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 yet 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.

Read Surface Thoughts / Empower Self
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 / Mental Impulse
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 / Dreamwalk
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 / Astral Projection
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 / Unether / Forge Psyche
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.

Mind Effects

Mind Empowerment — The mage's mental discipline, even at this rudimentary level, lets her accomplish prodigious feats easily. She can focus on multiple tasks at once, improve her thinking capabilities and focus her concentration. The mage can reach out to feel others' emotions, defend herself (rudimentarily) from such intrusion or enhance her mental capabilities.

The mind-shielding of an Initiate is crude but effective: The mage's successes on the Effect counter direct Mind assaults. Very subtle or skilled assailants may be able to bypass this protection, and the mage's mental defenses at this level of skill are obvious to anyone who cares to probe the magician's psyche. This Effect can at least keep out some unwanted guests though.

Empowering mental processes allows the mage to function like a calculator or computer. He can work through information rapidly and with little or no error, and he can collate facts and logical data. The successes scored either cut down the time necessary to process information accurately, or allow the mage to multi-task and concentrate on multiple avenues of thought at once. Although the mage still moves, responds and acts at his normal rate, he can engage in battle while simultaneously thinking about several problems and deciding what sort of tie to wear for formal dinner later that evening. The mage can even improve her Mental Attributes temporarily and artificially, although surpassing hum an limitations or supercharging her mind for too long can risk Pattern bleeding (see pp. 131-132).

With emotional sensitivity, the mage can "see" auras as multicolored halos that reflect the emotions of a person or object, or even feel some level of the subject's emotion. Strong emotions practically scream out at the mage, and they may even be traumatic if the mage does not defend herself with mental shielding. A knowledgeable mage can also detect some types of supernatural activity or creatures by watching an aura. She can even tell as a subject goes through mood shifts. Watching reactions to others lets the mage tell friend from foe, and the mage can also determine when a subject is lying, with careful study and a handful of successes on the die roll. The mage can also determine when an area has strong emotions associated with it, or sense the presence of Resonance in a given form of Tass or at a Node.

No-Mind — A simple examination for nearby mental Patterns allows the mage to detect other thinking beings in the area, and to determine their positions, individual genders and types. The mage senses the closest minds first in a pattern that radiates outward, but he can screen out known types deliberately. The Akashic Brotherhood performs this Effect through the "No-Mind" technique, emptying their own thoughts to clear away their minds and make them more sensitive to others, but the other Traditions have similar mind-sensing Effects as well.

• • Empathic Projection — Emotions carry great weight. By focusing her emotions and casting her attention to a subject, the mage can send a sudden impulse or feeling. The target can be made to experience the mage's own feelings, or the mage can strike an emotion into the subject. The successes scored indicate the intensity of feeling. With two or three successes, the subject just has a slight sudden urge or quaint moment of queasiness, while five or six successes would cause a sudden blast of emotion to scream into the forefront of the target's mind.

Obviously, a sudden influx of emotion can startle a person or cause her to act strangely for a moment (or longer, if the mage places a duration on the Effect). The target may suddenly laugh inexplicably, drop something or flee the area in panic. Stronger-willed targets are harder to affect. The target can spend a point of Willpower to resist the urges, as with any sudden impulse. If the subject has reason to suspect the mage's intrusion, a Willpower roll can be used to resist, so an extended ritual may be required to affect a wary subject. In some cases, a sudden blast of pure, heartstopping emotion can paralyze or shock a subject (inflicting standard bashing damage).

The mage cannot send actual pictures or words through this method, but a sudden feeling of danger or need can often be a useful missive when in trouble. Of course, other Mind magicians in the area may well sense the panicked empathic projection.

• • Psychic Impression — The mage leaves a Mind imprint on a given place or object, thus imbuing it with a particular emotion. Most often, this impression is some Resonance Trait of the mage, but the mage may imbue the target with a strong emotional Resonance under circumstances of great stress. The object carries the Resonance for as long as the Effect lasts. If the object is used in conjunction with an Effect, its Resonance may assist or hinder the Effect (see p. 162). Thus, the mage can cause an item to feel his own hate, elation, curiosity, joy or rage. A bullet used in hare would carry greater mystical weight, as would a bandage infused with compassion or a bottle of wine infused with camaraderie.

When a mage places Resonance in an area, that place gains a certain "emotional weight." A house could be made to seem creepy, a nightclub might have a dance floor that brings out anger or lust, a church could be peaceful. Such an Effect can be felt by anyone who enters the area, though generally only those with Awareness will recognize it as supernatural. Normal people will just find the place relaxing, agitating or whatever.

