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THE SPHERE OF CHAOS

by Constantine Thomas

The Sphere of Chaos affects chance and randomness, and the extent to which they can
affect a system. As described below, there are three types of probability system -
Closed Systems, Metasystems, and Open Systems. The pinnacle of the Sphere of
Chaos is the ability to control disorder itself, and also to apply this to systems in
which there are billions of variables through Chaos Theory.

Chaos gives the Mage control over the amount of disorder in a system, which in turn
affects the extent that randomness influences that system. This allows the Mage to
affect probability in Closed Systems, Metasystems, Open Systems (all of which are
described below), and ultimately Entropy itself.

A Closed System is the simplest of all Probability Systems - it is one in which there is
a definite, finite probability of an event occurring, as a result of the isolation of the
system from external influences. Tossing a coin creates one of the most basic Closed
Systems - there is a one in two chance that the coin will land heads or tails. Other
examples include the shuffling of a pack of cards, and a game of Russian Roulette - in
the latter, there is a one in six chance that the firing chamber of the revolver will
contain the bullet (which the Mage can affect).

A Metasystem is a hybrid system that combines elements of both Closed and Open
Systems. An 'Metasystem' is defined here as a collection of individual components
that interact in a complex manner - thus any Bureaucracies (and ultimately Society
itself) are Metasystems, as are complex machines and computers that are composed of
many interacting parts. Ultimately, these are all 'meta-organisms', comprising many
individual entities (sometimes millions) that are themselves affected by various
factors.

All Metasystems operate within a basic rigid framework - the hierarchy of employees,
the daily routine, etc. - which makes them similar to Closed Systems. However,
anything can happen within that framework as the metasystem interacts with the
outside world - employees can arrive late or call in sick, rival companies can put in a
take-over bid, a new contract can be signed, wars can start and so on - which makes it
akin to an Open System. Again though, only events that are possible can be caused to
happen - for example, a war or take-over could not be initiated unless the
circumstances already existed for such an event to occur.

An Open System is one where probability is being continually affected by variable


(and multiple) independent factors - people usually have no control over events that
are part of Open Systems. However, Mages can manipulate (or 'tweak') the system
such that the chance of a specific event occurring is increased or decreased. He can
also flood the system with Chaos (or reduce its effect), making it generally more or
less random in its operation - in these circumstances, the Mage has little control over
exactly how this randomness will manifest itself. Being run over in the street in a
freak car accident, hit by a meteorite, or even killed in a random shooting are all Open
Systems.
For example, a Mage being chased over an unstable wooden bridge can use Chaos to
affect the Open System that is the chance of the bridge collapsing. The probability is
based on the strength and direction of the wind, the weight on the bridge at any
moment and its distribution, the age and strength of the wooden planks, and so on. By
manipulating probabilities of any of these factors reaching a given critical 'collapse
point' at a certain time, the Mage can cause the bridge to collapse when he is safely on
the other side but when the people chasing him are about halfway across. It should be
noted that Chaos cannot be used to make magicks appear Coincidental (by affecting
the probability that something will occur) - Chaos affects only the probabilities that
a mundane event can occur.

The ultimate expression of Chaos magick is Chaos Theory, and the ability to control
disorder itself. Normally, a system must naturally tend towards increasing disorder. At
this level, a Mage can override this dictum and cause the amount of disorder in a
system to decrease or remain stable with time - with this, he can make a gas cloud
diffuse in a certain way (or not diffuse at all), or make ink drops form out of inky
water as the ink molecules re-assemble into a more ordered state. Through Chaos
Theory, the Mage can control events in the future through tiny manipulations of
events in the present.

Increasing the amount of disorder in any probability system makes it more random
and unpredictable. Decreasing the amount of disorder in a system makes it less
random and more 'ordered' - i.e. predictable. Examples of how these manifest in the
various types of System are given below:

CLOSED SYSTEMS

If disorder was increased in a system where two dice were rolled thousands of times,
it is possible that no consecutive roll will be the same. Similarly, if a pack of playing
cards (arranged in order of suit and number) was taken and shuffled once, it would
appear as if it had been shuffled hundreds of times.

If disorder was decreased in the systems described above, rolling the two dice would
always resulted in the same number, even if rolled several thousand times. In the pack
of cards example, the deck could be shuffled a thousand times but there would still be
only one or two cards displaced if the disorder was decreased.

