The Fourth Cause
Specialties: Astral Travel, Communication, Illusions, Mind-Shielding, Self-Empowerment
The enlightened will shapes reality, so it should come as no surprise that the power of the Mind is, indeed, an esoteric and highly studied tool of mages. Such study leads to the investigation of thought, the existence of perfect forms, the idea of intelligence and inquiry divorced from mere physical form. The mage who studies Mind delves into all of these subjects and dives to the very root of cognition, the formation of ideas and the power of unfettered will.
By opening the mind and transcending the limits of the body, the mage surpasses any paltry human limitations. His thoughts are pure, and his sensation of comprehension is perfect. The Mind magician can use thought to communicate, control and wipe away the inaccuracies and errors of human misjudgment for the peaceful serenity of total concentration. All thought is open to the mage: from the refined sensibilities of human philosophy to the feral instincts of animals. Any thinking process can be comprehended and manipulated with sufficient skill.
Although Mind magic is not a particularly flashy art, it is a respected one. Unlocking the mysteries of the Mind requires great discipline and study. Furthermore, its subtle uses are many. Mind arts can perform any number of tasks invisibly, since such arts rarely manifest physically. The Mind mage can sense the intent of others, alter their emotions and control their thoughts. He can set his consciousness free to roam invisibly and explore such esoterica as the foundations of linguistic understanding or conceptualization as well.
Mind Masters usually have a concentrated, placid air about them — as if they are in a constant state of meditation. From time to time, they let slip small hints like reading peoples’ reactions, guessing the answers to questions intuitively, even forming intricately constructed chains of logic on a moment’s notice. Physically, they are rarely imposing. However, their clear communicative skills and depth of intellect are readily apparent. Unlike the orderly Pattern Spheres, Mind magic tends to be a bit more “fuzzy” in its capabilities. An initiate can often perform tasks similar to what a more experience mage could do, but not as well or with as much precision or variety. However, Mind constructs do seem to take on specific “thought objects.” In some cases, a Mind magician can influence a particular concept just like a Pattern Sphere might be used to manipulate a material object. Because Mind attacks do not cause direct physical harm, all damage inflicted with Mind magic is bashing damage.
Ranks:Sphere_Mind.png• Read Surface Thoughts
Although Mind magic is not really an elemental Sphere, mental constructs do seem to fall into ephemeral categories. A trained mage becomes sensitive to moods and thoughts around herself, and she learns to recognize the base impulses of other minds while taking control of her own. With a simple look, a mage can get a gut feeling or empathic hunch, determining someone’s emotional state or telling whether a particular object has a powerful emotional Resonance attached to it. The mage can’t read specifics, like whether an emotion is strongly directed at someone in particular or the intricacies of a plan in someone’s mind. However, she can tell if someone is giving off positive or negative emotions and determine if an object, place or piece of Tass has “good vibes” or “bad vibes.” She can even read basic, strong emotional contexts attached to such objects, so that she can pick put a knife used for a murder from a group of otherwise identical knives.
Since the Initiate also learns to control and order her own thoughts, she can perform a number of prodigious, but usually coincidental, mental feats. With preparation, she can make a rudimentary defense against mental intrusion. She can also render her aura obscured and unable to be sensed. Furthermore, her discipline allows her to use any number of simple Effects to improve her computational skills, memory and concentration.
• • Read Surface Thoughts
As a mage moves beyond the organization of her own thoughts, she learns to reach out to other minds. The mage can read not only surface thoughts, but she can sense memories associated with objects and scan for specific emotions. Her own thoughts are ordered and disciplined enough to defend against most outside intrusion and to mislead those who attempt to plumb her mind.
Surface thoughts flit across the consciousness of people in garbled, half-formed images that can be easily picked up by the mage. Indeed, different people have different thinking processes and “flavors” of thought that the mage can understand. The mage cannot yet invade a mind and tear out its secrets, but much can be learned just from the casual thoughts of others.
The mage can also associate thoughts with specific items, determining particular forms of Resonance that a material or place might have and drawing out strong memories attached to it. At this level of skill, such impressions are still vague, but the mage can often sense general events and ideas with a strong content of emotions.
If the mage forges a communication with another open mind, she can send emotional impressions. Subjects may get a sudden sense of the mage’s emotions, or she may leave the source unspecified, leaving the subject wondering whence a certain impulse came. Subconscious suggestions can lead a subject to perform actions without even knowing or questioning why, although the mage’s projections are limited in their strength and strong-willed minds may shake these suggestions off.
