Mage Character Creation

To make things easier with character creation, we have added a step-process to guide you through it. Please feel free to ask for help if you need it! Also, we assume that you have a copy of Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition. If you do not, please let us know and we can direct you to where you can find one. Please have a look at the Mage Character Creation Guide for wanted concepts, and character guidelines. Mage House Rules for more details.

See also the Mage Mortal, Sorcerer, and Companion Creation Guide.

Need Help?

If you go into the Character Generation room and follow the instructions to “selfsplat” yourself Mage, you will have access to the Mage channel to ask questions.

Additionally, see the +st list for the Mage Director, and the Meet the Producers Bulletin Board post on Board 26 will show you which Producers can help you with fitting into your preferred faction.



  • Be prepared for the Mage Director to ask clarifying questions, make suggestions, note concerns, or even request changes. This is done to ensure PCs are a good fit in the game. Please approach these as part of the creative process, and be open to opportunities to deepen your character.
  • Awakened mages must be human. We aren’t allowing Awakened Constructs at this time.
  • Apprentice PCs use the Companion template.
  • Starting Character Ages
    • While all mages develop at different rates, when considering approvals and Tier XP we will be using the following guidelines:
      • Age and Experience
        • Characters 40+
          • Older characters may have up to three Abilities above 3, but these must be well supported.
          • Older characters will be often be considered for more Tier XP than younger ones due to life experience.
        • Characters in their 30s
          • May only choose one Ability above 3.
          • They may have four more Abilities at 3 assuming they are well supported.
        • Characters in their 20s
          • May only choose one Ability above 3, and only if they have the Mentor Background of 3+.
          • They may have two to four Abilities at 3 (depending on age), and only if they have the Mentor Background at least 1.
      • Awakening Date versus Current Date
        • The longer you are Awakened the more training you have in magick. Younger mages, no matter how talented, simply cannot best their elders when it comes to magickal skill. The length of time a mage has been Awakened tells you the total number of Sphere points you may have including Freebies and Tier XP.
        • Awakened 1-5 years
          • 6 points in Spheres max
        • Awakened 6-10 years
          • 8 points in Spheres max
        • Awakened 10-15 years
          •  10 points in Spheres max
    • Keep in mind these are guidelines, and circumstances like backstories, professional training, Backgrounds, Merits, Tradition, Convention or Craft, and other characteristics may factor into stat ratings.
    • Some Abilities take longer to learn (like Science, Medicine, Cryptography) than others (like Etiquette, Empathy, or Subterfuge).


  • +setsplat Mage
  • Choose concept – A word or two that sums up your character idea (e.g. Angel Technician, Canny Fixer, Mob Wizard).
    • +selfstat Concept=<concept>
  • Affiliation – Traditions, Technocracy
    •  +selfstat/faction 1=<your faction>
    • +selfstat/faction 2=<your Tradition, Craft, Convention>
    • +selfstat/faction 3=<your sub-faction>
  • Essence – Dynamic, Static, Questing, Primordial
    • +selfstat Essence=<Essence>
  • Archetype: Nature, and Demeanor
    • +selfstat Nature=<Archetype>
    • +selfstat Demeanor=<Archetype>
    • Notes: You aren’t limited to the Archetypes in M20 or Book of Secrets. Feel free to draw on the other game lines or previous editions, but final decision is still up to staff discretion.

Select Attributes

  • Prioritize the three categories: Physical, Social, Mental (7/5/3).
    • Your character automatically has one dot in each Attribute.
  • Rate Physical Traits: Strength, Dexterity, Stamina.
  • Rate Social Traits: Charisma, Manipulation, Appearance.
  • Rate Mental Traits: Perception, Intelligence, Wits.
    • +selfstat <Attribute>=<#>
  • Note – Attributes starting at 1 cannot be raised with Tier XP. This sort of handicap is allowed, but takes a great deal of time to overcome. Please keep that in mind if you choose to take an Attribute at 1.

Select Abilities

  • Prioritize the three categories: Talents, Skills, Knowledges (13/9/5).
  • Choose Talents, Skills, Knowledges.
  • No Ability higher than 3 at this stage.
    • +selfstat <Ability>=<#>

Select Advantages


  • Traditions, Technocracy, and Crafts choose one of the Affinity Spheres for their group. Some groups have more than one Sphere listed, while others do not.
  • Orphans may choose any single sphere as their Affinity Sphere.
  • Assign one dot to this sphere.
  • You have five other dots you may assign in Spheres.
    • No Sphere can be higher than your Arete, you may wish to wait to assign the rest until you’ve decided whether or not to raise your starting Arete using freebie points.
    • Arete is capped at 3
    • Notes
      • Most mages regard magickal might as the hallmark of maturity. The more advanced one is the more responsibility a faction places on the mage. We are looking for mages fully capable of engaging in the Ascension War who are prepared to be up-and-coming leaders of their factions. While note the only measure, most Traditions and Conventions deem their recruits more or less ready to be independent once they’ve achieved rank 2 in at least one Sphere, sometimes more. In keeping with that, PCs must begin play with at least one Sphere at 2 to demonstrate that they have reached a level of maturity to be considered “adults” by their faction and sub-faction.
      • Apprentice PCs begin with no more than 3 dots in Spheres, but apprentice apps are closed at this time.
    • +selfstat <Sphere>=<#>


