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

Avatar Storm

See Maelstrom


  • Blessing:
    • Should be based on a rote, but the roll is (some attribute + Blessing), not Arete. Difficulty is 6 unless otherwise specified. Some effects may require multiple successes.
    • Can include flaws worth up to 1/3 (rounded to nearest) of what the Blessing would cost without any flaws. (1 can't be discounted, 2-4 can be discounted by 1, 5-7 can be discounted by 1 or 2.)
    • Does not generate Paradox, unless it includes 1-dot flaw 'generates Paradox' (same as if the rote had been used).
    • Does not trigger passive Awareness, unless it includes 1-dot flaw 'triggers passive Awareness' (same as if the rote had been used).
  • Chantry: See '+rules chantry', also Home Base which is the non-mage version of the same shared-background mechanic.
  • Nodes: See '+rules nodes' (or "Nodes" below).
  • Resources 6+: Limited to Syndicate (Syndicate-adjacent may reach 6 at staff discretion). 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.

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 or vulgar according to the realm's local rules (provided it doesn't reach outside the realm during casting). The Sanctum must be anchored by one or more nodes (communal and/or personal) whose total level equals or exceeds the Sanctum level; this ties up half their Quintessence and Tass production, rounded up (+rules nodes).

Creating or increasing the size of a Realm works like creating or increasing the power of a node, except it requires Spirit 5 Matter 4 Prime 4.

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).

For the purpose of these rules, Dimensional Science can be substituted for Spirit.

References: Book of Worlds 102, Void Engineers (old) 48, Book of Chantries 138


  • 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. Gives -1 diff to M+ healing powers.
  • 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 must be less than 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.

Nephandi / Infernalists

Book of Madness covers Nephandi (whose goal is to destroy the world) in chapter 1 and Infernalists (whose goal is to gain power over the world) in chapter 3, but chapter 1 also uses the term 'Infernalist' inconsistently.

Chapter 1 breaks Nephandi down into these sub-groups:
a) 'Infernalists' who worship 'demons' (relatively mundane evil spirits)
b) Malfeans who serve the Wyrm
c) K'llashaa who worship the Lords of the Outer Darkness (Lovecraftian entities)

Chapter 3:
d) Infernalists who worship 'demons' but are not Nephandi

We interpret 'Infernal Malfeans' as b), 'Infernal Nephandi' as a), other uses of 'Infernal' as either a) or d) based on context.

All of these PCs can get Investments:

  • Access to unusual backgrounds (e.g. Enhancement, equivalent to biomods and/or genegineering, no Primium, older books like Technomancer's Toybox limited at staff discretion)
  • Stat bonuses (same game mechanics as '+rules thralls')
  • We do not use the additional powers from pages 96-100

For a) and d), the 'demon' may in fact be a DtF demon, in which case it's a Ravener NPC or PC (or a badly misinformed PC of another faction).

We do not use Qlippothic spheres.

See also:


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

Quintessence gained via meditation does count against this limit. (MtA 122)

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.

Finding a node just requires buying the background, but it won't be right next door to your existing building. (Erecting a new building around it is fine.)

For a building previously owned by another PC, you can buy the background from 0 to its previous level as quickly or slowly as you want. Until then, the rest is assumed to not benefit you because the resonance isn't quite right. If they didn't have a Node there, then you can handwave an undiscovered one if you request it promptly after acquiring the building.

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). However, hunters do count as sleeper witnesses.

Staff ruling for what is considered 'vulgar' is anything that a sleeper witness would perceive via mundane senses (or actually does perceive by any means, including e.g. Awareness or hunter powers) as obviously unnatural.

  • This includes (but is not limited to) getting more successes on a non-Arete roll assisted by mage magic than a sleeper could get solely by maxing out relevant stats (+rules stat caps) and rolling all 10s.
  • Telepathy is generally OK because sleepers can't perceive it, however if you're projecting thoughts directly into a sleeper's mind then that's vulgar (with witness).

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)
    • Other backlash variations (ST Handbook 10-11) are omitted for simplicity.

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.).

Pattern bleeding

If a mage increases a physical or mental attribute and leaves it that way for more than a day, then the target takes 1 level of lethal damage per full day per attribute.

