Specialities: Alternate Timelines, Divination, Temporal Manipulation, Travel
Time, as the philosophers say, is the magic that all men know. The relentless tick of the clock leads down a road to an uncertain future, immutable, undeniable, equally profound to all humanity. Although time may vary with the observer - long moments of passion and profundity, stark seconds of terror or loss, relativity and the spin of quantum mechanics - it's an undeniable part of existence.
For mages who delve into the mystical study of Time, of course, matters aren't so cut and dried. Science and magic both agree that the flow of time varies with the observer, that time itself is hardly the constant that it initially seems. Indeed, some students of esoterica question whether time's linear flow is not simply another artifact of consensus, a happenstance result of random creation that’s no more constant than a changeable wind. Even those who accept Time’s forward march (more or less) still discover that the eddies, currents and branching paths of time are far more manifold and mutable than most people would ever guess.
Mages studying Time magic agree that the world is full of unexpected whorls and vortices of temporal disturbance. Time contracts around some places and dilates at others, though the regimentationof scientific time means that such phenomena are not as common as they once were. In unusual circumstances, time may loop back on itself, make jumps and rifts to past or future, or diverge in multiple streams. A trained mage can sense all such variations, although these phenomena are hardly predictable or safe.
Time mages often start with a basic sensitivity to the flow of time and move to comprehend their own subjective sense of it. From there, the mage learns to manipulate her personal perceptions of time, and later to extend that manipulation to others. Truly skilled mages can even warp, halt or accelerate time and step into past or future.
Obviously, a strong understanding of metaphysical Time is useful in conjunctional Effects, much like Correspondence. While conrol of space grants a greater range and sensitivity to Effects, Time magic allows the mage to "hang" Effects until some future time, dilate their duration or change their rates of manifestation.
Curiously,once a mage manipulates time in a subjective fashion, it's progressively harder to rework the manipulation. If a mage stretches out a particular few seconds, for instance, she may gain time to perform responsive actions at her convenience, but further time-manipulating magic must contend with the fact that she's already warped her perception of that time. Thus, once a mage has twisted a particular bit of time, she must overcome the momentum of her own Effects to change it further. More importantly, once the mage is working with distorted time, her magical energies are already tied up in the feat. (Therefore, the mage can't take six actions in one turn and use all of them for magic.)
Masters of Time most often carry a strong sense of deja vu with them. People around the mage find time itse'f "fuzzed out," as if the past, present and future blend to a single point. The mage may well manifest suden, unconscious shifts in time, causing a flower to bloom or a book to gather dust.
● Time SenseEdit
As might be expected, a mage’s first initiation into the mysteries of Time is an awareness of time’s flow. The mage learns to discern subjective time, to keep an accurate track of her own temporal position, to notice anomalies and alterations in time and to track Effects through their temporal “wake,” the disturbance that all things leave in the flow of time.
Most Time magic leaves some sort of disturbance that’s noticeable to a mage who knows what to look for. Although an Initiate can’t really do anything about it, the mage can at least tell when Time magic are at work, and may well get the heck out of there! Natural phenomena sometimes cause odd Time distortions, too, and these are apparent to a trained mage. Actually messing around with time instabilities is a dangerous process, and more than one mage has been catapulted into far-distant times, alternate histories or bizarre temporal loops. The Initiate can easily such dangers and keep away spot, and he may even be able to determine how the phenomenon in question works.
Although it’s impractical to always have a concrete sense of Time, an Initiate can often tell when someone’s scrying on her through time, and she can develop a powerfully accurate count of time’s passage.
Combined with the other Spheres, the basics of Time magic let the mage determine whether a particular Pattern has been affected unnaturally by Time and how it has been changed as a result. Furthermore, they give the mage better accuracy in using pre-existing time distortions in conjunction with other magic.
