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TOPIC: Mys­te­ri­arch Build Suggestions

Mys­te­ri­arch Build Sug­ges­tions 3 years 3 days ago #3729

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Hey party peo­ple, how would you guys sug­gest Pri­or­i­tiz­ing a Mys­te­ri­arch char­ac­ter? Pre­sum­ing one starts with an A in sor­cery, where does one go from there? I’m curi­ous what oth­ers suggest.
Last Edit: 3 years 3 days ago by Face­plant.
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Mys­te­ri­arch Build Sug­ges­tions 3 years 2 days ago #3730

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Well, briefly put you won’t be able to cre­ate a super-​powerful sor­cerer with this Pick with­out the use of Karma.

The Myte­ri­arch Pick gives a sor­cerer the poten­tial to great­ness — acess to Arcane Secrets and all Mys­ter­ies as well as low TNs — but with­out a very decent num­ber of Pro­fi­cieny and Attribute points to back this up he won’t go far. At first, that is.

That said, Sor­cery, Pro­fi­ciency and Attrib­utes are the most impor­tant Picks to play a pow­er­ful sor­cerer. Which you will be able to do right out of the door only with the bonus Pri­or­i­ties you get from a decent num­ber of Karma.
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Mys­te­ri­arch Build Sug­ges­tions 2 years 9 months ago #3772

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From my play expe­ri­ence, I agree that the most impor­tant areas for a Mys­te­ri­arch (which auto­mat­i­cally means an A pick in Sor­cery) are Attrib­utes (BN, SY and TY, which con­tribute to your sor­cery Pool) and Pro­fi­cien­cies — but remem­ber that Cul­ture affects your attrib­utes too.

On Pro­fi­cien­cies: Unfor­tu­nately, the path to sor­cery is a bit more inten­sive in Pro­fi­ciency require­ments than sword­play, because each mys­tery uses its own, they don’t default to each other, and you can’t put more than half of your start­ing points in Greater Mys­ter­ies. So even with a high pick in Pro­fi­cien­cies (B, or for a 91+ Karma char­ac­ter, A) any start­ing char­ac­ter will feel “short” on pro­fi­ciency points. In fact, the same level of pro­fi­ciency you can cre­ate assign­ing a high pick to Pro­fi­cien­cies is rel­a­tively easy to achieve in play over a few ses­sions. So, my sug­ges­tion is: pri­or­i­tize Attrib­utes over Pro­fi­cien­cies, and *spe­cial­ize* on a sin­gle Lesser Mys­tery, or a Greater Mys­tery and a sin­gle Lesser Mys­tery, spend­ing your Pas­sions in play to pro­gres­sively broaden and boost your Mys­tery scores in play.

On Attrib­utes and Cul­ture: As I said, for a Mys­te­ri­arch Attrib­utes are the most impor­tant area (after Sor­cery, obvi­ously), but Note that tak­ing a B in cul­ture and a C in Attrib­utes gives you as many Attribute points as tak­ing a B directly in Attrib­utes (29 — say 8SY, 8TY, 5BN, 4HT, 2CG, 2DG), so you might con­sider going for (B Cul­ture, C Attrib­utes) or (B Attrib­utes, D Cul­ture). By the same token, think care­fully about choos­ing E or F for Cul­ture, since you will lose Attribute points, and you might get capped in an impor­tant Attribute (TY) even if you have the points to pay for it. Of course, deca­dent sor­cer­ers are a trope, so you might want to sac­ri­fice a lit­tle mechan­i­cal opti­miza­tion for con­cept…

On skills: As a ded­i­cated sor­cerer, you don’t need much in the way of skills, and with high attrib­utes in SY and TY you can be pretty decent at a lot of stuff you’d expect sor­cer­ers to do (the one excep­tion is Occultism, which is really really use­ful if you are a demon sum­moner) so you can give these low pri­or­ity, pos­si­bly an E, or even an F. But there are some con­cepts — the Seduc­tive Sor­cer­ess, for exam­ple — where a few high skills make a lot of sense, so you might want to boost your skill pick as high as it goes after choos­ing Attrib­utes and Cul­ture, pos­si­bly even above pro­fi­cien­cies.

