From WoD Gotham

Jump to: navigation, search

Gate 309 to Outer Space by Azzurayelos.jpg

With respect to rotes, we’re of the opinion that creating rotes is a good exercise for players to learn how to incorporate their Spheres and weave the use of them into effects. So have at it. They are free. They don’t cost XP. That would be silly.


There are a few catches (of course).


Rote Creation Overview

Players can’t just rip off rotes from the texts en masse and say that they are their characters’. That would be silly as well. In WoDG, rotes have to follow the steps for creating magickal effects just as if they were fast-casted. Just because it’s a rote, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t get held to the same standards of other effects.

That means that in the rote description, you not only have to give the Spheres used and at what levels along with the mechanics, you also have to include how it fits your character’s paradigm and casting style, how it manifests, and any typical coincidental applications of it (if applicable) or if it’s vulgar that needs to be stated.

Further, rotes don’t just get slapped on your character sheet because they would be cool to have. Each of them requires research, experimentation or use. That means that rotes in WoDG are either taken as a result of having been used in game or having been researched in downtime via Journal and downtime reports. Let’s take a look at those two types of methods to acquire a rote. The first mentioned was having used the rote in the past. If there’s a particular effect that you find your character has used over and over again in a ST session or in general play, it may be automatically put into your character’s Rote List. You might get a notification from a ST that your character had used the effect enough times that he knows it and so it should be written up as a rote for review. Alternatively, your character might have used an effect in general play often enough and in that case you can write up the rote and reference those instances where he’s had a chance to use the effect in general play in a Rote ticket. Then the STs will review the petition as normal.

Creating rotes in downtime works a little differently. Since unlike previously used effects, downtime rotes are untried and untested. They need to be created. This involves spending time researching and experimenting until your mage has got the magickal formula just right. This means that it takes time out of your other downtime activities like any other item your character would research, invent, or create.

Mechanics to Creating a Rote

There are two stages in creating a rote: Research and Experimentation.


Before your character can do anything they must have a concept and a goal in mind which needs to be researched. Your character starts with this concept and begins researching methods in which to realize that concept and draws up a plan to execute it. Basically this is where your character comes up with the magickal formula and the methodology for the rote.

Research is handled with an Intelligence + Investigation Roll (or Intelligence + Computers for technomancer paradigms). The target difficulties of the rolls and the amount of successes needed to finish the research phase of rote creation are as follows:

Coincidental Rote – Highest Sphere + 3

Vulgar Rote – Highest Sphere + 4

This roll can be extended. Each roll a player character makes represents one day of study and research spent working on the problem.


Well now that your character has a clear idea of what he’s trying to do and how he’s going to do it, he’s got to see if it works. So your character then has to go and find a space where he can fling the effect around over and over again, to make sure he has it right. He might have to go through some fine tuning, or change the formula, etc. This all takes time. For especially spectacular feats, it takes A LOT of time. Please refer to the table below for some guidelines on how much time the experimentation process might take.

To experiment a mage rolls his Arete vs the following difficulties:

  • Coincidental Rote – Highest Sphere + 3
  • Vulgar Rote – Highest Sphere + 4
Experimentation Time Based on Magickal Feat
Feat # of Successes and Days of Experimentation Required
Simple Feat (changing the color of your own eyes, lighting a candle, using magic to sense someone nearby, conjuring a business card) 1
Standard Feat (changing your own shape, causing an oil lamp to explode, influencing someone’s mood with Mind magick, conjuring a ball of flame) 2
Difficult Feat (transforming into something bigger/smaller than yourself, igniting a gas main, deep reading someone’s mind, conjuring a chainsaw) 3
Impressive Feat (changing someone else’s shape, blowing up a house, taking over someone’s mind, conjuring a car, making yourself disappear) 4
Mighty Feat (turning someone into sludge, incinerating an armored tank, obliterating someone’s mind, conjuring a mythic beast) 5-10
Outlandish Feat (turning a roomful of people into sludge, igniting a warship’s weaponry, mind controlling a horde of madmen, conjuring a demon, making a mansion disappear) 10-20
Godlike Feat (making a skyscraper disappear, finding one particular person in New York using Mind magick, summoning a horror from the Deep Umbra, levitating a mountain, creating a Horizon Realm) 20 or more

The difficulties cannot be adjusted because that would skew the experiment. In practical terms, if a mage went ahead and lowered the difficulty of an experiment, then he wouldn’t be certain if the effect really works or if the effect only worked because he softened up the Tapestry enough to take the effect.

Besides, most of the experimentation will be done in a controlled environment. At least one would hope. If your mage is silly enough to experiment on some wild vulgar effect outside a sanctum, the ST will happily run the appropriate Paradox systems with you. Once your mage has acquired the amount of successes needed based on the chart below, he is considered to have spent the appropriate amount of downtime needed to have successfully experimented on the effect and it becomes a rote.


There are a few crafty ways where a player can manipulate the time it takes to create a rote. While there are easy methods to speed up research, experimentation is a bit more difficult to manipulate but there are ways. However, these ways are risky and invite a ST to be impish towards your character. You have been warned.

For instance, a Virtual Adept could go to the Digital Web and enter a sector and begin experimenting there at a significant time savings. However, flinging magick all around the Digital Web while experimenting poses other problems – like the threat of a white-out.


When researching a rote you will be creating a downtime report. You will reference your rolls as required and the ST will adjust your ETA according to the research and development roll results you posted. It is assumed that the time spent researching and experimenting, your character is working at a normal pace. He is taking his bio breaks, eating, sleeping, answering telephone calls, etc.

Submitting a Rote

To submit a rote simply send the following information to the STs via the Character Dossier System's Rote ticket.

Name: What You Call the Rote

Spheres: The Spheres and the ranks used.

Type: Coincidental or Vulgar

Foci: The foci used.

Description: What the rote does, how it fits in with your character’s paradigm, how it manifests, if it’s usually coincidentally applied note how, etc. (See steps for creating magickal effects for more information.) Include the mechanics of your rote including number of successes needed, applicable resistances, etc.

Personal tools


F logo.png
Follow WoDGotham on Twitter