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Unread 10th of January, 2004, 04:55
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Saint Alphonzo
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Magick System

Base Difficulties and Modifiers

Coincidental: Highest Sphere utilized + 3
Vulgar (no witnesses): Highest Sphere utilized + 4
Vulgar (with witnesses): Highest Sphere utilized + 5


The base difficulty cannot be increased or decreased by more or less than three (3).

Well-known Subject: -1
Sympathetic Magick: -1 to –3
Near a Node: -1 to –3
Specialty Focus: -1
Unique Focus: -1
Using unnecessary Focus: -1
Using Quintessence: -1 to –3
Rote: -1
Ritual: -1
Distant / Hidden Subject: +1
Distraction: +1 to +3
Conflict with Avatar: +1 to +3
Domino Effect: +1 to +3
Outlandish Effect: +1 to +3
Not using a necessary Focus:+3
Multiple Maintained Effects:+1 per two maintained effects
Extended Casting +1 per extra roll (cumulative)

Descriptions of Modifiers

Well-known Subject: the ST will determine if the Mage has spent an adequate amount of time getting to know the intricacies of the subject’s Pattern by either repeated exposure, research, or scrying.

Sympathetic Magick: the Subject’s own personal effects may be used against him/her. Using a Mage’s unique Focus against him would grant a –3 to the difficulty, while using his Driver’s License would only grant a –1.

Near a Node: not only does the size of the Node factor into the difficulty modifier, but the paradigm associated with it can effect the difficulty of the Mage’s casting. A Verbena would not benefit at all from being in close proximity to a Technocratic Node 5, while a Son of Ether or Virtual Adept would receive a –3 to their casting difficulty.

Specialty Focus: Mainly used in conjunction with Rotes, a Specialty Focus is generally a specific type of item, usually rare or uncommon. A Dreamspeaker may use one of a specific species of green tree-frog in a Life 3 Rote to enhance her Dexterity.

Unique Focus: There’s only one of these items in existence, and the Mage must use it exclusively when he/she is creating Effects from a chosen Sphere. The Seals of Solomon used by Hermetic Mages are generally Unique Foci, given to the Mages upon entrance to the Order.

Unnecessary Focus: When a Mage no longer requires the use of a Focus for a specific Sphere, but still uses it anyway.

Quintessence: The Mage may fuel his/her magick with Quintessence in order to facilitate the Effect. The amount of Quintessence the Mage may use is limited by her Avatar rating, with a maximum of three (3) points per Effect.

Rote: The Mage may spend XP to learn a Rote, a tried-and-true ritual for creating a specific Effect.

Ritual: The Mage may spend a fairly long amount of time (at least one minute) performing a special Ritual to aid the casting. When the Ritual modifier is being used, the Extended Casting penalty is waived, and the Mage may make multiple Arete rolls to build up successes. The Mage may never build up more than twice his/her Arete in successes for any one Effect.

Distant/Hidden Subject: usually only applies when the Mage must target his/her Subject through visual means. In general, one (1) dot of Correspondence, Life, or Mind used in the Effect will negate this penalty.

Distraction: This may be overcome or lessened by a Willpower roll or a Wits + Meditation roll.

Conflict with Avatar: Fairly self-explanatory. ST discretion.

Domino Effect: If the Mage is creating an Effect in an area where a Vulgar Effect has already gone off, or a Paradox Backlash/Storm is already brewing, his/her difficulties to successfully bend reality will be increased.

Outlandish Effect: Blatantly Vulgar magick that would require a relatively large number of successes. Again, ST discretion.

Not using a necessary Focus: Fairly self-explanatory.

Multiple Maintained Effects: For every two Effects the Mage is already maintaining, his/her difficulties increase by one. The Mind 1 Effect Multitasking can diminish these penalties.

Extended Casting: Only applies when the Mage is Fast-Casting (using one turn to create an Effect). The Mage, if unsuccessful in achieving the desired Effect, may opt to extend her casting, rolling Arete again during her next turn and gaining more successes. Any Quintessence spent during the previous turn(s) are considered spent, and the Mage may choose to spend more (up to her Avatar Rating or 3, whichever is lower) Quintessence to lower her difficulties. For every extra turn the Mage spends on her Extended Casting, the difficulty goes up 1 from the previous turn.

