Savage Worlds of Darkness
With a d4 in an Arcanum, an initiate can:
• Gain mystical knowledge about and understanding of phenomena within the Arcanum’s purview. Atlanteans called this the Practice of Knowing.
• Elementary manipulation of phenomena within the Arcanum’s purview, enough to activate them and/or impart directions. Atlanteans called this the Practice of Compelling.
• Gain sensory perception of phenomena within the Arcanum’s purview. Atlanteans called this the Practice of Unveiling.
With a d6 in an Arcanum, an apprentice can:
• Exert elementary command and control over phenomena within the purview of the Arcanum. Atlanteans called this the Practice of Ruling.
• Conceal, camouflage or hide phenomena within the Arcanum’s purview from scrutiny. Atlanteans called this the Practice of Veiling.
• Protect a target against attacks, usually by providing points of armor. Atlanteans called this the Practice of Shielding.
With a d8 in an Arcanum, a disciple can:
• Alter the capabilities or functions of phenomena within the Arcanum’s purview. Atlanteans called this the Practice of Weaving.
• Injure a target. Atlanteans called this the Practice of Fraying.
• Fortify, bolster or improve phenomena within the Arcanum’s purview. Atlanteans called this the Practice of Perfecting.
With a d10 in an Arcanum, an adept can:
• Transform phenomena within the Arcanum’s purview into related phenomena or shapes, or replace their capabilities or functions with different ones. Atlanteans called this the Practice of Patterning.
• Significantly injure a target, degrade its capabilities or negatively transform it. Atlanteans called this the Practice of Unraveling.
With a d12 in an Arcanum, a master can:
• Create phenomena within the Arcanum’s purview from nothing. Atlanteans called this the Practice of Making.
• Destroy or mutilate a target. Atlanteans called this the Practice of Unmaking.
Purview: Darkness, decay, ectoplasm, enervation, ghosts, soul stealing
Death is a gruesome and terrible Arcanum. With it, a mage can exert control over that most primal and frightful of mysteries. Ghosts and the dead fall under the purview of this Arcanum, as does the health of the soul. Those who delve deeply into the Mysteries of Death are often (though not necessarily) morbid people, given to considerable introspection regarding mortality, decay and endings. Many such individuals had too close a brush with their own mortality at some point. Out of fear (or disdain), they attempt to master the very metaphysical constant responsible for claiming those whose time has passed, seeking to define the limits of their own existence rather than being subject to the whims of a cold and impersonal universe. Like the Arcanum they pursue, such mages tend to be subtle, owing much less (despite what others might think) to bad horror movies and heavy metal than to a pervasive, cold and clinical outlook on Creation, one in which they have already perceived the destiny of everything and flensed away their fear in the crucible that is the knowledge that all things must die in time.
• d4: Discern how someone died and how long ago, speak with ghosts, assess the strength of someone’s soul, cause shadows to move*
• d6: Corrode or rust material*, mask the cause of death, command a ghost*
• d8: Destroy a material object*, enter a state of death-like stasis, open a gateway into Twilight*
• d10: Consume a weak life force, transform yourself/others into Twilight, feign death in another, rot flesh*, animate a corpse*, rot a living being.
• d12: Consume a healthy life force, permanently destroy Mana/tass, strengthen or restore a ghost, summon a ghost from the Underworld*, disintegrate living beings*.
Grim Sight (d4)
The mage gains the Mage Sight, perceiving the supernatural through the lens of Death. He sees the weight of death around a person — not his likelihood of death (unless the subject has a terminal illness), but how often he has rubbed shoulders (knowingly or not) with the dead or dying. Those who have suffered the loss of many loved ones or who have killed many people tend to bear heavy burdens. This sight also applies to things or places.
Purview: Blessings, curses, destiny, fortune, oaths, probability
Understanding the Arcanum of Fate grants its practitioner the ability to manipulate the threads of destiny, creating good or ill fortune, binding oaths, blessings and curses. Those who study Fate come to understand the intricacies of fortune, seeing with clear sight the interconnection of the threads that bind all cause and effect within Creation. Those with powerful destinies (or none at all) stand out to even the most elementary Fate Arcanum perceptions, while more complicated fortunes sometimes require more of a discerning eye.
