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Mage:

The Ascension
Ascension: Reloaded
Written by Michael Parker
Help, Editing, and Thanks to
Lesley Barnes, Jarys Maragopoulos, and Brandon Roper
Special Thanks to Richard Taylor for more inspirational material
Credits
Creator, Writer, Editor – Michael Parker (Spaz.Jedi@gmail.com)
Content Inspired or borrowed from Creator, Writer - Richard Taylor
Graphics (What few there are) - Designed in collaboration between Michael Parker and Brandon Roper.

You will need a copy of White Wolf’s World of Darkness Main Rule Book and Mage: the
nd
Ascension 2 Edition to use this fan supplement. Owning copies of Mage the Awakening is
advised as well. Having familiarity with Vampire the Requiem, Werewolf the Forsaken,
Promethean the Created, Changeling the Lost and Hunter the Vigil may help but is not
necessary.

Disclaimer
World of Darkness, Vampire: The Requiem, Werewolf: The Forsaken, Mage: The
Awakening, Promethean: The Created, Changeling: The Lost, Hunter: The Vigil, Giest: The
Sin-Eaters, Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension,
Wraith: The Oblivion, Changeling: The Dreaming, Hunter: The Reckoning, Demon: The
nd
Fallen, Scion: Hero, and Exalted 2 Edition and all terms in use in those games or game lines
and seen here in this document are © 1990-2009 White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights
reserved. http://www.white-wolf.com

Information within this free Fan Supplement has been directly inspired by, and credited
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to, Mage: The Ascension 2 Edition, The Book of Crafts, Guide to the Technocracy, World of
Darkness (second printing), Second Sight, Armory, Armory: Reloaded, Mage: The Awakening,
Astral Realms, Intruders: Encounters with the Abyss, Hunter: The Vigil, Scion: Hero, and
nd
Exalted 2 Edition.
In addition, concepts within have also been directly and indirectly inspired by, and
credited to, Spirit of the Century, FATE, FUDGE, and the FUDGE/FATE Community.

This Disclaimer was in turn inspired by, and Credited to, Jason C Marshall
(walks_forever@hotmail.com); author of the FEAR Corporation fan supplement.

Fonts contained within this document were downloaded for free at Mr. Gone’s website,
http://mrgone.rocksolidshells.com/.

Please note! This is a free publication. If you had to pay for it with money then
someone is making money off White Wolf and me without our permission. Let both White
Wolf and I know ASAP please as I do not want the White Wolf’s Scary Resolve 4 Attack Dogs
after me for selling something I have no rights to sell. Thus, once again, this is a FREE
publication. No money has been made in creating it.
All the game lines and books referenced in this document belong to White Wolf (where
otherwise noted) and I hope that I have not offended any of their writers or freelancers in
creating and releasing this document. And if I have, you have my apologies. If anyone, at White
Wolf or otherwise, is inspired by what is written within this Fan Supplement, I give permission
to use ideas created within this document provided Credit is show for inspirational materials.
Table of Contents

Section 1 – Preface and Introduction 1


Section 2 – The Setting Expanded 4
Section 3 – New Factions: The Techno-Crafts 6
Section 4 – Character Creation 11
Section 5 – Expanded Traits and 17
Dramatic Systems
Section 6 – The Magic System 34
Section 7 – Advanced Magical Styles 50
Preface
This all started as a set of notes for informing how I might do for a mage conversion, and
finally turned into a full and expansive document. It was constantly growing to accommodate
the more ideas, as I reread older and newer books. Drawing on concepts and text from the
existing Mage: the Ascension products, and adding my own spin to that information, I pulled
away from it a fairly comprehensive set of rules to play my own version of Mage the Ascension.
And as of this writing that’s exactly I am doing, running a game of Mage: The Ascension, and I
haven’t played (or ran) this game since High School.
This project started as an exercise to find a way to play a game whose setting I loved, but
whose system never made a lot of sense to me. Ironically, I find that after creating an entirely
different system, based on factors from both the new and old World of Darkness books, that I
now have a better understand the original game, an esoteric knowledge I thought was lost to me.
I could now play that game in more or less its original form without much trouble, however I still
think I would prefer my conversion.
One thing that I never understood about the Mage setting was its emphasis on the
tradition mages (e.g. the player characters) loosing the ascension war. Similar themes were
shown in old Werewolf, where the Garu would throw themselves into the final battle of
Apocalypse in defense of Gaia. It never made sense to me why Mage had a rule set that conveyed
hope with the flexibility of reality; and yet had a setting text that reflected the hopelessness of
fighting the established Status Quo. This confusion was further exacerbated in the third edition
of the setting update; in which the Ascension War ended, the Avatar Storm started, and
everything was much bleaker. This inspired me to expand upon what was written and bring the
tone of the game back to a more interesting and dynamic conflict.
I tried to emulate the themes and setting from the original source whenever possible.
What I added was done to extend the continuity passed the Time of Judgment. Drawing possible
conclusions on what would happen following such a series of events. As this is a work of fiction
based on my understanding of the Mage Setting it might not stand up against others views of the
canonical setting; I encourage those people to edit or write their own setting documents to
accommodate their own preferences and desires. Where ever possible I tried to separate the rules
of play from my setting changes, so that anyone could use these rules to roll back the clock and
play in any of the previously established settings for mage. Note that some additional effort will
be needed to run this through Sorcerers Crusade.
I have learned many things through the processes of writing and creating this document.
Most surprisingly, I enjoyed the writing, something that I thought I would never enjoy. I enjoyed
collecting my thoughts and putting them down into ideas for both the rules and the setting, and
while this document could use a few more editing passes from different eyes, I feel that the
majority of the content came out clear enough for others to use in play. I learned that the best
creative ideas come out of collaboration; only after discussing these ideas with friends (fellow
mage fans) did I realize what a section was missing, needed to be removed, or become inspired for
a whole new section. And lastly I enjoyed having my players read parts of this document and
have the glow of comprehension fill their eyes.
I hope that anyone who takes the time to look through the document will enjoy it. My
Friends are playing this game, and they are enjoying so far, and most of my mission is
st
accomplished. Original Mage (1 Edition) was my first role playing experience back in freshman
year of high school, and I have enjoyed the nostalgia of reviewing it and remembering why I
enjoyed it so much. I hope this also comes full circle, showing how Mage has influenced the rest
of my role playing experiences.
How to use this document:
I just want to spell out the sections here, to make sure everyone expects the same thing
from the various sections. I am not calling these breaks in text chapter, I think of them more as
sections to an outline, mostly because I don’t think I am done.

Section 1 – Introduction and Preface


You’re reading section one right now. This is fairly self explanatory.

Section 2 – The Setting Expanding


This is where I explain my expansion to the Mage Setting. I outline some basic concepts,
that don’t change what Mage offers as much as open new story possibilities. As I have said
before, anyone may feel free to disregard as much as is needed for your home game.

Section 3 – New Factions – The TechnoCrafts


One of my favorite books from Mage was the Book of Crafts. This takes ideas laid out in
the setting and applies them directly to new factions, laced with conflict for PC’s, Antagonists,
or interesting NPC’s.

Section 4 – Character Creation


This section is about Character Generation. If you have familiarity with other New
World of Darkness Supernatural Templates, most of this will make a lot of sense; if not, follow
the steps outlined in World of Darkness Core Book and then substitute the steps as described a
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the start of the section. You’re going to need a WoD core book handy, as well as a Mage 2
Edition.
There is some extra stuff here, mostly house rules or rewrites for mundane merits. Several
of the Awakened merits are inspired by (and ported directly from) Mage the Awakening. I tried
to capture the Ascension feel for most of the basic Mage Backgrounds. I have contemplated
going though the Old Mage Merits and Flaws to convert them, but I have yet to do so.

Section 5 – Expanded Traits and Dramatic Systems


This outlines how to integrate themes from Mage the Ascension into this game. This
splices many aspects of other Storyteller games such as Scion and Exalted for Mage a take on
morality in the Ascension War; Virtues.
I also lifted some elements from FATE, namely Core Beliefs, are a form of Aspect. This
is in part where the Magic in Ascension Reloaded drifts onto the Character Sheet. Magic is
about Belief, so we have some basic ideas about belief on the character sheet.
I then get into more a crunchy domain, into systems I have made into a positive
feedback loop, Botching, Shift, and Style Dice. These are also lifted mostly from FATE, and a
few other places.
My Optional House Mechanics were at the request of my home group. The Tick Based
Combat Wheel system has worked very well for us in Mage, giving more dynamic action scenes.
My Alternate XP system has worked well for our group but every storyteller I have met does it
differently.
As normal take or leave the systems as you see fit, the house rules can be used or
disregarded as you see fit, but the positive feedback rules take a little more work to remove from
the system, as many of the concepts show up in the Magic Rules.

Section 6 – The Magic System


This tome of a WIGXMSR goes step by step into the process of using my modified magic
system. Overall I kept Ascension’s basic ideas about magic the same (spheres, effect rolls,
paradox), while cutting the guts out of the original system. I think it came out rather cleanly, but
that’s just me.
Several elements here are drifted in from Mage the Awakening, but most were
mechanics that our home group hammered out through some trial runs. It abstractly doesn’t look
that much different than Ascension’s base ideas, but the formalizing of rules into cohesive groups
helps with understanding what magic is in Mage.

Section 7 – Advanced Magical Styles


This is inspired mostly from a Mage the Awakening Game that I played within the past
few years. That GM had a personal built system for making Magic in Awakening more distinct.
This, in turn, was inspired by (and partly in protest of) Magical Traditions.
This section is still being worked on, I focused on a couple of example styles that were
relevant to my home group, I am building more and will release them in a revised document
when they are done. But until then, I wanted to include this as a taste of what this system can do
under the right conditions.
The Setting –
Dawn of the Next Mythic Age
The Story So Far…

Near the turn of the century, the Ascension War was over, the end times were near at
hand, and the world became grimmer with each passing day. Then the world changed. It wasn’t a
catastrophe, and it wasn’t obvious. At first, none of the Awakened knew that anything was
different. However, the Technocracy’s grip on the Consensus had been shattered.
In the ending days of the High Mythic Age, The Order of Reason moved very quickly
from its initial power base, to being an opposition of the Church and Hermetic Order’s main
houses. Then the mystics, mages, and sorcerers of the world were put on the defensive, and the
High Mythic Age ended, and the Ascension War began. Much of this is known history, at least
to the Awakened community. However, this turn of events begs a question; one that many
historians, both contemporary and of the time, have missed. How was it that the Order of
Reason was able to swiftly bring sleepers under their sway? How did they begin enforcing and
growing a consensus? The answer is Praxis.
In the early 2000’s a dedicated cabal started a major undertaking, and in the process
discovered the Inner Council’s best kept secret, Praxis. Praxis is an anomaly within the umbra. A
realm that itself is a reflection of the belief on earth. Little is known about it origin, even less is
know about how to interpret or gauge what it means. But the Inner Council could both read and
intuit what it meant, and all during the Ascension war spelled the doom for mystic traditions.
But that weapon is no longer in their control, Praxis was dispersed into the cosmic ether
of the Umbra, and its location was erased from memory and time by the most powerful of Magic’s
(probably with the help of the wellspring within Praxis itself).
Most scholars claimed that when the findings from this mysterious cabal were analyzed,
it indicated that the Technocratic Union was the underlying cause of the End Times that were
on the horizon. Without the use of Praxis sleeper minds are now free from underlying
Technocratic Influence that had turned the common man into lazy, apathetic drones.

The Second Ascension War

Even though neither side has actively opened hostilities beyond the smallest of
incursions; The Ascension War is now on again in heat.
For the first time since the close of the Mythic Age, the Tradition Mages have been
given a fighting chance to reclaim what was lost. And while the Consensual Reality is still a
problem for most magical effects, people’s minds are once again open for the possibility of magic.
While the previous centuries have been about bloodying noses and surviving the changing
world, the Council of Nine now has the opportunity to reclaim much of the world that was lost
to them, all that is required in for sleepers to believe again. The small communities of outcast
belief (New Age, Neo-Pagans, Wicca, and others) are becoming the focal points, waging the
War on very different terms. It is unlikely that much will change quickly, but mystics are hopeful
that a New Mythic Age is on the rise.
However, on the other side, the Technocratic Union has been dealt a devastating blow.
The Ivory Tower in a quick succession of years lost the guidance of the inner council came to a
stagnation point with the release of new technology into the consensus, and unknowingly lost its
greatest edge in the first Ascension War. However the Union has bounced back with surprising
resilience and flexibility. Quickly after it was made clear that the Inner Council was lost, many
forward thinking individuals within the Union moved to consolidate their own power, while a
typical political move, was the most stabilizing factor for the cracking monolith that was the
Technocratic Union. These individuals quickly established a less rigid hierarchy, which allowed
individual departments within the Union to stabilize and adapt to the changes the world has
wrought. While a few small factions within the Union broke away completely, these defectors
are seen as the individuals that were destroying the former Union from within. Such former
technocrats obviously do not have the resolve to continue with the mission laid out by the
Union’s founding members; the betterment and unification of Humanity under the banner of
science, technology, and most importantly reason.
Who will win the war in the end is not clear. While the Traditions have been given a
second chance to show humanity their ways of understanding the world, the sleeper population
has been living within the technocratic paradigm so long that it might not ever be able to accept
anything else. While everyone involved has an uphill battle, one thing is clear, the Second
Ascension War isn’t just about raw belief; it is also about choice. Humanity for the first time has
the power to choose what its future will be, even if most people do not know that such a power
lies within their grasp.

The New World

The world has grown in more than just possibility. The release of Praxis has had a side
effect of growing the awakening rate of many sleepers. What was once a million to one ratio has
subtly moved closer to half that, and is still growing. Most awakened communities have not
really noticed the shift yet; all of the Conventions and Traditions are showing steady growth in
initiates. However the real winners of this growth spurt are many of the Crafts, who have taken
these new orphans of magic and indoctrinated them to strengthen their communities.
It is not surprising that groups of former Technocrats have struck out on their own.
When the monolith was in danger of shattering, those members who where not entirely like
minded with their Technocratic Brothers took the opportunity to break away from the Union
and fight the Ascension war on their own terms. Many of these Technocratic Crafts have
declared themselves on neither the side of the Technocracy or the Traditionalists. Despite that
claim, many Virtual Adepts and Etherites have had open relations with their defector brethren.
While the goals of these Techno-Crafts are varied by faction (and individuals within the
faction), a few have joined cabals of either like minded Crafts or even progressive Traditionalists.
The Crafts and Techno-Crafts will play as Wild Cards in the coming war. These groups
of determined but numerically few mages can be nothing but the final pieces of the wining side’s
strategy.
With the subtle shift of the world’s belief forces, the supernatural world was reworked
overnight. Many assumptions Mages had about other “Awakened” Entities was found to be false.
While only few had every really had honest dealings with Vampires or Werewolves, most found
that their information while not quite wrong but off. No longer did the Vampire scholars or
mystics secretly claim to be waiting for the Gahanna, the end times. The Story of Cain, which
academically has been recoded since the Mythic Age, is now just one of many creation myths.
The Werewolves no longer wait for their end battle with the primal forces of the cosmos. They
instead work for the betterment of the natural world, and keeping the balance and harmony with
the spirit realms. None of the changes are noticed by the beings themselves, and even many of
our records and sages claim it has always been this way. The release of Praxis, and the advert of
the End Times has redefined those beings role in the world, and hopefully for the better.
The Techno-Crafts
The Tehcno-Crafts are a result political, social, and conflicting sources when the
Technocratic Union was at its weakest. During the troubled times of the early 2000’s, several
groups of Technocrats created conspiracy’s to break away when things went south. Many of the
more observant and self-minded Technocrats could see that a downfall was on the horizon. As
such, they gathered like mined individuals who were disgruntled by the way the Union was run,
eager to try new theories unbound from the master plans of the Inner Council.
These individuals found new ways to use logic and science to push the envelope of
reality. These were the same principles that the Order of Reason, and later the Technocratic
Union, were founded on. But the Union lost its purpose, according to these Techno-Crafts; some
believing that it was caught in an authoritarian trap; others think that the Union was not strong
enough to go forward with its Destiny.

The Auric Combine


The Auric Combine is a breakaway Craft of the
Syndicate. The members of the Syndicate that would become
the Combine were both frightened and emboldened by what
they saw the world changing into after the Praxis Crisis. From
that time, those members slowly moved and secured accounts
and identities that would serve them when they finally chose to break away from the rest of the
Union. That break happened slowly, taking the better part of a year before the Union realized
what they had lost.
The Syndicate still controls (or influences) more capital and has greater manpower than
the Combine. However, the Combine took with it the most aggressive and creative members of
the Syndicate. While the Syndicate would never admit that it has lost substantial ground to
these upstarts, the world market is a growing place. And that’s what the Combine is doing.

Beliefs:
The Auric Combine sees the flow of money as progress, and through that progress the
route to Ascension. The Power of Finance enables people to create their wildest dreams; and
whether those dreams are about security for a family, or the decadence that only money can buy,
that Progress halts when the flow of money is firmly rooted in one place.
Part of the Syndicates money trap is in the segregation (and stagnation) of the world
markets. By isolating each country by currency, then controlling in subtle ways how those
currencies interact, they limit the potential of the market to guide. A free market provides the
process for discovering the most innovative ideas, the most progressive inventions, the most
aggressive industrial adaptations.
Through the flow of money in an open and free market can the genius of humanity be
fostered and grow into ascension for the masses.

Practices:
Some within the Combine find that the simplest way to break away from the
Syndicate’s trap is to revolutionize finance with a universal currency. Aurics (₳) will bring the
world financial market to the next level of globalization. With that barrier broken the money
may flow freely between all communities, allowing trade and purchasing to be performed without
risk or exchange rates skewing the desirability of the market. Although like experiments with
various forms of universal script, this has met with a great deal of consensual resistance.
Other views suggest that integrating the global markets is the first step. This belief
revolves around global finance going beyond mere currency, and must move forward through
merging markets and conglomerates into a more universal standard of business and industry.
Once all corporations are applying the same practices to standardized markets, true cross
integration an parallel expansion can be made.

Spheres:
Members of the Combine focus on Entropy as their primary influence. Only the freedom
and chaos of a World Market that is constantly remaking itself can we grow to Ascension.

