The Fourth Cause
Specialties: Gauntlet Manipulation, Naturalism, Necromancy, Possession, Spirit Dealings, Umbral Travel
Defining the ephemera between Quintessential and material, Spirit marks the creation of such stuff as reflectsthe world beyond simple human perception. Spirit is a homogenous whole, a sort of conceptual energy given a special form that can mirror or mimic the more mundane Patterns of elements. However, Spirit is much more. It is also the results of emotion, hope and thought — the intangible end product of the Mind’s musing and shaping. The mage skilled in Spirit can touch the wall that separates potential from material and reach through to see entire realms formed of maybes, might-haves and never-weres. Both spirit entities and spiritual landscapes form of a spiritual energy that hovers somewhere between Prime and physical Pattern. Ephemera or plasm, this intangible substance makes up the otherworlds, the far Deep Umbra, the Shard Realms and the myriad other places where mages explore magic in its purest states. Such spirits are responsive to impulses and materials, and so the entities of spirit often reflect human drives, belief systems, even gods or concepts — or is it the other way around? Regardless, most people remain blind to the spirit plane, while mages can reach out to interact with the half-felt dreams of the world itself.
The Umbra — the spirit reaches — is separated from the physical world by an invisible and intangible Gauntlet, a mystic barrier that keeps the dead or the spirits of nature from crossing into and affecting the living world. Other worlds are sometimes isolated from the Umbra by their own Gauntlets, and other times coexist with Spirit. Powerful mages can pierce this Gauntlet to reach different areas of die Umbra, but such a task is not without hazards. Journeying to the lands of the dead or to the far reaches of other dimensions is possible, but it is difficult in the extreme. Worse still, the Gauntlet itself, once merely a barrier through which mages had to exert their magic to cross, is now actually metaphysically dangerous.
There are countless strange creatures and entities in the spirit worlds, many of which follow bizarre rules that bear no resemblance to the laws of Earth. A mage who would traffic in Spirit would do well to learn such rules, to discover the byways of the Umbra and to traffic in the currency of spirits — chiminage, or the bonds of mutual service. Near the Earth, the Mirror Umbra reflects physical reality as colored by Resonance. Deeper in the spirit worlds are the Dream Realms, Epiphamies, Astral space, Horizon Realms (other worlds in their own dimensions) and eventually the Deep Umbra — the great void beyond the stars. It’s no wonder that many Spirit mages choose to stay on Earth and simply summon or converse with the spirits that happen to be there! In the Umbra, one can find any Heaven or Hell of mankind’s creation… and perhaps be trapped there.
Technological students of Spirit magic instead study Dimensional Science, the ways to reach alternate worlds that coexist with this one. Though their means are different, their ends are the same. To such Technocrats, spirits are alien entities or otherdimensional manifestations. Masters of Spirit have an otherworldly sense, a tendency to murmur to the air, focus on things that aren’t there and hold to unusual taboos. They often indulge in unusual behaviors and sometimes talk to spiritual allies or enemies that nobody else can see. Technocratic Masters of Dimensional Science often carry specialized trappings to see (and defend against) the spirit world’s intrusions. They range from distant psychic sensitives to powerfully rational mathematicians and physicists.
• Spirit Senses
Initiates in the ways of Spirit can sense the Mirror Umbra, the reflection of the material world into spirit energy. The initiate can see anima and ghosts, hear natural spirits and sense places where the Gauntlet between worlds thins or thickens. The mage can determine when an object has a powerful spirit component, like a mystic fetish. The mage’s Resonance palls her most closely to objects, spirits and places of similar Resonance, but the mage can open to any spirit perception with effort.
Combined with other Spheres, the mage can sense objects that have connections to the spirit world or that have been somehow translocated there. The mage can also either combine her vision of animas with an awareness of emotions and auras, or detect the places most favorable for converse with specific types of spirits or where spirits might gather for energy.
• • Touch Spirit
For a brief moment, the mage can reach out to touch the spirit world. The mage can manipulate spiritual objects and interact with spirit entities, even pushing them around, conversing with or attacking them. The mage can affect t he spirit world while remaining physical, extending his natural reach, voice and form across into the next realm.
By casting his control over the Gauntlet directly, the mage can also manipulate the strength of the wall between worlds. This difficult task can make it easier for a spirit to manifest, or the mage could protect an area from ghosts and possessions. Powerful spirit wards can keep out travelers who walk the spirit realms. Adequate preparation can also make it easier for the mage to reach into the spirit realms, if only for a time.
Combined with the Pattern Spheres, the mage can make items that can affect the spirit worlds, or give another creature a brief sense of spirit or ability to touch the mirror realms. The mage could also cause an area of the spirit world to suffer chaotic storms of spirit energy or use Correspondence to extend his sight to the many and varied Realms of Spirit.