  • This may be their own or someone else's.
  • Physical attributes: Strength, Dexterity, Stamina.
  • Mental attributes: Perception, Intelligence, Wits.
  • This does not apply to social attributes (Manipulation, Charisma, Appearance), as they already need to interact with the mindset of others.
  • Other types of effects may also cause pattern bleed (e.g. Life 3: Better Body, MtA 171, adding totally inhuman features).
  • If the mage has Prime, then they may spend Quintessence to negate this damage (1 per level).

(References: MtA 168, 176)


This refers to mage effects cast using extended rolls.

Rituals may be cast either slowly or quickly.

  • Slowly: Each Arete roll takes around 15 minutes to an hour. (MtA 150)
  • Quickly: Each Arete roll after the first is +1 difficulty, cumulative. (MtA 209)

Failed/botched rolls accumulate penalties as usual. (MtA 150)

The mage may make a number of Arete rolls equal to permanent Willpower. To try to keep going longer:

  • Roll Stamina vs 6 (or Stamina + High Ritual vs 5 if you have the latter).
  • Success grants one more Arete roll.
  • Each additional Stamina roll has base difficulty 1 higher.
  • Willpower cannot be spent for an automatic success on two consecutive Stamina rolls.

For acting in concert (MtA 154), each participant follows this process individually (even if they're not actually rolling Arete) to determine how long they can keep participating.

If the ritual is disrupted by an outside force, roll Willpower vs 8 to avoid botching the whole thing. (MtA 150)

  • For acting in concert, each participant rolls individually to avoid losing their contribution. If all participants fail, then the whole thing is botched.


Normally, a Seeking is required for a Mage to increase their Arete. Instead, we limit the rate at which mages can raise Arete above 3. The XP cost is also house-ruled.

Arete Minimum time XP
1 to 2 n/a 8
2 to 3 n/a 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.

As Awakening can take you straight to Arete 2 or 3 (MtA 124), we only time-limit raising Arete above 3.

If you retire a mage with Arete 4+, then you may raise a new mage's Arete faster, effectively one or two levels lower on the usual minimum-times chart:

Old mage's Arete New mage's Arete Minimum time
4 3 to 4 3 months
4 4 to 5 6 months
Old mage's Arete New mage's Arete Minimum time
5 3 to 4 1 months
5 4 to 5 3 months

Targeting other places and power sources

These rules are still in draft status and not yet official.

Using another power pool (e.g. vitae, Glamour) as Quintessence requires 2+ dots in the relevant Lore (e.g. Vampire, Changeling). It will have strong resonance depending on source. This includes using another power location (e.g. caern) as a Node. If the Lore requirement is met:

  • Casting bonus works normally.
  • If you take enough Quintessence and/or Tass from it, then the caern/whatever level permanently drops, but the node level remains unchanged. See '+rules nodes' for specific figures.
    • Example: If you go to a level 3 caern and take 3 Quint in the same week, then it drops to a level 2 caern, but remains a level 3 node.
    • Taking any amount of Quintessence and/or Tass whatsoever absolutely must be run by staff, and is automatically grounds for risk 3 escalation. Power sources shared by an entire sphere (e.g. local Garou caern) are invariably guarded by a bunch of NPCs who will almost certainly notice and kill you on the spot.

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 both B and L are stated, but they don't match the usual 2:1 ratio:
    • If B < L*2, then for these rules, use B = L*2.
    • If B > L*2, then for these rules, use L = B/2 (rounded up).
  • If L is specified multiple ways and they disagree, use the lowest one.

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

  • Even if a Device is implanted within your body, it can be targeted without Life and removed using Correspondence.

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).
  • Enhancements count as part of your Pattern, requiring Life to target, and preventing removal using Correspondence.

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. (This is based on 'middle-ground' from GttTech 229, and takes precedence over 'Biomods count as cybernetics' from page 182.)
  • Each dot allocated to cybernetics requires 1 dot of permanent Paradox.
  • Each dot allocated to stat boosts requires 1 genetic flaw (examples at GttTech 230-232).
  • Each dot allocated to biomods requires 1 permadox and 1 genetic flaw. (GttTech 182: "Hence, the Life magic penalty does not apply to biomods. The permanent Paradox, however, does, Like other genegineered agents, a character with biomods must also take at least one Genetic Flaw per level of Enhancement.")
    • The advantage of biomods is that Reality Deviants can't use Life magic to make your body reject them, and also they don't trigger metal detectors.


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.