Main_Page > Mage: The Awakening

This page contains stuff that Bill Bridges has said on the forums to questions.

This is not an official errata release and should only be viewed as a rough draft until the official errata is released. It's compiled here for the sake of convienience.

Please follow the same format and structure when adding to this page to keep it organized and easy to read. Note: The structure is based on the book. Please try to organize different questions relative to where they are in the book.

Chapter 1: ArcanaEdit


Q: Are we going to get a clarification on what exactly one's True Name is?

A: Well, there are no "true names." Instead, your real name -- that is, the name you were given at birth or by which you were called during your formative years -- has a significant sympathetic tie to you, and so it can be exploited easily. Shadow names and other adopted names don't have the same tie.

I assume that you could conceivably raise a child using many different names, not sticking to one long enough to give it a strong sympathetic tie. Besides doing funny things to a kid's psyche, though, there'd still be the name he was first given; that would probably still act as a real name even if he doesn't answer to it (unless another name was used with more frequency during his formative years, in which case that becomes the real name).

C: For this reason, most mages tend to withdraw from everyone they knew, beginning new lives. Those that don't risk other mages uses easily gained knowledge about them against them.

The benefit for knowing a real name isn't that great, though -- sure, it's easier to cast sympathetic magic, but that doesn't make sympathetic magic easy. There are still penalties based on the connection, the Mana cost, and other concerns (like the fact that the target can cast spells back through the conduit). Having someone know your real name isn't the end of your magely career; it just makes it more difficult.

Q: Was acolytes just the pre-development name for sleepwalkers? When other books mention acolytes, do they mean sleepwalers, or are they something else entirely?

A: Yes, it was the original name for a type of mortal who could be enchanted to witness magic without causing problems. We dropped that idea, though. I think the term is now used in Vampire somewhere, maybe something to do with the Ordo Dracul.

C: (Note: This term is used in the Mastigos path description, and should probably be replaced with Sleepwalker. Acolyte is now a word used to describe members of the Circle of the Crone.)

Q: Could you clarify how Orders work within the context of the setting? I'm confused. Cabals appear to be the driving force; in the section on Consiliums there's no mention of Orders, but plenty about cabals. Why does the Balkanised mage society have mages coming together in cabals and then on top of that, linking in with the special interest groups of the Orders, specially if they're so paranoid and protective of their secrets? How are Orders the bastions of the lost fragments of Atlantean heritage when it's not clearly defined how they interact with mages/cabals/consiliums? Are orders like political parties? Trade unions? Special interest groups? Philosophies? For example, if I join the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dusk cabal, am I then introduced to 'the secret, cabal-spanning mega-cabal of the Mysterium? Or if a local mage awakens, and they're taken to the consilium, how then do they get in touch with the Orders if each Order only exists through a number of like-minded cabals?

A: Generally, when you Awaken you'll be approached by a mage who will try to recruit you for his order. The less zealous ones might recognize that you'd be a better fit in a different order and offer you over to them (the Guardians sometimes do this for prospects that just aren't up to snuff by their standards). Regardless, recruitment into an order often precedes membership in a cabal, but it doesn't have to.

Orders are like all the things you mention above and more. Just how they operate depends on their local representatives, but more than anything else they are like magical guilds that train and guide a mage, providing a philosophy for handling anything a mage might encounter (well, not everything...).

In the past, it was more common for cabals to be founded around a single order, but that's no longer the case in the modern world. Cabals have indeed begun to usurp some of the traditional roles of orders, but not entirely.

Q: Because every single Order has the exact same repertoire of rotes and three specialties, why are Orders so covetous of their "secrets"? In effect, a lightning bolt tossed by a Ladder has no material difference than one by an Arrow, so why should either Order necessarily care that one says, "Abracadabra!" and the other says, "Alakazam!"? I can see making a thematic case (mages like to keep secrets like vampires like to revel in their ennui), but this turns antithematic in that it's a fairly myopic stance for beings supposedly striving towards Wisdom and transcendence.

A: Rotes aren't accessed through some Internet database or Akashic Record -- they're taught by individuals. A local Adamantine Arrow adept might be the only one in the region who knows the Telekinetic Strike rote -- and that gives his order a tactical advantage over the others. If he teaches this rote to a Mysterium mage, his order's advantage disappears (until the Mysterium gains a master who can make this rote himself). Also, since rotes are coded with an order's Rote Specialties, it's hard to teach them without inadverdantly revealing an aspect of those Specialties -- again, tactical advantage.

Mages might talk up the whole "we're in this together" angle, but the orders know from history that there are times when they will war with other orders. Secrets are their arsenal in such wars.

Q: Are legacies something rare that only specialists really dabble into (like bloodlines), something 'normal' but not universal that mages with certian leanings join (such as a lodge) or are they the expected outcome of being a mage, even if the mage creates his own? What I am asking in differnt terms is that are legacies 'supposed' (as much as anything in the NWoD could be enforced), or rather, envisioned as something that only those who spend extensive time modifying the soul and deep searching create, or are they much like college graduation, something that every mage of the orders and talented apostates are expected to go through to prove that they are 'ready' to join the 'adults' of the magic world?

A: Well, not all mages adopt a Legacy. It's seen as a sign of dedication to a certain method of soul work, and to be commended for that reason. But some mages don't want to tie themselves down to a single method, although this is traditionally seen as avoiding making an important decision. Still, since not every mage can find a tutor to induct them into just the right Legacy for their tastes, it's considered okay to never join a Legacy. The mages who value Legacies the most are those who believe that perfected souls are that much closer to ascension to the Supernal World, and are thus advancing the cause of all mages no matter which Legacy they pursue (unless it's Left-handed).

Q: Just to clairify, it is very much an Expected thing, just that a decent amount of leeway is given for those that can't find a legacy to suit themselves. Those that decide they don't want to lock themselves into a legacy are viewed as 'slackerish' but it's a slight social stigma, nothing major?

A: Well, it's sort of an Expected thing, but since many mages put off doing it, there's not too much recrimination. It really depends on the individual and the region. In Boston Unveiled there are only a few characters with Legacies; most mages in the region have not adopted one (yet or never, depending on personal taste).

I think its better to say that someone who has chosen a Legacy gets a degree of either respect or wariness by others when dealing with him, whereas someone who hasn't isn't necessarily treated any differently, although the traditionalists might put on some airs if they know a mage has declared he won't ever pursue a Legacy.

Chapter 2: CharacterEdit

Character CreationEdit

Q: During Char creation, when starting play as an order member, do you get 6 merit dots + Status:Order(*) Or are you free to be a full member (with all benefits) without buying order status?

A: You don't have to have Order Status to be a full member. There are certain roles and duties you'll need Status for, if you elect to do them, such as Sentinel, Councilor, etc. But otherwise it’s not required.

Q: Can I write an order down on my sheet/be considered part of an order without having a dot in Order Status?

A: Yes.

Q: Does that get me High Speech?

A: Yes.

Q: Does that get me Rote Specialties?

A: Yes, you do get the Rote Specialties, but no one within the order will teach you rotes unless you have at least one dot of Status. The initial rotes you write on your character sheet are considered incentives the order taught you to lure you in, but they won't let you go farther without a sign of deeper committment.

Q: If you quit an order and then, somehow, join another, do you get that Order's rote specialties as well, as soon as you buy a dot in Status ([Another Order])?

A: I'd say that you'd probably need Status in your new order before they trust you enough to teach you the Specialties (and you definitately need it before they'll teach you rotes at all).

Q: All Rotes originate from an Order and are kept secret; there are no common rotes.

A: An apostate master could make rotes and make them available to everyone, but the orders would distrust them and discourage their use.


Q: Can you clarify the Wisdom 4 sin 'harming someone with magic'?

A: Using magic to 'harm someone' does need a better explanation, I agree. It really means using magic to directly harm someone with intent (accidents don't count). 'Someone' really refers to humans, not werewolves or spirits (or ghosts), although if the mage believes the werewolf is a human (i.e., someone cursed with lycanthropy, rather than a half-human/half-spirit creature), he might suffer degeneration for intentionally and directly inflicting harm with magic.

Q: Wisdom 4's "harm to someone" rule. I've heard you mentioned -direct- harm, so directing lighting or electricity from a wall socket doesn't count? What about self-defense? How much damage is harm (bashing/lethal/aggravated), because in the spell casting combat example, no one ever rolls for Wisdom?

A: Wisdom degradation only becomes an issue if you're using magic to harm someone maliciously. You can use it out of self-defense or defense of others. You can use it if someone has called you out for a fight and says it's okay (fight to the death, probably). But you can't go around using magic for ill purposes against others without suffering possible Wisdom degradation.

Rules for Wisdom/Morality shouldn't be seen as a "letter of the law" kind of thing -- the spirit is what's important here, as it is when discussing most issues involving the humanities rather than science or law. However, this doesn't mean that lack of intent gets you off the hook in all cases -- accidental manslaughter is still something that shakes someone's Morality.

Q: What exactly counts as a curse for the Wisdom 7 degeneration?

A: Any Fate Evil Eye or variants.

Q: Would spells like Befuddle and Enfeeblement count as "cursing someone" for the Wisdom 7 degeneration?

A: Yes.

Q: Using Monkey's Paw to hex an object a person has counts as hexing them and is thus a Wisdom 7 degeneration roll.

A: Yes.

Q: Can you clarify what exactly is a Curse? Is it anything that lowers an opponent's attribute or affects his roll? What about mind control? It doesn't seem like it would be any spell that has a duration that's cast on a target. After all, things like Influence Emotion don't appear to be curses. I'm also assuming that this Wisdom 7 degeneration should be looked at from the spirit, and not the text, similar to the Wisdom 4 harm someone with magic.

A: Generally, a spell which causes the target to suffer negative happenstance that he has not earned or caused himself. Take context into account, though. This is a relatively minor "sin." Once your Wisdom drops below 7, you don't have to worry about it again. But those mages trying to keep to the Wise road shouldn't go around causing others to suffer ill happenstance for their own ends; that's bending fate or karma's natural process.

Q: You clarified that 'Harming someone with magic' only applies if the mage does this of his own volition and 'without due cause' - i.e., if he were defending himself from an attacker or participating in an agreed-upon magical duel, it wouldn't cause degeneration. Is this sort of discernment meant to apply to all Wisdom sins? That is to say, if you cast a curse someone in self-defense or bind a spirit to stop it from eating you or whatever, you shouldnt' have to make a degeneration roll? (Though context presumably still matters, so "he threw a punch at me" is not enough justification for unloading a death curse)

A: A curse is not really a self-defense spell -- degrading someone's Attributes or their dice pool doesn't stop them from attacking you; it just shifts the odds. You're still steering fate/karma to your own needs, rather than letting it play out against the target in its own due time.

The self-defense option might well apply against the spirit, if binding it stops it from harming you. But if you keep it bound beyond the immediate danger, then you might have to revisit the Wisdom roll.

Q: Does this also apply to Morality and/or Humanity? I'd been operating under the assumption that it really is the 'letter of the law' that caused you to degenerate because (good intentions or not) you were becoming desentized to causing suffering, so even someone who commits sins in self-defense comes away changed.

A: The sorts of things that apply to Morality in the World of Darkness rulebook err a bit more toward the letter of the law. Even if you kill someone in self-defense, your conscience can be plagued by guilt and doubt about whether you could have found another option (even if you really couldn't have).

Q: Is Unseen Senses only triggered by the casting (or activation, with a Time 2 delayed-release) of a spell, or the exitence of a spell in use? For example, would a Mage using Mage Sight walking into a room trigger Unseen Senses for those already present in the room?

A: A mage's Unseen Sense simply alerts him to the presence of active magic, including pre-existing but still extant spells and newly cast spells as they happen. He doesn't know anything about the magic, though, only that he is in its presence.

Q: A path colors a mage's aura, says the nimbus sidebar(AwkP90). The Prime Sight spell (supernal vision) says you can, with a look, tell a vamp from a mage from a werewolf from anything else. Does this mean, with prime sight active, that a Moros's aura 'stinks of the grave' in a recognizable manner?

A: No, it simply means that the nimbus should somehow be related or illustrative of the mage's Path, but it could be subtle. It's up to the mage to make the connection that since one mage "stinks of the grave," he's probably a Moros rather than, say, an Obrimos.

Q: Does a Mage's Unseen Sense detect such things as Werewolf Gifts and Vampire Disciplines? If yes, do innate Disciplines, specifically Protean 1 and Obfuscate 2 set off the Unseen Senses since they are Disciplines, though in a way they would automatically give away the Vampires to Mages?

