Revised Mentor Background
This was born of some thoughts I had regarding a debate on RPG.net concerning Cult trained Solars versus Abyssals trained by Deathlords. A number of arguements were made one each side regarding about the bad-assitude that would result from the various training methods each side would employ. Specifically, COI is accused of being evidence of Exalted Power Creep. So, here is part of my solution.
In this revision of Mentor background, PC's can purchase character elements that they get a cost break in XP on. A PC can purchase multiple Mentor backgrounds. So, a PC's Mentor Backgrounds may read like this -
Dinvey, wild child Dawn Caste of the Cult, has Mentor 3 (Michael The Warmaster - all 5 Dawn Caste Abilities) and Mentor 5 (Michael The Warmaster - All Dawn Caste Charms). In exchange for paying 3+3+4 freebie points, Dinvey now gets a 1 point reduction on the XP multiplier on the Dawn Caste abilities, and she also pays 1 less XP for all Dawn Caste Charms. So, characters can now have training regimens that are very personalised, and the whole notion of the Callings in the COI book can be relegated to background flavor. This doesn't interfere at all with the Abyssal Leige Background - An Abyssal with Leige 5 and no Mentor means that a particular Deathlord has put a large amount of time and effort into the training of a particular Abyssal (+12 Freebies for Leige 5) but doesn't see heavily to further instruction, while an Abyssal with several Mentor backgrounds yet no Leige means that his or her Deathlord takes a heavy interest in his or her current training and future development. The revised Mentor background is designed to be used with any type of Exalted or with Heroic Mortals.
So, here it is:
o Your Mentor is worldly wise in a few skills, or has a wise outlook on life. Chose one of the following –
Reduce the XP multiplier of 3 Abilities that you choose by 1
Reduce the XP multiplier of one chosen Virtue by 1.
oo Your mentor possess greater than the normal degree of common insight.
Reduce the XP multiplier of 4 abilities by 1
Reduce the XP multiplier of 2 chosen Virtues by 1.
ooo Your Mentor is truly a wise Sage, who’s insight is deep and broad.
Chose one of the following:
Reduce the XP multiplier of 5 abilities by 1
Reduce the XP multiplier of 1 ability by 2 Reduce the XP multiplier of 3 Chosen Virtues by 1
Reduce the XP multiplier of 1 Chosen Virtue by 2
Reduce the XP multiplier of 1 chosen background by 1
Reduce the XP cost of one 1 field of mortal thaumaturgy (Art or Science) by one (if a flat cost) or by a multiplier of 1 (if a multiple cost is required to advance.)
Reduce the XP cost of one Charm tree by 1. This explicitly includes Terrestrial and Celestial Martial Arts, but a martial arts style counts as a Charm Tree.
Reduce the XP cost of all Terrestrial Sorcery or Iron Circle Necromancy spells by one (choose one – if you wish to get the cost break on both Iron Circle and Terrestrial Circle spells, you must purchase this background twice.) Also reduce the cost for any and all Thaumaturgy by 1 (this is inclusive with Terrestrial Circle or Iron Circle, but does not stack if the character buys both.)
Reduce the XP cost of increasing the ratings of one Astrological College by one.
oooo Your Mentor is one of the wisest instructors for many hundreds of leagues. His or her brilliance of
instruction can’t help but bring out the brilliance in your.
Choose one of the following:
Reduce the XP multiplier of one Attribute of your choice by 1
Reduce the XP modifier of 3 Backgrounds by 1 (subject to ST approval)
Reduce the XP Modifier of 1 Background by 2 (subject to ST approval)
Reduce the XP multiplier of all of any Ability that the Mentor teaches by 1
Reduce the XP multiplier of three abilities by 2
Reduce the XP multiplier of all Virtues by 1
Reduce the XP multiplier of 2 Virtues (chosen by you) by 2.
Reduce the XP multiplier of any Willpower increases by 1.
Reduce the XP cost of any one Charm tree by 2.
Reduce the XP cost of all Celestial Circle Sorcery or Labyrinth Circle Necromancy spells by one (choose one – if you wish to get the cost break on both Labyrinth Circle and Celestial Circle Circle spells, you must purchase this bac kground twice.) Reduce the XP cost of any lower Circle spells or any and all Thaumaturgy by 2
If a Solar or Abyssal, you may purchase Solar Circle Sorcery spells or Oblivion Circle Necromancy spells at full normal cost (subject to ST approval), that your mentor can teach you.
If a Terrestrial Exalted, may purchase Celestial Martial Arts (subject to ST approval) at full normal cost that your men tor can teach you.
Reduce the cost of three Charm Trees by 1. Martial Arts styles count as Charm Trees, as noted earlier.
