TWO NEPHANDI AND A MARAUDER
by Allen Varney
[Written for Phil Brucato's Mage: The Ascension second edition roleplaying game. Phil changed the Sphere descriptions after I designed the rotes given here, and I haven't revised them to reflect the published version. Gamer beware!
[A small fraction of this material made it into the Hidden Lore Storyteller's Screen, but most of this text is unpublished. Copyright ©1997 White Wolf Game Studio.]
Willworkers in Mage Chronicles face many antagonists who represent different kinds of corruption. Technomancers are consumed with pride, power, and their misguided desire to protect Sleepers from mythic reality. Rival Tradition mages sometimes show intolerance or even insanity, the corruption of self-righteousness. Marauders represent the corruption of the mind itself, and of unrestrained magickal power.
The clearest examples are, of course, the Nephandi. Drawn into evil by paths of pride, despair, cruelty, obsession, and -- above all -- doubt, the Fallen Ones embody the most dangerous corruption, that of the spirit. Its peril is greatest because it works subtly, playing on the desires and guilt felt by every human being, whether Sleeper or Awakened. Each of us is vulnerable to the call of the Corrupt Ones.
Nephandus mages, though they usually command only minor magick, compensate with ruthless cunning. They present tremendous threats to inexperienced Tradition mages, who are often burdened with moral conflicts over proper use of their magick. Moral conflict is the Fallen One's ecological niche. A young Akashic Brother who wishes a charming Cultist of Ecstacy in his cabal would detach herself from transient, illusory sensory pleasures; a Chorus mage intent on converting "pagans"; a Euthanatos, threatened by Syndicate blackmail, who feels her only chance to protect her cabal lies in a pact with dark forces: All these are the puppets that a Nephandus dances on her strings.
Storytellers can use Nephandi to explore the dark desires of human nature -- in particular, the mage characters' nature. Here are two Nephandi and the rotes they typically employ.
[If you have Mage first edition, Nina is based on the illustrations on pages 24 and 147.]
Demeanor: Bon Vivant
Tradition: Void Engineer barrabi
Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 2, Charisma 4, Manipulation 4, Appearance 4, Perception 3, Intelligence 3, Wits 3
Abilities: Alertness 2, Awareness 3, Expression 3, Intuition 4, Streetwise 2, Subterfuge 4, Meditation 1, Stealth 3, Technology 3, Investigation 3
Backgrounds: Allies 3, Arcane 3, Avatar 2, Mentor 4
Spheres: Correspondence 2, Entropy 2, Forces 2, Life 3, Matter 1, Mind 3, Prime 2
Background: Nina has corrupted over two dozen Tradition and Convention mages, including several of great power, across North America, Europe, and Japan.
Born Amelia Nina Linwood in Topeka, Kansas, she grew up a homely, unsocialized, and repressed young woman. After her Awakening in 1969, she served the Technocracy without distinction for three years (1969-72) at a Void Engineers Exploration and Development Station in low Earth orbit. Then, during a routine survey of the Deep Umbra, she encountered an Outsider Thing, an entity called Aadschlaggha (see The Book of Madness). She left the Technocracy shortly thereafter, and by the time she came to the Order's attention a year later, she looked and acted much different.
Nina displays comprehensive knowledge of every human vice and debauchery. In her preferred "young lady" strategy, she seeks protection by lonely men (and occasionally women) from perils that she engineers herself. From this beginning, she develops a relationship with the victim, playing on his inner fears and guilty desires, gradually convincing him that no one else understands him. Nina manipulates the victim into betrayal of his companions, whereupon she finds it easy to convince him he has no future except with the Demon Mages. Then she either turns him to Aadschlaggha's service, or sacrifices him to the Thing to bring its manifestation on Earth that much closer.
To further her schemes, Nina occasionally uses a fellow Void Engineer, a driveling nebbish named Seymour Glass. Glass got snared by Aadschlaggha just as Nina did (see The Book of Madness). Now he serves Nina as pawn, henchman, decoy, and aide de camp. She seduced Glass so easily that she now treats him with contempt, which makes Glass love her still more desperately. In his most secret, most confused and turbid fantasies, Seymour dreams of sacrificing Nina to the Outsider Thing, following her into that undying Void, and living in blissful union with her forever.
