From WoD GothamWe encourage players to engage their STs in the creation of Wonders, Inventions, and Creations. It’s a rich part of MtA and it can be a wonderful source of SLs and RP.
When setting out to create a Wonder, send out a proposal to your ST via ticket. This will set up a dialog with you and the ST where you will discuss the proposal. You both will determine if the Wonder creation is worthy of a SL or if it needs to be tied into current events within the setting or if it’s just a simple matter of expending downtime.
STs will also work with you on determining balance. Mage has the tendency to get twinkish and we are constantly vigilant of that. Wonder creation will be a process totally supervised by the STs and periodically even Thing 1 will get involved by reviewing the current Wonders approved in WoDG to ensure that the chronicle balance is maintained and nothing fell through the cracks. If anything does fall through the cracks be prepared for Thing 1 to come and nerf the item and be not so pleased with either the ST overseeing the creation or the player who is doing the creating. It behooves everyone to maintain balance from the outset to avoid nerfing.
Rolls and roleplay will be necessary to support your creation. You will have to pay for the Wonders with EXP.
Gifting the Wonder to another player character should not be taken lightly. These things are difficult and time consuming to create. Many times they are given they are given to a close friend, lover, teacher, student, family member as an important token and symbol. So with that in mind, they will require the EXP expenditure for the full value of the Wonder of not only the creator but also of the recipient.
Finally there needs to be something said about mundane creations and inventions. These do not require experience points to make. For the Sons of Ether and even the Virtual Adepts, gadget making is part of the core concept of their respective Traditions. So to expect a huge outlay of EXP for each of their inventions and improvements of inventions would cripple the very concept of both Traditions. However in the interest of balance, for especially powerful inventions and creations no matter how mundane they are, there may be a small EXP tithe required to satisfy the STs. This is nominal at usually one dot in a Differential Wonder Background.
The best place getting an idea at the mechanics and cost of Wonders is the Mage: The Ascension Storyteller’s Companion (pg. 53-67). Another couple of good sources for the creation process is Forged By Dragon’s Fire andThe Technomancer's Toy Box.
Feel free to use any edition MtA sourcebook to gain inspiration and toss around ideas for Wonders, Inventions and Creations. Many technomancer books are 2nd edition so we do understand the need and the logic for “thinking outside the revised box”.
Note: Paradigm and Belief will always play a part in your character's invention process and the end result must fit with the paradigm, belief, and magickal style of your character. After all you wouldn't expect an Etherite to wield a magick wand and crystal prayer beads no more than you would expect a Hermetic sporting Ether Goggles and a Chorister cruising around in a Divine Ethership.
Stages of Creating a Wonder
In WoDG creating a wonder is not a simple matter of rolling dice, spending experience points and then happily having a wonder added to your sheet and you sent off on your merry way to wreak havoc upon the universe. There are stages and preparations mages must take before fashioning the final device. Wonders come in a variety of forms from the simple Periapts to legendary Relics and Artifacts and everything in between. So the amount of magickal knowledge needed, the amount of Quintessence, and the length of time spent developing and creating the Wonder varies widely as well.
That being said there are a few steps that are taken specific to WoDG in addition to the simple rolls that might be required for the Wonder in question according to the texts. See Mage: The Ascension Storyteller’s Companion (pg. 53-67) for specifics.
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 used for the Wonder.
Research is handled with an Intelligence + Investigation Roll. The target difficulties of the rolls and the amount of successes needed to finish the research phase of Wonder creation are as follows:
For each planned Coincidental Effect to be placed on the Wonder – Highest Sphere + 3
For each planned Vulgar Effect to be placed on the Wonder – 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.
Thus, if a player character wanted to place more than one effect on a Wonder and have it do more than one specific task, then the player character would need to research each Effect.
Note that this process can be shortened if the player character is not creating something completely new. If there are plans, formulae, schematics, or the same or a similar device in creation somewhere and the character was able to acquire a reasonable set of plans from a mentor, library, tome, scroll, etc then the time involved in research should be adjusted.
