PIERCE SPACE: I see this level of Correspondence (3) as an instantaneous transmission from one place to another. The caster must go through or extend themselves or their magick through the warp. For example, if you want to teleport yourself and another person or a car, you can do it with Correspondence 3. You must go with it, however, If you do not wish to go with it, you must use other pattern magick related to the object or object you wish to send or summon. All transmission must be instantaneous.
REND SPACE: This is much like Correspondence 3, except when used alone, you do not have to be the one going through and the warp has a longer existence.
APPORTATION: This is the movement of objects other than yourself with correspondence and the appropriate spheres. For example, with correspondence 2 and matter 2, you can summon and move things no larger than a cubic foot to and from yourself. With correspondence 2 and life 2, you can summon and move simple life forms (plants and invertebrates) that are no bigger than a cubic foot to and from you. With Correspondence 3, the size of the objects become bigger and with life 3 and matter 3, the complexity of the objects becomes more. Thus, to apport a car to you would be Correspondence 3 and Matter 3. However, the thing you must remember about apportation is that it must be /to/ or /from/ YOUR location. You cannot take a gun from over there and move it to the Ukraine with apportation unless you /first/ bring it to yourself, and then sending it away. That is two different effects.
It is not until Correspondence 4 that you can find an object in a bank and then teleport it to Siberia without bringing it to yourself first.
"PIGGYBACKING" CORRESPONDENCE: Any and every effect that targets a location that you cannot mundanely sense requires Correspondence 2. Thus, even if you are looking through a Correspondence point already set up, or someone has extended their Correspondence point view to you, you still have to have Correspondence 2 in order to effect that location. However, if you are already viewing the location, you get the benefit of the "line of sight" status on the Correspondence chart, i.e. one success.
For example, you use a Correspondence 2 to look in your friend's living room from across town and see a wraith attacking your friend. If you wish to attack the wraith, you still need to include Correspondence 2 in your attack rote, though if you are keeping the first effect up, you get the benefit of line of sight status.
Note, this would also include other effects, such as the Matter 1 rote of seeing through walls. If you are on one side of a wall, and your opponent is on the other side, you can see through the wall with Matter 1. However, you still cannot directly affect him (or anything in the room) without Correspondence 2.
CORRESPONDENCE SEARCHING: You can search all-space with Correspondence 3. You can view an area remotely with Correspondence 2. So, when does searching for something require Correspondence 3 and Correspondence 2? The book says for Correspondence 2, "a well-defined area." However, 'Canada' is a well-defined area.
As a guideline, in order to use Correspondence 2, you must either have been in that location, or you know that a unique, known object is at that location at the target time of the casting. In order to "be" at a location, it is a physical place that you have sensed.
In other words, with correspondence 2, you can check to see if there is anyone in your house. Or, you can see if there is right now anyone in the restaurant you were in last night. Or, you can view the woods that your best friend Bill is in right now with Life 1or Mind 1, or if you add time 2, you can find the woods that your best friend Bill was in last night.
An easier rule of thumb is, if you do not know where something is, you must use Correspondence 3.
WARDS AND BANS: These are cast on locations or on a pattern. Correspondnece is manipulation of space. When you cast a teleport with correspondence 3 you are moving someone from one place to another, changing their location. When you cast a ward or ban, it is clear that you are warding or banning a space, not an object, because the base effect is Correspondence. If you want to tie an effect to any space that an object occupies, you have to target that object, which requires pattern magick. In other words, if you wish to cast a correspondence ward on you, you must use life 2.
ALL-SPACE SEARCHING: The modifier of extra time cannot be applied to all-space searching. It is assumed that if you used extra-time to cast the spell, it is blocked by mages who will eventually notice it. Countermagick always has the same modifier, so it can be done once a minute in non-combat situations. Awareness rolls also would happen once a minute. Thus, it can be assumed that when you are taking extra time, everyone who can sense it will sense it and will attempt to counter.
ENTROPY can be the hardest thing to judge, so here are some things that I consider when approaching any Entropy based rolls.
1. Entropy 1 must be targeted at a system, whether that system is a human body, a computer network, a corporation, a chantry, or a discrete event. If you cannot describe the target system, you cannot use entropy 1 to analyze it.
2. Entropy 2 can only be used to manipulate discrete events. This means that you must know when it will start, when it will end, and be able to sense all the influences on the situation. Thus, you can control the probability of the event "I shoot a bullet at Target X", but not "whenever I shoot something". The first is a discrete event. The second is not.
3. Entropy 3 can be used to manipulate discrete patterns of force and matter. This is superior to discrete events because it can apply to any event in which the discrete pattern is present. Thus this is how you create blessed or cursed items. You can do multiple items, but they must all be discrete as well. Thus, you can say "I want to manipulate all the lightning bolts in that storm system," not "I want to manipulate all lightning bolts."
4. Entropy 4 is similar to Entropy 3 except it is now a discrete pattern of life.
5. Entropy 5 is the bomb. With it you can affect discrete concepts. For example, while you can analyze the Canadian government or the local Construct with Entropy 1, you can now manipulate the probabilities of those concepts with Entropy 5. Concepts also require thought, such as Target X's ideas about heroism or loyalty. It still has to be discrete, so you cannot just include Target X's entire mind or all governments
BLESSING AND CURSING AS COINCIDENTAL SHAPING. Humanity believes in luck, as much as this makes the Technocrats gnash their teeth. People believe in lucky baseball caps, that you tell actors 'Break a leg,' that you don't roll with another person's dice. So, since the definition of coincidental shaping is creating an effect that people could believe exists, then it should be possible to create a blessing or cursing that is a coincidental shaping. These are the rules we will be using in this instance.
A. Technocrats can never initiate a coincidental shaping blessing or cursing. It simply does not exist within their paradigm. They can, however, remove a coincidental blessing or cursing.
B. The bless or curse will never have a stated mechanical or numerical effect, i.e., the results will always be determined by the story teller.
C. Each curse must obey your paradigm. Each curse must be summed up as a statement. The number of successes depends on whether there is a condition to end to the curse, whether the curse is just (determined by ME), and whether the terms of the curse are vague.
D. Once cast, the curse or blessing is free willed. You can neither control it nor stop it without resorting to more magick.
Let me give you an example of how a free-standing curse or blessing can bite you in the ass. The Tradition master laid this curse when his son and heir died. "I call upon the Weaver, the Wyld, and the Wyrm to punish those responsible for the death of his son." His son died in a total accident. The curse rebounded, punishing everyone connected to his son, as everyone was a little bit responsible, or no one was responsible, depending on how you looked upon the situation. If he had not made it free-standing, he could have ended the curse at any time. But once uttered, the curse or the blessing is here to stay. His son's body was resurrected as a dangerous Wyld creature, his wife and daughter were captured by the Technocracy, and his son's best friend became a Nephandic apprentice that menaced Toronto.
RING OF TRUTH: Many people have made effective use of the true/false ability of Ring of Truth. It is an effective and powerful spell. However, I am becoming uncomfortable with people analyzing events based solely on hearsay. Therefore, for Entropy 1 analysis to be permitted, you must have a paradigmatically appropriate basis. This could be as simple as a coroner's report, a videotape, multiple eyewitness reports, a sample of the dirt from the site, etc. It will no longer be possible to Ring of Truth analyze something that you only heard about from someone else who heard it from someone else.
When using Ring of Truth to analyze your own statements and these statements includes information covered by a supernatural lore, you must have at least the first rank in the appropriate lore in order to verify the veracity of the statements. For example, unless you have kindred-lore 1 you can't say "X is a ghoul." You don't really know what you are saying until you have the correct level of lore.
MAJOR vs. MINOR FORCES: When it comes to absorbing damage or inflicting damage, minor forces cap out at your arete rating. When it comes to moving objects, minor forces are limited to about human size. For example, you can use forces 3 to make a human fly, but not a car fly. If you want to do forces damage over an area and you don't have access to major forces, you can use correspondence to do so but the amount of damage is still limited by the arete cap.
ENERGY SHIELD: Forces 2 can be made to make an energy shield, but the book observes "Note that most mages only maintain a shield against one or two forces at a time. It's nearly impossible to make a shield that hedges out all incoming forces." In mechanical terms, if you are making a Forces 2 or 4 Energy Shield, you have to allocate an extra success for each type of Forces you want to block. Thus, if you want protection from kinetic energy and fire, you have to add an extra success. A shield raises the difficulty of incoming attacks as a mundane shield. Forces 3 (and 5) can make a force field, which gives ranks against the specified forces in terms of armor.
In addition, force shields and force fields, while they can be put up longer than a scene, prevent normal functioning. You cannot walk around with a force shield or force field up in normal life; so the maximum duration is a scene.
INVISIBILITY: It says that you can bend light to make yourself invisible at Forces 2, but you cannot see. I thought they got rid of that with Revised, but they did not. Forces 3 does not require other spheres to see however. Invisibility is always vulgar; however, using forces to improve your stealth is not.
AUGMENTING WEAPONS: When you are augmenting weapons with a spell or as a wonder, you must decide when you cast the spell or when you make the wonder whether the damage will be applied unified or separately. If it is applied in a unified matter, magick will add dice of damage to the spell, not levels. If it is applied separately, it will be levels, but the target will, if possible, get two soaks for each form of damage. If applied separately, if the bullet damage is soaked, the level damage is not applied. Previous existing wonders are changed to match this approach.
Impact (bullets); Kinetic (melee); Heat; Light (includes lasers); Sound; Cold (yes, yes, technomancers may throw things at me); Electricity; Shadow, and Radiation.
If you can think of any more, drop me a +mail.
CHANGING YOUR FACE: If you permanently change your appearance by any means in this sphere, you receive a 2-point flaw for no extra points call "Face-Changed." This means that they have a +1 difficulty to all rolls based on social attributes. The surface may change, but the body's physical memory remains. It takes six experience points (as is normal for PCs) and two IC months for this flaw to go away.
RAISING YOUR STATS: You can raise your Physical Attributes and Appearance with Life 3. If you raise your stats above five, you endure paradox and perhaps pattern bleeding. This happens when a vulgar life modification is not permanent. Thus, if you raise your physical stats to five for a month, you will not suffer pattern bleeding. If you raise your physical stats to 7 for an indefinite length of time, you will not suffer pattern bleeding. If you raise your physical stats to 7 for three months, you will suffer pattern bleeding. In the first case, you will have no paradox (but you will not be able to raise those stats with xp). In the second case, you will have six permanent paradox for as long as the spell is up, and then when and if the spell ends, the permanent paradox will become normal paradox. In the third case, you will have six permanent paradox for as long as the spell is up, but it will not transfer to normal paradox at the end of the spell.
SIMPLE vs. COMPLEX: A "simple creature" is considered an invertebrate, a plant, or something beneath them.
A complex substance is defined as something that can be easily recognized as two different substances. Steel by itself is matter 2. A silver-plated fork is matter 3.
Within Matter 2, it says that you can improve the 'quality' of homogenous substances, usually as a coincidental shaping. For example, if you have a wooden board that is knotty, you can remove the knots with matter 2. Note that you cannot change its shape until matter 3, so a crooked board is still a crooked board of better wood. What people have most often used this for in the past is making weapons better by improving the quality of the materials. As a rule of thumb, improving the quality of a weapon will make it less likely to break and less vulnerable to wear. It will not increase damage or decrease difficulty. That requires more than matter 2.
MULTI-TASKING: When you multi-task to get extra actions, you can get up to /three/ extra actions, but each one of them must be based on a different attribute class (Physical Attribute, Social Attribute, Mental Attribute, and Arete). Each "extra action" requires two successes on a mind 1 roll. You cannot take multi-task actions and desperate defense; when you abort to dodge or countermagick, you may not take multi-actions as well.
RAISING STATS: You can raise your Mental Attributes with Mind 1, and Manipulation with Mind 2. You can only raise your Charisma Attribute with Spirit 3. In addition, you cannot spend XP on stats that are being manipulated by a standing rote.
MENTAL ATTACKS: Mind affects, as described in the book, have the advantage of almost always being coincidental. However, they are also described as being slow and subtle.
If a target of a mind affect can sense that their mind is being manipulated or information projected into it, they can negate the manipulation or projection with a single willpower. This negates the entire magick for that casting. If the target of a mind affect can sense that their mind is being explored, they can spend a willpower to roll their willpower as a soak against that effect. The target of a mind attack can choose to spend a willpower if they are aware of it or roll their willpower to soak. Let me give you examples.
You want a thug to drop his weapon. You use a mind 2 impulse on him. It does not matter how many successes you get on the mind magick, if he believes he is being forced to do something he can spend a willpower to negate it.
You have cast an illusion to make a door invisible. If the person believes that the door should be there--for example, they have seen it before--they can spend a willpower to negate the illusion.
If you are attempting to employ psychic vampirism, i.e. draining someone's willpower away, and they sense it, they can spend a willpower to negate the magick.