Mist Walkers
The Mist Walkers are a splinter group from the Void Engineers.
Speculated to be the next group to break away from the union, surprisingly the
Mist Walkers were the last group to break away from their parent convention.
While relatively few in nature, their focus on cooperation with other Techno-
Crafts, Tradition Technomages, and even willing Mystics has made them a
popular group to have positive relations with.
The technocrats that would become the Mist Walkers learned one
important thing from the Praxis Crisis; the Technocratic Union as a whole is
ignorant. They do not seek to increase information for the betterment of
humanity; they instead follow these set of instructions, Seek deviations from standard procedure,
subvert or control those deviations, what can not be controlled is destroyed. The Void Engineers
slowly realized that they were subject to many of those attacks when they became so enthralled
that they “threatened” the Inner Councils timeline. With these revelations several divisions
within the VE started to consider what the Technocratic Union was doing for them, what it was
ultimately doing to them. Relatively few of the divisions actually had defectors.
The entire Border Core Division (or Space Marines) stayed loyal to the Union. Most of
those that chose to exit were individual field operatives, a small mix from all other divisions.
Those that unifying had felt for some time that their “Damage Control” Missions were doing
more harm than good, and that these phenomena should be observed as opposed to quelled with
extreme measures. Without the guiding forces as many of the other breakaway factions these
lone defectors quietly found each other. Slowly, cautiously, and most important, covertly, they
got together to plan what was next.
The original Void Seekers followed the Order of Reason for the chance to explore and
discover aspects of universe not yet understood, “To Boldly go where no Man has gone before”.
With this original idea in mind the recent defectors explored what they wanted to do, and how
the Technocracy had failed to provide those options. They soon discovered that the primary
aspect unifying them was a shared feeling, of confusion; confusion that, despite centuries of
working for the understanding worldly and otherworldly spaces, they actually knew very little
removed from Technocratic influence. It felt like they were surrounded my Mist, a Mist
obscuring everything they had learned about the “Final Frontiers” they were so recently
exploiting for the technocracy. Everything that they had known in the past and everything that
they could would know in the future. And as such they rallied around that point, finding purpose
starting their orders original goal over, discovering, codifying and distributing their knowledge of
extra spaces.
Thus the Mist Walkers were born.
Beliefs:
Mist Walkers have divorced themselves from many of the trappings of their parent
convention. They still use technology to perform the majority of their experiments and
documentation. The typical Mist Walker in the field appears to be more ghost hunter or UFO
expert than anything else. They also increasingly use metaphor to understand and communicate
their findings, downplaying the involvement of hard science. This uses more empirical study,
closer related to psychological or sociological evaluations in methodology than the “purely
scientific” procedures. To other Technomages this is viewed partially as a regression in scientific
understanding (except by the Etherites, who see it as a strange form of progress).
They often use the common analogy of Mist and Fog to explain most of their basic ideas
about the extra-worldly spaces. On the simplest level, all of the barriers blocking the ethereal
realms are a permeable membrane, and under the right circumstances, no more dense than a
cloud. To our senses, ethereal worlds and beings are obscured by our limited understanding, and
understanding enforced as much by nature as by imposed Technocratic limitations. These
Ethereal beings make no more sense to us than moving shadows within the mist, seeing either
form or substance, and rarely both.

Practices:
Most Mist Walkers appear to be a average field academic, often with “field equipment”
in a van, truck, or trailer. Although when those academics get into the field it would feel much
more like Ghost Hunters or Myth-busters.
Three distinct groups, and later cabals, were formed when the Mist Walkers got
organized; each group specializing in and formulating theories about one of the aspects beyond
mundane perception.
The Chrono-Walkers delve into the Mists of Time, finding and explaining distortion is
mundane history, and temporal anomalies in the Tellurian.
The Mist Jumpers explore the greater relations between spaces; focusing on portal
technology and special distortions.
The Void Walkers delve into the most familiar territory for former Void Engineers,
moving beyond the Gauntlet into the Misting Vail of the Umbra. The Void Walkers are very
cautions about their jaunts through the Umbral Mist, not wanting to draw attention to
themselves from their former employers.

Spheres:
Mist Walkers focus on one of the spheres of Correspondence, Spirit, or Time; depending
on which of the Cabals an initiate joins.
The LION Group
The Liberated Illuminated Order of Nibiru is a breakaway craft of
the New World Order, and in fact is comprised of some of its most veteran
members of that convention; those that remember the “Glory Days” of The
Cabal of Pure Thought and the Lightkeepers. Those members of the NWO
that chose to defect were possibly the most unbalanced of all the
Technocracy. While the Goals of the Technocracy were only abstractly
altruistic, it was founded on good intentions. The LION group took those
intentions and twisted them to suite their megalomaniacal needs. During the Praxis Crisis the
LION group abandoned the Technocratic Union, leaving under the guise of assuming the
mantle of humanities saviors, whether humanity wanted to be saved or not.
The LION group is an authoritarian, shadow conspiracy, working much like the cold war
CIA. Leading agents (both awakened and sleeper) into either information gathering posts or
positions of authority, and then calling upon them to perform missions, whose
compartmentalization leads to no one within a Pylon to have the full mission brief. Many of its
members subverted (and continue to subvert) shares in multinational conglomerates, much to
the Syndicates dismay. This gives the LION group many of the trappings of James Bond villains
from SPECTER; private islands, personal jets, spy operations, clandestine meetings
Its ultimate goal is to succeed in the goal the Technocratic Union was to cowardly to
fulfill, domination of human society. From that goal, many of it’s members have discovered the
“true” way to Ascension.

Beliefs:
This is the Paradox of Power. The human condition breeds weakness. A human has no
power in a modern world. A human, left to there own devices would rot and decay if not for the
authority from on high, guiding his hand, pushing him to accomplish even the most basic of
tasks. An individual can not be strong, only the many, the group, can combine strength to
achieve true power. A group has the combined power to enact force on the world; however,
groups have no control of that power. The group’s members share control of that power, and lend
it to the cause; but once divided into the group, that power is as weak as individual power. Thus
the Paradox of Power; and the eventual downfall of the Technocracy; A power that is combined
and then distributed back is no greater, and even weaker, than an individual’s power.
We of the Liberated Illuminated Order of Nibiru wish to save humanity; save it from the
darkness, from what lies beyond our world, and (most of all) from itself. We understand that to
attain the power to save humanity, we must subjugate it, assimilating that power with our own,
becoming the authority of power. Wielding that power with focus, determination, and
Conviction; this is the path to ultimate ascension.

Practices:
On the Surface, the only difference between the LION group and their New World
Order parents is the attention they each draw. The New World Order keeps itself hidden by
being in plane sight. Men in Black have attention drawn away from them due to their plainness;
sleepers are trained to ignore the suites, ties and sunglasses. The LION Group act much the part
of eccentric businessmen, hiding through disarming smiles, and an agile social nature. Both move
among sleepers and awakened without much notice.
However, there the similarities end. The LION group takes their role as controllers
much more personally. While the Control of the technocracy is a constant conscience on the
shoulder of agents, the LION group takes direct control of its subordinates favoring direct links
of mind control, and forming their underlings into pylons, that can be activated and used as a
whole group in tandem.
Its magical practices have returned closer to its parent’s roots. A with a blend of modern
mysticism combined with modern sociology, psychology, and physiology. Taking many of its
mystic views from the Order of Pure Thought, loosing the religious aspect and replacing god with
the power of reason through the mind. It uses an amalgamation of numerology, astrology, kabala,
and tantric practices. Many of their beliefs extend mundanely through the texts of the
Argenteum Astrum (A∴A∴) and similar groups; whose connection to the original church is
academic, but tenuous.

Recruitment:
The LION group has, much more than others, sought out the orphans of magic and
given then a purpose. It looks for sleepers, sleepwalkers, and awakened who do not see their
potential, and then unveil their usefulness to the world. Many of these new recruits know of the
orders practices, and its general purpose, but many of the ultimate goals are kept for those of
higher rank and status.

Spheres:
Like their parent convention, The LION group focuses on the power of the Mind. And
its influences on sleeper psyche. Many also focus on the meaning of Space and Correspondence;
knowing that for global unification of the human mind to be achieved, the connections though
the subconscious space must be discovered.
Characters
Character Creation Steps Modified
Follow steps 1 through 4 as normal from World of Darkness corebook.
Under step 5 add the following advantages.
 Gain an Essence type
 Choose Tradition
 Distribute 6 points to spheres. You get a free dot in your primary sphere (if you have one).
 Choose four virtues; usually three of these are associated with your Tradition. You have a
free dot in each virtue, distribute 5 more dots among your virtues
 Choose Core Beliefs.
 Add a point to either Resolve or Composure (player’s choice).
 Buy 3 Rotes, they may be common Rotes or personal Rotes.

Ignore Virtue/Vice and Morality from Step 6. Check later in the section for variations on
derived stats from Step 6.
Step seven has additional Merit Options for awakened characters. In addition, some of the merits
from the WoD corebook have been modified. All of these are shown later in this chapter.
Each character has 10 merit dots at Character creation as opposed to 7.
You may only increase your Enlightenment by one point by spending 3 merit points at character
creation. This can only be done by 2 dots total, for a total starting Enlightenment of 3.
Each Mage that is a member of a tradition has a free dot of Mentor. This Dot represents your
characters mentor within the Tradition, the person who sponsored you, trained you, and taught
you all of the basic tenants, rites and practices of your Tradition.

Expanded Traits
Essences
Mages pick an essence; that essence powers their avatar and gives the Mages soul shape, and that
shape reflects subtle elements of their interaction with the world around them, both mundane
and magical. A Mages essence provides a number of advantages.

Dynamic: A Mage with the Dynamic Essence gains the following advantages
 Whenever you gain Quintessence from a Dynamic Source, you gain one extra. Whenever
you gain Quintessence from a Primordial Source, you gain one less.

Pattern: A Mage with the Pattern Essence gains the following advantages
 Whenever you gain Quintessence from a Pattern Source, you gain one extra. Whenever you
gain Quintessence from a Dynamic Source, you gain one less.

Primordial: A Mage with the Primordial Essence gains the following advantages
 Whenever you gain Quintessence from a Primordial Source, you gain one extra. Whenever
you gain Quintessence from a Pattern Source, you gain one less.
Questing: A Mage with the Questing Essence gains the following advantages.
 You gain no additional or fewer Quintessence from any source.

Enlightenment
Enlightenment is what Mage: The Ascension calls Arete. Other than renaming the trait for
simplicity, the trait remains the same as described in Mage: The Ascension Second Edition pg.
134.

Merits
All of the Merits for Mortals in the World of Darkness are available to Mages.

New Mundane Merit:


Jack of all Trades ()
Requirements: Str , Dex , Int , Wits .
You ignore all penalties associated with lacking a required specialty to perform an action.
Resources ( to )
It is up to the player and the storyteller to determine what the resource level represents
as far as life style; however there are some basic associations with each level of resources. As
a better reflection of Resources use the following chart to determine your income level:

Level Income level Average Annual Income Spending Money (per Month)
0 Working Poor $18,000 $100
1 Working Class $35,000 $500
2 Lower Middle Class $55,000 $2,000
3 Upper Middle Class $100,000 $5,000
4 Capitalist Class $350,000 $10,000
5 Elite Class +$500,000 Unlimited

In addition, Storytellers may limit the amount of dots allocated during character
creation. Buying this merit with XP may require fictional justification for the change in financial
status.
A character is not limited to buying only things that are within their resource category.
When attempting to buy something that would either be more expensive than they could afford,
or would require more allocation of funds than the character is normally willing to spend, the
player may temporarily expend a resources dot to acquire it. The temporarily expended dot
comes back after a reasonable downtime (a month works well), but during that time the
character counts as having the spending money of their temporary downgrade.

Underclass Income (Flaw)


No annual income, no spending money.

Mentor ( to )
Effect: Mentors are teachers, they instruct you, help you, and guide you. A Mentor
character counts as an ally in the most intimate sense.
A mentor counts as it’s rating in Ally, however his help comes with an even price, you
may be called on to assist the mentor; or worse, you may be caught up with the mentor’s
enemies.
A mentor who is teaching you helps you learn faster and easier. Whenever a mentor
instructs you in a new ability, merit (natural or otherwise), or Sphere you gain an XP discount
equal to your mentor rating (to a minimum of 1). This discount applies to the final total cost
(Example: buying Athletics 3 with a mentor’s help, the character has the mentor for two points,
and thus reduces the total cost of 9 for the skill down to 7).
The only Ability this can not help with is Enlightenment. A Mentor can show you the
way, but you must take the steps yourself.

Awakened Merits:
In addition to the mundane merits the following magical Merits are available are also available.
Arcane (to), Awareness (to), Avatar (to), Destiny
(to), Chantry (Special), Familiar (to), Magical Trait ,
Wonder (to)

Mages can find more merits from other World of Darkness supplements, as well as Mage: The
Ascension specific Merits and Styles in the Advanced Magical Styles Chapter.

Arcane (to)
Prerequisite: Awakened, no Fame Merit dots
Effect: Mages with this Merit hide themselves in plane sight, the best place to hide.
Their resonance is so subtle that only expert or extended scrutiny can root it out. Arcane
protects your character from spells that attempt to directly affect him at sympathetic range. This
effect even extends into the mundane world, making a Mage incognito to Normal society; people
have trouble keeping track of their identities and activities. Records regarding an arcane Mage
tend to get lost, and the authorities are challenged to investigate his activities. Arcane Mages
tend to live on the fringes of reality, as though they are an anomaly or aberration. When this
trait applies, subtract a number of dice equal to the Mage’s Arcane dots from the roll.
The Arcane Merit and Awareness Merit cancel each other out.

Awareness (to)
This Merit Replaces Unseen Senses from World of Darkness (pg. 109)
Prerequisite: Awakened
Effect: Your character’s sixth sense is strong when it comes to the supernatural. Your
sense might reveal itself in mundane terms; regardless of the manner, his body reacts to the
presence of unseen forces.
You add your Awareness rating to all surprise, perception (notice), or investigation rolls where
supernatural powers are involved.
The Arcane Merit and Awareness Merit cancel each other out.

Avatar (to)
Effect: The Awakening is a process not unlike a crucible. Through your experiences
with your awakening, your soul is distilled into its Awakened essence. This essence, this Avatar
gives you your power to reshape the world around you.
Avatars are powerful aspects of a mages spirit, and through luck or practice, a Mage may
become closer in harmony with their Avatar, which has both positive and negative aspects.
Your personal Quintessence may never be forcibly reduced below your Avatar rating. In
addition your Avatar rating may be used as a dice bonus or penalty for specific situations. As well
as may act as a form of intuition.
Chantry (Special)
Prerequisite: Awakened
Effect: Chantry’s are the home to mages or whole cabals across the world, and everyone
is a little bit different. Each Merit Dot Spent on Chantry goes into a pool to build a Chantry, as a
player you may decide you want to allocate them to a specific attribute or allow them to be
determined later. Each dot invested is a single dot at character generation, however raising
ratings with XP works differently than other Merits. Ratings 1 to 3 cost 3 XP per dot; ratings 4
and 5 cost 6 XP per dot.
A Chantry has various defining attributes, all of which grant bonuses to a Cabal; Attendant,
Library, Laboratory, Node, Obscurity, Security, and Size.

Attendants – Attendants are guardians or servants of the chantry. There rating indicates
either; how good it (or they) is at what they are supposed to do; or how many of them are
doing it. This Merit may be taken multiple times to represent different attendants.
Attendants are limited to the Chantry; they will either not venture outside of that residence,
or are no longer useful outside that place. Attendants can be Magical or Mundane, when
taking this merit it should be specified whether they are guardians or servants, and whether
they are magical or mundane.

Library – Works of Occult lore, Training techniques from Oracles or former masters. Library
represents bodies of work that can help a mage gain insight into a number of topics. Research
rolls made inside libraries add the libraries rating as an equipment bonus. Each point gives
the library a specialty of information, allowing for an additional die to be added to the
related subject’s research.

Laboratory – A Laboratory is one of two things; A Mundane Workshop (Automotive


Garage, Woodworking Shop, etc.) or a Magical Workshop (ritual chamber, scriptorium, mad
science lab, alchemy lab, etc.). Either way, a workshop grants it’s rating as a dice bonus to
any activity done within its space, and under any of its purviews. Workshops do not count
against the space from the Size attribute. Workshops may be combined, each additional
specialty costs 3 XP (or 1 Merit Dot).

Node – Quintessence flows threw the universe in its raw form, it collects and radiates off
Nodes. Node represents how much Quintessence is generated, per day, in the chantry.

Obscurity – How hard is your Chantry to find. Is it unlisted? Can it be found in the yellow
pages? Is it located within another establishment? Obscurity is the indication of all of these
questions. Investigation rolls made to try and find your chantry are at a penalty equal to your
Obscurity rating

Security – Do you have good locks? Is there an alarm (magical or otherwise) attached to the
chantry? Security reflects your protection of the Chantry; Attempts to compromise the
Chantry are penalized by your security rating.

Size – Size represents the size of the Chantry. It is approximated below:


(none) A small apartment or underground chamber; 1-2 rooms


A large apartment or small family home; 3-4 rooms

 A warehouse, church or large home; 5-8 rooms, or large enclosure


An abandoned mansion or network of subway tunnels; equivalent of 9-15 rooms
 or chambers
An apartment building, several interconnected homes; an out of the way
 compound; 16-30 rooms or chambers.
A sprawling estate or vast network of tunnels; countless rooms or chambers.


Destiny (to)
Prerequisite: Awakened
Effect: Your character’s thread stands out in the skein of fate. She has the ability to
weave it into a sound pattern of her choosing. She is fated for great triumphs, and this Merit
helps her achieve them. Like any true hero, she finds success a little more easily than mere
mortals, or even others of her kind. In true heroic fashion, she also has a fatal flaw — no matter
how strong her Pattern might be, it has one weakness others can use to tear it apart.
For each story, you have a pool of “destiny dice” equal to twice the number of dots your character
has in this Merit. For instance, a character with 2 dots of Destiny has 4 dice in his destiny pool.
You can use them all on one dice roll, or split them up between different dice rolls. Either way,
once you use them, they’re gone until the story starts.
Drawback: Your character’s blessing has a price, for not all destiny’s are good, and they are never
easy. You have a Bane, and your power and skill can do nothing to save you from it when it
comes into effect.

