I am not sure if I understand the rules correctly how Magick actually works (Edit: in the 2nd Edition):

  1. Tell what you want to do
  2. Check if you know how to do this
  3. Roll as much dice as you wish with the max. number of your current arete
  4. Difficulty is the highest sphere you actually use, i.e. if you have matter 4 but only want to detect an element you roll against 1 (+3, +4 or +5 depending on the vulgarism of the effect)
  5. Against the other WoD rules you do not fail when you roll more 1s than successes, but you do fail in the moment when you roll a single 1?

This seems not to be stated explicitly in the rules (at least in the German edition) but using all of your arete would not be risky if a single 1 would not result in a failure. Am I right?


1 Answer 1


A single 1 will never botch unless you didn't roll any successes too.

1's generally count as anti-successes for the purpose of final roll resolution. However, botching depends a lot on the edition.

2nd Edition Mage the Ascension book specifically states on page 167:

If the player botches the roll (rolls more 1's than successes)...

In 2nd edition more 1's than successes is enough to botch a roll. This caused botches to be very common when rolling against 8+ Difficulty. As Magic is often a very hard, it makes large Dice Pools and Extended Rolls a gamble - you are more likely to fail a roll due to 1's, and botch too.

The rule has been rectified in Revised edition, where one success is enough to prevent a botch, regardless of the number of 1's rolled. Here, botches are a lot less common, but still there is plenty of room for failure due to rolling multiple 1's.

So, specifically:

  1. Roll more successes than 1's - your final result is a difference between successes and 1's, which is then compared to the Effect's required success number and can be a success or a failure depending on the effect.

  2. Roll as many successes as 1's - it's a failure

  3. Roll more 1's than successes - in 2nd edition it's a botch, in Revised it's a regular failure

  4. Roll (at least a single) 1 and no successes - it's a botch.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for helping me with the statistics. You are totally right: The probability to roll a 1 stays the same with one or many dice, but the probabilty to roll more 1s than successes increases with the number of dice (given a certain difficulty). \$\endgroup\$
    – Largo
    Dec 7, 2015 at 20:52

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