In this question I'm using Postcognition as more of an example of how instant / concentration spells work.

I have a situation in my Mage The Awakening group where a player cast Postcognition rote on some quest item to reveal information about how it arrived in a specific place.

He rolled 6 successes, which with Time 3 means 6 minutes of Postcognition as long as he concentrates.

What I don't understand is how many attempts at this spell he has in a scene. I can't find any rules to clarify that regarding casting instant spells whatsoever.

Seems strange to me that you can potentially cast Postcognition indefinite times to see every second of object's past. Also, a lot of other spells can be abused in such fashion.

Or is this intended?


To focus this sense on something or someplace other than the mage’s current physical location, the mage must also use Space 2

Does this mean that to retrace the object's location in time the mage must also use Space 2, of does this apply to current object's location?


  1. Mage casts Postcognition on a briefcase he is touching right now and wants to know where this briefcase was 30 minutes ago.
  2. Mage casts Postcognition on a briefcase which is currently far away and wants to know where this briefcase was 30 minutes ago.

Also, does this rule - "try as long as I can" - apply to all instant spells? (considering no chance roll situations)


2 Answers 2


Yes, the Mage can have enough power to actually see quite a lot, with some setbacks that can make it not worth the effort.

1) You need to spend as much time in present to watch through it.

She views events in real time (it takes one turn of current time to review one turn of past time) as if through a camera placed amidst the scene, but she can fast forward and replay any part within the viewing period.

The fast-forwarding part may eliminate the time constraint, but will create a possibility that some event can be missed.

2) You need to retrace the path of an object if you don't have Space 2 as well.

To focus this sense on something or someplace other than the mage’s current physical location, the mage must also use Space 2

3) Additionally, as stated in the answer here answering the what-i-now-realize-is-a-duplicate-question:

in Mage, the challenge is almost never about finding the information. The most basic levels of the Arcana see to that. The difficulty is knowing how to use the information.



Anytime a Mage casts a spell there's a chance for Paradox, no matter how small. With a Gnosis of 3, let's say - sure, the first time he casts a Covert spell, it's a base of 2 dice. Granted, it can be considered a rote so that brings the roll to one, and with a foci that first roll is free of Paradox. However... The second time he rolls he risks one die of Paradox, two dice the third casting, etc. Granted, since it's Covert a Sleeper needs to be present, and he needs to start gibbering about what he's seeing but the game doesn't happen in a vacuum. You should also take a glance at the "Improbably Magic" sidebar on pg113 of the core book.

Postcognition Is Not Omnipresence

Just because he knew it at one point, doesn't mean that he remembers everything from when he knew. If he keeps knowing what happened up to six minutes ago, seven minutes from now, even with a refreshed duration, the things he didn't fixate on at the beginning of that spell won't suddenly become etched into his memory forever (on its own). Not only that, but the rote spell only allows for the mage to know what happened in the targeted location, and only when the Mage was there unless it's a specialized spell strongly based in Postcognition (then we get more Paradox, see above)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Postcognition is covert. There is no chance for Paradox. There's also no time restriction on it - you just need to know when you want to see. Are you thinking of a oWoD version? \$\endgroup\$
    – Bobson
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 13:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps but my understanding is that Covert still does it, Vulgar is just a +2 to the pool. \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Altered my answer a little bit to more explicitly cover the incidentals. \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 14:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe covert only generates Paradox if sleepers find it suspicious. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bobson
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 14:47

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