Creating Magickal Effects
From WoD GothamTrue Magick, there is no way that the staff here will allow any short-cuts. In fact, if a player cannot explain their effect fully, then well it just won’t happen. Period. Now what does that mean? Take a look …
Steps to Creating a Magickal Effect
Step One: What Do You Want to Do, and How?
- What Effect are you attempting to do and how? (Spheres Used. Concept of the effect.)
- What is your character doing, within his or her paradigm, to make it happen? (Role-play out your character’s use of foci so that it’s apparent that the effect and the paradigm are compatible. If the player cannot role-play out the paradigm, the effect WILL FAIL AUTOMATICALLY!)
- How does your Effect appear? (What does it look like? Vulgar? Coincidental? And How? This must be role-played as well. Characters that cannot do so, cannot work True Magick. Even if the effect is not readily apparent, a player can describe bending the Tapestry to his will. No lazy mages!)
- How long does it take? (Is this an instant effect or does it unfold over time? Is the player extending the roll
Step Two: Do You Know How to Do It?
- Does your mage have the appropriate Sphere knowledge? (Does your character have his Spheres at a high enough rating to do the effect?)
- Does your mage need any mundane Abilities to help? (Does your character have lay knowledge that might help him figure out a way to make his effect easier to create?)
- Does your mage's paradigm support the form of the Effect? (Does your mage’s training, style and belief system reflect the way that the effect is being created? If you’re feeling spiffy you can add in any twists caused by your character’s Resonance, but this is optional in WoDG.)
Step Three: Did You Succeed
- Roll your character's full or partial Arete versus the appropriate difficulty:
- Coincidental: Highest Sphere +3
- Vulgar without Witnesses: Highest Sphere +4
- Vulgar with Witnesses: Highest Sphere +5
- Add or subtract any modifiers, up to +/ -3 per modifier. Min difficulty for any magick effect is 3. (Ability modifiers, fast casting, distracted, unique focus, specialty focus, etc.)
- Spend Quintessence and/ or Willpower, if desired. (Remember the most that a difficulty can be lowered is -3 including Quintessence spent. Also note because we are a crossover game, Quintessence can be spent to up the difficulty for resistance rolls (not countermagick) at the rate of +1 Difficulty per Quintessence point spent.)
- Check the number of your successes (Check the Magickal Feats Chart to assign the number of successes that are needed if there is no ST present.)
- Check thresholds and remove successes (Check the Magickal Feats Chart to assign a threshold if it’s appropriate and if there is no ST present.)
- Repeat for extended Effects (Reflect the turns spent in casting your effect and how much game time it has taken to produce)
Step Four: What Happened?
- How much effect did your magick have? (See Effect Duration and Damage Multiplier Chart)
- Did the target resist your Effect? Remove their successes, and check your remaining success.
- Did you succeed? Assign the Effect (See Effect Duration and Damage Multiplier Chart), and take any appropriate Paradox (one per highest Sphere level for vulgar Effects, + 2 if there are witnesses).
- Did you fail? If you did but didn't botch, take any appropriate Paradox, and watch the Effect fizzle. (one per highest Sphere level for vulgar Effects, two per highest Sphere if there are witnesses).
- Did you botch? If so, assign the Paradox appropriate to a botch instead of the normal amount.
- Coincidental Botch: Gain one point of Paradox per dot in the highest Sphere used.
- Vulgar Botch without Witnesses: Gain one point of Paradox for botching + one per dot in the highest level Sphere used for the Effect.
- Vulgar Botch with Witnesses: Gain two points of Paradox + two per dot in the highest level Sphere used for the Effect.
- Did you get more than five points of Paradox? If so, roll for Backlash.
| ||Bart the Bad Example||George the Good Example|
|Step one|| Player to ST: My character electrocutes Dan with Forces 2, Prime 2.
ST: How does he do it?
Player: How should I know? He has the right Sphere level to electrocute someone using the energy around him.
ST: Role-play your Effect.
Player to chat-room: *mutters something and Dan sizzles with electricity.*
ST: Ok, so that’s Vulgar w/o witness.
Player to ST: Why? It –could- happen!
ST: Explain the effect and its coincidental nature more fully, or accept that it is Vulgar w/o witness.
Player to ST: What? I explained what he was doing and his focus is chanting!
ST: How does that focus work to affect reality?
Player to ST: Er..what? Whatever! Fine! It’s vulgar!
| Player to ST: My character Electrocutes Dan Using Forces 2 to focus the static electricity in the air at Dan. Prime 2 fuels the pattern.
ST: Role-play out the manifestation and paradigm in your casting.
Player to the chat-room: *George concentrates and taps into the ancient power of the forgotten tongues of old. The Tapestry begins to reweave itself to his will while he speaks the words of power and electricity crackles and coalesces around Dan. Coincidentally, as Dan steps towards George – his attention upon him – he fails to notice in the darkness of the alley, frayed live wires bare from rats gnawing on it. Dan also doesn’t notice that a bum had been in the alleyway just moments before and had taken a piss, leaving a puddle right where Dan is stepping. The live wire is also touching the piss. Dan accidentally steps into the piss which is a conduit for the live wire and gets electrocuted.*
|Step Two|| ST: Ok your character knows how to channel Forces. Your Spheres check out.
Player to ST: Yeah and he’s got Science 1 so he knows about electricity!
ST: Hmm. I’m still not convinced that his paradigm is supporting this Effect.
Player to ST: Dude! It so is! He spoke the words, man! Just like Harry Potter!
ST: Take a +2 diff modifier because of lack of support of your character’s paradigm or role-play it again.
