We started an M20 campaign and I created a character that focuses on Prime and Life Spheres. Life is a very useful sphere and can have many good effects on its own. Prime on the other hand seems a little tricky to me.

The character concept is of a hunter that hunts down and kills Technocracy affiliated people. He is an expert in Melee, Firearms and Do. He has a Wonder background of twin Revolvers that produce infinite bullets via Matter magic (they need to be fed 1 point of Quintessence every 4 clips).

The only usages I have of my Prime sphere at the moment are:

  • Feeding the revolvers
  • Enchanting the bullets with quintessence for aggravated dmg
  • Creating a lightsaber out of raw quintessence for use with my Weapon Art Do special skill
  • Enchanting my fists with Quintessence to deal better damage via Do/Martial Arts techniques

But this seems to lackluster and there are no combinations with Life magic. Are there any other usages that I'm not seeing? I really like the idea of a character that plays with magic in its purest form but I can't seem to find ways to make it awesome...

Some more information about the character build:

  • Prime 3/Life 3
  • Melee/Firearms 3 and Do 2
  • Node BG 5
  • Avatar BG 4
  • Buffed up physical stats using Life 3
  • Cyclic Mage merit (we try to adventure while we are in our zenith)

I have access to a Sanctum, Resources 5 and a Mansion which is built over our Node (also contains the Sanctum). My team has Time3/Corre3, Mind2/Prime1/Life3, Mind3/Forces3.

PS: Yes Revolvers do indeed have clips in MTA Revolver Clips = 6 bullets

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ anyways, I see wher you come from, Prime is the most difficult to understand Sphere in the system. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 27, 2017 at 11:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Try playing without Prime sphere and then compare the efficacy. Prime is the metasphere, the more other spheres you have the greater your need for Prime supporting them. If your GM is particularly generous about Quintessence it might indeed be redundant. \$\endgroup\$
    – eimyr
    Apr 28, 2017 at 15:37
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah well the whole point was to not use Prime just as a Quintessence Siphon but use it for standalone Effects as well. Seems that's not really what it was designed to do... \$\endgroup\$
    – PentaKon
    Apr 28, 2017 at 15:40

4 Answers 4


Generally, from what I remember, Prime is not a sphere you'd usually focus on, but is a necessary supplement to other spheres so they can reach their full potential.

I'm sure there will be other uses. But how much the value will be to you is a different matter and very much depends on your tables playstyle.

Since my group is more of a mystery/detective style group with limited combat exposure (by design, or rather by player choice, as my group tends to avoid unnecessary risks especially with non-coincidential magic).

Okay, more details:

  • Quintessence is invisible to Mages with Prime 1 or less.
  • You need Prime 2+ to store more Quintessence than your Avatar rating
  • You need Prime 3+ to directly use Quintessence that is not stored in your pattern, i.e. directly from a node or other power source
  • With Prime 1 you can sense whether Quintessence has been tampered with by other mages
  • Lightning Strike (as a Prime Magic Attack) does supernatural damage/damage to the pattern
  • You can defend yourself against magic attacks of which you don't have the necessary sphere knowledge using Prime by raising the effect difficulty for enemies and strengthening/stabilizing the quintessence of the reality.
  • If you want to undo permanent spells or spells with long* duration, you need sphere knowledge and Prime 1+
  • To make your x-genesis permanent, you will need Prime as a Sphere effect to do so.

From the Sphere description

  • Consecrating objects, so they count as part of the mages pattern (1+)
  • Enchant Weapons and Tools to use Prime energy (2+)
  • Create Weapons out of pure quintessence (2+)
  • Launching pure Prime energy at foes (2+)
  • All "Genesis" type magic needs Prime (2+), i.e. whenever you create something permanently
  • use parts of decaying Tass (fabric of reality) for small magic (power) benefits (3+)
  • Transform and charge Tass to become magical artifacts (3+)
  • Enchant living beings (as previously with weapons) to inflict pattern damage (3+)
    • Use Quintessence to temporarily add an additional "Health dot", which can only be healed by time, not by magic (3+)
  • "unbind" Tass belonging to "Matter" and "Force" spheres to return to the Magic flow and harnessing a small part of that as quintessence. (4+)
  • Make living "Talismans" (4+)
  • Tap the magic flow at specific places (with high resonance) to receive access to additional free quintessence (4+)
  • disperse Patterns back to the magic flow (4+)
  • enhance or place magical powers into objects (4+)
  • nullify paradox (5+)
  • create a node (5+)
  • permanently enchant living beings, places and time (5+)
  • Storing Quintessence from everywhere, not only nodes and special places (5+)

Note that some of these Feats require you to have knowledge of other spheres, for example to be able to add additional health dots, you'd need Life in addition to Prime.

