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THE SPHERE OF CHAOS

by Constantine Thomas The Sphere of Chaos affects chance and randomness, and the extent to which they can affect a system. As described below, there are three types of probability system Closed Systems, Metasystems, and Open Systems. The pinnacle of the Sphere of Chaos is the ability to control disorder itself, and also to apply this to systems in which there are billions of variables through Chaos Theory. Chaos gives the Mage control over the amount of disorder in a system, which in turn affects the extent that randomness influences that system. This allows the Mage to affect probability in Closed Systems, Metasystems, Open Systems (all of which are described below), and ultimately Entropy itself. A Closed System is the simplest of all Probability Systems - it is one in which there is a definite, finite probability of an event occurring, as a result of the isolation of the system from external influences. Tossing a coin creates one of the most basic Closed Systems - there is a one in two chance that the coin will land heads or tails. Other examples include the shuffling of a pack of cards, and a game of Russian Roulette - in the latter, there is a one in six chance that the firing chamber of the revolver will contain the bullet (which the Mage can affect). A Metasystem is a hybrid system that combines elements of both Closed and Open Systems. An 'Metasystem' is defined here as a collection of individual components that interact in a complex manner - thus any Bureaucracies (and ultimately Society itself) are Metasystems, as are complex machines and computers that are composed of many interacting parts. Ultimately, these are all 'meta-organisms', comprising many individual entities (sometimes millions) that are themselves affected by various factors. All Metasystems operate within a basic rigid framework - the hierarchy of employees, the daily routine, etc. - which makes them similar to Closed Systems. However, anything can happen within that framework as the metasystem interacts with the outside world - employees can arrive late or call in sick, rival companies can put in a take-over bid, a new contract can be signed, wars can start and so on - which makes it akin to an Open System. Again though, only events that are possible can be caused to happen - for example, a war or take-over could not be initiated unless the circumstances already existed for such an event to occur. An Open System is one where probability is being continually affected by variable (and multiple) independent factors - people usually have no control over events that are part of Open Systems. However, Mages can manipulate (or 'tweak') the system such that the chance of a specific event occurring is increased or decreased. He can also flood the system with Chaos (or reduce its effect), making it generally more or less random in its operation - in these circumstances, the Mage has little control over exactly how this randomness will manifest itself. Being run over in the street in a freak car accident, hit by a meteorite, or even killed in a random shooting are all Open Systems.

For example, a Mage being chased over an unstable wooden bridge can use Chaos to affect the Open System that is the chance of the bridge collapsing. The probability is based on the strength and direction of the wind, the weight on the bridge at any moment and its distribution, the age and strength of the wooden planks, and so on. By manipulating probabilities of any of these factors reaching a given critical 'collapse point' at a certain time, the Mage can cause the bridge to collapse when he is safely on the other side but when the people chasing him are about halfway across. It should be noted that Chaos cannot be used to make magicks appear Coincidental (by affecting the probability that something will occur) - Chaos affects only the probabilities that a mundane event can occur. The ultimate expression of Chaos magick is Chaos Theory, and the ability to control disorder itself. Normally, a system must naturally tend towards increasing disorder. At this level, a Mage can override this dictum and cause the amount of disorder in a system to decrease or remain stable with time - with this, he can make a gas cloud diffuse in a certain way (or not diffuse at all), or make ink drops form out of inky water as the ink molecules re-assemble into a more ordered state. Through Chaos Theory, the Mage can control events in the future through tiny manipulations of events in the present.

Increasing the amount of disorder in any probability system makes it more random and unpredictable. Decreasing the amount of disorder in a system makes it less random and more 'ordered' - i.e. predictable. Examples of how these manifest in the various types of System are given below:

CLOSED SYSTEMS If disorder was increased in a system where two dice were rolled thousands of times, it is possible that no consecutive roll will be the same. Similarly, if a pack of playing cards (arranged in order of suit and number) was taken and shuffled once, it would appear as if it had been shuffled hundreds of times. If disorder was decreased in the systems described above, rolling the two dice would always resulted in the same number, even if rolled several thousand times. In the pack of cards example, the deck could be shuffled a thousand times but there would still be only one or two cards displaced if the disorder was decreased.

