Mirage: The Bargainer’s Art of Pride

Knacks: Farsight, Memory, Mesmerize, Shatter, Watcher

Apprentice Degree: Clairvoyant
Adept Degree: Seer
Master Degree: Oracle

In the land of Théah, and especially in Montaigne, mirrors have power. A Mirage Sorcerer has learned to harness that power. No one is certain where the Sorcery originated, though it is known to be one of the Bargainer’s Arts, and therefore, as tainted as Sorte or Porté.

It manifests most commonly in Montaigne and occasionally in Avalon, where it is believed to be a derivative of Glamour, given as a gift by the Sidhe. Some scholars claim that the Montaigne acquired the Sorcery solely through the force of their vanity, having sold their souls to mirrors long ago. Some even theorize that it occurs in the children of those who have lost their souls to mirrors, born with a portion of their awareness on the other side of the looking glass.

Mirage Sorcerers have worked diligently to see their art fade from public knowledge. Because the Sorcery requires a mirror (or, in a pinch, some other reflective surface) to function, it can be contained, or essentially nullified, by breaking every mirror one can find. Ironically, in their own households, Mirage Sorcerers often keep the sources of their power covered to avoid revealing their Sorcerous heritage to onlookers: the reflection of a Mirage Sorcerer fades as he grows in power. As an Apprentice, it is simply translucent; as an Adept, it is transparent; and as a Master, it vanishes altogether.

Apprentice Degree
As an Apprentice, a Sorcerer may use his fledgling powers (in the form of the Farsight Knack) to look into one mirror and see what is being reflected in another. His clairvoyant abilities are limited to the present, and work most effectively when viewing images reflected in a mirror to which he is attuned. There is no range limit on this ability, but if an attempt fails and is attempted again in the same Scene, the mirror will crack (even if the second attempt is successful).

Adept Degree
As a Sorcerer’s powers increase, so does the strength of his clairvoyant ability. He may now (within limits) look into any mirror and view events that have been reflected in that mirror in the past, or will be reflected in the future. He may not see anything that happened before he was born, and he may not peer into the future by more than a year. Each day (or fraction thereof) that he attempts to peer into the future increases the TN of his attempt by one. Every year (or fraction thereof) that he attempts to look into the past increases his TN by one.

Master Degree
Once a Sorcerer becomes a Master of Mirage, his abilities are at their zenith. His ability to look into the past is no longer limited to his own lifetime; he may peer without limits into reflections of the past and the future. The TN penalties he incurred as an Adept no longer apply. Instead, his TN is increased by one for every two years (or fraction thereof) that he attempts to look into the past, or for every month (or fraction thereof) that he attempts to look into the future.

Sorcerous Knacks

Farsight. By concentrating on any large mirror, a Sorcerer may see what is being reflected in another mirror somewhere else, or what has been (or will be) reflected in that particular mirror at another time. In order to perform this feat, he must roll Resolve + Farsight against a TN of 20, with any modifications for peering into the past or future as described above (or under the Memory Knack). If he attempts to see what is reflected in a mirror he is not familiar with (but which someone else can describe to him), his TN for success is increased by ten, or by twenty if he is totally unfamiliar with the mirror other than knowing it exists. This Knack takes several minutes to use, and if anything is going on that might distract the Sorcerer (such as combat), the TN is increased by 10 in addition to any other modifiers. No one but the Sorcerer sees what is reflected in the mirror, though his trancelike state will be obvious to everyone, and he remains completely vulnerable to attack (with a TN to be hit of 5, though any successful attack immediately breaks the trance). Images from the past are distorted, as if seen through a light haze, while images of the future are blurry, and specific details may be difficult to pick out.

Memory. When a Mirage Sorcerer wishes to attune himself to a specific mirror, he rolls Resolve + Memory against a TN of 20. Success on this roll ensures that the Sorcerer never suffers a TN penalty for unfamiliarity when attempting to view the reflection in that mirror from another location, or when looking into that mirror to view the past or the future. Furthermore, each Raise taken on a successful roll provides one Free Raise on all attempts to view the past or future through the mirror, or to look through that mirror remotely. There is no limit to the number of mirrors a Sorcerer may attune himself to, however, when an attuned mirror breaks, the Sorcerer suffers Flesh Wounds equal to his Mastery Level in Kept dice. At any time, the Gamemaster may spend a Drama Die to have something happen to one of the Sorcerer’s attuned mirrors, causing it to break (rendering it useless to the Sorcerer) and inflicting damage as specified above.