●● Time SightEdit
Although both past and future are hypothetically nothing but possibilities, it's possible to scry through time itself to look at the probabilities that tie most closely to the direction of the magician's own timeline. The mage can cast her perceptions into past or future and gather information from other times. The process is not always accuratep; the future is mutable and some say that the past, too, changes as people's memories and beliefs of it change. The closer the mage looks to her present time, the more accurate the vision. Distant times and places may be inaccurate, fuzzy and difficut to comprehend. Some places and times are even protected against such scrying by powerful wards or by natural phenomena that bend the course of time itself.
Simple pre- andretro-cognitive Effects just allow the mage to look into the past or future at her current location. The mage can watch time as if viewing it directly, pausing to skip to different points or glossing over some areas to speed on to others. She can extend her Time senses to such vistas and tell whether there are other temporal distortions at the times that she watches.
Mages can build walls of warding with this power, creating a great deal of "temporal static" to blow out Time senses in the same way that Correspondence can be used to repel distant scrying.
In conjunction with other Spheres, Time senses let the mage examine Patterns of the past and future, determine the course of fate and even read the thoughts of people in different eras.
●●● Time ManipulationEdit
By extending personalized perceptions over an area of time, the mage can alter the apparent flow of time at a site. Theories vary over whether this is a true manipulation of the time-stream or just an extension of subjective time properties, but the fact is that such manipulations can create some very unusual - and powerful - Effects.
By dilating or contracting time, the mage can alter the rate at which things happen in comparison to the “normal world.” A flow ofwater could be made to trickle like molasses, a bullet could be slowed to visible speeds or a running man could seem to whiz by with incredible velocity. The subjective time of the target isn’t changed: the running man feels himself moving as if at normal speed, while the world around him seem to be moving very slowly; the bullet appears to onlookers to move slowly, but it hits with as much force as ever. Most mages agree that such Effects simply wrap the subject in a bit of slow or fast time, although a few hardcases insist that it’s a matter of altering relative universal time-flows or som,ething equally esoteric. In general, the specifics don't matter, since the end results are quite fantastic.
A mage wrapped in dilated or contracted time can easily cocoon himself in a protective layer that insulates himself from the outside world, effectively freezing himself in time, or accelerate to the point ofperforming numerous physical tasks in a few seconds. Different mages allhave different ways of approaching this undertaking, of course, but it’s still a potent power.
With a bit of finesse, a mage can rewind or loop time as well. Doing so is very difficult, however, and it tends to draw down a lot of Paradox. Once time is bent in this fasion, it gets exponentially more difficult to warp it further, and such distortions are easily noticed by other Time magicians (and sometimes by astute Sleepers!) as well as causing all sorts of interference that makes time sensitivity in the area go haywire. In short, the mage might be able to rewind a few seconds of time and reconstruct an event differently, but Paradox and destiny tend to conspire to make such undertakings profoundly difficult. Such redirections often result in unforseen problems later.
●●●● Time DeterminismEdit
Instead of stretching or compressing time, the Adept of Time magic can literally stop time in its tracks or drop something into a loop that only releases at a specified time. Magic can be made to wait in place, as can other Patterns. The mage can cast suspension over a target so that it is literally unaffected by the passage of time or build specially keyed Effects that hold off until certain events come to pass. The mage can even freeze a target outside the time-stream, leaving it trapped and unaffected by the outside world while it experiences nothing more than the blink of an eye.
Such powerful magics are often vulgar, but theycan generate very potent Effects in conjunction withother Spheres. A mage who is temporarily "paused" in time can't be affected by anything else in the normal time-stream, while a dangerous subject or out-of-control experiement can be easily frozen until resources can be assembled to deal with it. Indeed, by joining control over time with a dash of Correspondence, a victim can be trapped completely outside the space-time continuum - warded into a pocket that dissipates only with the cessation of the magic or the intervention of powerful outside forces. Many creatures and entities too powerful for mages to confront directly are said to be trapped in such a fashion.
A tlme-haltlng Effect combinedwitha Pattern Sphere can generate a keyed pause: something that doesn’t happen until a specific person, creature or item comes into the right Position. With Entropy, abitof Time magic can create an Effect that does not happen until a certain crux of destiny or improbability comes to pass. A princess can be put to sleep until her predestined true love arrives or a dying subject can be placed into cryogenic suspension while doctors search for a cure for his condition. Entire family lines or places of power can have magical Effects granted that wait until they’re signaled for activation, though use and the rigors of Paradox slowly erode such Effects until they're gone.
