Mage: The Ascension

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Magus: The Enlightenment
(Mage: The Ascension)
Original publisher White wolf
Original publication 1993
original language English
German publisher Pen and sword
World and system
genre Horror, modern fantasy
Game world World of darkness
Basic system Storyteller system
Ascent Experience point purchase system
cube W10 (storyteller system)

Mage: The Ascension is an English-language pen and paper RPG that is part of White Wolf's World of Darkness RPG series. In 1996 the German translation of the publishing house Feder & Schwert appeared under the title Magus: Die Erleuchtung .

In the game it is intended that the player characters are Magi (Singular: Magus ). These are "awakened" people who have acquired the ability to magically manipulate the world around them since a moment in their life called "awakening". Within the game world there are different groups that have different explanations for this ability and use different techniques to use this ability. For example technomagic, shamanism or hermetics .

Publication history

The first edition of Mage: The Ascension was released in 1993 as part of the role-playing game series World of Darkness. A second (2nd) and a third (revised) edition followed. In addition, many additional source books and some adventures, as well as short stories and novels that are set in the game world were published. For a more detailed list see below .

In 2004 the World of Darkness series and with it Mage: The Ascension was completed. At that time, White Wolf stopped producing and distributing all books in the game world. However, the books can still be purchased as PDF downloads. Some of the German translations are also offered.

In 2011, a special edition was published for the World of Darkness game Vampire: The Masquerade for the 20th anniversary of the appearance. At the same time as the announcement of a special anniversary edition for the second World of Darkness game Werewolf: The Apocalypse , new books for Mage: The Ascension were also announced.

In addition, all White Wolf products are to be gradually included in White Wolf's print-on-demand range. As of November 2011, however, only the Mage books from the Mind's Eye Theater series were received there.

A new game world was created by the White Wolf publishing house , which is also called World of Darkness and which also features a game about magicians. This game is called Mage: The Awakening . A German version of Mage: The Awakening has not been published, although the Feder & Schwert publishing house planned such a version under the title Magus: Das Erwachen . Due to the thematic parallels, Mage: The Awakening can be seen as the successor to Mage: The Ascension , even if it is basically an independent game in its own game world.

The game world

In Mage: The Ascension you play, as the name suggests, magician. Their form of magic is called magick or true magic (reason for this naming later). It is intended that all player characters in a playgroup play together. This usually requires that they all belong to one of the two groups that predominate in the game world , or at least sympathize with it. One calls a group of magicians from the ranks of the traditions a Cabal. A group of technocrats , on the other hand, is called an amalgam. The main conflict in this game world is the so-called War of Enlightenment (Elgl. Ascension War), the war between all four major groups for the confirmation of their worldview. The arenas of this war are on the one hand the earth, but also the umber and its umber realms .

Metaphysics of the game

Mage: The Ascension assumes that reality is changeable.

Consensus, Sleeper and Awakened

What people think is right and logical in an environment is locally considered a reality and is referred to as a local consensus . Belief z. B. zombies in Haiti, they exist. If people believed in the existence of dragons in the Middle Ages, then there were dragons. Today nobody believes dragons exist anymore, so they are extinct (or only live in special umber realms ). So reality is a lie that humanity tells itself. However, some people awaken from this self-imposed apathy and through awakening gain the ability to impose their will on reality. These people could be called magicians , they call themselves Mages (English singular: Mage) or in the German version Magi (singular: Magus).

Paradigm and paradox

However, these magi cannot completely shape reality according to their will, their magick is subject to certain restrictions. A Magus is not necessarily aware that he could change the reality around him far-reaching. He has a certain belief that justifies and explains for him what he is doing. This belief is called a paradigm . No Magus would believe that he is just changing the world. He would z. B. believe to do the divine will, to be a brilliant scientist or a witch who got her power from the old gods. There are groups of Magi who have the same or approximately the same paradigms and which in turn are divided into subgroups (see The groupings ).

