The Fourth Cause
As a mage creates magical Effects, she invests them with her own will, desires and drives. Naturally, the results reflect such strong emotions as the mage imprints her own vision of reality over the cosmos. Each mage has a few Resonance Traits, a set of adjectives that describe the sorts of Resonance that the mage normally builds. A mage normally starts with one dot in one Resonance Trait: a Dynamic Trait, an Entropic Trait or a Static Trait. Through further actions, the mage may develop additional Traits of the different sorts or garner additional dots.
During character creation, you need to select the Resonance characteristics for each Trait. Your character’s Dynamic Resonance might be Energetic, Violent or Fiery; Entropic Resonance could be Destructive, Languorous or Seething; Static Resonance might manifest as Accurate, Geometric or Smothering. These Traits describe how your character’s magic tends to change according to her emotions. Every magical Effect that the mage does is affected in some way by Resonance; the more dots the mage has in a Trait, the stronger its manifestation.
Dynamic Resonance reflects the pure creative force of the universe, the drive to make new and different things, action without thought to consequences and continuous motion and evolution. Such Resonance Traits are fast, moving and mutating, though the Trait itself tends to stay the same for any given mage.
Entropic Resonance reflects the mage’s tie to primordial energy, the bubbling morass that melts Creation back down into fluid emptiness and makes room for new birth. Entropic Traits show decay, destruction and death, though not always in a wholly negative way. Jhor is a special kind of Entropic Resonance, garnered from too much interaction with death energy.
Static Resonance shows up in patterns, constants and the solidification of Creation into permanent or semi-permanent forms and repeatable ideas. Such Traits are often intellectual, heavily patterned or highly organized.
x Negligible Resonance.
• Each dot in a Resonance Trait indicates a certain level of Resonance that appears in the mage’s magic. With high levels of Resonance, the mage is likely to have every Effect twisted in a noticeable way to reflect his personal Resonance. A mage with low levels of Resonance might show only subtle changes, and he might not manifest any noticeable Resonance in very small Effects.
• When a Resonance Trait increases, a descriptor must be chosen for that Resonance. It is possible, though highly unlikely, that a previous descriptor can be chosen again, however such specific focus is uncommon among Mages, more often seen among creatures such as the Umbrood. If a descriptor is ‘stacked’ in this manner, the bonus received from incorporating the Resonance Trait into a magical effect increases by 1. It should be noted that having a descriptor more than once is considered alien for mortals, Mages included. Possessing a descriptor more than once will begin to be reflected very strongly in the Mage, such as a Static Trait of Correcting being taken multiple times will result in an OCD in the Mage, ‘correcting’ everything around them compulsively. Rumours abound that the only Mage grouping possessing stacked descriptors in any numbers are the Marauders.
• Resonance is traceable to those who know what to look for. A mage can often determine if a particular Resonance fits a certain mage’s style. With a Perception + Awareness roll (difficulty of 10 minus the Resonance score), a mage can determine the type of Resonance present in an Effect if it’s not otherwise immediately noticeable. (“Aha! My old nemesis Dr. Lugan always used Vindictive magic, and this Effect fits his style perfectly”.)
• A mage who builds an Effect that works with her Resonance often finds it easier to work such magic. A mage with the Fiery Dynamic Resonance has an easier time with fire magic, a mage with the Static Resonance of Perspicacious is better with insightful Mind magic and so on. This effect translates as a reduction in difficulty (by one) to Effects that play on the mage’s specific Resonance, as long as the player describes a specific way to make the spell use his Resonance Trait. It’s not enough just to say “I have Static Resonance for Thinking so I get a bonus on all Mind Effects.” The player must make some part of the Effect reflect the appropriate Resonance deliberately.
• A mage’s Resonance usually changes only when she’s heavily influenced by strong magical powers. This change can occur during a Seeking, after botching an Effect in a spectacular fashion or when visiting a strange Horizon Realm.