Image: Nina is five feet four inches tall, weighs 130 pounds, and is 43 years old, but likes to look 15. She has long blond hair, black eyebrows, and (usually) green eyes; she's slender, tanned, buxom, and dresses in filmy and provocative clothing.
Nina changes her appearance at will. The only useful way to identify her is that her eyes change color according to her mood (a Paradox Flaw).
Roleplaying Notes: Be charming in a mock-innocent, seductive way, and stay just this side of annoying excess. You'll try anything to corrupt your chosen target. You don't care what happens to him after that, but you never lose sight of your goal -- unless someone happens to bring up your humdrum Kansas history, or calls you "Amelia." You desperately want to put that life behind you.
Pretend Sleep (* * * Mind)
When she first meets a new target, Nina uses this Effect to impersonate a Sleeper. The mental illusion masks her Awakened thoughts from prying Mind Effects. However, Nina must first use or expel all her stored Quintessence. Otherwise, a mage with a glancing knowledge of the Sphere of Prime could sense her magickal nature instantly.
[The number of successes rolled is subtracted from the successes of any Mind Effect used on the Nephandus. If the Pretend Sleep Effect gains more successes than the opposing Effect, the Fallen One can convincingly simulate any desired thought processes: Awakened, diabolist, or Sleeper.]
Buzz (* * Prime, * Life)
Having persuaded her target that she is a Sleeper, Nina enchants him (figuratively speaking) with charming conversation, subtle praise, soulful looks, and other signals of attraction. She also covertly increases the flow of Quintessence through the target's life Pattern, giving him a mild, barely noticeable pleasure. "Around her things just seem more real," a victim may say early in their acquaintance.
Mages of different Traditions have different reactions to this Effect. A Cultist of Ecstacy recognizes it at once and dismisses it as small potatoes, whereas a naive Akashic Brother might mistake it for a sign on the Way to enlightenment.
[This Effect works as the Prime 2 magick Rubbing the Bones, but it stimulates instead of stunning. Only one success is needed. The target's small injuries may heal more quickly, or the Storyteller may reduce the difficulty of some magick rolls. The target is not usually aware of the Effect unless the roll is botched. The Storyteller may grant the target a Perception + Awareness roll to detect the Quintessence increase, although this does not identify the Effect's source.
[A target aware of the Effect may spend a point of stored Quintessence to smooth the flow and cancel the Effect.]
Second Childishness (* * Mind, * * Prime)
Nina tries to involve herself in the target's doings, often as an "innocent" in need of rescue. At this stage, she tries to be genuinely useful to her victim, and especially tries to arrange matters so that she can save his life. In some cases she pretends to Awaken and becomes the victim's student.
Early on, Nina seduces the target. She covertly videotapes this encounter for later use with the Video Frame Effect (see below).
In this period, she uses subtle magick to gradually alienate the target from his allies (for examples, see the Nephandi Effects in Mage Second Edition). On the pretext of encouraging the victim to "rediscover his childhood sense of wonder," Nina induces in him a state of childish playfulness. The couple might play in a playground at midnight, visit a zoo, or roam in a park. Nina first "dares" the target to commit mischievous but fairly harmless pranks, such as spraying graffiti, then gradually moves to more serious vandalism. Under the growing influence of her spell, the victim's will to resist progressively weakens.
At last she pulls the surprised target into serious crime, such as arson or assault. The victim, alarmed and confused, may break with her and retreat, only to find that Nina has timed the deed to coincide with a frame-up that makes the victim a wanted fugitive (see the next Effect).
[For each success on the magick roll, the difficulty of resisting a suggested childish behavior increases by 1. The Prime Sphere sustains the Mind Effect of induced immaturity, making successes cumulative on an extended roll over a period of days or weeks. After the difficulty reaches 10, the Storyteller may instead reduce the target's Willpower rating by 1 for each additional success, but this reduction applies only when resisting childish impulses.]
