The Act of Hubris
All who wield magic have power, but travelers on the Path of the Mighty wield power itself. It’s not that might makes right for the Obrimos, but that the two concepts are indistinguishable.
THE PRIME ARCANUM
Purview: abstraction, distinction, illusion, incarnation, language, metamagic, mana, patterns, resonance, symbols, uniqueness
Overview: Prime, the subtle Arcanum of the Aether, holds dominion over abstract significance. Prime illuminates and sanctifies, bringing intelligible disparity to otherwise meaningless chaos; it divides this from that, self from other, and is from isn’t. Mana itself is emblematic of the bridge Prime builds between the figurative and the literal: it’s both abstract authority and tangible substance, the potential to shape reality and the substrate of all existing Patterns. Everything that exists has a characteristic resonance, and the formalized ritual magic practiced by Sleepers and supernatural creatures both draws ultimately on the capacity of words, objects, and places to have meaning beyond bare existence. Hallows and ley lines channel and impose abstract resonance qualities upon the fallen world, and the spells of the Awakened even more directly manifest imagined ideals within prosaic reality.
Prime magic works by evoking and manifesting resonance. It can act on the meanings of words, the demeanors of people, or the characters of places, revealing, obscuring, or enforcing abstract notions such as allusion, truth, or holiness. Such effects are subdued on natural creatures and phenomena, but pronounced on subjects with inborn supernatural significance, so Prime spells might stir places of power, abjure ephemeral beings, or manipulate other spells. By acting directly on Mana, Prime can reify ideas into perceptible phantasms and solid constructs, translate subjects into intangible thoughtforms, or rip Patterns completely apart. Anything with a Pattern is subject to enchantment or obliteration by Prime; this includes objects, people, spirits, and spells, but not complete intangibles like ideas or organizations. Altering a Pattern’s underlying reality isn’t the same as altering its physical properties, and without conjunctional use of other Arcana, Prime can’t simulate, produce or transfigure specific forms of matter, energy, or ephemera directly.
Prime magic can empower symbols and resonance qualities to influence mundane phenomena like the Signifying and Ruling spells of other Arcana do, imparting agency and direction to otherwise aimless or random events. This creates subtly otherworldly effects like those characterizing Hallows and Demesnes. Subjects don’t gain new capabilities but do exercise their existing capabilities in line with the abstract ideal that Prime lays out; a cold and gloomy place might cause flames to gutter and moods to darken, but wouldn’t blot out the sun or render happiness impossible. Such magic is general in effect, affecting all of a subject’s qualities unless targeted precisely through other Arcana, so without Forces an air of gloom can’t be made to affect a place’s lighting but not its emotional aura.
Prime can more directly alter the behavior of symbols themselves, changing how words, letters, or other signifiers communicate underlying meanings. This doesn’t change the physical sound or look of the medium but the idea that medium carries, causing the interpreter – whether human, machine, or otherworldly force – to understand and react better or differently. This allows for the translation, obfuscation, or redirection of almost any communication whose medium is apparent to the caster. Prime magic is effective on any media that are internally consistent and translateable by some systematic means, whether artificial, natural, commonly used, or entirely dead; a Prime spell can translate Morse Code as easily as ancient Egyptian, and interpret colloqialism and subtext as easily as formal or literal meaning. However, while Prime magic can translate, it can’t directly teach a beneficiary or grant them understanding based on prior experience; obscure references, private euphemisms, and in-jokes are beyond simple translation. A Prime spell could bypass a consistent substitution cipher, but not determine what “the eagle has landed” means to the spy that’s hearing it, or even reveal to a particularly ignorant mage what an eagle actually is.
Prime’s most straightforward effects are on subjects already magical. Natively magical places such as Hallows, loci, or even paradox zones can be bidden to manifest or direct their unique resonances. Supernatural spells, rituals, and invocations, whether fallen or Awakened, can be bolstered or warped insofar as they rely on ceremony and symbolism rather than inborn power. Prime can’t affect a Sleeper’s psychic powers or a vampire’s Disciplines, but has full purchase on thaumaturgy, blood sorcery, spirit rites, and other formalized magic. Creatures of incarnate ideal, such as spirits, demons, or other ephemeral beings, can’t be controlled or transformed directly but can be fueled, empowered, starved, or abjured by Prime spells that cause creatures, objects, or places to correspond better or worse to the resonance of the being in question. Natively magical places such as Hallows, loci, or even paradox zones can be bidden to manifest or direct their unique resonances.
On its own, Prime can produce abstract forms with volume and legibility but no chemical, energetic, or spiritual properties and no ability to outlast the spells that conjured them. Prime constructs and materialized Mana take on a vibrant, radiant aspect that emphasizes their resonance qualities and sets them clearly apart from their material environments; they burn without heat and glow without casting illumination. Such constructs need other Arcana, normally Forces, Life, or Matter, to lend them tangibility or other physical properties.
Prime can affect magic directly, but not necessarily the outcomes of magic. A subject shielded from magic by Prime can’t be directly transmogrified or decayed, but is no harder to strike with lightning or imprison in stone. Protecting against the latter kind of spell requires not shielding the target but foiling the caster.
Aspects: Sensory Prime magic can detect and decipher resonance, meaning, and symbolism, allowing for the rapid apprehension of a subject’s unique signature or the translation of most language. Prime is often used to analyze magic and mages, revealing the properties of scrutinized spells and nimbuses. It can investigate the underlying realness of Patterns in general to spot illusions or magical tampering.
Covert Prime spells alter the flow of resonance and meaning to create subtle but tangible changes in the world. Otherwise arbitrary or random events unfold so as to reflect the feelings and ideas underlying them, whether in the patterns of falling raindrops or the shifts in bystanders’ moods. Covert Prime can change how symbols and messages are perceived and understood in subconsious ways; a subject might intuit the meaning of a phrase in an unknown language but not receive a word for word translation. Covert spells can powerfully affect ephemeral beings by altering the significance of those beings’ environments, even to the extent of fueling powers or inflicting damage. Covert spells can affect other spells in ways invisible except to mages, whether in constructive or destructive ways.
Vulgar Prime magic manifests meaning as a tangible force. The caster’s nimbus manifests resonance in a direct and obvious way, overlaying the numinous image and sensation of what the world could or should be onto the base fact of what is. Symbols and messages become totally clear or flatly meaningless regardless of their contingent forms. Physical beings or objects whose underlying Mana is attacked burn or dissolve into undifferentiated glow, Platonic solids solidify out of raw Mana, and enchantments or counterspells blaze with arcane power.
Mechanics: Prime spells that manipulate the spells, Mana, or other magical properties of unwilling targets are resisted by Resolve plus Gnosis. Resolve plus Gnosis also resists Prime magic that influences comprehension, communication, or behavior through meaning or resonance manipulation. Spells that dissolve Patterns to inflict direct damage contest Stamina plus Gnosis. Physical attacks launched by Mana constructs or materialized supernatural energies are avoided by Defense.
Prime spells can boost rolls to notice or resist magic, and can boost or hinder physical actions by conjuring tools, obstacles, or servants. They can boost or hinder attempts at communication, translation, or subterfuge by clarifying or obscuring meanings. They can inflict direct damage of any kind on any targets perceptible and tangible to the caster. Prime magic can temporarily mundane repair wounds or structural damage, and lastingly repair injury of the esoteric sort that Prime itself inflicts. The severe consequences of Prime spells can trap subjects in prisons of solidified Mana or cause them to temporarily cease to exist.
