Mage House Rules

General

  1. M20 is the rules system we use. M20’s rules supersede all other editions unless otherwise noted.
  2. Wizard’s Sniff Test – Mages can do a lot of stuff. That is great. We encourage mage players to be creative. That said, when approving rotes, Wonders, or the other bananas stuff Mage throws at us we’ll be using the following:
    1. Will this make the game less fun for someone else?
    2. Will this be disruptive to the game or story’s themes?
    3. Has this been created without sportsmanship and game balance in mind?
  3. If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of the above then usually answer is no. But maybe it can be modified, so talk to your storyteller and be open to discussion and revision!

Abilities

Technology Clarifications

  • Tech Stuff Clarification

    • Hypertech is distinguished from technology in that it refers to Magickal technology. If Arete is involved, Hypertech is involved.
    • But Hypertech builds on underlying technolgoy. Therefore, Hypertech rating  must be less than or equal to the character’s Technology rating (M20 pg. 296). We learn to walk before we run, and before we can hypertech we must first Sleeper tech. The two are related in so far as Technology deals with understanding the principals behind Sleeper technology. Hypertech is the expression of magickal arts through technology pushing it to the point of being indistinguishable from magic. In short, this is your go to Ability for technomagick. See below for clarification.
    • Biotech is a Hypertech specialty. See below.
      • Defining Tech
        • Technology, Crafts, Sciences, and some other Abilities (for example, Academics, Computer, or Esoterica for mystic technomancers) are all closely related. You may have to have several Abilities to do a thing well. Here are some guidelines about what you’ll need for your technocrat, technomancer, or hypertechnician.
        • Crafts -Manufacturing that hard drive? Blowing the plastic mold and inserting the circuits into it? Creating the dashboard? That’s Crafts.  Crafts loosely deals with creating and designing the materials the technology is made of or housed in. The housing, glass, the metal, the arrangement of things within the case. There will be some overlap here with Technology.
        • Computer – Writing a computer program? Hacking into the data bank? Starting a flame war on Twitter? Designing a new computer  system? That’s Computer. Computer deals with Information Technology, both hardware, software, and the cultures associated with it. The higher your rating, the deeper understanding of hardware, software, interface, the Internet, and IT culture in general you have.
          • Certain tasks (like advanced programming or repair) and systems (especially the arcane tech employed by technomancers) demand at least three or four dots in this Trait before your character can even begin to understand them.
          • A mage cannot channel a Sphere Effect through a computer unless they have at least as many dots in Computer as he has in that Sphere (see Trinary Computers below).
          • Computer Versus Technology
            • Computer and Technology have a lot of overlap when it comes to what they do, and are complimentary. Most tech-mages have both. Someone problems might be able to be solved by Computer or Technology like say a hardware problem, but Technology won’t help you code a website. Technology could help you figure out what kind of Computer it is based on the hardware, but its operating system would be a mystery. Likewise, Computer doesn’t help you fix a car, rewire a house, or repair an MRI machine (but you could hack the software that runs it).
            • For those wishing to specialize in Information Technology at the exclusion of all else may swap in Computer in place of Technology for their Hypertech cap stat. This limits what you can create with Hypertech to Information Technology, however.
        • Technology  –  The circuit board that runs the MRI needs to be repaired? Figuring out why the dump trunk won’t dump? Diagnosing the sensor light on the dashboard of your car? That’s Technology. Technology loosely deals with the functioning of anything technological. Like Medicine, its about diagnosing, fixing, or tinkering with modern gadgets and gizmos. It also deals with expanding or inventing such things, but there are limits. Sure, you can invent a new computer hardware design or get your iPhone to run Windows, but to invent a whole new computer type system then you’ll need Science as well.
          • Technology versus Science – Technology deals with existing Sleeper technology. The research to make it work has already been done. You can tinker with it to a degree to get it to work better or differently, but you’re not really inventing something new. That would be Science. One informs the other, but its often a matter of scale. Inventing a gadget would be Technology, but leading a huge R&D project is Science.  For example, with Technology you can make the electrical wiring in your house work better. With Science you can research and evaluate the electrical grid for the entire city.
        •  Medicine- Medicine allows you to diagnose and treat injury and disease. It’s essentially modern, science-based medicine. EMTs, nurses, physicians assistants, doctors, surgeons etc. If you follow the Technocratic view of medical science then take Medicine.
          • Medicine versus Science – Medicine is more of an art. It applies the research done elsewhere in clinical settings. Can doctors do research? Sure, but stat-wise they often have Science with a specialty as well as medicine. A biologist certainly knows a lot about the human body, but you don’t want them taking a tumor out of your brain. Likewise, the country doctor wouldn’t know where to begin to set up a large-scale clinical trial, but they could set a bone in an instant. If you just want to heal folks, all you need is Medicine. If you want to blaze a trail in medical science then you also need Science.
          • Medicine-Work As A Practice – “For the purposes of magickal practice, the term medicine work refers to the intent to heal and the choice of techniques that enhance healing, not to the specific method a mage uses when healing injuries or disease,” (M20 pg. 281)

            • Medicine Work does not always require Medicine, but if you want it to be coincidental it just might! Those wishing to  use more mystic or alternative means of healing should take Esoterica or perhaps Academics with some sort of specialty.
          • Medicine & Mysticism – These two things are not mutually exclusive. You’re Celestial Chorus doctor can easily see the One’s divine plan expressed through modern medicine.
        • Hypertech – That Trinary drive? That Ethership? That Plasma Cannon? That Progenitor cloning tank? That’s all hypertech. While it is related to Technology it operates under advanced principals not accepted or understood by the Sleepers. Hypertech often relies on Crafts and Technology for its component parts, but the end product is usually a departure from them. The Ethership has something in common with airplanes, submarines, and spaceships as far as its design, construction, and component parts, but the result is something far more advanced. That’s hypertech.
          • Hypertech Versus Sleepertech (trademark pending) – Generally speaking, hypertech are Devices or Effects expressed through technology. A good rule of thumb: If a Sleeper can’t distinguish it from “magic” or something they saw on Star Trek (which is magic by another name) its hypertech.
          • Pilot vs. Hypertech – The number of dice you can use for pilot rolls using hypertech vehicles not of your own or your Convention/Tradition’s making is capped by your level of hypertech. You still have to use hypertech to figure out how to pilot it first, however.
        • Biotech – Biotech is narrowly defined as the Enhancement Ability in M20. We’ve decided to make Biotech is a subset of Hypertech. Anything Enhancement or biotech related uses the associated Biotech specialty: Biotech – Cybernetics, Biotech – Biomods, and Biotech – Genengineering.
          • Cybernetics, Biomods and Genegineering specialties are not subject to the same restriction as the hard tech is. These are highly specialized fields that deal almost exclusively with organic or biological material rather than hard tech. There’s very little overlap between, say, building an Ethership and uplifting a dog. Those wishing to specialize in this area are restricted to Biotech hypertech, but see below on their cap stat.
          • Hypertech that specializes in Biomods or Genengineering is capped by the mage’s Science rating, and requires the Biology specialty.
          • Hypertech that specializes in Cybernetics is capped by the mage’s Science rating, and requires the Cybernetic specialty. In this case, Cybernetics is a multi-disciplinary field that involves both electronic engineering and biology.
    • Inventing and Modifying Tech
      • Inventing a new gadget or doo-dad takes time and a lot of work. The difficulties and number of successes are listed in Mage 20 on page 463. Expect to fail. A lot.
      • Generally you are gonna be rolling Intelligence + Technology, as well as several other related Abilites (like Crafts, Computer, or Science). Difficulties remain the same. The story will dicate what rolls are made.
      • Inventions that defy the current laws of reality are Devices.
        • Mages can push at those laws to a degree. Making the technology do something it is already capable of doing, but better is fine. Making it do something that modern technology can’t do or that this tech isn’t designed to do isn’t. A good rule of thumb is if the Sleepers wouldn’t be able to do it in the next 3 to 5 years then it won’t function outside your Sanctum. For example, a Virtual Adept could create a computer that is a little faster than the current models, but a quantum laptop would need to involved some sort of magick. A Progentior could grow exceptionally good, vitamin rich cultured meat, but not a human heart. The latter would require a Procedure or a Device. This is not a matter of appearances, either. Reality knows.
      • Systems for inventing and modifying hypertech are the same as for Sleeper-tech, but you use the Hypertech Ability instead.
  • If I specialized in Computer or Biotech, can I also build machines or hard tech?
    • Potentially yes, but your Hypertech dice pool for hard-tech or non-InfoTech will be restricted to your Technology rating.
      • Example: Sally the Progenitor has Science (Biology) 5, and Hypertech 5. She wants to invent a new cloning tank. Her Technology is only 2. So she can only use 2 of her Hypertech pool to build it.
  • Well-Skilled Craftsman
    • Mage will be using well-skilled craftsman option. Mages are learning machines who collect knowledge.

