Hexes

From Gestalt

When we say "our rulers", we mean those who are engaged in the manipulation of symbols. There is no escape from the fact that they do, and always will, rule mankind, because we constitute a symbolic class of life, and we cannot cease from being so except by regressing to the animal level.[1]

A hex is a gnostic formula intended to exploit a loophole in the quantum latticework, thus managing a gnostic effect on a person, substance, area, or object. The formula can be spoken, sung, signed, written, or chanted. An incantation can also be performed during ceremonial rituals. In the world of gnosis, incantations are performed by witchblood or Fey. Hexes interwoven to produce unique effects are called metahexes, and have unique names because their complexity can be akin to beings, with some metahexes even considered numina or gods unto themselves.

In practice

I: Hexcasting

First, decide what you wish to accomplish. Second, know your subjects: the object, idea, or being to be altered or communed with, the change you wish to effect, the nature of gnosis itself. Third, research how to best "skim your pebble without disturbing the flow of the river,"[2] i.e. how to effect your wishes and not break reality. Fourth, apply metaphor to the knowledge, or vice versa. Fifth, push the combined belief into the world. Sixth, detach from the desire for the effects, and let the universe come to you.

Harming reality is actually quite difficult, even at higher levels. One will find most gnostic effects are small, local, temporary, or all three. Long-lasting, permanent, or widespread metahexes are exceptionally rare.

Hexes are typically built before a battle or in anticipation of need and kept in a vessel or transferred into cryptics for realtime use. There are base hexes which are pure alchemical elementals such as heat, water, wood, light, air, and ground, others which work purely with the corresponding humours of blood, spit, bone, nerve, breath, and muscle, and a third and final base, the arcana. Because both elements and humours are of six base hexes, and the 24 arcana numerologically equate a 6 (2+4), the use of them in tandem is a "hex." Combining these base elements upon one another into small hexes, then combining small hexes into more elaborate constructions, all manner of effects can be brought about depending solely on the ingenuity of the practitioner.

II: Ashtarot

  • Force: the will to cause motion in the immortal infinite. Nothing can be destroyed, for nothing was created; there is nothing but movement and memory.
  • Depth: the unmolded clay, the angel in the marble. The illusion of the canvas.
  • Empathy: the re-imagining of the imperceptible unity of all things. You have only forgotten you do not exist.
  • Lucidity: centered unity of all concepts of the Ashtarot
  • Music: the inspiring of movement in others
  • Persistence: movement in the face of adversity. True power is the river; control is the shore the water erodes.
  • Balanced Asymmetry: true beauty is complexity and diversity; there is no imperfection only detail, the small mind's "perfection" is but simplification so that it may appear larger than the world; symmetry is the removal of detail.
  • Continuity: the coiled memory of what cannot be recalled or beheld, that infinity is one with you and that you are greater than the skin of time segmented that you currently wear; you are the Great Matter shedding itself moment by moment
  • Awe: humility in the face of oneself when ego has been transcended
  • Rooting: connection to the greater movement, so that one is carried away thus maintaining form
  • Surrender: the peace of being so fluid that one cannot be altered by small forces, the becoming of others' will

III: Feedback, warp, & restoration

Combat hexcraft

Despite gnosis favoring the pacifist, many combat gnostic crafts exist. There are loopholes within loopholes, and free will is the only constant. Many of the martial crafts manage through simple philosophy: make all attempts to do no harm and to escape violent outcomes, in other words, not to fight. When given no alternative but fighting, gnosis favors the fighter who tried in earnest to avoid the conflict. Another loophole most do not take advantage of is that gnosis allows killing for food, so that if one enters every combat scenario with the express and prime purpose being the harvest of meat for survival, gnosis and power are granted. Among Knowers in the Underworld, this is the primal version of knowing, and is typically done in one of two ways: the eating of an animal to gain its spirit and power and the eating of an animal considered the totem of a numen so as to better know a god. The greatest power in this form comes from scavenging as opposed to hunting, and was the only done by the tribe of urmen who would become the Yendig. In Hel, it is the exclusive domain of the Ambassadors, who devour people in advance of the Empire's conquering so that the Empire will know its prey intimately before making the attempt. Much like worship, this is normalized in Hel but the ultimate taboo in the Underworld.