• • • Pierce Gauntlet
Although it’s dangerous to do so, a skilled mage can pierce the Gauntlet between worlds, stepping into the spirit world or back out to the material. The process of stepping sideways, as it’s called, often relies on powerful rituals, and it works best at places of natural power. Even then, survival is not guaranteed – the Gauntlet is a dangerous barrier to mages.
A mage can translate himself across the Gauntlet, becoming pure ephemera (spirit matter). Bringing possessions takes more work and increases the difficulty of the trip. In either case, the mage risks injury. Mages with strong Avatars are especially susceptible to the storm winds that ride the barrier between worlds.
While in the spirit worlds, the mage obeys the laws of those places and interacts with them normally. The mage can deal directly with spirits, but he can also exert his magic directly against them. Once in the spirit world, the mage can travel to other spirit destinations, often by taking pathways known to Traditional lore. The mage might forge out into various near Realms or other worlds, but he cannot pass the Horizon — yet.
As the mage can alter the spirit world directly, he can also stir a spirit to wakefulness or lure it into slumber. Most objects and places have associated spirits, but the powerful Gauntlet and lack of connection to the mortal world causes those spirits to sleep, uninterested ingoings-on around them. The mage can stir those that hover on the edge of wakefulness, or briefly cause some to return to sleep. Most spirits are too weak, too far deteriorated and too unconscious to be so roused, but many places or items that hover on the edge of importance or that have strong Resonance have lightly sleeping spirits that can be roused. Similarly, powerful objects or fetishes have spirits that the mage can put to sleep temporarily, perhaps to avoid their wrath or to reach something that they guard.
With the Pattern Spheres, the mage can create ephemeral representations of material objects or forces, essentially duplicating the Pattern Spheres in the spirit worlds. With Mind magic, the mage can determine Resonance and roles of various spirits encountered, while Correspondence can ease the rigors of travel in the spirit realms. Prime magic lets the mage determine the boundaries between places of power and feel the flow of natural wellsprings of spirit energy.
• • • • Rend and Repair Gauntlet
While lesser mages are limited to slipping themselves through the Gauntlet, a powerful mage can tear the Gauntlet asunder and create a gate between the spirit and material worlds. Spirits and other people can travel through this gate, but they risk the perils inherent in such a journey. The mage can also reinforce the Gauntlet against such breaches and repair or close tears that he or others create.
The mage’s command over spiritual matter allows him to place powerful bindings and summonings over spirits. The difficulty of such a feat varies with the spirit in question; extremely potent spirits are still beyond the mage’s powers. Still, many minor spirits can be useful allies, and can perform a variety of feats. The mage can even bind the spirit to an object to create a fetish, or form a sort of symbiotic link with a spirit. Doing so is similar to possession, but the mage remains somewhat able to direct his actions and call on the spirit’s powers. Dealing with the spirit world in a cavalier manner can gamer a mage many enemies, of course, so Adepts must be judicious in their use of power.
A mage with this level of power can bring other people or objects into the Umbra or out of it easily. With other magic, the mage can empower free-standing gates or doorways that leave one section of the material world to enter a different area in the spirit world. The mage can also create time differentials between spirit and material, or he can take control of a spirit directly and influence its actions and role.
• • • • • Forge Ephemera
The most advanced understanding of Spirit allows the mage to shape ephemera as he desires. The mage can alter, destroy or create spirit material, force it to obey his whims or gift it with new powers. He can sense and affect the spirits of living beings and the dead alike, and journey to the farthest reaches of the spirit worlds, defended by his own mastery.
A simple spell enables the Master to heal spirits and restore their Power, which is a potent way to garner spirit allies. The mage can also reshape spirits as he desires, although particularly powerful spirits can take a long time to change, and most spirits will object to such treatment. Shaping spirit energy into desired forms lets the mage create new Realms, though such undertakings are massive and require a great deal of Quintessence. The mage can create places in the Umbra where he can shape the spirit world to his liking and even build new Horizon Realms, but most Mast ers consider this feat extraordinarily difficult.
The Master of spirit can now sense and interact with the most complex of spirits, living souls, which are the spirits produced by living, thinking beings. Souls are generally bound to a living being, and thus prove difficult to bind, unbind, or summon, but such things are possible for the Master. Moreover, the mage can now bring about change to souls similar to that of spirits, but as long as a soul maintains its link to the body, mind, and even the avatar, such changes will be resisted, cause pattern bleed, or revert, unless the resistant elements connected to the soul are changed as well. Most disturbingly, the soul can now be damaged or destroyed, similar to any other spirit, by the Master, and such damage or destruction can prove quite detrimental to the being which possess the soul.
Guarded by complete control over the spirit world, the Master can forage at last past the Horizon and beyond to the Deep Umbra. He can explore the Far Realms and go where he pleases, such as other worlds, the many creations of human imagination and the dimensions far removed from his own.