Reduce the cost of one Charm Tree by 2. Martial Arts styles are counted as Charm Trees, as noted earlier.
ooooo Your Mentor is one of the finest instructors and sages in all Creation, who can impart to you world
Choose one of the following –
Reduce the XP multiplier of three attributes of your choice by 1
Reduce the XP multiplier of one attribute of your choice by 2
Reduce the XP multiplier of all Abilities by 2
Reduce the XP multiplier of all Virtues by 2
Reduce the XP multiplier of any Willpower purchase by 2
Reduce the XP multiplier of any Essence purchase by 1
Reduce the XP cost of any Charms within a Caste by 1
Reduce the XP cost of any one Charm Tree by 2
Reduce the XP cost of all Solar Circle Sorcery or Void Circle Necromancy spells by one (choose one – if you wish to get the cost break on both Labyrinth Circle and Celestial Circle Circle spells, you must purchase this background twice.) Reduce the cost of any lower circle spells by 2. Reduce the cost of all Thaumaturgy by 3. These are inclusive within Sorcery and Necromancy exclusively – in order to get the cost break for both, the Background must be purchased twice, and the effects do not stack for Thaumaturgy.
Reduce the cost of all of your Caste Charms, or the Charms of any 5 Chosen Abilities, that your Mentor can teach you, by 1.
Reduce the cost of 3 Charm Trees by 2
A few notes:
Firstly, the ST has total approval on this background. As with all over backgrounds, the game mechanic should serve story and fun first.
This version of Mentor is changed from the original background in that this describes what the Mentor merely teaches. What he or she does is covered by the Allies background, and what he or she tells you is covered by the Contacts background. Also note that this does not supplant or replace such backgrounds as Leige or Sifu. Further, characters such as Immaculate Monks may purchase their normal Immaculate style Martial Arts normally, but may also purchase Mentor background to reduce costs, representing a brother or sister in the Order who is the character’s sifu in Martial Arts and works with him or her in mastering a particular Dragon Path. Immaculates use the Sifu background to determine how many styles they have access to and of what level, but may also use Mentor to purchase cost breaks on any styles that they study. Other Celestials who wish to use this Background to gain access to Adamant Sorcery, Void Necromancy, Sidereal level Martial Arts or other powers that they are capable of but are rare and barely known must gain ST approval for these story elements.
Be very careful with this. Pay attention to when you let your players have access to their mentors. You should do this normally anyway, given the training time reductions (a normal mentor can let an exalt easily gain some charms and/or combos and such mid-story instead of waiting for downtime). With this, the characters with mentors will also learn their traits much faster than the normal curve. I mean, with these rules, a mentor ••••• who teaches Abilities will reduce the cost of learning any Ability at any level to 1 xp (assuming it can't go lower). This means, assuming no freebies are spent on Abilities, the character could have all Abilities at 5 for 100xp. The badassitude doesn't end there either. Please be cautious with this. - IanPrice, who gave his brother SUCH a headache with a character in WoD who had a Mentor background that reduced XP costs...
Coridan - From my understanding, this kind of trouble is evident in the way that WW set up the Cult costs. If everyone has access to this stuff, then the ST can control advancement speeds by how much XP he or she hands out. Mentor in WW Storyteller games have always been problematic, since someone teaching you can have a direct effect on how quickly you learn viz-a-viz the other characters. So, you're concerns are spot on. Since I won't be running Exalted anytime soon (not for lack of wanting), I'll have to rely on feedback from others as this background develops. This definitely should have a GM red flag, anyway.
Every day that passes, I'm amazed at how similar Ian and I are. In my case, I had a Mage with Mentor 5 and Library 5, and proceeded to outpace the other PC's by a vast, vast margin. I think the first, and biggest concern, is the way you mention the "XP multiplier". I've got CotI, and I could swear, from my interpretation, that it wasn't a lower multiplier it gave, it was flat subtraction, as with favored abilities or attributes. Thus, instead of (Current Rating * 2), you'd get ((Current Rating * 2) - 1). Sure, it's real nice at low levels, turning (3,2,4,6,8)=23 into (2,1,3,5,7)=18, but the multiplier reduction is a much more powerful (3,1,2,3,4)=13. If you follow the flat reduction, you're much safer, as it's not nearly as dramatic, especially for higher-level things like attributes near 5. If you're willing to go with the flat reduction, as in CotI, I'm thinking there can still be discussion, but a multiplier reduction is really, dramatically a huge boost, and at that point, I think it's a "Well, in your game" thing. If you didn't take all of your freebies into Mentor at the start, you'd quickly be outpaced by anyone who did, and as always, there's that rule of thumb "If you need something to be competitive, then that something is unbalanced". -- GregLink
All really good points. On the flip side, I think that a flat 1, 2 or 3 point reduction on anything else aside from Charms is kind of a gyp. I'll be thinking about it. -- Coridan