  • Choose Backgrounds (7)
  • Members of the Technocracy & Backgrounds
    • One of the benefits of being a member of the Union is that you may receive a salary and living quarters from whatever Technocratic front you work for. This is, of course, in exchange for slavish devotion to the Technocratic cause, but that’s what you signed up for, right? Technocrats may forgo Backgrounds such as Resources, and in doing so, are assumed to have a standard of living roughly equal to their Status trait. The upside is that you don’t have to worry about finding housing or how you’ll put food on the table, but the downside is that the Technocracy owns it all – from the dishes you eat off, the couch you relax on, the toilet where you do your business, the car you drive, and even the clothes you wear. None of this is flashy, and could be described as adequate. The work itself is its own reward.
      • +selfstat <Background>=<#>

Finishing Touches

  • Record beginning Arete (1)
  • Willpower (5)
    • Max of 8 even with Freebies or Tier XP
  • Paradox (0)
  • Rotes (You may start with one per level of Arete)
  • Resonance
    • Resonance in M20 is a little different than in previous editions. These are divided into Resonance and Synergy, but collectively they are also called Resonance. Confused yet? Don’t sweat it. We are using a simplified, narrative based Resonance rules. See the Mage House Rules for details.

Freebie Points

  • Spend freebie points (15).
  • Willpower costs 2 per dot (House Rule)
  • Abilities (HR)
    • Abilities and Secondary Abilities both cost the same amount of points to raise, whether freebie points, or regular allocation points.
    • Abilities and Secondary Abilities both cost 1 freebie point per dot to increase, up to a rating of 3.
    • Raising an Ability or Secondary Ability to 4 or 5, can only be done with freebie points, and costs 2 freebie points per dot as normal.
  • You can now use your freebies to raise your Abilities above 3.
  • Arete is capped at 3.
  • Optional: Choose Merits (max. 10 points) and Flaws (max. 7 points).


Please set the following notes:

  • Backstory: Summarize please! Please use the templates below to create your notes! Backstories need not be more than one or three concise, out-world paragraphs. Backstories are instruments for us to get a sense of your character not works of fiction. We’ve got a lot to go over so please keep it brief! Backstory should cover the following:
    1. Sleeper life
    2. Awakening
    3. Your recruitment or initiation into your faction and sub-faction – how you came to join the groups you joined.
    4. Magical training (or lack thereof) – who trained you, what was that training like, and where are they now?
    5. The different factions and sub-factions have values, goals, and standards. Its assumed that you share some of them or at least see some value in gathering in a group.
      1. Your current role in your faction and/or sub-faction, or why you are involved in your given faction.
      2. Your current role in your Tradition/Convention/Craft.
      3. Your views on the Ascension War
        1. You don’t have to have a comprehensive strategy, but you should cover how the war shapes your world view, and your approach to it.
        2. How do you think your faction should be addressing their enemies?
        3. Are you a dedicated soldier? A begrudging victim? An opportunistic spy?
        4. Do you prefer to hit your enemies where it hurts with swords and bolts of energy, or are you engaging in the war from the realm of ideas and beliefs?
      4. Your views on Ascension
        1. Again, you don’t have to have a comprehensive plan for Ascension, but all mages are visionaries. You should have some notion of how you’d like to make the world a better place.
          1. What does your faction and sub-faction believe about Ascension? Reality 2.0? The City of Pymander? A Techno-Utopia? A return to a previous age?
      5. Your views on the Sphinx
        1. This is particularly important for Tradition mages, but very few Awakened have not been subject to their provocations.
          1. Are you a Guardian? A Fencer? An Emissary?
      6. Views on the Technocratic Pogroms and their so-called victory
        1. Did you suffer during the Pogroms, or were you able to escape? Did you lose loved ones?
        2. If you were on the Technocratic side, were you a willing participant or did you go along knowing it was a mistake? How do you feel about it being discontinued?
      7. Views on the Storm
        1. We don’t use the Avatar Storm per se, but there was a huge cosmological event that really shook things up. What was it? How did you survive it? How did it shape you?
    6. Any goals, ambitions, dreams, or anything else you think might be important
    7. How do you see your character growing as the chronicle goes on?
  •  Backgrounds: Some backgrounds, for example, Arcane, Destiny and Dream,  do not require explanations. They just are. Others like Allies, Patron, or Mentor require a write-up. Please explain who they are and/or what role they play in your character’s life. See Mage House Rules for clarification.
    • Please connect with the Mage director concerning Wonders.
    • Status will be assigned based on your faction so don’t bother taking it in chargen.
  • Merits & Flaws – Like backgrounds, some don’t require an explanation (Acute Sense), but others do.  Please create write-ups for any Merits & Flaws that aren’t self-explained. See the Mage House Rules as there are a few changes.
  • Equipment – Any special equipment like weapons, armor, or other unusual items that might need approval
  • Avatar or Genius (Awakened only): A description of your Avatar (called Genius by members of the Technocracy). Please include the following in your note:
    • Archetype: Avatars don’t have names like Susan or Bob, but the mage generally has some title or phrase they use to describe their Avatar. Think of it as a combination of Nature, Demeanor, and Concept. This sums up the purpose, flavor, or short description. For example, Daughter of the Mighty Ones, Ghost Owl, She Who Measures, The Phantom Messenger, The Great Teacher, The Uncanny Double, or the Handsome Stranger.
    • Form: What form does your Avatar take? What does it look like/ Does it take the form of a strange spirit or does it come in the form of Albert Einstein?
    • Manifestation: How does your Avatar appear and communicate with to you? In dreams? Through a ritual? When your are lost in thought? Via late night telephone calls?
    • Motivation: What are your Avatar’s goals and motivations? What does it want to see in the world? How does it want you to use your power?