Another dilemma is that it is more difficult for a Magus is his Magick to act, the more his paradigm and the local consensus differ. So it is z. B. relatively difficult to summon a demon in the middle of Berlin, but comparatively easy to develop a laser cannon. A distinction is made between coincident and vulgar magick; Coincident are effects caused by Magick that a sleeper can explain to himself within his consensus, vulgar are those effects that violate the consensus (e.g. throwing fireballs in a shopping mall). The further an effect deviates from the local consensus , the worse the consequences of a failure of the spell. The punishment suffered by a Magus in the event of failure (technical rules: a failed magic throw) is called a paradox . Paradox can show itself in many different ways; the most common effect is the so-called Paradoxschwäche (Engl. paradox flaw), in which the Magus for a limited period with a certain change in his personal life has, which is directly related to the effect that he has botched. So could z. B. the eyes of a magus glow fiery red for a few hours because he could not successfully perform a fire spell. Worse punishments involve paradoxical spirits tormenting the Magus or, in the worst case, banishment to a paradoxical realm . However, it is not known who punishes the Magi , if the effects of Paradox are to be interpreted as punishment at all and they are not viewed as a kind of immune reaction of reality.


The Magi draw their power from a part of their soul called the Avatar . This avatar has rudimentary approaches to personality, takes in subtle ways - via dreams e.g. B. - Influence on the Magus and can also materialize in very rare cases. The Magi cataloged four basic types: Pattern (German static), Primordial (German original), Dynamic (German dynamic) and Questing (searching). These personalities influence the Magick the Magus does. Primitive magi are most likely to become wizards or shamans, while most static magi are more likely to approach their problems scientifically.


The Magi have divided the world into nine aspects, which are also called the spheres . This division is necessary so that Magi can compare their respective paradigms and have a basis on which to have a conversation about Magick . Not all magi can influence all aspects of the world equally well.

There are the following spheres :

English German assigned aspects
Correspondence Correspondence the space, distances
Entropy entropy Chaos, decay, chance
Forces Powers Energies like light, temperature, electricity, kinetic energy etc.
Life Life Life force, living matter, healing, disease
Matter matter inanimate substances
Min thoughts Mind, memory
Prime core Magic, the essence of objects / beings
Spirit ghost Spirits, the spiritual parts of objects / beings
Time time Time, the timing of events

For each individual Magus , however, the spheres only determine what he can influence, not how he does it. A scientifically oriented Magus will understand life as stimulation of cells and as biology on a very high level. A magus oriented as a witch / sorcerer, on the other hand, will address and increase the life force when he uses the sphere of "life". A shamanic magus, on the other hand, will use the power of spirits of healing or illness to achieve the corresponding effect.

Consequences of this metaphysics

The really tragic thing about the existence of the Magi is that they basically all do the same thing ( Magick work) and only wage a war because they mistakenly believe that their methods are actually fundamentally different when they are actually rather different nomenclatures acts. This war is known as the War of Enlightenment and is essentially a conflict of worldviews. Every group of magicians tries to pull the sleepers , i.e. the people who have not awakened, to their side and to convince them of their paradigm .

The groupings

The Willworker (i.e. awakened people who can work Magick ) is roughly divided into four groups, the Traditions , the Technocratic Union , the Nephandi and ultimately the Marauders . . The three latter groups are characterized by a metaphysical imbalance in a direction (stasis or weaver in Technocratic Union , entropy or Wyrm in Nephandi and finally chaos or Wyld in the marauders ). Most of the traditions can be described as balanced. Each group is discussed in detail in the following texts.

In addition to these four large groups, there are a few smaller ones that are of minor importance. These include a. the guilds (English Crafts), which differ from the traditions mainly by their low number of followers and z. Some of them have left the union of traditions. The orphans , on the other hand, are Magi who are not instructed in any existing tradition, but have developed their own paradigms.

The traditions

Most player characters will belong to a particular tradition made up of magi who follow a largely similar paradigm. The traditions have in the Council of Nine organized (Council of Nine), in which each tradition the seat of a sphere holds. This sphere always has a special place within the teachings of the respective tradition. The seats of the Council today are divided into the following traditions :

English German sphere
Akashic Brotherhood Brotherhood of Akashas Min
Celestial Chorus The heavenly choir Prime
Cult of Ecstasy Cult of Ecstasy Time
Dreamspeakers Dream singer Spirit
Euthanatos Euthanatos Entropy
Order of Hermes Order of Hermes Forces
Sons of Ether Sons of ether Matter
Verbena Verbena Life
Virtual adepts Virtual adepts Correspondence

That was not always so; some traditions fell victim to the pogrom of the Technocratic Union , that is, the consistent extermination of everything supernatural in the world, others withdrew voluntarily. The Ahl-I-Batin , who held the seat of the Correspondence until 1932 , are z. B. retired from the League of Traditions and are now counted among the guilds . Most guilds, however, idealistically are still closest to tradition.

