The nature of Paradox is widely debated amongst scholars of the Arcane. Some claim it is Reality's reaction to magic, some that it is the caster's magic run amok, others that it is a separte force, and yet others that it was created by the ancient gods to punish the prideful willworker. There are also those who claim that Paradox was brought into Reality by the coming of the Exarch.
Whatever the true nature of Paradox, it's unpredictable, often violent, and always destructive effects are linked with the local Paradigm. While some feats of magic is always Vulgar (and thus Paradox inducing), other effects may cause a backlash in one area and not in another.
House Rules concerning Paradox (draft)
The following factors determine whether a rote or effect causes a backlash:
- Any raw magical effect (fireball, teleportation, conjuring something from nothing, etc).
- Any effect that would cause Disbelief in a witness.
- Any Vulgar feat of magic (according to the local Paradigm).
- Magical healing of Aggravated damage.
To determine whether a backlash occures, roll Gnosis/2 (round up). Using a foci (see M:tA, p. 89) gives a -1 modifier to the roll. Each Paradox-roll made by the same caster during the same scene incites a +1 modifier (this is the Domino-effect).
The number of successes determines which type of backlash occures.
1 success..........Mental2 successes......Metaphysical
An Exceptional Success will cause a more permanent manifestation (Quietus or Branding).
There are three types of backlash: physical, mental and metaphysical. Which type occures is at the Storyteller's discretion.
Mental Backlash (Bedlam)The magician's mind is attacked by the forces of Paradox. Roll Humanity, a failed roll results in permanent loss of Humanity.
Metaphysical Backlash (Anomaly)The effect is warped in one way or another, always unpredictable, and often inconvenient. The effect of the backlash will be sentered on the willworker. A Matter spell may turn the magician's boots into lead, a Mind spell might leave him disoriented, a Space spell might send the caster to some unintended location, etc.
Physical Backlash (Havoc)The magician loses control of his spell. The raw, destructive power of magic tears at Reality, causing harm to himself and his surroundings. The radius is 10 yards pr. dot of Arcana involved in the casting. The damage is Aggravated, and the amount of damage is equal to the highest sphere involved.
All backlash-effects are immediate and are ultimately at the Storyteller's discretion. Any attempt to reverse, dispell or in any way affect the result of a backlash is considered Vulgar.
Branding and QuietusSeveral backlashes during the same scene, or an Exceptional Success, will cause a more permanent Paradox-manifestation. Repeated casting of Vulgar magic over time may also cause this type of backlash.
Branding (Which's Mark) is a physical affliction visited upon the caster by the forces of magic. This mark will be clearly visible, and may be reckognized by onlookers (Wits+Occult).
Quietus is a state of mind, akin to the common madness, aflicting magicians, often as a result of prolonged exposure to magic. This has given birth to the stereotype of mad wizards. It is assumed that Quietus is a result of repeated mental backlashes, but as with most things Paradox-related, empirical evidence is hard to pin down.