From WoD Gotham
The exact nature of the relationship to the mage also varies.
This article provides an overview of Acolytes in World of Darkness: Gotham and their role in Mage Society for prospective player character Acolytes and the player character mages that they assist.
The Acolyte: A Supporting Character for Mage
One thing that does not vary is that the Acolyte is a supporting character. This means that he is not on equal footing to a mage. He is a side-kick, valet, assistant, etc.He is not Awakened or Partially Awakened. He has no special powers and he has no idea how to work True Magick. He is a follower of the mage. The only quasi-supernatural benefits he provides is that he is no longer considered a Sleeper for the purposes of considering with or without witness conditions and he may participate in rituals as per the Cult Background.
No Semi-Awakened Anything, Dammit!
There’s this concept of some nebulous Semi-Awakened state. There’s also a concept of an Awakened state without the use of Spheres. You know what we have to say to that? Whatever!
This is another example of White Wolf messing with their earlier core concepts so they can justify another profit center in their mage game. It’s these kinds of practices that have led to so many notorious contradictions throughout all their game lines. Well you know what? A curse on you and your semi-Awakened Consors, Constructs, Beings, etc. They are not suitable as player characters and will not be supported.
You can either see reality as it truly is or you can’t. Period!
Because of this, he will not be privy to a lot of mage business. No acolyte will know of the existence of the Chantry let alone have the location or have access to it. He certainly will not know the ins and outs of Awakened society.
All the acolyte should know is that he has met an (insert appropriate adjective for the mage) person who seems to have it all figured out. This person allows the acolyte to hang out or the acolyte is paid for his services. The acolyte doesn’t help out for the money. He helps out for any number of reasons not least of which that he finds the mage intriguing and hopefully he can learn a thing or two from him.
Think back to your own experiences. Were there people in your life that made an impression on you? Have you known people who have inspired a particular devotion from the people around them? A teacher? A friend that the other kids just looked up to? A boss? A clergyman? A sibling? A relative?
That is the type of dynamic most common among mages and their acolytes.
It is a role that’s not for everyone. Any acolyte player must be disciplined enough to accept that his character will be excluded on a regular basis from scenes when the presence of an Acolyte is inappropriate. He must understand that his player character is going to be in the dark much of the time.
No acolyte player character will be accepted without a mage to partner up with. Also, both parties must be accepting of the status of acolytes within the setting.
For further reading and more detailed information on acolytes please refer to Ascension’s Right Hand – The Acolyte Sourcebook for Mage: The Ascension.
For the Acolyte: So You Want To Tag Along?
Playing an acolyte can be fun and a challenge. It also takes an extended commitment. Mortals created with the intention of being brought into the mage venue as acolytes will be created as acolytes from the start. You may not create a Mortal and then move it into the Mage venue until it has been played as a clueless mortal for at least six months real time in that venue. If you want to play an acolyte and create it within the Mage venue you avoid the wait.
Understand that by playing an acolyte you are playing a supporting role and will be treated as such if not by your character’s mage, then by the rest of mage society. This means that you should not expect your character to attend mage events or to be treated as an equal - ever. You will have to accept as the player of an acolyte that you will be left out of scenes and stories that are simply not privy to acolytes. Just as in real life, the worker bees aren’t asked to sit in with the bosses during meetings.
You also have to understand that as an acolyte, your character is intimately tied to the mage. As players you have made a commitment to one another to play this storyline. The player of the mage only has 2 slots to give to PC acolytes. You are taking up one of them. That means that you need to keep your mage’s player in the loop. If you’re going to be absent from the chat for a while be respectful and send a quick notification to your ST and to your mage. Try and work out together the reasons for the IC absence if possible. Failure to do so will result in the ST having to follow Inactivity Policy.
For the Mage: So You Want a Side-Kick?
Mages also have to consider their responsibilities both IC and OOC to this new storyline that they are embarking upon. Assume that mage society in WoDG will expect your character to abide by custom. Don’t try to be the one mage campaigning for “Acolyte Access” or something stupid like that. Failure to act the part will have consequences IC. You are responsible for making sure that both your character and the acolyte act in accordance to protocol and custom. How the acolyte behaves is a reflection on the mage and a poorly behaved assistant will result in loss of Mage Status and Tradition Status among other less pleasant things. Basically it’s on your mage if the acolyte fucks up. He will pay for it.
Furthermore, remember that you only have 2 PC slots to fill out of your 5 total Retainer dots. So make sure that you have a partner in this storyline that you can count on and that you like collaborating with. It’s on you to use good judgment in this area.
Because the player of the acolyte is completely dependent on you to RP your character in order to effectively RP out the relationship and what the acolyte knows or doesn’t know about being an acolyte, you have responsibilities to them. You need to be present and able to function as his mage. If you’re going to be absent you should also be able to send a quick notification to your ST and to your acolyte. Work the IC reasons for the absence in together if possible. Failure to do so will result in the ST having to follow the Inactivity Policy.
You’re Ready to Create Your Acolyte
Now that you’ve read through our outline of expectations and policies regarding acolytes, you can get on with making one.
Please see Acolyte Character Creation for specific character creation rules.