Backgrounds

Arcane/Cloaking

    • Various editions of Mage have lead some to believe Arcane does all kinds of bananas stuff. M20 offers clear mechanics on how Arcane works. Please be familiar with them.
    • What Arcane does NOT do:
      • Make people for get you –  It’s not the Mists. Its not amnesia. Folks who meet John Jedi don’t forget that they met John Jedi, but when Brenda Blacksuit shows up to ask these folks about John they’ll be like: “Sure, I know John. He was in here last Tuesday…or was it Thursday…he was wearing a suit…was it a track suit or a business suit?” They still know John. Know the nature of their relationship to John, but they find they can’t cough up all that much useful information that would help folks find John.
      • Make you invisible – Arcane/Cloaking only works if you remain inconspicuous. If John Jedi pulls out a laser cannon, and slays a t-rex in Chinatown people are gonna remember that AND the guy who did it.
      • Make you less weird – The less you blend in the less well Arcane works. Face tattoos of occult symbols? People remember that clearly…unless you are at a tattoo convention. Goths at the mall stand out. Goths at the goth club do not, but that guy in the navy business suit sure does! Context matters. Dress for success, my wizards!

Avatar

    • Despite the rather obscure ruling on page 77 of the Book of Secrets a mage’s Avatar rating CAN be raised after chargen. How this is done is story dependent and not a trivial act, but it can be done. Successful seekings, quests to Shard Realms, blessings from Umbrood, advanced uses of Prime, or other mystic techniques could potentially raise the trait. The cost is a flat 5 XP. This House Rule is in place to avoid an excessive Fear of Missing Out in Character Generation.
    • Unlike traits like Generation, Avatar comes with a price. The higher your Avatar rating is the more pushy and aggressive your Avatar is about getting your mage to pursue Ascension. If you’ve got Avatar 5 expect your Avatar to be in your face fairly regularly.
    • Lastly, see the HRs about the Prime Sphere. Those not desiring a high Avatar rating, but want access to the Quintessence spends may seek that as an alternative.

Armory

    • Armory covers Sleeper technology only. It does not encompass anything hypertech. That’s covered by Requisition or Secret Weapons.
    • Mage Sphere PCs may take Armory under the following conditions:
      • Most people let alone mages don’t have weapons stockpiles so there must be a compelling reason for you to have weapons stockpiles. For example, Syndicate Enforcers, Templar or Hyppolytoi, Euthanoi cabals or Virtual Adept Cyberpunks are all types who may have weapons stockpiles. Please make this make sense.
      • Armory for personal use is restricted to 3, but anything above 2 requires a very compelling write-up.
        • Armory above 3 is on the level of the major law enforcement or the military, and is beyond scope of virtually all individual PCs. This would require approval from both the Mage Director and Sundance since it requires a a large institution to support it.

Certification

    • Since the other game lines don’t use Certification it is entirely optional. If you want to take it speak to Staff about an appropriate rating for the licenses or certifications your character possesses.
    • Certification can be faked. If the credentials are faked the level of Certification describes how well they hold up under scrutiny.
    • Characters with concepts that require a license or certification are simply assumed to have those certifications.

Familiar

    • Familiars may possess both Special Advantages & Charms
    • For the purpose of Charms, Familiars roll their Willpower in place of Gnosis.
      • Familiars technically have neither Rage nor Gnosis in their embodied forms. These provide dice pools for mechanical purposes only.
    • The Ferocity advantage is not actually Rage. It’s a Rage-like advantage that functions in a similar manner. If a Rage roll is called for the Familiar rolls Willpower instead.
    • Quintessence feeding and Paradox consumption is as written in M20 (pg.316)
    • Familiars gain the following Special Advantages & Flaws at no cost:
      • Bond-Sharing – This is as written on page 315 of M20. If folks want the benefits of the 4 or 6 point version they may be purchased at the listed cost.
      • Paradox Nullification – Familiars use the rates listed on page 315 of M20 rates for Paradox Nullification NOT the Merit version.
      • Thaumnivore – Familiars use the rates listed on page 315 of M20 NOT the Flaw version.
        • Familiars also cannot take Flaws or Advantages related to their natural form. For example, an animal Familiars cannot take the Animal flaw, but in exchange they automatically gain the natural advantages (claws, talons, fangs, beaks, wings) of their form. They may take improved versions of them, however.
    • Character creation is as written in Gods & Monsters (pg. 187) with the following exceptions:
      • Freebies points are based on the level of familiar.
      • 1 – 10 Freebies
      • 2 – 20 Freebies
      • 3 – 30 Freebies
      • 4 – 40 Freebies
      • 5 – 50 Freebies
    • For Familiars with bodies assume their Rage and Gnosis are equal the familiar’s Willpower. While in their embodied form Familiars cannot access Rage or Gnosis, however.
    • NPC Familiars (that is, familiars bought as backgrounds) do not receive XP.
    • The mage can spend XP to raise their Familiar rating, and gain more Freebies to spend, but Familiar advancement is capped at 50 Freebies total, including Flaws.
    • Total number of Merits & Flaws is is 7.
    • Familiars may take Backgrounds as listed in Gods & Monsters. What Backgrounds are appropriate is handled by form of the Familiar case by case.

Node

In lieu of the forthcoming Node code we have set some temporary Node ranges.

  • General Notes About Nodes
    • Nodes are a pain in the ass – Imagine, for a moment, that Nodes are like tap water. Sure, most of us turn on the tap, and boom! Water comes out. Well, its not that simple. The water bureau has to find a source, and then it has to make sure that water source is clean. If it is clean, they have to make sure it stays clean. If it isn’t then they need to do things to it to keep it clean. It needs to be protected. Resevoirs are set up to store excess for an (un)rainy day. Actions need to be taken to ensure there isn’t too much water. Pipes need to be laid to houses…you get it. A Node is like that except your characters are the water bureau, plumbers, and consumers. While much of this will happen off screen (thought some of it might happen on screen), assume your characters are doing various things to ensure the health of the Node. Wards are upkept so the Technocrats (or worse) don’t find it, bad spirits are kept out, Tass is harvested, and the general health of the Node is tended to. Sacrifices are made at the right time, guardians are well fed, or whatever that Node demands. It takes a village, or a chantry rather, to hold a Node. In short, Nodes are a lot of work. The more hands the easier the work. Hence, why individual mages aren’t allowed powerful Nodes, but communities of mages are.
    • Nodes Are Weird – Nodes are places of great power, and as a result, are weird. Weird shit happens there that conforms to the kind of Resonance that the Node has. Some Nodes might feel approachable, but most of them are full of the primal weirdness that repels Sleepers and even puts the Awakened ill at ease. When designing a Node consider who found it and cultivated it, what its history is, and what it’s Resonance is. Tell a little story, and make it an interesting one.
    • Nodes Come In Many Forms – Nodes range from your Stongehenges of the Verbena to the fusion reactors of Technocrats. They can be made by Mages, occcur naturally, or somewhere in between. They can wax and wane with the seasons or tides or be constant streams of power. Please, no crystal caves or worn out New Age nonsense. Be creative. Make something that makes sense for your paradigm.
    • Nodes Are Located In Inconvenient Places – Wouldn’t it be great if our Node was a stone circle in the back yard of our chantry? Fat chance. The Technocracy and the Traditions gobbled up all the quixotic real estate in LA. Mages used to build chantries on sites of power back in the day, but modern communities rarely have such luxury. Technocrats might if they build their own, but most mages are at the mercy of what they can beg, borrow or steal. Regardless of how you have access to your Node, the chances of it being in or in walking distance of your chantry is silm to none. Your Node might be up state, deep in the desert, or even on another continent. Where ever it is expect it to be a pain in the ass to get to.
  • Node Possession and Access
    • Nodes are rare and precious commodities in the World of Darkness. This is doubly true in Los Angeles where the Technocracy spend the better part of the 20th century seizing and sterlizing Nodes for their own purposes.
    • The Node background represents one of 3 things:
      1.  Access to a chantry node – This is going to be the most likely scenario. This assumes that players may receive up to their rating in Node (see below) in Quintessence/Tass per week. In exchange for that the mage helps maintain and defend the Node and the chantry community they belong to.
        • The benefit of a chantry Node is that it is held collectively by an  Awakened community of a relative size to maintain and defend a powerful Node. The downside is that community controls the Node and chantry leadership ultimately deceides who has access to it as a resources. Access may be restricted due to transgressions of the chantry’s laws or norms, or Quintessence that normally goes to the membership might be reappropriated for the greater good. Each NPC chantry has a Node it controls, and its rating has been kept vague in order to accomodate the needs of the story. Assume it is big enough to meet the needs of an established chantry, but too small to support a world dominating conspiracy.
        • Note: All Technocrats assume access the Construct’s Node or  allotments from the Syndicate’s Matracies.
      2. Access to a sub-faction node – This is less likely, than chantry Nodes but more likely than a personal one, are  sub-faction Nodes. If for some reason the mage’s chantry doesn’t have a Node or the Node doesn’t work for them due to Resonance or something else then they may be granted access one of their sub-faction’s Nodes. These are held collectively by a Tradition, Convention, or Craft. You must explain why your sub-faction has given you access one of their Nodes (e.g. a mentor, a Merit, blackmail, special responsiblity). Mage staff will detail the form the Node takes, and the Resonance of the Tass.
        • Note: Crafts are the exception to this. Most Disparates access their Craft’s Node rather than a personal or chantry wellspring.
      3. Access to a Node held by PCs (solo or as a group) – This is the least likely of the three, mainly because starting PC mages will struggle to defend anything above a 1 or maybe 2 point Node. If they do come upon one it will have substantial barrires to access and good reasons why no one has claimed it already.
  • Node Ranges
    • For every point of Node you get 3 points of free Quintessence and 2 points of Tass.
      • So for example, Herman the Hermtic has a Node of 2, he gets 6 points of free Quint + 4 points of Tass per week.
    • Quintessence spending for Effects or other Quintessence debts (like feeding Familiars, recharging Wonders) will be waived for now. We’re operating on the honor system concerning spends and gains for the moment.
    • These guidelines are created as a temporary mechanic. Things are likely to change once the Node code is implemented. If you have any questions open a +request.

