Matter

You've heard of the Philosopher's stone, have you not? The Platonic ideal carved from thought and given form by the greatest of our Arts? It's said that such an item, if it could be made (which indeed it could and can), would transform base metals into their finest form — gold. Like those who sought the Stone, we Children of the Mysteries would bring all who surrounds us — from base brass rabble to sterling statesmen — to their purest state.

Until then, we content ourselves with shaping the world around us to our wills. Turning lead into gold is no fairy tale — I can demonstrate the act right here, given just a bit of time. With much study and dedication, you too can achieve what men have bragged of for centuries — transmutation of form to form. In time, you may even summon form where there was none to speak of before. Matter is what we make of it. Let no Technocratic table of elements tell you otherwise.


Specialties: Transmutation, Shaping, Conjuration, Complex Patterns

Matter is one of the Spheres of the Elements, the sum of the Pattern Magicks (Forces, Life and Matter) and the etheric Sphere of Prime. To the Order of Hermes, Matter governs the feminine elements, Water and Earth, while to the Akashic Brotherhood, it is the Sphere of Water, Earth and Metal. This Sphere concerns itself with he Patterns of non-living matter, though the precise line between this Sphere and the Sphere of Life, like the precise line between the Elements, varies from Tradition to Tradition (see Life). Most Technocrats draw the line between inorganic and organic material, or between simple organic chemistry and complex organic chemistry.

Wherever the division lies, students of Matter first learn to analyze their subject, then to transmute one basic substance into another. After this, a mage learns to rework the shapes of items, craft articles of great complexity and finally, at Mastery of the Sphere, create items of wonder and the substances of legend, including Orichalum (True Gold), Lunargent (True Silver), Hermium (True Mercury), plutonium and other highly radioactive elements, dragon pearls, mythical perfumes and marvelous machines, allows and automatons that defy "conventional" science.

Masters of Matter tend to have a variant of the Midas touch. All their material possessions (and those they come into contact with) are fine and precious, polished, sparkling or in a perfect state of repair. Nevertheless, they hold most possessions in disdain in favor of art and craftsmanship. This viewpoint leads many Masters of Matter to become haughty or at least be perceived as such.


Matter Perceptions
The Disciple of Matter begins by recognizing the various Patterns of Matter, including the underlying structures that give objects their shapes and physical properties. With these perceptions, she can detect things hidden from normal senses. In addition to sensing the composition and properties of Matter, the Disciple can discern structures hidden within structures; material no longer forms a barrier to her senses.

•• Basic Transmutation
The mage may transmute one substance into another, without changing its shape, temperature or basic state (solid, liquid, gas). Mages of mystick Traditions can change milk into cream or mahogany into oak, while scientists change water to acid or lead to gold. The more radical the transmutation, the more successes the spell requires. It's easier to change water into wine (one success) than into sulfuric acid (three), and more complicated to turn stones into bread (three successes) than sourdough into rye (one).

With an understanding of Prime and the other Pattern Magicks, a mage may use conjunctional Effects to transform items governed by Forces, Life or Prime into basic Patterns of Matter, including changing living beings into stone or spinning moonlight into thread. With Prime 2, she may harness the ether to create (or uncreate) any simple, basic thing compose of one common homogeneous substance. A quartz boulder shaped vaguely like a woman is possible, but a dainty china shepherdess is not. With difficulty, a stick of plastique could be conjured (but not the detonator), though a couple plutonium spheres are out of the question (the highly radioactive elements cannot be created until Rank 5). A bowlful of oatmeal or even blueberry pancakes could be made to appear, but not a baroque wedding cake. The more rare and/or complex a given substance, the more difficult it is to create from pure ether. It's easier to create glass than diamonds and simpler to make floud than bread. Elaborate creations must wait until Rank 4.

Making things hotter or cooler than they were originally, or to change one substance into another with a higher or lower potential energy, requires a conjunctional Effect with Forces, though Matter alone can change ice into ice cream or boiling water into hot soup. Transmuting solids into liquids or liquids into gas requires either Matter 3 or the use of Forces 3/Prime 2 (or some mundane means) to boil or freeze the affected substance.

