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Oracle-level Prime

 

Basic Philosophy

Prime magick has the potential to be extremely versatile; after all, the mage is tapping into the raw stuff of creation. But most mages never realize the fulfillment of that potential, simply because very little of reality remains in the form of "raw stuff." As a result, the mage must learn a variety of other Spheres, notably the pattern magicks, in order to produce more than the most basic effects--channeling Quintessence, manipulating the simple (non)being of objects, and at the highest level combatting Paradox in a limited fashion.

The Oracle of Prime transcends these limits. She advances in three main respects: the perfection of her ability to manipulate free Quintessence; the expansion of her ability to affect Paradox; and the discovery of more effective, if less controllable, ways to change patterns.

The Pool of Quintessence

Somewhere outside the universe, there exists a massive (if something outside of space-time can be so called) pool of free Quintessence. Ordinary Prime mages tap into all the time when they create objects, but they are unable to draw any of it into the universe as it is; they can only absorb Quintessence from sources already within extant reality.

The Oracle of Prime soon breaks this barrier, as he comes to understand how it is a node actually works. With this knowledge comes not only the ability to draw Quintessence from it himself, but also the power to manipulate the network formed by the nodes on a grand scale.

Paradox

For all mages save the Mad, Paradox is the great frustration. Whether they fear it or have leanred to put up with it, it constantly halts their works in the name of static reality. Even the Technocrats, who currently rule most of the Sleepers from whom the paradigm comes, find themselves at odds with this force when they attempt to introduce new, experimental technologies. Some mages have theorized that Paradox is the negative to Quintessence's positive; but evidently reality is not so direct, as those who have attempted to manipulate it merely as Prime's opposite have been badly burned by the experience. The only consolation even the Prime Master has is the ability to damage manifest Paradox in the form of spirits with their Quintessence; "free Paradox" is beyond their control.

As she advances, the Oracle of Prime begins to learn more about the relationship between the poles of reality, soon understanding the true nature of Paradox (which I regret is beyond my poor abilities). With this knowledge, the Oracle of Prime can learn to deflect Paradox ever more effectively, though even she cannot wield it like Quintessence.

The Primal Forces

Standard magickal thought divides the cosmos into three basic powers: Dynamism, Stasis, and Entropy. While there are variations on this concept, something like this appears to be the most basic set of patterns into which the Quintessence that makes up our Tellurian is formed. When the Prime mage creates or destroys ordinary patterns, he manipulates these primal forces in a very basic way, and probably has no notion that anything more is possible, or even that he is using these great powers.

Not so the Oracle of Prime. By shifting the balance of the primal forces more delicately, in more complex fashions, he learns to unleash (or leash) reality in ways lesser beings barely even dream of.

Prime 6
Nullify Paradox Effect
Chain/Unchain

The beginning Archmage of Prime grasps the nature of Paradox more fully than even a Master; as a result, she is capable not only of damaging Paradox Spirits but of affecting other kinds of its manifestation. She may eliminate ordinary Paradox flaws completely, haul herself or another out of a Paradox realm, and heal damage produced by a backlash. Unfortunately, the effect must still occur before she can repair matters; if it kills her or renders her unable to use magick, there's nothing she can do.

Moreover, the Archmage is capable of manipulating static occurrences (whether natural or technological) as a mage using Prime 2 or 3 can manipulate magickal effects. For instance, she can speed up or slow down downloading from the net or invert the process of radiative heat loss, causing objects to absorb infrared radiation when they would normally release it. (See my upcoming article on "Meta-Magick" for details...if I ever finish it.)

At this level, the Archmage is also capable of undoing (or duplicating) the effects of calcification and the related "sleep" most spirits are in. With little difficulty, she can dissolve Pattern Web or free beings otherwise calcified, or calcify them herself (though no actual Web is created). Likewise, she can wake a spirit by infusing it with Quintessence, or send it to sleep in much the same way.