METASYSTEMS

Increasing disorder in (for example) a busy restaurant could result in tables never
being served by waiters, cooks calling in sick on busy days, health inspectors arriving,
customers complaining, waiters tripping up while carrying food etc. Increasing
disorder in a complex machine (such as a computer) could result in computer crashes,
circuit breakers tripping for no reason (while others fail to trip when they should,
causing power surges), corruption of computer data, and so on.
Decreasing disorder in the restaurant may result in tables always being served as soon
as they are taken by customers, employees calling in on time, and everything
generally running like clockwork. Decreasing disorder in a machine would make it
work more efficiently and more predictably - circuit breakers trip when they should,
back-doors into computer systems become inaccessible, phone exchanges route their
calls to the correct destinations, etc.

OPEN SYSTEMS

Open Systems are generally difficult to quantify. Increasing the disorder in such a
system makes a possible event more probable. The chance that a rickety wall or an
unstable bridge could collapse at a given moment is an Open System - increasing the
disorder would make such an event more likely and would probably cause it to
happen.

Similarly, decreasing the disorder in an Open System makes possible events less
probable - thus, the unstable bridge or wall might be caused NOT to collapse at a
given moment. The exact effects of 'tweaking' Open Systems are many and varied,
limited only to the player's imagination.

CHAOS

Level 1: Perceive Probability. This level allows the Mage to ascertain the probability
of an event occurring, given current trends and variables. It also gives the Mage the
ability to sense whether probabilities are being tweaked by other probability magicks
or by Sleepers (say, if die rolls are being affected by magnets under a Craps table in a
casino).

This also allows a Mage to sense the amount of disorder in a system, which allows
him to see which parts of the system are the most ordered and which are the most
disordered. In most cases, the most disordered parts of a system are its weakest points.
Note that this can only be used on its own in Metasystems (i.e. those that contain large
numbers of individual variables such as organisations and networks) - finding the
weak spots of a living or non-living material would require level 1 in the appropriate
Pattern Sphere with a Chaos 1 Requisite. Thus, to find the weakest (or the strongest)
point in a metal wall would require both Matter 1 and Chaos 1. Note that other
Magicks or skills must be used if the Mage wishes to exploit any weak points - Chaos
1 cannot itself manipulate these weak points; it can only detect them.

Level 2: Disorder in Closed Systems. At this level, the Mage can control the amount
of disorder in any Closed System. This includes tossing coins, rolling dice, and
shuffling card decks. It gives the Mage extraordinary control over any games of
chance, and basically allows him to do as he pleases with the probabilities of the
system. However, note that repeated use of this in the same place will draw the ire of
Sleepers (who will suspect the Mage of foul play if his dice keep rolling double
sixes...) or may even invoke the Domino Effect (see Mage2, pg. 165).
Level 3: Disorder in Metasystems. At this level, the Mage can control disorder in any
Metasystem. Metasystems combine elements of both Open and Closed systems, since
their daily operation is unpredictable - the daily routine is fixed, but a variety of
external factors can influence it. Metasystems include machines, computers, living
bodies, bureaucracies, businesses, and ultimately even entire societies - note that
Matter or Life must be used as Requisites for any Chaos 3 effects that are directed at
physical patterns (i.e. machinery or bodies). Examples of the use of Chaos 3 are given
above.

Level 4: Disorder in Open Systems. At this level, the Mage can control the amount
of disorder in an Open System. Note that this does not allow a Mage to directly (or
specifically) affect physical objects - rather, it affects the randomness within such
systems. Thus, a Mage can make an unstable bridge collapse at a given moment by
affecting the probability that this will happen, but cannot actually do this by directly
affecting the material of the bridge itself - this would require Matter magick.

This has a huge variety of uses - it can be used to affect the probability of the target
being run over by a bus, or hit by a falling brick beneath a building site, or even being
clobbered by a meteorite. However, the difficulty of a Chaos 4 effect is directly linked
to the probability of such an event occurring - being hit by a meteorite is naturally
incredibly unlikely, and will probably only work on a difficulty of about 15 (meaning
copious amount of Quintessence have to be burned), while being trampled underfoot
in a riot would only be a difficulty of 3 or 4. By its very nature, Chaos 4 magick is
always coincidental - it cannot be used to make something happen that is not possible
(i.e. a brick cannot just fly out of a wall that it is cemented in and hit the target on the
head. However, a brick may fall from a pile of bricks on the 7th floor of a building
site if such a pile exists) - the circumstances must previously exist to allow the
effect to occur. Thus, in the previous example the bridge must be already be unstable
and likely to collapse if the Mage is to actually make this happen at an opportune
moment. The specifics of this is ultimately left to the Storyteller's discretion.

