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1001 Interesting Paradox Backlashes

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  • 191) Chaos Butterfly [Entropy, Flaw/Spirit]: This one requires some patience and creativity on the part of the storyteller. This paradox spirit hits mages who abuse Entropy magick to grant themselves luck too often. When the backlash hits, the only immediate apparent effect is that that the mage sees a butterfly out of the corner of her eye. From that point on, for the duration of the Flaw, every time she uses Entropy sensory Effects, she sees the air currents that shifted as a result of the butterfly. Air currents tend to work against the mage, weather near the mage is stormy, papers blow away before she can read them, things fall off shelves, murmurations of birds shift in the sky causing them to crap over the mage, whatever the storyteller can think of. Periodically, Difficulty of non-magickal rolls may increase by 2 as random chaos hits, balancing out the luck to the natural mean.
    (And, yes, this is directly ripped off from a running gag by cartoonist Ruben Bolling)


    • 192) Flash Crash [Quiet]: I actually invented this one for an NPC. Syndicate traders who are too aggressive with Vulgar Procedures can trigger a flash-crash, where markets start responding to what they're doing, causing a feedback loop. For 45 seconds after the backlash hits, the stock market drops in a freefall. Belgium (or your choice) goes completely bankrupt for 90 seconds. Everything bounces back, but for the duration of the Quiet after that, every sensory and communication channel in the victim's vicinity is trying to contact him with people in a panic trying to sell out of or buy into the crash. Phones around him ring constantly. People on the street will hand him their cell phone saying, "It's for you." Illuminated signs on the highway send trade orders. There may be nowhere to escape (you could go camping off the grid, but would your time off request even be approved with market volatility as bad as it is right now? We need you here in the office.)
      Last edited by GogariGlenRoss; 02-11-2017, 10:49 PM.


      • 193) Mark of Khorne [Paradox Flaw] This marking – consisting of a red, brass or bronze X with two bars placed in the middle and at the bottom – appears on Mages who regularly let wrath, rage and hatred get the better of them. After the Mark appears over a minute in a flash of searing pain, the Mage finds himself unable to use mystic Magick – any attempt is met with attacks of screeching white pain and spasms over the whole body. Hyperscience, Technomagick, martial arts, and most Spirit Sphere methods are untouched by this – though the Mage is not made aware of this. As time passes, the Mage is visited by dreams and visions of open bloodshed and worlds ruled by sinewy daemons from brass citadels. He is quick to anger, and it is very easy for him to lose control of himself and attack anyone present – especially during combat, when he might set upon his allies after there are no more enemies standing. Any methods of conflict resolution other than violence seem pale and unworthy; any methods of advancement other than conflict are for the weak. The Mark of Khorne and it's effects last for precisely eight weeks, or until the Mage spends the night in an embrace of someone. Though even after the Mark has faded, the personality shifts it caused might linger strongly.

        194) Mark of Slaanesh [Paradox Flaw] This marking - which looks like purple-pink combined classical symbols for feminine and masculine - appears over a half-dreamed night of weird ecstatic pains. Those that achieve excess of any kind – sensual, material, personal qualities, social – at the expense of all other considerations (safety, decency, loyalty, past interests, material possessions) might come to bear this Mark. The Mage finds herself vastly more receptive to her vices – at the cost of them quickly becoming pale shadows of themselves, as she needs to seek more and more varied stimulation. The periods of burning out and frantic searches become an interesting and deep pastime in themselves. Both sadism and masochism are seen under a new light – and fittingly, other persons are seen as the lesser playthings to be rightfully enjoyed. The Mark of Slaanesh and it's effects last for precisely six weeks, or until the Mage spends three days and three nights working for the pure benefit of somebody else. Though even after the Mark has faded, the personality shifts it caused might linger strongly.

        195) Mark of Tzeentch [Paradox Flaw] This marking – looking like a magenta-blue-teal bent teardrop with a circle at the lower one third of it's length – appears over a moment of excruciating agony. It's bearers are those who make allies of their enemies, and enemies of their own friends, and then betray their closest companions as they stand with those who stood and will stand against their allies. The Mage bearing this Mark finds her mind flowing in refreshingly new shapes – old skills, talents and knowledges are forgotten, only for new ones to swiftly replace them at the same magnitude of aptitude. Not only this; new view points and ideologies become clear and understandable to the Mage; and the new loyalty is so complete that new memories, or new perspectives on old memories, of previous ruminations and sacrifices for those convictions form. The Mark of Tzeentch and this new way of being – with the mind constantly shifting from week to week – lasts for precisely nine weeks, or until the Mage divulges all her secrets to one person. Though even after the Mark has faded, the personality shifts it caused might linger strongly.