Prime 7
Tap Pool

It is at this point that the Archmage finally gains the ability to tap into the fountain of creation itself. With this power, some of the relatively simple feats he can perform include drawing Quintessence from "nowhere" without the side effects produced by a Master (this is coincidental, but difficulty is at +1), creating tass or talisman from thin air, and producing talisman that even Sleepers can use (with neither the extensive training the Void Engineers use nor the widespread acceptance of technology to back them up). Some Archmagi have even been known to simply grant abilities to Sleepers, making them living talisman of a sort, and it has been theorized that the various supernatural races might have been created in this way.

Perhaps the greatest feat such an Archmage can perform, though far from the most spectacular, is to cut off a spirit from the flow of Quintessence that nourishes it. Ordinary spirits can be affected, preventing them from recharging their Power in slumber, but it is also possible to affect a mage's Avatar. Not only does the mage no longer recharge his Quintessence naturally, forcing him to draw from whatever sources he can find, each Sphere level an Effect requires forces him to expend a point of Quintessence to accomplish it. Such an unfortunate can still communicate with his Avatar; their relationship is not directly changed, though it can be strained by the effects of such an occurrence.

Prime 8
Cleanse Paradox
Pattern Growth

The Oracle at this level becomes capable of using her own Quintessence to "grease the wheels of reality," as it were, releasing the Paradox she has accumulated harmlessly. For each success, she may spend a point of Quintessence to cancel a point of Paradox. Unfortunately, this act is itself vulgar, with the result that even a mage of this great power can never completely free herself from static reality.

She also wields a power over patterns far beyond what a Master can accomplish. Simply by infusing a pattern with Quintessence, she can cause it to evolve beyond its present state. Three such transformations are possible; which is easiest depends on which force of the Metaphysic Trinity the mage is most closely aligned with. The Oracle can cause a pattern to degenerate, following the lines of Entropy; this is not simple damage, but actual devolution into a lower form of being. (Living beings literally devolve into a lower state, or grow old; machines may be similarly affected, degenerating into earlier versions of themselves; forces simply fade; and so on.) Wielding the force of Stasis, she may freeze a pattern or some aspect thereof in its current state, whatever that might be. With the power of Dynamism, the mage can cause patterns to grow and develop beyond their present existence. (Consider the results of a spectacular accomplishment produced by extra successes on a magick roll as possible results of causing such an Effect.)

Prime 9
Create/Destroy Node
Restore Pattern

At places where the ley lines converge, powerful mortal mages have been able at times to create true nodes from them. The Oracles of Prime, however, have gone even beyond this tremendous feat, learning either to draw the ley lines to them and so create an awakened node, or, in a rougher fashion, simply to puncture a hole in reality and let the new node sprout its own ley lines. (The latter is vulgar, but takes less time than the coincidental version.) Likewise, though a Master can "burn out" a node, as in the Void Engineers' "terminal sanitization" process, the ley lines remain and might be re-opened later. An Oracle can scatter the ley lines to the wind, so that only time or another Oracle can make a node there again.

The Oracle at this level also gains the power to re-create the patterns that lesser Prime mages have destroyed, recalling the raw Quintessence to them before the structure has entirely dissipated. This can be done no more than a minute or so after destruction, and only at the previous location, but simple Time and Correspondence magicks can change that.

Prime 10
Paradox Immunity
Unleash Primal Force

At the pinnacle of the Sphere of Prime, the Oracle no longer need concern herself with Paradox whatsoever. Though true control over the mysterious force remains impossible, she can so insulate herself from it as to render herself completely immune. Thus these greatest of Oracles can cast vulgar magicks with full impunity. Likewise, they can bestow this immunity on lesser mages, though few do; it seems they fear the possibility that such mages, with their insufficient understanding, might severely damage the cosmos.

The Oracles at this level have also gained the ability to release the forces of the Metaphysic Trinity within an area to do with it whatever those powers will. As with Prime 8, which force is easiest to release depends on the Oracle's own affinity. But even for these mighty mages, the Primal Forces are beyond any finite being's ability to control (even Stasis), though the Oracles can shield themselves from the results; moreover, the unleashed Primal Force may be tainted with the mage's own Essence. Releasing Entropy upon an area shatters it, causing all patterns in the area to distort and crumble; releasing Stasis freezes all indefinitely, precisely as it is; releasing Dynamism results in bizarre transformations (like a Wyldstorm), although living beings generally remain fully viable.