Familiar (to)
Prerequisite: Awakened
Effect: Your character has a magical bond with a spirit that aids him, one that is either
in Disembodied (that is, immaterial and invisible) or embodied. Disembodied familiars have no
bodies: they are spirits existing in an ephemeral state, drifting between the Near Umbra and the
material world. Embodied familiars inhabit a physical body in the material world.
A Disembodied familiar is bought for three dots; it is a spirit originating in the Shadow
Realm, also known as a “fetch.” Disembodied familiars can temporarily manifest like ghosts (see
“Manifestations,” p. 210 in the World of Darkness Rulebook), but their ephemeral bodies are
otherwise invisible and intangible to the physical world. A Disembodied familiar must manifest
or use Numina to affect anything in the physical world — except for its bonded mage, whom it
can touch at will (its mage can also see and speak with the familiar even when he is not using a
spell that allows him to see Disembodied).
An embodied familiar is bought for four dots. It takes the form of an earthly creature.
Many of the legendary stories of sorcerers with cunning animal companions — cats, rats, bats —
are actually references to embodied familiars.
A familiar’s bonded mage is considered to be its anchor to the material world, although
there is no limit to how far a familiar can travel from its mage. The master and familiar have an
empathic connection; each can automatically feel the emotions of the other. (Magical effects
that damage or manipulate the familiar through an emotional attack don’t damage or manipulate
the master.) All familiars have a Sensory sympathetic connection to their bonded mage. This
makes familiars superlative spies.
Improvement: To improve a familiar, a mage’s player must spend some of his character’s
experience points on the familiar.

Magical Trait ()


Prerequisites: Awakened
Mundane skills are often tied to magic in stories, and folk lore. Mages of the World of
Darkness know that it is more than stories that relate mundane practices to the higher weaving
of magic.
When a mage takes this Merit they specify a skill or attribute. That skill may now aid
him magically in combat (see SEM in the Magic Section).
A Mage may take this merit more than once, but every time it applies to a new skill or
attribute.

Wonder (to)
Special: Each dot of Wonder costs two merit points.
Effect: Wonders are objects like Talismans and Technocratic Devices that have power and that
produce magical Effects (usually when wielded by an Awakened being, such as a mage).
Although they are rare, a few lucky mages have objects that carry their own power; legend holds
that Masters can even manufacture their own. For the most part, only an Awakened being can
use a Wonder, although your Storyteller may make exceptions to this rule. Your Storyteller may
also limit the number and/ or power of the Wonders that she will allow into the game.
Any item can be a Wonder if it has somehow been imbued with magic. Tree branches,
mechanical devices, jewelry, wands, bones, and stones can all suffice as magical items.
When triggered, Wonders produce magical Effects just like mages do. Each Wonder has
a special purpose. A Wonder's Effect comes from one of the magical Spheres, and you determine
with your Storyteller exactly what occurs each time that your character triggers the item.
Sometimes, it may misfire or the Effect may not turn out exactly as your character intended, but
for the most part, your character has an idea of what to expect.
This Merit simply indicates a general categorization of any Wonder's powers taken at
Character Creation.
A Wonder may have an Arete rating that allows the holder to use the Wonder's score
when rolling for its Effects and it may store its own Quintessence. (Some Wonders, called
Periapts, are little more than Quintessence batteries.) Others simply have one magical Effect
that's always on, or that works automatically when called.
Many mages use Wonders as foci. Although doing so may not make the magic
coincidental, it usually helps the mage to focus. Any Paradox triggered by a Wonder's Effect
goes directly to the item itself, possibly destroying it.
As always, the Storyteller has final say on the potencies and potentials of any Wonder.

Derived Stats
Refiguring Speed:
This rule is based on an interesting column someone submitted to the White Wolf
Quarterly. The author had timed the running speed of his friends, and discovered that to have
the running speed according to the official World of Darkness rules; they would need to have
negative physical attributes.
The answer, simply enough, was to change the basic speed rules for humans to: Strength +
Dexterity + Athletics. If the person has a skill-specialty involving running, they get an
additional +1 onto this total. (Optionally, multiple specialties for running might also add further
– but never more than +1.)
Size modifiers are simple enough – if the person has a size lower than 5, subtract one for each
point, while if it is larger than 5, add one for each point. For non-human creatures, keep the
standard species modifier, minus 5.
Expanded Traits and Dramatic Systems
Mundane Traits
Medicine
It’s nice to see mundane medical skills actually matter in games – sometimes, even after the
characters become supernatural. (Application of medical skill can turn aggravated into lethal,
making a nearly fatal wound into something a werewolf can recover from in about a week.)
However, the first aid rules have one flaw, the amount of successes needed to prevent
someone from bleeding to death are equal to the amount of lethal damage they’ve taken. Sounds
fair, right?
Except by this standard, a healthier person is harder to save than an unhealthy person. Sure,
the healthier person took more damage, but that’s all an abstraction. Instead, here is the system:
When the first aid is begun, the medic needs to gain as many successes on the roll equal to
five + amount of aggravated damage they have taken. So, for example, if Melvin has a Stamina
of 1, and is hit for 9 points of damage, he has three aggravated – meaning that it will take 8
successes to stop him from dying. (And keep in mind that he will take an additional aggravated
wound each time the dice are rolled as his life is fading.) Conversely, Jason has a Stamina of 4,
and takes the same wound. He has no aggravated damage, so only 5 successes are needed to save
him.

Mage Specific Traits


Enlightenment
Enlightenment means many things. But mechanically it is very simple to explain. It is the
primary stat used for creating and casting magical effects. In addition it has some secondary
effects. Such as; affecting the maximum ratings of spheres, indicating ritual time, and even the
maximum potential of all traits; the following charts explain those limitations.
Sphere Mastery
The chart below lists the maximum dots a character can have in a Sphere per
dot of Enlightenment that he possesses. One of his first three Spheres must be
his Tradition's Favored Sphere.
Sphere
Enlightenment 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
1 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 1 1 1
2 4 4 3 3 3 2 2 2 1 1
3 5 4 4 3 3 3 2 2 2 1
4 5 5 4 4 3 3 3 2 2 2
5 5 5 5 4 4 3 3 3 2 2
6 6* 5 5 5 4 4 3 3 3 2
7 ** 6* 5 5 5 4 4 3 3 3
8 ** ** 6* 5 5 5 4 4 3 3
9 ** ** ** 6* 5 5 5 4 4 3
10 ** ** ** ** 6* 5 5 5 4 4
* Six dots represent archmastery of a Sphere. Very little is know about the
Oracles of Spheres.
** Little is known or recorded about the potential of a mage with this degree
of enlightenment.
Effects of Enlightenment
Ritual
Quintessence Magical Casting
Enlightenment Trait Maximum
per Turn*** Pressence* Time per
roll**
1 5 1 — 3 hours
2 5 1 — 3 hours
3 5 2 — 1 hour
4 5 2 — 1 hour
5 5 3 — 30 minutes
6 6 3 1 30 minutes
7 7 4 2 10 minutes
8 8 4 3 10 minutes
9 9 5 4 1 minute
10 10 5 5 1 minute
* Bonuses apply to anyone who magically scrutinizes the mage or his spells.
** For extended-action spellcasting. See the Magic Chapter.
*** Plus raiting in Avatar

Surpassing Foci
When Mages reach high levels of enlightenment, they may start to forgo the trappings of
Foci for specific Spheres. Their knowledge grows, and they may start to see True Magic for what
at its most basic level. The following chart shows at what rank of Enlightenment a mage may
start to choose spheres which no longer require foci based on paradigm indoctrination.
While all mages work the fabric of reality; however the focus for their Effects and how
they view magic (or deny it, in the Technocrats case) indicates the minimum enlightenment to
start shedding the need for Foci.
Mystics are those Traditions and Crafts that predate the end of the High Mythic Age.
While some Orphans can also be considered in this category, the more they rely on Techno-
Magic the more likely that they will get classified in second category. The minimum
Enlightenment for a Mystic to forgo foci is 4.
Techno-Mages are those factions who use the trappings of technology and science, but
either does not conform to the consensus on such matters, or have started to look beyond their
science to see what lies beyond. The minimum Enlightenment for a Techno-Mage to forgo foci is
6.
Full Technocrats have a very hard time letting go of the Devices and Science that they
worked so hard to enforce in the Tellurium. As such, they may only stop using such trappings at
the highest levels of Enlightenment, 8.
When a Mage reaches the minimum requirement for their Paradigm, they may choose a
number of Spheres (as shown on the chart) to forgo the use of Foci. Effects that combine Spheres
must still use foci for any sphere not yet chosen by this benefit.
If a mage chooses to use a foci when he is not required to he should get style dice as if he
were using extra trappings for an effect (which he is).
Surpassing Foci Based on Enlightenment
Enlightenment Mystics Techno-Mages Technocrats
1 0 0 0
2 0 0 0
3 0 0 0
4 1 0 0
5 1 0 0
6 1 1 0
7 1 2 0
8 1 2 3
9 2 2 3
10 2 2 3

Virtues
Magical Orders and Virtues
Each Tradition, Conventions or Craft (also collectively known as magical orders) have common
traits that are encouraged and sought out in members of that order. A list of those associations is
bellow, followed by a quick list of all the virtues, with quick meanings.
Traditions
Akashic Brotherhood: Endurance, Harmony, Temperance
Celestial Chorus: Compassion, Expression, Piety
Cult of Ecstasy: Endurance, Expression, Freedom
Dreamspeakers: Duty, Harmony, Piety
Euthanatos: Conviction, Temperance, Vengeance
Order of Hermes: Duty, Intellect, Order
Sons of Ether: Conviction, Courage, Intellect
Verbena: Harmony, Loyalty, Vengeance
Virtual Adepts: Courage, Freedom, Intellect

Conventions
Iteration X: Endurance, Intellect, Unity
New World Order: Conviction, Loyalty, Unity
Progenitors: Compassion, Order, Unity
Syndicate: Duty, Temperance, Order
Void Engineers: Courage, Duty, Order

Crafts

Techno-Crafts
The Auric Combine: Freedom, Intellect, Temperance
The LION Group: Conviction, Endurance, Loyalty
Mist-Walkers:

Individual Virtues:
• Compassion—Pride in helping others.
• Conviction—Devotion to one’s beliefs.
• Courage—Drive to stand up against the odds.
• Duty—Doing what’s expected of one.
• Endurance—Standing tall in the face of adversity.
• Expression—Bringing art into the World.
• Freedom—Independence from control.
• Harmony—Belief in the natural order of the universe.
• Intellect—The exaltation of reason.
• Loyalty—Repaying the trust put in one.
• Order—Belief in the rules of the universe.
• Piety—Faith in the Higher Powers.
• Temperance—Moderation and keen judgment.
• Unity—Strength through Teamwork.
• Vengeance—The redress of wrongs.

How the Virtues Play


Each magical order has a set of virtues associated with it. It is not required that everyone
of that order take all of those virtues; but they represent iconic traits of that order. The
limitation however is that you may only have status in an order if you have two of the associated
virtues, and your status in the order is limited by the highest virtue you posses associated with
that order. A mage with all of the associated virtues does not have a cap on status.

Duel Traditions:
It was expressed in old editions the ability to be a member of two traditions. This is
expressed in this version by buying status in two orders, and mixing the virtues between the two;
either in a 50/50 split, or sharing common virtues. This grants the full benefits of being in both
Traditions, it also comes with a flaw, Shared Loyalty, that is added to your flaws section. Your
Storyteller and you should discuss what this means for your character and paradigm.

Order Sub-Sects:
Virtues may be exchanged within a Tradition if they better reflect a sub-sect of that
Tradition. Examples include specific Hermetic Houses, Convention Subcommittees, and so on.

What The Virtues Do


The Virtues are concrete aspects your character follows. They allow your character to go
above and beyond their normal limitations, putting that extra effort into actions that are
dramatic and important to the character. Virtues are channeled using temporary willpower
points. Only one virtue may be channeled at a time, and the action gaining the benefit must
reflect the virtue being channeled. When channeling a virtue, a temporary willpower points is
spent for one of three ways. Willpower points spent in this way count against the single
willpower limit per turn.
When a Virtues is channeled, it can be used in one of three ways; Automatic Successes,
9’s Again, or Exceptional Success.

Automatic Successes: When a virtue is channeled for Automatic


Successes for a roll, add a number of automatic successes to the roll Automatic
based on the following chart. The higher the virtue, the easier it is to
Successes
accomplish goals based on it’s merits. Virtue Number of
Rating Successes
9’s Again: If a virtue is greater than three, it may be channeled to make 1-2 1
a roll 9’s again (WoD corebook pg. 134). 3-4 2
5 3
Reduced Exceptional Success: An Exceptional Success is achieving 5
more successes on a roll than the target number. Channeling a virtue in this way reduces the
margin for an Exceptional Success by the virtue rating. Example: If you have a Freedom of 4, and
channel it on a Larceny roll to escape from a holding cell, your margin for an Exceptional
Success would be 1. Getting one more success on the roll than needed indicates that it was done
exceptionally.
Note: A Virtue rating of 5 does reduce the margin to 0, this means that any roll that
succeeds becomes an Exceptional Success.

The Virtues
This section describes basic ideas for each of the Virtues, as well as example trait effects.
Storytellers and players are encouraged to use these Virtues as inspiration when creating their
own custom Virtues.
This is not a finite list, if a player wishes to add Virtues or modify existing Virtues to
better fit what they want to reflect what they what their characters points of tension to be. If
virtues are added or modified, consult your Storyteller as to how they apply to the magical orders.
As a general rule, if the basic concept of a virtue remains the same, but the semantics are
changed to reflect player’s desires, continue to treat it that virtue as if it were unchanged.

COMPASSION
Compassion measures a character’s caring for others—how moved he is by injustice and
suffering. Having a high Compassion can be painful in a world of barbarism and oppression.
However, Compassion inspires characters to fight oppression, to overthrow tyrants and to help
those in need. Someone with no Compassion has a heart of flint and can calmly eat lavish meals
while watching others starve. Someone with low Compassion regularly comes to the aid of others
in need. Someone with high Compassion always spares her enemies’ lives and regularly aids
those who hate her if they are in serious danger.
Characters use Compassion to: Protecting or aiding the sick, innocent or oppressed, fighting
for others, bringing aid to the needy, fighting for (or engaging in) romantic love.
A failed Compassion roll allows a character to: Slay a defeated foe. Ignore the pleas of the
oppressed or impoverished. Ignore the powerful abusing the helpless. Publicly humiliate a friend
or lover.

CONVICTION
Conviction represents a person’s selfless devotion to a cause, as well as her willingness to
take any measures necessary to further her cause or to take action against those who oppose her
beliefs. The exact nature of the cause varies from Mage to Mage. It could be a passionate
belief in environmental issues or social justice, or a belief in the supremacy of one’s Tradition
above all others, for example. Whatever the cause, it must be something that will have a major
impact on the lives of sleepers or other Mages. Players are encouraged to work closely with their
Storyteller to determine the exact nature of the character’s Conviction.
Characters use Conviction to: win converts to their cause, resist acts of persuasion or
compulsion that go against their beliefs, determine the best course of action in support of their
cause, and commit heinous acts in support of their beliefs.
A failed Conviction roll allows a character to: not respond to attacks on their beliefs, act in a
way that violates the tenets of their cause, and refusing to take an action that would clearly
benefit their cause (even if it results in the suffering of others)

COURAGE
Courage measures a Willworker’s valor and resolve when facing danger; to take risks that
have the potential for large reward, and larger disaster. Courage helps characters resist ordinary
and magical fear and also helps characters fight in battle, particularly when facing more powerful
opponents. Someone with no Courage is a sniveling coward. Someone with low Courage can
confront a superior opponent without flinching. Someone with high Courage is brave enough to
face the entire Technocracy without breaking a sweat.
Characters use Courage to: Heroism in battle, withstanding magically created terror,
performing feats of daring and taking risks, and stand in the face of overwhelming odds for other
beliefs.
A failed Courage roll allows a character to: Run from a battle, leave comrades behind, and
leave a dangerous foe unchallenged.

DUTY
Duty is the Virtue of service to one’s community, obeying one’s oaths, and performing as
expected from superiors. This path is not always easy, but Mages have obligations to their
superiors, allies, themselves, and humanity as a whole. Whatever their drive, they can not give
up the cause, no matter what stands in their way.
Characters use Duty to: help those in need, follow one’s assigned goals, and serve an authority
figure in a time of crisis.
A failed Duty roll allows a character to: defy personal authority, place personal ambitions
above the greater good.

ENDURANCE
Endurance is one of the hallmarks of the Willworker. She endures hardship beyond
mundane limits in order to overcome the challenges arrayed against her. Mages who espouse this
Virtue embrace this stoic ideal, taking strength from the suffering they must endure. Instead of
wasting time and energy trying to avoid any form of hardship, they grit their teeth and accept
what comes. The blows of Fate and foe harden them like hammered iron.
Characters use Endurance to: resist fear, survive extended bouts of hard physical labor, function
for days without rest, endure pain, hunger, thirst and fatigue
A failed Endurance roll allows a character to: fail to act because of risk to life or limb, attempt
to rest or relax during a time of crisis, avoid a course of action due to injuries, fatigue or lack of
resources.

EXPRESSION
Great things are expected of those gifted with great power, and Mages have many gifts
that can enrich mundane civilization. Expression is the Virtue of artistic excellence, which
venerates the musician, the painter, the performer and the storyteller. It is the belief that the
creation of art in all its forms is a way of sharing the gifts of Awakening with the mundane
World. Many Mages
who espouse this Virtue believe that their creations act as a vehicle by which sleepers Awaken.
Characters use Expression to: create works of art, repair or restore damaged works of art, assist
in musical, theatrical or oratorical performances
A failed Expression roll allows a character to: deface or destroy a work of art, refuse to create or
perform a work of art, repress or discourage works of art or communication presented by others

FREEDOM
To some, Magic is Freedom. And for those who know this to be true, strive to great
lengths to create freedom for one’s self, and others. To liberate those oppressed by tyranny under
the guise of “Greater Good” and “Order”.
Characters use Freedom to: resist confinement (mental or physical), protect others freedom,
fight against tyranny and oppression.
A failed Expression roll allows a character to: reduce the freedom on another, allow one’s self
to be oppressed, walk away when others are in need of liberation.

