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Ascension Nova Mage Template

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Normal human characters are created as per pages 34-35 of the World of Darkness rulesbook. Follow steps 1 through 4 normally.The next step below is to add the Awakened template, as follows, in Step 5.


Dynamic: - Mages who always struggle for, and seek unrestrained change.

Benefit: - +1 to all dice pools using Creative Thaumaturgy ("Dynamic Magick")

Pattern: - Mages who always seek rationality, consistency, stability and organization.

Benefit: - +2 to all dice pools when using Rotes.

Primordial - Mages who always seek beginnings, origins, deep meanings, and hidden truths.

Benefit: Reduce all Paradox related die pools by 2.

Questing - Mages who always look forward, towards tomorrow, always moving, never satisfied with merely existing.

Benefit: - Gain 2 Arcane XP every session, in additional to normal XP awards. Alternately, these Mage gain +2 to all magick dice pools when in the Astral Realm, the Shadow Realm, or the Underworld - these Mages do not gain this benefit in Twilight.

Mages can have weaker and stronger avatars. Having a stronger Avatar than usual is detailed in the Avatar background merit.


Please note that in this setup, Council and Union Mages get 2 Favored Spheres. The first one is the Tradition Speciality Sphere, which represents that Tradition’s seat on the Council of Nine (or 10, if using some kind of post-Reckoning/Ascension backstory or your game.) The second Sphere is one that resonates with the Tradition’s teachings overall. A Mage can substitute this second Sphere with one that fits whatever sub-faction of his Tradition he’s a member of. For example, a Vajrapani can substitute Forces for Life, which is the second favored Akashic Sphere. Finally, a Mage can decide to take only one Favored Sphere and not have an Inferior Sphere. These are Mages who have broad magickal educations and who have progressive viewpoints, integrating the teachings of other Traditions into their Paradigms.

Orphans are treated as Hollow Ones, except that they choose their magical tools and secret magical symbol set as they wish, but they don’t have Rote specialties. Being an Oprhan is a Flaw, unless you’re a Hollow One (in which case you’re taught the Hollow One’s loose, eclectic and romantically themed paradigmatic style and get their Rote specialties.)

Favored Resistance Attributes function as they do in Mage:The Awakened, granting one die to tests involving the attribute.

Akashic Brotherhood

Favored Spheres: Mind, Life
Inferior Sphere: Matter
Resistance Attribute: Resolve
Rote Specialties: Brawl, Weaponry, Athletics
Option: Akashic Mages pay ½ the cost for all Martial Arts backgrounds, as well as for connections amongst asian immigrant and religious communities worldwide.

See The Art of Do

Celestial Chorus

Favored Spheres: Prime, Fate
Inferior Sphere: Death
Resistance Attribute: Composure
Rote Specialties: Expression, Academics, Politics
Option: Choristers pay ½ cost for all social backgrounds that involve ties to groups of faithful and religious organizations. These may *not* be Mage-only backgrounds. These include backgrounds such as Contacts, Allies and Influence.

Cult of Ecstasy

Favored Spheres: Time, Mind
Inferior Sphere: Forces
Resistance Attribute: Resolve
Rote Specialties: Expression, Athletics, Socialize
Option: Cultists pay ½ cost for social backgrounds that involve the Arts or various counterculture scenes.


Favored Spheres: Spirit, Life
Inferior Sphere: Matter
Resistance Attribute: Resolve
Rote Specialties: Medicine, Survival, Animal Ken
Option: Dreamspeakers pay ½ cost for social backgrounds involving indigenous and immigrant cultures, Shapeshifters or Middle Umbra Spirits, and pay ½ cost for acquiring familiars.

Further information here


Favored Spheres: Death, Fate
Inferior Sphere: Life
Resistance Attribute: Resolve
Rote Specialties: Investigation, Weaponry, Intimidation
Option: Euthanatos pay ½ cost for social backgrounds involving certain indigenous cultures, for contacts in any subculture that deals with death or dying, and for any contacts amongst Wraiths.

Hollow Ones Favored Spheres: One of Choice
Inferior Sphere: None
Resistance Attribute: Composure
Rote Specialties: Occult, Survival, Socialize
Option: Hollows pay ½ cost for social backgrounds involving counterculture scenes and the sleeper occult underground (including Linear Sorcerers of various stripes).

