Paradigm Summary: Hollow Ones

Paradigm Basics: The others will tell you that this is a cosmos - a universe based on an order to which they have the keys of discovery. They will tell you that magick makes sense based on governing truths and through a process of increasing enlightenment and self-discovery. They will tell you that a practitioner of magick follows the path towards understanding everything. Bullshit.

What the Traditions, Technocracy, and all the others refuse to admit to themselves is that there is magick in everything but meaning in nothing. Their magickal workings do nothing more than further their own delusions as they tug and pull on the same mystical threads that everyone else who does magick uses. All that their internally consistent and explanatory paradigms succeed at is give them a tightened focus in finding out what works to manipulate reality. But everyone else's stuff works just as well.

The Hollow Ones are the ultimate hodge-podge of beliefs. To them, anything that is mystical can be used to create magick. This extends from the high rituals of the Traditions to the bleeding edge sciences of the Technocracy and even to spells written in mass-market paperbacks available at chain bookstores. There is no underlying rationale for how it all works, save for perhaps the power of ritual, psychology, and tradition on the minds and dreams of the world. Some of it works better than others, and a lot of it is almost entirely worthless, but there is a spark of magick in anything that the weirdoes of the world ascribe power to.

Thus a Hollower can use just about anything in magickal workings. Rotes cribbed from a Hermetic spellbook, rites observed at a Verbena coven meet, a prototype invention stolen from a Technocratic lab, or just a charm for falling in love from a friend's Modern Wytchcraft magazine. Yet Hollowers never fully believe in the potency of any one method, and will layer appropriate spells and rituals to create an effect like a magpie lining its next with shiny bits. A Hollower trying to accomplish an effect will bring out a half dozen or more different foci in the course of a new working, gradually refining the effect to its minimum components as she practices it. It would not be unusual to see a Hollow One, for example, sorting through Tarot cards while chanting in Latin, drawing Futhark runes on her skin and twining her target's hair with springs of various mystical herbs.

One constant, or "tradition," amongst Hollowers is that most of them have found that the laws of Sympathy and Contagion tend to be very useful methods in a variety of effects. Sympathy states that having something important to a target, something that resonates with her, makes affecting her with a spell more easily if it is incorporated. Contagion notes that, like Kevin Bacon, it's very easy to get to someone or something by going through a typically short string of other things. Hollower workings tend to incorporate various bits and pieces that seem appropriate to the target, and many effects, especially coincidental ones, will take the form of a series of random events that pass through intermediaries towards the actual target. Such is the course of magick.

Hollowers accept individuals based on being introduced and general coolness to hang out with. Thus mages and sorcerers have equal chance to "progress" in the "hierarchy."

Paradigm Casting: As noted, Hollowers tend to stack lots of different ritual tools into one casting, and often like to think that showiness only increases the potency of effects. Thus, a Hollower effect that she's never tried before can take quite a while as she throws in every possible item. The more times that the effect is successfully cast the fewer items she'll need, though she might take on more again after failures, and once the effect becomes a rote for her she's typically got it down to a handful of tools that can be used quickly. Assume that spontaneous castings only take the normal time if they have been practiced before or if they are similar to another well-used effect. Rituals also take a while to do the first few times, but can eventually be reduced to a few hours.

Paradigm Benefits: Like the order of Hermes, the Hollow Ones practice detailed understandings of Sympathy. Thus they tend to have less stringent requirements on what counts for the sympathetic magick difficulty reduction.

Since Hollowers admit the magickal potential of nearly everything, they find it very easy to work Concert magick with other Traditions and even Technocrats. As long as the other individual has time to explain the use of the foci in the effect, the Hollower can follow along with no problem. All of the normal rules for Acting in Concert still apply, this just means that there is never a penalty between Hollowers and others for conflicting paradigms in concerted castings.

Hollow Ones are strongly pragmatic and tend, as a unit, to disbelieve any underlying and exclusive truths about reality. They can, in short, tell when someone is trying to sell them a line of BS. Hollowers get +2 dice (or +2 to opponent's difficulty) to resist mundane or magickal compulsion that plays on strong belief about these things. For example, a Hollower would treat Willpower as two higher on rolls to resist a Mind effect insisting that God wanted the Hollower to do something.

Finally, due to the principle of Contagion, a Hollower can specify that a coincidental effect passes through several channels on the way to its target, so long as it is still within the range and duration of the effect. For example, a Forces effect to burn a target may involve someone dodging a waitress, slipping into the target, and knocking her onto a stove. In short, it is much harder to trace effects back to the caster after they have taken effect, since the magick literally jumps from one conduit to another.

Paradigm Limits: To be a Hollow One a person has to be, well, hollow inside. The lack of a real belief in an underlying order can be incredibly depressing at times, but for mages it's even more crippling. A Hollow One may become very skilled at magick, but a Hollower becoming transcendently powerful (or Ascendantly powerful) is unheard of. In short, the path of the Hollower does not lead towards Ascension, and only those Hollowers that leave the craft or have an unrelated revelation are candidates to Ascend. A Hollower for life will only gain ultimate enlightenment by accident.

Further, Hollowers tend to emphasize external tools more than they rely on themselves. A Hollow One divested of baubles, books, amulets, rings, and so on, with only herself, will be at an extreme difficulty penalty for casting magick, even with an appropriate verbal or mental spell. The trappings are very important when you can't place meaning in yourself.