HARMONY
The essence of Harmony is the belief in a cosmic design that governs the forces of
creation; whether called The One, Fate, or the Consensus. But even they themselves form but a
part of a grander design, fulfilling their roles just as all sleepers do as part of the cycle of
existence. Yet, despite its complex intricacies, the cosmic order is not infallible. The actions of
everyone can disturb its movement, creating rippling imbalances that spread conflict and
suffering. Mages who espouse this Virtue see it as a sacred trust to keep the balance. For them,
good and evil are arbitrary terms that can cause more harm than good in the long run. What
matters is keeping the scales even, answering order with chaos, violence with peace, death with
new life.
Characters use Harmony to: determine a balanced solution to problems, act in ways that
maintain or restore balance in a situation, convince others to alter their actions in the interests
of maintaining a balance of forces
A failed Harmony roll allows a character to: knowingly act in a way that creates an imbalance
of forces, counsel action that creates an imbalance

INTELLECT
Intellect is the Virtue of the mind. It exalts the power of reason as the link that joins the
mundane to the mystic. Mages who espouse this Virtue believe that the raw power of magic must
be harnessed through the engines of logic and imagination in order to truly master the secrets of
the cosmos. They hone their minds through diligent study, relentless inquiry and vigorous
debate, constantly grappling with the myriad riddles of creation and the complexities of everyday
life.
Characters use Intellect to: find new solutions to persistent problems, investigate mysterious
phenomena, acquire knowledge, persuade others to accept their ideas or theories
A failed Intellect roll allows a character to: destroy or delete sources of information or
knowledge, suppress or censor knowledge, silence debate, promote ignorance in any form

LOYALTY
The abstract ties of citizenship, culture or even religion are nothing compared to the
bonds of love, fraternity and friendship. Mages who espouse this Virtue reserve their trust,
support and devotion for those who share their blood or have shared in their suffering, from
parents to kinsmen to tried-and-true friends. Loyalty is a bond stronger than iron.
Characters use Loyalty to: fight on behalf of a friend, defend a friend who has been unjustly
accused, aid a friend in need
A failed Loyalty roll allows a character to: betray a friend’s trust, refuse to answer the call of a
friend in need, desert a friend who has been accused of a crime

ORDER
Mages who espouse the Virtue of Order believe that the rules of law are the path to Ascension,
and in turn reflect the forms and foundation of mundane civilization. As the bulwark against the
threat of anarchy and chaos, order must be upheld and enforced, even when their applications
seem harsh. Laws are not strictly a creation of man, Awakened or otherwise. There are laws of
the universe that must be maintained, these laws should never bend, and should be defended
before they are broken. The Rule of Order is impartial, and does not sway easily, difficult is the
path of this Virtue.
Characters use Order to: investigate offences to order, determine wrongdoing, pursue offenders,
and deliver “lawbreakers” to justice.
A failed Order roll allows a character to: commit a crime against their own laws, turn a blind
eye to an offending act, allow a offender to escape, bend the rules, selectively apply the rules to
herself or anyone else.

PIETY
Mages who espouse this Virtue exalt and respect their God, their ancestors and the traditions of
their forebears, taking strength from the wisdom of the ancients. There is no situation that can’t
be addressed by heeding the commandments of The One or the deeds of one’s ancestors. Those
who break with tradition insult the hard work and sacrifice of their predecessors and show a
reckless arrogance that can only lead to misfortune.
Characters use Piety to: employ well-worn ideas or tactics to solve a problem, act in accordance
with the wishes of one’s faith, uphold tradition and custom over innovation, impose the dictates
of tradition on another.
A failed Piety roll allows a character to: defy the wishes of faith, break with tradition or
custom, allow others to break with tradition, advocate new ideas over tried-and-true precedent.

TEMERENCE
The Temperance Virtue measures the character’s self control. A character can use it to decline
the impulse to strike the Crime boss who spat on her or to overcome the desire to continue a
night of raucous drinking when she knows she is going to be needed the next morning.
Temperance allows a character to resist temptation and keep a clear head. Someone with no
Temperance might be a hotheaded and cannot hold her temper. Someone with low Temperance
can keep her head in a heated argument or turn down generous bribes. Someone with a high
Temperance is a paragon of self-denial, remaining calm and calculating while being badly beaten
or when offered her heart’s desire.
Temperance Aids in: Resisting temptation, holding your temper when taunted or struck,
holding your tongue when intoxicated, overcoming the effects of illusions, drugs, poisons and
mind control.
Characters Must Fail a Temperance Roll to: Act dishonestly or show bias in a matter of
importance, overindulge in food or intoxicants, act on thoughtless impulse. Break a sworn oath.

UNITY
“Together we are stronger than when we work alone.” “Together we stand, divided we fall.”
These are the mantra of Mages who espouse this virtue. This virtue involves teamwork
overcoming opposition through planning and coordination. Teammates may not fully agree, but
they set differences aside when push comes to shove.
Characters use Unity to: work in tandem with others, find strength in numbers, ignore outside
distractions for the betterment of the unit.
A failed Unity roll allows a character to: sabotage or betray a team, work against the common
goal, leave a team under times of duress.

VENGEANCE
This Virtue dictates that those who offend the Mage or commit crimes against mankind must be
made to suffer in kind, regardless of the cost. Vengeance is not about petty revenge, but a
redressing of the cosmic balance, paying back a debt incurred by violating a Mages personal
belief in some fashion. Mages who espouse this Virtue act upon their beliefs as they see fit. Some
take an eye for an eye in straightforward, Biblical fashion. Others find more creative
punishments for those who have committed such crimes.
Characters use Vengeance to: hunt down and punish offenders, discern wrongdoing and assess
penalties, investigate offences and defeat those who oppose her efforts
A failed Vengeance roll allows a character to: let a offender go unpunished, forgive an offence
against herself or another, show mercy or leniency to an offender, give up the pursuit of an
offender for any reason.

Core Beliefs
At its most fundamental level belief shapes the universe. Mages use their belief to
reshape the world, this is known as magic. But even Technocrats have belief, belief in logic and
science; and that belief shapes the world just as much as any mystic magician.
It is through those beliefs that mages can alter the world around them. If they do not
believe, with ever fiber of who they are, in the magic they are performing it will not work. They
will be just as incapable as any sleeper who walks around living in the lies.
Playing a Mage requires an understanding the beliefs that your character hold dear, and
uses to perform magic. To help reinforce that understanding, and immersion in game play, there
are some simple rules for using your Mages beliefs to both enhance your magic, and enhance your
character.
When your character acts within their core beliefs in a significant way they receive a
style die from the Storyteller. If they perform an action acting within their beliefs that both
greatly enhances the story and places risk to the character, they may regain a temporary
Willpower point.
Core beliefs help reinforce your characters vision of reality, and as such can occasionally
reduce the sting of Paradox. When your character would accumulate more than one point of
Paradox in a single action, you may reduce the final number of paradox accumulated by one if
you are acting within your belief.
Core beliefs also affect your dealings with other mages, and more importantly, the magic
that they wield. A Storyteller may request that you define what belief a magical characteristic
falls under. For example, a Heretics Magical Library merit may be focused in Lexicon (Words of
Power), another mage who also believes in Lexicon, even a variant aspect will find substance
within the tombs of the Heretics Library.
A character can have as many or as few beliefs as fit the character, a good number to
have for is three.

Example Core Beliefs:


 Cognition: The belief that the physical world is formed primarily by thought.
 Divinity: The belief in a transcendent being that is the source of all things.
 Evolution: The World is a byproduct of competition and emergent chaos.
 Faith: The belief in otherworldly, often unseen, forces directing events.
 Gnosis: Understanding through altered state of consciousness.
 Indulgence: The pursuit of transcendence through happiness, passion, and the fulfillment of
desire.
 Infinity: Everything, time, space, matter, energy is one. It is also nothing.
 Invention: True knowledge lies in bringing new things into the world
 Karma: The belief in a universal principle of justice.
 Lexicon: The understanding of power through words, names, information, language, and
communication.
 Progressive: The examination and remaking of conventional ideas, pushing them forward,
and turning them on their head.
 Rationality: Everything that exists is matter and energy, acting on testable principles.
 Reincarnation: The belief in many lives, before and after this one.
 Spiritualism: The belief in an immaterial bodies, souls, and non human spirits.
 Transcendence: The availability of non physical spaces, which share a relationship with our
world.
Extended Dramatic Systems
Botching
Botching is the worst form of failure. In addition to not attaining what you were after
with a roll, something extra goes wrong. What goes wrong may have nothing to do with your
roll, and in fact, fictionally you may actually succeed with what you were trying to accomplish.
However something in the scene will go unexpectedly for your character. In Mage, botching has
a secondary effect when in comes to magic. See the Paradox Section in the Magic Document for
what happens when you botch a Magical Effect.
Botching occurs in two situations; when you have no successes on your roll and at least
half of your dice show 1’s; and if you roll a 1 on a chance die.

The Chance Die


If your dice pool is ever brought down to 0 dice through penalties, you may always roll a
chance die. Chance dice follow special rules when rolling; only 10’s (0’s) count as successes (and
they explode!), however if you roll a 1 it’s a botch.

Shift
One of Mage’s major themes is that Magic and belief define reality. As such Mage
players should have a greater control over what happens when a magical effect is cast, or even
when they perform mundane actions.
After any successful roll is made, a player or the Storyteller should calculate the
difference between the difficulty of the action, and the number of successes the player achieved.
This is the amount of shift that a player generates. Shift gives the player an amount of narrative
control over the situation. Some basic things that it can do are: increase quality of outcome:
(improve the quality of the desired results); Increase subtlety (make the job harder to detect).

Declarations
More advanced ways of using shift are to use them in making Declarations or
Assessments. Declarations make a fictional fact about the situation, about either intent or
consequence. Declarations are made from a meta-game perspective and are not necessarily
character knowledge; the Storyteller and player should discuss how much is adding to the
tension of the story, and how much is adding to the characters knowledge.
Declarations are used when using some form of perceptive, investigative, or knowledge
finding activity. Declarations can’t be used with combat actions (other than the assessment
action), and while shift can help add to the description or effect can not add new information
into a scene.

Style Dice
Mage is a game of flavor. It requires a great deal of descriptive responsibility from the
players and Storyteller to be able to have a worthwhile experience in mage.
To help enforce this type of game play, we have style dice.
Style dice are a narrative tool and a reward from other players.

What are Style Dice?


Style dice are dice bonuses that your can gain, and later use on dice rolls that are
dramatic for the character.

How do I get Style Dice?


There are two ways of getting style dice; from the storyteller and from other players.
Other players may hand out single style die from a communal dish. This is a reward for being
clever, going along with another player’s idea, or getting a round of drinks for the table. What
ever players feel like rewarding other players for is worthy of style dice.
The Storyteller can also give style dice. However they have a more ways of doing so.
First, if a character has added a strong piece of narration to the game, and generally enhancing
the immersion of all player, this is worth 1 to 3 style dice. Secondly, a Storyteller may add an
unexpected complication to a characters life, and after doing so rewarded with 1 or 2 style dice.

How do I use Style Dice


After they are gained, you may spend these style dice on any roll, and count them as part
of the dice pool. You may not spend more than 5 style dice on a single roll. If you describe your
action before you roll, you may instantly add those style dice to your roll.

Do Style Dice go away?


Eventually, yes. When a story ends, all style dice are reset to zero, excess style dice are
lost. Spend your style dice before the end of the story, or loose them.
Extended Dramatic Systems Continued
The following alternate systems replace Experience Points and Combat from the Core
World of Darkness. As such these are more house rules than system conversion from Mage: The
Ascension.

Alternate Experience Points


XP awards are fickle for Storyteller Games. I found a system I like, and I like to keep using
it. Here’s how it works for World of Darkness games.
There are three poker chip colors you need to be concerned with:
 White Chips (or Orange) are the lowest denomination. They are worth ¼ of an Experience
Point.
 Red Chips (Or Pink) are the main type of chip you will receive in game. They are worth ½
of an Experience Point.
 Blue Chips (Light Blue) are the prize. They are worth 1 Experience Point.
 Purple Chips are special, usually given as Mystic or Training XP.

You receive white chips for:


 Showing Up
 Showing Up on Time.
 Showing Up on Time when the GM is running a bit late.
 Bringing Snacks.
 Bringing Books.
 Driving other players or dropping them off.
 If you slept during a scene or otherwise weren’t at all present at the table for.
 If the GM thinks you were particularly amusing or insightful within the game.
 Putting more than your name and your chip totals on your XP sheet.

You receive red chips for:


 Each scene in which you participated or were at least cognizant of. (If I put up a scene where
you are entirely cut out, but you still remained conscious, I’m not going to penalize you.)
 Filling out your XP sheet in all categories is worth at least a red chip.
 A day may come where someone’s in character role-playing is so entertaining or insightful
that they get an extra Red Chip on the spot.
Red chips are the standard reward.

You receive blue chips for:


 Being either entertaining or most resourceful in a scene.
 A particularly insightful or helpful XP sheet is worth a blue chip.
 End of Story: A successful story (which, regardless of how they turn out, most stories end
successfully. If for some reason I’m really disappointed, I’ll make sure to at least hand out
red chips.)
 End of Story: Danger (if the plot was dangerous to your character – in any manner – I’ll give
this to you.)
 End of Story: Wisdom (If a plan or idea you had in character or out of character helped the
story progression, you’ll get a blue chip. You can nominate yourself and other players.)
 Doing extra character work is worth at least one blue chip. I’m going to start awarding these
immediately, when handed in, and then add more XP after the fact if I think the work
done is worth more XP.
Blue chips are the things to strive for.

The Mysterious Purple Chips:


Purple Chips are special and usually represent Mystic Experience. Mystic Experience is
awarded when PC’s really find themselves ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’. When they discover new
things about the supernatural in the World of Darkness they get Mystic Experience.
Leaning that Vampires Exist is not worth any Mystic Experience; however, learning of a
monastic sect of vampires that have been surviving in the sewers of Salt Lake City is worth at
least 1 Mystic Experience. Needless to say Mystic Experience is related experiences of the
character; uncovering information in a book is fine, but Mystic Experience is a reward for those
who experience the strangeness of the World of Darkness.
A Purple Chip is worth 1 Mystic Experience.
Mystic XP should only be spent on supernatural abilities, but for book keeping it doesn’t
really matter to distinguish between the two (i.e. it doesn’t matter to me where your XP is going
in the long run, eventually everyone is going to by something magical).

At the end of each session, the Storyteller adds up the XP you have received (based on the
chips you have). Yes, I am awarding fractional XP, players won’t get fractional total, and won’t
be able to spend ¼ of an XP, but will eventually accumulate full numbers.
Most people average 4-7 XP a session, which is a bit high, but things are expensive.

Additional XP gains
Players may find other reasons to receive XP. The list below is not exhaustive, but an
example of ways for people to justify asking for additional XP at the end of a session.

 Good Role-Playing
 Learned Principle: If your character has a ‘learning moment’ in the game – an insight or the
like – they will get an XP. (Learning ‘things’ – such as “I learned vampires exist” – do not
count towards this.)
 Good Idea: If the character / player had an idea that helped the plot move along, they gain 1
XP.
 Heroism: If you risked yourself against a SIGNIFICANT personal threat for the reason of
protecting another person, or showed other signs of something I (or most of the table) feel
is Heroic, you will gain an XP.

At the end of every story, a player receives an additional experience point, plus one if the
story was exceptionally dangerous, plus another if they showed extraordinary wisdom in resolving
the conflict of the story.

XP for Extra Work


I like to reward players who do extra work on their character. In the past, though, this has
sometimes gotten out of hand. I’ve had many variant rules – and now there is this one. I hope
this keeps people happy.
Doing any extra work on your character is worth a blue chip for each instance – except this
is never rewarded, just marked down. It is also worth a certain number of white chips, based on
the amount of work, coherency, or my general attitude and impression of the work.
What counts as extra work? Over the years, I’ve accepted the following:
 Picture arrays of your character. For example, if you use a famous person for the Played By
(PB for short) and give me a few pages of pictures, that will be worth at least one chip per
page, sometimes more.
 Good hand drawn sketches of your character would be worth more than that.
 I’ve seen one player repeatedly put together “character wardrobes” for me.
 Out of game stories are always worth some.
 Making CDs that are relevant to your character somehow – including maybe a collection of
their favorite songs, or songs that you feel are thematic of them, or whatever.
 I’ve seen one player has made a character scrapbook. I thought that was cool.
 A character journal kept physically or online (Live Journal, for example) is worth some
points. I can’t guarantee I’ll read it regularly, but when I do, the points will be awarded.
(And if it seems a while, e-mail me with the link to it if its online.)
 Basically, anything that makes your character more ‘real’ is worth points – defining their
friends, or giving me their class schedule, or anything else like that.
I don’t want to limit the extra work that any player does. However, if one player provides
much more extra work than any of the other players, that player may get the extra work XP
through installments, getting parts of it at the end of every story. This is to keep the relative
balance of the collective players XP from getting to far apart.

Experience Costs

Ability Experience Point Cost


Attribute New dot x 5
Skill New dot x 3
Merit New dot x 2
Specialty 3 points
Virtue New dot x 2
Tradition Sphere New dot x 5
Other Spheres New dot x 6
Enlightenment New dot x 6
Lost Willpower 6 points

Tick-Based Initiative System


I’m not a huge fan of the artificial ‘rounds’ systems. This current version is based off of the
Scion system (very loosely), and is designed to allow more options in combat.

Step One: Roll Initiative


Roll dice equal to your initiative, the number of successes determine setting for tic 0 on the
tic wheel.

Step Two: Determine starting order


The person with the most successes wins initiative starts on 0; ties are broken by who has the
highest initiative. Each person figures the difference between their initiative and the winner;
they then place themselves that difference lower on the tick wheel from 0.
Step Three: Take an Action
You get to act ON your initiative score. If two people act at the same time the order of
resolution is up to whatever you can all agree on. These actions happen nearly simultaneously,
however are still sequential.
Each action has a speed. Add that speed rating to your initial starting number. That is
when your next action takes place. For example, if Greg takes a speed 6 action, his next action
will take place 6 ticks later. If after that he takes a speed 4 action, his next action will be 4 ticks
after that, and 10 ticks from the first action. And so on and so forth.
No action can be reduced below speed 1 or above speed 7. Effects that would do so cap in
either direction.

