabilitating that the ability to do something but under certain circumstances. It's like the difference between not having use of your legs, and not having use of your legs in the day time. One is FAR more of a disability than the other. Not comparable IMHO.

I have a feeling im explaing what im trying to get across very badly... I'm tired :P
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Eyeless Blond
post Jun 5 2004, 06:57 PM
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QUOTE (BitBasher @ Jun 4 2004, 11:52 PM)
The total inability to do something is far more dehabilitating that the ability to do something but under certain circumstances. It's like the difference between not having use of your legs, and not having use of your legs in the day time. One is FAR more of a disability than the other. Not comparable IMHO.

Or, since Aspects, when broken, completely negate *all* of your magic, it's comparable to having a person be unable to use his legs, as opposed to someone becoming unable to move his entire body during the day. Ugh, that sounds borbid, but do you get the idea? What I'm trying to do is figure out how to "balance" different types and flavors of Aspect. Crusher seems to think I rate the ability to astrally project too highly at three points. Maybe it balances better at two. That kinda makes sense, but having the Aspect points total to four for a "canon" aspected mage seems so... arbitrary, I guess. Maybe some more thought is warranted.
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