Mesmerize. To use this power, the Mirage Sorcerer must be in close proximity to his chosen victim (either in physical contact to use the power without speaking, or within whispering distance to activate the power with his voice) while the target looks into a mirror. If these conditions are met, the Sorcerer may, by spending an Action, make a contested roll of his Wits + Mesmerize against the opponent’s Wits. If the opponent wins the contest, the Sorcery has no effect. If the Sorcerer wins, the victim is utterly transfixed by whatever he sees (or thinks he sees) within the mirror. Only an attack which inflicts a Dramatic Wound will disrupt the enchantment; shaking, slapping, or even covering the victim’s eyes or dragging him out of the room will have no effect. If the victim is left alone, he can attempt to beat the Sorcerer’s roll and break the enchantment with a new Wits check every twenty-four hours. Unless one of these checks succeeds, he will remain entranced until he dies of thirst, or until the Sorcerer wills the enchantment to end.

Shatter. This is generally considered a last-ditch defense, as it removes the source of the Mirage Sorcerer’s power, Shatter allows the Sorcerer to damage an opponent by attacking his reflection in a mirror. The power may be invoked in two ways: the first, and more common, requires the Mirage Sorcerer to spend an Action striking any mirror in which he can see his victim’s reflection. If the mirror breaks, the victim immediately takes a number of Flesh Wounds equal to the Sorcerer’s Rank in Shatter times his Mastery Level (thus, a Master of Mirage inflicts 5 x 3 = 15 Flesh Wounds with this attack). The second use of this power requires the Sorcerer to look into a mirror (even from a distance) that contains the reflection of his chosen victim. He must spend an Action to attempt a contested roll of his Resolve + Shatter against the opponent’s Resolve. If the Sorcerer loses this roll, the Sorcery has no effect; if he is successful, the mirror explodes violently into sharp fragments. Anyone standing within ten feet suffers one die of damage from the glass or metal shards, and the Sorcerer inflicts a number of Flesh Wounds equal to his contested roll on the victim. If the Sorcerer uses an attuned mirror in this attack, he may apply any Raises to which he is entitled on this roll, but he still suffers damage when the mirror breaks.

Watcher. Having determined that there is some sort of bizarre, mystical world “through the looking glass,” it should come as no surprise that some Mirage Sorcerers have made contact with those that dwell there. Once per day, by cutting his own palm (inflicting one die of Flesh Wounds) and pressing the wound against a mirror, he may summon one of these ghostly figures to that mirror for a number of minutes equal to his Mastery Level. By drawing the Sorcerer’s blood through the glass, the spirit agrees to travel to any one mirror specified by the Sorcerer (even if he has never seen it himself) and, the next time it is summoned (and fed), truthfully answer a number of “yes or no” questions equal to the Sorcerer’s Rank in this Knack about what it witnessed there (if anything). Some Mirage Sorcerers summon a different entity every time they invoke this power; others seem to call the same spirit over and over again and, over time, the two develop a peculiar sort of friendship (and may come to other sorts of arrangements). Similarly, some Sorcerers see nothing but shapeless apparitions, while others report that the figures seem human, except for the bloody stumps where they should have hands.

Game Master’s Secrets
Obviously, the clairvoyant aspects of this version of Mirage are taken directly from the female version of Scrying (per the Sophia’s Daughters sourcebook), which does not exist in the Poisoned Shadows campaign.

As the Noblesse Oblige e-book describes, Mirage allows the Syrneth races on the other side of the Barrier to peer through into the mortal realm. Mirage and Porté share a supernatural connection: the “mirror world” on the other side of a reflection is actually the Walkway, and the apparitions a Mirage Sorcerer sees are either Succubi or the remnants of Porté Sorcerers who opened their eyes while traveling between portals (with their hands chewed off so they cannot open a doorway and escape).

Adoption of these rules helps provide mechanical explanations for some of the game’s little mysteries (e.g., Cardinal Erika Durkheim is a Half-Blooded Mirage Sorcerer with a Rank of 3 in Watcher, rather than a Porté Sorcerer).

Full credit for Mirage goes to Andrew Peregrine, who developed the original Sorcery.