So, I'm having difficulty with an Order of Hermes character that likes using Mind magick. My specialty sphere is Forces, and I'm having a tough time combining the two to create magical effects. (My character has Forces 1 and Mind 2.) I've read the descriptions and sample magical combinations written at the end of each Sphere rank, but it seems as though Mind and Forces are incompatible — or, more appropriately, have little synergy between them.

Note that we're gaming in the Victorian Era, so rotes such as "I get a hold of the information that's stored in this flash drive" using Forces • Mind • are not going to be useful to me, but they're welcome anyway.


To sum up, we've got Mind & Forces (I'm only going till level 3, since above that the powers start being ridiculous):


•: Sense Thoughts (but not read yet), Sense Emotions (and determine some basic principles - but not to whom the emotion is directed an what it is - only in a positive-or-negative sense), Sense Powerful Resonance, Mind Shielding (only rudimentary), Improve Computational Skills, Improve Memory, Improve Concentration, Aura Reading.

••: Read Surface Thoughts, Sense Memories Associated with Objects, Scan Emotions, Determine Resonance (including drawing out memories attached to it), Send Emotional Impression, Mind Shielding, Mind Cloaking, Alter Aura.

•••: Telepathy, Surpass Language Barrier, Project Illusions, Create False Thoughts, Mental Attack, Control Thoughts during Sleep and Dreams, Enter Dream Realms, Contact Dream Minds.


•: Perceive Forces (sense, where they emanate from, where they go, determine intensity).

••: Control Minor Forces (divert a force, change its quality, control its dispersion).

•••: Transmute Minor Forces (convert forces into ther types, shift their intensity radically, create a force from nothing, banish a force into oblivion).


Rotes from Sourcebooks

Mentions I could find between the two spheres: It's only one and it's located on page 165, under Transmute Minor Forces: [..]he can transmute a pure idea into a construct of force[..].

Branding the Heart: Forces •• Mind •• Artisan's Handbook p52

Dream Drama: Forces •• Mind •• Order of Hermes Tradition Book p64

Feedback: Forces •• Mind ••• Digital Web 2.0 p115

Focus the Blow: Forces • Mind • Akashic Brotherhood Tradition Book p63

Possess Flame: Forces •• Mind •••• The Spirit Ways p88

Sneaking Shadow: Forces •• Mind •• The Book of Shadows p139

Tune Psychic Radio: Forces •• Mind • The Book of Shadows p140

Custom Rotes

Spark of Inspiration: Forces ••• Mind 1 •

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! How many dots does your character have in each of those spheres? Also, in which era is your game set? \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Jan 17 '12 at 16:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! I love stack overflow and didn't know this existed! My character at this point has Forces 1 and Mind 2. It's a victorian-era setting. \$\endgroup\$ – Dictum Mortuum Jan 17 '12 at 18:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ This pdf lists a ton of Rotes from all the books. I don't know if they're any good (nothing to cross reference with) but it might be handy for ideas! \$\endgroup\$ – Pureferret Jan 17 '12 at 23:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Once you have Forces 2/Mind 2 or Forces 2/Mind 3, take a moment to google electroshock therapy and the like. Knowing what you can do to the brain with electricity might make a few ideas jump out. \$\endgroup\$ – Tynam Jan 17 '12 at 23:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ I checked the pdf list and it contains quite a few useful rotes, I might edit the first post later and add most of them. \$\endgroup\$ – Dictum Mortuum Jan 17 '12 at 23:56

I don't have access to the books you mentioned, so I may be duplicating something here. But my initial thoughts are to use Forces as a conduit for Mind:

  1. Depending on when and where your story is set, you could do Mind magic over a telegraph or telephone line by using the electrical impulses between you and the other person. You could send secret messages to the other person, read his mind to determine whether what he said was truthful, etc. (Without Forces and the wire, this would require Correspondence or close proximity to the other person, as per usual.) Of course, it depends on your gaming group how far you should take this. Gravity is under the purview of Forces, but would it really be fair to say you can read anybody's mind anywhere on the planet because they're in contact with the same gravity as you? Probably not.

