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Mage:House Rules

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Difficult is healing an injury with Medicine is 3 + Wound Level.

Wound Penalties

Soak & Arete rolls are not modified by Wound Dice Penalties. This is in Standard Rules but bears repeating.


Initiative: 1D10 + Wilts + Alertness


Paradox, that great bone of contention in all Mage campaigns.

Players would obviously like all magic to be coincidental. I have even heard people trying to justify lightning bolts on a sunny day (“The street light shorted”) or ask to play a Marauder.

The reasons that I wish to restrict coincidental magic:

  • There are no spell points / mana. Paradox is the only way of controlling the amount of magic in the campaign.
  • It makes the magic "flavourless". In order to avoid drawing attention to it the mechanics of casting are played down and magic becomes ordinary, (co)incidental, where it should be … well, magical.
  • It makes the players work a bit more. A neat, well thought through, combination of action and magic to achieve clever piece of coincidental magic is more satisfying to all concerned than re-using a well worn rote.

The main difficulty is in keeping it consistent.


My perfect example of coincidental magic is Schroedinger’s Cat. There is no way of knowing the outcome. Each outcome is equally likely. The mage gets to pick, and no penalty.

Coincidental – Vulgar with no witnesses (VNW)

After that it gets more difficult. Yes a new Mercedes could fail to start, or worse yet stall. Honestly, how often have you had a new, well maintained vehicle, that you drive regularly, stall? An old, ill maintained vehicle, inexperienced driver, new to the vehicle, that could stall without vulgar magic. It is a judgment call based on a range of factors. If it is possible for the thing to happen but the sleeper thinks “that’s odd”, then I tend to think VNW.

Vulgar with no witnesses (VNW)

On your own with just you and the your fellow enlightened will workers around then go for it; lightning bolts, levitation, walk on water. Its still vulgar of course, but no witness penalty. A special case of this is a lot of information magic. Mind reading and finding items via correspondence, can be done in public with no witness penalty (providing it’s not flaunted). However, arguments that you got to the right warehouse by luck, or plucked the password from his mind by reading his face, are not going to get away from the fact that it is still vulgar.


If the sleeper thinks “It’s impossible but it is happening” then its vulgar. Magic involving Prime tends to generate a lot of additional special effects since you are dealing with the power source of reality. Expect reality to slap you in the chops. If you are in odd surroundings you may be able to get away with more. Storms of gothic proportions can hide a lightning strike. Foggy graveyards may excuse a spirit effect, maybe removing the witness penalty if not giving a free pass.


Yes, paradox effects can be inconvenient. They can also add to the chronicle. The easy campaign is ultimately unsatisfying.

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This page was last modified on 6 August 2009, at 17:27.
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