Spending Willpower and Quintessence

Quintessence spent to lower the difficulty of creating an Effect must be spent before the Arete roll. Spending a Willpower point to gain an automatic success on the Arete roll must also be spent before the roll is made. A Mage may spend a point of Willpower to circumvent botching a magickal roll, regardless of how badly the roll was botched. The Mage may spend this point only if he/she has not spent a Willpower point already during his/her turn.

Determining Success, Damage, and Duration

The successes rolled when a Mage creates an Effect must be used to determine the damage, duration, and number of subjects affected.

Damage: Every success devoted to damage provides two levels of damage. Forces Effects deal one extra level of damage, Mind Effects deal one less.

Affecting Multiple Targets: No successes must be devoted to affecting the Mage herself. To affect other targets, the Mage must devote at least one success from the Arete roll. Note that, as the number of Subjects affected increases, so does the likelihood that the Effect will be deemed Vulgar.

Duration: Successes must also be devoted to prolonging the duration of the Effect. No successes must be devoted for an Effect that is instantaneous or last for one turn.

Successes Devoted     Damage (HL)     Duration                    Subjects Affected
          0	          0	      One Turn / Instantaneous        Mage
          1	          2	      One Scene	                      1
          2	          4	      One Day	                      2
          3	          6	      One Story	                      4
          4               8	      6 months	                      8
          5	          10          ST Discretion                   16
          6+	          12                                          32

Total Successes    Correspondence (Places)    Correspondence (People)                       Time (Scrying)
     1                Line-of-Sight             Tissue sample                                  1 year
     2                Very Familiar             Close companion or possession                  5 years
     3                Familiar                  Casual friend or possession                    20 years
     4                Visited Once              Acquaintance or object used once               50 years
     5                Described or seen once    Person met once or briefly touched object      100 years
     6+               Anywhere on Earth         No connection                                  500 years

Gaining and Losing Paradox

- Successful Effect
Coincidental: No Paradox gained.
Vulgar (no witnesses): One (1) Paradox gained.
Vulgar (with witnesses): Two (2) Paradox gained.

- Failed Effect
Coincidental: No Paradox gained.
Vulgar (no witnesses): No Paradox gained.
Vulgar (with witnesses): One (1) Paradox gained.

- Botched Effect (net –1 successes)
Coincidental: One (1) Paradox gained.
Vulgar (no witnesses): One (1) Paradox per highest Sphere used plus one (1) Paradox gained.
Vulgar (with witnesses): Two (1) Paradox per highest Sphere used plus two (2) Paradox gained.

- Badly Botched Effect (net – N successes)
Coincidental: N Paradox gained.
Vulgar (no witnesses): N Paradox per highest Sphere used plus N Paradox gained.
Vulgar (with witnesses): 1 + N Paradox per highest Sphere used plus 1 + N Paradox gained.

Paradox takes precedence on the Quintessence/Paradox Wheel, and will force Quintessence out of the Mage’s Pattern in order to make room for itself. Each point of Quintessence forced out of the Mage’s Pattern, however, eliminates one (1) point of Paradox automatically. Paradox cannot force Quintessence locked away in the Avatar of the Mage, so a Mage with an Avatar rating of 3 will still have 3 points of Quintessence left after gaining Paradox, regardless of the amount gained.

Losing Paradox

Passive Loss: Every week, the Mage loses one point of Paradox naturally. No roll is required.

Active Cleansing: The Mage may use Quintessence to cleanse the Paradox from his/her Pattern. Every point of Quintessence the Mage uses nullifies one point of Paradox. The Quintessence used must be in the Mage’s Pattern (on the Wheel), not from Tass, a Talisman, or channeled from another Mage. The Mage makes either a Stamina + Meditation roll at a target of 7, or a Prime 2 Effect roll. The number of successes is the maximum number of Quintessence the Mage may use to cleanse away Paradox. Regardless of the number of successes, the Mage may not spend more than his/her Avatar rating per week to cleanse his/her Pattern of Paradox.

