What's the average power level ("rank", p.55 MtAw) of mages in Mage: The Awakening?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Define average, and define mages. Are we talking about all mages in the world or...? \$\endgroup\$ – Pureferret Feb 25 '12 at 10:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pureferret All the mages currently alive in the officially envisioned World of Darkness. A mage is a character who has the "mage" template applied to them, as per the rules. (So no, not the Exarchs, for example.) \$\endgroup\$ – OpaCitiZen Feb 25 '12 at 11:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I assume you're looking for the median average, rather than the mean. If that's the case, I'm not even sure that there is a answer. The revelations and leaps of mystic understanding that lead to improvement differ from one mage to the next, so it seems unlikely that large numbers of mages would plateau at the same approximate level. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Feb 26 '12 at 6:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ That said, if the reason you want an average power level is so that players can make ballpark assumptions about what a given mage might be capable of, then I'd say it's up to the GM of the campaign you're playing in to decide if there is one and what it should be. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Feb 26 '12 at 6:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ What I'm looking for in simpler terms is the mage you're most likely to run into in the official nWoD (in which the loose metaplot takes place, described in books like Boston and so on.) No, not in terms of personality, enlightenment, faction or anything similar, but in trait and skill distribution and XP amount. (The briefest summary of which, I think, is the mage's "rank", p.55 MtAw.) \$\endgroup\$ – OpaCitiZen Feb 26 '12 at 11:49

A typical build for a newbie mage is 3 in one arcanum, 2 in another, and 1 in a third. So this is probably a good baseline for "common mage with a little experience or a little talent, but nothing special." Let's say that's the 25th percentile.

Looking at the NPCs in the M:tA book, their highest arcana are 3, 4, 3, 4, and 5, but most have several arcana at or near that level, too. They seem to favor broad skills over maxing out one or two arcana. These are supposed to be major figures in a major city, so I'd take that to mean they're near the top of the pyramid, around the 95th percentile.

So if the median is a little higher than a newly-minted mage but closer to that than to the sample NPC, a typical mage is probably 3, 2, 2, 1; 3, 3, 1; or 4, 2.

The real answer for NPCs that the players actually encounter is "a little higher than any PC." If an NPC can't do anything the PCs can't do for themselves, they're probably not going to be interested in him as an ally. If an antagonist isn't more powerful than each PC alone, she won't be much of a threat for the group. In general; a clever storyteller can make a mundane human a very dangerous opponent.

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