        Some experts of Prime, Spirit and Entropy who have studied those Marks and their effects have expressed worry – even assuming that the Chaos Gods are not real, this still suggests an intelligence behind Paradox manifestations that should not be underestimated and left unanalyzed.

        Last edited by Muad'Dib; 02-07-2018, 12:10 PM.


        • 197) Who the hell do you think I am? I'm a goddamn Mage. [Paradox Flaw] A Mage bearing this Flaw becomes arrogant beyond mere hubris - he knows the best, is the most capable and lets everyone know it as he goes about doing what is necessary – or, really, doing whatever he wants. He becomes extremely territorial – any Mages outside of his city, and outside of his Cabal, and outside of his Tradition, and anyone disagreeing with him..can't be trusted – both in the sense of not being trustworthy, and in the sense of being inept in their capabilities. There's always some reason to consider somebody a lesser – the Mage's perception and faculties become keen in recognizing, observing, and analyzing such reasons.

          The Mage develops a disturbing habit of picking via a dubious selection an Apprentice, or an Acolyte, Consor, or a Sleeper, and trying to train and mentor them. The target will be kidnapped and treated harshly if they oppose – but a cooperative ward (and most tend to become cooperative..) of the Mage will be given preferential treatment and genuine mentoring (at least at times).

          Perhaps even more shocking is the Mage's insistence that any enemies – even supernatural ones – are not to be killed, but should be handed over to 'proper' mundane authorities for imprisonment, and psychiatric and/or psychological treatment. Only the Sleepers can be trusted not to be in league with somebody, after all. The Mage will, of course, keep an eye on the prisoners. Or at least he will try to, when he is not attending to other matters..

          This Flaw might not be that problematic if an Arete 2-3 Mage is affected by however becomes extremely problematic if a Hermetic Mistress or Master – complete with all his contacts, a mansion Sanctum and his Magickal might – starts acting like a goddamn Mage that he, of course, is!
          Last edited by Muad'Dib; 09-02-2017, 01:05 PM.


          • 198) Headspace For Rent [Flaw/Spirit]: A curious backlash afflicting users of Mind. The Mage's skull becomes hollow, and tiny people move in. They come and go through the ears, or sometimes a door that opens in the back of the head. Despite the Mage's best efforts to prevent their coming and going, new "boarders" sneak in when the Mage is sleeping. Sometimes the occupants are solitary, and sometimes whole families move in. Whatever the case, the Mage can feel then rattling around inside her skull, and can hear them talking, playing music, engaging in noisy activity, etc. Nights are the worst, as the Flaw prevents the Mage from getting restful sleep. And despite being the "landlord", the Mage usually has no recourse for getting the tiny folk to leave, until they decide to vacate on their own or the Paradox effect subsides with time. They are obnoxious little squatters.

            199) Wrong Name [Flaw]: The power of Naming is potent, especially in the hands of the Awakened. When a Mage uses True Names as Instrument, they may find their own name warped in the eyes of others. Magic of deception can also bring it on. Around the Mage, people start referring to them by a different name (often a derogatory or symbolic one). So long as the Paradox lasts, those people - who may otherwise know better - swear up and down that the Mage's name is what they say it is. They remember the new moniker always being the Mage's name, and find that if the Mage tries to correct them, the Mage's "real" name sounds strange and inappropriate in an indescribable way. Moreover, documents and records will change to reflect the Mage's new title. Even after the Paradox proper fades, individuals may continue to call the Mage the new label, as a nickname, though they'd have difficulty remembering how the nickname came to be.


            • 200) Shadow People [Spirit ; Prime and Entropy, sleep deprivation, stimulant drug use] These spirits have been bothering Mages who live long periods without sleep, or mix the Spheres of Prime and Entropy, since millennia. However, the frequency of encountering has increased sharply since the synthesization of amphetamine (or speed) in 1887 and methamphetamine in 1893 and adoption of both substances by Cultists of Ecstasy and, at times, other Mages (including Technocrats, who find both substances extremely useful when agents have to forgo sleep.).
              Shadow People appear only at night, and only in shadowed places. Their bodies and clothes (which might be modern, absent, or from a past historical period) are covered by darkness. Sources of light cannot be directed at the Shadow People. Natural fires around Shadow People dim or extinguish, as if deprived of oxygen. Spells produce only dark purple-ish shadows; trying to use artificial lights results in bulbs breaking and machinery failing. Only due to bright moonlight can one take a better look at the Shadow People, and in this case they don't mind it.