Unraveling Prime attacks can be granted damage factors which reap Mana from Resistant lethal or aggravated damage dealt. These only function on living beings, including spirits, vampires, and other supernatural creatures with appetites and states of health. Used on animals, such magic doesn’t need damage factors and only takes special effect on a killing blow; it merely eliminates the need for ceremony during the blood sacrifice all mages can perform. Humans and supernatural creatures only yield Mana when they mark lethal or aggravated wounds in health boxes containing bashing or nothing at all, and if killed by such magic yield further Mana as though ceremonially sacrificed on the spot.
Notional Twilight: When suffusing a nimbus, Hallow, or piece of Tass, Mana is more a property than a substance. When manipulated by Prime magic, however, Mana can be drawn forth from its various containers and moved or held in space. In these cases, it occupies a kind of Twilight, insubstantial to everything and perceptible only to beings with Mage Sight. Signifying Prime can cause such free-floating Mana to manifest, remaining intangible but becoming apparent to mundane senses. Weaving Prime can move and shape free-floating Mana as the caster wills, and the Practices (usually Weaving) of other Arcana can imbue that Mana with physical properties; for instance, Weaving Matter could lend a Prime construct the weight and durability of the pavement underfoot, or Weaving Forces could enchant a Prime construct such that it reverses and repels incoming kinetic motion.
Patterning Prime can dematerialize physical Patterns such that they take on the aspect of raw Mana, becoming pure, intangible information. To beings in this state, ley lines represent rapidly-flowing rivers or endlessly-spooling conveyor lines to beings in the notional Twilight, and allow willing travelers to warp ‘downstream’ at the speed of electrical current or to flow ‘upstream’ at their normal walking or running rate, ignoring intervening Twilight terrain in either direction. However, outside of Hallows and Demesnes, beings in notional Twilight have a vague and abstracted perception of the world; anything not suffused in Mana or specially ritually prepared isn’t so much as seen as roughly described, consisting of at most one adjective and one noun (“small cat”, “rusty car”). The only exceptions are symbols themselves; writing, spoken language, and other Prime-related signifiers are perceived with perfect clarity.
Vulgar interactions between supernal Twilight and other states of being are always reciprocal. A character fully translated into raw meaning can’t affect the world, either physically or magically, any more than the world could affect them. A character in one state of being able to affect the other is always able to be affected in the same way for at least a turn, so for instance an enchanted sword swung to strike an incorporeal tulpa enables that tulpa to strike back at the sword’s wielder.
- Effects On Mundane Environments: Covert Prime spells that manifest resonance produce effects within the scope of Signifying magic of the other Arcana, altering the appearance and tenor of subject phenomena. Unlike normal Signifying spells, such effects aren’t limited to emphasizing the presence of specific Arcanum purviews or communicating things about the caster, and can instead conspire to reveal, fabricate, or obscure almost any kind of abstract vibe or nature. Such effects can directly boost or hinder attempts at communication, investigation, or perception, and can provide mundane Edges to mental or social actions that benefit from the magically-created context.
Vulgar Prime spells that manifest resonance can produce effects within the scope of covert Ruling magic of the other Arcana, but with vulgar Potency and Tenacity. Subjects can’t be made to blatantly act under their own power, but can be rendered particularly helpful, recalcitrant, or otherwise appropriately aspected to the resonance in play. Once cast, such magic can be reduced to covert Potency in order to hide its effects from Disbelief. Vulgarly empowered resonance can influence Mental or Social rolls or, with severe consequences, even directly compel behavior, but only up to a point: 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. An air of quiet contemplation makes it harder to start a fight, but not to defend against an attempt on one’s life.
- Ephemeral Beings: Prime spells can fuel the powers of ephemeral beings and turn otherwise harmless things into those beings’ Banes. Otherwise, Prime magic has no special ability to boost an ephemeral creature’s actions, grant that creature powers, or control that creature’s behavior; it’s a demon’s own decision whether to venture onto ground that a Prime mage has sanctified and so be burned. Prime magic grants no inherent ability to perceive or interact with ephemeral beings, but also doesn’t need to, as supernally-empowered resonance signatures are perceptible to beings they might potentially affect regardless of the state of Twilight those beings inhabit.
- Supernatural Banes: Prime magic can evoke or replicate the unusual effects some substances or circumstances have on supernatural beings due to metaphysical or symbolic properties. For instance, a Prime spell might leverage a vampire’s vulnerability to sunlight or a spirit’s aversion to its Bane. To render something baneful or benign, a mage must be able to actually target it with a spell, so while a specific shaft of light might be made more or less harmful to a vampire, the global fact of it being daytime is largely beyond a single mage’s reach.
Weaving Prime can extend the powers of a bane the caster already has on hand to other elements of the scene, such as a weapon, patch of ground, or other spell. This requires that the actual bane either be within the caster’s immediate reach or be included in the spell’s targets via area or target factors. If Weaving is used to lash out directly with the bane’s power, the spell’s Potency is contested as usual by Defense, Stamina plus Gnosis, or Resistance plus Rank to determine damage.
Patterning Prime can transform something’s metaphysical properties so that it counts as a specific entity’s bane, even if the actual bane isn’t at hand, as long as the caster knows what the bane should be. Making Prime can classify something as the bane of a partiular being or even a broad class of entities by fiat alone. This varies in difficulty based on the rarity and specificity of the bane involved.
Spells that consecrate banes don’t formally target the entities whose vulnerabilities are being evoked. Instead, an entity contests the Tenacity of a spell that evokes its bane the first time in a scene it would be harmed or repelled.
- If the target is averse to some generic substance that can be straightforwardly produced by other Arcana (such as silver, salt, or blood), the Prime-replicated bane is always effective.
- If the bane requires specific circumstances or a particular relationship to the target (such as the blood of one of a spirit’s kills, or salt blessed by certain rituals), the spell’s Tenacity has to achieve at least a normal consequence over the victim’s Resolve or Resistance.
- If the bane is metaphysically unique or highly esoteric (such as one snowflake from the pinnacle of a particular mountain or a metal forged from a spirit’s own Essence and a variety of other arcane reagants), the Prime spell’s Tenacity needs to achieve a severe consequence against the Resolve or Resistance of the victim.
Unraveling Prime can cancel the specific effect a bane known to the caster would have on a target, and Unmaking Prime can strip a target substance or object of baneful properties in general. The beneficiary of such magic generally doesn’t attempt to resist it, but only benefits if the Tenacity of the magic at least matches their Rank, Blood Potency, or equivalent trait.
- If the target is averse to some generic substance that can be straightforwardly produced by other Arcana (such as silver, salt, or blood), the Prime-replicated bane is always effective.
- Fueling Prime Constructs: By default, Prime spells spin objects or phenomena from raw Mana use Mana from the caster’s personal Mana pool. These Mana points aren’t spent by the caster and so aren’t affected by the Gnosis-based limit on Mana spent per turn; they’re simply removed from the caster’s nimbus as part of a spell’s effect. Hallows always provide one free point of Mana for this purpose, and Pattern scouring, Tass, Mana-producing artifacts, or other mages might also contribute.
One Mana point is sufficient to produce a coherent object the size of a person or a generalized environmental effect the size of a passenger car. Spells with many area, size, or target factors often need multiple points of Mana over and above their casting costs to substantiate themselves. A mage can draw on scraps of their nimbus to fuel an effect without losing any points of Mana, but this can’t produce more than a double handful of material.
