Time, in Mage: The Awakening, is the Gross ruling Arcanum of Arcadia. With it a mage may shift his perception beyond the present moment, alter the relative flow of time, and, at higher levels of mastery, move physical objects into the future or past. The Arcanum of Time governs the viewing of the interaction with the flow of time as understood within the Fallen World. Spells within the purview of this Arcanum grant the mage a wide range of abilities influencing such things as knowledge of future events and the ability to see into the past. A mage skilled in the use of this Arcanum can look back in the past or ahead into the future, alter time's flow around them or others, and, in extreme cases, travel backwards and forwards in time, or rewrite her own history. This Arcanum is commonly found in the hands of the Acanthus, whose fortunes usually hang by a thread, and thus require some knowledge of potential outcomes. Time, not Arcadia's Subtle Arcana of Fate (MTAw), allows a mage to see the future (and the past). Such spells, however, are subject to similar rules of sympathy as those used for the Space Arcana: it is much more difficult to view times with which a mage has little connection.
Divination, prophecy, temporal scrying, time travel, time loops, and temporal acceleration/ deceleration.
Nature and PowerEdit
The Arcanum of Time is the Gross Arcanum of the Supernal Realm of Arcadia, a realm that also generates the powers of the Arcanum of Fate. The realm of Arcadia is saturated with a feeling of timelessness, not to be confused with timelessness in the sense of temporal stillness; rather, time has a peculiar quality that puts it outside the normal vagaries of Fallen World time. Stories abound of mortals settling down in a cave or spot in the woods to rest, only to wake up and find that decades or even centuries have passed in the material world (see Rip Van Winkle); the Awakened theorize that such experiences come from contact with Arcadia. It seems as though many times exist at once, each at the same time true. To make sense of such altered time, one must have the ability to understand and manipulate time’s flow. This power is also useable in the Fallen World, where even here time is not constant (see Einstein’s theory of special relativity), but still easier to predict and therefore easier to control. The power of the Arcanum of Time is reduced in the Fallen World, but as with all the Gross Arcana, its field of influence remains on this side of the Abyss and the Gauntlet. Time is a concept of great importance to the Awakened. Four of the Pentacle Orders constantly look back to the past, obsessed with the idea of reclaiming their former glory; the other has it eyes fixed firmly on the future, envisaging a world where their ideals of democracy and universal Awakening are made fully manifest. Mages in the modern world live and die over scraps of the past, whether fabricating themselves a grand history, or scraping for an Atlantean artifact of untold power and significance. The Arcanum of Time gives them a step up in subterfuge and treasure-grabs; it has its uses outside merely the politics, propaganda, and petty squabbles of the Awakened. A mage well versed in the Arcanum of Time has many advantages over their peers in mundane life and Awakened business alike. The abilities possessed by such mages allow them to divine the future with great clarity; an expedient mage should not need to be informed of the advantages of such power, but they are multifarious and often to one’s Wisdom. Likewise, the ability to look into the past confers a great deal of advantages upon the user; one can watch past event to aid research, help find artifact, determine the guilty party in the case of crime committed by Awakened, or simply observe for the sake of amusement. Objects can be sent forward in time, so they’re not available to an enemy currently. The Mage may cause themselves or others to experience an unusual flow of time, making enemies slower, or giving themselves more time to work on a complex task. At the highest levels of mastery, mage can even rewrite her past or freeze a target inside the flow of time.
Levels of MasteryEdit
Initiates of Time gain the Mage Sight with respect to the way resonance clings to objects in time it has interacted with, and gain the ability to tell perfect time. The Mage can sense disturbances, knowing any power that has altered time’s natural flow. The mage can gain insight into an event that happened a few seconds ago, now, or will happen soon, and discover whether it’ll be beneficial or harmful to her. She also gains a sense of improved timing, allowing her to act at just the right moment for maximum effect.