On Assets: Assets are a great can­di­date for an F pick for a ded­i­cated sor­cerer — tra­di­tion­ally those who dab­ble in Arcane stuff tend to be eccen­tric or out­right crazy, have a lot of ene­mies, an unusual phys­i­cal appear­ance, etc. It’s a lot of fun to explore these weak­nesses in a char­ac­ter as Poor Assets, and even­tu­ally buy their Good ver­sions. Remem­ber that even with an F pick, you can always get an extra Good Asset if you take an extra Poor Asset. An excel­lent choice for the Good Asset is to be Spell-​Gifted in the Mys­tery you are spe­cial­iz­ing.

A gen­eral piece of advice that applies to any char­ac­ter, not just sor­cer­ous ones, is that Blade favours start­ing char­ac­ters with a few high scores over char­ac­ters with many mid­dling scores, because 1 point of Skills/​Attributes/​Proficiencies costs the same regard­less of whether it brings you from 1 to 2 or from 7 to 8 — but in play going from 7 to 8 is far, far more expen­sive. And this is a good thing, because it encour­ages heroic char­ac­ters with deep flaws!
Last Edit: 2 years 9 months ago by babayaga.
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Mys­te­ri­arch Build Sug­ges­tions 2 years 9 months ago #3775

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Here’s my take on a Mys­ter­yarch. I call him Thulsa Ram, the har­bin­ger of doom. He’s pretty scary actu­ally.

His pri­or­i­ties:
Mys­te­ri­arch – A
Pro­fi­ciency – B
Assets – C
Attrib­utes – D
Cul­ture – E
Skills – F

Atributes(241 from deca­dent)
Brawn: 7
Dar­ing: 3
Cun­ing 4
Tenac­ity: 4
Sagacity:4
Heart: 1 (of course)
Ref: 4
Aim: 4
KD: 5
KO: 6
MV: 5
Power: 5


Cul­ture: gave –1 to TY, mean­ing he never gets that much TY, not that it needs any­way. Instead of get­ting another –1 to BW, he instead picks a men­tal flaw. Lets go with hal­lu­ci­nat­ing because that’s always hilar­i­ous.

Mys­te­ri­arch gave +1 prof. Pro­fi­ciency at B gave 11 points, so 12 points total
Here’s the mys­ter­ies he knows (I per­son­ally like enslave­ment bet­ter, but you could work with another if you like)
Enslave­ment = 6
Curs­ing = 1
Witch­fire = 1
Goety = 2
Necro­mancy = 2

(Or Enslave­ment 8, goety 2, necro 2, see more at post scrip­tum notes)

Since a sor­cerer gets a bonus to its pool based on num­ber of known mys­ter­ies (capped at high­est mys­tery) he gets 5 extra points as a bonus to his pool.

So, when he’s enslav­ing he has power 5 + prof 6 + bonus 5, for a total of 16 SP. Not that shabby. For one of his greater mys­ter­ies (see more below) he uses 5+2+5 = for an SP of 12

Assets: I don’t believe there’s ever many rea­sons to NOT pick Dreaded. It’s good for archers, great for fight­ers and impres­sive for sor­cer­ers.
DREADED:
Good: In com­bat, your ene­mies are
only allowed to declare as aggres­sors
in the first Round if they pay an Acti­va­tion Cost equal to half your DG. Offen­sive
Maneu­vers exe­cuted against you require 1 addi­tional Acti­va­tion Cost (min­i­mum 1). All your
hos­tile sor­ceries are resisted at +1 TN by tar­gets who are aware of them. You take a –1 TN
mod­i­fier to intim­i­da­tion Checks.
Poor: In com­bat, hos­tiles will always
sin­gle you out as a pri­mary tar­get for imme­di­ate elim­i­na­tion. Take a +2 TN mod­i­fier
for friendly social inter­ac­tion with peo­ple not
closely acquainted with you

So, that’s a beefy resis­tance while in close com­bat, to give you time to pull a trick or two AND you get to be less resisted.