METASYSTEMS Increasing disorder in (for example) a busy restaurant could result in tables never being served by waiters, cooks calling in sick on busy days, health inspectors arriving, customers complaining, waiters tripping up while carrying food etc. Increasing disorder in a complex machine (such as a computer) could result in computer crashes, circuit breakers tripping for no reason (while others fail to trip when they should, causing power surges), corruption of computer data, and so on.

Decreasing disorder in the restaurant may result in tables always being served as soon as they are taken by customers, employees calling in on time, and everything generally running like clockwork. Decreasing disorder in a machine would make it work more efficiently and more predictably - circuit breakers trip when they should, back-doors into computer systems become inaccessible, phone exchanges route their calls to the correct destinations, etc.

OPEN SYSTEMS Open Systems are generally difficult to quantify. Increasing the disorder in such a system makes a possible event more probable. The chance that a rickety wall or an unstable bridge could collapse at a given moment is an Open System - increasing the disorder would make such an event more likely and would probably cause it to happen. Similarly, decreasing the disorder in an Open System makes possible events less probable - thus, the unstable bridge or wall might be caused NOT to collapse at a given moment. The exact effects of 'tweaking' Open Systems are many and varied, limited only to the player's imagination.

CHAOS Level 1: Perceive Probability. This level allows the Mage to ascertain the probability
of an event occurring, given current trends and variables. It also gives the Mage the ability to sense whether probabilities are being tweaked by other probability magicks or by Sleepers (say, if die rolls are being affected by magnets under a Craps table in a casino). This also allows a Mage to sense the amount of disorder in a system, which allows him to see which parts of the system are the most ordered and which are the most disordered. In most cases, the most disordered parts of a system are its weakest points. Note that this can only be used on its own in Metasystems (i.e. those that contain large numbers of individual variables such as organisations and networks) - finding the weak spots of a living or non-living material would require level 1 in the appropriate Pattern Sphere with a Chaos 1 Requisite. Thus, to find the weakest (or the strongest) point in a metal wall would require both Matter 1 and Chaos 1. Note that other Magicks or skills must be used if the Mage wishes to exploit any weak points - Chaos 1 cannot itself manipulate these weak points; it can only detect them.

Level 2: Disorder in Closed Systems. At this level, the Mage can control the amount
of disorder in any Closed System. This includes tossing coins, rolling dice, and shuffling card decks. It gives the Mage extraordinary control over any games of chance, and basically allows him to do as he pleases with the probabilities of the system. However, note that repeated use of this in the same place will draw the ire of Sleepers (who will suspect the Mage of foul play if his dice keep rolling double sixes...) or may even invoke the Domino Effect (see Mage2, pg. 165).

Level 3: Disorder in Metasystems. At this level, the Mage can control disorder in any
Metasystem. Metasystems combine elements of both Open and Closed systems, since their daily operation is unpredictable - the daily routine is fixed, but a variety of external factors can influence it. Metasystems include machines, computers, living bodies, bureaucracies, businesses, and ultimately even entire societies - note that Matter or Life must be used as Requisites for any Chaos 3 effects that are directed at physical patterns (i.e. machinery or bodies). Examples of the use of Chaos 3 are given above.

Level 4: Disorder in Open Systems. At this level, the Mage can control the amount
of disorder in an Open System. Note that this does not allow a Mage to directly (or specifically) affect physical objects - rather, it affects the randomness within such systems. Thus, a Mage can make an unstable bridge collapse at a given moment by affecting the probability that this will happen, but cannot actually do this by directly affecting the material of the bridge itself - this would require Matter magick. This has a huge variety of uses - it can be used to affect the probability of the target being run over by a bus, or hit by a falling brick beneath a building site, or even being clobbered by a meteorite. However, the difficulty of a Chaos 4 effect is directly linked to the probability of such an event occurring - being hit by a meteorite is naturally incredibly unlikely, and will probably only work on a difficulty of about 15 (meaning copious amount of Quintessence have to be burned), while being trampled underfoot in a riot would only be a difficulty of 3 or 4. By its very nature, Chaos 4 magick is always coincidental - it cannot be used to make something happen that is not possible (i.e. a brick cannot just fly out of a wall that it is cemented in and hit the target on the head. However, a brick may fall from a pile of bricks on the 7th floor of a building site if such a pile exists) - the circumstances must previously exist to allow the effect to occur. Thus, in the previous example the bridge must be already be unstable and likely to collapse if the Mage is to actually make this happen at an opportune moment. The specifics of this is ultimately left to the Storyteller's discretion.

