The Fourth Cause
Specialties: Chaos, Dissolution, Fate, Fortune, Order
Luck, fate, chance and chaos are the prime components of the study of Entropy. From this Sphere comes the study of order and randomness,and thus, the study of totally random creation and destruction. All things dissolve eventually into haphazard components, and similarly events formfrom disjointed, unconnected patterns. Whether in thermodynamic theory or metaphysical metaphor, Entropy describes the simple fact that allthings break down, but that new states come from disorder.
For mages interested in coincidence and chance, Entropy affords great possibilities. Mages can sense the flow of probability itself.Determinism and chaos are equal partners, to the student. The mage can spot chance on the move, recognizing points where probability quirks inodd directions. With enough mastery, the mage can even influence probability to cause changes and accidents to happen according to her desires.The mage may not be able to specify the exact outcome, but she can at least cause fair or foul fortune to fall as she wishes.
In practical physical terms, Entropy also relates an understanding of the breakdown, of systems. Although the mage can’t affect Patternsdirectly until he achieves a great mastery of the Sphere, the final steps on the Entropic path allow the mage to literally tear apart Creation byencouraging the natural — or unnatural — spread of chaos. Matter crumbles. Forces fate. Creatures die. This is the lesson of Entropy: Everything
Mages who study Entropy often choose the path of either order or chaos. Students of order look into patterns, into the ways that events flow
from one to the next and into the means by which new things build on the old. Students of chaos study the dissolution of patterns, the destruction of
matter and the random elements that infect happenstance and probability. Either sort of mage has an intuitive understanding of the forces that build
By itself, Entropy cannot be used to attack Life Patterns directly until the fourth level (that is, only an Adept or better can in flict damage directly with the Entropy Sphere). However, indirect Entropy — bad luck, collapsing buildings and just rotten strings of happenstance — can inflict damage normally. Unsurprisingly, Entropic masters often have a great deal of Entropy Resonance. Such individuals have a nigh-tangible aura that gives an impression of being in exactly the right place and important — or of being completely out of place. Such mages seem to show up in just the right places at the right (or wrong) times. Sensitives and mages with high Awareness note that Entropy mages have a son of dark, primordial air that belies a swirling, entropic core.
• Sense Fate and Fortune
The rudimentary ability to sense entropy allows a mage to discern the current of destiny. The mage can look into the waves of probability, see places where chance has been altered or nudged, notice nexuses of unlikely events and sense the weaknesses of objects. The mage can determine if something has a particularly lucky characteristic and see if something is on the verge of breaking. Though these senses are far from perfect, they do make the mage a mean gambler and a give him insight into a little bit of luck.
Combined with various Pattern Spheres, the mage can look for weaknesses in a Pattern or see where it will fracture naturally. The mage can also determine if a particular object or creature is lucky. Correspondence with Entropy lets the mage find a place where an unusual event may happen, and Time could let the mage isolate exactly when a manifestation of destiny will appear.
• • Control Probability
After determining the threads of the Tapestry and how they pull on one another, the mage can tug subtly at Fate’s loom. Although this ability doesn’t necessarily change Patterns directly, it does let the mage alter probability just enough to influence the direction in which the Tapestry unfolds. The Disciple can grab the gross threads of probability where they collect and alter them to suit his whims. Though fine manipulation is still out of reach, the mage can exert a level of control that allows him to determine the outcome of simple events.
By spotting random occurrences, the mage can distinguish predetermined or set patterns from totally chaotic ones. In any pattern where chance and chaos plays a part, the mage can make minor alterations, forcing the randomness to play out as he wishes. Thus, the mage can pull out a good poker hand from a shuffled deck of cards, influence a dice roll subtly or pull out the gone odd sock in the sock drawer. The more complex or the more patterned the event, the harder it is to affect, so the mage is best off dealing with fairly simple and subtle changes. The mage doesn’t fay a hand on the Patterns around him directly. Instead, he influences the chance of specific things happening.