A: A mage's Unseen Sense will detect active powers, although in the case of powers that are designed to be hidden, like Obfuscate, that power trumps the Unseen Sense (the mage's Mage Sight can contend with the power, Potency vs. successes, though). Protean 1 only works against vampires, but its use would alert a mage to presence of the supernatural, but (as in all cases) not pinpoint the exact nature or source of the supernatural.

Q: What does this mean for a power like Incognito Presence? Would Unseen Sense work around it, just the spell still makes it harder to find them if actively searching?

A: That spell, like any that are designed to hide something (most all Veiling spells), would go unnoticed by Unseen Senses.


Q: What are the XP costs of raising familiars' traits?

A: I generally wouldn't allow the familiar to learn new numina, unless there's a very good reason. However, if you must, you'll have to do the hard work of figuring out what dot level to assign a numen based on its relative power compared to a similar spell, and then charge new dots x5. [The XP cost of raising a material familiar's traits is new dots x5]. Although fetches do have some drawbacks (low-level Spirit Arcanum spells have more dramatic effects against them than, say, low-level Life and Mind spells do against material familiars), but...yeah, I'd probably say it costs a fetch new dots x7 to raise Power, Finesse or Resistance.

Q: How do you determine the Potency of permanent effects in an Artifact, such as "Ward"? Also, how would you reinforce a ward spell?

A: I'm still working on explicating the Merit rules for enchanted items. When you make them during play, it's just like casting a spell. But when you buy them before play as Merits, there does need to be a way to measure Potency, and I just need time to examine that issue and come up with an answer.

Q: By comparison to Wolf-Blooded, Sleepwalker seems underpowered, and better rated at 3 than 4. 4 is the intent?

A: Sleepwalkers aren't intended to be as, well, important a category as Wolf-Blooded. However, yeah, I'd probably scale the cost back to 3 dots. Or else give Sleepwalkers an Unseen Sense for Awakened magic, which I almost did anyway. So, maybe two versions of the Merit.

Q: Is High Speech literally a phonetic language that depends on air and vocal cords to produce sound? Similarly are Atlantean Runes literally a visually represented language that depends on sight specifically to decode?

A: There's an essay on the High Speech in the forthcoming book Secrets of the Ruined Temple that will hopefully answer many questions about High Speech (and spur new questions).

Magical ToolsEdit

Q: Could there possibly be examples of Magical Tools that don't require dedication in other categories besides Life tools?

A: Yes, as long as they are temporary or get broken/used up during casting.

Q: Magical Tools and Sacraments, do they have to be material, or can they be actions?

A: They should be material. We might explore the idea of a more esoteric "action-based" tool in a future book, but it was just raising too many questions for us to tackle the topic in the core book.

Chapter 3: MagicEdit


Q: How do I decide what skill and attribute to roll?

A: If it's an improvised spell, it's always Gnosis + the Arcanum used. If it's a rote, it uses the Skill listed, while the Attribute used depends on the choices made by the rote's creator, and then you add the Arcanum used.

C: The rotes listed with each spell are simply samples. All the orders have variations of their own on every one of these spells, some rarer than others. That is, you might have to do some networking or grimoire searching to find a spell for, say, the Adamantine Arrow that is common for the Mysterium, and vice versa.

Q: If I want to extend the duration of my armor, can I chose to take a -2 modifier to my roll instead of paying the mana?

A: You can choose to suffer the penalties listed on p. 119. It'd be -6 to get the same 24 hour Duration, or -2 if you had one-dot higher proficiency with the Arcanum.

Q: How can we decide if any effect involving twilight, auras, spirits, the gauntlet, the spirit realm, or any other thing non-existant by the normal (?) rules of physics is vulgar or not according to that, I quote: "Any spell that could occur through the normal laws of physics (page 112)" caveat thingy?

A: I hope to have more info on this in the forthcoming Tome of the Mysteries, but that's still a ways off. Generally, effects that affect only Twilight or the Shadow Realm are probably covert, while those that somehow draw either of those states of being into the material realm are probably vulgar. As long as things are kept in their proper place, it's "within the laws of physics." Otherwise, it risks a Paradox.

Q: For the fantasia effect in terms of Disbelief. In the example, the Rat turned into an imp, simply reverts back to being a rat.. However in the spell description, it says the Phantasmed animals takes bashing damage from disbelief? Which one is correct? If my players turn a bird into a small dragon and flies over a crowd? Does it turn back into a bird? Or does it drop dead in the crowd?

A: You're talking about two spells here. In the case of Fantasia, Disbelief does no damage but can dispel the spell (as per the normal rules for Disbelief). In the case of Fantasia cast in combination with Hereditary Change, affected creatures suffer damage from Disbelief.

Q: What happens if I use Fantasia to create a symbiotic limb that attaches itself to my stump? Fantasia is Vulgar, but if I make the limb look JUST LIKE my old one, and do up some stitches or somesuch, does Vulgar suddenly become Covert? Or is it Vulgar with the special case of Disbelief not affecting it? Or do Sleepers somehow see through the disquise of a symbiotic organism mimicing real life?

A: Vulgar does not become covert. Unlike in Ascension, a spell's basic aspect (covert or vulgar) is not affected by belief or witnessing. The exception is that sometimes a covert spell can become Improbable, which is sort of an in-between state between covert and vulgar.

In the case of Hereditary Change in combination with Fantasia, playing to local beliefs can lower the Sleepers' Disbelief damage roll, but it doesn't affect Paradox in this case. Since Hereditary Change is lasting, it cannot be dispelled by Disbelief (as is the case with the Fantasia spell on its own); instead, unreal creatures suffer damage from Sleeper gaze.

Q: Is there any way to hide your spells from observation with Mage Sight? If not, are Warded/Banned Sanctums essentially glowing billboards for any mage walking by with Mage Sight running?

A: I'd meant to put in a Prime 2 ability, similar to conditional and prepared spells, that allowed a mage to cloak a spell from a mage's Unseen Sense (automatic) and Mage Sight (contested by those with the Sight) as he casts it. I'll have to add that into Tome of the Mysteries.

Q: Page 111 says that if a mage is immobilized, any rote that requires a mudra to perform gets a -2 dice penalty. Page 125 says that if a mage is unable to perform the mudra for a rote he cannot perform the rote. Which is correct?

A: Both are correct. Being immobilized doesn't prevent the mage from performing the mudra, although it hinders him from properly doing so. But there might be other situations that completely prevent it, such as when a mage is bound and gagged and can't move a finger, in which case he can't perform the mudra (and thus the rote) at all.

Q: Oh yeah, when Sleepers make a Covert spell Improbable by witnessing it, does the ST roll base Paradox + 2 or just base Paradox?

A: Just base Paradox. The Improbability has caused the chance of a Paradox to occur at all. Witnesses don't affect the odds, as they do with vulgar spells.

Q: Is there a limit on the successes that a Mage is allowed to garner for Prepared Spells? (spells used in conjunction with Time 2).

A: The same general guidelines for extended actions that are listed in the World of Darkness rulebook apply. I don't have that handy as I write, but in general, a character can't make more rolls than his basic (unmodified) dice pool. If he's rolling Gnosis 3 + Prime 2 then he can make 5 rolls. But the Storyteller can give him some leeway if he wants.

Q: Also, if the spell in question is one of the Mage's Rotes, does the final Prepared Spell also count as the same Rote, or must it be cast as a Creative Thaumaturgy one? For example: A Mage with Gnosis 4, Time 3, Mind 3 and the Psychic Assault Rote, wants to cast Psychic Assault as a Prepared Spell. Will it count as a Rote (thus allowing him to employ the Rote's casting pool) or as a Creative Thaumaturgy spell (thus forcing him to employ only his Gnosis+Arcana pool)?

A: It counts as a rote.

Q: If a spell which is being cast on you is covert, even if you know what they're going to cast (say, because it's a spell they use All the time and they're obviously about to. Like Psychic Assault if they're going to attack you) you still can't counter it.

A: Theoretically, if he had time to study the resonance of the spell, he could counter it. In other words, Time might allow some extra time to study an incoming spell, using the scrutinizing resonance rules.

Q: Paradox pools reduced to zero dice still have a chance die.

A: Yes.

C: All the mages involved in a group ritual must be capable of casting the spell on their own, so one mage can't introduce a conjunctional effect that all the other ritualists couldn't also add.

Q: What counts as targeting? Can I target 'the space around someone's head' and have a permanent effect there? Can I enchant a thought in their mind permanently? Or a topic of conversation? Yes, I'm trying to get around that rule, but I'm trying to do it for plot reasons.

A: You can target the space around someone's head if you cast an area-affect spell. If the spell doesn't naturally allow that (i.e., if it's not mentioned as the default in the spell description), see the area-effect rules for what you need to do for such a casting.

A thought or topic cannot be targeted, only people, places and things.

General Spell ConsiderationsEdit

Q: How is Paradox applied in cases of team castings?

A: The leader takes the brunt of it, although the area-effect Paradoxes, like anomalies, affect everyone.

Q: In a co-operative spell, who maintains it, the leader? For example, a bunch of Space apprentices work together and erect one big-ass ward, the leader is the one who has it count as one of his active spells?

A: Yes, it counts toward the leader's active spells.

Q: Oh if anyone else is going to ask about casting times for teamwork spells, I'm guessing that every participant gets to use the time per roll of the leader, making it very useful for a high Gnosis mage to be the leader like it seems to say in the Create Demesne spell. Is that how you would do it Bill?

A: Bingo!

Q: There's a Forces 4 'Control Weather' Rote of the Free Council whose dicepool is listed as something like Intelligence + (Occult or Science). Later in the description, there's mention of a Mysterium Rote which uses Resolve + Science, with no option to substitute in Occult. Should the dicepools in question be switched around? On that same topic, does every mage always have the option to learn the "vanilla" version of a Rote? That is to say, could a member of the Mysterium with higher Presence than Manipulation choose to learn the Presence + Intimidation version of Word of Woe (which is the default) rather than the Manipulation + Intimidation version (which the Mysterium is noted for having)? Can we anticipate some sort of in-depth look at just how Attributes and Skills relate to the function of a Rote, in general? I.e., a word on how common "alternate" castings of given Rotes are within the same order or some kind of detailed list of what kind of magical tasks different Skills can perform (i.e. Science for exact manipulations of matter or energy, Occult for crude manipulations of matter or energy and manipulation of magic itself, Athletics for directing physical projectiles)?

A: The Skill used in a rote is inherent to the effect -- it is meant to mirror the effect as best as possible and cannot be chosen by the rote's creator. He must use the Skill that best represents the effect he's coding. We might be able to squeeze some advice on this into a future book, but the sheer number of combinations are dizzying, and we won't be able to judge by context, which is always best in such cases.

The Attribute used is entirely the choice of the rote's creator. The samples listed in the spell descriptions are meant to imply the sorts of Attributes masters of that order probably raise to high levels, and so code into their rotes. The Storyteller can, however, veto use of an Attribute that just seems too out of place for the rote (Dexterity for a mind-reading rote, for instance).

Q: Why are there no 5-dot direct-attack spells listed in the book? All of the attack spells are 4-dot effects that say that they can be upgraded to Aggravated with the expenditure of 1 Mana. Would a 5-dot direct-attack spell be more powerful than a 4-dot direct-attack spell, in the same way that natural Mind 5 effects are more powerful than Mind 4 effects cast with 5 dots in Mind?

A: You are welcome to develop some 5-dot attack spells if you can imagine effects that aren't merely improved versions of lower-level attacks. We'll probably present some in future books.

Q: Life 3 "Healing Heart" + Death 3 "Devouring the Slain" + a Sleepwalker + a Demense seems to theoretically give infinite Mana and/or Willpower without the risk of Paradox. Surely you see the problem with this.

A: Well, it doesn't matter if the target is a Sleepwalker or not -- they can't make a vulgar spell covert; they simply don't act as witnesses. And yes, if it's done in a Demesne, it's covert, so no Paradox. But its heinous (even if you're healing the target afterwards -- you're still causing pain), and will require Wisdom degeneration checks for using magic to harm someone. So, yes, you could keep a person chained up as your personal Mana bank, if you're into that sort of thing.

Q: Would it be possible to inflict Resistant damage with magic?

A: Maybe.

Q: The limit is double the standard durability or enhancement bonus of a mundane item before it becomes Improbable and subject to Disbelief, correct?

A: Yes.

Q: Combining a "Counterspell Prime" Rote with a "Magic Shield" Rote, with the intent of destroying an incoming spell. Is it possible to accomplish this, since the "Counterpell Prime" effect moves you up the Initiative stack, and if so, does the Shielding Practice trigger at the same time and subtract it's rating from the targeted spell also?