  2. Make a lantern or candle perform some Mind effect on whoever sees its light. (Light is a force.) With Prime, this could become a "set it and forget it"-type spell. Otherwise, you may have to remain near the object. The Mind effect should be less powerful as the light gets dimmer or farther away. Alternatively, the effect could incur a Willpower roll. When the light is bright or close by, the difficulty is high. When the light is dim or far away, the difficulty is lower or the effect is nonexistent. Correspondence could help negate the distance problem.

  3. You're a shop-keeper with a bell above your door. Cast a spell on it so that it chimes sweetly when most people enter your shop, but it takes on a discordant tone when someone enters who (intends to do something bad, is in disguise, hasn't bathed, etc.). You could channel this as long as you're near the shop's entrance, or use Prime to set and forget.

  4. This doesn't combine the two spheres into one effect, but it still makes use of both of them in the same scene: When speaking in front of a crowd, use Forces to amplify your voice, and use Mind to sway your audience to your point of view.

It may also be possible to use Mind as a conduit for Forces:

  1. When someone tries to use Mind magic on the target of this effect, they're met with either extreme heat or cold in their head. Not the perception of heat or cold, as that would just be Mind, but true, damaging heat or cold. Throw in a bit of Life, and you could disrupt their body's inherent electrical impulses and stop their brain or heart.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Excellent suggestions! One might argue that numbers two and three might need some Prime in it though, for the 'Fire and forget' aspect. \$\endgroup\$ – Pureferret Jan 18 '12 at 19:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pureferret Thanks, and good call on the Prime aspect. Noted. \$\endgroup\$ – Billy Jo Jan 18 '12 at 20:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Good answer, although perhaps you should make note of the difference between Major and Minor forces. I believe both light and gravity are considered Major forces, which a mage doesn't begin to have control over until rank 4. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian S Feb 27 '14 at 14:47

You're right; there's not a lot of clear synergies between the two spheres. What comes to mind is something like "Spark of Inspiration" or "Bolt from the Blue." Using the Hermetic associations of fire with insight and creativity (recalling Prometheus), combine Forces and Mind to make your thoughts more receptive to the "divine fire." Such a rote could get you clues or ideas about a solution to a difficult problem that wouldn't necessarily come from pure thought.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think that you're onto something! That's an awesome way to use the spheres together - use Forces 3 and a power source (electricity, solar power, etc) and transmute it using mind 1+ into artificial thoughts (is there a term like this :P?), in a brainstorming fashion. \$\endgroup\$ – Dictum Mortuum Jan 17 '12 at 23:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's your paradigm -- go wild. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Jan 18 '12 at 0:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DictumMortuum "Artificial Thoughts" sounds more like brainwashing than brainstorming. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Mar 18 '16 at 12:42

Forces and Mind can be used together to perform different kind of sensorial input filtering:

  • Receive one kind of sensory input when a different sense is stimulated. (For example, you may receive some kind of kinetic feedback instead of hearing a particular sound, as if you had converted sonic energy into kinetic energy, but for your mind only.) [Greatly inspired by D&D psionic power Synesthete]
  • Increase/decrease the feedback received by a specific sensory input (For example: track a specific voice, making your mind perceive it as much louder than it actually is)

Those kind of results probably could be achieved using Mind alone, but adding Force to the effect would make it easier to generate and give you more control over it, allowing something more specific. Of course adding Correspondence and/or Entropy could improve the outcome greatly.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That's the difficulty I'm talking about right there: you can accomplish those feats with mind alone. It's not combining, say, correspondence and time to view a remote place 3 years ago - that feat requires both spheres at an equal rate - remove one and you just can't cast your magical effect. Those examples are falling somewhere in the middle, as most of my own rotes. Still, I like that Synesthete rote - I haven't thought of looking back to d&d to mimic spells & powers! \$\endgroup\$ – Dictum Mortuum Jan 17 '12 at 21:21

Expanding on the whole transmute a pure idea into a construct of force thing, here's a fun one : how about a spell that emits a sound based on the number and proximity of nearby Thoughts (the Mind equivalent of Aliens' motion tracker) ? Why not even project a map (could even be an actual Map with Correspondence 1's Spatial Map added to the mix) showing dots at their current location relative to the caster ?

