Spirit is the study of ephemeral Patterns, or 'spirit-stuff'. These Patterns are commonly found in the beings of the Umbra, although some occasionally foray into the material world.
Spirit lies somewhere between Prime and physical, the reflections of the other Spheres in the Umbra, or the spirit worlds. A Mage with this Sphere opens up a new world, worlds upon worlds in the infinite complexity of the Umbra. There are countless strange and bizarre spirits in the Umbra, and this Sphere allows a Mage to communicate and interact with them – and step into the Umbra, removing himself from the boundaries of reality. Spirit Mages can slip into other dimensions at a whim, speak to the spirits in the world around them, and command all the realms of existence.
Spirit has many limitations. It cannot affect anything physical on earth – only spirit patterns in the Umbra. The Umbra is a dangerous place, and many of the spirits there think in ways that are completely alien to the human mind. The world is surrounded by the Gauntlet, which makes it difficult to interact with the spirit world. Although Horizon is already in the Umbra, it has its own Penumbra that Mages with Spirit can pass into. Unfortunately, it also has its own powerful Gauntlet, which means that Spirit Mages cannot pull Umbra-based escapes as easily as they might do on Earth. On the other hand, Spirit can be infinitely powerful, and a Mage without Spirit can't be said to truly know the nature of the universe.
- Apprentice Spirit (Spirit Senses)
- Like all other Spheres, the first step of Spirit is learning to see the spirits around you. Mages get a glimpse into the Mirror Umbra – the reflection of the material world. They can see anima and ghosts, hear spirits and detect where the Gauntlet is thick or thin. The Mage can determine if an object is spiritually possessed, and sense objects with connections to the Spirit world. A Mage without Spirit Senses is absolutely helpless to the Umbral creatures around him.
- Initiate Spirit (Touch Spirit)
- For a brief moment, the Mage can reach into the spirit world, manipulating creatures and objects there, extending his touch, speech, or hearing into the next world. He can also exhibit some control over the Gauntlet – making it harder for spirits to manifest, or easier. Combined with other Spheres, the Mage can make objects that interact with the spirit world, or use Correspondence to extend his sight further than the Mirror Umbra.
- Disciple Spirit (Pierce Gauntlet)
- A Mage can now pierce the Gauntlet of the spirit world, physically moving himself into the Umbra or back. This action tends to be Paradox-heavy, and puts the Mage at risk of whatever lives in the Umbra, so is not something to be done lightly. The Umbral Mage can then interact with spirits directly and use his magic on them, travel forgotten spirit pathways, and move into other spirit realms. In addition, the Mage can now awaken the spirits of objects (gaining an intelligent computer or totem) or lull them to sleep (such as the spirit of a security system). With other Spheres, Mages can make Umbral copies of Matter of Forces patterns. The Mage has taken a great step into a larger – and more dangerous – magical world.
- Adept Spirit (Rend and Repair Gauntlet, Bind Spirits)
- The Mage can now open his spirit gates for others, tearing a hole in the Gauntlet to pass through. The Mage can also reinforce the Gauntlet and seal breaches, making it impossible for unwanted spirits to drop in. He can now place powerful bindings and summonings over spirits, gaining allies and servants from minor spirits. The Mage can even link a spirit to an object, called a Fetish, to be able to call upon its power. Spirit becomes yet again more powerful, yet again more dangerous.
- Master Spirit (Forge Ephemera, Outward Journeys)
- The Master of Spirit gains some truly terrifying powers. He can now create, destroy, or heal spirits and spirit material. The Master can create new Realms in the Umbra (a massive undertaking requiring tons of Quintessence). Since he can now interact with the living soul, the Mage can even see the Avatars of others, seeing the powerful spirit energies infused in Awakened Mages, and the sleeping spirits of the Sleepers. A Master might try to force a Sleeper to Awaken, but such efforts are dangerous at best. Perhaps most frightening is that a Master of Spirit can perform the Gilgul rite – killing the Avatar permanently. This ritual is one of the most guarded and feared powers of the magical world. The Mage no longer has limits to his Umbral exploration, now able to move past the Horizon into the Deep Umbra and Far Realms, into lands far beyond the abilities of human imagination.
Alternate Names Among the TraditionsEdit
- Akashic Brotherhood: Shen
- Celestial Chorus: The Heavenly Choir
- Cult of Ecstasy: Dreaming
- Dreamspeakers: Speaking With Our Brethren
- Euthanatos: Cit
- Order of Hermes: Ars Manium
- Sons of Ether: Etheric and Memetic Dimensions
- Verbena: The Art of Calling
- Virtual Adepts: The Great Unknown
- Spirit Sight
- The mage can shift his sight into the spirit world. He becomes oblivious to the physical world around him and sees only the spirit world while scrying. The number of successes he needs, and the Effect's difficulty, depend upon the strength of the local Gauntlet. This barrier's thickness depends on an area's static influence; the more populated (or technological) the place, the harder it will be to pierce the Gauntlet.
