House Rules/Mage

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House Rules - Mage

"I am somewhat preoccupied with telling the laws of physics to shut up and sit down."

-Vaarsuvius, The Order of the Stick


Awakening post-chargen

See IC Awakening Guidelines Sketch


  • Chantry: See '+rules chantry'.
  • Nodes: See '+rules nodes' (or "Nodes" below).
  • Resources 6+: Limited to Syndicate. Capped at 5 in chargen, 10 with XP. Raising above 5 requires minimum (current * 2) months, halved for Financiers and Disbursements.
  • Sanctum: May be non-contiguous (e.g. linked by a coincidental Correspondence 4 portal), but may not be mobile (a Sanctum Van is a cool idea but would be overpowered).
  • Spirit Allies (Dreamspeakers 61):
    • Total background level can go up to 10 dots (but costs the same XP as regular backgrounds, not the cheaper Totem rate).
    • You can allocate as many or as few of these dots to each individual ally as you want.
    • Each ally starts with 4 (not 5) dots to divide between Willpower/Rage/Gnosis.
    • Each ally gets (its level + 3) background points worth of totem-style powers.

Avatar Storm

See Maelstrom

Horizon Realms

A chantry can acquire a Horizon Realm by investing in the Chantry background and using it to support the Sanctum background. They can create a new one or find an existing gateway (see below). An individual can acquire a personal Horizon Realm by buying the Sanctum background directly, but only if they create a new one.

The level of Sanctum determines the size of the realm. All magic cast there is coincidental (provided it doesn't reach outside the realm during casting).

Creating or increasing the size of a Realm works like creating or increasing the power of a node, except using Spirit instead of Prime.

Finding a gateway to a Realm just requires buying the background, subject to same restrictions as finding a node.

Traveling to or from a Realm requires an ongoing Spirit 4 Correspondence 4 effect, or alternatively each traveler can cast Spirit 3 each time (but can't bring anyone else with them).


  • Spark of Life: If you and someone else are both in perfect health, then physical contact just feels good. Really, unusually, addictively so, depending how long it's kept up.
  • Twin Souls: The "additional measure of Quintessence" is equal to the higher Avatar rating between the twins. (Twins with 3 and 2 have a total joint pool of 3+2+3=8. Twins with 4 and 4 have a total of 4+4+4=12.)
  • Geas:
    • Set "Geas (flaw)" to 1-5. More burden to avoid violating it = more points, but can't exceed whatever it's attached to.
    • If attached to a merit or background, set that normally and add a +note.
    • If attached to another flaw, add a +note, but don't add the flaw to +sheet (staff will perform the swap if/when the geas is violated).
  • Confidence: Both modifiers depend on someone trying to mislead or intimidate you.
  • Legendary Attribute: Limited to mages and sorcerers/psychics (who are at least mage-adjacent).


  • For every two ongoing effects that you're maintaining, you are +1 difficulty to any further effect. (MtA 155) For ongoing effects lasting a month or more, staff will set an +effect for 'Rotes' to help keep track of this.


Node level Quint per week Tass per month Magick difficulty
1 1 1 -1
2 3 2 -1
3 6 3 -2
4 10 5 -2
5 15 8 -3

Quintessence cannot be stockpiled, except by transferring it into an object (creating Tass) or mage or periapt. Tass may be stockpiled up to three months.

Creating or increasing the power of a node requires Prime 5, in addition to buying the background.

Large nodes (4+) are subject to staff discretion. A mage's Node background may correspond to two or more smaller nodes, but they won't be right next door to each other; consider how much territory you can reliably defend.

Seeing through illusions

In order to pierce mental illusions/effects of any kind (such as Obfuscate, Chimerstry, Dementation, and unless otherwise specified in the rules), a Mage must:

  • Have activated a Mind 2 defensive effect beforehand.
  • Roll Perception + Awareness vs 7 against the power's dice pool vs 7.
    • When the effect doesn't have dice pool, roll <Level of power/gift/item> + Subterfuge vs 7.
    • Ties are in favor of the illusion/effect.
    • The mage must be actively searching to pierce an effect/illusion or detect an invisible person. (See: +rules sniping)


Mages gain Paradox:

  • When they use vulgar magic (even if they succeed and no one is watching).
  • When they botch (even if the magic was coincidental).

