- For the book, see .
Banishers are mages whose Awakening was twisted in some way, and as a result believe that altering the world with magic is evil. Also called Timori, or "the fearful", they have rejected the wonders of the Supernal and embraced violent ignorance. They are driven to destroy Atlantean artifacts and knowledge, to hunt and kill Order mages, and remove all trace of the supernatural from the Fallen World. Despite their hatred for magic, Banishers do use it in order to fight and counter the spells of other mages, and are often remarkably talented despite little to no formal training.
No one knows for sure what causes people to become Banishers or how long they have existed. Mysterium scholars tends to associate them with the Timori of Atlantean legend, but even then there are differing accounts. Some stories depict them as outcasts and subjects of scorn within the Awakened City, others as exiles who were banished or chose to live as naturalists beyond Atlantis. Another theory states that they were protectors of the Supernal Realms called the Custodiae who opposed vain magic because it disrupted Awakened ancestors in the worlds above. A third theory is that the Timori, and modern Banishers as well, are natural prophets capable of sensing the Supernal, but driven mad by their insights.
Regardless of their past, Banishers in modern times are akin to a supernatural phenomenon while also seeming to be capable of "infecting" others with their perspective. Individual Banishers have an uncanny ability to find others of their kind or Sleepers who will Awaken as Banishers. Efforts by Order mages to completely eradicate Banishers and any mundane or magical reference to them in an area have ended in failure, with new Banisher cabals later forming spontaneously to take their place. A few Banishers belonged to an Order but later left it because of some disillusionment or traumatic experience; most mages assume they were damaged to begin with, and simply needed some additional stress to make them snap.
Banishers work alone or in their own cabals, and in rare cases join cults containing both Awakened and Sleepers. This is not to say they identify with one another as a whole or always work together; different beliefs about the nature of magic and ideological agendas often lead them into conflict, to say nothing of the fact that Banisher magic seems as innately wrong to them as any other.
- Abyssal Resonance to : All Sleepers have a shard of the Abyss within them, but Banishers with this Merit resonate strongly with the Abyss. The Banisher has little or no control over this Merit, but any mage around her certainly feels its effects. Dots in this Merit allow access to various effects based on the Abyss’s growing intrusion into the Banisher’s soul. This Merit is progressive, that is, a Banisher can and does find that her Resonance with the Abyss increases the more contact she has with Awakened magic.
- Eyes of the Abyss : The Banisher can automatically sense Paradoxes and even potential Paradoxes. Whenever a mage casts a vulgar spell within 100 feet of the Banisher, she senses it. The Banisher might perceive this information as a scent of saltwater and smoke, or a cold shudder down her spine or the sounds of wailing and screaming as if from a great distance.
- Skin of the Abyss : The Abyss protects the Banisher from attempts to identify or analyze him. Any Unveiling or Knowing spell cast directly on the Banisher is considered vulgar in aspect, as is any other spell designed to gain information about or otherwise analyze the Banisher.
- Beacon of the Abyss : Merely being in the presence of this Banisher invites Paradox. If the Banisher with this Merit is a mage, she is not immune to the effect, and neither are any allied mages in the area. The Abyss does not discriminate.
- Claw of the Abyss : The Banisher can contain a Paradox within her own body, suffering bashing damage rather than an hour’s worth of insanity or the chaos of an Anomaly.
- Abyssal Warden : The Banisher unconsciously understands and can manipulate the gateways between the Fallen World and the Abyss.
- Ancient Echoes to : Some mages have stronger connections to the past than others. While many mages may eventually be able to track their ancestry back to survivors of the Fall of Atlantis, few have direct remembrances of actual experiences just before, during or just after the Fall. Mages with this Merit, however, can capture snatches of memories of life in Atlantis or other events of their past history in the Fallen World. This Merit may reflect reincarnation or memories of the fallen grafting themselves onto a new body; this Merit is most common among Banishers who experience some measure of memetic transmission. Mages with this Merit sometimes gain insights into their craft or into some aspect of the relationships among the orders. Banishers with this Merit perceive it as either a blessing or a curse (or sometimes both) for it not only gives them insights into the workings of their targets but also reminds them of a past they fervently wish to either ignore or destroy.
