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M20-Apprentice game?

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  • M20-Apprentice game?

    I recently acquired a copy of the apprentice sourcebook for Mage and I like the idea of apprentice mages, especially with my experience with Mage as per normal rules going crazy with Spheres. I'm looking to run a apprentice game in M20, how do I do that mechanically? Stick with the standard character gen rules but start arete at 1 and start with only 2 spheres?

    Does anyone have experience or advice about this kind of chronicle?

  • #2
    According to 'Initiates of the Art', Apprentice CG is as follows (It's on Page 83, FYI, if you have that book):

    Attributes: 6/5/3
    Abilities: 12/8/5
    Backgrounds: 5
    Arete: 1
    Willpower: 3 (+ freebies)
    Spheres: 2, the primary and an 'interest sphere'
    Freebies: 18, not 15

    A not-yet-awakend sleeepr, or juuuust-awakened ex-sleeper has:
    Attributes: 6/4/3
    Abilities: 11/7/4
    Backgrounds: 5
    Arete: 0, 1 if just awakened
    Willpower 3(+ freebies)
    Spheres: None yet. Get a mentor!
    Freebies: 21, spend 15, save six for mage-specific advantages on awakening. If already awake, spend all.

    In both cases, Arete can't go above 1 yet. It also lists some Initiate-specific merits/flaws.

    Also, that said, the first Seeking to Arete 2 can probably come rather quickly - in a mattter of weeks even - depending on how good the mentor is, and how fast the apprentice 'gets' it and breaks beyond being able to merely perceive the Magick and reality around them.
    Last edited by Ambrosia; 09-09-2017, 01:41 AM.

    >> cWoD Dice Probability Chart | | >> cWoD Dice Statistics Calculator | | >> cWoD Alternative Armor System
    >> cWoD Alternative Damage Roll System | | >> My explanation of cWoD Damage Levels | | >> 'Intersting' Strength Attribute Stuff


    • #3
      That's the sourcebook I was referencing, found a physical copy at the flea market. I was planning to have awakened apprentices, wasn't sure if those rules were compatible with M20 and if any changes would be needed to adapt them.


      • #4
        There is no explicit non-compatibility, really. At least, nothing in M20 states anything that would make these rules not work or go against them.
        The only thing that should be checked, is if the M20 Book of Secret holds updated versions for some of the Merits/flaws presented.

        >> cWoD Dice Probability Chart | | >> cWoD Dice Statistics Calculator | | >> cWoD Alternative Armor System
        >> cWoD Alternative Damage Roll System | | >> My explanation of cWoD Damage Levels | | >> 'Intersting' Strength Attribute Stuff


        • #5
          Rogue Apprenticeship isn't in M20 Book of Secrets, but could be simulated with Sect Enmity, also a 1 point flaw (M20BOS, page 64) or Notority (M20BOS, page 65), a 3-point flaw.

          Hollow Soul, Pushy Avatar, Cross-Training and Blended Technique are not in M20BOS.

          Hollow Soul grants spheres at a cheaper cost with the tradeoff that the specialty sphere isn't cheaper. That is an artifact of prior editions of Mage since in Mage 20, everyone has specialty spheres. Orphans just choose theirs.

          Scientific Mystic/Techgnosi in M20BOS covers much of the same ground as Cross-Training and Blended Technique (M20BOS 45-46). A three-point Merit, Scientific Mystic/Techgnosi lets your character use either technomagic or mystical instruments not normally used by their faction. You can't learn Do like Blended Technique suggests, but you could learn Martial Arts from a mystical or scientific perspective. Cross-Training and Blended Tradition assume paradigms and foci are closely tied to particular groups, which is less true in M20.

          Mostly the differences between an apprentice game and another Mage game will be the level of magical power available and the focus on people who are more like us than mages who become something else as they expand in Arete and spheres.


          • #6
            The real trick is going to be how to develop the Focus. Particularly if the character is an Orphan. And, in many cases, per canon descriptions of Awakenings, most mages start off as Orphans (with teams of "recruiters" from the Factions and Sects hunting down the new meat... Canon is that trying to "train up" an Awakened mage is hit and miss and more miss than hit)

            If the character is an Orphan for any length of time, they are going to be coming up with their Practice and Instruments on their own. So, a lot of the time "You need a Mentor for that..." is going to fall flat.

