Mage Basics

How do I learn Magic?

  • There are 10 different Arcanum which determine what you can work magic on, a brief overview of their purviews below:
    • Death: Darkness, decay, ectoplasm, ghosts, the Underworld, souls, cold, absence, enervation, endings
    • Fate: Blessings, hexes, probability, fortune, oaths, promises, intentions, destiny
    • Forces: Electricity, gravity, radiation, sound, light, heat, fire, weather, movement
    • LIfe: Healing, disease, food, animals, plants, evolution,metamorphosis, physicality, vigor
    • Matter: Alchemy, gases, solids, liquids, shaping, crafting, transmutation, stasis
    • Mind: Communication, language, hallucination, Goetia, thought, memory, mental projection, the Astral Realms
    • Prime: Magic, the Supernal World, Nimbus, truth, Yantras, Mana, Hallows, tass, resonance, revelation
    • Space: Distance, separation, sympathy, conjuration, scrying, warding
    • Spirit: Essence, spirits, the Shadow, the Gauntlet
    • Time: Prophecy, change, postcognition, time travel, time contraction and dilation
  • These are purchased in order from 1 to 5, like Disciplines
  • For every dot you gain in an Arcanum, you also (potentially) gain an Attainment
    • Attainments are just cool additional abilities you can do because you’ve mastered that level of magic

What is Mana?

  • Mana is the supernatural resource you use to cast spells
  • Mana can be used for the following things:
    • Cast an Improvised Spell
      • Improvised Spells from your Ruling Arcanum do not require this mana cost
      • If you know the Rote to a spell, it also does not require 1 mana to cast
    • Reduce Paradox by 1 per point spent (See Paradox Basics for more info)
    • Some powerful spell effects require Mana
    • Mages can spend 2 Mana to heal 1 bashing or lethal health level or remove one Physical Tilt
    • Flare your Immediate Nimbus (roll Gnosis to determine Turns)
  • You can gain mana a number of ways:
    • Spend an hour at a Hollow, roll Gnosis + Composure, regain the successes in Mana (this is called Oblation)
    • Tass (literally solidified mana) forms at Hollows and stores mana
    • You can “scour your own pattern” (reduce 1 Attribute by 1 or take 1 resistant Lethal damage) for 3 mana
    • Blood sacrifices can produce mana which ignores the mana / turn limit, but is a Breaking Point
      • Animal sacrifice produces 1 mana, Human sacrifice produces mana = Integrity

What’s a Nimbus?

  • Your Nimbus has a Nimbus tilt which is an affect that happens when you flare up your Nimbus
  • The Nimbus tilt levies a bonus or penalty (or both) in dice equal to half your Gnosis (rounded up) to Attributes or Skills
    • Skills to gain the 8-again or lose the 10-again quality
  • You can choose to reflexively flare your Nimbus for free on an exceptional spellcasting roll (see the mage house rules)
  • Each time you increase your Gnosis you can re-design your Nimbus
  • You can use your Nimbus to fight other rolls
    • Use the Resistance Attribute that corresponds to the Power Attribute used by the supernatural creature + your Gnosis
  • There are three different “levels” of Nimbus: Long-Term, Immediate, and Signature
  • Long-Term Nimbus is just weird stuff that happens around your character that you can’t control
    • Depending on your Wisdom (Integrity), your Nimbus can affect stuff that’s tied to you by varying connections
  • Immediate Nimbus is like an anima banner that flares up to Mage Sight when you use Magic
    • Immediate Nimbus causes a Nimbus Tilt
    • If flared due to a spell, the Tilt has a Strength = Potency and lasts for Turns = Reach
    • You can spend 1 mana to flare your Nimbus (roll Gnosis to determine Turns) once per Scene, visible even to sleepers
      • If Sleepers witness and Resolve is <= Nimbus Strength, they suffer your Nimbus Tilt
  • Signature Nimbus is a “residue” you leave on magic you work
    • Unless you have a high Gnosis (6+), this fades after 1 week

What is Mage Sight?

