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1001 Interesting Paradox Backlashes

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  • 226) A Taste for Agony [Paradox Flaw ; Mind, Forces, Entropy] Mages affected by this Flaw become sadistic to a fault.

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    • 227) Ms. Eight ("ERRORERRORERROR"): Some Paradox scholars (especially among the Virtual Adepts) theorize this woman was a human (perhaps even a former mage) swallowed and corrupted by digital magicks. Others think she may have been a spirit of glitches, or a rogue AI given flesh, and co-opted by Paradox to serve as an enforcer. Whatever the case, Ms. Eight appears as a woman of Indian descent, with long wavy hair and a mole under her eye. She wears a lime green suit with long coat tails, and a matching bowler hat. The number 8 is tattooed on her stomach, not that it is usually visible. Eight carries two large pairs of scissors, one in each hand, as weapons.

      But the singular defining trait of her appearance is how it shifts irregularly in time. Her movements stutter and hitch, jumping from "extremes" with little to no "in-betweens". Ms Eight moves disturbing about, a laggy simulacrum of true life. What's more, this glitched-out activity doesn't seem to involve her existing or moving through space in between jumps. When she elects to move quickly, she practically teleports a few meters at a time. Between this and her erratic limb activity means she is difficult to hit or see coming. When in a fight, Eight enjoys a -3 difficulty on defensive maneuvers, while opponents suffer a +3 difficulty to hit. Because she doesn't technically pass through intervening space, it is possible for her to "glitch" through walls and other obstructions. Even "reading" her proves more difficult, as facial expressions and body language are disjointed.

      Ms Eight says little, as her voice comes out fragmented and distorted, like a tape recording copied 50 times before playback. This makes understanding her difficult, though there are clues. Her presence following a backlash is known quickly, as she makes a beeline for her quarry. She is direct, targeting the mage and seeking to eliminate them, allowing no obstacles to stop her (literally, in this case, because of her ability to circumvent obstruction). Eight appears most often to Virtual Adepts, and those agents of the New World Order that specialize in Data. Curiously, she will most frequently "team up" with Miss Two, and will take great pains to guard her. The significance of this, as in all things related to Ms Eight, is a mystery. That Eight is by her very nature distracting, seems to synergize well with Two, who works best when forgotten or overlooked.

      Eight also shares the dubious honor with Mademoiselle Seven as being the only members of the Stopwatch Gang to have been witnessed in the presence of the new Boss.


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      • 228) Once Upon a Time with a Druglord: This paradox backlash will ALWAYS go for the drug dealers or PC's involved with drugs. Spirits made flesh of Greed gangsters will come out and try to KILL the PC. sleepers will see a bunch of guys coming out of vehicles with UZI's and handguns trying to kill the PC. Theres no way to negotiate your way out of this, its either kill or be Killed...or be captured and tortured.

        229) IM NOT TENCHI!!: Is your mage akward and insecure around the opposite/same sex? does he or she has problems picking up people?!...WELP...If anime has tought me anything is that Paradox can be the origin of EVERY SINGLE ANIME EVER So...This mind effect forces PEOPLE to actually FIGHT FOR THE MAGE AFFECTION!. His life is basically a Harem Anime, can be triggered in any moment, even strangers will try to fight for the PC's feelings..and no, no chances for threesomes or orgies.

        230) NOTICE ME SENPAI!!: Mind/life/matter/Entropy/Time effect, the idea is that whenever the mage needs help of an adult or responsable mage, he will ALWAYS be neglected one way or another..Either a crowd of people gets in between both of them. The signal goes down, people forget to tell their master "hey, X guy is trying to reach you up." it always seems to be "So Close..but so far away at the same time". Welcome to personal hell.