Sample Actions
 Attack: An attack is a Speed 5 action, but it has some modifiers:
o Required Strength 2 or less is Light, Speed -1; Strength 4 or higher is Heavy, Speed +1.
Improvised weapons also speed +1. (Conversely, unlike the official rules, they do not
alter your dice pool to strike. A chair is a +2B weapon, it’s just kind of slower.)
o Unarmed attacks always count as Light Weapons, giving them a basic speed of 4.
 Normal – no modifier.
 Fleeting – a light, fast blow. Reduce speed and damage rolled by 1.
 Power – a strong, hard blow. Increase speed by 1, increase dice pool by 1.
 All-Out Attack – No speed modifier, but you lose your defense until your next
action. Your attack roll is increased by 2.
 Defense: Standard Defense takes no action. However, it will not refresh until your next
action.
o Guard (or Dodge) is a speed 3 action, but it doubles your Defense until the refresh phase.
You can also end a guard action for a specified event.
 Movement: You can move your basic speed as part of another action.
 Dash: For a 3 speed action, you can move twice your speed, also called Dash. You may make
a reflexive Dex + Athletics roll to overcome obstacles or increase the pace of movement.
 Aiming: You can aim 1, 2, or 3 counts, which give a bonus of +1, +2, or +3 on your strike.
This can be done for any type of attack.
 Assessment/Observe: “Do I see?” “Can I notice?” If you wish to do this, take a speed 2
action to make your roll.
 Helpless/Stunned: This is not normally an action you take, but one that is forced on you
because of an outside effect. You can be placed into multiple stunned actions, one after the
other. Usually there is a way to recover from a stunned effect between actions.
 Set-Up Action: This is a seemingly minor action that serves to make your next action more
effective. The actual mechanics will vary, but this is a 3-count action.
 Reflexive Actions: Any reflexive action that is reactive takes no time. Other reflexive
actions that require active activation (such as certain supernatural powers) are 1-count
actions, but do not refresh your defense until your next full action.
 True Magic: Casting an Effect has a speed equal to 1 + the highest Sphere in the Effect. Add
1 to the speed if you use SEM in the roll.
 Use of other Supernatural Powers: Unless otherwise noted, using any power is a speed 5
action.
 Teamwork actions – such as Werewolf or Hunter Tactics – require the team to act on the
same count number. The easiest way to do this is for people to Guard until the slowest
person can act. The quickest one can normally declare the beginning of the tactic, in
order to get everyone else in line. Most teamwork actions are 5 or 6 count actions.
Combat Sheet
Step One: Roll Initiative

Step Two: Determine starting order

Step Three: Take an Action


No action can be reduced below speed 1 or above speed 7. Effects that would do so cap
in either direction.
Actions:
 Attack: An attack is a Speed 5 action, but it has some modifiers:
o Required Strength 2 or less is Light, Speed -1; Strength 4 or higher is Heavy, Speed +1.
Improvised weapons also speed +1.
o Unarmed - Light Weapon, Speed 4.
 Normal – no modifier.
 Fleeting – a light, fast blow. Reduce speed and attack roll by 1.
 Power – a strong, hard blow. Increase speed and attack roll by 1
 All-Out Attack – No speed modifier, but you lose your defense until your next
action. Your attack roll is increased by 2.
 Defense: Standard Defense takes no action. However, it will not refresh until your next
action.
o Guard (or Dodge) is a speed 3 action, but it doubles your Defense until the refresh phase.
You can also end a guard action for a specified event.
 Movement: You can move your basic speed as part of another action.
o Dash: For a speed 3, twice your speed, reflexive Dex + Athletics roll.
 Aiming: You can aim 1, 2, or 3 counts, which give a bonus of +1, +2, or +3 on your strike.
This can be done for any type of attack.
 Assessment/Observe: Speed 2.
 Helpless/Stunned: Speed 5.
 Set-Up Action: Speed 3.
 Reflexive Actions: no time. Reflexive activation – Speed 1.
 True Magic: Speed equal to 1 + the highest Sphere in the Effect. Add 1 for SEM.
 Other Supernatural Powers: Speed 5.
 Teamwork actions – Guard + Speed 5 Action.
Magic Rules
Magic CAN do anything within the Fiction; it may break any boundary, go above every
conceivable limitation. Magic CAN NOT, however, do everything systemically. This is a game,
and as such, some things break the flow of game play, and make it less (or no) fun for the other
players and the Storyteller.
Magic in Mage: The Ascension is fluid and undefined. Within the various editions of
Mage, they express some basic principles with a few different mechanics.
The basic ideas for casting a spell can be found in Mage: the Ascension Second Edition.
Difficulty Modifiers listed within however can be disregarded. References to successes needed
however are valid as a baseline. Examples of difficulty modifies serve as examples for dice pool
modifications imposed by the storyteller during effect creation.

The Basics
Paradigm
A Mage’s Paradigm is the way they view magic. A Mage can believe anything about
magic that they want, but they then have to explain their magical effects within the fiction and
their magical belief, all a characters magical limitations are imposed by how they role play and
portray their Paradigm.
While there are no mechanics for making or sticking to a Paradigm, a player may use the
information about their chosen tradition (or craft) as a baseline, then use any combination of
Core Beliefs, Virtues, and Spheres or outside fiction to further explain their chose of magical
flair.

Resonance
At its core, the universe is composed of some combination of Dynamic, Entropic, and
nd
Static forces (see Mage the Ascension 2 Edition pg 62 for more information about the
Metaphysic Trinity).
All things in the universe are composed of these magical energies in the form of
quintessence. Mages can discern many of the metaphysical aspects of those energies. Every
object, concept, or force has an aspect of those energies, called Resonance. Resonance is
particularly potent and noticeable when back by an awakened will.
Every Mage has the ability to analyze Resonance within their Spheres of knowledge.
Every Spheres purview governs various subjects of reality, and recognizing and making sense of
that analysis is called Scrutiny. See the Scrutiny section later in this chapter.

Creating Magical Effects


Using Magic is an easy process, note it’s not a simple process, but with practice it can be
easy. Below are guidelines on how to create the effects you want to accomplish with magic. You
don’t have to go down the list every time you want to perform an effect. However, it’s a good
way to get used to the order that should occur with magic.

Game Physics
In the Mage universe all science, as we know it, exists because we believe it does; or
because we have been tricked into believing so. Mages disregard these “truths” and rework the
universe, starting from scratch and imposing their beliefs and knowledge over the consensus.
Mechanically this informs how a player needs to look at the relationship between
personal knowledge and creating Magical Effects. When working with the raw contents of
creation through the spheres, a player needs to forget most of what they learned in high school
physics. He then uses only the spheres to enact the effects that are desired. Especially with the
spheres of Forces and Life, there is a certain amount of crossover between how a player
understands the sphere and its application to games, e.g. “Real World Situations”. However, a
players knowledge of the “Real World” (be it Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Sociology, etc) should
not be the sole justification for why or how a given Magical Effect should operate.

Step 1: What do you Want to Do?


If you didn't have a plan in mind, you wouldn't be using magic. However, there are
usually several ways to accomplish a given feat. Figure out what you want to do in general terms,
and then look at the ways to accomplish it with magic.

Basic Types of Effects


There are some simple distinctions that all mages can make when it comes to magic. All
traditions know about Rotes (and the Technocratic Procedures).
Improvised Casting
Improvised Casting is performed anytime that a Mage is not performing a Spell by Rote.
To cast a spell improvised, a Mage rolls Enlightenment + Foci. If using short or ritual time, you
may add SEM.
Rote Casting
A Magical Rote is a specific effect of magic, ingrained and practiced so much that
performing the effect is almost second nature to the Mage. Rotes gain the benefit of being a rote
action (WoD Corebook pg. 134). Otherwise the roll is exactly like Improvised casting.
A Rote does a specific effect, done in a specific time, done with specific foci. That effect
never changes, that foci may never change, the time frame the rote is performed in does not
change. Most rotes are divided by tradition, however there is some crossover.
There are two types of rotes, common rotes and personal rotes. Common rotes are
streamlined techniques for a given effect. Personal rotes are developed personally.
Rotes are bought with experience points, 2 XP each. Rotes that does not incorporate a
foci from your tradition, it costs an additional XP to buy.

Desired Result
Overtly, you must determine what it is you want to do, exactly. You might be trying to
electrocute an opponent or heal a wound. Figure out a way to make events turn according to
your whims. Remember, with the right Spheres and paradigm, you can do just about anything.
You need only determine how you want to accomplish your aims, figuring out if you can do it
comes next.
Mechanically there are many ways to represent successful Effects, ranging from bonuses,
temporary merit effects, or penalties against one’s foes. You don’t need to figure out the exact
nature of your result mechanically, but having an idea will help the Storyteller help you better
carry out the effect.

Casting Time
A Mage does not always have all the time in the world to cast a spell. Likewise they are
not always casting by the skin of their teeth. Magic Casting times are in three simple categories.

Instant Casting:
Instant Casting takes a speed 4 action (about 8 real world seconds). A Mage can first
take an extra speed 3 action to properly focus (equivalent to an “aim” action), giving them a +2
bonus to the roll, however unless otherwise allowed by the Storyteller, you can’t get a MAS roll.
All normal casting modifiers apply.

Short Casting:
Short casting is done in a few minuets, it’s not rushed, but it’s not ritualized either.
There are advantages to short casting. First, you may spend up to double your normal
Quintessence cap for bonus dice on the same spell, regardless of how many you may spend in a
single action. Note that spending 10 or more quintessence makes a spell vulgar for short casting.
The Main advantage however, is being able to use MAS more effectively.

Ritual Casting
Ritual casting takes a while, several hours at the least. Your Enlightenment determines
your base time spent ritual casting, if multiple mages are participating, the longest ritual time
applies. The big advantage to casting a ritual is that you are able to make an extended dice roll,
to be able to accomplish much more than you could in a single spell roll.

Effect Description
Once you know what you're trying to accomplish, figure out how you want it to happen.
Narrow it down to a particular Effect, and how your character can make it happen. The
Storyteller can determine whether your Effect is defined well enough for the story. Determine
your desired angle, whether it's firing a bolt of lightning or tearing a hole in the Gauntlet. A lot
of this decision involves role-playing, as you decide how your mage approaches problems. The
time and resources available to your mage affect this approach as well. Your magical feats will
depend on paradigm, too, so this decision is a great way to distinguish your mage's beliefs and
way of shaping Effects.

Personal Touch
Your paradigm should always influence your magical Effects. Rarely does a mage simply
wave a hand to wreak great change. Instead, the mage relies on the tools that she's learned to
use. Check out the various Traditions and their beliefs. Each one has an approach to magic that
shapes the caster's Effects. Work this individuality into your Effects to generate a more colorful,
engrossing story. After all, it's much more potent to describe how your character focuses his chi
energy or uploads a viral neural rewrite, than to simply state that you're blasting the enemy with
Forces or examining something with Mind magic.
Sometimes, a mage can use techniques from outside their personal paradigm, which
happens most often when multiple mages work together or cross-trained Orphan mages share
techniques. This cooperation is uncommon, though, since most mages are conditioned to think
of their way as "the best way" of doing magic. Establish how your character's "best way" of doing
magic flavors her Effects. Then, decide whether you call upon the Goddess with a sacrifice of
your blood, or use murmured chants to invoke heavenly powers, or... you get the idea.
Your foci also play a role in how your character accomplishes an effect anything can be a
foci, but it is broken down into two classification, possession foci, and skill foci. Mechanically
they work very differently, but fictionally they are so similar that they blend into each other.
Both systems are covered under Step 3.

Step 2: Do You Know Enough to Do What You Wanted?


The Spheres
The mystic Spheres reflect a mage's understanding of reality's elements. The more he
knows about a given thing, the higher his Sphere rating will be. Provided he knows what he's
doing, a mage can do anything his Sphere rating and paradigm allows him to do. The parameters
of what the Spheres can and cannot do are covered later in this chapter.
Mundane Knowledge
Some really complicated feats — like creating a functioning computer from scratch —
may require some mundane knowledge in addition to the magical know-how. If you want your
Spheres to duplicate the functions of accepted devices like cars, computers and airplanes, then
you need to have an idea of how those things work normally. In other words, just knowing how
to manipulate Matter doesn't let you make a plane that can fly or a laptop that runs commercial
software.
Generally, you’re Skills like Computer and Crafts determine how much you know about
such technical subjects. The Storyteller determines how much knowledge your mage needs in
order to perform specific feats. This job does not necessarily require hard rules. Rather, take a
look at some of the Abilities and use them as guidelines for the sorts of knowledge that a mage
may require to make complex objects, creatures or Effects.
You may also want to think about how these skills could augment your effect. See SEM
rules for further details.

Spheres work as described in Mage: The Ascension Second Edition on pg. 186.

The Practices
The Practices are simple codification used for training apprentices. But like in higher
levels of mathematics and sciences, a mage learns that using these classifications are not nearly as
important as having learned them to start with.
This is by no means the only things that Magic can do; it is however a way of quickly
identifying what types of things can be done at most levels of the Arts. You can create a full array
of effects with the Practices listed here and the description of purview under each sphere rank in
the Sphere’s section (Mage: The Ascension Second Edition pg. 186)

1 Dot — Initiate
With one dot in a Sphere, an initiate can:
• Gain mystical knowledge about and understanding of phenomena within the Sphere’s
purview. Mages call this the Practice of Knowing.
• Elementary manipulation of phenomena within the Sphere’s purview, enough to activate them
and/or impart directions. Mages call this the Practice of Compelling.
• Gain sensory perception of phenomena within the Sphere’s purview. Mages call this the
Practice of Unveiling.
A mage performs these practices with elementary understanding. As he rises in Sphere
lore (i.e., dots), he gains more advanced facility with these practices.
2 Dots — Apprentice
With two dots in a Sphere, an apprentice can:
• Exert elementary command and control over phenomena within the purview of the Sphere.
Mages call this the Practice of Ruling.
• Conceal, camouflage or hide phenomena within the Sphere’s purview from scrutiny. Mages
call this the Practice of Veiling.
• Protect a target against attacks. Mages call this the Practice of Shielding.
• With the aid of Prime  a mage can create phenomena within any Sphere’s purview from
nothing. Mages call this the Practice of Making.
In addition, he can perform advanced-level applications of the 1st-dot practices.
3 Dots — Disciple
With three dots in a Sphere, a disciple can:
• Alter the capabilities or functions of phenomena within the Sphere’s purview. Mages call this
the Practice of Weaving.
• Injure a target or degrade a phenomena within the Sphere’s purview. Mages call this the
Practice of Fraying.
• Fortify, bolster or improve phenomena within the Sphere’s purview. Mages call this the
Practice of Perfecting.
In addition, he can perform advanced-level applications of the 1st and 2nd-dot practices.
4 Dots — Adept
With four dots in a Sphere, an adept can:
• Transform phenomena within the Sphere’s purview into related phenomena or shapes, or
replace their capabilities or functions with different ones. Mages call this the Practice of
Patterning.
• Significantly injure a target, degrade its capabilities or negatively transform it. Mages call this
the Practice of Unraveling.
In addition, he can perform more advanced-level applications of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd-
dot practices.
5 Dots — Master
With five dots in a Sphere, a master can:
• Destroy or mutilate a target. Mages call this the Practice of Unmaking.
• Reworking or controlling all aspects of the Sphere’s purview. Mages call this the Practice of
Mastery.
In addition, he can perform advanced-level applications of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th-dot
practices.

Effect Aspects: Vulgar and Consensual, Overt and Covert


Paradox is the bane of magicians everywhere, and smart mages learn how to avoid it
when possible. Spells have two sets of aspects that help define when they might incur the wrath
of paradox, and by how much. Both are opposite ends of the same axes, Vulgar opposes
Consensual, and Overt opposes Covert. Both of these dualities are applied to all magical effects.
There are only 4 combinations of these effects.
Vulgar effects openly defy reality; they perform what is considered the impossible or
unreal. Consensual effects work within what is established as “normal” (or at least a aggregate of
normal). This duality also informs the amount of Paradox generated in an effect.
Overt effects make no dispute as to who is performing the “Magic”. Covert effects are
performed when no one knows from whom, or what, the phenomena or originated. This duality
also informs modifications to the amount of paradox received.
Consensual effects work within the bounds of the consensus. Any spell that could occur
through the normal laws of physics or that is not wildly improbable within the context of when
and where it is cast is considered consensual. Its casting and effect seems like coincidence,
synchronicity or some other believable happenstance, anything other than the forcible re-
shaping of reality through raw willpower. Consensual effects slip between the boundaries and
cracks of the consensus, creating as little disruption as possible. It flows like water, seeking the
lowest level, the path of least resistance. Consensual effects work because “normal” causes can be
traced to an effect, and the only way to tell its still magic is because a mage willed it to be so.
By contrast, vulgar effects work outside the bounds of the consensus. Vulgar magic
produces an effect that could not possibly occur through the normal laws of reality, or whose
probability of occurrence is so high as to be unthinkable. Any effect that could be described as
Supernatural or Unreal falls into this category.
An overt effect is by definition showy and flashy. It makes everyone very aware of whom
the center of the effect is, even if within the bounds of reality.
Covert effects are done in the shadows and behind closed doors, or at least in obscurity.
Effects of this nature are undetectable to the mage that performed them
Let’s take a fairly simple effect, Forces 3 Call Lightning, mixed with Prime 2, to make
Create Lightning Strike. 4 ways that this effect can be viewed
Vulgar, Overt – A Dreamspeaker dances in a public park burning incense (and who
knows what else), calling down lightning from Father Sky. The effect is Vulgar; no one controls
lightning, especially though invoking a great spirit. The effect is overt the Dreamspeaker speaks
and the heavens answer with thunder.
Vulgar, Covert – A Hermetic creates careful ritual deep in a chantry, using a
simulacrum of the target in a child’s electronics play set to zap the target with small amounts of
electricity, as above so below, the target gets struck by lightning out of a clear sky. The effect is
Vulgar; lightning doesn’t strike on a clear day, everyone knows that. But the effect is covert, no
one but the Hermetic and his cabal mates are aware of the spell that transpired.
Consensual, Overt – A Technocrat is down to his last resort, before he abandons his
wreaked car, he pulls his High Energy Electron pistol from its hidden compartment. He takes
quick aim at the on coming Traditionalists and fires (creating the same effect as a Lightning
Strike). The effect is consensual, because such technology does exist in some fashion. But it is
overt, everyone knows from where that destructive force came from.
Consensual, Covert - A Son of Ether creates a meteorological control device, which
allows him to summon lightning by setting it up on a tall building and pointing the device to the
sky. Invisible energy waves emanate until they hit the desired cloud. And BAM! Lightning
Strike. Under the circumstances it’s Convert, the average person could believe that technology
like this exists on a small scale. And the effect is covert; the Etherite is not doing anything
unreal, although perhaps eccentric.

