Mage: the Coreing
This morning in the shower, I mused on how to convert my Cortex+ Action hack of Mage: the Ascension into Fate Core. Here are the beginning of some notes, which riff a bit off of Dresden’s magic as well.
Spheres are like skills, but treated as their own separate character element and their own ladder, corresponding (heh) to the five dot ratings:
When you’re composing your effect, the difficulty is 2 for every dot in the effect (starting at +2), which means that effects involving more than one sphere are more difficult.
- A Matter ••• effect is +6 difficulty
- A Matter •••/Prime •• effect is +10 difficulty
The effects scale by 2, not 1, because of the fate point economy meshing with the feel of Mage and the risk of Paradox. Things can affect the difficulty of a roll up or down: the presence of sleepers, the gauntlet, being at a node, etc. So, there’s flex built in (and another reason for the 2-step scaling instead of 1-step).
When rolling for an effect, you use your highest Sphere involved. Naturally, you can only do an effect that involves having one of your Spheres — you don’t start at Initiate ate every Sphere, you have to gain that level.
You can only naturally do an effect equal or less than the rank you have. If you have Matter 3, doing a Matter 5 effect is out of the question. However, you can push yourself to do an effect that’s one rank higher than you normally can do, by spending a fate point. Doing a Matter 4 effect would cost a fate point. This works for multiple Spheres in an effect–if you have Matter 3 and Prime 1, you can do a Matter 4/Prime 2 effect for two fate points. These aren’t direct aspect invocations that involve a +2 or reroll, but an inherent invocation of a mage’s high concept aspect allowing her to exceed her grasp.
Naturally, effects can create advantages, obstacles, and attacks.
Finally, you can succeed with cost, in the form of Paradox.
So, that’s the core of the idea. Any thoughts? How should we build on it?
 Which is fitting, since Dresden’s magic system stemmed from Leonard Balsera & I loving Mage.