Mage Status

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In this article players will learn how Mage Status is interpreted in World of Darkness: Gotham. They will also learn how to use the Mage Status Forums to increase their Mage Status and delve into mage politics.

Contents

Status Amongst the Awakened

Status among mages has been implied and even stated throughout the different editions of Mage: The Ascension. However, the background has been poorly represented. In first edition it was referred to in the Book of Shadows as being in existence in the description of a merit. It also made an appearance in the Book of Chantries as a Chantry Background. In second edition it appeared in a crossover book. In third edition it was regulated to supplemental texts, though its Adversarial Background is found plainly enough in Guide to the Traditions.

There are many examples through various texts where a mage’s status among mages and how it works. There are even passages outlining a more specific system of status in mage sub-cultures. Anyone who has ever read a Tradition book understands that each Tradition has its own culture and within that culture there are ways to rise and ways to fall and ways to be rewarded and punished both socially and corporally.

With the lack of a vehicle in place and because we deal with a chat format and not a Table Top format, we have to codify Status in such a way that it functions even when a ST is not online to enforce it. In Table Top a system like this wouldn’t even be necessary as the ST is there with the players every step of the way and can enforce the conditions of the setting on a whim. As WoDG focuses its mage venue on one specific Chantry and not several there is no need to have Chantry Status defined. That may change in the future.

Therefore, for now, there are two main Status Traits for mages in WoDG. They are as follows: Mage Status and Tradition Status. The have the adversarial counterparts of Mage Notoriety and Tradition Notoriety.

How those Traits rise and fall is primarily up to the player as they bid for Status and thwart others by bidding for their Notoriety through the Mage Status Forums.

Mage Status

Mage Status is a reflection of the reputation of the mage within the Traditions as a whole. It’s a measure of one’s deeds and renown. The Trait reflects what is generally known about the mage among other mages and what types of comments would one commonly overhear about the mage. It reflects in how high of a regard others view the mage.

So what does that mean if we go by the numbers? For every dot in Mage Status a mage has there is an adjustment made to his social rolls involving mages in general. This would include PCs and NPCs.

Here are the ranks for the Mage Status Trait:

Mage Status Ranks

  1. Known: Your character is known to be a member of the Traditions among other Tradition magi. Other mages are still making up their mind as to how competent your character is and what type of a potential competitor he might be. So far your character is accepted, but too small-time to notice beyond that. No Dice Adjustment to Social Rolls (This is the default starting status for all mage PCs).
  2. Credible: Your character is a member of the Traditions in good standing who pulls their weight and shows promise. Your character is attracting attention from other magi. Some peers might view your character as an up and comer and ally or a potential competitor for recognition. +1 Die to Social Rolls.
  3. Respected: Your character is a member of the Traditions in good standing and known to have not only pulled their weight, but also made a couple noteworthy contributions to the Traditions. Your character is well-established enough among other magi that he is a noted political player within the halls of the Chantry and Council. He is established enough to have some good proponents as well as some staunch rivals – neither of which underestimate him and they both show him a measure of respect (even if one plots against him). +2 Dice to Social Rolls.
  4. Admired: Your character is a model member of the Traditions who has made several noteworthy contributions to the cause and is greatly admired for it. Your character is at the top of his game amongst other magi and he is an influential political player within the halls of the Chantry and Council. He is established enough to have fervent supporters and impassioned rivals – both of these groups treat him with great respect in their own way and neither are foolish enough to underestimate him. In fact both groups are cautious in their dealings with your mage. +3 Dice to Social Rolls.
  5. Revered: Your character is at the pinnacle of mage society within the Traditions. He is a mage who has made numerous noteworthy contributions to the Traditions and is revered for it. He is a leader within the community, if not officially – he is by nature of his force of reputation. Your character is given a wide berth within the Chantry and Council halls. Some whisper his name in fear and loathing others whisper it in awe and reverence bordering on hero worship. He is becoming a legend and magi think twice before crossing his path. He has ardent defenders and admirers who respect him and count him amongst the most experienced and wise. However, his growing legend has created many dedicated enemies who are envious of his reputation and want nothing more than to smear his name and they will seek to do so even if it means sinking to embroiling it in the most petty of scandals. +4 Dice to Social Rolls.

