- Claire is the only one who can have a Retainer, Mentor and Allies in the Government (Mages). However anyone can have Contacts.
- Since the Mages also run the City Council in Chicago - for every Dot spent in Status: Consilium receive the equal dot in Status: Government.
Additional Familiars (••) Edit
Just as Odin had Hugin and Munin and Sleipnir, some Thyrsus mages are able to have multiple familiars. The mage may continue to buy additional familiars after character creation. The mage’s player must buy them all separately with experience points, but there’s no limit to the number of familiars a mage with this Merit may acquire. Though many familiars would slow the mage’s growth in other areas, a mage could theoretically surround herself with a veritable brood of familiars in this way.
Artifact (••• or higher) Edit
Your mage has an item that originated in a Supernal Realm or that has been directly touched by Supernal power. Artifacts cannot be created by mages — their manufacture lies beyond the power of anyone in the Fallen World. An Artifact’s powers mimic those of magical spells, and they can sometimes be mistaken for imbued items. An Artifact’s base Merit dot cost is equal to 2 dots plus the dot-rating of the Arcanum power it mimics, plus one dot per additional power. If it has more than one power or simulates a conjunctional spell, use the highest Arcanum dot-rating simulated.
Base Cost: 2 + highest Arcanum dots +1 dot per additional power
Artifacts have the following properties:
Legendry: Every single Artifact is unique and legendary, meaning that it has a historical or mythical significance that can be researched, even if its origin or use is obscure and largely forgotten in modern times. Some rare Artifacts are new enough to be unknown to most mages, but even these sometimes appear in others’ dreams or prophecies. A known Artifact can bring its wielder a degree of renown — either good or bad, depending on the Artifact’s legendry. This can act at times like one dot in a sort of Status Merit (see pp. 88-89), although it applies only when the Artifact is of interest to the person its wielder tries to influence, such as a master with whom an audience is requested. The Status lies with the Artifact, not the bearer; if others desire to see it, they might grant the mage audience. The drawback of this legendry is that others might lust for the Artifact and seek to take it from the mage.
Awakened use only: Only mages can use Artifacts. Sleepers and most other supernatural creatures lack the necessary sympathetic connection to the Supernal World.
Unbreakable: All Artifacts have a Durability that’s two points higher than normal for their materials and manufacture.
Function: Persistent or contingent. A persistent power is always active. The power does not have to be cast by the user to take effect; he simply needs to hold the Artifact or wear it. These include talismans of protection against spirits, mirrors that reflect the Shadow Realm version of whatever room they’re in, or cloaks of invisibility, hiding any portion of the wearer covered. The user must use or wear the Artifact to benefit from the power, but the power cannot be turned on or off with a switch or command word. If one or more of the Artifact’s powers is persistent, add one dot to its total cost. A contingent power needs to be activated for each use. It might be a sword that becomes supernaturally sharp when it tastes blood, a carpet that flies when the proper words are spoken, or even a gun made of bones that fires enervating Death energy with each pull of the trigger. The effect’s Duration depends on the default Duration of the spell it mimics, usually transitory (one turn) or prolonged (one hour/scene). Once this period expires, the mage may use the same trigger to use the power again. A trigger is an instant action and can be defined as anything performed within the proximity of the item: verbal commands, gestures and so on. When a trigger is activated, the Artifact’s spellcasting dice pool is rolled. It is equal to its wielder’s Gnosis + the highest Arcanum dot rating used to determine the Artifact’s Merit dots, based on the highest rated power (as described above).
Mana: Some powers require Mana. Use the descriptions for the spell mimicked to determine any possible cost. All Artifacts hold up to 10 Mana points + 1 per spell (so an Artifact with three powers holds up to 13 Mana). A user can draw points from the Artifact to fuel its powers rather than spending his own. This pool is self-replenishing; they are restored at a rate of one point per Merit dot per day, although a mage can spend his own Mana to restore the points more quickly, or use Prime magic to transfer them from a Hallow or some other source. (See the “Channel Mana” spell, p. 224.) The wielder can also use the Artifact’s Mana to power his own spells, as if he were drawing on his own Mana reserves (he is still limited by his Gnosis for the amount he can spend per turn). He does not need to use the Prime Arcanum to acquire them, but he does need to be in contact (physical or sympathetic) with the Artifact.
Paradox: Artifact powers can invoke Paradoxes just like the spells they mimic, and vulgar effects that are witnessed by Sleepers invoke Disbelief (see p. 274).
Example: The Cave Lord’s Talisman is an Artifact in the form of a medallion that allows its wearer to grow bear claws upon activation (a contingent power). This mimics the Life 3 “Transform Self” spell, p. 187. It would be rated at five Merit dots (2 + 3rd-dot Arcanum = 5). Remember, though, that the fifth dot costs two dots, so the total cost would be six Merit dots. Acquiring an Artifact once play begins does not cost Merit dots; characters must gain them through roleplaying actions. If an Artifact is ever lost, stolen or destroyed, the player loses the Merit and the points he spent to gain it.