This is also just a general overview and not a complete list of possibilities.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Please do! Perceiving the flow is interesting, if only to assert that we are dealing with an awakened. I'll check out Lightning Strike. Might even pass it as a Coincidental effect! Charging myself with Quintessence is only useful just to carry more i guess? i do need this since I need to use it here and there for combat anyways... Our party is generic since this is our first campaign, however we have a Time3/Corre3 character that does all the scouting and a Mind3 character the does the controlling. I decided to be the combat oriented guy 'cause we smelled we'll be dealing with supernaturals... \$\endgroup\$
    – PentaKon
    Apr 27, 2017 at 11:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Chosen as the most generic answer regarding usage of Prime sphere, regardless of my specific situation \$\endgroup\$
    – PentaKon
    Apr 28, 2017 at 14:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Konstantine as promised, I have added additional info. \$\endgroup\$ May 2, 2017 at 12:47

So, as has been called out, Prime is one of the most esoteric spheres, as it's basically the sphere of "realness" — the more quintessential energy a thing has, the more "real" it is on a cosmic level. Based on your character concept, you're probably getting as much mileage out of it as you're going to. Here are some things you might think about.

  1. With Life and Prime 2, you can "summon" or create simple lifeforms. Plants, insects, even small animals if you want.
  2. You can take full advantage of things like Nodes, Tass and Junctures to get Quintessence out of them, and you can make Periapts to pass that quint to your team. Mages love extra quint, since it lowers difficulty numbers on spells you cast.

There's a book called "How do you DO that?" with all kinds of different paradigmatic ideas, but that's some to get you started.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ "Based on your character concept, you're probably getting as much mileage out of it as you're going to". That hurt so bad... \$\endgroup\$
    – PentaKon
    Apr 27, 2017 at 14:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Konstantine No insult intended. You're getting a lot of power out of your use of Life, but Prime is for Scholars, Crafters, Illusionists and Boomsticks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jadasc
    Apr 27, 2017 at 14:51

Prime in itself is fairly esoteric, and has limited uses for your character. But some of those limited uses mesh very well with a hunter-style character:

  • Perceive Quintessence: Quite essential for somebody looking for magic activity, it helps you find the magical activity, and the trail of your prey.
  • Alter Aura: It can made your aura appearing mundane, so people who might look for you can't find you. You might even be able to fool the sensors of the Technocracy
  • Alter Self: Whily pure Life 3 gives you free reign to ater your body, without Prime you can't make something from nothing. But with Prime, you can grow your nails into daggers that kill things with lightning. Or turn his skin bulletproof. Maybe even grow a third arm.
  • Animate Corpses: Because it is a fun way to creep people out.

I might look for some more uses, but the first two seem fairly useful and fitting in the style, while the second two can be plain fun.


Making magic items you can give to your party.

With Prime 2, you can make items that are permanently imbued with a particular magical effect, and consumable items that cast a single spell on use. With the addition of Life 3, former might be useful for things like tattoos that boost their wearer's stats (granting the Enhancement background), while the latter could be used to make healing potions and the like.

With Prime 3, you can make permanent magic items that only other Mages can use, effectively allowing them to cast one of your spells even if they don't have the required Spheres. This might be things like lightsabers and ether rifles that let their weilders make Prime 3 energy weapon attacks, holy swords that let their weilder spend Quintessence for Agg damage, amulets that let their wearers heal themselves with Life 2 or buff their stats with Life 3, etc.

With Prime 4, you can make magic items that anyone with an appropriate paradigm can use (rolling the item's Arete rather than that of its wielder), and which can contain the ability to cast multiple spells, but which require their creator to spend a point of of permanent Willpower to create (unless the creator of the item is a Technocrat).

The in-depth rules for creating magic items can be found in the M20 supplement The Book of Secrets.


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