The Act of Hubris
The Enchanters manipulate the world at one remove, playing a strange and subtle game that often goes unnoticed by even other mages. The extent to which Fate and Time yield subjective rather than objective results is highly debatable, and it can be hard to tell the difference between mastery of Arcadia’s powers and descent into solipsism.
THE FATE ARCANUM
Purview: destiny, games, final outcomes, happenstance, inevitability, narrative archetypes, probability, social contexts, stories
Overview: Fate, the subtle Arcanum of Arcadia, holds dominion over the purpose and relevance of events. It’s a normative force which pushes towards certain outcomes and leaves the world to figure out how those outcomes might be achieved. Fate is natural to the fallen world; everything has a destiny and a bane which foils that destiny, whether trivial or overpowering. Even Sleepers can use occult knowledge to lay down blessings and curses. Fate is tangled up in obligations, promises, and social relationships; many people are driven by their destinies to keep being who they are and doing what they’re doing.
Fate magic works through seemingly meaningless coincidence. It controls whatever’s random, which is to say whatever’s above, beneath, or beyond the notice of the game’s players and generally absent of intentionality. This might include the arbitrary whims of offscreen characters, the delicate interactions of minuscule machine parts, or the subtle kinematics of tumbling dice. Often, a given spell’s effects turn out to have been the result of events that took place long ago, far away, or both. Mundane investigation will never reveal that the results of a Fate spell were anything other than inevitable or arbitrary, although astrology, tarot readings, and other mystic means can often detect Arcadia’s hand.
A mage doesn’t need to and often can’t specify exactly what chain of contingencies allowed their spell to take effect, and so Fate magic has been known inculcate a certain easygoing complacency in its users. Fate spells don’t generally produce specific objects or people, but rather specific outcomes which adapt themselves to the local context, so a spell that brings a police raid to a casino might bring a wolf pack to a forest clearing.
Aspects: Sensory Fate magic allows characters to detect and analyze the effects of other Fate magic, measure probabilities, or divine the specifics of destinies. It also affords the user an amount of metagame knowledge, identifying the narrative importance and role of things the Fate mage is faced with.
Covert Fate magic alters probabilities within the realm of normal experience. It decides which of a number of potential outcomes actually occurs: which card is drawn, which bullet misses, which applicant is hired. The chosen outcome doesn’t need to be the most likely one, but it must be plausible and basically appropriate to the context.
Vulgar Fate magic seizes and orchestrates the operation of the world, rendering the unthinkable actual. It causes drastic changes in role and context and produces outcomes which are technically possible but completely unbelievable: thunderbolts strike with seeming purpose, master snipers miss broad sides of barns, and children stroll unharmed out of collapsing buildings. Even when vulgar Fate spells serve only to ensure results that were already likely, they suffuse the scene with a sense of mythic inevitability. Onlookers ineffably intuit that a sword must strike true or that a relationship cannot blossom, not for any material reason but because the story of the world cannot unfold any other way.
Mechanics: Fate spells with abstract or investigative effects are resisted with Composure + Gnosis. Fate magic can boost or hinder almost any kind of rolled action, and characters controlled by high-level Fate spells might be rendered physically helpless or even under the caster’s effective control, but aren’t denied their Defense or conscious awareness. Fate spells can launch damaging attacks by causing hazardous elements of the scene to happen to affect targets, and can deal direct damage by causing targets to expose themselves to sources of harm. Such attacks normally deal bashing or lethal damage, but might have more severe effects depending on the unique vulnerabilities of the target. Fate attacks don’t require damage factors to exploit metaphysical weaknesses; it’s no more difficult to make a promethean stumble into a bonfire than to make one stumble into a pit. Damaging attacks and other tangible consequences of Fate spells can often have delayed effect, only actually inflicting damage (and prompting Defense rolls or similar reactions) once some circumstance crops up that can reasonably deliver the consequences promised.
Aftereffects: Fate can inflict a vast variety of long-term consequences on its targets, many of which are impossible for the insufficiently superstitious to recognize as supernatural. Afflicted characters might find themselves perennially late for work, unlucky in love, or doomed to destroy all that they hold dear. More than any other Arcanum, Fate relies on Storyteller framing to impose its lingering effects, but it’s also the Arcanum that allows for the most dramatic and consistent Storyteller framing when it’s in action.
Paradox: Low-key Fate paradoxes usually make themselves known through inexplicable and repeated coincidence, such as by causing random number generators to count out the digits of pi or flipped coins to land on their edges. Powerful paradoxes tend to script bizarre interactions and outcomes within their boundaries, such as by ensuring that any two beings that enter the zone will leave as deadly enemies or by turning each visitor into a helpless victim that the next must heroically save. Fate’s influence can impart random, scripted, or idiosyncratic behavior to paradoxes that would have otherwise behaved straightforwardly. The lingering consequences of stepping into a Fate paradox can distort someone’s life for days or weeks.
