The Act of Hubris
Warlocks behold a world in chains, every Pattern touched by countless others through links unseen and inescapable. To master Pandemonium’s arts is to wield individuals and the relationships they build as a tools and weapons.
THE MIND ARCANUM
Purview: decisions, emotion, intellect, memory, opinion, psychic powers, sentience, socialization, thought, volition
Overview: Mind, the subtle Arcanum of Pandemonium, holds dominion over self-awareness. A mind is less an object than it is a quality – the ability to perceive the self as distinct from the environment, and the ability to alter behavior in response to past experiences as well as present stimuli. In the fallen world, the vast majority of minds are emergent properties of the bodies that support them (whether those bodies are built of flesh or ephemera), but the mind remains a numinous and transcendental thing, something that distinguishes individuals form each other but at the same time connects them through common experience. The ability to touch the mind directly is common among supernatural creatures, and even Sleepers sometimes manifest touches of telepathy.
Mind magic manipulates the contents, perceptions, and properties of conscious minds. It might straightforwardly target the thoughts or emotions of one or more conscious beings, or it might affect thinking beings indirectly by altering the emotional or psychic properties of objects, places, messages, or other things minds might perceive and be affected by. It’s simple in principle but difficult to leverage in practice, because minds are dynamic and multifarious things that don’t simply stop and listen when affected by magic. Unlike the subjects of most other spells, minds are already shaped and driven by the wills and desires of other beings, so any spell a Mind mage casts can end up one voice among thousands. It’s much easier to communicate with a mind, scan the surface of a mind, or manipulate the perceptions of a mind than it is to invade and dominate one. The latter is certainly possible, however, and mages strong in the Arcanum can exert the most complete and insidious control available to Awakened magic.
Anything that learns and makes decisions has a mind that the Mind Arcanum can manipulate. This includes insects and other simple creatures, but not mindlessly robotic beings such as zombies. Thus far, Sleeper artifice hasn’t produced a minded computer intelligence, but an A.I. advanced enough to dynamically learn and reason can qualify in theory.
The mind is not precisely the self. A unique mind is a consequence of a being’s body, soul, and environment, and so minded subjects will naturally tend to recover their usual personalities and dispositions in the absence of either constant manipulation or profound and lasting damage. The mind and soul are also distinct, and Mind magic has no purchase on the latter – Mind spells can’t affect “knowledge” of rotes, Arcana, or other supernatural powers, since those are inscribed on the soul and nimbus rather than in the conscious or subconscious. Morality and Willpower are too closely interwoven with the soul for Mind magic to access directly, although direct attacks on the psyche can cause enough trauma to damage a being’s Willpower reserve and rating.
Aspects: Sensory Mind magic is used to observe minds and their behavior. It observes a mind’s workings from the outside, noting surface qualities like complexity, activity, emotional state, and focus of attention.
Covert Mind magic invisibly alters a mind’s properties within the bounds of that mind’s normal operation. It can tease surface thoughts into readable form, kindle and direct emotions, and plug statements or ideas into the forefront of a subject’s consciousness. Advanced applications can augment charm or intellect, access or edit deeply-held memories, orchestrate complex emotional responses or trains of thoughts, and even inflict painful mental trauma. Though feats like telepathy and emotion control are technically covert, Sleepers who realize that their thoughts and feelings aren’t originating in their own heads can cause mind-affecting spells to fail immediately, so experienced Mind mages wield their powers carefully.
Vulgar Mind spells blur the barrier between mind and matter, causing thought and emotion to swirl tangibly through the world as they act. They can directly override the limits on a mind’s behavior, whether moral convictions or survival instincts, in order to unleash atavistic emotions, conjure overpowering hallucinations, or utterly crush the will. Beyond that, vulgar Mind magic can break the rules minds as a whole are governed by. Minds can be untethered from bodies, broken down and rewritten from the ground up, or even created whole cloth.
Mechanics: Mind spells are usually resisted with Resolve + Gnosis. Mind spells meant to manipulate emotions are resisted with Composure + Gnosis, but net successes are still compared to Resolve to determine consequence severity. Beneficial Mind magic can boost a recipient’s mental or social rolls, and debilitating Mind magic can hinder almost any conscious action on a target’s part. Mind magic usually boosts actions, particularly physical ones, by hindering the targets of those actions rather than by empowering the actor.
Mind spells can affect targets indirectly by changing how something is perceived, understood, or remembered, but can’t directly control a character’s behavior, block a character from interacting with their environment normally, or otherwise afflict a character with severe consequences without formally targeting that character. For instance, a spell that grants its beneficiary an alternate, hallucinatory appearance will change what onlookers see but leave them free to react; a nightmarish visage that actually forces others to flee in fear requires enough area or target factors to encompass its intended victims. A spell that causes its subject to vanish from the sight of others doesn’t prevent that subject from being tracked by other means, while a spell that renders other characters totally incapable of perceiving, tracking, or attempting to act on something would need to target those characters and score a severe consequence.