If a mage dismisses a Prime construct or Mana-fueled spell effect on their turn, they can reclaim any Mana that came from their personal pool and that they haven’t replaced with Mana from some other source. Phenomena, substances or objects created out of Mana through Patterning vanish totally when reclaimed. Constructs drawn from Tass can be woven back into Tass with an appropriate spell.
- UnAwakened Magic: When Prime magic is used against already-cast blood sorcery, thaumaturgy, or other unAwakened magic, the Prime spell’s Potency is compared against both the rolled successes, Potency, or equivalent property of the target magic and against a Resolve + Gnosis roll made for the magic’s caster. Only if the Prime spell overcomes both can it successfully dispel, transform, or otherwise alter the existing magic.
When Prime magic is used to pre-empt or defend against unAwakened sorcery, such as to counter a ritual in the course of being cast, the Prime spell’s Tenacity is compared against whatever successes are rolled for the magic being blocked. Prime magic might also boost (or, through Shaping, replace) rolled attempts to contest such magic, as it can against supernal attack.
When Prime magic bolsters or strengthens the magic of other supernatural beings, it might either fuel that magic as it does the powers of ephemeral creatures, or enhance that magic’s ability to overcome resistance. The higher of the magic’s rating as a game trait and the Gnosis-equivalent trait of the magic’s caster is used in place of an ephemeral being’s Rank in the former case, and the bolstering Prime spell needs to achieve a normal or severe (as appropriate to the effect being inflicted) consequence over a separate resistance roll made by the victim in the latter case. Any Willpower expenditures or other enhancements used by the victim to resist the augmented power applies separately to resistance against the Prime spell.
Metamagic: To totally control, dispel, redirect, or transform another spell, a Prime spell must match that spell’s area, size, and target factors. Insufficient factors mean that only a portion of the target spell is affected. To augment another spell, a Prime spell must match all that spell’s factors; insufficient area, size, precision, or target factors mean only a portion is enhanced, but insufficient damage or sympathy factors render the augmentation impossible.
Generally, applications of metamagic need to overcome either the Tenacity of the target spell or the Resolve of the target spell’s caster to take effect. The caster of a spell being manipulated can choose not to resist and therefore waive this requirement, but can’t prevent Prime-based metamagic from needing appropriate spell factors.
- Augmentation and Sustenance (Perfecting or Making): An augmented spell uses the Potency and Tenacity of the Prime spell enhancing it rather than its own, if the Prime spell’s ratings are better. Mages who don’t want their spells to be augmented resist with Resolve, and any other victims of the augmented spell can use the better of the Resolve roll or their own resistance. A Making Prime spell can grant its beneficiary the better of its factors and the beneficiary’s own. A spell that’s already healed damage, drained resources, or otherwise expended a one-time effect can attempt to do so again with the Potency of a spell that’s augmenting it, and again each time the augmenting spell is Shaped.
A Perfecting Prime spell can prolong another target spell’s duration, preventing that spell from lapsing if its caster is unable to sustain it. The caster of the Prime spell effectively sustains it themselves, devoting their own Gnosis to cover the greater of the Prime spell’s and beneficiary spell’s costs. So, a covert rote can freely sustain another single covert rote, but occupies a dot of the caster’s Gnosis when sustaining a vulgar rote. A single Making spell can sustain any or all spells on its target at once, but still requires the Making’s caster to devote the appropriate fraction of their Gnosis to the task.
- Countermagic (Fraying, Unraveling, or Unmaking): A counterspell uses its Tenacity to contest the Potency of another spell. Someone resisting a partially-countered spell can use the better of the counterspell’s Tenacity or their own successes, but doesn’t otherwise enjoy a boost. A mage must cast a new counterspell for each spell they wish to counter, paying the counterspell’s costs and possibly Shaping it after the target spell has been paid for, cast, and Shaped. A counterspell is instantaneous, and the caster of a countered spell can’t attempt to Shape their spell in response. A spell that’s completely countered fails to take any effect, but still causes paradox unless it was countered with the Practice of Unmaking.
A mage can protect themselves with counterspells reflexively, and can devote their instant action to also protect some other target. Spells countered this way are only partially blocked, and can still affect targets or areas that weren’t specifically being defended. It’s possible but costly to defend a wide area or multiple targets; the mage needs appropriate area or target factors to cover every beneficiary, but only needs to pay Mana to add those factors to one counterspell each round.
A mage can also use counterspells offensively, focusing on another spellcaster in an attempt to foil any spells they cast. This requires that the mage devote their instant action to studying the target, and allows the mage a chance to completely negate any spell the target casts. Multiple targets can be opposed in this way, but it requires target factors just as defending multiple targets does.
- Control (Ruling or Patterning): A Prime spell that causes a severe consequence against another mage’s Resolve can seize control of one of the spells that mage is sustaining. A Ruling spell allows the Prime mage to direct the spell’s effects as though they were sustaining it, but not to reduce, dismiss, or otherwise change it, and doesn’t prevent the original caster from controlling it on their own turn. A Patterning can steal a spell completely, anchoring it in the Prime user’s nimbus. The mage who stole the spell sustains it from them on they must devote their own Gnosis to the spell, but can control, dismiss, or even Shape it exactly as if they had cast it, even if they lack the Arcana required to produce it.
- Dispellation (Fraying, Unraveling or Unmaking): If a dispellation’s Potency exceeds a subject spell’s Tenacity, the subject spell ceases to take effect. Frayings suppress spells temporarily, forcing them into inactivity until the Fraying spell ceases to be sustained or until the suppressed spell’s Potency rises above the Fraying’s Tenacity. Unravelings and Unmakings cause spells to end outright. Dispellations that use Fraying or Unraveling must target spells individually, while dispellations using Unmaking can dispel any or all spells on the same target or area, as the caster sees fit. A sustained dispellation on a target contests attempts to recast the dispelled spell or spells on that target.
- Redirection (Weaving or Patterning): A Weaving Prime spell can turn or even reflect a cast spell. This uses the same timing and targeting rules as countermagic, but is resisted by the target caster’s Resolve rather than the Potency of the turned spell. A normal consequence provides a defensive boost against the turned spell, while a severe consequence prevents the turned spell from functioning normally at all, and means that the Prime mage must use their next appropriate action to deploy the turned spell themselves, as if they had cast it. In the Prime mage’s hands, the turned spell has only its normal Potency, but can be Shaped by the Prime mage for the normal cost in Mana. A spell redirected with Weaving is still sustained by its original caster, who can control it normally at the start of their next turn. A spell redirected with Patterning can be reappropriated simultaneously.
- Shielding (Fraying, Unraveling, or Unmaking): A Prime spell can buffer a subject’s Pattern against enchantment, boosting resistance against immediate magical alteration. This doesn’t stop indirect effects; someone shielded against magic is harder to transform or disintegrate, but not harder to strike with lightning or encase in stone. Generally a Prime spell shields a particular part of someone’s Pattern, such as their mind, their soul, or their physical person.
- Transformation (Weaving or Patterning): A Prime spell can reformat an existing spell, effectively dispelling it and replacing it with a new one of the mage’s design. This requires net successes over the spell’s Tenacity equal to its caster’s Resolve. Insufficient area, size, or target factors might only shift part of the spell, and insufficient damage or sympathy factors render the transformation impossible. Weaving can reshape a spell’s area of effect, transfer a spell’s effect to a new target, change the specifics of an effect’s deployment, or trade factors between area, size, and targets; Patterning can reshape an existing spell into any spell the Prime mage can cast as long as that spell’s total Mana cost isn’t greater than that of the spell being transformed.