Level 5: Control Disorder/Chaos Theory. All systems naturally tend to a more


disordered state - at Chaos 5, the Mage can override this and control the evolution of a
system completely, exercising absolute control over the disorder of a system - he can
therefore accelerate it, stop it, or even reverse it!

In nature, disorder is always increasing - systems are always going from an ordered
state to a disordered state (where they are in equilibrium and so are stable - ink
dropped in water is not stable as a drop, so it diffuses to colour the water). All systems
tend towards greater disorder - gases diffuse to fill a space, temperature is conducted
from a higher temperature to a lower one, material breaks down, decays, or dissolves
into its component parts with time, and so on. By controlling disorder at this level, a
Mage can reverse, halt or speed up the breakdown of systems - he can cause the ink
spread throughout the inky water to coalesce back into a drop of ink, a gas released
from a box to 'diffuse' back into the box, hot objects to retain their heat in a cold
environment, or a sugarcube to reform after being dropped into a hot cup of coffee (to
name but a few). However, the ordered state is rarely stable, so effects at this level can
only last as long as the Mage concentrates.
Also, this level gives the Mage control over systems containing BILLIONS of
variables - a good example of this is the infamous 'Butterfly effect'. In Chaos Theory,
the final outcome of an event can be radically changed by the slightest alteration of its
starting conditions. At this level, the Mage is aware of precisely what must be done to
guide the system to a desired outcome, and can also magickally 'encourage' the
system to that end. This allows him, for example, to control the weather or affect
events in the future by modifying their starting conditions.

THE SPHERE OF PRIME


by Constantine Thomas

The Sphere of Prime allows the Mage to control the flow of the raw stuff of Magick -
Quintessence - through and around himself or any other Pattern (although it should
be noted that since Mind is not a Pattern, Prime cannot be used to directly affect it).
While Prime is not essential to Mages, it is a very useful Art, and most Mages
understand it at its most basic levels.

QUINTESSENCE AND PATTERN: The ultimate building block of the Universe is


Quintessence, existing at an even more fundamental level than that of the atomic
particles and quarks of the Technocracy - indeed, it is the most fundamental unit of
magickal energy. Nothing could exist without Quintessence fuelling its existence - no
matter, no life, no physical manifestations of any sort whatsoever could exist. Physical
reality is not however composed solely of unshaped Quintessence - the exact
configuration of the Quintessence determines the physical form it creates; this
configuration is known as a Pattern. All physical Patterns - Forces, Matter, and Life -
have their own different configurations and sub-configurations that make them
unique.

Mages theorise that a vast pool of Quintessence permeates all of reality - from the
physical world to the Horizon - but that Quintessence manifests in two observed
varieties; Raw and Free. The distinction between these two types is defined by the
configuration they occur in - at their roots, however, they are identical in every way.
Ultimately, they are two sides of the same coin, but Raw Quintessence is much less
accessible that Free.

Raw Quintessence is that which is locked into a Pattern. As a Pattern forms and
grows, it draws Quintessence from the aforementioned pool to fuel its continuing
growth and maintain its existence. This Quintessence is used to reinforce the Pattern's
physical existence and so becomes an intimate part of the Form - as a result, it is very
difficult to magickally manipulate.

Free Quintessence is that which is NOT locked into a Pattern. Instead, it flows around
the universe, occasionally accumulating in special places (known as Nodes) or in
certain Patterns. Mages can access this 'unlocked' Quintessence much more easily
than Raw Quintessence.
TASS: Quintessence is not always an intangible pool of energy - in places where the
flow is densest (usually in Nodes) it can become physically real. Such solidified
Quintessence is known as Tass, and occurs in a form determined by the local physical
environment - a Node on a rubbish tip would form Entropy (or Matter) Tass, while
Tass in a verdant forest would be Life Tass. As such it can be carried around by Mages
and can be tapped at Prime 1 to power effects. See below for details.

