Create A Mage

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To create a character, you'll want to log into the game. You do not need to float your concept by staff first, although you are welcome to do so if you like! If you'd rather not wait, you can just create a character bit, navigate to the character generator (by typing 'CG' after creating an account), and voila! You're ready to go. Follow the on-screen instructions, which walk you through the process. Your progress is automatically saved at each step. At the end, the game will automatically generate a character generation +request.

It'll tell you a +job number, like 643. You'll be able to open that job by typing "+job 643" (replace this with the number it gives you). Staff will process the job to approve your character. When doing so, they might add comments and ask questions or make requests for revisions of your application. To respond by adding comments to that job, use the "+job/add <#>=<comments>" command.

You can also see where you are on the character generation approval waitlist by typing "+waitlist".

What We Do And Don't Allow

Craft Choices

We allow the Nine Traditions and the Disparate Crafts.

Concept Limitations

No Minors. Characters must be 18 or older.

No Barely Legal Tomfoolery. Sex worker characters must be 21 or older. In a perfect world where there aren't weirdos out there we'd let you play the 16 year old hooker with a heart of gold, but this is not a perfect world.

No True Loners. While Loner concepts are compelling, this is a social game and loners will not have fun here. Please make sure to provide some source of motivation for the character to connect with other characters so that you have something to do between staff-run scenes, otherwise you will find yourself frustrated.

No Baked-In Titles. Your character can become the leader of the most important cabal, the primogen, the Prince, a key politician, and so on. Your character can be created with strong potential to become these things. But when it comes to uncommon titles of prestige, be they mundane or supernatural, we do not approve these characters as already being the Head Of Whatever.

No Technocrats. We do not accept Technocrat characters.

No Marauders. We do not accept Marauders. No Nephandi. We do not accept Nephandi.

No Adepts, Masters, Or Greater. You may earn Arete 4+ in play, but you can not come in with an Arete higher than 3.


You will need to log into the game and follow the on-screen instructions in order to actually assign stats to your character sheet. The character generator walks you through this process and contains explanations, but since you're already here on the wiki, here are some resources:

  • You will be asked to pick a Nature and Demeanor.
  • You'll then need to set your Attributes, which start on page 273 of M20 Core.
  • Then you'll need to set your Abilities.
    • Abilities are defined on page 275 of M20 Core.
    • Although M20 Core offers Secondary Abilities, we have consolidated them. Please check out our Secondary Abilities house rule to make a decision on how to allocate what you may have planned for Secondaries. We do still offer Meditation, Cosmology, and Do as core abilities. The other ones, however, are consolidated.
  • You will have 5 points to spend on Backgrounds.
  • You will have 5 points to spend on Spheres, plus 1 dot in your Affinity sphere.
    • Descriptions of the Spheres start out on page 512 of M20 Core.
  • You will then select Merits And Flaws.
  • And then you'll spend 15 Freebies.
    • Freebies are described on page 257 of M20 Core.
  • You'll then pick your Specialties.
  • And finally you can spend 50 starting XP.
    • You can find the XP chart on page 336 of M20 Core.


You'll be prompted to write a backstory for your character. You can do it in bullet points, you can do it in prose, it can be short or long, but it does need to cover the major story beats. In the character generator, use +note/write backstory=<text> to provide your backstory. You can format with %R (carriage return) and %T (tab). If you are writing a lengthy backstory, feel free to part it out (+note write backstory 2=<stuff>, +note/write backstory 3=<stuff>).

In this backstory, you'll be expected to cover the points detailed below.

Please consider that you will be required to pick a Hook. They're backstory aspects that assert your character has a specific purpose and they confer a perk. There are 3 hooks to choose from. If none of them quite fit, we can discuss some wiggle room, but we want all of our characters to have a direct tie into the story world and so you will have to pick something. Here are the TL'DRs of all three:

  • All Out Of Bubble Gum: Whether as a spy or a soldier, you're here to fight for the Ascension War.
  • Salvage Operations: You're here to recover the lost knowledge and wonders of San Francisco before the Technocracy does.
  • San Francisco Libertine: You're here to make San Francisco a better place for the Sleepers who cannot protect themselves from the city's depredations.

Mortal Origins

Origin: Where did your character come from and what was early life like? Family, friends, education and, if any, pivotal moments or people in their life.

Example: Jimmy grew up poor, but in a family full of love. He aspired to be the first in his family to go to college and pulled it off, graduating from MIT, his proudest moment.

Attributes At 1 Need To Be A Part Of Your Character: If you take Appearance 1, be prepared to look awful. If you take Intelligence 1, be prepared for a life that's like a box of chock-lits. You will be expected to commit to attributes at 1, and staff can, at their discretion, reject the build if it doesn't make sense.