So how do these affect you as a character? At lower levels of Resonance, they can be used to recognize your magic, either as you do it, or after the fact. A Resonance grouping often becomes very unique after a very short time. For example, a Verbena with the Resonances of Dynamic (Growing), Entropic (Renewing), and Static (Protective) will be fairly easily identifiable. Every time she does an effect, those who detect it will feel all three resonances simultaneously. As the amount of Resonance grows, they start to affect the Mage even when not performing an effect.
Any Mage with 3 or more points of a specific type of Resonance will give the impression of that resonance all the time. If the Verbena above instead had Entropic (Renewing) 3, then everyone around her would always feel that sense of renewal, even just when they met and shook hands. High levels of Resonance can affect social interactions. In some cases to the positive, and some to the negative. The basic guideline to use is a Resonance of 3 in an area will affect social die roll difficulties up or down by 1. Resonance of 4 in an area will affect difficulties by 2, and a Resonance of 5 will affect that difficulty by 3.
Social modifiers are cumulative for all three categories of Resonance, so eventually, with a bit of difficulty or work, a Mage who gained a total of 5 Resonance in each category would affect Social Die Roll difficulties by as much as 9. It should also be mentioned that the three threshold for Social modification refers to the core type (Dynamic, Entropic, and Static) not the individual descriptors. So a Hermetic Mage with the Resonances Dynamic (Fiery), Dynamic (Frenetic), and Dynamic (Joyous) would still have that social difficulty modification. These social interaction modifiers generally only matter with Sleepers, however on a case by case basis may be applied to other awakened beings, including Mages. Although these difficulty modifiers are more often applied as a penalty, they can be applied as a bonus to social interactions, such as a situation when one is dealing with an Umbrood strongly associated with a given Resonance type.
It should be noted that judicious use of Mind magic can be used during social interactions to dampen (or strengthen) the effect of Resonance on others, increasing or decreasing the psychic resonance felt by those around the Mage. With some time, one can use a combination of Mind and Prime magics to scrub away or change the Resonance left from magic or other effects in an area, however such countermeasures are difficult to make complete or permanent.
Example Dynamic Resonance Traits: Quick, Flashy, Unique, Creative, Spinning, Whirling, Frantic, Frenzied, Intriguing, Liberating, Novel, Fiery, Impatient, Relentless, Temperamental, Thunderous, Willful, Catalyzing, Overwhelming, Transforming, Curious, Inspiring, Blazing, Explosive, Unpredictable, Enthusiastic, Unifying, Driven, Idealistic, Screaming, Passionate, Deceptive, Joyous, Excitable, Loving, Flitting, Stormy, Energetic, Violent, Colourful, Flowing, Commanding, Uncontrollable, Intuitive, Eccentric, Aggressive, Violent, Volatile, Lively, Warm, Accelerating, Vital, Bountiful
Example Entropic Resonance Traits: Seething, Bubbling, Destructive, Corrupting, Withering, Disintegrating, Chaotic, Subtle, Primal, Ravaging, Annihilating, Cataclysmic, Cleansing, Dissolving, Inevitable, Jagged, Rupturing, Purifying, Savage, Shattering, Flensing, Menacing, Ruthless, Selfless, Hellish, Angry, Fatalistic, Sinister, Renewing, Excessive, Harvesting, Coercive, Vengeful, Wrathful, Nightmarish, Livid, Corroding, Consuming, Suffocating, Whispering, Chilling, Dark, Insidious, Visceral, Haunted, Empty, Dissonant
Example Static Resonance Traits: Single-Minded, Focused, Intense, Patterned, Tiered, Enfolding, Encompassing, Defined, Programmed, Illuminating, Elaborate, Eternal, Flawless, Honed, Subjugating, Perfecting, Crystalline, Instructive, Mending, Cerebral, Ornate, Resolute, Questioning, Supportive, Defending, Calm, Runic, Peaceful, Analytical, Rhythmic, Logical, Resilient, Defining, Imperishable, Sustaining, Spiraling, Inscribed, Stalwart, Steady, Predictable, Gentle, Intricate, Controlled, Balanced, Cold, Mechanical, Numeric, Cyclical, Earthy, Soothing