Skills, Edges, and Hindrances
Countermagic, Anti-magic, and Unweaving
All Savage Worlds stuff is Copyright 2003, Great White Games. This work is not an officially licensed product and has no affiliation with Great White Games. All Mage stuff is copyright White Wolf Publishing, Inc., and ditto about the liscensing and affiliation thing. I don't know them, they don't know me. I'm just playing around in everyone else's sandbox.
Mage characters start with a free Edge, as suggested for human characters in Savage Worlds. Every Mage character also has to take at least one personality-related Hindrance. It can be a major obsession, passion, or driving force, or just a quirk. Some of the Hindrances in the Savage Worlds rule book--Curiosity, Bloodthirsty, Cautious, Greedy--are perfect. Also look through the Nature and Demeanor weaknesses on pages 96-101 of the Mage rule book for more ideas.
A mage's personality Hindrances are things that he needs to overcome (or at least try to overcome) to achieve Ascension. His Seekings will often take shape around them (i.e. a Greedy mage will be tempted by wealth, a Cautious mage will be given the opportunity to take a major risk).
In addition to points gained for Hindrances, Mage characters get 4 Freebie Points to play with. These are spent just like Hindrance points, but you don't have to take any Hindrances to get them.
Mage p.124-125. I don't use Arete. I use Spirit instead. However mages, being the powerful, dynamic, enlightened folk they are, can raise their Spirit above d12 by taking the Enlightened Soul Edge. See Enlightened Soul for more info.
This works just like the Avatar Background in Mage (p.118-119). A character's Avatar rating equals half his Spirit and can be modified by the Powerful Avatar Edge or Weak Avatar Hindrance. Most characters begin a story with Quintessence equal to their Avatar rating. A character with Prime and access to a Node starts with Quintessence equal to his Avatar rating plus the weekly pittance from his Node (basically, he fueled up before the game begins).
If a character spends an hour at a Node concentrating on absorbing Quintessence (this can involve meditating, sleeping, chanting, dancing, sitting and reading poetry, or whatever is appropriate for the character's paradigm) he regains Quintessence equal to his Avatar rating (or whatever the Node has left for that week).
As a character increases his Spirit, his Avatar rating goes up accordingly.
Characters start with the usual Sphere levels: five plus one in their Tradition specialty. They can raise their Spheres at creation by spending Hindrance points (two points per Sphere level). After that, a character has the option to raise a Sphere level or gain the first level in a new Sphere every other leveling.
Tradition Book: Akashic Brotherhood p.58 Do works just like Fighting, except its related attribute is Spirit, not Agility. This makes it the perfect fighting skill for mages, who can increase their Spirit--and thus Spirit-related Skills--above d12. A character can use either his Fighting or his Do, whichever's higher, to calculate his Parry score.
Okay, so these aren't really new skills, just new specific knowledges. They cover the areas of knowledge described on p.114 of the Mage rules.
Mage p.111. Meditation's related attribute is Spirit. A mage can use meditation to compensate for lost sleep. The mage must meditate for at least 20 minutes, then make a Meditation roll. Each success and Raise adds +2 to his Vigor roll to resist the effects of going without sleep (Savage Worlds p.96).
Meditation can also help a mage understand complex situations. When the mage has to make a Knowledge (Enigmas) or similar roll to figure something out, he can start by meditating on the subject for at least five minutes. He then rolls both his Meditation and his Knowledge (Enigmas) or other approprate skill and uses the best of the two rolls.
Note that I don't use Arcane Background (Savage Worlds p.29). Every character in Mage has an Arcane Background, so it seems pretty silly to make people buy it.
Mage p.118. Subtract -2 from Investigation, Notice, or other rolls to track down, remember, or locate the mage. This includes opposed Notice rolls against the mage's Stealth.
Requirements: Novice, Arcane
Same as Arcane, except the modifier is -4.
Mage p.106-107. Make a Notice roll to sense magic and other supernatural-type oddnesses. Raises indicate you gain more information, perhaps identifying the source of the magic or picking up more detailed impressions. For example, with a success, you can sense the Resonance in an effect and identify the mage responsible if you've dealt with him before. With a Raise, you might be able to read an individual's Resonance just shaking his hand and talking with him for a bit.
Requirements: Novice, Wild Card
Mage p.119-120. Once per game session (not story), if your character is facing an end contrary to her destiny, you may reroll one trait test without spending a bennie. Destiny steps in to help your character avoid a cheap death. You can also spend bennies on the same trait test.
