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2E Mage Demographics

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  • 2E Mage Demographics

    So I just came across this old breakdown from DaveB in another post and its got a lot of good advice. I did notice (as he mentions in it) that there are some differences from 1E, as it looks like you were able to become a master at Gnosis 3 and Legacies had higher Gnosis requirements. To any of you who are pretty familiar with the differences in the editions, what would you say would be the differences from this and how things are setup in the current edition? It seems like the Gnosis breakdown might remain relatively the same as higher Gnosis is now necesarry to get to Adept or Master level, even if Legacies aren't as hard to reach. However, the Arcanum demographics might be a bit different.

  • #2
    I tend to make mages with gnosis higher than 4 so rare you can count them on your hand. The changes to the beat system are conducive to people climbing higher in their specialty arcana but with mastery capped at gnosis 5, I think the biggest limit is the mortality rates. I get mixed impressions from people what those might look like.

    I tend to assume most Mages get themselves killed before their 20th mage-year?? What do you all think?

    I also tend to have mages travel abroad to find mentors, instead of things being localized.

    I also make mages way more rare.

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    • #3
      I'm kind of the opposite, with most of the movers and shakers being at least gnosis 4, 1st degree adepts. Thats kind of my picture of a 'mature' mage who might be looking for students or be something of a local notable. 2nd degree adepts and the handful of Masters being the ones who fill your top jobs in the Orders and Consillium.

      Personal taste and the needs of your story are the key factors i think.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Scarlet Witch View Post
        I tend to make mages with gnosis higher than 4 so rare you can count them on your hand. The changes to the beat system are conducive to people climbing higher in their specialty arcana but with mastery capped at gnosis 5, I think the biggest limit is the mortality rates. I get mixed impressions from people what those might look like.

        I tend to assume most Mages get themselves killed before their 20th mage-year?? What do you all think?.
        What changed with the beat system that you see it that way. I know my players are very into raising their Gnosis and getting their highest Arcanum up to match.

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        • #5
          If I were to design a Mage setting it'd probably look something like this:

          Gnosis 1 are the newbies, those who are still in or just have passed basic Order training. If the PCs start with Gnosis 1 they're likely having just formed a Cabal (or, rather, have had their first Cabal chosen and formed for them). NPCs at Gnosis 1 are unlikely to be seen, though, as they're mostly still in training and not worth bringing onto the stage (both in-universe and OOC).

          Gnosis 2 are the ones who have some practical experience being a mage without any handholding. Not much, but enough to have found a place for themselves.

          Gnosis 3-4 mostly bridges the gap between the preceeding and following groups. Probably the most commonly encountered group in any given Consilium, even if not necessarily the most populous. I'd put most focus on developing these characters along with any central authority figures the PCs are expected to frequently interact with.

          Gnosis 5-6 are more populous than they appear. Split kinda into two groups: The first is mid management and other "comfy" positions in the Orders and in the Consilium. They're the ones you go to when you're looking for a boss figure or want expertise in certain subjects. The other group is the ones that have started to turn away from mage society. They still hold prestigeous positions for the most part (if only because they're pressured into it since mage society is too small to let competence go to waste) but doesn't voluntarily mingle with other mages unless it's to get a tool or piece of information they can't get on their own. Some do take interest in the Orders, but in such cases has important positions that aren't directly relevant to lower mages unless in specific situations. Many if not most of these are Masters. Dual Mastery is not too rare either.

          Gnosis 7-8 are rare sights. They're the upper management in the Orders, making the big decisions (when such decisions are called for) but generally not seen by the mage public. They're few enough that many Consilia doesn't have any, and too magey to be held back by mundane concerns, meaning they are free to just pack up and leave whenever it suits them which also means they've stopped forming deeper bonds with and within their current Consilium and thus stands outside regular mage society. I wouldn't bother mentioning any unless it's a plot point/hook or the game is set in a larger Consilium, in which case they get a prestigious but not particularly active office to round out the cast and make it seem more natural.

          Gnosis 9-10 will be extremely rare (especially considering that many should be very interested in attaining Archmastery at or even before this level of Gnosis), but out there somewhere, pushing the limits for what people not technically beholden to the Pax Arcanum are allowed to do. These are the late game peeps the PCs might find towards the end of a long game. Not something I'd bother statting up until way into the game unless, again, they're a plot point.

          I think Gnosis 5 would be the top of the bell curve for most common rating, but note that the curve dies off a lot quicker at the higher end than the lower. On top of that, the higher end is more disconnected from the Consilium structure and thus less necessary to include when desigining a Consilium. They'll pop out to fill their roles sometime during play.


          These are my musings, but I don't actually have any experience designing a mage setting as an ST and might end up changing how I'd do it should I actually sit down and do it.


          Bloodline: The Stygians
          Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
          Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Tessie View Post
            I think Gnosis 5 would be the top of the bell curve for most common rating, but note that the curve dies off a lot quicker at the higher end than the lower.
            I like most of what you wrote, but this makes no sense. If it's a bell curve it has a normal distribution, meaning that the exact same slope occurs on both sides. You're describing a different kind of distribution, one that's weighted to the low end.