Skills At 3 Need A Nod: Some nod to how your character honed these professional skill levels should be in the background. Long standing professions, hobbies, and innate character traits are examples of valid ways to address these bits, and you can always batch multiple stats into one reason.

Example: Jimmy has Science, Technology and Academics 3 and writes into his background: "Jimmy then found work as a software engineer and found a career among tech bros at places like Facespace and Tweeter."

Skills At 4 and 5 Need Some Thought: Skills with a rating of 4 or 5 single out your character as being the cream of the crop to the point where that skill becomes a dominant part of their lifestyle/identity. Please put some distinct attention into what propels your character to be so prodigious and/or invest so much of themselves into the skills you have at 4 and 5.

Example: Jimmy has a 4 in Crafts on his sheet, and writes into his background: "Despite his white-collar lifestyle, Jimmy never forgot his roots. Inspired by the legacy of mechanics and roughnecks that forged him, fixing cars became an eventual passion where he flourished. His well-paid career gave him the funding and time to excel at this hobby, and he became an avid attendant of car shows and a staple of the local custom car scene."

Watch Your Merits And Flaws: Merits and flaws each have the potential to bring impact to your character's regular life. Please look at your merits and flaws. Generally speaking, most of them are worth mentioning in your background. However, if they are 3 (or -3) or further, then this merit/flaw is extremely likely to be significant enough to have an impact on your character worth mentioning in the background. Staff will be looking for how your merits/flaws came to be, followed by what sort of impact they have on your character today.

Example: Jimmy has purchased the Lame flaw, and writes into his background: "But life was not all successes for Jimmy! His passion for cars got him in trouble. He tried his hand at street-racing, and that phase ended horribly with a car accident that nearly ended him. His recovery was miraculous and yet still left him with an acquired disability. While he's still leading a mostly normal life, he's psychologically not yet at peace with what happened."


How Did It Happen? Give us an overview of how your character Awakened.

Example: The agony during the car wreck Jimmy went through propelled him into a profound experience that he thought was an out-of-body experience on death's doorstep. He wasn't exactly wrong. As his life flashed before his eyes, everything in that moment was sublime then and just Made Sense.'

What Was Your Magickal Education Like? Your Mage either is or isn't initiated into a Craft. How did that go?

Example: During his long recovery in the hospital, Jimmy kept reflecting on that moment of realization. He kept having profound experiences under anesthesia during his surgeries. Once he got out of the hospital, he avidly ate up Occult works in an attempt to explain it all and learn more. That was when {Whats His Nuts} Bani {Whatever} took notice and took him under his wing. Some years later, his rite of passage into the {Whatever} was {Doing This Cool Thing}.


Stop and take a moment to think about your character's past in terms of where they've been and major accomplishments, if the Backstory questionnaire hasn't already gotten that info out of you. We have players submit their character's timelines ("I lived in Paris from 1783 to 1800…") so that players whose characters were in the same places at the same time are introduced OOCly to one another.

You do not need an exhaustive timeline, and just picking a random handful of cities will do (so will saying you are SF born and raised). You do need to make sure these places are mentioned in your backstory (e.g. if your timeline starts in LA and ends in New Orleans, be sure to include something like, "Jimbo moved to New Orleans" in the backstory so it adds up) but you are not obligated to go into exhaustive detail just because there's some city in your timeline.

On-screen instructions will prompt you to build your timeline when you move on from the Backstory room.


You'll be asked to fill out the following information, which will be used by storytellers if someone snoops into you. You can be succinct, it just needs to be filled out. This is your opportunity to set what turns up in the background check ahead of time, if it ever happens.

  • Date of Birth: When was your character born?
  • Name: What is your character's current, full legal name they go by?
  • Birthplace: Are there hospital/church records on your birthplace?
  • Marriage: Are there marriage and/or divorce records? When/where/to whom?
  • Family: Siblings. Kids. Parents. Any still alive? Who?
  • Criminal: Tell us about your criminal record if you have one.
  • Death: Does your original mortal identity have an obituary/burial/death record?
  • Misc: Do you have any other stuff you want to talk about? Draft cards. Border crossings. Passports. News articles.


Through the character generator, you will be prompted to fill out some freeform information.

The information in the Notes can be copy-pasted from your Backstory where relevant (and vice-versa), but individualized notes for these aspects are needed so a storyteller (or future you) doesn't have to wade through a backstory to find something.