DIMENSIONAL SCIENCE: We essentially have two names for a single sphere of magick. The Technocracy was originally stated to have little or no access to spirit magick, but it became obvious that this would not only mean the Traditions could overwhelm the Technocracy from the spirit worlds but it thematically would mean, if you take Arete to mean your understanding of the universe, that none of them could ever Ascend. This is ridiculous. So they came up with the concept of Dimensional Science, a modified form of Spirit that while not as powerful still allowed the Union to compete and understand the spirit worlds (or outer space).
But what is the difference? Mechanically none has been given, but I think the clue lies in the difference in the Background that measures your connection to that part inside you which does magick. Tradition mages call it Avatar; Technocratic mages call it Genius. The spirit mage sees the Avatar as distinct from the mind and body, something which comes from outside and is separate. The dimensional scientist sees the Genius as arising from the mind and body. It is not separate nor can it exist without mind and body. This is a subtle and important difference. It manifests in the style of magick and how the mages interact with the world.
FIGHTING ACROSS THE BARRIERS: A mage can touch a spirit with spirit (or Dimensional Science) 2, or with spirit 2 and the appropriate pattern sphere, an object that remains on this side of the barrier can be used to attack an object or creature on the other side of the barrier as long as it does not traverse the barrier. Thus, any melee object can be used in this matter and attack spirits on the other side. However, ranged attacks become problematic, because, for maximum effectiveness, the attack must end up on the other side of the barrier. You can use spirit 2 if the bullet or energy weapon you are using does not actually cross over the barriers, though it will be sharply reduced in effectiveness. If you are using spirit 2 for ranged attacks, you can only do bashing damage to the spirits and the target's difficulty to dodge is reduced by 1.
This does not take into count prime-based attacks (aka Odyllic) attacks, which according to their definition, exist in all realities simultaneously. An object that has been prime charged can be used to make attacks on a creature in another dimension, but the difficultly to hit is at +2, as you are swinging it /through/a barrier. Note, that if you use spirit 2 or 3 with a prime-charged attack, you get neither the penalty for attacking across the barrier or the reduction for ranged attacks.
LOOKING ACROSS THE BARRIERS: Staff does not allow mages to put up a permanent effect to sense the spirit worlds (Shadowlands and Umbra).
1) Piercing the gauntlet and shroud is dependent upon where you are. A permanent rote would require you to cast it at the highest possible difficulty -- which is 10. This is difficult to judge.
2) The human mind isn't meant to see into the spirit worlds all that time. Even with a mind effect to mitigate the distraction, you would essentially be unable to sleep without magick and unable to function as a normal person. Take how busy your field of vision is right now and multiply it by two or three. Those people blessed (or cursed) with the natural ability to do this take steps to avoid overtaxing their vision, and it has been known to drive mediums mad.
3) It is a two way street. You would constantly be attracting the attention of certain spirits and wraiths because you would react to their presence. A permanent rote would require constant maintenance by staff, constantly determining who is watching you while you are watching them.
4) This would have a significant effect on your psychology. To see into the shadowlands all that time and to see into the penumbra all that time would expose you constantly to the death of all things and the corruption of living in a city. You could certainly do it, but it could end up destroying you.
It is possible for this to be done--nothing is impossible for a mage. But to adjudicate it correctly would require a staffer to be present with you all that time IC and to create negative situations for all that time. That is why I said this will not happen.
SHALLOWINGS: A Shallowing is a location where the gauntlet has dropped to zero. When the gauntlet is zero, spirit creatures may cross over into this world without the materialize charm and people from this world may enter the penumbra. Such locations are always noticeable to spirits in the general vicinity.
Naturally occurring shallowings only happen at nodes. It is here, and only here, where the Avatar Storm abates because there is no gauntlet. Artificially created shallowings in places other than nodes do not negate the avatar storm.
NATURE OF SPIRITS: Spirits are defined here by three aspects: where they come from, what part of reality they are attuned with, and what their stats are. Spirits come from many places, as each mage who is taught the basics of the Spirit sphere know. You would not expect a spirit from the Deep Umbra to know what is going on in the Penumbra. Conversely, a spirit from the Shard Realm of Life would have little to no experience in the Lands of the Dead. Additionally, one of the principles that your mentors try to teach you, unless you are a Technocrat, is that spirits are connected to/created from something in the material world. In fact the spirit world and the material world are misnomers in the description of the Umbrae; they are one world to mystics. So, a trash elemental is connected to the trash of the mortal world, and a gladechild is connected to the trees that compose its home.
By these concepts, you can begin to see that spirits at the base level tend to know only about their own realms and the things with which they are connected. Thus, if you want to know about trash, you talk to a trash elemental. If you want to know about love, you talk to love epiphlings, etc. They are very provincial and very focused on the reason for their existence.
However, while the simplest spirits are narrow in experience and knowledge, over time and due to many different factors, a spirit can grow more aware and thus expand its horizons. This is measured by the Gnosis statistic of the creature. If you want a spirit who can hold a conversation, employ analysis, and have a wide range of information, you want a spirit with a higher gnosis. Of course, those spirits are also more cunning and more powerful, and they can definitely exercise judgment.
Here are four principles to keep in mind.
1. Spirits are not human. This is something that many mages forget. While they can look human and have human traits, or they may even spring from human ideals, they can exist with no conception or recognition of basic human needs, emotions or principles. It is completely possible for a spirit to understand hope in all its forms, and yet be completely mystified by revenge. It is possible for a spirit not to understand automobiles, courage, fairness, light, or even death. That is why it is imperative for a mage who attempts to deal with spirits to attempt to perceive the nature of the spirit to which they are talking. This does not mean that you need Spirit Lore 3 before you talk to them; it simply means that you need to pay attention to your surroundings and the clues they give about their natures before assuming they understand what you want.
2. Lesser spirits are pretty dumb. The spirits you most often find in places are lesser spirits. As I talked about in the guidelines, they are tightly focused on what they are and what creates them. For example, there could be a rat spirit in a sewer, but he is interested in what the rats are interested in and what happens in the sewer, and even they will see things in those terms. For example, they might be full of information about poison gas was spread in the sewers, but their information would be restricted to when, how far it went, and if anyone came down in sewers to spread it. They could not tell you what type of poison it was, or, if the people who employed it stood on the street above, anything about them.
3. Greater spirits have their own agenda. Spirits who are intelligent enough to perceive events beyond their specific areas frequently have their own agendas, and they can be just as tricky as humans about it. In fact, since some spirits don't understand things like right and wrong, they can be even trickier. This does not mean that they can never be trusted, but it is something to keep in mind. Greater spirits do not give away secrets lightly unless they can profit from it. Which brings us to . . .
4. Chiminage can take many forms. While the common form of chiminage is quintessence or tass, the greater the spirit that more complex the forms will take. Some spirits must be impressed with you before they will talk to you. Some spirits require elaborate rituals before they will even begin to speak with you. Some spirits simply won't accept payment at all, and you have to force them to help you. The means to purchase aid is as elaborate and varied as spirits themselves.
Spirits have an instinctual sense of a mage's resonance. Thus, a mage with an angry resonance tends to attract (and be attractive to) spirits of rage, war, and conflict. A mage with a gentle resonance tends to attract spirits of a similar nature. This is the reasons that, eventually, mages who abuse and consume spirits will find spirits unwilling to talk to them or even stay in the same room with them, though if caught, they may be more likely to be intimidated by these ruthless mages. Thus, mages who mass-produced fetishes without paying the appropriate chiminage will be tagged as vile people to be avoided by their own resonance. Of course, eventually such a mage's dirty deeds will reach the ears of Umbrood Lords who may take umbrage at someone enslaving their charges.
Mages with strong connections to the spirit world (Dreamspeakers and Order of Hermes of the Traditions, for example) understand this and take steps to adapt themselves or the situation to remove this possible handicap. (Sometimes, even peaceful mages need warlike spirits). The Dreamspeakers do it by the general reputation of the Dreamspeaker tradition.
Over the centuries, Dreamspeakers have worked hard to present a reputation of understanding spirits, honoring spirits, and dealing fairly with spirits. Thus, most intelligent spirits understand that a Dreamspeaker, even one with a distasteful resonance, is worthy of if at least listening to it. The Order of Hermes, on the other hand, have the Umbrood Protocols. Endlessly complex treaties that are backed by both powerful Umbrood Lords and the High Council of the Order of Hermes exist. Hermetic mages can use these protocols like lawyers to get a hearing and to state their cases to the spirits. Spirits are willing to listen to them, for their part, because a Hermetic mage who flubs one of the clauses in the protocol can open himself up for, shall we say, unpleasant things. The treaties work both ways.
Other magickal traditions have their own approaches. These are just the ones that are best known.
ALIENS: THE TECHNOCRATIC MASTER PLAN
The Technocracy has carefully built up the Barriers between the spirit worlds and the material world, in accordance with the Precepts of Damian. Many mystics think this means that the Technocracy fundamentally misunderstand the relationship between the spirit worlds and the material world and that they are ignorant of the importance that the Worlds Beyond hold to the World in which we all live.
The Order of Reason sprang from the same roots that the Traditions did; they had access to the same knowledge before the Convention of the White Tower. Understanding that spirits do exist, that they interact with the world, and that they can never really be destroyed, the Technocrats have chosen a systematic and carefully thought out plan. They will isolate spirits from humanity intellectually, emotionally, and physically. They convinced the Masses (and even themselves) that spirits either do not exist or are creatures separate and independent from us. They carefully rendered those who saw spirits open to ridicule and worse, while simultaneously spreading mistrust of those from without, so that the things from beyond were greeted with fear, not wonder. They also strengthened the Barriers any way and any time they could. Thus, they hoped to turn the spirits that humanity once bartered with, propitiated, and looked on with awe and wonder into the frightening and the incomprehensible. They turned the water sprite, the pixie, the mountain father into . . . The Alien.
Why would they do such a thing? They want humanity to make its own decisions for its own destiny and not obey the urgings of ancient things who may not have Humanity's best interest at heart. They wanted us to be free of the very interaction that the mystics long for. That the price of independence is fear is a price that they are willing for Humanity to pay.
While this has this puts Technocrats skilled in Dimensional Science at a disadvantage when dealing with those things from the High and Middle Umbra, it actually serves as an advantage when dealing with those things from beyond the Horizon. They are alien, and the Technocrats know how to answer them better than the more mystic traditions. That the answer is usually gunfire is completely a matter of choice.
AWAKENED ITEMS: To keep things under control, you can only have a number of Awakened items up to your Arete.
HEART'S BLOOD: Heart's Blood is the Prime 1 ability that allows you to take damage in return for quintessence. You can only use Heart's Blood in conjunction with another spell effect and the quintessence generated must be used in that effect. This means you cannot use the effect by itself to create portable quintessence or recharge your talismans or devices. This does not mean you cannot use a form of this magick on other living beings to draw quintessence from their bodies, though it is a ruthless act.
Expel Base Energy from Matter is an ability of Prime 4. Expel Base Energy from Life is an ability of Prime 5. It is described in the book as "Adepts discover how to return the Quintessence to the Tellurian . . . Doing so has the direct effect of erasing them from mental, physical and spiritual existence. The energy RETURNS IMMEDIATELY to the Tapestry as the object vanishes forever, but with proper use of other Prime magick, the mage can sometimes deliver a small measure of the released power INTO HIS OTHER EFFECTS." (Emphasis mine.)
This released power can only be channeled into effects you are casting in the next round. In other words, this is not a way to create Quintessence. While in the terms of magick as the rules are written, there is no reason you should not be able to generate this quintessence. However, one of the themes of Mage is the discovery, creation, and protection of Nodes, places of power. That is what I wish you to concentrate on, not thinking up ways to get around the need for nodes.
DRAWING FREE QUINTESSENCE: You cannot do either the Fountains of Paradise or Wellspring in a Sanctum. You are employing that location to be in tune with your magick.
DETECTION: Prime 1 detects the presence or absence of free quintessence, tass, or true magick. Every object in the universe, according to Mage, is composed of pattern and quintessence. Supernatural workings and supernatural creatures, however, have the ability to move and shape free quintessence. Thus, any supernatural creature with a form of heavily resonance quintessence or tass (Mana, Faith, Gnosis, Glamour, Pathos, or Vitae) will be detected in a prime scan as positive. Mages with morefree quintessence then their Avatar rating will show up positive as well. Normal humans with magickal effects or wonders also show up as positive. However, with Prime 1, only the presence or absence can be detected. In other words, you can tell that something is supernatural. Prime 1 by itself cannot tell you what type of creature you are dealing with. To Prime 1, a mage is no different than any normal human unless they have more quintessence than their avatar rating or they have a standing-rote.
AGGRAVATED DAMAGE: When using Prime 2 or Prime 3 enchantment to do aggravated damage, the object causing the damage must be the thing that is enchanted. It implies in the book that you could make bare-handed attacks aggravated by enchanting a pair of gloves. This is not true here. Enchanting the gloves would allow you to grab spirits and ghosts and things in other worlds. In order to do aggravated damage with bare-handed attacks, you must have Prime 3.
