From Edge of Darkness Wiki
The Arcana of Life allows a mage to influence the various life forms of the Fallen World. Any terrestrial organism may be affected by the spells of this Arcanum, and their effects range from the healing of wounds and transformation into other creatures to the spreading of disease and sapping of physical strength. The mage can change her shape, make her body stronger, alter her appearance, control the behaviour of life forms all the way up to humanity, and raise life from one state to another. The Arcanum of Life is primarily used by the Thyrsus, a Path very much in touch with the natural world.
Disease, evolution, healing, metamorphosis, vigour.
Nature and Power
The Arcanum of Life is the Gross Arcana of the Supernal Realm of the Primal Wild, a realm from which also comes the power of the Arcanum of Spirit. The Primal Wild is carpeted in life forms. Trying to find a place where life does not exist is a futile task, as it is the nature of the Primal Wild to play mother to such creatures. From its vast jungles teeming with insects, birds, and other beasts to its oceans swarming with fish and exotic creatures of the deep sea, the Primal Wild is quite literally blanketed in organisms; even such inhospitable lands as its deserts and mountain peaks play host to a multitude of creatures. If one is to survive for any length of time in the realm, then, it stands to reason that one must be able to exert a little bit of control over the native creatures. The life of the Fallen World is, of course, readily susceptible to the power of the Arcanum, so it makes a great tool for nature-oriented mages. The rise of the Abyss has reduced the power of Life to an extent, but, like all the Gross Arcana, its primary field of influence has remained in the Fallen World, so there’s still plenty of material for a mage to work with.
Life is somewhat less common in the Fallen World than it is in Arcadia. Much of the material universe is both uninhabited and uninhabitable to life as we know it. As far as humanity is aware, Earth is the only planet confirmed to hold life. But on this one sphere, life reigns triumphant. The surface and the oceans teem with various examples of flora and fauna, as does the world beneath our feet and even in places as bleak and inhospitable as the peaks of the tallest mountains, the craters of geysers and volcanoes, and the deepest undersea trenches. The life that dwells in the Fallen World doesn't take root all that often, but when it does, it thrives.
More diminished in scale, but more relevant to the everyday mage, are the lesser fields that the Arcanum of Life covers. A mage conversant in this Arcanum can heal wounds, regenerate limbs, and purge disease from the bodies of those she wills. She can speak to, tame, and control the beasts and plants of the wild, and even exert control over the biological impulses of humanity, generating emotions or simply puppeteering the minds of the Sleepers. She has the power to improve the physical qualities of others, making them stronger, faster, or tougher, or she may instead weaken and degrade them. She may create miraculous beasts out of thin air, turn animals into people, turn people into animals, or turn animals into other animals. She may change her form as she pleases, becoming any person or any creature suitable for the task, or make herself or another a bizarre hybrid of characteristics by taking features from one life form and attaching them to her subject in whatever way she desires.
Levels of Proficiency
Using the power of the first level of mastery, an Initiate of Life may use her Mage Sight to detect the resonance of life forces, perceiving their vital animation as threads in the Tapestry. She may analyse a creature to determine its species, age, and gender, or perform larger detections to sense the proximity of specific types of life. She can analyse a wounded or diseased creature to learn the nature of its injuries or ailments, and purge herself of harmful substances such as poisons or drugs.
- Spells: Analyze Life, Cleanse Body, Counterspell, Forgo Rest, Healers Trance, Pulse of the Living World, Sense Life
An Apprentice of Life, commanding the second level of mastery, can use her powers to heal wounds that she has sustained, or that have been inflicted upon a non-human creature. Her mastery of body purging allows her to force the drugs and toxins out of others, and she may rid herself of diseases and illnesses. She may exhibit full control over her bodily functions, allowing her to change her heart rate, metabolic rate, breathing, and reflexes as she pleases. She gains power over the base life forms of the Fallen World (insects, plants, fungi, etc.), allowing her to control them through manipulating their instinctual behaviour, transform them into other base life forms, or graft their features onto other base life forms. She may confer her ability to see living resonance upon others, and may bolster her Pattern with vital energy, becoming more resistant to harm.