A: When casting combined spells, use the lowest initiative.

Q: Mage Sight: Do all activated supernatural abilities show up when Sight is active, regardless of which Arcana is used? Do all spells cast, regardless of Arcana of spell or Sight, show up? Can any Sight be used to analyze any type of resonance, just with some being better at certain types than others?

A: In general, all active magic can be seen by all Mage Sights, although some might be harder to see and/or analyze than others, depending on the type of Arcanum used.

Q: Do you mean to say that Grim Sight (Mage Sight with Death 1) could "see" vampire powers while Supernal Vision or Temporal Ripples (other Mage Sight spells) could not? Or do you mean that any Mage Sight alone wouldn't suffice to spot a discipline in action, while some "death energy" version of Spirit Tongue (which isn't a Mage sight spell but is a "detect supernatural things related to this Arcanum's purview" spell) would?

A: Yes, the idea is that certain Arcana can see some things that others can't easily see. Grim Sight will reveal a Discipline in action. That doesn't mean that the Time Mage Sight can't see it at all, but that it's too subtle to notice without actually looking for it and maybe taking an extended action to scrutinize for it (which could take more than one turn, depending on the situation and powers used). So, in theory, all forms of Mage Sight can eventually reveal most supernatural phenomena, but some do it automatically while others require time and careful scrutiny.

Q: Can Mage Sight be used to identify the actual function of a spell? Can it be used the same way on other supernatural powers (i.e., looking at a vampire using Vigor and realizing he's increased his strength)? The text is unclear on this - is Mage Sight intended to immediately tell you the location and function of whatever supernatural power set off your Unseen Senses as some passages seem to indicate?

A: No. The rules for scrutinizing resonance tell you how you can use Mage Sight to examine a spell. The current rules don't include function, because I thought it'd be too easy to go around identifying spells that way, when mages need to be more like detectives, piecing together clues. However, I suspect this just opens up the field for arguments between players and Storytellers about how much the character knows versus how much the player knows. If this is the case, the Storyteller is free to adopt this optional rule: Mage Sight identifies function by requiring one success per dot rank of the spell.

A mage cannot do this with the powers of other supernaturals -- there is no way getting around the need to study them in person, "in the field."

Q: Do you think other, more involved spells than Mage Sight could accomplish this? If so, would it use Unveiling or something greater? (For instance, there's a Prime 1 spell specifically for analyzing imbued items. In the same vein, is it feasible that a mage might develop a Mind 1 "analyze psychic power" spell which he can specifically use to determine, say, what a vampire who uses Auspex 3 on an object is doing?)

A: Yes, spells can be developed, but they'd have to be developed by someone who knew something of the matter. The exceptions might be general perception of werewolf powers using a Spirit spell, just as Grim Sight is an exception for Death with vampires.

Q: Similarly, if Mage Sight alone can't work on "other" supernatural powers, what are things like Grim Sight's +1 die to detecting vampire disciplines for?)

A: Yes, exceptions can occur. If we get around to doing more detailed crossover rules, we'll get into this arena. Until then, feel free to make it up, using Spirit=werewolf gifts and Death=vampire disciplines as guidelines.

Q: I phrased this badly. If a mage did have Mage Sight on, can he "see" other supernatural powers? For instance, my Moros turns on Grim Sight and notices that a vampire (who the Storyteller knows is using Vigor) glowing with cursed power - is this how it's supposed to work, or would he have to use some sort of more specialized Death Magic to actually spot what activated his Unseen Senses?

A: Use more specialized exceptions, like Grim Sight or maybe Spirit Tongue.

Q: How exactly does Mage Sight do better than a mage's built-in Unseen Senses when detecting supernatural powers? Can a mage who looks at something using or under the influence of a supernatural power somehow see it, i.e. a vampire using Vigor glows with invisible power in the mage's eyes?

A: Unseen Sense only alerts the mage to the presence of active magic or supernatural powers, but tells him nothing whatsoever about the magic.

Q: You said earlier that any kind of Mage Sight can detect there is magic going on, but its easier to discern types of magic with some Sights rather than others. Third Eye, pg 206, talks about being used to detect effects that are used to control or influence people's minds. Now it mentions nothing of other spells, and would count towards detecting magic of any kind going on because it is a Mage Sight based on this logic. My question then is this: Is this an example of a spell you need in order to better understand the spell being cast? If I were to look at someone being mind controlled using Grim Sight I"d be able to tell there was something going on but not what? But I'd need Third Eye to tell it was mind control and not body control? Or am I just grasping at straws here?

A: Right, each type gives different effects, although they all allow you to use the rules for scrutinizing resonance and spells. But Mind might tell you that telepathy was going on without needing a long involved extended scrutiny action, and so forth.

Q: Would Mage Sight allow you to spot someone hiding in darkness by virtue of seeing their aura? If so, would mages get bonuses for, say, tracking and fighting in the dark? This seems an ancillary benefit that goes well beyond Mage Sight's intent, but, I've seen it argued, so I figure it's worth addressing.

A: Auras and resonance don't necessarily glow in the dark. Seeing them assumes you've got a light source. Mage Sight doesn't allow you to see these things in the absense of light or without some magical means of seeing in the dark.

Q: Okay, so apparently vulgar magic is always vulgar reguardless of any mitigating circumstances, and also suffers disbelief from the gaze of sleepers, even if they don't know theres anything going on, such in the case with the symbiotic arm as you pointed out.

A: Disbelief only occurs if the spell looks vulgar to a Sleeper. The casting itself is almost always enough to trigger Disbelief, but after the casting, the effect might or might not trigger it, depending on if it looks vulgar.

Q: So one of my more clever players pointed out an alarming aspect to this.. Could one not simply transmutate a group of cement barricades into marbles, and then throw said marbles at chasing opponents such as Police Cars, and watch as the polices passive disblief turns them back into now Giant Flying Cement Blocks of Doom? Hell you can do this with Life turning a giant oak into a acorn and then throwing it at someone, letting their disbelief turn it back into a giant tree to smack them?

A: Maybe your more clever player should read the rules for Unraveling on p. 274. On the first turn, Disbelief is rolled. If the successes exceed the spell's Potency, then the spell is indeed dispelled and your marbles will become rocks. If not, another roll isn't made for 10 minutes. Note also that the average Sleeper has 4 dice for the first roll, for an average of 1 success. This is not enough to exceed a Potency 1 spell. On average, your marbles will stay marbles.

Q: There is no way to give a transitory spell a prolonged Duration, regardless of having more Arcana than needed.

A: Correct.

Q: That means for example that there is no way to make a permanent portal (as in Portal spell on 238) it is a transitory spell... please tell me I read that wrong. And it that were true 'Portal Key' (page 240) seems to be kind of useless.

A: Ah, right. As it says in the spell description for Portal, Space 4 does allow you to cast with a prolonged Duration. What I meant by my answer was that you can't make a transitory spell prolonged if it doesn't allow it in the description. That is, there's no Arcana lore, Prime spell or condition that allows you to fiddle with this basic factor, unless the basic effect allows for this kind of upgrade, in which case it should be listed in the description.

Q: What is the rationale behind the 'no indefinite durations on a living being' rule, anyway? It seems kind of artificial to me, and it's been hampering the plotline of my incipient game.

A: Living Patterns grow and change constantly. Magic unravels around this growth. Theoretically, this isn't a problem in the Supernal World, but here in the Fallen World, it's a fact of life. Mages claim that some degrees of archmastery might allow a mage to fix magic indefinately to a living Pattern.

And it sure does help game balance.

Q: Specifically, is it possible to duplicate Dominate 3 with Mind? Or Dominate 4? I want my big bad NPC villain to be able to cast a spell on someone so that they can never speak out (or otherwise communicate) about a specific topic. Is that possible with magic, or will that wear off after a scene, rendering such tactics useless?

A: Mind doesn't exactly duplicate Dominate, in that different powers are available at different ranks in different ways. Generally, you need more ranks in Mind to do direct commands than a vampire does with Dominate using lower ranks, although Mind makes up for this by being more versatile.

Magic will always eventually wear off of a living Pattern. It's still possible to do a spell that lasts one month, and then corner the poor bastard a month later and cast a new spell on him.

The Secrets of the Universe: ArcanaEdit

Q: How much damage do fraying spells do?

A: Depends on the spell. Generally, it'll be one point of damage per success, usually bashing.

Q: If a person knows Time 2 and Forces 2, can he cast both shielding rotes on himself and do they both "add up" for protection?

A: No, the effects don't stack. The spells are too similar, even though they're cast by different Arcana. See the rules for "Spell Accumulation" on p. 128. "...multiple spells with the same effect on the same target do not 'stack' or accumulate. Only the spell with the highest Potency takes precedence." A spell that provides armor points does not stack with a different spell that provides armor points, regardless of Arcanum. If both spells are cast, they still exist upon the target, but only the highest Potency spell actually has effect. If its Duration expires before the lesser spell, then the lesser spell would take effect upon the greater spell's expiration.

Q: [But] in the book's example, it says that "Another Strength-boosting spell does not stack with the first". It seems to me that Organic Resilience is granting "tissue resilience", the degree of which is measured in armor points. Ephemeral Armor grants, well, Ephemeral Armor, the protection of which is also measured in armor points. Other armor bonuses stack - Uratha natural armor stacks with whatever artificial armor they are wearing. If you put on some reinforced clothing, you would get one more armor on top of your protective spells.

A. Try not to parse this stuff so specifically -- this isn't computer code we're writing, but common sense rules guidelines. But if we want to be ultra specific, then we could say that "game rule effects" don't stack, regardless of the magical causes or descriptions of the spells involved. In the example you quote, capitalized Strength refers to a trait, not a general, non-capitalized "strength" that a living organism might have in some aspect of its body. Organic Resilience does strengthen tissue reslilience, but it doesn't add the sort of muscle power that is measured in the Strength trait.

The effect of a protective Shielding spell is to protect its wearer, which is defined in the game rules as armor points. As I said earlier, it's the game rules effect you're measuring when determining whether something stacks, not its description of cause. Let me be clear: As per the lexicon definition of "effect" in Mage, p. 21, we're talking about the description of how a spell alters reality, not "effect" as in "what follows after a cause" (as in "cause and effect"). For the spell accumulation rules, we're talking about the game rules effect.

Q: If you have multiple shield spells cast on you, of the same dot-strength and duration, which of these takes precedence? The first, by virtue of casting order; or most recent, by virtue of freshness?

A: In the case of two equally Potent spells, the caster can choose which of his own spells takes precedence. If he's casting it on someone else who already has that spell, the existing spell takes precedence.

Additional effects besides armor can be stacked. So, Ephemeral Armor cast on top of an Organic Resilience spell won't provide extra armor points to the total, but it will provide its armor points against ephemeral attacks (which the Organic Resilience does not protect against).

Q: Does the system permit a rote that would give a character an armor rating greater than their dots in the relevant arcanum. For example, can a mage apply additional potency successes to the various shielding rotes to achieve a higher armor rating?

A: No.


Q: Why can you sculpt inanimate ephemera with Death, but not Spirit? Again, a question of theme and concept.

A: Spirit is sort of like living ephemera, so many of things that the Arcanum does to spirits (binding, creating fetishes, Shape Spirit, etc.) are the equivalent. In a sense, Death is kind of like a Matter Arcanum for ephemera, while Spirit is kind of like a Life Arcanum for ephemera.

C: Atlantean cosmology doesn't see ghosts as alive; there are ephemeral shells left behind by souls. Their animation can be seen sort of like a clockwork mechanism that refuses to wind down. They are, as far as Awakened magic is concerned, "objects."

Q: "Touch of the Grave" (Death 2) and "Gossamer Touch" (Spirit 2) both allow you to interact with ghosts and spirits (respectively) on an physical level. "Touch of the Grave" states "The caster cannot damage ghosts", while "Gossamer Touch" reads, "whether to offer a friendly touch or a closed fist". These spells seem very similiar and the Spirit version seems to suggest that you can strike spirits, although the magic itself cannot harm them. Is that correct and if so, is "Touch of the Grave" the same, allowing you to strike ghosts, but not harm them with magic? Finally, if the above are correct, can weapons and "physical magic" (such as "Thunderbolt") be used with those spells?

A: Using those spells, the mage can use his own natural weaponry (fist, kicks, bite) to harm spirits, but the spells do not allow a magical assault by themselves. You can combine them with other spells that do cause harm, however. [You can't use a knife or a gun] without using a spell like Rouse Spirit, to give it an ephemeral presence.