TIME 2: These spells, when used to predict attacks as they occur, will give you the ability to hear what everyone else intends to do in a timestop (including the surprise rounds if you have it up) before you declare your action. However, you actually still /go/ in your initiative order. For example, you have this effect up, you roll initiative, and it goes, from lowest to highest, Goon a, you, Goon B, Goon C. Usually, Goon A would declare what he is doing, and then you, and then so on. In this case, you would wait until all three Goons declare. However, when resolving, Goon C would still go first, and then Goon B, then you, and then Goon A.
TIME 3: When you have Time 3, now you can start adding bonuses to you initiative. Each success dedicated to this is +5 to your initiative every round. However, it is vulgar if you go beyond +10.
TIME 4: This level can allow you to automatically go first, but only if you are not surprised.
TIME 5: This is the most powerful level. At this level, if you can successfully pull it off, you can rearrange initiative values for other people. Doing this is always vulgar.
DEFENSES VERSUS RETROCOGNITION AND PRECOGNITION: When someone attempts to use an effect that looks at you in the past, your present-time self gets a roll to notice it and can countermagick, sphere vs. sphere countermagick, or even anti-magick it if it is an extended rote. This seems to violate the rule of "no mage can change the past" because how could you countermagick something targetting you in the past? I have three bases for this ruling.
A. Sheer logistics. You should be able to have a chance to sense a spell coming from the future to look at you, and get chance to counter it, but though I am very wise, I am not omniscient. To save the logistical nightmare of finding out what your stats were a year ago for a simple time 2 spell, I have your /present/ form roll and counter.
B. Canon: If mages could not use sphere vs. sphere countermagick or anti-magick on people looking at them from the future if they do not have time, a) you could completely locate truly powerful mages by looking for them five seconds in the past, and b) time would be far more valuable than any other sphere. Neither of these are true to the canon.
C. Logically, even though the spell looks back at you from the past, if you have at least one rank in time, you can sense the magick now, and counter it now. It is happening /now/.
DESPERATE DEFENSE: You cannot take extra actions and deserate defense. This applies to time 3 and mind 1 multi-task actions. Desperate defense is desperate defense.
EXTRA ACTIONS: When you grant yourself extra actions with time 3, you cannot take more extra actions than your wits score. In addition, for each extra action you take over your arete score, you gain one paradox, no matter where you are. The wits cap is for the target of the spell; the arete cap is for the caster of the spell, even if the target takes the paradox. For example, if a caster makes a four action time 3 charm, and a non-mage uses the charm, then they take only an extra paradox for the /fourth/ action. However, if the caster has wits four, but the target has only wits two, the charm only allows two extra actions. When in combat and under the influence of extra actions, multi-task rotes are disabled.
REWINDING TIME: Rewinding Time with Time 3 is not only always vulgar (even in a sanctum or the umbra) and gives you three paradox per success, it cannot be done in conjunction with any other sphere. It's that hard.
These rules are an attempt to unify the interpretation of Awareness so even a storyteller with no experience can judge an Awareness roll. Any awareness roll requires three steps. 1. Who gets a roll? 2. What is the difficulty of the roll? 3. What are the results of the roll?
1. WHO GETS A ROLL?
As a rule of thumb, rely on grid spaces to mark the boundaries of awareness. It may not make sense that a character in the next room of a house does not get a roll for the use of magick, but using a grid space seems to be the easiest way to avoid confusion. Characters get Awareness rolls if they are in the same grid space as a character who is using an effect, or if they are in the same grid space as the target of the effect. Most of the time, both actor and target will be in the same grid space, but with the use of Soothsay, Presence, Correspondence, etc., this may not be true.
In addition, dimensional location is important to keep in mind as well. If a character is in another dimension, such as the Shadowlands, the Umbra, or the Dreaming, while in the same grid space, you should be considered in another grid space. If the actor and the target are both in another dimension, then you do not get an awareness roll, even if you have abilities to pierce the boundaries. This is important. Awareness is the ability to sense a change in the world around you. Even if you can see into the Shadowlands, you don't have a sense if something has changed there.
However, if the effect pierces dimensional boundaries, then the character should be considered in the same grid space. This is not always clear from the description of the power, especially in terms of shifter gifts. A good rule of thumb to use is that if the actor or the target is in the same dimension as the character, that character should get a roll.
Note that Awareness is particularly foiled by passive hiding powers, like Obfuscate. If you have no chance to normally sense a character using a passive hiding power, then you have no chance to be Aware of its actions, either.
In addition, Awareness does not thwart the Mists. Only Wyrd cantrips can be sensed by unenchanted people, though there are no changes to these rules if the sensor happens to be enchanted.
2. WHAT IS THE DIFFICULTY OF THE ROLL?
Take the level of the highest sphere, discipline, art, rank of gift, etc. and subtract that from 10. That is the base difficulty. Listed below are the modifiers I use.
- Is it static magic, i.e. everything that isn't True Magick? Add +1 to the diff.
- Is the target a specific person or object that is not you or on you? Add +1 to the diff.
- Is it designed to be stealthy or to help the person avoid detection? Add +2 to the diff.
- Is it sensory magic? Add +1 to the diff.
- Are their conditional modifiers? I would say +1 for being in crowded nightclub to +2 for being in a fight to the death.
- If you are concentrating on a previously sensed effect, Add -1 to the difficulty.
EXAMPLE A. A mage is sitting in a cafe when a nearby vampire is Summoned. The mage would get an Awareness roll. Summon is Presence 4, so the base difficulty is 6. He is not the target and it is static magick, so the mage's modifier is +2 for a difficulty of 8.
EXAMPLE B. A mage is being Scented of the Prey by a werewolf. The gift is Rank 2, so the difficulty is 8. It is both sensory magick and static magick, so the mage's awareness difficulty is 10.
EXAMPLE C. Let us say that an Enchanted mage is being Chicaneried by a fae so she will not notice the dagger on the table. He is using Art Level 4. The difficulty is 6; it is static magick, and it is designed to be stealthy, so the difficulty will be 9.
Unlike most rolls in WoD, if the modifiers push the difficulty over 10, you do not get an awareness roll. The effects is simply too subtle to be noticed by you. There is no threshold.
3. WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF THE ROLL?
This is the most complicated aspect. In order to balance awareness and prevent it from being some kind of super "danger sense" or primitive telepathy, the character should get very little information with fewer successes.
- Botch or Fail: This is punishment enough.
- 1 Success: Something strange is happening; the target if you are the target.
- 2 Successes: Whether it is static or true magick; the target if you can sense the target.
- 3 Successes: The intent of the magick (sensing, attack, defense, undetermined); the sphere, discipline, etc. if you have sufficient lore.
- 4+ Successes: The resonance of true magick; You have experienced the actor of the magic before.
In the case of Wyrded Cantrips, reduce the number of successes by 1 to reproduce the effects of the Mists if the sensor is not Enchanted.
For mages, if a character is casting magick, those who can sense it get a roll for awareness the first time, and every time the character rolls arete. Otherwise no one could ever counter extended rituals. If they botch the Awareness roll, there is no other bad effect except they get no further rolls. If a caster makees an effort to cast surreptitiously, your Arcane does reduce Awareness rolls. However, even a single success by someone rolling with a reduced pool negates further protection by Arcane from further rolls, and if the target of a spell has Awareness, then Arcane does not protect.
A mage can counter both True Magick and other supernatural powers with skillful applications of true magick. Straight countermagick is arete versus diff 8. The individual rules for countering other supernatural races are covered in the cross-sphere rules.
In regards to countering sorcery and psychic powers, it is completely dependent on the spheres the mage has and the effect used against them. Note, this is direct countermagick, and not the same as using mind, say, to counter forces.
In order to counter, a mage must be aware of the incoming attack, which may sometimes requires an appropriate awareness or alertness roll. An individual cannot counter magick he is not aware of unless he has an always-on countermagick, like a mystick shield or primium defense. If you have an always-on defense, it works against all magickal effects, not just baneful ones.
Mages have an extra option during combat, which is similar to 'abort to dodge'. It is called 'abort to countermagick', and it is exactly the same as the above ability. You must spend a willpower point or roll permanent willpower versus diff 6 in order to discard /all/ other actions and counter an incoming attack of which you are aware.
You may encounter staff telling you that you cannot do something about a particular supernatural race because you do not have sufficient lore about it. Someone asked me, "So, do faeries have to have Mage lore X to counter my magick?" The answer is no, they do not.
First, it is not fair.
Second, our rationale arises from the way individual races access their powers. A faerie's power comes from their connection to the Dreaming--the stronger their connection to the Dreaming, the more powerful they become. A werewolf's power comes from their relationship to the spirits--the more respected they are in the eyes of Gaia and the spirits, the greater access they have to gifts. A vampire's power is limited by the potency of their blood and their nearness to Cain. A mage accesses his power (and this is in my principles) by two things -- Will and Understanding. A mage that /wants/ something to happen and knows how to make it happen, will make it happen.
This translates, most of the time, into not being able to countermagick or unweave the linear magicks of other races unless you know /how/ their powers work. And that requires lores.
On the other hand, they do not need to understand your true magick--they are part of the linear world, and their power is not based on the understanding of /your/ power.
To be clear, this refers only to countermagick and unweaving, not sphere vs. sphere countermagick. I.e., if a faerie is casting lightning bolts at you, you would have to have a certain level of lore to counter it, /but/ you could always conjure up a hemisphere of rubble that would negate his attacks.
You must declare /before/ your first roll that this is going to be an extended ritual. If it is not, then the magick roll is a single roll. Note, you can only spend a willpower point to negate a botch on an extended roll. When you wish to make an extended ritual you will have two options. You will either be able to:
METHOD 1. Make as many rolls as you like, until you botch completely or think you have succeeded. You will not know the strength of your Effect until you are finished casting it. If it is not enough and you pass the minimum threshold, your Effect will still work, but it will work at a fraction of the power as per Mage Revised Rules.
METHOD 2. You will be given the number of successes you need and you will state the number of rolls you wish to attempt it in. You must roll the number of times that you declare, even if you succeed in a fewer number of rolls. If you fail to make your effort in the number of rolls you pick, your Effect will still work, but at reduced power as per Mage Revised Rules.
If a roll in an extended ritual garners no successes, the mage receives a +1 difficulty penalty per failure on his effect. These failures can potentially create a Threshold, which will apply to all subsequent rolls. Botching on the ritual itself does not instantly incur Paradox. If you botch an Arete roll, you must spend a willpower point, lose a previously gained success, and then continue at +1 difficulty if you wish to continue, otherwise you backlash. A second botch results in the entire ritual crashing down upon you, incurring Paradox as appropriate and creating a backlash.
If you're unlucky enough to be interrupted during a ritual, you must immediately make a Willpower roll, difficulty 8, or the effect Botches. Interruption means taking damage, being forced to act in a way you did not state, or aborting to an action.
EXTENDED RITUALS in combat incur an extra +1 difficult in addition to the +1 difficulty for Fast Casting, unless the ritual was begun /before/ the combat started.
EXTENDED RITUALS take time; how much time is subject to the judge's decision, depending on paradigm and foci. Therefore, every 3 rolls on the Extended ritual necessitate a Stamina check. The difficulty is 5 for the first check, raising by +1 for each check thereafter until it reaches 9, in which it will begin to Threshold (Appropriate preparation for rituals can drop the difficulty of this Stamina roll). Failing a Stamina check means your Effect difficulty immediately goes up by 1; botching will cause the ritual to cease immediately. You can always choose to botch a stamina check, in order to end the ritual. Stamina check difficulties for extended rituals refresh per RL 24 hours.
COOPERATION BETWEEN MAGES: In any joint effect there is one governing will: the Primary Caster. There are two ways mages can cooperate with the Primary Caster. The first is to "ASSIST" which means that the helping mage has at least 1 dot in every sphere of the effect. Each mage assisting adds one success to the effect per roll if at the Primary Caster gets at least one success on his or her roll. They may not spend willpower to assist the effect, though they may spend quintessence. The assisting mage must roll stamina as normal. A failure means that the mage can no longer assist. A botch means that the mage can no longer assist and the difficulty of the effect goes up by one.
A mage with the required ranks in the appropriate spheres for the effect may "SUPPORT." This means that the supporting mage may roll arete normally and those successes are added to the Primary Caster's, if the Primary Caster gets at least one success on his roll. They may spend willpower, but that willpower is lost without effect if the Primary Caster does not get at least one success. Ultimately, the effect is governed by the Primary Caster's desire and the "beginning paradigm" is the Primary Caster's. Mages helping the Leader must work off what he is trying to do. For example, if a Son of Ether is creating matter by distilling ether, the assisting Verbena must find a way to make her paradigm work with within the terms of the primary paradigm, i.e. calling upon the Goddess by spilling blood in order to hasten the gathering of Ether. If you cannot think of a paradigmatical way to do it, I reserve to right to say you cannot cooperate. The greater the number of paradigms you must integrate, the more difficult the ritual becomes. Each faction has a different rule.