- Detect Possession
- Through various rites and rituals, a mage may detect whether someone or something is possessed, and if so, by what. While the mental and emotional impulses of a spirit must be read with the Sphere of Mind, a mage may still make an educated with a Sensitivity roll. Possessed objects include such things as Garou fetishes, as well as the victims of demons, Banes and other malevolent spirits.
- Call Spirit
- While in the Umbra, the mage can call any spirit she knows by name in the hope that it will hear and come to her. Powerful spirits such as Lords and Preceptors rarely respond, but may send lesser spirits to the mage as messengers. The GM must decide the number of successes required to attract the spirit's attention, depending on the power of the spirit and its previous relations with the mage. There are no guarantees of the spirit's behavior once it arrives.
- A mage in physical reality can call to spirits if the mage first shifts his perceptions into the Umbra through Spirit Sight. Spirits that respond may manifest into the physical world if they are able.
- The Spirit Kiss
- Cultists of Ecstasy use their ability to touch spirits to physically embrace beings on the other side of the Gauntlet. Apart from the more obvious pleasures of such contact, the Cultist can accept Power from, or lend Quintessence to, his partner if he also uses Prime 2. For game purposes, consider Power and Quintessence one and the same (Corpus may be substituted if the partner is a wraith).
- A spirit's nature affects the Quintessence she gives, however; this can be both good and bad. For example, a nymph's Power would be particularly useful for love spells (it has the appropriate Resonance), but a mage who accepted this power into his Avatar would find himself increasingly horny (not often a problem for a Cultist of Ecstasy). Also, like Tass, Power is not useful for workings with run against its Resonance.
- Other Traditions have variant rituals for this Effect, which, while less intimate, are no less useful.
- Awaken the Inanimate
- By talking and crooning over a physical object, a Dreamspeaker or Akashic Brother may Awaken its spirit and rouse it into awareness.
- Objects, once their spirits are awake and aware, can be particularly useful. Their personalities tend to be very protective of those who have treated them well and ill-disposed toward those who have treated them badly. The object could not really do much on its own, but might cause small "coincidences" that work for (or against) the mage. For example, if a Euthanatos were to rouse the spirit of his gun, it might refuse to fire for an enemy. Likewise, an aware Chantryhouse might take a very dim view of burglars, especially if they broke in - doors might slam, lights could go out (or on), and the alarm system the burglars disabled would work anyway.
- Rousing an object typically requires plenty of ritual successes - five or so for a gun, 20 or more for a house. This is slow, but often coincidental unless the mage wants an especially vulgar manifestation. The older and more psychically-charged the object is, the more powerful its spirit and the harder it will be to rouse. The newer and less important the item, the less powerful and less intelligent its spirit and the easier it is to rouse. A new knife from the knife shop, never used, would have less personality and intelligence than a cockroach, but could be made aware for a minimal amount of magick. Over years or decades, the object would start to absorb some of its owner's personality. The knife an old shaman forged in boyhood would have a strong and active spirit (though it might not be a fetish per se).
- An object with an awakened spirit exists in multiple worlds at once. An awakened knife can be used by a person in the physical world to injure spirits in the Near Umbra or to cut the silver cords or bodies of astral travelers.
- Stepping Sideways
- Spirit mages can force their way through the Gauntlet and enter the Near Umbra. Once there, a mage can walk, run, talk, use magick, etc., as if she were in physical reality with a few differences. When the mystick repeats the Stepping Sideways Effect to re-enter physical reality, she appears in the location corresponding to her final position in the spirit world.
- Walking through the Gauntlet often requires time; the amount of successes (and the roll's difficulty) this requires can be found on the Gauntlet Chart. If the mage botches his roll, he becomes stuck, transfixed between the spirit and the physical worlds, unable to move. Not even Correspondence magick can help him. Someone who knows Spirit magick (or a spirit entity) must successfully Step Sideways or Breach the Gauntlet to free the unfortunate mage.
- Free the Mad Howlers
- With a wild frenzy, the shaman summons angry spirits to attack the living. The third rank variation of this terrifying spell calls Umbrood who can Materialize on their own (with the Charm of that name), while the fourth level actually seals the mad howlers inside the victim, as if he were a fetish, for the duration of the Effect. Either option inflicts aggravated damage (which the target may soak) and causes great terror and pain. Victims whose bodies become living fetishes may be stunned (see the Forces Effect Discharge Static) by the agony of this vicious attack.
- Breach the Gauntlet
- This Effect allows the mage to rupture the local Gauntlet completely, creating a window in the fabric of reality between the spirit and the physical worlds. This allows anyone, including Sleepers, free passage into or out of the Umbra. This is a good Effect to have when a cabal must enter the spirit world together.
- A mystick has no control over what passes through the breach once it opens, though she may close it at any time. Some spirit entities flock to breaches and aren't inclined to beg the mage's permission to use the opened portal.