You may be asked about the following:

  • Your Merits And Flaws: While some merits and flaws are self-explanatory like "Touch Of Frost", others are more free-form, like Enemy. We will prompt you to explain these merits/flaws through the +notes code.
  • Backgrounds: Some Backgrounds require that you write notes to pair with them. Please refer to the pages about these individual backgrounds by checking out the Backgrounds index.


Your Mage has an Avatar which we want you to describe as a part of creating this character. Your description of your Avatar can be augmented over time but you'll need to stick with whatever you establish. In character generation, mages are asked to set an Avatar note. The format can be anything but it needs to cover the following:

  • Essence: What is your Avatar's Essence?
  • Concept: Describe your Avatar on an overall conceptual level.
  • Description: How does your Avatar present itself to your Mage?
  • Interactions: How does your Avatar tend to communicate?


M20/4th Edition Magick is actually a little different (read: simplified) compared to the Third/Revised-edition process for doing Magick.

While you are certainly welcome to expound upon your character’s Magickal methodology as much as you’d like to, for the purposes of your application what we want is for you to create your Focus. Your focus contains the key terms and concepts that build the way your Mage does Magick.

So, when you are prompted to set Your Focus, your Focus +note needs to include a Paradigm section, a Practices section, and an Instruments section.

Here's an example:

  • Paradigm: Everything is Data, Aliens Make Us What We Are
  • Practice: Martial Arts, Reality Hacking, and Hypertech
  • Instruments: Numbers and Numerology, True Name, Weapons, Nanotech, Thought-Forms, Social Domination and Cybernetic Implants.

You don't have to explicitly use the book and can create your own Paradigms, Practices, and Instruments. Check out some of our own Player-Created Foci.


Paradigm is the way your Mage conceptualizes existence and their purpose for being. Choose one or more paradigm keyphrases that encapsulate your mage’s worldview. You may also invent your own keyphrase. We recommend choosing no more than three keyphrases. One is just fine! Then, if you like', you can provide a breakdown of how your mage sees the world through the lens of these keyphrases. A list of paradigms taken from M20 and The Book of Secrets follows. Detailed breakdowns of these paradigms can be found there.

  • A Holographic Reality
  • A Mechanistic Cosmos
  • A World of Gods and Monsters
  • Aliens Make Us What We Are
  • All Power Comes from God(s)
  • All the World’s a Stage
  • Ancient Wisdom is the Key
  • Bring Back the Golden Age
  • Creation Is Innately Divine & Alive
  • Consciousness is the Only True Reality
  • Divine Order and Earthly Chaos
  • Embrace the Threshold
  • Everything is Chaos – You Only Think It Makes Sense
  • Everything is Data
  • Everything is an Illusion, Prison or Mistake
  • It’s All Good – Have Faith
  • Might is Right
  • One-Way Trip to Oblivion
  • Tech Holds All Answers
  • The Ancestors Watch Over Us
  • Transcend Your Limits
  • Turning the Keys to Reality
  • We are NOT Men
  • We’re All God(s) In Disguise


Practices are the broad-tent methods by which your Mage does Magick. They represent your Mage’s training, as well as personal, intimate elements of their beliefs and methodologies. Certain practices are integral to the identities of various Traditions and Crafts, though no one faction has a monopoly on a Practice. Choose three Practices to build this part of your Mage’s focus. Detailed descriptions of these Practices are found in M20 beginning on pg. 572 and The Book of Secrets beginning on page 196.

  • Alchemy
  • Ancestor Worship
  • Animalism
  • Art of Desire/Hypereconomics
  • Bardism
  • Chaos Magick
  • Craftwork
  • Crazy Wisdom
  • Cybernetics
  • Dominion
  • Elementalism
  • Faith
  • God-Bonding
  • Gum Shoeing
  • Gutter Magick
  • High Ritual Magick
  • Hypertech
  • Invigoration
  • Legalism
  • Maleficia
  • Martial Arts
  • Medicine Work
  • Mediumship
  • Psionics
  • Reality Hacking
  • Shamanism
  • Weird Science
  • Witchcraft
  • Yoga

You also can create your own practices in addition to the list above. Check out some of our own Player-Created Foci.


The most intimate aspect of focus is the Mage’s Instruments, meaning the tools and hands-on methods by which they work Magick. When creating your Focus, choose a minimum of seven instruments. You are free to choose more, but we recommend you take no more than ten. More than that, and you risk becoming bogged down when building magickal effects.

Instruments in the broad sense are not linked to any one sphere though a Mage might certainly have instruments they favor when working with a specific sphere. They represent a broad pool of tools you can draw on in order to make your Magick happen. The more complex the Magick you are doing is, the more Instruments it’s likely to involve.