- A. TRADITIONS: For every Tradition included after the second, the difficulty goes up by +1. For example, a group ritual between the Chorus and the Order of Hermes is at normal diff, but if you include a Dreamspeaker, the diff goes up by +1. If you include a Euthanatos after that, the diff goes up by +2. The maximum penalty is three.
- B. TECHNOCRACY: They do not suffer this penalty, as their goal is the unification of all science under one rule. However, any ritual with more than two Conventions must be approved by the Administrator, or it is considered a Conspiracy.
- C. NEPHANDI: It is similar to the Tradition rule, but it is based on Patrons.
- D. MARAUDERS: It is also similar to the Tradition rule, but every Marauder is considered a faction unto him or herself. There are no PC Marauders, but this is included for completeness.
In COMBAT, it is impossible for Tradition mages of different traditions to effectively coordinate on extended rituals in combat. It is impossible for Nephandi of different patrons to do so, and it is impossible for Marauders of any sort to do so. Technocrats suffer no penalty.
PERSONAL FOCI: Non-Technocratic Magi cannot get the benefit for using personal foci when engaged in a group ritual with a mage of another Tradition or Patron.
GENERAL FOCI: Each Tradition and Convention has a group of general foci they can use to do magick or advanced procedures. The standard difficulty of any effect is considered to be set while using general foci. Listed below are the general foci for each Tradition and Convention. Marauders and Orphans all use personal foci and Nephandi's general foci are depending on their Patrons. These are listed below, and will not be listed on your +foci.
PERSONAL FOCI: This is an item of a certain specificity within your Tradition's or Convention's paradigm that assists you in a doing a certain sphere's specific magick. For example, a wand made of ash could serve as a personal focus for a Hermetic mage for the sphere of forces. This means that while the Hermetic mage could use a general focus for Forces, he could also use a Personal Foci for Forces and gain the benefit of -1 to the roll. The use of Personal Foci is optional.
UNIQUE FOCI: These are one-of-a-kind personal foci. An example would be a wand of ash wood given to you by your grandfather when you were fifteen. If you choose to use a personal focus, you get -2 to all effects with that sphere. However, if that unique focus is destroyed, you must always cast magick from that sphere as if you were transcending foci, unless you a) find some way to gain the focus back or b) reach Arete 6 and abandon foci for that sphere. The use of Unique Foci is not optional.
PROCESS FOCI: These general or personal foci are a series of steps that you need to take, like psychological examinations, or numeric calculations, or meditation. They simply take time. The benefit is that it is harder to take away or disrupt a process foci; the drawback is THEY CANNOT BE USED IN COMBAT.
SKILL FOCI: These general or personal foci represent a pure mental or vocational ability that helps you focus for magick. They are represented by rolling the relative skill or knowledge (not talent) plus the relevant attribute at a difficulty of the level of the sphere you are using plus three. Technomancers, in addition, must have a tool of some kind to make the magick work for anything but sensory effects. The drawbacks are that environmental modifiers, wound penalties, and splitting actions all affect the dice pool. You can also not use abilities to reduce the difficulty of magick when using a skill focus.
INTEGRAL FOCI: These general or personal foci are parts of the casters own body, such as tattoos or cybernetics. They are hard to take away, and they do not require a roll, but as a limiting factor, they MUST BE DISPLAYED. In other words, if you use an integral foci, the effect will be vulgar. Note, this does not apply to integral wonders, which are not foci.
INCANTATIONS AND GESTURES: If you must incant (or use gestures, or any type of focus) to use a sorcerous power (which you do) or you are using it as a focus (for a mage sphere) it cannot be concealed, or it is /not/ a focus, but a distraction. This is the rule. It supposed to be a weakness, and if it doesn't hurt you, it's not a weakness. Stop trying to get around it.
GENERAL FOCI: Akashic Brothers: Chimes, incense, meditation skill roll, prayer sashes, prayer flags, purification rites, weapons.
Celestial Chorus: Songs, candles, verbal prayer, bells, incense, appropriate holy symbols
Cult of Ecstasy: Music, dance, drugs, meditation skill roll, fasting, sex
Dreamspeakers: Drumming, chanting, open flames, mandala, sand paintings, bones, appropriate amulets, appropriate herbs
Euthanatos: Weapons, dice, scales for measurement, ashes, mantras, mathematics skill rolls
Hollow Ones: Arcanology (Occult Skill rolls), blood, crystals, grimoires, poetry, runes, seances, spirituality (Process Foci)
Order of Hermes: Chanting in obscure language (mostly Latin or Enochian); pentagrams; Hermetic circle; Seals of Solomon; numerology; staves and wands; swords
Sons of Ether: Computers; Ether Goggles; engineering schematics; hand tools; mathematics skill rolls; scientific meters, specialized alloys, time pieces; gedanken
Verbena: altars, athame, blood, cauldrons, chants, cups, dance, herbs, incense, ordeals, pentacles, runes, sacrifices.
Virtual Adepts: Computers, cybernetic implants, hacking rituals, mathematics skill rolls, programs, sensory gear, surveillance equipment
Iteration X: Cybernetic implants, weapons, computers, programs, hand-held sensors
New World Order: Badges, weapons, suits, vehicles, televisions, printed media, personnel records, psychological techniques, White Rooms
Progenitors: Biomods, psionics will rolls, retrovirus cultures, surgical augmentation, enhancement drugs
Syndicate: Money, credit cards, financial data, social skill rolls, personal assistants.
Void Engineers: Weapons, Enhancement armor, tracking devices, sensors, dimensional gates, transponders
I have changed the rules for Paradox a great deal from the book; those rules are for sit-down games, where time passes at the behest of the storyteller. In a 24/7 environment, I have had to change the rules significantly.
There is no chance of a backlash simply by doing vulgar magick; you accumulate the proper amount of paradox. However, a botch on a magick roll always causes a backlash, even if it is the first paradox you have taken. The number of successes on the die roll determines how much paradox you lose. Otherwise, paradox decays one point for every IC week that passes without gaining more paradox. Since there is no way to code this, I will adjust your paradox at your request or when you gain or lose pararadox. A mage cannot trigger a paradox backlash willingly. While the rules imply that this is possible, it also implies elsewhere that only Prime masters can do it. So, to be clear, a mage can only trigger a backlash through the use of advanced levels of Prime.
You can ALWAYS spend a willpower to delay the onset of paradox or a backlash, but only in the case of an extended ritual does it not hit you after the present scene is over. You can only avoid it completely if you are doing an extended ritual and already have a success to "negate" with the willpower. If you don't have a success to negate, you can delay the backlash with a willpower, but only until the end of the scene.
PERMADOX: Permanent paradox, which most often comes from vulgar or extensive changes to your physical form though it can come from any powerful persistent effect, is indicated in your +jnotes and on your +sheet. It is a value added to the pool for any paradox backlash, which means that a minor backlash, due to permadox, can become a major one. Unlike normal paradox, permanent paradox is not removed until you remove the cause of it.
SKILL ROLLS: If you make a roll that is beyond your capacity to do mundanely, ignoring specialization, you will get a point of temporary paradox. For example, say you are picking a lock with dex+security. You have an unmodified pool of five dice. You give yourself a few extra dice with matter 1, and you reduce your difficulty to three with entropy 2, and get six successes. That gives you a point of paradox
Mage is a difficult game; the very system demands that you be constantly creative /and/ relatively flexible in order to fully realize its potential. Unfortunately, most magick use on MUSHes can be reduced to mechanics and die rolling: blah, commonplace, and frankly, not very Magickal. Players had gotten so embroiled in the technical aspects of the Magick <difficulty, effect, successes>, that we had forgotten the visual and theoretical aspects.
To solve this problem, we use a format for magick use, referred to as a "PAT". PAT stands for Phenomenon-Action-Theory, and a staff member will say, "Give me a PAT." All magick will require this PAT, save in combat situations.
PHENOMENON--This is what would be visible to a generic observer in the room; it includes the visible effect of the magic if any and the use of foci, even if unnecessary. It is different from the action of the target, if direct magic is being used.
ACTION--This is the technical procedure of casting magick; it should be paged between caster and staff member, but some people prefer that it be done openly. This will be determined on a case by case basis.
THEORY--This is the part that most frequently disappears. /How/ does your character think he or she is doing this. If your character is an Akashic Brother, is she making herself one with the world-mind of the steel door before she steps through it? This is different than phenomenon in the sense that phenomenon is ALL sensual--no one can see making himself one with the stone.
During an attempt to cast magick, when the judge asks a mage for his or her action, they will expect three different pages from him or her--a Phenomenon page, an Action page and a Theory page. The pair will then resolve the necessary technical matters, after which the staff will alert the mage to pose the results. This will slows things down; some mages will have short pages while some have very long pages but the staff and the players must be patient.
Here is an example of a PAT execution.
Sister Moesha, a Celestial Chorus Sister of Gabrielle, mopping down the main floor of the convent, turns the corner and sees Niles Briscot, the Ventrue elder, sipping on Sister Thelma <Niles can only drink virgin blood.> Incensed, she attacks. MageWiz asks for inits, and Moesha wins while Briscot botches! Moesha is going to attempt to invoke her magick; Mage Wiz asks for a PAT.
First Page: p MageWiz=P--Moesha propels her body forward as fast as she can, raising her mop like a spear. Screeching "In Nomine Christos Domino, exitare infernii immediatare!" a fragment of an exorcism, she plants the business end of the mop on the side of the bloodsucker's face.
Second Page: p MageWiz=A--Moesha will use Prime 2 to enchant the mop so it does aggravated damage to the vampire when she hits it. She is invoking which is the focus, she will spend a point of quintessence to lower the difficulty of the effect, and she will spend another point of quintessence which is necessary to enchant matter.
Third Page: p MageWiz=T--This is a house of the One, and both Moesha and Sister Thelma are My servants. I will certainly strike against the corrupted creature who seeks to defile this holy place, and a tool of cleanliness wielded in the Truth of the One is as powerful as any weapon.
MageWiz determines that Moesha will be splitting actions. Her first action will be an arete roll. The mage wiz determines that the spell will be vulgar without witnesses-a glowing mop that does terrible wounds to a person is not believable. However, Thelma is in the throes of the Kiss, so she is not a witness. He also assigns a +1 difficulty due to fast-cast penalties, and a +1 difficulty due to bad resonance-a mop is not a holy weapon of the Lord. Moesha spent a quintessence, so she will roll arete vs. 7. She needs one success to make the mop aggravated; she needs two successes to make it aggravated for a scene. She must also roll to hit, but this will be at -3 dice; arete rolls are never reduced by split actions.
There are also practical aspects to this three tier system. Phenomenon allows the judging staff member to determine coincidence and vulgarity within his or her own terms. Remember, mages may not always have the experience, emotional state, or patience to determine whether something is vulgar or coincidental. The casting mage may be unaware of the frightened sleeper clerk hiding behind the counter. By giving the Phenomenon, the staff member can take things like this into account.
Theory is the great limiter for mages. A mage who cannot conceive of how to do something in his or her paradigm /cannot/ do the effect. This frequently restricts Technomancers most of all, as the Iteration X armature simply cannot calibrate his scanner to detect Tachyons as that Conventions physics say that Tachyons do not exist. No matter if he has forces one or not, he cannot use the Tachyon event to look backwards in time. <High level physics here, just trust me.> This ruling means that if the mage cannot justify the magickal effect he or she is attempting to use in his or her paradigm, he or she /cannot/ do it.
Theory also has a two-edged benefit: Resonance. The number of success required to pull off an effect is dependent with the difference between the situation and the theory behind the effect. For example, a Verbena, seeks to find her friends who are lost. Unable to go herself she attempts to conjure a sparrow out of thin air to search for her missing compatriots. Her Theory is that she "is calling on the hand of the Goddess, in which all creation rests, to give her a part of her life force in the form of a bird" <Verbena enthusiasts, forgive me>. Now, if she did it in a sacred grove of a local druidic group, though not a sanctum, she would need less successes then she would if she tried to do it in the middle of a Progenitor genetics laboratory. It is simple resonance. But, if the Progenitor wanted to clone a pre-designed sparrow using modified RNA structures and genetic memory, they would require fewer successes in the lab than in the grove.
STANDING ROTES: For every two standing rotes, all magickal difficulties go up by one. Whenever a mage has a portion of his will dedicated to a long-term change in the world, this is called a standing rote. In mechanical terms, this is whenever you have a magick that has a duration, and it is neither a charm nor a coincidental shaping. Wards and bans are now included in this.