Status

    • Status doesn’t mean as much to mages as it does to vampires, but it does mean something. How status is determined is largely based on your faction. Status is assigned by the Mage Director based on this.
      • Traditions
        • The Traditions based status largely off of magical might. Excellence is a pillar and a source of unity for the Council mages, and they respect mystic achievement.
        • 0 – 1 Apprentices
        • 2 – 3 – Disciples
        • 4 – Adepts
        • 5 – Masters
          • These ratings might vary, especially among Disciples, based on deeds, Backgrounds (like Destiny or Legend for example), or general political savvy. Those who have reached rank 4 or 5 in a Sphere are simply too powerful to ignore.
          • Generally speaking, Linear Mages do not have Status of more than 1 among the Awakened, and are capped at a Status of 3, a rarity among mages. This varies by Tradition, however.
          • Consors may have some status as well depending on their role, but usually no more than 2.
        • Traditions By Rank
          • Akashyana
            • Sidai – Apprentices and Disciples
            • Older Brother/Sister – Adepts; fourth level of one of Do’s limbs, and a moral character.
            • Sifu – Master
            • Sigung – Archmasters
            • Bodhisattvas – Oracles
          • Celestial Chorus
            • Catechumen – Apprentice
            • Presbyter – Disciple or Adept
            • Exarch – Master
            • Praeceptr – Mentor
          • Cult of Ecstasy
            • No formal ranks
          • Dreamspeakers
            • No formal ranks
          • Euthanatos
            • Shravaka – apprentices beholden to their mentors.
            • Chelas – the second apprentice rank, but able to administer the Good Death.
            • Acarya – A Euthanatoi who has completed instruction and may take students of their own.
            • Paramagururs – Masters and Archmasters of the Tradition
            • Avataras – Oracles of the Euthanatoi
          • Order of Hermes
            • First Degree: Neophyte – little to no power, testing phase to become accepted as an apprentice
            • Second Degree: Zelator – Hedge magic, training towards Awakening
            • Third Degree: Practicus – the final test, the end of apprenticeship
            • Fourth Degree: Initiate – full membership after achieving the first rank in Forces (and first in House Sphere if applicable)
            • Fifth Degree: Initiate Exemptus – achieving the second rank in any Sphere
            • Sixth Degree: Adeptus – Achievement of the third rank in any Sphere, and first rank in any other Sphere
            • Seventh Degree: Adeptus Maior – Achievement of the fourth rank in any Sphere, the third in another Sphere, and first rank in any other Sphere
            • Eighth Degree: Magister Scholae – Full mastery of one Sphere, as well as the third rank in two others
            • Ninth Degree: Magister Mundi – Achievement of Archmastery in one Sphere
            • Tenth Degree: Oracle – Achievement of Oracleship
          • Etherites
          • Verbena
            • No formal ranks
          • Virtual Adepts
            • No formal ranks
      • Technocracy
        • Magickal might matters among the Technocracy, but rank and status are significantly more nuanced here.  Sure, being the Master of a sphere confers some degree of status, but among the highly political Technocratic Union climbing the ladder is more complex. Rank and designation is almost more important than among the Traditions as the Technocracy demands its chain of command go unquestioned. The degree one is hip to the Technocratic conspiracy has a great deal to do with this. Status roughly maps as follows:
          • 0 – T-0  – Unenlightened Citizens/Support Staff
          • 1 – T- 1 –  Extraordinary Citizens & Initiated Operatives
            • The line between un-Enlightened and Enlightened usually end here
          • 2 – T – 2 – Agents & Operatives
          • 3 – T – 3 – Supervisors
          • 4 – T – 4 – Managers
          • 5 – T -5  – Symposium Representatives
            • Linear Technocrats play a more significant role in leadership in the Technocracy, and may have a Status of 1-3. To truly guide global Ascension one must become more Enlightened.

Magick

General

  • Effects or Wonders that grant the Unaging merit are not allowed at this time. Those seeking such benefits must resort to Sphere magick and risk Paradox to gain them.

Active Effects

  • +1 diff for every two simultaneous active Effects a mage has going at a given time.
    • Example: So if Hermia the Hermetic has a Mind Shield and has raised her Intelligence from 3 to 5 she receives no penalties. If she changes her shape to give herself angel wings then any magickal Effects she casts while the wings are active are at a +1.

Focus

Changing Allegiances

  • Dual-Tradition merit is not an option at this time.
  • Arete stays the same
  • Arete level may increase or decrease transition times. You can teach an old dog new tricks, but it takes longer.
  • Any progress towards dropping Instruments is lost. Instruments can be dropped again at the next successful Seeking.
  • Transitioning isn’t simply a matter of changing Focus and worldview, but also learning the Abilities (or at least Specialtise) that support those worldview. Science, Esoterica, Technology, Martial Arts and other Abilities are all part of the training mages receive from their given Factions in order to operate within paradigm and style.
  • While transitioning all Spheres (including current Affinity Sphere) are considered to be halved until the new worldview is adopted.
  • Once the mage has adopted the new worldview a new Affinity Sphere must be chosen.
  • A PC or NPC mentor is required, and acceptance may be political.
  • Certain Flaws may be assigned by the Mage Director due to the transition.
  • Technocracy
    • Changing Methodologies
      • Moving from one Methodology to another within a Convention can be done with relative ease.
        • Total time: 3 IC months of intensive, on the job retraining
      • Changing Conventions
        • Changing Conventions is much more of an investment. While the Technocracy has a lot in common the Conventions have areas of specialization and training that make it difficult to re-train. This requires the Mentor background, and approval from the Administrator.
          • Total time: 1+ IC years. For example, transitioning from a Syndicate Enforcer to a NWO Black suit might take a year, but to transition from an Enforcer to a FACADE could take up to 6 IC years. An Iteration X Biomechanic with a background in genetics will have an easier time retraining, and could do it in pehraps one IC year.
  • Traditions
    • Changing between sub-factions
      • Moving from one sub-faction to another within a Tradition is easier than changing Tradition’s entirely, but given how diverse a Tradition can be the struggle can be quite intense. Some sub-factions have additional requirements, and may not be able to be transitioned into.
        • Total time: 1 IC year
    • Changing Traditions
      • This is the most difficult transition, and the hardest won. Amount of time depends on how technical and how distant the paradigms are. A Celestial Chorus Septarians who practices Christian Caballah would have a relatively easy time transitioning to House Fortunae of the Order of Hermes (2 years IC year perhaps), but that same Caballist would have to completely retrain to become a Society of Ether Cybernaut.
      • Total time: 2+ IC years
  • Defection
    • Defections from one faction to another will be handled on a case by case basis as no two are alike.