●●●●● Tme Travel, Time ImmunityEdit
The pages of history are open to the true Master, who can not only immunize places and people from the ravages of history, but who can thrust objects and even individuals through time and connect points through the time-stream. The mage’s reach is limited only by her perceptions and by the constraints of her own magic and its concomitant Paradox.
By immunizing herself to the effects of time, the mage can essentially evade the passage of time inm the rest of the world. To her, the world is a frozen plateau, one in which she may move about freely without ever interacting with her surroundings. The mage would wander about and perhaps pull other objects or people into her pocket of immunity just long enough to use them, then continue on her way. To the outsider, such events would seem to happen instantaneously and without any apparent impetus as the mage accomplishes everal things between seconds.
With an anchor point in the present, the mage can send herself or other people or things into the near future or past temporarily. Without an anchor, the mage can send someone into other parts of time permanently. Either type of travel is fraught with peril. The future is uncertain, and the mage risks becoming lost in the mists of possibility, while the past is protected by the weight of peoples' memory and their belief in its set forms. Paradox lashes out against mages who push too hard against the walls of time, and it has a nasty habit of undoing the mage's works or shunting her into an alternate timeline - or even outside the bounds of reality altogether.
Natually, Masters of Time tread with great caution. Things wait in the time-stream, perhaps more incomprehensible than even the spirits that guard the distant reaches of the universe. Mages who meddle too much with Time have a disturbing tendency to disappear, sometimes replaced by beings that masquerade in their place, other times arriving with full knowledge of a horrific fate that awaits them in some unavoidable time. Travelers can be pulled out of the time-stream by other Master-level Time magic in eras where they did not plan to go. And there are barriers in Time itself, places where even mages can't see or dive, where nobody knows what happens to the magician foolish enough to beat his fists against the universe's laws.
In conjunctionwith other Effects, a Master of Time can fire a spell off into the past or future, although its results maynmot be immediately apparent or may well catapult the mage into an alternate time. The mage could even send another person or object into a different time anmd pull it back to the present anchor point later. The mage can also use his Time magic to immunize other Patterns, causing them to exist independent of the clock that ticks for the rest of the world.
● Perfect Time - though Mind magic can provide an accurate internal count and chronometer, only Time magic can sense and correct for distortions in subjective time. From Virtual Adept self-adjusting computer clocks to Akashic internalizations andverbena biorhythms, the mage learns techniques to feel the flow of time with incredible accuracy and to automatically adjust for jumps and skips in the time stream. If the mage is flattened with unusual Time Effects from adversaries or strange Umbral spaces, she at least has a chance to adjust and adapt. Better still, the mage can keep absolute track of her own Effects and timing, easily judging subjective time as necessary to put a precise duration or spin on any action.
● Time Sense - Powerful events recur in the supernatural world, unseen to normal mortals but visible to mages. Such events range from tiny slips of dijh wu to the phenomenal shifting and phasing castles, caverns and complexes that seem to exist outside of time and appear on regular cycles -or with no pattern at all. Keeping up a running sensitivity to such phenomena is trying, but a mage who suspects the presence of something unusual can feel the ripples caused by such disturbances. These disturbances include the sorts of wakes left by other Time magic, as from time travelers and distortions of the time continuum. Potent spirits sometimes hold courts and there are gates that open only on certain cycles... the mage can sense any and all such phenomena with a modicum of concentration. Indeed, the mage may well presage such events before they occur, or feel the rippling residue left by such happenings.
●● Divinations - Scrying-bowls, speaking mirrors, uncontrolled cryptic pronouncements or songs, and visionary trances are staples of magical divination, and they are keys to understanding the past and future. Although both ends of the spectrum are clouded by possibility, Time magic can at least draw back the curtain for a moment to snatch glimpses of what might become or might have been. The vision seen or described may be hazy or indeterminate; the further from the present, the more clouded the vision.
