Supernal Diaspora [Mage: The Awakening]
House Rules - Paradox
“Paradox is the vector for the Abyss getting its non-concepts incorporated into the world, infecting spells to bring a few lies across with the truth. The ideal Paradox system would be one where a mage knows that his spell will be dangerous for everyone else, and do it anyway because he’s certain his cause justifies it. Risking other people for his own convictions.”
When a mage invokes a vulgar spell, or a covert one is performed too obviously, they risk paradox. Unlike the core system, paradox is not an individual issue that randomly plagues particular spells. Rather it slowly builds as successes amass on paradox rolls, affecting all magic cast by the mage during the scene.
When Paradox does begin to occur in earnest it should be kept in mind that the Abyss is insidious. Paradox manifestations won’t automatically go after the caster, Havok won’t thwart his spells outright. The character’s aims might even be accomplished, albeit in a more abyssal way. This is how the Abyss tempts casters, it shows them what the dark can do, it demonstrates its power. Paradox gives the caster what they want at the expense of others (and his wisdom), it is the act of resisting Paradox that does him harm.
System: *Paradox in the Supernal Diaspora works differently than in core Mage. The base Paradox pool is made up of the casters Gnosis + the highest Arcana in the spell effect. Mana may be spent on a 1:1 basis to reduce the *successes *on the paradox roll (not the dice). However this mana must be spent *before the roll is made, therefore mages must gamble a bit with how much they fear a spell may go awry. After a player declares paradox mitigation and the pool is determined, the paradox pool is rolled. Any successes (after removing successes for mitigation) are *added *to the spells casting pool.
- Bedlam *(1): The mage begins to have difficulty maintaining focus as the abyss bites at his mind. He gains the *Bedlam condition (see below).
- Branding *(2): The paradox manifestation begins to break into the physical and strikes at the caster. The mage is marked by the Abyss and is altered as a result. The mage gains the *Branded condition (see below).
- *Havok *(3): Paradox has invaded the mage’s imago. Her spells no longer function as intended; the spell goes totally haywire and falls out of the mage’s control. The Storyteller is the controller of the spell, and should work towards the alien designs of the Abyss. This might change any or all of the spell factors.
- *Anomaly *(4): Roll the mage’s Wisdom with a -4 penalty, if the roll succeeds then the mage retains control of his spell in spite of the anomaly, if the roll fails, the spell suffers from Havok in addition to the anomaly. With the Anomaly the Abyss starts to creep in through the cracks that the mage has made and infiltrate reality. The scene gains the Anomaly Tilt (see below).
- *Manifestation *(5): An abyssal entity (or entities) emerges from the Mage’s imago. The spell the mage was attempting to cast automatically suffers a havoc. The Mage suffers the Bedlam condition except with a -4 instead of a -2 penalty.
The Abyss besets the Mage’s psyche. In an attempt to disrupt the wizard’s imago it assaults her with brief ludicrous visions and sensations. This is extremely jarring, and a hindrance to even the most experienced wizards. Without some way to focus their mind and endure past the Bedlam, it will certainly hinder casting.
System: *The mage takes a -2 dice penalty and +1 die of paradox on all improvised spells cast without a magical tool. Additionally, all non-spell casting actions take a -2 die penalty, as a result of the focus the Mage must commit to maintaining their imago.
*Resolution: Paradox dissipates.
Beat: The mage invokes another Paradox roll.
The Abyss takes its toll on the mage altering her resonance, nimbus, and possibly even her body. While the effects are temporary, there is a violation that occurs when the Abyss wreaks havoc with a mage’s aura and body.
System: *When this condition is gained, the story teller rolls the mage’s Gnosis + Arcana of the Spell + Paradox Successes in dice minus the characters Wisdom score. Successes on this roll determine the severity of the Brand.
*Resolution: Paradox dissipates.
Beat: The mage invokes another Paradox roll.
The Abyss and the Supernal Realm mix in a horrific exemplification of the lie, twisting the majesty of the supernal into a twisted mockery of the art.
System: Based on the Path of the mage who invokes the Anomaly the scene is twisted in a way to reflect the Abyss’s alien designs, in accordance with the purviews of the mage’s path. Electronics may start to fail, objects more fragile, plants wither, objects transposed into twilight, etc.
Causing the Tilt: A mage causes a rank 4 paradox.
*Ending the Tilt: *Paradox dissipates, leaving the location of manifestation.
Paradox Quick Guide
- Declare spell is being cast, & determine what modifiers are in play (foci, high speech, rote, etc).
- Spend mana to cast the spell and/or mitigate paradox.
- If the spell is Vulgar or unbelievable:
- Roll paradox (Caster Gnosis + Highest Arcana uses in the spell) modified accordingly (+1 die for every previous paradox roll by that mage this scene, -1 die for each foci).
- If the spell was rote, or mana was spent to suppress paradox, subtract successes from the paradox roll (-1 success for rote, -1 success per point of mana spent). Add the remaining successes to the caster’s paradox pool.
- Roll up the spell as normal.
- Apply _anomalies _or _havok _emergent from paradox.
The duration of paradox is based on a few factors, the wisdom of the mage casting the spell, the arcana level of the effect used. The base time frame of paradox is listed on the Wisdom Chart below:
|Wisdom Level |Paradox Base Duration|
| 10 |One Round|
| 9 |Three Rounds|
| 8 |One Minute|
| 7 |Five Minuets|
| 6 |One Scenes|
| 5 |One Day|
| 4 |One Week|
| 3 |One Month|
| 2 |One Year|
| 1 |One Decade|
Once the base time is determined, it is multiplied by highest arcana included in the spell effect. Paradox dissipates after this time has passed.
Other Paradox Factors
There are few other reliable ways to mitigate paradox that has already begun to build up, and they are rarely safe or simple. Patience is the most obvious, as accrued paradox diminishes in mere hours. Certain artifacts can provide a reprieve of one sort or another, but such treasures are tightly guarded by their creators and bear subtle defects. There are only two other methods for a mage deal with paradox, sustaining a backlash or channeling the paradox directly Both are incredibly dangerous.
Paradox is awful, and letting it build up is extremely dangerous. If it does begin to build up Mages do have a solution, they may take the paradox into their own pattern and disseminate it. This is called backlash, and is deeply harmful to the Mage’s physical body. Doing so requires a point of willpower, the Mage to takes one point of resistant lethal damage per point of paradox, and gains the *Pattern Scarring *Condition after the spell resolves.
A Mage must choose to invoke a backlash before the Paradox pool is rolled, and do not gain any bonus dice for the paradox. Mages who invoke a backlash must accept all paradox successes as damage, it’s all or nothing.
Condition: Pattern Scarring
The mage has dissipated the Abyssal energies of Paradox through his body, doing physical damage and disrupting his ability to form an Imago.
System: For every point of resistant damage caused by Backlash, apply a -1 penalty to all spell casting rolls.
Resolution: Damage heals.
Beat: The mage casts no spells while suffering from resistant damage. The mage suffers from an additional instance of pattern scarring.