Mind spells can have almost any effect on the decisions or actions of other characters. Even normal consequences are normally sufficient to influence unnamed characters or otherwise neutral important characters, and severe consequences can place even unwilling and narratively significant targets completely under the caster’s control. A dominated character doesn’t act on their own turn, but boosts their master’s actions when possible and can be commanded to take actions in their master’s stead. They still fight against control, however; characters ordered to harm themselves or submit to being attacked take only as much direct damage as the acting spell’s severe consequences force them to, and can only be forced to suffer or self-inflict damage of a type the spell’s damage factors allow for. Mind magic can also spoil or destroy a target’s social Merits, causing Allies and Retainers to abandon their former beneficiaries or switch sides all together.
Characters that Mind prevents from remembering facts, processing language, or otherwise taking normal mental actions can attempt to struggle free from those effects, even if they’re otherwise free to move and act.
Aftereffects: Mind spells can leave targets with a variety of emotional or psychological consequences, both good and bad. Beneficial magic might allow targets to increase their Attributes or Skills or gain a variety of mental or social Merits, while harmful magic can leave targets bereft of Merits, Willpower dots, or free will.
Paradox: Mind paradoxes affect the minds of those within their boundaries. Weak paradoxes create strange sensations or brief mood swings, while powerful paradoxes can powerfully distort the behavior of those within them. Particularly severe paradox zones might brainwash bystanders or drive them into murderous or suicidal frenzies.
INITIATE OF MIND (●)
Initiates can observe the minds around them, noting the presence and qualities of thinking beings. Sensory spells of this level can boost rolls to read or empathize with other people, and covert spells can boost attempts to be well-remembered or clearly understood. Scrutiny successes equal to a relevant Attribute of the subject allow a mage to see into that subject’s mind: Intelligence holds memories, Wits controls sensory input, and Manipulation guards sincerely-held opinions and beliefs.
Knowing Mind allows a mage to learn a mind’s qualities and contents. It can mark mental activity, track emotional state, gauge psychic health, and even read thoughts and memories. Knowing spells can tell what a mind is “doing”, whether concentrating, daydreaming, or buckling under stress. They can roughly gauge a mind’s strengths and weaknesses as measured in Attributes and Willpower. Knowing Mind can interpret a subject’s thoughts, allowing the caster to listen in on surface thoughts or glean vague sensory impressions. Intense scrutiny allows a caster glimpses of thoughts, sensations, and memories, even if the subject isn’t immediately reflecting on them or wants to keep them hidden. Knowing can also analyze Mind spells and determine if a mind is under supernatural influence. Sustained Knowing magic often boosts a caster’s attempts to pick up on lies or express understanding.
Read Emotion (Mind ●/Sensory/Knowing) A mage using this spell can scrutinize the mind of another, learning one emotion the target is feeling per success and boosting the mage’s mundane uses of Empathy. Usually, scrutiny successes need to exceed the target’s Composure before the mage can learn of deeply buried or consciously suppressed feelings.
Signifying Mind reveals the presence and character of thoughts, feelings, and other psychic phenomena. It doesn’t effect direct mind to mind communication, but can make emotion, attention, concentration, or other mental activities apparent. Signifying might produce psychic cues subconsciously or overtly perceptible even to Sleepers, or leave rarefied imprints and messages that only other Mind spells or psychic abilities can detect. Signifying also allows a mage to impress their own emotions and personalities onto the perceptions of others, rendering themselves easier to notice or remember.
Significant Look (Mind ●/Covert/Signifying) This spell sends an honest impression of the caster’s feelings or intentions to its target. It’s usually used to silently clue allies in on the fact that the mage is lying, or to draw another’s attention to something that the mage doesn’t want to visibly acknowledge.
Unveiling Mind allows a mage to tell on sight if something has a mind, and to appraise that mind’s relative complexity, size, and sophistication. Mages can learn with experience what various minds tend to look like, and with practice distinguish immediately between apes and insects or between adults and children. Unveiling can tell if a mind is conscious, slumbering, or comatose. It can also spot Mind spells and supernatural powers in action.
Sense Sapience (Mind ●/Sensory/Unveiling) A mage with this spell intuits immediately whether or not something they perceive is sapient. Humans that don’t read as sapient might be illusions or zombies, while animals or objects that do might be shapeshifted or possessed.
APPRENTICE OF MIND (●●)
Apprentices become able to manipulate minds directly. They can optimize minds, boosting a variety of mental and social actions or resistances. They can hinder targets through emotion, occlusion, or distraction and boost the actions of someone opposing an appropriately hindered target. Severe consequences can cause targets to act on implanted ideas or emotions immediately. Apprentice spells can’t overcome conviction and self-preservation: severe consequences don’t apply where they would directly endanger a target’s person, Merits, Intimacies, Morality, or other elements of their personality or commitments that their player judges crucial. A fanatically loyal bodyguard might be hindered in their attempts to defend their ward, but can’t be compelled to flee their ward’s side. Appeals to Virtue, Vice, and already existing psychological propensities might overcome these barriers.
Perfecting Mind optimizes and repairs mental processes, ensuring clear and unmuddied thought. Perfecting spells can’t create knowledge or intellect where none exists and can’t erase a mind’s ingrained and longstanding properties, but can banish carelessness, forgetfulness, distraction, or confusion. Perfecting Mind can also block or undo effects that interrupt the mind’s normal function, whether hostile Mind spells or other psychic powers. Ritual Perfecting spells can allow subjects to rapidly increase their Mental or Social Attributes, learn new Skills, or develop a variety of Merits.