Daimon (•••) Edit
“Daimon” is the original Greek word from which the modern English “demon” is derived. The Greeks regarded the daimon as an intermediary between the gods and man, distinct from the free-roaming malevolent spirit of Mesopotamia. Comparable to other Paths’ guardian angel, faerie kin, power animal or ancestral protector, the daimon shares an intimate personal link with the bearer of this Merit, but also partakes of the Supernal Realm that is the daimon’s birthplace. A mage’s daimon is far older than the mage, at least in an ontological sense, and has access to knowledge, wisdom and modes of thought or being that are beyond mortal ken. Mages of any Path can purchase this Merit.
This Merit acts similar to the Dream Merit (p. 82 in Mage: The Awakening). The mage with this Merit, however does not need to spend an hour in sleep or trance to receive a clue from his daimon. He merely spends one turn in meditative concentration, and the Storyteller rolls his Wits + Composure in secret, with the same results as described for the Dream Merit, except that success provides only one clue. This clue comes from the daimon, and similar to dream clues, is cloaked in allegory and metaphor.
Destiny (• to •••••) Edit
Your character’s thread stands out in the skein of fate. It may be cut short through tragedy or catastrophe, but until then, she has the ability to weave it into a sound pattern of her choosing. She is fated for great triumphs, and this Merit helps her achieve them. Like any true hero, she finds success a little more easily than mere mortals. In true heroic fashion, she also has a fatal flaw — no matter how strong her Pattern might be, it has one weakness others can use to tear it apart.
For each chapter in a story, you have a pool of “destiny dice” equal to twice the number of dots your character has in this Merit. For instance, a character with 2 dots of Destiny has four dice in his destiny pool. Each time you use one of these destiny dice, you can add it to any one dice pool. You can use them all on one dice roll, or split them up between different dice rolls. Either way, once you use them, they’re gone until the next chapter or game session. For example, a player whose character has Destiny 3 (giving him six dice) might choose to add two dice to a Brawl roll and then four to an Occult roll. The next game session, he might apply six dice to a single Intimidation roll. The bonus can apply to Mental, Physical or Social rolls, or to spellcasting rolls. You can even use these dice on a Skill for which your character has no training (although she still suffers the penalties for untrained Skill use).
Drawback: Your character’s blessing has a price: her bane. There is one type of person or situation that can bring her down. This bane can be summed up in one sentence, generally describing what her downfall will be. The Storyteller must either declare or approve this bane during the course of 82 the game. For instance, a hero may have been told to “Beware the Queen of Hearts” (perhaps a reference to the woman who will seduce and destroy him), while another may be warned, “Wolves will devour your soul.” The reference may be literal or figurative, but it should never mention a specific time or place. Whenever the bane comes into play, the character’s dice pools are penalized by one die per Destiny dot he possesses. This applies only to dice pools for directly dealing with the bane or for resisting its attacks, spells or even Social rolls to intimidate or persuade the character. For example, if the character’s bane mentions wolves, anytime he encounters a “wolf” (whether that’s an actual werewolf or a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” depending on how the Storyteller interprets the bane), dice pools are penalized.
Dream (• to •••••) Edit
Your character has a connection to primordial forces in the world, ancient truths that can be seen and comprehended only in dreams. He gains insight into secrets through reverie and visions, finding answers to questions he couldn’t normally get by mundane means. This might be through the collective unconscious, universal mind, poetic reverie or even an imagined journey to a fictional dreamscape. Through effort of will, he can even channel this insight into action. Behind the lie of the so-called real world, dreams reveal the world as it really is… from a certain point of view. Once per game session, your character can use his Dream ability to gain a supernatural insight concerning a question or topic. Activating this ability requires at least one hour spent in sleep, trance or an activity exclusively focused on accessing an altered state of consciousness. The Storyteller then rolls the character’s Wits + Composure in secret. The results are:
Dramatic failure: A nightmare. The character can interpret it any way he wants, but it probably leads to more trouble than solutions.
Failure: Meaningless images.
Success: One or more clues (one per Dream dot), although they must be interpreted.
Exceptional success: One or more clues (one per Dream dot), and a suggestion about their interpretation provided by the Storyteller.
The information conveyed is hidden behind allegory, symbols and archetypes. Dreams rarely answer questions directly, typically relying on symbolism and imagery to convey information. A mage seeking a specific person’s location wouldn’t see his address, but landmarks nearby could lead the way: a river, a tower or even the face of a man walking by at dusk. The answer has the potential to resolve the problem. It’s a tool for the Storyteller to help drive events of the story.
Enhanced Item (• to •••••) Edit
Your mage has an object whose properties have been supernaturally altered, either for increased Durability, Structure, Size or an equipment bonus, or to give it some special property, such as to make steel transparent or flexible. Enhanced items are made with the Matter Arcanum (see pp. 194-204). Any special properties that would require the use of other Arcana (such as Forces to make a sword that glows) must be achieved by imbuing the item instead; see “Imbued Item,” below.
The cost depends on the enhanced item’s properties.
Increased Durability 1 dot per +2 Durability
Increased Structure 1 dot per +2 Structure
Increased Size 1 dot per +2 Size
Increased equipment bonus 1 dot per +1 dice modifier*
Special property 1 dot per Arcanum dot
Example: A katana normally has a +3 equipment bonus, but Zeno carries a special katana. It sports a +2 enchanted equipment bonus (for a total bonus of +5 dice) and a +2 Durability (for a total of Durability 6). It costs him 3 Merit dots. An item can be both enhanced and imbued. See “Imbued Item,” below. Simply add the cost of all enhancements and imbuements together to determine the item’s total Merit cost.
