The Fourth Cause
Specialties: Motion, Primal Elements (Fire, Lightning, Radiance, Cold, etc.), Physics, Technology, Weather
In the physical universe, science postulates the existence of two disparate states: matter and energy. Hermetic theory purports different levels of energetic states, from fire to frost. Primal religions cast natural and elemental forces into powerful, sometimes divine, roles. Through Forces, the universe manifests impersonal energies. Those energies follow rules, though, and the mage with command of Forces can command the elements, be
it through quantum mechanics, electronic devices, mystical dances or chants to the patrons of primal archetypes.
Natural forces manifest through energetic Patterns, constructs of Quintessence in motion. Every force has its own unique properties, but they all share the common root of Prime swirling through a Pattern. By manipulating that Pattern, the mage can turn forces into other forces, negate various forces, increase or decrease their power or even create and banish energy from nothingness. Every magical style has a different means of addressing these forces. Science considers certain forces to be the absence of others, while mystical Traditions usually consider negative and positive forces — heat and cold, light and dark, motion and stillness — to be opposite but independent entities. Regardless, the understanding of Forces lets the mage manipulate all of them equally.
For the mage who indulges in flashy displays and destructive power, Forces presents mastery of the most vibrant magical power. Thunder waits
in the hand of the mage of Forces, and flame dances at his command. Naturally, such pyrotechnic displays are often vulgar, but the world is surrounded by forces constantly, and the mage can manipulate them as easily as he can create his own. Apprentices and Disciples can see attacks coming with Forces and defend themselves against all manner of strikes, while Masters can summon up legendary storms, hails of fire and walls of darkness. The unleashed power of agitated Quintessence lets Force Patterns unleash themselves in forms more blatantly destructive than any other Sphere. By itself, study of Forces is not a particularly broad area of influence – Combined with the other Elemental Spheres, Forces allow the mage to master the entirety of the material world. With the ephemeral Spheres, the mage can influence the very concepts of Forces, their release and transmission and their spiritual energies. This Sphere is not subtle, and its effects can be both long-ranging and devastating.
Mages who study Forces tend to carry with them an aura of sheer energetic power: a barely felt wave of heat, an electrical flash to the eyes, the clinging of passing shadows. Like Forces Effects themselves, such manifestations are often more noticeable than the results of other Spheres. The precise sort of manifestation often depends upon the wizard’s specialty. A magician who toys with kinetic motion may almost look like he hovers off the ground whilst a mage of darkness is constantly enshrouded in shade. Since they are both noticeable and Paradox-prone, other mages respect and fear such wizards. Forces are blatant and destructive, but most mages are not known for using Forces subtly or to many and varied Effects.
• Perceive Forces
A mage must first understand what he wishes to control, and the apprentice of Forces learns to sense different Force Patterns, read their intensity and learn of the distinctions between different variants of Forces. The mage can sense positive and negative Forces, watch them interact, see where they emanate and where they go. He can determine the intensity of a light source as easily as he can determine the presence of radio waves or radiation.
Combined with other Elemental (Pattern) Spheres, Forces senses let the mage see how other Patterns interact with or create Forces. With ephemeral Spheres, the mage can see the Quintessence that flows to form forces, examine the spiritual archetypes of Forces, determine the origin of various forces and figure out where they’re going.
• • Control Minor Forces
Energy can always be diverted, and the Disciple who understands Forces can influence its direction and intensity. The mage can affect various Patterns easily, altering their direction, changing their qualities and controlling their dispersion. The mage cannot yet create forces from nothingness or change forces into different states, but he can manipulate how the forces interact with the rest of the world.
By diverting a force, the mage can cause kinetic energy to change direction, thus changing an object’s course. He can make fires dance according to specific images and spread to (or avoid) certain areas. He can lengthen shadows or bend light so that images reach different destinations. He can even reroute the passage of electricity or cause radiation to avoid him. The mage can thus render himself or someone else invisible, cause sound to manifest somewhere other than its origin, and otherwise protect an area from interaction with forces.