Clarity (Mind ●●/Covert/Perfecting) This spell sharpens the character’s focus and attention span, boosting Initiative, perception, and any attempts to shake off confusion or befuddlement.
Ruling Mind activates and guides mental functions. Targets can be made to think words, picture images, feel emotions, or come up with ideas of the mage’s design. A Ruled target might be inspired, distracted, alerted, informed, or whatever else. Severe consequences might compel actions so long as those actions aren’t self-destructive or dramatically out of character, but it’s the subject who decides exactly how they act on the thought or feeling they’re afflicted with. Animals, feral spirits, and other simple intelligences are easily manipulated by Ruling spells and don’t need a severe consequence to be spurred to action unless they’re already occupied. In combination with Knowing, Ruling can be used to effect silent communication or mind-reading, forcing the subject to think of or remember things that the caster becomes immediately privy to. Mages sometimes Rule their own minds to tamp down troublesome emotions or banish distracting thoughts.
Makes You Think (Mind ●●/Covert/Ruling) A target who fails to resist this spell finds their thoughts consumed by some inane idea of the caster’s. Their attempts to think or argue on unrelated topics are hindered while the spell is sustained, as is their perception.
Veiling Mind conceals a mind’s content, form, and status. It can create false impressions of a subject’s emotions, character, or psychic activity, bolstering lies or foiling interrogations. It can prevent Mind spells or other psychic powers from deriving useful information from the subject’s mind, whether by scrutinizing the surface or diving into the depths.
Falsify Monologue (Mind ●●/Covert/Veiling) This spell doesn’t block telepathic contact, but does cause mage’s surface thoughts to appear to be either blank, indistinct, or an idle and contentless ramble.
DISCIPLE OF MIND (●●●)
Disciples can affect a mind’s structure and configuration, altering where and how thoughts flow rather than which thoughts flow. Spells can warp perceptions, impair thoughts, inflict bashing damage, and hinder or even disable conscious action, though not instinctive action such as using Defense.
Fraying Mind interferes with the mind’s operation, interrupting or sabotaging normal mental processes. Subjects might lose access to their memories, find it impossible to concentrate, cease feeling emotions, or simply be wracked with pain and trauma. Frayings can hinder any kind of action and with severe consequences even disable subjects completely. Fraying spells can knock a subject out completely by inflicting direct bashing damage, but any damage so dealt disappears at the end of the scene. Fraying can’t inflict truly lasting harm, but its lingering consequences can muddle and confuse.
Don’t Mind Me (Mind ●●●/Covert/Fraying) This spell prevents its target from forming long-term memories of something or someone for as long as it’s sustained. On a normal consequence, memories of the protected thing are vague and unremarkable, while on a severe consequence they don’t form at all. Casters most commonly name themselves as the thing that targets of this spell are prevented from forming memories of.
Weaving Mind reshapes minds, bending them into new configurations. Subjects can be made to dream, hallucinate, dissociate, or otherwise enter states of altered consciousness; severe consequences can cut off a subject’s conscious perception of the world completely, though sleeps and comas only take hold through inflicted bashing damage that fades at the end of the scene. Minds can be made to touch other minds, causing subjects to release psychic emanations perceptible to others or even placing beings in direct telepathic contact. Telepathy allows for communication unhindered by language, but can also be used to listen in on someone’s musings, rifle through someone’s memories, or predict someone’s moves as they’re decided on in order to boost actions taken in opposition. Weaving Mind can also seize and manipulate free-floating minds directly.
Telepathic Conversation (Mind ●●●/Covert/Unveiling, Weaving) While this spell is sustained, the caster and all the spell’s targets can communicate wordlessly with each other. Unwilling targets resist with Resolve + Gnosis, but don’t necessarily realize they’ve been affected and therefore don’t realize that they’re broadcasting their surface thoughts for others to hear.
ADEPT OF MIND (●●●●)
Adepts can reweave minds completely, transforming one thought into another and so completely usurping a subject’s free will. Severe consequences can completely disable or dominate subjects, and inflict damage by compelling suicidal behavior. Conscious victims can still apply their Defense against threats, but might take a spell’s net successes in additional damage from whatever threat they’ve been forced not to dodge. Damage factors are required to force victims to submit to particularly grievous forms of harm, so it’s easier to make a vampire cut itself than burn itself.
Patterning Mind transforms one mind into another, in part or in whole. Used bluntly, it can turn enemies into friends, masters into slaves, or adults into children. More subtly, it can rewrite memories, redirect ambitions, or invert habits. Patterning can’t give an animal a human’s intelligence or otherwise create capabilities where none could exist. The lingering effects of Patterning spells that inflicted severe consequences can leave memories muddled or personalities altered, and Patterning rituals might alter a subject’s mental or social traits completely.
Forge Confederate (Mind ●●●●/Covert/Patterning) Subjects of this spell are compelled to aid the caster without revealing their new allegiance. Normal consequences boost or hinder appropriate actions, while severe consequences totally conscript the subject.
