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March 19, 2012 / Wythe

Category wrangling: systems of psi/magic

In Mage: The Awakening, you put ranks into 10 Arcana:

  1. Death: The Subtle Arcanum of decay and death, capable of removing souls and affecting or creating ghosts and undead
  2. Fate: The Subtle Arcanum of luck and destiny, capable of defining the random and forcing the hand of Fate
  3. Forces: The Gross Arcanum of energy and kinetics, capable of controlling flames and electricity and stopping bullets
  4. Life: The Gross Arcanum of creatures and plants, capable of healing wounds, enhancing physical capabilities and creating impossible hybrid beasts
  5. Matter: The Gross Arcanum of inanimate objects and inert elements, capable of transmuting materials and enhancing mundane objects
  6. Mind: The Subtle Arcanum of thoughts and dreams, capable of reading and controlling thoughts and emotions and enhancing mental capacities
  7. Prime: The Subtle Arcanum of pure magical force and structure, capable of dispelling magic, enchanting items, manipulating Mana and creating illusory constructs
  8. Space: The Gross Arcanum of distance and separation, capable of observing and affecting far distances, creating overlapping dimensions and allowing teleportation
  9. Spirit: The Subtle Arcanum of Spirits and their Realm, capable of summoning and controlling spirits and forging links through the Gauntlet
  10. Time: The Gross Arcanum of the passage of time and aging, capable of manipulating the flow of time and jumping over periods of time

In Novarium, you use these 8 verbs:

  1. Control
  2. Create
  3. Imbue
  4. Negate
  5. Protect
  6. Sense
  7. Strike
  8. Transform

To control these 12 domains:

  1. Air
  2. Death
  3. Demon
  4. Earth
  5. Fire
  6. Holy
  7. Life
  8. Light
  9. Sound
  10. Thought
  11. Time
  12. Water

In DnD/Pathfinder, these are the 6 disciplines of psionics:

  1. Psychometabolism – Egoist
  2. Psychokinesis – Kineticist
  3. Psychoportation – Nomad
  4. Clairsentience – Seer
  5. Metacreativity – Shaper
  6. Telepathy – Telepath

And these are the 8 schools of magic:

  1. Abjuration – “protection” (has anyone ever cast a single abjuration?)
  2. Conjuration – calling, creation, healing,summoning, teleportation, binding outsiders
  3. Divination – scrying
  4. Enchantment – charm, compulsion
  5. Evocation – blowing shit up, fire, lightning, “wizard” shit
  6. Illusion – figment, glamer, pattern,phantasm, shadow
  7. Necromancy – raising the dead
  8. Transmutation – polymorphing

And, finally, the 6 types of basic actions in Hollowpoint:

  1. TAKE – Steal things with impunity
  2. KILL (or HURT or KUNG FU) – Kill people
  3. TERROR – Scare people (as opposed to actually hurting or killing them)
  4. CON (or SEDUCE) – Fake people out
  5. DIG – Get information, crack codes, hack
  6. COOL (or BOSS) – Impress, woo, command (as opposed to lying to or scaring)

I offer all these because they’ve all influenced how I’ve arrived at my own system. In my game, these are the 6 disciplines of Hell Science:

  • Aegis (abjuration) – The Shield.  Protection.  Abjuration spells, now thought of as expansions of the mind into the environment (no summoning or banishing, no demons, no angels).
  • Gnosis (clairsentience + divination) – Knowledge.  All the divinatory psychic practices.  Forethought and farsight.
  • Logos (telepathy + enchantment) – The Word.  Thought.  Communication.  “The Queen of the Hell Sciences.”  By far the most valued, difficult, and potential evil science.  Brainwashing.  Lovemaking.  Logos is the focus of the Empire’s research.
  • Mimesis (illusion) – Imitation.  The Shadow.  Like Aegis, a minor science, and one with no phantom-armies-that-are-actually-armies per fantasy d20 games.  Here, all the illusions are a combination of mental tricks (per Logos) with physical shadows and puppets and mimes (per Morphe).
  • Morphé (metacreativity + transmutation) – Change.  The Dream.  Shaping.  A powerful art that can produce great works of art.  The pride of Vennar’s hell scientists.
  • Physis (psychometabolism + necromancy) – Nature.  Life.  Death.  The World.  This powerful art can even resurrect the dead, it is said.  Though known better in Latura, Physis is being researched actively in Pala, particularly in the Federation.
  • Praxis (psychokinesis + evocation) – Action.  Mind War.  Explosions and mind bullets.  Currently, the Empire and the Federation know much more about Praxis than the other arts combined.  Curiously, Carvolia’s special forces (the ducal Antrustions or Foreign Guard) have pulled ahead in research on Praxis, in recent years.
  • Topos (psychoportation + conjuration) – Space.  Transformation.  Teleportation…  The focus of Arakhan psionic excellence.

Novarium inspired the Snakehead system, which I’ll post separately.


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