Mage Live Action Rules

by Gil Richard (
Modified for Brevard Beastiary
By Daniel B Utecht.

Acknowledgments To the Original Version By Gil Richard
During the play-test of this mess, several people have been invaluable in the development of these rules. First of all, Paul Sirota probably knows these rules better than I do, and has turned the hellish process of a play-test into a moderately hell-bent one, Mike McPhee who had a ton of cool ideas (including the original idea for the no-math magical effect system based off arete), as well as all the sucker...brave folks who played mages and, besides putting up with the fact that the rules changed daily, brought the strengths and weaknesses of mages, as well as many of the boo-boos and inefficiencies to light, 'specially Andrew Aulenback who kicked me in the head about being anal about paradigms - the most important facet of any LARP mage. (The orange dove flies west at midnight...)

Acknowledgments To the Brevard Beastiary Version By Daniel B Utecht
Translating the Mage rules to live action must have been a real nightmare, so much so that White Wolf has decided that the project would be unworkable. Hats off to Gil for creating rules for mage that come extremely close to the original sit down game, but can play nicely with the other live action rules. Because I try to emphasize acting and tempo instead of rules, I have made some slight modifications to these rules for my game. Not that the rules by Gil were lacking or deficient, but my storytelling style is different from his. These are essentially the unmodified rules, with some clarifications.

Table of Contents


1.1 Assumptions
For the entirety of this document, I will assume you to have a decent understanding of Mage: The Ascension. If the you does not have this, then you should proceed to get it. I'm not going to type in explanations of what all the terms and traits are because a) that's just rude, plagerizing someone else's hard work and b) OK, it's illegal too.

1.2 Organization of this Document
The character creation section is included first to provide a kind of hands-on table of contents. As you proceed to make a character, you'll run into the various aspects of MET Mages. There are explanations of all of the concepts elsewhere in the document, so just look for 'em. At the end, it is suggested you read the rest just to pass over anything you may have missed, as well as learning about the game mechanics of crafting magical effects.

Basic Game Mechanics

2.1 Character Creation

Step 1 - Character Concept
The first step in creating any character is a concept. Who is your character? What is their personality like? Do they have any particular quirks? You should flesh out your character as much as possible before you even consider applying traits to them, or else you will probably end up with a rather shallow character. A good rule of thumb is this - if you were forced to play your character with no traits, no powers, no anything - just as a personality, would you enjoy yourself if you had to play this paperless character for a week? If the answer is no, then you haven't finished fleshing out your character. Only when it is a complete person, without traits or anything like that, are you finished creating a character concept.
After that, you must decide your mage's magical style - how they view the process of magick, and how it interacts with them. This is used to generate your foci and magical re-test abilities.

Step 2 - Group
Normally, this section would be entitled 'Tradition', but allowing players to play the bad guys adds depth to a story, as long as you don't let it degrade into a munchkin-fest, so there are rules for both the Traditions and the Technocracy. Good and Bad should not be determined by a book, but by where you draw your own lines in the sand. Stuff for the Nephandi should be either taken from Demons rules, or by using Barrabi mages. Marauders, according to how they work in the Book of Madness (which I happen to like a lot IMHO) seems to be too much of a pain in the arse to work out, and applying rules that define a 'normal' marauder is, well, silly.

The Traditions

The Technocracy

Step 3 - Traits
Mages get Physical, Mental and Social traits as per MET, with a distribution of 7 primary, 5 secondary, and 3 tertiary. They also get 1 Influence and 5 Abilities (Note the new Abilities). Mages start with 3 willpower traits, 1 Arete trait and 1 Avatar rating for free. A mage's maximum physical, social and mental traits are 10 (unless they cheat IE: use magick).

Step 4 - Spheres
First of all, each mage gets the Apprentice level in their group's sphere specialty for free (Note that Orphans and Hollow Ones get to pick this free level from any sphere they wish, but this does not count as a specialty for the purposes of XP). After that, they may choose a total of 4 more levels in spheres, with each extra level counting as one. (IE Apprentice is 1, Initiate is another 1, Disciple is another 1). No starting player may start with a sphere rating higher than Disciple, and they must have sufficient Arete traits to learn that level sphere (IE 1 Arete Trait for Apprentice, 2 for Initiate, and 3 for Disciple). You can buy extra Arete traits with negative traits (See later).

Step 5 - Foci and magical Style
Beginning mages require foci to assist them in manipulating reality. These foci must be chosen at character creation, and should tie in with a mage's magical style. As a result of this style and foci, the mage may also pick any appropriate Abilities and use these abilities to re-test failed magical effect tests. Each sphere can have at most one re-test ability, but this ability can carry over to more than one sphere. Foci should be something that the player can use a real item for if possible. However no weapons fake or real are permitted in the game. If you have any questions about foci, just ask your storyteller.

Step 6 - Negative Traits
Mages can get negative traits just like in every other MET game, and they can buy extra traits with them just like every other MET game.

Extra Arete trait3 negative traits (Max 3)
Extra Sphere ratingApprentice - 2 negative trait
Initiate - 3 negative traits
Disciple - 4 negative traits
(Decrease the cost by one for sphere specialty)
Extra Willpower2 negative traits
Avatar rating1 negative trait

That's it! Nice and happy. Now read the rest of this document to learn how to use that crap you just bought ;> You should look up your mage's foci in the Mage book (or for the Technocracy, the appropriate Convention book, or just make 'em up.) and try your best to comprehend your mage group's paradigm, as it is the key to understanding how your character does magick, as well as how they organize may have influenced their personality.

2.2 Avatar
An Avatar determines how much Quintessence can be spent on any magical effect. Characters start with an Avatar rating of one, which may be increased by one to a maximum of 5 with one negative trait per level. This determines the size of an Avatar as well, with a rating 1 avatar being around dog sized, while a rating 5 avatar would be the size of a house. A mage's avatar also decides how much Quintessence their avatar can hold. A mage can store their avatar's rating in quintessence naturally, and begin the game with a fully charged avatar. Quintessence is restored to an Avatar using either the Meditation ability or with a Prime effect.

2.3 Arete
A mage's arete is determined by Arete traits. In game terms, before a Mage can learn any sphere at a given level, they must have enough Arete traits to allow them to learn that sphere level. All mages start with 1 Arete trait. Extra Arete traits may be bought at the beginning of the game with 3 negative traits, up to a maximum of 3.
Arete also governs how well a mage is at crafting magick. The power level of a magical effect is determined by the mage's Arete. As well, every Arete trait a mage possesses allows them to transcend the use of one of their foci for one of their spheres, permanently. If they wish to keep their foci, they may - this is only an option available to them.
Mages have 'titles', determined by what magical power they wield. These 'titles' represent the maximum level that a mage may buy any sphere level at. The five levels are Apprentice, Initiate, Disciple, Adept and Master, each of which has an arete trait requirement which a mage must have in order to attain that level.


Arete seekings should be performed whenever a mage wants to buy another arete trait, but this may require taking the mage aside and running a narrative in the old table-top style. Creative storytellers will bring other players into a mage's arete seeking, to increase player interaction and group dynamics. In general, the player's Epiphany should result in them being given a quest which, properly crafted, can run alongside any other plot-lines currently running in the game (or amalgamated into it, though this may make the Arete seeking harder, and as such, is only suggested for the Arete seekings of mages with higher levels of Mastery). The character must spend the experience point requirement before the seeking takes place. When the seeking is over, the mage receives their new Arete trait.
Arete Traits are gained in order.

Arete Rating Trait

Section 3 - magical System