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  • True Names

    The vampire Blood Walk ritual can provide a True Name, but aside from research is there anything else? Are there mechanics for learning a True Name?

  • #2
    It's basically a paradigm thing. You learn true names by researching in books or using your Lvl 1 Spheres to analyse an object/person.
    For an NWO-Agent a true name could also be a tax number or anything used to identify a person.

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    • #3
      The Order of Hermes book has more on True Names, as Hermetics know names are power and try to ensure they are both protected by a concealed True Name and know the True Names of spirits they wish to summon.

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      • #4
        First, a Storyteller must decide what constitutes a person's "True Name". Is it only understandable by reading a person's mind, in order to grasp subtle aspects of their being? Or is it literally the name they go by?

        I prefer the latter, personally. It's more in keeping with legend and superstition, where people have to guard their names, lest sorcerers or spirits can act upon them. It gives the modern mystic an edge, since people nowadays give out their names to anyone who asks, and have them backed up on hundreds of databases. A small advantage, but mystic mages need all they can get in these days of rigid Consensus. People's lack of superstition, for once, works in the wizard's favor.

        For me, I'd make it a person's birth name, plus any significant (usually childhood) nickname. But like TheVarulfen said, it's probably up to Paradigm what constitutes a True Name. A Virtual Adept might require the target's significant internet handle, in addition to their legal name. An NWO operative could employ the target's social security number, since it is the person's identity as far as state and bureaucratic purposes are concerned.

        The Order of Hermes even goes so far as to have its members alter their True Name, by adding a bunch of elements onto their regular identity. The Birth Name, Craft Name, Shadow Names, and several Enochian syllables add together to create their modified, mystically enhanced True Name. With the last element - the syllables - only known to the magus herself.


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        • #5
          The way Hermetics treat True names goes beyond Paradigm - it actually has special mechanical advantages. And the book also delivers ways to find out the True Name:

          Why, then, would the Order use True Names, given the
          obvious risk they represent? Defense. When targeted with long-
          ranged magics by a mage who does not know her True Name, an
          Order mage is treated, regardless of distance or other factors as
          “no connection” on the Correspondence range table. Further,
          she subtracts her Arete from successes rolled to penetrate her
          Ward Effects. In other words, it is difficult at best to confront her
          any way but directly, or to prevent her from seeking out a direct
          confrontation, should she wish it. Naturally, given their power
          over the Ars Virium, such face-to-face battles often favor the
          willworkers of the Order of Hermes.
          Discerning a Hermetic mage’s True Name requires at least
          Mind 4 (and an understanding, and to some degree acceptance,
          of the power of True Names), with no less than one success per
          level of the mage in question’s Arete required to unravel the
          secrets of his innermost nature. Many Hermetic mages, however,
          further conceal their True Names, even going so far as to
          integrate mystic “traps” into the hidden corners of the Shadow
          Name (which must, of course, be fully discerned before the True
          Name can be discovered — a task in and of itself, for mages with
          impressive feats under their belts), traps that attack all those who
          use magic to pry where they are not wanted.
          TL;DR:
          * Mind 4 and an understanding of the concept of True Names can be used to find out a true name; The successes required equal the Arete of the Mage, if a Mage is the owner of such a True Name. AND it requires knowledge of the Shadow Name, and detecting metaphysical traps integrated into said Shadow Name.
          * In the case of Hermes, True Names are more than a defense against showing up in Files and Documents: When you do not know the True Name of a Hermetic, all attempts of using Correspondence against said Hermetic require the fullblown "No existant connection" successes! AND Hermetics whose True Name is not known by the attacker, also subtract their Arete rating against successes to attack any of their their wards.

          The latter point are MASSIVE advantages that Hermetics have - and it goes beyond mere Paradigm. However, nothing is explained as to the exact metaphysical reasons, or why that is the case. Especially given that you do not even need a name of people, usually, to break through their wards or get a correspondence connection through other means.