Mage p.120. Roll Spirit to gain intuitive insight into a topic. If you make a Knowledge, Common Knowledge, or other roll related to that same topic in the same day, you can use the result of your Dream roll instead. Go ahead and roll your basic skill or trait and just use the best of the two rolls. You can do this as many times as you want in the same day that you dream, but after a day, the effect disappears.
Requirements: Veteran, Spirit d12
A mage can go only so far without this Edge. Enlightened Soul represents the transcendent insight and willpower available only to those with Awakened Avatars. Once a mage takes this Edge, he can increase his Spirit above d12 at the normal rate (once per rank, or once every other leveling at Legendary rank). Without this edge, he's limited to the usual maximum of d12.
Raising your Spirit to superhuman levels isn't automatic. Every time a mage wants to raise his Spirit a level above d12, he has to undergo a Seeking, which is usually an adventure in itself. If he succeeds in his Seeking--overcomes a personality flaw, comes to a greater understanding--then his Spirit goes up another point. If he fails--if he just doesn't get it--then he still gets to level up, he just has to raise something other than his Spirit.
Enlightened Soul is also what enables a mage to overcome his foci. With his first purchase of Enlightened Soul, a mage overcomes his foci for one Sphere. With each subsequent purchase, the mage sheds his foci for two more Spheres. (So you have to purchase it five times to overcome your foci for all nine Spheres.)
Your character has picked up a familiar somewhere--perhaps in the course of his adventures or as a legacy left to him by a mentor or friend (or enemy). Just get together with your Storyteller and design a familiar. Give it a background, personality, traits, powers, etc. Be sensible though. Familiars are usually spirits of minor to moderate power at best, not godlike beings (if they were, they wouldn't be bothering with your pathetic mage).
Of course the Storyteller has final say on the familiar's nature and what it can and can't do (and of course the Storyteller is under no obligation to fill you in on the changes he's made to your precious pet; familiars usually have secrets and agendas all their own). Familiars count as Wild Cards.
Requirements: Novice, Contacts
Mage p.120-121. The Contacts Edge is about who you know; Influence is about who knows--and fears and respects--you. This can represent your high standing in an organization, people who owe you favors, or any situation that gives you a little weight to throw around. Your Influence is rooted in a specific social sphere or set of circumstances (you're a police detective, lieutenant governor, district manager for Emco Oil Company, etc.) and you have to decide where your influence lies when you take the Edge. In situations where you can bring your Influence to bear, you gain a +1 to +4 Charisma bonus. The exact bonus is up to the Storyteller and depends on just how much influence you have in the situation.
So let's say your character, an Assistant Director at the FBI, is digging into a forty year old murder. He gets a +4 Charisma bonus when he calls down to records and tries to persuade the hostile, overworked clerk to find and pull the files for him. But when he calls Sheriff Redneck in Lower Podunk to get the old lady's body exhumed, he gets only a +1 or +2 bonus--his influence is still worth something, but law enforcement officers are notoriously territorial.
Mage p.121. If you have access to your library, you get +2 on Investigation, Knowledge, and Common Knowledge rolls. Depending on the nature of your library, you might be able to take all or some of it with you (packing a few books into the trunk of your car or the back of your van, downloading your database to your laptop). However, if you divide your library, it provides only a +1 bonus. Likewise, if your library is damaged but not destroyed (by a fire, explosion, shootout, plumbing leak, or some other such distaster to which mages are prone) your Library bonus drops to +1. You don't have to buy the Edge again to raise your bonus back to +2, but you do have to spend a little time and energy (how much is up to the Storyteller) rebuilding your collection, files, or whatever.
Mage p.121-122. A mentor is a very special kind of contact, as described in Mage. A mentor can provide information, education, and support. She can also provide cryptic plot hooks and be a general source of irritation or outright danger. You should work with your Storyteller to design an appropriate mentor. If you want to be anal about it, you can build your mentor like an experienced PC, statting her out with starting points, then levelling her up a rank or two, but I suggest just creating her from whole cloth like a regular NPC. More flexible (and I think fun) that way. Mentors are Wild Cards.
Mage p.122-123. Your character has access to a minor node. Each week, the node produces 1d6 Quintessence in a combination of free Quintessence and tass (how much comes out as tass and how much as raw Quintessence is up to the Storyteller and will usually vary from week to week). The free Quintessence can of course be absorbed through meditation or Prime magics. The tass has to be collected to be used.
You've managed to get your hands on one of the few powerful nodes that remains in the world. It produces 3d6 Quintessence/tass per week.