INITIATE OF FATE (●)
Initiates of Fate can gather information and use the theatrics of their unveiled nimbuses for Edges on some social rolls. Scrutiny successes equal to the higher of a subject’s Composure and Destiny Merit can hint at the nature of a subject’s destined bane, and a severe consequence with a covert or vulgar spell can cause that bane to become obvious.
Knowing Fate allows a mage to discern the specifics of a target’s fate and overall role in a scene. Knowing can sort targets into archetypes like “trusty sidekick”, “unimportant bystander”, “looming disaster”, and “coveted treasure”, or determine what kind of finale a character’s Destiny is pushing them to, or analyze the specifics and fallout of other Fate magic. Scrutiny allows a mage to tell the strength of a subject’s Destiny Merit and how many temporary points of Destiny remain available. Knowing also allows a mage to perfectly estimate the odds of a simple, randomized event, and therefore tell whether those odds have been tampered with.
Read Destiny (Fate ●/Sensory/Knowing) This spell reveals whether a subject has the Destiny Merit and what sort of outcome that subject’s destiny is building towards. Further scrutiny successes allow the mage to determine the Destiny Merit’s rating, current point reserve, and recent applications.
Signifying Fate communicates through random chance. The mage can mark existing destinies with their nimbus, leaving lasting symbols and messages for other Fate mages to find and read. They can also communicate through divinatory mediums already receptive to information, such as tarot readings or entrail examinations. Signifying can also halo randomness itself with meaning, causing the positions of fallen dice, the swirl of falling leaves, or the drum of rain on windowpanes to harmonize according to the mage’s nature. Signifying can cause existing destinies to make themselves and their parameters obvious, even summoning indications of a particular destiny’s bane.
Fated Message (Fate ●/Covert/Signifying) This spell sends messages through others’ Fate-related divination attempts, such as by causing tea leaves to clump in symbolic ways or a magic 8-ball to display the note corresponding to the mage’s answer.
Unveiling Fate allows a mage to tell with a glance what is or isn’t important. The mage can watch destiny in action, marking immediately whether subjects have the Destiny Merit, are benefiting from the Destiny Merit, or are having their Destiny temporarily suppressed by their bane. Unveiling can reveal whether subjects are under the effects of any Fate spells or other luck-altering powers. It can also tell whether subjects have relevance to the ongoing narrative of the caster or another target. This isn’t precognition so much as cheating; characters or objects are ‘important’ to Unveiling Fate because the Storyteller has plans for them, or because they’re allies or enemies of the mage (actual or potential), or because they’re going to do something dramatic in this very scene. Fate sight also recognizes whether an area has been or is likely going to be the site of some freak coincidence, whether something is particularly unlikely or mundane, or whether someone has sworn a mighty oath or otherwise dedicated themselves to a role.
Eye for Danger (Fate ●/Sensory/Unveiling) A mage using this spell can tell on sight whether someone or something is “dangerous”, though not how or why. A patch of earth might be dangerous because the footing is unstable or a vampire sleeps within, and a man on the street might be dangerous because they’re looking to mug someone or are a trained soldier. It’s rare for experienced mages and other supernatural creatures not to read as dangerous.
APPRENTICE OF FATE (●●)
Apprentices of Fate can alter luck and probability, completely controlling the outcomes of random events or influencing complex endeavors towards their fated outcomes. They can boost actions in accordance with a subject’s destiny or that are significantly reliant on random chance.
Perfecting Fate hones and reinforces extant destinies. It can boost a subject’s actions in accordance with that subject’s existing or archetypal role, or hinder actions that are out of character: soldiers become fighting machines, friends become unfailingly helpful, and sworn allies become extremely inept at executing planned betrayals. It can defend against effects that would threaten incapacitation or loss of Merits, unless it actually is the subject’s destiny to be laid low in that time and in that way, whether or not by their bane. It can calcify a destiny or probability, contesting attempts by Fate magic or other supernatural powers to alter it. Ritual Perfecting spells can also repair “damage” dealt to a subject’s destiny by other Fate spells.
Enforce Oath (Fate ●●/Vulgar/Perfecting) This spell empowers an oath that the subject has sworn and that the caster knows of, preventing the subject from breaking their word. If this spell overcomes the subject’s Composure + Gnosis, any actions the subject takes that contravene their promise are hindered; with a severe consequence, actions that could be interrupted by bad luck are caused to fail outright.
Ruling Fate directs events with discrete, probabilistic outcomes that aren’t under any character’s conscious control. It can decide the final positions of flipped coins, shuffled cards, and spun bottles, but can also seize control of sophisticated but still randomized systems such as a non-deterministic computer program or a person picking a random branch in the path they’re walking down. Ruling Fate can also activate and aim existing destinies, choosing the specific details through which a concrete destiny unfolds. A mage could control which of a group of tomb robbers inherits an unleashed curse or which bar patron someone cursed to endless strife will somehow get into a fight with. Ruling Fate can’t actually stop such powers from achieving their effects, but can influence how they achieve their effects within the available circumstances.