Note that all social roll adjustments are among Tradition Mages only. They apply to Social Feats only.

Too Cool For School
But wahhh! That means that my super cool pretentious Hermetic bastard from hell might have to pay props to some stupid hedonistic Cultist stoner! Not fair! No way he’d think any of those guys are anything but a waste of time! (Heh pun intended)

Now hold on a minute before you get your hackles all raised and start having kittens.

It’s good form to ALWAYS react to other people’s characters. However, react as your character would. If someone is of higher Status than your character, it’s alright to RP a grudging admiration bordering on jealousy. It’s alright to RP out a rivalry born out of a competition for recognition. It’s alright to be bitter about someone else’s success.

Just recognize the Social Trait and always remember that if it were your character with that Status, you’d want other players to react to it too. Maybe instead of ignoring the Trait, you’ll be inspired to grab some for your character.

Tradition Status

Tradition Status is a reflection of the reputation of the mage within his specific Tradition. It’s a measure of one’s deeds and renown based on the cultural, social, and magickal values of the specific Tradition. What is acceptable and valued in one Tradition after all might be totally unacceptable in another. However, most common sense values are shared across all Traditions and are worth a brief word or two here. Things like keeping sensitive Tradition secrets from outsiders, loyalty among Tradition mates against outsiders, representing your Tradition well to outsiders, etc. those are pretty universal.

We won’t go over or supply a values statement for each Tradition. Those can be found in the respective Tradition books and write ups in the other rule books for Mage: The Ascension. To do so would just be beyond our scope and part of your expected study to for your part as a mage of any of the Traditions.

For every dot in Tradition Status a mage has there is an adjustment made to his social rolls involving mages within his Tradition.

This would include PCs and NPCs

However, we will supply a general description for each rank of the Tradition Status Trait:

Tradition Status Ranks

  1. Known: Your character is a known member of his chosen Tradition. He still is wet behind the ears, but he’s got potential and has so far shown that he can tow the line. He is accepted, but is too green to have much influence in Tradition matters. He’s attended his first couple Tradition meetings where he was allowed to sit at the grown-up table and that was pretty cool. No Dice Adjustment to Social Rolls (This is the default starting Tradition Status for all starting mages of their respective Tradition.).
  2. Credible: Your character is a member of his chosen Tradition in good standing and is known to pull his weight. Your character is finally getting some notice after his hard work. He has even made his first meaningful contribution to the Tradition. He may have written a particularly brilliant paper, created a clever wonder, created a new invention, rescued knowledge previously lost, etc. Other magi in his Tradition think that he’s got some potential and are either fixing to be spirited professional rivals or be allies or a bit of both. He’s been sitting at the grown-up table for a little while now and is starting to get the hang of how things work so much so that he can speak and get a few people to listen up to what he’s got to say. +1 Die to Social Rolls.
  3. Respected: Your character is a member of his chosen Tradition in excellent standing and is known to not only have pulled his weight, but has made several meaningful contributions to the Tradition overall. He has his professional rivals and his allies within his Tradition and he’s definitely a fixture at the grown-up table by now. In fact he’s one of the grown-ups who the newer arrivals look to for guidance so he’s got to set a good example. When he has something to say, people do take note and give him his share of time at the podium. +2 Dice to Social Rolls.
  4. Admired: Your character is a member of his chosen Tradition in virtually irrefutably outstanding standing and not only pulls his weight but makes regular meaningful contributions to the Tradition overall. He has his professional rivals within the Tradition and he has his followers, but both respect his opinions and work. He is one of the heads of the grown-up table and often helps lead the conversations and meetings along. When he has something to say, people rearrange the speaking times to accommodate his schedule to make sure that he is heard. +3 Dice to Social Rolls.
  5. Revered: Your character is a leading member of his chosen Tradition in impeccable standing with a reputation of not only pulling his weight, he is the model that others strive to achieve. His contributions have had wide ramifications across the Tradition and have shaped its course. He has few rivals, but they are of equal standing and are primarily courteous and professional. However debates can get heated at times. He has many followers and possibly even enough to found his own faction within the Tradition itself. He is at the head of the grown-up table and he leads conversations and sets agendas for meetings. When he has something to say, meetings are called and everyone who can shows up to hear what he has to say. +4 Dice to Social Rolls.