          It's like the Order Of hermes did a huge ritual at some point in their history that makes not knowing their True Names a massive metaphysical defense. Which is something I can see the Order having done.
          Last edited by Ambrosia; 08-31-2017, 06:00 AM.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ambrosia View Post
            (...)
            It's like the Order Of hermes did a huge Ritual at some point in their history that makes not knowing their True Names a massive metaphysical defense. Which is something I can see the Order having done.
            It does not neccesirely has to be a large Ritual done in the past. Each True Mage Hermetic could be doing the Hermetic True Name Ritual(s) - or whatever is needed to establish the True Name(s) - individually for themselves when the time comes.
            Or perhaps other members of the Order of Hermes could be doing it with them after a certain point in membership.
            Last edited by Muad'Dib; 08-31-2017, 06:09 AM.

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            • #7
              I think it is something the Order did, or at least other members of the Order do, yes - else every Hermetic would require Mind, Correspondence, and at least Prime to get the advantageous effects that the True Name gives them.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ambrosia View Post
                I think it is something the Order did, or at least other members of the Order do, yes - else every Hermetic would require Mind, Correspondence, and at least Prime to get the advantageous effects that the True Name gives them.
                I just thought it was the result of a proper Naming Ceremony upon receiving the 4th rank and being welcomed into Hermetic Mage Society.
                It's like a graduation ceremony, except you are officially called by your shadow name for the first time, which is notated within several documents at the time. Finallised by the notation of the last elemnts of the true name, written only by the mage themselves and locked away within an important book carefully kept in check by a variety of House Bonnisagus Mages.

                Every Naming ritual has a lot of preamble with the Mage in question allowed to discuss and craft their true name, and perhaps even get some assistance from other mages on how to guard it and introduce traps and deadends within it.

                The names of all Hermetic Mages who benefit from the protection of the True Name are written in the various tomes held under lock and key. These records are often revised as the Shadow Name is changed and advanced with every new rank and achievment the Mage obtains. Sometimes multiple versions of the True Name are written in multiple coppies for extra obfuscation. Only the Angels need know which ones are correct after all.
                I also imagine that the more important the mage, the more difficult it is to obtain their true name, it may even be written in part across several different books, translated in a number of different languages scattered across the world.

                The Ritual is done for each and every Mage who would possess one, and is a collective ritual of all the senior members in attendance who would do the writing as well as the correct chants and affirmations. As the ritual creates a permanent change to the Hermetic Mage's pattern, there is no need to uphold it, it simply is now a part of their very being.

                I bet there's a huge party afterwards where all kinds of political shenanigans go on.


                Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

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                • #9
                  Very good stuff. I love the idea of putting magickal traps on your name, It goes to show how flexible magick it's, albeit I imagine the utility of such traps in a chronicle (for a player) would be very limmited, as only antagonists versed in True Names might try to decipher yours...well, it may come in handy if the character wishes to involve deeply on Hermetic politics.

                  Originally posted by g3taso
                  The vampire Blood Walk ritual can provide a True Name, but aside from research is there anything else? Are there mechanics for learning a True Name?
                  You won't find a unified system of True Names across all WoD. BUT, you may be interested to post this also in the WoD forum, becuase the two games that use True Names most intensively, and have systems of True Name and how to find it aren't in the subforums. These are Demon: The Fallen and Mummy: The Resurrection. The latter has a whole "Discipline" (more a collection of spells and rituals) based entirely on True Names, called Nomenclature or Ren-Hekau.

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                  • #10
                    [Sorry, mispost]
                    Last edited by g3taso; 08-31-2017, 12:54 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Aleph View Post
                      You won't find a unified system of True Names across all WoD. BUT, you may be interested to post this also in the WoD forum, becuase the two games that use True Names most intensively, and have systems of True Name and how to find it aren't in the subforums. These are Demon: The Fallen and Mummy: The Resurrection. The latter has a whole "Discipline" (more a collection of spells and rituals) based entirely on True Names, called Nomenclature or Ren-Hekau.
                      Changeling: the Dreaming also has the whole Naming Art, which deals with True Names - not just learning and using them to gain power over someone, but also with CHANGING them to devastating effect.

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                      • #12
                        And I remember a Werewolf book saying that if you knew a spirit's true name then you held its heart in the palm of your hands.

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