"Mana" as a Magical Resource Atribute

One of my players suggested using “Mana” as an Atribute, used to power any type of magic.
Mana would start out as the average of Will and Perception plus one if either stat is grey-shade (Mana would be black-shade) if both stats are grey then Mana would grey-shade average (no plus one bonus).
In practice: mana would count as an emotional attribute that would be tested instead of Forte for spell tax. It would be used instead of Will to power your spells and would advance like any other attribute. The physical manifestations of higher mana would depend upon the types of magic used and could be anything from spirit marks to demonic features. Upon reaching exponent ten your physical being falls away while your mana is released into the world (you assent) or the powers you have been trading with finally come to collect their due (not assention, definitely not assention! ).
Instead of taxing themselves unconscious, mages just tax their ability to use magic both to cast and power their spells. Sustaining a spell would temporarily lower your mana instead of your will and recovering taxed dice would still work the same way.

You’re centralizing magical power and making magic require far fewer stats. And you’re removing the dangers of Forte tax. This is a huge boost with no downsides and I very much dislike it.

It is more like using “Faith” to cast spells, isn’t it? (Except for using the sorcery skill to control it).
It does limit the effect of having a high Will and Presence (although Mana is based on the average of both mental stats) and failing a spell tax reduces your reserves for other spells instead of your Forte (as well as the power behind those spell as the lower the mana the lower the mark damage) so there are consequences built in for failure, just not the same ones.

Interesting idea, but as Wayfarer implies, a reduced forte has the narrative and game effect of exhausting the magician physically. A sorcerer sans mama is just out of mana but isn’t actually exhausted or even tired.

It is nothing like Faith.

Mana limits the effect of Will and Forte on magic, and it limits the effects of Tax. There are consequences, but they are reduced. Sorcery doesn’t need to have fewer consequences. My prediction is that this change would have bad effects on the game and I would forbid it out of hand at my table.

I’m sure it would require substantial play testing to see its true impact, and it does treat magic more like a renewable resource rather than something that could drain and kill the mage. I do like the idea that, just like using Faith Magic, your character begins to manifest physical signs in accordance to the kind of spells he casts.

True. But he is in the same boat as an archer who has run out of arrows or a fighter without his weapon, he must make do without.

This attribute would be incredibly easy to game. It’s very easy to set your own difficulty for tax tests, and triple dipping like this would just encourage it further.

Aesthetically I also prefer not to have a single concentrated ability like this. It’s my biggest complaint about Faith, actually.

The obstacles would be the same as they are for sorcery, and unlike faith, you still are rolling the sorcery skill to cast a spell. The mana dice are rolled to resist the spell tax (and are reduced by failed tax roll). Your spell damage is based upon the strength of your mana rather than the strength of your will. Mana dice are tested by spell tax obstacles and so would require some very high Ob spells to get a challenging test (most mana exponents would start at B4 or B5), so I don’t see it becoming a runaway attribute.
I’m not sure I know what you mean by triple dipping.

By triple dipping I mean you have one ability that is useful in three (or more) distinct, synergistic ways. One advancement track gets you better at all of them at the same time. You’re also guaranteed to have a steady supply of tests to spend artha on.

As to obstacles, the quickly/carefully/patiently rules let you tailor your obstacle (for both Sorcery and tax) pretty easily. And by gaming, I don’t just mean quick advancement, you can also prevent it going over pretty easily, and just maximizing your likelihood to pass tax tests easily.

Why an average of will and perception? Why not just have a separate emotional attribute based of fort if your player really wants a separate mana stat (Which further highlight the power boost to sorcerers who no longer suffer forte-fatigue from tax)

Better yet, just make them buy mana in character creation like any other stat at least to offset the lack of fatigue mechanic

Ok, but that is no different than the current treatment for sorcery and forte when it comes to spell obstacles, just substituting mana for forte. It does allow for spells to gain in power as your mana increases as opposed to having to raise your will to do more spell damage. But it also causes your spells to weaken as your mana is taxed (as well as when spells are sustained), and taxing a B4 or B5 Attribute or Stat happens far more often than advancing the same.

Having the Gifted die trait opens up the Mana Attribute (just like Faith, Grief, and Greed are opened by their die traits) the averaging of stats should be changed as that does seem to double up on the advantages of extra mental stat points from lifepaths, but I don’t have a questionnaire for it like they do for faith grief and greed.
It could start at B3 and be increased throughout play or given a bonus for extra magic-like die traits (I think there is a list in the Spirit Binding chapter of Magic Burner) that would keep it reasonable as there are not that many freed-up trait points to overload it with.
Another suggestion would be a straight B0 +1 per lifepath (4 Lifepath mage has a B4 Mana Attribute). No bonus for having other Die Traits as they are their own reward, no averaging stats, and the mages starting mana is set by the power level of the game itself (thus keeping wizards from being too overpowering coming in).
That last option seems like mana mages would start out weaker than the average BW sorcerer does now, but with the potential to still be a functional party member rather than passed out somewhere after they’ve been taxed to zero. (Which was the point of mana in the first place).

You realize though it’s still “something for nothing”. Sorcerers simply become more powerful in your game.

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Let’s start over: What can we do for you, today, other than say, “Cool! Play and find out how you like it”?

Normally if your Forte gets taxed down to B3 and you still manage to cast your Ob3^ Fire Fan spell it still does 1/2 Will +3 VA 2 Mark Damage. If your Mana was taxed down to B3 and you still managed to cast the same spell it would do 1/2 Mana +3 VA 2 Mark Damage (B4 Mark as opposed to the B5 or B6 Mark with a Will of B4 through B7), so in that sense the mana system does weaken a mage considerably.

Actually everything on here as been very helpful in pointing out the flaws in the system being developed. An alternative to taxing mages into oblivion was the original thought as well as an abstract way of paying for spell casting (mana). Any thoughts on these would be helpful.

Sure, that works for damage. A bit. There’s still plenty of magic that doesn’t have that element.

Mana might be okay if Mana were definitely taxed with each spell and only got worse with failed tax rolls. And make the tax harder to pay off. Make Sorcery something that really feels limited and each spell cast a meaningful choice and you’d get a different and interesting system. It’s not what you’re going for, but now I’ve got that idea bouncing around.

I’m going to shelve the mana idea for now. Thanks for your help and insightful comments!

…now there’s an idea. Mana as mystical Resources, where Tax starts out temporary but can eventually turn permanent. It needs work to make it really crackle, but there’s definitely something there, I think.