        231) She blinded me with SCIENCE!!!: A femme Fatale arrives to the Son of Aether's life. His life's work, his theories, his machinery is now being "Borrowed" by this Femme Fatale.. using her "Charms" she can always Steal whatever the mage is working on, No Matter What. usually she sells the prototypes or they turn on the wrong hands

        232) DON'T PRESS THAT BUTTON!!!!: The blind ego of a Son of Aether can be quite decieving. No matter how perfect his machination is, he will ALWAYS put a large red button saying "Do Not Press.". Its perfectly invisible for the Son of Aether..Except for everyone else..Press that button, i dare you, i fucking dare you.... 6 lethal dices of area damage

        233) Weird Science!: So, Every scientist needs a Test Subject/Scientific Companion/Assistant. ..But what happends when the "Assistant" retaliates?. The PC may NOT EVEN HAVE AN ORIGINAL ASSISTANT TO START WITH..He will Suddenly remember some horrible magick experiment gone wrong and something fitting his paradigm being lost "forever". From an "Evolutionary paradigm" the test subject can be a sort of BrundleFly Experiment or the Gorilla Robot from Robot Monster. Or even something like Maria from Metropolis. This machination has all the Strenghts from his creator (normal physical stats +1 and mental stats +2) to try and Kill its creator for what he has Done.

        234) Buzz Buzz Buzz: Life/Correspondance. Ok this is preeeeeetty basic..Co-colcation / teleportation IS a bitch. This type of paradox manifest by basically going full on cronemberg on the PC, mixing his gene pool with Something (a fly, a matis, go wild)

        235) Not Quite Dead: Life/Correspondance/Spirit/Forces. So, you were exploring the Underworld or the Umbra..or perhaps your "Will" is too strong to Die. but lets face it, your body is now ashes. Some call it coincidence, others say you put too much strain on your body..others call it HUMAN COMBUSTION!. Thing is You are Dead...but not quite. Your PC is not Technically a Ghost...but rather a constant manifestation of Ectoplasm...Like i said, you are NOT dead...just your body is...you are not indestructible (hell, anything with spirit 2 can harm you) but you cant move things around like you used to...you might need a Containment suit to walk around..or a suit of Armour made by an alchemist..or being a German Medium working for a Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense


        Forum's Official's Joker and Trickster. Pardon my bad english, aint my first language (I Speak Spanish).
        ST: DtF, HtR, WtO, MtA
        Signature Chars: Crowley (hakalu), Joe The Nuwisha (WtA)
        Changelings: be afraid of the Technocracian High Five of Doom

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        • "Stand between two mirrors
          And...look into the distance
          You'll see You times infinite
          Still you're...only human..."
          -Steam Powered Giraffe, "Fancy Shoes"


          236) Sister Nine ("Copycat"): Supposedly the youngest member, the truth about Nine is unknown, for her face remains hidden by a thick layer of shadow at all times. As if you took a young lady made of a black silhouette, and dressed her in a purple flapper dress and matching hat. A bubbly lass, she often makes cryptic statements and nonsense poems, in a sing-song voice; her hand is often found playing with the long, green bead necklace, or with the green feather set in her hat, or with her pitch black hair. She comes bearing a hand mirror in a purse, and sometimes can be found with a parasol. (This latter clue may hint at an origin, such as Paradox spirits can have. Paradox scholars have noted a group of Paradox spirits that take the form of young girls with flesh like silhouettes, clothed in frilly lolita fashion and bearing parasols. What this could mean is anyone's guess, though it is theorized that agents of Paradox may, in fact, change "jobs" in the Umbra hierarchies.). Evidently Nine does, indeed, have the number 9 tattooed on the center of her forehead. It must also be in black ink, as the tattoo only shows up when she employs her "talent".

          Nine holds a talent for bringing out threats relevant to her target in the context of time, not unlike Mister Three. Unlike Three, whose powers go "vertically" back through the time stream, Nine goes "horizontally" across timelines. When she encounters her target - and, eventually, decides to engage them in more than just conversation - she pulls out her mirror and holds it in front of her face, the reflective surface facing the mage. As the target is made to see their own face superimposed over the girl's, Nine disappears in a flash of light, transforming suddenly into the mage's doppelganger.

          Except this doppelganger is not an exact copy, but a version of the mage from an alternate universe or timeline. Sister Nine pulls her identities from alternate hypothetical realities where history - whether at large or only the mage's personal one - took a different turn, often to dramatic effect. Sometimes the person the mage sees is who they would have been had they joined a different Tradition, Convention, or Craft, or even a different sect entirely. Sometimes they see a version of themself that took a darker, more violent turn...or a lighter, more optimistic one. A few mages have seen what they would be had they entered the Cauls, and become Nephandi...and a few Nephandi have seen versions of themselves who never made that choice.