Acquiring an enhanced item once play begins does not cost Merit dots; characters must gain such items through roleplaying actions. If the item is ever lost, stolen or destroyed, the player loses the Merit and the points he spent to gain it.
Familiar (••• or ••••) Edit
Your character has a magical bond with a spirit that aids him, one that is either in Twilight (that is, immaterial and invisible) or embodied. Twilight familiars have no bodies: they are spirits existing in an ephemeral state of existence called Twilight. Embodied familiars inhabit a physical body in the material world. A Twilight familiar is bought for three dots; it is a spirit originating in the Shadow Realm, also known as a “fetch.” Twilight familiars can temporarily manifest like ghosts (see “Manifestations,” p. 210 in the World of Darkness Rulebook), but their ephemeral bodies are otherwise invisible and intangible to the physical world. A Twilight familiar must manifest or use Numina to affect anything in the physical world — except for its bonded mage, whom it can touch at will (its mage can also see and speak with the familiar even when he is not using a spell that allows him to see Twilight). Twilight familiars exist on the material side of the Gauntlet, although they can accompany their masters across into the Shadow, or travel there themselves if their Numina allow it.
An embodied familiar is bought for four dots. It takes the form of an earthly creature. Many of the legendary stories of sorcerers with cunning animal companions — cats, rats, bats — are actually references to embodied familiars. A familiar’s bonded mage is considered to be its anchor to the material world, although there is no limit to how far a familiar can travel from its mage. It does not lose Essence for every hour it spends in the physical world or Twilight. It must follow all the other rules concerning Essence, however, including spending one Essence per day. If it is reduced to zero Essence, it falls into slumber (see “Essence,” p. 319), but it is not transferred back into the Shadow Realm as long as the mage-familiar bond still exists. Like other spirits, it can gain Essence by being in proximity to something that it reflects, or its mage can spend Mana points to give it Essence. The master and familiar have an empathic connection; each can automatically feel the emotions of the other. (Magical effects that damage or manipulate the familiar through an emotional attack don’t damage or manipulate the master.) All familiars have a Sensory sympathetic connection to their bonded mage, meaning that a mage’s scrying spells can use the familiar’s senses in place of a scrying window, with no sympathetic penalty. This makes familiars superlative spies. Even more useful, however, the mage can spend his familiar’s Essence points as Mana points, no matter how distant the familiar is from the mage. He can also spend his own Mana points to give his familiar Essence. Improvement: To improve a familiar, a mage’s player must spend some of his character’s experience points on the familiar.
Feral Mien (•••) Edit
There’s something bestial and untamed about the mage, as though she’s been living with a pack of wolves or swimming with sharks. She has a pronounced animalist tendency in the way she moves, or in certain mannerisms she possesses. Her voice may have a lot of growl or purr in it, or the way she moves might be lithe like a cat or subtly predatory on an unconscious level. Whatever the specifi cs, the player gains three additional dice on all Intimidation and Seduction rolls. Many mages with this Merit also have the Friend of Beasts Merit (below).
Friend of Beasts (• or ••) Edit
The mage has less of the human world about him and sees the world more as an animal thanks to the mage’s journey to the Primal Wild. Animals sense this, whether by scent or some other awareness, and they accept him as one of their own. When rolling Animal Ken, the character’s player adds three extra dice to the dice pool being rolled. A mage taking the single dot version of this Merit is unable to hide his bestial nature around others and loses two dice from all Socialize rolls.
Hallow (• to •••••; special) Edit
A Hallow is a nexus of magical energy, a place that generates Mana each day. Such locations are vital to mages. Your character has one within his sanctum’s premises. The sanctum’s security determines how well it is guarded from access by uninvited mages. Hallows tend to be situated in high places, especially where the stars are visible at night. Mana seems to flow readily there, although that isn’t always the case; dark glens and hollows covered by a canopy of trees or steep peaks can still host such energy. Nonetheless, they occur most often on mountaintops, hills or at the tops of skyscrapers, giving birth to the legend of mages in their towers. A Hallow generates a number of points of Mana equal to its dots each day. A mage can transfer the power from his Hallow to replenish his own Mana points by performing an oblation (see p. 77) or using a Prime 3 spell. Each Hallow is tied to a particular time of day when this replenishment can take place — sundown, sunrise and midnight are the most common.
If this Mana is not harvested, it congeals into tass, usually in the form of spring water or growing plants, or it’s imbued into stones or other objects. Some mages forbid others from harvesting free Mana, cultivating it into tass that can be stored and used later. See “Tass,” pp. 78-79. A Hallow’s Mana shares the place’s quality of resonance. Resonance quality in opposition to a spell’s effects — calm resonance for an attack spell, violent resonance for a healing spell — might levy anywhere from –1 to –2 penalties on spellcasting rolls. For this reason, mages do not let their Hallows become polluted with foreign or impure auras. They work to maintain proper resonance quality. Additionally, a Hallow’s close vicinity (five yards per dot rating) is always suffused with power. This power obviates the need to spend one point of Mana for any mage within the vicinity. Essentially, mages need not spend that one point even when it’s required, such as for improvisational spellcasting, but must spend any points in excess that are still required, such as when casting an improvisational spell that inflicts aggravated damage. This example would normally cost two points, but it costs only one within the Hallow’s vicinity. This suffuse power cannot be siphoned into something else using Prime magic or into the mage’s personal store of Mana.