Mages who devote themselves to the understanding of the Fate Arcanum are usually the sorts of people who would rather know “why” rather than “how.” Many of them enjoy a good mystery and consider feelings about things to be just as important, if not more so, than so-called “hard facts.”
Sometimes mages who wish to discern the vagaries of Fate do so out of an implicit faith in destiny, while others do so out of a blatant distrust in that nebulous constant. Those who submit themselves to fortune are often easygoing and carefree, with the confidence born of knowing, and more importantly accepting that what is meant to be, will be. Those who rail against fortune are usually driven and unhappy people, too concerned with shaping their own role in the future to admire the beautiful complexities of Fate.
• d4: Mitigate dice penalties, cause simple good fortune for yourself, see how Fate connects people/places/things, know the outcome of small actions, find the right person in a crowd.
• d6: Swear a binding oath, cause more overt turns of luck for yourself, curse someone with bad luck, weave Fate as protection around you*.
• d8: Ensure a mechanical device acts flawlessly, alter the conditions of an existing Fate-enforced oath, give others or an object good fortune, create a false prophecy/destiny.
• d10: Create amazingly helpful turns of good fortune*, free a soul that has been forcibly bound outside of its proper place, free someone from a Fate-enforced oath.
• d12: Perfectly execute actions*, dramatically alter someone’s destiny, create a generations-long geas, curse others so that their actions almost certainly fail or turn against them*.
The Sybil’s Sight (d4)
The mage gains the Mage. He detects the particular qualities a given mystic force has in its interactions with fate. Many describe the result as a “thickness” or “gravity,” a tangling of threads. The mage can detect momentous events. While this spell is in effect, a reflexive Smarts roll is made to sense when something of metaphysical weight or truth has been spoken or taken place. The Storyteller decides when and if such an event occurs. The mage cannot have others “fish” for prophecies by having them keep saying things until something registers as resonating with destiny. Such abuses of the gifts of Fate have been known to backfire upon mages with grim consequences.
Purview: Electricity, gravity, kinetic energy, light, physics, radiation, sound, weather
This is the Arcanum associated with light, heat, energy and the animation of the universe, the patterns of power that make the worlds to move in their orbits, stars to burn, and the cohesion that binds the cosmos together. It is a primal, powerful Arcanum, well suited to those with assertive overlooks on the world and who are confident of their own preeminent place within it.
Those who master the Arcanum of Forces command storms, droughts, tides and even the power of the atom. Forces is perhaps the most “classically wizardly” of the Arcana. With Forces, a mage can summon fire from his fingertips, overcome the power of gravity to take flight, levitate objects and even people with the power of his will alone, conjure up both darkness and light or cause the very earth to tremble. Those who seek to control this Arcanum are often unsubtle people, energetic and boisterous. They laugh heartily, weep openly and otherwise express themselves with honesty and passion in all things.
• d4: Listen to radio or cellphone transmissions, manipulate existing heat, light, or sound
• d6: Raise an area’s temperature, brighten or dim light, redirect fire or electricity from an existing source*, make an immobile object invisible for a short time*, “hack” a radio/tv transmission*, redirect incoming objects*
• d8: Telekinetically move things*, protect others with shields of force*, call lightning from the sky, create sounds/light from nowhere
• d10: Alter the vectors and velocity of moving things*, turn invisible*, levitate*, get a sudden burst of speed, control the weather, conjure fire/electricity from nothing*.
• d12: Turn others invisible*, levitate groups of people*, cause small earthquakes, control gravity*, create/eradicate radiation.
Read Matrices (d4)
The mage gains the Mage Sight. He can perceive energy and magical resonance, detecting the presence of all the universe’s various forms of energy: heat, gravity, electromagnetism and the like, including the presence or absence of different sorts of radiation, such as x-rays or cosmic radiation, either visually or through tactile perception. An undiscerning mage might be fairly blinded by the overwhelming variety and sheer quantity of energy that moves around her at all times, unable to process the ever-shifting tapestry of power that is all but invisible to the untrained eye. The mage is also especially aware of resonance’s energetic aspects and flow, its vibratory frequency and movement.