          And others have seen the most standard of alt-universe stock incarnations. Like a Nazi version, from a timeline where the Third Reich achieved world domination. Or one where they are the opposite sex. Or a survivor of nuclear holocaust. Or just one with a mustache, signifying that they are eeeeeevvviiiil.

          In all transformations, Sister Nine's forehead bears the now-revealed number 9. She is also equipped with whatever tools and equipment is appropriate for her disguise, as well as Charms replicating appropriate Magickal Effects. She seems to know things about the alternate timeline, and, if their history is close enough, may use that knowledge to torment them. Always with a cheerful disposition (even if her appearance would suggest otherwise). She'll attempt to make a nuisance of herself in a non-violent way, but will fight if required; and this is common, since few mages can stand themselves. Despite her disposition, she is as much a little psychopath and kleptomaniac as her compatriots. Nine will flee very quickly if pressed, pulling out her parasol and letting it carry her away on a strong wind.
          Last edited by Bluecho; 03-15-2017, 04:07 AM.


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          • 237) Another Degree of Sensitivity [Paradox Flaw ; Forces] Mages affected by this Flaw feel the temperature of every item and person they focus their sight on.

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            • 238) Mister Ten ("Muscles"): An imposing giant of a man, Mister Ten O'Clock is broad shouldered, standing at seven feet tall. He is all muscle, to the point where his scarlet zoot suit can barely contain them. The number 10 is tattooed on the back of his bald head, features revealed when he removes his enormous, scarlet top hat. His fists similarly dwarf those of lesser men, the knuckles caked in scars and leathery callouses. Severe and taciturn, Ten can cow most mere mortals (and more than a few Awakened) through raw, monolithic bearing alone.

              When Ten appears, he comes in swinging. This is a task for which he is well suited, as Ten is an accomplished pugilist. These busy fists are not merely dangerous for their raw destructive force (though it is quite ample), but for the unique temporal property they exhibit. Quite simply, Mister Ten can punch a person into next week.

              Literally.

              Following damage calculation, for each point of damage dealt by Ten's punches after the first, the target is launched forward in time one day. Or, more rarely, backwards, as has been known to happen. Ten's ability really is just that simple, and he rarely has the patience to pursue the matter after one successful punch. Given that he hits like a car, further intervention in the mage's life is seldom necessary.

              Mister Ten usually appears alone. When he appears alongside other members of the Stopwatch Gang, it is usually with Mister Five. They seem to have a more friendly relationship, with Ten speaking more in his gravely voice with the tippler than with anyone else combined. If Five is hurt or killed, Ten takes particular exception to that, and may pursue the target across time until they've been beaten to a pulp.


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              • 239) Loaf of bread, gallon of milk & a stick of butter. The mage finds themselves unconsciously buying the above items throughout the duration.

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                • 240) Madam Eleven ("Nanna"): The most venerable member of the Stopwatch Gang, Madam Eleven O'Clock appears as a bent over old woman, pale of skin, knobby of joints, and with a long nose. She covers her short white hair with a wide-brimmed teal sun hat, which matches her dress, shawl, and high heel shoes. Thick, stylized glasses sit on her nose, with thick black rims. A faded number 11 is tattooed on her sternum. A purse hangs from one shoulder, and she leans on an ornate cane, with a head shaped like that of a buzzard. Her demeanor is often kindly - all members of the Stopwatch Gang give her deference, and are always on their "best" behavior around her. This, indeed, is because Eleven has a sadistic streak; when she appears alongside other gang members, she will usually request they engage in brutality and larceny. Eleven is a shrewd old crone. Only for her enervated bearing does she not hold the position as boss within the gang. As it stands, she is the one Mademoiselle Seven goes to for advice, making the two quite close (as far as two psychopaths can be, anyway).

                  Despite her appearance, Madam Eleven is by no means harmless on her own. For indeed, she is described by Paradox Scholars as Old Age herself, like the god Thor wrestled with and lost. Her time-based gimmick is one of decay. Everything she touches (save what she excludes, like her possessions or, sometimes, her gang mates) ages rapidly, turning carpentry to dust and metal to rust. Living creatures she touches become terribly old, and older still as long as she remains in contact with them. A classic tactic of hers is to feign trouble walking, hoping to ensnare her magely prey into giving her aid. The classic "help an old lady across the street" is given terrible results, as the youth and vigor is stolen from the target.