• • • Probe Thoughts — It is nearly impossible to keep secrets from a skilled and determined disciple of Mind magic. The mage can simply bore into the target's mind, rooting around at will for surface impressions, or dig into memories, sensory information or even the subconscious. The target may suddenly experience strange thoughts and emotions as the mage brings them to the fore, or the mage can expend additional effort to slip in quietly and dig through the target's mind unnoticed.

With a successful probe, the mage can dig into memory (as the subject remembers it), experience any or all of the target's senses (perhaps in conjunction with her own senses, by using a multitasking Effect) or determine the victim's subconscious drives and desires. A quick surface scan may go unnoticed, but deeper probes often alert the subject that something's amiss. The successes scored indicate how deeply the mage can probe.

Two or three successes give fleeting impressions of surface thoughts, while five or more open up buried memories and painful secrets. If the mage wants to sneak around unnoticed, his player must score additional successes exceeding the subject's Wits. A suspicious subject can resist the initial intrusion with Willpower, as always, and a Mind mage can often build a mental shield or even a layer of fake thoughts to block the intruder. In the latter case, the intruder must best the target's Mind Effect in order to break down the mind shield or notice and bypass the fake layer of thought.

• • • Telepathy — Direct mind-to-mind communication is possible with this power of Mind magic. The mage can send words, pictures or concepts directly to the subject, and he can read the surface thoughts of the target in return. With enough successes, the mage can connect to remote subjects, unfamiliar ones or multiple subjects (with additional successes needed for each). Thus, the mage can easily link minds with a member of her cabal or try to set up a telepathic network between multiple people, at the cost of a great deal of effort.

Since the mage setting up a telepathic link works on the basis of pure concepts, she can communicate through images or ideas instead of simple words. Language is no barrier to the trained mage. By contrast, those without Mind experience still tend to think in terms of language, and the mage may have to cut through the babble of words to get at the underlying concepts.

By sending images or sensory information, a telepath can also cause the subject to experience hallucinations. The complexity of the illusion determines the required successes, and a wary target may try to resist with a Willpower roll. With few successes, the illusion may seem unconvincing, incomplete or phantasmal. Illusions created with high levels of success — usually five or more — are indist inguishable from any real sensory input. Even if the target knows that something's an illusion, his body may well react reflexively when his senses warn him! Better still, the mage can simply send a knife of disturbing psychic Resonance straight into the victim's brain, inflicting bashing damage.

Untrained subjects, especially those with low Willpower, have a tendency to generate a distracting amount of psychic volume. The mage might well decide to lend a little organization to the target (by extending a mind shield) just to keep less skilled members of the link from distracting the group. Keeping a mental link up is certainly a distraction of some level, and the mage may suffer additional penalties to dice pools above and beyond the penalties for maintaining an Effect if there's a substantial amount of psychic "chatter."

• • • • Manipulate Memory — Altering memories is delicate work that requires incredible finesse. An Adept of Mind can not only probe and delve into the subject's memory, but he can alter such memories, implant false history, wipe areas blank, give the subject special knowledge or even leave the victim a tabula rasa. Such work is not to be taken lightly; the mage must invade the subject as per Possession, and then accumulate successes to alter memories. Unless the mage also takes some precautions like immobilizing the victim or performing this Effect in the subject's sleep, the target is likely to notice the sudden gaps and changes in memory. Although the subject can't remember what's changed, the process is a terrifying one to someone who's not expecting it. Thus, it behooves the mage to work with the utmost subtlety, unless he plans to simply rip apart the victim's memory and leave it at that. Acting this way is a good way to pick up nasty Entropic Resonance like Destructive and Obliviating.

When the mage alters memory, he can make the memories as realistic or artificial as he likes. The subject might be left with only vague recollections, cartoon-like images that can't possibly be real or crystal-clear images of a life he never lived. A subject wiped of all memory does not necessarily lose his Talents, Skills and Advantages, but he certainly doesn't know what he can and can't do. Subjects who have special knowledge implanted can call on rudimentary Knowledges, although until they've become accustomed to their new database of information (by spending experience), they will be able to access only the basic Knowledge (one dot). Still, memory-alteration is a great way to de-empower enemies without killing them, or to implant important knowledge into someone's head quickly.

• • • • Possession — One of the more fearsome Effects possible for Adepts of Mind, Possession allows a mage to exert direct control over the subject's thoughts. If the mage succeeds in Besting the subject's Willpower, he can control the target's actions directly, either taking over the subject completely or just influencing specific, desired parts of the mind.

