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Ergosis

By Zach Archer (zkarcher@engr.ucdavis.edu)

Description

After the third great Maelstrom, a Heretic group known as the "Philosopher's Stone" devised
some interesting experiments involving the relation of thoughts to the Shadowlands. It has been
speculated that the underworld exists only in a Wraith's mind, and that the Tempest is but the
raging chaos of the subconscious, the Shroud is composed of all the gaps and flaws in one's
memory, and Oblivion is denial incarnate. Ergosis was developed, out of an attempt to connect
the inner mind of the Wraith wth the other world (Shadowlands) which the mind has built. It is
different from the idealism found in Mage in that it is not subconscious belief that forms the
world; Ergosis feeds on the active, conscious mind, and the patterns that waking thoughts dance
upon.

Ergosis is considered a dying art (no pun intended); many wraiths would give an arm and
a leg of their corpus to master it, but for some reason none of the Neurots ever agree to
teach any new pupils. Neurots can be identified by their occasional hallucinations or
strange behavior. They often gaze upward at the sky, seeing "things" in the clouds, or
jump over imaginary obstacles, just for fun.

Basic abilities

Sense Flaw: As persuading as the images of Ergosis are, their forms are almost always
distinguishable from "legitimate" objects in reality. To sense if anything in the area is amiss, roll
Perception + Ergosis, difficulty 6. A single success identifies the "flaw," while a triple success may
convince the Wraith that the flaw isn't there at all, and she can then consciously decide to not
let it affect her.

Thousand Points: A Neurot can adjust her vision to see a starmap of all the surrounding
points of consciousness. The brighter the point, the closer the mind, usually. To use this
technique, roll Perception + Ergosis, difficulty 8.

* Warm Glow

The Neurot can see and feel the glow of thought energy surrounding any mind. The Quick emit a
firey white shine from the tops of their heads, while the Dead are a bit harder to see, as they are
surrounded by a thick black aura. Note that this art can actually distinguish the activity level of
the mind; Someone actively shooting bullets and fearing for his life will have a much stronger
mental signal than someone lounging at home, watching TV.

System: The Neurot rolls Perception + Ergosis, difficulty 6. The difficulty can be
adjusted depending on the light level in the room and how far away the other minds are.
This art costs 1 Pathos.

** Astral Projection

The Neurot can detatch her mind from her corpus and float around freely as a point of
consciousness in space. While projecting, the Neurot can wander into the bodies/corpuses of
other beings and observe their thoughts, and if very skilled, can see thoughts and images boil
out of people's heads.

System: To begin the projection, the Neurot rolls Wits + Ergosis, difficulty 8. The more
successes, the more "mental" the trip will be, and the more likely the Neurot will be to
see thoughts. Freedom of movement during projection depends largely on the Neurot's
state of mind; walking-speed is no problem, although it is possible for the astral mind to
jump anywhere in the world it wishes. However, if the jump is too great, the mind could
get lost and enter a fantastical dream world which resembles reality, but does not really
exist. To make huge leaps or move extremely quickly, roll Dexterity + Ergosis, difficulty
6. This art costs 3 Pathos.

*** Pay Attention

The Neurot can control the conscious thoughts of another entity, subliminally encouraging her
to focus and concentrate on one thing.

System: If the Neurot wants to be the focus of attention, she rolls Appearance + Ergosis.
Otherwise, roll Manipulation + Ergosis. The difficulty is as follows:

Talking to the entity, holding hands 5

In the entity's field of view 7

Hiding close by, watching the scene 9

The number of successes is how many turns the attention will last. This effect can only
work on one entity per turn. Costs 2 Pathos and a Willpower point.
**** Pay Damn Good Attention

Just like level 3 Pay Attention, except it works on multiple entities at once. The number of turns
the effect lasts is now twice the number of successes. In rare cases, it is as if everything in the
room is paying attention to the object in question; silverware points at it, water on the floor
beads toward it, insects take an unusual liking to its odor. Costs 3 Pathos and a Willpower point.

**** Flaw Reality

The Neurot can alter fundamental aspects of Shadowland reality, including basic laws of physics,
what the senses perceive, and minor time/space distortions. The effect will last as long as it is
actively maintained and experienced; Otherwise it will fade away, like a relic.

System: The Neurot rolls Stamina + Ergosis. The difficulty is between 7 and 10, some
examples:

In a sewer, bad things smell good & vice versa 7

Illuminate an area in stark black and white 8

Change gravity on the side of a hill 9

Change gravity on the side of a mountain 10

Create a permanent wind that carries Wraiths up the side of a cliff 10

The number of successes determines how long the effect lasts. To create anything lasting,
you can count on needing atleast 5 successes and having the effect being visited
frequently by other Wraiths. If these conditions are not met, the effect will fade away
anywhere between a few minutes and a few days. This art costs 3 Pathos. If the effect is
intended to be annoying or detremental, it grants the Neurot 1 point of Angst.

***** Spawn Astral Matter

The hallmark of the Ergosis tradition, the envy of creative Wraiths everywhere. This powerful
Arcanoi allows the Neurot to literally spawn objects out of thin air.

The name Astral Matter was supposedly invented by a Dreamspeaker Mage, and
somehow corresponds to a place they call the "High Umbra." Astral Matter is a highly
volatile element which takes the shape of whatever thoughts are enacted upon it. It has no
set state; it can change from solid to liquid to gas depending on what the Neurot thinks it
ought to be. A wraith who desires a metal key could spill some of it on her hand and
think, "form a metal key." Alternately, to melt a hole though a door, a wraith could take
some solid Astral Matter and scrape it against the wood, concentrating on a mental
picture of a wounded door, or just thinking of open air. However, once Astral Matter has
been 'thought' into some other form, it cannot be forged into anything else. When Astral
Matter is turned into something else, it is a permanent change; it is speculated that the
entire world was once a big glob of Astral Matter, and the first mind to tamper with it
was the mind of God. Also, complicated technological devices such as watches and
electronics will not function unless invested with Pathos, much like Relics.

Itching to try it out? System: Roll Stamina + Ergosis, difficulty 9. The number of
successes determines how much Astral Matter is spawned:

The size of a tooth 1

The size of a small house key 2

The size of a fork 3

The size of a piece of bread 5

A luxurious fortress hidden underground 47,000

Extrended rolls are fine, but if anything disturbs the Neurot's thought process during the
extended session, the difficulty is raised to 10. The Astral Matter flows out of the
Neurot's Corpus and changes into a new object as soon as any creature with a mind
touches the Astral Matter and consciously thinks it into being something else. Botching a
roll can be disasterous... Remember the last battle in Ghostbusters? Ooohh.... Each use of
Spawn Astral Matter costs 5 Pathos and a Willpower point.