And now, to completely invert the concept : how about a spell that converts the damage of a physical attack into a mental attack ? "Punch someone in the Mind" ? I can't figure how it would be implemented so it's possibly too complex to be practical, but awesome nevertheless.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I like the idea very much. You could even make a spell that transforms an idea into sound - for instance, if I come near and think about something, then the spell transforms my idea into literal words. \$\endgroup\$ – Dictum Mortuum Jan 15 '13 at 16:37

Of course Templar Psionic Storm from StarCraft is a Force/Mind effect :D

On that route, you could possibly find a way to attack Willpower (as in Mind 3 ) with a very physical effect like fire, lightning, ice… that could add more damage (don’t actually have the books here, but I remember using forces for damage added damage or something like that).

You could torture someone with mind 2 force 2 so if s/he/it thinks something you don’t like he receives some burn/electrical/ice/whatever damage. ‘You’re not going to betray me are you?’. With this conditional effect you could brainwash people really fast.

You can read someone thoughts and show an illusion of them, basically having a 3-D hologram of someone memories.

You could ‘fuel’ your mind effects with energy as a mind shield that works on fire (fire-crown is very hermetic).

In Mage there is a very clear distinction between the more physical spheres like forces, matter, life and the more ethereal spheres like entropy, time or spirit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t combine them to do awesome (and very practical) things.

  • \$\begingroup\$ For everyone who hasn't played Starcraft, what's Templar Psionic Storm? \$\endgroup\$ – Pureferret Jan 31 '12 at 17:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ What!? Someone hasn't played starcraft? oh dear... ;) Edit: oh! there is no line break... It's a kind of spell that unleash a storm in an area dealing a lot of damage in that place. Basically some area-damage with a 'mind blast' background. \$\endgroup\$ – Random Jan 31 '12 at 17:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Random wouldn't that just be a Forces effect, then? Or does it also affect minds in some way? \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Feb 1 '12 at 4:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ The game mechanics of StarCraft doesn't include a way to specify physical / mental damage. But as I said, it has a ‘mental’ background. It’s like an area mental assault that appears as a lighting storm. \$\endgroup\$ – Random Feb 1 '12 at 8:06

I can come up with two ideas:

Neural Shutdown: using the ability to manipulate the electricity in the brain you can shut down various region of mental activity, calming/causing aggression, sleep, memories, or religious experiences.

Dazzling lights: Using a combination of lights, sounds, and mental influence drives the victim(s) into a temporary Fugue state rendering them incapable of separating fantasy from reality. This condition reduces their impact towards paradox by half (rounded up) and renders any attempt to recollect events of the scene at a die penalty equal to the successes of the cast.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would argue that your first suggestion would require at least one dot in Life, because the electrical impulses are part of the brain. \$\endgroup\$ – Billy Jo Feb 7 '12 at 20:22

With an akashic i used forces to combine the speed of my punches to mesmerize the target based on how fast i was moving. Basically in short i made it appear i was moving faster then i was to kind of blur my strikes to make it harder to dodge.

I could see an order of hermes doing something similar with using swords or even have it to where when you strike even if you miss their mind perceives that you hit them so they take the damage as bashing instead of lethal if you miss.

  • \$\begingroup\$ after reading my own answer i think the first part i suggested could be done with mind alone but the second would probably need the forces to translate the force of the swing to a mental "pain" \$\endgroup\$ – Smurfy Feb 26 '14 at 22:02

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