[Mage: the Awakening 101] Arcana Basics – Spirit

If the Space and Matter Arcana are all about perceivable and (generally) measurable phenomena, Spirit is the Arcanum of intuition.  It is the Arcana that deals with the world of Spirits… neverborn beings that exist alongside us, and yet never really interacting except for the most rare (and most horrifying) moments.  Spirit Mages are Shamans, communicators and diplomats to this hidden world, bargaining with alien intelligences, discerning their motives and either forging alliances with the benevolent or striking against the wicked.

It is little wonder then that Mages of the Spirit Arcanum tend to be rather conscientious individuals.  When you become aware that anything and everything can potentially harbor a spirit, it opens your mind to the understanding that you are but a part of a massive macrocosm of beings.  It’s this kind of sympathy that serves a Spirit Mage well, as dealing with Spirits for favors requires a sense of balance, wisdom and empathy.

Arcana Levels

Spirit is the most social of the Arcanum, as a mage with knowledge of even the lowest levels of this art becomes aware of the need to treat Spirits with care and respect.  Most of a Spirit Mage’s repertoire will revolve around contacting spirits, and gaining the necessary social leverage to ask or trade for favors.  Among the phenomena that fall under the purview of the Spirit Arcanum are: exorcism, the shadow realm, soul retrieval, spirits and the Gauntlet.  The following is a general list of effects that a mage can pull of with varying degrees of mastery of the Spirit Arcana:

Initiate:

  • Urge a sleeping spirit within an object for a small bonus
  • Detect the presence of a possessing entity in a host
  • Perceive Spirit Magic and Resonance
  • Counter perceivable vulgar Spirit spells being cast
  • See, hear and talk to Spirits

Apprentice:

  • Grant another with the ability to perceive Spirit Magic and Resonance
  • Form an armor out of Spirit magic
  • Physically interact with Spirits
  • Summon a Spirit
  • Peer across the Gauntlet into the Shadow Realm
  • Fortify or Weaken the Gauntlet in a Hallow
  • Trap a Soul into a vessel

Disciple:

  • Command a Spirit to perform a single simple action
  • Exorcise a possessing spirit from it’s host
  • Forge a pact with a Familiar
  • Summon a greater Spirit
  • Damage a Spirit’s Corpus
  • Protect oneself from a Spirit Numina attacks
  • Reach through the Gauntlet to interact with objects on the other side
  • Heal a Spirit’s Corpus
  • Restore a severed Soul into it’s proper body
  • Awaken the spirit inside an object
  • Open a Spirit Road across the Gauntlet

Adept:

  • Bind a Spirit into the material world
  • Create a Fetish, compelling a  spirit to inhabit an object and allow access to its power
  • Convert Mana to Essence
  • Grant another a Familiar
  • Create an object that can hold Essence
  • Channel Essence from a Spirit, Locus or Essence Container to another object or being that can hold that Essence
  • Bind a Spirit to a person as a Guardian
  • Cause a Spirit to possess a person
  • Manage access to Spirit Roads or shift across the Gauntlet without a Spirit Road

Master:

  • Increase or decrease the strength of the Gauntlet without the need for a Hallow
  • Cause a Spirit to Materialize
  • Create or fundamentally alter a Spirit
  • Create a Spirit Court
  • Create a Sanctum in the Shadow Realm

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Usage & Tips:

Spirit Mages would do well to start building ties to spirits from the moment they begin their careers.  At the lowest levels, Spirit Mages have to rely on a more crude version of “I scratch your back, you scratch mine”.  It may seem basic, but it’s effective.  With a little work, and a lot of goodwill built up, a Spirit Mage may find himself racking up allies who have all sorts of supernatural abilities and the willingness to use them for the Mage’s benefit.  All without the risk of Paradox.

This tactic only gets better as the Spirit Mage gains further understanding in the Mysteries of the Spirit Arcanum.  The Mage soon becomes able to command Spirits, and his network slowly grows into a personal army of servants.  As long as a Spirit Mage plays his cards right, he’ll gain status beyond that of the material world, pulling strings that make things happen with less effort.

Recommended Rotes:

  • Spirit Tongue: The ability to speak with the spirits is the first step to achieving incredible things.
  • Lesser / Greater Spirit Summons: Compelling specific spirits to a Mage’s side is useful when you need backup
  • Harm Spirit / Restore Corpus: Sometimes a Spirit Mage has to enforce his place in the food chain.  Like a true king, a Mage must learn to make his subjects fear and love him in proper proportion.

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