COMPLEX EFFECTS: Some effects are so complicated and powerful that it takes a mage's full will to maintain and control them. This means that they can have no other effects up at the same time, and they must cancel all other effects. The effect is considered too complicated to maintain or cast other effects if the sum of the number of successes times the number of spheres is greater than fifty. For example, an effect that you wanted to cast that used five spheres and had 11 successes would require your absolute concentration. You would have to drop all standing effects and could not cast new effects until that effect is over.
RITUALS: In addition, in multiple mage rituals, any mage who supports the ritual is also counted as having a standing rote. Assisting mages do not. To determine if a ritual is complex effect, divide the number of successes time the number of spheres by sum of 1 (the primary mage) plus the number of supporting mages.
COINCIDENTAL SHAPING: There are certain permanent effects that do not count as standing effects. I base this on the concept of healing magicks. If a mage is cut with a knife and heals himself or herself, it does not expire nor does it count as a standing rote. It only requires quintessence if the wound is aggravated. Any pattern magick, which is used to shape something mundane into something that is also mundane is a coincidental shaping, and if you get sufficient successes, remains permanent without being a standing rote or requiring prime. For example, if you have a boulder in your garden, and you use matter to turn that boulder from one shape into another, then that is a coincidental shaping.
As a rule of thumb, if a person walked into the location one day, saw the object to be shaped, and then walked into it the next day and saw the object after it was shaped, and wouldn't do a double take, then it is coincidental shaping. Note, this ONLY refers to Pattern magicks: Matter, Life, Forces.
TALISMANS & DEVICES: Effects created with Artifacts & Devices do not add to your standing rote tally. It is the object warping reality, not you. COMBAT ROTES: You can have a number of combat rotes -- spells you have practiced so much that you do not take a fast-cast penalty when casting them -- up to your wits score. If one of them is a PFT (see Wonders) you can have up to wits+1.
Arcane is a background available to Mages, Sorcerers, and Vampires. On Sheltering Sky, the value of this background only goes up only to five; we will not be using the rules for Occultation. Technocrats call Arcane "Cloaking" but it acts exactly the same mechanically.
Whenever a character with arcane is trying to not be noticed, whether by moving silently, hiding in the shadows, burying paperwork, or simply keeping a low profile, the subject's arcane adds a bonus to their dice pools (one per rank), and it gives a penalty to their opponent's dice pools (one per rank). This applies to enemies searching for the target, noticing the target out of the corner of their eye, describing the target, or trying to write a program that finds information about the target on the internet, analyzing the target's patterns of behavior, etc. While the penalty is in effect all the time, the bonus is in effect only when the character is actively trying to hide.
Arcane is subconscious, coincidental magick. It is a minor shifting of reality; it does not do outrageous things to protect the character. In other words, if you go up to someone, yell at them, start a fight, and then shoot at them, ARCANE DOES NOT WORK. They will not forget you in time. On the other hand, it will still be hard for them to spot you, even if they do remember you, if you afterwards try to keep a low profile.
Even if it you do keep a low profile, this background only modifies memory; it does not erase it. The penalty is as bad as it gets. For example, it will not cause the Technocracy to forget about you if you are brought to their attention.
Gaining Fame reduces Arcane. For every rank of Fame you gain, you lose one rank of Arcane.
Arcane is a background that you choose to take; it does not hurt you. Your mail won't be lost, your driver's license won't expire, and you can still get credit cards. Arcane is a sub-conscious manifestation of your will (or the will of a powerful being) to help protect you, so unless you are self-destructive it will not hurt you.
The Magic Resistance merit does not protect an antagonist of the target from Arcane, as Arcane is affecting the reality surrounding the target, not the antagonist himself.
If you make an effort to cast magick surreptitiously, your Arcane does reduce Awareness pools. However, even a single success by someone rolling with that reduced pool negates further protection by Arcane in further rolls. In addition, if the target of a spell has Awareness, then Arcane does not protect the caster.
REDUCING XP COSTS: The library background will work differently due to the way XP works on this MUSH. A character will be able to roll his library rating to reduce the cost of any sphere up to its rating for purposes of study. Each library will be designated by origin: individual Tradition, individual Patron, or Technocratic. A mage using a library that is not of their magickal heritage will reduce the sphere maximum by 2. For example, an Order of Hermes mage trying to use the library 4 of a Celestial Chorister will only be able to apply its bonus to learning spheres up to 2. Technocratic libraries are restricted by rank access--if you are only a rank 2 technocrat, you cannot use a Technocratic Library with a rank of 3.
A character's library background represents a collection of books and other materials that serve as reference material for the character in the pursuit of his art. Many players are deluded by the fast, condensed, and immediate approach the internet takes, but libraries are of a different nature than materials posted digitally.
When a character wants to research a problem or seek help in developing some aspect of magic, there is not one book that exists in the library to answer his question. There is nothing like "Forces Step Two." He will consult a variety of books which will have information in quantities varying from chapters on the subject to marginalia. In order to mine significant information from a library, it takes not only the possession of the texts themselves, but also serious practice in reading the style of those particular texts, as well as a firm foundation in what the texts are about. Thus, it is not possible for a character to take two books from a wizard's library and "get something" out of it, unless you knew what you were looking for when you went in.
As you can see, such collections have great value in the world of the Traditions and the Nephandi (Marauders might use them or might not; Technocrats are somewhat different, which I will discuss below). They are not easily made, nor easily replaced, and violence can ensue when they are fucked with. Wars have indeed been thought over libraries (see the Second Massassa War, which can essentially be described as the Order of Hermes demanding the return of Clan Tremere's overdue library books).
Given the size and importance of these libraries, one thing that is seldom if ever done is "copying them." First and most important, copying a library without learning the skills which accompany it is like learning the vocabulary of a language without learning the grammar. Photocopying and digitization does not teach the skill.
Second, copying books and artifacts takes time and money. You can rush it, but in the end you'll get crap with which you won't be able to do much.
Third, your superiors will most likely see you as either dangerous fool or a traitor if you go spreading crucial resources over the landscape. There will be IC consequences for allowing unrestricted access to your library or photocopying it for your friend down the street. That being said, the access and lending of libraries is a powerful political tool, often the scene of much give and take between mages. Be aware of what you have and what you want to do with it. Make sure that you protect them as if they are a valued treasure, and make sure you have enough room for them.
As for the Technocracy, very few Technocrats take the library background, and that is because of the centralized and electronic nature of information storage within the Union. Data is stored on databases, disseminated by A.L.S., and taught at various conferences, retreats, and symposiums. However, the Technocracy does have book libraries, which contain information that is considered too dangerous for easy electronic access. Called "Archives," these places are heavily secured. Some have such thorough restrictions to access, the majority of the Technocracy no longer knows they exist (see the Ksirafai Archives).
Per godstaff, Lores must be learned from a PC or an NPC. If it is an NPC, the Wiz of that sphere must approve. It can be voluntary or it can be forced. Libraries with specialties in particular lore can aid you on lore rolls, but it cannot teach you levels of lore.
ALLIES: Each rank in allies represents either a starting-level supernatural or a starting-level mortal +100 xp. For each rank you spend on an individual ally, you can add +100 xp to them. Allies are your friends and colleagues, but you cannot be assured of their loyalty nor can you give them orders.
BACKUPS: Each rank in backups represents either one starting-level supernatural, a starting-level mortal +50 xp, or two starting level mortals. They answer to you so you can give them orders, but they are not ultimately loyal to you. They are loyal to the same organization as you are. So, they could tell on you or they could be ordered by your superiors.
CONTACTS: Each contact represents a person in a particular field that will trade you information for money or other considerations. You must select an area of influence where this contact exists. Information you ask from him or her is limited to this sphere of influence. Spheres of influence are listed here: Bureaucracy-Inf. Church-Inf. Financial-Inf. Health-Inf. H-Society-Inf. Industrial-Inf. Legal-Inf. Media-Inf. Occult-Inf. Police-Inf. Political-Inf. Street-Inf. Transportation-Inf. Underworld-Inf. University-Inf.
CULT/TECHNICIANS: These are people who assist you in casting magick. While they may be your employees, your friends, your sex slaves, the only game function they have is to assist you when you cast ritual magick. However, you can (and probably should) but the same person as both a Cult and an Ally, or a Cult and a Contact. The number of cults per dot in background is described in the rules and they function as they function in the rules.
FAMILIAR/COMPANION: Familiars are employed as they are in Guide to the Traditions, with the sole exception that the quintessence cost for them is one quintessence point per rank per /month/ rather than one quintessence point per rank per week. The rules are written for table top, and I can see "familiar wars" beginning as mages resent familiars eating lots of quintessence. This is especially true because "scarcity of nodes" is a major thematic point in this game; even at rank per month familiars are going to be expensive.
GAINING A FAMILIAR OR COMPANION: You must locate either a Middle Umbral or a High Umbral spirit to which you have an affinity and which desires to participate in the material world in a shell. Very few spirits, if convinced of your good intentions, will balk at the chance to have a physical form. The power level of the familiar is directly proportional to the power of the spirit you summon. You must negotiate a pact with the spirit before the spell is cast. The more you desire of it, the more it desires of you. you must find either a wonder or a mage capable of binding you and the spirit together. This is an Entropy 4/Life 4/Prime 2/Spirit 4 spell. Certain Umbrood Lords can also created familiars, but the spirit must be from their court. However, they always require a task commensurate with the power of the familiar in order to do so. Staff is not responsible for finding you the spirit, a mage powerful enough to cast it, or the Umbrood Lord willing to do it.
NODE: Unlike before, you can actually have the Node Background. The kicker is that all Nodes bought by players will not be located on the grid. As a rule of thumb, the more powerful your node background, the farther away from Pokoh's Peak it must be. In an interesting twist, the Node background could represent rights you have to quintessence from other major Chantries. All nodes will be non-mobile and on the material world.
RETAINERS: Each rank in retainer gives you a starting-level mortal. For two ranks, you can get a starting-level supernatural, a starting-level mortal +50xp, or two starting-level mortals, etc. These people work directly for you and answer only to you. They are loyal though their loyalty can be subverted by other PCs or NPCs.
SPIES: These work like contacts only they may, in addition to getting information for you, they also can supply information or misinformation to others. The drawback is that they require maintenance. If they answer only to you, then they are one per level of rank. If they answer to your organization, then they are two per level of rank. You cannot have more ranks in Spies than you have in resources.
SPIRIT ALLIES, RETAINERS, ETC.: As a rule of thumb, spirits with a willpower of 1-4 are equivalent to starting level mortals; every level of willpower after count as +50 xp. Exceptions will have to be made.
STATUS: This works differently for mages. Your rating in Status is added to your arete for an overall rating, which determines your position on the social pecking order within each faction. For example, while Euthanatos A is Arete 4, Euthanatos B is Arete 2 with a Status of 3. Euthanatos would know of and probably respect Euthanatos B, even though A is more powerful. These will have to be backed up by background.
A sanctum is a place where the local rules of reality have been realigned to your paradigm. There are no rules that I have seen in Revised for what it does, so these are the rules that will be followed.
A Sanctum has the following benefits:
- 1. Any magick done in the dominant paradigm of the Sanctum is coincidental.
- 2. Anyone within the Sanctum gets the benefit of Arcane to actions taken within the Sanctum equal to the rating of the Sanctum.
- 3. The difficulty of the stamina rolls on extended rituals are reduced by the rating of the Sanctum minus one if the Sanctum applies to you.
Note, that to be coincidental, the magick must be completely contained within the sanctum itself. If you stand in your sanctum and hurl a fireball across town at an enemy, it is still vulgar. However, the second and third benefits always apply if you are within the sanctum, even if the magick being cast is outside the sanctum.
If you are in the sanctum of another mage, you can use the first benefit of the sanctum only if you are in the right faction, according to the chart below. You can only use the third benefit if the mage who owns the sanctum gives you permission and is present. You can always use the second benefit of another mage's sanctum.
- 1. Tradition mages can use the sanctums of any mage from the same Tradition, for example, an Order of Hermes mage can use another Order of Hermes mage's sanctum for the first benefit.
- 2. Technocracy mages can always use the first benefit in any other Technocracy mage's sanctum.
- 3. Nephandi can only use the first benefit in the sanctums of Nephandi who have the same Patron.
- 4. Marauders can never use another Marauder's sanctum for the first benefit.
A mage can create a sanctum through these steps.
First, a mage selects a location for his Sanctum . The more in tune the nature of the location is with his paradigm, the easier the creation of the sanctum will be. A Dreamspeaker can create a Sanctum in a skyscraper, but it is going to be far more difficult than creating a Sanctum in a cabin in a pine forest.
Second, a mage must prepare the location for his sanctum. This attunes the mage to the location. It maybe something as simple as the mage relaying the floor of the building, painting the walls, meditating in it every day for a month or a variety of activities. These activities are determined by the staff and the mage working together. True Magick cannot be used in any way to improve or speed up the process. It must be utterly and completely mundane.