The common goal of the traditions is global enlightenment , the opening of the sleeper's eyes to the magick of the world. However, the pogrom of the Technocratic Union has made this goal a long way off, if not impossible. That is why most of the Magi of the Traditions tend to focus on specific questions rather than emulating this lofty goal.

The Technocratic Union

The Technocratic Union (Technocratic Union, Technocracy) emerged from the Order of Reason, an elite circle of scientists, Freemasons, craftsmen and doctors of the Renaissance who had made it their business to help humanity with their inventions and to serve their knowledge. However, the order quickly lost sight of this goal and devoted itself to the ruthless implementation of its ideas and the eradication of dissenters, the so-called pogrom, which continues to this day and is extremely successful.

The members of the Technocratic Union are characterized by a metaphysical imbalance toward stasis / Weaver from, that is, their Magick - they call this enlightened science (Enlightened Science) - tends to have a permanent, structured character and to be non-dynamic. Your paradigm, d. H. their scientific theories are believed to be the only true way.

The following conventions exist within the Technocratic Union :

English German description
Iteration X Iteration X The designers of the Union, they build u. a. Weapons for the war of enlightenment , including the dreaded HIT-Marks , combat cyborgs and, more recently, mobile armored suits a la Bubblegum Crisis .
New World Order New world order; short NWO This convention gathers, disseminates and changes information. They follow the example of a control of the masses as described in George Orwell's book 1984 . They also cement the urban notion of Men in Black (MIB) as government agents with far-reaching powers.
Progenitors Progenitors In their laboratories, the genetic engineers breed the wildest creatures and a. with the breeding of the perfect human.
Syndicate syndicate This subtle convention affects the fortunes of the world through its control over the economy and the flow of money, and, as a result, organized crime.
Void Engineers Engineers of the Void The Void Engineers is driven by curiosity into ever more remote parts of the telluric . However, they consolidate reality and remove all white spots from the maps where mythical realms may have been hidden before.

The Nephandi

The Nephandi are the only group who knowingly serve a higher power. What exactly it is, however, is unclear or different for individual subgroups of the Nephandi. Both the wyrm (as a primal force from the game Werewolf: The Apocalypse , which is at home in the same game world) is possible, as well as Cthulhu -esque entities. The Nephandi are the horror of all awakened people, for they commit abominations for their dark masters that defy description. So they carry off z. B. innocent people as slaves in their labyrinths and force them to expand them or breed terrible creatures from various umbra-borns, which they send into the battle against the traditions and the technocratic union. The center of the Nephandi is Malfeas, the shentie of entropy, or the realm of the wyrm, to express it in a werewolf term. Your magick has an imbalance towards entropy.

The marauders

The Marauders are magicians who, for various reasons, have gone mad and now live in a world of their own, to whose laws they are subject. Their magick is out of control, and their targets are as weird and dangerous as their mental disorders.

Game terminology

  • An avatar is the divine splinter of an awakened one, his magical soul, so to speak.
  • An Awakened (eng .: awakened is) a person who by willpower and knowledge can change reality, d. H. Magick (not magic!) Can work. Such a person is also known as a magus (eng .: mage ) or shaper. Any person who is not an awakened is a sleeper .
  • A fetish is an object into which a spirit is bound.
  • A focus is an object or practice that makes Magick much easier.
  • Paradigm is the world concept of a Magus but also that of his respective environment. In the case of strongly diverging paradigms, magic only has a limited effect or creates a paradox.
  • Paradox When magic interacts with the environment, there is the possibility of negative setback, with which the existing reality protects itself from changes. This risk is particularly high in the case of a strange paradigm in the environment (e.g. a nature magician in a technology laboratory) and in the case of observation by non-magical witnesses whose factual disbelief determines the reality of today's world.
  • Quintessence (eng .: quintessence ) is both the basic substance of all things, as well as a measure of the “reality” of an object and a kind of fuel that enables (and simplifies) reality to be shaped. When an object, energy, or living being is created from quintessence , the quintessence becomes Tass .
  • A sleeper (eng .: sleeper ) is a person who can work through their belief and experience no Magick. The opposite of a sleeper is an awakened one .
  • The nine spheres (eng .: spheres ) are an abstract model to represent the existence and the processes in the world. There is speculation on a tenth sphere .
  • A Spirit (dt .: Spirit ) is the personification of an object, a concept or an idea . Every object, every concept and every idea has (at least) one spirit .
  • Tass is a form of quintessence that is usually bound in objects, energies (in the sense of particle radiation and thermal energy ) and living beings. In contrast to Quintessenz, it cannot be used universally.