Further information here

Order of Hermes

Favored Spheres: Forces, Prime
Inferior Sphere: Life
Resistance Attribute: Resolve
Rote Specialties: Academics, Intimidation, Occult
Option: Hermetics pay ½ cost for social backgrounds related to the sleeper occult underground, sleeper academic and political circles, and to any Mages in the Nine Traditions (since the Order often takes up administrative chores in the Traditions no one else wants to deal with.) Hermetics also pay only ½ cost for any social backgrounds that have to do with Spirits from the Astral Umbra.

Sons of Ether

Favored Spheres: Matter, Forces
Inferior Sphere: Death
Resistance Attribute: Resolve
Rote Specialties: Academics, Crafts, Science
Option: Etherites pay ½ cost for any social backgrounds tied to the Sleeper scientific communities (legitimate and fringe).

Further information here


Favored Spheres: Life, Fate
Inferior Sphere: Space
Resistance Attribute: Composure
Rote Specialties: Occult, Intimidation, Medicine
Option: Verbena pay ½ cost for social backgrounds tied to the sleeper occult underground, certain indigenous communities and amongst certain groups of Changelings and Shapeshifters.

Further information here

Virtual Adepts

Favored Spheres: Space, Mind
Inferior Sphere: Life
Resistance Attribute: Composure
Rote Specialties: Computer, Investigation, Science
Option: Virtual Adepts pay ½ cost for social backgrounds amongst the computer industry, online communities and the hacker underground.

Further information here

New World Order

Favored Spheres: Mind, Fate (“Social Engineering”)
Inferior Sphere: Spirit
Resistance Attribute: Composure
Rote Specialties: Investigation, Stealth, Intimidation
Option: Men In Black pay ½ cost for social backgrounds involving law enforcement or for various government agencies involved in intelligence or law enforcement.

Iteration X

Favored Spheres: Matter, Forces
Inferior Sphere: Spirit
Resistance Attribute: Resolve
Rote Specialties: Academics, Crafts, Science
Option: Iterators pay ½ cost for Backgrounds amongst the sleeper scientific community (especially in the fields of computers and engineering.)


Favored Spheres: Life, Mind
Inferior Sphere: Spirit
Resistance Attribute: Composure
Rote Specialties: Medicine, Science, Academics
Option: Progenitors pay ½ cost for Backgrounds amongst the sleeper scientific (especially in medical, biology or drug research),medical communities, and the narcotics underworld.


Favored Spheres: Mind, Fate
Inferior Sphere: Prime
Resistance Attribute: Composure
Rote Specialties: Politics, Larceny, Socialize
Option: Syndicate Mages pay ½ cost for Merits amongst big business, all forms of organized crime, and certain factions of Nephandi.

Void Engineers

Favored Spheres: Space, Forces
Inferior Sphere: Fate
Resistance Attribute: Composure
Rote Specialties: Athletics, Crafts, Science
Option: Void Engineers pay 1/2 cost for merits amongst academia, various national space programs, and for connections to UFO hunter groups and private groups attempting space travel, such as the various private orbital startups.

Arete: This is Gnosis in Ascension Nova, and operates in exactly the same way. All newly Awakened Mages in Ascension Nova start with an Arete of 1. Different Traditions and Conventions have different terms for the concept, such as Te (Akashic Brotherhood), Ecstasy (The C of X), Gnosis (the Order of Hermes), Grace (The Celestial Chorus), Inspiration (the Sons of Ether and other (ex-)Technocrats), Dharma (the Euthanatos), and so on. Arete can be purchased to higher levels with the appropriate Merit. Arete functions as Gnosis does in regards to how much Free Quintessence a Mage can store in their Avatar and Pattern (use the Effects of Gnosis chart on Page 76 of M:TAW)

Quintessence: Free Quintessence functions for game purposes identically to Mana, and is what is manipulated by the Prime Sphere.

Rotes: Choose rotes as per Mage: The Awakening, Council and Union Mages learn 6 points worth of Rotes during their apprenticeships. This functions identically to how Rote choice functions in Mage: The Awakening, except that each Tradition has it's own secret specialty rotes that are often slightly more effective at their given Sphere level than more commonly known rotes. The Traditions and the Technocratic Union also have a large body of commonly known rotes that are considered "public domain" between all Traditions that have been shared and developed in multi-tradition chantries and at Convocation events or within multi-tradition cabals.