            Mentats - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Mind/Forces) built around being a human computer; Thaumatech Engineers - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Matter/Prime) focusing on the creation of Imbued items and the enhancement of Sleeper technology

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Therian View Post

              What changed with the beat system that you see it that way. I know my players are very into raising their Gnosis and getting their highest Arcanum up to match.
              Costs were sorta exponential in 1E; now theyre linear.

              The final total cost of xp as a function of arcana desired (I'm bad at math) is linear for the beat system.
              1 arcana is 4xp, 5 arcana costed 20xp when finally gotten.

              But in 1e dots cost more and more the higher you go. Eventually you hit a situation where the price of mastery is the same as just having Initiation in 5 arcana. So mages preferred spreading out to being specialized.
              except archmages. the costs were huge. it was specialize or lose the ascension war.

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              • #8
                I imagine higher tiers are rarer because mages can simply die to an actively hostile supernatural world, others are so ambitious that they self destruct by over reaching or becoming Mad.

                So lets say 1 in 1000 people become a mage. If you have a city with a million people, the mage distribution could be:

                Gnosis 1: 125
                Gnosis 2: 250
                Gnosis 3: 500
                Gnosis 4: 70
                Gnosis 5+: 55

                So a lot of newly Awakened, not terribly rare but not common either. Gnosis 2 is a transitional step because of how easy it is to get Arcane Experience. Gnosis 3 is the comfort zone, where many tend to plateau. There is a severe drop from 3 to 4 because this is where the Adept level is unlocked. With it the amount of power available can easily outstrip a mage's common sense. From then on only veterans survive, the movers and shakers. Gnosis 5+ mages are a lot rarer, so I bundled them together into a single tier.

                Not sure if its accurate compared to the books, but it is easily scalable.
                Last edited by KaiserAfini; 06-27-2019, 12:09 AM.


                New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.


                The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists

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                • #9
                  It would also be appropriate if high Gnosis Mages don't always die but just drop out. After all, when you are playing with the very fabric of reality do you really care who is Heirarch?
                  Arch-Masters do this as a matter of course and even Lex Magica, so why would multi tier Masters be any more inclined to stay involved. Especially since that usually involves lesser Mages trying to tell them what they can and can't do.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by proindrakenzol View Post
                    I like most of what you wrote, but this makes no sense. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal_distribution"]If it's a bell curve it has a normal distribution[/URL], meaning that the exact same slope occurs on both sides. You're describing a different kind of distribution, one that's weighted to the low end.
                    My bad. It's not a real bell curve, but it looks similar to one. Even if not correct, bell curve kinda has become a term for any similar type of distribution rather than one specific curve.

                    Edit: So while both extremes of the scale are rare (the higher more so than the lower), I always try to use the full scale because with time the entire PC Cabal will climb the full scale. If Gnosis 8+ is so rare that they're practically nonexistent, then the PCs will reach a stage where they're without any peers to interact with.

                    This is something we (my group) do in all of the games because, as I said, if we just play long enough we will climb the entire scale from 1 to 10, and then we still need peers to interact with. Unfortunately games like Vampire are really not designed to allow PCs to ever reach BP6+ or they wouldn't have such insane bonuses that scale with BP. I see no such problems in Mage, though.
                    Last edited by Tessie; 06-27-2019, 03:24 AM.


                    Bloodline: The Stygians
                    Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                    Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                    • #11
                      What about Arcanum? I guess with the new edition its a lot easier to just specialize in a couple than it was before?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Therian View Post
                        What about Arcanum? I guess with the new edition its a lot easier to just specialize in a couple than it was before?
                        That is a lot more complicated to answer. In the broadest sense, you can classify mages into 3 categories

                        Specialist: Goes all in to advance an Arcanum they like. For example, a career SL Powerbroker would invest almost exclusively into Fate, then Mind once they hit their limit, then Matter and so on. Or maybe even rush Gnosis for the prestige/power of a single master level Arcanum.

                        Balanced: Works on key Arcana evenly. For example, a wave man with 2 dots in each Ruling arcana would work to bring all to 3 before advancing any one to 4. That way they have more options in combat.

                        Generalist: Invests into many Arcana to help them fill a specific niche, progressing slower but having more small tricks. For example, an 11Q might want to get 1 dot in every Arcana so they have access to all Knowing spells and sights. They are now much better investigators, even if they wield less raw power.

                        So it all depends on their personality and the role they are going to play. What is their relationship to the player's cabal (mentor, rival, service provider, friend, specialist) and what resources do they give them access to ? As antagonists, what tools do they add to your GM toolkit and how can they provide interesting challenges to the players ? Depends on the tone and objectives of your chronicle.

                        But if your objective is to build a reserve of NPCs, create cabals based on a central theme. Next create shadow names and roles linked to their driving mystery. Then finally do a pass with a demographic breakdown, fine tuning the balance of power to match the feel you want for your city.
                        Last edited by KaiserAfini; 06-28-2019, 10:35 PM.


                        New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.


                        The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists

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