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Manifest Power Creation

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To put it simply, my favorite mechanic in TtB- after the Crossroads Tarot- is creating Manifest Powers.  Because there ISN’T a mechanic.  There shouldn’t be.  Wyrd doesn’t know what kind of characters my players want to ultimately play- It’s an evolution.



Didn't want to derail the original thread so posted a new one.


Just wanted to say there is a mechanic for creating manifest powers. Via fluff, a manifest power appears to be the magic in Malifaux 'seeping' into the Fated, or maybe them becoming more attuned to the magic of Malifaux as they move further along their Destiny.


At any rate fluff aside the manifest powers are just spell like effects that are created using the spell creation system. details for it are found on p 228 Fated Almanac.


Don't have a problem if FM's want to do things differently in their own games but just wanted to point out that a mechanic does exist and it does have rules on how they are created and used by the Fated. Although it is a chance for your players imaginations to run wild.


Example from our game, our friendly Tinkerer is considering making my Fated a pneumatic weapon that crackles with lightning. Because that's impossible to create using crafting alone he's going to create a custom bludgeon (mace) with the pneumatic custom upgrade and I'm looking at getting the following manifest power if the FM agrees.


Spell: Elemental Strike. (TN 3 :tome) Dam 1/2/3, 2 :melee


Alteration Immuto: Focused Object (-3TN) (Commonality: Hammer held in 1 hand (TN -1), Object must be specifically crafted (TN -2)), Ignore Caster (TN +2), Blast 0/ :blast/ :blast(TN +4).

Augmentation Immuto: Increase AP +1 (TN -3), Increased Damage 3/4/5 (TN +4), Reduce Severity (-3).

Elemental Immuto: Electrical (TN +3)


Final result is:

Manifest Power: Thunderous Strike (Focus: Custom pneumatic hammer): 2AP TN 7 :tome (Using Might + Melee and can use combat talents), Resist Df, Range 3 :melee (Character has Wall of Muscle General talent increases melee range from 2 :melee to 3 :melee) Dam 3/4 :blast/4 :blast ignoring armour.


Having said all that a FM in another game did devise a magia that allowed my Fated to detect Neverborn with a special sight as a Manifested Power. When activated it does mess up my ability to see things normally as the world appears all hazy or like I'm underwater but he can see an aura around the Neverborn. It was a package deal the FM designed using the same system but with his own starting magia which was offered to me based on where our story was taking the group, while limited in application it has been useful for his stories.






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That was my comment, so I'll take the time to defend it.


The rules for creating a Manifest Power are, as you say, on pg. 228.  Here's some of what that rule says:


"Manifested Powers are created in much the same way as casting spells (by combining spell elements)... Manifested Powers can never be changed, but are effectively abilities that a character has available at all times."


Ok, so this supports your argument-  the Manifest Power is like a spell, but isn't.  It's sort of like having Mastered Magia and Mastered Immuto that you can only use in some static combination.  Let's read on.


"Unlike Casting a spell, a Manifest Power has no restrictions on what spell elements may be selected..."


Okayyy. So, wait, what restrictions are we talking about?  The restriction on only taking one Genus or Elemental Immuto (or two for Balanced 5)?  Let's assume that's what they mean.


"The character is free to create the spell from any spell elements, not just those that might be in a Grimoire."


And that's where the wheels fall off.  What kind of a spell element "might not be in a grimoire"?  Couldn't ANY Magia or Immuto from the book potentially be in a Grimoire?


This is how I read that rule: "Feel free to make up your own Magia and Immuto".


And this is why I say it isn't a "mechanic".  A mechanic is a designed feature of the game that creates a set of rules. It's meant to preserve balance.  Creating Spells follows a specific "mechanic" in that it uses a skill and an aspect to create a spell duel that has a set effect based on a set TN.  The possible combinations are limited by the player's grimoire and the Magia and Immuto they've mastered.  The player is more or less in control.


Manifest Powers have no such restrictions. The FM is in control.  You could create any combination of Magia and Immuto, regardless of how broken.  If that weren't enough, if you tire of the Magia and Immuto in the book you can make your own out of thin air.  That means the FM is effectively setting the TN of the ability- including the suit requirement and Aspect/Skill used to create the AV.


Page 228 provides a "blueprint"- a suggestion of how one might cobble together a Manifest power.  They even give an example.  But for something that's mentioned throughout the book, the three paragraphs that describe Manifest Powers are light on "mechanics" and big on ambiguity.


And I think this was intended, and actually brilliant.  Manifest Powers make for an awesome Character Advancement reward because it throws "mechanics" out the window and allows you as FM to reward your characters as you see fit.  It can be used as a tool to re-balance the combat potential of your players or give them an edge in completing challenges you know they'll be facing.  Or just for making them feel special and cool.


"Mechanics" don't do that- it's all the FM.

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MisterGone, I think you're reading too much into specific sentences independent of the paragraphs/sections which they reside in.


"Unlike Casting a Spell, a Manifested Power has no restrictions on what Spell Elements may be selected, save those placed by the Fatemaster. The character is free to create the Spell from any Spell Elements, not just those that might be in a Grimoire. After all, normal nonarcane characters can manifest abilities in Malifaux!"


This whole paragraph is about how Manifested Powers relate to Casting a Spell, so for context we must also review the process for Casting a Spell (conveniently on the same page).  The final paragraph of this entry is what matters most in the discussion of Manifested Powers:


"However, the caster is restricted in what Spell elements he can use. A character may only use a single Grimoire at a time. This Grimoire will list Magia and Immuto that the character has access to for creating a Spell to cast. In addition, some characters may have Talents that allow them to access additional Magia or Immuto, regardless of their current Grimoire."


To break that down into steps we get:


1) "the caster is restricted in what Spell elements he can use"

2) "A character may only use a single Grimoire at a time"

3) "This Grimoire will list Magia and Immuto that the character has access to for creating a Spell to cast"


But now let's look at how the MP entry interacts with this:


1) "Unlike Casting a Spell, a Manifested Power has no restrictions on what Spell Elements may be selected"


So MPs get to ignore restrictions 1, 2, and 3.


2) "The character is free to create the Spell from any Spell Elements, not just those that might be in a Grimoire"


This specifically applies to restriction 3.  It is meant to clarify that a Grimoire is not a limiting factor in constructing a Manifested Power from Spell Elements.  This final term "Spell Elements" then becomes an important defining term as the only things defined as "Spell Elements" are Magia and Immuto.  "The base Spell element is called a Magia" (p. 230)


This mechanic/system is further solidified in the first sentence of the paragraph following the MP restriction paragraph:


"Because Manifested Powers have no restrictions on what Magia may be used, it is important to note that a Fated Character may only ever create one with the Fatemaster’s permission."


It specifically mentions Magia, of which we have a finite list.  So there really is a mechanic for constructing Manifested Powers.  However, the whole book is about how Fatemasters should work with Fated to build things that everyone enjoys.  As with all roleplaying games you are encouraged to deviate away from defined mechanics and do whatever you feel is right to make your game/story fun and interesting.  I think even as a mechanic Manifested Powers do that rather well, but then getting inspired by the mechanic and letting imaginations soar with possibilities is fully endorsed and a great thing.  It's why the Fatemaster Almanac also discusses making your own Advanced Pursuits.  TtB does a good job of reminding you that you aren't just allowed, but encouraged to break away from the defined mechanics of the system.

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The Crossroads Tarot is a mechanic. Talents and Pursuits are mechanics.  Duels, Twists, and cheating fate are mechanics.  Players don't need a Fatemaster's sanction or supervision to understand or apply any of these rules.


Manifest Powers seem to me to be a suggestion. You're insisting it's a rule, but then in the very same breath you talk about all the ways you deviate from it to make the game more fun for your players.  If it's a rule, why not let your players create their own Manifest Powers?  Just like they would select a new Talent at a Pursuit step?


Zeedlee, you made some very pointed criticisms of my suggested drawback for Hedge Magic (forcing the player to roleplay advancing their Magic rather than just advancing Magic skills via the Pursuit Talent).  I think you were concerned that a rule like that would be too subjective to the whims of the Fatemaster. That rule is ironclad compared to what's in the book for Manifest Powers. Finite list of Magia and Immuto aside, there really isn't anything more subjective in terms of what you can do.


But I concede.  It's a rule- albeit a rule that encourages you to make your own rules, "Create these abilities using the game mechanics we already put in place- or not.  Your call."

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The Manifested Power creation process is supposed to be done by players. They just have to get their choice approved by the FM.

"Because Manifested Powers have no restrictions on what Magia may be used, it is important to note that a Fated Character may only ever create one with the Fatemaster’s permission."

I mentioned deviations because while I enjoy discussing systems and breaking them down to find loopholes, what I love about roleplaying games is the fact that you can potentially play without rules. It's a collaborative storytelling experience, and the fun of the experience will always be more important than following the rules perfectly.

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Sorry if you felt it was an attack or comments that required defending it was not my intention. I just wanted to point out for other players that there is a mechanic in place. I agree with everything that's been said, as I pointed out in my OP one of the FM's I game with created a magia and offered it to me to support his storyline, but it was done using standard spell mechanics, so TN's, range etc. Happy for people to bend and break rules as their own stories need but I also think we need to try and highlight where rules are, what holes are in them and how they might be clarified a little better.


Big hole we've noticed is unconcious checks for NPC's. One of the groups I'm playing with is playtesting a 'fix' for this that seems to be working okay. In private msgs been told a fix will be coming in a future supplement.


Firm believer in play with what works for your group. :)





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Oh, believe me- I don't consider it an attack.  I just like to argue! 


And I guess my argument boils down to, Yes there's a rule (there'd be no such thing as manifest powers if there wasn't).  I just question whether the rule as worded fits the definition of a "mechanic" How many angels can dance on the head of a pin, right?


Anyhow, I think this forum is a fun place to share some of the creative things we've done as FMs with rules like Manifest Powers.  If it works for one group of players, it can work again.

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So I've been looking it over and while the book does say

" " 

In regards to creating manifested powers, its actual examples of manifested powers cant be created using it, witch seems contradictory. I know a gm can say "ok" to any abilities a player makes up, there are many who will strictly go by the book and when the book says "here's what we consider to be a manifested power is and what it does and an example of how the player made it" but those options are not actually in the book I think theres a problem. 

The only thing I can think of is that like the OP said the Rule is "have your players make something up there are no reL rules here"  


Example: Marcelline's "Walk It Off" Manifested Power allows her to heal 1 damage every time she takes a Walk Action during Dramatic Time.

-  there is no Activate when you take walk immuto. 


Example: A lawyer steals Briana Delaney's soul using a complicated contract. After her friends find the contract and burn it, she develops the "Singed Soul" Manifested Power, allowing each Pugilism attack she makes to also give her target the Burning +1 Condition. 

- this is one does use the book 

Example: Klemens Buckley is brutally attacked by a Resurrectionist who throws one soul-shredding spell after another at him. After defeating the necromancer, Klements develops the "One Foot in the Grave" Manifested Power that gives him the Incorporeal ability... but only when he's reduced to below 0 Wounds.

- no incorporeal,  or active when reduced to 0.  You could say it's a Elemental engulf with spirit immuto (except spirit says the spell ignores armor and hard to wound not incorporeal status effect) with a delay till 0 hp trigger (specific predetermined conditions) but it would be easier to cast (if it's a spell) and more powerful with no delay  so you just are incorporeal

Example: Jessup Cormwell nearly dies in an explosion that sends him careening into the sewers beneath the city. He's found by Albus Von Schtook, who removes Jessup's damaged heart and replaces it with a mechanical prosthetic. After trying (and failing) to recover his real heart, Jessup embraces his new fate and develops the "Heart of Steel" Manifested Power that makes him immune to Critical Hits to his chest. The Fatemaster decides this might not come up that often and suggests that he also gain a Defensive Trigger that uses a Ram (the Suit representing the "Chest" location) and allows him to reduce any damage he suffers from a successful attack by 2 points, to a minimum of 

- so the second half is doable  , add suit, delayed trigger, reduce damage 2x. But theres no immunity to X mafia or immuto .  You can increase resistance by 1 (or up to 4x in manifested power) but that's not immune from anything. Also theres no cuase critical or Critical effects immuto.


In fact I cant find a way to make most of the games manifested powers weather listed on Monster stat sheet or given by pursuits. I think there definitely needs to be an errata or free update like a short article , or even a whole supplement section  to fix this. I'm not saying it should cover everything but even a few things could help 



Affect status (+/-) increase or decrease status effects by x

Triggered effect (1 immuto 1/2 price)- pick a suit this effect is triggered in addition to the original effect only of trigger is drawn.

Incorporeal, focused, defensive  

Dis card - player must discard a twist card to power spell


Just some of the top of the head suggestions.


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