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The Paradox Sphere - Wyld Magick

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  • The Paradox Sphere - Wyld Magick

    This is an optional Sphere variant of Prime which is only available to Marauders; the metaphysics rely entirely upon a certain resistance to Paradox (afforded by a permanent Quiet rating). It is a sort of insane enlightenment; with this Sphere a Marauder can comprehend mystical forces which other Mages cannot. This variant sheds the use of Quintessence entirely, instead opting to control the bizarre energies of vulgarity as though they were some sort of power source. The Paradox/Quintessence wheel simply becomes a Paradox wheel.

    Any botch of a Paradox effect will lead to the following; they gain Paradox as though the effect were Vulgar with Witnesses, and then a Backlash of all of the Paradox on the wheel occurs immediately. Marauder Quiet gives no resistance whatsoever to Paradox gained through botches of this Sphere. This could be deadly; if the Permanent Quiet rating of a Marauder goes above 5, then they will be ejected from conventional Reality entirely (as described in M20). On the upside, a Mage with the Paradox Sphere can learn to spend Paradox as though it were Quintessence, and juggle its mad energies as easily as a master of Prime manipulates Quintessence.

    Such a Mage cuts themselves off from Nodes entirely, only gaining the passive benefit of Difficulty Reduction and a weaker Gauntlet.

    Paradox Spirits take a dim view towards Marauders who manipulate Paradox in this way. Unless the Marauder is exceptionally powerful, a meeting with Judgement could lead to their permanent demise. Luckily Marauders have some innate resistance to Paradox (see M20), so such events are devastating but rare.

    Specialties: Quiets, Permanent Paradox, Perception, Backlash, Sanity Sink, Wonders

    1 (Perception): At this level the Mage can sense Paradox, Permanent Paradox, Vulgarity, Quiet, Reality Zones and the presence of Witnesses. It is an eye gazing at the Consensus, its strength, and deviation from it. This power allows a Marauder to sense other Marauders, and Mages who are in a Quiet, however it does not allow them to perceive their own separation from baseline reality, or that of Mages with the same delusions and Quiet as them (Witch House, for example, could not see that those she helps to Awaken are Marauders). Combined with Mind, the Mage may begin to appreciate the nature of another Mage's Paradigm (the way their mind understands Reality), although this may take many successes and considerable effort.

    All such perceptions have the potential to be clouded by the various derangements of the Marauder.

    2 (Manipulation): The Mage can control simple Paradox. The Mage may spend Paradox as though it were Quintessence, and they can absorb Paradox from other Mages (and Wonders)... or force it onto them. This is always Vulgar, and any Mage with Prime may roll their Arete to resist the effect. The Mage may consecrate objects and organisms with their Paradox, through a similar effect, meaning that it will be bound to them, transform with them, and (on a metaphysical level) become a part of their own deranged reality. If combined with Spirit, the Mage can influence Wyld-aligned spirits with ease, adding one automatic success to all relevant rolls.

    Spending Paradox is a considerable "Fuck You" to conventional reality. If they botch an Arete roll which they have spent Paradox to fuel, then the spent Paradox is returned along with the usual amount. This often triggers a Backlash.

    3 (Transformation): The Mage gains the benefits of a "Sanity Sink", as she learns (intuitively) to spread her own Reality into the patterns around her. With this mastery of Paradox, Witch House would find that the sleepers she lives with begin to share her views on Reality, no longer seeming insane to her. Mages have more resistance to such alteration, but may succumb eventually. When combined with Mind, this effect can be weaponized and enhanced, and Correspondence can spread it further. Use the rules in the Sanity Sink sidebar in Book of Secrets.