Instruments

  • Types of Instruments
    • Standard – The default tools for mystic or technomantic/cratic practice.  Most of your instruments are this type, and are not attached to any one Sphere.
    • Personalized – Personalized instruments are a bridge between a specific Sphere (usually the mage’s Affinity Sphere) and the mage. These are standard instruments drawn from the tools they learned to use in their training, but that have been personalized through continued use in practice. They represent the mage’s personal style or approach to the concepts within a single Sphere.  There should be some resonance or link between mage, Sphere, and their training with their Convention, Tradition, or Craft.  Note: they need not be an object. They can be a sequence of asana or energic forces, for example.
      • For example, an Interator may use the Household Tools & Implements for Matter in the from of toolbox that has been organized in the fashion they were taught as a Cipher. It represents the discipline and order needed to keep the world running. A Chorister might use Cups, Chalices, Cauldrons, and Other Vessels for Prime in the form of a set of ornate brass cups like the ones they received communion with as a novice. It represents the first solar exaltation they felt when they first encountered the One.
      • A personalized instrument offers a -1 to the difficulty when the Sphere they are connected to is employed.
      • Mages must have at least one personalized instrument connected to their Affinity Sphere.
      • Replacing personalized instruments requires some work, but these tools aren’t so precious that new one’s can’t be fashioned with ease.
    • Unique – While personal instrument contain a personal touch of the mage drawn from their training, unique instruments represent a one-of-a-kind connection between mage and Art. These are physical objects, something that can be lost or destroyed, and is tied to a specific Sphere. These instruments truly are one-of-a-kind, such as a family heirloom, a rare ancient artifact, the orginal copy of a philosophical manuscript, or a masterwork mainframe computer. These instruments are more than personalized, they are personal, and like personalized instruments they represent a bridge between mage and Art.
      • For example, an Interator may find their father’s antique ratchet indepensible for working with Matter. A Chorister has a glorious gold communion cup passed down from mentor to student since the early church.
      • A mage need not have any unique instruments.
      • A unique instrument offers a -1 to the difficulty when the Sphere they are connected to is employed.
      • Instruments that are both personal and unique offer a -2 to the difficulty.
    • Primary – This is your mage’s go-to instrument, the one she is most familiar with, and which represents their individual approach to magick. This instrument is indelibly linked to their practice rather than an individual Sphere, and are the most difficult to let go of due to their familiarity.
      • Primary instruments are general, such as Bodywork or Prayers and Invocations, for example.
      • Primary instruments do not offer any mechanical bonuses.
  • Order of Surpassing Instruments
    • Instruments are surpassed from least important to most important. When selecting which instruments to choose to surpass it is done in the following order:
      • General – These go first.
        • Personalized – Once all the general instruments are surpassed personal instruments can be surpassed.
          • Unique – Once all the personalized instruments are surpassed then unique instruments may be surpassed.
            • Unique instruments that are personalized – Once all the unique instruments have been surpassed they can begin to let go of their most unique and personal instruments.
              • Primary – Finally, once the mage has surpassed all other instruments, they may finally transcend their primary instruments.
    • Surpassing Personalized & Unique Instruments
      • A mage may have only one primary instrument
      • Mages may have as many unique or personalized instruments as they like, but in exchange for such a profound investiture it slows the process of transcending these tools. These tools cannot be surpassed until the mage has gone beyond Arete 5.
        • Instruments that are both personal and unique slow one’s growth. They count as two instruments rather than one when it comes time to surpass them.
    • Linear Mages and Focus
      • Linear Mages cannot transcend instruments like Awakened mages do regardless of their faction.
      • Linear mages may choose personalized or unique instruments for their Numina, but not both.

Quintessence Spends and Effects

  • This HR is something of a work in progress so don’t be surprised if there are changes, exceptions or refinements in the future.
  • In many places in How Do You Do That the rules require expenditure of Quintessence in order to accomplish certain Effects. Two examples are creating storms during calm conditions (page 40) or Correspondence wards and bans (page 95). Rather than go case by case through the book and approve or disregard each example we decided to simply rule that these expenditures are not required. If you score the right number of Successes for an Effect then that is enough to manifest that Effect to its fullest.
  • Wonder creation and some Prime Effects still requires Quintessence expenditures, however.

Rotes

  • Nomenclature
    • Effect – Any magickal working regardless of faction.
    • Rote – “[P]re-prepared mystic workings that have a sense of history…” (M20 page. 602).
      • ICLy this is only used by Council an Disparate mages.
      • OOCly, this is the term used to describe codified effects.
    • Adjustment and Procedure – Technocratic word for rotes, though Adjustments or Procedures can be improvised.
      • Adjustment – A very subtle Technocratic Effect. A good adjustment goes beyond mere coincidence and is barely detectable as anything other than mundane cause and effect. These do not strain the Consensus in anyway, and are the preferred means by which Technocrats work their “magic”.
      • Procedure – A blatant expression of Enlightened principles, procedures go far beyond what the Sleepers have been conditioned to accept. Use of Procedures outside Realms or Constructs is reserved for only the most dire situations, and the careless use of these are harshly punished.
  • What is a rote?
    • “Mechanical or habitual repetition of something to be learned.” ~ Thee Dictionary
    • A rote is a magickal effect that has been passed down through a group, or developed by a mage. It’s the refinement of magickal technique that is known to produce more or less reliable results. ICly mystic and technomantic mages call them by many names such as spells, formula, processes, and programs, but rote is usually understood by all.
    • Technocratic mages have clear divisions between Adjustments and Procedures, and that is jargon used only by them.
    • Examples:
      • Example 1
        • Your mother passes down a set of instructions for apple pie. You learn it, and use it. You know it by heart. That makes it easier for you to make apple pie. Yuu can almost do it in your sleep! That’s a rote. It’s not the only way to make apple pie, however. You can use butter rather than shortening or you can put Vodka in the crust, for example. This is not your mother’s apple pie though. You are improvising or using less familiar tools or methods. You can still do it. You know how to make pie. You believe in pie, and believe you can make it. It’s not particularly difficult, but it’s not as easy as making it your way. That’s an Effect, but it’s not a rote.
      • Example 2
        • Hermetic John learns his mentor’s version of Seven League Stride from his mentor. This is a tried and true Correspondence Effect that the Order has turned into a rote. If he uses that rote he gets a -1 to the difficulty.
        • Can John use Correspondence 3 to transport himself without using the rote?
          • Yes. If he has the Spheres and believes he can do so the answer is yes. He doesn’t get a bonus because he’s winging rather than using a reliable formula.
        • Is that fast-casting?
          • No. Let’s say John doesn’t have a dram of sea water collected when the moon was in Gemini, the crucial component for the rote, but he’s got his trusty amulet of Hermes on him. He brandishes the amulet, invokes the power of the gods in Enochian in a bold voice, and poof! He’s back at his chantry. Sure, he’s winging it a little bit, but his training coupled with the care put into the Effect allows him to do this with relative ease.
        • What would it look like if he were fast-casting?
          • John is on the run from the Technocracy so he fudges a hurried, whispered invocation (in English no less!), and clasps his amulet in the palm of his hand. It’s not pretty, and it’s harder to do, but it still gets the job done.
  • What needs to be a rote and what doesn’t?
    • Rotes emerge out of necessity and practice, but also practicality. For someone to take the time to create a rote the juice has to be worth the squeeze! Because of the work invovled  to develop a rote, mages usually only bother to codify rotes that they need, are useful, culturally important, or particularly effective.
    • From an OOC point of view, please consider the OOC time involved to create rote. Only +request for the best most important effects to your mage. Not everything needs to be a rote.
  • What is the mechanical benefit of a rote?
    • Rotes offer a -1 to the difficulty of their casting as they make use of  tested or practiced tried and true methods of changing reality. I consider it having researched the subject ahead of time. This also assumes the following:
      • Rotes always require Focus. It’s the methods and tools that make them rotes. You may have transcended your Focus, but casting still requires this technique.
      • Rotes cannot be fast-cast. In exchange for codifying your beliefs you must adhere to the rules or techniques set before you, otherwise its not a rote. Likewise, NOT using a rote doesn’t mean you are fast-casting either. The rote just means you are working with very familiar tools you have practiced with so its easier to do (if you do it right).
      • Rotes can’t be improvised. Rotes work more or less as described. Sure, you can cast them and make changes, but then you’re not really performing a rote any more. The only exception to that is if you score more successes then needed. At that point the rote works better than expected in some fashion, but it still stays within the general purpose of the rote.
      • A mage may cast a rote from an opposing paradigm (ST discretion on what that entails), but it’s at a +2 difficulty due to unfamiliar tools. Technically that Black Suit can follow the formula for a Verbena summoning cauldron, but the real question is…would they?  More then a likely they would dismiss it as superstition and be done with it.
  • Rote Notes
    • Please note your rotes in the rotes notes category.
    • Note that rotes not noted will not count as rotes.
  • Knowing & Teaching Rotes
    • Rotes from previous editions of Mage are allowed, but must pre-approved and reconciled with current M20 rules.
    • Particularly odious, game breaking, fun killing rotes developed by players or drawn from previous editions will not be approved.
    • Mage director has the right to modify or disallow any rote should it prove a problem for game balance.
    • There is no limit to the number of rotes one can know.
  • Learning & Teaching Rotes
    • Mages may begin with a number of rotes equal to their Arete.
    • Rotes must be taught by a Mentor or another mage.
    • To learn a rote one must first be able to cast it.
    • To teach the rote one must first know it.
    • Note: Rotes are usually (not always) trade secrets of a given group. Teaching your secrets may get you into trouble. Better make it worth your while!
    • The Traditions often charge for teaching rotes. It’s part of their Protocols!
    • Learning Times
      • Same Tradition/Convention/Craft or member of the same cabal or chantry.
        • Rotes take 1 IC week per dots in Spheres. If the rote’s involves a Sphere above three multiply the total by two.
          • Example: A rote with Spirit 5, Correspondence 2, Life 3 would take 10 weeks to learn.
      • Different Tradition/Convention/Craft
        • This assumes that the two mage’s belief systems are close enough to reconcile.
        • Rotes take 2 IC week per Sphere dots. If the rote’s involves a Sphere above three multiply the total by two.
          • Example: A rote with Spirit 5, Correspondence 2, Life 3 would take 2 = 20 weeks to learn.
      • Rote teachers may reduce the number of weeks to learn by a successful Manipulation + Instruction roll versus a difficulty of 3 + the rating of the highest sphere in the Rote.
        • Example: the above rote would be difficulty 8 to teach.
        • A failure means no reduction in time.
        • A botch means it was a fool’s errand, the rote is learned wrong, and must be re-taught at a +1 difficulty.
      • Especially complicated or powerful rotes, especially rote-rituals, may take longer to learn!
  • Developing Rotes
    • If a mage casts and effect and finds it useful they may choose to retreat to their Sanctum to codify it into a rote.
    • Developing a rote take 2 IC week per Sphere dots. If the rote’s involves a Sphere above three multiply the total by two.
    • Especially complicated or powerful rotes, especially rote-rituals, may take longer to develop!
  • Rote Note Format
    • Title:Name of your rote. Make it legendary. It’s your legacy.
    • Type: Adjustment, Procedure, Rote
    • Paradigm: The belief that allows you to cast it.
    • Practices: The practices used to cast it.
    • Instruments: The tools used to cast it.
    • Spheres:The Spheres and their ratings.
    • Description: This is where you can tell the story of the rote. Who it was created and how (if known), who knows it, why it was created, and most importantly, here is where you describe your Focus and clearly explain what the rote does.
    • System: This is where you put the mechanics of the rote. How many successes are required, resistance, whether it is vulgar or coincidental etc. Time it takes to cast should be noted here, as well as whether or not it is a ritual it should be noted here.
      • Keep in mind vulgarity of a rote may change due to circumstances. What is coincidental in one circumstance may become vulgar in another. Know your audience.
    • Example:
      • Title: Thee Five Finger Discount
      • Paradigm: Might Makes Right
      • Practices: Transgression
      • Instruments:Gestures, Movement
      • Spheres: Correspondence 2, Matter 2
      • Description: Many lay claim to the Fiver Finger Discount. Some say it emerged out of Discordian Ecstatic or Hermeitcs, but others says it’s been kicking around among the gutter-mages for decades. Some say that it was stolen in the 1960s from a Syndicate magica man who got mugged by cabal of Virtual Adepts. Besides the aformentioned magicians, it most commonly seen among the Hollowers and Virtual Adepts of LA’s malls. Gutter goths and punks are able to take what they need with not only stealth but style. Afterall, just because you are broke doesn’t mean you have to live that way. You deserve the best, even on a budget. Fuck the man, fuck class, fuck everything and just take what you want. By using various vulgar hand signs at authority, the Hollower is able to snatch small objects, and secret them into their pockets. They might call it a discount but everything is free! These gestures are done covertly so as not to draw attention. Hollowers use this rote to meet not only their basic needs, but also secure any luxuries their budgets don’t afford them.
      • System:The The rote requires some skill in Larceny or Streetwise as well as Stealth to be performed correctly. The rote “conjures” objects from the shelves into the mage’s pocket or bag. Two successes is usually required for most objects, but larger objects might require three. The rote is usually coincidental, but especially large, expensive, or heavily surveilled objects might require additional Ability rolls or the effect becomes Vulgar.

