Prime is the study of the flow of Quintessential Patterns, the basic building blocks of reality. It isn't exactly 'the study of magic,' but since nearly all magic manipulates Quintessence to some degree, it's a common use for Prime.
Prime is an essential and powerful Sphere, as it governs the use of Quintessence to aid other forms of magic. Without wielding Quintessence, nothing can be made permanent, and the Mage's work will gradually fade away. But Prime has more immediate uses – wielding Quintessence as a deadly weapon or a powerful shield, and gaining insight into the workings of magic itself. Prime energy fuels everything, so the Master of Prime has some control over anything.
Prime cannot create things from nothing without other Spheres. Prime deals purely with the magical side of things, and the essential nature of creation and destruction. Think of Prime as the power cells of magic, and the other Spheres are its conduits and controls. It's possible to use Prime alone – but the results are often impressive and uncontrollable. Perhaps the greatest limit of Prime is that nearly all uses require Quintessence. Furthermore, although there is no XP cost for creating temporarily magical items, if a Mage wishes to create a permanently magical item, they must buy the Wonder background.
- Apprentice Prime (Etheric Senses, Effuse Personal Quintessence)
- The Mage has tapped into the ebb and flow of Quintessence, able to see Quintessence in motion, flowing through magic and Nodes. A Mage may be able to determine what kind of effect was cast and how powerful it was, long after the event has passed. This level of Prime can instantly discern a magical item from a non-magical one, and identify if someone is enchanted.
- Initiate Prime (Weave Odyllic Force, Fuel Pattern, Enchant Patterns)
- The Mage has learned to push the flow of Quintessence the way he wants it, in clumsy and destructive ways. He may force Quintessence to flow into an object, making a weapon more powerful, or create a weapon out of pure Quintessential energy. With Forces, he might hurl a bolt of pure Prime energy at a target. At this level, the Mage may use Prime with other Spheres to create objects out of nothingness. He cannot yet affect powerful stores of Quintessence, such as Nodes and Wonders, nor can he enchant the Patterns of living beings.
- Disciple Prime (Channel Quintessence, Enchant Life)
- A Mage can now not only guide the flow of Quintessence, but start the flow of inert Tass (solidified Quintessence). He can transfer Quintessence from one thing to another, between Nodes, Wonders, his Avatar, Tass, and others. He can use this power to create minor Talismans and Charms. He can even activate the life within Quintessence, giving this pure energy a chance to act on its own. A Mage with patience can gain Quintessence from the world around him, by leeching off the Quintessence released as things fall to entropy. Finally, the Mage can now enchant life with pure primal energy, allowing his hands and claws to attack other Patterns directly, doing Lethal damage.
- Adept Prime (Sublimate Quintessence, Permanently Enchant Matter & Forces, Tap Wellspring)
- At this high level, the Mage has learned to return Quintessence to the Tellurian directly – and by using this power on an object, he can erase its Pattern from existence entirely. He can gain a minor amount of Quintessence by doing so, siphoning off the Prime energy release as the object is erased, although this practice is quite a dark act, as it removes the item from reality entirely. The Mage can now make greater Artifacts and Wonders, create Tass by his will, or create Quintessence storage devices called Soulgems. At places with powerful Resonance, the Mage can tap wellsprings – opening a temporary Node to bathe the Mage in Quintessence.
- Master Prime (Alter Quintessential Flow, Nullify Paradox, Permanently Enchant Life, Create Node)
- The Master of Prime gains many new abilities governing the use of Quintessence. They can blast targets out of existence by shutting off the Quintessence in their Pattern. Masters may also increase the flow of Prime through a being, instantly refreshing their Quintessence up to their Avatar Rating. The Mage can now nullify some of the Paradox in a subject, curing Paradox Flaws and preventing further backlashes, although his power is still insufficient to fully contain Paradox. Masters can enchant any living thing permanently, giving them blessings (particularly when combined with other Spheres), or making them living Tass or stores of Quintessence. The Master may now open a wellspring of Quintessence anywhere, giving a brief free source of Quintessence, and in places of strong Resonance may even open new Nodes with his will.
Alternate Names Among the TraditionsEdit
- Akashic Brotherhood: Chi
- Celestial Chorus: The Divine Essence
- Cult of Ecstasy: Ojas
- Dreamspeakers: Footprints of the Great Spirit
- Euthanatos: Vac
- Order of Hermes: Ars Vis
- Sons of Ether: Metaphysical Ether
- Verbena: The Art of Power
- Virtual Adepts: Pure Juice
- Heart's Blood
- A Disciple of Prime can sense the flow of Quintessence - his life energy - through his own body. As vampires well know, each human has about 10 points of this upon which they may feed. Each point corresponds to a Health Level. The last three go beyond Incapacitated; losing them will kill him.
- In desperate times, mages skilled in Prime can push themselves beyond their limits and "give till it hurts," taking the additional Health Levels as points of Quintessence above and beyond what is stored in their Avatars. Such damage may only be healed by time and bed rest, not magick (see Better Body in Life), so most mages will usually only risk the first "Bruised" Health Level. Mages of the Chorus, however, have martyred themselves to perform one last holy miracle, while Verbena with low Avatar ratings often consider the sacrifice of heart's blood more holy than the spiritual energy used by most mages.
