The Arcanum of Forces deals with the creation and manipulation of various natural energies. A mage knowledgeable in this Arcanum can fly, become invisible, hurl lightning, or cause earthquakes. It is one of the most blatant of the 10 Arcana, and as such is ideally suited to its largely unsubtle wielders.
The Forces Arcana is usually the first thing that comes to mind whenever the average person is told to think of mages. Hurling lightning bolts and fire, commanding the very weather… all these are possible, but Forces is an arcanum that goes beyond just flashy displays of power. To some mages it is this arcanum that is the hallmark of the mage’s place in reality, where even the very forces of nature bow to the superior will. To others, it is the arcana that ultimately demands the most discipline and wisdom from a mage, a true test of what kind of person they are by virtue of how they exercise it’s power.
Electricity, fire, gravity, heat, kinetic energy, light, magnetism, nuclear radiation, sound, sunlight (note that sunlight is different from regular light), weather.
Nature and Power
The Arcanum of Forces is the Gross Arcanum of the Supernal Realm of Aether, a realm it shares in common with the Arcanum of Prime. Here, Forces can be seen in unadulterated splendour, not limited in its scope by the nature of the Fallen World. Great sheets of fire light the ground and lightning tears through the skies, as wind howls and thunder roars, and the ground shifts and cracks violently. Thankfully for life and the universe, in the Fallen World, the power of Forces is diluted. But it still has tremendous power.
The burning of the sun and stars. The orbit of the planets. The slow rotation of the galaxy. Almost the entire universe can be associated at some point with the power of Forces, and on a smaller scale, so can the systems that keep the Earth running. Tides and the seasons are dependent on the same cosmic reactions that Forces holds sway over, and it has influence over the weather, heat, light, the movements of the tectonic plates, and many other systems, too.
On a lesser scale, many of the devices of mankind run on electricity or fire. Even at the lower levels of the Arcanum, a mage can manipulate the workings of these machines. And it’s well suited for any combat a mage may become embroiled in. The ability to hurl fire, shoot electricity, or stab at opponents with blades of kinetic energy, can make short work of most opponents, especially when combined with invisibility or the ability to see in the dark. With sufficient levels of power, even things such as the true light of the sun or the radiation of an atomic blast can be created and controlled by the mage. Mages can speed themselves or others up, or slow them down. They can create rain, wind, storms, and even earthquakes, tornadoes, or tsunamis. They can meddle with gravity, fly, and manipulate objects from a distance. And those are simply the powers of a master. The powers available to an archmaster or higher are unknown, but one thing that can be certain is that they must be truly terrifying in scope.
Levels of Mastery
At the first level of mastery, an Initiate of Forces gains the power to alter his perception to see in the dark, to increase the range of light and sound perceptible to him, or to detect energy as visible phenomena. Minor influence can be exerted over heat, light, and sound, altering their flow and direction. At this level, however, the mage cannot alter the intensity of the heat or light or the volume of the sound, nor can these forces be created from nothing. The mage can also pick up radio, electronic, and data signals and convert them into intelligible sounds.
Of all the Arcana, Forces enjoys the infamy of being one of the most difficult to use without incurring Paradox. Vulgar effects are easy to come up with, but covert applications of Forces are equally valuable, if more troublesome to conceptualize. Among the phenomena that fall under the purview of the Forces arcanum are: Electricity, gravity, kinetic energy, light, physics, radiation, sound and weather. The following is a general list of effects that a mage can pull of with varying degrees of mastery of the Forces Arcana:
Influence heat, Influence light, Influence sound, Nightvision, Perceive energy and magical resonance, Hear sounds on subsonic or supersonic frequencies, Listen in on free floating data transmission and translate it to an understandable format
Forces • (Initiate) Practices: Compelling, Knowing, Unveiling.
- Guide the direction and flow of existing light.
- Split existing light into a spectrum as if through a prism.
- Focus existing light into a beam or a pinpoint.
- Disperse direct lighting, forming a local chiaroscuro eff ect.
- Draw diff use local lighting into a beam, like a reading light.
- Guide the direction and flow of existing radiated heat.
- Extract heat from one area, sending it into another area.
- Focus the heat onto a small spot, or diff use it over an area.
- Guide the direction and flow of existing sound.
- Keep one’s own sounds from travelling too far from oneself: e.g. a zone of privacy.
- Redirect sounds of a conversation from a distance to oneself to overhear what is being said.
- Listen in on free-floating radio transmissions, e.g. mobile communications, radio broadcast TV signals, the images on non-Tempest protected TV screens and monitors. Making sense of it all requires Wits + Science, possibly Mind magic.
- Expand perceptions: find one’s way in the dark in conditions of very little light. Supplement nightsight with ability to perceive radiated heat, and to “see” the presence of obstacles in the dark through a form of echolocation.
- Hear sounds beyond the human hearing range.
- Mage Sight (Read Matrices). Sense magic. Scrutinise magic.
- Gain sensory perception of phenomena within the purview of Forces.
- Perceive energy and magical resonance.
- Detect the presence of all of the Universe’s energies in the area, including magnetic fields, gravity and nuclear radiation.
