We Are All Lost
Once Awakened, a mage can’t go back to Sleep. The Lie is exposed, and magic filters and colors everything she sees, to a greater or lesser extent. A mage can intensify her perceptions of magic and glean a great deal of information about the world around her, but doing so has risks.
- Mage Sight has three levels: Peripheral, Active, and Focused.
Peripheral Mage Sight
Peripheral Mage Sight is always active. The mage sees — rather,
perceives — magical occurrences through the lens of her Path and
Nimbus. Many mages experience the Periphery through senses
other than sight. A sensual Mastigos might feel brushing, light
touches on his skin, while an Acanthus might hear mercurial
laughter. Many Moros sense the supernatural through their
sense of smell, tasting decay and chemicals on the air. Deeper
levels of Mage Sight rely on knowledge of the Arcana, but the
Periphery responds to all supernatural events.
Note, however, that Peripheral Mage Sight notices only active
supernatural effects. Any supernatural attempt at concealment
hides the effect from the mage, without a Clash of Wills or any
other mechanical effect. Peripheral Mage Sight, for instance,
doesn’t detect a ghost lurking quietly in Twilight. If the ghost
spends Essence, activates a Numen, or Manifests, however, this
attracts the mage’s attention.
Nor does Peripheral Mage Sight give any clues as to what just
happened — only that magic is afoot. If the mage doesn’t have
the Death Arcanum to use Active Mage Sight with, the ghost
will remain a nagging sensation of something out of place at
the edge of the mage’s perceptions.
Active Mage Sight
Active Mage Sight requires more concentration from the
mage, and overlays the mage’s perception with the Supernal World of her Path. It automatically uses the mage’s two Path
Ruling Arcana, has no cost to add any third Ruling Arcanum,
and costs one point of Mana per scene to include a Common
or Inferior Arcanum.
Active Mage Sight allows the mage a much greater sensory
experience with regards to the Supernal correspondences of the
Arcana used, interpreted into the mage’s Path. The mage hallucinates,
seeing the connections of the Arcana all around her.
Mage Sight highlights all phenomena related to the Arcana used,
but making sense of the torrent of Patterns is often difficult, and
the mage can only determine the symbols related to phenomena
within her senses — her Sight won’t let her see through walls
or perceive entities and objects in a state of Twilight. Unveiling
spells and several Attainments allow more specialized analysis of
a mage’s surroundings, either adding capabilities to Mage Sight
or granting extra senses for more information.
Each Arcanum has a minor mechanical effect, relating to the
base level of perception granted by Active Sight.
Death Sight allows a mage to detect the presence of the
Anchor Condition (p. 258) or manifested ghosts and related
phenomena. With a glance, a mage using Mage Sight can tell if
someone has a soul, or if a body is, in fact, dead.
Fate Sight highlights anyone the mage watches who experiences
a dramatic failure or exceptional success. It reveals the
presence and use of a Destiny (see Merits, p. 100), but not the
details of that destiny.
Forces Sight detects motion and highlights the presence of
environmental Tilts, fire, electricity, and other hazards. With a
glance, a mage can tell if a device is powered.
Life Sight detects life signs, revealing if a body is still alive,
and allows a mage to gauge how injured a character is with a
glance. The presence of toxins, diseases, and Personal Tilts is
obvious to the mage.
Matter Sight allows the mage to determine the Structure and
Durability of anything she looks at, as well as highlighting the
value and quality of items (in game terms, telling the player the
Availability and Equipment Bonus of any object).
Mind Sight detects the presence of thinking beings and allows
the mage to tell with a glance if someone is asleep, comatose,
awake, meditating, or projecting out of his body or into the
Astral. The mage is also aware when a character she observes
gains or spends Willpower.
Prime Sight highlights anything the mage can use as a Yantra,
and the presence (if not the composition) of any Awakened spell
or Attainment effect. Mages using Prime Sight can recognize
tass with a glance, and tell when they are in a Hallow or Node.
Space Sight allows the user to instantly judge distances, range
bands, and cover, allowing the player to know what bonuses or
penalties would be in effect before the character acts. It also
detects spatial warps, scrying windows, and the presence of Irises.
Spirit Sight reveals the strength of the local Gauntlet, detects the
presence and nature of the Resonance Condition and other sources
of Essence, and highlights manifested spirits and related phenomena.
