by Constantine Thomas

The Sphere of Information governs the definition of Patterns and Paradigms within Reality. At the lowest levels it can only affect information within Subjective Reality, while at higher levels information can be manipulated in Objective Reality (increasing or decreasing the very metaphysickal stability of the target).

Information tells reality what an object is - it defines an object. If an object exists but no information is known about it, it is 'fuzzy' - in the subjective reality of Mage, the parameters of a fuzzy object (i.e. size, density, properties, behaviour etc.) can be defined by observers who create the information that defines its properties. The Sphere of Information is believed to be closely linked to Prime.

Information is rather unusual in that it can affect both Subjective and Objective Reality. At lower levels, Information effects only allow the Mage to observe and process information. Information 3 allows the Mage to actively manipulate information within Subjective Reality - he can remove or add information to systems and so make him easier or harder to track. The Adepts and Masters of Information break beyond Subjective Reality to affect the underlying True (Objective) Reality - they can add or remove Information from reality itself, thus making objects more or less 'real' by affecting their definition. Fuzzy objects are those about which True Reality has no information - these 'virtual objects' are extremely vulnerable to destruction or further definition, existing as they do in a realm of 'maybe'. The Technocracy are experts in the Facet of Information, using it to define their new 'theories' and so also define reality - the Void Engineers are the masters of Information.

GAME NOTES: It should be noted that the Sphere of Information is a very powerful sphere, and one that can ultimately be used to affect consensual reality at a very fundamental level - Information 4 and 5 are particularly powerful. Indeed, these levels are intended to be available only to the most powerful Technocrats (such as those in the Inner Circle) - the implication is that while any Mage can theoretically use the Sphere of Information, the Technocracy are the ones that have been the most expert in its applications and as a result are the ones that are now winning the Ascension War (or at least have the upper hand in it). If this situation were to change, the balance in the Ascension War would be tipped as the new paradigms are introduced.

The Information Sphere itself requires a rather technocratic and/or hierarchical paradigm to be understood or used at all - as a result, only the Conventions of the Technocracy (and only the NWO and Void Engineers at that) and some of the Traditions can learn it. The Virtual Adepts are the primary users of Information among the Traditions and are able to apply it with great skill in the Digital Web. The Order Of Hermes also uses Information in their attempts to classify and codify the world in their rigid non-scientific framework. Effectively, these three groups are the only ones who are able to use the Sphere of Information to any degree (the Sons of Ether merely dabble in it, and the other Traditions generally cannot even comprehend it).


Level 1: Detect Link. This finds the connections between things, and allows the Mage to see what is connected to the target. For example, a cuddly toy is connected to a particular child, or a packet of drugs is connected to both a local dealer (the supplier) and a street rat (the buyer). Note that this does not allow the Mage to determine why the things are connected - it only allows him to sense the connection itself.

The ability to detect links is determined by the number of successes rolled for the effect. One success generally determines the most obvious link - more will reveal more specific connections. For example, one success will reveal who owns a particular gun, two may reveal who has been shot with it, three may reveal from whom the gun was purchased, and so on.

Level 2: Information Analysis. This analyses the connections between things, allowing the Mage to see all the possible outcomes of an event or all the possible influences on the target. While obviously giving him complete mastery over all closed tactical situations (e.g. Chess), it also enables him to analyse complex interactions. This reveals why connections exist between individuals or groups, rather than the existence of the connection alone. Thus, while Information 1 reveals who influences a particular politician, Information 2 reveals the reason for such connections - for example, the motivations of the politician and the groups that influence him.

Level 3: Manipulate Information. This allows the Mage to manipulate and create existing information within the limits of subjective reality, and is largely used to affect records and files. The Mage can add, change, or delete information stored on any medium - this can be used for many purposes. A Mage can delete data about him in government computers, effectively 'Zeroing' himself. He can change the amount of money he has in his bank account by altering his credit rating. Note however that this manipulation of information is SUBJECTIVE - data may be altered, but Reality remains intact - thus the Mage can remove all the records of a person's existence, but the person himself does not become 'fuzzy' (see below) - this would only be possible using Information 4. Information manipulated using Information 3 is affected no matter where it is stored - raw data is being altered, not just signals in a computer. Thus a Mage may Zero himself completely from every database in the world if he scores enough successes!

It is suggested that the alteration of small aspects of information (e.g. appearance, bank credit rating etc.) should require only one or two successes. Wider (and more global) changes should require many more successes - at least ten should be necessary to completely Zero an individual from every database on Earth, and this would require a complex and lengthy ritual (probably involving a lot of computer hacking and negotiation with NetSpiders where applicable).

Level 4: Manipulate Reality. If Information 3 is the subjective manipulation of information, then Information 4 is the OBJECTIVE manipulation of information. Changing information at this level directly changes its connection with Reality itself. Thus, targets can be made 'fuzzy' - living targets are 'forgotten' by their friends, associates, and ultimately Reality - they (and everything directly connected to them) will slowly but inevitably disappear from existence if the effect is sustained for long enough. A Mage's Arcane Rating is a weak, albeit controllable, form of this effect. As for Information 3, the number of successes determines the extent to which the information is manipulated - at least ten successes would be required to render a target completely 'fuzzy' and thus open for redefinition.

Level 5: Define Reality. At this level, the Mage can actually define fuzzy Reality. This is done both by the power of his own Will, and also by manipulating information through the Masses so that they understand and accept the new Reality. The Technocracy (especially the NWO and Void Engineers) have mastered this to a fine art, further enforcing their Paradigm. Objects are 'fuzzy' when they are newly 'discovered' - at this stage, all that is known is that the object exists. Application of Information 5 to the fuzzy object allows the Mage to define its physical parameters, properties and anything else he desires.

Information 5 also allows the Mage to manipulate the local Paradigm in an ambiguous situation - for example, the Paradigm within a Sanctum can be reinforced by interconnecting everything within it via a web of influences, effectively removing outside influences as much as possible.

The definition of fuzzy objects is a lengthy and complex procedure, requiring at least five successes to initially define it and many more to ensure that this definition is fully accepted into a local or global paradigm - however, five successes always defines the object enough for it to be considered 'real' and thus invulnerable to further redefinition using the Facet of Information. Fewer successes allow only limited (temporary) definition of the fuzzy object that is subject to revision - usually, information relating to a partially defined object is revised by 'more accurate observations'. Also, when paradigms are competing against eachother, the one that rolls the most successes ultimately wins in the end - until then, the informational state of the object being defined is very much in flux.

When defining Paradigm (as in the example of the Sanctum), the number of successes rolled determines how much more attuned to the Mage's desires the Paradigm has become - obviously, the greater the extent of the Paradigm (i.e. the larger the number of people that would have to believe it), the more successes and work are required.

Sphere Effect
* Detect Link.
** Information Analysis.
*** Manipulate Information.
**** Manipulate Reality.
***** Define Reality.

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