Purview: Disease, evolution, healing, metamorphosis, vigor
Life is the Arcanum of vital animation, that elusive spark that separates biological matter from base materials. It encompasses everything from viruses and bacteria to the most complex plants and animals. With the power of Life, a mage can cause or cure sickness, mend grievous injuries, and even create life forms from nothingness. She can bolster her own physical capabilities to levels far beyond those found in nature, or change her appearance (from superficial features to such inherent characteristics as height, weight, build, age and even gender) in whatever way she desires. The processes of life can be halted, accelerated, reversed or otherwise altered.
Mages who endeavor to master the Arcanum of Life are often one of two kinds of people. There are those who embrace the manifold splendors of the living world, who are so enamored with it that they are compelled to pursue its mysteries and thereby grow closer to it. These sorts of mages tend to leap headlong into both the best and the worst that life has to offer, with a fervor usually matched only among those who seek the secrets of Forces. The other kind if mage is driven to control, to impose order upon the great randomness of the living world. Unsatisfied with the existence of patterns she cannot see, this type of willworker wishes to become like a god, so that she need never again be subject to the unpredictable happenstance of sicknesses or pain.
• d4: Cleanse the mage’s body of toxins, sense specific life forms nearby, discern age, sex, and health of living things,
• d6: Control own metabolism and breathing, cleanse others of drugs or poison, heal self of Wounds*, heal plants or animals*, control base life forms (insects, microbes, plants, fungi), toughen your skin*, swap features among base life forms*, strengthen a pathogen/sickness.
• d8: Heal others Wounds*, cure/cause serious diseases in yourself, control median life forms (fish, animals, birds), boost/lower your physical Attributes*
• d10: Cure/cause serious diseases in others, boost/lower other’s physical Attributes, swap features among median life forms*, alter your appearance*.
• d12: Alter others appearances*, drastically reshape living beings*, control higher life forms (humans, werewolves, etc.), swap features among higher life forms*, cure/cause deadly diseases in others, genetically modify life forms, shape-change*.
Pulse of the Living World (d4)
The mage gains the Mage Sight, becoming able to detect the presence of mystic vital animation in the area, effectively reading resonance as a function of reality’s living energies. This spell allows a mage to reach out with an arcane sense, to touch the subtle eddies life impresses upon the Tapestry, and thereby discern the nearness of other living creatures, from the most miniscule microorganisms to the most expansive flora and fauna.
Purview: Alchemy, elemental air, elemental earth, elemental water, shaping, transmutation
Matter is an Arcanum concerned with lifeless material, the building blocks of the world. Through use of this magic, a mage gains control over raw elements and complex alloys alike. The Matter Arcanum encompasses everything from a simple puddle of water, to a chunk of uranium, to a plank of wood, to the most intricately structure polymer.
Those mages who set out to control the enigmas of Matter are often not what others would consider “people-friendly.” Many enjoy the static predictability of base materials, as opposed to the rampant chaos engendered by primal energies or living beings. These individuals are often as reliable as they are routine-oriented and many of them are capable of seeing beauty in places that others simply don’t know to look. They prize solidity, stability and conformity and a good number wish that human beings were as readily pliant as the objects with which they work (a condition they believe would make the whole world a much easier and more rewarding place to live).
• d4: Alter the conductivity of matter, discern an object’s function, detect a specific substance, detect hidden doors, safes, etc.,
• d6: Alter the accuracy or balance of a weapon for a scene, change one liquid into another*, make a transparent surface opaque and vice versa*, form shield of air, moisture, etc.,
• d8: Bestow armor piercing on a weapon, increase or decrease the durability/Toughness of an object, jury-rig a machine that works from spare parts, render any reasonably homogeneous material malleable for a time*, repair an object with no evidence, change one solid substance into another*.
• d10: Drastically increase/decrease the efficiency of a machine, disintegrate inert matter*, turn a liquid into a solid and vice-versa*, drastically change the appearance/form of an object,
• d12: Transmute base substances into precious substances and vice-versa*, alter the size of an object*, disintegrate extraordinary matter (enchanted items, magical materials, etc.), forge magical materials, reshape any liquid, gas, or solid into any other form/substance, create an object from nothing*, enable objects to self-heal*.
