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The Fate Sphere

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  • The Fate Sphere

    Up front, let me try to clear up some potential misunderstandings: first, this is not a translation of the Fate Arcanum from Mage: the Awakening; for one thing, its scope is considerably more broad than what that Arcanum describes. Second, it is intended to be a replacement for the Entropy Sphere — but not in the sense of “let's strip capabilities out of Entropy to get something with a more focused concept”. If anything, the goal is to go the other way with it.

    When Mage first came out, it was loaded with stereotypes and half-conceived ideas which later got refined and expanded on. Nowhere is this more true than the Euthanatos and Entropy: in 1e, they were initially portrayed as “death mages” whose whole raison d'etre was to find people who deserved to die and to kill them. In that framework, the Entropy Sphere was a reasonably good fit.

    But since then, the Tradition has been greatly expanded, to the point that Entropy as written arguably doesn't suit them anymore. The Chakravanti, as they are once again calling themselves, do still engage in the practice of administering the Good Death; but that's only one part of what they do, and in fact is generally viewed as a last resort. Rather, they're keepers of the Wheel of Fate, maintaining the metaphysical cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. The Greeks among them liken their purpose to the three Fates, and draw parallels between the Moirae and the metaphysical cycle: Clotho (Dynamism; the Spinner) is tasked with taking possibilities and making them real, Lachesis (Stasis; the Weaver) maintains, protects, and elaborates on what Clotho created, and Atropos (Entropy; the Thread-Cutter) breaks down what Lachesis builds, freeing up new possibilities for Clotho to actualize.

    Some mages who are familiar with the Garou note a parallel between the Fates and the Triat that werewolves venerate; but it's worth noting that mages don't restrict themselves to that one possibility: Dynamism is a bigger concept than the Wyld; Stasis is more than the Weaver; and Entropy covers more than just the Wyrm. As written, the Entropy Sphere shows a bias in its presentation toward Entropy, which is consistent. But just as the Chakravanti have expanded beyond their original stereotype of assassins, so too should the Entropy Sphere be expanded beyond just Entropy to incorporate all three aspects of Fate. Some of this is just a matter of presentation: as written, Entropy includes a lot of probability manipulation (arguably Dynamic rather than Entropic) alongside its death and decay aspects. But it would be reasonable to get some expansion, and in some cases alteration, to the Sphere's capabilities with this broader concept of Fate in mind.

    All that said: one goal I have is to completely rewrite Entropy's third, fourth, and fifth dots so that they no longer arrange four other Spheres in a hierarchy, with Forces and Matter on the bottom, Life in the middle, and Mind at the pinnacle. Instead, I want to start with the triune concepts of Dynamism, Stasis, and Entropy, and apply each of them to the conceptual “ladder” described in Mage: the Sorceror's Crusade:
    sense it
    •• nudge it
    ••• make lasting changes to it
    •••• do something big with it
    ••••• do something really big with it
    Applying the metaphysical trinity to the concept of Fate, we get the following:
    Dynamism: Fate as luck and chance — probability manipulation should fall here.
    Stasis: Fate as destiny and order — pattern (not Pattern) manipulation should fall here.
    Entropy: Fate as decay and endings — death manipulation should fall here.

    As well: if the Storyteller chooses to use the concept of Synergy (with its three flavors of Static, Dynamic, and Entropic), then Fate should arguably include the ability to sense and manipulate Synergy.

    Last edited by Dataweaver; 03-04-2016, 06:06 PM.

  • #2
    Sounds made to be broken.


    • #3
      Could you elaborate, please?


      • #4
        Originally posted by Innocent Flower View Post
        Sounds made to be broken.
        Considering this is a conceptual rather than mechanical approach, what is there to be broken?


        • #5
          I'd like to add mechanics. For instance, let Fate • detect flaws (Entropic Fate), the currents of probability (Dynamic Fate), and patterns of order hidden in apparent chaos (Static Fate). Fate •• should let you nudge probabilities (Dynamic Fate), cause glitches in a system's operations (Entropic Fate), and reinforce a person's destiny, temporarily granting the effects of having dots of the Destiny Background (Static Fate)*. And so on.

