07 June, 2015

Storifying Mage: the Ascension (Part 4) - Ands and Buts

The idea behind the “and” and “but” mechanism is to throw in complications that might not have occurred to the players or Storyteller/GM as they’re proposing potential outcomes for the action being undertaken. Each of the major arcana has a chance to produce a different set of effects on an action, based on the traditional symbolic interpretation of the card. This could be done very loosely like the “Everway” RPG, but most people aren’t really familiar enough with the interpretations of upright and reversed Tarot Cards to make up this stuff on the fly. For this reason, I’m coming up with a single page cheat sheet with 5 interpretations of upright (“and”) and reversal (“but”) meanings, these five interpretations will come into play based on the types of action undertaken: Physical, Social, Mental, Combat, Magic. In each “and” case, the character engaging in the action gains a benefit that will last throughout this action’s resolution and until they draw another major arcana in a later resolution (or until the end of the action/conflict), if it makes sense to the narrative they might be able to pass this benefit to an ally (but it will be lost if this ally draws a major arcana of their own).

In the case of a benefit (upright result), a player gains an immediate difficulty increase (on this action), if the player decides to keep the benefit for their character, they reduce the difficulty of their next action by 1 as long as they can justify it in the context of the story. If they give the benefit to an ally, they provide an automatic success to that allies next action. In the case of a penalty (reversed result), a player gains an immediate difficulty decrease (on this action), a player may not give their penalty to someone else, they automatically increase the difficulty of their next action by 1. An ally may claim the penalty for themselves, accepting one less success on their next action. 

Hmmm...I know this works in my head, I'm just trying to work out the best way to put it into words.

Fool
Upright (and): Beginnings, innocence, spontaneity, a free spirit
  Physical: …and it manoeuvres you into position for something else.
  Social: …and they are probably willing to believe the next thing you say.
  Mental: …and a new approach to the issue presents itself.
  Combat: …and you see an opening that you’ll be able to exploit shortly.
  Magic: …and you find the experience refreshing and liberating.
Reversed (but): Naivety, foolishness, recklessness, risk-taking
  Physical: …but you’ll need to take a massive risk if you want to continue.
  Social: …but they don’t take you seriously from this point on.
  Mental: …but it’ll require things you’ve never done before.
  Combat: …but you’ll leave yourself wide open to an attack from your opponent.
  Magic: …but mystic energies bring unpleasant side effects.

Magician
Upright (and): Power, skill, concentration, action, resourcefulness
  Physical: …and your actions impress everyone around you.
  Social: …and bystanders are persuaded by your words.
  Mental: …and your concentration reveals other insights as well.
  Combat: …and you deal more damage than you expected.
  Magic: …and you consider a new insights into the universe.
Reversed (but): Manipulation, poor planning, latent talents 
  Physical: …but you injure yourself in the process.
  Social: …but they suspect that you are trying to manipulate them.
  Mental: …but you really want to practice a less mastered skill to accomplish this task.
  Combat: …but you haven’t accounted for a certain benefit of your opponent.
  Magic: …but something feels wrong about this.

High Priestess
Upright (and): Intuition, Higher powers, mystery, subconscious mind
  Physical: …and a rush of adrenaline gives you the edge.
  Social: …and you obvious say the right words at the right time to gain more attention.
  Mental: …and you get a feeling of déjà vu.
  Combat: …and you get the feeling a different tactic might provide an advantage.
  Magic: …and you feel stronger energies coursing through your soul as the power manifests.
Reversed (but): Hidden agendas, need to listen to inner voice
  Physical: …but you get distracted, and don’t quite achieve your goal.
  Social: …but you get the feeling they aren’t the best person to be talking to.
  Mental: …but a sudden awareness of hidden agendas makes you doubt this course of action.
  Combat: …but you are caught off guard by their insight into your tactics.
  Magic: …but spirits are attracted to the area as a result of your meddling with reality.

Empress
Upright (and): Fertility, femininity, beauty, nature, abundance
  Physical: …and you do it with an elegance and beauty that others admire.
  Social: …and they develop an attraction to you for reasons you can’t fathom.
  Mental: …and it’s done in a creative way that inspires new ideas that might be useful later.
  Combat: …and it looks damn good while you’re doing it.
  Magic: …and a sense of primal balance spreads across the area.
Reversed (but): Creative block, dependence on others 
  Physical: …but you can’t complete the task without a little assistance from a friend.
  Social: …but you’ll have to give them a favour in the process.
  Mental: …but it just doesn’t make sense to you.
  Combat: …but something is stopping you from doing anything else for the moment.
  Magic: …but the magic weakens you.

Emperor
Upright (and):  Authority, father-figure, structure, solid foundation
  Physical: …and you feel ready to do it again.
  Social: …and you have firmly established the dominance in this relationship.
  Mental: …and this feel like the right thing to do.
  Combat: …and you’ve set them up for a dangerous follow up.
  Magic: …and any observers are cowed into submission by your power.
Reversed (but): Domination, excessive control, rigidity, inflexibility
  Physical: …but you’ve taken too long, and have lost the edge.
  Social: …but they aren’t happy with the tactics you’ve used.
  Mental: …but there seem to be variables you haven’t accounted for.
  Combat: …but by doing this, you’ve announced your next move and they’re ready.
  Magic: …but you will be unable to use the same tactics again.

Hierophant
Upright (and): Religion, group identification, conformity, tradition, beliefs
  Physical: …and you show you allies the right way to do it.
  Social: …and your words are incredibly convincing to a wide range of observers.
  Mental: …and your beliefs are stronger for it.
  Combat: …and everyone on your side is inspired by your actions.
  Magic: …and anyone around is more willing to accept the effect.
Reversed (but): Restriction, challenging the status quo
  Physical: …but if you keep doing it this way, it will cause problems.
  Social: …but they do not want to stray too far from their established paths and motives
  Mental: …but the regular methods just aren’t working.
  Combat: …but your allies are confused by your strategies.
  Magic: …but the forces of consensual reality are restricting the outcome.

Lovers
Upright (and): Love, union, relationships, values alignment, choices
  Physical: …and an ally gains benefit from your attempt.
  Social: …and this may be the start of a long term relationship.
  Mental: …and this feels like it’s the right thing to do regardless.
  Combat: …and you give an ally a strategic advantage.
  Magic: …and the mystic energies form a resonant bond with you.
Reversed (but): Disharmony, imbalance, misalignment of values
  Physical: …but you lose your footing, and you need to correct it.
  Social: …but you don’t quite see eye to eye with them on the best course of action.
  Mental: …but it feels wrong to be doing it this way.
  Combat: …but any strategic edge you may have had is now lost.
  Magic: …but your resonance has an even stronger impact than you would have expected.


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