Aftereffects: Prime spells can alter the resonance qualities of objects and places, although subjects will eventually acquire resonances appropriate to their natures and experiences. They can alter the tenor or vibe of letters, symbols, or other repositories of information, although altering the literal form and content of a book or compact disc involves other Arcana. Prime can increase the flexibility with which spells are imbued into their subjects, allowing for items that release spells or grant powers rather than straightforwardly manifesting predetermined qualities. Prime rituals can shift or sever ley lines and create or destroy Hallows, but such workings decay rapidly unless the local geomancy is altered to support them. Usually, such effort is represented by a purchase of the Hallow merit. Prime alone can’t undo the aftereffects of other magic short of destroying their subjects entirely, since Arcanum aftereffects aren’t themselves supernal.
Paradox: Prime paradoxes are the most likely to interfere actively with magic, and might recolor, counter, amplify, or redirect spells cast within their areas. They might also warp or scramble attempts at communication within their boundaries, overlaying messages with strange implications or altering meaning directly. The resonance of things in a Prime paradox can mutate in ways subtle or obvious, rendering the area holy, profane, or anything in between regardless of true significance. In violent paradoxes, constructs of pure Mana might manifest from thin air or Patterns might be destroyed outright as they’re overloaded or deconstructed totally.
INITIATE OF PRIME (●)
Initiates can observe and reveal meaning and magic. Sensory Prime spells can boost rolls made to notice magic or symbolism, or allow mages to investigate the properties of supernal or ceremonial phenomena. They can also investigate resonance directly, allowing mages to determine a subject’s first resonance quality with the speed and certainty afforded by a Knowing spell rather than at the pace of normal scrutiny. With enough scrutiny successes, initiates can glean the contents of encrypted communications; the Attribute rating abstracting a code’s complexity is decided by the Storyteller. Covert and vulgar spells can boost attempts to communicate or interpret, or provide Edges on some social actions.
Knowing Prime analyzes symbols and resonance signatures. It allows the caster to immediately intuit the content and meaning of any communication they concentrate on, whether spoken or written, though encrypted information might require deep scrutiny. It can immediately apprehend the unique resonance signature of a subject Pattern, and deliver precise information as to that subject’s abstract or supernatural character. Scrutiny successes at least equal to the Finesse or equivalent trait of a supernatural being can hint at the creature’s Bane. Knowing magic can measure the functions and properties of magic, whether Awakened or fallen, as well as of artifacts, runic inscriptions, Hallows, Demesnes, and other supernal subjects. Knowing Prime allows the caster to take the measure of another mage, learning the character of a subject’s nimbus, gauging the current size of a subject’s Mana pool, or marking the subtleties of a subject’s spellcasting.
Cherub’s Ear (Prime ●/Sensory/Knowing) By listening and concentrsting on a stream of spoken language, a mage using this spell can intuit that language’s precise meaning. This spell clarifies inherent subtext and idiomatic expression, but doesn’t break references, ciphers or innuendos with special meaning apparent only to specific listeners. Translating more than one stream at a time requires target factors.
Signifying Prime reveals the symbolism and magic and ensures that the casting mage is understood. It can subtly or obviously highlight the presence of meaning, making onlookers recognize that sounds or markings constitute communication rather than random noise. It can limn subjects with ineffable psychic impressions or tangible auras indicating inherent resonance and the presence of magic. Signifying can similarly render speech or writing comprehensible regardless of language or circumstance, allowing for an intuitive understanding that works through no discernible earthly mechanism and so threatens Disbelief when affording too much clarity. Signifying can also directly highlight Mana or other supernal phenomena, manifesting a mage’s nimbus or Hallow’s resonance signature in ways apparent to physical senses.
Nimbus Flare (Prime ●/Vulgar/Signifying) This spell reveals the subject’s nimbus, limning a target mage in a halo of power. This display allows viewers to recognize the mage as a supernatural being and to note the distinctive features of the mage’s vulgar spells, potentially confirming or nullifying their perceived responsibility for some work of magic or providing an Edge on rolls to impress or terrify.
Unveiling Prime detects meaning’s presence and general character. It can tell whether a sound, object, or shape constitutes a symbol or message and hint at the general kind, letting a mage intuit that they’re looking at a greeting or hearing a set of directions. It can detect things set apart from their surroundings by particularly distinctive or powerful resonance, highlighting ley lines, ritual spaces, or other magical phenomena. It can answer broad, binary questions about auras and other numinous signifiers, telling immediately whether a subject is mundane or enchanted, Sleeper or Awakened. Unveiling Prime provides unparalleled perception of Mana and other elements of Awakened magic, allowing the user to detect mages, Tass, or other repositories of Mana, tell at once which Arcana a spell employs, or instantly apprehend the resonance signature of an artifact, Hallow, or active nimbus.
Sense Leylines (Prime ●/Sensory/Unveiling) This spell allows the caster to see and therefore scrutinize leylines and the junctions and Hallows they sometimes lead to. Investigation can reveal the resonance qualities of upstream locations and the location or use of distant Hallows.
APPRENTICE OF PRIME (●●)
Apprentices can activate magic and control resonance. They can activate and empower existing resonance, creating Signifying effects through covert magic or Ruling effects through vulgar magic, albeit with Potency and Tenacity appropriate to the Prime spell. They can fuel or inhibit the powers of ephemeral beings or other magic users, whether supernal or otherwise, given the appropriate resonance. They can boost or hinder attempts at communication, and with severe consequences totally usurp or foil attempts to share information. They can apply Potency in place of scrutiny successes for the purpose of detecting resonance signatures on scrutinized subjects. They can trigger imbued items or artifacts, though they need Potency at least equal to the rating of a target artifact, must pay any Mana costs themselves, and must overcome the Resolve of an item’s bearer who resists. They can temporarily command the spells of other mages. They can boost resistance against magic and contest attempts by others to analyze resonance or magic. They can fortify spells against dispellation or suppression, and sustain Tass outside the bounds of a Hallow. They can sustain rituals and inscriptions that would otherwise end, but need Tenacity equal to that of the beneficiary and must devote the appropriate kind of action each turn – instant to prolong a ritual, and minor to reinforce runes. Prime Rituals can add false resonance qualities to subjects or inure subjects against long-term magical degradation.
Perfecting Prime empowers and fortifies resonance. It can sharpen symbols or messages, ensuring their transmission despite adverse circumstances or improving their memorability and clarity. It can fuel or oppose the powers and influences of ephemeral beings by emphasizing appropriate environmental resonance. It can bolster or repair a subject’s metaphysical significance despite wear or damage, ensuring that spoiled reagants or broken circles still serve for ritual magic. Perfecting can’t recharge a sacrament whose power has already been spent, but can prevent an interrupted ritual from faltering or a broken Atlantean inscription from detonating. Perfecting Prime can augment or sustain other supernal spells, protect a mage’s Mana or spellcasting ability from attack, or shield against magic that would disrupt or unravel a subject’s underlying Pattern.
Resonant Flame (Prime ●●/Covert/Perfecting) This spell metaphysically strengthens a fire, allowing it to fuel appropriate rituals and ephemeral beings while hindering magic of the opposite aspect; it might fuel the numina of a fire spirit or protect against a thaumaturgic curse of blindness. This spell works just as well on torches, matches, and lighters, but only lasts so long as its basis isn’t doused or quenched. The enchanted flame benefits or shields whoever bears or wears it; target or area factors determine how many beings can draw on it at once.