In conjunction with Pattern Spheres, the mage can sometimes determine how multiple objects, creatures or forces will interact with one another, and which ones will meet. With ephemeral Spheres, the mage can sense patterns in seemingly random fluctuations of the Gauntlet, notice who’s likely to come up with a particular idea first or influence an event to happen at a specific time.
• • • Affect Predictable Patterns
The more predictable a Pattern, the more easily a mage can determine how it functions — and how it breaks. Finally able to touch other Patterns with Entropic control directly, the mage can cause chaos in static Patterns, or arrest the onset of decay. Of course, the natural course of things always wins out in the end. It’s impossible to dodge Fate and erase chance completely. However, the mage can exercise a great deal of control over random events, forcing them to delay, making them happen much sooner than they would and causing a Pattern to undergo its natural At this level of skill, the mage can affect only set, predictable Patterns such as Matter and Forces. Life Patterns, with their constant ebb and flow, are too difficult for the mage to hamper directly.
Since the mage can alter set Patterns, he can cause machines and systems to break down or prevent such damage. He can cause a device to fail, to suffer a quirky malfunction or to continue working long after it should’ve given out. Such blessings and curses do eventually wear off (and the entropy often “catches up” in the end), but they can be a boon in the interim.
With Pattern Spheres, the mage can not only affect a Pattern with Entropy directly, but he can control how it will react with other Patterns. Thus, the mage could make a computer that won’t break down for years or get overloaded by an electrical surge.
• • • • Affect Life
Living Patterns grow, change and adapt. Because of their constant motion, such Patterns are unpredictable, and they ?re difficult to read or affect with Entropy. However, the Adept of Entropy has reached a level where he can finally sort out such massively complex developments and make a good guess at influencing the growth, and change of life. The Adept learns how things grow, mature, change, adapt and die, how they decay, how they feed into the cycle of life and death. By changing the natural course of multiple points in the life cycle, the Adept can guide it subtly in new directions, whereas simpler changes would merely be corrected.
A mage can use Entropy magic of this level to influence Life Patterns and their successive lineages, bestowing long life, good luck and health, or a quick demise and a blighted family line. Although the Life Pattern is not directly touched, the events around it all quietly bent to force it into directions and circumstances of the mage’s choice.
With the Pattern Spheres, the mage can exert direct effects on living beings, causing them to decay or to recover from injury or illness rapidly. Good fortune may result in the healing of diseases, while a curse could cause the subject to suffer complications.
• • • • • Affect Thought
Just as more physical Patterns are subject to change, so too are the vagaries of thought, space and time itself The Master of Entropy learns to impact the very changes of universal concepts.
At this level the mage can influence the interaction of many other Spheres of magic. Though the mage might not have extensive knowledge of the other Spheres, she can let random chance take its course to bring elements together or apart as desired, to tear down old concepts or structures and replace them.
Over time, ideas change, new beliefs take hold; places fall away from public use or grow in prominence; even rime itself goes through long patches of unassuming emptiness followed by periods of extreme change. The Master can see and affect all of these events. Ideas can be changed, evolved, brought to prominence or discarded. Large strings of coincidence can be moved into a single nexus in time or pushed away to leave a period of absolute normalcy. The mage can cause a place nearby to change in importance and nature to people, taking on certain qualities. This intellectual entropy creates a true “meme,” an idea so strong and pervasive that it creates change through its very existence. By spreading that idea, the Master can make others change their views and alter their perception of reality. The Master does not grossly recast Patterns into new forms. Rather, he opens the floodgates of possibility and, like a gardener, guides and prunes events to grow into a desirable direction. Naturally, such sublime control of Entropy can be combined with the many Spheres for a multitude of Effects. The mage might always be in the right place at the right time. He can not only change someone’s mind, but he can wipe away any previous thoughts, consigning them to the oblivion of Lethe. He can hasten the evolution of living things or the maturity of ideas, or delay them to a later time.