- Spells: Body Control, Bread Alone, Control Base Life, Evidence Shroud, Gain Skill, Heal Flora and Fauna, Organic Resilience, Purify Bodies, Self Healing, Self Purging, Stabilize, Transfer Base Features, Transform Base Life, Visions of the Living World
The use of the third level of mastery allows a Disciple of Life to fortify the corporeal forms of others in the same manner as she can bolster her own. Her powers of healing grow to the point where she may bind the wounds of others and cleanse diseases from their bodies. She gains power over median life forms (most mammals, fish, reptiles, birds), allowing her to control their instincts, transform them into other median life forms, or graft their features onto other such creatures. She may even take on selected physical characteristics of median and base life forms herself, though she cannot yet fully become one. She gains the power to strengthen or weaken her body, and those of base or median life forms, and may alter her features to appear as whoever she pleases.
- Spells: Banish Plague, Bestow Skill, Body Mastery, Chemical Imbalance, Control Median Life, Curse Predation, Degrading the Form, Enforced Silence, Feral Reflex, Gaias Hold, Healing Heart, Honing the Form, Image of Striking Beauty, Inflict Agony, Metabolic Suspension, Organic Shield, Palsy, Physical Reconfiguration, Scent of Nature, Transfer Median Features, Transform Median Life, Transform Self, Trigger Autonomic Function, Two Faces, Verminous Metamorphosis
An Adept of Life, wielding the fourth level of mastery, increases her ability to control base and median life to the point where she can exert bodily control over them, rather than simply nudging their instincts in a given direction. She gains the ability to affect multiple facets of her form or that of an animal at a time, bolstering or degrading them as necessary. She may now exert limited control of the physical power of another human, both to improve and weaken. She can alter the features of another person or give them the traits of a base or median life form, and gains enough control over her own form as to allow her to change any characteristic of her body into that of another human being. She can trigger base instinctual reactions in humans, and can transform a base life form into a median one. Her abilities to control disease increase to the point where she can create it in others, and she may launch direct assaults on the life force of another. Finally, she gains the ability to change her shape into that of any creature she pleases, though this comes with a risk of being lost in the new form’s instinctual reactions and briefly losing control over her actions.
- Spells: Accelerate Healing, Animal Degradation, Animal Minion, Bind the Wayward Body, Contagion, Control Reactions, Doppelganger, Enfeeblement, Hone Anothers Form, Life Force Assault, Many Faces, Perfect Mask, Puissant Skill, Severed Sense, Shapechanging, Skill Mastery, Supreme Honing, Sustain Body, Transform Other, Trigger the Lizard Brain, Uplift the Species
- House Ruled: Accelerate Healing, Puissant Skill, Severed Sense, Skill Mastery, Supreme Honing
Utilising the fifth level of mastery, a Master of Life gains the formidable power to create life from Mana and thin air, without needing to build off an existing creature. She may convert animal life into human form (though without the Arcanum of Mind, they gain none of humanity’s advanced intellect) or even transform it into any kind of creature she can conceive. With a little more magic, she can give the new creature the ability to breed true, creating a bloodline of hybrid beings or newly made creatures. Limited control may be exerted over human life, but self-destructive commands or actions that run counter to the person’s morality are more difficult. The mage’s shape changing abilities advance to the point where she can shift forms without risking mental conflicts, and can transform others in the same manner. She gains the ability to improve or degrade multiple aspects of a human’s form, and can temporarily regrow body parts lost by herself or another.
- Spells: Animate Homunculus, Create Life, Evolutionary Shift, Fantasia, Ghastly Metamorphosis, Greater Shapechanging, Hereditary Change, Human Minion, Multitudinous Form, Regeneration, Skilled Triumph, Ultimate Degradation, Ultimate Honing, Vital Balance