Q: Might Death also exorcise just ghosts? It's a common theme of necromancy to do just that. I was more curious as to why they weren't separated.

A: Certainly, I can see a Death spell that exorcises just ghosts.

Q: Why is Control Ghost vulgar, while Control Spirit is not? The two spells have almost the exact wordings.

A: Control Ghost should also be covert. It's vulgar aspect is a mistake.

Q: Should the spells Decay (Death 2, p. 137) and Destroy Object (Death 3, p. 139) have their visual descriptions and Aspects swapped, since as it stands the former (vulgar) makes an object more delicate and subject to outside damage, while the latter (covert) destroys objects directly?

A: Destroy Object should also be vulgar. It's covert aspect is a mistake.

Q: The spell "Slay Own Aura" is listed as Death 5, but it's in amongst all the other Death 4 spells on page 144. Is it misplaced, or should it be Death 4?

A: The extra dot is a mistake. It either got in there because the spell was once at 5 dots and then we changed it during development, or there was simply a typing (and proofing) error. So, it's a 4 dot spell.

Q: The description of the Death 4 spell Soul Binding (page 144) says a mage can use it to attach a stolen soul to himself, provided he has no soul at the time. However, elsewhere the book says a mage without a soul can't cast spells. What's up with that?

A: Ah, yes, a descrepancy in design from when Tremere were not just a legacy. I've been thinking that I need to add a grace period to the soul loss rules, giving mages a slower degradation of powers rather than just instant Sleep. This discrepancy convinces me that I need to make that official. I'd say offhand that a mage who loses his soul loses 1 dot of Gnosis per 24 hours until he has zero, in which case he is a Sleeper until he gets his soul back. He can continue to cast magic as long as he has at least one dot of Gnosis.

Of course, the Soul Binding spell could be imbued into an item, allowing a souless mage or Sleeper to cast it and attach a new soul to himself.

Q: The sidebar on pg 180 in the Life Arcanum's section states that Death is used for zombies, revenants, ghosts and vampires. But there are no specific examples under Death that deal with vampires. Is Death used in place of Life for similar effects or is Death needed in a conjunctive casting? And what about Matter and vampires? Can that Arcanum affect their undead bodies by itself, or is Death also needed to bridge a gap?

A: I need to have a chat with Will again about this topic, but back when we did the initial design, the idea was that you would need Death as a conjunctional Arcanum to cast spells that directly alter a vampire's Pattern. That doesn't mean you need Death to hit a vampire with a Forces 4 Thunderbolt, or to mind control one with Mind. It does mean, though, that if you wanted to use Life to alter a vampire's Size, you'd need to add some Death (at least 2, maybe more if a Death spell's effect is also called for, although that might need a combined casting).

It's such a broad category, it's tough to give a list of every use; it's ultimately the Storyteller's call. One rule of thumb: If the spell affects the vampire's powers or Vitae, it definitately needs a Death component. In other words, if it affects the undead state or condition, you need Death.

Q: p282 states that disciples of spirit and death can cross the gauntlet using ghost gate and spirit road and adepts can essentially step sideways using a higher level spell. for spirit this is fine, but in the case of death the descriptions of ghost gate and the higher level death spell (twilight shift) do not make any mention of crossing the gauntlet. Is this an oversight on the spell descriptions or is the bit about crossing the gauntlet incorrect?

A: The text on p. 282 concerning using Ghost Gate to cross the Gauntlet is incorrect. (It was correct at one point during the game's design, but not in the final version. That text should have been cut.)

Q: Verifying that it is possible to open a Ghost Gate to Twilight, carry in a piece of raw material, use Sculpt Ephemera on it while it is more malleable into a new shape with increased durability or bonuses (enhancing it), then carry it back out again in it's new form? IE: Take a lump of silver and gold into the Shadow, twist them together intricately with magic into a new shape, increase their durability, then bring it back?

A: Yes, but you can't alter an object's substance with Sculpt Ephemera, only its shape and Durability.

Q: If you Enhance the durability of an item (from the standard Durability 1 of ephemeral items, equivalent to wooden material) in Twilight, does the Durability carry over when pulled out temporarily though Touch of the Grave? The wording is kind of vague, referring to "turns to ash, regardless of their original consistency", which could mean A: that a bank safe pulled from Twilight would be steel until destroyed, at which point it is ashes, or B: could refer to the original item's durability, before it entered Twilight as a ghost of itself, IE: a bank safe would have durability 3+, but it's Twilight self after the bank burned would only have 1 unless enhanced with magic.

A: The text refers to items found "naturally" in Twilight -- the "ghosts" or shades of objects that once had some significance to a living soul and were somehow left behind in Twilight, such as items that once served as an anchor for a ghost, although the Storyteller can leave objects lying around for mysterious reasons. If such an object's Durability is altered using Sculpt Ephemera, it applies when drawn out using Touch of the Grave.

Q: If I cast Ghost Touch (using Death3) on someone else, can they be hurt by Ephemeral weapons? Touch of the Grave (Death2) states that Ghosts can attack you. If you cast it on someone else (normaly takes +1 Arcana level), then Ghosts should be able to attack them, right? So, since Ghosts are Twilight beings, made of Ephemera, and use Ephemeral weapons, would an Ephermeral shotgun do normal damage to a person enchanted with Ghost Touch, disregarding their purely mundane armor?

A: Yes, you can cast Touch of the Grave on someone if you know Death 3. The target would get to make a contested roll (probably Composure or Stamina + Gnosis). He'd then be affected by Twilight ghosts.

As for ghosts using ephemeral weapons...maybe. If it's part of the ghost's schtick to do so, it might, but the weapon might not be a real ephemeral weapon -- it might just be the manner in which the ghost's Corpus appears when it attacks at range. If the ghost has enough wits and free will to pick up an ephemeral weapon and wield it, okay (or if a mage commands it to do so), but ghosts don't tend to do things outside of their "scripts."

An ephemeral shotgun that was "naturally" occuring (hanging on the wall of the murder cabin) might do normal damage -- once. Then the shock of firing it might cause its delicate Durability to disintegrate -- it's the Storyteller's call. Don't count on ephemeral things always being exact replicas of material things.

Q: Are Ephermal items subjected to Sculpt Ephemera that have very high Durability/Enhancement bonuses subject to Disbelief, since they are outside normal reality?

A: Well, Sleepers can't see them and be affected by them, unless they (the Sleepers) are enchanted somehow, in which case the spell that enchants them might well be subject to Disblief and its dispelling effect. If such an item were drawn into the material world, it would trigger Disbelief if it was obviously supernatural and/or had enhancements that exceed twice its natural traits.

Q: Is it possible to cast Sculpt Ephemera on a target several times to increase Durability, since it has a Lasting effect (or use other Matter spells similarly)?

A: Good question. Generally, no. I'll have to think about this and see if there are any exceptions.

Q: Ghost Gate has a threshold equal to the local Gauntlet... but Twilight is on THIS SIDE of the Gauntlet... so if you never cross it... why?

A: As I mentioned in an earlier answer, the bit about Ghost Gate and Death taking you across the Gauntlet is a mistake, a leftover from a previous phase of design. Death will instead be used to get into the Underworld (details to come in a forthcoming book). Sorry about the confusion.

Q: On the Ghost Gate question again, when a living being is in Twilight, they are ephemeral, so attempts to analyze their resonance get a +2 modifier per the table on p278. Can the Death 2 spell Supress Aura apply penalties to attempts to do this? If so, do attempts to study the Supress Aura spell itself get a +2, in which case, since you can identify a caster through their magic, Supress Aura is more or less useless?

A: Yes, Suppress Aura penalties apply. See Disguising Resonance on p. 279; Suppress Aura is a concealing spell, so the Potency of any perceiving spell must overcome that of the concealing spell before it can be detected.

Q: Spirit 3 "Numinous Shield" protects against Spirit powers, Numia, Gifts and Werewolf Rituals. Given the dual-nature of Twilight/Shadow and Death/Spirit, would there be a similar Death 3 spell that would be effective against Ghost Numia and Vampire Disciplines?

A: There might well be.

Q: What level of Death might you need to identify the anchor(s) of a ghost? I was thinking 2, as you can exorcise a ghost with Death 3. Also, would you need Fate or Space as well? I was thinking no and that , but that if you didn't have Death, you could use Mind to get the image, Space to find it and Fate to discern or sever the link.

A: I think you can hunt it down by tracking resonance with Mage Sight, using the rules for scrutinizing resonance as a guideline. The more powerful the ghost, the harder it might be to find, though.

Q: The biggie is if "Touch of the Grave" can allow a mage to interact with Twilight structures. For example, can they walk upstairs in a ghostly manor, seeming to float a pantomime the steps?

A: I think Twilight probably mirrors the material world more closely than the Shadow Realm. There are probably very few upper stories that exist in Twilight that don't have a material realm equivalent, and those that do might well crumble to dust as soon as someone human-sized began to walk up it.

Q: Would "Speak with the Dead" allow for a mage to see ghostly structures?

A: In general, no. But the Storyteller can make exceptions for exceptional objects.

Q: Can you be in Twilight and cast "Rotting Hands" on a material being?

A: If the mage is wholly within Twilight, such as if he entered a Ghost Gate, the answer is no. If he has simply cast Touch of the Grave on himself, so that he can interact with Twilight beings and things without actually being ephemeral himself, then yes (because he can still touch the material being with his own material flesh).

Q: When "Touch of the Grave" expires, if you have pulled ephemeral items into reality, do they return to Twilight, or does your ability to manipulate objects on the other side simply end, and they remain material?

A: They return to their Twilight state.

Q: If the key difference between Death and Spirit arcanums is that Death deals with ghosts (basically dead spirits as you've said before, more like matter than life...) and Spirit deals with spirits (living ephemera, more like Life than Matter), why does affecting a living thing's living soul usually seem to fall under Death rather than Spirit? Are the living born with dead souls for some reason?

A: Because the soul is still tied to the shell it wore in life, and some mages believe souls are trapped in a cycle of incarnation and death until the Worlds are again united.

Q: With zombies, if Sleepers see them for a while, do the zombies take bashing damage like with Life creations or is the spell just overwhelmed as normal?

A: The Disbelief works to dispell the animating spell; it doesn't damage the zombies.


C: Destroy Bindings should probably be covert.

Q: Now it is a given that you cannot make indefinite duration spells on living things except through the use of the Fate Arcanum. The confusion arises between a friend and myself in that they believe that it can only be used as a Fate only spell as inferred in the sidebar on p. 148 where I contend that it can be used as a conjunctional spell that only needs Fate 2 to set the condition. As inferred in the sidebar on p. 150 detailing conditional spells. Since theythere is no express example of a conjunctional spell as an example the confusion arises.

A: Fate cannot be used conjunctionally to allow another type of spell to have an indefinite Duration on a living Pattern. Sorry. Archmastery (6+ dots) might allow you to cast indefinite spells on living Patterns, though.

Q: Does Conditional Duration allow a Life spell pseudo indefinate duration? As an example, the Beauty and the Beast curse (you will be ugly until you find true love).

A: If the bonus Duration factors you gain due to the Conditional casting bump you up to indefinite Duration, then yes. Otherwise, no (unless you add factors manually). Of course, you have to be able to use the advanced prolongation factors first (a Conditional casting doesn't improve that chart).

You're example of finding true love is either Improbable (+1 factor) or Infrequent (+2 factors), depending on what type of game you're playing in. (( ROMzombie: This answer has been clarified below and changed ))

Q: Did you just contradict yourself in the span of 2 posts??

A: Yes, I did. Sigh. I wasn't paying enough attention to the Arcanum mentioned.

No, a conditional Fate effect added to a Life spell (or any Arcana spell) does not allow you to extend the effect to indefinite if the target is a living being. (I answered the question as if it were a general query about how conditional Duration factors work.)

Q: Doesn't this completely contradict the panel on page 148 which says that a conditional spell can make a duration Indefinite against a living being? Or is that saying that only Fate spells can get over the restriction?

A: Only Fate spells sidestep this restriction.

Q: My question is about Forge Doom and Forge Godsend. Basically are they on the normal prolongation chart or advanced prolongation chart.

A: Yes, you can assume that those spells use the advanced prolongation factors.

Q: Swarm of Locus the Fate 5 spell really can't work, since it itself will then become hit by Disbelief since its considered a Vulgar spell..even though it makes other spells not invoke paradox. So that means there still disbelieving everything right? Including Swarm of Locus itself?

A: The act of casting Swarm of Locust might trigger Disbelief, but once cast, the ongoing effects of the spell do not.

Q: Forge Destiny applies +S dice to every involved roll for the scene, S being successes.

