Author Topic: Monsters using magic  (Read 1334 times)

Offline Drachasor

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2011, 08:22:56 PM »
Dude, chill.  There's nothing in the rules that backs up either interpretation.  Fate is a pretty freeform system, incase you're not familiar with it and its design mechanics.  And, like anything, flavor and mechanics are somewhat mutable. 

It's a free form system.  You can play it however you want.  However, the rules do NOT distinguish between mortal or non-mortal casters, sponsored or non-sponsored magic as far as the Laws of Magic are concerned.  The Laws of Magic are merely written to apply to the PCs, with zero mention of the sort of magic the PC has or even whether the PC is human or not.

I am NOT say one has to stick to RAW on this.  I am saying the RAW, as best I read it, says the Laws of Magic (and the Lawbreaker consequence for breaking them) apply to PCs of any origin whether they use sponsored magic or not.  Again, one can play this however one wants in a game, and I only bring this up because it is ideally important to know what RAW is so you know when you are stepping away from it.

I did reread the section on the Laws of Magic again, btw.  Nowhere does it say that the laws only apply to a mortal caster.  The only place it discusses human vs. inhuman casters (which is different than mortal vs. non-mortal for what it is worth), is in regards to targets of spells (like Toot Toot).  Throughout the whole section, it is pretty clear the view is that the Laws, as a rule of creation (in universe) apply to all players.  I believe they even talk about the important of the laws with regards to given muggles their own distinct edge with regards to PCs and magic, and that sort of principle would apply to any player (but admittedly it is purely one of game mechanics).

The above is why I bring up positive refresh as a decent baseline.

We see very few guys with sponsored magic in the lore who don't have mortal magic (by the way, I refer to text as the novels and rules as the game books, which I think caused some...misinterpretation on your part).  A good example is that we don't see the former Winter Knight with Lawbreakers in OW.  The only ones we see with Lawbreakers also have mortal magic.  Oh, and Mavra's entry doesn't say anything about Lawbreaker despite her having some pretty dark magic (so dark Harry comments upon it).  And there's a whole paragraph talking about the ambiguity of the "positive refresh rule" and how its only "one way" to interpret things.

The former Winter Knight doesn't need to have Lawbreaker.  He's an NPC.  NPCs very clearly do not need to follow the rules that PCs do.  An NPC only needs a given ability if it is significant enough for them to have.  If they don't feel the former Winter Knight's lawbreaking is meaningful enough, then there's no need to write him up with this.  There are tons of places where they talk about how NPCs can break the rules in general both in the books and out.  The same is true, of course, with Mavra.  It is very sensible for a GM or a game designer to decide an NPC is more interesting with refresh spent elsewhere.

I'm not pretending anything, so stop being so offensive.  The rules talk about "true black magic." Oh, and the series of stickies on YS236:

First, I'm not being offensive, so calm down.  I'm neither being nice nor mean.  Second, again, those sidebars are clearly talking about the Laws of Magic as enforced by Wardens, not the Laws of Magic as physical laws of the Universe.  The two things are distinctly different in the rules even if they are both referred to as "The Laws of Magic".

Not arguing about mechanics. The GM can use whatever they want to represent their vision however they feel it should be. That's not really a great argument for how it should be always, and isn't really applicable to the OP.

Well, that's why I said positive refresh is a good principle to go by, generally.    Note that the GM determines what enemies have positive refresh and which ones don't.  Generally, it seems like anything that isn't human will have negative refresh, though exceptions certainly exist (like angels and even the rare other creature).

See InFerrum's sticky. GM Fiat can do whatever, but the rules say mortal spellcasters.

The rules say mortal casters with regards to Warden enforcement, not with regards to reality sticking you with Lawbreaker.  The rules also explicitly say these two things are different.

Belief is part of the equation, however if you read some of what Jim has said about the laws you realize that these are actual physical laws. Laws of the universe if you will. When you use your magic to change the universe in these ways it changes you. Physically (or metaphysically). If you accidentally kill someone with magic it doesn't matter if you believed you had the right to do it or not. Someone's dead and you used your innermost being to do it. Lawbreaker.

The weapon definitely matters too. This doesn't happen with a gun or a knife, even if you believe you have the right to take a life, no lawbreaker. This only happens with magic. The way I see it sponsored magic isn't that sacred part of you, thus it doesn't work the same.

Agreed.  I have read what Jim has said.

I can agree that there's definitely evidence to support either side. This is the way I choose to view it. There's intentionally some leeway in the text so that each table can decide what kind of game they want to play. Do you want to play a game where the laws are brutal and it's all too easy to slip up and wind up in a dark place? Great, do that. Do you want to play a fast and loose action game where everything explodes and it doesn't matter at all? Have fun.

I think we can all agree the rules pretty clearly say there are the Rules of Reality Laws of Magic and the Rules of the Council Laws of Magic.  The latter only applies to mortal casters, no question.  Reality punches anyone with free will in the face, but this is a term that cannot be properly defined.  However, any player by definition of the system has free will, so he should get hit in the face.  Note that despite the capacity to play non-humans in the system, the rules on breaking laws always says "players this" and "players that."  It doesn't say "humans", "mortals", or the like, and is all about players.  The only exception to this is when talking about the Council enforcing their own consequences to law breaking.  To me this is pretty clear.