              Shadow People possess a talent to, through obscure, uncanny, and venomous comments, instill feelings of paranoia, fear, terror and timidness. They always know just enough to surprise a Mage with how much they know; and somehow always can guess just enough to make even a veteran Mage pause after a ten minutes conversation. Mages who talk to Shadow People for even a few minutes can become nervous wrecks for days or weeks afterwards. Avoiding them through ignoring them makes them visit the Mage's bedside. Shadow People gladly exchange commodities like books and vanity items; or consumables like food, drinks, cigarettes or drugs. Such items offered by the Shadow People are genuine and pose no danger in themselves - however, Shadow People will be able to easily find a Mage with who they exchanged gifts.

              Attacking Shadow People makes them sneer, laugh, and disappear into darkness and shadows.

              Many Mages think that Shadow People are Technocrats; while Technocrats, upon encountering them, are quick to consider them Nephandi. Unknowing Nephandi might identify them as Baali or Malkavian Kindred.... while the Clan Lasombra Abyss Mystics, if only were they informed about the Shadow People, would smile, or perhaps laugh, at the folly of Montano.
              Last edited by Muad'Dib; 02-07-2018, 12:11 PM.


              • 201) Punny: You can't get into a conversation with another person without eventually cracking some kind of bad pun. A Willpower roll vs 7 can help you suppress that for the rest of the conversation though you'll feel a bit antsy.

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                • Originally posted by Yaoi Huntress Earth View Post
                  201) Punny: You can't get into a conversation with another person without eventually cracking some kind of bad pun. A Willpower roll vs 7 can help you suppress that for the rest of the conversation though you'll feel a bit antsy.
                  You say that like it's a bad thing. ;D

                  Last edited by Bluecho; 02-17-2017, 02:15 AM.


                  • 202) The Headless Horseman's Headless Horse [Spirit]: The Headless Horseman, being a notable figure of literature and legend, has naturally appeared to mages as a result of Paradox for many years. He comes to the greedy, the lustful, and the dishonest, aiming to take their heads. Less typical is the appearance of a dark horse, sans head. How it sees is anyone's guess, but it seems capable of tracking their quarry well enough. Sometimes the horse's blindness can be exploited, other times not. Its greatest advantage - aside from its stomping hooves - is its great speed. It seems drawn to spells cast for great alacrity. Spells of Life, Forces, and Time, used to cover ground quickly. Covering ground quickly is this horse's MO, as it attempts to run the mage down. The Storyteller should make many Dexterity + Athletics or Dexterity + Drive rolls, to determine if the mage can shake the decapitated equine off.

                    Alternatively, the mage may decide to kill the horse. This is tough but doable, though the death of the Headless Horse may cause the Headless Horseman to come running the next time the mage incurs a Paradox backlash (sans steed, making him a Horseless Headless Horseman). He wields a battleaxe. Good luck.


                    • 203) Phantom Pain [Flaw]: In the aftermath of amputation, people occasionally feel discomfort in extremities that are no longer there. This impossible ache - this Phantom Pain - may linger long after the loss of the limb. The Awakened, however, encounter a peculiar strain of this phenomenon. When a user of Life sprouts additional limbs - arms, legs, wings, tentacles, etc - the force of their Vulgarity may leave them with a phantom pain once the Effect is over. The body became accustomed to the new appendage, and laments its loss. A dull ache wracks the body, causing wound penalties. A variant of this Flaw occurs among cyborgs, as body parts previously removed in favor of cybernetics cry out in phantom pain. Many Technocrats - often equipped with cybernetics with tactile feedback - complain about damage to their mechanical parts that does not exist.

                      204) Light Unseen [Flaw]: Invisibility is a common Rote among the Awakened. This, despite sudden disappearance being Vulgar magick. Those who employ such arts may find their bodies reacting poorly to illumination. Under direct sunlight or strong artificial light, their flesh becomes invisible. Only in shadows or low light do they appear as they truly are. Take note this only affects the mage's flesh; clothes and other personal effects remain visible. This makes the Flaw less than helpful as a method of moving unseen.