Level 5: Control Disorder/Chaos Theory. All systems naturally tend to a more
disordered state - at Chaos 5, the Mage can override this and control the evolution of a system completely, exercising absolute control over the disorder of a system - he can therefore accelerate it, stop it, or even reverse it! In nature, disorder is always increasing - systems are always going from an ordered state to a disordered state (where they are in equilibrium and so are stable - ink dropped in water is not stable as a drop, so it diffuses to colour the water). All systems tend towards greater disorder - gases diffuse to fill a space, temperature is conducted from a higher temperature to a lower one, material breaks down, decays, or dissolves into its component parts with time, and so on. By controlling disorder at this level, a Mage can reverse, halt or speed up the breakdown of systems - he can cause the ink spread throughout the inky water to coalesce back into a drop of ink, a gas released from a box to 'diffuse' back into the box, hot objects to retain their heat in a cold environment, or a sugarcube to reform after being dropped into a hot cup of coffee (to name but a few). However, the ordered state is rarely stable, so effects at this level can only last as long as the Mage concentrates.

Also, this level gives the Mage control over systems containing BILLIONS of variables - a good example of this is the infamous 'Butterfly effect'. In Chaos Theory, the final outcome of an event can be radically changed by the slightest alteration of its starting conditions. At this level, the Mage is aware of precisely what must be done to guide the system to a desired outcome, and can also magickally 'encourage' the system to that end. This allows him, for example, to control the weather or affect events in the future by modifying their starting conditions.

THE SPHERE OF PRIME
by Constantine Thomas The Sphere of Prime allows the Mage to control the flow of the raw stuff of Magick Quintessence - through and around himself or any other Pattern (although it should be noted that since Mind is not a Pattern, Prime cannot be used to directly affect it). While Prime is not essential to Mages, it is a very useful Art, and most Mages understand it at its most basic levels. QUINTESSENCE AND PATTERN: The ultimate building block of the Universe is Quintessence, existing at an even more fundamental level than that of the atomic particles and quarks of the Technocracy - indeed, it is the most fundamental unit of magickal energy. Nothing could exist without Quintessence fuelling its existence - no matter, no life, no physical manifestations of any sort whatsoever could exist. Physical reality is not however composed solely of unshaped Quintessence - the exact configuration of the Quintessence determines the physical form it creates; this configuration is known as a Pattern. All physical Patterns - Forces, Matter, and Life have their own different configurations and sub-configurations that make them unique. Mages theorise that a vast pool of Quintessence permeates all of reality - from the physical world to the Horizon - but that Quintessence manifests in two observed varieties; Raw and Free. The distinction between these two types is defined by the configuration they occur in - at their roots, however, they are identical in every way. Ultimately, they are two sides of the same coin, but Raw Quintessence is much less accessible that Free. Raw Quintessence is that which is locked into a Pattern. As a Pattern forms and grows, it draws Quintessence from the aforementioned pool to fuel its continuing growth and maintain its existence. This Quintessence is used to reinforce the Pattern's physical existence and so becomes an intimate part of the Form - as a result, it is very difficult to magickally manipulate. Free Quintessence is that which is NOT locked into a Pattern. Instead, it flows around the universe, occasionally accumulating in special places (known as Nodes) or in certain Patterns. Mages can access this 'unlocked' Quintessence much more easily than Raw Quintessence.