In all of these cases, if the situation changes, or if a players flavor of a particular tradition
is different, than a different set of triggers for the duality’s will occur. However as a general guide,
you can see how to judge where an effect lies.
Mechanically vulgar effects are harder to cast than consensual ones. Vulgar effects have
a base penalty of -1; and if the effect has witnesses it is raised to a -2. If the effect is really jarring
to the witnesses it might, at Storyteller discretion, be bumped up to a -3.

Step 3: Making the Effect Roll


In this step we figure out the pool of dice for the effect.
Enlightenment
All magic is based on Enlightenment. Your base pool for all effects is equal to your
Enlightenment rating.

Foci
Foci are the first modifier for Spell casting, if you have a proper foci it will likely give you
bonuses to your pool. There are four ranks of possession foci. With each rank a higher
proficiency with the tool yields a greater effect for magic. When performing magic with a given
foci, you gain an equipment bonus equal to its rank. You may only gain the bonus for the
greatest foci in an effect; however you may gain style dice for additional foci.
Ranks of Foci:
0 Common Foci – Your Tradition initiation taught you the basic tools that commonly are
used to bend reality. These can be common items that you carry around with you (…just in
case), or items you pick up as needed. They are what you train your mind to use by default. But
because these items have no personal connection to you they are only the crudest of Foci.

1 Practiced Foci – These are Foci that you have been using for a while, they may have
been made yourself, or handed down from family members or a mentor. Either way, they are
important to you, and your connection and practice with them make them superior for bending
reality. To become practiced to any Foci you must build / practice / meditate with it for a day,
afterwards it counts as being a practiced foci.

2 Dedicated Foci – Dedicated Foci are among a Mages most prized possessions. They are
the finest tools a Willworker can use. Each one is special to a Mage. The only downside is that a
Dedicated Foci is only dedicated to the Mage and one of his Spheres. A Single Item may be
dedicated multiple times. A Mage is limited to a number of dedications equal to his
Enlightenment. To Dedicate a Foci, a reasonable amount of downtime needs to be spent. It’s not
important how much; just that it’s done with out risk of interruption.

3 Ritual Foci – A Ritual Foci is more than just a tool; it’s also a location, a frame of mind,
as well as a rite. While each Mage and each tradition sees them differently, there is no dispute
that a Mage can perform greater wonders given focus and time. In effect, a Ritual Foci are
several foci combined to greater effect, but can only be cast during a Ritual.

Skill Enhancing Magic – SEM:


With most paradigms, magic is performed through the act of mundane skills or, with
Storyteller approval, governing attributes. Tarot Readings, Computer Programs, Technical
Devices, Song and Dance. This is the basis for Skill Assisting Magic rolls, or SAM rolls.
When the Storyteller allows, you may add an appropriate skill or attribute to a Magical
Effect roll. Usually you will only be able add SEM when performing Short Casting or Ritual
Casting.

SEM in Combat
Normally SEM is added during Short or Ritual Casting; however there are ways to focus
one’s paradigm for use in sudden conflict. By buying a merit, Magic Trait, you may use the
associated skill (or attribute) in combat.
The action being done with the magic must still make fictional sense for the time frame
you’re working in. You won’t have time to write a brand new computer program (Computers,
Virtual Adept) or Brew a Potion (Crafts, Verbena), but you could use an existing defense
algorithm, or give the evil eye (occult).
This will make some Rotes very hard to use, this is intentional. Rotes are not flexible.
Unless it is a specific combat Rote, it’s not supposed to be used in combat.
Whenever a character uses SEM as part of a combat action, add one to the speed of that
action.

Quintessence in Effects
Quintessence is the most basic way of adding to an effect’s dice pool. The raw force of
creation can help any Effect performed by a Willworker. See the full Quintessence section for
full details.

Effect Modifies
Magical effects are not always easy. The Consensus rules reality and the ruling paradigm
of Science and Technology in the modern world make Traditional magic harder to perform.
With that in mind, it doesn’t surprise any mage that if they are not smart about their magic, it
will fail. The following are possible ways that effects could be modified.

Surpassing Foci
Mages may sometimes be placed in dire straits where they may not have time or means
to complete their rituals with all their foci. When the mage really needs to get the magic going
but just doesn't have the tools, she relies on sheer guts, determination and force of will.
If your mage is caught without a focus, she can still attempt a magical Effect that would
normally require a focus. She grits her teeth, summons up every ounce of magic that she knows
and tries to make something happen. You need only spend a Willpower point in lieu of using the
focus, and the mage can try to make it happen!
Of course, when a mage draws on magical energy by the seat of her pants and without
the aid of her familiar tools, it's much harder to direct the power and much easier to screw things
up. Attempting to surpass foci imposes a penalty of 3 to the magical effect roll. Eventually the
mage may achieve enough enlightenment to overcome the foci totally, but her belief in her own
need makes it more difficult for her to do magic unaided in the meantime.
Note that, because of their utter dependence on physical props and material tools,
Technocrats and Technomancers can't do this trick at all! A Virtual Adept, Son of Ether or
Technocratic mage must always use the tools of his trade, at least until he develops the
enlightenment to overcome his need for foci completely.

Location, Location, Location


Any powerful mage can tell you that the world is a fluid place. The rules of the Consensus in
the Tellurian are a guideline, but not a hard rule. Scientific Laboratories are haves of logic and
Techno-magic, Where an old Indian reservation could be where the spirits crossover regularly.
The location of a magical effect has an impact not on all magic performed there, but an
individual affect on the style of magic being used.
Storytellers may impose up to a -3 penalty, or give up to a +3 bonus, depending on the
paradigm of an individual mage, and local consensus. The following are some basic examples of
general locations and how they might affect the creation of magical effects. More individual
locations, like buildings within these meta-locations may further add or subtract as appropriate.

See Magical Geography and Influence. Mage 2nd Edition, pg 184 for good examples.

Vulgar Effects
Effects that are Vulgar (that go against the consensus of the local reality) are harder to
cast than consensual effects. As such creating any Vulgar Effect imposes a -1 to the effect pool. If
there are witnesses to the Vulgar Effect, this penalty is increased to -2.

Minor Distractions / Outside Factors


Any penalty not mentioned here but the Storyteller sees as fitting may be labeled as an
Outside Factor, or Minor Distraction. These are small factors that have a penalty of -1 or -2
depending on their severity.
Casting on top of a moving train, during a heavy rain storm, or while driving all might
be examples of this penalty.

The Domino Effect


Wise mages who wish to avoid the nasty consequences of Paradox will attempt to
disguise their magic in coincidental Effects. As the number of wild "coincidences" rise, however,
they become harder to pull off. Casting the same (or even similar) consensual effect multiple
times in a scene impose a penalty to consensual magic. This translates to a -1 penalty to Effect
rolls for every two such similar Effects in the course of one scene. This penalty caps to at a total
of -3. This penalty applies to everyone who performs an Effect of the offending nature.
This penalty only counts for those Effects that are overt. That no one sees, and are Covert,
should not increase the difficulty at all.

Mighty Feats of Magic


Not all magical effects are equal. While Vulgar Effects designate magic that goes against
the consensus, there is a classification for magic that goes above and beyond that definition.
Blatantly reworking major elements of world (as defined by the consensus) impose an even
greater penalty. This is cumulative with Vulgar Effects.
The penalty ranges from -3 to -5; and a brief example of how those levels of penalty
might apply.
-3 Conjuring a Car from nothing on a major city street corner.
-4 Making a skyscraper vanish in broad daylight.
-5 Pulling the Moon out of its orbit. Trying to destroy the sun.

Outside Inertia
Some effects have difficulty just overcoming a resistance that is above and beyond the
consensus. Effects like the gauntlet or the flow of time work both within and without the
consensus (possibly in very alien ways).
nd
Mage: The Ascension 2 Edition, pg 170 has a list of the various successes necessary for
tasks that

Step 4: What Happens?


This step is about figuring out the fallout of your effect. How does it affect the scene? Did
you succeed?

Did you Botch?


Botching rules are found in the Dramatic Systems and Traits Document. Botching an
Effect roll always results in Paradox, see the Paradox section later in this chapter for more
information about what happens when you generate paradox.

Countermagic
Essentially, countermagic is a roll used for undoing magical Effects. Mages refer to
countermagic as a means to block incoming Effects with similar Spheres, anti-magic for shielding
against magic with Quintessence and unweaving to destroy an existing Effect. The methods of
casting such counters are similar, though some are a bit more difficult than others.
In brief, countermagic typically requires an Enlightenment roll, with all the normal
trappings. The particulars depend on whether the mage is trying to counter an Effect directly as
it's cast, or undo a completed Effect.
Using countermagic in combat is a guard action against and incoming Effect. Dispelling
ongoing effects is a normal Effect action.
How much did your magic do?
If you did not roll enough successes for the Effect, then it does not have its full potency.
The magic may still have affect on the scene, just not what was fully intended.
If you rolled enough successes, then the Effect happens as described in part 1.

Magical Shift and Wondrous Effects


Rolling more successes than necessary results in Magical Shift; Shift is outlined in the
Dramatic Systems Chapter. Magical Shift can do anything that Shift can do in the same
situations (Combat Effects still can’t make declaration). In addition, a player may Spend Magical
Shift for Wondrous Effects, meaning after effects from the spell that change the nature of the
location for a short time. This might be as subtle as changing the local resonance, or as large as
making that type of Effect easier in the future. The amount of shift necessary for a Wondrous
Effect is up to the Storyteller.

Do you even need an Effect?


Some things that your character desires to do might not even require the complex steps
needed to create a new magical effect. There are a few ways that you’re magic (or even mundane
skill) can accomplish the task for you.

Magic Assisting Skill - MAS:


Magical Assisting Skill is the basic coincidental effect of enhancing your mundane
actions with magic; this is the most basic form of enhancement, known as MAS. It has no magic
roll, like for more complex Effects; it also has very little chance of paradox based on its mundane
aspects.
MAS is done by spending Quintessence. Each point of Quintessence spent (up to the
character’s Spheres rating) adds a die to the pool for the action being performed. Quintessence
spent on MAS is not capped by normal Quintessence expenditure for a single action.
Enhancing abilities does have restrictions however. You are still limited by paradigm and
foci for the effect. A Son of Ether enhancing investigation with Time must still have equipment
foci; an Akasik Brother enhancing Athletics with Forces must still be performing martial arts (or
wire-fu).
Your dice pool for the action may not exceed the maximum mortal dice pool of 10,
bonuses from equipment & specialties still apply after that restriction. Enhancement to bring you
beyond mortal maximum can be done with magic, but it is beyond the scope of MAS.

Declarations
Your character can define reality even without magic. Mage is a game about defining
reality, and players have that power built into the game. See the Declarations section in the
Dramatic System and Traits section.

Other Magical Knowledge

Scrutiny
Scrutiny can take many forms fictionally, however mechanically it’s either a Wits +
Composure roll for an instant analysis, or Wits + an appropriate skill (Investigation, Occult,
Science; dependant on the paradigm of the mage involved) for a longer more though search of
the patterns involved.
Scrutiny can tell a few things about any subject.
 Identify the Subject: You gain a relative understanding of the subject’s nature. Determining
what describes it, and what aspect(s) of the Trinity it favors.
 Nature of the Subject: You find what the subject is composed up (based on the sphere), and
possible abnormalities of the subject.
If you are Scrutinizing a Person (sleeper or otherwise) various spheres can identify basic things
about them. Everything that makes a person a person is evident in their pattern, if you know
where to look.
Any Sphere:
 Personal Resonance Signature: You can identify the Personal Resonance Signature of a
particular Willworker.
Correspondence:
 Links: Establish links between the target and things you have or have observed.
Mind:
 Beliefs: You can determine the Core Beliefs, Virtues, or Morality System of the Subject
Prime
 Supernatural Nature: You can discern the supernatural nature of the Subject.
Spirit:
 Influence: You can determine the influence or presence of ethereal beings (not astral) on
the Subject. Including possession, spirit pacts, or Werewolf Gifts, or Wraith powers.
If the Subject is some for of Magical Effect, or Supernatural Quality, you can also determine the
following factors based on Scrutiny.
 Basic Effect: What does the Effect do?
 Caster: Who performed the effect? This does not give you an identity as much as a resonant
fingerprint, allowing you to identify that mages spell casting in the future, or link it to the
caster if you are able to scrutinize them.
 Potency: How strong is the Effect (how many successes were needed to make it)?
 Targets: Who does the Effect affect?
 Duration: How long has the spell?
 Factors: What Spheres went into the Effect?
 Power: You can identify the power (Enlightenment score) of the caster when the effect was
cast.

Working In Concert – Magical Teamwork


While mages are not always team players (see the Ascension war) small groups of Mages
can work together to perform even greater (or more reliable) feats of Magic.
Mages working together on an Effect works like Teamwork. A primary mage in the
casting is chosen, and everyone else plays the role of secondary casters (see WoD Corebook, pg
134).
A few factors limit the amount of Teamwork a mage can have.
 As a Primary Caster, a Mage may only have a number of helpers equal to their
Enlightenment + Composure.
 Each of the participants must have similar magic outlooks. Each mage in the secondary
caster must share a core belief that relates to the effect with the primary casting. They may
not look at magic exactly the same way, but they must synchronize their. Every additional
Core Belief that a secondary caster shares with the primary caster gives a +1 bonus to the
secondary casters roll.
 If the secondary casters do not share the same core belief that they share with the primary
caster, they cause a -1 penalty (cumulative) to the primary casters roll, as they have a
tougher time controlling the differing magical energies.
 Mages of the same Tradition may ignore the rule above about Core Beliefs. However if they
share NO Core Beliefs, the secondary caster suffers a -2 Penalty to the roll, due to dissenting
theories about the work at hand.

Quintessence
Quintessence is piece of undefined reality; all things are made from its inception and byproducts.
The World we know, the things we understand are just quintessence in a solid form. A
Willworker can hold and store this primal substance within there own pattern. While shaping
reality, raw Quintessence is a most invaluable tool, second only to a Mages Will.
A Mage can spend Quintessence in a few ways.

 Quintessence may be spent to gain additional dice on any spell effect cast.
 Quintessence may be spent to bolster a magical defense; a Mage may reflexively spend
Quintessence to add to the defense or resistance against any Vulgar effect, or covert effect
that the Mage is aware of.
 Any time a spell would deal aggravated damage, a point of quintessence must be expended
by the caster.

All of these effects are on a one for one basis in Quintessence. A Mage may only spend a
number of quintessence equal to his half his Enlightenment (rounded up) + Avatar in a
revolution of the combat wheel (6 ticks, 12 seconds).
Corona of Power
Anytime a mage spends five or more Quintessence in a single action, the mage is
surrounded in a corona of power. Any effect he performs before this corona dissipates becomes
Vulgar.
This also applies to any effect that is cast over a longer period of time, Short Casting and
Rituals can easily go above five Quintessence. That effect becomes Vulgar, and the corona of
power lasts until the end of the scene; the storyteller may choose to extend the duration of the
corona for a number of hours equal to the Mages Enlightenment.
A corona of makes the mage very easy to sense with magic, and also nullifies the effects
of the Arcane background (temporality). While most sleepers can not “see” the corona of power,
they can sense the mages power; possibly imposing a penalty or bonus situational.

Regaining Quintessence
There are a few ways for a mage to regain Quintessence. The most obvious and
easy is through the use of the Prime Sphere; however that is not always available to a mage, or
even a given Cabal. Luckily there are other ways that a game can replenish this most valuable of
resources. All mages are limited to a maximum of 20 Quintessence, as shown on the
Quintessence/Paradox Wheel, a mages temporary paradox rating lowers this amount.

Through Prime
The easiest method of gaining Quintessence is the Sphere of Prime; see the purviews of
nd
the Prime Sphere by rank in the Mage: The Ascension 2 Edition, pg 212.

Though an Avatar
When a mage has run low on Quintessence, A Mage regains 1 point every day, regaining
up to their Avatar rating. This represents the awakened spirit recouping the lost energy spent,
refilling reserves much like resting after fatigued. This quintessence is without an essence type.

From a Node
Nodes are the wellspring of free Quintessence; most Cabals inherit such locations from
mentors, or cultivate such locations from likely spots. Any mage can take the free floating energy
from a Node, although it is usually very impolite (or worse) to take Quintessence from a Node
without permission from its care taker.
A Mage may make a Willpower roll, resolve + composure, to “meditate” and draw their
successes in quintessence from the Node, if the node does not have enough free quintessence in
it’s reserves, than the mage draws as many until the reserve is depleted. A mage may only use
that Node once per day, but may draw on as many individual Nodes as time permits. This roll
takes 15 minutes.
If a mage has any rank if the sphere of prime, they may perform an Obligation.
Obligations allow a mage to make different ability rolls, acting within their paradigm, to acquire
the quintessence from a Node. A Son of Ether might charge the batteries of his Devices
(Intelligence + Science); an Akashic Brother might perform Ti-Chi (Stamina + Athletics); a
member of the Dreamspeakers, Cult of Ecstasy, or Verbena may all Dance under the moon
(Dexterity + Expression).
During downtime a Mage may take any amount of Quintessence into their pattern, as
long as they have access to a Node. This is limited only by the quantity generated by the Node
and how many mages draw upon it.