Time Sight reveals the split-second adjustments of time, allowing
the player to know the Initiative ratings of all participants in combat. When a character is about to act, even with a reflexive
action, a mage watching with Time Sight is aware of it (if not
what that action will be), and may preempt it if he is able. Time
Sight also detects temporal warps, and the tell-tale signs that
someone has come back into the past.
In addition to the above, any supernatural effect falling under
the purview of the Arcanum that the mage can see is highlighted
if she is using the correct Sight. Note that Peripheral Mage Sight is triggered by all supernatural events regardless of Arcana, but
unless the mage uses an applicable Active Sight she gains no
information about the phenomenon — only that it must be
related to an Arcanum she didn’t use.
Active Mage Sight of any Arcanum also reveals all Awakened
spells as they are being cast. The mage can see another willworker’s
Nimbus flare as he forms the Imago and casts the spell
(which, in turn, gives the observant mage a chance to use the
Counterspell Attainment if she knows the Arcanum involved).
Concealment magic, of whatever type, can hide a target
from Active Mage Sight, but only if the concealment would
logically mask the target from the purview of the Arcanum
in question. Even then, if the concealment power uses the
same magical principles as the detecting Arcanum, the mage
still has a chance to see through it. For example, a light-based
invisibility spell would conceal a target from Mind Sight, but
Life Sight could still detect the living being, with or without
the assistance of photons. Likewise, some vampires employ a
kind of mental “invisibility” that causes observers to ignore
them. This power would conceal a target from Forces Sight
(it isn’t light-based) or Time Sight, but not Mind Sight (since
both the concealment power and the Arcanum are working
on the same principles).
System: Entering active Mage Sight is a reflexive action when
only using Ruling Arcana, and an instant action otherwise.
Leaving it is always reflexive. If the Storyteller determines that
a mage’s Active Mage Sight could logically pierce a concealment
effect, use a Clash of Wills (see p. 117), pitting the observing
mage’s Gnosis + Arcanum against the defender’s dice pool for
the concealment power. While a character is using Active Mage
Sight, she suffers a –2 modifier to all rolls unrelated to using or
perceiving magic. In addition, Mage Sight is draining. A mage
can maintain Active Mage Sight for a number of minutes equal
to her Gnosis. After that, she must spend a Willpower point to
keep it active for the remainder of the scene.
Focused Mage Sight
Focused Mage Sight allows a mage to scrutinize a subject through the lens of the chosen Arcana. Unlike Peripheral or Active Mage Sight, Focused Mage Sight requires that the mage put all her attention on one target — a person, object, or location (roughly the size of a small room). Instead of seeing the subject in the context of the Supernal, she sees the Supernal as filtered through the subject. Magic pours through the subject, shaped by its Fallen-World constraints and correspondences; and by examining that interaction, the mage can learn much about it. Using this principle, a mage can release Mana into
the world and watch the patterns it forms, gleaning additional information from them.
Focused Mage Sight has its dangers, however. Looking so deeply into the Supernal isn’t a passive, casual observation. The mage is undertaking the magical equivalent of a thorough, persistent, and even invasive investigation, pouring magical energy into the area, and anything with the ability to sense magic (including other mages in the area) can notice this. Otherworldly beings might observe her inquiry, and some of them would prefer to remain unseen.
A mage must be using Active Mage Sight already to Focus. Focused Mage Sight has two stages: Scrutiny and Revelation. Both pit the perceptive power of the mage against the complexity of the Mystery she is trying to illuminate. This is represented in game terms by a trait called Opacity — simply put, an abstract measure of how deep a mage must delve in order to fully understand a Mystery. A mage can attempt Revelation at any time. Revelation is the magical equivalent of a glance, a summary, a quick-read through, or a taste test. On its own, it can be useful, even illuminating, but it does not grant the mage depth of knowledge. For that, she needs Scrutiny, the in-depth, time-consuming, and sometimes dangerous practice of magically studying a target.
Revelation and Scrutiny are two different actions. They can be attempted in either order; a mage can Reveal a Mystery before Scrutinizing it to gain a baseline understanding, or Scrutinize the Mystery before Revealing it to reduce its Opacity. What a mage cannot do, however, is Reveal a Mystery twice without Scrutinizing it. Once a mage has Revealed a Mystery, she has learned all she can without using Scrutiny.