Gnostic Artefacts

Footage Warp

Small feats of gnosis go unnoticed by the larger narratives at play within The Realm. Metahexes made from scratch by the player, any hexes involving supporting or lead characters, and done too close to the plot can cause warp: the decaying of the local footage (area) into tracking or worse, full burn. Loopholes and exceptions can happen within previously warped zones during moments of tracking, or in the Dreamscape where rules are not static, but this is a dangerous game. If the footage you and your squad are in becomes overly decayed from contradictions to the canon, it can burn with you inside it...No one really knows what happens then, but it doesn't sound good.

Restoration

Gnosis can be used to restore footage or adjust tracking to reveal hidden truths. This usually takes a powerful fetish in conjunction with a specific metahex designed to counter the degradation of reality. Other options include manipulation of events on Earth to effect manifestations of the Dreamenders Labyrinth bleedthrough on Halcyon.

IV: Phantasm vs Psyche

All beings have a psyche and an phantasm. A psyche is the combined continuum of sensory data from the body, recorded memory, and processing as interpreted by a singular nervous system. It is the essence of a being, the glam constructed to facilitate navigation of reality. None of us experiences reality directly, rather we interact with a collection of abstractions of reality as constructed by our nervous system for its own use. Think of it as a subjective geometry. An phantasm is an abstraction of a psyche in the context of all other psyches. The mathematics of phantasms is the geometry of the relationships between psyches, the Common Denominator of All Perspectives.

In times of high psychological stress, if Lucidity is drained, the phantasm can gain control over the body, reducing sentient beings to an abstract state void of personal will. In extreme cases, this can lead to permanent personality disruption. Depending on the phantasm's position on the Moral compass, this can range from chaos-inspiring to absolute devastation. It is for this reason that all hexes above a practitioner's circuit are greatly discouraged, and performing too much gnosis without rest can lead to dire circumstances. Controlled, light physical stress can restore mind-body cohesion and restore the psyche. Similarly, mental stress can restore the phantasm if one has been reduced to an animal state.

V: Blight

Another drawback to periods of low-lucidity is weakness to blight, or the overwhelming of the psyche by outside wills and forces. Xombification, neuromancy, and indoctrination all rely on a subject lacking lucid will to counteract the effects.

Grim Black Market

Surviving written records of most historical hexes were largely obliterated in many cultures by the success of the Hellion Empire, which labels all arcane activity not bids to Hel as immoral or associated with evil. This has resulted in a large arcane black market for old grimoires and even single pages can go for tidy sums and massive trades. Forgeries abound but can be spotted by anyone with enough craftread.

Effect on play

At every phase of a hex from construction to charging to activation and discharging, one must use Lucidity to enact one's will upon the abstraction. Example: to cast a glam, one first needs to successfully cast light and air on something that represents both the humour nerve and an arcana that represents what you intend to be seen instead of reality, and then cast again to combine, then again to place the newly minted hex into a vessel or representation. Hence, it's best to have such "higher Circuit" spells pre-cast to save time. This can be done during any downtime when the Players are not embroiled in battle, or when a caster is protected. With a named metahex such as the Shepherd's Fence, for instance, several high-circuit hexes were improvised into the crippling mindhex on the battlefield as other witches protected the primary caster, Z'harishtur, with overlapping force fields of heat and nerve. Unfortunately, they did not protect themselves from feedback, something that would have been thought of if the hex had been pre-cast.

Push lucidity for each elemental, each charge of a sigil, to combine elementals into a hex, or hexes into a metahex. No matter how progressed a witchblood is, they must always roll lucidity to uninhibit their hex, craft, or metahex. The amount under the lucidity circuit = degree of success.

A witchblood may attempt gnosis outside of their circuit if it is written down or acquired prefabricated (i.e. put into a vessel) in the form of potions, tattoos, grimoires, etc. Feedback is what happens when gnosis above one's circuit fails at the moment of casting. It is also a factor in any violent gnosis, especially gnosis intended to kill for anything other than survival.

References

  1. Alfred Korzybski, Science & Sanity (1933)
  2. Hyssthur & Cairn, by Caster Wilshe

Subcategories

This category has only the following subcategory.

C

Pages in category "Hexes"

The following 6 pages are in this category, out of 6 total.