  • There are three levels to Mage Sight: Peripheral, Active, and Focused
  • Peripheral Mage Sight is “always on”
    • Peripheral Mage Sight alerts the Mage to any active, obvious supernatural effects
    • It does not provide details about the event when the Mage is alerted, however
  • Active Mage Sight is a more in depth look and requires an Instant action and 1 Mana to activate and is associated with a single Arcanum
    • Depending on what Arcanum you select, your character gleams different information
    • Depending on which Arcanum you choose, you might be able to pierce an illusion in a Clash of Wills (Gnosis + Arcanum)
    • Active Mage Sight reveals all spells as they’re cast
  • Focused Mage Sight is used when you devote all your attention to scrutinizing something
    • Focused Mage Sight can only be used while Activate Mage Sight is going
    • Casually revealing something is an Instant action using Gnosis + Arcanum - Opacity
    • A casual revealing shows if something was made by magic, arcana involved, how old the effect is, or what practice was used
    • Carefully scrutinizing something requires 1 wp and levies a -3 penalty to all non-magic rolls
    • The Mage rolls Gnosis + Arcanum 1/turn to scrutinize something
    • It requires successes = Opacity and obtaining them lowers the Opacity by 1
    • You can spend 1 mana to gain 1 success on each roll
    • Careful scrutiny can reveal attainment used to cast the spell, spell factors, a phenomenon linked to a different thing the mage scrutinized, the originator’s relative Supernatural Tolerance, and other in depth info depending on the Arcanum used

What are Yantras?

  • Yantras are places, actions or things that give you bonuses to your die pool on spellcasting rolls (basically equipment for spellcasting)
    • After negating penalties, the most you can receive from these is a +5 bonus
    • You can only use 1 Yantra Reflexively per spell
    • Each additional Yantra increases the casting time by 1 Turn for Instant spells
    • Ritual spells can use as many Yantras as you can (Half Gnosis, rounded up, +1)

There are quite a few different types of Yantras:

Yantra NameBonusDescription
Environment+1An appropriate location related to your spell provides a bonus
Tools+1Multiple Magical Tools can be used per spell, Sacraments provide up to a +3 bonus
Demesnes+2Sacred places created by Soul Stones
Supernal Verges+2Places where Supernal Realms touch the Fallen World
Concentration+2Requires you to concentrate for the duration of the spell (longer than Instant)
Mantras+2High Speech which adds 1 turn to the casting time
Runes+2Symbols entwined with the spell, the spell is dispelled if the symbol destroyed
Persona+1-4Use the Shadow Name or Cabal Theme Merit to gain bonus while acting “in character”
Mudras+VariesA Rote, which adds your Rote Skill dice to the roll

What are Rotes?

  • Rotes are spells your character has mastered and are really good at casting
  • You gain 1 free Rote for every dot in Gnosis you have
  • Rotes cost 1 SE points to learn and you can only buy a Rote for a spell you can already cast
  • Any Rote spell you cast gains a number of benefits:
    • Rotes use the associated Skill as a Yantra (add the Skill rating as bonus dice to the spellcasting roll)
    • Rotes do not require 1 mana to cast (although mana costs associated with the spell apply)
    • You’re considered to have an Arcanum of 5 for determining Reach (5 – Required Arcanum + 1)
    • If you Cast a Rote from a Grimoire or one you created, your spellcasting pool gains the Rote quality
    • Your nimbus is indistinct which means your identity cannot be determined without scrutiny
    • Rotes gain an exceptional success on 3 successes instead of 5

How do I cast a spell?

  • Spells are cast using your Gnosis + Highest Arcanum included in the spell
  • Improvised Spells require 1 mana to cast
  • A base spell has the following pieces to it:
    • Spells require an amount of time to be cast based on your Gnosis (called Ritual Casting)
    • Spells grant a 1 die bonus/penalty, deal 1 point of damage, or heal 1 wound
    • Spells last for 1 turn
    • Spells hit a human (Size 5) target or affect an area of 1 square
    • Spells can only be cast on yourself or someone you touch
      • You can choose to “fire” a spell at someone for free instead (without Reach)
      • Ranges are Gnosis x 10 / x20 / x40 (targets benefit from Cover)
      • Spells are fired using Gnosis + (hire of Athletics or Firearms) - Defense
  • Each spell has a Primary Factor which gains a number of steps equal to your Arcanum rating for free
  • With an Exceptional Success on the casting roll, regain 1 willpower and one of the following:
    • A bonus step on the Primary Spell Factor
    • A Reach in the Primary Spell Factor
    • All Mana spent on the spell is refunded and you regain 1 additional Mana
    • Ignore the target’s Withstand (Defense) to the spell
  • You can also combined spells (see the chart allow for limitations) to cast multiple spells at the same time

How do I alter a spell (Use Reach)?