Player to ST: What?! Not cool!
ST: We could scrap it all and let you try again from the beginning?
Player to ST: No! Fine! +2 Diff…I’ll bring that down with Quint anyhow!
| ST: Ok your character knows how to do the Effect. Good job on the explanation and its coincidental manifestation. You can proceed to rolling.
Player: *rejoices* yay!
|Step Three|| ST: Your base difficulty is 6. (Highest Sphere +4 for a Vulgar w/o witness effect). Add the +2 modifier you get for not supporting your Effect fully for an adjusted difficulty of 8. This is a standard Effect so you need at least 2 successes for it to go off completely.
Player to ST: What?! That blows, dude! My character is going to spend 3 Quint and I’m going to burn a Willpower Point for an additional success!
ST: Your adjusted difficulty is 5. Mark off your Quint expenditure.
Player: Fine! Sweet! I got 1 success + 1 WP. 2 successes total!
| ST: Your base difficulty is 5. (Highest Sphere +3 for a coincidental effect) This is a standard Effect so you need at least 2 successes for it to go off completely.
Player to ST: Can I use my character’s Science as a basis for understanding how electrical charges flow in the atmosphere and so use Abilities to enhance his magick?
ST: Sure. Roll your Science+Int Diff 6.
Player to ST: Ok I got 2 successes there for a -2 modifier.
ST: Your adjusted difficulty is 3.
Player: Nice! I got 2 successes on my Arete roll.
|Step Four|| ST: According to the Damage and Duration Chart, your character’s rank in forces, and the forces bonus your character does a
total of 7 Lethal Damage to Dan. However, Dan’s Technocrat issued Integrated Nanomesh Extra-Personal T-shirt or INEPT allows him 3 soak dice for lethal damage. He scores 2 successes on his soak and your character does a total of 5 Lethal Damage.
Player to ST: Yay!
ST: However, your character gains 2 Paradox for the Vulgar Effect. Role-play out the resolution.
Player to chat-room: *Fries Dan and smirks while he gains some dox*
| ST: According to the Damage and Duration Chart, your character’s rank in forces, and the forces bonus your character does a total of 7 Lethal Damage to Dan. However, Dan’s Technocrat issued Integrated Nanomesh Extra-Personal T-shirt or INEPT allows him 3 soak dice for lethal damage. He scores 2 successes on his soak and your character does a total of 5 Lethal Damage.
Player to ST: Yay!
ST: Good job on the effect. Feel free to Role-play out the resolution. Player to chat-room: *As Dan’s foot meets the urine, his body is flooded with electrical current. His frame convulses and his eyes roll back in his head. He reflexively bites on his tongue, causing blood to trickle out of the corners of his mouth while the smell of sizzling flesh, hair, and clothing engulfs the alley*
|OK the players both got the same result so what’s the big deal? Well let’s take a look…|
|Long-Term Results||Bart the Bad shows that he really doesn’t care about role-playing the effect. He’d rather get down to the meat of things. That’s fine but…he’s not going to get any extra RP XP or XP for being creative. What’s worse is, Bart the Bad shows a fundamental lack of understanding as to what a paradigm is. If he doesn’t start trying to figure it out, he’ll never get a Seeking for his mage. That’s what’s really going to hurt him in the long run. Further, if he shows that he’s resistant to improving and not open to learning, the STs are well within their purview to rule that as he can’t articulate an effect properly and follow the basic rules of mage, his character’s effects fail automatically. In essence, his character is just too static and engrained in his beliefs to affect the Tapestry effectively. Rest assured that too many of these types of incidents will result in such rulings.||George the Good in contrast shows that he does care about role-playing his character’s effects. He takes a moment to think of little quirky details that add to the flavor of the scene. He’s probably more fun to RP with than Bart and let’s face it, what he described was a lot cooler looking than what Bart described. He wasn’t overly wordy so other player characters had room to also shine in the scene if they wanted. For those reasons, the ST would likely make a note of George’s play and see about rewarding him with XP after the scene was over. Most importantly, George is showing to the STs that he understands his character and its paradigm. If George is also following up with diligent Blue Booking, reporting on his character’s paradigm and its development, then he will be invited to have a Seeking for his mage. This will help him in the long run as his character advances faster than Bart’s.|
| Note: In the examples here, we were showing two extremes. The truth is that most of us have our Bart days and we have our George days. Usually we fall in between. No one fits the ideal completely. The ST staff understands this and that the game is about fun and players will make boo-boos as they go along. However, we will let you make the boo-boos and have your Bart days. We will also come down hard on them or appear unsympathetic so that you learn from your mistakes. This is a natural part of the learning process and it’s nothing to be taken personal.
That all being said, when you’re in scene, you’re expected to be prepared. It’s not the time to go over the fundamentals of the game with the ST. However, we’re happy to discuss after scenes are over and answer questions. Better still, we’re very open to discussions on the message boards (Link TO Mage Concepts and Character Development Forum) so that all the mage community can benefit from the discussion.
Further, when you pull off a George we’ll acknowledge that too and make sure you know you’re on the right track by singing praises.
Fast-Casting in Game
When in game, please keep your fast-casting simple. This means fast-casted effects not in your Rotes library should be kept to a minimum and should be confined when possible to Rotes and effects from the books.
This shouldn't be a problem as most of you are not fast-casting regularly anyhow.
For elaborate fast-casts made up by yourself on the fly, please try and locate a ST whenever possible. One of us is usually on either ghosted or visible and you can try hollering for us in chat, sending a quick contact ticket, or a forum post that you need help.