Unraveling Mind scours away a mind’s function and structure, and might disintegrate a particular thought or to completely shut down the consciousness. Spells might prevent subjects from thinking or acting, disable various Mental or Social Merits, cause Attributes or Skills to decay, or destroy Willpower points directly. Unraveling can suspend a subject’s integrity, ideology, and will to live, so in combination with Patterning it can compel totally traitorous or suicidal actions of its victims. Unraveling magic can even sever the forces that tie minds to bodies, allowing or forcing subjects to explore the world as free-floating, substanceless consciousnesses.
Force Suicide (Mind ●●●●/Vulgar/Patterning, Unraveling) Resisted by Resolve, this spell directly damages its target by forcing them to stab themselves, dive into traffic, or otherwise harm themselves with whatever’s on hand.
MASTER OF MIND (●●●●●)
Masters can create or destroy minds whole cloth, constructing otherwise impossible psyches. They can arbitrarily transform existing minds, creating entirely new capabilities and leaving lingering consequences of indefinite duration.
Making Mind adds powers and properties to existing minds, or spins new minds from nothing. Making spells can bestow preternatural intelligence or awareness on subjects, allowing for feats of impossible mental acuity, or can outright grant “mundane” psychic powers. They can restore damaged minds to full functionality, uplift feral creatures to full sapience, or conjure disembodied intelligences of the mage’s design. Ritual Makings can create permanent beings, though other magic is needed to grant such beings bodies. Making Mind can also conjure raw astral matter for Weaving to sculpt and Patterning to texture, creating objects and structures solid to astral travelers.
Savant Syndrome (Mind ●●●●●/Covert/Making) This spell grants its subject superhuman computational capacity, allowing them to perform with a moment’s thought calculations that would normally require hours or days of a machine’s processing time.
Unmaking Mind subtracts properties from minds or annihilates minds entirely. It can completely remove the capacity to think certain thoughts, feel certain emotions, or make certain decisions. Minds altered by Unmaking aren’t injured as with Unraveling but entirely transformed, so subjects of Unmaking spells are often entirely stable and functional despite being bizarre. Unmaking spells can also destroy minds in their entirety, inflicting aggravated damage that disappears at the end of the scene but causes permanent ego death if it “kills” a target.
Psychic Reformation (Mind ●●●●●/Vulgar/Ritual Making, Unmaking) This spell permanently rebuilds its subject’s mind. It can be used to undo brainwashing or repair psychic damage, but can also effectively obliterate its subject to create an entirely new person in their place.
THE SPACE ARCANUM
Purview: capacity, connection, correspondence, direction, distance, location, portals, scrying, sequence, sympathy, teleportation
Overview: Space, the gross Arcanum of Pandemonium, holds dominion over relative position. In both the fallen world and the realms supernal, time and familiarity forge sympathetic connections between people, places, and objects. These connections transcend material distance and allow for communication and interaction regardless of apparent separation. The principle of sympathy is so immanent to Creation that even Sleeper thaumaturges can exploit it, even as it underpins the Awakening itself. Actual physical distance is purely a trick of perspective, though it’s one of the illusions that the fallen world imbues with material reality.
Space magic controls sympathetic connections, the spatial coordinates and orientations that sympathetic connections determine, and the overall fabric of space that interwoven sympathetic connections collectively describe. The relationships between things can be traced, altered, or communicated through, and things themselves can be turned, immobilized, or repositioned. Space magic transforms the perspective of its subjects, not the physical substance of their Patterns, so broom closets made to contain airplane hangars or sojourners crossing seven leagues with every step suffer no particular strain or deformity. The indirect consequences of Space magic can powerfully alter or injure, however; the transposition of lethal hazards or the violent disturbance of space itself can wreak havoc on bystanders.
Aspects: Sensory Space magic allows mages to perceive and scrutinize sympathetic connections as well as local topology in general. It can determine what’s mystically connected to what and if the fabric of local space is somehow anomalous.
Covert Space magic brings sympathetic connections to life, causing them to not simply indicate direction but to transmit information. In combination with sensory magic, this allows mages to spy on or communicate with distant subjects. It can also cause tangible if subtle effects on the world, stretching or folding space in ways that Sleepers sometimes notice but usually write off as optical illusions or signs of insufficient sleep.
Vulgar Space magic warps the world blatantly, allowing for banishment, co-location, teleportation, or similar outlandish feats. It causes the truth of sympathy to eclipse the illusion of distance, causing apparitions of of the caster and target to accompany scryings, sendings, and other long-distance workings as distant locations bleed into each other.
Mechanics: Most Space effects are resisted by Resolve + Gnosis. These traits are used to prevent involuntary teleportation, entrapment, or other spatial attacks, but also oppose attempts to scry, build sympathy, or otherwise affect targets in abstract but unwanted ways. A character can unconsciously resist even if they have no way of detecting the magic, but don’t have to if their players decide that the character doesn’t mind being looked in on or otherwise affected by the caster. Spells that place victims in dangerous places or transport dangerous things to victims are resolved as damaging attacks opposed by Defense, as are spells that conjure hazardous spatial turbulence. Direct damage from destructive co-location is resisted by Gnosis + Resolve.
To create or transform a sympathetic connection, a spell’s net successes must equal the sympathy factors required to bridge that connection (taking degradation into account) either before or after the spell’s casting, whichever is higher. It’s as costly to turn an Intimate connection into a Described one as to do the converse. Affecting a subject’s sympathetic links is as difficult as affecting a subject, so sympathy factors sufficient to bridge preexisting sympathetic distance are required to transform, destroy, or replace sympathetic links to a target out of sensory range.