Video Frame (* * Forces, * Matter)
Of the various ways to magickally alter a videotape, this is the most tedious, but requires the least magickal skill.
Nina begins by covertly videotaping a romantic encounter with her target. Playing back the tape frame-by-frame on a good videocassette recorder, Nina senses the magnetic patterns on the tape and painstakingly revises each image. This usually takes her a minute per frame. By comparison, changing sounds goes much more quickly. In this way she produces a convincing taped record that shows the target brutally raping a young girl. Then she duplicates the tape by mundane means and distributes it anonymously to local TV stations, newspapers, and the police.
[This rote requires Technology skill. In addition to the magick roll, the rote requires one success on an extended Perception + Technology roll (difficulty 8) for each ten seconds of altered video.]
Arete 4, Quintessence 15
Not a rote but a Talisman, this tiny golden telescope is Nina's final weapon. She locates and observes the fugitive target with Correspondence magick, then comes to him when his Willpower is weakest and his Quintessence is low. She persuades or tricks him into looking into the telescope. (This may require a Manipulation + Subterfuge roll, unless Nina can win the target's trust.)
The telescope, given to Nina by Aadschlaggha, shows the target the vast gulfs of the Deep Umbra, and the entity that waits invitingly beyond (Mind 3 Effect). Aadschlaggha promises refuge from all the victim's troubles, and offers him great power to take revenge on his enemies, including Nina. If the victim agrees, he is drawn through the telescope into the Deep Umbra, and is never seen again -- except, possibly, as a Nephandi. Nina casually pockets the telescope and moves to another city, seeking a new target.
Nathan Oswald Strombeck, "Mentor"
[If you have Mage first edition, Mentor is based on the illustration on page 52.]
Tradition: Akashic Brotherhood barrabi
Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 2, Stamina 2, Charisma 4, Manipulation 4, Appearance 2, Perception 2, Intelligence 3, Wits 3
Abilities: Alertness 2, Awareness 3, Do 2, Dodge 2, Intuition 2, Streetwise 2, Subterfuge 4, Etiquette 3, Meditation 2, Stealth 3, Culture 3, Occult 3
Backgrounds: Allies 3, Avatar 3, Influence 3, Node 2
Spheres: Correspondence 3, Life 3, Mind 3, Prime 2, Spirit 2
Background: Just after World War II, retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Strombeck visited Tibet, and became one of the first modern Westerners to seek instruction with the Akashic Brotherhood. He Awakened at Shencha Dzong monastery, but his studies of Do progressed slowly. After one disappointing weeks-long retreat, he returned from a remote cave to find that Iteration X, in the guise of the Chinese Communist government, had sacked and destroyed the monastery.
Burning with a need for revenge, Strombeck travelled the Himalayas, hoping to enlist other Brothers to help him. By bad luck he found one who seemed very cooperative -- but who proved to be a Nephandus. Strombeck learned much from this teacher, but never achieved his desired revenge. Instead, he became an Adsinistratus (Tempter) for the Demon Lord Grostolis, Archduke of the Inferno (see The Book of Madness).
Combining his training in military disinformation and at Shencha Dzong, Strombeck has taken a novel and successful approach to corruption. He impersonates a wise mentor (thus his nickname) and takes a victim as his pupil. After inspiring absolute trust in the target, the Mentor lures the trusting student into some fictitious "exercise," such as a trip into the Umbra or an attack on a (supposedly unguarded) gathering of diabolists. The unwary student follows trustingly into a deathtrap, where she becomes a sacrifice or a convert to the deepest evils of the Nephandi.
Image: 5' 8", 155 lbs., apparent age 45, actually 83. Black eyes, thinning crewcut black hair, salt-and-pepper beard. Strombeck wears a line of braided dangles around his head, a focus for his Mind magick that originates in his esoteric Tibetan training. Harsh, gravelly voice; Stern, supremely confident manner. Wears enveloping robes, pendants, and other trappings that suggest arcane wisdom.
Roleplaying Notes: Always pretend superiority and ultimate knowledge. Never show surprise. Inspire trust, but don't be obvious about it. You care nothing for the people you corrupt, only for their Quintessence, Tass, and Talismans. These aid you in further corruptions, and thus in spreading the Black Words of your masters.