Player Skill (Fate ●●/Covert/Ruling) This spell can control any means of randomization that’s used in a game or contest, physical or electronic. The mage simply chooses how coins fall or cards shuffle, allowing them to win some games automatically and at boost their actions in other contests not decided completely arbitrarily.
Veiling Fate causes destinies, Fate spells, and related phenomena to mislead scrutiny. Veiling can render the details of a subject’s destiny unreadable or falsify them entirely, making a legend to be appear as a common bystander to Fate-related investigation. In combination of Ruling or Weaving, Veiling Fate can also obscure the odds and purpose of normal phenomena, causing unusual or misleading results that make it difficult to judge the reliability of dice, games, or other stochastic systems.
Chosen One (Fate ●●/Covert/Signifying, Veiling) The subject of this spell gains the apparent destiny of a momentous, world-shaking hero. This is largely unapparent to most observers, although vaguely portentous events might become more common nearby the target, but it can fool a great many supernatural blessings, curses, objects, places, and societies. It can be dangerous to let this spell lapse in the wrong moment.
DISCIPLE OF FATE (●●●)
Broad outcomes such as success, failure, harm, and acclaim fall within a Disciple’s grasp. Fate magic of this level can boost or hinder almost any mundane action and sometimes be used to attack, directly damage, or control its targets.
Fraying Fate disorders the operation of destiny. It can spoil a target’s ability to fulfill their destiny or act within an archetypical role, hindering them and boosting their opponents within a specific context. To the same end, Fraying spells can weaken or block a subject’s access to their mundane Merits, and set up aftereffects that threaten to degrade or destroy such Merits unless dealt with. Fraying can also oppose instances of supernatural luck or predestination, countering effects that would push events in a particular, coherent direction.
Erode Security (Fate ●●●/Covert/Fraying) This spell weakens those parts of a person’s identity meant to protect them, targeting a Safe Place, Retainer, or similar Merit of the target’s. A normal consequence boosts any attempts to overcome those defenses, and a severe consequence causes the target to lose access to the threatened Merit outright while the spell is sustained and to have difficulty making use of the Merit while its effects linger.
Weaving Fate manipulates the tides of innumerable coincidences that decide the outcomes of complex, fluid actions. If the success of an action is uncertain, Weaving Fate can push it in one direction of another. Such magic might make a blade strike true, a speech fall flat, or a needed book drop right into a researcher’s lap. Targets who suffer severe consequences of Weaving curses become flatly incapable of succeeding at specific kinds of actions until they escape the enchantment. In other cases, the Shaped Potency of such spells can substitute for the rolled success of other actions, if the Potency is higher. Weaving and Ruling together can trigger and direct mechanical failures, natural hazards, and other essentially random events, altering the environment and even launching damaging attacks, but some imminent disaster must first be present and generally can’t be reused. Attacks made through this Practice aren’t always executed immediately; instead, their rolled successes lay in wait and are only applied once the target finds themselves in danger.
Tragic Slip (Fate ●●●/Covert/Ruling, Weaving) Resisted by Composure plus Gnosis, this spell inflicts direct damage by causing its target to step into crossfire, stumble backwards into an open grave, or otherwise expose themselves to harm. This spell takes immediate effect if the target is in a car chase, firefight, or other dangerous situation, but might be delayed if the target is currently inactive or out of harm’s way and might fail outright without some present danger to work through
ADEPT OF FATE (●●●●)
Adepts of Fate transform chains of causality completely, splicing beginnings onto endings without regard for sense. They can dramatically alter environments, destroy or transfer Merits, or control targets near-completely. The ritual spells of Fate adepts can dissipate a victim’s temporary Destiny points or transfer them to other characters with the Destiny Merit, but can’t harm the Destiny Merit itself. Adepts cannot directly change a Destiny Merit’s associated bane, although they may find that the bane changes on its own in response to sufficient meddling.
Patterning Fate allows a mage to drastically transform the results of events. It allows a mage to replace the logical, expected consequences of actions regardless of plausibility: unbelievable chains of coincidence ensure that an assailant only stumbles into the paths of his allies’ blows, or that tattered rags become a fashion sensation, or that a twenty-car pileup has a single, planned casualty. Outlandish results might require time before coming to pass, but so long as a spell persists and has some means of working its intended result will eventually come about. Besides boosting and hindering actions and potentially causing damage, such spells can effectively puppeteer of targets, allowing the caster to decide what actual results Fate makes of the target’s flailings. Controlled targets can’t act on their turns except in accordance with the spell upon them, and unwittingly boost the actions of the mage or even act in the mage’s stead on the mage’s turn. Ritual Patternings can create sweeping if gradual changes in a subject’s life and destiny, shuffling experience points between mundane Merits, and changing the outcome that a character’s existing Destiny merit is building to. Patterning Fate can only work with what’s already there – someone due to become a grandiose hero might be molded by the world into a famed sage or fiendish villain instead, but mediocre and unimportant characters shouldn’t expect much beyond a change in venue or vocation.