Paradox Backlash: If enough Paradox builds up in the Mage’s Pattern, he/she may experience a sudden, violent outpouring of Paradox energy. The ST determines the exact effects, duration, and occurrence of a Paradox Backlash.
A Paradox Backlash that affects multiple Subjects, be they Mages, Sleepers, or other supernatural beings, is called a Paradox Storm. Storms are generally brought about by a large amount of Paradox from one or several sources congregating in one place for too long an amount of time. Paradox does not discriminate, however, and will affect all parties similarly, regardless of their role in accruing the Paradox points.


Basic Countermagick: The Mage can nullify an Effect directed at him as long as he a) has one rank in each of the Sphere(s) used against him, b) knows the attack is coming (generally a Perception + Awareness roll at a target of 6), and c) has a magickal action to use for the countermagick (a Mage cannot create an Effect in the same round as using Countermagick. If the Mage has met all the above requirements, he may make an Arete roll at a target of 7 (no modifiers may increase or decrease this target). For each success the Mage gets, one success is removed from the attacker’s Arete roll.

Offensive Countermagick: The Mage may re-direct magickal attacks back at an attacker if he a) has one rank in each of the Spheres of the offending Effect, plus one rank in Prime, b) knows the attack is coming and from what source (Perception + Awareness at a target of 7), and c) has a magickal action to counter with. The Mage rolls Arete at a target of 8, each success counters one of the attackers. If the Mage garners enough successes to nullify the attackers Effect, and has enough successes left over to power the Effect himself, the Effect is re-directed and affects the attacker.

Basic Countermagick for Others: The Mage can successfully defuse attacks against others by a) having one rank in each of the Spheres used against him, plus one rank in Prime, b) knows the attack is imminent and against whom it is targeted (Perception + Awareness at a target of 8), and c) has a magickal action to use for countering. The Mage rolls his Arete at a target of 7; each success detracts from the attackers overall number.

Anti-Magick: The Mage may use her ability to control the flow of Quintessence, the building block of magick, to make other Effects more difficult to create. The Mage must be witness to the creation of the Effect, and rolls her Prime against a target of 8. For each success, the Mage may spend 1 point of Quintessence and increase the target for the Effect’s creation by 1. The Mage spending Quintessence is allowed to spend more than their Avatar rating or the normal 3, if they wish.

Sphere vs. Sphere Countermagick: The Mage may defend against a magickal attack by using her own magick. In order to decrease the effects of an attacker’s Effect, she must a) know the attack is coming (Perception + Awareness at a target of 6), and b) have a magickal action to use creating her own Effect. The Mage creates the Effect just as she would normally, using all appropriate modifiers. The Effect created must justifiably be able to counteract the attackers (for example; a Mage may use a Matter 3, Prime 2 Effect to erect a stone wall in front of her to block an incoming Forces 3, Prime 2 ball of fire). The Mage’s successes nullify successes from her attacker’s roll.

Unweaving: Not efficient in the middle of combat, Unweaving generally requires Ritual magick to garner enough successes to destroy an Effect that is already in place. The Mage needs one rank in each of the Spheres used in the Effect, plus one rank in Prime. He rolls his Arete at a target of 8, and uses the successes to wipe away the original Mage’s Effect. The unweaver may need to accumulate as many as 2 to 10 times the number of successes as the original Mage, but the unweaver is not limited in any way as to how many total successes he may get.

Last edited by Saint Alphonzo; 20th of January, 2004 at 04:48.
Unread 12th of January, 2004, 00:06
Kahluah's Avatar
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Just some questions in regards to Paradox - How do you determine what is vulgar and what is coincidence?

Also, say a character in the middle of New York City wanted to use Correspondence 3 to teleport himself somewhere, but wanted to do it coincidentally. Would he suddenly find the nauseating "Taxi of Teleportation" right at his doorstep, its driver willing to get to his destination in the quickest time possible without the cops knowing its speed, fate itsself reworking itsself so that there are NO traffic hold ups or redlights throughout the whole trip, and then drives off without said character having to pay?