See Mage Charts ('Paradox' at lower right) for more detail on how much they gain.

Staff ruling for what is considered 'sleeper witnesses' are plain, simple, vanilla, everyday mortals/animals with no supernatural powers at all, and not already accepting of vulgar magic (so your acolyte is OK even if they don't have any powers of their own yet).

If your Paradox + Quintessence ever exceeds 20, then you lose Quintessence to bring the total down to 20. (MtA 128)

Backlash timing:

  • If you gain Paradox during turn N, then you take backlash at the end of turn N+1. (This clarifies "a turn or two" from MtA 194.)
    • If you also gain Paradox during turn N+1, then you also take backlash at the end of turn N+2 (if you still have any Paradox left at that point).
    • Exception: When you gain Paradox, you can choose to immediately spend a Willpower, in which case you don't take backlash until the end of the scene. (MtA 195)

Backlash damage:

  • N is your total Paradox, not just your most recent gain. (MtA 195)
    • N = 1-10: Take N dice of bashing damage.
    • N = 11-20: Take (N-10) dice of lethal damage.
    • N = 21+: Take (N-20) dice of aggravated damage.
    • This damage is soakable as usual (typically bashing but not lethal/agg).
    • Additional backlash effects still occur per the book, this is just clarifying the damage portion.

Backlash burnoff:

  • Roll your total Paradox vs 6, lose one Paradox per success. (MtA 153)
  • This is separate from the damage roll above.

Dissipation: If your Paradox is 10 or less, and remains constant for a week, then 1 point dissipates. (MtA 128)

'Permanent' Paradox (e.g. Enhancement background, raising an attribute above 5 for long enough) can only be lost by removing the cause (removing the Enhancement, lowering your attribute to 5 or less, etc.).


Normally, a Seeking is required for a Mage to increase their Arete. Instead, we limit the rate. The XP cost is also house-ruled.

Arete Minimum time XP
1 to 2 1 month 8
2 to 3 3 months 16
3 to 4 6 months 24
4 to 5 8 months 32

A mage who studies a Grimoire/Principia can raise Arete sooner, see '+rules grimoire' for details.

The time limits do not apply to a character who Awakens after chargen, as Awakening can take you straight to Arete 2 or 3 (MtA 124).

Technocratic Equipment

These rules pertain to the Device, Enhancement, and Requisitions backgrounds.

Each item has a level value (L) and a "Background Cost" value (B).

  • "Background Cost" or "Background Points" or "Points" counts as B.
  • Any other comprehensive level value (including Device, Arete/Enlightenment, or dot symbols without a word label) counts as L.
  • If B is not explicitly stated, then B = L*2.
  • If only B is explicitly stated, then L = B/2 (rounded up).
  • If multiple values are present and not in a 2:1 ratio, then B = largest value and L = B/2 (rounded up).

N dots in the Device background gives N items, costed using L.

N dots in the Requisitions background gives 5*N items, costed using B.

  • PCs can roll Requisitions to try for more.
  • Requisitions are reviewed at staff and/or PC leader discretion.

N dots in the Enhancement background gives one of the following:

  • 3*N cybernetics, costed using B.
  • 3*N biomods, costed using B.
  • Total of +N to one or more allowed stats (Guide to the Technocracy 182).

Additional restrictions on Enhancement:

  • Cybernetics and stat boosts can't be combined.
  • Biomods (including biomod versions of cybernetics) can be combined with either cybernetics or stat boosts.
  • Each dot allocated to cybernetics requires 1 dot of permanent Paradox.
  • Each dot allocated to stat boosts requires 1 genetic flaw (examples at Guide to the Technocracy 230-232).
  • Each dot allocated to biomods requires either 1 permadox or 1 genetic flaw.


If a mage effect would otherwise be difficulty 9+N (after applying all modifiers), roll at diff 9 and cancel N successes. If this cancels all successes, it's only a botch if the mage rolled a 1. For extended effects, apply this rule to each roll individually.