TASS: Quintessence is not always an intangible pool of energy - in places where the flow is densest (usually in Nodes) it can become physically real. Such solidified Quintessence is known as Tass, and occurs in a form determined by the local physical environment - a Node on a rubbish tip would form Entropy (or Matter) Tass, while Tass in a verdant forest would be Life Tass. As such it can be carried around by Mages and can be tapped at Prime 1 to power effects. See below for details. CREATING PATTERNS: Patterns can be magickally created only if the Mage has Prime 2 and the appropriate Form - Prime 2 is required here to divert Quintessence from the universal pool into the new Pattern to fuel its existence. The amount drawn from this pool at this level is sufficient only to maintain the Pattern's existence - that is, the Pattern can only be created with the Raw Quintessence that allows it to exist, but no extra Free Quintessence. However, if left for a sufficiently long period of time, Free Quintessence is absorbed naturally from the environment. At higher levels of Prime, the Mage can also increase or decrease the amount of Raw Quintessence that makes a Pattern real. LIVING PATTERNS: The Raw Quintessence makeup of a living Pattern is two-fold. Like Matter and Forces Patterns, a Life Pattern contains the fixed Raw Quintessence that allows it to be real. However, there is another component possessed only by Living Patterns - that component which makes them alive. This is a Flow of Quintessence, originating from the universal pool and returning back to it via the Life Pattern - this Flow is as much an inherent part of the Pattern as the Raw Quintessence 'locked' within it. The Flow maintains the Pattern's continuing living existence - without it, the Life Pattern is dead, inanimate matter - and ceases once the Pattern dies. On death, all that remains is a dead body containing 'locked' Raw Quintessence, which is itself eventually recycled back into the universal pool through bodily decay. At high levels of Prime, Mages can manipulate this Flow and thus cause serious damage to existing Life Patterns. THE AVATAR PATTERN: While all Living Patterns are maintained by a Flow, they contain yet another component that actually defines them for what they are individually - this component is known as the Avatar Pattern, and is unique for every living creature on the Earth at a given time. Essentially, the Avatar Pattern is the medium through which the Flow travels, and it determines how the Flow passes through the Living Pattern and also its magnitude - thus the Flow and the Avatar Pattern are strongly interlinked. In essence, the Avatar Pattern is the 'soul' of the creature - it is that which ultimately makes individual creatures unique. As such, every living thing on Earth - plants, animals, and humans (both Sleepers and Mages) - possesses a Soul of some form. However, Mages possess a variety of Avatar Pattern that allows them to perform True Magick - this is referred to specifically as the Mage's Avatar, to differentiate it from the Souls of Sleepers. The actual metaphysicks behind Awakening - the process by which the ability to cast True Magick manifests itself - is a matter of much debate. Some Mages believe that all creatures initially possess Souls, and that sheer force of will (or external influence) changes the very nature of the creature's being to that of an Avatar. The implication is

that Awakening can happen at any time to anyone, given the right circumstances. Others believe that those that are Awakened are actually born with fully manifested Avatars, but that a conscious psychological effort must be made at some point in their lives to connect with their magickal nature - thus only those born with Avatars instead of Souls can ever Awaken. Both arguments have their merits and flaws. Despite this debate, it is generally agreed that the Avatar Pattern - be it Soul or Avatar - does not die with the creature whose Living Pattern it is associated with. Rather, it is usually recycled and re-incorporated into a new body when a creature dies. Each Living Pattern that the Avatar Pattern is associated with may leave a Residue within effectively, the memories and the sum of experiences that made up that individual's existence - which manifests itself in future incarnations as memories of past lives however, the memories of those incarnations that Awakened seem to be more vivid than the intermediate 'Sleeper' lives. Sometimes, an Avatar Pattern is temporarily cleared of this Residue if an individual's will to continue his particular existence is strong enough - in this case, the Residue is 'dumped' in the Shadowlands and that individual gets his wish. Here, he continues his existence as an independent entity, but does so as a Wraith. The Avatar Pattern itself that contained that Residue is recycled back into the Cycle of Life and Death, but without the associated Residue. Eventually, the Residue is reclaimed into the Cycle via Oblivion or Transcendence in the Shadowlands, but this could occur after the empty Avatar Pattern has gone through many physical Incarnations. Note that the Avatar Pattern itself cannot be harmed or damaged in any way by mortal magicks - only the Gilgul can affect it (destroying it and any associated Residue), and only the Oracles are capable of performing this. What happens after death is described in greater depth in my treatise on The Nature Of Wraiths and the Cycle Of Life And Death. True Magick can be wielded only by creatures that possess Avatars. Avatars are structured in such a way that the Flow of Quintessence through them is far in excess of the amount required merely to maintain the Living Pattern's existence. The Avatar Pattern itself is structured in such a way that the Living Pattern can tap and store this energy and use it to impose his Will on reality - i.e. to cast True Magick. The Avatar Background of a Mage therefore represents the greater Flow of Raw Quintessence that passes through his Living Pattern. This enhanced Flow allows him to cast magick, and also determines the amount of excess Free Quintessence - the number of dots on the Quintessence circle on the character sheet - that his Living Pattern can naturally hold. At least one dot in the Avatar Background is required for all Mages - if they do not possess this, they are Sleepers and cannot cast magick at all. Mages automatically start the game with a Quintessence score equal to their Avatar rating. Quintessence can be recharged by any Mage via the Avatar Background - should the Mage's Quintessence total drop below his Avatar rating, it can be recharged by successfully meditating in a Node for at least an hour (Perception + Meditation roll at difficulty 6). The number of successes on this roll determines the number of Quintessence Points regained, but the rating of the Node determines the maximum number of Quintessence Points that can be gained in one session. Also, Quintessence can never accumulate to a total greater than the Mage's Avatar Rating unless he has Prime 1.