                  And it is indeed stolen. When Eleven touches a living person, she grows younger just as her victim grows older. She will continue to do so, until she returns to her physical prime. The young Madam is a beautiful woman, standing straight and laughing that haughty laugh of hers. If a fight breaks out (as it often does), she makes full use of her renewed vigor. Her cane is actually a cane gun, and a stiletto can be found in her purse. If she is killed, the stolen youth returns to its original owner (assuming, of course, the victim survives).

                  Because of her appearance and her alignment to Time, mages everywhere wonder at her connection to the infamous Wrinkle. On one occasion, a Paradox scholar asked the Madam about it. Her answer was simply, "Oh, that old dear? Ho ho ho!" She spoke no more of the subject, and the encounter quickly devolved into frantic conflict, as encounters with the Stopwatch Gang are known to do.

                  Madam Eleven is also the only member of the gang who isn't intimidated by Mister Midnight. She's too old to be bothered, and openly muses that the Old Boss will return eventually. "Such a nice boy".


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                  • 241) Mister Midnight ("Boss"): Mr. Twelve O'Clock himself, and the supposed leader of the Stopwatch Gang. At least, he is now. For the first decades of the gang's existence, they appeared to follow someone else. Sometime in the late eighties and early nineties, however, the spirits of the various members plummeted, seeming dejected by some tragedy. They were no less dangerous, but their hearts just weren't in the punishment and plunder. Then, one day, Mister Midnight appeared in a Paradox backlash for the first time, and everything was different.

                    The figure called Mister Midnight is reminiscent of Sister Nine in appearance. But while Nine appears as a silhouette, like a girl wholly dark, Midnight seems less like a darkened person, and more like a man-shaped hole in space. Not just his flesh, but even his clothes suffer this effect, from the fedora on his head to his pointed shoes.

                    The hole is filled with stars. Mister Midnight never speaks. The only sound that can be heard is the howl of a cavernous maw, like the quiet, distant wail of a cold, alien cosmos.

                    Mister Midnight only ever appears in response to the most severe of backlashes. This is because when he appears, the victim might as well have vanished into oblivion...for a time, that is. It's only recently that some mages who were attacked by him have reappeared. Their stories are disturbing.

                    Midnight's body is an Event Horizon. When his power is active - and there has never been an instance where he has appeared with his power not active - it warps the passage of time around him. Observers drawn into his field find time moving faster all around them, and the speed increases the closer Midnight gets to them. Their own speed is dramatically reduced - though they run as quickly as they can, they make little progress. Worse, while drawing close to Midnight's event horizon, the victim seems cut off from the world outside themselves. Those not affected by Midnight may see the Paradox spirit appear, before watching both him and the victim vanish.

                    The exact purpose behind Midnight's actions differs wildly. Those who have reappeared state that he seemed to only pass them by - an act that requires approaching, circling around, and then moving away. Midnight never runs, but merely walks; he raises not one hand against his target, nor even seems to acknowledge their presence (not that his eyeless face would reveal it if he did). In this, his contact with mages is in passing, like a dinosaur ambling by an ant. These folk were the lucky ones, only needing to watch a decade or two fly by around them. Midnight comes and goes, and they lose a few years in exchange.

                    (It's possible to escape Midnight's hold, of course. Correspondence can be used to teleport away, and Time can be used to speed one's escape. Stepping Sideways with Spirit can be tried, too. No matter what, though, the mage IS losing time, as every moment spent in Midnight's field can mean hours, days, months, or years outside. The first step in getting away is realizing what is going on, after all.)

                    When the mage has truly earned the ire of Midnight, he doesn't walk past. He walks towards, dead on. As he draws closer, the world around the mage spins faster. The fast motion of humans running around is replaced by a blur of color and lights. Mayhaps buildings rise and fall around him, decades turning into centuries turning into millennia. Closer. Closer. Closer.

                    And as he gets closer, Midnight grows larger. Taller, and wider. Stars leap from his body and fill the field of view around the mage, leaving Midnight nothing but a Black Hole. A black hole growing ever larger, ever closer. The mage is in an infinite field of stars, but those too give way, the cosmic map not merely being overshadowed by the black hole, but compressing away from it. The field of stars shrink behind the mage, the blackness folding around him. Eventually, the last hint of pure, cosmic white winks out, and the mage finds himself surrounded by the incomprehensible dark mass. The poor bastard has passed beyond the event horizon.

