After character creation, there are two avenues of advancement for mages - improving known spell abilities and learning new spell abilities. Advancement in the magickal arts is no different from advancement in more mundane areas. A teacher must be found, time must be invested, and CPs must be spent. There may also be some form of monetary investment required, as well - ask any college-student (or their parents) if education is free.
In addition to the normal aspects of skill advancement, mages have one other consideration that is unique to their occupation - learning new spells. Every time a mage PC improves a spell ability by a pip, s/he learns a new spell appropriate to the ability being improved. GMs are encouraged to set limits on spells that are available to advancing characters. A PC mage may also wish to find a teacher who can pass along a specific spell during training.
For games using the MAG attribute, learning a new spell ability is equivalent to raising the attribute's score by one pip, even though there is no chance of "default use" of the ability without formal training. In this case, the mage will learn one spell of the newly learned ability.
In games where each spell ability is treated as separate attributes, learning a new spell ability requires investing an entire die. In this case, the mage learns three new spells of the proper type.
Power Words are, of course, inherently different. There are no specific spells associated with individual Power Words. Improving a Power Word simply represents increasing the mage's understanding of the realm associated with the Power Word.
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