CREATING PATTERNS: Patterns can be magickally created only if the Mage has
Prime 2 and the appropriate Form - Prime 2 is required here to divert Quintessence
from the universal pool into the new Pattern to fuel its existence. The amount drawn
from this pool at this level is sufficient only to maintain the Pattern's existence - that
is, the Pattern can only be created with the Raw Quintessence that allows it to exist,
but no extra Free Quintessence. However, if left for a sufficiently long period of time,
Free Quintessence is absorbed naturally from the environment. At higher levels of
Prime, the Mage can also increase or decrease the amount of Raw Quintessence that
makes a Pattern real.

LIVING PATTERNS: The Raw Quintessence makeup of a living Pattern is two-fold.


Like Matter and Forces Patterns, a Life Pattern contains the fixed Raw Quintessence
that allows it to be real.

However, there is another component possessed only by Living Patterns - that


component which makes them alive. This is a Flow of Quintessence, originating from
the universal pool and returning back to it via the Life Pattern - this Flow is as much
an inherent part of the Pattern as the Raw Quintessence 'locked' within it. The Flow
maintains the Pattern's continuing living existence - without it, the Life Pattern is
dead, inanimate matter - and ceases once the Pattern dies. On death, all that remains is
a dead body containing 'locked' Raw Quintessence, which is itself eventually recycled
back into the universal pool through bodily decay. At high levels of Prime, Mages can
manipulate this Flow and thus cause serious damage to existing Life Patterns.

THE AVATAR PATTERN: While all Living Patterns are maintained by a Flow, they
contain yet another component that actually defines them for what they are
individually - this component is known as the Avatar Pattern, and is unique for every
living creature on the Earth at a given time. Essentially, the Avatar Pattern is the
medium through which the Flow travels, and it determines how the Flow passes
through the Living Pattern and also its magnitude - thus the Flow and the Avatar
Pattern are strongly interlinked.

In essence, the Avatar Pattern is the 'soul' of the creature - it is that which ultimately
makes individual creatures unique. As such, every living thing on Earth - plants,
animals, and humans (both Sleepers and Mages) - possesses a Soul of some form.
However, Mages possess a variety of Avatar Pattern that allows them to perform True
Magick - this is referred to specifically as the Mage's Avatar, to differentiate it from
the Souls of Sleepers.

The actual metaphysicks behind Awakening - the process by which the ability to cast
True Magick manifests itself - is a matter of much debate. Some Mages believe that
all creatures initially possess Souls, and that sheer force of will (or external influence)
changes the very nature of the creature's being to that of an Avatar. The implication is
that Awakening can happen at any time to anyone, given the right circumstances.
Others believe that those that are Awakened are actually born with fully manifested
Avatars, but that a conscious psychological effort must be made at some point in their
lives to connect with their magickal nature - thus only those born with Avatars instead
of Souls can ever Awaken. Both arguments have their merits and flaws.

Despite this debate, it is generally agreed that the Avatar Pattern - be it Soul or Avatar
- does not die with the creature whose Living Pattern it is associated with. Rather, it is
usually recycled and re-incorporated into a new body when a creature dies. Each
Living Pattern that the Avatar Pattern is associated with may leave a Residue within -
effectively, the memories and the sum of experiences that made up that individual's
existence - which manifests itself in future incarnations as memories of past lives -
however, the memories of those incarnations that Awakened seem to be more vivid
than the intermediate 'Sleeper' lives. Sometimes, an Avatar Pattern is temporarily
cleared of this Residue if an individual's will to continue his particular existence is
strong enough - in this case, the Residue is 'dumped' in the Shadowlands and that
individual gets his wish. Here, he continues his existence as an independent entity, but
does so as a Wraith. The Avatar Pattern itself that contained that Residue is recycled
back into the Cycle of Life and Death, but without the associated Residue. Eventually,
the Residue is reclaimed into the Cycle via Oblivion or Transcendence in the
Shadowlands, but this could occur after the empty Avatar Pattern has gone through
many physical Incarnations. Note that the Avatar Pattern itself cannot be harmed
or damaged in any way by mortal magicks - only the Gilgul can affect it
(destroying it and any associated Residue), and only the Oracles are capable of
performing this. What happens after death is described in greater depth in my treatise
on The Nature Of Wraiths and the Cycle Of Life And Death.

True Magick can be wielded only by creatures that possess Avatars. Avatars are
structured in such a way that the Flow of Quintessence through them is far in excess
of the amount required merely to maintain the Living Pattern's existence. The Avatar
Pattern itself is structured in such a way that the Living Pattern can tap and store this
energy and use it to impose his Will on reality - i.e. to cast True Magick.