Since we only have 1 Asset with a C pick, lets go ahead and pick the bad aspect of dreaded so we can get another. Because you’re already a sor­cerer you already gets picked on nat­u­rally, at least lets get some­thing in return :) the +2TN to social inter­ac­tion isn’t a big­gie either, since you are a mys­ter­yarch you don’t want peo­ple to like you, you want them to fear and obey you.

As the sec­ond asset, lets of course get:
Spell-​gifted — The char­ac­ter has a
spe­cial flair for a cer­tain sor­cer­ous
Mys­tery – and per­haps for noth­ing other than the one Mys­tery.
This Asset may only be cho­sen
for char­ac­ters cre­ated with
an A-​C Sor­cery Pri­or­ity.
Good: Hav­ing cho­sen a par­tic­u­lar Greater or Lesser Mys­tery, you
take –2 TN when using that
Mystery.

w00t! That’s a –2TN in top of your 6TN as Mys­ter­awe­some for an impres­sive 4Tn to pull tricks.

Now, for last but not least, you get to pick one arcane secret: Of course we’re gonna pick hand of doom. Hands down the most pow­er­ful secret to bend iron and flesh to your will.
Hand of doom needs goety and necro­mancy and uses the worse of the two (hence why they are both at 2). Now, we either make spell gifted go to enslav­ment so you can jedi mind trick your away into the throne seat OR you can use it for either goety or necro­mancy. Per­son­ally i’d go for Goety as you get to sum­mon pow­er­ful demons later.

The neat thing about Hand of Doom, is that you ALWAYS cause pain to an adver­sary equal to your SP used (12 pain), even if you lose the check (but you’re not gonna to, at 4TN and ene­mies at +1TN to resist you). If — or more likely when — you win the check, you sim­ply rip of a heart. Or eyes if you feel prank­ish.

What I like about enslave­ment is how you can, besides mind-​tricking every­one, get some­one to fight for you. Then, as a sec­ond action, you just Mola Ram the hell out of another. If no one is at your feets wor­ship­ping you by then, noth­ing ever will. Well, maybe, you do get to sum­mon dev­ils, remem­ber?


Notes: While hav­ing high attrib­utes is always a strong urge, it pays to approach new vec­tors such going either for skills or pro­fi­cien­cies. With 29 attribute points (either by B-​C cul­ture or attribute) you’re at most get­ting 7 power. 8 at the expense of every­thing else. By rely­ing less on attribute you can go for a more aver­age score and get about 36 more dice on your pool, plus 2 good assets instead of 3 bad ones.

Take not that this is a “com­bat build” sort of char­ac­ter. That’s why I chose enslave­ment and hand of doom, both which are one of the few spells that can be made in a pinch or com­bat sce­nario. If you have other themes in mind, its a whole another ordeal. The gist tho is actu­ally ditch­ing attribute and cul­ture and focus­ing on pro­fi­ciency and bonus dice from known mys­ter­ies. Remem­ber: A sor­cerer can get up to 6 bonus at the expense of a great mys­tery or 4 if he gets access to. A dab­bler merely knows 2 mys­ter­ies so he only gets 2 bonus dice, but a mys­ter­yarch can always get up to 8 bonus dice to his pool. Use that. Don’t for­get about spell-​gifted. It’s a must get.



PS: If the ref­eree agrees (as I did to my play­ers) I allow them to spend their start­ing pas­sion points (7) at char­gen, so that could mean that you can buy another mys­tery at level 1 for 1 point (increas­ing your syn­ergy pool bonus to 6).OR BET­TER YET: Make your start­ing Enslave­ment 8 (8pp in enslave­ment and 2 in goety and 2 in necro­mancy) and then pro­ceed to buy 1 point in all other mys­ter­ies for 1 start­ing pas­sion each (cost­ing total 5 points). Now, that means the bonus to your pool is a stag­ger­ing 8. 8 dice, just from a bonus. That means your enslave­ment pool is 5+8+8 (or 5+8+7 depend­ing on how you inter­pret the rules)… 2120. TWENTY+ dice AT 4TN at the start of the game! Or 5+2+8, 15@4 frig­ging dice to rip the hearts of peo­ple.