    Furthermore, at this level of mastery a Marauder may conjure Patterns "out of nothing", creating fire, water, or life, when combined with the appropriate Pattern Spheres. The conjured patterns aren't as stable as those conjured with Prime, however. These patterns are part of the Marauder's Reality, and therefore have no permanence outside of the Marauder's presence and derangement. Unless they are consciously maintained by the Marauder they will cease to exist. And if the Marauder has a powerful Quiet (3+) then the conjured patterns will m̸̱̻g̴̴͍̱̀l̠̹͜ẃ̸̠̯̱'̩̬̗̳͓̳͍͘͢ṋ̷̷̖a̴̮̩̥̦̬̼͘͜ ͓͈̞f̲̱͎̤̰̻̻͠h̟̫͉̜͙̬̙͘͠ ̦̦͔̲͘͞C̸͍̯̠͜t̟̼͕͟h҉̶̼̳̱̱̯̠̻̰ư͏͔̜̟l̵͚̦͝h̰͇̀͞͞u̖̮͜͠ ̥̲̹̝ ̶̧͓̝͎͔͚R͉͇̥̭̜̳̀͟'̵̮͚̮̻̲͖̫̰ḽ̥̜̯̯̠̭͖͞y̴̯͇͍̪̹̘̝̕͟e͈͟ ̞̲̼͙̲̟̳h̫͕͔̠̤̬͔͝ ̛̦̼̜͉̙̜w̼̣͎̗̕g̀҉̣̝͕̱͝ḁ̡̧h̴̛͓̳̭̺͝'̠͇̱̗̟̗̜͕͟ ̡̛̦̖̗̥̭̪͠ͅn̰͓a̮̺͇̜͚̼̲̰̹̕g͔̪̖ļ̥̖̘͓̬͓̥͢͡ͅ ̤͙͕͇̪̹͠͡ͅf͎͕͉͔͇͔h͏̠̦̰̲̲͇̪̜͓͝t̲͈͢͡a͍͉̕g̵͍͔̙̣, which can be very confusing.

    4 (Greater Control): The Mage may aggravate Reality, prodding and poking it with their own Paradox. By doing this they can make all Magick Vulgar With Witnesses for the rest of the Scene, or trigger an immediate Paradox Backlash in other Mages. At this point they may also create a bizarre mockery of a Wonder. These items fit only with the Marauder's personalized Reality, and this means that only they (and the Sleepers and Mages who share their delusions) may use or benefit from them. They may also craft a Misfit, a "Wonder" which inflicts Permanent Paradox (equal to its level) on any Mage who carries it, if they do not share the Marauder's baseline Reality. Misfits also carry the Sanity Sink effect, allowing the Marauder to gradually "readjust" the Mage she gifts it to. These items are powerful links to the Marauder in question, and this link can be exploited in both directions.

    5 (Mastery): Consensual Reality ripples in fear of such a Mage. Pattern Spiders desert the areas where they move, and Technocrats may develop a cold sweat. Nephandi cannot sense this disturbance any more than most Mages, but if they could they would usually run. The Marauder may temporarily adjust their own Quiet level with a Coincidental effect, bringing their own Reality closer to or further from baseline Reality, and altering their relationship with Paradox. Furthermore, a Vulgar Paradox 5 effect allows a Mage to "carry the Sanctum", inflicting her mad vision on her current location. If she does this successfully then the area around her is treated as though it were her Sanctum for the Scene, making all of her Magick Coincidental (and decreasing Difficulty), and Magick which defies her Focus Vulgar. The level of the "Sanctum" is equal to the number of Successes.

    At this level a Mage may, with sufficient mastery of the other Spheres, create their own Realm. Masters of the Paradox Sphere create a Reality which matches the Reality in their mind perfectly, and in those spaces they are like Gods, becoming something akin to Sheogorath or A.M.

    The Mage is capable of inflicting or removing Permanent Paradox, for a certain Duration. The capability to remove is somewhat theoretical, since Marauders are much more likely to draw Mages away from Conventional Reality than towards it.

    If the Mage uses the Spirit Sphere, then the Gauntlet level may be decided by her own personal Reality, with a Paradox 5 Effect. Paradox Spirits can be hideously deformed and assaulted by this level of mastery, if combined with the Spirit Sphere; such a Marauder ignores any countermagick or defenses such a Spirit possesses. Furthermore, the Mage can simply create Paradox out of nowhere. Combined with Mind 5, the Marauder can force another Mage into a Quiet. Rumours abound of a rare and dangerous power (Paradox 5, Mind 5, Spirit 5) which can Awaken any Sleeper who shares the Marauder's Reality, perhaps even on a large scale if combined with Correspondence 5. There are no recorded instances of this occurring... but is there any guarantee that we would notice? A lucid Marauder might argue that all Mages engage in this sort of manipulation on some level, pointing to the Order of Reason "reprogramming" the consensus. Fortunately no Marauder of such excellence and power exists, and if they do, they are not active in our plane. Hopefully.
    Last edited by 11twiggins; 05-22-2018, 10:05 AM.