The Mentor specializes in mental illusions, especially those with cumulative effect. Each casting of a rote may give only a success or two, but in the long term his deceptions can exert powerful control over a target's will.
Pretend Depth (* * * Mind)
With this tricky rote, the Mentor protects the illusion of competence that is vital to his plans. If a mage uses Mind Effects to scan Strombeck's thoughts, this Effect alerts him, and he creates a pretense of restrained power, of vast depths barely concealed. The illusion cannot last long, so he makes patronizing comments or gives stern warnings to discourage the mind-reader.
[Usually, no magick roll is needed. Instead, the mage who pretends depth receives a Wits + Subterfuge roll to create the desired appearance of depth. The number of successes rolled is subtracted from the mind-reader's successes. If all these are canceled, the pretender may dictate the impression the mind-reader receives. A new Wits + Subterfuge roll is required for each turn that the pretender's mind is scanned.]
Pretend Mastery (* * * Mind, * * Prime)
This illusion gradually persuades the target that the Mentor is capable of amazing feats.
Typically, the Mentor begins by hiring a few thugs, then staging a mock mugging or other crisis in sight of the target mage. The mage, thinking to rescue this innocent man, watches in astonishment as the man leaps nimbly around, shouts with supernatural loudness, and carves up his attackers with amazing magick. This is all illusion, created by cumulative successes with this Mind Effect.
[This rote works as the Mind 3 Effect Graphic Transmission, but the Prime Sphere gives the mage an extended roll and cumulative successes. The number of successes rolled determines the vividness of the illusion. The target may receive a Perception + Awareness roll to resist, but if the illusion is plausible, the Storyteller need not allow such a roll unless the player requests it.]
Pretend Training (* * * Mind, * * Prime, * Life)
Having demonstrated "mastery," the Mentor takes his target as a pupil and begins instruction. Strombeck plays this role faultlessly. He usually picks Do or the Mind Sphere, but he can fake competence in almost anything the target wants to learn. Some of the training is genuine, drawn from Strombeck's long experience, but much of it consists of gradually convincing the target that she has increased her competence.
To this end, Strombeck senses the target's physical shortcomings and gradually creates a false sense that they have disappeared. The student may think she has grown stronger, faster, or more skilled in magick. Of course, the improvement is illusory, but the Effect also revises the target's memories. She doesn't remember ever lifting quite this much weight before, or casting this Effect quite so well. Her fellow mages may tell her otherwise, and so the Mentor gradually induces distrust of others, or requires the student to "go on retreat" for intensive study. From here the path to corruption requires no further magick.
[The number of successes on an extended roll determines both the illusion's power and how long it lasts. Each success seems to reduce appropriate difficulties by 1, and it also extends the illusion one day.]
Whereas Nephandi embody a corruption seductive to mages, Marauders represent the other narrative extreme, the repellent and frightening corruption of unrestrained power, of dynamism unchecked. "There but for the grace of the One go I," as Chorus mages put it.
Marauders possess understanding without wisdom. Having snapped under the strain of awareness, they are now unpredictable rogues. As such, they serve Storytellers in three main ways. First, they blaze through every Chronicle like meteors, showing off the wonders of magick unchecked by Paradox. Second, their impetuous and unforeseeable maneuvers are great fun to roleplay.
Third, and most important, Chaos Mages demonstrate the virtue of discipline, because their lack of discipline leaves them tormented maniacs. If a young Tradition mage threatens a Chronicle through irresponsible use of magick, scare the Quintessence out of him with a Marauder who shows that irresponsibility taken to a tragic extreme.
Here is a notorious Marauder and characteristic Effects he can use in a Chronicle. Note that Chaos Mages do not use rotes but devise each Effect spontaneously. Tradition mages name these Effects and deduce their appropriate Spheres after the fact.
Arlan "The Smiler" Nattick
[If you have Mage first edition, Arlan Nattick is based on the illustrations on pages 65 and 172.]