- The Rush
- Disciples of Prime can collect the free Quintessence that flows through their Patterns. Normally Quintessence only circulates within Life Patterns; it does not settle in them as it does within inanimate matter and energy. A mage who knows Prime Arts, however, can build up and store such energies within himself. Each success rolled for this Effect allows him to store one additional point of Quintessence. Note that he cannot channel that Quintessence until he reaches Prime 3; this Effect only allows him to store the energy.
- The Cult of Ecstasy calls such channeling "The Rush." The sudden influx of Quintessence gives the Cultist a mixed feeling of nausea and exhilaration, which he rides for all it's worth.
- Sense Quintessence
- The mage can use this Effect to sense free Quintessence stored in nearby Patterns. This Effect, like other basic sensory Arts, requires only a Perception roll. Additional successes allow greater range and accuracy. This ability is generally a good way to discover if any mages are nearby, as the Awakened store free Quintessence within their Avatars.
- Hermetic mages use engravings of the Seal of Solomon to reveal the presence of Quintessence. Different points of the star-shaped seal illuminate to indicate the direction of the Quintessence, and the brightness with which the symbol glows reveals the amount of Quintessence present.
- Enchant Weapon
- This Effect reweaves underlying Quintessence to intensify existing forms, enchanting objects and creatures. Weapons (including fists) treated this way do no more damage than their mundane counterparts, but inflict aggravated wounds against vampires, werewolves and other Awakened beings. Such items can also strike spirits, which normal objects can't do.
- The Quintessential form often differs from the material one; a dirty denim jacket may be as strong as a Kevlar vest to the spirit world, while a broken dagger may still have a whole blade with regards to magickal structure. Such structures are still physically what they appear to be - the denim jacket would not stop bullets, nor could the nonexistent blade cut butter - but spirits would find them quite real - the jacket could soak spirit attacks while the dagger could stab wraiths.
- Enchanting an item this way requires concentration and five successes or more. This is not, however, vulgar magick. Nothing obvious changes.
- Rubbing of the Bones
- Disciples of Prime do not yet have the ability to cause a serious disruption of the flow of Quintessence into a Pattern of Life, but they can tamper with it to some extent. Euthanatos call this Effect Rubbing of the Bones, because the ripple feels like someone warping your bones.
- This Effect causes the target's steady flow of Quintessence to ripple and surge. This inflicts no lasting damage, but it hurts. Any life form affected will be stunned and unable to function for the duration of the fluctuation (the GM may allow a character to spend a Willpower point to take some limited action for a turn). Its physical form will seem to fade in and out slightly, becoming ghostly and immaterial one second and massively heavy the next. Another mage caught in this Effect may spend a point of stored Quintessence to smooth the flow and cancel the Effect completely.
- Bond of Blood
- The Verbena know the power within blood. Thus, blood forms an important focus for the Sphere of Prime. To transfer free Quintessence between two different receptacles, a Verbena must smear her palms in blood and touch both objects. She may then act as a conduit, pulling Quintessence from one object and channeling it into another (or into herself).
- Each success on the magickal Effect roll allows the mage to transfer up to five points of Quintessence from one Pattern and channel it into another, including her own. Obviously, she cannot take more Quintessence than the source object stores. The Verbenna may use this Effect to take Quintessence from another mage, but may not reduce the target's Quintessence below its Avatar rating.
- Create Talisman
- A mage must have Prime 3 to create items that store free Quintessence and use it to power magickal Effects. Rules for creating Talismans are provided elsewhere.
- Flames of Purification
- Mages of the Celestial Chorus are not destructive by nature. Still, they have been known to wield the power of Prime to cleanse reality of abominations. By fanning her focus over a chosen object, a Chorister can invoke this Effect and cause the object to burst into mystickal flames. This fire sheds no heat, yet quickly devours the target.
- The mage actually extracts the raw Quintessence from the objects Pattern. That object thus disappears from reality (i.e. it takes aggravated damage and may be consumed if that damage destroys it). The more successes she scores, the larger the target may be. If she prefers, the mage can affect several similar Patterns simultaneously, like ice cubes within a glass. Only inanimate objects can be affected. A rank 5 variant destroys living beings.
- Recharge Gift
- Through meditation, Akashic mages can increase their inner Quintessence flow by "drinking" from outside sources. The Brother filters this additional Prime force through his own Avatar and recharges his personal store of Quintessence. For each success rolled, the mage regains one point of Quintessence, up to his Avatar's maximum limit.
- Quintessence Blast
- Dreamspeakers have devised this Effect to ward off the spirits of Paradox. The Master of Prime charges his focus - often a crystal or clay vessel - with a point of Quintessence. He then uses his magick to draw the Paradox spirit into the crystal; the spirit's essence reacts with the Quintessence stored in the crystal. This injures the spirit and temporarily dispels its Power, while the crystal explodes into dust.