Third, a mage must perform one of two rituals in order to rewrite reality to his paradigm. The first option is a vulgar magickal effect that is essential to the paradigm of the mage casting. The total number of successes needed minimum is 20 for a level 1 sanctum, + 5 for each level of sanctum afterwards. The paradox for this effect must be absorbed by the mage.
Alternatively, the ritual must be performed in front of an audience of sleepers, the number of which being equal to the number of successes in the first method. The ritual must underline the paradigm of the creating mage and must contain at least one vulgar effect, though it does not have to be as significant as the first method.
Everything must be presented to the mage wiz before the entire process begins. You cannot create a Sanctum accidentally; the very thought of "I am creating a sanctum" is vital to the process.
NOTE: Sanctums will not be allowed to be mobile
Sanctums must be in the material world.
Sanctums must be bought each time they are created. If you have a Sanctum and it is destroyed it must be rebuilt and rebought. The points you spent the first time are lost.
Any pattern that embodies the power of True Magic is called a wonder; this means only the pattern spheres (Life, Matter, Forces) can be made into Wonders.
ARTIFACTS: These are wonders crafted by mystics that are permanent. They can be continuous in effect or they can be activated to work for a specific amount of time. The effect and duration are always the same, set when the object is made. Only an Awakened person or an acolyte of the same tradition may wield these Artifacts. You cannot put the equivalent of a complex effect into an artifact; this means that if you add up the spheres involved in the artifact and multiply them by the number of successes (not counting the magick required to make it permanent) devoted to those effects, they cannot be greater than 50.
INVENTIONS: These are wonders crafted by technomancers that are permanent. They can be continuous in effect or they can be activated to work for a specific amount of time. The effect and duration are always the same, set when the object is made. Anyone may wield these wonders. While there is no concrete limit on the number of effects on them, they need to be thematically consistent. You cannot put the equivalent of a complex effect into an invention; this means that if you add up the spheres involved in the invention and multiply them by the number of successes (not counting the magick required to make it permanent) devoted to those effects, they cannot be greater than 50.
CHARMS: These are wonders crafted by mystics that have one use of limited duration or a limited number of charges.
A charm/gadget/talen's effect has the maximum duration of a scene, except in the case of a charm/gadget/talen that wards a location (not an individual). In that case, the charm/gadget/talen can only last until the first time it is broken thorugh, and then it is gone forever. A charm can be used by any Awakened individual or any individual with an occult score of three or higher.
GADGETS: These are wonders crafted by technomancer that have one use of limited duration or a limited number of charges. An item with charges cannot last longer than one scene; a charm of limited duration has a maximum duration of one story. The size of the gadget is proportional to the number of charges or the limited duration. A gadget can be used by anyone with a science score of three or higher.
TALISMANS: There are wonders crafted by mystics that have their own Arete score and they can have their own Quintessence reservoir (see Periapt). They are capable of creating magickal effects of different durations and strengths. Their difficulties are not affected by exterior influence. They cost a permanent willpower to create. Each of them will have specific restrictions on who can use them.
DEVICES: There are wonders crafted by Technomancers that have their own Arete score and they can have their own Quintessence reservoir (see Matrix). They are capable of creating magickal effects of different durations and strengths. Their difficulties are not affected by exterior influence. They cost a permanent willpower to create. Each of them will have specific restrictions on who can use them.
Since a device/talisman has its own arete score which is separate and independent from yours (it being a sliver of a mage's avatar imprisoned in a pattern) you cannot use your willpower to affect its arete roll.
The only way /you/ (the activator) can modify the effect is through spending the quintessence contained within its reservoir. You cannot use your own quintessence without first putting the quintessence into its reservoir using prime 3. This applies even to living talisman-devices; their quintessence reservoir is different than your avatar's. The maximum modifier is three, as it does not have an avatar rating to restrict or increase it.
On the other hand, talismans/devices do not have to roll stamina--their purpose is to channel this energy. This includes living talismans/devices.
Finally, unlike charms/gadgets and artifacts/inventions, paradox accumulates in and paradox backlashes target the talisman/device, not the user. It mitigates at the same rate. In the rare case that a living talisman has a familiar, the familiar's paradox absorption and nullification powers have no effect on the paradox accumulated or paradox backlashes triggered by the living talisman
PERIAPTS AND MATRIXES: These are Quintessence resevoirs. They require mastery of a pattern sphere in addition to Prime 4. The quintessence in periapts may be drawn forth by anyone with prime 3. A Talisman or Device does not need a periapt or matrix to operate. The wielder of a Talisman or Device can use this quintessence without having Prime 3 to draw it forth, but only to power the Talisman or Device's effects.
FETISHES: These are Wonders in which a spirit has been bound to power it. They come in all shapes and sizes. They can be used by anyone who has been attuned to the fetish.
TALENS: These are fetishes that have one use of limited duration or a limited number of charges. An item with charges cannot last longer than one scene; a charm of limited duration has a maximum duration of one story. They can be used by anyone with the ability to speak with spirits.
AMULETS and GIZMOS: These are actually wonders that are created when a Time 4 hanging effect is set on an object or person. In addition to the effect, Time 4 and the appropriate pattern magick must be used. However, unlike other wonders, the target of an Amulet or Gizmo can be a mundane item. In a very special situation, these wonders count toward the standing rotes of the mage who cast it, not the mage who uses it. In an even stranger situation, the amulet or gizmo will continue to operate even if the casting mage dies. However, the paradox from an Amulet or Gizmo effects the caster, not the user.
PERSONALLY-FUELED TECHNOLOGY: Though not technically a wonder, this is a Technomagickal phenomenon. It is a device that is not powered on its own, but it assists with a specific technomagick effect. It can be used by any Awakened technomancer and either renders a vulgar effect coincidental or reduces the difficulty of an effect, at STs discretion. In the hands of a non-Awakened, it is useless, unless it has a perfectly mundane use. One example of this is the Void Engineer BCD Marine's pulse rifles, which can be fired by anyone, but it has uses only an Enlightened individual can employ.
The mechanical effects of a PFT are identical to the mechanical effects of a Combat Rote (see the house rules), which essentially negates the fast-cast penalty while in combat. It can also alleviate some environmental modifiers at the storyteller's discretion. However, there are differences. A PFT must be used to support a particular magickal effect or effects, whereas Combat Rotes usually have more flexibility in their application (though not as much as an actually on-the-fly rote).
For game balance and book-keeping reasons (and my sanity), a Technomancer may carry up to Wits+1 PFTs with him at any one time, and they will be jnoted on the character. A Technomancer could have more PFTs at his lab and those can be switched out; however, they cannot be switched out once combat begins with Correspondence 2/Matter 2 or any combination of spheres. Yes, it should be possible to do this, but I have to set a limit in order to keep things from getting overwhelmingly complex.
Creating a PFT is a long process. First comes the design phase, in which the Technomancer imagines and practices the rote he intends to assist with a PFT. Then comes the assembly phase, in which the PC either assembles the PFT by hand, or has an NPC do it. While having an NPC do it frees the PC up to do other things, a botch during an NPC assembly roll can lead to a significant problem later on.
These are the rules of Certamen established by the Council of Nine Mystick Traditions. I made them up, because I cannot find any in any Revised work.
A. THE CHALLENGE: Any mage who is not an apprentice has a right to challenge any other mage to Certamen. Acceptance is completely optional between Traditions; within Traditions, this practice may vary. Many Tradition mages consider a refusal to accept Certamen an admission that you are the party in the wrong; this is not universal law, but custom. It is considered foolishness for a mage to challenge a mage with arete greater than or equal to her own arete+2; there is no stigma for powerful mages to ignore or decline Certamen from mages of a lesser strength. It is considered vulgar for a mage to challenge another mage with arete lesser than or equal to her own arete-2; that just makes you a bully. Abuse of Certamen carries with it no formal punishment, but a mage who challenges too often finds that their challenges lose their potency. After a certain point, a mage can refuse an offender's challenges without fear of stigma.
B. THE TERMS: There are four ways to determine the victor of standard Certamen: to decision, to first blood, to incapacitation, or to the death. In all manner of Certamen save death challenges, concession immediately ends the match. Death matches are frowned upon by many Traditions--there are too many enemies to toss away allies--and some require the approval of the governing body of their tradition. Some Traditions, notably the Sons of Ether, choose contests of skill rather than combat for their Certamen.
C. THE METHOD: When someone challenges and the other accepts, the Challenger gets to decide how the victor is determined, and the Challenged gets to determine the arena and pre-existing conditions of the match. They then select (or it is chosen by their Chantry Head if they cannot agree) a Judge. Usually, the Judge must be an Adept of Prime, but if that does not exist then any respected mage will do. Once the Judge is chosen and both Challenger and Challenged agree, the Judge is the ultimate authority on what the rules are. If the Challenger and the Challenged, once the Certamen is accepted, cannot agree on rules, on a judge, or anything else, the Certamen is rendered void, and both Challenged and Challenger are considered petty babies.
D. MISCELLANEOUS: It is permissable, but highly unlikely, for a non-mage to be allowed to Challenge or Be Challenged, though if they are Challenged, the True Mage better have a good reason, or the deepest scorn will be heaped on them. It is also considered forbidden for the leader of a Chantry to Challenge or be Challenged. The good of the chantry needs to be put above individual squabbles.
You are considered to have certain spheres at one rank higher while in the Digital Web. However, this is still capped by your Arete. If you have correspondence 3, for example, you could act as if you have correspondence 4, but ONLY if you have Arete 4. Spells relying on this already cast are grandfathered in until they are dispelled.
I wanted to talk about how I view the concept of spiritual corruption when it comes to mages. Unlike the other systems, we do not have any statistic, which helps us determine our moral place in our race's society. So, is good and evil irrelevant? Anyone who knows me would understand that my answer is a resounding "No!"
However, I do not believe that this can or should be reduced to a statistic or a check-box. When you can alter the rules of the world with the force of your will, matters of choice and consequence become complex and I would not have it any other way. A Celestial Chorus mage could be a raving, bigoted fanatic, yet still be stalwart against evil. An Order of Hermes mage could be a self-centered egomaniac, yet a robust defender of the rule of law. An NWO MIG could casually dispatch his target reality deviants yet still be a loving family man and a pal to his colleagues.
This means to me that there is a difference between ethical deficiency, which I will call "evil", spiritual malformation, which I will call "corruption," and outside influence which I will call "taint." You don't have to use these particular terms, but I want you to know what I mean when I use these terms. I will also talk about the definitions of barabbi and Nephandus. Finally, I will discuss the mechanics of detecting these evil, corruption, and taint.
When I use the term evil, I am talking about ethical deficiency. Humanity has compiled, over the millennia, rules that are nearly universal in their existence, though the exact details vary. Murder, theft, rape, and cruelty are all looked on as ethically suspect; I am sure you could think of other things. Now the context of these rules can change over time, but I think I can safely say that 99 of the time, for example, people never argue whether murder is bad, they argue if what they just did was actually murder. Just ask the Euthanatos; most of them will say that they are not murdering people. When I say that a mage is "evil" or has done "evil", I am saying that they either habitually ignore general ethical imperatives or have performed an act that ignores those imperatives.
When I use the term corruption, I am talking about spiritual malformation. Corruption is different from evil in the sense that even a saint can perform an evil act; evil is a choice. Corruption, from whatever source, means that the person's spirit has been changed from its original state, and that rather than being a choice, the darkness in the spirit has become the natural state. Examples of corruption include a soldier who has lost track of why he is killing the enemy and simply kills because that is what he does or a junkie whose urges have become their whole world.
When I use the term taint, I am talking about an insidious supernatural force from outside the person. A person can be tainted but not corrupt; they will, however, have to struggle to prevent themselves to be corrupt, as taint tends to attract more taint. A person can become tainted voluntarily or involuntarily. A Euthanatos who deals too much with the lands of the dead and death magicks can have his essence permeated with its taint. A Progenitor who experiments too much with weird mutants he found in that landfill and doesn't take the proper precautions can find himself infected. A Chorister who was imprisoned in a hell-realm for a year can find that he is unable to rid himself of the infernal stench. Taint requires an outside source. Taints can come in many forms; the three most recognized are jhor, Wyrm, and infernal. Note, however, that taint does not have to be dark, e.g., all Iteration X mages of the old-school with the old-style real-time DEIs are considered tainted by the Computer. See +news inn resonance for a more detail discussion.
The term "barabbi" comes from Barabbas, the criminal who was released instead of Jesus. The name, as far as I can tell, has many different layers of meaning, but I think the most relevant one is that it signifies a wrong choice. It is also used as an appellation after someone's tradition to indicate that a mage has either chosen to work with or serve the Enemies of Humanity or has chosen to renounce their own Ascension. Mages who are barabbi have undergone a process, known as a caul, which fundamentally alters what they are and what they can do.
A widderslainte is a mage who became a Nephandus in his previous life, and the terrible spiritual deformation of their avatar reincarnates with them. Widderslaintes are "born" bad. While there are recorded instances of a widderslainte resisting the call of their dark progenitors, a combination of predisposition, manipulation, and social pressures usually force them down the same dark road.