The Nine Spheres of Magick

They are the realms of reality into which White Wolf has divided reality in its rules of the game. Each sphere deals with a different aspect of reality, and theoretically it is possible for a magus who is a master in all spheres to create any magical effect. Each sphere can be used individually; more often, however, several spheres are linked to form a conjunction effect.

  • Correspondence (dt .: correspondence ) deals with space, depths, distances and positions.
  • Entropy (Eng .: entropy ) deals with the ephemeral areas of chance, destruction and dissolution and decay.
  • Forces (dt .: forces ) control elements, physical and chemical forces and energies and physical processes.
  • Life (dt .: Life ) dominated living tissue, the bodies of animals and plants and organic material.
  • Matter (English: matter ) covers the control of inanimate matter, dead objects and inanimate material.
  • Mind (dt .: thoughts ) changes thoughts, feelings, astral bodies and theoretical concepts in the human spirit.
  • Prime (dt .: core ) deals with seeing, feeling, collecting and using quintessence .
  • Spirit (dt .: ghosts ) deals with ghosts, the parallel worlds and ephemeral objects.
  • Time (dt .: Time ) controls the course, the view through and the speed of time.




  1. Robert Weinberg: The Road to Hell . White Wolf Publishing, 1997, ISBN 1-56504-847-4
  2. Robert Weinberg: The Ascension Warrior . White Wolf Publishing, 1997, ISBN 1-56504-848-2
  3. Robert Weinberg: Was in Heaven . White Wolf Games Studio, 1998, ISBN 1-56504-890-3