The Avatar Background of a Mage therefore represents the greater Flow of Raw
Quintessence that passes through his Living Pattern. This enhanced Flow allows him
to cast magick, and also determines the amount of excess Free Quintessence - the
number of dots on the Quintessence circle on the character sheet - that his Living
Pattern can naturally hold.

At least one dot in the Avatar Background is required for all Mages - if they do not
possess this, they are Sleepers and cannot cast magick at all. Mages automatically
start the game with a Quintessence score equal to their Avatar rating. Quintessence
can be recharged by any Mage via the Avatar Background - should the Mage's
Quintessence total drop below his Avatar rating, it can be recharged by successfully
meditating in a Node for at least an hour (Perception + Meditation roll at difficulty 6).
The number of successes on this roll determines the number of Quintessence Points
regained, but the rating of the Node determines the maximum number of
Quintessence Points that can be gained in one session. Also, Quintessence can never
accumulate to a total greater than the Mage's Avatar Rating unless he has Prime 1.
Any Mage with an Avatar rating can do this, and it does not require any ability in the
Prime sphere.

PRIME

Level 1: Perceive Quintessence/Store Quintessence. At this level, the Mage can


perceive Quintessence Flows. This allows him to see concentrations such as Nodes,
Awakened Creatures, and whether any Quintessence is being diverted to fuel
magickal effects in the area. He can also use the Free Quintessence within his Living
Pattern or Tass to lower the difficulties of his own magickal effects - note however
that this is impossible for Mages without Prime 1.

Prime 1 grants the Mage the ability only to store more Quintessence points in his
Pattern than his Avatar rating - it does not allow the Mage to transfer Quintessence
into that space himself. Effectively, Prime 1 only gives the Mage the potential to store
more Quintessence. If a Mage does not possess Prime 1, his Avatar rating acts as the
limit for the maximum number of Quintessence points he can store in his Living
Pattern. However, Prime 1 does allow the Mage to gain Quintessence direct from the
Quintessence pool in the natural environment up to the limit of his Avatar Rating or
Prime score - he no longer requires a Node. However, this is always a Vulgar
magickal effect, since Free Quintessence is being taken from the environment in an
unnatural manner. It also allows him to use Tass to power his effects, but not for any
other purpose.

In summary, a Mage's Avatar only allows him to absorb Quintessence from Nodes, up
to the limit of his Avatar Rating. Prime 1 allows him to use Quintessence or Tass to
power his own magickal effects, and allows him to store more Quintessence in his
Living Pattern than his Avatar rating (though not to fill that extra space himself). It
also allows him to draw Quintessence from the natural Quintessence Pool up to the
limit of his Avatar Rating without recourse to a Node, though this is a Vulgar effect.
Prime 3 is required if the Mage wishes to break the Avatar limit and channel more
Quintessence into his Pattern than his Avatar Rating would naturally allow, thus filling
the extra space created by Prime 1.

Level 2: Fuel Pattern. Prime 2 allows the Mage to divert Quintessence from the
universal pool into Patterns that he creates, thus giving them real physical form. When
creating Life Patterns, a temporary Avatar Pattern is also created along with a Flow to
allow the creature to exist and live - however, the Flow is entirely artificial and
remains stable only for the duration of the effect; it collapses at the end, thus killing
the creature. All Creo effects used to construct new Patterns are therefore
Conjunctional, requiring the Pattern Sphere at the relevant level and a Prime 2
Requisite. Note however that Mind effects never require Prime 2 requisites, and that
magickally healing or repairing Patterns requires only the appropriate Pattern Sphere -
Prime 2 is not required here since the Pattern is repaired directly with the Pattern.

Note that Prime 2 cannot be used to 'enchant' items as described on pages 214 of
Mage2 - this requires extra Quintessence to be channelled into them, which is only
possible at Prime 3. In addition, Prime 2 only allows the Mage to set up the Raw
Quintessence framework or Flow to fuel created Patterns - it does not allow the Mage
to alter existing flows of Quintessence. By this definition, the 'Rubbing Of The Bones'
effect on Page 215 of the Mage2 rulebook (described therein as a Prime 2 effect) is
impossible at that level - it is now a Prime 5 effect.