Apprentices of Time can grant their perceptions of the lingering effects of resonance to others. The mage may discern lingering effects of the outcome of a very simple undertaking, where only two options are available (flipping a coin/yes or no), gain answers to simple questions about a single facet of the future, or get a more detailed look at the outcome of a single simple action she is performing (turning a single card). The mage can glimpse into their past or that of an object they hold, with precision and clarity. The mage’s powers can shield them against divinations by others into their past or future, or form a more literal shield against attacks by speeding the mage up in time or slowing down incoming attacks. An Apprentice of Time can cast "prepared spells". These spells are prepared in advance and then suspended for a limited time, having no effect until triggered by the caster. The specific trigger is chosen in advance and is generally brief and subtle, making the casting easier, faster, and less obvious.
Disciples of Time have the ability to bestow their protection by the forces of time on others. The mage gains more specific knowledge of the future, allowing her to get answers to questions with more than a few simple outcomes. She can speed up her movement in the flow of time, allowing her to move and act far faster than is normally possible. Finally, she can take limited steps back in time, allowing her to re-enact an action she just performed.
An Adept of Time can use the fourth level of mastery to predict the events of the near future with exact precision, allowing her to anticipate every move anyone nearby is just about to make (they’d make a killing in Las Vegas). The mage's ability to divine the further future increases to the point where she can, not only ask questions about what is coming to pass, but also ask to how to alter these events or stop them or even if they should be stopped from happening. The mage can briefly ‘stutter’ forward in time, appearing a few seconds into the future, or allow another to do the same. One can make other creatures experience a disrupted flow of time, making them act more slowly than they normally would, or briefly slip into an area of subjective time where the temporal flow is faster or slower than on the outside.
Masters of Time are granted the ability to catapult objects into another time, to avoid capture by enemies or make them available when their intended recipient is prepared to wield them. One can temporarily cease the time flow around a person, freezing them in the middle of whatever they were doing (even if they were falling to the ground) until the spell ends. One’s powers can warp local time, creating pockets of unusual temporality in which time moves slower or faster than it does on the outside. Finally, the mage can rewrite her personal history, changing the events of one’s past (though only temporarily) to give oneself a completely different set of capabilities (though the history of her soul cannot be changed; all magical traits remain the same).
Archmaster and Above (●●●●●●+)Edit
Archmasters are rare but not unheard of. They don’t follow the same rules as the other ranks. Archmasters become Avatars of the Arcanum they studied, living embodiments of the Watchtower their power comes from. They become conduits for power and are no longer barred from their power by the Abyss and so aren’t subject to Paradox. They take on the physical characteristics of their Arcanum. They should be addressed as Arcs (i.e. an Arc of Death). Archmasters can cast all the spells from Initiate to Master, without using any Mana, and in any preferred duration. They effectively gain the powers of a God, including limited immortality (e.g. they stop getting older, and become immune to all diseases), but they’re still human beings and as such can be killed just like anybody else should they become careless. They still suffer penalties of their Inferior Arcanum; a mage can’t overcome that until he/she has become an Arc of that inferior Arcanum. Archmasters no longer belong solely to the planet of their birth; they become citizens of the cosmos, so their concerns must move beyond their home planet to the wider Universe.
Archmasters of Time have looked fully in the face of time itself. They have learned the final and most fundamental truth about time and space; it may be fluid and inconstant, but it is one large piece. It is human beings who tend to cut it into consumable pieces; years-months, days-weeks, etc. Because, of this revelation, many Seekers have a serenity about them that is reflects in their gentle eyes. Archmasters may shunt objects into the past and future. One can rewrite the histories of both themselves and others, changing their very souls. One can distort time so much that a scene from the past or future becomes manifest. And this isn’t to speak of the most speculated upon power of archmastery; time travel. An Arc of Time can walk back in time like most people walk downhill. Because if time is one piece and is equal to space, then the journey through time should be a simple as turning a corner. Another ability of an Arc is to be able to hide between the moments, or outside of time itself.