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Hopefully some of you guys know about nWoD. The section on rotes in Mage: The Awakening is really really unclear.

I get this:

If you're an order, you can take that order's rotes and you get a better dice pool, in addition to a +1 if they use the right skills for that order. Also, using a rote is less likely to cause a paradox, etc.

I don't get this:

Can you take a non-order rote? What sort of advantages does this give, since it obviously doesn't give the new dice pool? Is it easier to cast in any way? Are apostates just totally screwed compared to people in orders, especially since order members get the high speech merit for free?

Second question, about vulgar magic. What happens if someone uses vulgar magic, rolls, it doesn't cause a paradox, but it happens to be that someone caught this casting on film? Would then showing it to sleepers just be like "Oh, this is some kind of special effect", so there would be no roll for paradox despite the sleeper "witnesses"?

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Note: I've added the mage-awakening tag and inserted the same info into the Q to make it clearer. :) – OpaCitiZen Aug 20 '11 at 11:30
Oh yes, totally slipped my mind, since for me mage and nWoD have been one and the same. – Jeremy Aug 20 '11 at 11:57
up vote 6 down vote accepted

In my understanding, every Order may have (in theory) its own rote for every spell listed in the rule books. The rotes explicitly described are just examples (in general indicating which Orders are most likely to use a rote version of a given spell.)

If you learn a rote from a mentor belonging to a different Order than yours, you'll use the rote dice pool with the skill given in the spell's description - but the Attribute linked to it may differ from Order to Order (and will be determined by the Storyteller.) See Spell Format > Spell Title > Sample Rote on p.131, MtAw.

Using the rote version of a spell is almost always better than improvising the same: see p.111 of MtAw for the reasons, under "Rote Spells." This is true even if you don't get the +1 from the Rote Specialties (because of using a rote that does not rely on your Order's Rote Specialties.)

Yes, Apostates are rather screwed rote-wise, since rotes are heavily guarded secrets of the Orders. (It takes a lot of effort to get even a mage of your very own Order to teach you a rote spell, let alone to an outsider - especially if that outsider is not a member of any Order.) There's the price of the apostate's "freedom": a serious lack of support to rely on in a harsh world.

As for the second question, I'd say you're right to suppose Sleepers would consider the recording (possibly very, very skilfully) manipulated.

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Good answer! The only addition I have is that the notion that each Order has its own version of any given rote only applies to the rotes in the core book; the various Order splatbooks have secret rotes unavailable to the mass of mages. – Jadasc Aug 20 '11 at 11:38
Thank you very much for clearing that up! Time to go tell my victims that they indeed do not have to limit what rotes they pick to their order. – Jeremy Aug 20 '11 at 11:57
@Jadasc Very true, though once play starts there's no reason one of the other orders couldn't observe a spell and say "Hrm, how could I develop a rote to do that..." – Cthos Aug 22 '11 at 18:39
@Cthos Only a practical one: you need to have the relevant Arcanum at 5 to create a rote. (MtAw, 291) – Jadasc Aug 22 '11 at 20:59
@Jadasc Very True! – Cthos Aug 22 '11 at 21:04

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