Level 3: Channel Quintessence. At this level, the Mage is able to channel Free
Quintessence from one Pattern to another, or from the Universal Pool into an existing
pattern (including his own). This means that he can now fill the 'extra storage space'
created in his Avatar with Prime 1 - he can now gain Quintessence above the limit set
by his Avatar Rating. Prime 3 also allows the Mage to transfer Free Quintessence to or
between other Patterns, thus allowing him to create Talismans and enchanted objects.

Enchanted Objects are Patterns that are charged with more Free Quintessence than
they can naturally store. While they appear no different to the Unawakened observer,
enchanted objects are rendered more 'real' to the supernatural world by the excess. As
such, an enchanted object exists in the spirit world (i.e. the Three Umbrae) as well as
the physical world and can therefore be used by or against the spiritual inhabitants
there. In addition, enchanted weapons inflict aggravated damage on all Awakened
creatures - be they Vampires, Garou, Mages, Wraiths, Mummies or Changelings -
though they still inflict normal damage on unawakened creatures and other items.
Ultimately, enchanted objects are physically no different to the normal variety - they
are however more potent against supernatural entities; for example, an enchanted
denim jacket would still behave like normal denim clothing in the physical world, but
would protect against spirit attacks as well.

The Mage must roll at least five successes on his spellcasting roll for an enchantment
to work - as a result, such a feat is usually an extended roll, requiring concentration
throughout. The number of successes over (and including) the initial five determine
the duration of the enchantment as shown on the Magickal Duration table - thus, if
five successes were rolled, the enchantment would last only a turn (as if only one
success had been rolled); twelve successes (i.e. an excess of seven) are required to
make an enchantment permanent. Note that enchantment of items is never Vulgar.
Also, the number of extra successes over five on the spellcasting roll determines how
much excess Free Quintessence is present within the Pattern - this can be channelled
out by a Mage using Prime 3, thus removing the enchantment.

Level 4: Manipulate Raw Quintessence. At this level, the Mage finally learns how to
affect the Raw Quintessence that is within all non-living Patterns. By extracting it, the
Mage can affect a Pattern's incarnation in this reality - Adepts of Prime can expel the
Raw Quintessence from the Pattern, recycling it into the cosmic pool of Raw
Quintessence. Without this Quintessence, the Pattern (be it Matter or Forces) simply
ceases to exist. The Mage can also add Raw Quintessence to a Pattern above its
natural state - this has the same effect as enchanting the object (as described in Prime
3), but is permanent and cannot be reversed using Prime 3 or less. Note that the
'locked' Raw Quintessence of Living Patterns cannot be affected at this level -
however, this locked Quintessence can be drained at Prime 5 in the same way as the
Matter and Forces patterns described here, and in addition the Flow through the
Living Pattern can be manipulated at that level.
Level 5: Affect Raw Quintessence Flow. The Master of Prime is now capable of
increasing or decreasing the magnitude of the Flow of Raw Quintessence through
Living Patterns. Most living beings do not store Quintessence - instead, a stream of
Raw Quintessence flows continuously through their Patterns. Only those with strong
enough Avatars (i.e. Mages and Awakened Creatures) are capable of storing some of
this flow within their Patterns.

Reducing the Flow of Raw Quintessence through a Pattern can give a Master great
control over the magickal abilities of other Mages. The Master can reduce the Flow
through a target's Avatar Pattern so that the Flow is too weak to allow it to wield
Magick - the target essentially becomes a Sleeper (albeit one who does not count as a
Witness for Vulgar magicks). It is possible to decrease the Flow even further, to such
an extent that it is extinguished completely - this will kill the target, but note that the
Avatar Pattern is still be recycled unharmed. In addition, the Raw Quintessence
'locked' in a Living Pattern can now be drained in the same manner as described for
Matter and Forces in Prime 4 - this inflicts aggravated damage on the Living Pattern
itself, discharging the Raw Quintessence back into the pool and effectively removing
the target from existence.