When the mage takes total possession of a target, the victim's thoughts become overlaid with the mage's. The mage needs only think the appropriate actions, and the victim performs them naturally, often oblivious to the invading mage. The mage can direct the subject's body easily (to the subject's normal limits, of course) and dig through memories or surface thoughts as with Probe Thoughts. The subject will even remember all of his thoughts as his own; his entire mind is subsumed by the mage's power. Should the mage decide to exert control over a simple part of the target, she can command the subject's motive processes jerkily, seize emotional responses, direct the target's thoughts or perform any combination of such. Unless the mage seizes the target's thoughts, the victim will be aware that someone is controlling him.

Establishing partial control, of course, is much easier than totally suppressing a victim's personality. Simply making a subject jerk an arm or start crying uncontrollably would only require two or three successes. Actually overpowering someone's mind requires the caster to at least best the/ arget's Willpower rating. Even if the mage only exerts partial control, the target is likely to remember the incident unless the mage also uses additional magic to control or erase the target's memories.

• • • • Astral Projection — The Astral Realms are reaches of pure thought. Because of their ephemeral nature, it's often difficult to navigate or survive in them. Adepts of Mind can make short jaunts into astral space; Masters can separate the mind from the body to make extended journeys. In such realms, the mage experiences pure thought constructs, meets beings of thought and passes with incredible speed through the highest reaches of the spirit world. Successes scored on such an Effect determine how long the mage can remain outside of his body, and how deeply he can penetrate into the Astral Umbra.

Unlike Spirit magic, which allows the mage to enter the spirit world physically, Astral Projection releases the mage's consciousness as a freefloating thought. The mage can be detected with Mind senses, but he is otherwise invisible and intangible. Since the mage has no body, he must rely on magical senses to detect or influence his surroundings. He can still use other Mind Effects, of course, and he could take control of a subject thus if necessary. Without recourse to ritual and magical foci, the mage may have difficulty with successive magic, but at least such magic is coincidental in the Umbra. If the mage draws his consciousness down to Earth (or just never heads for the Astral Umbra), he can zip about the material world as a formless and massless entity traveling at the speed of thought. The expenditure of a point of Willpower enables the mage to manifest for a single turn as a ghostly, hazy and idealized image, but he cannot interact with the world physically without using magic.

Astral entities can interact with other astral beings and similar thought-constructs only. Since the physical body means nothing, the mage uses Wits instead of Dexterity, Manipulation instead of Strength and Intelligence instead of Stamina. Ghosts, spirits and other astral forms can do combat with the mage. Such attacks injure the psyche of the mage and sap his will, draining Willpower points instead of health levels. If a combatant runs out of Willpower, he is disrupted. A spirit or mummy would simply dissipate into the Umbra, while a mage finds that his silver cord, the tether between body and mind, snaps.

A mage lost in the Umbra, fades away into the Epiphamies (realms of pure thought). A Master can avoid this fate for a time, but his will erodes slowly, and the individual vanishes into the mists of the Umbra, never to be seen again. Mages have reported meeting once-human astral beings that seemed quite capable of surviving as pure minds, but such an existence is beyond the capabilities of even a Master, The only recourse for a mage lost in the Astral Umbra is to reconnect to a physical body using Possession — be it his own, or someone else's.
Note that a mage who projects his awareness astrally has no sense of his physical body unless he uses other Effects (like Correspondence) to maintain a sensory link to his body. Thus, the mage is well-advised to keep his physical form hidden and protected.

• • • • • Create Mind — The penultimate mastery of Mind allows the mage to create an entirely new consciousness. The mage can determine the personality, intellect and foibles of the consciousness. If left unattended, such minds tend to drift into the Astral Umbra, where they float away, dissipate or go insane. With a proper housing (like a newly created body, a computer or a section of Umbral space), the mind can stay and perhaps even achieve a level of independent sentience. Unless built as little more than instinct, such minds do tend to grow beyond the initial parameters of the creator. Virtual Adepts use this Effect to create machine intelligences, computers that can think and take on human roles. Such machines can be dangerous — many become unstable or resent their servitor roles — but they are also the most effect ive forms of computers available.

Of course, if a created mind is not also given a soul (with Spirit magic), then it has no existence beyond its own memory. Should such a persona "die," it will never reincarnate and it is gone forever. If a mage uses sufficient magic to create a new mind, body and soul, then perhaps it would be possible to create true life… but the Master capable of such a feat has not walked Earth for decades, if not centuries.