Rules of the game

  • Compendium for narrators : Basic rules book 2001 Feder & Schwert
  • Magus: The Enlightenment 2nd Edition : Basic Rules Hardcover 1996 Feder & Schwert
  • Magus: The Enlightenment 3rd Edition : Basic Rules Hardcover 2000 Feder & Schwert
  • Book of Shadows : Source Material Softcover 1999 Feder & Schwert
  • Book of mirrors : source material softcover 1999 Feder & Schwert
  • Book of Worlds - Beyond Limits : Source Material Softcover Pen & Sword
  • Book of madness . Source material book Feder & Schwert
  • Thorny path . Source material Softcover 2001 Feder & Schwert
  • Technocracy Handbook . Source material hardcover pen & sword
  • Dead magic . Source material book
  • Forbidden knowledge + game leader's screen . Source material Softcover + viewing screen 1998 Feder & Schwert
  • Mage: The Ascension (1st Edition) Basic Rules Softcover 1993 White Wolf
  • Mage: The Ascension (2nd Edition) Basic Rules Hardcover 1993/1995 White Wolf
  • Mage: The Ascension (3rd Edition) Basic Rules Hardcover 1993/1994/1995/2001 White Wolf
  • Mage: The Ascension¸ Limited Edition (3rd Edition) Basic Rules Hardcover 2002 White Wolf
  • Storytellers Companion Basic Rules Softcover 2002 White Wolf
  • Ascension's Right Hand Source Material Book 1995 White Wolf
  • Bitter Road source material book White Wolf
  • Blood Treachery Source Material Book 2000 White Wolf
  • Book of Chantries Source Material Book 1993 White Wolf
  • Book of Crafts Source Material Book 1996 White Wolf
  • Book of Madness Rev. Source Material Softcover 1994/2001 White Wolf
  • Book of Mirrors: A Storyteller's Guide to Mage Source Material Book 1997 White Wolf
  • Book of Shadows: Mage Player's Guide Source Material Book 1993 White Wolf
  • Book of Worlds: Beyond the Barriers Source Material Book 1996 White Wolf
  • Dead Magick 1: The Tome Of Lost Cultures And Civilizations Source Material Softcover 2000 White Wolf
  • Dead Magick 2: Secrets and Survivors Source Material Softcover 2003 White Wolf
  • Destiny's Price source material book 1995 White Wolf
  • Digital Web 2.0 Source Material Book 1993 White Wolf
  • Dragons of the East Source Material Softcover 2000 White Wolf
  • Fallen Tower: Las Vegas Source Material Softcover 2003 White Wolf
  • Forged By Dragon's Fire Source Material Book 2003 White Wolf
  • Guide to Technocracy Source Material Hardcover White Wolf
  • Guide to Traditions Source Material Hardcover 2001 White Wolf
  • Halls of the Arcanum source material book 1995 White Wolf
  • Horizon: The Stronghold of Hope Source Material Book 1996 White Wolf
  • Infernalism: The Path of Screams Source Material Paperback 1999 White Wolf
  • Infinite Tapestry . Source material book 2003 White Wolf
  • Initiates of the Art . Source material book White Wolf
  • Iteration X . Source material softcover 2002 White Wolf
  • Loom of Fate . Source material book 1993/1999 White Wolf
  • Lost Paths: Ahl-i-Batin and Taftani . Source material book White Wolf
  • Mage Chronicles (1) . Anthology book 1997 White Wolf
  • Mage Chronicles (2) . Anthology book 1997 White Wolf
  • Mage Chronicles (3) . Anthology book 2002 White Wolf
  • Manifesto: Transmissions from the Rogue Council . Source material softcover 2002 White Wolf
  • Masters of the Art . Source material book White Wolf
  • Orphan's Survival Guide . Source material book White Wolf
  • Sorcerers Rev. Source Material Book 2000 White Wolf
  • Spirit Ways . Source material book White Wolf
  • Storyteller Handbook rev . Source material hardcover White Wolf
  • Storytellers Screen . Source material book 1993/1996 White Wolf
  • Technocracy Assembled (1) . Anthology book 1998 White Wolf
  • Technocracy Assembled (2) . Anthology book 2000 White Wolf
  • Technocracy: Iteration X . Source material book 1995 White Wolf
  • Technocracy: New World Order . Source material book 1995 White Wolf
  • Technocracy: Progenitors . Source material book 1993/1995 White Wolf
  • Technocracy: Syndicate . Source material book 1997 White Wolf
  • Technocracy: Void Engineers . Source material book 1996 White Wolf
  • Technomancer's toy box . Source material book 1998 White Wolf
  • Tradition Book: Akashic Brotherhood . Source material softcover 1994/2001 White Wolf
  • Tradition Book: Celestial Chorus . Source material softcover 1996/2001 White Wolf
  • Tradition Book: Cult of Ecstasy Rev. Source Material Softcover 1996/2001 White Wolf
  • Tradition Book: Dreamspeakers Rev. Source Material Softcover 1996/2002 White Wolf
  • Tradition Book: Euthanatos Rev. Source material Softcover 1997/2001 White Wolf
  • Tradition Book: Hollow Ones Rev. Source Material Softcover 2002 White Wolf
  • Tradition Book: Order of Hermes Rev. Source material Softcover 1997/2003 White Wolf
  • Tradition Book: Sons of Ether Rev. Source Material Softcover 1993/2003 White Wolf
  • Tradition Book: Verbana Rev. Source material softcover 1994/2003 White Wolf
  • Tradition Book: Virtual Adepts Rev. Source Material Softcover 1994/2003 White Wolf
  • Traditions Gathered 1: Songs of Science . Anthology book White Wolf
  • Traditions Gathered 2: Blood and Dreams . Anthology book White Wolf
  • Traditions Gathered 3: Swords of Faith . Anthology book White Wolf
  • Witches and Pagans . Source material book White Wolf
  • Chaos factor . Adventure Softcover 1994 White Wolf OOP
  • Tales of Magick 1: Dark Adventure . Adventure softcover White Wolf
  • Art of: Mage: The Ascension . Softcover White Wolf illustrated book
  • Hidden Lore: Mage (2nd) Screen . Play aid + screen 1996 White Wolf OOP
  • Tarot deck Rev. . Play aid 1996/2001 White Wolf

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. DriveThru RPG White Wolf Products [1] (as of October 12, 2011)
  2. DriveThru RPG Feather & Sword Products [2] (as of November 21, 2011)
  3. White Wolf Release Schedule 2011-2012 ( Memento from September 10, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  4. DriveThru RPG White Wolf "Now in Print" Products [3] (as of November 21, 2011)