Now that we have the terms defined, how would you use magick to detect them?
EVIL: This ain't D&D, boys and girls. Evil cannot be magickally detected. You could read someone's mind to see if they have raped or murdered and why, or you could read the future to see if they will do so, but there is no single roll that you can make to tell if someone is evil. It requires time, patience, and understanding. Ask the Euthanatos; they've turned the "detection of evil" into their chosen occupation. They know how hard it is.
CORRUPTION: Corruption is easier to detect, though it is still not a simple thing. Since it is a spiritual malformation, you have to be aware of what they were before the corruption. Most corrupt people can be easily observed through their behavior; there is something not quite right about them. However, it would usually take a few different magickal Mind effects and skill rolls to sense corruption.
TAINT: This is significantly easier. Spirit 1 will tell you if there is a spiritual influence involved in a person, but to tell where that taint is from requires knowledge; in our case, it requires lores. The Chorus's Malleus Nephandorum is essentially a primer in detecting infernal taint. If a person has spent too much time in the Dream Lands and picked up Dream-taint, but you don't know a damn thing about the Dream Lands, then your Spirit 1 scan will tell you that there may be something different about them.
NEPHANDI: The easiest way to tell is the detection of burdens or investments on the material soul or avatar of the suspect mage. A burden is essentially a bond between the mage and a spiritual or supernatural creature; this includes Blood Bonds. Since these are essential things, it requires Spirit 1 and Prime 1 to check for burdens or investments, though you can see how Life or Mind may locate them as well. It also requires knowledge, in our case, lores. Dreamspeakers, for example, who have allied themselves with totem spirits, have a connection to them; this is why many Dreamspeakers were killed as barabbi by the European magi. You have to understand the nature of the bond. In other words, a simple roll will not let you say with ultimate certainty that this person is widderslainte. It requires patience, wisdom, and understanding, and remember, many Nephandi can protect themselves against intrusion.
Barabbi who have gone through a Caul (and widderslainte who have embraced their destiny) are the easiest to detect. Any Mind or Spirit scan, or any Prime scan of one of their effects, will show the essential wrongness of the mage and his actions. However, since most Nephandi are not idiots, not the ones who survive, anyway; they usually take precautions so you cannot do this. Once you discover them, however, it is usually a fight to the death; there is no going back. And Nephandi are usually far more powerful than mages of equal experience. There's a reason that characters choose that route.
Think of resonance like a fingerprint. All human beings leave fingerprints on every surface, but the quality of the fingerprints depends on many factors: the length of the contact, the amount of pressure, the quality of the materials. Resonance is the fingerprint of the soul on the world, the sum total of our spiritual existence radiating out into the universe. Many people can read these emanations as auras; it's a common supernatural skill. But sometimes these emanations, most often in highly emotional situations, can leave spiritual residue on the patterns that make up the universe. Psychometry, for instance, can read the imprints that a human's resonance makes on physical, material objects.
Magick and sorcery always possess resonance, because magic is always intensely personal, coming from a working of the will and an expression of the soul. To keep with our fingerprint metaphor, spells and magically manipulated patterns are 'softer' than normal items because the rules around reality have been bent or broken softer items like clay take fingerprints really well. Thus, all mages, unless they take precautions, give off a resonance on their magickal workings.
A mage can read resonance in many ways. Matter 2/Mind 2 can read the resonance off of a physical object (this is identical to psychometry); versions exist for living objects and forces. You can read the resonance off an ongoing magickal or sorcery effects and magickal or sorcerous items with Mind 2/Prime 1.
Mages have descriptions called resonance traits; corresponding to the three elementary principles (a useful, if artificial, grouping) these are broad descriptive terms to help staff describe the resonance of a mage's magick. It is not sufficient to identify with any certainty who cast what magick. Unlike real fingerprints, a person's spiritual emanations change with each day and experience. Do not be confused by the limitations of MUSH coding.
Taint is, ultimately, nothing short of extreme resonance. Most entities are unable to perceive resonance until it becomes extremely over-balanced, and even then most entities need a supernatural gift to be sure that the taint exists. Mages and sorcerers working in the soft clay of reality are more sensitive to such changes in spiritual energy. This is beneficial to such beings as they can more easily sense the balance in the world around, but it is also dangerous as they are more likely to gain resonance from their own actions. The clay you shape, shapes you.
There is an obvious correspondence between static resonance, dynamic resonance, and entropic resonance with Weaver-taint, Wyld-taint, and Wyrm-taint. However, unlike the sometime simplistic definitions of other races. This may cause panic in mages who are entropically resonated, but this is not a reasonable response. Entropy is a part of the universe; it is neither good nor evil. However, extreme entropic resonance, such as wyrm-taint, is dangerous exactly because it is extreme. Remember, as a mage's actions generate resonance, resonance influences a mage's actions. A mage who has become so completely unbalanced in the direction of entropic resonance becomes a pawn of that very same resonance.
A mage or sorcerer is not considered tainted until they have a number of resonance traits in one category where the difference between the number of traits in that category and the next lowest category is equal to three. Thus, if a mage has Entropic 3, Static 1, Pattern 0, then they are not Entropically Tainted, but if the mage has Entropic 4, Static 1, Pattern 0, they are tainted. If the difference ever becomes greater than the mages Avatar + Arete (minimum of three, and you use Willpower in case of Sorcerers), the mage or sorcerer becomes open to being claimed by the appropriate embodiment of that resonance category (fomor for Entropic, drone for Static, gorgon for Dynamic.)
GAINING RESONANCE TRAITS: All mages and sorcerers start with one resonance trait. Mages start with one trait, determined by their Essence, because their very wills affect reality. Sorcerers start with one, determined by their paths, because they reach out to forces outside themselves when wielding their magicks. Psychics do not get one because their powers originate with themselves. For purposes of resonance and taint, psychics are treated like normal human beings.
We do not a formula to govern how much resonance you have. It is completely possible for an Arete 1 apprentice to have more resonance than an Arete 5 chantry head. You gain resonance when your actions unbalance your essence, and thus you can only gain more resonance with unbalanced action.
Below is a list of actions that can give you resonance. Some are not applicable to sorcerers; some are not applicable to mages. It is NOT an exhaustive list.
Wielding Powerful Magicks: Any time you cast magick with a total of number of successes greater than the sum of your willpower minus your arete plus your avatar rating, there is a chance that you will gain a rank of resonance. The storyteller may ask for a roll, or he or she may just assign you a trait. Note, high avatar ratings protect you from such wild swings in resonance as your Avatar is more directly involved in your magick. For sorcerers, any Rank Four or Five ritual also has that chance.
Creating a Permanent Wonder: This includes the sorcery paths of Alchemy and Enchantment. Any time you create a permanent wonder, you have a chance of disrupting your balance.
Botching Magick: A frequent side effect of Paradox backlash or sorcery botches is a permanent increase in resonance.
Merits & Flaws: The resolution or expression of certain merits and flaws can do this.
Intense Scenes in Which You Employ Magick: Giant battles, murders, etc., when you employ True Magick can change your resonance. Mages Only.
Spiritually Charged Locations: Spending a long time in a spiritually charged location or engaging in an intense scene at such a place can give you resonance.
Investments, Totem & Enhancements: If you gain an Investment from an entity, you gain two levels of resonance in the appropriate category (usually Entropic). The only exception to this general rule is Sense Wyrm; if you have an Entropic Investment, you read as Wyrm-Tainted for this gift. Sometimes simplicity has its advantages. Mages with Totem gain a level of Dynamic Resonance for every two dots in the background (round up). Mages with Enhancements can never have more Dynamic Resonance then 10 - the background rating of the Enhancement.
As you can see, the resonance of a mage changes as they live. Thus, it is in constant flux, unless the mage is isolated and inactive. Thus, it is almost impossible to "fingerprint" a mage by his resonance. The nearest you can get is saying "This has the stink of Lord Highmore's witchery all over it," but you can never say "This /is/ Lord Highmore's magick" unless you employ Time 2. If the caster of the magick is someone you have encountered before, but has gone through radical change (like Falling) you may have little comprehension of who they are.
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY FOR SEEKING APP INSTRUCTIONS:
First, you must understand that your seeking is not a sure thing. It is a test; you can fail. Also bear in mind that Seekings will be progressively more difficult based on the Arete being sought; it's harder to go to Arete 5 than to Arete 2. You should also be prepared to RP the change in perspective that greater enlightenment brings.
Seekings are also very subjective and thus very difficult to run. Mage staff will expect you to be cooperative regarding discussions leading up to a Seeking. We may discuss with you the format and timing of a Seeking so that the event is as dramatic and strongly RP'd as possible. We also reserves the right to deny a Seeking if they do not feel there is sufficient justification and growth. You can usually expect some sort of response on your Seeking within a week of contacting Mage staff regarding it.
When it comes time for you to Seek, you can help make your seeking much more effective and enjoyable. Staff may not RP with all of you enough to know your deepest motivations, and there is a tendency for a storyteller to superimpose his or views over others. By having a standard way to express your views on the seeking, your views can /merge/ them with the staff's for a more effective and personal seeking for us all.
Simply answer these questions in a @mail, a series of @mails, or if it is really sizable, e-mail.
- 1.) What forms have your avatar taken in the past?
- 2.) How do you see your present path to personal Ascension?
- 3.) What do you see as your characters greatest obstacles to his or her own Ascension?
- 4.) What have been the most important events that have occurred since your last seeking? Seekings must be triggered by changes in paradigm or outward view.
- 5.) Give a /brief/ rundown of previous Seekings.
Submit this to your Mage Wizard, and he'll schedule a time for your Seeking.
Rules when Mage is the enactor.
Intersphere Mage to Fae
Mind: Can be used to cause aggravated chimerical damage
Paradox: Fae are considered Awakened beings.
Time: Any effect that targets a sidhe (except for House Scathach) is at +2 difficulty. Unless you have Changeling Lore 2, you are unaware of this until you experience it.
Intersphere Mage to Mortal
Paradox: Mortals are sleepers
Intersphere Mage to Mortal+
Paradox: Mortal+ with 3+ points in any numina are not always considered sleepers when it comes to Paradox. If a partially awakened Mortal+ witnesses a vulgar Magick effect of a sphere that they have a relating Numina (ie Sphere of Forces and sorcerer Path Hellfire or Psychic ability Pyrokinesis) then they do not cause Paradox as a sleeper would.
Intersphere Mage to Vampire'
We use the rules out of the Mage Storyteller's Guide.
Obfuscate: A mage who wants to observe a vampire who is obfuscated and following the rules for obfuscation must do two things. First, they must have an effect, usually a sensory effect, up to find the vampire. Then, they must compare their Mind rating to the Obfuscation rating of the vampire. The higher of the ratings is victorious, though if the vampire is being mundanely stealthy, it may still require a perception roll. If the ratings are tied, or the Mage has Mind 5, the mage can always roll a perception + alertness roll versus the vampires dexterity + stealth + obfuscate roll to detect the vampire.
Intersphere Mage to Were
We use the rules out of the Mage Storyteller's Guide.
Intersphere Mage to Wraith
Mages who look across the barrier are usually looking across the Gauntlet into the Penumbra. Only Euthanatos, Bata'a, and certain cultures of Dreamspeakers default to looking across the Shroud. Anyone else needs Wraith Lore 1 in order to realign themselves to look across the Shroud.
Most forms of magick are coincidental in the Shadowlands, but all Arete rolls are at a +2 difficulty. Life and Prime spells are always vulgar without witnesses. The Tempest disrupts all Correspondence and Time-related spells, making them useless. Entropy magick is at -2 difficulty, but wraiths in the area of an Entropy-related effect get angst. Only Mind and Spirit function anywhere near normal. Paradox backlashes usually summon spectres, and they carry the Mage away for a Harrowing.
STEPPING INTO THE SHADOWLANDS. Most mages step into the penumbra when they step sideways, and then traverse to the middle umbra or the high umbra. You cannot choose to step into the Shadowlands unless you are either a) a medium, b) a Euthanatos, c) a Dreamspeaker of a death-oriented culture-such as the Bata'a, d) you have umbral lore 3, e) you have wraith lore 1 and umbral-lore 1, or f) you somehow "follow" a wraith or demon into the Shadowlands. Note that if you fall under categories b) or c) you have no choice; when you step sideways, you step into the Shadowlands, unless you have Umbral Lore 1.
Intersphere Mage to Demon
SPIRIT: Spirit is required to attack a Demon's apocalyptic form directly. Spirit 4 is capable of placing a disembodied Celestial within a fetish.
MIND: Refer to '+news int demon' for Mental effects on Demons.
PARADOX: Demons are considered awakened beings.