                    And still, Midnight is getting closer. It won't be long now.
                    Last edited by Bluecho; 03-21-2017, 11:35 PM.


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                    • *claps!*

                      A very great writeup, Bluecho And a very versatile set of Paradox spirits, given that they all revolve around a single sphere. I like!
                      And for some reason, whenever I imagine Ms. Four playing her record, this track from Hotline Miami pops into my head: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EL_pBJN_O3M

                      Not quite Jazz, but for some reason it's just stuck in my head with her.


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                      • Originally posted by Ambrosia View Post
                        *claps!*

                        A very great writeup, Bluecho And a very versatile set of Paradox spirits, given that they all revolve around a single sphere. I like!
                        And for some reason, whenever I imagine Ms. Four playing her record, this track from Hotline Miami pops into my head: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EL_pBJN_O3M

                        Not quite Jazz, but for some reason it's just stuck in my head with her.
                        Thanks, I enjoyed running with a theme.

                        Although, I'm not quite done with the Stopwatch Gang. There's two more Paradox Spirits I want to write up next. And maybe a Realm. What good gang doesn't have a hideout, am I right?

                        EDIT: Also, concerning the write-up for Mister Midnight, I based it partially on what it would look like to fall into a black hole.
                        Last edited by Bluecho; 03-22-2017, 03:13 AM.


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                        • [Went out of town for a week to attend a funeral. Gotta pick up where I left off. You haven't seen the last of the Stopwatch Gang!]


                          "We are in Morning, for it is after Noon."
                          -Sister Nine, circa 1991


                          242) Mister Noon ("Old Boss"): Once a clean-shaven man of Hispanic features, Mister Twelve Noon walked about clad in a pure white zoot suit, with matching fedora. When his sleeves are drawn back, twelve watches can be seen, six to a wrist. From his belt hung two gun holsters, bearing the weight of twin revolvers. One revolver was gunmetal black, and the other bright silver. Engraved upon these were the words "Time" and "Patience", respectively. He can frequently be found smoking slim cigars, clenched in his teeth. The number 12 is tattooed large on his back. Noon was a man of good humor, quiet contemplation, and even temper. He had to be, to moderate the excesses of his own motley crew of freaks, weirdos, and psychopaths. When mages met him, he'd always give them an opportunity to cease whatever Vulgar arts they were doing, and surrender any valuables they had on hand (for, indeed, he was still a crook, amiable though he was). Still, he punished what he saw as stupidity in short order (usually when someone made the mistake of trying to fight him). All in all, a moderating influence on the gang.

                          That was then, when he led the Stopwatch Gang. Sometime between 1989 and 1991, Mister Noon disappeared, apparently lost to his organization. Apparently deceased, if a Paradox Spirit could indeed truly die.

                          "Apparently" being the operative word. Reports of his Noon have been gravely exaggerated.

                          In recent years, a man of Hispanic cast has been seen in sporadic Paradox backlashes, or wandering the Umbral wilderness. His face is no longer clean-shaven, instead covered in a scraggly black beard. He's traded his fedora for a cowboy hat, his suit pants for weather-worn jeans, and his suit jacket for a poncho. The outfit may once have been white, but has become brown. The man's face is creased by wrinkles to a degree, and he smiles a little less. Still, there is little denying he is Mister Noon, though he's seen better days. On only a single occasion has a witness - an Umbral traveler - seen his naked back. The number 12 has been crossed through by two intersecting scars. Curiously, when the scars were plotted roughly to a clock face, they seemed to be hands pointing to 3 and 6. Some question if this doesn't hint, in that symbolic way the spirit world often uses, at the culprits of his removal from the gang.

                          Mister Noon's powers were twofold, one for each revolver he wielded. For his silver gun, named Patience, he would declare loudly that he was about to "Draw". Two turns later, he draws this weapon and fires all six shots in an instant. Anyone in visible range at the moment he draws will be tagged, so long as their are bullets in the chamber. If there are fewer than six targets, some of them will get hit twice or more. If more than six, those farthest away (or whomever the Storyteller chooses) will be spared...for now. Noon's accuracy is uncanny, receiving no penalties for multiple attacks, and instead getting a -2 on the Dexterity + Firearms roll. And he has both Traits to spare.