Any Mage with an Avatar rating can do this, and it does not require any ability in the Prime sphere.

PRIME Level 1: Perceive Quintessence/Store Quintessence. At this level, the Mage can
perceive Quintessence Flows. This allows him to see concentrations such as Nodes, Awakened Creatures, and whether any Quintessence is being diverted to fuel magickal effects in the area. He can also use the Free Quintessence within his Living Pattern or Tass to lower the difficulties of his own magickal effects - note however that this is impossible for Mages without Prime 1. Prime 1 grants the Mage the ability only to store more Quintessence points in his Pattern than his Avatar rating - it does not allow the Mage to transfer Quintessence into that space himself. Effectively, Prime 1 only gives the Mage the potential to store more Quintessence. If a Mage does not possess Prime 1, his Avatar rating acts as the limit for the maximum number of Quintessence points he can store in his Living Pattern. However, Prime 1 does allow the Mage to gain Quintessence direct from the Quintessence pool in the natural environment up to the limit of his Avatar Rating or Prime score - he no longer requires a Node. However, this is always a Vulgar magickal effect, since Free Quintessence is being taken from the environment in an unnatural manner. It also allows him to use Tass to power his effects, but not for any other purpose. In summary, a Mage's Avatar only allows him to absorb Quintessence from Nodes, up to the limit of his Avatar Rating. Prime 1 allows him to use Quintessence or Tass to power his own magickal effects, and allows him to store more Quintessence in his Living Pattern than his Avatar rating (though not to fill that extra space himself). It also allows him to draw Quintessence from the natural Quintessence Pool up to the limit of his Avatar Rating without recourse to a Node, though this is a Vulgar effect. Prime 3 is required if the Mage wishes to break the Avatar limit and channel more Quintessence into his Pattern than his Avatar Rating would naturally allow, thus filling the extra space created by Prime 1.

Level 2: Fuel Pattern. Prime 2 allows the Mage to divert Quintessence from the
universal pool into Patterns that he creates, thus giving them real physical form. When creating Life Patterns, a temporary Avatar Pattern is also created along with a Flow to allow the creature to exist and live - however, the Flow is entirely artificial and remains stable only for the duration of the effect; it collapses at the end, thus killing the creature. All Creo effects used to construct new Patterns are therefore Conjunctional, requiring the Pattern Sphere at the relevant level and a Prime 2 Requisite. Note however that Mind effects never require Prime 2 requisites, and that magickally healing or repairing Patterns requires only the appropriate Pattern Sphere Prime 2 is not required here since the Pattern is repaired directly with the Pattern. Note that Prime 2 cannot be used to 'enchant' items as described on pages 214 of Mage2 - this requires extra Quintessence to be channelled into them, which is only possible at Prime 3. In addition, Prime 2 only allows the Mage to set up the Raw

Quintessence framework or Flow to fuel created Patterns - it does not allow the Mage to alter existing flows of Quintessence. By this definition, the 'Rubbing Of The Bones' effect on Page 215 of the Mage2 rulebook (described therein as a Prime 2 effect) is impossible at that level - it is now a Prime 5 effect.