PPS.: I’m sure there should be a way to min-​max this a bit more, squeez­ing a point or two, like get­ting more DG instead of CG so your dreaded is bet­ter. But hav­ing just spent less time build­ing up this guy than edit­ing this post, i’m already feel­ing cheap enough. So, con­trary to all you guys, bar­ring a pos­si­ble mis­un­der­stand­ing of the rules from my part, It seems mys­ter­yarch char­ac­ters aren’t that weak at the beg­gin­ing, at all!!

PPPS: Speak­ing of sor­cery, I’ve just real­ized that i’ve just joined babayaga in a necro­mancy act!
Last Edit: 2 years 9 months ago by Anarak.
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Mys­te­ri­arch Build Sug­ges­tions 2 years 8 months ago #3781

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Thanks for tak­ing the time to share, Anarak!

Anarak wrote:
I per­son­ally like enslave­ment bet­ter, but you could work with another if you like

Also my per­sonal favourite. :P Hard to beat in terms of ver­sa­til­ity and sheer cool­ness. Though I find that the immense power of Necro­mancy is often over­looked. It allows the sor­cerer to find out absolutely every­thing. If knowl­edge really is power, he rules supreme. Black­mail, baby. If he is sor­cer­ously pow­er­ful enough to sage­guard against assas­si­na­tion, lords and princes are at his feet.

Anarak wrote:
I don’t believe there’s ever many rea­sons to NOT pick Dreaded.

I love it, too. And of course it is entirely appro­pri­ate for most of the badasses that Blade PCs are. A minor cau­tion­ing is just that, much as we approve of min-​maxing for Blade PCs, Dreaded should always be reflected by the type of PC. So, speak­ing of sor­cer­ers, the guy either has to be a leg­endary baddy whose very name gives every­body the creeps, or exude an air of men­ace that does the same. If either fits your vision of the PC, go right ahead!

Anarak wrote:
Of course we’re gonna pick hand of doom. Hands down the most pow­er­ful secret to bend iron and flesh to your will.

And let’s not for­get sheer cool­ness of the effect. “I think I will take your heart, Kerim Shah” (One karma to the first who can name the ori­gin of that quote.) If the com­pan­ions of some­body who falls vic­tim to Hand of Doom do not crap their pants that game’s ref isn’t worth his salt!


Anarak wrote:
Since a sor­cerer gets a bonus to its pool based on num­ber of known mys­ter­ies (capped at high­est mys­tery) he gets 5 extra points as a bonus to his pool.

This is where you go wrong, unfor­tu­nately. Think back to high school math­e­mat­ics. The bonus equal to the num­ber of Myter­ies known is added before divid­ing by 3, not after, so Power is smaller than you cal­cu­late.

But:

I could start ram­bling about game design prin­ci­ples and how the Sor­cery Pri­or­ity Pick is more about future effec­tive­ness instead of imme­di­ate effec­tive­ness and thus dif­fer­ent from all oth­ers and thus not in line with them, but in short: The Sor­cery Pri­or­ity Pick needs to be amended. This amend­ment is:

C: +1 Pro­fi­ciency points to spend on Mys­ter­ies
B: +3 Pro­fi­ciency points to spend on Mys­ter­ies
A: +6 Pro­fi­ciency points to spend on Mys­ter­ies (instead of, not on top of the cur­rent +1)

So Mola Ram would have less Power than you cal­cu­late, but 5 more Mys­tery points. None too shabby.
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-​colored sun
Of secret worlds incred­i­ble, and take
Their trail­ing skies for vest­ment when I soar.

Clark Ash­ton Smith, The Hashish Eater or The Apoc­a­lypse of Evil
Last Edit: 2 years 8 months ago by Michael.
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Mys­te­ri­arch Build Sug­ges­tions 2 years 8 months ago #3782

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This is where you go wrong, unfor­tu­nately. Think back to high school math­e­mat­ics. The bonus equal to the num­ber of Myter­ies known is added before divid­ing by 3, not after, so Power is smaller than you calculate.