Steal Fortune (Fate ●●●●/Covert/Patterning) This spell transposes one target’s access to wealth with another’s, or with the caster’s. It attacks the Resources Merit of the victim, draining the Merit’s rating if possible and granting the beneficiary a minimum Resources score equal to the number of dots stolen. This new score can be spent on purchases in lieu of the beneficiary’s own. This spell can have lingering effects on the finances of both parties for long afterward.
Unraveling Fate ruins destiny’s functionality. Its severe consequences can cripple a target’s ability to self-determine or affect the world meaningfully, ensuring that one success is all that’s required to brush off, ignore, or negate any actions by the cursed party. Unraveling Fate can also damage and destroy a target’s mundane Merits, dooming characters to be abandoned by their friends or stripped of their money. Ritual spells using Unraveling can mangle a subject’s destiny, not only tearing away Merits but rendering any Merits of the kind removed impossible to acquire long-term until the victim’s destiny is repaired.
Trivialize (Fate ●●●●/Vulgar/Unraveling) This spell shreds a target’s narrative relevance. If it inflicts a severe consequence, the target can act normally, but no matter how many successes are rolled for them their efforts can be completely blocked by even a single success on any other character’s part. The Trivialize spell itself doesn’t receive this benefit, so affected characters can still attempt to dispel or escape it.
MASTER OF FATE (●●●●●)
Masters can write new destinies of arbitrary scope and complexity into being or scour existing ones from Creation. They can affect the Destiny merit directly, changing the Merit’s rating, depleting or refreshing temporary Destiny points, and replacing its associated bane. The aftereffects of Master Fate spells last indefinitely, and become the default, “natural” destiny that other Fate spells must contend with. Only one Master of Fate can count on being able to directly repair or countermand the long-term results of another Master’s magic; lesser mages must quest to even stand a chance.
Making Fate allows a mage to dictate what happens. Such spells can’t take instantaneous effect unless the means for their fulfillment are either present, nearby, or plausibly able to suddenly appear, but will eventually come to pass unless undone by other magic – coincidence after coincidence will gradually but inevitably shape the existing scene into the desired one. Making spells sustained for hours or days can achieve the truly ridiculous, calling snow into the Sahara, Satanic masses into the Vatican, or locust plagues into Central Park. The severe consequences of an oppressive Making of Fate turn a character into a stage actor or playing piece, unable to act but to advance whatever aims the spell sets out. Ritual Making magic can grant entirely new destinies to people, places, or objects; these are real and permanent by any normal standard, and can only be truly thwarted by their own banes. It’s impossible for a long-term destiny (whether it’s a character’s Destiny merit or just a Storyteller-ensured state of affairs) to lack a bane, but which bane a destiny develops is chosen by the caster. Usually, characters who aren’t masters of Fate themselves must rely on these banes to thwart a master’s plans.
Forge Destiny (Fate ●●●●●/Covert/Ritual Making) If this ritual scores a serious consequence against the Composure and Destiny (current or intended, whichever is higher) of a resisting target, or just the Destiny of a willing target, it can transform their future, replacing their destiny with a new one of the caster’s choosing. This change is lasting and inevitable; effort can delay it, but only dramatic application of the new destiny’s bane can stop it outright. Spontaneous versions of this rote each specify what kind of destiny they assign.
Unmaking Fate can not only destroy destinies but make them impossible. At the extreme, a character whose fate is spontaneously Unmade ceases utterly to be important; they’re free to act while they’re in the clutches of the spell, but nothing they do ultimately matters or has game-mechanical consequences for any other named character. In the aftermath, they might find themselves dropping out of the notice and lives of other characters and losing social Merits as their very protagonism melts into air. Unmaking Fate can lastingly strip targets of mundane Merits, and erase an existing destiny’s bane. An Unmade bane usually returns within a scene, but a Making spell can replace a lost bane with a new one within that time. Ritual spells that Unmake Fate allow the caster to cut possibilities away within existing destinies such that certain things never come to pass while those destinies last, or to erase destinies (and Destiny merits) entirely.
Step Off the Stage (Fate ●●●●●/Vulgar/Unmaking) This spell withdraws the caster or another target from the flow of events, turning them into a bystanding observer. The spell’s subject falls beneath the notice of most characters and beyond the reach of most phenomena – they become invisible to destiny, going unnoticed and unaffected by anything that would need to specifically acknowledge, interact with, and target them. This effect allows a mage to politely excuse themselves from war-torn battlefields or stroll into guarded compounds without leaving a shred of evidence behind. While the spell is active, however, its subject is helpless to affect other characters or things or even draw their attention – coincidence simply conspires to keep them uninvolved. Unwilling targets must suffer a severe consequence to be fully affected by this spell.