Level 3: Channel Quintessence. At this level, the Mage is able to channel Free
Quintessence from one Pattern to another, or from the Universal Pool into an existing pattern (including his own). This means that he can now fill the 'extra storage space' created in his Avatar with Prime 1 - he can now gain Quintessence above the limit set by his Avatar Rating. Prime 3 also allows the Mage to transfer Free Quintessence to or between other Patterns, thus allowing him to create Talismans and enchanted objects. Enchanted Objects are Patterns that are charged with more Free Quintessence than they can naturally store. While they appear no different to the Unawakened observer, enchanted objects are rendered more 'real' to the supernatural world by the excess. As such, an enchanted object exists in the spirit world (i.e. the Three Umbrae) as well as the physical world and can therefore be used by or against the spiritual inhabitants there. In addition, enchanted weapons inflict aggravated damage on all Awakened creatures - be they Vampires, Garou, Mages, Wraiths, Mummies or Changelings though they still inflict normal damage on unawakened creatures and other items. Ultimately, enchanted objects are physically no different to the normal variety - they are however more potent against supernatural entities; for example, an enchanted denim jacket would still behave like normal denim clothing in the physical world, but would protect against spirit attacks as well. The Mage must roll at least five successes on his spellcasting roll for an enchantment to work - as a result, such a feat is usually an extended roll, requiring concentration throughout. The number of successes over (and including) the initial five determine the duration of the enchantment as shown on the Magickal Duration table - thus, if five successes were rolled, the enchantment would last only a turn (as if only one success had been rolled); twelve successes (i.e. an excess of seven) are required to make an enchantment permanent. Note that enchantment of items is never Vulgar. Also, the number of extra successes over five on the spellcasting roll determines how much excess Free Quintessence is present within the Pattern - this can be channelled out by a Mage using Prime 3, thus removing the enchantment.

Level 4: Manipulate Raw Quintessence. At this level, the Mage finally learns how to
affect the Raw Quintessence that is within all non-living Patterns. By extracting it, the Mage can affect a Pattern's incarnation in this reality - Adepts of Prime can expel the Raw Quintessence from the Pattern, recycling it into the cosmic pool of Raw Quintessence. Without this Quintessence, the Pattern (be it Matter or Forces) simply ceases to exist. The Mage can also add Raw Quintessence to a Pattern above its natural state - this has the same effect as enchanting the object (as described in Prime 3), but is permanent and cannot be reversed using Prime 3 or less. Note that the 'locked' Raw Quintessence of Living Patterns cannot be affected at this level however, this locked Quintessence can be drained at Prime 5 in the same way as the Matter and Forces patterns described here, and in addition the Flow through the Living Pattern can be manipulated at that level.

Level 5: Affect Raw Quintessence Flow. The Master of Prime is now capable of
increasing or decreasing the magnitude of the Flow of Raw Quintessence through Living Patterns. Most living beings do not store Quintessence - instead, a stream of Raw Quintessence flows continuously through their Patterns. Only those with strong enough Avatars (i.e. Mages and Awakened Creatures) are capable of storing some of this flow within their Patterns. Reducing the Flow of Raw Quintessence through a Pattern can give a Master great control over the magickal abilities of other Mages. The Master can reduce the Flow through a target's Avatar Pattern so that the Flow is too weak to allow it to wield Magick - the target essentially becomes a Sleeper (albeit one who does not count as a Witness for Vulgar magicks). It is possible to decrease the Flow even further, to such an extent that it is extinguished completely - this will kill the target, but note that the Avatar Pattern is still be recycled unharmed. In addition, the Raw Quintessence 'locked' in a Living Pattern can now be drained in the same manner as described for Matter and Forces in Prime 4 - this inflicts aggravated damage on the Living Pattern itself, discharging the Raw Quintessence back into the pool and effectively removing the target from existence. The Flow of Raw Quintessence through an Avatar Pattern can also be increased, which acts to increase the Mage's rating in his Avatar Background (effectively without limit) - this allows him to spend more Quintessence on his magickal effects (this replaces 'Recharge Gift', which as defined here is now a Prime 1 effect). Note however that this cannot be used to Awaken a Sleeper - Awakening is a natural event and cannot be forced. Metaphysickally, a Sleeper's Soul is structured in such a way that it cannot sustain a larger Flow - effectively, increasing the Raw Quintessence through a Soul would only create a Quintessence 'bottleneck' as it cannot accommodate the increased Flow. To Awaken a Sleeper, the Mage would have to artificially alter the structure of the Avatar Pattern such that it is transformed from a Soul into an Avatar - such a feat is beyond the limits of mortal magick. The most a Mage can do is to 'encourage' Awakenings through other means - for example, the Euthanatos believe that a near-death experience acts as a catalyst for Awakening their acolytes - but such encouragement is by no means guaranteed to work. In truth, noone really understands what causes Awakenings to occur naturally - the fact is that they do, and this cannot be duplicated artificially by mortal magicks. In addition, Prime 5 can be used to increase the maximum amount of Free Quintessence that the Mage can store in his Pattern to above even the limits set by his Paradox rating - however, this has the effect of 'supercharging' the Mage, manifesting around him as an aura of unbridled power. Objects merely touching the Mage may be sent hurtling away at high speed, and devices may spontaneously explode in his presence. In addition, Paradox is often drawn to such a large collection of Free Quintessence and may attempt to rectify the situation by striking the Mage. It should be noted that attempting the Gilgul is beyond the ability of mere Masters of Prime (and, to further contradict Mage2, it would be wholly a Prime effect and not a Spirit one). Prime 5 affects only the Flow of Raw Quintessence through a target's Living Pattern - Gilgul however is the complete destruction of the Avatar Pattern itself, such that it is lost forever to the Cycle of Life and Death; all Residue within the Avatar Pattern is also destroyed. Masters are completely incapable of affecting the