But-​, Do yo-​, No-​… Opsie. I guess my pow­er­mon­ger­ing got the best of me hehehe

Glad on that amend­ment though, makes more of an incen­tive, spe­cially on short adventures.
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Mys­te­ri­arch Build Sug­ges­tions 2 years 8 months ago #3783

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Michael wrote:
And let’s not for­get sheer cool­ness of the effect. “I think I will take your heart, Kerim Shah” (One karma to the first who can name the ori­gin of that quote.)

Why, the Peo­ple of the Black Cir­cle, of course :)
I think that’s the first exam­ple in the lit­er­a­ture of the “Hand of Doom” effect, which even­tu­ally became a much copied cliche.

I think all the Arcane Secrets in Blade are immensely cool, and can make for truly mem­o­rable sor­cer­ers.
The “big nasty effect on a large region” (Blight, Firestorm, Plague Wind, Shake the Bones of the Earth) are a bit less inter­est­ing for player char­ac­ters, but the rest… I am hard pressed to find a favourite. Pos­si­bly either Bind the Soul, or Mould the Flesh. Or Por­tal. Or Whis­per My Name in Fear. Ah, so hard to choose! Because, really, the (sur­pris­ingly few) peo­ple I’ve met who know and praise Blade (e.g. in forums such as rpg​.net) all tend to talk about how great it is in terms of com­bat, and nobody talks about the sor­cery part — while I think there is no game out there that rep­re­sents sor­cery so faith­fully to the Sword and Sor­cery genre. And it’s all the more note­wor­thy because sor­cery is one of the areas in which Blade most departs from TRoS.

I am not sure I like the Sor­cery Pick amend­ment: it makes it even less worth­while tak­ing high pro­fi­ciency picks and low­ish (B or C) sor­cery picks, which right now does (if barely) make sense if you want a sor­cerer that’s really, really good at one Mys­tery right from the start.
Last Edit: 2 years 8 months ago by babayaga.
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Mys­te­ri­arch Build Sug­ges­tions 2 years 8 months ago #3784

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babayaga wrote:
I am not sure I like the Sor­cery Pick amend­ment: it makes it even less worth­while tak­ing high pro­fi­ciency picks and low­ish (B or C) sor­cery picks, which right now does (if barely) make sense if you want a sor­cerer that’s really, really good at one Mys­tery right from the start.

It sitll makes sense for a spell­blade type of char­ac­ter, or some­one who’s really good at some­thing else (be it assets, or weapon pro­fi­cien­cies or skills) and still able to throw a trick or two. For exam­ple if you pick C in magic and an A or B in either attrib­utes and pro­fi­cien­cies, you can still be one hell of a sword­mas­ter (in fact, one of the best in the world) and still be able to do a jedi mind trick or two, both for com­bat and out of com­bat sit­u­a­tions (*cof*enslavment*cof*). With an A in prof and C in sor­cery you have 17 prof points to dis­trib­ute. Say 1112 on a com­bat style and 65 on enslave, for a 16~ com­bat pool and a 12~ sor­cery pool (or any­thing inbe­tween).

Gotta remem­ber that even C and Bs get access to the Power attribute, which is immensely help­full against sor­cery, as you can use Power to sub­sti­tute an weaker attribute to resist most sor­cery, or to boost against some of the mis­ter­ies that give bonus accord­ing to power (such as witch­fire).

That said, per­haps a +2 /​+4 /​+6 could work aswell? Or +1, +2, +3, if you are feel­ing stingy. I know, its not the usual pro­gres­sion for picks, but you gota fac­tor the TNs into the mix too.
Last Edit: 2 years 8 months ago by Anarak.
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Mys­te­ri­arch Build Sug­ges­tions 2 years 8 months ago #3785

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I gotta agree with sor­cery being down­played when in fact it’s one of the best writ­ten rules out there, at least for a S&S set­ting. They really have a weight in it instead of, say, blunt stats thrown around in count­less lists of sim­i­lar typed spells(cof*d&d*cof*) (sorry, i’ve got a lit­tle cold). The fact that the suc­cess degree mechanic accounts for lit­er­ally dozens of dif­fer­ent spells is a big plus, instead of lit­ter­ing your sheet with redun­dant effects.
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