Some time back, Onyx Path Publishing put out an open call for writers to work on World of Darkness lines. I submitted the following, and since I was not sworn to secrecy on pain of death, I've decided that it would make some good blog content. It's a... kinda weird idea, but it seemed cool to me! In keeping with the recommendations stated in the open call, I've used the God-Machine Chronicle rules update to the new World of Darkness.
The Five Supernal Winds
“Though the Five Supernal Winds have not descended upon the Fallen World since time out of mind, the spells to summon them may yet exist. The lords of Atlantis once commanded them, not only to rule the sea but to summon the inexhaustible power of the Realms into the world. The Five Winds blur the line between a force and a sapient presence, for while they do nothing without impetus, their reactions to the commands of the Wise are as unpredictable and dangerous as a wild beast. Wherever they go in the Fallen World, they leave change in their wake, whether subtle or profound.” – Greenstone of the Spider Lords cabal, in The Tome of Aetheric Resonances
When a Supernal Wind goes entirely uncontrolled, it changes the world according to its desires: a few more mages awaken into the Watchtower of its origin, and the Astral and Shadow Realms roil with chaos. The motives of a Supernal Wind are abstruse, by human standards: the exaltation of a lowly novice mage, the humbling of an archmage, the discovery or occultation of a ruined temple. In a year and a day, it naturally disperses. When commanded by an extraordinary mage, the Supernal Wind loses cohesion quickly, but it can work lasting changes upon the world that Quiescence is slow to erode. The effects vary by the wind’s Realm; Covert effects cost minimal cohesion, while Improbable and Vulgar effects rapidly drain the Wind’s mystic integrity and hasten its departure from the Fallen World.
Archmages go through all of this trouble for two compelling reasons. The first is that a Supernal Wind can easily affect vast areas, measured in square miles rather than yards. The second is that, by creating an independent casting force, the archmage insulates herself from Paradox – an increasingly important consideration for one so exalted.
Each of the Supernal Winds has a common name indicating its parent Realm, and a name of high mystery that must be learned through research or numinous revelation. Their common names are the Fools’ Gale (Acanthus), the Scourging Wind or the Nightmare Wind (Mastigos), the Shade Tempest (Moros), the Breath of God (Obrimos), and the First of All Storms (Thyrsus).
Once one of the Supernal Winds is in the world, it is visible to sensing spells, but otherwise imperceptible. It follows the weather patterns of the world, such as the jet stream, unless and until a mage acts upon it with will and great power. Supernal Winds possess a limited sapience of their own; willworkers must bend it to their own authority, or negotiate with its alien intellect. This makes control of a Supernal Wind chancy and challenging, even for the mighty.
The following spell summons the Nightmare Wind; the spells for the rest of the Supernal Winds are quite similar, but as appropriate to their Realms of origin.
Summon the Nightmare Wind (Mind 7, Space 7)
By the power of the Nightmare Wind and Pandemonium, the Realms of Mind and Space influence the Fallen World in a localized but mobile area: a magical weather pattern.
Practice: Making Action: Extended Duration: Lasting (up to 366 days) Aspect: Covert (with some Vulgar effects) Cost: 2 Mana
A single success summons the Nightmare Wind from Pandemonium into the Fallen World. Additional successes grant this Supernal Wind greater strength of will and power to enact effects. As an ephemeral being, Supernal Wind starts with Resistance 1. For every additional success, the Supernal Wind enters the world in a stronger form, adding 1 to Power, Finesse, or Size. For every five successes, the Supernal Wind gains an additional point of Resolve and Composure.
Other than these traits, a Supernal Wind behaves more like a mage than other ephemeral entities. The Nightmare Wind always has at least Mind 5 and Space 5, increasing to 6 when any one Attribute exceeds 5. It has a functional Gnosis equal to its summoner’s, though this represents the strength of its summoning, not its actual awareness of cosmic Truth: it is, after all, a manifestation of that Truth in the first place. It is capable of speaking High Speech and any language its summoner knows. A Supernal Wind internally generates five Mana every day, and can store and spend Mana according to its Gnosis.
To move the Nightmare Wind off of its current course, a mage (not just the summoner) may make a (Mind or Space) + Gnosis roll. If the Nightmare Wind is already moving according to a command (including a prior command from the summoner), the second roll’s successes must exceed the first. This continues to require higher and higher numbers of successes until a month passes without a new command taking effect, at which time the value resets.
Compelling the Nightmare Wind to alter the Fallen World by magic requires a social challenge against the Wind’s will. Mastigos mages enjoy a Perfect first impression, while mages of other Paths have a Good first impression. Though they do not have Virtues or Vices, Supernal Winds have Aspirations that may factor into the challenge. If successfully persuaded or compelled, the Nightmare Wind can work an extraordinary variety of improvised spells appropriate to Mind or Space. If a social challenge against a Supernal Wind fails, it might do almost anything, in accordance with its Aspirations and, frequently, a desire to punish hubris. It uses Mana to cast spells, but cannot use it to mitigate Paradox as a mage does. Instead, it absorbs Paradox into itself, losing one Attribute dot from Power, Finesse, or Size for every Paradox success. If any Attribute falls below 1, the Supernal Wind is dismissed from the Fallen World.
Silver Ladder Rote: Scourging Zeitgeist Dice Pool: Intelligence + Expression + Mind
The Supernal Winds are a pure expression of the Thunder that the Silver Ladder regard as a symbol of their Order. A Supernal Wind is an ally of the greatest possible magnitude, and with proper commands, the Order’s hegemony is secure.