The Fourth Cause
Specialties: Complex Patterns, Conjuration, Shaping, Transmutations
All non-living Patterns that coalesce into form fall into the Sphere of Matter. Along with Forces and Life, this Sphere completes the cycle of Pattern Spheres that influence things of the material world. Given the incredible utility and variety of objects all across the Tellurian, this Sphere is highly versatile and useful, and it’s often underestimated due to its perceived “base” nature.
Matter Patterns are objects whose flow of Prime has coalesced into a simple, static form. The Quintessence in Forces is still active and energetic, and Life Patterns flow with the universe in a process of give-and-take. Matter, by contrast, is inert. However, manipulating Matter is usually a much simpler affair than manipulating other Patterns.
Magicians who study Matter can create objects (with base elements or Prime energy), transform them and change their properties. Matter can also be made to behave in unusual fashions, flouting scientific law and even, in some cases, the bounds of common sense. At the very advanced levels of study, Masters can blur the lines between matter and energy, creating Matter Patterns that throw off Forces (radiation) or bear a resemblance to Life.
Masters of Matter gift everything they own with vibrancy and solidity. Their clothing and possessions are often exceptional, with special qualities and great durability. Indeed, many take pleasure in bringing artistic forms or changes to materials that they own. Anything can be shaped or created with Mastery of Matter, but true art expresses more than base material.
• Matter Perceptions
The most basic understanding of Matter gives a mage a clear insight into the nature of material objects. By scrutinizing a Pattern, the mage can tell not only how massive something is and what it’s made of, but whether it’s a composite, whether it’s damaged in any way, how it might interact with other objects and what could be hidden inside.
Combining Matter and Entropy lets the magician sense weak points and identify the best means by which to break them, Forces tells what energy to bring to bear against objects. With Life magic, the mage can determine the presence and composition of inert matter in living Patterns, like piercings and implants. The use of more ephemeral Spheres lends itself to scrying at range or determining whether a given object is actually a form of Tass.
• • Basic Transmutation
The mage may transmute one substance into another, without changing its shape, temperature or basic state (solid, liquid, gas). The object simply takes on a new composition, at the mage’s whim. Complex creations are mare difficult or in some cases impossible; usually, mages are limited to creating or transmuting homogenous substances — a block of wood into a brick of stone, for instance, but not into an alloy of gold and osmium. Naturally, the sorts of possible transmutations depend heavily on paradigm. A Hermetic mage might turn lead into gold alchemically, a Chorister could duplicate the miracle of turning water into wine but a Technocrat is more likely to convert simple elements like hydrogen to helium.
Only simple and inert forms of Matter can be transformed at this level. The mage cannot make radioactive elements. Doing so requires Mastery, as such Patterns shed their essence in the form of Forces. Matter Patterns also tend to have a rigid shape, and this shape cannot be changed with this base understanding. Of course, if the mage turns a rock into butter, he can sculpt or melt it easily. Rare materials are also hard to create. Metaphysically, such matter is a precious substance, not easily found or made, which reflects in the difficulty of magical duplication.
Basic transmutation combines with other Pattern Spheres to let the mage create solid matter from forces or even from living beings. (Of course, anyone can turn a Life Pattern into a Matter Pattern — just kill it). The mage can also conjure a basic object out of Prime energy. With the right understanding of Forces, the mage can impart enough energy to change an item’s state while transforming it. He can use Correspondence to pull or push items around and even to reach into them and remove parts. The mage can give a spirit a physical representation or create an object according to a mental image with Quintessence.
• • • Alter Form
Although Matter Patterns are resilient, they are not inviolable, and a mage with enough experience can reshape matter as he desires. This level of skill lets the mage sculpt the object mystically, changing its form or even compressing or expanding certain elements of its material properties. The mage can increase the object’s density or disperse it into gas, or he can just make it take on a different silhouette. Broken materials can be rejoined and matter made whole once more, or the mage can pull things apart, separate them into components or make mixtures of matter. With the Pattern Spheres, the mage can easily draw energy out of a Matter Pattern or make it mesh with a living creature. More ephemeral Spheres let the object change in response to thought or even cause it shift randomly into a useful (or harmful) shape.
• • • • Complex Transformation
By tearing out the detailed elements of combined Matter Patterns, an Adept of Matter can rebuild complex Patterns that rely on rare and complex material or on multiple independent pieces with different bases. Assuming that he has the appropriate mundane knowledge, the mage can easily make objects with moving parts or do the opposite in order to turn valuable equipment into useless lumps. Whereas a less experienced mage is limited to making simple items or Patterns of a homogenous sort, an Adept can create alloys, combinations of multiple types of matter and other fine details. Both the level of detail and the complexity of the final object determine the difficulty of the Effect.
With Forces or Life magic, the mage can transform creatures or energies directly into complex objects. He can turn a canary into a golden clockwork songbird or a lightning bolt into a silver stylization. Life magic lets the mage blend living and unliving matter, making silk, fresh food and the like. Prime energy can be used to conjure complex matter from nothing — more than one Euthanatos has pulled a gun seemingly out of nowhere.
• • • • • Alter Properties
The highest Matter Arts allow a mage to rebuild individual segments of a Matter Pattern at will. Instead of making base matter or objects of combined materials, the Master can devise entirely new Matter, setting its physical properties as desired. He can transmute normal Matter so that it has a different boiling point, specific gravity or transparency. He can also create an object with a mass, density and viscosity determined at whim independent of any sort of normal physical laws. The Patterns of Matter can be made to interact with other Matter in unique ways, so the Patterns may be explosive, acidic or even immaterial to one another.
With Mastery of Matter, the mage is not limited to the so-called “laws” of the material world. His creations can have whatever strengths and physical characteristics he desires. Matter Patterns can even be made that transform spontaneously, changing state or characteristics or throwing off Forces (radiation).
With the other Spheres, a Master of Matter can build invincible armor out of Prime energy, make devices that heal or harm living creatures outside of all normal expectations and develop complex, rare and lethal substances.