          * I'm very iffy on this one, due to the systemic issues of a Sphere being able to grant a Background; but we are talking about nudging Static Fate; and nothing says Static Fate to me like having a Destiny.


          • #6
            IMHO there is a big difference between Destiny and destiny, and to keep things balanced IMHO you should require a lot of successes to give the Destiny background but not not as many for plan old destiny.


            • #7
              I like this approach as in : I dislike how Entropy as written describes it's effects from level 3 onward as "you mess with other spheres in a limited way.". I have myself tried something similar and here are my suggestions on how to handle this approach for level 3+.

              Scale : There should a be a general increase of scale between the levels. While level 2 allows for immediate manipulation of (events arount) a given thing, level 3 allows for longer lasting and further reaching manipulation of said object. Level 4 should allow to target groups of people or places (familys, small firms, houses) and level 5 should only be capped in it's area of influence by ST fiat and successes (a city, an international cooperation, the stockmarket, a nation, the whole world.... ST decides if something is possible on that scale in the end and how hard it is.)
              Example : Level 2 -> you are going to trip (immediatly, during this scene/day)
              Level 3 -> you are going to trip a lot in the forseeable future
              Level 4 -> in fact your whole family is going to do so
              Level 5 ->look at the city of NY just tripping all over

              Consent : While Fate can manipulate events around people and even their body to a degree, it cannot impede free will. If you bless someone with wealth, he still has to take it of his own will. Sure enough meddling can cause opportunities to mount, perhaps him even getting a monetary gift against his will. And the charity he wants to give it to just sends the checks back because of some technicallity. The choice remains his. That said mounting incentive through entropic influence will in the end wear down all but the most determined of minds to whatever change desired.

              Level 3.
              Entropic Fate : Cause significant errors in systems/people up to the point of damaging them. This will take some time with simple machinery like a wheel, while a smartphone could easily experience a current spike strong enough to fry it. People affected by such effects are won't to accquire an illness, suffer premature aging symptoms or even an acute event like a stroke (with quite a few successes)

              Dynamic Fate : Introduce something to a new circumstance. A person affected by such an effect may be subjected to an event that challenges her views or simply presents a new opprtunity. For example a man down on his luck and unemployed could run into someone who knows someone who has a job he'd fit perfectly available. Alternativly a stout athetistic man might be confronted with an event that challenges his view of a cold world of chance.

              Static Fate : Set something more firmly onto the path it is currently on, basically creating a buffer between it and and opposing forces. A secret can be made more difficult to detect, a successful politican becomes less likely to fall victim to a scandal and a machine becomes unlikely to break down.

              Note : Combinations of these effects offer even more opportunity. Using Dynamic and Static Fate in tandem could make a new path taken more steady, making it possible to bless a bum with wealth (at least if he chooses to take up the opportunity when it offers itself to him.

              Level 4.
              Entropic Fate : Cause a system/person to break down immediatly, this could take the form of immediate multiple organ failure, sudden brain death or even (with a few bonus successes) turning a person into ash immediatly. Objects simply break of decay in another manner, systems, such as a family, can undergo a sudden fight that will make them loath to see each other ever again.

              Dynamic Fate : Complete and utter chaos, probability running wild. Devices activate and deactivate themselves without apparant reason, water in a glass seems to lean to one side without being tilted. Such an effect (while quite vulgar) can cause extreme confusion in an area or create a haunted house sans ghosts.

              Static Fate : Things that became unlikely to happen with level 3 now become allmost impossible to avoid. Pair this with Level 3 Dynamic Fate to introduce lethal danger and you get Final Destination. Of course grade of success still determines the potency of this effect and (successful) struggle against it will wear it down. Using a variation of this effect other entropic influence can also be made dependant on an event. So a blessing can stay intact only as long as it's recipient is your loyal servant. Indeed it could be made to turn into a curse if it is ever broken. Thus a "binding" oath can be laid.

              Level 5.

              Entropic Fate : Instead of just breaking down something specific, the master of Fate can target the pattern connected to a certain thing aswell. A secret can be made unknowable, causing all who knew to forget it. A name can be destroyed, destroying all evidence, material or mental, of it's existence.