Magical Tools: These are called Foci by Mages in the Ascension Nova setting. A Focus is a symbolic tool or action which enables a Mage to use their Magick.Normally, a Mage chooses one Focus that is appropriate for each Sphere he or she knows - this Focus can be the same for multiple Spheres. While a Mage needn't use a Focus every time to use magick, using Foci makes magick easier. Further, if a Foci matches the local prevailing reality, then Magick can be often done coincidentally and in secret. The character creation sections of Mage: The Ascension 2nd Edition and Revised give good examples of various Traditional foci - examples for Technocrats can be found in the GttT. Magical tools reduce Paradox dice pools normally, as the Mage taps into the appropriate mythic thread and the magick clashes less with the Consensus. For further information on Foci see: Foci in Ascension Nova.

See changes to magic rules for information on the minor changes to the magic rules in Ascension Nova.

Step 6 - Select MeritsEdit

Newly Awakened Traditions Disciples and their peers have 7 points to devote to Merits. They can chose the normal merits in the World of Darkness rulesbook, and can also chose the magical merits as detailed in Mage: The Awakening, with the following modifications.. Secret Signs - Ascension Nova mages do not gain High Speech, as Atlantis does not exist in this setting as it does in Mage: The Awakening. Instead, each Tradition has it's own secret languages and codes that embody that Tradition's view of reality and encode their rotes and Sphere lore. These secret codes and lores can only be fully understood by those initiated into a particular Tradition's Paradigm. Unlike High Speech, these secret languages and codes can be learned by people outside of a particular political organization if their magic styles match with the Tradition who's lore their exploiting - this must not only include an identical world view, but also an identical set of Rote Specialties so as to understand that Traditon's inner secrets. In game, these are known as things like High Enochian (Order of Hermes), Kaja script and hand signals (Akashic Brotherhood), and various other secret means to communicate inner magickal secrets. Like Atlantean High Speech, overt use of Secret Signs grants the same advantages that High Speech does, including additional dice on Magick rolls. While use of Secret Signs does not necessarily make a spell Vulgar, it does make a spell fairly obvious. Members of the Nine Traditions, as well as well educated Unionists, can recognize the secret signs of various Traditions if they take an appropriate Skill speciality in Occult. The Technocracy also has Secret Signs, recognizable as various forms of advanced hyperscience used in calculations for effects, usually worked into equations to give a procedure more paradigmatic stability. Most crafts have their own versions of Secret Signs. Other Merits - These various merits function normally for Mages of the Nine Traditions and the Technocratic Union, as per Mage: The Awakening - Artifact, Destiny, Dream, Enhanced Item (see list of sample Wonders), Familiar, Imbued Item (see list of sample Wonders), Occultation/

Hallow is renamed to Node, and follows it's own set of special rules detailed in the New Backgrounds section.

Library functions exactly the same as in Mage the Awakening, except that each dot of the Library Merit can alternately be assigned to a particular Arcanum. Instead of having to buy or trade for other Mages' rotes, the character with the Library can make roll a research task with a difficulty equal to twice the number of dots of the rote. Success means that the character has found a copy of the rote designed for her own Tradition or Convention. A character can have a library where some dots represent esoteric fields of study and others represent knowledge of the rotes in a particular Arcansum.

Chantry - A new background, Chantries are at once strongholds located on the edge of Astral Space between the Gaia Sphere and the deeper Tellurian, as well as a political organization. Rank in Chantry represents the Mage's responsibilities as well as access to it's resources. Note that this is seperate from Status (Chantry) - you can have access to a Chantry's resources but not much say in it as a political organization.

Status - Status for Tradition Mages is broken down into Status (Cabal), Status (Chantry) and Status (Tradition).

Acolyte - The Tradition term for Sleepwalker Retainer. These play a somewhat different role that Sleepwalkers do with the Pentacle orders. Groups of Acolytes can enhance the success of ritual magick mitigate the chances of creating Paradox.

Avatar- Each dot in the Avatar merit allows a Mage to regenerate 1 point of Mana every 12 hours and each dot also adds to rolls to gain Mana from oblations. The Avatar also acts as a Mentor equal to 1/2, rounded up, of it's rating, but only for mystical or esoteric subjects. Quintessence gained from the Avatar background may only be used for personal uses (ie, it can not be used in the creation of Artifacts or Tass) and it can not be taken from the Mage by any means.