  • #2
    Advantages: Holy shit where to begin... the "balance" is brought about largely by the fact that Marauders are almost entirely NPCs, and an ST is under no obligation to give a Marauder PC (should they allow that) this Sphere. Spending Paradox, shifting it around to harm and help other Mages, having a very "meta" understanding of Reality, inflicting your own Personal Reality onto the world... it's perfect for a really memorable antagonist or strange "ally". It brings about several unique and powerful effects which other Mages can never achieve so directly, but similar examples exist in canon. Dimensional Science allows for a Gauntlet of 0. Primal Utility allows you to harvest Quintessence which is inaccessible, even invisible, to most Mages, and at higher levels allows you to utilize a Primal Venture simply by visiting it. Data turns a deleted sockpuppet account you found via the WayBackMachine, which links to a person who has since gone into hiding, into a powerful correspondence link.

    The intention is for this Sphere to amplify the advantages of being a Marauder, and allow them to push their themes into the mechanics.

    Disadvantages: No "Wonders" of any kind until level 4. No manipulation of Nodes. No ability to work with Quintessence, and no way of unwinding other Mage's Magick directly (although at higher levels you can make Magick you don't like much more difficult to pull off, by shifting baseline reality). Botching is devastating, and can overwhelm even the vast protection given by extreme Marauder Quiet. Working with Paradox instead of Quintessence is playing with fire (which fits very well, mechanically and thematically, with the Marauder ideal). The negative attention drawn by flagrantly bending and breaking consensual reality is also a big deal. Furthermore, unlike Prime and Primal Utility, this Sphere cannot unwind or degrade a Pattern to acquire energy. The standard Werewolf view of most Mages; "insane reality-warpers who are unbalanced by one of the Triat", is very true in this case. Any Garou or Fera who can sense such a Marauder will take steps to limit their activity, perhaps violently. Lastly, Paradox 3 can't conjure permanent or stable Patterns under most circumstances. A sword you can hold and use? Sure. But if you try and give it to a sleeper or Mage who doesn't share your version of reality, then it will fade out of existence.

    The intention is for this Sphere to amplify the disadvantages of being a Marauder, and allow for a high risk/reward kind of Reality Hacking, if you will.

    There's also a satirical element here. This is simply an exaggeration of what most Mages do, Magick Writ Large if you will. And if an Archmage Marauder with Paradox 5 were to exist within the mortal world... when you step into their playground, who is to say they're the insane one? At this point they're bending reality to their "delusions" to the point where such pathologizing becomes entirely relative.
    Last edited by 11twiggins; 05-22-2018, 09:13 AM.

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    • #3
      There is two kind of people playing with the judgment of reality: the mad ones and the archmages. Those people can somehow decide what is possible and what is not. How do they do it ? IIts a mystery, and studiying it will likely get you gilguled

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      • #4
        Entropy 3 Paradox 2: Break the Foundation

        By combining Entropy and Paradox, a Marauder may exploit the tendency towards disorder to temporarily break down the Earthly Foundations. The Marauder does not choose what happens in response to this effect. Pandemonium ensues. Puddles may drain up into the sky as reverse rainfall, windows will make shattering sounds but stay intact, grass may become as sharp as razor blades, and the penumbra may become visible to all.

        This is, naturally, very vulgar. But it has many advantages. It forms a powerful distraction, can be used to acquire Paradox, and will intimidate Mages who have learned to respect the Foundations as universal law. If nothing else, it makes for a powerful entrance. A Marauder who Breaks the Foundation before pulling a Bygone out of the Umbra will terrify any Mage... especially since there's a good chance the Backlash will lash out at one of the other Mages present.

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        • #5
          Gods in the Maya:

          It has often been theorized that some of the god-like entities which wander the dream realms are Marauder Oracles, who were rejected from conventional reality. Under this system, it can be assumed that such... "spirits" (?) have a powerful command of the Mind, Spirit and Paradox Spheres. As a result they can warp the maya to their will, treating all dreamspace as though it were their personal Demesne.

          Since the dreamlands are a superhighway connecting all human minds, in one sense or another (rivaled only by the rest of the High Umbra), it can be assumed that a lucid Oracle within the maya would be able to shape the consensus as they wished. The trouble is that by definition these Marauders were ejected from reality because their Quiet became too intense. They are able to influence dreaming minds (especially those with perceptive delusions similar to those they had in life), but they are metaphysically and mentally separated from the world at large.