With her strong mental control, the mage can not only shield her mind from intrusion, but she can build false fronts, disguises and surface ruses. Mental intruders may not recognize the mage’s true skills and powers, or may find her mind completely empty. She can even alter the appearance of her aura, so that onlookers note a different emotional state than would normally be visible. Her discipline allows her to sense most attackers who enter her mind without great skill, and she retains a level of control over her mental processes at nearly all times, even when sleeping or splitting her concentration.
• • • Mental Link
The mage’s powerful mind cuts through interference and irrelevance to form a strong link to other thoughts. She can indulge in telepathic communication, experience someone else’s senses, control her own dreams and pierce the veil of understanding to read the true meaning behind a concept, symbol or idea.
It’s a simple matter for a skilled mage to set up direct mental communication. She can read ideas directly from the subject’s mind, without even the need for language, and send her own thoughts thus. Such communication can make for a silent and perfect exchange of ideas, or it can be used to project illusions, false thoughts and psychic assaults. The mage can also read through the subconscious impulses of the victim, gaining insight to the subject’s drives and experiences. Memory is laid bare to the mage’s scrutiny, colored as the subject saw it.
Language is, at its heart, just a symbolic way of communicating concepts. At this level, the mage can cut through the symbol to the root concept. Doing so allows the mage to understand nearly any written, spoken or symbolic language that has some human basis. The mage can make her words understood to those who hear her and understand nearly any language. She can translate writings with ease and understand symbols automatically without any cultural context. Things that are outside of the mage’s conceptual experience or that are magically defended might still remain mysterious, though.
Regulation of mental power even in the mage’s subconscious mind allows the mage to control her thoughts during sleep and dreams, to contact other dream minds and to enter mysterious Dream Realms. She can influence the dreamscapes there, but the strangeness or spirits that reside in some dreams can affect her as well. The mage could enter dreams telepathically while she remains awake, although splitting her consciousness thus is usually more trouble than it’s worth. More usefully, the mage’s control over her dreams means that unless her psyche is somehow trapped, she can always fall asleep or awaken as desired, immediately.
• • • • Control Conscious Mind
By the time a mage is an Adept of Mind, her thoughts are so potent that not only can she project them, she can override the processes of other thoughts. She can send her consciousness out to experience distant places or to control minds directly.
At this level of power, the mage can invade a victim’s mind and lay it bare, dragging out secrets, taking direct control of the victim’s thoughts or even thrashing the victim’s psyche into a catatonic state. She can alter memories, erase experiences, implant suggestions or even make the victim perform any number of unpleasant and potentially harmful tasks. Unless the victim also uses Mind magic or some sort of mental defense, his only resistance is Willpower — and any mind can be eroded, given time.
A mage who wishes to extend her powers can also defend others with her mental strength. She can shield people from mental invasion just like she shields her own mind, or she may conceal or alter the auras of others for a time.
From the subconscious Realms, the mage can also extend her perceptions to Realms of pure thought. The mage passes beyond dreams and into the Astral Umbra. There she can flit for a brief period in a plane composed of pure thought, perhaps in search of lost ideas or new concepts. Such travel is dangerous, and the Adept cannot divorce mind and body completely, so the duration of such trips is perforce limited.
• • • • • Control Subconscious
The penultimate Mind magic has manifold powers. The mage essentially learns to divorce conscious thought from any other constraints. Base emotions and impulses can be separated from intellect, and intellect from body. The mage can create or destroy thought at will.
With control over the subconscious, a mage can rewrite a subject’s personality and beliefs totally. The victim is irrevocably changed as the mage inserts whatever base-level motives he desires. Such a victim can be turned into an automaton, or given a totally new Nature, in addition to altering memories or controlling actions. The mage can also rework a subject’s psyche, improving or destroying mental capabilities as desired. Extended work allows the mage to divorce her mind from her body completely. She can move her thoughts to rake possession of another shell or simply roam the realms of astral space as disembodied thought. Although she must return to the body eventually — during life, the body, mind and soul must remain united — she can make extended forays into the realms of pure imagination. With luck, she may even be able to move her consciousness into other spirit realms, able to travel freely as a disembodied mind, free of the restrictions of physical form.
Since the Master of Mind can separate thought from form, it’s possible to actually create consciousness with this knowledge. Although anyone can think of something new, the Master makes a truly unique mind — a thinking entity (process ?) formed whole without a body or shell. The parameters and personality of this immaterial mind are totally defined by the Master’s whims.
In combination with the Pattern Spheres, sublime Mastery over Mind lets the mage create true, new, real consciousness and place it in a body, creature or machine. Mages can make computers that think, animals with human intelligence or even completely new people.