Note that all social roll adjustments are among Mages of your Character's Tradition only. They apply to Social Feats only. This adjustment is not cumulative with general Mage Status.

Using Mage and Tradition Status Bonus Dice

Bonus Social dice apply for both the purposes of making Social Rolls and resisting them.

Notoriety

Notoriety is essentially the antithesis of Status. It is a reflection of how poorly your character is viewed in mage society. This may or may not be entirely his fault. However, at higher levels, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion by most that your character has had ample time to redeem himself and has chosen not to for reasons that are entirely his own.

It is quite possible to have a good reputation for certain deeds while also having a bad reputation for others. Therefore, characters can have a measure of Status as well as a measure of Notoriety.

Characters who have Notoriety, get a Social Roll adjustment just as those with Status do. If the character has both, then his Notoriety adjustment will cancel out the appropriate amount of Status adjustment. Whatever is left over is the final adjustment for the Social Roll in question.

Just as there is a Tradition Status, there is a Tradition Notoriety. However, the description of the ranks below can just as easily work for Tradition Notoriety ranks as it does for Notoriety as a whole. Note that any Social Roll adjustments apply to social situations dealing with your character’s Tradition mates.

Notoriety Ranks

  1. Idiot: Your character is known as sort of an idiot and uncouth. He’s broken a minor protocol. He might have been caught spreading a minor falsehood about another mage. He might have mouthed off to a more experienced mage like a brat and without any wit or finesse. He might have exaggerated his own worth a bit. He might have just not followed protocols and had a breech in etiquette. His mentor might be a notorious mage of some sort. +1 Difficulty to Social Rolls.
  2. Asshole: Your character is known as kind of an asshole. He’s broken minor protocols on several occasions. He thinks nothing of spurning others and spews off vulgarities and insults like an impertinent teenager. His attempts at witticisms in his arguments fall flat and never win him admirers. He has no consideration for others and avoids taking responsibility for his actions. He may also have been informally publicly censured. +2 Difficulty to Social Rolls.
  3. Persona Non Grata: Your character has been known to be such a tool that mages avoid him. Literally people will alter their path walking down the sidewalk so that they don’t have to stop and talk to him. He’s broken at least one major point of protocol. He breaks minor points of protocol regularly. He thinks nothing of flinging vulgar magick around habitually, thereby calling notice to himself and those around him. His careless actions have resulted in the destruction or capture of at least one mage. He never takes responsibility for himself and blames others for his lot in life. He has been formally and publicly censured and is considered a probationary sect member of the Traditions. +3 Difficulty to Social Rolls.
  4. Rogue: Your character’s contempt for all proper etiquette in mage society is well-known. Other mages do not avoid him anymore as he’s become enough of a problem that they actively hunt him down in an effort to bring him to justice for his many major breaches of protocol. Most think that he’s one sandwich short of a picnic and is insane. He flings vulgar magick around like it was saltwater taffy and is considered by many to be a possible Marauder or soon to be Marauder. In any case his actions have caused danger to magi as a whole and he’s never faced the consequences. However, his time has just about run out, he’s likely been censured formally in absentia or even in person. He carries the weight of that brand in all social dealings with other magi. +4 Difficulty to Social Rolls.
  5. Enemy of Ascension: Your character is considered an Enemy of Ascension. It is a crime to associate with him. Others believe that he has joined the Nephandus, became a Marauder, or joined the Technocracy. His crimes against Tradition magi are so staggering, that he is the subject of many ardent witch hunts. He is an arch-nemesis who has caused the death of many magi. Perhaps he was even responsible for an entire Chantry falling. There are many in absentia censures and brands against him. Likely counted among those judgments is a call to destroy him. +5 Difficulty to Social Rolls.

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Mage Status Mechanics

Ok. So How Does One Gain Status?

In WoDG we calculate Status on a quarterly basis. Each player begins with Mage Status 1 and Tradition Status 1 after they have made their introductions to the appropriate NPCs. How Status gets calculated from there involves a Play By Forum vehicle.

Next, in the forums, each player will find the Mage Status Forums. Within that forum they will find a sub-forum labeled with the following format: Mage Status Deeds Q(the number of the quarter) (current year) Forum. Within that forum each player will have a thread labeled in the following manner: Character Name Deeds Q(the number of the quarter) (current year) (current Status).