          So how could these oracles bring their power to bear? Most simply don't want to. Their thought exists on a level we can't comprehend, since it is so deeply detached from our existence. They might flit about in their own Demesne, performing inane changes which appear insignificant to outsiders, but are deeply important to them. But if a powerful mad oracle were to exercise control, this is one way they might...

          A Fusion of Marauders develops with a Quiet which is not dissimilar to that of a dreaming Marauder. This Oracle becomes something akin to a Totem to them, and through their communication this oracle's gaze is directed back into this strangely familiar world. "Was I... like you once?" In time, this fusion grows. They work to Awaken sleepers and convert Mages, and Mages falling into Quiet in other parts of the world find themselves being drawn into the growing power of this Oracle. From an umbral viewpoint, this Oracle's Demesne grows like a cancer within the Dreaming. In time the Traditions begin to notice an increasing number of Mages becoming Marauders, falling into Quiet, and Sleepers Awakening as Marauders.

          This Fusion shares a very loose hivemind, which reinforces their shared Quiet. It's an information exchange and a way of learning from eachother, rather than a Borg-like mind control. This Fusion is a physical extension of the influence of the Oracle. Why is the Oracle spreading this mental plague? Well such pathologizing works both ways. From his perspective, our world is insane, and he is trying to change the consensus and the way humanity thinks. And of course no *sane* Mage would ever do that

          A link to the Oracle is treated as the Totem background, and gives extra dice for Esoterica, Enigmas, Lucid Dreaming and Cosmology (focusing on the High Umbra, Dreams and human thought itself). For members of the fusion, the Oracle is clarity, enlightenment, Awakening itself. Not a God, but a friend, lover, mentor, teacher, preacher. And they would love to introduce you to them! The Oracle gives its students 1 free dot in the Demesne background. When they dream, they dream together, and to them their shared demesne is a sort of paradise. No confusion or contradiction from their internal reality... this fusion transcends the barriers of nations and creeds and even Traditions and Paradigms.

          For members of the Fusion, the Dream/Hypercram background represents their ability to tap into the collective ability of the Fusion... not every member of the Fusion can do this, but those who can can be very intimidating. Even in the Fusion's early days having 5 in the Dream background represents access to absolute human mastery of many Abilities (assuming that the Oracle, or one of the members of the Fusion, has that Ability at 5).
          Last edited by 11twiggins; 05-24-2018, 12:19 PM.

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          • #6
            I really like the idea maybe i will integrate this as a legacy for my mix of awakening and ascension.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Leandro16 View Post
              I really like the idea maybe i will integrate this as a legacy for my mix of awakening and ascension.
              Thanks! I've never looked at Awakening; if you had to sell a few ideas for Ascension players and STs to use, which would you mention first?

              For example I've never played VTR, but I like the idea of The Cacophony (public announcements with Kindred dog-whistles that Vampires notice, like a nightclub getting new blackout blinds implying Vampires might be involved in management) and Mandrakes (plant ghouls).

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              • #8
                Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post

                Thanks! I've never looked at Awakening; if you had to sell a few ideas for Ascension players and STs to use, which would you mention first?

                For example I've never played VTR, but I like the idea of The Cacophony (public announcements with Kindred dog-whistles that Vampires notice, like a nightclub getting new blackout blinds implying Vampires might be involved in management) and Mandrakes (plant ghouls).
                I will add too many things becuase CoD it´s much better in game mechanics than WoD another thing it´s the lovely metaplot and factions from WoD which are the reason that my games always tend to have a mix of both worlds while favoring the metaplot of WoD.

                Mechanic wise the 10 arcana from awakening have more creative examples of what you can do with them and also have a better magick system wich allows more customization of spells via spells factors and rewards risk by a mechanic called reaching (You take paradox to increase the power of your spell).Attainments like mage armor it´s also something i like to implement because portrays very well the fact that as your knowledge of the inner workings of the universe increase the more natural magick becomes to you.