                      • Hollywood History {Realm) a mage who botches a time spell to travel into the past, technocrats are particularly prone to this particular manifestation for some reason, may find themselves in a semi-literate Hollywood farce rather than the real past, one in which say, cavemen use Mokole as living appliances or the library of Alexandria has a lost books section and a card catalog.

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                        • 206) Babysitting [Spirit]: The nature and ways of Paradox Spirits are vague and mysterious. While they frequently seek harm to the mage whose Vulgar arts call them in, combat is almost preferable to the many alternative methods the spirit could make the mage's life a living hell. Some are downright bizarre.

                          Were you aware that some Paradox Spirits have children? Apparently they do, as this backlash involves a spirit showing up on the mage's doorstep (or wherever she might be), asking the mage to look after the spirit's spawn. And by ask, we mean order. The spirit - whatever form it takes, though it is usually some sort of formidable-looking monster - has business to attend to, and hands over their offspring for the mage to babysit. As stated, this is a task that cannot be refused, as the spirit is likely to beat up the mage, then leave the child in their care anyway. These diminutive creatures range in approximate development from infant to adolescent, but they are always a handful to tend to. Baby monsters will cry (or whatever), having needs the mage must tend to nearly every hour. Conveniently, the spirit's parent will leave instructions behind on proper care...not that these tasks are easy. A more developed child will have a habit of running around, barreling through objects, causing a ruckus, and generally engaging in mischief. Although this is variable, related to the nature of the spirit and their parent. Sometimes, if the backlash is particularly potent, the mage might be left with multiple children at once; the Storyteller is advised to make one of them be less inclined to troublesome behavior (if only for characterization, and/or being merciful towards the player). This doesn't mean their very existence won't be a problem for the mage, as Paradox Spirits tend to stand out or create complications, simply by existing.

                          If the mage can afford to keep the Paradox children at home, great. If they are in the middle of an adventure, though, they may have no choice but to bring them along. Mages with Retainers, Allies, Cults, or others might be tempted to foist the charges off on them. While the Storyteller should allow this, it should be a burden even harder on the mortal NPCs than on the mage (and may even result in them quitting out of frustration, putting the character's background dots at risk). This is a backlash that is meant to create story complications and foster roleplaying. A player should not be able to neglect it without cost.

                          And WOE be unto the mage's SOUL if any harm comes to their charge(s).


                          • 207: Time Warped Conformity [Time]: A family of Paradox spirits wonder around, always smiling, always optimistic, destroying everything that isn't normal/PC/or basically McCarthiary sensibilities.

                            It's weird how much things and times change. And then there is that one family. You don't know where they came from, more importantly when. They destroyed an adult only hotel because the advertisement was misleading. Technology fries around their presence for some unknown reason, probably with the inappropriate content on or present. You can't help but to stare at them, their smiling faces so hypnotic, this shouldn't be important but you can't help but stare at the awkwardness. They're definition of games is just as warped, matching capitals to states with the occasional shun finger motion for incorrect answers. What money they can scrounge up is always followed up with "At least you tried!", tugging on hear strings and wallets. It's a wondering family, no spirit can stay away from the family for too long. These spirits will do anything in their power to have the world either conform to their standards or at least have everyone around them staring hypnotically at them.

                            Eliminating them will be tough, especially for those with Devices, Data, and anything technological. Even Mages are subject to their hypnotism. When spotted, Willpower diff 9 to avoid staring. Failure, the Mage just stares at their awkwardness. Success, free action. Devices and data will fail no matter the attempt or device used, the abracadabra Mages will have better chances. Time will send them back to whatever innocent (with or without air quotes). Secondary option is separate them into individuals and have them exposed to modern times, they will fight so be ready to keep them restrained. Third option is transporting them to a tech level lower, yes lower, than modern era. Amish communities, tribal villages, middle of nowhere with nothing but a tent, knife, and fishing rod. The lack of technology and or "good wholesome people" should force them back to their appropriate time.

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                            • 208) A Shifting of Degrees [Paradox Flaw ; Correspondence] The Mage tends to see square shapes - of any size, be it roads at a crossroads or the tiles on the floor - as round; and round shapes as square.
                              Last edited by Muad'Dib; 02-27-2017, 11:40 AM.


                              • Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
                                208) A Shifting of Degrees [Paradox Flaw ; Correspondence] The Mage tends to see square shapes - of any size, be it roads at a crossroads or the tiles on the floor - as round; and round shapes as square.
                                "All these squares make a circle...all these squares make a circle...all these squares make a circle..."