  • Focus quick reference here!
  • Simply put, how you do Magick. In past editions of Mage this was a murky concept. M20 has simplified the process considerably.  If you need help selecting these please contact staff. We can help you figure it all out.
  • Note: Linear Mages are still mages even though they are practicing static magic. Your magic still requires focus.
  • Transcending Instruments
    • Mystic mages may begin to drop instruments at Arete 3
    • Technomancers at  Arete 5
    • Technocrats cannot transcend instruments
    • Please note in your +notes which instruments you have transcended. Technocrats and Linear Mages cannot transcend instruments.
    • Paradigm – Paradigm is what you believe, the big ideas that underpin your magic.
      • Please pick exactly one paradigm. It doesn’t have to be a book one, but for most characters, a book one will work well!
        • Technocracy
          • Tech Holds All The Answers and A Mechanistic Cosmos are foundational paradigms under which the Technocracy operates. It is the general agreement on these two points that allows the Union to work so well together (well better than the other two factions). Most Technocracy characters will have one of these. Even if they weren’t explicitly chosen the Technocracy operates  broadly under both.
        • Traditions
          • Centuries of arguing and sharing of ideas have shaped the Traditions view of the world. While they don’t have the unified worldview of the Technocracy they do have a set of shared values that hold them together.  The Traditions are significantly more diverse in their ideas about reality than the Technocracy, and are often (not always) more eclectic in their choice of focus. While more unified than the Alliance they aren’t nearly as agreeable as the Technocracy.
      • Practices – Closely related to paradigm, but different, practices are the things you do to perform magic.
        • We suggest you choose at least three practices as well. Some mages have more than three, but few have less than three.
        • For ease of character creation we suggest you use the practices examples given in the Mage 20th books, but more advanced players  may write their own. Homebrewed practices require approval, but silly, insincere, incoherent, or abusive practices will not be approved.
      • InstrumentsClosely related to practices, instruments are the tools you use to perform your magic.
        • Finally, choose a minimum of seven Instruments (you can have more). You may choose more if you like, but they should make sense in light of your practices. More information on the difference between various instruments here.
        • Standard Instruments
          • These are the general tools your mage uses.
        • Personalized instruments
          • After you choose your instruments, choose a personalized instrument linked to your group’s Affinity Sphere.
        • Unique Instruments
          • You may, if you like, choose a unique instruments for one or more of your spheres. Like a personalized instrument, the unique instrument gives you a -1 difficulty on rolls involving that sphere.
          • If your personalized instrument is also unique, you have -2 difficulty on rolls with your primary sphere. However, these instruments are so tightly bound to your identity that you have to use them, so if you lose them or they’re destroyed, you’re in big trouble. Think about this carefully, especially if you’re a Technomancer or a especially if you’re Technocrat.
          • Unique instruments are always precious or rare objects that can be lost of destroyed. High risk, high reward.
        • Primary Instrument
          • This is the instrument your mage uses the most. It’s very likely the same as your personalized instrument for your Affinity Sphere, but doesn’t have to be.
        • Please also note which, if any, Instruments you have dropped. See the Mage HRs for order in which they are surpassed.

    Notes Template

    • Backstory
      • %RSleeper Life: xyz%R%RAwakening: xyz%R%RRecruitment: xyz%R%RMagical Training: xyz%R%RRole In Your Faction: xyz%R%RRole In Your Sub-Faction-<xyz%R%RViews on the Ascension War: xyz%R%RViews on Ascension-<xyz%R%RViews on the Sphinx: xyz%R%RViews on the Technocratic Pogroms: xyz%R%RViews on the Storm: xyz%R%ROther: xyz%R%R
    • Focus
      • %RAffinity Sphere:%RParadigms xyz%R%RPractices: xyz%R%RInstruments-%RStandard- <xyz>%RPrimary: xyz%RPersonalized: xyz<(Sphere)>%RUnique: xyz<(Sphere)>%RSurpassed:
    • Avatar
      • %RArchetype: xyz%R%RForm: xyz%R%RManifestation: xyz%R%RMotivation: xyz


    Please set your description: @desc me=A handsome stranger with a mystic gleam in his eye.


    SUBMIT your character for approval.

    Note: While waiting on approval, take this time to read through the book and get familiar with the MU* commands. Please, don’t be afraid to ask questions. We are here to help!