                          The far more unpleasant power came from his black revolver, named for Time. Mister Noon fires the shot - and only a single shot at a time - in regular fashion. Anyone struck by a bullet from this gun experiences dilated perception of time. For each success above the first on the damage roll, the victim is made to experience one hour, in the span of time it takes for the bullet to come to a stop. This is an effect that only affects the mind and senses; they cannot take any action, save perhaps a countermagic roll (and only if the Storyteller allows it). Many compare this effect to that of the infamous Wrinkle, though there is a large difference with Noon. His version of mind-numbing dilated time comes at the end of a bullet, and the victim is made to FEEL every moment of it. They are wracked with torturous agony, which may result in additional Bashing damage from pain, and possibly a loss of temporary Willpower points. Many targets leave the accelerated time with panic, or pass out on the spot (roll Stamina to maintain consciousness). It's a potent and dangerous power Mister Noon wielded, hence his desire to get his targets to surrender instead. Thankfully, though he yet walks the Tellurian, he has apparently lost access to the black revolver Time, for he neither carries it now, nor uses it.

                          Given the nature of its power, though, some theorize if it didn't become a Paradox Spirit on its own...

                          Mister Noon's goals currently are unknown, aside from occasionally doing his duty as a Paradox Spirit. Aside from punishing the stupid or extorting money from them, he doesn't have any apparent objective. In the Umbra, his wanderings are a mystery, and few who have met him have gotten much information from Noon. He has expressed fondness towards his old gang in passing, however. Some Paradox scholars wonder what would happen if his old subordinates were informed he yet existed.
                          Last edited by Bluecho; 04-05-2017, 09:36 PM.


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                          • 243) Dame Thirteen ("Odd Maud"): Unlike Mister Noon, who at least was verifiably a member at one point, it's uncertain what, if anything, Dame Thirteen O'Clock has to do with the Stopwatch Gang, aside from small details. A short, pale young woman, with baggy eyes and curly amber hair, which grows on only one side of her head. The other side is shaved, and she often covers it with a tiny, colorful hat. Her entire ensemble is a mismatched outfit of stripes, plaid, polka dots, zig-zags, and checker patterns. All in discordant colors. She wears a patchy trenchcoat in these colors, over a poorly buttoned shirt, and baggy pants, one pant leg dramatically shorter than the other. She wears no shoes or socks, and when she sits with legs dangling playfully, observant viewers will spot the numbers 1 and 3 tattooed on each of the soles of her feet.

                            A childlike Paradox spirit, Dame Thirteen walks through life in a constant half-delirium. She has only ever been spotted with members of the Stopwatch Gang on two occasions, both in the Umbra. Never when "on the job". Once, with Sister Nine, the two chatting excitedly together about boys (the witness was just as confused by this). And again more recently, with the exiled Mister Noon. Only one statement was caught before Noon turned around and left: "Sorry, toots, but I don't take crooked bargains. Not after the last time."

                            Bargains appear to be Thirteen's forte. When a backlash occurs - and as a result of nothing less than full blown time travel (or the attempt thereof) - the girl appears, admonishing the mage for their naughtiness. After some cryptic banter, she offers the character a deal: she'll square away the mage's Paradox debt...if she's allowed to take one hour from his life. If the backlash was particularly powerful, the character could be sorely tempted to agree. If they refuse, Thirteen frowns, disappointed, then departs. The backlash still occurs - Thirteen is not actually directly a part of it, unless the mage allows her to be - and they character usually never sees her again.

                            If the mage agrees, Thirteen offers her hand, a shake to seal the bargain. When her hand pulls away, it's filled with a handful of sand, which she deposits in an hourglass pulled from one of her many pockets. The character may have assumed this sand represents an hour from their lifespan, which, in the grand scheme of things, is a trifle. They'd never notice the loss, they reason. What's it mean to die one hour earlier?

                            Truth is, Dame Thirteen knows more than anyone just how important an hour can be. When the bargain is struck, the mage blacks out on the spot.

                            When they awaken, they find themselves in an alternate timeline, radically changed. They would appear to have been taken to a Paradox Realm patterned as another universe, for the character disappears from their own world. In this new one, history is different to varying degrees, but most importantly for their immediate surroundings. People don't remember them, or else have different ideas of who they are and what they mean to them. The mage might have a different home, a different job, and different magely affiliation. Indeed, they might not be a mage at all anymore. They may remember their former life and all the esoteric knowledge they've gleaned, but their Awakened awareness is missing. No matter what happens, the character may be massively confused. Which is why Thirteen helpfully places a clue on their person when they wake up, if they think to check their pockets. The clue is a playing card, numbered '13', with art depicting a major event in the character's life...that no longer happened.