Paradox
Perhaps the single thing that any mage can be said to fear most is Paradox. The very
idea, be it is called scourge, Backlash, distortion or any other name, is enough to frighten all but
the most insane Marauders. The force of Paradox itself will cause any mage to think twice before
he tosses a fireball down the street. Paradox is perhaps most terrifying because it's unpredictable,
it's dangerous, and lies waiting for a mage to make a single misstep.
For storytelling purposes, it's important to understand what Paradox is, as well as what it
is not. Paradox is not a sentient force. It is not malicious, and it is not benevolent. It doesn't
favor certain individuals, and it isn't out to get others. It simply exists. Paradox's results could be
described as analogous to the human immune system: It fights off anything that seeks to disturb
the equilibrium of the system it protects. That said, Paradox can be a strong drive in stories, it
should not be though as a punishment for doing something wrong, as much as a reaction (by the
game fiction and the story) for doing the more interesting actions.
Paradox occurs in any case when a mage makes enough of an impact on reality to
"disturb the waters," so to speak. The disturbance can be a badly failed attempt to alter reality
Consensually or the use of any vulgar magic. In fact, vulgar magic always incurs Paradox.
However, it's important to note that Paradox only seems to afflict Awakened mages. The fact
that the mage changes the universe through force of will, rather than through some inherent
power, seems to draw down powers that lash at the mage in return.
Basically, a mage changes reality in ways that no other force can do. Awakened magic
grabs hold of the Tapestry and shoves it into a completely different direction. Even when some
supernatural creatures use a power that looks the same as a magical Effect, the means is
completely different. The mage undergoes a process of self-exploration and transformation in
order to alter the universe in turn, and that process means that the mage is subject to the
unleashed forces of change. The harder the mage pushes — the bigger the change — the more
Paradox rebounds.

Paradox Accumulation
Mages can get Paradox energy in varying quantities, depending on how much magic they
do. The attempted Effect determines the amount of Paradox that a mage gamers. Paradox
Accumulates, every point is noted on the character sheet, starting at 9 o’clock on the
Quintessence / Paradox wheel and working it’s way counter clockwise. At a certain point the
Paradox will SNAP causing one of many adverse affects for the mage.

In game terms, the following are values for normal Paradox accumulation:
 A successful Consensual Effect doesn't normally garner Paradox.
 A successful effect that could be considered Consensual or vulgar (or is very unclear)
generates a single point of paradox.
 A vulgar Effect without witnesses generates one point of Paradox per level of the highest
Sphere used.
 A vulgar Effect with witnesses generates one point of Paradox per level of the highest Sphere
used, plus one.

The following are the amounts of paradox accumulated when botching:


 A Consensual botch gives Paradox equal to the highest sphere level of the spell.
 A vulgar Effect without witnesses that is botched generates one point of Paradox per level of
the highest Sphere.
 A vulgar Effect with witnesses that is botched gives two points of Paradox per level of the
highest Sphere, plus two.
This can be stored up like normal paradox or can explode instantly as a backlash, at the
storyteller’s discretion.

The following are modification to the above amounts of Paradox generated:


 All Overt effects add one to the paradox generated (including Consensual effects)
 Covert effects subtract two from the paradox generated.

Paradox Backlash
nd
See Mage: The Ascension 2 Edition, pg 176.

Wonders - Talismans and Devices


Talismans and Devices are also a kind of Foci. They have been crafted by magic in order
to perform a specific function, like a Rote. A device can be created like any other magical effect.
Talismans and Devices have six key traits: Rating, Effect, Dice pool, Quintessence Pool, and
Cost per Use.
 Rating – This is the rating of the sphere, usually a Talisman’s rating is equal to the effect that
is instilled within it; however very power items might be rated higher.
 Effect – This is the core of what the Device does. What effects it emulates? How is it used?
 Dice pool – Some Talismans are used in conjunction with skills, either because they need
special activation or they aid in the use of a mundane skill. Either way the Dice pool is listed
here.
 Quintessence Pool – This is the amount of Quintessence that the device can hold. It can
either by siphoned by a desperate mage, or used to fuel the effect if it has a cost.
 Cost – The Cost of a Device is the cost, in Quintessence, that needs to be paid every time
the Device is used.

To create a Talisman requires three primary things.


First, the Mage must be outside of the Near Tellurium; within the Horizon is usually
best. Technocratic Devices do not require the first limitation (Tradition Mages such as the Sons
of Ether or Virtual Adepts likewise are not hindered by this requirement); however, they must be
made in areas where the gauntlet is weak, and the consensus does not stifle there genius.
Second, a reasonable amount of downtime needs to be spent; it’s not important how
much; just that it’s done with out risk of interruption.
Third, a sphere ratings one higher than the effect you are trying instill in the Talisman.
After the requirements have been fulfilled, a ritual needs to be cast. The Creator of the
Talisman may only roll a number of times equal to there Enlightenment. Each Success scored
may be applied to increasing any of the stats. The Storyteller should decide how many successes
each desired effect with require; usually based on the effects level of requirement with spheres. if
the effect has a cost, as determined by the Storyteller, a Talisman’s base Quintessence Pool is
five, each success allocated to Quintessence increases the pool by 2, to a maximum of the rating
multiplied by five. After the Ritual is cast, to create the Talismans place in reality, the mage who
created it must sacrifice a permanent willpower point, which can be regained with Experience
points.
Magic Effect Creation
1) What do you want to do and how do you do it?
 Are you using an existing Rote, or creating an improvised Effect?
 What are you attempting? What affect do you want the Magical Effect to have on the
target / scene / story / situation?
 How long does it take? Are you using Instant, Short, or Ritual casting time?
 How does the effect look to you? How does it look to an outside observer?
 What did your character do to make the effect happen? What foci did you use? How does it
fit into the characters paradigm?
2) Do you know enough to do the effect?
 Do you have the appropriate Spheres to accomplish what you want?
 Does your Effect fit into one of the Practices of Magic.
 Do you have any mundane knowledge necessary to perform the effect?
 What aspects does your Effect have? Consensual or Vulgar? Effect Modifiers
Overt or Covert?  -3 Lack of Foci [+1 WP]
3) Making the Effect Roll  -3 to +3 Effect Location
 -1 Vulgar Effect
 Make your Effect pool of dice with Enlightenment + Foci.
 -2 …With Witnesses
 Add Skill Enhancing Magic if it applies.  -1 or -2 Outside
 Add any dice from Quintessence or Style Dice you wish to Distraction
spend.  -1 to -3 Domino Effect
 Subtract or Add any Effect Modifiers (see sidebar).  -3 to -5 Mighty Magic
 Channel Virtues. Feats
 Check for Difficulty. Most effects only require 1 success to -3 Conjuring a Car
-4 Making Skyscraper Vanish
make most Effects happen. However, some effects have to -5 Pulling Moon from Orbit
overcome natural resistance, such as a sleeper’s resolve, the
current gauntlet strength, or the flow of time.
 Roll your effect pool
4) What Happens?
 Did you fail or Botch? If so check for Paradox.
 Was there any Counter Magic against your effect?
 How much affect did your magic have? How did it change the scene?
 Did you generate any shift? If so what are you spending it on?
 Are there any subsequent affects from your Magic?

Paradox
Normal Effects
 Successful Consensual Effects generates no Paradox.
 Successful Effects that have an unclear aspect generate a single point of paradox.
 Successful Vulgar Effects without witnesses generates one point of Paradox per level of the highest Sphere used.
 Successful Vulgar Effects with witnesses generates one point of Paradox per level of the highest Sphere used, plus one.
Botched Effects
 Consensual Effects that botch generate Paradox equal to the highest sphere level of the spell.
 Vulgar Effects without witnesses that botch generate one point of Paradox per level of the highest Sphere.
 Vulgar Effects with witnesses that botch generate two points of Paradox per level of the highest Sphere, plus two.
Overt or Covert
 All Overt effects add one to the paradox generated (including Consensual Effects).
 All Covert effects subtract two from the paradox generated.
Advanced Magical Styles
[SECTION INCOMPLEATE – WORK IN PROGRESS]

Advanced Magical Styles are forms of magic that, through long term practice or subtle belief, slip through
many of the barriers of consensual reality, allowing for greater feats of Awakened Magic, many times without risk
of Paradox.
Most of the abilities contained in the Advanced Magical Styles are basically Rotes that have been codified so
far as to be more than just magical effects, they are part of the real world. They might not be anymore consensual
but they are real.
The actions performed through the Magical Styles are a blend of magical and mundane disciplines. As
such, performing an action that defies conventional logic or consensual reality can still earn a character a
minimal amount of Paradox (1-3).

Do
Literally "the Way", Do [pronounced Doe] is the art of training the body in order to achieve a peaceful and
razor sharp unity of body, mind and soul. Do is the essence of martial arts, the root of more mundane arts - its
movements allow Akashic Brothers to perform feats that combine physical, mental and magical precision.
However, Do is more than just a fantastically deadly fighting style and physical discipline. It is a style of living, a
means to develop the fullest potential of the human body by moving harmoniously in natural cycles. Do stylists
practice proper balance in nutrition, exercise, sleep, thought, creation and destruction, all guided as important
parts of a greater whole. Ultimately, the Do practitioner brings his body and mind in harmony with the natural
flow of life, unhindered by the artificial constructs of development in a world cluttered by extraneous material. To
represent this in mechanical terms we have a combo style, Do.

Magical Fighting Style: Do ( to )


Source: Adapted from Mage: Revised
Prerequisites: Awakened, Wits , Resolve , Dexterity , Composure , Athletics , Brawl 
Those who study the art of Do are referred to as Do-Shih. Do isn’t just a fighting style - in some ways, it is the
most basic style of life and belief. Those who practice it attempt to bring it into all of their aspects of life.
Do is primarily tied to Taoist principles, particularly those about knowing the proper way and to act without
acting. In combat, a Do practitioner might seem to not even be paying attention as they deflect incoming attacks
and send opponents reeling with but a simple flick of the wrist.
Dots purchased in this Merit allow access to unique combat maneuvers using unarmed attacks. Each
maneuver is a prerequisite for the subsequent maneuver, meaning you cannot have “Perfected Offense” until you
have obtained “Perfected Block.”

  Perfecting the Way


This is the most basic entry point of Do. With this level, you gain two benefits. First, you use the best of your
Strength and Dexterity to determine your unarmed attack pool. Second, you can begin learning the special “Do
Merits,” and can have a total number equal to your (Do + Highest Finesse Trait + Enlightenment.)

 Perfected Block
The Do warrior can reduce their attack pool, and add those dice to their Defense total. For example, if the
Do-Shih has a Dexterity of 3, a Brawl of 4, and a Defense of 4 (higher wits), he could take four dice out of his
attack pool, have a basic attack pool of 3, but a Defense of 8 for that round.
In addition this level has two other benefits. First, you use the best of your Wits and Dexterity for determining
Defense. Second, you may us Do as if it were a skill for appropriate magic rolls (SEM).

 Perfected Offense


No matter how well protected an opponent is, or how well they move, a Do-Shih can almost always find a way
to make their blow connect. No matter what involuntary penalties the Do-Shih may face, their attack pool can
never be reduced below their Brawl rating.
Drawback: As implied above, the Do-Shih cannot use this with Perfected Block, and any voluntary penalties
(like called shots) reduce the Brawl Rating dice pool.

 Perfected Dodge


The Do-Shih can dodge multiple opponents in a turn without difficulty. Their Defense does not reduce during
combat for a number of attacks equal to their Brawl + 1.

 Perfected Strike


The Perfected Strike costs the Do-Shih a Willpower point, but it allows them to call upon one of two effects.
First, the attack can be instantly stunning – the target is stunned for one round per point of damage, minus their
Resolve. The other option is that the attack does Lethal damage. Both of these are nerve strikes.
Drawback: As mentioned above, this Maneuver costs a Willpower point, and does not add three dice to the
attack pool.

Do Merits

The practices of Do allow for great feats of the body, spirit and mind. To reflect the varied way that Mages can
apply themselves to the practice of “The Way” these merits provide options that characters can take if they meet
the prerequisites.

Weaponry Art ()


Prerequisites: Weaponry 
While Do teaches one to work without weapons, or without tools of any kind, Weapon Art allows the Do-
Shih to integrate their weapons into the effortless techniques of Do. Each weapon (knife, sword, axe, etc.) must
be taken as a separate merit.
This gives the Do-Shih some special benefits. First, they can use any Do maneuver with that weapon. (At
level 5, they can choose to do Bashing damage with a Lethal weapon at no cost). Secondly, they can use other
appropriate Do Merits, like Butterfly Palms, Arrow Cutting, and Broken Rhythm, with that weapon. Finally, they
can substitute their Brawl rating for their Weaponry rating when attacking with this weapon AND when
determining what armed Fighting Styles they can learn.

Arrow Cutting ( to )


Prerequisites: Dexterity , Forces 
Arrow Cutting is a series of maneuvers that allow the Do-Shih to do the seemingly impossible, like grabbing
an arrow out of mid-air, or parrying a bullet. Each level of Arrow Cutting is a separate maneuver, which has the
previous maneuver as one of its requirements.

Eye of the Wind (): This basic level of Arrow Cutting is actually more arrow dodging – the Do-Shih can use
their defense against ranged attacks, and gain half of their defense against gunfire.

Running from Air (): At this level, the Do-Shih can use special defenses – such as Brawling Dodge, Weaponry
Dodge, or Perfected Block – as active defenses against ranged attacks.

Arrow Snatch (): This does not work against bullets, but does work against thrown and projectile weapon
attacks. On a guard action, The Do-Shih can make a Dexterity + Brawl roll. If they garner more successes, they
have caught the projectile.

The Returned Knife (): ‘It’s all in the Reflexes.’ This maneuver works just like the Readied Bolt, above, but
if they gain more successes, they have thrown the weapon back at the originating point, and do their net successes
in damage.
Drawback: The Do-Shih must sacrifice their defense to use this maneuver.

10,000 Bullets Defense (): The Do-Shih is nearly bullet proof. They can now use their full defense against
incoming gunfire (and with the right level of forces, laser fire as well). And during a guard action make an opposed
Dexterity + Brawl roll to deflect all incoming bullets. The Do-Shih subtracts his successes from the attack roll;
even one success more than the attacker will defend him completely. Remaining successes are counted as normal
damage.

Broken Rhythm ()


Prerequisites: Wits , Composure , Brawl , Mind 
The first few seconds of any fight are the key to defeating your foe. The Do-Shih reacts without thinking
throwing off the actions and rhythm of those not trained in the way, or similar styles.
In any attack you take before a foe acts in combat, you gain bonus dice based on the difference in initiative
between you and the opponent. Your opponent also takes a penalty to their action equal to the damage taken.
Drawback: The Do-Shih losses this bonus if the target has an equal or higher rating in any martial fighting
style, Kung-Fu, Fencing (with a drawn sword), etc.

Butterfly Palms ( to )


Prerequisites: Dexterity , Brawl , Correspondence 
This allows you to make multiple blows against a target, giving you the equivalent of ‘automatic weapon fire’
with your unarmed attacks. For each dot in Butterfly Palms, you can add +1 to your attack roll for that round. At
rating 3, you can attack multiple people that turn, just as if you had sprayed an automatic weapon.
Drawback: For every dot of Butterfly Palms that you use, you increase the speed of your action by one. If you
use three dots, using an unarmed attack your speed moves from 4 to 7. If it goes above speed 8, you cannot act in
the upcoming revolution of the wheel.

Escape Arts ()


Prerequisites: Dexterity , Larceny  or Life 
Through rapid movement, increased flexibility, and the ability to temporarily block out pain, you can escape
any bonds – even those from a successful grapple roll. To escape, make a Dexterity + Brawl + Do roll. Against a
grapple your successes must exceed the grappler’s strength. A simple bond (hands tied quickly behind the back),
you only need one success. For other, more advanced, types of bonds, there is a modifier based on their
complexity. (Escaping the bonds of a talented dominatrix could have a –3 penalty, for example.)

Infinite Weapons ()


Prerequisites: Crafts , Matter 
You can use anything around you as a weapon. You are never considered unarmed. The limits are determined
by your imagination and Storyteller agreement. Small items (a paper clip, for example) do +1 damage. Medium
sized items (a pan) do +2 damage, and large items do +3. Whether or not the damage is lethal or bashing is
determined by the description of how you are using the item.

Iron Hand ()


Prerequisites: Matter 
When attacking an object, you can ignore points of durability that it has equal to your matter rating.

Jou Chuan ()


Prerequisites: Wits , Manipulation , Brawl , Mind 
Your opponent’s momentum and skill can be as deadly to their allies as to you. A Do-Shih trained in this form uses
an opponent as a weapon against other foes locked in melee combat.
During a guard action, you can roll Dexterity + Brawl + Do against an incoming melee or unarmed attack as
an opposed roll. If you are successful, you can redirect their attack towards another person involved in the melee.
The secondary attack is made up of the number of successes scored on the initial attack roll plus your overage
successes.
Regardless of the secondary attacks results, the primary attacker takes one point of bashing damage.

Lotus Perfection ( to )


Prerequisites: Life ,
The Do-Shih’s body is in total control of his form. Give control of the body to the functions of the will.
Lotus Perfection gives a Do-Shih a phantom dot pool equal to it’s rating. When the character successfully
meditates for an hour, they may allocate those dots to any physical merit that he already qualifies for. These merits
last until he meditates again to reallocate those dots.

Mind and Body are One ()


Prerequisites: Mind , Life ,
The Do-Shih learns that the body, spirit, and mind are all complements to the whole of a being, and is able to
draw on the strength of one part to aid the other.
When calculating Health, you may use your highest resistance stat as opposed to stamina. You may use your
two highest resistant stats for figuring your willpower as opposed to resolve + composure.
When resisting magical effects, you may use your highest resistance stat instead of what would normally be
used.

Peaceful Way ( to )


Prerequisites: Appropriate Skill at 
With this Merit, the Do-Shih learns to apply the Taoist approaches of combat to other aspects of their life.
They can select any one skill that is not combat oriented (so not Brawl, Marksmanship, or Weaponry) and, once
per dot per session, perform an action using the ‘Advanced Actions’ rules (WoD corebook, pg 135).
This benefit cannot be applied to magical effects or the use of any supernatural powers.
This Merit can be taken multiple times for different skills – a character could have “Peaceful Way: Expression
” and “Peaceful Way: Occult ” and “Peaceful Way: Stealth .”

Plum Flower Blossom ()


Prerequisite: Athletics , Forces 
Plum Flower Blossom is a technique that improves the user’s ability to jump and leap. Once this Merit is
gained, the practitioner adds their Fighting Style: Do rating to all dice pools involving jumping and leaping. In
addition, their total distance is doubled.