Seekings

In a tabletop game of Mage: The Ascension, the Storyteller will run personalized, one-on-one plots for Mages who Seek greater power from their Avatars. These are exciting opportunities to try out unique and unusual role playing situations that let characters grow in unexpected ways.

However that is not practical on Liberation. Your typical tabletop Mage storyteller has only a few Mages to take care of. On Liberation we have dozens of Mages. As much as we’d love to run scenes for them all every time they seek, we know we would risk burnout to take on that much additional storytelling.

So a seeking on Liberation is a player-directed activity. A player who wishes to seek must consider what the character has done in the last months or years since last gaining Arete. How has the character used his or her power? Are there any patterns or trends?

Compare those trends with what the character’s Avatar or Eidolon wants. In Character Generation, you were asked to elaborate on what the Avatar or Eidolon has as desires and goals. Is the PC living up to these goals, or is the PC distracted by other things? Could the PC advance to another level of achieving those goals?

Either way the character either needs a wake-up call, or an opportunity to grow. Consider how the character’s Avatar or Eidolon would intervene, goad, pressure, or persuade the character to take a step forward. How would the character be encouraged to work toward the Avatar/Eidolon’s goals for a change, or be given a chance to move even further in that direction?

Some avatars are strong, and others are weak. Some avatars have personality, while others are more Circumspect. But they all exist, and they all influence their Mages. It is central to the seeking to consider how that avatar will attempt to influence your Mage.

Thus, a seeking here is an essay, a story, or a logged scene describing how exactly your character’s seeking happens. How and when does the avatar intervene? Does the avatar initiate something, or latch onto an existing situation to have its wishes known? How does the character address the situation, and how does the character change by the end?

Make it count. Seekings will not be guaranteed to succeed. It maybe you write the story, and if the Directors think there’s not enough meaningful change there, that we’ll tell you why, and let you try again after some recuperation time. If your seeking does “fail” you will not be charged experience points for the attempts. Experience points will only be taken on success.

Feel free to submit a +request regarding a seeking, and discuss with your Directors what direction you think a seeking could take, and how you could make this story work.

Threshold

  • Thresholds will only be applied to magick as needed (mostly when attempting outlandish feats)

The Gauntlet

  • Gauntlet-piercing effects will require excess successes per Mage the Ascension 20th page 505.  That means for the typical LA Gauntlet of 7, that’s 4 extra successes to cross the Gauntlet, on top of any successes to implement  the effect, set duration, etc.

Dimensional Science

  • Dimensional Science
    • Void Engineers are the masters of Dimensional Science, and advanced uses of it remain something of a trade secret of the Convention.
    • Consistently across the game line other Conventions make use of DimSci to a lesser degree, so what do you call that? Certainly not Spirit! For the sake of convenience, we assume non-Void Engineers develop a version of Dimensional Science that fits their own paradigms, or have at least picked up a few tricks along the way. For example, the NWO might view the Spirit Sphere as as a sub-discipline of Data or the Progenitors might view if from the stand point of environmental evolution or xenobiology. In both cases, DimSci functions under the paradigmatic lens of another sphere. It’s clumsy, not fully realized and not as flexible, but it gets you where you need to be. For the sake of ease this is all Dimensional Science(s).
    • Non-VE Technocrats with Dimensional Science above 2 are unusual as paradigmatic frameworks don’t support it, but its not impossible. Nothing is. Its mage.
    • Tradition mages may not learn Dimensional Science.

