Magic Quick Notes

The Building Blocks of Magic (Arcana + Practices)

The 13 Practices: What You Do With Magic (pg. 123-124)

  • Initiate (1 dot)
    • Compelling: Apply a 'small nudge,' getting a favorable outcome within the purview. Only things that could happen anyway at this level.
    • Knowing: Directly imparts knowledge of the purview, giving you an immediate 'information dump' with minimal interpretation.
    • Unveiling: Gives the Mage another 'sense' related to the purview, provides a more 'high finesse' method of gaining wisdom.
  • Apprentice (2 dots)
    • Ruling: Exert 'full control' over the purview, as it exists now; cannot fundamentally change the target or alter its capabilities.
    • Shielding: Protect or Ward against the forces of the purview;-- distinct from "Armor" type spells,-- convey's immunity.
    • Veiling: Conceal that within the purview from detection, OR, conceal a target from the Arcana's concrete phenomena.
  • Discipline (3 dots)
    • Fraying: Weaken, damage, or degrade the purview, OR, directly assaulting someone with the Arcana's energies.
    • Perfecting: Bolster, strengthen, and improve the purview; makes the purview "better" in some fashion!
    • Weaving: Alter nearly any property of the purview, without completely transforming the target into something different.
  • Adept (4 dots)
    • Patterning: Transform the purview within the aegis of the Arcana, from one thing to another!
    • Unraveling: Take apart instances of the Arcana's purview, significantly impairing or damaging them, OR, directly inflict severe damage using the Arcana.
  • Master (5 dots)
    • Making: the Creation of whole new phenomena within the Arcana's purview ex nihilo.
    • Unmaking: Annihilation of the Aracana's purview, simply writing it (or parts of it) out of existence.

Purviews of the Arcana: What Magic Acts Upon

  • Death (pg. 128): Darkness, decay, ectoplasm, ghosts, the Underworld, souls, cold, absence, enervation, endings.
  • Fate (pg. 134): Blessings, hexes, probability, fortune, oaths, promises, intentions, destiny.
  • Forces (pg. 140): Electricity, gravity, radiation, sound, light, heat, fire, weather, movement.
  • Life (pg. 148): Healing, disease, food, animals, plants, evolution, metamorphosis, physicality, vigor.
  • Matter (pg. 154): Alchemy, gases, solids, liquids, shaping, crafting, transmutation, stasis.
  • Mind (pg. 159): Communication, language, hallucination, Goetia, thought, memory, mental projection, the Astral Realms.
  • Prime (pg. 165): Magic, the Supernal World, Nimbus, truth, Yantras, Mana, Hallow, tass, resonance, revelation.
  • Space (pg. 172): Distance, separation, sympathy, conjuration, scrying, warding.
  • Spirit (pg. 179): Essence, spirits, the Shadow, the Gauntlet.
  • Time (pg. 185): Prophecy, change, postcognition, time travel, time contraction and dilation.

The Commons

All mages share common abilities, regardless of the Arcanum in question. These abilities are flavored by the Arcanum, but are parallel in design - they're meant to reflect the idea that any of the directions one of the Wise can advance in is comparable regardless of the specifics of the purview.

Thaumaturgy

It's a wacky name but basically every mage has the same set of "base abilities" for their magical Arcana, and so long as you can explain what you're doing in the tone and purview of an Arcanum, you can try to do similar things with any of them.

Damage

  • Direct damage, equal to Potency. (Lots of Practices can damage.)
  • Damage defaults to bashing. spells do lethal damage, spells do aggravated.
  • You can upgrade a lethal damage spell to aggravated with 1 mana and 1 reach.

Healing

  • Perfecting () can heal bashing damage. Patterning () can heal lethal damage. Primary spell factor is Potency.
  • Ruling () can increase natural recovery. Primary spell factor is Duration. Ruling naturally halves healing times, but you can quarter them for 1 reach.
  • Patterning () can restore completely broken things, or heal aggravated damage with 1 reach.

Conditions

  • Compelling () can intensify existing conditions or tilts. Primary spell factor Duration.
  • Ruling () can create temporary mundane conditions. Primary spell factor Duration.
  • Weaving () can create temporary supernatural conditions.
  • Persistent conditions are Patterning () or Unraveling ().
  • Resolving bad conditions gives a beat. Good conditions only grant resolution beats if the spell was an exceptional success (i.e., the normal exceptional success beat).
  • Mages totally screw themselves up with temporary bad conditions for deliberate beats all the time, go for it if you want to. You have to resolve the condition before the duration is up or else you get no beat.
  • You can remove conditions with a Ruling () spell.

Bonuses / Penalties

The rules for bonuses and penalties are the same. Usually if there's a beneficial practice, there's an equivalent harmful one of the same rank. You can get really creative with how these spells actually work. Since it's "any stat", you can supernaturally gain resources or allies for a short time.