  • Spells are altered with a thing called Reach
  • Every spell you cast has a number of points of Reach equal to (Your Arcanum Rating – the Required Rating + 1)
  • You spend these points in Reach to alter the spell to do different stuff
  • You can spend more Reach than you have, but doing so generates Paradox
  • Here’s a list of what you can do with Reach:
    • Change the casting time of a spell from Ritual to Instant
    • Change the Primary Spell Factor
    • Change the spell from Standard to Advanced Potency or Duration
      • If Advanced Duration, spend an additional Reach make the spell permanent (requires 1 Mana too)
    • Move the spell from touch to sensory range
      • If sensory range, spend an additional Reach to cast the spell on remotely viewed subject
    • Cast another spell if you have no slots remaining

Reach Options

Casting TimeChange Primary Spell FactorStandard to Advanced ScaleStandard to Advanced DurationTouch to Sensory RangeSpell Over Limit
Allows you to cast a spell in 1 turnAllows you to apply “steps” from Arcana to a different spell factorIncrease the targets/area the spell affectsIncrease how long the spell lastsCast on what you can perceiveUsed if you have (Gnosis) spells going

How can I make my spells more powerful?

  • You can make spells more powerful by taking penalties to the spellcasting roll
  • Note that the Primary Factor of the spell benefits from successes on the spellcasting roll
  • Each “step” influences one factor of the spell and levies a -2 penalty
  • Different spell factors have different augmentations per -2 penalty taken:
    • Standard Duration (Transitory) – 2 turns, 3 turns, 5 turns, 10 turns, +10 Turns
    • Advanced Duration (Prolonged) – 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year, Indefinite (+1 Reach and Mana)
    • Scale (Targets) – 2 targets, 4 targets, 8 targets, 16 targets
    • Scale (Size) – +1 Size per penalty
    • Scale (Area) – a small room, a large room, single floor of a house, a house
    • Advanced Scale (Targets) – x2 Subjects per penalty
    • Advanced Scale (Size) – +5 Size per penalty
    • Advanced Scale (Area) – warehouse/parking lot, large warehouse/supermarket, factory/shopping mall, large factory/city block, campus/small neighborhood
  • If the spell pool is reduced past -5 after all modifiers, you can’t cast the spell (otherwise it’s a chance die)

Spell Augmentations

PenaltyStandard DurationAdvanced DurationStandard Scale (Target/Size/Area)Advanced Scale (Target/Size/Area)
-01 TurnOne Scene/Hour1 Target / 5 Size / 1 Square5 Targets / 5 Size / One Building
-22 TurnsOne Day2 Targets / 6 Size / Small Room10 Targets / 10 Size / Parking Lot
-43 TurnsOne Month4 Targets / 7 Size / Large Room20 Targets / 15 Size / Supermarket
-65 TurnsOne Year8 Targets / 8 Size / One Floor40 Targets / 20 Size / Shopping Mall
-810 TurnsIndefinite (+1 Mana)16 Targets / 9 Size / Small House80 Targets / 25 Size / City Block
Add’l -2+10 TurnsN/AN/Ax2 Targets / +5 Size / Neighborhood

What are my innate Mage Abilities

  • Spend 2 mana to heal 1 bashing or lethal health level
  • Spend 2 mana to heal 1 mental or physical Tilt
  • Your character has a Nimbus
  • Your character has Mage Sight
  • You can summon Supernal Entities
    • Summoning is an Extended Action, uses Gnosis + Arcanum, and requires 1 Mana
    • You can make (Resolve + Composure) rolls
    • Different modifiers apply to the successes needed, but it requires a base of 10 successes
      • +5 successes per Rank past 1
      • +1 success per 30 minutes the creature can stay without taking damage
      • +1 success per additional roll you want to make without Abyssal Intrusion
      • +1 success per Sleeper present
      • +1 success per Mage of a different Path present
      • +1 success if the summoning is taking place in a Demesne oriented with a different Realm than the creature
      • +1 success if you’ve caused Paradox in the last week
      • -3 successes if the demesne is oriented with the Supernal Realm of the creature
      • +Various successes if items and conditions relevant to the Summoning are incorporated

Gnosis Limitations

GnosisRitual IntervalTrait MaxYantrasParadoxCombined SpellsObsessionsMana / Per TurnHighest Arcanum MaxOther Arcana Max
13 Hours5211110/132
23 Hours5211115/233
31 Hour5322220/343
41 Hour5322225/444
530 Minutes5432230/554
630 Minutes6433340/655
710 Minutes7543350/755
810 Minutes8543360/855
91 Minute (20 Turns)9654480/1055
101 Minute (20 Turns)106544100/1555

Mage Basics

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