- Déjà vu : The Banisher experiences a sudden sense of having done or witnessed something in a past life up to 200 years ago, i.e., something that happened during the Victorian era (19th century) or later (20th century). The Banisher may receive simply a feeling (“I feel as if I’ve walked down this street before when it was cobblestones instead of asphalt.”) or a more profound “memory.” (“I followed a man into this library and through this hallway once before — long ago. There was a locked door and then the restricted books section.”)
- Memory's Thin Walls : The Banisher's memory or seeming memory extends back as far as 400 years (the 17th century). The more recent the memory, the more vivid its details are to the mage. (“I remember watching fascinated as a child while some of my uncles shoved heavy crates of tea into the waters of the harbor.”) or (“I remember the stars were in the same position in the sky when a man darted across my path eeing something indescribable and unspeakable — much like that!”)
- Memory's Open Door : The Banisher can remember something (or something similar) having occurred as far back as the 13th century. (“I’ve seen the signs before in this very house — a plague house!”) Mages can sometimes experience premonitions based on past events at this level of the Merit. (“The earth shook here once before, and I feel it growing restless again.”)
- Stepping Backward : The Banisher's memory can extend as far back as the beginning of the Common Era (1st century) and the amount of detail remembered may seem to place the Banisher back in time, though this is certainly not an instance of time travel. (“I was known as Eudoricus, and even then I hunted down those who sought to reinfect the purity of the Supernal with the taint of the Fallen World.”)
- Echoes of Fallen Atlantis : At the highest level of this Merit, the mage seems to remember aspects of Atlantis itself. Banishers usually find clues for a possible starting point to track down a specific artifact or the key to locating an “old soul” in the modern world. Mages with this level of the Merit sometimes receive insights into the ways of old Atlantis. Both mages and Banishers sometimes experience this level with hallucinatory-like intensity or as a waking nightmare; the memories are far more symbolic than literal, which makes it a frustrating affair to attempt to visualize Atlantis as it was.
- Body-Ravaging Magic : The mage can expose her body to the raw power of the Supernal Realms, opening a more potent channel for the energies of improvised spells. Body-Ravaging Magic manifests differently for every Banisher. Some suffer spontaneous burns, cuts and contusions. Classic stigmata and spiral burns over the chakras have been reported. Others cough or cry blood, or simply tremble and turn pale.
- Extemporaneous Affinity , , or : The mage has developed the ability to cast improvised spells of greater potency than is usual. This could be the result of an absence of formal magical training or representative of a mage who prefers to shape spells on the fly.
- Mana Self-Sacrifice : The mage can transfer Mana to other Awakened through physical contact, but only if that Mana comes from Pattern Scouring, performed at the moment of transfer.
- Rote Specialty to : Each dot in this Merit confers one Skill-based Rote Specialty.
- Supernal Resistance to : Nearly all Banishers go through life wishing they had never Awakened. Their new lives bring them misery, and they must constantly guard against the temptation to use magic, just to experience the feel of the Supernal Realms once more. Some Banishers go further with their repudiation of magic than others. Their continual denial of their abilities transcends mere psychology to become an unconscious resistance to all magic. They have woven the aura of the Fallen World around themselves so tightly that they are better able to deny the effects of magic used against them.
- Nimbus Sense : The mage’s supernatural “sixth sense” is especially attuned to other Awakened souls. He automatically senses another mage’s nimbus whether it’s uncloaked or not. Occultation and spells designed to conceal the mage’s nimbus or Resonance automatically defeat this ability, but otherwise, it constantly functions within the Banisher’s line of sight. Banishers with this Merit can easily pick mages out in a crowd.
The magical practices of Banishers make a potent object lesson in parallel evolution. Without much of a centralized tradition for passing on lore, many Banisher cabals innovate magic with a vigor that would make some Pentacle mages envious. Necessity demands no less — the Banisher who refuses to learn from an established magical tradition and who has no real knack for sculpting her own spells won’t last long in her struggle.
Banishers are far less likely to learn rotes from other mages. Most Banisher rotes are personally innovated, the result of repeated trial and error. The samples that follow can be adapted to any Banisher.
The Banishers find themselves in possession of lost Artifacts or imbued items more commonly than one might expect, given their philosophy of magic as anathema. Some are quickly destroyed, while others might be wielded against other mages, depending on the Banisher in question and his interpretation of what role the item plays in the world. Some Banishers, such as the Translators or Militant Auditing Division, devise imbued items through means they consider scientific rather than “supernatural.” Others simply happen across Artifacts through seeming chance. The greater hand of Destiny is often at work where the Banishers tread.