The Flow of Raw Quintessence through an Avatar Pattern can also be increased,
which acts to increase the Mage's rating in his Avatar Background (effectively without
limit) - this allows him to spend more Quintessence on his magickal effects (this
replaces 'Recharge Gift', which as defined here is now a Prime 1 effect). Note
however that this cannot be used to Awaken a Sleeper - Awakening is a natural
event and cannot be forced. Metaphysickally, a Sleeper's Soul is structured in such a
way that it cannot sustain a larger Flow - effectively, increasing the Raw Quintessence
through a Soul would only create a Quintessence 'bottleneck' as it cannot
accommodate the increased Flow. To Awaken a Sleeper, the Mage would have to
artificially alter the structure of the Avatar Pattern such that it is transformed from a
Soul into an Avatar - such a feat is beyond the limits of mortal magick. The most a
Mage can do is to 'encourage' Awakenings through other means - for example, the
Euthanatos believe that a near-death experience acts as a catalyst for Awakening their
acolytes - but such encouragement is by no means guaranteed to work. In truth, no-
one really understands what causes Awakenings to occur naturally - the fact is that
they do, and this cannot be duplicated artificially by mortal magicks.

In addition, Prime 5 can be used to increase the maximum amount of Free


Quintessence that the Mage can store in his Pattern to above even the limits set by his
Paradox rating - however, this has the effect of 'supercharging' the Mage, manifesting
around him as an aura of unbridled power. Objects merely touching the Mage may be
sent hurtling away at high speed, and devices may spontaneously explode in his
presence. In addition, Paradox is often drawn to such a large collection of Free
Quintessence and may attempt to rectify the situation by striking the Mage.

It should be noted that attempting the Gilgul is beyond the ability of mere Masters of
Prime (and, to further contradict Mage2, it would be wholly a Prime effect and not a
Spirit one). Prime 5 affects only the Flow of Raw Quintessence through a target's
Living Pattern - Gilgul however is the complete destruction of the Avatar Pattern
itself, such that it is lost forever to the Cycle of Life and Death; all Residue within the
Avatar Pattern is also destroyed. Masters are completely incapable of affecting the
Avatar Patterns of living creatures, though they are aware of its existence at this level
- the Gilgul can only be attempted by Oracles of Prime. The Avatar Pattern itself can
never be affected by any Prime 5 magick, and should death result it will always
recycle, completely unaffected by non-Oracular magicks.

Also, Masters of Prime become aware of a connection between Paradox and


Quintessence similar to that between positive and negative forces. Masters of Prime
can also channel Free Quintessence in such a way that it cancels out Paradox energies
that have not yet coalesced within a Pattern - i.e. remove incoming Paradox Points
from an effect before the Mage gains them. However, channelling and focusing of
Paradox into other Patterns is not possible until Oracular levels of Prime.

THE SPHERE OF INFORMATION


by Constantine Thomas

The Sphere of Information governs the definition of Patterns and Paradigms within
Reality. At the lowest levels it can only affect information within Subjective Reality,
while at higher levels information can be manipulated in Objective Reality (increasing
or decreasing the very metaphysickal stability of the target).

Information tells reality what an object is - it defines an object. If an object exists but
no information is known about it, it is 'fuzzy' - in the subjective reality of Mage, the
parameters of a fuzzy object (i.e. size, density, properties, behaviour etc.) can be
defined by observers who create the information that defines its properties. The
Sphere of Information is believed to be closely linked to Prime.

Information is rather unusual in that it can affect both Subjective and Objective
Reality. At lower levels, Information effects only allow the Mage to observe and
process information. Information 3 allows the Mage to actively manipulate
information within Subjective Reality - he can remove or add information to systems
and so make him easier or harder to track. The Adepts and Masters of Information
break beyond Subjective Reality to affect the underlying True (Objective) Reality -
they can add or remove Information from reality itself, thus making objects more or
less 'real' by affecting their definition. Fuzzy objects are those about which True
Reality has no information - these 'virtual objects' are extremely vulnerable to
destruction or further definition, existing as they do in a realm of 'maybe'. The
Technocracy are experts in the Facet of Information, using it to define their new
'theories' and so also define reality - the Void Engineers are the masters of
Information.

GAME NOTES: It should be noted that the Sphere of Information is a very


powerful sphere, and one that can ultimately be used to affect consensual reality at a
very fundamental level - Information 4 and 5 are particularly powerful. Indeed, these
levels are intended to be available only to the most powerful Technocrats (such as
those in the Inner Circle) - the implication is that while any Mage can theoretically
use the Sphere of Information, the Technocracy are the ones that have been the most
expert in its applications and as a result are the ones that are now winning the
Ascension War (or at least have the upper hand in it). If this situation were to change,
the balance in the Ascension War would be tipped as the new paradigms are
introduced.