  • Increase a merit with Ruling ().
  • Increase attributes and skills with Perfecting ().
  • Gaining a skill you didn't know before is Patterning ().
  • Trait bonuses through equipment have the exact same rules.
  • No Supernatural traits can be increased like this.
  • Equipment bonuses can't go higher than +5.
  • If you want to go past a natural maximum, it costs 1 mana.
  • Primary spell factor of these are all Potency. Duration is calculated normally.

Dice Effects

  • Gain 9-again on a dice pool with Ruling () spell. Change that to 8-again with 1 reach. Primary spell factor Potency. One roll per Potency, but still limited by Duration.
  • Gain rote quality on a dice pool with Perfecting (). Primary spell factor Potency. One roll per Potency, but still limited by Duration.

Protection

  • Protect against natural phenomenon in a purview with Shielding (). Lasts a number of resistance attempts equal to Potency, but limited by Duration.
  • Can guard against supernatural attacks with this, but it becomes a clash of wills.

Hiding

  • Veiling () can make specific things undetectable in specific ways. It's a description thing. Primary spell factor Duration. It is perfect hiding, normally, but supernatural detections can work with a clash of wills.

Summoning

All mages can summon Supernal creatures. What they can summon depends on the mage's Path and creature type of the Arcanum in question, but any mage can perform a summoning ritual for any creature of either of their Path's Arcana.

  • Risks: Summoning is a dangerous breach of reality, and a summoner risks Paradox when summoning.
  • Rewards: Supernal creatures can answer questions, bring forth artifacts, and use unique Supernal magics.
  • Nitty gritty: It's a way to do special things through a narrative play, instead of a simple mechanic.
  • System: Gnosis + Arcanum, 1 mana per roll, extended, 10 successes for a rank 1 creature for "a few hours".

Complications

You need:

  • +5 successes for every +1 of creature rank.
  • +1 success for every 30 minutes extra the creature can stay.
  • +1 success for every sleeper present.
  • +1 success for every mage of a different Path present.
  • +1 success if you're summoning them from an improperly attuned Demesne.
  • -3 successes if you're using a properly attuned Demesne.
  • +1 success if you've caused Paradox within the last week.
  • -X successes for using appropriate / thematic tools in the ritual.

You can:

  • Spend a success to make a roll without Paradox risk.

You may roll only up to Resolve + Composure times before risking Paradox. After that, the ST rolls Gnosis for every attempt (and keeps the results secret). If they get Gnosis + Arcanum successes before you summon the creature, you instead summon an Abyssal creature.

The Creatures

RealmCreatureReconditeManifest
ArcadiaFaeMoirae (Fate)Anachronisms (Time)
PandemoniumDemonsWraiths (Mind)Imps (Space)
StygiaShadesSpecters (Death)Apeirons (Matter)
Primal WildBeastsTotems (Spirit)Atavisms (Life)
AetherAngelsCherubim (Prime)Seraphim (Forces )
Other Burning Questions

Q: What is the difference between a Praxis and a rote, within the context of the game?
A: Good question!

  • Praxis are spells that your character, individually, finds come naturally to him. All mages can develop their own Praxes over time, and will do so more or less entirely on their own,-- just by using their magic, the spells that come easiest to them will become Praxis for them! You can use your Praxis effects to do whatever you want, but 'ideally' you wanna apply a praxis to a spell that you will use somewhat frequently and which isn't too hard to use (i.e., few dice penalties needed), and use the exceptional success rules to farm mana or Conditions. But, basically, a Praxis is a "comfort spell."
  • Rotes, by contrast, are learned in-character effects. Every rote was personally codified by a Master, and the only way to learn them is by making them yourself or being trained by another Mage who knows them,-- personalized instruction, finding a grimoire, etc.,-- in other words, unlike a praxis, a rote is a literal thing that exists within the game world. Rotes are good because you can use them to gain bonus dice from your skills, because they grant low-Arcana mages bonus Reach, and generally they let a Mage play above his own skill level. Rotes are your characters try-hard spells.
  • Both Praxes and Rotes allow you to cast spells from your Common and Inferior arcana without a point of mana.

Q: I set up a really dramatic thing, and my spell roll failed. What do??!
A: Well, just having nothing happen isn't too bad a thing a lot of times. For the record, a spell failure represents the Mage being unable to bring the image in his head into reality. Maybe the spell was too ambitious or maybe your just not feeling it right now. If the situation isn't too pressing, you can just roll again at full dice pool,-- the spell took longer than normal,-- but in really pressing situations, each additional attempt is going to take a cumulative -1 penalty to the casting roll.

If the situation warrants, though, you can also consider making that failure a Dramatic Failure. This gives you an Arcane Beat right off, AND, it gives you a condition that can earn you even more. The exact effect is based somewhat on the spell that you were imagining, too, kind of a "losing control of your imagination and fucking things up." I.e., Stay Puff Marshmallow Man style fuck-ups. :D