Example: Mage Status/Mage Status Deeds Q2 2011/Pippin Poppycock Deeds Q2 2011 S: 1.25

Your character’s Deeds Thread is an IC forum where you post your character’s exploits. You can post as your character or as other general NPCs whispering rumors of your character’s exploits. How well you spin the exploits and how well the rumors take hold and travel, determines your Status bump for that quarter.

There’s just a tiny little itty bitty catch…

Your fellow players and even NPCs run by the STs can weigh in on your character’s thread ICly. They can support your character’s claims and contribute to the Mage Status bump, they can make a neutral comment, or they can be not so nice…

So How Does One Gain Notoriety?

In your character’s Deed Thread, players and ST ran NPCs may respond IC in opposition to your character’s Status claims. In the case of players, they can do this by posting as their characters directly, or they can NPC a nameless throng of supporting NPCs who have been influenced by their character’s counter argument, or they can formulate a post and send it to the STs in a private message on the forums and the STs will post it for them.

This way they can be sure that no one knows the source of the opposition. However you sneaky players should know that there’s always a chance that someone might eventually trace the opposing position back to your character. When sending a post via private message to the STs, make sure that it’s in the EXACT format you want. STs will not be your editor. They will simply copy and paste what you wrote to the thread.

NPCs may act in much the same way that players may act. Some NPCs have reasons to mess with your character while others have reasons to support him. Some NPCs might have been influenced by other players. One never knows with all the intrigue in WoDG. The veracity and style in which these counter-claims are made, will determine their effect upon the bump in Notoriety. However, not all is sunshine and roses in the den of vipers…

Hey! Someone Dissed My Character! I Want to Fight Back!

Your character is never defenseless. He is free to call his allies to defend him. He is free to respond to allegations and refute them as he struggles to keep his reputation intact. He can even make counter-claims or expose someone who is speaking falsely and may need formal censure. He can do this in a few ways…

  1. He can boldly post a direct response back IC, denouncing his denouncers in his own Deed Thread. This is relatively straightforward.
  2. He can boldly go to his denouncer’s Deed Thread and post directly to it, denouncing him.
  3. He can boldly go to his denouncer’s Deed Thread and NPC nameless assorted side NPCs under his own log-in and post their IC reactions.
  4. He can do a counter-sneak (heh) and post back through NPCs via ST private message to his denouncers own thread, maligning him for making groundless accusations, etc. after he’s discovered his identity.
  5. He can meet with and try to influence NPCs in the setting and get them to act against the denouncer.

Note: Deed Threads are to be taken as general IC knowledge as they represent part of the mage grapevine. Anyone may use the information contained therein as their own character’s knowledge about the players within NYC’s Awakened Society. So if there is some covert activity your character is involved in, he may not want to brag about it or have others brag about it to Awakened Society as a whole. Keep information you want to keep secret out of Deed Threads.

As you might have guessed, how well your character fights back is factored into the Status bump at the end of the quarter. If all your efforts and the efforts of even your detractors had led to RP fun for all and even some cool SLs, there will be cookies.

Cookies for everyone!

How Do the Bumps Work?

The way that Status or Notoriety Bumps work is pretty simple. Points are divided into quarters. So characters start at 1.0 Status and 0 Notoriety. Then the levels rise like this: 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, 2.0, etc.

At the end of the Quarter, STs review threads and do a little vote thing behind the scenes and award the Bumps. Standard bumps are no more than .25 (trivial activities) to .5 (substantial activities) points a Quarter. Truly spectacular achievements or falls from grace (in the case of Notoriety) will garner more, but it is not common.

Characters don’t get the added benefits or penalties until achieving the next rank up.

Status and Notoriety are recorded separately. You can “buy off” Notoriety with your Status points. Doing so will erase Notoriety, but it will also lower your Status which you will have to work to build up again. Note that you may not rise in Status if you have Notoriety. You will need to use any Status gained that quarter to "buy off" your Notoriety before you can begin gaining Status again.

We do it this way to more accurately represent how characters spend their political capital and clout to redeem themselves or make embarrassing situations disappear at the expense of their overall reputation. It mimics real life more closely as people fall from grace and when the public has time to forget about them, they can make a comeback.