The Information Sphere itself requires a rather technocratic and/or hierarchical


paradigm to be understood or used at all - as a result, only the Conventions of the
Technocracy (and only the NWO and Void Engineers at that) and some of the
Traditions can learn it. The Virtual Adepts are the primary users of Information among
the Traditions and are able to apply it with great skill in the Digital Web. The Order
Of Hermes also uses Information in their attempts to classify and codify the world in
their rigid non-scientific framework. Effectively, these three groups are the only ones
who are able to use the Sphere of Information to any degree (the Sons of Ether merely
dabble in it, and the other Traditions generally cannot even comprehend it).

INFORMATION

Level 1: Detect Link. This finds the connections between things, and allows the
Mage to see what is connected to the target. For example, a cuddly toy is connected to
a particular child, or a packet of drugs is connected to both a local dealer (the
supplier) and a street rat (the buyer). Note that this does not allow the Mage to
determine why the things are connected - it only allows him to sense the connection
itself.

The ability to detect links is determined by the number of successes rolled for the
effect. One success generally determines the most obvious link - more will reveal
more specific connections. For example, one success will reveal who owns a
particular gun, two may reveal who has been shot with it, three may reveal from
whom the gun was purchased, and so on.

Level 2: Information Analysis. This analyses the connections between things,


allowing the Mage to see all the possible outcomes of an event or all the possible
influences on the target. While obviously giving him complete mastery over all closed
tactical situations (e.g. Chess), it also enables him to analyse complex interactions.
This reveals why connections exist between individuals or groups, rather than the
existence of the connection alone. Thus, while Information 1 reveals who influences a
particular politician, Information 2 reveals the reason for such connections - for
example, the motivations of the politician and the groups that influence him.

Level 3: Manipulate Information. This allows the Mage to manipulate and create
existing information within the limits of subjective reality, and is largely used to affect
records and files. The Mage can add, change, or delete information stored on any
medium - this can be used for many purposes. A Mage can delete data about him in
government computers, effectively 'Zeroing' himself. He can change the amount of
money he has in his bank account by altering his credit rating. Note however that this
manipulation of information is SUBJECTIVE - data may be altered, but Reality
remains intact - thus the Mage can remove all the records of a person's existence, but
the person himself does not become 'fuzzy' (see below) - this would only be possible
using Information 4. Information manipulated using Information 3 is affected no
matter where it is stored - raw data is being altered, not just signals in a computer.
Thus a Mage may Zero himself completely from every database in the world if he
scores enough successes!

It is suggested that the alteration of small aspects of information (e.g. appearance,


bank credit rating etc.) should require only one or two successes. Wider (and more
global) changes should require many more successes - at least ten should be necessary
to completely Zero an individual from every database on Earth, and this would require
a complex and lengthy ritual (probably involving a lot of computer hacking and
negotiation with NetSpiders where applicable).

Level 4: Manipulate Reality. If Information 3 is the subjective manipulation of


information, then Information 4 is the OBJECTIVE manipulation of information.
Changing information at this level directly changes its connection with Reality itself.
Thus, targets can be made 'fuzzy' - living targets are 'forgotten' by their friends,
associates, and ultimately Reality - they (and everything directly connected to them)
will slowly but inevitably disappear from existence if the effect is sustained for long
enough. A Mage's Arcane Rating is a weak, albeit controllable, form of this effect. As
for Information 3, the number of successes determines the extent to which the
information is manipulated - at least ten successes would be required to render a target
completely 'fuzzy' and thus open for redefinition.

Level 5: Define Reality. At this level, the Mage can actually define fuzzy Reality.
This is done both by the power of his own Will, and also by manipulating information
through the Masses so that they understand and accept the new Reality. The
Technocracy (especially the NWO and Void Engineers) have mastered this to a fine
art, further enforcing their Paradigm. Objects are 'fuzzy' when they are newly
'discovered' - at this stage, all that is known is that the object exists. Application of
Information 5 to the fuzzy object allows the Mage to define its physical parameters,
properties and anything else he desires.

Information 5 also allows the Mage to manipulate the local Paradigm in an ambiguous
situation - for example, the Paradigm within a Sanctum can be reinforced by
interconnecting everything within it via a web of influences, effectively removing
outside influences as much as possible.

The definition of fuzzy objects is a lengthy and complex procedure, requiring at least
five successes to initially define it and many more to ensure that this definition is fully
accepted into a local or global paradigm - however, five successes always defines the
object enough for it to be considered 'real' and thus invulnerable to further redefinition
using the Facet of Information.