ANTIMAGICK: Demons cannot do countermagick--they are not Awakened. However, as the embodiments of the laws of creation, they can perform a type of anti-magick. A demon may spend a faith point to raise the difficulties of all arete rolls by 1 in his or her presence for a scene. This represents their assertion of their own role in the universe. Technically speaking, the demon could empty their faith pool and give all mages huge difficulties to arete rolls, but that would leave the demon vulnerable to many things, as well as limiting their ability to perform their most powerful invocations. It also does not affect artifacts/inventions and charms/gadgets, though it does effect talismans/devices. This antimagick does not stack with other demons; that is, if three demons spend one point each, in their presence, it is +1 to arete rolls.
The Demon requires Mage Lore 3 in order to know how to do this without having met a mage. However, if they succeed on an Awareness roll to identify it as true magick, they may instinctively use this ability. A mage, on the other hand, needs demon lore 4 to be aware of this potentiality.
COSMOLOGY: This is the basis of any knowledge about the various umbra; essentially it is geography with a smattering of trivia thrown in. If you want to know how to reach the Aetherial Realm of Aelida, Lady of Feathers, then you would use your cosmology skill. You might also learn that crossing into this realm requires the burning of valuable feathers as an offering.
SPIRIT LORE: This is essentially the zoology of the various umbra. What a spirit is, what it wants, what it does, and how it would possibly react to various situations is described by this trait. Thus, while you could find the Land of the Hill Spirits with Cosmology, knowing how strong they are and their abilities would be covered by Spirit Lore.
UMBRAL LORE: This is the underpinnings, or physics, of the various umbra. For example, knowing what Apotheosis is would be an umbral lore check. Knowing what relationship Hill Spirits have with hills would be an umbral lore check. Understanding how anchorheads work would be an umbral lore check.
TECHNOLOGY: This skill represents your ability to use, recognize, and understand the employment of technology that exists (or could exist) in today's RL with the exception of computers. Thus, it is the skill you employ when programming a VCR.
HYPERTECHNOLOGY: This skill represents your ability to use, recognize, and understand the employment of technology that does not yet exist in today's RL. Thus, it is the skill you employ when programming the transporter. Like Technology, it does not include computers.
REPAIR & MECHANICS: This skill represents your ability to fix material that is broken, from simply carpentry to computers. It does not allow you to turn it into something it was not already. The difficulty is set by the sophistication of the project, from 6 for a door frame to 12 for a teleporter. However, an appropriate skill or knowledge roll can lower the difficulty.
KNOWLEDGES: These include chemistry, engineering, electronics, and similar disciplines. This allows you to understand the basic concepts of the require fields, and it also allows you to improve, design, and create new technologies
SCIENCE: This represents you general knowledge about matters scientific. It allows you to recognize and understand the underpinnings of general scientific matters. It does NOT allow you the same degree of freedom to improve, design, and create new technologies as the secondary skills do. I am pretty good with Science in RL, but I cannot design a new tear gas.
COMPUTER and COMPUTER-HACKING: These three abilities are closely inter-related, but I can summarize the difference. COMPUTER is essentially using computers, understanding the potential uses of computers, and computer theory. If you were balancing your checkbook with Quicken or talking about advances in artificial intelligence, you would be using COMPUTER. COMPUTER HACKING is accessing computers in a way that is not supported by standard and legal computer systems. On a side note, while "building" a computer, i.e. assembling its parts, can be done with COMPUTER, repairing it requires a repair skill.
Note, that having wyrm lore and nephandi lore does not make you "tainted" unless you had to do naughty things to get it. I find the idea of knowledge in and of itself tainting you to be laughable and rather simplistic. On the other hand, I see no reason why having high amounts of wyrm lore and nephandi lore should not corrupt you, as to truly understand the vileness being contemplated, you have to think about it. However, corruption is NOT taint (see above postings.)
You can use skills to modify your magick rolls as described in the main book. Most often, this will not be able to be done in combat. You need to determine how you are doing it. You must have a skill that relates to what you wish to do. For example, if you are going to duplicate a masterpiece painting with matter, it's easier if you know what makes a painting a painting. If you are trying to block radio transmissions, it's easier if you know how a radio works, etc.
Sometimes a skill can be too broad to help, or the situation too strange for the skill to help. The storyteller has full control about when and if a skill can be applied to lower a difficulty, and you should not argue with it. This is most especially true in combat situations, where you don't have time to think about what you are doing for that long.
These should not be confused with after-the-fact rolls, which help staff but what you have discovered into more focus. For example, there is something in a locked chest. It is a high-tech part. If you look through the chest with Matter 1, you can see the part, but you may not be able to tell what it is, unless you have the right skill or knowledge in technology.
Once the storyteller decides to allow you to roll a skill, you roll the pool against a difficulty equal to the difficulty of the spell /after/ all penalties are accessed, but /before/ all reductions in difficulties are added. The difficulty of the skill roll can be modified by merits or being secondaries, but NOT by magickal modifications. Each success reduces the difficulty of the spell by one, with a maximum of reduction of three.
FORTUNE TELLING: Contrary to the book, you cannot use awareness to tell fortunes.
DISGUISE: The basic form of disguise requires access to materials: hair dyes, prostheses, makeup. This is accomplished by appearance+subterfuge vs 6 or appearance+disguise vs 5. Penalties to the difficulty occur when you do not have the material that is needed or you don't have the time to do it right. They are jnoted on you for the scene/day you use them.
Supernatural disguises -- shapeshifting powers can either assist with the disguise roll (like lower level of the Shapeshifting sorcerer path) or be perfect disguises like Life 3 or Vicissitude. These cannot be pierced without supernatural perception. A score is jnoted on you to determine how well the supernatural perception must go.
These last for a scene or day at most. You cannot set these up to be coded. Every scene/day you use them, you must make a different roll. That is becuase a staffer must judge the rolls, AND that you cannot just 'remain' within in a disguise. You must maintain your real life requirements -- go to work, pay bills, talk to friends -- or you will draw too much attention to yourself.
It is only when you use a disguise plus having alternate identity that you can switch between guises without a staffer present. This means you have established the necessary procedures and connections to be a different person, not just look like a different person.
Path and Virtues
When mages awaken, they perceive the artificial nature of humanity's social structure, and they begin to judge themselves on a different standard--the standard of Ascension. However, there are many abilities and powers that focus on the relative humanity of each individual character. Therefore, there needs to be a system in place to judge how these abilities and powers evaluate a mage. While sorcerers and psychics use the standard virtue and humanity rules, mages have different paths. For those striving for Ascension, both personal and collective, the morality they choose is the Path of Gold. For those striving for Descent, they are on the Path of Screams. For powers that target path ratings, a mage uses his Arete rating + 4 as the target number. All mages will select virtues as normal, but they are irrelevant to their own role-play and morality system. The virtues can be raised and lowered as per normal, but they mean nothing to Ascension. Mages choose different virtues according to their paradigm, and the different traditions are divided into classes.
CLASS A (STANDARD): Conscience, Self-Control, and Courage
Akashic Brotherhood, Celestial Chorus, Dreamspeaker, Hollow One, Order of Hermes, Orphans, Sons of Ether, Syndicate, Virtual Adepts, Void Engineers, and all Sorcerers/Psychics
CLASS B: Conscience, Instinct, and Courage
Cult of Ecstasy
CLASS C: Conviction, Self-control, and Courage
New World order and Euthanatos
CLASS D: Conviction, Instinct, and Courage
Verbena and Progenitor
CLASS E: Conviction, Self-control, and Morale
CLASS F: Conviction, Self-Control OR Instinct, and Courage
Nephandi (not including Barabbi) must select at character creation dependent on Patron
MARAUDER NPCs are absolutely unique, choosing them as they see fit. There will be no Marauder PCs.
The concept of allowing someone to be proxy for your PC due to time constraints will come up repeatedly on this game. These are the rules about it.
COMBAT WHEN YOUR SIDE STARTS IT: You cannot have a proxy in a scene which consists of your side taking hostile action towards another PC if you are not present when the scene begins. For example, there is a vicious and powerful Sabbat vampire that your side has decided must go. You are going to find it, kill it, or do something else to it. If you are not there when the scene begins, you cannot have a proxy, no matter what. If the action is against an NPC, you must have the supervising staffer's approval to have a proxy. The supervising staffer is under no compulsion to allow you to proxy.
COMBAT WHEN YOUR SIDE IS ATTACKED: Most of the time, unless you are present when the attack against your scene begins, you cannot have a proxy when a PC strikes your side. An exception occurs to this is when the attack is on an established holding that you would be ICly present at, such as your home, your chantry, etc. In this instance, when an attack begins, the supervising staffer will check the complete grounds of the facility and make a note of all PCs who are physically there. Your character bit must be in the grid space being attacked to qualify, or a judge note on the location must be present If you are in the OOC room, you are simply not present at the time of the attack. If you connect while the attack is happening, the supervising staffer will determine at what point you enter, if you enter, and what you have done to prepare. While you can make suggestions, the supervising staffer's decision is final.
MASSIVE ROTES AND RITUALS: This is a can of worms. Supervising staff will allow proxies in only specific situations, i.e. rotes and rituals that seem to be absolutely necessary for the good of the sphere as a whole. In order to participate, you must write a +mail directly to the supervising staffer. You also must understand that the supervising staff is free, while acting as your proxy, to spend whatever resources and willpower you have as /they/ see fit. You also must understand that you can suffer consequences of failed rituals.
Can a mage bring someone back to life? The answer is maybe. Here are the rules for it.
DEATH: You are dead when you reach eight levels of lethal or aggravated damage. That is the rulebook definition. If your character reaches that, your character is dead, even if, like science teaches, brain function does not stop for a few minutes after. These rules come into play at that point. If for some other reasons, your character is clinically dead by conventional definition, say by drowning, yet not at eight levels of lethal or aggravated damage, these rules do not apply.
TIME 3: According to the revised rulebook, mages can rewind time with Time 3. This always counts as Vulgar (even in Sanctums and the umbra, the sole exception to that being the Shard Realm of Time, but if you are there, you have other problems). Thus, if a person reaches the DEATH status as defined above, another mage (or yourself if you have a hanging effect) can rewind time to before the point of DEATH. This isn't a house rule, just an interpretation of an already existing rote. Note, that each /round/ of time you rewind gives you a minimum of three points of paradox. This is not done lightly. If it succeeds however the actual event of DEATH has never taken place.
RESURRECTION: At the point of DEATH, the avatar immediately returns to the Well of Souls to be reborn and the "material soul" either goes on to Oblivion or Transcendence or becomes a wraith, as all Sleepers experience. If you want to be truly resurrected, to be exactly as you have been, no matter if the subject has been dead for 30 seconds or twenty years, three conditions must be met. First, you must have a living body. This requires either the transformation of your dead body into living tissue (with repairs made) or the creation of a new body. Second, you must retrieve the material soul. If that soul has achieved Oblivion or Transcendence, it is unreachable, as God has more Arete than you.
The determination of what happens to the material soul is up to wraith staff. If the material soul is still available, this means you must take a trip into the Shadowlands to get the material soul. Third, you must have prevented the Avatar from returning to the Well of Souls. Once it reaches the Well, you cannot fetch it back, as, again, God has more Arete than you. You can still be resurrected if the first two conditions are met, but you can never perform True Magick ever, ever, ever. Then, in a ritual melding spirit magicks, life magicks, and prime magicks, the different parts must be recombined.
PHYLACTERIES: Many powerful mages who enter combat know the dangers of being killed, and desire to minimize their risk. They create phylacteries which can either capture their material soul and their avatar upon death (Time 4 is necessary) or store their avatar and their material soul while they are alive. This can be dangerous, of course. If you have a phylactery and you are separated from it at any time, you not only can no longer perform true magick, but you also have a "POSSESS ME" sign pinned to your back for any Demon (Fallen or otherwise) that walks by. It is a running gag among modern mages that wizards with phylacteries are named "liches."
TECHNOCRACY CLONING AND CONSCIOUSNESS DOWNLOAD: The Technocracy has the self-imposed limitation of Dimensional Science. This means they do not even recognize the existence of material soul and Avatar as separate from the living body. Thus, while phylacteries (called something different, of course) are possible, without a phylactery, true resurrection is impossible for a Technocrat to perform. The spirit magick techniques simply do not exist within their paradigm. However, on the positive side, the Technocracy's FACADE engineers, a Progenitor Methodology, have perfected cloning technology. They can easily create a physical duplicate of an individual, and the NWO have methods of moving consciousness from one body to another.
That is how most Technocracy Masters live so long. In addition, through various means, consciousnesses can be downloaded into cybernetic bodies and computer systems. The weakness for this is that since the Avatar is not seen as separate, if the download happens after traumatic death, there is no chance to preserve the Genius, what they call the Avatar. As a further weakness, a copy of the mind is downloaded, not a copy of the material soul. Thus, any Technocrat who has his consciousness downloaded after a traumatic death automatically gets the Soulless flaw.
To know the information in these two posts ICly, you must have mage lore 3 and Tradition lore 3, or mage lore 3 and Technocracy lore 3, or mage lore 4. Back to Top