Ruling Prime bids abstract meanings to express themselves through the physical world. It can cause conduits of information to serve the caster, changing which meaning or implication of a message seems to be the intended one or controlling to which recipient a message is most apparent. In combination with Signifying or Unveiling, it can bid repositories of information to summarize or explain themselves to the caster or other characters. Similarly, it can summon forth and reveal metaphysical traces that might be lingering on a subject Pattern, allowing a mage to use casting and Shaping in place of lengthy scrutiny when searching for resonance signatures. Ruling Prime can change how resonance behaves, ensuring that a subject’s resonance signature is or isn’t left in that subject’s wake or bypassing the need for scrutiny to summon a known resonance signature forth from a target it may be lingering on. By stirring resonance to action, Ruling can produce effects that evoke a subject’s figurative or mystical nature; covert Rulings might cause snowflakes to land in a perfect grid on a math textbook or shadows to cling to a vampire, while vulgar Rulings might cause prison doors to lock or compel churchgoers to charity. Ruling Prime can command magic itself, directing active spells, triggering artifact powers, or otherwise controlling works of sorcery just as their casters might.
Bleak Aspect (Prime ●●/Covert/Ruling) This spell draws forth the stark and depressing resonance of a landscape, poem, or other element of the scene. It subtly deadens sound, drains color, and darkens thoughts, boosting or hindering efforts at changing the subject’s demeanor and applying Edges or Difficulties to mental or social tasks that would be impacted by the conjured mood. Area and Target factors increase the scope of the effect.
Veiling Prime obscures or falsifies meaning. It can change a message’s apparent character or contents, altering what language people hear or what codes machines record. It can hide the presence or qualities of metaphysical resonance to disguise a subject’s aura, suppress an artifact’s mystical aspect, or falsify one mage’s responsibility for another mage’s spell. In combination with the Veiling of another Arcanum, Veiling Prime can grant a blankPrime construct the outer semblance of something in the conjunctional Arcanum’s purview, creating convincing replicas of mundane or supernatural objects or beings. Ritual Veilings can deepen an existing resonance signature’s obscurity on a subject, create an illusory resonance signature on a subject, or hide or alter a subject’s supernatural signifiers on a lasting basis.
False Fluency (Prime ●●/Covert/Signifying, Veiling) This spell renders a message’s meaning apparent to listeners while making that message appear to be rendered in a language of the caster’s choice. For instance, an English speaker could give English directions to a French listener, who would believe themselves to be understanding those directions thanks to native literacy rather than direct revelation. Casters who don’t ensure that their listeners actually know the faked language risk immediate Disbelief.
DISCIPLE OF PRIME (●●●)
Disciples can move, sculpt or erode magic and resonance. They can render existing communication or resonance unintelligible, and can block a character’s comprehension or communication with a severe consequence over Resolve. They can extend the properties of an existing supernatural bane to other elements of the scene. They can move and shape free-floating Mana, and reify spell effects as otherwise intangible substances or zones of influence; in combination with other Arcana, this can produce Prime constructs with various properties. Disciples can transfer or steal Mana held by mages, Tass, or other repositories of power. Absent resistance, a spell needs no factors to shift one point of Mana per Potency from its target to the mage or something in the mage’s reach; target factors are required to effect transfers between multiple subjects at range. Drawing Mana from unwilling targets requires appropriate damage factors. Disciples can pull Mana potential from Hallows, producing one Mana point per point of potential harvested. They can inflict bashing damage directly or hinder physical actions, and can cause magical direct damage to contest Defense instead. Disciples can suppress or reconfigure standing spells, or counter spells as they’re cast. With Potency in excess of the inscription’s Tenacity, a Disciple can suppress an active Atlantean inscription’s effects. Disciples can also simulate Paradox Intensity: a covert spell can set an area’s minimum Paradox Intensity to 2, while a vulgar spell can generate a Paradox Intensity of 3.
Fraying Prime scrambles meaning. It can render messages and symbols into gibberish, distinct resonance signatures into meaningless static, and coherent spells into useless flares of power. Frayed communications don’t physically change, but become effectively unreadable, seeming garbled and confused unless clarified through intense focus or other magic. Metaphysical resonance signatures are wholly disrupted; scrutiny is rendered useless except to learn the resonance of the disruption itself. Fraying can attack the underlying reality of a physical Pattern, dealing bashing damage and reducing something’s durability in a generalized way; victims of such attack lose color and opacity and might find physical actions or resistance against other mystic attack hindered. Turned on supernatural processes, Fraying Prime can bolster resistance against supernatural banes, counter spells in the process of being cast, interrupt Oblations, and suppress spells and Atlantean inscriptions already in operation. It can disperse concentrations of Mana into the environment, emptying a piece of Tass or a mage’s nimbus such that other Prime magic can collect the loosed power. Turned on the fabric of reality itself, Fraying Prime can render the fallen world turbulent and chaotic, producing artificial Paradox Intensity.
Counterspell (Prime ●●●/Covert/Fraying) This scatters the magic of another, countering a spell before it’s fully cast. Dedicated duelists often learn a vulgar version of this rote.
Weaving Prime sculpts and channels resonance. It can alter the direction form, and behavior of communication, choosing who or what a message actually reaches, switching the dialect or language a message appears in, altering the order and cadence of a message’s contents, or altering whether and how a message is encrypted. It can move or refigure resonance itself, drawing the metaphysical aspect of one subject out to encompass another; in this way, a mage might evoke and weaponize an ephemeral bane, swap two subjects’ resonance signatures, or apply the manifest resonance effects of one target to another. Weaving Prime can also directly shift Mana and magic, redirecting or transplant ling spells. It can channel Mana between repositories such as Hallows, Tass, and mages themselves; a Weaving could create Tass by charging an object with Mana, strip the Mana potential from a Hallow to generate quick if inefficient power, or steal the Mana from another mage. By drawing forth and animating Mana directly, Weaving can produce numinous phantasms under the caster’s control that other Practices can reveal or disguise. It can alter existing spells, keeping their effects intact but changing their targets, shapes, and directions. Such magic can seize, fold, and animate spell effects, reifying abstract supernatural phenomena as beings, substances or weapons. Ritual Weavings can make lasting changes to something’s resonance signature and tune or redistribute the existing metaphysical properties of supernaturally charged objects or places; they might shift ley lines, alter an artifact’s spell factors, or change how a Hallow’s Tass manifests.
Celestial Spark (Prime ●●●/Vulgar/Fraying, Weaving) While this spell is sustained, it causes the caster’s hands to blaze with Mana and allows them to make bashing attacks by hurling bolts of radiance. Celestial sparks strike with what feel like physical force, but inflict strangely diffuse and abstracted injuries, leaving targets fatigued and desaturated rather than bruised or burned. Variants of this spell produce different weapons wielded with different Skills, though almost all of them produce a spectacle so fearsome that it’s worth a +5 Edge on attacks.