            Starting an Apprentice game and MANDATING that they can only have Arete 1 is pretty limiting and going to be a boring game for most players unless Arete and Spheres increase pretty quicky. ("I SEE this weirdness." "Well, I SEE that weirdness." "Hey do any of you SEE this kind of weirdness." "No, but I can SMELL it". "Well, what is it?" Exciting...) It doesn't track with the new "rules" on a new mage sometimes being able to accomplish grandiose things at first and then dialing it back to more reasonable levels.

            I could easily see starting characters with 1 Arete and 2 dots in Spheres, but allowing them to buy more with their Freebies with a cap of 3 Arete and 3 dots in Spheres (which would be 15 Freebies, leaving 3 for everything else the character might need.)


            • #7
              See if I were going to go with a low powered start, I wouldn't have everyone have clearly defined masters. I'd have them start isolated from the mage communities and unclear where to go to actually find the guidance they are looking for. They could have enough resources to clearly put them in certain paradigms if that's what they want. One could have an incomplete hermetic library, for instance. Another could have been a sleepwalker before awakening and be working from memory. A third might have picked up an injured Familiar who is trying to train her up to the point that she can provide it with what it needs. Just enough of a start to put them on a path and to make it clear just how much they need guidance.

              That would let me make large struggles out of seemingly small events. The characters have only recently had their world's shattered. They know everything is different but they don't know how. Is the crazy old man at the end of the road really crazy, or can he help? What's with these black suits (distracted Technocracy cleanup crew) that seem to be around every corner? What about that group of hunters that are rumored to put on animal skins out in the forest?

              Played right, the quest for mentors can easily be the first epic struggle of a Mage's life.

              Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink


              • #8
                I'd just take out the Mentors altogether and have the new minted mages be Orphans creating their own Foci from the ground up. It may get a little wonky around the Practices, but making sense of their magic would be the same as making sense out of their Instruments. (Oh and if Avatars are a thing, they would definitely be chiming in in one way or another).

                In some ways, it might be the purest possible form of a Mage game that centers on the core conceits of Mage-style magic.


                • #9
                  I love the input presented, I was thinking of allowing arete bought up to 2 and spheres similarly done. Otherwise use the Wild Magic option reflecting inexperienced Magi who are reflexively casting magic when the balance is tipped not in their favor and fight or flight sets in.

                  I like the idea of everyone as orphans post awakening, they can choose to keep to that path or to go into a tradition. Either way it's part of their development as a character.


                  • #10
                    Next game we're probably going to do the Awakenings/Apprentice Orphan thing, with a built reason to have a bunch of Awakenings happen nearly simultaneously/set up a closed sandbox for the game setting/keep the Factions away so they have time to realize their Orphan-ness.

                    I'm still struggling with the way in which to set up the acquisition of Instruments and the development of Practices. I mean, SURE, the character could be a Hermetic Harry Potter wannabe who mainlains the Lesser Key of Solomon on the way to a High Ritual Praxis, but where is the fun in that? Coming up with some unique and personalized way to grapple with the power to alter reality (and be altered in turn) seems like more fun. What about a character who ends up with thing for keys and doors who starts with Arete 3 and Correspondence 3 ? (Lean your head up against a door and get a mental picture of what's happening on the other side.... Open this door here, but on the other side is wherever you wanted it be.... And so on...)


                    • #11
                      Your direction isn't that far from my own. Newly awakened isolated from Mage society using only what they can find, be it old books, an Avatar's guidance, or an untrustworthy and possibly mad stranger. The only difference, assuming there is one, seems to be when and where they do eventually connect with a greater magical society.

                      A steamer trunk that once belonged to a deceased Hermetic could fall into the hands of a newly awakened Mage in any number of ways. A few texts and an instrument or two would get someone on the path of ritual magic without locking them into a specific type. Perhaps the books weren't even instructional, they were a collection of various craft's ritual magic.

                      A broken magical trinket that lets a character 'see' through doors for a short time and then fails would be enough to get them started on the idea.

                      I'd be surprised if not one of the characters took a trip to the magic section of the local bookstore. It wouldn't be hard for them to run across an author who seems in the know or reference to an actual magical society (both conveniently out of reach, of course).

                      And, I'm definitely going to put the addict Familiar in need of a fix in a game at some point.

                      Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink