[Mage: the Awakening 101] Arcana Basics – Matter

As a counterpart to Life, the Matter arcanum deals with the nonliving portion of the world that isn’t classified as an energy, as that falls under the Forces.  All forms of matter, from simple base elements to the most complicated alloys can be created by a sufficiently capable Matter mage.  The Matter mage enjoys having an intimate knowledge of various materials and their compositions, as well as their properties.  With the help of transmutation and alteration of either the composition, state or attributes of a given material, a Matter mage is capable of coming up with a solution to almost any situation.

Of all the Arcana, Matter benefits the most from knowledge of Chemistry and a little bit of engineering.  Knowledge of basic interactions of various chemicals (such as the explosive results of putting pure potassium in water,) can be a lifesaver as a Matter mage begins to make the necessary alterations to change the environment.  While direct damage spells are possible with this Arcana, Matter is better utilized as a tool rather than a weapon.  Battlefield superiority and dominance are the key elements of a Matter mage in combat.

Sphere Levels:

Much like Life, Matter is an Arcana that is ever present.  Unless a mage is in truly dire circumstances, there’s always a means to get a hold of something that Matter can affect, even if it means plucking out hairs and transmuting them into copper wire.  Among the phenomena that fall under the purview of the Matter arcanum are:Alchemy, Elemental Air, Elemental Water, Elemental Earth, Shaping and Transmutation.  The following is a general list of effects that a mage can pull of with varying degrees of mastery of the Matter Arcana:


  • Alter an objects conductivity
  • Analyze an object’s purpose or function as long as it has moving parts
  • Perceive Matter Magic and Resonance
  • Counter perceivable vulgar Matter spells being cast
  • Detect Substance
  • Perceive the material composition of an object
  • Locate hidden / secret compartments


  • Alter Accuracy
  • Shape Liquid
  • Grant another with the ability to perceive Matter Magic and Resonance
  • Form an armor out of Matter magic
  • Transmute common liquids to other common liquids
  • Make an opaque object transparent and vice-versa


  • Alter an object’s durability
  • Bestow another with armor from the Matter arcanum
  • Bestow the armor piercing quality on an object
  • Merge two objects to combine their functions (nail gun + shotgun = nail blast gun)
  • Force an object to be temporarily malleable by hand
  • Repair objects
  • Transmute one common solid to another common solid


  • Improve or degrade a mechanical object’s workings
  • Destroy Inert Matter
  • Transmogrify common solids to common liquids and vice-versa
  • Reconfigure object
  • Control the flow and density of air and the dispersion of gas
  • Transmute one gas into another
  • Transmute rare substances to common substances


  • Alter an object’s size
  • Destroy extraordinary matter such as enchanted items
  • Transmute common or precious liquids and solids to gasses, and vice-versa
  • Create an object out of nothing
  • Bestow an object with the ability to repair itself


Usage & Tips:

As I mentioned earlier, a good grasp of elementary grade chemistry goes a long way to helping a Matter mage.  Furthermore, it’s also always good to remember that almost everything that’s been manufactured these days is made up component parts… which means that disabling them is actually that much easier since you don’t have to stop all of it, just the important stuff.

The earlier levels of Matter are subtle but no less effective.  Alter conductivity alone can short out an entire building’s power, or render electronic devices (like explosive detonators) useless without having to resort to more powerful spells like transmuting the plastic explosive to modeling clay.

Preparation is key for Matter Mages of Disciple level, as they can go in fully geared, with bulletproof clothing, an hyper-accurate guns loaded with armor piercing bullets.  If mankind is defined as a tool-making animal, then the Matter mage is the perfect ideal as all his tools are at peak performance.

Upon hitting Adept level however, the Matter mage can be downright vulgar with it’s effects, transmuting a room’s air  into a flammable mix of oxygen and methane gas, for example, is perfect for taking out a target who likes to have a cigar while reading a good book.

Recommended Rotes:

  • Alter Conductivity – Stop cellphones, kill car batteries, terminate computer processes, and halt pacemakers… conversely, you can also grant conductivity to wooden floors, car seats or even that kevlar armor that your opponent is wearing while your cabal mate readies his Call Lightning spell.
  • Alter Accuracy – My tool is better than your tool.  This rote enhances a simple tool or weapon to do it’s job better, whether it’s to repair things, or cut people.  Note: This rote doesn’t work on complex objects, so Alter Accuracy won’t improve your guns.
  • Transmute Earth – Being able to change a type of solid matter into another common solid is a godsend.  While certain transmutations might be trickier, changing a sheet of metal to glass is a good way to break into places.  Likewise turning a rubber car tire into stone might be just the thing to ruin someone’s potential getaway.

7 thoughts on “[Mage: the Awakening 101] Arcana Basics – Matter

  1. The fact of the Matter is that the Industrial Revolution was brought about by Matter mages.


    The loss of individuality and mass production of processed materials makes Matter a powerful sphere.

    The Matter arcana is the Communist ideal!

  2. This is fantastic…Have matter 4 and enjoy the way of beiing a fixer and guardian angel for the rest of my cabal..

    1. Hi Bjørge!

      Yeah, Matter mages make for great support / assist guys. Do you have any particular tricks you’d like to share for other people who aren’t as experienced with the Matter Arcana?

  3. Hey any new matter?

    Yes…for a craftsman and pistolmage with matter 4, it is with great pleasure to tell that you could create guns, grenade, rifle and so on…it is very paradoxy..dangerous..but with great attitude and heroism it is still going on…not even lost any humanity…would like to write more..specific…but the bed is calling


    alias mandan bansl

  4. Another thing for Matter mages is Alchemy, as written in Tome of Mysteries. Essentially, you make one use items and distribute them to your friends, in the form of pills, spray, patches etc

    1. Hey there!

      Yeah, the Tome of the Mysteries extends the usefulness of the Matter Arcana a great deal thanks to the Alchemical compounds they can make. I can certainly see the Guardians of the Veil using these a lot over the course of their own missions to safeguard Magic from those who would dabble carelessly in the mysteries.

  5. I know this is an old article, but I really love this game and your posts are most informative and well written. 🙂

    Speaking as a huge fan of Matter/Forces combo mages, I really like your points here. Matter’s definitely my favorite Arcanum. Specifically, transmogrifying the air in someone’s lungs to water or the air around them into a concrete prison is super fun, if horribly vulgar. Also, going along with my aforementioned combo preference, combining Matter and Forces for the creation of all sorts of ice spells can lend one a pretty cold edge. lol

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