Abilities and Magic
Since magic comes from a mage's formative beliefs and practices, the mage's learning affects the magic's outcome. A mage who's firmly convinced that a specific ritual like Tarot-reading or dancing is necessary for magic had better learn how to do those things well. Conversely, using magic can make otherwise mundane tasks much easier. As with all modifiers to magic, Abilities should be used to help the story and flow of the casting, not as an excuse for another set of modifiers. Ability modifiers cannot change the difficulty by more than three points, as usual.
Abilities Enhancing Magic
If a mage uses an Ability appropriate to her Sphere perhaps as a focus, or as a process of using a focus she can cast her Effects more reliably. Having the right Ability might also help the mage to target the Effect better or to have a better idea of what to do to get good results, as well. Just about any Ability can have some impact on magic, though of course the exact combinations will vary with the mage's paradigm. If a mage takes a full turn (sometimes more) to exercise the appropriate Ability just before casting her Effect, you can make an Ability roll (with the appropriate Attribute) at the same difficulty and threshold rating as the magic. Each success beyond the threshold then lowers the threshold and difficulty of the subsequent magic roll by one point, up to a modifier of three at best.
Sometimes, an Effect may require a specific Ability. It's nigh impossible to make a working computer without the right knowledge, and influencing someone's emotions may rely on the proper subterfuges first. It's up to the Storyteller to determine when a magical Effect requires an Ability roll first, and whether the Ability roll is mandatory or just makes the magic a little harder if failed. A mage might be able to fix a car with Matter magic, without knowing too much Technology, although it would be difficult. However, trying to fix a nuclear reactor the same way would be a bad idea....
Magic Enhancing Abilities
Just as Abilities can make magic easier, a little judicious magic can certainly make the use of Abilities much simpler. Just the right amount of magic can let you jump a little bit higher, move a little bit faster, see a little bit more... you get the idea. Using magic to enhance an Ability usually works on little coincidental nudges and insights, so it's easy to do. The magic roll proceeds as normal, but for each success garnered on the result, the subsequent Ability use gets a difficulty modifier of one, up to a limit of three. Adding some successes to area or duration could let the mage share this bonus, or maintain it for a short time.
Magic used to enhance an Ability must be done right before the use of the Ability, or else it needs to be running and maintained while the Ability's used. It's possible to take multiple actions and use one for magic before performing the feat, but doing so is inefficient unless the mage is really pressed for time. After all, if you are using magic to aid the Ability, you're probably not trying to take any other negative modifiers.Multiple Effects A mage can cast only one Effect per turn, even if she has used various powers to speed herself up (reality is already "preoccupied" when it's in a different time frame). If you want to do multiple things at once, you'll have to have your mage build an Effect that performs several simultaneous feats.
Although a mage can cost only one Effect at a time, he can keep various Effects running. The difficulty of doing so often varies with the Effect's type. A simple Effect that just modifies the mage or surroundings for a time requires only a tiny flow of the mage's attention and magical effort. Keeping the Effect moving is a constant push from the Avatar and the will, but it's a small one, since the Effect is generally somewhat selfsustaining or static. Such Effects include things like body-enhancement, sensory improvements or even small changes to Patterns that are designed to last for only a short time. Such simple Effects cost you a difficulty penalty of one for every two full Effects in use, whenever your mage tries to cast a new Effect.
More complex Effects like mind-reading, juggling huge Forces or manipulating Life Patterns all require the mage's concentration. These Effects require constant update and manipulation, so the mage must divert a substantial amount of Awakened will to them. Your mage may not be able to concentrate enough to perform other Effects while doing something this delicate, at the Storyteller's discretion. If the Storyteller lets you concentrate on multiple Effects (or if your character has specific Merits or magical Effects that let him maintain multiple areas of concentration), you'll still take a difficulty penalty of one for every t wo Effects that your mage has running. That's for simple and complex Effects both. Instant Effects rewrite Patterns or alter reality and then are done; they require no further maintenance. If you change a material into a different sort permanently, or you create something from nothing and give it Prime energy to make it fully real and permanent, then it's part of the Tapestry. Such manifestations no longer require concentration.
Rotes and Fast-Casting
Most of the Traditions teach sets of common Effects, called rotes. These rotes allow a mage to perform a technique that's. tried-and-true over the course of several years or centuries. A rote has already been built with the Tradition's trappings and foci in mind, and it relies upon wellunderstood principles of the Tradition's Sphere knowledge. In brief, it's a spell formula.
Just about any Effect could be cast by rote: anything that's been well-used, tinkered, thought about and used again can eventually pass into common mage use as a rote. Rotes are traded among mages of the same Tradition for favors or information; a good rote can give the mage a slightly easier time casting an Effect, or perhaps open the mage to some idea of Sphere use that he hadn't thought of before. When a mage builds an Effect on the fly without using a rote, it's called fast -casting; it's a little bit rougher, and gets a +1 penalty to difficulty. Thus, many mages spend a lot of time honing a few favored Effects, to turn them into well-known rotes. What qualifies as a rote is ultimately up to the Storyteller; however, it can be .assumed that any of the base Effects listed for the Spheres (following) can be found in role form fur any of the Traditions.
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