Now, instead of using Watchtowers and Paths in an Nmage conversion of OMage, I propose using Avatar Essence as the "inherent" Mage Splat -
Mages can be:
Dynamic: - Mages who always struggle for, and seek unrestrained change. Benefit: - +2 to all dice pools using Creative Thaumaturgy ("Dynamic Magick")
Pattern: - Mages who always seek rationality, consistency, stability and organization.
Benefit: - +2 to all dice pools when using Rotes.
Primordial - Mages who always seek beginnings, origins, deep meanings, and hidden truths.
Benefit: Reduce all Paradox related die pools by 2.
Questing - Mages who always look forward, towards tomorrow, always moving, never satisfied with merely existing.
Benefit: - Gain 2 Arcane XP every session, in additional to normal XP awards.
And finally, there is...
Infinite - The 'unknown' Essence, which is the combination and culmination of all things, the balanced point, the golden road. By acting with Wisdom and not exercising undo power and change on Reality, the Mage is the Magus, as he or she acts in the best interests of Ascension. So rare is this Essence that it is hardly every head of, since a Mage with this Essence is driven to act, paradoxically, selflessly in a willful yet subtle manner. Mages who are of the Infinite Essence are often mistaken for Mages of one of the other Essences.
So long as the Mage acts in a selfless and wise manner, reduce the cost for Wisdom increases by a factor of 1 (so that Wisdom costs New Rating X 1 to increase, instead of New Rating X2), and reduce the costs of all Mage related backgrounds by a factor of 1 (so that increasing a Mage related Background, like Avatar or Dream, only costs New Rating X 2 instead of X 3.)
Normally, the Avatar Merit starts at Zero - The Avatar is Awake, but otherwise does not take an active role in the Mage's life, and does not lend power. More powerful Avatars can lend more power and can offer more advice, but are more meddlesome in a Mage's life. Avatar, like any other background, can be bought with the normal 6 starting points in Merits at character creation. Normally, after character creation, it's very hard to increase.
New Merit - Avatar
The Avatar is the Awakened Soul of the Mage, who acts as a combination of teacher, personal daemon and connection to the possibly divine - or the manifestation of inner genius. Appearing in a bewildering variety of forms, Avatars test Mages on their Seekings. A young Mage with a powerful Avatar has certain advantages that even Adepts are put off to reproduce.
For each dot in the Avatar merit, a Mage may recover a number of Quintessence (Mana) equal to the success rolled on a check of the Avatar rating, with an hour's meditation, when done at a Node. This roll is capped by the Node's rating. Further, the Avatar rating acts as a minimum floor of spellcasting dice pools - no matter how reduced or difficult a spellcasting may be, the Mage's Avatar always grant a minimum die pool equal to it's rating. Note that this does not apply to *factors* [which may make a spell casting impossible by virtue of the sheer number of successes the Mage must score], only to the size of the spellcasting *dice pool* that the Mage uses. Finally, the Avatar acts as a Mentor equal to 1/2, rounded up, of it's rating, but only for mystical or esoteric subjects. Quintessence gained from the Avatar background may only be used for personal uses (ie, it can not be used in the creation of Artifacts or Tass) and it can not be taken from the Mage by any means.
Next - Resonance.