High Speech (•) Edit
Your character knows the rudiments of the Atlantean High Speech. He can utilize it in spellcasting for a burst of power (see “Words of Power,” p. 117), as well as to extend a spell’s Duration using runes (see “Atlantean Runes,” p. 119). If your mage begins play as a member of an order, he learns this Merit at no cost. If he is not a member of an order, he must purchase this Merit using his initial Merit dots or with experience points (assuming there is someone who can teach it to him). High Speech can be spoken and comprehended only by the Awakened. Sleepers’ minds cannot process it. They might hear an Atlantean phrase as a series of nonsense words, or even silence (the speaker’s mouth moves but no sound comes out). Particularly willful Sleepers might catch bits of it, but even then it might sound like a tape played too slow with the bass turned way up.
Higher Calling (••) Edit
Prerequisite: Resolve •••
Your character is especially devoted to a particular cause or purpose, gaining +1 die for Resolve rolls to resist coercion that runs counter to his calling. This only affects Resolve rolls, not Willpower or other Traits, and does not affect coercion that doesn’t involve the character’s Higher Calling. Drawbacks: If your character ever acts in a way contrary to his calling or abandons his dedication to it, the Storyteller may even remove this Merit.
Identity Anchor (••) Edit
One of the perils of taking on another shape is the risk of becoming so lost in the new shape that the mage forgets her true identity. This Merit grants the mage an unerring knowledge of who she is that goes right down to the core of her being. The fl esh may take this form and that form, but the mage always knows who she is and how to get back to her native form, whether the magic that made her assume the new shape is her own or a spell cast on her by another.
Imbued Item (•• or higher) Edit
Your mage has a magical item with one or more powers. The Prime Arcanum was used to imbue a spell into the object so that its wielder has that power at his disposal
(see pp. 225-226). An imbued item’s base Merit dot cost is equal to one dot plus the dot rating of its Arcanum power, plus one dot per additional power. If it has more than one power or uses a conjunctional spell, use the highest Arcanum dot rating involved.
Base Cost: 1 dot + highest Arcanum dots + 1 dot per additional power.
Function: Persistent or contingent. A persistent power is always active. The power does not have to be cast by the user to take effect; he simply needs to hold or wear the item. These include amulets of luck, magical body armor or goggles that let the wearer peer into the Shadow Realm. The user must use or wear the imbued item to benefit from the power, but the power cannot be turned on or off with a switch, command word or the like. If one or more of the imbued item’s powers is persistent (i.e., of indefinite Duration), add one dot to its total cost. A contingent power needs to be activated for each use. The mage squeezes the gun’s trigger or utters the staff’s magic word and calls forth its magic. Duration depends on the default Duration of the spell mimicked by the effect, and is usually transitory (one turn) or prolonged (one hour/scene). Once this period expires, the mage may use the same trigger to use the power again. A trigger should be an appropriate instant action, anything performed within the proximity of the item: verbal commands, gestures and so on. When the trigger is activated, the imbued item’s spellcasting dice pool is rolled. It is equal to its wielder’s Gnosis + the Arcanum dots used for the power.
Mana: If a contingent power requires Mana, the item must either have its own Mana pool or the mage must supply the points himself. Some imbued items have their own Mana pools. This costs an additional Merit dot and the item holds up to 10 Mana points + 1 per spell (i.e., an imbued item with two spells can hold up to 12 Mana). Its user can draw points from the imbued item to fuel its powers rather than spending his own. This pool is not self-replenishing. Once the points have been used up, the mage must spend his own Mana to restore the imbued item’s points, or use Prime magic to transfer them from a Hallow or some other source. Unlike an Artifact, an imbued item’s points can be used only to activate its powers, unless the mage uses the “Channel Mana” spell (see p. 224) to place the item’s points somewhere else. Sleepers: Even a Sleeper can use an imbued item. If its power is persistent, he need only hold or wear it. If it’s contingent, he need only perform the proper trigger. The spellcasting dice pool rolled is equal to the highest Arcanum dot rating used to determine the Imbued Item’s Merit dots, based on the highest rated power (as described above). Since Sleepers do not have Gnosis, it cannot be added to the dice pool. Needless to say, Sleepers must rely on an item’s own Mana pool to fuel its powers.
Example: A ring that allows a mage to turn himself invisible on a contingent basis would cost four dots (1 + a 3-dot Forces spell), while a sword with a persistent power that allows it to cut through iron would be rated at five dots (1 + a 3-dot Matter spell + 1 dot for indefinite Duration). An item can be both imbued and enhanced. See “Enhanced Item,” above. Simply add the cost of all imbuements and enhancements together to determine the item’s total cost. Acquiring an imbued item once play begins does not cost Merit dots; characters must gain these items through roleplaying actions. If an item is ever lost, stolen or destroyed, the character loses the Merit and the points he spent to gain it.