Demeanor: Varies drastically
Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 4, Stamina 3, Charisma 4, Manipulation 4, Appearance 3, Perception 5, Intelligence 4, Wits 3
Abilities: Alertness 3, Athletics 2, Awareness 1, Expression 2, Intuition 2, Intimidation 2, Subterfuge 2, Computer 2, Cosmology 4, Culture 4, Linguistics 3, Occult 5, Science 3
Backgrounds: Avatar 4, Library 4
Spheres: Life 5, Matter 5, all others 4 (usually); sometimes Mind 0 and all others 2
Willpower: 10 (usually); sometimes 3
Background: Arlan Nattick is a complete enigma to Traditions and Technocracy alike. He has displayed exhaustive knowledge of all Traditions, Conventions, and many Mad Ones and Nephandi. Nattick has killed 16 Tradition mages (resurrecting several later), and he singlehandedly destroyed a minor Iteration X Central Processing Unit in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has occasionally fought for certain causes, such as environmentalism in Malaysia and human rights in rural China. In each case, he eventually switched sides, apparently out of boredom, then caused chaos for both.
At times Nattick has demonstrated powerful magick. He derives intense physical pleasure from using it, and he shows wild confidence, as well as mordant wit (thus his nickname). However, Nattick's power at other times hardly exceeds Disciple rank, and in these cases he is nervous and fitful.
Nattick has willingly explained the origins of his astonishing magick to Tradition mages. However, "origins" (plural) is the word, because he always offers a different story.
His first encounter with the Traditions came in April 1989, on a coca plantation in Potosi, Bolivia. A Cult of Ecstacy cabal foiled Nattick's attempt to turn the plants into people and vice versa. In Portuguese-accented Spanish, Nattick told the Cultists that he came from a Progenitor breeding program, and had developed his great powers during ten years of torture by the Euthanatos. Then he killed two mages with lightning from a clear sky, chose one of the two by flipping a coin, and resurrected the chosen mage to full life (shivering with pleasure all the while). He flew away on a giant eagle.
Two months later, a group of young Hermetic students on a field excursion from Moscow stumbled on Nattick outside Krakow, Poland, where he was turning a mile-long stretch of the hopelessly polluted Wisla river into lime gelatin -- apparently just to see if he could. In fluent Russian, Nattick claimed he was a self-taught Orphan who had learned great magick from a cult of Sleeper diabolists. The Hermetic initiates had little power, but they bravely (and foolishly) tried to capture Nattick. He suddenly grew frightened, his gelatin river returned to normal, and he fled at a dead run.
Nattick has also claimed to be a living Paradox spirit, an Outsider Thing, and so on. None of his claims has any credibility, and he offers them all in a tone of terminal boredom. Attempts to reconcile the inconsistencies enrage him (at least, he pretends rage), and in most cases he attacks.
No one has yet discovered the secret of Nattick's power. To maintain the air of mystery, the Storyteller should let the mages discover the truth only a piece at a time, or not at all.
Arlan Nattick is the latest incarnation of an Avatar that Awakened in 1466, during the Grand Convocation that formed the Council of Nine Traditions. A servant of the Solificati, a Kazakh named Ivan Fyodorovich Arkalyk, grew fascinated with the powers of the mages he attended. Over the years of the Convocation, he learned what he could of their beliefs, undertook a practice of meditation and discipline, and eventually Awakened. His masters initiated him into the Solificati, and he participated directly in the Great Betrayal that destroyed the First Cabal.
Four Solificati, aided by the new disciple Ivan, were charged with destroying a single Master of Spirit. They succeeded, but with her dying will the Dreamspeaker took humane revenge on them. She cursed (or perhaps blessed) their Avatars, forcing them to reincarnate perpetually as members of the Traditions they betrayed. "Linger until you understand the tragedy of your actions," she said, and died. By her will, so was it done.
(Note: The curse is a conjunctional Effect of Spirit 6, Mind 4, Entropy 2, and Prime 2. The Spirit Sphere affects a target Avatar's path of reincarnation. Mind and Entropy guide the reincarnated mage, once he Awakens, toward a particular Tradition. The Prime Sphere maintains the Effect through repeated incarnations after the caster's death. This powerful magick is intended as a narrative device for Storytellers, not for players.)