Space effects can boost or hinder variety of rolls related to combat, investigation, locomotion, or travel. Severe consequences can disable, immobilize, or reposition targets. Mages can attempt to teleport victims to the bottom of the ocean or the heart of the sun, but important characters who don’t take enough damage to die on the spot are only affected in a partial, mediated way that leaves them hurt but not banished or annihilated; they can choose to suffer damage (usually lethal) equal to the teleport’s net successes but remain where they are, or to appear in a place near their target destination that isn’t necessarily fatal and then use their Defense to reduce the spell’s net successes further.
- Sympathetic Distance: The sympathetic distance a spell must cross is always measured from the caster; the higher the distance, the weaker and more difficult to use the connection. It’s based primarily on a mage’s acquaintance with their subject, but can also be established through physical objects such as drops of blood or scraps of clothing. A mage needs direct sensory contact with a sympathetic link to make use of it. Precision factors might be required to cast through a link that’s particularly distant or hard to see.
- 0: Sensory – the subject is in sensory range
1: Intimate – the caster has closely interacted with the subject for appreciable time (a story, by default), or is targeting the subject through a piece of their physical substance
2: Known – the caster has frequently interacted personally with the subject, or is targeting the subject through live electronic communication or through an important friend or possession
3: Acquainted – the caster met and interacted with the subject casually, distantly, or occasionally, or is targeting the subject through a photo or other accurate representation
4: Encountered – the subject has been met, held, or touched by the caster once
5: Described – the caster has never encountered the subject but knows about them
N/A: Unknown connections are beyond the reach of sympathy factors
+ 1: The subject has at least two dots of Fame or Occultation, and isn’t otherwise Intimate or better
+ 1: The caster doesn’t know the subject’s real name
A sympathetic link’s connection to a target degrades separately from the casting mage’s personal connection to that target, so a mage launching a prolonged sympathetic attack or surveillance campaign benefits from having multiple connections to their target to cycle through. An entire link degrades even if only a piece of it is used, so mincing up an object might make for easier transport but doesn’t multiply that object’s sympathetic longevity.
Samples of a target’s substance, such as locks of hair or slivers of bark, are considered separate links if they came about through separate events. Each jab of a hypodermic needle produces a sympathetically distinct blood sample, but that sample can’t be later subdivided, and after-the-fact collections such as “the blood she spilled during that fight” or “the hair he lost to that haircut” are generally considered single objects and measured out by the scene. The Storyteller is the ultimate arbiter of what counts as a single working link.
Body samples don’t remain sympathetically useful indefinitely. Eyelashes or skin flakes last a day, while splashes of blood, scraps of flesh, and other samples suggesting lethal damage (even if no wounds were actually marked on anyone’s character sheet) are good for a month. Irreplaceable parts such as eyes or hands retain their sympathy indefinitely as long as they’re preserved in recognizable form. For creatures like vampires that can naturally regenerate severed body parts, even limbs and organs don’t count as irreplaceable under most circumstances.
Patterning and Making magic can improve a sympathetic connection beyond its normal rating. Artificially inflated connections linger as long as other aftereffects of the spell that made them would, and might be indefinite as a result of Making magic. An augmented connection that degrades from involuntary use or other effects won’t regenerate above its natural level, however.
Unraveling and Unmaking can similarly weaken or destroy an existing sympathetic link. Such sympathies only restore themselves naturally; a mage can instantly regain a “Described” connection with anyone they can think of and remember, but must meet that person again to develop an “Encountered” connection, and so on.
- Sympathy Degradation: Sympathetic connections weaken one step each time they’re tapped against the will of at least one endpoint, usually by a spell whose resistance a target doesn’t opt to forgo. Direct connections between people based on familiarity regenerate by one step each day those connections go untouched by magic of at least covert aspect, whether resisted or not. Connections between people and inanimate sympathetic links only regenerate in this way if their endpoints wish them to, so material vectors for sympathetic attack tend to be disposable.
Ritual Perfecting spells whose net successes at least equal a connection’s total current distance (as measured in sympathy factors required to bridge it) can restore degraded connections to their natural value. Since connections immediately degrade following uninvited use, this won’t completely repair connections to unwilling targets. Sympathies transformed by Patterning or created by Making start fresh and undamaged regardless of their old status, but similarly and immediately degrade one step if their endpoints didn’t want them in the first place. Making spells can prevent degradation from occurring at all while those spells are sustained, but once they cease to be sustained will cause one step of degradation just as any uninvited spell would.
- Sympathetic Casting: Space magic functions normally on within the caster’s sensory range, and no special effort or preparation is required for a mage to teleport to a somewhere they can see, immobilize someone they’re touching, or otherwise affect their surroundings.