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 Effect – Highest Sphere + 3
- Vulgar Effect – Highest Sphere + 4
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 can proceed to fabricating his Wonder.
Some Notes on Experimentation
Like the research phase, experimentation can be bypassed or the time can be halved for a number of reasons like:
- The Wonder is a Fetish which doesn't carry with it a magickal effect as much as a spiritual one.
- The Wonder is a Periapt in which case it's a Tass battery and not so much an item charged with a magickal effect.
- The player character has a mentor guiding him.
- The Wonder in question isn't completely new and the player has acquired some sort of schematic, plan, formula, etc.
- The experiment is being conducted in an environment where there is a time savings.
For completely new items, the Experimentation phase can lower the target difficulty of the final rolls to create the Wonder itself or lower the success threshold at the ST's discretion.
|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|
Fabrication and Preparation
Most Wonders are custom made. They are usually commissioned by the mage or created by the mage himself. Whatever the case, if the item is not mass produced and bought at a mall or something (and those types of things do not make for the best Wonders for a variety of reasons), then the systems for inventing, creating, and building devices in Mental Feats must be used in addition to all the other steps in Wonder creation. Either the mage is making the rolls himself and spending his downtime or another player character is and that must all be documented with the ST.
Times for fabrication can be reduced by crafty mages using a variety of magickal means, but the mundane baseline is the same.
Enchanting a Wonder requires Prime 4 without the appropriate resonant Tass. It requires Prime 3 if the character has the Tass required at the appropriate Resonance. Fetishes use Spirit 4 and 3 respectively.
Wonder Ratings and EXP Costs
Wonders EXP costs are based on their Wonder Rating (MtA Core, Revised pp. 123-124). A general rule for Wonder Ratings is that it's more or less equal to the level of the highest sphere used for the effect (not the sum of all of them as in Forged by Dragon's Fire pg. 20). However there are tons of examples in the texts to get a general idea of what should be appropriate levels for Wonders. These levels are assigned by the ST using the texts and Spheres as a guide. Permanency and if the Wonder has multiple effects should always be considered when factoring levels as well.
For Charms and Gadgets with non-permanent effects the EXP cost is the same as the Background cost. Purchasing or raising a Background is 3 x New Rating so a level 1 Wonder that was a Charm or a group of Charms (since they are often made in sets like matchsticks) would be 3. However, when you start talking permanency the cost is double that of the Background cost. Multiple effects are each calculated separately as if they were each a separate Wonder even if it's in the same device and their cost is tacked on at the end. So if you were to create a level 1 Wonder that was a Talisman, then the cost would be 3 x New Rating = 3 x 2 = 6 for a total of 6 EXP. If you added another level 1 effect to the Talisman you would pay an additional 3 points if the effect was not permanent and 6 more if it was.
Yes you can upgrade on existing items. This is discussed in Mage: The Ascension Storyteller’s Companion pg. 65. For our purposes, you'd still have to go through the appropriate research, experimentation processes, and pay any additional EXP (if the upgrade involves something that's magickal and not mundane, hyper-tech or simply scientifically advanced). However, the device is already made so you save time on the fabrication in most cases unless you're adding a peripheral of some sort to your Wonder. Even then the time savings is substantial as you are only tweaking an existing item.
So go for it!
Yes after all those steps, Dr. Frankenstein is ready to meet his monster. This is when the specific rolls are made as per Mage: The Ascension Storyteller’s Companion (pg. 53-67) and any additional rolls for the magickal effects are also done. The player is expected to have the EXP saved by now for the Wonder and have a description written up for inclusion in the Character Dossier. If the whole process was successful and the EXP paid and the Wonder detailed, then the Wonder will have successfully been created. It should be listed on the Character Sheet by the STs as its own line in Backgrounds on your Character Sheet with the description in your Character Dossier.