Successes rolled on such an Effect are split up to determine both the duration to which the mage can look into past or future, and the accuracy of the divination. Such visions are almost never totally accurate, but they can sometimes paint a useful picture. Beware the mage who sees visions of disaster, though.. . that way lies insanity.
●● Time Wards - Any sort of mucking about with time “muddies the waters,” so to speak, and although a novice mage can’t perform fine manipulations with time, she can at least lay about with random Time Effects to make the surrounding time-stream disturbed and impenetrable to Time perceptions. Other mages trying to look into the past or future get only a blur of possible visions and confused images, and Time Effects tend to run into the rippling temporal currents and get dispersed into the rapids. With enough force and work, the mage can completely block off an area from time sight and render it totally opaque to temporal scrying.
Unless the mage uses other Spheres in conjunction, an Effect of this sort just blocks out a small area of time in her own location. The exact duration warded is determined by the duration chart, although the mage can determine how far the ward extends to past and future by splitting up the duration. Successes rolled are also used to generate the ward’s strength; a persistent or powerful mage can break through Time static with enough will. In other respects, these wards are similar to the more familiar wards built with Correspondence.
●●● Distort Time - By generating a field of slow or fast time, the mage causes localized distortions that let people or objects move and react to the world at different rates than normal. A bubble of fast time would contain a person who could move two or three times faster than normal, for instance, while slow time could enfold a hurled weapon and cause it to seem to float through the air in a leisurely fashion. The subject still experiences an undistorted sense of subjective time, so the fast man would feel as if he’s moving at normal speed while the world around him is slow, and the hurled weapon would retain its deadly momentum but could be easily grabbed by the handle.
Every two successes scored causes the bubble to accelerate or decelerate time by one factor. Thus, two successes would allow a mage to double her physical speed, taking two actions in a single turn.
●●● Time Warp - By pulling time back into a loop, the mage causes a small area to suffer a local "rewind" of time. The mage herself remains immunized against this Effect due to her command of Time magic, (otherwise he wouldn't know that he'd done anything and the looping would be almost pointless). From there, the mage can change her actions and responses to a given situation, already knowing how it would turn out otherwise. By combining Life and Mind with the Effect, the mage can actually rewind herself physically and undo the effects of physical trauma, while still retaining her memory of the events that never happened.
In game terms, the mage causes one or more turns to rewind and get redone in her area. Successes spent on the area determine how large a location is affected - the mage might just unwind damage done to herself, or might rewind a whole area to undo a massive catastrophe. Additional successes spent on individuals can insulate them from the Effect just like the caster, sot hat they remember what's about to happen again and can act appropriately. Anyone who's not insulated just redoes whatever they were doing before, although they might change in response to someone else's differing actions. That is, a Man in Black firing his gun still fires it (and scores the same result as before) unless, say, one of the rewound mages decides to body-check the MiB instead of diving for cover.
Rewinding time is not only exceedingly difficult, it's very vulgar. If the mage rewinds time oer a specific thread (say, one particular turn), then any attempt to affect that spot of time again must overcome the successes scored on the intial rewind - time is already so bent out of shape that further manipulations must be even more powerful. Time scrying and the like also fight a similar barrier. Time's distortions make it hard to read the area - which, incidentally, means that although the mage knows what may happen when she rewinds time, she still can't predict how her changed actions will change the replaced timeline. Rewound time tends to stack up Paradox due to the inherent trickiness of the feat. Every turn of rewound time caues Paradox for the Effect, so rewinding three turns would cause triple the normal Paradox for the spell!
Naturally, this spell is so difficult and specific that very few mages use it at all. Some paradigms just don't accommodate the idea of "rewinding time" while others facilitate it, but all mages agree that such stunts are left to young hotheads who haven't yet learned the dangers of such vulgar magic. (Your Storyteller will probably hate it if you overuse this Effect, too, which is another sure way to get lots or problems.)