Mages can use Space magic to project their actions or other spells at sympathetic distance, affecting targets beyond line of sight. Affecting a distant target always requires sympathy factors, and always creates a two-way, reciprocal link; in any turn that the caster can perceive and affect the target, the target can perceive and affect the caster as though within arm’s reach. The link created by covert spells is only perceptible and therefore usable by characters who can perceive Space magic at work, or who have some power appropriate to the magic being used at long range; for instance, a telepathic vampire might be able to strike back against covert mind-reading or emotional influence. Vulgar spells cast at sympathetic range always render the caster obvious and directly accessible to the target, able to be seen or even touched from some abstruse direction.
- Knowing and Signifying: Space 1 can examine sympathetic connections themselves to infer purely spatial information about distant targets, such as how far away those targets are or if those targets are shielded against scrying. The weaker a sympathetic connection is, the more difficult it becomes to learn spatial information about its endpoint.
Knowing spells compare scrutiny successes to a connection’s sympathetic distance; successes at least equal to the distance yield general information, while successes at least double the distance produce precise or detailed data. Covert or vulgar Signifying spells apply Potency in place of scrutiny successes to the same end. Investigating a sympathetic connection itself requires only that the mage have access to either endpoint; the caster doesn’t need to know either endpoint’s name.
- Ruling: Conjunctional use of Space 2 sends information along sympathetic conduits and allows purely sensory or communicative spells to affect targets at sympathetic range. The caster and subject can’t affect each other’s minds or bodies, but can make themselves and their surroundings seen, heard, and understood.
- Weaving: Conjunctional use of Space 3 compresses distance and allows the caster to affect far targets, but not move anything between their location and that of the target, as long as an unobstructed path between themselves and their target exists. Spontaneous spells can reach hundreds of yards and obviate the need for precision factors; ritual spells can reach any distance, provided a path exists.
- Patterning: Conjunctional use of Space 4 directly attaches one location to another, and allows for full contact with lasting consequences, and might leave either party in either location.
Spells using Ruling, Weaving, or Patterning can directly bridge a sympathetic connection to directly interact with distant targets or alter the sympathies to those target. Such spells don’t need to overcome any sympathetic gap through scrutiny successes or Potency, and instead incorporate one or more sympathy factors, becoming more expensive in Mana to cast. If the caster doesn’t know their target’s name, they treat their sympathetic connection to their target as though it were one step worse. This penalty only applies if the target is a sentient being with the capacity to know its own name; an anonymous person or dog is harder to sympathetically affect than an anonymous ant or gravestone.
- Knowing and Signifying: Space 1 can examine sympathetic connections themselves to infer purely spatial information about distant targets, such as how far away those targets are or if those targets are shielded against scrying. The weaker a sympathetic connection is, the more difficult it becomes to learn spatial information about its endpoint.
Aftereffects: The most common consequence of Space magic is the long-term reconfiguration of sympathetic connections. Space can also leave subjects suffering frequent vertigo, grappling with a muddled sense of direction, or, of course, stranded on the wrong side of the planet. Portals, extradimensional spaces, infinite loops, and other impossible topologies can only exist through sustained magic, but objects or places that have been moved, torn to pieces, or banished completely from reality stay in whatever state Space left them in.
Paradox: Mild Space paradoxes generally warp perspective or confuse the inner ear. Stronger ones cause distances to stretch or shrink or doors to open into the wrong rooms, and the worst are inescapable labyrinths or lacerating vortices of fractured space. Space paradoxes appear at both “ends” of a Space spell and so commonly stretch across multiple locations; many mages are careful not to teleport directly home lest they bring whatever calamity they’re fleeing directly into their sanctums.
INITIATE OF SPACE (●)
Initiates become aware of the structure of space and the web of connections undergirding that structure. They can investigate existing sympathies and mark them for other initiates to distinguish. Scrutiny successes or points of Potency that equal the sympathy factors separating a mage from some other target can reveal general spatial information about that target; scrutiny successes or points of Potency equal to twice the sympathetic distance produce precise information. Sensory spells of this level can boost attempts to navigate or orient one’s self.
Knowing Space allows a mage to analyze sympathetic connections – usually either those between things they can see and distant things they’re personally aware of, or between multiple things they can see. It’s possible to observe and attempt to categorize the sympathetic connections radiating from a target in general, but this usually involves sorting through impossibly dense nests of information. Concentrated on a sympathetic connection, Knowing can reveal spatial information about that connection’s endpoint, such as its distance, direction, protection against spatial manipulation, or proximity to a ban or portal. The caster can determine a connection’s strength, integrity, or magical activity, and can discern whether anything in the scene is connected to them or something else they’re connected to. They can also determine the properties of portals, wards, and other spatial phenomena.
Measure Sympathy (Space ●/Sensory/Knowing) Each scrutiny success rolled for this spell allows the caster to determine the strength of the subject’s sympathy to something else in the scene, or to something the caster is familiar with.
Signifying Space inscribes messages that other Space mages can read or causes elements of Space to reveal themselves to all observers. A spell might highlight an object’s symmetry or lack thereof, render the length of a hallway easy to estimate, or delineate the edges of an invisible portal. With sympathy factors, a Signifying spell can reveal spatial information about the far end of a sympathetic connection, such as the distance to its endpoint or the presence of other branching sympathies.
Straightedge (Space ●/Covert/Signifying) This spell draws a perfectly straight line at any angle to the horizontal through space itself, such that even Sleepers can intuitively follow it. It can therefore subtly help to aim projectiles, guide construction projects, or otherwise measure the world.
