Eliminate the Orders and Paths. No more favored or opposing Arcana. Or free point of Resolve of Composure. Just buy the Arcana and the Gnosis, and the rotes, and play.
Cutting Orders, Paths, and improv casting entirely would definitely be the easiest, most straightforward way to do this without really breaking anything.
I just like the idea of keeping improv casting, haha, because it gives structure to those "oh shit, I need to blow a hole in this wall/stop this monster/go Away" moments.
I also really like the idea (and might be the only person on the forum, haha) that improv casting with penalties could be used to experiment and justify spells unique to a character, or even roleplaying learning a new spell in class. There actually is a Down And Dirty Casting sidebar that could be used for this instead.
You can get rid of Paths and Orders and just have everyone pick ONE Arcana as favored at the beginning of their studies, and then let them pick a second later (it'd be nice if the choice had to come from the --shit, I forget the terms, but the way path arcana are divided, the two types of Arcana), once they've advanced, and each combination of two Arcana should have two "opposites", one of which is their Inferior.
For example, maybe your student has Matter, they need to pick one of the ... uh... non-physical, I guess? I still can't remember the term--Arcana. So Maybe they have Matter and Mind. Opposite of Mind is Life and opposite of Matter is Spirit (EXAMPLES, obviously, do whatever). So the character developes one of those as their Inferior.
Making it a player choice makes a lot more sense than trying to lay it out by default by discipline, as I did above, haha. I like it! (ETA: Subtle and gross Arcana!)
Subtle and Gross! Thanks.
As for the Disciplines/Houses, I would probably just scrap the way Houses work in Brakebills and retool it to fit the system you're using, largely BECAUSE some of them just won't make sense (like Illusion). You can even do it with Paths, but have paths be something each student chooses via which Arcana they choose. I mean I understand canonical adherence but it seems like a small sacrifice to make so that things are a little less annoying.
In fact, my suggestion would be to compromise from both sides--you're getting rid of Paths and Orders, but you're sticking to Arcana, so the divisions of magic in Brakebills should adhere closer to that than what is canonical in the books, just for your own peace of mind and a lower degree of hassle.
As for improvised casting, I would combine it with an experimental casting system wherein students can cast things based just on their Arcana knowledge, but the risk is huge--the difference between improv and experimental is basically "experimental is done within the confines of certain safeguards, i.e. in class, with a tutor, etc., whereas improv is done without such safeguards and can end up fucking. you. up. royally".
Even minor improv casting should be really dangerous, and experimental casting should be the way in which they cast things that they will later have as rotes (so maybe a spell counts as "experimental" if they're currently coursing something that teaches it--re: Intro to Ghosts Seminar from my earlier example could enable the "experimental" casting of certain Death rotes the character is actively learning, while other stuff would fall under improv (and be more dangerous).
For reference/feedback, here is the sort of command I had considered.
The suspect command helps you guard against OOC harassment. If someone is bothering you, you can set them suspect. This will start a running log of any private pages between the two of you, and any poses/OOC chatter when you're alone in a room with them. It does not log any other commands. If something inappropriate is said, you can then report them and the log of recent chatter will be automatically sent to staff.
@ghost It was so awesome in part because after the initial side-session talking to the Aztech plant's player, I didn't have to do anything. The team asked him to set demo charges, give the charges to the rest of them, and keep the detonators. The team asked him to hang out by the mage while she went Astral. It was just... awesome.
@auspice I don't want to try and tackle details because I don't know what they are (I have not done an analysis or looking in pretty much forever), but I know there's SOME sort of differences in Cinematic vs Not Cinematic Unisystem, in the mechanics themselves. Buffy (and the other Cinematic stuff) is setup so you can get wilder heroics and such, to go along with a TV show sort of feel.
Cinematic is streamlined for quicker play. The main differences:
Fewer skills, more omnibus skills.
A simplified dice mechanic (no reroll and add on a 10).
A simplified damage mechanic. (Higher damage being the end result.)
Drama points, to help the player keep narrative control.
Simplified templates for the characters. Less options, but a quicker build.
And I think that's about it. It's been a decade or so, though, since I last played them.
@ixokai I do believe the attitude and expectations of staff sets the tone for the whole game. It's one of the reasons why I push Dystopia Rising's codes of conduct so hard -- the behavior of the people running that event was the most empathetic I have ever seen from people running a LARP and everything about the event reflected it, from the behavior of the players to the number of women and minorities who legged it out to the sticks to participate in the LARP, which was set right in the heart of lily-white Western New York (Dansville).
I'm wary of supporting positive reviews remaining in the ad threads if negative ones are being put elsewhere, especially with the risk the negative reviews could be hidden behind the membership wall of the Hog Pit. It might be easy to join but it isn't something a new member will know to seek out unless someone held their hand into discovering it.
I think keeping the ad threads for Q&A as well as for linking to revelant threads, whether in this subforum or the Hog Pit, is the correct course of action to avoid bias.
@Seraphim73 and random people I never really got to know from TGG can attest: I ain't afraid to assault a trench on my own. Everyone else will catch up. Eventually.
Jack: What are your legs?
Archy Hamilton: Springs. Steel springs.
Jack: What are they going to do?
Archy Hamilton: Hurl me down the track.
Jack: How fast can you run?
Archy Hamilton: As fast as a leopard.
Jack: How fast are you going to run?
Archy Hamilton: As fast as a leopard!
@thatguythere Lost Dominion has some neat rules and adaptations, but due to playtimes I was never able to get into any RP there. The staff are friendly and the rules are rather nifty. I don't agree with all of them, but it's pretty cool.
I have managed to pull off ye olde swash and buckle here and there. PFS actually was the most recent and worked out. Though its easier when you fuck up THE DICE FUCK YOU, to turn Ha-HAA! into a scream of Ha-H-AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
@Sunny Totally in favor of this. If PrPs have a base writeup (to assure Staff that they aren't just a social tea party (again, using hyperbole on purpose)), points gained in them go into the "big pool of important points."
@Lotherio I do like the automatic gossip idea. You could totally do weighted points instead of two different pools, but then you're just lessening the issue (which honestly might be enough of a counterbalance).
@Admiral Well, sure, and you don't have to volunteer PC-identifying information, it's just that "we're banning you because you didn't overreact enough" is a new one. :) And I thought we had seen it all around here.