In the latest M20 iteration of Mage: The Ascension we are a given a list with various "Magickal Difficulty Modifiers" for Arete rolls depending on various conditions that may apply such as:
- Using a unique instrument: −1
- Working with unfamiliar instruments: +2/+1
- Spending Quintessence: −1 per point, max. −3
However, there is also the following entry:
- Fast-casting: +1
Which, unlike the other entries, doesn't seem to be explained or detailed elsewhere in the book.
So far, I have been assuming that "Fast-casting" indicated, well, casting hastily or under time constraints. In my mind, it is the de facto modifier to use when a player casts an Effect inside combat, for instance, as that is conflicting with the, mostly, ritualistic and preparatory nature of Magick. It also made sense, since in a fight one is always busy with dodging and moving cautiously, while properly using their Instruments will be challenging within their turn's action, if not impossible (eg locking eyes with the target).
However, I have been recently informed by someone that this condition instead applies to situations where the Mage character is using an improvised or otherwise unprepared spell/Effect. The logical conclusion of this would be that if a character were to cast any spell, without foreknowledge of the need to do so, they would take this Difficulty increase in their roll, even if
- There was no significant time-pressure and
- The Focus/Instruments were valid and available
Is the information I was given, and my assumptions for it, the rule's intention for M20? If so, what are some passages/sources that hint to this?