••• Alter Form
At the third rank of Matter, the mage can finally overpower the rigid Pattern of reality. By selectively altering different aspects of an object's Pattern, he can change its shape however he desires — compressing it to increase its density and decrease its volume while retaining the same weight, inflating it so as to decrease its density and increase the volume, or temporarily changing the state, so that solids become liquids or liquids become gas. Permanent changes in state require Rank 5.

A mage who understands this rank may sculpt matter into any shape she pleases, limited only by the physical properties of the materials she uses. Broken items may also be repaired seamlessly, if she has the mundane knowledge to do so.

•••• Complex Transmutation
Adepts of Matter may now perform radical changes to physical materials and craft complex and intricate items involvings everal common substances or one or two rare ones. Any sort of regular matter may be changed into any other — a squirt pistol into a loaded zipgun (three successes) or a trash dumpster into a small tank (five successes) — though as with Rank 2, the more radical the transformation the more difficult the feat.

With conjunctional Effects, the Pattern of Life, Forces or Prime itself may be transmuted into Matter, allowing mages to turn pumpkins into gilded coaches, lightning bolts into swords or the Quintessential ether into master keys. Complex organic creations are also possible, including silk ballgowns, roast chickens and Persian rugs.

••••• Alter Properties
At this pinnacle of understanding, Masters of Matter may create new substances which do not exist in nature by taking existing materials and altering their physical properties, such as boiling or melting points, density, ductility, transparency, viscosity, refraction index, etc. A sorcerer may even make on object immaterial to some other substance, creating bullets which can phase through armor and killer robots that can walk through wall (leaving the walls intact).

All the substances of legends and comic books arep ossible with this level of Magick. Masters build castles with paper-thin walls and wear clothes of indestructible armor that feel softer than silk and weigh less than a feather. The rare pieces of Technocratic science, such as the manmade radioactive elements, are also reserved for this level.

As with the Fifth Level of Forces, there are safeguards against Masters of Matter using their powers to run amok. Assuming a mage had enough extended successes, an eight ball could be given the density of a black hole, but such vulgar creation would require many successes and draw serious consequences (angry mages, flying objects, Paradox, etc.) upon the conjurer, as tends to happen with vulgar magicks of a sufficiently grand scale. However, small, portable black holes — with event horizons of no more than five feet — are useful, if vulgar, toys of some Masters of this Sphere.

Matter Effects

Fragments of Dream — Dreamspeakers view all matter as fragments of the Earth Mother's dreams. By tapping such dreams, they can expand their perception of Matter. The mage extends her senses beyond physical reality into Pattern. She no longer sees matter in the same way, e.g., instead of a brick wall, she sees its Pattern in her mind's eye.

This allows a mage to perceive things that would be unseen in physical reality; she could sense the contents of a room beyond a wall, or detect objects or structures that might otherwise be hidden, such as the false bottom of a suitcase. Really dense or complex Patterns (bank vaults, bramble thickets, etc.) may require several successes to penetrate.

The only limit to this Effect is that the mage can only sense the Patterns of Matter (unless she is a Disciple of other Pattern magicks).

Analyze Substance — Now a mage begins to identify the Patterns of different substances. He can detect the exact composition of any substance and determine aspects such as the object's age or weight by examining the Pattern. The mage could distinguish diamonds from cubic zirconiums, detect poison in wine or tell an antique chair from a modern imitation by studying the chair's Pattern to see signs of aging.

•• Straw into Gold — The spellweavers of the Verbena use this Effect to turn substances of little value into those of great value, the most classic of which are spinning straw into gold and teardrops into diamonds.

Most such Effects are vulgar, but there are less showy applications. One, used by the Order of Hermes, is the Seeds of Gold, an alchemical process borrowed from the fabled Children of Knowledge. The mage sows up the ground with specially prepared "seeds," and when the ground is dug up, gold is discovered (and easily explained away as coincidence). Likewise, a mage can raise the butterfat content of milk or improve the quality of wine without raising any eyebrows.