Avatar Patterns of living creatures, though they are aware of its existence at this level - the Gilgul can only be attempted by Oracles of Prime. The Avatar Pattern itself can never be affected by any Prime 5 magick, and should death result it will always recycle, completely unaffected by non-Oracular magicks. Also, Masters of Prime become aware of a connection between Paradox and Quintessence similar to that between positive and negative forces. Masters of Prime can also channel Free Quintessence in such a way that it cancels out Paradox energies that have not yet coalesced within a Pattern - i.e. remove incoming Paradox Points from an effect before the Mage gains them. However, channelling and focusing of Paradox into other Patterns is not possible until Oracular levels of Prime.

THE SPHERE OF INFORMATION
by Constantine Thomas

The Sphere of Information governs the definition of Patterns and Paradigms within Reality. At the lowest levels it can only affect information within Subjective Reality, while at higher levels information can be manipulated in Objective Reality (increasing or decreasing the very metaphysickal stability of the target). Information tells reality what an object is - it defines an object. If an object exists but no information is known about it, it is 'fuzzy' - in the subjective reality of Mage, the parameters of a fuzzy object (i.e. size, density, properties, behaviour etc.) can be defined by observers who create the information that defines its properties. The Sphere of Information is believed to be closely linked to Prime. Information is rather unusual in that it can affect both Subjective and Objective Reality. At lower levels, Information effects only allow the Mage to observe and process information. Information 3 allows the Mage to actively manipulate information within Subjective Reality - he can remove or add information to systems and so make him easier or harder to track. The Adepts and Masters of Information break beyond Subjective Reality to affect the underlying True (Objective) Reality they can add or remove Information from reality itself, thus making objects more or less 'real' by affecting their definition. Fuzzy objects are those about which True Reality has no information - these 'virtual objects' are extremely vulnerable to destruction or further definition, existing as they do in a realm of 'maybe'. The Technocracy are experts in the Facet of Information, using it to define their new 'theories' and so also define reality - the Void Engineers are the masters of Information.

GAME NOTES: It should be noted that the Sphere of Information is a very
powerful sphere, and one that can ultimately be used to affect consensual reality at a very fundamental level - Information 4 and 5 are particularly powerful. Indeed, these levels are intended to be available only to the most powerful Technocrats (such as those in the Inner Circle) - the implication is that while any Mage can theoretically use the Sphere of Information, the Technocracy are the ones that have been the most

expert in its applications and as a result are the ones that are now winning the Ascension War (or at least have the upper hand in it). If this situation were to change, the balance in the Ascension War would be tipped as the new paradigms are introduced. The Information Sphere itself requires a rather technocratic and/or hierarchical paradigm to be understood or used at all - as a result, only the Conventions of the Technocracy (and only the NWO and Void Engineers at that) and some of the Traditions can learn it. The Virtual Adepts are the primary users of Information among the Traditions and are able to apply it with great skill in the Digital Web. The Order Of Hermes also uses Information in their attempts to classify and codify the world in their rigid non-scientific framework. Effectively, these three groups are the only ones who are able to use the Sphere of Information to any degree (the Sons of Ether merely dabble in it, and the other Traditions generally cannot even comprehend it).