A: Yes, but only involved rolls, as determined by the Storyteller.

Q: Given that Interconnections (Fate 1) allows, amongst other things, the caster to "read the degree of sympathetic connection between subjects" within his/her sensory range, I'm guessing that Correspondence would extend beyond sensory range?

A: No, not unless you added a Space 2 sympathetic range to it. Interconnections does reveal degrees of sympathetic connection, but as an extended action casting. It also tells you additional information that Correspondence doesn't.

Q: I want permanent curses and enchantments because they're dramatic, but I don't want to break the game or open up avenues for abuse, which I'm presuming is the reason behind the 'living target' rule anyway.

A: If you want them, then just get rid of the restriction, but realize that players can take this thing in directions you can't possibly predict. One of the main reasons this impedes game balance is not when it's performed on Storyteller characters, but when player characters do it to other player characters. I could have set a rule whereby Sleepers could be subject to indefinite magic but Awakened mages are not (and you can certainly adopt that rule), but I chose not to because I sense it will come back and bite me in the ass someday.

Q: On page 152, the Practice of the Platonic Mechanism rote is Perfecting, but according to the rules in page 131, that practice is for Disciples in the Fate (3 dots). Which should be corrected? Perfecting becomes Ruling and stays as a 2 dot Rote, or Perfecting remains and it should become a 3 dot Rote?


C: Flight: Each success adds one to the max Speed, to which the mage's Gnosis is also applied.

Flight Speed = Gnosis + (1 x suxx)

Frequent Flyer: Dear me. I think I'd rather flap my arms.

Flap away... you'll still get farther than any vampire or werewolf. They can't fly at all.

Q: I know this has been brought up before on numerous occasions, but dude, seriously. Forces 5, "Flight," sucks. It's ridiculous that a flying Master of Forces with Gnosis 5 would still lose in a race with The World's Weakest Man (Speed 14 while running.) What's the justification for this?

A: I think I answered this before somewhere by changing the formula, but I can't remember where. If I can dig up my notes again, I'll post them. (I've got a book I mark up at home and one I mark up when in the office; I'm at home now and it's not marked there, so it'll have to wait until I check my copy in the office.)

Q: One of the rotes allows for lightning to be called from the sky as bashing damage. I assume then that the mage has control over fire at this level as well? If so, according to the main WoD book, fire is lethal damage to mortals yet you can only do bashing damage with 3 ranks in an Arcana?

A: With Forces 3, a mage can control an existing flame, but he can't create it from thin air or cause something to ignite without an existing spark. Fire in the Storytelling system does lethal damage. Electricity does bashing damage; it tends to kill you not with an instant jolt but with massive voltage or continued exposure turn by turn. With higher levels, when you start creating these forces from nothing, they're lethal.

Q: Do any of the shielding or related spells permit an effect that would turn lethal firearm damage to bashing akin to the "bulletproof" kevlar vest or flak jacket, other than actually turning a character's clothes to kevlar with the matter arcanum?

A: Yes, and I almost added such a spell, but there were so many already. It'd probably be Forces 3 (to spread the kinetic impact differently), but Matter could create a kevlar-like material that provides the same benefit. Just to show an example of my reasoning, it'd be Forces 3 as a sort of advanced form of Forces 2 "Kinetic Blow". That spell lets you affect your own blows; this spell lets you affect others' blows directed at you. Alternatively, you can look at it as an advanced application of the kind of kinetic armor provided with "Unseen Shield".

However, I'd let it only work against one blow per success rolled on the casting, after which the spell expires (or it expires within an hour, whichever comes first).

Q: What dice pool might you use for such a rote?

A: I'd probably use Science as the Skill. The Attribute will vary depending on who made the rote.

Q: What is the official algorithm calculation for the speed of the Forces 5 flight spell?

A: Each success adds one to the max Speed, to which the mage's Gnosis is also applied.

Q: Are the rules for combining spells really supposed to be as nitpicky as to imply that slowing down and turning a bullet are two separate effects?

A: Yes. This does make it harder to, for instance, slow and turn a bullet, but doing either is still a rather nice feat (vampires can't do it). Mage the Awakening is not meant to be as powerful as Ascension was, at least not at dot levels 1-5.

Q: Why is Control Fire a covert spell while Control Light is vulgar? They're under the same Practices, and the only difference I can see is that the latter describes an improbable example in its description.

A: I assume you mean Influence Fire. That spell, along with Influence Electricity both involve doing things to fire and electricity that can't normally happen without a good cause. However, play balance issues aside, I can see arguments for making them covert, although highly susceptible to Improbability should they be witnessed.

Q: The thing is, that seems counter-intuitive to me, especially since we have spells like Shape Liquid, which presumably allows me to shape that liquid into whatever shape I want and give it a Strength score with which to moves things. According to the example of combining spells, this would be multiple effects. Why can't I simply use that as a model and create a telekinesis spel (Shape Kinetic Energy?) that allows me to "grab" a bullet and accomplish both a slowing and turning effect at once? Perhaps this could be gotten around by adding more requirements? An Attribute+Skill roll during the duration of the spell to accomplish what is, presumably, a more complicated effect?

A: Ultimately, game balance comes into play here. It isn't elegant to step outside in-setting reasons for why magic does what it does (but magic is a Mystery anyway), but fitting magic into a game system inevitably leads to some sticky areas. If you think these two distinct effects really aren't distinct enough, then feel free to alter the spell description and allow Potency to be spread among both with a single, non-combined casting.

Q: Does Thunderbolt have some kind of redeeming factor that actually makes it more valuable than a level four Telekinetic Strike? What does it take to conjure from nothing the kind of thunderbolts that Call Lightning uses?

A: If a target is especially vulnerable to electrical attacks, then Thunderbolt would be better than Telekinetic Strike. It looks cooler, too.

As for Call Lightning without the proper weather... maybe 5 dots, but definately vulgar.

Q: What level would the Force of magnetism be? Equivilant to electricity?

A: Because of it's extreme usefulness, I'd give roughly the same scale as Electricity and Fire, but at different dot ranks: Influence at 3 dots, Control at 4 dots and Mastery at 5 dots.

Q: Can I use a high-Strength Telekenesis effect to break someone's arm, or does that require "Telekentic Stirke?"

A: With 3 dots, you'd need Telekinetic Strike, but with 4 dots you can probably cast a version of Telekinesis that allows you to exert force against an affected object (rather than lifting or manipulating it). The text in the Telekinesis rote description about "battering down" doors is about using the Strength-lifting action to move the door, not to splinter it (except where the lock and/or hinges happen to give way as the door is pushed against its resistance).

Q: When are spells like Kinetic Blow subject to disbelief? When a sleeper looks at the person enchanted by it, or when the person enchanted by it actually uses it?

A: When it is first used, and from that point onward.

Q: Does Personal Invisibility shield a mage's Nimbus?

A: No. The nimbus is kind of a part of the mage's aura, which is not concealed by this Forces spell.

Q: What kind of "aiming roll" would you suggest for a mage who uses a spell like Transmute Energy offensively, if any? (I.e., I transmute the sound around my target to fire, causing him to instantly combust - does he just take the straight damage, or what?)

A: As long as the spell works, I'd just deliver fire damage as if the target suddenly found himself in a fire of that type (a bonfire, inferno, etc.)

Q: Could Forces 5 cast a "create from nothing" version of Transmute Energy, using the same table but not requiring another force to be present, first? (I.e., each success causes X intensity sound/light/electricity/fire to appear in the area you targeted.) Would conjured-up damaging effects simply directly apply their environmental damage to unfortunate bystanders?

A: Yes, although some lower rank spells allow version of this. And yes, just deliver damage to bystanders as needed. If a crowd finds itself in a bonfire, apply burns as per the rules in the World of Darkness rulebook.

Q: Can I create a nuclear bomb with Matter?

A: No. You'd also need Forces, and only archmastery might allow for the creation of nuclear materials.

Q: The Radiation spell on page 178 of the core book is described as belonging to the Practice of Unmaking. Since the spell is about creating radiation rather than destroying it, should this be the Practice of Making instead?

A: True. However, I figure that radiation has a special place in magical metaphysics that differs from science (just as shadows do). It's a force of unmaking itself, and any evocation of it involves the Unmaking Practice.


Q: What is the system for using the level 5 Life Rote "Hereditary Change"? The spell indicates that it is cast in combination with other life spells. Therefore, wouldn't a character need archmastery of life in order to actually use the spell?

A: Well, I should have added the coda: "This is an exception to the normal rules for combining spells." That is, you don't need Life 6 to combine other spells with this one, because its main effect requires it.

Q: Why are retruning Limbs a Temporary effect when at life 5 we can shape change someone into a frog permanetly? Yet we can't bring a Limb back that use to be a part of the body? And it also counts as a spell-effect on a person? Doesn't this seem abit harsh and out of character? Aren't there many examples of Sorceors in fiction and whatnot giving back Limbs and eyesight and curing parapalegics and the like?

A: This spell illustrates how magic is not as powerful in the modern world as mages claim it once was, and as legend seems to suggest. Mages say that magic that now requires archmastery used to only require mastery or even adeptship.

And note that you can't shapechange someone permanently with Life 5 -- you need Life 6 for the advanced prolongation factors that allow for indefinite Duration.

Q: Under life 3 a mage can give himself features from a base or median life form (gills, cats eyes etc). So could a mage use this rote in an extended casting to give himself the regenerative capabilities of a creature such as a starfish? Of course, it might take a couple of months, or multiple castings of the spell to regenerate a limb. But natural healing of this sort (assuming you keep the regrowing limb out of the view of sleepers) should be a fairly permanent augmentation.

A: I suppose it's possible, but as you said, it'd take time and long castings probably. Starfish don't regenerate like werewolves, with any significant speed.

Q: Under the Life 3, "Transform Life" spell (p.187), it states that "a roll might be needed to get features right if specimens are not available during casting," as set forth in the "Transform Median Features" spell (p.187). However, the "Transform Median Features" spell makes no mention of any roll or penalty if specimens are unavailable. Is there any other mention or explanation of the roll or penalty in other sections of the text?

A: Odd. I recall there being text for that, but it clearly isn't in the final version. Well, the idea is that if you don't have an animal in front of your face that you can copy, you've got to do it from memory, and knowledge of the animal helps. Generally, the Storyteller might call for a reflexive Intelligence + Science, Medicine or Animal Ken roll, if he thinks the feature mimicked is complex enough to warrant it. He might even ask for an instant roll, rather than reflexive, or levy a penalty to the reflexive roll instead.

Q: If Healing Heart is used to heal Aggravated damage, is it Vulgar?

A: No.

Q: Is Supreme Honing supposed to be Vulgar?

A: Yes.

Q: I believe the Level 5 Life effects for turning oneself into a lower life form perfectly and turning other humans ito lower life forms were merged. The text talks about the Mage affecting himself; the parameters talk about him affecting others. What are the seperate rules for each?

A: I assume you mean the Greater Shapeshifting spell? When casting Greater Shapechanging upon himself, the mage is a willing supernatural target, so the Duration is prolonged, and he doesn't contest the spell. Otherwise, parameters are the same.

Q: My question is about healing brain damage. The situation is that the character's mother OD'd and was "lucky" enough not to die out right, but is now pretty much a vegie. The question is, how would you go about healing the damage? Would life 3 healing heart be able to take care of the problem(seeing as how it's damage applied directly to the brain), perhaps a Higher level of life, or Life spell in conjunction to a mind spell?

A: I guess it depends on the exact type of damage done to the brain. Not being a doctor, I'm not sure if damage from ODing heals naturally. You might need a Life 5 Regeneation spell (it requires eight success to restore a brain).

Q: What would your opinion be of a mage who, upon losing a limb (not an organ), summoned the strength of will to fight through the pain (or simply suppressed it through magic) and pressed the severed limb against the wound? As long as it was done within a few minutes, before the cells in the limb started dying, would this allow the mage use "Self-Healing" or Mana spending to reattach the lost body part? If so, what lingering damage or loss of function would there be, if any?

A: I can certainly accept a Life 3 spell that allowed you to reattach a severed limb to yourself (Life 4 to do it for others), as long as it occurs either within the same scene, or within something like 24 hours if the limb was immediately put on ice. (Or longer, if it's actually medically possible -- I don't know how that works.)

However, I'm not sure it needs to be treated as aggravated. We don't provide a system for losing limbs, so it'd be up to the Storyteller to handle this. This spell would be vulgar, though, although I can see arguments otherwise, since supernatural healing is kind of a gray area here.