THE TIME ARCANUM
Purview: divination, duration, history, parallel timelines, postcognition, prediction, second chances, speed, stasis, wear and tear
Overview: Time, the gross Arcanum of Arcadia, holds dominion over the flow and sequence of events. Time is less a force than it is a medium; it doesn’t make things happen but rather allows things to happen, to concretely have happened, and to have changed the world by having happened. In the fallen world, time flows steadily: the present snakes relentlessly forward, devouring the haze of endless potential that is the future and trailing a singular, coherent past in its wake. Time isn’t the same thing as history, and has no special interest or function in ensuring that one event happens rather than another or that the past remains static or even makes logical sense. Time isn’t the same thing as age, either; the former usually inflicts the latter, but doesn’t have to.
Time magic reads, bends, or interrupts this perpetual flow. It can investigate or alter how Patterns are affected by time’s flow, changing if and how things age. Divination is an active thing, requiring that the time stream itself be bidden to reveal the information it’s gathered in passing, and prophecy is harder still. There’s no default future that all Time mages see; a forward-looking augury must actually sculpt the trajectory of the present, condensing the chaos of everything that might happen into the wavering notion of what will probably happen. Such auguries are best guesses as to a subject’s future based on the present, don’t take the caster’s own newfound knowledge into account, and grow increasingly unreliable the farther forward the mage looks. They are, however, consistent with each other – if a new augury contradicts an old one, it’s because something’s changed. Whether prophecy discovers the future or creates it is unclear, and so is whether a Time mage alters the world or simply slips into whichever one of many worlds best suits their desires.
Time magic treats history as a passive recording and the future as unexplored terrain – neither are causal agents. Spells which read, occlude, or manipulate history do so from the present and so can preempt or follow each other as normal game actions do. A spell cast on Tuesday which shrouds Sunday from augury will have come too late to foil a divination that happened on Monday. Magic that visibly interacts with or alters the past only actually does so from the moment that magic is cast – scried-upon characters don’t notice anything strange on Sunday, but might on Monday suddenly remember being watched by a ghostly apparition and wonder why they didn’t react.
Time can scan the past and predict the future, but it can’t peer directly into the present, meaning anything happening in or simultaneous to the current scene – that takes Space magic. It takes around an hour for the turbulent action of the present to congeal into the static, intelligible past.
Aspects: Sensory Time magic allows mages to perceive the flow of time itself. This allows for the detection of temporal anomalies and of other Time magic, making it invaluable for detecting Time-wielding spies or for receiving messages from the past or future. Sensory magic can also mark the flow of time in the fallen world, precisely measuring durations or determining the ages of scrutinized objects or persons.
Covert Time magic culls data from the time stream or sends data through it, giving the caster or another target visions of the past or future. Covert magic can influence time’s flow in ways technically tangible but too brief or subtle to register to human senses. A Time mage might react with surprising speed or always seem to beat traffic lights, but not blur from place to place. The onset of a disease might be strangely delayed, but a watched pot eventually boils.
Vulgar Time magic can grossly disrupt time’s flow. It can speed things up, slow things down, trap subjects in stasis or even cause alternate pasts, futures, and presents to bleed into the now. Vulgar auguries tangibly disrupt the time stream, causing apparitions of the targeted time to manifest around the caster and images of the caster to manifest in the targeted time. A Time spell can alter the present by changing the past, but in a limited and disjointed fashion that only manifests from the present onwards and usually only affects the spell’s subjects.
Mechanics: Time spells are normally resisted by Composure + Gnosis. Targets reflexively resist attempts to read their past or future even if they can’t detect the attempt, unless they’re okay with or would be okay with being augured by the casting mage. Characters can’t passively resist being spied upon if they happen to be present in a time and place being augured through other vectors. Time magic can boost initiative rolls, and boost or hinder actions that depend on speed and timing. Its serious consequences can disable targets in a variety of ways, and advanced applications might be able to directly inflict or heal damage by reopening old wounds or delaying new ones. Even total rewinds can’t restore lost Mana or Willpower points and can’t undo dramatic events such as Wisdom decay, Awakening, soul loss, and death; such consequences stick with a Pattern regardless.
Time spells don’t target the generic “past” or “future”, but specific events in their targets’ timelines. A spell doesn’t look “ten years ago”, but might look at “me, ten years ago” or “me, when I last fought”, formally targeting the caster in both cases. A Time spell needs target factors to ensure that it finds a moment containing predefined sets of characters and things; “when my master and my lover last met on my roof” has three targets and therefore requires two target factors.
- Prophecy: Forecasting the future usually means asking the Storyteller what’s planned for the chronicle and getting helpful answers. What kind of questions can be asked vary with Time rating:
- Time ●●: The mage can determine what’s most likely going to happen absent interference and before the fact of their now knowing the future is taken into account.
- Time ●●●: The mage can learn the results of specific hypothetical actions they might take, or at least have control over.
- Time ●●●●: The mage can learn what kind of actions they or other targets of the spell would have to take in order to bring a hypothetical future about.
