[Proposal] Clarification of Experience Cost Variation and Rotes

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Proposal Type: Bylaw Revision
Opened: 15-Jun-2017 12:00AM EDT
Closing: 22-Jun-2017 12:00AM EDT

Pursuant to Coordinator bylaw §3.C.iii, as the Mage Coordinator, I, Jason Place, propose the following:




FIRST, that Character bylaws 3.d shall be modified as follows:



d. The standard baseline for OWbN XP costs are the ones detailed in the official material published by White Wolf.

i. Reasonable variations due to house rules or regional preferences for rules regarding Backgrounds are allowed as long as noted in the Chronicle's House Rules available in the OWbN website.



d. The standard baseline for OWbN XP costs are the ones detailed in the most recent printing of the classic MET material published by White Wolf.  In general, this means revised classic MET, though in the cases of games that did not get a revised printing (Changeling, Wraith, etc) the previous edition is used.

i. Variations from the standard XP cost are allowable for the following items:

1. Backgrounds (including Influences)


2. Rotes

ii. Variations must be noted in the game's House Rules.


SECOND, that Storytellers are explicitly allowed to recalculate the experience totals of their games' characters in order to bring them into line with XP variations.






First, the previous bylaw was ambiguous at best, this clarifies the matter to ensure that there is no room for misinterpretation of intent due to grammar.


Second, as to Rotes specifically - the effect of rotes in the Laws of Ascension setting is essentially to remove the 1 trait difficulty increase that comes along with fast-casting (Fast Casting being defined as casting an effect without knowing it as a rote).  The advantage gained by knowing a rote is minimal although not negligible - in some ways, it is similar to an ability specialization for a specific magical effect.


The rules as written in Laws of Ascension specify that rotes cost 1 XP per Sphere level in the effect.  This can be interpreted in two ways (with the first being the more likely).


1) Forces 3 plus Prime 3 plus Matter 2 is 8 different sphere levels (3 + 3 + 2 = 8).

2) Forces 3 plus Prime 3 plus Matter 2 is 3 different sphere levels (3 instances of First basic, 3 instances of Second basic, 2 instances of First intermediate = 3 total levels present).


In the first case, the rote would cost 8 experience, as much as an intermediate Sphere.  In the second case, the rote would cost 3 experience, nearly as much as a basic level sphere.  


Obviously, there is a vast difference between those two interpretations of the language, but even then, the cost for a rote is high.  There is no cost for rotes at all in tabletop, for example.  But even spending 3 experience points for a 1 trait advantage on a specific effect is not really in line with the intent of the dynamic magic system.


In addition, the standard of 1xp per rote is already present in many, if not most Mage games in the organization and I believe it is the de facto standard.


While not strictly necessary, I include the second part of this proposal to illustrate that characters who have existed in games that have used one of the two book cost interpretations need not be at a permanent disadvantage due to their STs reading the ambiguous bylaw differently.


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