I remember the person who introduced me to Mage The Ascension mentioning "It is a symbiotic relationship between the mage and the avatar. As the mage grows in strength, so does the avatar." but after that I haven't been able to find something referring to a method or even mentioning the avatar of a mage getting stronger. As such I want to ask, is there something like that?


2 Answers 2


Yes, with a Merit. Sufficiently powerful magic probably can, too.

Simply put, the 5-dot Merit Shattered Avatar (M20 Book of Secrets, pp. 77-78) allow you to increase the Rating of your Avatar background after character creation by finding chunks of your Avatar and incorporating them into yourself, increasing your Avatar rating by 1 each time (or by the Avatar rating of the Mage, if it's been incorporated into another Mage).

Additionally, if you simply wish to increase your ability to store Quintessence, it should be possible to create a Periapt that can store Quintessence, and then integrate it into your body. By default, this requires Matter 5 for an inanimate Periapt (that you can then fuse into your body) or Life 5 for a living Periapt, plus Prime 3. You may be able to argue this down to Life 3 for a Periapt that is created by a partial alteration of your own body (rather than a complete transformation of something else's body), and turning your Avatar into a Periapt directly would probably require Spirit 5, instead (it's mentioned on p. 154 that it's possible to turn Spirits into Wonders at Spirit 4 or 5).

Finally, there's one final option, that doesn't have any official rules at all: using the Spirit Sphere to rip the Avatar out of another Mage and eating it. It's mentioned on p. 220 of Book of Secrets that it's possible to use Spirit 5 to kill someone and temporarily disperse their Avatar. With Spirit 4 or 5, it's possible to create a Wonder using a spirit as its base material. With Spirit 4, it's possible to bind a spirit into an object to create a type of Wonder called a Fetish. Combine those three effects together, and you can kill someone, rip out their Avatar, and then bind it into your own Avatar.

Naturally, this would be very frowned upon - you're killing other mages and eating their souls for magical power, after all. However, it would likely result in you adding their Avatar rating to your own, to a maximum rating of Avatar 5. It would also likely result in a number of negative consequences, similar to Vampire diablerie; most likely, it would result in your own Avatar becoming a maddened combination of your own Avatar and that of your victim, your aura being altered to have black streaks (similar to the aura alterations of a Vampire that has engaged in diablerie) - though you could hide these with Mind 1, according to the Book of the Fallen, and it's quite possible that it might make you more vulnerable to Nephandic corruption if you aren't a Nephandus already.


Talk to your Storyteller

Avatar is a background. To raise a background, you need to talk to your GM, and they decide what you need to do to raise the background.

As mentioned earlier under the Backgrounds section, these Traits could not originally be raised with experience points, only by events within the chronicle. Mage Revised changed that rule, so the final decision rests with your Storyteller.1

Although your actions affect the power of your Background resources, the Background Trait itself is generally considered to be outside the player’s control. Under the original Storyteller rules, you could not raise a Background Trait with experience points, although the Storyteller might raise it for you, in lieu of experience points, to reflect events in the chronicle. Mage Revised changed this rule, so the final decision depends on your Storyteller’s wishes (see p. 336.) Even then, a changed Background generally reflects a change in circumstances. You can try to recruit more Spies or entice more Allies to join your cause, but the exact number of people who do (or don’t) flock to your banner depend on the needs of the story, not on the points you spend to boost those Traits.2

So yea, in fact, it's ALL up to the Storyteller if it is even possible to raise Avatar or any other background, and what you have to pay or do for such. Backgrounds for XP is only an optional Rule.1

1 - Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition, p.336
2 - Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition, p.301

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    \$\begingroup\$ While I understand this what I was asking was less of 'How much experience do I have to spend?' and more of 'Is there any reference in the lore about it happening. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 8, 2023 at 18:26

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