View Full Version : Explain how nWoD/Mage: The Awakening works?

2013-06-28, 05:59 PM
So I have been going over the book, and I have to say: really unclear how this nWoD system works. That and how a Mage game would go.

There's a neat pbp int he forum here that I'm lurking, sure, but would really appreciate a discussion.

I'm a long-time d20 player, and some other, similar systems. I don't have much if any experience with ST games, or the playstyle. I've seen it done badly. I know it's something like Ability Score + Skill + Power (ie: Arcana for mages, or whatever vampires and werewolves have).

Is Mage the kind of game where reality can break down easily, or rolls just get really subjective?

2013-06-28, 07:28 PM
It really depends.

Your Arcana stat only matters when you're casting a spell.

Most rolls boil down to Attribute+Skill. (Add Gnosis for certain Supernatural uses, determined by your ST. Usually resisting Supernatural effects.)

Magic is cast as Arcana+Gnosis, unless it's a Rote, in which case it's Attribute+Skill+Arcanum.

Mage has the Potential to break the universe at high Gnosis & Arcana, but there's rather solid guidelines as to how spellcasting works. It takes a few read-throughs to get comfortable with the improvised spellcasting rules.

2013-06-28, 10:09 PM
Depends on what you mean by reality breaking. Yes, your mages will warp the crap out of the universe itself--but there are very specific rules on how to do so. The lower levels of each Arcana (the schools or 'elements', if you will) aren't so ruinous to reality. They're mostly just good at information gathering. The higher levels (they go up to five) can get pretty nasty, though.

In terms of pure mechanics, everything is dice pool based. You roll a bunch of d10's, with anything 8 or higher being a success, and 10's getting rerolled for potentially even more successes. You're usually looking at Attribute + Skill + modifiers + equipment bonuses and so on. For spells, if you're improvising you look at Gnosis + Arcana. If it's a rote you've learned, then it's Arcana + Attribute + skill.

I find that battlemaps are a lot less necessary in ST systems. There's less focus on exactly where everyone is, or precise ranges for things. It's a little looser in that sense. There's also a huge amount of flexibility in the magic system--people can try for things that aren't listed specifically as spells. However, each Arcana has guidelines for what sort of stuff it can do at each level, so it is surprisingly intuitive.

2013-06-29, 12:22 AM
If you're interested in how a Mage game goes, and you've got the time, I'd suggest checking out one of DaveB's actual plays on RPG.net (http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?279847-Actual-Play-Mage-The-Awakening-The-Broken-Diamond-(contains-Reign-of-the-Exarchs). He glosses over the dice a lot of the time, but they make for gripping stories. The above one is more intrigue based and doesn't have any combat for the first while, so if you're interested in that, you might want to try this one (http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?375715-Mage-The-Awakening-The-Soul-Cage), which gets into the action quicker.

2013-06-29, 05:32 AM
Nice threads!

I'm trying to get my head around the rules, and I keep thinking how its designed for people as not a simulation. It's kind of where my head was when I was 16.

2013-06-29, 05:44 AM
plot wise: how well could you add in the plot line from the monte cook d20 WoD game, where there are mortals how act as pillars of the universe, which some bad guys are trying to hunt and kill so reality falls apart?

I mean, the heroes in Mage would seem to be trying to bring down the system/Matrix. I suppose maybe the McWoD plot would work if they were pillars to something else (ie: a temple in Atlantis that could allow ascension), so the Exarchs are trying to find and destroy them so the fallen world continues?

It is hard having "the establishment" be the bad guys if you're an optimistic person who wants to "build" something. Hmmm....

Finally: Using the other rule sets. Can you have a Vampire and/or a Werewolf in a group with Mages in it? I mean, obviously yes, but would they be hopelessly outgunned/useless, would the issue be that foes for one would auto-kill the other party types, or some other problem?

Aron Times
2013-07-02, 12:19 AM
Mages are the most powerful of the three but are also the squishiest. If allowed prep time, the mage usually wins. Without prep time, they're like commoners in D&D 3.5.

Vampires are social monsters, figuratively and literally, and are very good at building their own empires. All vampires have the ability to enslave any mortal or vampire, but not other supernatural types, by having them drink their blood. A mortal or a vampire who drinks a vampire's blood three times becomes a slave of the latter. And then there's disciplines like Dominate (mind control), Majesty (all shall love me and despair), and Animalism (animal mind control) that improves upon the vampire's ability to acquire minions.

Furthermore, vampires have the Kiss, which is what they call their bite. The Kiss is so overwhelmingly pleasurable (read: better than sex) to the victim (any mortal, including mages and werewolves) that to even try to resist it imposes a -5 penalty to the Resolve + Composure roll. That's the equivalent of a really difficult will save in 3.5.

In terms of healing wounds, vampires rank just below werewolves and prometheans. In terms of toughness, they're middle of the road. They do have an easy time refilling their mana (vitae, and aka blood) compared to werewolves and mages.

On the downside, vampires cannot operate during the day, and they take terrible terrible damage from fire and sunlight. Furthermore, vampires have to deal with the Beast, which is basically an anger management problem turned to eleven. Vampires risk going berserk when injured or sufficiently angered or even meeting other vampires for the first time. Basically, a vampire without high Resolve + Composure will Hulk out a lot.

Werewolves, on the other hand are considered the least powerful supernaturals due to their focus on physical combat, which is incredibly swingy in the nWoD. I don't really know much else about werewolves, so I'll leave the exposition to another poster.