●●●● Contingent Effect - By placing a hold on a magical Effect, the mage turns it into a contingency: a spell that doesn’t go off until some specified condition comes to pass. Doing so requires the use of other Spheres. If the spell only functions when a specific individual arrives in the area, for instance, then Life magic is necessary to discriminate the subject’s Pattern. The mage can either make the magic hold off until a certain amount of time elapses or set further conditions with other Spheres. The mage also has the choice of simply letting the Effect dissipate once it reaches its time limit without any activating conditions.
Hanging an Effect on a Pattern does place a certain amount of magical "weight" there, and such an Effect is noticeable to most magical senses. Doing so does, therefore, count as a maintained Effect, although the mage doesn't acutally need to concentrate on it.
Note that, if the mage casts a contingent Time Effect, she won't know if the subsequent Effect hung with it is successful until the contingency goes off, unless she also takes the time to use other magic to examine the Effect itself!
●●●● Programmed Event - The mage stops time in a localized field and sets a time when it shall resume. Say she lifts a cup from a table and drops it. By freezing time around the cup for one scene, she causes the cup to hang in midair until the scene ends. At that time, the cup falls and breaks. When events in physical reality are frozen for extended periods, Paradox forces usually erode the magic and free the events from stopped time prematurely. Also, if someone were to grab the cup, static reality would reassert itself and the magical field would disperse.
It's possible to generate stasis over a fairly large area, but it's both difficult and dangerous. Anything more than ayard or two of area causes a significant temporal disturbance, noticeable by mages nearby (say, in the same city). The Backlash from such a tremendous casting can be painful as well. The larger the area, the morequickly outside time erodes the stasis, so such fileds tend to collapse rapidly.
●●●●● Sidestep Time - Instead of halting time in a small area, the mage simply steps laterally to the current of time, effectively removing herself from the evolution of the world. While in this state, the mage can move about freely, insulated by a tinyfieldoftime-adjustment but otherwise moving so rapidly that the world is standing still by comparison. The mage can interact with things that she can touch - she still generates enough force to move along the ground, and she can pick up items and move them - but anything that’s not included in her field is stuck with the rest of the world. Thus, the mage can pluck a knife out of the air and shove it into an opponent, but the enemy won’t bleed or suffer injury (from the mage’s viewpoint, anyway) until the Effect ends. Taking other people along for the ride is possible, but it requires the mage to extend her Effect to include them. Note that, while in a sidestepped state, the mage’s magical powers are tied up in maintaining the field, so it’s impossible to do additional magic with the mage’s intervention while outside time. Thus, “mundane” devices still function, but anything that would require the mage to actually call upon her Arete is impossible.
●●●●● Time Travel - Physics aside, the mage simply vanishes from one point in the time-stream and reappears sometime else. Although scientists would argue that a mage doing so would wind up in the void of space (the Earth having moved far from its position in the time jumped), the mage’s Pattern obeys metaphysical laws, so the mage reappears in the same place from which she left. The successes scored indicate how far the mage can travel through time, and how many people she can bring along, if desired.
Traveling through time generates a significant temporal disturbance, and many time travelers find that there are already groups of other mages waiting to find out what’s going on when they arrive.
If the mage leaves an‘bnchor point” in her present, she can pull back on that thread and return to the time that she left. Otherwise, the trip is one-way. Likewise, the mage can try to send a subject into the future, but he may discover that the individual has taken steps in that later future to find the mage and deal him!
Trips to the future tend to he fairly easy, but unpredictable. The mage simply scries an appropriate time, or even jumps blind, and reappears in some future point. Past travel is much, much more difficult and dangerous, primarily because the weight of memory causes reality to assert itself against the mage directly. Past travelers tend to vanish into the time-stream, destroyed by Paradox or other forces, and never seem to make significant changes to the timeline (not that anyone would remember, though). Some mages maintain that a sort of “time police” group prevents other mages from traveling too far through time, or from manipulating the time stream overtly.
It’s rumored that Archmages have a more effective form of time travel, even permitting them to alter the past in a limited fashion, but who would know?
This category has only the following subcategory.
- [+] Spheres (1 C)