This is a step-by-step on Paradox.

(MtA 123) A Paradox might occur in the following situations:
The mage casts a vulgar spell
The mage casts a covert spell that a Sleeper witness believes is improbable

PARADOX IS ALWAYS ROLLED -BEFORE- THE SPELLCASTING ROLL.

Rolling Paradox:

1) Determine Paradox die pool. Base Gnosis +/- modifiers (MtA 123)

2) Declare if the Mage spends Mana to Mitigate Paradox on a 1-for-1 basis. A Mage is still limited to the amount of Mana he can spend per turn.

Note: Paradox can not be mitigated to zero -- it always gets at least a Chance Die.

3) Roll the remaining pool & total successes.

EFFECTS:

1) SUBTRACT successes from the spellcasting pool. There is a common misperception that if Paradox is contained as Backlash, those suxx don't subtract from the spell pool; this is not the case. Regardless of how the Paradox is 'dealt with', the spell pool is still reduced. This is why it is mandatory that Paradox be rolled before the spell. (MtA 124)

2) Apply Paradox effects. The Mage has two choices at this point: absorb the Paradox successes as Resistant Bashing Damage, or 'let it fly':

Paradox Successes & Effects
1 Havoc: You lose control of your spell.
2 Bedlam: You temporarily gain a Derangement.
3 Anomaly: Reality is warped, based on your Path. Minor bad thing happen in your area.
4 Branding: You gain a temporary physical disfigurement.
5 Manifestation: Merry Christmas, you've summoned an Abyssal entity.

So, the big things to remember:

- Roll Paradox first
- Mitigation must be declared first, and Paradox always gets at least a Chance die
- all Paradox suxx are subtraced from the spellcasting roll