                Another thing i will add would be legacys with in awakening are the act of shapping your soul to be able to cast static magick without paradox risk akin to the disciplines but I would modify them as something that caps your maximun Arete/Gnosis becuase you are cutting your own soul making you unable to ascend or reach archmastery which it´s evil if the players don´t know but my favorite theme from mage it´s the seeking of wisdom and the fact that such divine path it´s surrounded by lies, traps and temptatiom.This theme and the Legacys can be easily implemented by making the traditions and technocracy teach them to loyal menbers.

                Metaplot wise I think that archmages from "imperial mysteries" is one of the most important thing you wanna import they are perfectly shapped and are far better than the ones from "Masters of the art" becuase i love cosmic horror and the fact that there are beings that can change reality retroactively making everithing futile.Of course your standard mage don´t know about the existence of the Exarchs Archmages or the supernal.The mundane Mage it´s more busy fighting the consensus war than seeking enlighment and that means that you can keep the Technocrazy vs Traditions war that everyone loves while without anyone noticing there are higher beings shaping reality on methaphysical level fighting and scheming in the background.

                Last edited by Leandro16; 05-24-2018, 03:43 PM.

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                • #9
                  @Leandro16
                  Umm...

                  • We might want to note first that “Paradox” means vastly different things in the games. In Awakening, it’s a curse placed by the living platonic concepts of tyranny (or, to be more prosaic, coding errors in reality).

                  • Most Legacies in Awakening canon are almost word-for-word paths to enlightenment (and Ascension). Their ‘static’ magic, Attainments, come from internalizing magic so much that the world can’t stop you from casting it. I assume you’re changing this part because of the Static vs. Dynamic theme in Ascension?

                  • Standard mages do know about the Exarchs, archmages, and the Supernal. They just don’t know it as much as they would like to. I assume this is another change made to fit the lore to Ascension, right?


                  MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
                    • Most Legacies in Awakening canon are almost word-for-word paths to enlightenment (and Ascension). Their ‘static’ magic, Attainments, come from internalizing magic so much that the world can’t stop you from casting it. I assume you’re changing this part because of the Static vs. Dynamic theme in Ascension?
                    Yes , and I houserule them to be very cheap 3xp x LV being the downside limiting your max Arete and being forced to play one specific paradigm (wich is the reason why the traditions teach them).Power it´s a great bait for traps.

                    Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
                    • Standard mages do know about the Exarchs, archmages, and the Supernal. They just don’t know it as much as they would like to. I assume this is another change made to fit the lore to Ascension, right?
                    Yes it´s another change that i made becuase I love the idea of the "Secret Masters" and the layers of conspiracies.

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                    • #11
                      Dunno about paradox 'Sphere' I generally see it as a strange facet of Prime. Weaponizing/using paradox is entirely possible even for sane mages though, even if not in the same scale. I mean if werewolves/spiders can use Paradox (paradox spirits and gifts) why not mages? it's their forte after all.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Warpwind View Post
                        Dunno about paradox 'Sphere' I generally see it as a strange facet of Prime. Weaponizing/using paradox is entirely possible even for sane mages though, even if not in the same scale. I mean if werewolves/spiders can use Paradox (paradox spirits and gifts) why not mages? it's their forte after all.

                        Gifts work a lot different than sphere magick and Paradox is essentially the antagonist to this very special kind of magic. Ananasi will most probably utilize paradox spirits (or their power) to thrash magick. Fera using paradox spirits always run into risks when freeing them.
                        M20 makes very clear that there is a connection between Quintessence and Paradox, but you have to be mighty powerful to actually use it (or know very much about it). From a Storyteller perspective, I think there could possibly be a way to utilize Prime even at smaller levels to counter or even influence Paradox in different ways. It's just not anything that has been detected! As a minor sphere, one that replaces the usual Prime sphere because it just takes that much time and effort, a Paradox sphere is actually a pretty nice idea. Also, it's clearly not designed for player characters. This is purely for storytellers, as a way to inspire special abilities and give a reason as to why an NPC may have these powers.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Warpwind View Post
                          Dunno about paradox 'Sphere' I generally see it as a strange facet of Prime. Weaponizing/using paradox is entirely possible even for sane mages though, even if not in the same scale. I mean if werewolves/spiders can use Paradox (paradox spirits and gifts) why not mages? it's their forte after all.
                          I've written up Paradox as a variant sphere of Prime, similar to Dimensional Science and Spirit and Primal Utility and Prime, and Data and Correspondence.

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