Unveiling Space reveals the contours of space to the caster’s senses, allowing a mage to perfectly estimate distances, flawlessly orient themselves in any environment, or detect the boundaries of portals, wards, and other spatial phenomena. Unveiling can immediately detect sympathetic links between subjects in sensory range, and can gauge and examine how many strong sympathetic links extend from a subject and if any of those links are behaving strangely.
Sense Displacement (Space ●/Sensory/Unveiling) This spell attunes the caster’s kinesthetic sense to space itself, allowing them to feel exactly when, how far, and how fast they’re moving. Mages with sharp memories can perfectly gauge their absolute positions relative to their last known location.
APPRENTICE OF SPACE (●●)
Apprentices can awaken sympathetic connections, causing them to actively transmit or withhold information. They can affect how trajectories and placements relate to each other, boosting or hindering actions relying on aim, kinesthetic sense, or positioning.
Perfecting Space strengthens the correspondence between sympathy and physical position. It ensures that places and trajectories align with the intents of the agents creating them, allowing beneficiaries to hit small targets, stick difficult landings, or otherwise place themselves and their effects exactly where they want to be. Perfecting Space can also toughen sympathies and locational coordinates against supernatural warping or damage, opposing teleportation or violent spatial disruption. Perfecting Space can also ritually regenerate damaged sympathetic links between willing targets.
Perfect Aim (Space ●●/Covert/Perfecting) This spell boosts the beneficiary’s aim with projectiles of any sort. Anything thrown, launched, or fired by the beneficiary of this spell unerringly hits its target so long as the shot attempted is feasible at all.
Ruling Space bids spatial relationships to assert or solidify themselves. It can set directions or measurements that would otherwise be arbitrary or in doubt, deciding where a spinning needle stops, what pattern automatic fire makes on an opposite wall, or how a drawing comes together. It spurs sympathy to act, carrying information in either direction. A mage can tap connections they have access to for concrete information about their endpoints, or with sympathy factors directly look in on or communicate with distant targets. Rulings can also activate existing spatial phenomena, opening dormant portals or closing active scrying windows.
Scrying (Space ●●/Covert/Ruling, Unveiling) This spell allows the caster to watch and listen to a target from afar. Area factors determine how much of the target’s surroundings can be perceived and how far from the subject the caster can place their vantage point; with no area factors, only a zone about an arm’s length around the target can be observed. While the spell is sustained, the caster can observe the target and shift their perspective within the allowed area. At sensory range, Scrying allows a mage to observe surrounding things from any angle, but the spell is usually cast with sympathy factors to spy on distant targets.
Veiling Space blocks or falsifies the information that sympathetic connections would carry, or sabotages attempts to measure space itself. Veiling spells commonly ward against scrying, but can also fool compasses, skew measurements, and distort perspective in confusing ways.
Veil of Privacy (Space ●●/Covert/Veiling) Commonly stretched over an area and anchored in an inscription, this spell blocks attempts to scry on its targets. An advanced version using Fraying also stops teleportation, sympathetic casting, or other long-range interaction.
DISCIPLE OF SPACE (●●●)
Disciples can bend and twist the fabric of the world, altering how things move through space or how space supports the things within it. Spells can boost or hinder a variety of actions related to locomotion and can potentially attack or control targets, or deal bashing damage directly. They can allow for tangible interaction between distant locations, even at sympathetic range, but don’t allow for actual travel between those locations unless they’re in sensory range of each other and connected by an unobstructed path.
Fraying Space disorders sympathetic connections, blocking the effects of sympathetic magic. Frayings can render space itself turbulent and unstable; such magic might interfere with movement, interrupt scrying and teleportation, or directly inflict bashing damage on beings or objects caught in the roil.
Scramble Field (Space ●●●/Vulgar/Fraying) This spell conjures a zone of jumbled space that randomly redirects things passing through it. Someone walking slowly can course-correct enough to navigate the field, but runners and bullets are liable to go flying unpredictably. Without area factors, this spell’s effect only stretches across a window or small doorway.
Weaving Space stretches, folds, and twists sympathetic links, as well as the coordinates and locations those links create. Sympathetic connections can be spliced and looped so as to connect temporarily to additional subjects or deflect effects that travel across them. Space itself can be twisted and folded, changing where paths through space lead and where they cross. Moving objects can be turned or looped back on themselves, distant points can be brought adjacent to each other, and distances can be stretched or compressed by a factor of the acting spell’s potency. Folded or compressed space springs back into shape once the Weaving responsible ceases to be sustained, pulling everything in the point of adjacency back apart and precluding actual sympathetic-range travel, but if the two locations were originally in sensory range of each other and connected by an unobstructed (not necessarily straight) path, objects and people that began in one place can be held onto and dragged to the other.
Apportive Junction (Space ●●●/Vulgar/Weaving) This spell brings a point in sensory range and with a clear path to the caster to within arm’s reach. A mage might use it step across a canyon or throw a punch across a street. Even if only sustained momentarily, the resulting warp still allows a close pursuer a chance to dive through or a distant foe the chance to hit back.