Q: I Shapechange into an elephant (away from Sleeper eyes) and then go tear-assing around New York. Obviously this is stupid idea, but do I suffer Disbelief? What about if I change into a saber-toothed tiger? What about a Tyrannosaur? What about a Grey Alien?

A: Well, you only suffer Disbelief if Sleepers see you, but don't confuse Disbelief and Paradoxes. However, you can't shapeshift into fanciful, mythic creatures with Life 4 or 5, only "natural" biological life. Life 5 Fantasia allows you to give fantastic features to an existing animal. Presumably, Life 6 and higher allows you to add those features to yourself or even shapechange entirely into a mythical beast.

You could use Mind to make people think you were a saber-tooth tiger, or Phantasm to create a convincing fake saber-tooth.

This restriction is another illustration that mages aren't living in the age of high magic anymore. If you want that sort of thing in your game, though, feel free to remove the restriction.

Q: With Life 5, could I Shapechange into something microscopic, such as an amoeba?

A: "...anything more advanced than a single-cell organism." You can't perform rote mudras when you're in the shape of tree moss, though. Wink

Q: This is kinda gross, but it's worth asking, especially considering the "unavoidable instincts" bit. Frank the Furry Shapechanges into a dog and mates with another dog. Is there a chance of the female dog having puppies?

A: If Frank is normally fertile (his sperm works okay), then yes. Otherwise, then no. Shapechanging probably doesn't work on that sort of level. He'd need to combine it with a spell that transfers such a function to himself. Of course, the equipment is there and works, but the reproductive potential depends on what Frank had before the shapeshift.


Q: Are there any other 'lasting' changes other than durability increase that can be performed to items? I am planning on having an articifer in our game and would like to be clear on some of the rules.

A: If the Storyteller allows them, yes. But be careful here. I wouldn't allow lasting changes that significantly alter the function of an item, even a +1 equipment bonus. Durability helps an item to keep from breaking, but it doesn't change its basic function.

Q: I was wondering about some of the Matter spells. There is a level 4 rote that increases the equipment bonus for complex machinery. Is this the same rote used for swords and other 'simple tools' and does it have the dame duration (one scene), meaning that you have to have Matter +1 for prolonged duration?

A: Yes, I can imagine a Matter 4 spell that adds equipment bonus dice to simple tools. Note, however, that the default duration for the Alter Efficiency spell is prolonged, which means it lasts for one scene or one hour. You'd need Matter 5 to use the advanced prolongation factors.

Q: In the Matter arcana, most of the rotes require being able to physically touch an item you're casting a rote on in order to affect it. However, in the Steel Windows Matter 3 rote, it mentions that you can affect an item with tools, implying that you can affect it so long as something you're touching is touching what you're casting the spell on. Is this the case for all rotes, or just a unique thing for Steel Windows?

A: It's a unique exception, although you can certainly create new spells with the same exception, if the Storyteller thinks it fits. Otherwise, you need one dot higher proficiency to cast at sensory range.

Q: Matter 2 and Matter 3, especially Transmute Water and Transmute Earth, refer a lot to "common" items. You give some examples in the book, but any suggestions for rules? I have a player who's an industrial chemist and wanted to change water into Hydro Cyanide, saying it was a very common substance for him to work with. I know Common by every day sleeper standards, and have said thus for "if its in a grocery store, it can be considered common," but is that really right to say? Or is there some other standard to look at?

A: Your grocery store standard works okay. "Naturally occuring" is another standard, although as a guideline rather than a restrictive law. If it requires someone to go to the trouble of making or refining it in a laboratory, then it's probably not common. Hydro Cyanide sounds like such a substance.

Q: The description for Adept of Matter states "I can turn lead into gold to satisfy their trite expectations." However, Transmute Gold only allows for the mage to transmute the precious material into a non-precious material, not the other way around. Is that supposed to be how it works?

A: Yes, there's missing text with the Transmute Gold description. The mage can transform a common substance into a precious one. Success determines the purity of the transformation. Even though the Size of the object doesn't change, only a portion of it is of a good quality. For instance, with one success, one quarter of the object might become decent karat gold, while the rest is cheap karat. With an exceptional success, the whole thing is pure.


Q: Mind 2 "Influence Emotion" seems extremely versitile, but what exactly is meant by the target questioning where an emotion came from? Is this indicative of invoking Disbelief with large shifts (anger/joy, ect), or just allowing bonus dice to resist the spell if it's a large change?

A: Mainly just bonus dice, unless the target has a reason to believe supernatural powers are afoot (he might be a paranoid evangelical wary of the Devil, for instance).

Q: On the game balance front, it has been pointed out that psychic assult is clearly the best choice because one can launch it from twilight using an astral body. Is there an exception to this spell that does not allow it to be 'upgraded' to lethal (or with a mana, aggrivated) damage as long as you have Mind 5?

A: He'd first need a spell that allowed him to affect the material world, unless his targets are likewise in Twilight. Also, he couldn't cast rotes this way, since he can't perform the mudras required.

Q: Also, does Misperception carry a penalty against things protected from mental influence (i.e. frenzying vampire)? Does it affect mindless beings?

A: The Storyteller might choose to allow the frenzying vampire a reflexive Blood Potency roll to contest the Misperception; if the successes equal or exceed the Misperception's successes, the vampire ignores the Misperception.

Give me an example of a "mindless" being. Animals have minds, and so are affected.

Q: Also, what type of attribute damage do Befuddle and Enfeeblement do? The kind that can be healed as Bashing damage? Or can the attributes removed by those spells even be recovered until the duration is up?

A: The effects last until the spell expires.

Q: If a spirit steals someone's memories, can the memories be returned using Mind or would you say that the memories are part of the person's soul and therefore require Spirit Arcana to get them back? What level of Mind/Spirit would be required?

A: Depends, I guess, on how they were stolen. Does the numen that allows the spirit to do this take the memory out of the person's mind as if it were an object held by the spirit? Then getting it back and reversing the effect might restore the memories, and that might involve just a Spirit spell to cancel a numen, or a Spirit-Mind conjunctional effect to merge the memory back from its ephemeral state to its mental state. It all depends on the power you use for the spirit and your excuse for how it works.


Q: Do Imbued Items simply lock in the number of successes gained on the initial spellcasting roll permanently? IE: an Imbued Transform Aura spell with 10 successes dedicated to the Effect would give those same 10 successes each time the item is worn? If so, is the main reason for triggered effects for those spells in the Fate category that have a number of "charges" per casting?

A: Yes, the number of successes is encoded into the item. Not all effects are wise to use all the time, though, so some crafters use triggers to activate them only when they want to.

Q: Do Imbued spells show up to Mage Sight, or is it conditional on which spells are Imbued? Ie: Transform Aura or Alter Aura show no resonance when Imbued, but a Omnivision spell would?

A: If the item's powers are active, it shows up to Mage Sight. If the item has powers that can be triggered but haven't been, then Mage Sight can't necessarily detect the magic without a deep scrutiny.

Q: Since Imbue Item is a purely Prime spell, regardless of what spells it may encapsulate, does that mean that any mage with Prime 1 can Dispell an Imbued Item, given enough successes?

A: I'm not sure this actually made it into the text anywhere (I can't seem to find it at the moment), but the reason it costs one Willpower dot (rather than a point) to imbue an item is so that it can't be dispelled (but it can be destroyed, breaking the magic's Pattern).

Q: The reason I asked was because the "Disguise Resonance" Spell specifically stated the Resonance of locations... nothing about other types of more dynamic resonance, or that of spells themself. I figured yes, since you would have to have a way to disguise Wards, and other long-lasting effects.

A: I mentioned in an earlier answer that I had meant to add a Prime 2 ability whereby you can conceal your spells as you cast them.

If you want to conceal a spell or item after it's been cast, then a Prime 3 spell would probably do it, a variation on the Disguise Resonance spell.

C: The Merit rules concern only buying such things during character creation. Once play begins, they're built using the Imbued Item spell (among others). The process of making even an item with a conditional trigger still requires the imbuement to be permanant.

Q: Supreme Augmentation (mind 4) if cast into an item counts as a mind 4 effect regardless of potency, but would need to be cast by someone with mind 5 to be indefinate. Am I correct if I say a persistant effect of this would be lvl 6 (1+mind 4+1 indef duration) and the conditional would be lvl 5(1+mind 4)?

A: No, you don't need all that for the Mind spell. The Imbue Item spell itself is the only one that needs to be of indefinite Duration (otherwise, the imbuement lasts only as long as the spell's Duration -- not a very useful item). Each spell imbued within the item is given whatever Duration the crafter wants -- your Supreme Honing might have the basic Duration factor of one scene. Since the whole process is an extended action, you're adding success to the total target number for each additional Duration factor you add to each spell imbued. On top of all that, you're adding successes to create the Imbue Item spell's own Duration.

Q: When you trigger an effect, do you use the succ of the activation roll or are the success of the ritual used? For the above example, could you have a honing spell that would always be activated at maximum, or would you have to take the succ of the activation and distribute that?

Q: This is something I need to address in more detail in the faq. Currently, the Merit doesn't allow for items with Potencies greater than what are gained by activation roll. I need to change that. In the case of an item made in-game, its Potency per activation is whatever was encoded into it during the Imbue Item spell casting.

Q: I've written up a bunch of Prime spells that technically violate Spell Control rules, but I figure if there's anything that Prime is designed to do, it's metamagic. Specifically I have spells designed to add successes to an existing spell, usurp control of another mage's spell, and reallocate the factors of an existing spell. Are these kosher?

A: You're free to do anything you want in your own game. If you want a game with more mercurial control over magic, then go for it. I shy away from it as an official answer, though. I considered some of the items you mention (boosting Potency for existing spells, or reallocating), but I chose not to tackle such complexities just yet. If I do introduce it later, it will either be as part of archmastery, or a magical secret that must be learned. (Yes, there are some forms of magic that aren't simply known by learning an Arcanum dot -- we'll explore those later.)

Q: If you Imbue Items with a spell that requires an Extended casting, when the Item is activated, is it cast as an Instant spell?

A: Well, activation isn't really a casting action, although it is an instant action. So, it can be activated as an instant action.

Q: The Imbue item spell reads like you need to cast the spell being imbued as the indefiniate spell always. It would be nice to hear that you don't need that to be the case for non-persistent effects.

A: Only the Imbue Item spell needs to indefinite, unless one of the imbued spells has a permanent effect, in which case it also needs to be indefinite. It the spell just has a triggered activation, it needs to last only as long as you want it to (by choosing its Duration factors during the Imbue Item casting).

Q: However, If the spell Imbue item always needs to be made permanent...does this mean that it used prolonged duration by default...or do we need prime 4 to make permanent items?

A: It doesn't need to be made permanent, although it sure helps. If it's not permanent, the imbuement lasts only as long as the Imbue Item spell's Duration (one scene or more, depending on the factors used in the casting). You do indeed need Prime 4 to begin making permanent imbued items.

Q: Moreover...Does this mean that we always have to relinquish 2 spells (the imbue item spell AND the other spell, or is it considered a conjunctional casting and both count as a single spell (and 1 wp that needs to be burned)? If the secondary spell does not need to be indefinite (for triggered effects), do we need to relinquish that one?

A: Only the Imbue Item spell needs to be relinquished, and that costs a dot rather than a point of Willpower.

(New rule: You can spend a point instead, if you want, but the item's imbuement spell can then be dispelled by others.)

Q: And I am all over that...but it gives the impression that normal magical irems (imbued or possibly even enhanced) cannot normally be dispelled, only destroyed or lost. I know if I use the new rule in the cam game, items that only cost a point of WP I'll be restricting to single use items (like potions, scrolls, charms sort of thing) An imbued spell can have a high potency making it hard to dispell on the fly...but having multiple use items that only cost a point of WP, while manageable in a TT game, would wreak havoc with a LARP game

A: The idea is that by spending a dot of Willpower to relinquish the Imbue Item spell, it seals the item and its imbuements cannot be dispelled. The active use of its imbued spells, however, can be dispelled. If you use an imbued item to trigger a Ward, for instance, that Ward can be dispelled, although the power still exists within the item to trigger another Ward. A permanently active spell effect can't be dispelled, although dispelling it can probably dampen it for a while (assume a base duration of prolonged for such a casting).

Q: Magical Deadzones get destroyed by disbelief as well as artifical hollows?

A: No, they don't trigger Disbelief -- they don't appear vulgar to Sleeper eyes.

Q: One of the benifits of Rotes are that they reduce your Paradox pool by one. If I Imbue an item with the a Vulgar spell using the Imbue Item Rote ("Forge of Power"), does it reduce the Paradox by a point every time it's activated (and thus incurs a Paradox roll)?