Long Shifting (•••) Edit
The mage is particularly comfortable in the animal forms he assumes, and his magic lasts longer than other mages who lack his mastery of shapeshifting. A mage with this Merit can worry less about awkwardly timed transformations back to human form (while the mage is fl ying as an eagle, for example), and he need not worry about the strain of repeated casting under circumstances where recasting a spell might be diffi cult. For purposes of determining how long the mage can remain in a magically assumed form, count the mage’s understanding of the Life Arcanum as two higher than it actually is. This explicitly gives the mage access to Advanced Prolongation (see Mage: The Awakening, p. 120) for all spells that shift his own flesh.
Master Exorcist (••) Edit
Prerequisite: Spirit •••
Due to the mage’s deep understanding of the Spirit Arcanum, the mage has an innate understanding of the techniques spirits use to invade material bodies, allowing him to more easily break those bonds. Any time a mage with this Merit performs an exorcism, his player adds three additional dice to the pool. This Merit also grants the mage three additional dice to resist being possessed himself.
Occultation (• to •••) Edit
Prerequisite: no Fame Merit dots
A mage’s spells come with a mystical stamp of his personality — his aura. Mages with this Merit “hide their light under a bushel.” Their resonance is so subtle that only expert or extended scrutiny can root it out. This effect even extends into the mundane world, making a mage incognito to Sleeper society. When a sorcerer attempts to read the aura of one of your character’s spells, subtract a number of dice equal to your character’s dots in this Merit. This same penalty applies to any roll to analyze the aura of your character’s magic. See“Resonance,” pp. 277-289.
In addition, Occultation protects your character from spells that attempt to directly affect him at sympathetic range. His Occultation dots are subtracted from the caster’s dice pool. See “Sympathetic Spells,” pp. 114-116. At the Storyteller’s discretion, this Merit can also affect other supernatural abilities to find the creator of a magical effect. For example, a vampire using Spirit’s Touch to analyze the results of a magical spell should have difficulty finding the occulted mage who cast it. When this trait applies, subtract a number of dice equal to the mage’s Occultation dots from the activation roll for that supernatural ability. Occulted mages tend to live on the fringes of mundane reality, as though they are an anomaly or aberration. Sleepers have trouble keeping track of their identities and activities. Records regarding an arcane mage tend to get lost, and the authorities are challenged to investigate his activities. Since most Sleepers find it hard to gather information about the mage, they won’t know many details about him. This also makes it harder for mages to research information about the mage through mundane sources. Whenever someone makes a roll to gather information about your character, your Occultation dots are subtracted from the researcher’s dice pool.
Drawback: If your character ever becomes well known to the public (such as getting caught on camera and being shown on television night after night), he loses his Occultation until the public at large forgets him (which could take many years, depending on how famous or notorious the mage became). Likewise, if he maintains a public persona at all among Sleepers, even to the degree of having many Sleeper friends, he cannot maintain his Occultation. The mage must constantly cultivate this Merit, working to remain away from the attention of Sleeper society. It does not affect his standing in Awakened society.
Otherworldly Eyes (••) Edit
Prerequisite: Spirit •
The mage has trouble staying focused on this side of the Gauntlet. His attention wanders, and he seems perpetually distracted — because he is. Shamans with this Merit have an easier time focusing on events on the other side of the Gauntlet, but at the cost of attending to the material world around them.
A mage with this Merit gains two extra dice for all rolls to sense events in the Realm Invisible, but at the cost of two dice from all perception dice pools pertaining to anything in the material realm. This otherworldly awareness can be used in any scene, but once invoked, this Merit cannot be dismissed for the rest of the scene. This is a common Merit (some might say affliction) for those mages of the Dreamspeaker Legacy.
Potent Familiar (••) Edit
Owing to the mage’s (or perhaps his mentor’s) facility with the Spirit Arcanum, or perhaps some especially difficult vision quest the mage completed in the Realms Invisible, the Shaman’s familiar is more powerful than most beginning familiars. This may be just the advantage a mage needs to survive the difficult early days after his Awakening.
This Merit provides the mage with 15 extra “experience points” that he can use only to upgrade his familiar. This Merit may be purchased multiple times.
Predator’s Innocence (•••) Edit
A wolf does not degenerate when it kills its prey; likewise, the mage doesn’t suffer when she makes a clean and natural killing. A character with this Merit does not need tomake degeneration rolls for simple killing, especially in self-defense. If the mage shows particular malice, if she tortures the subject before killing him or if she kills for morally questionable reasons, then the Storyteller might rule that a degeneration check is necessary.
Note that just because the mage’s Wisdom doesn’t suffer doesn’t make killing right or acceptable by society’s standards, and a mage who makes a habit of killing will have other consequences to worry about.
If the Storyteller judges that the player is just using this Merit as an excuse to have his character kill wantonly, the Storyteller is free to take this Merit away.
Sanctum (• to •••••; special) Edit
A sanctum is a mage’s stronghold, a place where he can practice his Art away from the eyes of Sleepers and spies. Legends tell of wizard’s towers, witch’s huts and sorcerer’s caves, but the reality is usually more prosaic: a penthouse apartment, an old estate or even a nondescript suburban tract house.All sanctums are not created equal. A warehouse might have sufficient space, but it might not be secure against unwanted visitors. A hidden cave has adequate security, but it might be dark and cramped. Great time and effort is spent finding suitable sanctums, and their value is represented by two factors — size and security. Players who choose this Merit must also choose how to allocate these two factors when spending dots. For instance, two dots may be spent on Sanctum Size, with a third spent on Sanctum Security. Sanctum Size is important to characters who need a place to safely store their possessions and valuables. A sanctum with no dots in Size is just large enough for its owner and perhaps a single companion, with minimal if any storage capacity — a cramped apartment. By spending points to increase a sanctum’s Size, a player allows for accoutrements and personal effects. Larger sanctums can be anything from mansions to mountain hideaways to vast subterranean catacombs. Note, however, that sanctums of considerable size are not necessarily easy to maintain.