Sometimes, the Storyteller honestly doesn’t know when and how a future event is going to happen, often because it depends on random chance or player decisions.
In such cases, a spell’s results are murky and cryptic, but that spell can be sustained in latent form. A latent prophecy is sustained at the usual cost, but can’t be dispelled and has no time limit: rather than ending after an hour, it lingers indefinitely, even through the mage’s sleep. As soon as the prophesied event occurs, the mage can release the spell to to become retroactively aware. This gives a player license to have their characters make reasonable offscreen preparations and to show up in, avoid, or otherwise act on the prophesied scene.
- Perceiving and Reacting to Divination: Mage Sight detects when its user is the target of a divination. Augured mages can potentially respond with a spell of their own, usually Veiling to hide their pasts or Fraying to cloud their futures. Times in which a character was shrouded by sustained Time magic, or which have been retroactively occluded by Patterning, enjoy whatever Tenacity they’re owed for the purposes of resisting Time magic.
Mage Sight also allows a mage to immediately “remember” someone or something else in their past being covertly augured while they were present. Such a mage isn’t the spell’s formal target and can’t block or resist it directly. They must Rule Time to scrutinize the spell and Pattern Time to retroactively shield their own past from it.
A Sleeper alive to “remember” a vulgar Time spell cast into their past can Disbelieve that spell as though they were watching its casting.
- Sympathy: Time spells that investigate or affect the present must be cast at sensory range unless paired with Space. Time spells that scan or interact with the past or future are cast at sympathetic range without need for conjunctional Arcana. A spell that draws on the past or future to transform the present needs sensory range to its present target as well as sympathy to whatever other target’s timeline is being used.
Time spells need sympathy factors to access the timeline of something the caster doesn’t have at hand. A mage might have a Sensory connection to the parking lot they’re standing in but only an Encountered connection to the meadow that lot replaced. A handful of soil, mouse skeleton, or other relic of the meadow could allow for an Intimate connection, since it would count as a physical part of the target; a geological survey or photograph of the meadow as it was would suffice for Encountered. Simply declaring a target time without possessing any personal or physical link (“where I’m standing, five thousand years ago”) means dealing with a “Described” sympathetic connection. Time spells always use a mage’s current sympathy to a target, so it’s harder to see the past of a friend who’s grown distant or a house last seen years ago.
Access to parallel timelines takes sympathy to the source of that timeline’s divergence. Timelines stemming from the mage’s recent actions or events in the current scene (such as a one in which someone was shot rather than missed, or in which a door was opened rather than closed) are Sensory, but increasingly obscure and divergent timelines are increasingly costly to access. A world in which New York is under martial law is only Described unless the mage has a relic of or deep connection to whatever event might have caused, in another world, New York to fall under martial law.
As usual, sympathetic connections tapped against either endpoint’s will degrade one step and only heal each day they’re untouched by magic. Otherwise, Time can’t alter sympathy directly.
Aftereffects: Spells can leave subjects with skewed timing or alter the rate at which perishable materials decay. Time often eases or complicate other divinations. Ritual Time spells that rewrite portions of history or fuse one timeline with another can create lasting, dramatic changes. Sleepers tend to take such things in stride, assuming their memories are playing tricks on them if today’s status quo doesn’t seem to match yesterday’s.
Paradox: Weak paradoxes can mess with bystanders’ senses of time, cause durations to elapse at the wrong speed, or foul up divinations. Stronger paradoxes slow, hasten, or rewind events that happen within them. Severe Time paradoxes live up to their pop-cultural credentials, overlaying pasts, futures, or parallel presents onto the fallen world. A character entering a severe Time paradox might find themselves standing in Soviet England, hunted by dinosaurs, or struck repeatedly by aggravated damage that attempts to erase them from continuity.
INITIATE OF TIME (●)
Initiates observe time in action and leave their mark upon it, occasionally availing themselves of Edges or sensory boosts on certain actions.
Knowing Time allows a mage to measure time’s characteristics and parameters. It can determine how long something has existed in its current form, whether a creature or object. It can tell how a character, object, or place has been or is being affected by the passage of time. Knowing Time can be used to intuit how long a process or activity has been going on or how much time an otherwise predictable process has left. It can also investigate the parameters of temporal anomalies or Time-related supernatural powers.
Measure Duration (Time ●/Sensory/Knowing) This spell allows a mage to discern when an autonomous process will come to its natural end – it can predict the death of a houseplant, the detonation of a demolition charge, or the collapse of a burning building.
Signifying Time allows a character to express their nimbus through manifestations of time’s passing or the flow of time itself. The ticking of timepieces, the corrosion of metal, and other continuous processes can be made to reflect the caster, though sometimes with a long delay. The mage can also leave lasting marks on the present or another time they’ve accessed through other magic, leaving messages for other Time mages to read.
Time Capsule (Time ●/Covert/Signifying) The mage teases the threads of local time into a particular shape, leaving a message for other augurs to read – the caster might note something of interest in the scene, warn other mages not to scry further, or make notes for their own benefit.