This can actually be as much a problem as a benefit. Powerful nodes are rare and highly sought after, so you're probably going to have to spend a lot of time and energy defending or hiding it from Technocrats, Werewolves, Nephandi, and even other Tradition mages.
This is one of the big ones. A node on par with the ones that power Horizon or Doissetep. These nodes produce at least 20 Quintessence per week, often more (the Storyteller decides the exact amount).
Requirements: Novice, Spirit d8
Pretty much what it says: you have an exceptionally powerful Avatar. Maybe it's been through a few incarnations, or maybe you and your Avatar just have a particularly strong connection. Add +2 to your Avatar rating.
Everyone wants a place to call his own. This is yours. While a chantry serves a group of mages, a sanctum belongs to only one. It can be a house, temple, apartment, laboratory, office building, library, motor home, tunnel complex, mansion, private park, or just about any other place where a mage can live, work, study, and have a little privacy. It can even be the mage's private suite within a chantry. A sanctum is more than just a residence or private laboratory though. It's a supremely personal place where the walls, furniture, nick-nacks, even the air, have become saturated with the mage's Resonance and personality. A sanctum is the closest a mage can come to his own private world without creating his own realm.
Within his sanctum, a mage's paradigm is law. All his magic (and magic based on similar paradigms) is coincidental. Conflicting paradigms are vulgar, and even other mages count as witnesses.
A character can acquire multiple sanctums by purchasing Sanctum several times. However, you can't just rent an apartment or buy a house and call it your sanctum. A sanctum has to be attuned to its owner. You have to spend time there, impressing your personality and paradigm on the place, even if it already has a strong complimentary Resonance. Impressing a place "cold" can take months or even years depending on the strength of the mage's Spirit and Avatar, how much time he spends there, and the degree of conflict between the mage's Resonance and any Resonance the place already has. If a mage is lucky enough to find a place with complimentary Resonance--usually a place where strange or supernatural events have occurred--all he has to do is accustom himself to the place and the place to him, which can usually be accomplished in only a few days or weeks.
You leave a much quieter magical impression than most mages. Attempts to detect or identify your Resonance with Awareness or magic suffer a -2 penalty.
Mage p.123-124. Congratulations, you've picked up a magical item somewhere. Maybe you just stumbled across it (if such coincidences actually happen) or maybe it came to you as a legacy. This rare and special device could be an artifact, invention, charm, gadget, fetish, periapt, talisman, device, or possibly even a relic (living talisman). If you have no clue about the differences among these items, just ask your Storyteller (or check out the Mage Storyteller's Companion).
I suggest creating your Wonder without using points or dice rolls. Work with your Storyteller and let your imaginations fly. Just remember: this shouldn't be an incredibly powerful item, just your average, every day sort of magical wonder.
Your Resonance is particularly distinctive. Anyone examining your effects gets +2 to sense and identify your influence, and mages and other supernaturally aware beings can even sense your Resonance when you're not using magic (with a standard Awareness roll, magical effect, or other such power). To those who know what to look for, you glow like a candle in a dark room.
Your Avatar is weaker than most. Maybe it's been fractured, experienced fewer incarnations, or you just don't have a very strong link to it. Subtract -2 from your Avatar rating.
Also check out the Merits and Flaws in the Mage rule books. Any that you like can be adapted into Edges and Hindrances pretty easily.
Mage just wouldn't be Mage without its peculiar magic system, so I've made only a few changes to fit Mage magic into Savage Worlds. Probably the most significant thing I did was discard Arete. It was a tough decision, but I finally decided it was just simpler. Spirit covers the same basic territory, so why add another attribute to keep track of? Also, I got rid of the extended roll/multiple success system. I prefer the simpler "one die, one roll" philosophy of Savage Worlds. Savage Worlds can easily incorporate extended rolls--just roll several times and total your successes and raises--but why do all that work when you don't have to? You can still perform Extended Rituals and even roll multiple times for a spell (see Extended Rituals and Continuing a Spell below) but neither involves tracking successes from multiple rolls.
So now you just make one Spirit roll, apply modifiers, and either succeed or fail. This is a normal attribute roll: Aces, Wound and Fatigue modifiers, Wild Dice, and bennies all apply. If you get raises, your spell works better than expected (and can have a longer duration; see Duration below). And of course you can still spend Quintessence. Each point adds +2 to your magic roll, and the only limit on how much you can spend is your Avatar rating.