Prime/Primal Utility

  • Primal Utility
    • Primal Utility is restricted to Syndicate members. It is too closely married to the Syndicate worldview for the other Conventions to get them interested, not that the Syndicate hasn’t tried! They just don’t get it.
  • Quintessence Spending
    • A mage is limited to spending no more than her Avatar rating in Quintessence. Logically it makes sense that someone with a soul weak in the flow of Prime energy would have difficulty manipulating that flow. It seems insufficient that even a Master of Prime should be similarly limited.
    • When expending Quintessence points to reduce magical difficulties, the limit is the highest of the mage’s Avatar rating or Prime Sphere rating. Thus, if a Master Prime mage was never gifted with an epic soul, but gained incredible influence over primal energies anyway, she would be able to exercise this power suitably.
      • Example: A mage with level 3 Prime and an Avatar rating of 1 would be able to spend up to 3 Quintessence points at a time. A mage with level 1 Prime and an Avatar rating of 4 would retain the ability to expend 4 Quintessence.
    • The reduction of target numbers is still be limited to –3 from the original base difficulty.
  • Quintessence Storage Limits
    • Mages may store up to 20 points of Quintessence minus permanent Paradox in their own Pattern.
    • The more Quintessence stored the more obviously supernatural the mage becomes.
    • Mages may store up to 5 points plus their Avatar rating with no ill effect. For every point of Quintessence beyond that they get a temporary point of Resonance that becomes increasingly easy to sense. This temporary Resonance is subtracted from the Difficulty of sensing the mage’s Resonance, and may even be reflexive for those with the Prime Sphere.
      • If the temporary Resonance goes beyond 5 then it can be automatically sensed by other mages.
      • If it goes beyond 7 then the mage becomes obvoiusly supernatural to virtually anyone they encounter. This manifests in the form of an Echoes-like flaw of the ST’s choosing that lasts until they expend the Quintessence, or Paradox takes it.

Correspondence /Data

  • Correspondence/Data
    • To manipulate other objects or beings in ways other than physical contact a mage must combine Correspondence with another Sphere – typically a Pattern Sphere (Forces, Life, or Matter). (M20 pg. 513)
    • When combining Correspondence with other Spheres, however, the Effect is limited – in game terms – to the mage’s Rank in the Correspondence Sphere, NOT to the Rank of the other Spheres involved.
      • Example: A mage who has only Correspondence 2 tries to use a Forces 3/ Correspondence 2/ Prime 2 Effect to try to start fires at a distance  is limited to Forces 2, a Rank that’s too low to conjure fire. In order to boost that effect, she’d need to raise her Correspondence to at least 3. (M20 pg. 513)
    • Despite its ability to warp space and distance, Correspondence deals only with whole Patterns.
      • Example: Correspondence alone cannot teleport someone’s head off – the mage would need to use Life magick to separate the head from its body. A gun, on the other hand, could be snatched away by a Correspondence/ Matter Effect.
    • Data
      • Unlike Dimensional Science and Primal Utility, Data is slightly more widespread. This isn’t to say that it is common, but Data isn’t as tightly bound one group’s worldview. While mostly the province of Virtual Adepts and the New World Order, technomantic members of the Traditions and other Conventions can learn Data if they meet the following requirements:
        • Requires Everything Is Data paradigm
        • Appropriate practices and instruments
        • Membership in an technomantic sub-faction (e.g. House Verditius, Lhaksmists, Ghostwheel Society, Alexandrian Society etc.)
      • For simplicity’s sake we ask that you choose between Data or Correspondence at Chargen. You cannot have both.

Life

Changing Shapes

  • Raising Attributes via Life or Mind permanent requires expenditure of XP.
    • Sphere requirements
      • Life = Dexterity, Stamina, Strength, and Appearance
      • Mind = Intelligence, Wits, Perception
      • Charisma and Manipulation requires both Life and Mind at the right ranks as they are a complex mix of body language and emotional intelligence.
    • Casting Requirements
      • Temporary
        • Temporary changes may be performed on a 1 Success per Attribute dot basis (see +bbread 2/36 for additional HRs on this).
      • Permanent Changes
        • Permanent changes are a significant undertaking, and ritual casting rules apply to these.
        • Each roll is a week’s worth of work.
        • Effect Successes are still 1 Success per Attribute dot.
        • Duration is scored separately, and 6 successes are required to raise an Attribute permanently.
    • XP Cost
      • XP costs for a Successful Effect are halved.
    • The Price
      • Attribute raises, whether they be physical, mental or social, using magick require a reasonable and realistic time lapse before each raise.
      • Raising your Attributes more than 1 dot at a time or too quickly earns you a permanent point of Paradox per dot above the first.
  • Other Alterations and Special Features
    • Other alterations (claws, wings etc.) give the mage a point of permanent Paradox per alteration

Mind

    • Mind
      • Offensive Mind effects – that is, ones that read, intrudes, or influences another character’s mental state – base their difficulties on the target’s Willpower Trait rather than against the usual coincidental/ vulgar spectrum (M20 page 519).
        • Example: If the target’s Willpower is less than 4, the base difficulty is 4.
        • Drastic acts of mind control (suicide, for instance) go against the Willpower +3, as do Mind-based attacks against Night-Folk or other mages with the Mind Sphere.
        • An unwilling character can also try to oppose such Effects with a resisted Willpower roll, using her successes like a mental dodge maneuver.
        • For effects cast on multiple targets, the difficulty for a Mind-based Effect depends upon the usual coincidental, vulgar, or vulgar with witnesses situations. Such Mind-based Effects are generally coincidental, although especially flamboyant feats might be vulgar instead.
      • Mind Sphere & Mental Attributes
        • Mind 1
          • The mage may temporarily (scene or two) raise their Mental Attributes by 1 per Success.
        • Mind 3
          • Temporary changes may  now be made permanent.
        • Mind 4
          • The mage may now increase other’s Mental Attributes as they do to themselves with Mind 3.
      • Mind Shields
        • Mind 1 –
          • The mage may also create simple Mind Shields that function like a psychic wall against mental intrusions. Each Success removes one from the intruder’s Successes.
        • Mind 2
          • Complex Mind shields and traps may now be created in the mage’s mind.
        • Mind 3
          • The simple Mind shields may now be created for others.
        • Mind 4
          • Complex Mind shields may now be created in the mage’s
      • Mind and Obfuscate
        • In most cases, Mind Shields operate as written. Obfuscate is often so subtle that they do not rise to the level of being noticed. For example, a vampire using Obfuscate in a crowd would not trigger a Mind Shield check. In cases where an Obfuscated vampire is in the same space, but is not actively evading or spying on a mage with Mind or a Mind Shield the intrusion goes unnoticed.
        • In short, Obfuscated vampires that are just passing through or otherwise not bothering you should just be ignored. In the case where the vampire is actively evading or bothering the mage assume that the mage’s Mind sphere subs in for what would normally be an Auspex rating. In all other situations contact Sundance for PVP adjudication.

Time

  • Time
    • In conjunction with other Spheres, Time allows a mage to set triggers on other Effects, stretch out their duration, see into other times and places, or otherwise warp the threads of time (M20 pg.522).
      • When employing the Time Sphere to look or reach through time, a player checks the Time Sphere Timelines chart.
      • When prolonging an Effect, she could either spend successes on increased Duration , or else add Entropy 3 in order to hold the Effect until a certain circumstance occurs.
    •  Effects that involve going backwards in time add +3 to their difficulty, are always vulgar, and stack the effects of Paradox.
      • A character who rewinds time by turns adds one layer of Paradox per turn.
        • Going back three turns, for instance, incurs three times the usual Paradox – three points for each point that might otherwise be earned by an Effect at that Rank.
        • A mage who travels backward according to the Time Sphere Timelines chart gets two layers of Paradox for each interval on that chart.
        • Going back 50 years (or four intervals), for example, nets eight times the usual amount of Paradox – eight points for each point normally earned.
    • Effect that has a Time-based trigger, one which has been locked into another Pattern, or one that has been cast but whose duration has not yet expired, does not count toward that total (M20 page 529).
      • Example If Lee Ann gives Joe wolf claws, and enchantment lasts for a week after they part company, then Lee Ann does not have to concentrate on the Effect in order to keep it going.  If she wishes to keep the Effect in motion after the duration has expired, however, then it counts against the number of Effects that character can employ at the same time.

Fae Sight

To get Fae / Chimerical sight, Mind 1 is the base requirement. Additionally, Matter 1 is required to see the truth of objects, and Life 1 for living beings. Thus, total Fae sight is an effect requiring Mind 1 + Matter 1 + Life 1. Additionally, the PC must be able to establish reason to know such things exist, with enough familiarity to concoct such an effect.

To give others this ability requires Mind 2 + Matter 1 and/or Life 1. Additionally, a minimum of two successes are required.

Merits & Flaws

Enchanting Feature

    • Enchanting Feature trait is not an instrument in an of itself, but functions like one with certain instruments. Please note which instruments it operates with if its not obvious.
    • Enchanting Feature offers a -2 when employed with Effects, but does not push the Difficulty bonus beyond -3.

Spark Of Life

    • Functions mechanically as written in the Mage 20 rules, but your blood is otherwise normal. It does not offer additional nourishment to vampires nor is it more delicious. Sorry! You taste just like the rest of the waitresses at Merlotte’s!