As a random side note, this is a really unpopular opinion but I've always thought that the way we see soulfire today is only because it's viewed through a wizard's bias. Why wouldn't someone be able to directly access the fires of creation themselves (I.E. not their soul, but the source of souls) and manipulate them in any number of different ways (I.E. not fire or force, like a certain someone). Then again the agenda of the sponsor with soulfire is such that I would think that it would be tough to break a lot of the laws anyway.

There are of course multiple ways you could go about it.  In the game it seems pretty clear Soulfire uses up your own soulstuff, as opposed to you being given soulstuff from someone else.  I suppose one way you could go is use whatever makes for a more interesting debt system.

Anyhow, regarding the OP, here's how I'd go with it.
   
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You are a vamp wizard using your vampire powers to kill someone. Break any laws?  What about the same vamp using wizardry to kill someone
Using Vampire powers?  No.  Using magic?  If you are a PC, you get Lawbreaker.  In the latter case, the Council will not come after you for breaking the law per se (e.g. if they come after you it isn't because they are being cops, more like an act of war or the like).
   
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You've made a thrall with your natural powers. Now you use wizardry to do some specific tinkering. Do they have enough mind left to count for the mental law?
I'd say if they still have any sense of self or mind, then screwing around with their brain gets you Lawbreaker.  If you get them to the point where they are no better than an animal, then you wouldn't.
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    Can you use wizardry to feed? Say using magic to induce the appropriate emotion, or just to rip out psychic energy for a white court.  Does using magic affect your Hunger?
You could certainly use Wizardry to help yourself out and create emotions to feed on.
Hmm, you could even probably make a Thaumaturgic ritual to feed off of a given emotion in an area.  That actual might be a good way to handle things.  Why incite an emotion if you make a big ritual and feed off all the stray lust in an apartment building or something?  You don't have to even adjust anyone's emotions this way, I'd say.  Great tool for the Ethical White Court Vampire, I think, but it only works for wizards, unfortunately.  Anyhow, no Lawbreaking is inherent here, though inciting an emotion, if you go that route, is on the edge (but it isn't making a thrall).

Offline sinker

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2011, 10:45:16 PM »
The former Winter Knight doesn't need to have Lawbreaker.  He's an NPC.  NPCs very clearly do not need to follow the rules that PCs do.  An NPC only needs a given ability if it is significant enough for them to have.  If they don't feel the former Winter Knight's lawbreaking is meaningful enough, then there's no need to write him up with this.  There are tons of places where they talk about how NPCs can break the rules in general both in the books and out.  The same is true, of course, with Mavra.  It is very sensible for a GM or a game designer to decide an NPC is more interesting with refresh spent elsewhere.

This is an issue I have. Saying that the GM can do whatever they want is not a good argument to prove anything. Yes, the GM can do what ever they want. They can always do whatever they want. That's how being a GM works (within reason and in the table's best interest of course). However think about it this way. Our World is there to show us how things work. Why would evilhat intentionally distort the system in their only example? Why would they show us how to do it wrong, with no other example of how to do it?

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The rules say mortal casters with regards to Warden enforcement, not with regards to reality sticking you with Lawbreaker.  The rules also explicitly say these two things are different.

The rules say literally "Technically, the Laws of Magic only apply to mortal spellcasters." Billy goes on to talk about politics, however sometimes people infer specific meaning from something that may or may not be there and then discuss that specific point without looking any other possible meaning or understanding. Reminds me of something else...

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There are of course multiple ways you could go about it.  In the game it seems pretty clear Soulfire uses up your own soulstuff, as opposed to you being given soulstuff from someone else.  I suppose one way you could go is use whatever makes for a more interesting debt system.

Actually in the books it is clear. In the game however they actually make a point of telling us that they don't know the full capacity or workings of soulfire because all we've ever seen has been through one set of eyes. Read the whole description of soulfire on YS292 and tell me that you have a complete understanding of what soulfire entails from that...

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    Using Vampire powers?  No.  Using magic?  If you are a PC, you get Lawbreaker.  In the latter case, the Council will not come after you for breaking the law per se (e.g. if they come after you it isn't because they are being cops, more like an act of war or the like).

And here's where we come to the real crux of my problem. The vampire gets lawbreaker. A vampire is a predator, a killer. What happens if a vampire breaks the first law? He becomes twisted into... a predator? When you are naturally a killer then what does it matter if you believe it's your right to kill or if the universe has made you a killer? That's already present.

Anyway, it's clear that you have your opinion and we have ours, further discussion may not be beneficial...