Also, I've eliminated the difficulty modifier for sphere level. I think the intent behind the sphere modifier is sufficiently represented by the magical feat modifier.
|Simple (changing the color of your own eyes, lighting a candle, using Mind magic to sense someone nearby, conjuring a business card)||+2|
|Standard (changing your own shape, causing an oil lamp to explode, influencing someone's mood with Mind magic, conjuring a ball of flame)||0|
|Difficult (transforming into something bigger or smaller than yourself, igniting a gas main, deep-reading someone's mind, conjuring a chainsaw)||-2|
|Impressive (changing someone else's shape, blowing up a house, taking over someone's mind, conjuring a car, making yourself disappear)||-4|
|Mighty (turning someone into sludge, incinerating an armored tank, obliterating someone's mind, conjuring a mythic beast, making all furniture in a room disappear)||-6|
|Outlandish (turning a roomful of people into sludge, igniting a warship's weaponry, Mind-controlling a horde of madmen, conjuring a demon, making a mansion disappear)||-8|
|Godlike (making a skyscraper disappear, finding one particular person in New York using Mind magic, summoning a horror from the Deep Umbra, levitating a mountain, creating a Horizon Realm)||-10|
|Vulgar with witnesses||-4|
|Researches lore on subject before using magic||+1 to +4|
|Has item resonating with target's essence (sympathetic magic)||+1 to +4|
|Near a Node||+1 to +4|
|Uses a unique focus||+2|
|Uses a focus when it's not required||+2|
|Appropriate Resonance (personal or from Tass)||+2|
|Opposed Resonance (personal or from Tass)||-2|
|Distant or hidden subject||-2|
|Mage distracted||-1 to -4|
|Mage in conflict with Avatar||-1 to -4|
|Domino effect||-1 to -4|
|Surpassing a necessary focus||-4|
Magical effects do 1d6 damage per level of the highest Sphere involved. Each raise on the magic roll adds +2 to the damage, and Forces effects do an additional +2 damage. So if a character rolls a raise throwing a traditional wizardly fireball or lightning bolt (both Prime 2, Forces 3 effects) he does 3d6+4 damage (highest sphere = 3, +2 for Forces magic, +2 for one raise).
The number of Raises on your magic roll determines the duration of your effect. After you see how many Raises you get, you can further increase the duration by spending Quintessence, shoring up your effect with a little raw reality (this is separate from any Quintessence you spent on your magic roll).
If you actually score five raises, your spell is permanent.
|Raises + Quintessence||Duration|
|0||Instant or one round|
Normally a spell affects only one pattern: the mage himself or another target, living or non-living. For each additional target the mage tries to affect, he suffers -1 on his magic roll.
|Line of sight||Body sample||+2|
|Very familiar||Close possession or companion||0|
|Familiar||Possession or casual friend||-2|
|Visited once||Acquaintance or object used once||-4|
|Described location||Briefly touched or met object or person||-6|
|Anywhere on Earth||No connection||-10|
These modifiers apply when you attempt to step through or open the Gauntlet.
|Most Urban Areas||-4|
|Within a year||+2|
|1000 years or more||-10|
Like I said, I don't use extended magic rolls, but you can still perform an Extended Ritual. For every full hour of the ritual, you get +2 on your magic roll (which you make at the end of the ritual). Obviously, this option isn't available in combat.
Problem is, long rituals are very taxing. Each hour that you work, make a Vigor roll, with a cumulative -1 modifier each hour after the first. If you fail, you lose a Fatigue level. If you reach Incapacitated, you've collapsed from exhaustion and can't go on. The spell of course fizzles. If you botch your Vigor roll, it counts as a botch on the spell, and you incur the appropriate Paradox (Extended Rituals by themselves don't increase Paradox, but see Continuing a Spell, below). Fatigue lost this way is regained at one level for every eight hours of rest. "Rest" means that you can move up to your standard pace and do relatively light work, but you can't run, fight, or cast taxing effects (i.e. anything with a negative modifier). However, if your Storyteller is feeling generous, he might let you get away with one moderately difficult spell or a short fistfight.
If a spell doesn't turn out as well as you hoped on the first roll, you can keep working on it. Your character simply continues chanting, incanting, dancing, inscribing, tripping out, or whatever he's doing to work his magic, and you just make another Spirit roll. No, don't spend a bennie. This is a freebie. Just like with bennies though, you can reroll as many times as you want and take your best roll. Unlike with bennies, each roll is a separate action and takes another round. If you botch, your spell goes kerflooey as usual, and each extra roll you made adds +1 to your Paradox.
Any Quintessence that you spend adds only to your current roll. The bonus doesn't carry over from one roll to the next.