Language

    • Language Merit is for living languages only.
    • Scholarly mages frequently make use of dead languages. Since these language have little use outside scholarship or scholarly magick mages wishing to make use of them may purchase an Academics specialty of Mystic Languages, and call it a day. Please have your Director approve a note specifying which language(s) you know. There’s not hard limit on how man you can know, but they must be languages you actually make sure of in your practices.

Otherworlds

  • Acclimation – Not used. Enjoy the spirit world!

Vidare

  • How we percive the Otherworlds is subjective. Mages tend to default to one of the three, but can access any an all of them.
    • Vidare Astral – The High Umbra – abstract world of shapes, forms, and symbols.
    • Vidare Spiritum – The Middle Umbra – the raw, sensual, primal forces of nature.
    • Vidare Mortem – The Low Umbra – the morbid, decaying forces of death.

Penumbra

  • What is it?
    • The Penumbra is the spiritual reflection, a shadow if you will, of our own world. Just beyond the Gauntlet, everything in our own world has an ephemeral reflection in the Penumbra. There are three of them (or maybe one looked at from different vantages): Astral Penumbra, Middle Penumbra, and the Low Penumbra (aka the Shadowlands). Which one we can most easily perceive depends on our Vidare.

Middle Umbra

  • AKA
    • The Spirit Wilds, that Werewolf Umbra
  • What is it?
    • The Spirit Wilds and the Realms beyond, Aetherial Reaches and Anchorheads
  • Magicks
      • Most mages are familiar with the Gauntlet, and the Penumbra so casting Magick across the Gauntlet is relatively easy.
      • Cosmology/Subdimensions 1+ is required.
      • Shamans, witches, and mages aligned with the forces of nature default to this Penumbra, but it is by no means secret. Other mages may enter it with some study and focus.
  • Travel
    • A Shallowing, Path of the Wyck, or crossing the Gauntlet using Spirit 3+ to enter the Penumbra. From there, one can navigate deeper if one knows how.

The High Umbra

  • AKA
    • The Astral Umbra, Astral Reaches
  • What is it?
    • The Astral Penumbra, Vulgate, Umbral Courts, Spires, Epiphanies
  • Magick
    • Most mages are familiar with the Gauntlet, and the Penumbra so casting Magick across the Gauntlet is relatively easy.
    • Cosmology 1+ is required.
    • Hermetics, Celestial Chorus, and Technomancers and Technocrats default to this Penumbra. It’s not secret, however. Other mages may enter it with some study and focus.
  • Travel
    • Same as Middle Umbra.
    • Astral Projection (Using Mind magick)

Low Umbra

  • AKA
    • The Shadowlands, The Dark Umbra, The Underworld
  • What is it?
    • The Shroud (the Low Umbra’s Gauntlet), Shadowlands (this is the Low Umbra’s answr to the Penumbra), The Tempest, Labyrinth, Stygia, and the Dark Kingdoms.
  • Magicks
      • Anyone can see into the Low Umbra’s Penumbra (the Shadowlands) and speak to the beings that dwell there, but anything beyond that requires more advanced knowledge. The Dark Umbra is a mysterious place. To use any form of magic that crosses the Shroud requires:
        • Cosmology 3+ and an appropriate Esoterica specialty.
        • An appropriate paradigm. Mainly this is going to be the Euthanatos, but other sub-factions also have connection  to the Underworld as well.
      • Magick In the Low Umbra is dangerous
        • Denizens of the Low Umbra are often unfriendly.
        • Botching rolls in the Low Umbra might get you sucked into the Tempest, or worse, summon something out of it.
        • Too much time spent in, around, or interacting with the Low Umbra results in Resonance or Morbidity.
    • Travel
      • Mages cannot step sideways into the Low Umbra. Entering there requires one of the following
      • Dying
        • U dead, boo.
      • The Agama Sojourn
        •  Agama magic puts the mage in a state of half-death where they are able to enter the Sunless Lands and return while her body is kept on the cusp of death.
      • Other Means
        • Mages may walk the Underworld in their living bodies via a Wonder, by finding a dark Shallowing or a path from one of the different Otherworlds that leads into the Underworld.
        • Such journeys require extensive cosmological knowledge or a competent guide (usually in the form of a Storyteller).

Zones

  • What are these?
    • Zones are regions that exist in a kind of hyperspace independent of the other Umbrae. Nowhere yet there, they have their own rules of access.
    • Maya, Digital Web, Mirror Zone, Null Zone, Mount Qaf, Paradox Realms
    • Maya
      • AKA
        • The Dream zone
      • What is it?
        • Maya (the realm of dreaming minds), Demesnes, The Dreaming (see below), Other Realms of Dreamlords or other dream realms with some lasting quality.
      • Travel & Magicks
        • Sleeping
        • Mind 3+ allows for travel and magick within Maya. From there, the sub-realms within Maya can be accessed if one knows how to find them. Good luck! It’s weird!
      • Demesnes
        • Realms created by Dreamers represented by a Background.

The Dreaming

  • What is it?
    • The realm of the Fae. Maya and the Dreaming have some connection the nature of which is not well understood by mages. Most mages, unless they have direct ties to Changelings, don’t even realize the Dreaming exists. This is further compounded by the Mists.
  • Perceiving the Dreaming and Chimerical Reality

    • The Dreaming is not readily accessible to mages, but exceptions exist.
        • Temporary Enchantment –  The Mists ensure that Enchanted mages don’t remember enough to duplicate the effects of Enchantment.
        • Lasting Enchantment – Wherein the Mists are less of an issue.
      • Mages with an appropriate Paradigm may find ways to perceive the Dreaming, but this requires:
        • Cosmology 2+
        • Occult 2+ with a Fae-related Occult specialty
        • An IC teacher or approved ties to the Fae.
    • Travel

      • Being Enchanted
      • Trods exist to and from the Dreaming, or even to and from Maya, but these are only accessible by Storyteller permission.
      • Most mages are entirely unaware of the Fae making traveling to the Dreaming largely unthinkable, but:
        • Cosmology 3+
        • Occult 3+ with a Fae-related Occult specialty
        • An IC teacher or cannon ties to the Fae
    • Magick In The Dreaming
      • The Dreaming operates on its own bizarre rules that even the fae struggle to understand.
      • The Dreaming doesn’t care about your beliefs or magick. The Dreaming actively resists attempts to change it that don’t conform to its rules.
      • Magick that doesn’t conform to the Dreaming’s general weird-fantasy notions simply doesn’t work.
      • Mages the Dreaming finds obnoxious get summarily dumped into the Middle Umbra, or worse, summon something from deeper in the Dreaming to deal with them.
      • Casting Magick in the Dreaming requires:
        • Cosmology 3+
        • Esoterica 3+ with the Dreaming-magick specialty.
          • Some sub-factions, such as House Merinita, certain Verbena, and the the Fellowship of Pan, have ancient  practices for doing so already. These practices are by no means mainstream, however, and outsiders struggle to learn them.
          • It is possible for other mages to adapt their Paradigms to the Dreaming, but this requires a great deal of long-term dangerous trial and error.
        • Magick in the Dreaming is dangerous:
          • Chimera may find mage magick fascinating, and decide to take mages away to their realms to play with or “study” them.
          • Spending too much time in the Dreaming or casting magick often in the Dreaming makes mages highly prone to Madness.
          • Botching, offensive magick, or transgressive behavior gets mages ejected into the Middle Umbra, or worse, summon something from deeper in the Dreaming to deal with the mage.
          • You are not immune to Paradox or Backlash in the Dreaming.