              Dynamic Fate : While before the mage could cause mayhem and disruption that bordered on the impossible now all bets are off. A master of Fate can break the laws of physics for a time, causing a stream to flow upwards (or indeed in many directions at once) would be a simple and harmless demonstration of such power.

              Static Fate : Determinism. While the prior level made an event near impossible to avoid this level makes it happen, period. While this may seem like to much two things should be noted. Firstly to affect such changes is very very hard, depending on the nature of the change. Determining something that was (from an objective point of view, not the mages. This includes latter action taken by the mage knowing he determined an event to happen anyway) very likely to happen in the first place is rather easy (allthough somewhat pointless). The more unlikely and bigger the ripples of the effect become, the harder it gets to pull off, closing in on the impossible at rapid pace. Secondly the universe consists of creation, destruction and order in the middle, using this effect shifts the balance in a dangerous manner. This attracts paradox in great amounts (depending on the scale of the effect) on the one side and can cause the universe to look for a release valve as the event becomes more and more unlikely. So you determine "Jimmy Knox dies tomorrow". Jimmy hears you and retreats to very safe location, which has been secured by multiple magical means and sourrounds himself with five progenitor masters of life... well that's not going to be easy. Normally such predictions try to keep close to your intent but if another Jimmy Knox exists, he is now probably toast. Or the intended Jimmy Knox has a heart attack and technically dies, for about one second before being brought back to life. Most masters of Fate probably recognize that it is both easier and wiser to nudge events frequently and give a strong push here and there to affect an outcome than to make the universe their bitch.

              My Mage 2e Homebrew


              • #8
                Dataweaver, I have VERY similar thoughts on the matter, specifically that Fate is really about manipulating dynamism/entropy/stasis and influencing the interaction of distinct Patterns. My version of the Fate Sphere for Ascension can be found here. The only thing I disapprove of is the ladder concept you mentioned, as I think it provides too vague a differentiator for ranks. Awakening had something similar for describing their Sphere ranks, and it always read to me as arbitrary.

                I also think that Synergy is the Syndicate version of the Fate Sphere. Entropy might be the Euthanatoi version of Fate, but as you mentioned, it need some revisions and greater justification.

                Demon: The Fallen CoD/X20 Revamp
                Mage: The Ascension Arch-Spheres
                Mage: The Ascension CoD/X20 Revamp


                • #9
                  To clarify: ”Synergy“ is the term that M20 uses for what MRev called “Resonance”. It comes in three flavors, as you can see on a MRev character sheet: Dynamic, Static, and Entropic.

                  My thinking is that the Euthanatoi got their reputation for dealing with Entropy because they were the only mage faction outside of the Nephandi who were willing to acknowledge its role in Fate*; nearly everyone else approached Fate as if all it dealt with was “fortune or destiny”, i.e. Dynamism or Stasis (it's rare for a Tradition to embrace both). The Euthanatoi are the undisputed masters of Fate because they've embraced all three aspects of the Sphere, not just the popular ones.

                  The Dynamic and Static Aspects, meanwhile, reflect concepts of “fortune/chance” and “destiny/fate”, respectively (yes, “Fate” is a misnomer for the Sphere; but frankly, I can't think of a good term that embraces all three aspects equally) — mages who speak of someone having a destiny that events in his life drive him toward, or of there being a plan for one's life, are speaking of Static Fate; when they speak of the capricious winds of chance, they're speaking of Dynamic Fate; and when they speak of how all things eventually fall apart, they're speaking of Entropic Fate.

                  BTW, moogle001: check out my World of Darkness hacks, in my sig.

                  * And the Nephandi perverted it; their so-called “qlipphothic Entropy” amounts to focusing on the harmful aspects of Fate, playing up Entropic Fate's capacity to tear things down without acknowledging its ability to free up possibilities that Stasis locked down, while also emphasizing Static Fate's stifling characteristics and downplaying its value in giving meaning to Dynamic Fate's chaotic elements, and playing up the essential meaninglessness of Dynamism's chaos while ignoring its capacity to motivate. In short, they try to emphasize Fate as it would be if the Dynamism/Stasis/Entropy cycle were broken.
                  Last edited by Dataweaver; 03-04-2016, 06:31 PM.