ADEPT OF PRIME (●●●●)
Adepts can transform and dissipate the substance of reality. They can cause a subject’s resonance to act as though a particular supernatural bane. They can dispel spells completely, destroy the Mana in Tass or another’s Mana pool, or inflict direct damage of any kind. They can use damage factors to inflict Resistant damage, reap Mana from the Resistant wounds of living, sapient victims, or instantly collect Mana with a killing blow as though performing a blood sacrifice. They can change resonance qualities into others or completely steal or transform standing spells. They can render subjects down into raw Mana, freeing raw material for use with other Prime spells. A ritual Adept spell can weaken or destroy an object to release Mana that the caster or another mage can attempt to assimilate; each beneficiary can perform their daily Oblation without drawing on any Hallow. Such a ritual needs target factors to have more than one beneficiary and can’t produce more total usable Mana than it has points of final Potency. The matter consumed in such a ritual is distinct from the sacrament and usually needs to be at least the size of a person, though unusually dense or metaphysically potent materials might be usable with less volume. By exceeding an inscription’s Tenacity with its Potency, an Adept spell can deactivate an active Atlantean inscription, either safely or explosively. While sustained, a covert Adept spell can give an area a Paradox Intensity of 3, and a vulgar Adept spell can simulate a Paradox Intensity of 4. Alternatively, a Prime Adept can set their spell’s Potency as the minimum dicepool of the communal paradox roll made at the end of a given turn.
Patterning Prime transmutes content of abstract meaning. It can translate symbols and communications, changing the information a message contains, though such changes are totally numinous unless Prime is coupled with other Arcana that change a message’s physical medium. Unlike Veilings, Patternings change the actual meanings of their subjects and so can foil incantations, reconfigure inscriptions, or otherwise produce changes in the world not contingent on the understanding of a conscious reader or listener. Patterning can completely change something’s resonance, turning a fiery Hallow icy or a desecrated altar into a holy one, effectively tailoring local metaphysics to suit the caster. By causing a subject’s supernatural resonance to exactly match that of something else, Prime can cause innocuous objects or circumstances to act as specific supernatural banes. Patternings can also translate the static Mana comprising physical objects into an immaterial state, shunting solid targets into the notional Twilight. In combination with the Patterning Practice of other Arcana, Patterning Prime can conjure objects or phenomena seemingly from nothing by directly transmuting raw Mana. It can transform magic completely, changing an existing spell effect into a different one that the Prime mage could produce or completely transplanting a sustained spell from one nimbus to another. Patterning rituals can make lasting changes to a subject’s resonance and magical properties.
Add Exception (Prime ●●●●/Covert/Patterning) This spell modifies a message, designation, symbol, or incantation such that it names the target of this spell, usually the caster themselves, as an exception to the rule. This rote might be used to stay on a business’s premises after hours, sidestep a warding rune, or duck a homework assignment.
Unraveling Prime rips apart resonance, magic, and Patterns themselves. It can ruin a symbol or resonance signature’s ability to carry significance, causing subjects to appear not confusingly scrambled but empty or meaningless. It can cut specific resonance signatures from subjects, erasing metaphysical evidence of interaction or proximity. It can foil the metaphysical power or significance of an object or location, preventing a target from acting as a supernatural bane, affecting an ephemeral being, or sustaining any kind of ceremonial magic. It can destroy the Mana stored by mages, Tass, or other repositories, and can dispel standing spells completely. Unraveling Prime can inflict damage of any kind, Resistant or otherwise, and potentially reap Mana in the process. Wounds so caused are bizarre and unearthly, manifesting as glowing rifts, staticky voids, or bizarre absences of color, texture, or volume. It can spontaneously dissolve targets into inert Mana that can be manipulated or transformed by other Prime magic, and ritually draw Mana from fallen materials that can be collected and assimilated through an Oblation. Spontaneous Unravelings can suppress the magical properties of artifacts or Hallows, and ritual Unravelings can deal such supernal objects and places permanent damage.
Mana Burn (Prime ●●●●/Vulgar/Unraveling) Always cast with a damage factor and resisted by the better of Resolve and Stamina, this spell inflicts lethal damage and destroys one point of the subject’s Mana for each wound dealt. Subjects can’t take more damage than they lose Mana, so the spell is useless against targets without Mana of their own.
MASTER OF PRIME (●●●●●)
Masters can create, destroy, or permanently alter the substance of magic. They can rewrite communication and resonance totally, counter spells so as to even preempt paradox, wipe entire spaces free of meaning or enchantment, and produce inert Mana from nothing to lend substance to other spells. Masters can grant things symbolic or metaphysical significance of arbitrary scope and designing, causing subjects to empower or banish entire classes of sorcery or supernatural being. When nullifying communication and resonance or deactivating Atlantean inscriptions, Masters can scour the foundation as well as the symbol, rendering a message or rune lastingly useless such that it needs to be rewritten from scratch. Masters can ritually create or strengthen Hallows, though new Hallows appear empty of Mana potential, powerful Hallows require commensurately rare ritual sacraments, and artificial Hallows dissipate unless supported with maintenance and geomancy, usually represented through the purchase of the Hallow Merit. With a severe consequence against Resolve, a Master can remove a subject’s spellcasting ability or temporarily banish a subject from existence.
Making Prime forges meaning and magic out of nothing. It can imbue anything with magically potent significance, rendering subjects broadly holy, profane, or otherwise abstractly powerful and so helpful or baneful to any supernatural phenomena of appropriate aspect. It can increase spells in scope or magnitude, adding factors or enhancing Potency and Tenacity. It can render a spell impossible to counter with any Practice less than Unmaking. Making can freely produce inert Mana, fueling Prime constructs or conjunctional transmutations of arbitrary volume or complexity and granting Prime constructs the unflagging durability of soul stones. Spontaneous Makings can partially simulate the properties of Demesnes, filling an area with low-key supernatural phenomena appropriate to the caster’s Path and temporarily displacing paradoxes; Ritual Makings can simulate a Demesne in all respects for so long as the ritual endures. Ritual Makings can also add new, permanent resonance qualities to subjects or create ley lines, Hallows, and other geomantic phenomena.
Adamant Spell (Prime ●●●●●/Covert/Making) This spell renders another spell impossible to dispel or alter except through Unmaking Prime. It needs to match its beneficiary spell’s area, size, and target factors or else it guards only a portion of its target.
Unmaking Prime annuls significance utterly. It can render communications de facto meaningless, rendering interpretation impossible while a spell is sustained and only possible through the analysis of a rote physical copy afterwards. It can annihilate spells and resonance signatures precisely or indiscriminately, wiping away any or all magic on a subject or in an area without the need to target individual effects. It can permanently erase resonance qualities or Patterns themselves, destroying anything the caster can perceive and interact with such that no trace of them remains for sensory magic to scrutinize. Ritual Unmakings can obliterate artifacts, Hallows, soul stones, souls, and other normally-indestructible subjects. With a severe consequence, an Unmaking spell can prevent a subject from casting supernal spells or negate a subject’s existence entirely. Unresisting materials or objects might be temporarily or permanently annulled, but artifacts and characters are only suppressed while such spells are sustained.
Void Resonance (Prime ●●●●●/Covert/Unmaking) This spell scrubs its subject free of resonance, leaving them curiously blank until they regain resonance qualities over the course of normal experience. Objects and creatures usually regain qualities suggestive of their natures within a day or so, but resonance produced by contingent events such as the caster’s own presence or spellcasting is gone for good.
THE FORCES ARCANUM
Purview: electronics, fire, heat, illumination, lightning, magnetism, motion, plasma, radiation, sound
Overview: Forces, the gross Arcanum of the Aether, holds dominion over the energy of motion. Any natural or supernatural power might drive a change in state or position, but it’s Forces that ultimately pushes the world out of one equilibrium and into another. Wholly material and mechanical, forces are frequent byproducts of fallen magic and science both.