• A small apartment or underground chamber; 1-2 rooms
•• A large apartment or small family home; 3-4 rooms
••• A warehouse, church or large home; 5-8 rooms, or large enclosure
•••• An abandoned mansion or network of subway tunnels; equivalent of 9-15 rooms or chambers
••••• A sprawling estate or vast network oftunnels; countless rooms or chambers
Of course, Sanctum Size does not prevent intrusion by Sleepers (police, criminal organizations, social workers). Players wishing to ensure privacy and safety may choose to spend dots on Sanctum Security, thus making it difficult for others to gain entrance. Sanctums with no dots in Sanctum Security can be found by those intent enough to look, and offer little protection once they have been breached. Each dot of Security subtracts one die from efforts to intrude into the place by anyone a character doesn’t specifically allow in. This increased difficulty may be because the entrance is so difficult to locate (behind a bookcase, under a carpet) or simply difficult to penetrate (behind a vault door). Also, each dot of Security offers a +1 bonus on Initiative for those inside against anyone attempting to gain entrance (good sight lines, video surveillance). Characters for whom no points are spent on Sanctum at all might have their own small, humble chambers, or perhaps they share the space of a master or order. In any event, they simply do not gain the mechanical benefits of those who have assigned Merit dots to improve the quality of theirhomes. Each aspect of the Sanctum Merit has a limit of 5. In other words, Sanctum Size and Sanctum Security may not rise above 5.
Library (• to •••••; special) Edit
Your character maintains within his sanctum a personal collection of useful information, which can help with both natural and supernatural research. Whether it’s in the form of musty occult tomes, encrypted computer files, sacred scrolls, visual art or stranger media, this library includes reference works that can help the mage understand the realm surrounding him. The library also offers insight into supernatural and occult topics that mortals cannot comprehend. In both fields of knowledge — mundane research and occult lore — this collection relates to one or more fields of specialization.
Each dot in this Merit represents one field of study or area of knowledge in which your character has a wealth of tomes, computer files or scrolls, and from which he may draw information. If he has Library 3, his dots might be assigned to demons, cryptozoology and Greek mythology, respectively. Topics can include arcane lore that most people don’t know about or that has been forgotten since antiquity. Ordinary people have libraries as well, of course, dealing with less exotic specialties. The study of the supernatural is different from ordinary research, however. Many occult tomes refer to magical insights that only mages understand, allegories to magical philosophy, ciphers and diagrams that make little sense to Sleepers, or even inscrutable incunabula that can be deciphered only by willworkers with certain Arcana. Aging magical tomes don’t typically use indices, keywords or cross-referenced page numbers — they’re as arcane as the mages who use them.
Gaining information from a library is a research task, except that a mage spends only 10 minutes per roll when researching from his library. Success doesn’t guarantee exactly the information for which she looks. Libraries aren’t all-knowing, and they don’t always provide one definitive answer to a question, since multiple authors may have different points of view on the same subject. The Storyteller is perfectly justified in saying that a particular library simply doesn’t reveal something. Any mage may allow another mage the privilege of consulting his library, but unless this consultant has put points toward the Merit, 30 minutes are spent per roll researching his topic. A library is located in a sanctum and is protected by that sanctum’s security.
Guardian Ghost (•• to •••••) Edit
A wise mage fears what he doesn’t see as much as what he does see. While an empty corridor in a sanctum may look like an easy opportunity for a quick raid, it’s entirely possible that spiritual forces are guarding it, hiding in Twilight. A Twilight ghost has been anchored to an object or room within the material sanctum and commanded to guard the entire sanctum against intruders. The ghost will only heed the commands of its masters (i.e., anyone who has contributed Merit dots toward the purchase of this Merit); the ghost will treat all others as hostile unless commanded by its master to exempt a person from its ire.
The masters do not need to be able to converse with the ghost (it can understand their commands), but they can’t see it or hear it without using the Death 1 “Speak with the Dead” spell, unless the ghost uses a Numen like Ghost Sign or manifests. (They can command it to do so.) The dot rating of this Merit represents the power of the ghost. The player or Storyteller creates the ghost, distributing its Attribute dots among its Power, Finesse and Resistance traits, and choosing its Numina. Drawback: Ghosts can be controlled by other mages using the Death Arcanum. They can also be driven out by an exorcism, which even a Sleeper can perform. (See “Exorcisms,” p. 214, in the World of Darkness Rulebook.) If that happens, all dots in this Merit are lost.