                            Dame Thirteen does not trade in an hour from the character's future. She takes an hour from their past. A specific hour, whose events no longer happened in this timeline.

                            The hour could be anything, but it is always significant. The time the character met their spouse by happenstance, or the hour they conceived their first child. The hour they spent looking for their lost sibling, without which that sibling was found too late to save. The hour when the stars aligned, and the character finally worked up the courage to defy their abusive father. The hour they spent being extricated from their home by Tradition mages, where otherwise they would have been picked up and recruited by the Technocracy. The time they walked into the Cauls. Even that moment, so long ago, when they experienced something so profound, they Awakened. Whatever it was, taking the hour removed the character from the world for the duration, preventing them from doing or experiencing a life-defining event. Now they stand in the world forged from that difference, for want of an hour. In all cases, the new reality is markedly less agreeable to the character.

                            The ditsy Paradox spirit allows the character to stew on this for a period of 13 hours; the better part of a day, often starting from when they wake up. After those 13 hours, Dame Thirteen appears before them once more, holding the hourglass. She answers any lingering questions the character may have about what exactly happened, and what the total effects of the change were. Fighting her is usually no good, as she can teleport and evade as much as she pleases. When asked the obvious - will she give the hour back, and return the character to their true timeline - Thirteen is cagey. "I don't know...do you really want to go back?"

                            Dame Thirteen is different from the members of the Stopwatch Gang, in that she doesn't appear motivated by profit or sadism. She seeks to teach the mages she visits a lesson. In the tradition of "It's A Wonderful Life", Thirteen wants the character to appreciate the life they had, by showing them an alternative. Specifically an alternative born from the past being changed. She is always attracted to mages who use Time to effect changes to history, or who skip periods of time. In asking why the character would want to return to their original timeline, she's illustrating why, no matter how much it may hurt, History should be allowed to be what it is.

                            If the character can convince her of their sincerity in wanting to go back, Thirteen agrees, snapping the hourglass in the middle and pouring the sand down on their heads. They return to their world, one hour after they left it. All their previous aspects return to normal, including their Arete, if applicable. This may or may not absolve them of their Paradox debt, depending on how punitive the Storyteller thinks their stint in the alternate timeline was. If the character elects not to return, Thirteen cocks her head quizzically, asking if they're sure. She doesn't seem to understand not wanting to go "home" if the chance presents itself. If the character persists, she will shrug, saying she doesn't get it, then leave the character to their new life. For all intents and purposes, the character is now dead in the main timeline; if they are a PC, the player should be made to write up a new character.

                            This is also true if, in certain situations, the mage racked up a particularly huge Paradox backlash, while in the process doing actions that would, narratively, call for their demise. If the character's actions were severe - and the Storyteller deems it necessary (and the player agrees, in the case of a PC) - Thirteen will take the hour of the character's birth or conception. She will not inform the character of this, and will take the hour with some sober relish, if the character could be construed as trying to evade their bad karma by making the bargain. The character will disappear from the world, but not reappear in another. They don't exist there, because in that alternate timeline they were never born. It's unsurprising that more than a few Nephandi have been met by Thirteen, while balanced on the edge of a catastrophic backlash, and disappeared forever. In these cases, Dame Thirteen leaves behind a playing card, depicting a pure black field, with the title of "Never Was" printed on it.


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                            • 244) Just stay for a little way too long in one place... [Paradox Flaw ; Correspondence] This Flaw afflicts Mages who forget themselves while they are using Filter All-Space or simillar effects. Their vision is split between one location they were observing and their current location; this lasts until they lose all interest in what they are forced into observing.

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                              • 245) The Delicate Strand of Time... [Paradox Flaw ; Time, Mind, Entropy] This Flaw strikes Mages who peer too closely and detachedly at the multitude of future possibilities. Mages afflicted by it develop a nagging feeling that every deviation from regular behaviours - taking a different street crossing, asking a stranger for advice, giving money to a charity for the first time - might result in weird and/or disastrous consequences.

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