Forces magic manipulates the physical phenomena that cause things to move and the energy those phenomena impart to their subjects. It can control motion, temperature, charge, and other invisible sources of action, as well as flame, lightning, and other mundane energetic phenomena. Negative qualities like cold, darkness, and stillness are not themselves forces, but can be produced and controlled by by dissipating or displacing heat, light, or kinetic energy. The effects of a Forces spell are as physical as their caster is and can’t affect incorporeal beings or objects unless other magic has granted the caster an immaterial presence. Once such interaction has been established, Forces can command flames in the spirit realm or gravity in the astral plane just as well as it controls the energies of the material world.
Forces magic below Master level is heavily dependent on the caster’s physical environment, and normally works by redistributing or transmuting forces already at work in the scene. Many Forces spells have twofold effects or unavoidable byproducts; a spell might stop one object to launch another, freeze one person by using their body heat to incinerate a second, or silence a radio transmission by transmuting it into a burst of unreadable radiation. It’s almost impossible for a Forces mage to be completely strapped for material, however; even absent violent weather, high-speed traffic, or powered machinery, Forces can draw on static charge, gravitational attraction, or the motion of the caster’s own body.
Aspects: Sensory Forces magic can measure weight, temperature, or similar qualities, reveal normally invisible forces to the caster’s senses, and decipher electronic communication.
Covert Forces magic can manipulate energy beyond the range of human senses, altering the flow of current or the propagation of radio signals. It can subtly alter how forces affect the human condition by tweaking temperatures, blunting impacts, or guiding projectiles. They might draw down lightning strikes, short out fuses, make bombs go dud, or otherwise trigger already-possible events.
Vulgar Forces spells blatantly reshape or transform energy, and might cause levitation, spontaneous combustion, or flash-freezing. Vulgar spells might generate invisible but unprecedented and significant phenomena, such as by flooding an area with sickening radiation or conjuring a spark of flame inside a vehicle’s gas tank.
Mechanics: Forces spells that can’t be conventionally opposed, such as forcible levitation or the suspension of personal friction, are resisted by Resolve plus Gnosis. Direct damage is opposed by Stamina plus Gnosis. Defense contests physical attacks, Strength plus Dexterity retains balance and grip, and Strength plus Stamina resists pushes and pulls.
Forces can boost or hinder a variety of physical actions, and can hinder mental or social actions through distraction or interference. It can inflict bashing or lethal damage, either directly or as an attack; generally, heat, sonics, static charge, and other unseen effects deal bashing damage, while fire, lightning, and other obvious phenomena deal lethal. Forces magic doesn’t need damage factors to take special effect on supernatural beings, so lightning heals prometheans and fire deals aggravated damage to vampires with no additional cost. Forces spells that alter speeds or ranges usually multiply or divide such values by Potency.
Forces spells need area, size, and target factors concomitant with their tangible effects on characters and environmental features; a spell that chills one person and scorches another has two targets even though it’s moving a single payload of heat, and a spell that gathers a computer lab’s electric power into a personal aura of lightning needs to reach across the room. Zero area factors worth of ambient heat, gravitational force, or other unremarkable background energy can be focused into tangible jolts or flashes but can’t do more than bashing damage unless Patterned into something more dangerous. Purely sensory or communicative effects such as flashes of light or bursts of radio signal don’t need area factors to work, but might need precision factors to be intelligible at great distances.
Aftereffects: Forces effects are entirely natural, and things set on fire, blown apart, recharged, irradiated, or otherwise energized remain so as long as they normally would. Spells might can grant lingering properties to forces themselves, creating unusually specific weather patterns or persistent flames.
Paradox: Low-key Forces paradoxes result in will-o-wisps, strange noises, or inexplicable signal broadcasts. Stronger paradoxes might alter friction, temperature, or light in subtle but tangible ways, while severe paradoxes can annul friction, warp gravity, or rain fire.
INITIATE OF FORCES (●)
Initiates become aware of the myriad forces coursing through the world around them. Their sensory spells can boost attempts to notice or analyze electronics, weather, or other energetic systems. Covert or vulgar spells can boost attempts to find or notice the caster.
Knowing Forces analyzes the content and nature of energy. It can perfectly measure temperature, pressure, velocity, and similar qualities. It can compare multiple forces the caster can perceive or envision, predicting interactions and allowing the caster to intuit solutions to appropriate scientific questions. It can interpret the information content of radio signals, fiber-optic transmissions, and computer hard drives, allowing the caster to read or listen in on unencrypted communication or data storage.
Free-Body Diagram (Forces ●/Sensory/Knowing) Concentrating on an object or being, the caster learns what mechanical forces and pressures are, in combination, holding it in place or moving it about. Each success answers a question about the subject. This spell can identify load-bearing walls or reveal unusual peaks or absences of pressure, and might boost attempts to destabilize or maintain precarious static equilibria.
Signifying Forces communicates through energy’s action. Lights, sounds, or motions emphasize aspects of themselves or take on the aspect of the caster’s nimbus. These overtones might be subtle to the point of being subliminal, or they might overtly alter the character of whatever force they work through, but Signifying can’t actually obscure or replace the content of an existing image, sound, or signal, nor create light, noise or other energy from nothing.
Emphasize Charge (Forces ●/Covert/Signifying) This spell renders electrical charge and current obvious to bystanders, marking live wires and electric fences with an air of tangible power that even Sleepers can pick up on and avoid.
Unveiling Forces reveals unseen energies to the caster. The mage can tell at a glance when things are heated, chilled, electrified, or irradiated, and can watch current stream down power lines or see radio waves ripple through the air. Unveiling can allow the mage to navigate through darkness by sound alone, tell someone’s bugged by the signal they emit, or pinpoint snipers by tracing their lasers.
Heat Vision (Forces ●/Sensory/Unveiling) The mage can see by heat as well as light. They can navigate pitch black rooms and spot people from miles away in cold places, but see little beyond an undifferentiated glare in hothouses or calderas.
APPRENTICE OF FORCES (●●)
Apprentices can control how forces look and behave. They can hinder, contest or sometimes directly overrule attempts at security, investigation, communication, equipment use, or repair. By affecting light, sound, or electronics, they can boost stealth, hacking, misdirection, or espionage. By bolstering kinetic energy against change, they can boost actions requiring speed and force or hinder and disable subjects’ attempts to change their own motion. Apprentices can inflict direct bashing damage by fortifying normally harmless forces or preventing them from dispersing, or inflict direct lethal damage to targets already afflicted by harmful energies. Apprentices can sometimes launch attacks by aiming existing, independently-active hazards such as lightning bolts or wildfires.
Perfecting Forces optimizes and sustains forces, preventing them from being hindered or dissipated by outside circumstances and so ensuring that they take maximum effect. It can protect campfires from blizzards, projectiles from friction, and capacitors from time. Perfecting spells don’t actually create energy and so can’t increase the magnitude of lights, sounds, or kinetic impulses in the absolute sense, but can usually increase the effects such forces have on their subjects.
Mighty Blows (Forces ●●/Covert/Perfecting) This spell hones and sustains the energy of the beneficiary’s violent bodily motion, boosting attempts to punch, batter, or otherwise smash opponents and obstacles.
Ruling Forces commands energetic phenomena or systems. It can direct the otherwise aimless or automatic motion of energy, imparting agency to the diffusion of heat, the spread of flame, or the flow of current. It can control the action of energy in machines, causing computers to start, explosives to fizzle, or bank machines to pay out despite the apparent inactivity of buttons, levers, or other purely material components. Ruling spells can direct existing weather patterns, releasing pent-up storms or delaying precipitation, and rituals can create lasting trends in local climates or power grids.