••• or •••• Alter State — By adding Forces 3/Prime 2 to Matter to change an object's boiling or freezing point, the mage can alter the state of matter between solid, liquid and gaseous. With Matter 5, she doesn't change the temperature of the matter, merely its form. Water may be frozen into ice at room temperature, but the ice remains at room temperature. It doesn't freeze because it becomes colder; it freezes because the mage altered the temperature at which the water will freeze.

Such alteration depends on the successes rolled; Storytellers should just use common knowledge to decide what is possible at various levels of success. One success would cause water to freeze at room temperature, while five successes could turn gases into the air into solids, encapsulating other objects or people. The alteration lasts only for the Effect's duration, after which it returns to normal.

••• Destroy Structures — The mage uses her knowledge of Matter Patterns to break down structures by shredding their Patterns. The Effect resembles Sculpture, but the mage simply breaks down a Pattern as quickly as possible. She can shred steel doors, cause wooden tables to fall apart or make concrete crumble. She may even disperse pools of gas or liquid as long as there is an open area into which the pool can dilute; an oil fire burning on top of a river could be extinguished by causing the oil to disperse into the water.

••• Sculpture — Cultists of Ecstasy who practice the Sphere of Matter are usually fine artists who use magick to create new mediums of art. Those who understand the third rank of Matter can use nearly anything as a medium for artistic interpretation.

These mages become sculptors extraordinaire, reshaping houses, fire hydrants, cars, doors, furniture, etc. A mage need only mentally re-sculpt the image of the matter and then modify its Pattern so that the object assumes the desired shape. A larger object requires more successes to manipulate, and the mage can change only the shape of the item, not its properties.

The mage can only affect one type of material with each Effect. The more successes she rolls, the larger or more intricate the structure she can destroy.

•••• Transformers — The stuff of spy thrillers and Japanese animation; both the Sons of Ether and Iteration X regularly transform one machine into another radically different one. A '57 Chevy could have knives sprout from the hubcaps or Gatling guns pop out from under the hood, a motorcycle could become a jet-ski, a tank could be changed into a powered armor suit, or a combine harvester could be transmogrified into a turbo-charged scythe chariot with silver blades to take on a pack of werewolves.

Some transformations are more vulgar than others. Pressing a button to squirt an oil slick onto the road behind the car is within the realm of possibility, but having a Honda Civic produce helicopter blades and go flying through the air is not. Likewise, knowing how to transform a device and knowing how to operate it are two separate things — a mage who knows how to drive a Honda Civic might not know how to pilot a helicopter.

••••• Alter Weight — This Effect allows a Son of Ether to alter an object's density, changing its weight but not to size. He could, for example, reduce the density of the iron in a crowbar, making it lighter but not changing its shape or size. For every success on the magickal Effect roll, the mage can adjust the density of the object by one factor. With two successes, he could double or halve an object's density; four successes enable him to quadruple or quarter an object's weight, and so on with more successes. Objects with a substantially reduced density tend to become more brittle and fragile; some even collapse.

••••• Matter Pattern Disassociation — The unwieldy name for this Effect undoubtedly came frmo the labs of the Sons of Ether. By modifying the Patterns of two pieces of matter so that the two items become insubstantial with respect to one another, a mage can keep those items from interacting in any way. Doors might slide through their hinges and fall, water may cascade through a pipe, a truck wheel-rim could drop through the rubber tire and grind on the pavement, etc. The affected items are in no way changed except with regard to each other.

The more successes the mage scores, the more mass he can affect. He may simultaneously affect several similar items, such as all four wheels and all four tires on a truck at once, so long as they're formed of the same material.

••••• Tapping the Signal — Virtual Adepts use Master of Matter to turn any substance into a conductor capable of transmitting computer signals. They can send computer signals through brick walls or along the pavement of an interstate highway. They sometimes use this Effect to eavesdrop by tapping into computer communications on "isolated" lines by forming a conductive path to the private line through any matter in between, be it walls, insulators, etc.

It is rumored that the Virtual Adepts have fine enough control of this Effect to turn the ground itself into a network of computer lines. The mage need only plug his computer into the ground itself to create a channel into the ground that taps into the nearest preestablished line. Whether such a network exists or whether such tales come only from the on-line bragging remain to be seen.