Guardian Retainer (• to •••••) Edit
Effect: This Merit is exactly like the Sleepwalker Retainer Merit (see p. 116 of the World of Darkness Rulebook), in that it gives the mage a Sleepwalker servant, but this one is trained mainly for combat. Usually a minimum of two dots is needed to make a guardian of any value. (One dot might provide a good lookout but does not represent a worthy fighter.) The guardians can be sentries, soldiers, undercover agents, black suits or watch men — whatever role is needed to defend the sanctum. They take their orders from anyone who is a legitimate owner of the sanctum (i.e., anyone who has contributed Merit dots toward the sanctum’s Size or Security). A sanctum’s Size describes how many bodies can be comfortably sequestered inside the sanctum. Generally, you can fit two guardians per room. Any more than that and morale might be less than desired, giving the guardians a chance to simply break and run if the action gets too heavy.
Drawbacks: Guardian Retainers will only defend the sanctum, not perform errands like other Retainers; this is the price for their willingness to die defending the sanctum.
Guardian Spirit (•• to •••••) Edit
Prerequisite: Sanctum, Spirit 1
Effect: A Twilight spirit has been fettered to an object or room within the material sanctum and commanded to guard the entire sanctum against intruders. The spirit will only heed the commands of its masters (i.e., anyone who has contributed Merit dots toward the purchase of this Merit); the spirit will treat all others as hostile unless commanded by its master to exempt a person from its ire. The masters do not need to be able to converse with the spirit (it can understand their commands), but they can’t see it or hear it without using the Spirit 1 “Spirit Tongue” spell, unless it uses a Numen to materialize. The dot rating of this Merit represents the power of the spirit.
The player or Storyteller creates the spirit, distributing its Attribute dots among its Power, Finesse, Resistance and Influence traits, and choosing its Numina. The player or Storyteller also chooses its Ban.
Drawback: Spirits can be controlled by other mages using the Spirit Arcanum. The spirit’s masters must provide the spirit with one Essence point per day (using Prime to convert Mana, or taking it from another source) or else the spirit will become surly. It can still be commanded, but it will seek to be freed from its bondage. If the spirit cannot harvest properly aspected Essence at the sanctum, the spirit will slowly lose Essence each day until falling into slumber and forced across the Gauntlet. If that happens, all dots in this Merit are lost.
Computer Network Edit
Modern sanctums can (and should) integrate modern technology. Although there will always be a few anachronistic mages who insist on living without electricity or running water, computers have been common enough in every aspect of human life that they can be found in sanctums as well. That doesn’t mean mages use computers to their full potential. Some mages think of browsing the web with the same casual air as they would regard brewing a cup of coffee in the morning. More-progressive mages live on the bleeding edge of technology, using computers for everything from routine investigations and research to secure long-distance teleconferencing and Voice Over Internet Protocols (VoIP). The best guideline for measuring the computer network in a sanctum depends on the mage’s Resources Merit. If several mages are sharing a sanctum, either use the Resources of the most computer-savvy character (the one with the highest Computer Skill) or the mage with the highest Resources (if he agrees to buy whatever his “sanctum sysadmin” requires).
A character’s Resources gives a default measure of the equipment bonus a character gets when using the Computer Skill with the sanctum’s network:
• to •• +1
••• to •••• +2
The advantage to upgrading the network inside the sanctum is that the network isis protected by all of the defenses the sanctum has. Any attempt to hack into the computer is penalized dice by the sanctum’s Security rating. In addition, anyone who wants to break inside and steal the computer has to get inside the building first, whether they’re agents of the FBI or frustrated rival hackers. The downside is that the network is fixed in that location, and anything that endangers the sanctum endangers the network as well.
Sleepwalker Retainer (• to •••••) Edit
Your character has a single Sleepwalker who has been magically initiated into the secrets of the order. He is aware of the existence of magic, and your character has recruited him as an assistant. Your character can openly practice magic in his presence without fear of betraying the Mysteries.
This Merit works the same as the “Retainer” Merit (p. 116 in the World of Darkness Rulebook), except that the mage’s retainer is a Sleepwalker.For details on Sleepwalkers, see p. 334.
Spirit Status (••, •••• or •••••) Edit
As masters of spirit lore and ambassadors to the spirit courts, Shamans often have additional clout they can bring to bear when performing magic that controls spirits. Whether the mage is the benefi ciary of some old pact he or a mentor made or due to some item he possesses, the mage has standing in the spirit courts far beyond what most mortals can aspire to. Every two points of this Merit negates one –1 modifier from the Spiritual Hierarchy table (see
Status (• to •••••; Special) Edit
While certain Merits detailed in the World of Darkness Rulebook focus on recognition in mortal society, certain Status concerns itself with the social orders of the Awakened and represents recognition among other mages. Status is divided into two areas — Consilium and Order:
Consilium Status represents a vested responsibility and according acknowledgement in the affairs of the Consilium of Chicago. Certain individuals rise to the top of the social strata, exemplary because of their efforts in the name of their cabal, Consilium or in Chicago as a whole. Hierarchs, Heralds, Sentinels and other “officers” fit this description, but the Merit can also apply to mages who are popular but who eschew politics. Their opinion holds sway even if they don’t involve themselves in a particular Consiliar function. Consilium Status is most often based on accomplishment. A character must earn his way into the title or esteem of his fellow mages. While this often involves being recognized for worthy deeds, it can also be a result of careful politicking and gossip. In general, mages of other cabals recognize a mage’s Consilium status and give him respect (although they do not necessarily heed him or reveal secrets).