I know the above scenario is tremendously inane, but since the lack of clarity regarding the rules of Paradox within the rulebooks has made this issue into no small point of contention between several forumites on the White Wolf boards, I thought I'd go directly to the source of this games ruleset (i.e. the ST).
"You cannot prepare yourself for squirrels." - Martin Jol.
Unread 15th of January, 2004, 05:35
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Saint Alphonzo
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How do you determine what is vulgar and what is coincidence?

Mostly it's a ST call - I'm pretty lenient, however, as my own paradigm is fairly lax. If one were to spend a bit of time and come up with some rationalization, then more often than not, he/she will be able to slide under Paradox's radar. that, of course, is without Sleepers present. When Sleepers are around, i tend to view the Effect from their points of view. So, the level of coincidence would depend on the paradigm of the Sleeper.

Also, say a character in the middle of New York City wanted to use Correspondence 3 to teleport himself somewhere, but wanted to do it coincidentally.

Coinicidental instant teleportation is pretty difficult to pull off. If you're going a short distance, like in your example, and you don't mind it not being instantaneous, there are ways to do it. For instantaneous teleportation, about the best you can hope for would be Vulgar without witnesses, and that's only if you scout the location you'll be 'BAMPH-ing" into before hand with a Corr 2 Effect, to ensure that there's somewhere private that you could emerge from (a public toilet, for instance).

I thought I'd go directly to the source of this games ruleset (i.e. the ST).

I would encourage everyone to do the same. I am, by no means, inscrutable or immalleable. One of the reasons i love Mage so dearly is that there really is no one way to resolve actions and pull off Effects.
Unread 15th of January, 2004, 09:28
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Woah! Saint's got a lot of house rules
Not a bad thing at all in my book, although Paradox seems rather light now (doesn't build up too fast, and is easier to cleanse).

Anyhow, I've got a Magick related question -
What are your rules/interpretations for regaining essence at a node? I've seen Stamina, Meditation, Arete, Avatar all used for rolls (or a combination of two of them). In addition, assuming that the node has enough quintessence in it, what limits how much a Mage can harvest? And finally, how are different paradigms going to affects nodes? (Increased TN to harvest, lowered max per week, potentially useless quintessence...)

Falling is like a drug addiction. It doesn't really hurt until you stop.
Only two things are truly infinite: the universe, and human stupidity. And I'm not entirely sure about the former. - Albert Einstein
Unread 20th of January, 2004, 06:18
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Saint Alphonzo
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alright, cleaned it up a bit.

the system is really a mix of pre-revised and 3rd ed stuff.

Viro, regaining Quintessence at a Node is done by one of two ways, normally.

Any Mage can refill his/her Avatar's worth of Quintessence by meditating(which can take many forms depending on the paradigm) at the power core of the Node for at least an hour, succeeding at a Meditation roll(usually Stamina or Perception plus). For each success, a point of Quintessence is gained, up to the Mage's Avatar rating. The consistency of the Mage's paradigm with the resonance of the Node influences the difficulty of the roll.

For a Mage with Prime 3, drawing Quintessence from a Node means simply performing an Effect and sucking from the teat, as-it-were. He/she can inundate their own Pattern with Quintessence, fill another's Pattern, or siphon the Power back into the Node, in an effort to increase its connection with the Universal Source.

As for limits, a Node, as a physical manifestation of the quintessential power source of the universe, is virtually limitless. However, drawing too much power too quickly will seal the Node permanently. In general, Nodes can safely be harvested of 5 Quintessence per dot per week.

Tass, on the other hand, is produced randomly and does not detract from a Node's overall connection, regardless of the amount produced. The factors governing the amount of Tass produced are considered ephemeral by most, but some scholars have deduced that the age of a Node, along with the amount of like-paradigmed Magick performed around it, have some small role to play in its bounty. Transforming Tass into a more usable form requires a Prime 3 Effect.

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