Dark Matter (d4)
The mage gains the Mage Sight. This spell is especially good for reading resonance that is ponderous (“thick”, “sluggish” or “dense” as some have called it). The mage can perceive the fundamental makeup of material structures and discern their composition, determining their weight and density. He can also search for specific types of nearby material as well as discern the characteristics and basic functions of objects.
Purview: Communication, hallucinations, mental projection, mind control, telepathy
This is the Arcanum used to connect with the Universal Consciousness shared by all beings possessed of thought: humans, animals, spirits and anything capable of in any way distinguishing between itself and its environment. This is an Arcanum of thoughts, dreams, emotions, motivations, memories, primal instincts, elevated precepts and ideas. Those who seek to master Mind attempt to grow closer to the unity of thought shared by all intelligent life, turning their mystic will inward, there to discover the simple truth that all Creation exists only in the eye of the beholder.
Mind is an Arcanum for those who are introspective without losing themselves in self-important reverie, and also outgoing, but not to the point of being incapable of useful reflection. Mind Arcanum mages are interactive sorts of people, whether that interaction takes the shape of social dealings or intense contemplation of a rich and vibrant inner life is immaterial. Surprisingly few of these individuals ignore the physical in favor of the cerebral, employing a well-balanced approach to existence. There certainly are no few seemingly half-mad ascetics out there, though, who deny the needs and desires of their “crude terrestrial forms.” Of all the different types of mages, those who pursue the study of Mind are the most apt to change radically as they grow in understanding, becoming open to avenues of thought literally unfathomable to them previously.
• d4: Detect nearby sentient minds including spirits, perform two extended actions at once,
• d6: Alter own aura, mentally communicate with others in line of sight, improve first impressions, protect against mental control or attack, control the mind of a simple animal*, produce emotional urgings in others, blend in to the crowd, stun others.
• d8: Alter another’s aura, control median animal life*, make someone think you are someone else, alter/erase your own memories, attack someone psychically*, communicate with others at far distances, regulate sleep cycles and dreams, translate any language.
• d10: Read minds, rework others memories, project your astral self, create vivid hallucinations, greater psychic assault*, control human minds for a short time*
• d12: Obliterate others memories, bring others with you on an astral journey, project an image of yourself at distance, lay a geas upon someone, possess someone, reprogram someone’s personality.
The mage gains the Mage Sight. He senses when others nearby use exceptional mental powers, such as telepathy, psychometry or ESP, reading the telltale ripples left by the movements of exceptionally advanced thought. The mage can also read resonance, discerning the emotional and psychic qualities of it: the particular nuances of will, conscious or otherwise that went into creating it. He can feel the mental processes that went into creating the resonance (such as strong emotional states or a powerful exercise of will), effectively detecting its context within reality, the “why” behind the resonance.
Purview: Hallows, illusions, magical imbuement, Mana, resonance, tass
Prime is the light that burns without heat, the energy that defies description. It is the power that courses through all things in material existence and which serves as the skeleton on which all willworkers hang their magic. Prime is an Arcanum of mystic power, named for the prima materia, the Supernal substance. Thus, it is often practiced by those who would seek to possess mastery over the subtle and otherwise largely unquantifiable substance that serves as mages’ medium.
Awakened who concentrate on Prime tend to be passionate, though they are often driven to loftier ends than the majority of people: self-mastery, understanding of Creation and enlightenment. These sorts usually have an intense drive to understand the “whys” and “wherefores” of reality. Some have their curiosity satisfied merely by learning answers to their questions, while others capitalize on knowledge to control what they understand now. Many Prime willworkers have a particular lust for life, an energy that impels them to be ever active, moving forward toward some objective (which need not be easily quantifiable).
• d4: Analyze enchanted items, dispel existing magic, detect resonances of a mage, detect a Hallow
• d6: Alter own aura to look like a Sleeper, counter spells of any Arcana as they are being cast, hide something from other mage’s Mage Sight, veil an area from scrying, create magic circles for dueling, etc.
• d8: Attack an opponent with celestial fire*, give your Mana to another mage, dispel a spell only for certain targets, dissolve Tass, allow a weapon to hit things in Twilight for a short time, imbue an item, alter another’s aura, harness ley lines.