- Each success rolled for this Effect lowers the difficulty of stepping sideways by 1. Large breaches (room-sized or larger) lower that number by 1 every two successes. If the mage reduces the Gauntlet difficulty to 0, she breaches the barrier.
- Psychic Sterilization
- The Sons of Ether prefer tightly controlled environments when conducting their experiments. To block out potential spiritual interference, they often reinforce the Gauntlet within their laboratories. Each success rolled for this Effect raises the number of successes needed to pierce the local Gauntlet by one.
- The Order of Hermes, Void Engineers and New World Order all use similar Effects to trap Materialized spirits in the physical world. If the mage can strengthen the Gauntlet enough, the spirit will be unable to return home. This Effect does not trap the spirit itself, but seals the Gauntlet against passage.
- Gauntlet Prison
- Mages have better methods of trapping spirits than simply locking them in the physical world. By "pulsing" the Gauntlet's strength while a being passes through, a mystick can trap that being inside the barrier, as if it had botched its roll to step sideways. Daring mages try to bind powerful spirits this way, then extort services from them. Ancient tales recount that certain Chantries used to ensnare Preceptor-level spirits in these Gauntlet prisons.
- To trap a spirit traveler successfully, the mage must score more successes while using this Effect than the victim rolled while stepping sideways.
- Victims imprisoned in the Gauntlet appear as ghostlike specters when viewed from physical reality or from the spirit world. Once a victim is trapped, the mage often reinforces the Gauntlet in the area with Psychic Sterilization to prevent anyone from successfully freeing the captive. Treacherous mages have also been known to breach a Gauntlet, invite others to walk through and collapse it into a prison when they do.
- Create Fetish
- The Spirit Adept can fashion items that serve as receptacles for the essences of spirits. Most fetishes are created with the spirits' cooperation, but some sorcerers use their Arts to imprison spirits into fetishes. Such objects can be tricky to use, but gain power from the spirit's anger.
- Living Bridge
- By entering a pact with an Umbrood entity, a mystick may channel that spirit's powers for the duration of the Effect. Any Charm that spirit possesses, and one or two related abilities (water-breathing for a nixie, plant-blooming for dryads, etc.), are the shaman's to command, Paradox-free, until the spirit leaves. The mage cannot use True Magick during that time, and will often drop into a long sleep afterward. While the spirit inhabits her, however, the mage knows things no human could understand (an effective Knowledge: Cosmology of 4) and can perform inhuman feats (three additional dots to her Physical Attributes).
- This is not without cost; even minor spirits will demand sacrifices, favors or tasks in return for a few moments of power. Most spirits also "mark" those they possess; anyone with Spirit Sight (and most werewolves) can see the signs of a spirit-rider. This isn't too bad in the case of minor nature spirits, but Banes, demons and finicky Preceptors often claim a host as their own and taint his aura, if not his mortal flesh.
- A magickal exorcism involves pushing a spirit out of a mortal host. This host need not be human - objects can also be possessed. Contested Willpower rolls - one per scene, hour or even day - decide who stays and who goes. A minor spirit can be banished with 10 successes, a Minion-level one with 15, a Preceptor or major Bane with 20 or more and a Lord with over 30.
- Prime 3 can aid this fight; for every success a Prime roll scores, add one to the exorcism total. Celestial Choristers often work in concert to drive out demonic influence, while Dreamspeakers often go against a possessor alone, using tricks (Manipulation + Expression or Intimidation) to frighten the spirit into surrender.
- Break the Dreamshell
- The Dreamshell is the Dreamspeaker term for the Horizon. To enter the Deep Umbra, a mystick must break through this Dreamshell, just as she must break through the Gauntlet when stepping sideways.
- Ten successes or more are required to pierce the Earth Mother's Dreamshell. Other Realms might have weaker or stronger Horizons. If the mages uses an Anchorhead (a special Domain set amid the Dreamshell), the passage becomes easier and requires only five successes.
- Deep Umbra Travel
- Surviving the utterly barren spiritual environment of the Deep Umbra requires a membrane of spirit magick. This spiritual essence creates a sort of bubble around the mage, protecting him from the ravages of the Deep Umbra. The traveler must reach and enter another Near Umbra before the duration rolled for the field elapses, or he will die a cold death in the void.
- The mage can fly through the Umbra at amazing speeds using only his will. Still, the distances in the Deep Umbra are almost inconceivable. Close Realms, such as the moon, take but a day to reach, while distant Realms like Mars can only be reached after several days of travel.
- Travel into the Deep Umbra is a highly dangerous affair, but many "Etherjammers" feel a manifest destiny to explore and chart it. Their sojourns into the Deep Umbra recall the journeys of the ancient Pacific Islanders who sailed off to find a new island before they rand out of food. Sometimes a traveler turns back halfway in order to return safely; sometimes he risks everything and crosses the point of no return.