Sanctum - This Merit is identical to the Merit in Mage: The Awakening (pp. 86-87), except that it is also a location where all of the owner's magic is coincidental, and where the owner's personal paradigm holds sway. The choice of the details of this paradigm is up to the owner and is free, but different choices have different advantages and disadvantages. If magic is only coincidental for members of the owner's Tradition, then allies and members of the same chantry who belong to different traditions won't be able to use the Sanctum. However, magic used by the Technocracy also won't automatically be coincidental. A Sanctum can be designed with an open paradigm, so that magic used by any Tradition is coincidental, but this also means that the Technocracy's magic will also be coincidental. If desired, multiple characters can share the cost of the Sanctum.

Characters can also build or expand a Sanctum during play, but doing so requires both constructing or acquiring the location and then adjusting it to their paradigm. Doing this requires that a character spend one dot of Willpower for every dot of the Sanctum's size. Several characters can contribute this Willpower. However, characters do not need to spend any Willpower dots for a Sanctum purchased at the beginning of the campaign. Characters are assumed to have already paid the necessary Willpower dots.

Extraordinary Devices These are devices are ones that are at the very edge of the current paradigm and actually exceed it in a few minor ways. While not actually magical, these devices are advanced enough that Sleepers without the appropriate technical knowledge may believe that they are. Only people with Awakened Avatars can design Extraordinary Devices, and the initial prototype for such a device must normally be built by a mage. Once this device has been successfully demonstrated to highly trained Sleepers, these Sleepers can use plans and similar technical data to duplicate such devices.

While they can be highly advanced, Extraordinary Devices are much more limited in both power and versatility than actual talismans and artifacts. Unfortunately, Extraordinary Devices can also generate Paradox. In spite of their limits, Extraordinary Device do have a number of important advantages. They can be produced in large quantities, they do not require the use of Prime magics or Tass and they can be used by trained Sleepers. Ultra-miniaturized devices and many forms of cyberware and nanotechnology are typical examples of modern Extraordinary Devices. Often, members of the Technocracy attempt to bring Extraordinary Devices into the modern paradigm by showcasing them in techno-thriller novels, movies and television shows.

Step 7 - Determine AdvantagesEdit

Willpower - Resolve by adding Resolve+Composure as normal.

Morality - Since reality in Mage: The Ascension is subjective, so is morality. Being Awakened doesn't stop someone from being a human being, although the temptations of power and hubris makes Mages all the more vulnerable to moral temptation. Mages use Morality as Sleepers do. As a Mage's Paradigm and world view changes and shifts as their Paradigm develops, their heirarchy of sins can change in a way similar to that described in Hunter: The Vigil. This can also happen as a result of Seekings (successful or failed), madness and derangements attained due to Paradox episodes, and reprogramming in Room 101 - while maintaining a Morality score, a Technocrat can have their entire heirarchy of sins changed due to Unionist indoctrination.

Legacies - See revised rules here.

Alternate Character Generation OptionsEdit

Starting Merits: One of the common complaint about the nWoD is that almost every supernatural character uses 6 of their 7 points of starting Merits on their supernatural power trait (Arete for Ascension Nova), and that this makes starting characters less interesting. So, one alternate rule is to allow all Ascension Nova characters to start with 12 points of Merits, but to state that Mages cannot purchase more than two additional dots of Arete. This rule also works well for other nWoD supernatural characters and so can be used by all characters in crossover campaigns.

Imbued Items: One problem with the changeover from oWoD to nWoD rules is that Wonders (now called Imbued Items) are far more expensive. A set of Ether Goggles is now a 3 dot Merit, which seems too high. One option to help keep more of the feel of Mage: The Ascension is to remove the additional one dot cost for items whose powers are persistent. Imbued items with a Duration of Prolonged and which only affect the user or the object or device they are attached to are automatically persistent. No other imbued items can be persistent. As a result, a pair of ether googles, which automatically allow the wearer to see into Twilight (Spirit •) would be a 2 dot Merit.

Creating Psychics, Thaumaturges, and Enlightened Scientists: See information on Lesser Mages.

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