A: No. An enchanted item activation roll is not the same as spellcasting, and certainly not the same as rote casting, even if a rote was used to make it.

Q: For the Imbue Item and Scribe Grimoire spells, what would you rule on being able to enchant non-material things? (i.e. Life, Forces, Mind, or Spirit Patterns)

A: You need archmastery for that. We'll tackle some of that in Tome of the Mysteries.

Q: Inscribe Grimoire (Prime 1) - What is the purpose of the rote in this case? There's no cost; it's covert and no penalty for failure. Could the completed Grimoire be Scrutinized?

A: The casting dice pool for the rote is probably higher for the mage, allowing him to complete the extended casting in a shorter amount of time. If your Gnosis is only 1 and it takes you three hours per roll, you ideally want to be finished in one roll rather than two or three.

Q: Supernal Vision (Prime 1) - "adding Mind 1 to the casting of Supernal Vision allows the perception of both mental state and nature)" - This seems to imply it's a bonus for having Mind 1, or would a mage need to cast Supernal Vision and Aura Perception separately?

A: It's a bonus exception, allowing the effects to be combined in this case without having to cast a combined spell.


Q: Is there a way to tell if somebody else is being scryed upon? Do you sense it and then have cause to analyze it further?

A: Space 1 "Spatial Awareness" will tell you if there's a scrying window open and allow you to direct spells through it. Mage Sight scrutiny might also reveal it.

Q: Scrying spells can be used to cast spells through. I'm assuming that even WITH a window open like that, you still have to deal with sympathetic penalties in full force (so a scrying window would have, say a -4 for Known, then anything you cast through it would ALSO have a -4, despite having the conduit open). At least, according to the example on p116.

A: You'd only suffer the sympathetic penalties that apply to the target of the spell. If he his Known to you, then it's simply -4. The window itself doesn't cause penalties; it merely obviates the need for Space 2 (for the target of the window, that is).

Q: Does casting through a window that's been formed cost ANOTHER Mana?

A: No.

Q: During ritual casting, when does the window form?

A: Once the spell is completed.

Q: For a <arcana> + Space 2 conjunctional effect that only opens a window for only long enough for the spell to go through, how many turns does a mage at the other end have to cast a spell back through it? 'ell, can he even respond that fast?

A: If he has not yet acted that turn, he can cast through the conduit that turn.

Q: Casting scry is Space # + Gnosis # - 4 (Known). Then, casting "Burninate" is... Forces # + Gnosis #? Or Forces # + Gnosis # - 4, despite the fact that you have a space window open?

A: The Scrying spell does not create a window through which you can fling successive spells -- only the target on the other end has that luxury. You'd have to cast a separate Forces spell with the same sympathetic penalty.

Q: So "Uber-nuke of death" cast by five cabal members during a 16 hour ritual using the hair of a solitary mage as the sympathetic connection obtaining over 100 successes... and the mage in question has less than three seconds to react to a window opening up? Do all mages walk around with Potency 5 wards on their persons as well as their homes?

A: Well, as I said in a previous post, the number of rolls for an extended casting is usually limited by the caster's dice pool, just like any mundane extended action. This mean's the group ritual's leader, not all the dice pools of all the cabal. It's doubtful they'd rack up that kind of mega-spell.

However, I suppose that if the target is allowed a resisted defense (i.e. one of his traits is subtracted from the casting rolls), then he might get an inkling that he's being magically targeted, via his Unseen Sense. It's up to him to try to figure out what going on then. A Mage Sight scrutiny would probably reveal a spell-in-process that uses a sympathetic connection to target him. If he doesn't have Space, there's not much he can do about it until the conduit open, although he could start prepping his own extended action casting for when it does open.

Q: If a mage with a moon rock open a portal from behind his enemy to the moon he can create a space vacuum cleaner to send his enemy to the moon? If no why?

A: You can handle this however you like. However, I don't think any magic short of archmastery can reach sympathetically past Earth's atmosphere in the material realm.

Q: Can you use the sympathtic connection of a person you are touching to reach things sympathetically connected to them at 'their' connection level?

A: Sorry, but I wouldn't allow it. It actually doesn't work the other way -- the pillbox doesn't give you a special sympathetic connection to the guy; for that, you generally need a piece of his physical substance. You can use the pillbox to learn something about his resonance, but not as a sympathetic key.

Q: That is a fascinating question... I know traditionally items connected to you can be used to target you...but I don't know if the question was ever raised if you could use people to target people or things associated with them. I'd love to hear an answer to this as well... If you can use people as connections in this fashion...This is a real reason to protect those close to you...

A: There might be some text somewhere in the book that contradicts me, but... objects can give you a sympathetic connection to a place they are intimately associated with, but not usually to a person. Temporal sympathy might allow for a bit more leeway on this (but note that the magic bullet that killed JFK in the example presumably has his blood on it or some piece of his physical substance).

Q: What if the rock came from under the ocean ? Can I obtain a powerful geyser ?

A: Urg, I guess I need to clarify Portals, and this means perhaps adding an additional rule.

Portals aren't open windows that allow things to passively pass from one side to the other. The things passing through must do so with some degree of volition, and objects (and people) must be intentionally thrown through (they don't just go through on their own, such as a rock that happened to be rolling in front of the Portal, or a whole ocean waiting to leak out through the new hole in Space).

The new rule, pertaining to the example given of the person falling through a Portal: A person or creature who was not intentionally flung at the Portal (as in the case of someone who has grappled you and thrown you through) can make a contested roll to resist passing through a Portal if he doesn't want to go through. In other words, if you're falling and someone creates a Portal beneath you, you can contest going through it. Roll Gnosis + Dexterity; only one success is needed. If you succeed, you pass the Portal as if it's not there (you don't impact it or bounce off it).

Q: However, doesnt this addendum directly contradict the rules for using magic to ward a willworker's sanctum, as describe in Sanctum & Sigil? Specifically, the book talks about instances of mages setting up doors that are actually portals that take mages elsewhere. Wouldnt a simple Dex + Gnosis role make this kind of defense all but useless in most circumstances?

A: He doesn't have to know he's going through a Portal. What's important is that he's passing through it of his own volition or momentum (or via momentum imparted to him by someone throwing him), even if he thinks he's just stepping off his own front porch.

Q: Also, would anyone be able to make a roll to avoid "falling" into the portal, or only those with a Gnosis score?

A: Those without Gnosis just roll Dexterity.

Q: Can I open a portal to my enemy (with a sympathetical link) and throw a granade to him ? (some friends of mine say no objects trought the portal).

A: Yes, objects can be thrown through Portals intentionally, just as people who have been grappled can. There might be an issue with Wisdom here, though...

Q: I'm confused about Correspondance (Space 1). Do you cast it on a subject, and their closest sympathetic connections become apparent to you, who/what/wherever they may be? (One suxx per connection?)

A: The caster casts it upon himself, but uses it in that turn (it's an instant spell) to examine a particular target to see whether it has sympathetic ties to a particular subject he has in mind. For example, he wants to know if a car is sympathetically associated with Mefisto, his Free Council foe. He casts this spell while looking at the car. If he succeeds, he sees the connection (if any) and knows how strong it is. Strong connections might provide a bonus for casting, while weak ones might impose a penalty. (The Storyteller should make the roll.) One success is all that's needed.

Q: "this spell “locks” the current Space template of an area into place" Does this mean if I cast Ward (Space 2) on a building with a pre-existing Scry window/Portal/etc, those spells would remain in effect, or would a Ward effectively sever those connections?

A: The spells remain in effect until their Durations expire.

Q: Space 2 + Prime 2 allows a mage to detect someone Scrutizing or Dispelling their spells. Would it also allow a mage to detect someone overcoming one of their Wards (and hence weakening it by 1 point of potency)?

A: Yes, I suppose it would.

Q: If a cabal establishes a Ward together, the spell only counts against the spell leader's total. Can the cabal similarly assist the spell leader with increasing the pre-existing Ward's potency?

A: No, only the leader can do that.

Q: If a cabal casts a Ward with person A as the spell leader, can someone else in the cabal add a Ban to that Ward, or would the spell leader have to be the spell leader for the Ward as well?

A: Everybody in the group ritual must be capable of casting the spell, at least in an improvised version. But the leader is the one whose casting roll counts.

Q: Can one Ward be cast conjunctionally with several spheres at once, i.e. blocking radiation, humans and zombies with one Ban spell (assuming the casters had the relevant Arcana)?

A: Yes.


Q: "Touch of the Grave" (Death 2) and "Gossamer Touch" (Spirit 2) both allow you to interact with ghosts and spirits (respectively) on an physical level. "Touch of the Grave" states "The caster cannot damage ghosts", while "Gossamer Touch" reads, ""whether to offer a friendly touch or a closed fist". These spells seem very similiar and the Spirit version seems to suggest that you can strike spirits, although the magic itself cannot harm them. Is that correct and if so, is "Touch of the Grave" the same, allowing you to strike ghosts, but not harm them with magic? Finally, if the above are correct, can weapons and "physical magic" (such as "Thunderbolt") be used with those spells?

A: Using those spells, the mage can use his own natural weaponry (fist, kicks, bite) to harm spirits, but the spells do not allow a magical assault by themselves. You can combine them with other spells that do cause harm, however. [You can't use a knife or a gun] without using a spell like Rouse Spirit, to give it an ephemeral presence.

Q: Why does Spirit affect ghosts with "Exorcism", yet "Death" doesn't? Wouldn't it be more appropriate for Death and Spirit to affect ghosts and spirits, respectively? It's the concept that's difficult.

A: Because exorcism is a purview of the Spirit Arcanum, mainly because it's what shamans traditionally do the world over. The Spirit mage can't really do anything to the ghost except make it leave a vessel it doesn't belong in.

Q: Why can you sculpt inanimate ephemera with Death, but not Spirit? Again, a question of theme and concept.

A: Spirit is sort of like living ephemera, so many of things that the Arcanum does to spirits (binding, creating fetishes, Shape Spirit, etc.) are the equivalent. In a sense, Death is kind of like a Matter Arcanum for ephemera, while Spirit is kind of like a Life Arcanum for ephemera.

C: Atlantean cosmology doesn't see ghosts as alive; there are ephemeral shells left behind by souls. Their animation can be seen sort of like a clockwork mechanism that refuses to wind down. They are, as far as Awakened magic is concerned, "objects."

Q: Does the level 5 Spirit rote "Shape Spirit" use the Advanced Prolongation rules? In the example of the spell, Nine Jade Thunder creates a spirit with infinite duration. Wouldn't she need archmastery of spirit to use the advanced prolongation table?

A: Yes, this was supposed to use the advanced prolongation charts. I thought we caught all the laggards in the text, but I guess at least two got past us, and surely more. So, expect errata eventually.

Q: "Numinous Shield" also says that you can counter spirit powers, and refers you to the Counterspell spell... can you only do this while the Shield is active? If you cast Counterspell in this way, do successes just take away 1for1 from the casting by the target? If you learn it as a Rote, ("Counterspell Numia"?) what Attribute is used with the Occult+Spirit roll?

A: The reference to Counterspell is just a helpful reminder that you have that option, in addition to the Numinous Shield. It's not meant to imply a special rule for it.

Q: Can a ghost be sculpted the same way a spirit can?

A: Presumably, yes.


Q: Is Chronos Curse (p 264) really supposed to be a rank 4 spell, or just rank 3?

A: It's rank 4. I think it was rank 3 at some point during development, but was bumped up for game balance reasons (mainly in light of crossover with Vampire and Werewolf).

Q: The spell description for Shifting Sands says that the spell must be cast before your next action comes up, but the example shows Zeno casting on his action. Which is right?

The mage's next action must be to cast the spell, or else he cannot replay the previous action. Another way to state it: The mage can only replay the action that occured immediately before his spellcasting action for this spell.

The odd wording in the first paragraph refers to the idea that this spell is also meant to be defensive, in that the character can cast it at anytime following his last action and before he takes another action -- even if he can't normally act due to a lower Initiative. So, the example with Zeno is a bit off -- he could have cast it before the first thug got off his shot.

Q: The sidebar says that triggering a prepared spell "is an instant action; the mage can do it almost any time." Does this mean that the mage can only move up to his speed in the turn he triggers a prepared spell, and can he do it before his initiative comes up?

A: Yes, it's like a spellcasting action, although the mage is merely triggering what he has already cast. He cannot do it before his initiative allows.