INFORMATION Level 1: Detect Link. This finds the connections between things, and allows the
Mage to see what is connected to the target. For example, a cuddly toy is connected to a particular child, or a packet of drugs is connected to both a local dealer (the supplier) and a street rat (the buyer). Note that this does not allow the Mage to determine why the things are connected - it only allows him to sense the connection itself. The ability to detect links is determined by the number of successes rolled for the effect. One success generally determines the most obvious link - more will reveal more specific connections. For example, one success will reveal who owns a particular gun, two may reveal who has been shot with it, three may reveal from whom the gun was purchased, and so on.

Level 2: Information Analysis. This analyses the connections between things,
allowing the Mage to see all the possible outcomes of an event or all the possible influences on the target. While obviously giving him complete mastery over all closed tactical situations (e.g. Chess), it also enables him to analyse complex interactions. This reveals why connections exist between individuals or groups, rather than the existence of the connection alone. Thus, while Information 1 reveals who influences a particular politician, Information 2 reveals the reason for such connections - for example, the motivations of the politician and the groups that influence him.

Level 3: Manipulate Information. This allows the Mage to manipulate and create
existing information within the limits of subjective reality, and is largely used to affect records and files. The Mage can add, change, or delete information stored on any medium - this can be used for many purposes. A Mage can delete data about him in government computers, effectively 'Zeroing' himself. He can change the amount of money he has in his bank account by altering his credit rating. Note however that this manipulation of information is SUBJECTIVE - data may be altered, but Reality remains intact - thus the Mage can remove all the records of a person's existence, but the person himself does not become 'fuzzy' (see below) - this would only be possible

using Information 4. Information manipulated using Information 3 is affected no matter where it is stored - raw data is being altered, not just signals in a computer. Thus a Mage may Zero himself completely from every database in the world if he scores enough successes! It is suggested that the alteration of small aspects of information (e.g. appearance, bank credit rating etc.) should require only one or two successes. Wider (and more global) changes should require many more successes - at least ten should be necessary to completely Zero an individual from every database on Earth, and this would require a complex and lengthy ritual (probably involving a lot of computer hacking and negotiation with NetSpiders where applicable).

Level 4: Manipulate Reality. If Information 3 is the subjective manipulation of
information, then Information 4 is the OBJECTIVE manipulation of information. Changing information at this level directly changes its connection with Reality itself. Thus, targets can be made 'fuzzy' - living targets are 'forgotten' by their friends, associates, and ultimately Reality - they (and everything directly connected to them) will slowly but inevitably disappear from existence if the effect is sustained for long enough. A Mage's Arcane Rating is a weak, albeit controllable, form of this effect. As for Information 3, the number of successes determines the extent to which the information is manipulated - at least ten successes would be required to render a target completely 'fuzzy' and thus open for redefinition.

Level 5: Define Reality. At this level, the Mage can actually define fuzzy Reality.
This is done both by the power of his own Will, and also by manipulating information through the Masses so that they understand and accept the new Reality. The Technocracy (especially the NWO and Void Engineers) have mastered this to a fine art, further enforcing their Paradigm. Objects are 'fuzzy' when they are newly 'discovered' - at this stage, all that is known is that the object exists. Application of Information 5 to the fuzzy object allows the Mage to define its physical parameters, properties and anything else he desires. Information 5 also allows the Mage to manipulate the local Paradigm in an ambiguous situation - for example, the Paradigm within a Sanctum can be reinforced by interconnecting everything within it via a web of influences, effectively removing outside influences as much as possible. The definition of fuzzy objects is a lengthy and complex procedure, requiring at least five successes to initially define it and many more to ensure that this definition is fully accepted into a local or global paradigm - however, five successes always defines the object enough for it to be considered 'real' and thus invulnerable to further redefinition using the Facet of Information.