Offline Drachasor

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2011, 11:17:51 PM »
This is an issue I have. Saying that the GM can do whatever they want is not a good argument to prove anything. Yes, the GM can do what ever they want. They can always do whatever they want. That's how being a GM works (within reason and in the table's best interest of course). However think about it this way. Our World is there to show us how things work. Why would evilhat intentionally distort the system in their only example? Why would they show us how to do it wrong, with no other example of how to do it?

The game book is clear about how the GM doesn't need to follow the CHARACTER creation rules with regards to enemies.  The people who made the RPG books have repeatedly said the same thing.  It's not distorting the system at all, but using it as they intended it to be used.

The rules say literally "Technically, the Laws of Magic only apply to mortal spellcasters." Billy goes on to talk about politics, however sometimes people infer specific meaning from something that may or may not be there and then discuss that specific point without looking any other possible meaning or understanding. Reminds me of something else...

The fact that the only time they ever talk about "mortal spellcasters" with regards to the Laws of Magic is when they are talking about Warden Enforcement says a lot.  When they are talking about them as a physical law, then they don't care.

Actually in the books it is clear. In the game however they actually make a point of telling us that they don't know the full capacity or workings of soulfire because all we've ever seen has been through one set of eyes. Read the whole description of soulfire on YS292 and tell me that you have a complete understanding of what soulfire entails from that...

Granted, I mispoke there.  The novels are clear, the game isn't  -- I'd really argue the game definition is a pretty poor fit for the novels even.

And here's where we come to the real crux of my problem. The vampire gets lawbreaker. A vampire is a predator, a killer. What happens if a vampire breaks the first law? He becomes twisted into... a predator? When you are naturally a killer then what does it matter if you believe it's your right to kill or if the universe has made you a killer? That's already present.

A RCV being a player is already something highly, highly unusual.  At that point you've already tossed the normal rules out the window (so to speak).  Using logic that would work on a standard RCV on one that would be highly non-standard doesn't make a lot of sense.  Again, I'm not saying that ANY RCV would get Lawbreaker here, I am just saying a PLAYER RCV would, since the rules seem to clearly spell out that Lawbreaker is for players.

Offline sinker

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2011, 11:30:50 PM »
So tempted to point out contradictory argument....

But I bow out. You have many points. Your argument has merit, but at this point you are not introducing anything that would convince me and I clearly can't convince you. I would just be arguing for the sake of arguing.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 11:44:10 PM by sinker »

Offline InFerrumVeritas

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2011, 11:42:36 PM »
I can understand how you read the sidebar as applying only to the Council's enforcement of the laws.  However, I disagree.  I read it as applying to the laws in general.  That being said, the sidebar is there to clarify something.  It's just not clear (you may see a clear interpretation but the fact that others have other interpretations that do not have a direct refutation within the books themselves, except one which is also open to interpretation and may actually be the point the sidebar is there to clarify).  Both interpretations are valid.  I, obviously, find mine to make more sense, but you clearly (and understandably) find yours preferable. 

Offline zenten

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2011, 03:26:59 PM »
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A RCV being a player is already something highly, highly unusual.  At that point you've already tossed the normal rules out the window (so to speak).  Using logic that would work on a standard RCV on one that would be highly non-standard doesn't make a lot of sense.  Again, I'm not saying that ANY RCV would get Lawbreaker here, I am just saying a PLAYER RCV would, since the rules seem to clearly spell out that Lawbreaker is for players.

By the rules, RCV PCs don't exist.  So a RCV PC can't get Lawbreaker, because there's no such thing as a RCV PC.  Now if you house rule things to allow a RCV PC then you also have to create a house rule to say one way or the other if a RCV PC can get Lawbreaker.

Offline Drachasor

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2011, 03:52:28 PM »
So tempted to point out contradictory argument....

But I bow out. You have many points. Your argument has merit, but at this point you are not introducing anything that would convince me and I clearly can't convince you. I would just be arguing for the sake of arguing.

I will agree to disagree as well.

Offline tymire

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2011, 09:47:10 PM »
Btw you could substitue "does it have a soul" instead of "does it have free will" as an alternate viewpoint.  Than at that point you are putting your soul into contact with whatever breaks the laws.  It would also explain why you are free to kill fey/demons/whatever with mortal magic as what you are killing doesn't have a soul, and would be the same as taking a baseball bat to a window.  *Shrug* as mentioned it's fairly unclear as written and even though there are a ton of these discussions/arguements/cussing I myself perfer it that way as the gms have more of an option to do what they want.

Offline Becq

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Re: Monsters using magic
« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2011, 11:14:11 PM »
The following is speculation, based on my own interpretation of minor hints in the rules:

There is a lot of mention of souls throughout the discussion of Black Magic, and it seems clear that destruction done to the soul of the target is of central importance when determining Lawbreaking.  In addition, the effects of Lawbreaking are described in terms of a stain on the Lawbreaker's soul.  So perhaps that the answer to this discussion lies in that?  I.e., the effects of Lawbreaking are, basically, to corrupt the wielder's soul, making them less human.  This assumes the presence of a soul/humanity to begin with -- monsters have neither humanity nor a soul, and as such are immune to the corrupting influence of Lawbreaking.