Transcending Instruments

As a mage attains enlightenment, they shed the need to rely upon their tools to make Magick. What transcending an instrument means is that you no longer depend on that instrument when doing Magick. For instance, if you’ve transcended your Eye Contact instrument, you might say “I would normally look into the policeman’s eyes in order to hypnotize him, but I’ve transcended that instrument, so I’ll omit it and hypnotize him without looking up from what I’m doing.” You may still use a transcended instrument to make an effect coincidental or to help you focus your Will (in which case it gives you a -1 difficulty to your Arete rolls).

Mystick mages begin transcending instruments one at a time beginning at Arete 3. Technomancers begin transcending their instruments the same way beginning at Arete 6. (Technocrats never transcend their instruments, as a point of order). Mages generally transcend the instruments they rely on least, first.

The following list of instruments is taken from M20 beginning on page 586 and The Book of Secrets beginning on pg. 205. You may also create your own instruments, though we recommend using this list as an example of the amount of specificity needed. While it may be fun to play a mage with one hand bound behind their metaphysical back, flexibility is the goal.

Instruments From M20 Core:

  • Armor
  • Artwork
  • Blessings or Curses
  • Blood and Other Fluids
  • Bodywork
  • Bones, Skin, Organs, and Other Remains
  • Books, Scrolls, and Periodicals
  • Brain/Computer Interface
  • Brews, Potions, Powders, and Other Concoctions
  • Cards, Dice, and Other Instruments of Chance
  • Celestial Alignments
  • Circles, Pentacles, and other Geometric Designs
  • Crossroads and Crossing Days/Moments
  • Cups, Chalices, Cauldrons, and Other Vessels
  • Dances, Gestures, Postures, and Other Movement Practices
  • Devices and Machines
  • Drugs and Poisons
  • Elements
  • Energy
  • Eye Contact
  • Fashion
  • Food and Drink
  • Formulae, Equations, and Sacred or Advanced Mathematics
  • Forensic Procedures
  • Gadgets and Inventions
  • Gems, Stones, and Minerals
  • Group Rites
  • Herbs, Roots, Seeds, Flowers, and Plants
  • Household Tools & Implements
  • Knots and Ropes
  • Laboratories and Lab Gear
  • Languages
  • Management & Human Resources
  • Mass Media
  • Meditation
  • Money & Wealth
  • Music
  • Nanotech
  • Numbers and Numerology
  • Offerings and Sacrifices
  • Ordeals and Exertion
  • Prayers and Invocations
  • Sacred Iconography
  • Sex and Sensuality
  • Social Domination
  • Symbols
  • Thought-Forms
  • Toys & Games
  • Tricks & Illusions
  • True Name
  • Vehicles
  • Voice and Vocalizations
  • Wands, Rods, and Staves
  • Weapons
  • Writings, Inscriptions, and Runes

Instruments From BoS:

  • Body Modification
  • Cannibalism
  • Cybernetic Implants
  • Genetic Manipulation
  • Internet Activity
  • Medical Procedures
  • Transgression

Personalized Instruments

Finally, choose a personalized instrument affiliated with your Affinity Sphere. For instance, this might be a wand made of specific materials and of certain dimensions, which you prefer to use when manipulating Forces, a specifically-arranged medical kit for when you work Life effects, or it might be the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, which you’ve got down to an art for working with the Spirit sphere. It just feels right. This personalized instrument gives you -1 difficulty when your affinity sphere is part of an effect, and it’s present. You don’t have any penalty if it isn’t available.

Unique Instruments

As an optional choice, you can also tie one or more of your spheres to unique instruments. A unique instrument is deeply personal to your mage; they depend heavily on it when making Magick, and if lost a unique instrument can’t be replaced. A unique instrument gives you -1 difficulty when working with the sphere to which it is linked. A guitar that once belonged to Jimi Hendrix would be a unique instrument, as would a staff handed down to you by your hermetic pater, that was also used by his pater. Your personalized instrument can also be unique, in which case it gives you a -2 difficulty on rolls involving your affinity sphere… there’s a catch, though. If a unique instrument is unavailable, your mage is considered to be Working Without Tools for rolls involving that sphere until you can transcend the instrument. That’s bad, especially if the unique instrument is lost or destroyed. Think about this carefully before you commit to a whole bunch of unique instruments!

Starting Equipment

Your Starting Equipment is based on your Resources score, which you can read more in depth about on our Resources page.

Submitting Your Character

All of the steps describe above are facilitated by the in-game character generator. When you are done with the character generator you will be presented with the option to confirm your application and submit it to staff. This then notifies staff of your application for them to process it and add you to the game.