• “Rising star”; Leigeman (or –woman)
•• “Accomplished individual”; Sentinel
••• “Much deserved reputation”; Herald
•••• “Example to the Wise”; Provost ••••• “Benefactor of the Awakened”; Hierarch or Councilor
Order Status represents rank, achievement and responsibility in a magical order. It is concerned with the order’s goals and accomplishments. It is not enough to be powerful or exemplary of the order’s ideals. The group is concerned with what its members have done to benefit its cause and combat its rivals. Those mages who enjoy the greatest order-based recognition are often the core members of their order in a given region, those who call the local caucuses and around whom others rally. These mages instigate or mediate conflict with other orders or cabals, generally looking to further certain idealistic goals and to establish themselves or other members in positions of influence in the Consilium hierarchy of their region.
A character must have at least a single dot of Order Status in order to gain the benefits of any special abilities of that society. In other words, a character must have at least one dot of Order Status in order to learn the rotes of her order. (A character’s beginning six dots worth of rotes are an exception. They were presumably taught by the order to win the mage’s loyalty). If a character leaves an order after learning some of its secrets, she does not lose any of those abilities for which experience points were spent, such as rotes or Rote Specialties, but she may not learn additional abilities without finding a new teacher. In addition, some orders punish those who violate their oaths and spread their secrets. Order Status is not so specifically tied to certain titles. It is more a notion of an individual’s accomplishments:
• The character is known to a select subset of the order — a spy network, perhaps.
•• The majority of the order in the region recognizes the character’s face and can recall her exploits.
••• The character’s deeds are known to all in the order, even in nearby regions. Many members of other orders recognize her face.
•••• Word of the character’s exploits has traveled far, and her name is known in cities around the country. ••••• The character’s name and face are synonymous with her order; her exploits are taught to new members of the order.
Status can serve as a mixed blessing, however. Those who enjoy the most renown might be able to use it to their advantage, but they are also visible targets for their enemies. High Status dots make it almost impossible to pass unnoticed, but they can open doors that would otherwise remain blocked.
Status works like a “social tool” in that it adds to dice pools for Social interactions between members of the sub-groups given. That is, Order Status adds to dice pools for interactions with members of the same order, and Consilium Status affects those who are recognized residents of Chicago. Consilium Status, however, may be ignored by enemies of the Consilium. Status does not add to die rolls predicated upon magic, only for mundane social actions. Dealing with Status can be a mire of responsibility for characters, though clever characters can turn it to their advantage
A character may, on occasion, have more than one form of Order Status. This occurs almost exclusively at low levels, where a character is often beneath the notice of most other members of his group. A character may never have more than three dots total in Order Status among multiple orders. A double agent, for example, might have two dots worth of Order Status (Silver Ladder) and a single dot of Order Status (Adamantine Arrow), representing his true allegiance to the Silver Ladder and the fact that he’s in on the ground floor of the Adamantine Arrow. (He can feed information back to his Ladder fellows.) A character may even have a single dot of Order Status in three different orders — perhaps he’s somewhat accomplished in each, but has yet to determine where his true loyalties lie. Naturally, a character with Status in only one order is not beholden to the three-dot limit. A character with dots of Order Status in multiple orders does indeed gain access to those groups’ special benefits. Orders expect certain things of their members, however, and if other mages find out that the character plays multiple sides against the middle, he might see that Status vanish in a single day when he’s called upon to account for his treacheries. Such is also the reason that cumulative Order Status is limited to three dots. By the time a character gains a certain degree of Status in a single order, he sticks out like a sore thumb if he turns up among another order’s members. (An exception to this might occur if the character is truly some sort of deep-cover agent or other mole, but that circumstance is best handled at the Storyteller’s discretion.)
Thrall (•••) Edit
Your mage physically controls another’s soul stone, making that willworker his thrall. By custom, your character can demand up to three favors before he must return the stone. These favors can be as weak or as daunting as he desires, although if they are particularly difficult or dangerous the thrall can petition the Consilium for redress. Possession of a soul stone gives your mage an Intimate sympathetic connection to its owner and allows him to tap the owner’s Mana without casting a Prime spell. Roll Gnosis + Presence – the soul stone creator’s Resolve and take one Mana per success. Such theft can be done only once per day, and is considered one favor toward the three allowed.
The Storyteller works with the player to determine who the thrall is. The more powerful or politically connected the thrall, the more potent the favors he can provide, but the more dangerous it is to anger him. One day he will be free of his obligation, and although by custom he cannot seek direct revenge or demand a duel, he almost surely manipulates events to enact his vengeance for him. Conversely, if your character’s favors benefit the thrall and don’t violate his dignity, he might gain a grudging respect. After the three favors are completed, your character is expected to return the soul stone to the rightful owner, freeing the thrall. If he does not free his thrall after the three favors are completed, he can be punished freely by any other mage, even a mage not of his order or the Consilium. Some mages set daunting favors, ensuring that their thralls will almost certainly never complete the requirements for freedom. Doing so is considered bad form. The thrall can take his case to the Consilium, but most officers hesitate to intervene unless the thrall’s master endangers their interests or challenges their authority through his flaunting of custom. More often, mistreated thralls must rely on their own cunning to turn the master-thrall relationship.