You can continue Extended Rituals too, but each reroll requires an additional hour of work. You don't get an extra +2 for this hour--you stay at your current bonus--but you do have to make another Vigor roll (with the usual -1 penalty for another hour's work).
Mage p.154. If the assistants are awakened mages, just use the Cooperative Rolls rule (Savage Worlds p.60). If the assistants are un-awakened acolytes, every five assistants adds +1 to the presiding mage's Spirit roll.
Countermagic requires at least one level of knowledge in each sphere of the effect you're trying to counter. Countermagic is an opposed magic roll, your Spirit vs. your opponent's. Powerful effects are harder to counter, simpler effects easier, so your opponent's Magical Feat modifier applies against both his effect and your countermagic roll. If you win, your opponent's spell fails, and if you have at least one level of Prime, you might even be able to turn his spell back against him. Just treat the effect as if you'd cast it, using your countermagic roll as your magic roll. Even if you fail your countermagic roll, your opponent uses it as his TN, so you still reduce his spell's effect.
Anti-magic requires at least one level in Prime. Roll Spirit (no modifiers). If you succeed, you can spend one point of Quintessence. If you get a raise, you can spend Quintessence up to your Avatar limit. Either way, each point of Quintessence slaps an additional -2 penalty on your opponent's magic roll. You're basically calcifying reality, making it less flexible.
Counter- and anti-magic are regular actions, cast on your initiative like any other effect, so to avoid getting blown out of his shoes before he can even raise a protective circle, the wise mage establishes his defenses before he gets into a fight. The duration for counter- and anti-magic is the same as for regular effects, determined by the number of raises you score and the amount of Quintessence you spend on duration. For general countermagic like this, just make one countermagic roll and use that total each time a spell assaults the mage's defenses (subtracting the spell's Magical Feat modifier as usual). General countermagic protects a mage from all the spheres that he knows and automatically reflects incoming spells if he has at least one level of Prime.
You can reroll countermagic or anti-magic (i.e. continuing the spell), cast them as Extended Rituals, and/or spend Quintessence on them.
Unweaving is just countermagic used against standing effects. As usual, you have to have at least one level in each Sphere of the effect you're trying to unweave. Make a regular countermagic roll (again, subtracting the Magical Feat modifier for the original casting), and if you beat the caster's original roll, you disperse the effect.
You can cast only one effect per round, but once it's cast, it requires no concentration or effort to keep it going. The Tapestry has been twisted out of whack, and it'll stay that way until it untwists itself--until the effect's duration runs out. So mages suffer no penalties for having multiple effects running at the same time.
Paradox is funny stuff. It doesn't go off at predictable times. Sometimes it'll bleed off in minor flaws. Other times it'll accumulate to hideous levels and blow all at once. I let my players decide when to roll Paradox for their characters. You can roll immediately after acquiring Paradox, or you can roll hours, weeks, or months down the road. Whenever you want.
I impose only four restrictions:
If you're in the middle of a fight or other tense situation and your Paradox blows suddenly (i.e. you accumulate five points all at once or you have 10 or more points and the Storyteller rolls for you) you can spend a bennie to delay the backlash until the end of the scene. You can't stop it: the backlash is going to happen. You just get a little control over when it happens.
Roll 1d4, rerolling Aces as usual. The final result is how many Paradox points go off. If you roll higher than your character's Paradox pool, it all goes off at once. Damage from a Paradox backlash is 1d10 plus one point for every point of paradox that blows.
Mage p.197-198. I use Resonance, but I don't use it as written. I don't give it a rating, and I don't classify it as Dynamic, Static, or Entropic. Resonance is more personal than that. It's the imprint a mage's personality makes on his magic, so it should be as unique as his personality. Scribble down a few adjectives or maybe a sentence or two describing your mage's Resonance and how it shapes his effects. If your mage is a very angry little person, make his magic reflect his rage. Maybe even his non-damaging spells lash out or assault people in some way. Or maybe if your mage is a very organized, ordered thinker, his spells tend to be very neat and orderly. Just consider your mage's personality and make his Resonance fit.
This changes how Quiet works. Instead of using a mage's Resonance to determine the nature of his Quiet, use his Avatar's Essence--Dynamic = Madness, Pattern = Clarity, Primordial = Jhor. A Questing Essence can cause any of the three Quiets, depending on the mage's personality.
Resonance can help or hinder magical effects (+2 on the magic roll if you're working with complimentary Resonance, -2 with conflicting Resonance), and it can be used to identify the mage who cast an effect. You can modify your character's Resonance with the Strong Resonance Hindrance or the Subtle Resonance Edge.