Q: Often, you don't know what the penalty is when casting hanging spells. Let's suppose that someone extended casts a triggered Psychic Assault with Fate 2 Time 2 that will hit the next person that flips him off. In this case, we don't know what the victim's Resolve is, so how can we apply that penalty? Alternatively, you cast a suspended vulgar spell, but depending on where you are when you set it off, you may get different amounts of Paradox, which affect your dice pool.

A: As it says in the Prepared Spell description, if the spell normally allows the target a resisted defense (i.e. subtract Resolve), then it must be cast as an aimed spell if it is to be prepared and triggered later.

As for Paradox, the results of the Paradox roll obviously do not penalize the casting roll, which is a slight bonus for prepared spells. Otherwise, the Paradox roll itself is still affected by the normal modifiers (Sleepers, successive castings, etc.).

Q: Postcognition requires you to know the exact clock time that you're trying to look for, as well as some kind of object to give you sympathy to the target you wish to scry, as well as being in the location you wish to scry (unless you have Space 2). If you don't have Space 2, you still need Temporal Sympathy.

A: Yes.

Q: Because someone in a Temporal Packet cannot be interacted with, it could be cast when a mage is attacked so that the mage can walk away without worry.

A: The mage in the Temporal Pocket doesn't "go" anywhere. Once the spell ends, he reappears exactly where he was when he went into the Pocket.

C: We did indeed go back and forth and change the rules for Prepared spells a lot before the final version, and there are still some holes that don't seem to be filled by text that I thought had been filled. I seem to recall that the final design had represented the idea that all Prepared spells become aimed spells -- they become a "thing" you carry around in a sort of temporal pocket, a mystical packet waiting to be unfurled. We changed that for some reason, and I can't recall why.

I'd like to change it back and go ahead and say that all Prepared spells must become aimed. But I'm sure some of you will jog my memory and remind me why that rule was changed in the final hour.('Wink')

(Yes, you can "throw" a packet of magic at someone and make them heal.)

In addition to this overall rule, I'd add this: The caster must make an activation roll to aim and unfurl the spell at a target. The activation roll is modified by the sorts of things that modify aimed spells, but if it succeeds the spell takes effect with all the factors that were coded into its casting, regardless of the amount of successes rolled on the activation roll. If it doesn't succeed, the magic doesn't connect or unfurl properly.

One outcome of this rule is that Paradox can modify the activation roll, rather than a casting roll. (Otherwise, you could assume that Prepared spells get a slight advantage and aren't modified by the Paradox roll's successes, although a Paradox will still takes effect if the Paradox roll succeeds.)

As for Paradox and extended castings: The successes on the Paradox roll should add to the target number needed to successfully cast the spell. However, once Paradox is rolled (that is, upon what seems to be the successful completion of the spell when the normal target number is reached), no further casting rolls are allowed. If Paradox does indeed add successes to the target number, then excess successes on the casting roll can "absorb" them and allow for a successful casting. If there are no excess successes, or there aren't enough to cover those now needed due to the Paradox, the spell fails but the Paradox takes place. This not only makes it harder to succeed, it makes it harder to gain exceptional successes on extended castings. The caster should probably save up some Mana for mitigation.

Q: Probably because the way you described it here, with your rules for "packeted" spells, regardless of who or what you "throw" the spell at, once it connects (based purely on cover and such), their resistance attributes are completely ignored. You've already rolled your successes, already determined the outcome of the spell (sans paradox) and regardless of whether you just threw it at Stan the garbage man, or Malphestos the Gnosis 43765 Master of the Universe, it will have the exact same effects, since you skipped the part where you modify your dice-pool based on the target's resistance.

A: Except that, along with this rule, there would have been rules for casting any spell as an aimed spell, and I think that's where we hit the roadblock. As with most spell alterations, this would feasibly require +1 dot rank for the spell (not for the Time 2 needed to prepare it, but for the spell's other Arcana requirements), and that seems steep. Hmmm....

Q: What precisely do you mean when a Prepared Spell is "cast as" an Aimed spell? Does the fact that Aimed spells cannot be cast as Extended rituals mean that the "build up eighty successes and unleash them on somebody" Mage does not exist? Or does it mean that you make a separate aiming roll to apply the effects somehow?

A: The complications involved I think are one of things that drove us away from adopting the rule, but I'll persist with the idea a bit:

Normally, extended action spells cannot be aimed spells. In the case of a Prepared spell, it can be -- because the activation roll takes the place of the roll that tackles all the modifiers involved (range, cover, relevant armor, etc.). The changing conditions are accounted for.

However, as I mentioned in a previous post, you'd have to be able to convert non-aimed spells to aimed spells, and that probably requires +1 dot rank above that normally required to cast the spell in its natural form. I believed during the design process this was a bit onerous, but I think it would be too much of an advantage to convert to aimed without some cost (and Mana doesn't seem right to me, especially since the spending limit per turn might get in the way too much).

The current printed system doesn't satisfy all the problems, I'm sorry to say. For one, contested rolls are as useless as resisted defense, since the Potency of the spell can be huge. Normally, an extended action must take into account the target's Resistance trait with each roll, so if the target escapes the scene (or steps into a Warded area in the case of a sympathetic spell), the casting can't be completed.

I know we dealt with this during the design, because there used to be an activation roll. Something convinced us to take it out, but I think in hindsight it needs to come back in. So, even if Prepared spells aren't treated as aimed spells, I think there needs to be an activation roll that contends with the target's contested roll or Resistance trait, and maybe the Paradox roll's successes.

Matters of the SoulEdit

Q: The description of the Death 4 spell Soul Binding (page 144) says a mage can use it to attach a stolen soul to himself, provided he has no soul at the time. However, elsewhere the book says a mage without a soul can't cast spells. What's up with that?

A: Ah, yes, a descrepancy in design from when Tremere were not just a legacy. I've been thinking that I need to add a grace period to the soul loss rules, giving mages a slower degradation of powers rather than just instant Sleep. This discrepancy convinces me that I need to make that official. I'd say offhand that a mage who loses his soul loses 1 dot of Gnosis per 24 hours until he has zero, in which case he is a Sleeper until he gets his soul back. He can continue to cast magic as long as he has at least one dot of Gnosis.

Of course, the Soul Binding spell could be imbued into an item, allowing a souless mage or Sleeper to cast it and attach a new soul to himself.

Q: Under the new rule, does a mage start to lose Wisdom right away, or not until his Gnosis reaches zero?

A: He'd lose both Wisdom and Gnosis concurrently.

C: Death is used to sever a soul from its incarnation, but Spirit is used to restore it. Prime can shield it, and Fate can free it from a false binding.

Q: A spirit who eats a stolen soul gains Essence equal to twice the soul's owner's willpower dots. A Tremere Lich who renders a soul into Tass, on the other hand, gets mana points equal to either a soul's willpower dots or Mana score. Should one of these values be changed to the other, or is it a fact (for whatever reason) that spirits are capable of getting more supernatural bang for their buck out of a stolen human soul?

A: Essence is more common than Mana, and a soul yields more of it than it does Mana.


Q: Is there some way to make a permanent Demesne before your character is an archmaster?

A: Yes. This was an artifact of changes made during the design process, and this spell didn't get updated. It's supposed to say that it used the advanced prolongation factors, even though it's 5 dots and there is no 4 dot version of the spell.

Chapter 4: StorylineEdit


Q: In cases where a permanently materialized familiar, without Power, Finesse, and Resistance traits, uses a Numen with a dice pool based on those traits, what does the familiar roll?

A: Use the highest of its equivalent traits. Power traits are Strength, Intelligence and Presence; Finesse are Dexterity, Wits and Manipulation; Resistance are Stamina, Resolve and Composure. It's your call whether or not to allow a Skill to be added.

Q: What rote is "Eagle Talon"? (Page 383, under "Life")

A: Groan. That spell got cut, but I guess its mention in that chapter didn't. It was a lower-level version of Life Force Assault (the AA Organic Knife rote).

C: Atlantean cosmology doesn't see ghosts as alive; there are ephemeral shells left behind by souls. Their animation can be seen sort of like a clockwork mechanism that refuses to wind down. They are, as far as Awakened magic is concerned, "objects."

Appendix 1: LegaciesEdit

Q: Under the legacy section, it says that the legacy's primary arcanum can now be purchased as a ruling arcanum then it says this supposed to be new x6? just like a ruling arcanum, or is this correct as written?

A: It's supposed to be new dots x6, like the Ruling Arcana cost.

Appendix 2: Boston: UnveiledEdit

Q: Check the bottom of page 111, under "Mama Desta"; "The section of...all she could manage". The text seems chopped. Any ideas?

A: A Boston Unveiled question. Looks like part of the line was cut off. It should read: "The section of Roxbury where Mama Desta lives now was much, much worse then than it is now, but it was all she could manage."

Appendix 3: Sanctum & SigilEdit

Q: How accurate is the description in the passage in Sanctum Sigil's prologue, page IV, where Ian senses the mage's scrutinizing the statuette?

Is the Sigil Pg. iv passage: "A syndic turned and quested out toward him with magic. Ian opened up his senses to examine the intent. There was the smell of the grave about the spell, but it was not harmful. It was looking for marks on his soul." Is this possible with just a mage sight spell? Prime sight, Death sight, or both/either? Is this some sort of mega-success thing, or should such an incident be unremarkable, not worth much ST attention?

A: It's simply a case of Ian using Mage Sight to scrutinize the spell that the syndic is using on him.


Q: Why is it harder for werewolves to breach the Gauntlet in towns and small villages, while it's easier for mages?

A: In the chart on p. 282, the +1 for small towns and villages is a mistake -- it's supposed to be -1.

Q: Are we going to get a more in-depth idea of what Sizes certain things are, perhaps as a WoD Rulebook supplement? Currently the highest Size listed anywhere is 25 (Bus,) but it's fairly easy for mages to affect or Shapechange into things larger than that. What would an object that's Size 50 be? Size 100? Is there any formula you use to determine what Size something should be?

A: World of Darkness: Armory might have some more clues, but I haven't read it yet so I can't say for sure. We'll publish the Size of things as they occur in sourcebooks.


Q: Speaking of the "ephemeral presence" of an object, can it be touched or attacked by Twilight beings? For example, could a ghost struggle the ephemeral presence of your roused baseball bat away and if so, what happens in both states of being?

A: Something that has an ephemeral presence in Twilight can be affected by beings in the state of Twilight. Something with a presence in the Shadow Realm can be affected by beings in the Shadow Realm.


A 'True Name' (as described in Tome of the Mysteries) is a name bestowed upon an indivdual by an Archmage. Similar to a spell effect, this basically creates a new 'name' for the character. They are no longer affected by people using sympathetic magic with their real name. Their true name, which is known only to them (not even the Archmaster that bestowed it knows), is the only name with sympathetic power over magic anymore.

A mage who loses his soul loses 1 dot of Gnosis per 24 hours until he has zero, in which case he is a Sleeper until he gets his soul back. He can continue to cast magic as long as he has at least one dot of Gnosis.

A person or creature who was not intentionally flung at the Portal (as in the case of someone who has grappled you and thrown you through) can make a contested roll to resist passing through a Portal if he doesn't want to go through. In other words, if you're falling and someone creates a Portal beneath you, you can contest going through it. Roll Gnosis + Dexterity; only one success is needed. If you succeed, you pass the Portal as if it's not there (you don't impact it or bounce off it).

When Relinquishing spells, you can spend a Willpower Point instead, but the spell can still be Dispelled. By extension, spells Relinquished by spending a Willpower Dot can not be Dispelled. (Note: this is an implication, and is not coming directly from Bill.)

All Prepared spells must become aimed. The caster must make an activation roll to aim and unfurl the spell at a target. As with most spell alterations, this would feasibly require +1 dot rank for the spell (not for the Time 2 needed to prepare it, but for the spell's other Arcana requirements). The activation roll is modified by the sorts of things that modify aimed spells, but if it succeeds the spell takes effect with all the factors that were coded into its casting, regardless of the amount of successes rolled on the activation roll. If it doesn't succeed, the magic doesn't connect or unfurl properly. One outcome of this rule is that Paradox can modify the activation roll, rather than a casting roll.

As for Paradox and extended castings: The successes on the Paradox roll should add to the target number needed to successfully cast the spell. However, once Paradox is rolled (that is, upon what seems to be the successful completion of the spell when the normal target number is reached), no further casting rolls are allowed. If Paradox does indeed add successes to the target number, then excess successes on the casting roll can "absorb" them and allow for a successful casting. If there are no excess successes, or there aren't enough to cover those now needed due to the Paradox, the spell fails but the Paradox takes place. This not only makes it harder to succeed, it makes it harder to gain exceptional successes on extended castings. The caster should probably save up some Mana for mitigation.

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