ADEPT OF SPACE (●●●●)
Adepts can reposition subjects directly and sever spaces completely. Such magic can control or attack targets by teleporting them against their wills or trapping them in place, and it can deal lethal damage directly by cutting apart the space targets occupy. It can alter a sympathetic link, strengthening or weakening its default rating by one step spontaneously or to any rating ritually while aftereffects last, but such changes don’t erase the effects of degradation. Conjunctional Patterning spells with enough sympathy factors can project magic at sympathetic range, effectively teleporting spells to distant targets.
Patterning Space transforms one set of sympathies into another. It can turn powerful sympathies into weak ones or trade which of a subject’s extant sympathies attach to which endpoints. By rewriting spatial coordinates directly, Patterning enables instantaneous teleportation of people, objects, or even places. Transported subjects can’t directly share space with other things, but can displace gas or liquid or even trade places with whatever would obstruct their appearance. Patterning and Unraveling together can change which locations connect to which others, joining different places with portals and wormholes. Patternings can also rewrite elements of a subject’s or place’s spatial orientation, such as by changing which way is “down” for a person or which door leads “north” in a room. Patternings aren’t limited to working at sensory range, and can operate or allow other Practices to operate at any distance given enough sympathy factors.
Escape to a True Friend (Space ●●●●/Vulgar/Patterning) This spell teleports the subject, usually the caster, to a person the subject has an intimate sympathetic connection to. Despite its name, the spell works on friends and foes alike, although unwilling targets – whether unwilling to be teleported, or unwilling to be teleported to – can resist the caster’s appearance with Gnosis + Resolve and block the teleportation unless a severe consequence is achieved.
Unraveling Space shreds sympathetic links or cuts locations from each other. Sympathetic links can be subjected to arbitrary amounts of degradation, rendering them unusable until they heal. Spatial disjunctions produce definitionally impassable barriers and can isolate targets or areas completely from the rest of the world, though such prisons can be struggled free from as with other control effects and continue to take up the normal amount of volume. Unraveling can also rip space apart violently, ripping apart people or objects caught within and inflicting direct lethal damage.
Imprison (Space ●●●●/Vulgar/Unraveling) This spell traps the subject in a bubble of isolated space, immobilizing them in an unseen prison whose walls can’t be crossed in either direction.
MASTER OF SPACE (●●●●●)
Masters can create new locations or erase the distinctions between old ones, allowing different people or places to overlap and interact in impossible ways. Master spells can define the lasting, natural values that sympathetic connections naturally regenerate to, even if those values don’t make sense given the chosen endpoints. Magic of this level can directly inflict aggravated damage or inflict a variety of control effects.
Making Space can forge sympathies of any level between any two things, replacing whatever existed before. Makings can render sympathetic connections arbitrarily powerful, granting Intimate status and preventing any degradation while sustained. They can create volume from nothing, laying down new paths between objects or places, arbitrarily increasing sizes or distances or crafting wholly new spaces of the caster’s design. Created spaces can exist extradimensionally, only accessible through portals or teleportation, or they could be folded into existing spaces, making buildings bigger on the inside or pathways infinitely long to those walking them, or they could appear directly into the world, pushing aside and apart whatever was there before. A spell’s ability to displace existing space is determined by area factors, but the dimensions of created space as perceived by those within that space are arbitrary and unlimited. Freshly-minted space usually takes on background qualities such as atmosphere and temperature from the caster’s surroundings, but can also manifest as totally neutral void allowing for breath and communication but containing no true substance or gravity. Making can also apportion additional space to an existing target, increasing the capacities and dimensions of an existing place, multiplying a subject across many places, or increasing a subject’s size outright. Characters so expanded don’t become tougher or stronger, but become able to act on their environments on a much wider scale.
Manifold Presence (Space ●●●●●/Vulgar/Making) The caster projects themselves across several spaces, whether near or sympathetically distant. They decide which instances of themselves are solid in any turn and which others are insubstantial observers; only solid instances can cast spells at sensory range, and when the spell ends one solid instance becomes the real mage. Projections of the mage don’t have to mirror each other’s actions exactly, but always act in synchronicity to single, coherent ends.
Unmaking Space can obliterate sympathy, rendering a connection impossible for a spell’s duration and leaving it to regrow from scratch in the spell’s wake. It can erase the distance between objects and places, collapsing them into the same space. Such co-locations always affect at least two objects or areas and thus always require target factors; they might stably “stack” objects such that any or all can be interacted with at once, or it might cause Patterns to collide destructively and annihilate each other with direct aggravated damage. Unmaking can prevent targets from taking up as much space as they should or from taking up any space at all; this might allow for a room to be bigger on the inside than the outside, for a building to be trapped in a bottle, or for a geographic feature to vanish into a pocket realm – or vanish all together – while its previously surrounding terrain simply seals closed in its place. Such effects can cause subjects to temporarily vanish, or they can cause direct aggravated damage resisted by Resolve which vanishes at the end of the scene but forever erases the victim from space if it kills them. In combination with Making, Unmaking can produce truly bizarre geometries with features normally present only in highly theoretical mathematics.
Dimensional Axis (Space ●●●●●/Vulgar/Unmaking) The caster overlaps one or more locations non-destructively, folding places together such that raw will and intention decide which if any are solid to a present character. This might allow one door to reach any of a building’s rooms or one space on a shelf to hold a library’s worth of books.