Big Picture

  • Earth – The mudball.The material world.
  • ——>Near Umbra<——>
    • The Gauntlet/Shroud – the mystic barrier that separates the material world from the spirit world.
      • The Penumbrae – These are the spiritual reflections of Earth. Which one you see or step into depends on how you view the world.
        • The High Penumbra Umbra – The world of ideas. From there you can access the hierarchy of realms within the High Umbra or Astral Reaches.
        • The Middle Penumbra Umbra – The world of spirit and nature. From here you can access the loose nexus of Realms of the Middle Umbra.
        • The Low Penumbra – The world of death and decay. From here you can reach the Far Shores, the Tempest, and all that jazz.
        • The Zones – Digital Web, the Dreaming, and Hollow World and all connect somehow to the above.
  • ——>Near Umbra<——
    • ——>True Horizon<——
      • The True Horizon – This is the the mystic barrier that separates the Near Umbra from Etherspace/Subspace. To pass through it you need to find an Anchorhead.
        • Horizon Realms – Tucked into the Horizon are the various Horizon Realms can be found out here like Concordia, Seasonal Realms, Darkside Moonbase etc.
    • ——>True Horizon<——
  • ——>Etherspace/Subspace<——
    • Etherspace/Subspace – The vast expanse between the True Horizon (Earth’s atmosphere) and the Far Horizon (the asteroid belt beyond Mars).
    • The Shade Realms/Vada – The Shade Realms or S.R. <Sphere> are the Umbrae of the Solar System’s planets. They sometimes manifest as “shades” on the True Horizon. They are pure expressions of the Nine Spheres.
    • The Shard Realms  are the now “dead” material aspects of the planets themselves.
        • S.R. Correspondence – Mercury
        • S.R. Life – Venus
        • S.R. Prime – Earth
        • S.R Forces – Mars
  • ——>Etherspace/Subspace<——
    • ——>Far Horzion<——
      • Far Horizon – A potent barrier between Etherspace and the Deep Umbra. To pass through you need an Etherspace Anchorhead. It’s mysterious and largely unknown.
    • ——>Far Horizon<—–
  • ——>Deep Umbra/Deep Universe<——
        • S.R. Matter – Jupiter
        • S.R. Time – Saturn
        • S.R. Spirit – Uranus
        • S.R. Mind – Neptune
        • S.R. Entropy – Pluto
      • Other Realms – Cerberus, COP, Paradox Realms, and who knows what else are found out here. Here be dragons.
  • ——>Deep Umbra/Deep Universe<——

Resonance & Synergy

  • Different Editions
    • In 1st and 2nd edition Mage, Resonance was a narrative device that described the impressions magick left on the world and mages. Mage Revised offered a more mechanical approach to Resonance. The M20 rules are an attempt to offer mage players the best of all editions of Resonance, but their complexity works best in table top games with small groups of players. With that in mind, we’re opting for something closer to 2nd edition.
  • House Rules
    • We’re opting for a simplified system. Mages have single trait called Resonance.
    • For mechanical purposes, the relative strength of a mage’s Resonance is the rating of their highest Sphere (usually their Affinity Sphere). This is a rule of thumb not a hard and fast rule.
    • Resonance is mysterious and will largely be handled through narrative means. The strength of a mage’s Resonance should only be discussed in mechanical terms when absolutely necessary instead opting for words like faint, indistinct, sharp, overwhelming, or strong.
    • Resonance may manifest in any an all the ways listed starting on page 131 of the Book of Secrets. Resonance manifestation is left up to the player and/or the Storyteller, and should be used to add mystery and atmosphere to the story. Players are encouraged to let Resonance come and go as role-playing demands.
    • Resonances can be simple and straightforward, follow a common theme, or a mix of different elements.  As a rule, older more experienced mages have more powerful, complex Resonances than younger, less experienced ones.
  • Noting Resonance

    • A few words or sentences that describe your mage’s Resonance.
    • Examples:
      • An icy, crystalline smoothness. It is hard, cold, and unyielding.  The color white.
      • Tingling with electricity, the Resonance is lively and prickly with an anxious excitement.
      • The smell of freshly turned earth, the call of a raven, and the feeling of someone staring at you from behind.
      • A mad rush of car horns, the sound of children’s cereal in milk, and the taste of victory.
      • A sunny, orderly feeling when everything is in its right place.
      • A dark, cavernous Resonance filled with faint echoes of the past.
      • The sound of crunching pixels, the grind of hard drives, and the feeling of numbers calculating infinity.
      • The feeling of bright red horse breath on a cold morning.
  • Gaining Resonance

    • Means of gaining Resonance are described in the Book of Secrets, but Resonance need not be restricted to just those. Players or Storyteller may add, subtract, or change Resonance as the story dictates.
    • Resonances can grow stronger, weaker, be gained or lost as the story requires.
  • Identifying Resonance
    • Intelligence + Awareness roll. The difficulty of that roll is 10 – the strength of the Resonance, and possibly -1 or -2 if the mage is intimately familiar with the signature.
  • Cloaking Resonance
    • Roll Willpower, difficulty Resonance +3
    • Takes “a turn or two” per roll.
    • Duration: 1 hour per success.
    • Each success
  • Bonus Dice
    • This can only be used in Storyteller run plots.

Paradox

  • Amounts Per Botch
    • Coincidental – one point for each dot in the highest Sphere used in the Effect.
    • Vulgar w/o Witnesses  – one point, plus one more point per dot in the highest Sphere.
    • Vulgar w/ Witnesses – two points, plus two more points for each dot in the highest Sphere.
  • Backlash
    • “At dramatically inconvenient moments – generally at times when a player has earned five points of Paradox or more in a single stroke – the Storyteller can say ‘Let’s roll for a backlash,'” (Mage 20th page 548).  M20 assumes that the game will be played in the table-top style so the following House Rules have been implemented in order to accommodate play on MUSH.
      1. We are not using the Revised Paradox rules.
      2. The player may shed Paradox as described on page 549 of M20, but only if they keep their Paradox pool below 5 and only if they do not engage in anything other than sensory Magick (level 1 effects) for a period of a week.
      3. Paradox 5+ can be bled off one point per month, but the mage must abstain entirely from Magick.
      4. Backlash can be rolled any time the mage has accumulated 5+ points of Paradox, either in one sitting or cumulatively.
      5. The player may open a  +request for a Backlash scene, and the Paradox can be discharged that way.
  • Quiet
    • Falling in
      • 10+ point Paradox Backlash.
      • Physical or mental trauma – Roll Willpower difficulty current Paradox.

XP

Raising Spheres & Arete

Wizards & Witches, Scientists & Hackers, Operatives & Doctors! Lend me your ears! The time has come to clarify our approach to raising Spheres and Arete (via a Seeking). Most MUSHes have adopted hard and fast, arbitrary learning times for such spends, but I have chosen to go a different direction for a couple of reasons.

First, mages develop at different rates. Not even Iteration X has Enlightenment down to a science! Each mage’s story is different, and some are trying more than others, some are more gifted, some have better resources, or some have some X factor that allows them to excel where others do not. Whatever the reason, a mage’s journey is their own; yet, it is the inevitable folly of mages to compare themselves to others.

Second, Liberation was designed to be more similar to a table-top game rather than a traditional MUSH. We on Team Mage or as they call us down at the local bowling alley, Team Ascension!, are Storytellers first and everything else second. We are here to tell stories, and no stories are more important than the Mage’s process towards Ascension. So as Storytellers we shall be telling those stories in a couple of says.

First, we will be running plots. Plots are a great way to justify the raising of a Sphere. Did your mage make some interesting insight? Produce one killer Effect? Fail in some particularly amazing fashion? Tangle with a powerful Umbrood and come out on top? Complete a journey to the Otherworlds? Literally save humanity for the third time that week? Something else that forever changed your mages vie of the world? If something like that happened in a plot then it might be a good time to put in a +request to raise a Sphere, or pursue a Seeking. We aren’t going to define exactly what has to have happened to justify the raising of the Sphere, but the bigger the step, the meatier the experience needs to be. For example, grasping the first keys to a single Sphere is harder than taking the second step. Becoming an Adept or Master of a Sphere harder than the Disciple rank.

Second, we are going to ask you demonstrate that you are conversant in your Tradition/Craft/Convention’s approach to the Sphere, and have a working personal interpretation of it. Rather than going about this via a plot, you can take on a project, deed, magickal working, or arcane scholarship concerning this Sphere that represents the initial grasping this particular Key. You can make a Wonder, develop a unique Focus, take on a new practice or deepen and existing one, seek tutelage from another of your Tradition, or engage in some old fashioned book learning. This can come in the form of scholarly paper, a Rote, theory lecture, or a significant magickal working. All of these must amount to an interesting story that enriches your character’s understanding of Magick. Got a good idea or how you’d got about it? Pitch us. Team Ascension loves big ideas.

How long will it take? As long as it needs to. Spends justified by plots in most cases will take less time than those done via projects or book knowledge. The idea here is that learning is a key part of Ascension, but is ultimately grasped by doing not by dwelling. Still, both are equal ways by which power (and possibly wisdom too) are attained.

Lastly, concering Seekings, this is a trickier topic that requires a little more consideration our part. Some guidelines to follow, but it will be probably similar to raising Spheres.

Feeling intimidated? Don’t be! This is not here to intimidate. Quite the opposite. It’s here to inspire you to be legendary, to be deep, to be arcane, and to be bold. Ascension is not for the faint of heart. So pitch us. The worst thing that will happen is you’ll end up having a cool story to RP about how you gained that knowledge. You know, remember the time you discovered the secrets of the Life Sphere at the bottom of a T-Rex’s belly? Yeah that kind of thing!

Tl;DR – If you want to raise Spheres or Arete, open a +reqeust to start the conversation to help us tell a story about it, and we’ll figure it out!