Access Computer (Forces ●●/Covert/Ruling) This spell forces a computer system to yield immediate access to its internal workings, ignoring any passwords, administrative confirmation, or other security measures that would normally be required. The spell must actually be cast on the machine to be accessed and so needs conjunctional Weaving Space to work remotely.
Veiling Forces changes how forces appear. It can change the colors of light, flames, or electric arcs, and the pitches and rhythms of sounds. It can make fluorescent lighting look like sunlight, sounds seem to come from different directions, or guttering flames look healthy. It can hide the glow of heat, the hum of charge, the groan of pressure, or other second-order effects of forces from observers. Veiling can hide or replace the subtleties within a force representing encoded data, whether spoken word or wireless transmission, changing what people seem to be saying or sending. Veiling can’t hide the actual presence or effects of forces, so a Veiled scream is still loud enough to draw attention and a Veiled fire still hot enough to cause pain or burn material.
Usurp Speech (Forces ●●/Covert/Veiling) Resisted by Resolve plus Gnosis, this spell hijacks a target’s voice, allowing the caster to determine what the target’s spoken words actually sound like. As long as the caster can sustain the spell, they decide what actual words the target is heard by others to say when they next speak, albeit with the same volume and cadence as the original message would have had. A severe consequence means the caster has complete control, while a normal consequence hinders rolls for the target to speak, producing the caster’s intended message on failure.
DISCIPLE OF FORCES (●●●)
Disciples can bend and shape energy. They can boost a variety of physical actions and can interfere with perception, concentration, or communication. Severe consequences against Strength, Stamina or Resolve can completely disable targets. Disciples can inflict bashing or lethal damage, whether directly or as an attack, but lethal damage usually requires either an existing lethal hazard or an area factor’s worth of concentrated energy. They render still subjects totally imperceptible by conventional means and conceal moving subjects such that any attempts to track or attack them are hindered, whether such subjects are rendered completely invisible or hidden beneath falsified sounds and images. They can redirect attacks, using the same spell to first defend against an attack and then launch an equivalent attack on their next available action.
Fraying Forces diffuses and disorganizes forces, preventing them from acting coherently or effectively. It can unfocus light beams, scramble signals, and garble words to hinder investigation or communication. It can cause flames to gutter, currents to attenuate, or bullets to tumble and list. Fraying can shield subjects against energetic harm, blunting trauma or dispersing heat.
Muffle Impact (Forces ●●●/Covert/Fraying) This spell dulls the sounds of footsteps, falls, punches, or other collisions, boosting attempts to go unheard. The distance a listener would need to be to hear an affected sound at all is divided by the spell’s Potency, and within that range impacts sound softer and less drastic.
Weaving Forces moves and reshapes energy. It can animate and puppeteer energetic phenomena, stretching bonfires into walls or pulling electrical arcs out of wall sockets. It can direct or redistribute motion to turn projectiles completely around, stop falling objects by shifting their kinetic energies elsewhere, or move objects at a distance by projecting the force of the caster’s own body. It can bend light, sound, or other emanations to hide subjects from ordinary detection, though cloaked subjects still create perceptible ripples as they move. Weaving can also finely adjust the qualities of such phenomena, allowing for thrown voices, visual holograms, or radio transmissions of the caster’s design. By seizing and rewriting portions of existing wireless transmissions, a mage can use Weaving Forces in combination with Unveiling and Knowing to engage in electronic communication telepathically. Ritual Weavings can make long-term changes to magnetic fields, weather patterns, or other phenomena.
Searing Spear (Forces ●●●/Vulgar/Perfecting, Weaving) This spell pulls a target fire into the caster’s hands and shapes it into a lethal weapon that boosts attacks made with it. The spear also radiates heat, dealing its Potency in bashing damage to everything in arm’s reach but the caster. If thrown, the spear sticks in place until its caster retrieves it, scorching everything around it.
ADEPT OF FORCES (●●●●)
Adepts can forge whatever forces they need from those already present. They can inflict immediate bashing or lethal by turning harmless forces into hazardous ones. They can render areas impassable and beings helpless by transmuting the forces required for normal function.
Patterning Forces turns one force into another. It can exchange the effects of one pressure or influence for another, causing gravity to combust things or heat to repel them. It can transform energy, stopping a car in a literal flash by changing motion into light or spinning sound into fire to make a loudspeaker into a flamethrower. Conjunctional Patternings that transmute heat, light, or other ambient energies can ensure that Rulings and Weavings are supplied with whatever forces they need, allowing for the creation of totally unseasonable weather or the apparent conjuration of previously-absent phenomena.
Geothermal Power (Forces ●●●●/Covert/Patterning) This spell converts ambient heat into electrical energy, fueling a targeted electrical device. Mages commonly use Atlantean runes to stretch the spell across their sanctums.
Unraveling Forces scatters and destroys forces, dispersing them into their surroundings. It can darken, mute, freeze, ground, or otherwise dissipate coherent phenomena by reducing them to randomized, ambient energy. It can halt the normal action of forces to interrupt falls, block conduction, or stop heating.
Flash Freeze (Forces ●●●●/Vulgar/Unraveling) This spell freezes a victim in place and deals them 3 lethal damage on each of the caster’s subsequent turns. The initial casting and continuing damage are contested by Stamina + Gnosis, and the victim breaks free if they ever resist the damage completely.
MASTER OF FORCES (●●●●●)
Masters can create or destroy energy, bringing about phenomena of legendary or catastrophic intensity. They can produce force sufficient to propel subjects anywhere in sensory range within a turn. They can create impassable barriers, insurmountable pulls, or other completely intractable physical obstacles. They can completely immunize subjects against energetic phenomena such as fire, radiation, or kinetic force, but other characters have the chance to pierce such magic with actions enhanced by Willpower points; once an immunity has been overcome by someone, it’s ineffective against that character until it’s refreshed or recast.
Making Forces creates energy from nothing, creating new forces or increasing existing forces in size and power. Making generates forces of arbitrary magnitude and is only limited by their area and size factors in terms of what can be launched, electrified or vaporized; spells of sufficient scope can reduce city blocks to rubble or hurl battleships hundreds of miles. It can produce sunlight, radiation, or other scientifically or metaphysically specific phenomena. It can add new properties to existing energy, creating electrified light or flames that conduct through metal. It can create and sustain forces despite the lack of logical causes, producing force fields, gravity wells, or other zones of influence.
Nimbus of Power (Forces ●●●●●/Vulgar/Signifying, Making) This spell materializes the caster’s nimbus as an aura of raging, destructive force. It deals lethal damage to anything in arm’s reach, offers a boost and +5 edge on close combat attacks, and boosts the caster’s Defense by repelling any incoming attacks that have physical components. The aura’s emanation can be shaped to allow for stable hovering and powered flight; it multiplies the caster’s normal movement range by Potency, allows the caster to rocket to anywhere in sight with an instant action, and lets the caster keep pace with supersonic jets outside of combat time.
Unmaking Forces removes energy’s properties or ability to act. It can cleanly and totally nullify forces of any magnitude provided enough area or size factors are used, bringing plummeting jet liners to instant and completely safe stops or negating the imminent meltdowns of nuclear reactors. It can strip physical properties from existing forces, removing a fire’s heat or an ocean’s pressure. Unmaking can immunize subjects from specific forces completely, but willpower and ingenuity can allow other characters the chance to fight past such wardings.
Nullify Impact (Forces ●●●●●/Vulgar/Unmaking) This spell renders the subject totally immune to large-scale impact. Collapsing ceilings, miles-long falls, and vigorously-wielded sledgehammers are equally meaningless to the magic’s beneficiary.