A mage can affect only individual Patterns offered at this level, and only on a scale that he can encompass himself. Thus, the mage could render a single individual invisible, but he couldn’t cause an entire building to vanish. He could make a flame flicker with a particular image, but he couldn’t control the course of a forest fire. Simply directing a force away is much easier than actually taking total control of the force and directing it with precision, but as long as the mage can reasonably influence the minor force, he can take total control of its direction and focus with enough effort.
Combining control of minor forces with other Pattern Spheres, the mage can give a certain item properties that repel or attract forces, make an object or pathway more susceptible to forces or shield part of an individual from interaction with a specific force. With the ephemeral Spheres, the mage can freeze a force in place while allowing it to continue to expend its energy, cause a force to affect a location far distant from its actual
• • • Transmute Minor Forces
Finally able to grasp and twist the Patterns of forces, a skilled mage can convert forces into other types, shift their intensity radically or even create force from nothing (and banish it to oblivion as well). Although he is still able to affect only individual small Patterns of force, the mage can cause the elements to dance at his whim. He can impart motion into an object, make a fire that burns cold or cause shadows to explode into bursts of light. Mages can use this power to fly, hurl lightning, pulse out electronics and perform similarly dramatic feats. The mage cannot create force from nothing without the use of Quintessence, but he can turn minor forces to his own advantage.
In conjunction with Pattern magic, the mage can convert a force into an object or even a creature, or disperse a material into raw energy. He can easily weave telekinetic controls around a creature or object, and he can cause his attacks to pass through objects or creatures harmlessly on their way to the target. Similarly, with the ephemeral Spheres he can transmute a pure idea into a construct of force, lay waste to a distant location or set up a special attack that waits until an appropriate time or event comes to pass.
• • • • Control Major Forces
The Adept of Forces can spread his knowledge to encompass entire groups of force and Patterns that exceed his own scale. With enough effort, he can redirect massive energies, bring disaster crashing down across a great area or shield entire groups of people from outside elements. Anything that is possible with control over minor forces is possible on a large scale now, with the mage able to focus great energy into a single point or disperse massive powers across a wide area. The Adept still cannot transmute large scale forces except a little bit at a time, but he can at least divert major forces to gain time necessary to affect them later. Such massive Effects are usually vulgar, but sometimes there’s no choice and you just have to rely on the big guns.
In combination with the other Spheres, Adept understanding of Forces lets the mage do many of the things that he could do with lesser forces on a much broader scale. He can insulate a whole building or area of forest from fire and electricity, divert light into a series of rooms, banish all sound from a huge cavern or render a Chantry invisible to normal sight. He can defend against the storms of power that sweep through the spirit world and redirect massive forces to other places and times.
• • • • • Transmute Major Forces
The Master of Forces is not to be trifled with. Through exertion and will, he can create power on an incredible scale, creating Effects that include storms of fire, massive charges of electricity, shadows that blot out entire city blocks and typhoons even in the midst of a calm day. The mage can disperse such forces as well, dousing a forest fire or bathing an entire area in light at night by transmuting darkness to illumination, Although conjuring or banishing forces from nothingness still requires Quintessence, the mage can easily turn any existing force to his own ends with his knowledge of forces alone. Incredibly Paradoxical, such Master strokes can unleash force on a tremendous scale, capable of laying waste to entire cities. Mystical sorcerers command the hand of nature, ride the winds and rip light and darkness alike from the moment of inspiration. Technocrats bring forces to heel with containment fields, magnetic bottles and the power of the atom.
When a Master of forces combines his power with other Effects, the carnage is unlimited. A Master can create an Effect in a distant place or one that hangs and explodes outward at a later time. He can create the forces from nothingness with Prime energy and set up strokes that befall only specific victims or unfortunates. These mages are the terror of their enemies, for their mighty forces can destroy whole cabals. Few Masters of Forces survive to an old age.