Other House Rules
The expectation is somewhere around 6-8 xp per session. My current perception is that mages are generally more flexible/powerful characters at any experience level and need a more balanced approach than my general inclination for high xp gain indicates. If characters seem more limited than I expect, we’ll revisit and expand the xp rules.
- Flaws: If one of your flaws adversely affects your character AND you roleplay your character dealing with that adversity, you get a point.
- Roleplaying: 1 Point for each roleplay moment called out during play. It doesn’t have to be especially outre or hilarious, but moments where the player gets into character should be rewarded.
- Participation: 1 Point for being awake. A low bar, but a bar nonetheless.
- Heroism: Two points per session awarded for braving risk for reward. Your character takes a great risk to accomplish something important to his character. There needs to be a credible chance of character death, unplayability, or at least permanent loss of utility. The risk also has to be intentionally taken to advance a goal of the character concept.
- Danger: As Heroism, but it counts if it just happens to you and it’s worth one point.
- Learning: 1 point for your character learning about his/her situation. What does your character perceive about what’s going on in the world? You get asked a question about what your character learned about something that happened that session. The answer doesn’t have to be what’s actually going on, but as long as its something reasonable for your character to believe. Generally this question is going to serve a hook/tie-in for the next session.
- World Building: 1 point for filling in details that adds interest/color to the world (attempted cheesiness will be thwarted by the GM’s jackass genie powers.
- Journals: 1-3 points. If you make a stab at a traditional journal/reflection/flashback/etc on the website you get one point. If it develops your character, it’s worth two points instead. Obvious extra effort, depth, entertainment value, usable plots hooks, or similar other goodies make it worth three.
Every time you deal with the supernatural in a way that’s not routine, you’re earning at least a little arcane experience. Technically you have to learn something to earn points, but if you look at the rules for arcane experience in the core Mage book p. 341, you’ll see what a broad target that is. Everytime you do something novel with magic or your character runs up against a new supernatural, it’s a point.
On top of that, your magic is a link to a specific Supernal realm, and you can get a point of arcane experience for recognizing the omens and portents you recognize from your path. Mechanically, once a session you can draw from the tarot deck and apply the given interpretation in light of your path/situation. Drawing your path’s aligned/opposed major arcana is a strong enough connection it results in additional effects.
In this setting, there’s a revival of belief in witchcraft and magic, given the mass disappearance that mages know as the Frozen Billions. Functionally this means we’re playing by Lucid Sleeper rules in the Mage Chronicler’s Guide (though the post-apocalypse setting throws off its vision of what the Orders would be like). Sleepers are quick to expect anything out of the ordinary to be witchcraft, sorcery, and the like. Given the increased ratios of supernaturals to naturals, they’re quite occasionally correct.
Bottom line: Improbable covert spells can’t be explained away as coincidences (but can be masked as something else if you’re clever). If it’s noticeable, it’s suspicious and thus paradox inducing (at +2 for the witness). A particularly observant sleeper might also note the rote gestures for covert spells. Disbelief still works normally, since it’s an affect of the abyss rather than actual belief, but the ‘normal terms’ the sleeper uses to explain away unnatural events include witchcraft.
Everyone has chosen to have background involving an order, but no one is currently in contact or on specifically good terms. Until you reconnect with a skilled mage of your order, the only rotes you can know are the ones you already learned at character creation.
Mechanically nothing changes at the point of use. You can still negate the powers of abyssal corruption that threaten to twist the form of your supernal magic by accepting those powers into your body for a point of bashing damage (aka a headache for 15 minutes). However, those points will be tracked, and something may happen later as a result. You won’t know what it is, but your character will get a bad feeling about it everytime s/he soaks paradox dice.