Thousand Fold Defence ()


As a speed 4 action in combat a Do-Shih can focus chi to better deal with incoming blows. This gives you the
equivalent of armor, only against bashing attacks, equal to your Brawl rating.
Drawback: This focus costs one Willpower point, and only lasts for one scene. As normal this armor does not
stack with other mundane armors, take the highest armor rating that applies.
The Art of High Ritual and Ceremonial Magic
High Ritual is a form of advanced ritual casting that focuses on adding harmonious elements to a ritual (even
rituals performed by rival traditions) to synchronize power and create a magical construct that is greater than the
sum of its constituents. In addition to being a form often taught amongst Members of the Order of Hermes (or its
various houses); High Ritualist’s can often be member of other Traditions and Craft, most notably Verbena,
Euthaniti, Wu Keng, Wu Lung, and even a few members of the Celestial Chorus. In addition, the recently formed
Techno-Craft, The LION Group, has also taken its practice to heart.
The Technocracy is said to have a variant of this style know as “Project Management”.

High Ritual ( to )


Prerequisites: Enlightenment , Academics , Occult , Empathy , Expression or Crafts ,
High Ritual is the mystic art of gathering and focusing great Magic Power under the context of a Ritual
Ceremony. Creating a matrix for that power to flow and then enact the Mystics will on reality. That Matrix is call
a Ritual Construct, and encompasses all special considerations done to prepare for a ritual, cleansing ceremonies,
candle formation, basically anything needed to enhance the flow of the power through the ritual.
The form of High Ritual is left to its individual parishioners. When the magical style is learned, however, it
always follows the same progression of rites, leading from perpetrations done for rituals all the way to conducting
rituals, controlling magic that they could not generate themselves.
Buying ranks in High Ritual Comes with a few special advantages. First, if the Ritualist’s Base Ritual Casting
Time is lower than a Lead Caster, the Ritual may use Ritualist’s Ritual Casting Time instead. Second, A Ritualist
may accommodate more participants in a ritual than most mages, adding his ranks of High Ritual to his Maximum
helpers for Working in Concert (Magic Chapter) when performing a ritual. Third, he is able to purchase the
Ritual Merits detailed later in this section; they must me meet any perquisites before buying the Merit.
Drawbacks: This Magical Style always requires at least two people; and all High Ritual Effects must be
ritualized.

 Rite of Ceremony
The introduction to High Ritual starts with modest understanding of symbolism and its place in proper
ceremony this understanding of symbolism grows with more advanced forms of High Ritual.
When leading a Ritual you generate a number of ‘Ceremonial Bonus Dice’ equal to you’re the highest of your
Occult or Academics, plus High Ritual. Many Ritual Merits These dice can be used by anyone involved in the
ritual, adding to one of their rolls during the ritual. Like Style Dice, once they are spent they are removed from the
bonus pool.
Special: This Rite alone may apply to Solo Rituals as well as Working in Concert.
Drawback: The bonus dice in anyone’s pool may not exceed their normal dice pool. A Mage Bones has 5 Dice
for his ritual effect pool; he may not take more than 5 Ceremony Dice in a single ritual roll. Dice that are not used
by the end of the ritual are lost.

 Rite of Synchronicity
The Mage learns that the symbolism involved with Rituals goes beyond mere idyllic practices. At this level the
Mages also has an understanding of ritual and ceremony enough to participate in any Ritual as a Secondary Caster.
He is not hindered when his views of Magic and those of the lead Mage do not synchronize; he is not restricted to
sharing a Core Belief with those he’s participating in a ritual with. He is also not restricted by his knowledge of the
spheres to add his harmonious power to the Effect at hand.
Drawback: The Mage is penalized for not understanding the spheres involved with an effect. He suffers a -1
penalty for each sphere involved with the Effect that he has no rank in.

 Rite of Congregation


With this level of High Ritual he may lead rituals and gain any form assistance from willing entities. He may
choose to no longer suffer any of the restrictions associated with Working in Concert (rules found in the Magic
Chapter); following those guidelines will make the magic more potent, but they he no longer required to follow
those restrictions. In addition other mystical entities can lend their power if they are willing. A Werewolf
Theurgist, Vampire Sorcerers, or Even a Powerful Spirit or Ghost can add their various powers to the Ritual.
At this level he could even add sleepers who respond to the mystic nature of the effect, and the symbolic
ceremony used; willing sleepers who are not attuned to (agree with) the mystic style being used. The Ritualist
needs to roll a Presence + Persuasion or Socialize (their choice), each success successfully brings a willing sleeper
into the ritual. The Ritualist gains a bonus die for each sleeper participant to each ritual roll made for this Effect.
Each of the sleepers spends a point of Willpower to participate in the Ritual, if for some reason they have no
Willpower they add nothing to the Ritual.
Drawback: Each restriction that a Mage chooses to disregards imposes a -1 penalty to each ritual roll for the
Effect.

 Rite of Conduction


The Ritualist is the so skilled at leading rituals, they may lead rituals for other, allowing others magical skill to
form and power the effect, but leading and focusing the magic. He acts the part of the conductor of a symphony,
allowing other mages to express their skill, directed by the Ritualist’s careful hand.
The Ritualist may be the Lead Actor of a Ritual performed by another. One of the secondary actors must still
posses all of the spheres needed for the desired Effect; the Ritualist may lead the ritual, and add any of the previous
levels of High Ritual into the Ritual Construct.

Rite of Unification
The Ritualist is now the Master of his Art, wielding the magical power of others within their Ritual Construct
is second nature. They may even blend the power Mages (and even other Supernatural beings) to create new,
harmonious Effects.
The Overall Effect the Ritual must be Designed before any construct is made. However, no single person is
required to have all the Spheres necessary for a given Effect. The Ritualist may combine other participant’s spheres
to perform a combined Effect that is greater than the participants could perform alone.
In addition, any other supernatural beings (Vampires, Changelings, Werewolves, Wraiths, Ghosts, Spirits, etc)
may also have their specific powers blended with the magical effect, the specific affects this has on any Magical
Effect are unknowable, but the potency of such effects is usually increased by adding powers more accepted by
Consensual Reality. Blending un-Awakened power into the Rituals Construct is mentally taxing to the Ritualist; a
point of Willpower is spent for each supernatural entity adding a power into the ritual.

Ritual Merits
The following Merits represent specialized aspects of the Art of High Ritual. Most of the Merits have a
minimum level of the High Ritual required for that effect, in addition to any other perquisites.

Cult ( to ) -
Prerequisites: High Ritual , Expression , Persuasion 
Cult represents a community of sleepers who believe in the mages power and the Ritualist’s ability to draw
upon those willing individuals to fuel his Magic. A Cults rating determines its relative size, and how it affects a
ritual roll. When a Cult Participates in a Ritual it counts as its rating as additional helpers. So a Cult of 2 counts as
two additional helpers toward how many assistants you can have helping you in Concert Effect.
  - Tiny: A group of 3-7 people. Add 2 to your Ceremonial Bonus Dice pool for your ritual.
 - Small: A group of 8-12 people. Add 4 to your Ceremonial Bonus Dice pool for your ritual.
 - Modest: A group of 13-17 people. Either add 6 to your Ceremonial Bonus Dice pool for your ritual; OR,

Regain 4 Quintessence when the ritual concludes.
 - Large: A group of 18-22 people. Either add 8 to your Ceremonial Bonus Dice pool for your ritual; OR,
Regain 5 Quintessence when the ritual concludes.
- Huge: A group of 23-30 of people. Either add 10 to your Ceremonial Bonus Dice pool for your ritual;
OR, Regain 6 Quintessence when the ritual concludes.

Ritual Efficiency ()


Prerequisites: Time 
You understand the principles of the sphere of Time, and can blend this understanding with all your Rituals;
pushing your Ritual Construct to its limits sacrificing raw power for conservation of relative time.
When determining your Base Ritual Casting Time you may count your Enlightenment a number of ranks
higher equal to your rank in the sphere of Time.
Drawback: Every Rank higher you count your Enlightenment reduces the number of Ceremonial Bonus Dice
you can claim for your ritual.

Supernatural Affinity ()


Prerequisites: High Ritual , and Special (see below)
Special: When you take this merit you must specify a supernatural type. You may purchase this merit multiple
times, each time for a different supernatural type. When you purchase this Merit you are required to have the first
rank in the sphere associated with that supernatural entity (Entropy for Vampires, Spirit for Spirit & Ghosts, .
You have an Affinity for a particular supernatural being, and easily incorporate their energies into Rituals you
lead. Beings of the chosen type may use their personal power to buy bonus dice on a one-for-one basis. Those
bonus Dice are added directly to your ritual roll, the round they are spent. Their personal power is whatever
currency is used to activate their powers (Blood Points, Essence, Glamour, Pyros etc).

Wondrous Foci ()


Prerequisites: Occult , Prime 
Wondrous Foci represents a Ritualist’s ability to use a powerful Artifact (a Wonder) and add its power or
legend to the Ritual Construct. You may add any and all relevant wonders to the Ceremonial Bonus Dice pool for
your ritual.
Drawback: Not every Wonder can be used in every Ritual, only those with sympathetic connections to the
Effect may add their power to its own. Using a Ancestral Katana for summoning a long Dead Emperor of Japan, or
using Merlin’s Scrying Bowl. The Storyteller has the final say on what Wonders work for a given Ritual Construct.
Personal Financial Economics
“My Voodoo Economists predict an excellent end of the fiscal year.” – Richard Nixon’s Head, Futureama
The world of Finance is known by relatively few individuals, and fully understood by even fewer. Finance is
the practice of managing money, in the form of Funds or Fund Accounts. This management includes capital from
Savings and Lending accounts associated with Banks, as well as will investment firms, money management firms
and even stock and bond trading firms. While the practices of these intuitions is public record (at least mostly),
the actual understanding of “The Market” is understood by very few.
Those that truly understand what “The Market” means are often members of an awakened order that views the
acquisition or concept of money as the road to power, and through that power Ascension. Groups like the New
World Order, The Syndicate, and The Auric Combine.
The following merits attempt to represent the complex world of finance into the Storyteller system; starting
with the Advanced Magical Style Personal World Finance. Personal World Finance advances like other Magical
Styles and Fighting Styles, requiring purchase of the lower ranks before purchase of higher ranks. In addition,
buying the first dot of World Finance

Personal World Finance ( to )


Prerequisites: Awakened, Intelligence , Wits , Academics  (with a Specialty in Finance), Investigation
, Resources , Empathy , Entropy 
World Finance is a Magical Style that augments the Magic of a Technocrat (or Techno-Mage). Using their
status, influence, and hard currency, a financier will find their magic reinforced by the world’s belief and need for
money and commerce. The application of Personal World Finance can be explained by applying macro financial
economic trends into the micro financial application. Though this a financier may apply his considerable talent to
personally handle both large and small financial situations.

 Cash is King
In modern business, the adage “Cash is King” are words to live by. Whether referring to the solidness of a
corporation’s cash flow, or being able to call on short term debt to cover a blip in sales patterns, everything a
company does eventually breaks down to having the cash to move forward. Financiers understand that practical
representation of currency adds weight to Procedural Effects. All forms of currency (and representations like credit
cards) always count as a Practiced Foci (Rank 1).

 Money Manager
The business world is made up of many types of people. Many have specialties in specific areas, and very little
knowledge in others. This leads to a financial team being made up of many individuals who can cover as many
bases as possible. Financiers of sufficient skill are not expected to be able to manage all of the details themselves,
and as such come with an implied number of helpers, staff members, assistants, assistant managers, and information
sources that are narrowly focused enough to cover all the areas that a financier might not be able to.
The Financiers Resources merit may now count its rating as Allies, Contacts, Retainers and/or Status; this may
be done a number of times per story equal to the financier’s Resource rating.
Drawback: This management of people and resources is narrow in scope enough to only be useful within the
purview of finance, industry, government and media. As such all of the above merit substitutions have those
specialties and can not count in areas outside these purviews.

 Liquidity of Assets


Financiers understand that Business, and by extension the finance tools that fund business, are always in points
of tension. Given unforeseen fluctuations, financiers must occasionally loose short term assets to get ahead in the
big picture.
A Financier may use their Resources score to replenish their personally reserve of Quintessence. By
temporarily expending a point of resources, they may regain a number of Quintessence equal to their previous
temporary resources score. To do this, the financier performs a Short Casting, in which he justifies how he is
expending some of his resources.
Example: Adam has a Resources of 4, and is feeling low on Quintessence. When he has a spare moment he
calls into his office, giving them instructions to sell short on his personal accounts in preparation for a larger
acquisition. He expends a temporary resource point and gets 4 points of Quintessence, and bringing his Resources
temporarily down to 3. If he wants to do this again before those dots return, he may repeat the same action but
only gain 3 (his resources before the liquidation) points of quintessence this time, bringing his temporary resources
down to 2.

 Investment Assets


Institutional investments are complex workings of market conditions, public and private financial reports, and
current economic trends. As a result, the individuals that control those large accounts have the privilege of
representing that fund to the funds acquisition, whatever that business may be.
At this point the financier has more than enough finesse with his financial holdings that he may temporarily
park his holdings in a firm or business that he wants better access to.
The Financier has an “Investment Capital” equal to his Resources + Academics + his highest Mental Stat. He
may spend this Investment Capital on new business or industrial locations. During any downtime the financier
may allocate these points on a new Chantry Merit, or multiple Chantry Merits. He may keep a lock on this
investment for as long as he wants. During any future downtime he may liquidate that investment and reallocate
those points into a newly seized investment location. It is up to the player and Storyteller to figure out what these
locations are fictionally.
Drawback: Due to the mundane nature of most of the business and industrial holdings throughout the world,
these points can only be allocated to mundane aspects of the Chantry Merit. Mundane Analogs of the Chantry
sub-merits must be taken. No Node of any kind may be purchased in this way (although it might be developed
after the fact…). In addition, your Investment Capital may be attacked, and temporarily reduced.

Finance Merits
These merits are additional bonuses that can be purchased once you buy Personal World Finance.

Aura of Wealth & Power ()


Prerequisites: Politics , Mind ,
The feel of currency surrounds the financier. His worth shows in the way he dresses, the watch he has, and the
way he carries himself. All of this gives the air or reassurance and confidence that is unidentifiable but also
unmistakable.
The Financier may spend a Willpower pint to be able to add his resources rating to any Intimidation,
Persuasion, or Socialize rolls for an entire scene.
Drawback: This bonus only applies to social situation the financier is personally at, others must be able to feel
the presence of his power for this to be effective. They may not use it over communications devices without some
additional Magical Effect.

Credit Terms ()


Prerequisites: Resources , Mind , Matter , Time 
The financier’s reputation in money matters is so well know that it has a sense of trust, allowing him to use his
good name as backing for quick purchases and short term needs.
The financier may acquire items worth his resource score or more without expending temporary resources to
do so. Technically he does spend those points later during downtime, but in such a way that they recover
themselves in the same time frame that they would be expended. This may be done a number of times per story
equal his highest of his ratings in Mind, Matter, or Time.

Gross Depreciation Loss ()


Prerequisites: Academics , Larceny or Subterfuge , Entropy 
The financiers do more than predict and manage market conditions, when truly pressed they can exert a
limited amount of control over the market. This ability gives them a focused financial laser, and the ability to aim
it at competitors. By exerting control and fluctuation market conditions you destabilize the financial portfolio of
the target, reducing their status and buying power.
This is a type of attack against an individual or institutions resources. This is an extended Wits + Academics +
Resources roll, each roll encompasses about a weeks worth of time (less if you include conjunctional time effects).
The target number of successes is the current resources score of the target. Once this number of successes is
achieved, his resources score will temporarily go down by one. You may continue as long as the target still has
resources. Recovering from this attack takes double the normal amount of time recovering resources would
normally take for the target. If you fail to gain any successes on any one roll for this attack, you may not continue
this attack against that person. Your actions have been noticed and you must refrain from continuing lest your
assets come to risk.
The same attack can be made against a targets status, provided that status has something to do with money or
finance. To do so, replace Resources with Status for the system above.
Drawback: Liberal use of this ability will draw attention from unwanted sources, be aware that no one person is
safe from this type of attack themselves.

More than Wealth ( to )


Prerequisites: Academics , Resources ,
At the panicle of financial achievement you can no longer measure your worth in dollar signs. People who
attain this level of wealth are the individuals who can make or break business deals; they are the few whose names
have weight enough to stand alone without needing financial institutions.
This Merit adds its rating in all purposes of Fame, Resources, and Financial Influence. Just like resources you
may leverage your holdings to expend temporary resource pints.
Drawback: Like Fame, this merit disqualifies you from purchasing Arcane. In addition, this fame is not always
useful, you may attract more attention that you desire based on your financial status.

On Site Privileges ( to )


Prerequisites: Subterfuge , Personal World Finance , Correspondence , Time 
Managing assets that are spread over a large number of accounts can lead to coincidental situations. It is not
uncommon for a financier to have a partial holding in a given company within his area of activity. As a
shareholding representative you can request permission to see the work sites of that company.
This ability gives you access to unspecified locations where business and industry happen. You may use this
ability a number of times per story equal to its rating.
Drawback: This ability can only occasionally be considered consensual, they more of a stretch its
implementation the more likely it will yield Paradox.

Return on Investment ()


Prerequisites: Manipulation , Politics , Time 
Your financial priority is such that you have arranged for your portfolio be the first to receive a revenue
generated on your investments and assets.
A resource recovery period is usually considered a month. The financier may reduce the
The Spirit Ways
Any mage can tell you that humans, sleepers or awakened, are not alone in the world. Spirits, Ghosts and
other more fickle beings of an ethereal nature roam the near umbra. And once we get beyond the “protection” of
the Tellurium gauntlet, these beings rule the realms beyond.
Masters of Spirit could explain the inner workings of the alien beings, but the knowledge tends not to be
as useful as training in the sphere itself.

Umbral Cosmology (to)


Prerequisites: Occult , Or a Specialty in the Umbra or Cosmology. (Technocrats may use
“Dimensional Science”)
The world past the Tellurian is strange, and requires special training to navigate easily. This merit is a
special type of specialty that allows an awakened being to navigate the most outer reaches of the umbra with
relative safety.
A Mage with this merit may add this rating to roll related to knowledge and navigation of the umbra. In
addition the merit has different benefits at different ranks.
 The first dot of this merit allows intuitive knowledge of gauntlet. With wits + occult roll, a mage can
intuit the gauntlet’s strength in his general area.
 The second dot allows for swift travel between umbral realms. Any rituals to cross between umbral realms
are made in half the time.
 The third dot allows for quick crossing to the other side of the gauntlet. The Mage may add his Umbral
Cosmology to spell casting rolls, even instant casting.

Minat Terkait