Unveiling Time lets a mage perceive time’s action. It can recognize timekeeping devices, estimate ages relative to the mage or other elements of the scene, and recognizes whether something is getting older, growing stronger, or otherwise changing with time. Unveiling Time can also grant a mage a flawless sense of time, allowing them to measure the duration of anything they experience, always know what time it is relative to whatever their favorite reference point is, and enjoy a sensory boost to initiative and actions dependent on timing.
Detect Immortality (Time ●/Sensory/Unveiling) A mage with his rote can tell on sight whether something is failing to age towards death. Vampires, spirits, and beneficiaries of certain Time spells stand out, but this rote doesn’t distinguish between them.
APPRENTICE OF TIME (●●)
Apprentices can activate and direct time’s inherent capabilities. They can read the past or future, potentially boosting actions whose success immediate pre- or post-cognition would ensure. They can investigate the histories or likely futures of targets, learning information or predicting actions.
Perfecting Time organizes the time stream. By creating self-sustaining patterns that can survive the chaos of the indeterminate future, the mage can learn what will happen in a target’s future given present conditions. Long-term precognition allows for planning and strategy, while short-term precognition can boost attempts to parry blows, navigate traffic, or otherwise perform tasks requiring rapid reaction and adaptation. Perfecting spells can also bolster time against manipulation or degradation, preventing subjects from being slowed or warped by other magic.
Moment of Weakness (Time ●●/Covert/Unveiling, Perfecting) This divination seeks out the next point in time its target will be particularly vulnerable – hurt, tired, or low on Willpower or other resources. The spell’s first two net successes over the target’s resistance reveal when and where, and the rest fill in other helpful details.
Ruling Time can force the present to recall and reveal the past, allowing a mage to gaze into history. Such magic might deliver pieces of information in flashes of insight or allow a mage to watch history play out at normal speed. Ruling Time can also activate or delay the onset of any steady, autonomous change with a set timer or duration, even halting ticking clocks or hissing fuses at vulgar aspect. Vulgar Rulings of Time can suspend aging entirely, but also freeze the subject’s ability to regain Willpower and Mana from rest or oblation.
Glimpse Origin (Time ●●/Covert/Unveiling, Ruling) This spell calls up the moment that its subject came into being or entered their current state. It might show a character’s birth, training, or most recent promotion, or it might show the scene in which a wound was inflicted or a contract was signed.
Veiling Time falsifies the properties of timelines or hides them outright. Veiling Time can’t fake the contents of the past without use of other Arcana, but can change apparent dates or ages or block divinations.
Private Past (Time ●●/Covert/Veiling) While sustained, this spell contests any attempts to view the target’s past. The target appears veiled and indistinct in divinations that don’t target but incidentally include them. They still interact with the viewed scene in this form, so their actions can be deduced from context. A similar rote uses Fraying to stop the caster’s future from being predicted.
DISCIPLE OF TIME (●●●)
Disciples can also warp time’s substance, boosting or hindering a variety of rolls or wholly disabling targets by speeding or slowing the flow of time. They can inflict direct bashing damage on targets whose health or integrity relies on continuing and well-ordered activity.
Fraying Time weakens time’s coherence and consequences. Fraying can contest attempts to control or organize time and render the future scattered and chaotic, foiling prophecy. It can also ruin a target’s ability to tell and keep time and cause the passage of time to become chaotic and disjointed. This can cause sounds to garble, machines to malfunction as parts move out of sequence, or living creatures to lose all coordination or even suffer bashing damage as their bodily processes slip out of sync. Fraying doesn’t deny a target their Defense – threats that come too close become as disordered as the enchanted target.
Scorched Time (Time ●●●/Vulgar/Fraying) This spell violently roils local time in its target area such the scene becomes impossible to augur by other unShaped Time spells. This spell is usually cast with area factors, and its aftereffects render the area’s history murky and confusing.
Weaving Time can speed and slow action. Sped-up targets divide the time needed to complete extended tasks by Potency and receive boosts to initiative and a variety of actions. Slowed targets are hindered and find their opponents boosted. Severe consequences can slow a target to near immobility, freezing characters and objects in place. Stopped characters can’t act but don’t lose their Defense; incoming attacks bring their own time with them into the victim’s personal space. In combination with Perfecting, Weaving can glimpse hypothetical futures predicated on actions under the mage’s direct control – the caster can learn what would happen if they were to push a button, or go down a fork in the road, or otherwise make some decision that’s still up in the air, by Perfecting their intent to take that action and Weaving it forward.
Haste (Time ●●●/Vulgar/Weaving) Time seems to slow down for this spell’s target, who acts with incredible speed. This spell boosts initiative, most attacks, Defense rolls, and other short-term physical actions and at least multiplies the subject’s ground speed by its Potency.
ADEPT OF TIME (●●●●)
Adepts can cut and splice the threads of time, pulling past, future, and parallel timelines into the present one. Targets can be repositioned, transformed, or frozen in place, and past actions can be partially undone.