• d10: Allow a Sleeper to witness (for a time) spells/magic without Disbelief, create a solid illusion out of Mana*, create a phantasmal weapon out of Mana*, convert Essence into Mana or vice-versa, suppress an active Hallow or reawaken a dormant one.
• d12: Create a complex phantasm of magical energy*, create a temporary Hallow*, create a “dead zone” for magic, forcefully siphon mana from another mage, forge a tulpa (see sidebar).
Supernal Vision (d4)
The mage gains the Mage Sight with this most potent of the resonance-detecting senses and the Storyteller should be lavish with its details, explaining intricacies of any given source of resonance that would likely be invisible to one using another Arcanum. Some details, however, are best analyzed with other Arcana (in the way that Matter is best suited to “thick” or “ponderous” resonances), or better still in conjunction with Prime. Many mages describe this sense as sight, though some claim to “smell” or “taste” lingering sorcery on a person or place. Others simply speak of a sixth sense or other esoteric perception that defies ordinary categorization. It also allows the user to determine the uses and power of enchanted items and see through Prime based illusions.
Purview: Conjuration, scrying, sympathy, teleportation, wards
Space is the art of connection, of the ties between things, the illusion of distance and the means by which one traverses all of reality with a single step. It is an Arcanum for travelers, trailblazers, heralds and all those who seek to dispel ignorance and replace it with knowledge, even if only for their own sake. Space illustrates the ties between people and things, an Arcanum of sympathy, contagion, emotional bonds, roads and doorways.
To the mage versed in Space, spatial extension is an illusion; all points are one. The willworker is capable of traveling without moving by navigating the illusion of distance with acumen unknown to mundane human beings. Likewise, he can extend his senses far beyond the range of the natural, listening to what goes on in a home two towns over, watching what unfolds in a particular restaurant in Tokyo while he is in Cleveland. He could even, with the right combination of other Arcana, hold a conversation with a person 10,000 miles away as though he were sitting across a table from her. Space is a difficult Arcanum to understand and learn. While most people (thanks to books and films) can conceive of magic that allows one to conjure flames from nothingness, to peer into another’s mind or to place a blessing upon a favored child, few have any sense of the kind of power it takes to alter the dimensions of a building to be larger inside than outside, or to weave a small universe of one’s own out of newly spun threads of space. These capabilities are the province of a reality more akin to that envisioned by M.C. Escher or H.P. Lovecraft than the magic commonly attributed to snowy-bearded wizards of yore.
• d4: Measure distance between objects effortlessly, see 360 degrees, track any item in the mage’s area flawlessly, see sympathetic connections between people/places/objects
• d6: Disguise sympathetic connections, remotely view a location (scrying), create wards against Space magic, activate existing Portals, create spatial distortions that protect yourself*, make an object become smaller/larger*
• d8: Create spatial distortions that protect others*, increase/erode a sympathetic connection, create a ban that must followed in order to enter a space, make your melee attacks into ranged ones*, create a temporary Portal that all can use*
• d10: Create a small pocket dimension which can store items, limit the use of a temporary or permanent Portal to specific users, render a being unable to leave a space, teleport yourself*
• d12: Hide a location from being found normally, teleport others*, warp space in Escheresque ways*, create impossible labyrinths*, collocate to objects/people greatly damaging them*.
Spatial Awareness (d4)
The mage gains the Mage Sight, becoming able to detect spatial distortions and manipulations. He is capable of discerning disturbances in the local fabric of space (typically caused by use of more advanced applications of this very Arcanum). He can detect when someone has altered the spatial axes of an area (for example, making a place larger on the inside than outside), used a location as the origin point or terminus for teleportation, or created (or overcome) a Space-based ward. This sense transcends the normal five senses, but most mages tend to understand it in terms of sight.
Purview: Exorcism, the Shadow Realm, soul retrieval, spirits, the Gauntlet
By setting out on the path of the Spirit Arcanum, a mage seeks to become an intermediary between realms. Spirit mages are often thoughtful people, those who consider the consequences of their actions well beyond the immediate — not only forward into time, but also outward, mindful of the ripples their deeds can cause. Many Spirit mages were religious (or at least faithful) people before the Awakening, though some were incapable of articulating what it was they felt, and others believed in nothing before the revelation came that stole their ignorance. Many of those who delve into this Arcanum are willing to admit that there are things beyond the comprehension of man, and they’re comfortable with that notion. They walk into the shadows beyond the firelight, knowing full well that there are things to be afraid of out there, and are perfectly happy with that understanding. Unlike Space mages, they do not blaze a path for others. The road such mages walk is a solitary one undertaken only by those who accept that the world is grander, stranger and more dangerous than humanity can possibly comprehend.