In each subsequent reincarnation, through the Dreamspeaker's curse, the betrayers recalled much of their past lives. Over the centuries, one by one, the betrayers came to understand the Traditions deeply. Three became Oracles of different Spheres and threw off the curse. A fourth grew so remorseful that he proved an easy target for the Nephandi; he became corrupt, and his current identity and whereabouts are unknown. The fifth is Arlan Nattick.
Quiet: Less able than his fellows to handle the curse through his many lives, Nattick's Avatar blew like a leaf from one Tradition to another. He acquired a broad knowledge of each Tradition and many Conventions, represented by his Library background.
In his last incarnation, he became Pere Pierre Millot, an Adept of the Celestial Chorus who fought in the French Underground during World War II. In the closing hours of the European war, Millot fought to the death with a Nazi Nephandus in Berlin. Millot won, but in the battle he suffered a drastic Paradox backlash. His mind came "unstuck in time," and for the rest of his life he had episodes of Quiet wherein he returned to one of his past lives -- frequently at a stage of considerably reduced power.
This blight resumed when his current incarnation, Arlan Nattick, Awakened. But the teen-aged Nattick (seventh son of an impoverished "white trash" slum family in Montgomery, Alabama) could not handle the combination of Awakening and Quiet, and on the instant he became a Marauder. Both exalted and panicked, he transformed his family into crayfish, then fled to travel the world.
Now Nattick lives a bizarre parody of his Avatar's earlier quest for understanding. He tries on new belief systems like socks, and finds them all entertaining but arbitrary. Insofar as Nattick articulates his philosophy (not much), he would say that the more belief systems the world has, the more entertaining it is. Everyone should create ten or twenty of them for personal use.
Conceivably Nattick's next incarnation will recover from his Quiet. However, his power is so great that his next incarnation does not appear imminent.
Image: Nattick stands six feet tall, weighs 150 pounds, is 25 years old (in this incarnation), and is slimly built. He usually has a white crewcut, black eyebrows, deep-set black eyes, pale skin, and a large mouth with bright red lips. Nattick speaks with a smooth, oily voice in any of a dozen languages and accents, in a manner alternately coy, jovial, hysterical, furious, and frenzied. He dresses unpredictably (of course), but favors black.
Nattick won his signature ornament, a German war medal called the Iron Cross, as Pere Millot in the battle described above. Millot carried the trophy all his life and, in 1957, to his grave. When Nattick Awakened in this incarnation, he dug up the skeleton he previously inhabited and reclaimed his Cross. It is a Talisman that stores 10 points of Quintessence.
Roleplaying Notes: Laugh a lot. Take pains to demonstrate the superiority of your magick to that of rivals; gloat at length, but leaves your defeated rival alive. Though you bore easily and suffer wild mood swings, you are never gullible nor easily manipulated. Life is a party one moment, a wake the next, and sometimes a panic attack right after that. Whatever it is, you're absolutely in charge of your own part in it.
Temple Gongs (* * * * Forces, * * * * Matter, * * * * Mind, * * * * Life, * * Prime)
July 27, 1992: At the Kamakura beach resort south of Yokohama, Japan, Arlan Nattick walked through a medieval Zen Buddhist temple, a popular tourist site. As he passed the temple gongs, they rang loudly. Tourists who heard the ringing threw away their video cameras, fell to their knees, and began droning a Buddhist chant, the Vatthupama-sutta or "Parable of the Piece of Cloth." While they chanted, their clothing changed to the bright orange robes of Buddhist monks, and their hair fell out.
The new monks walked in a line through Kamakura, with Nattick following at a distance. The monks begged from passersby, who freely handed over their money, watches, jewelry, and clothing. At this point a cabal of Akashic Brothers showed up and demanded an explanation of Nattick. He said idly, "I just wondered if Buddhism really worked." Before the mages could determine what Nattick meant, or whether his Effect had satisfied his curiosity, a host of Paradox spirits showed up. In the resulting confusion, Nattick casually departed.