Patterning Time allows a mage to transform one time into another or force two foreign times to meet. Patterning spells allow for interplay and communication between the past and present, allowing the mage to retroactively shield portions of their past from scrutiny or to send missives to the past or future and thereby gain advantages or advice in the present. Vulgar Patterning spells can overlay other timelines with the caster’s own, inflicting severe consequences that control targets by replacing them with alternate-universe copies. A collapsed causeway might become a well-maintained bridge, or a scrupulous police sergeant might be replaced with his low-ranking, easily-bribed self that never was. Targets in dangerous situations can be scrambled with injured versions of themselves, suffering any kind of damage they risk taking in the current scene. Such spells require temporal sympathy to whatever past event made the difference between the true target and the time-shifted target, so it’s easy to find the world in which a bystander stayed to help rather than running away but ruinously expensive and potentially impossible to find a timeline in which one’s archenemy is instead a trusted friend. Ritual Patternings can make lasting exchanges between parallel timelines, reshuffling a character’s experience point purchases or permanently replacing an object or place with an alternate incarnation. In combination with Perfecting, Patterning can produce complex, ends-based divination; a mage can imagine a conceivable future, and then compare parallel timelines to determine what if anything could avert it or bring it about.
Saw It Coming (Time ●●●●/Covert/Patterning) This spell allows a caster to warn their past self of coming danger or difficulty. While it’s sustained, the caster just happens to have made some preparation for an obstacle that has arisen in the current scene – a hacksaw to get through chains, a torch to ward off vampires, or a phone call ahead to bypass security. These preparations have to be something the caster could have reasonably accomplished on their own during the downtime between recent scenes, and each one only lasts so long as a separate copy of this (normally free) spell is sustained, so only the first preparation is free and each further one requires a point of Mana.
Unraveling Time can revoke the consequences of time’s passing outright, undoing the consequences of events in the current scene. This works in a piecemeal fashion, erasing specific effects while leaving others: a target might be warped to a previous position, a healed wound might reopen, or a shattered object might piece itself back together. Unraveling spells can also warp and shatter a target’s experience of time, harrowing sanity and destroying Willpower, though such spells have no control over how the target reacts.
Undo Injury (Time ●●●●/Vulgar/Unraveling) This spell can downgrade any kind of damage, but only works on wounds suffered in the current scene. The spell must match all wounds of the targeted type with its Potency, even if it can only downgrade a portion of them.
MASTER OF TIME (●●●●●)
Masters can spin forth the substance of time from nothing and destroy the temporal distance that separates different places, peoples, or times from each other. They can reverse or suspend the flow of time completely, permanently erasing age and wear and placing subjects into absolute stasis. A Master’s workings are of lasting, indefinite duration, and changes they make to time lines become the default background against which lesser Time spells operate.
Making Time conjures extra moments to act in. Covert Makings can subtly age or speed up targets, while vulgar Makings can age targets rapidly or blast target with decades of time at once, inflicting lethal damage on anything mortal. Inanimate objects age more slowly but are particularly predictable and easy to warp, so Making Time can rot wood, crumble stone, and corrode metal in seconds. Making spells can also summon things wholesale from past, future, or parallel timelines, conjuring prehistoric megafauna or evil clones with equal ease so long as sympathy allows. Ritual Makings can bring things out of other times permanently into this one or create areas whose time flow is wholly disjoint from that of the outside world.
Step Out of Time (Time ●●●●●/Vulgar/Making) This spell creates extra time for the caster to act in. The rest of the world stops, entering the frozen invulnerability of stasis. The caster is free to act and interact with the possessions on their person, but must cast this spell on other targets to bring them into the caster’s time pocket. Otherwise, a door is impossible to open, knee-high water is as solid as cement, and a cloud of confetti is an impassable barricade.
Unmaking Time cleanly erases time’s properties, effects, or existence. Even covert spells can exactingly and indefinitely suspend unseen processes such as decay, growth, healing, and aging. Vulgar Unmakings can remove targets from time entirely, trapping them in stasis. Targets in stasis are impossible to affect in any way – no time passes in which they could be hurt or changed. An Unmaking spell can attempt to totally and permanently blast a victim from the time stream – such attacks must inflict direct aggravated damage, all of which vanishes at the end of the scene unless it kills the victim outright. Ritual Unmaking spells can selectively excise the weight and consequences of time from targets, reversing age, corrosion, and other otherwise-permanent degradation. Rituals can throw targets forward through time, causing them to vanish from the present and reappear as far forward as the caster desires.
Reverse Aging (Time ●●●●●/Vulgar/Ritual Unmaking) This ritual strips away the effects of time on a living subject, restoring up to one year per point of Potency. This doesn’t cause the target to lose knowledge, skills, or powers unless the subject is deliberately reverted to a state of weakness. This ritual can be cast with a number of sacraments, but the simplest is this: a person younger than the subject.