• d4: Hear, see, and speak with spirits, coax the spirit of an object to give you aid,
• d6: touch spirits in Twilight, call specific spirits or a general type of spirit without compelling them to appear, fortify/weaken Gauntlet at a Hallow*, create armor for yourself against spirits, see through the Gauntlet.
• d8: Force a spirit to perform a simple action, exorcise a spirit away from its fetter or a body its possessing, forge a pact with a spirit familiar, damage a spirit’s Corpus*, create an opening in the Gauntlet*, restore a severed soul to its rightful body, awaken a dormant spirit*
• d10: Heal a spirit’s Corpus*, bind a spirit to the physical world*, forge a familiar pact for another mage, convert Mana into Essence, create a container for storing Essence, assist a spirit in possessing someone/thing, compel a spirit to appear
• d12: Create a long-lasting tear in the Gauntlet*, force a spirit to materialize (even when normally not able to do so), force a spirit to obey you, create or reshape spirits, create a personal domain within the Shadow Realm*
Second Sight (d4)
The mage gains the Mage Sight and can assess the strength of Spirits and also the strength of the nearby Gauntlet. This spell enables a mage to detect the presence of a possessing entity within a terrestrial being, often to the end of expelling that spirit by means of exorcism.
Purview: Divination, prophecy, temporal acceleration/deceleration
Time is probably the most complex of the Gross Arcana, since it describes a phenomenon as yet incompletely understood by modern man. With it, a mage can redefine the way in which every other Arcanum interacts with the linear progression of events, and with great mastery can unravel the mysteries of choosing the manner in which things move in that flow. Extraordinarily powerful mages see the way in which an individual participates in Time as a choice, rather than a cosmic absolute.
Those who would deal with the Arcanum of Time are advised to heed the counsel of those who have come before. Though few primers exist on the subject (few that are of much use to those lacking an advanced understanding of Time magics, at any rate), most well versed in the Arcanum’s intricacies agree upon one basic axiom: Nothing within Time is fixed. Events in the past are harder to alter than those in the present and future (only magic allows for the past to be changed), but no event seems to be truly eternal.
Mages who devote themselves to the Arcanum of Time tend to be reflective people, given to careful contemplation of all of an action’s potential consequences. They often look to both the mistakes and great successes of the past and cast their gaze forward with a mind for how things should properly unfold. Such mages learn quickly what sort of damage can be done when actions are taken without exhaustive consideration, and they actually possess the ability to see how history will judge them. With such a weighty burden, it is unsurprising that those who seek to unravel the mysteries of Time do so with a sense of reverence, whether that stems from noblesse oblige, respect for the lessons of the universe, or active devotion to a Divine Plan.
• d4: Detect temporal flow, act as perfect clock or stopwatch, discern if an immediate choice will have good or bad results
• d6: See the future in a very general sense, automatically know the correct choice of an action with only two possible outcomes, post-cognition, create protections against other uses of Time, slow down or speed up time to avoid attacks*, draw more Initiative cards*
• d8: Accelerate the mage’s actions making it harder for enemies to avoid them*, perform more accurate divinations of the future, reroll one die roll taking the new result*
• d10: Cause another to “lag” in time*, make detailed predictions or prophecies about the future, create a pocket outside of normal time for yourself*, stutter forward in time*
• d12: Allow others to enter a pocket outside of normal time*, shift an object into the future*, stop time within a small area*
Temporal Eddies (d4)
The mage gains the Mage Sight, perceiving resonance through the way in which it “snags” things, people and events moving through the timestream, by the magnitude of its presence (in much the same way as scientists determine the presence of a black hole by witnessing the phenomena around it). He can also tell perfect time, anywhere, discerning the passage of instants with such clarity that his sense is more precise than even those most carefully maintained clock.