With the second level of mastery, an Apprentice of Forces can grant his increased perceptions of energy to others. He can now increase or decrease the intensity of heat or light and the volume of sound, though these forces still cannot be created from nothing. Minor influence over fire and electricity is now possible; the mage can make existing fire and electricity move under his command, though they can neither be magnified and diminished nor created from nothing. Inanimate objects can be made invisible. The force of a blunt blow can be manipulated into a stabbing point. Radio signals can be altered to broadcast whatever the mage desires, and he can create a shield of energy to disperse, deflect, or halt physical attacks and rob energy-based ones of their power.
Control heat. Control light. Control sound. Bestow another with the ability to perceive energy and magical resonance. Influence electricity. Influence fire. Render an object invisible. Convert all damage of a strike to a tiny surface area to convert Bashing damage to Lethal. Hijack an extant radio signal and replace the information with something else. Create an armour out of the Forces Arcanum.
Forces •• (Apprentice) Practices: Ruling, Veiling, Shielding.
- Brighten or darken an area by altering ambient light intensity. Can’t create light from nothing.
- Amplify or diminish the volume of sounds in an area. Can’t create sound from nothing.
- Increase or decrease ambient temperature in an area. Can’t create heat from nothing.
- Cause electricity to arc at someone. Aimed. Can’t amplify or diminish electricity. Can’t create electricity from nothing.
- Limited control over magnetism. Can’t amplify or diminish magnetism. Can’t create magnetic fields from nothing.
- Control the direction or flow of fire, causing it to jump in the direction the caster desires, or dance around. Can’t amplify or diminish fire, or create fire from nothing.
- Focus the kinetic impact of a blow to a pinpoint, turning bashing damage into lethal damage.
- Hijack an extant radio signal, superimposing his own signal onto the frequency.
- Render an object invisible to light, including cameras.
- Render an object inaudible.
- Render an object invisible to heat sensors.
- Deflect incoming physical attacks by dispersing the energies of those attacks along invisible contours surrounding the caster.
- Protection against kinetic blows, bullets, lasers, fl ame attacks, electrical arcs, lightning and nuclear radiation.
- Grants additional protection against knockdown.
- Does not protect against attempts to grapple the caster. Does not protect against attempts to overcome a grappled caster.
- Analyze the phenomena revealed by Forces • Knowing.
- Grant Forces • Knowing upon others.
- Grant Forces • Mage Sight upon others (Eyes of Th e Matrix).
- More in-depth scrutiny.
The third level of mastery allows a Disciple of Forces to complete his mastery of heat, light, and sound; he is now able to create these forces from nothing. He can now bolster or weaken electricity and fire, though he still can’t create them from thin air. He can bestow his shield upon others, and turn himself invisible. The mage can also call down lightning from a stormy sky, manipulate objects from a distance, attack with orbs of kinetic energy, or turn bullets, thrown rocks, and arrows aside. At this level, he gains the ability to redirect the flow of magnetism and radiation.
An Adept of Forces with the fourth level of mastery has solidified his power over fire and electricity, able to spin these forces from thin air and hurl them from his fingertips. He may make non-destructive alterations to the weather, speed up or slow down objects or himself, and perform limited flight via levitation. His telekinesis is now expanded to work on living beings, and he may increase the force of friction to make any wind or motion deadly. The mage may now bestow his invisibility on others, bolster or weaken extant sources of magnetism or radiation, and transform one type of energy into another.
At the fifth level of mastery, a Master of Forces may now bestow his levitation and bursts of speed on others, and create directly harmful weather effects such as tornadoes and tsunamis. He may create earthquakes and control the direction or power of gravity, cause EMP pulses, and create or destroy magnetism or harmful radiation. The mage can now also fly, and as a final note, can create true sunlight, not just mere light, extreme deadliness to vampires and all.
Archmaster and Above (●●●●●●+)
As with all archmastery powers, the exact nature of the sixth level of mastery or above in the Arcanum of Forces is largely unknown. What is certain, though, is that a mage with this level of power is fearsome in the extreme. A mage at the fifth level can create radiation, but not a nuclear blast. However, an archmaster might be able to create such a blast, and if he could, he would be a terrifying force indeed. Mages at very high levels might be able to influence the forces of the cosmos as described under the Nature and Power heading, creating or extinguishing stars, knocking planets out of orbit, or shaking worlds apart. Fortunately, no mage has been known to surface in modern times with such powers, and it may be that one ascends to the Supernal Realms before such powers become available, but the prospect of a mage who can conceivably destroy the Earth is one that must surely haunt the dreams of mages as they sleep at night.
In Conjunction With Other Arcana
A Master of both Forces and Life can turn himself into a being of living energy in the same manner as a mage knowledgeable in Life can transform his own body into that of another creature. If the mage is also a Master of Matter, he will be able to transform his equipment along with him, but his projectile weapons will become useless.
A Disciple of Forces and Initiate of Mind can devote part of his intellect and his power over kinetic energy to performing a task remotely, whilst he goes and does something else. If he is a Master of Mind, he can create a seperate mind for the force, so he can perform strenuous tasks without risk of losing concentration on the spell. An Apprentice of Space can make the force function effectively far away from the mage.