[The Forces Sphere creates the gong sounds, Matter and Life physically transform the people, and Mind brainwashes them. Each success changes two people; extended rolls convert a crowd. Prime 2 is needed to make the transformation real.]
Chatterboxes (* * * Matter, * * Spirit, * * Prime)
September 1, 1993: In a market in Paramaribo, capital of Suriname (Dutch Guiana), a five-inch tall Nattick climbed out of a bag of imported Gold Medal flour. He leaped around the shelves of cans and boxes, and wherever he passed, the cans and boxes began to talk. Spewing beets or baking soda with every word, they preached the evil of excessive dependence on American and European imports.
The shoppers ran screaming from the market. Disappointed, Nattick grew to gigantic size and ate all imported food in the market.
[Matter 3 alters the containers to permit spirits to animate them. Spirit 2 brings the spirits. The number of successes determines the Effect's duration.
[Shrinking and growth are conjunctional Effects of Correspondence 5 and Life 3. Each success allows the mage to shrink or grow by 15 percent. Becoming five inches tall requires six successes, as does growing to 11 feet tall.]
Temple Pillars (* * * * Forces, * * * Matter, * * Prime)
Early July, 1994: Mercenary forces fighting in the disputed Aozou Strip between Libya and Chad were shocked when the desert shook and pillars of stone rose slowly from the sand. Four lines of sandstone columns, as big as the ruined pillars of Luxor in Egypt, marked off the battlefield. Gunfire could not damage them. When the columns had grown to 30 feet tall, a grinning Arlan Nattick appeared atop each one; gunfire could not damage him either.
Lightning crackled around Nattick as he shouted to the mercenaries, "What a barbaric waste! Is this any kind of occupation for civilized people? Throw down your weapons, and walk with me into a better life!" The mercenaries, who were not stupid, reluctantly threw down their weapons and followed Nattick. Using Correspondence magick, he led them across a hundred yards of desert into Ethiopia's desolate coastal province of Eritrea, 1100 miles to the southeast.
In a village emptied by famine some years before, Nattick halted the men and gestured broadly at the empty huts. "Rebuild these humble shacks. Let a new city of peace spring up in this war-torn province." The men asked, reasonably enough, where they would get supplies, food, and citizens. With an air of annoyance, Nattick said, "Right, right, I'll take care of that, just a moment." He vanished, but something evidently distracted him, for he never returned. Many of the mercenaries died of thirst before they reached an inhabited town, and the Ethiopian government imprisoned the rest as illegal aliens.
[The Effect raises a structure, creating it from ground material as it rises. Matter reshapes the ambient material, Prime fixes the new Pattern, and Forces raises the reshaped structure telekinetically.
[Three successes are required on an extended roll. Each success adds 500 square feet to the size of the resulting structure. Ordinarily the Effect requires one day, but the mage can spend one additional success to reduce the time to one scene, or two extra successes to reduce it to one turn.
[The Correspondence 4 effect Polyappearance produces the duplicates of the mage.]
Do Ya Wanna Dance? (* * * * Mind, * * * Forces, * * Prime)
April 15, 1995: Late in the evening, at the main branch of the Post Office in Kansas City, Missouri, drivers had lined up to mail last-minute income tax returns. From every car radio, including those that were turned off, came Nattick's voice. He sang "Shout," "Sugar Sugar," "Yummy Yummy Yummy I Got Love in My Tummy," and other old pop tunes. Everyone got out of the car and began to dance. Police and postal officials joined in.
When Nattick began singing John Lennon's Revolution," people opened their car trunks and removed gallon cans of gasolines, which were, coincidentally, full. Postal workers let the drivers in to the post office. As Nattick began singing "Light My Fire," people splashed gas around the building. At this point a cabal of Tradition mages arrived, stopped the music, and prevented disaster. The Syndicate and New World Order worked overtime to suppress rumors of the event.
[The Effect requires two successes on an extended roll. These successes let the mage control four minds. For each additional success beyond the second, the number of minds the mage may control doubles, up to a maximum of the mage's Arete in extra successes.
[Forces 3 is necessary to broadcast to dormant receivers. Forces 2 lets the mage broadcast to radios that are already on.]