Yes we said cookies earlier. In addition to the shifts in Status and Notoriety, every player who participates in the Status threads is able to claim Venue Status as one of their Bonus EXP categories for the month. It doesn’t matter if you were successful or unsuccessful in your IC claims you still get a lovely parting gift just for playing! Wonderfully dastardly detractors or eloquent supporters might gain additional rewards. We will be especially keen to help out good antagonists because we know full well that it’s hard being an evil mastermind on a chat.

So What About Tradition Status Bumps?

Tradition Status and Tradition Notoriety Bumps work exactly like Mage Status and Mage Notoriety Bumps work. The only difference is that there is a separate Deed Thread associated with them.

They can be found using the same naming convention: Mage Forums/Tradition/Tradition Status Deeds Q2 2011/Character Name Tradition Deeds Q2 2011

Example: Mage Forums/Cult of Ecstasy/Cult of Ecstasy Status Deeds Q2 2011/ Pippin Poppycock Cultist Deeds Q2 2011

What about cookies? Well yes! There are cookies for keeping things going on the Tradition side. We want to make sure that there’s interaction going on at the Tradition level. It’s important after all to have the “family” dynamic well represented. Some Traditions are more rife with rivalries and hostilities than others. We don’t expect a group of Cultists to have the same level of intense scheming as found within the Order of Hermes. So we won’t be especially expecting to see friction on a regular basis. We’ll be happy with seeing Tradition mates forming bonds and encouraging one other just as well. Tradition Status activity qualifies for the Venue Status Bonus EXP category for the month. So go on and have fun interacting on a Tradition level.

Putting It All Together

Let’s look at how this all should work:

Pippin Poppycock Cultist goes into his Deed Thread and posts… Rumors circulate around the chantry halls-

"Did you know that Pippin the Cultist has unlocked the secrets of dreams and wonder in his new nifty Pippin’s Piping Hot Punch?"

"Really? What does it do this nifty concoction of Pippin’s the Cultist?"

"Why it cuts through Tass like hot water on ice and dilutes any offending flavors so that it more easily is tolerated amongst a wide variety of palettes!"

"Why that –is- clever of Pippin!"

Harry the Hermetic: a snide voice snickers at the others.- "you fools! To think that something could be so easily accomplished by a rube like Pippin’! I have it on good authority that Pippin’ stole that formula from Violet the Verbena!"
Pippin Poppycock: Pippin’ pipes in- "Who said that! My work is my own!"
ST NPC Catherine the Cultist comes to her fellow Tradition mate’s rescue. "Isn’t it true that Hermetics are the spawn of snakes? That’s why they speak with such forked tongues!"
STs at the end of the quarter adjust the sheets of both Pippin and Harry and lock the thread. Pippin + .25 Mage Status .0 Mage Notoriety

Harry the Hermetic + .0 Mage Status .0 Mage Notoriety

Both players claim Venue Status as one of their Bonus EXP categories for the month.

This Is All Too Much Work. My Character Is Not Political

No problem. Then don’t put any claims into your character’s Deed Threads. Usually apolitical types can get away with not participating. However, be warned that just because your character opts out, doesn’t mean that the magi might not pull him in. NPCs and other players are free to use your character’s Deed Thread to post rumors about him be they positive of negative. It’s up to you if you want to respond.

WTF, Dude! Why Are You Hating On My Character?

You know, players are notorious for breaking character when they don’t know how to or don’t want to deal with another character antagonizing theirs IC. Someone will have an antagonistic character and the player who was subject of the antagonism will break character to go on a pm tirade until the antagonist is bullied or nagged to death OOC to back off his character.

Players get butt-hurt when it comes to the IC popularity contests and typically they will get in OOC gangs based on their social cliques to harass players whose characters rock the boat. So let us say this right from the beginning…

The whole point of this feature is to provide the mechanism to ROCK THE BOAT IC! Hello?! Rocking the boat provides dramatic tension which can then be used to craft some meaty SLs! So…

Breaking character to go off on players OOC for providing that dramatic tension is grounds for disciplinary action by the STs. It’s a root of stasis and we won’t have it here. Period.

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