Matter is one of the ten Arcana of Mage: The Awakening, and the Gross ruling Arcana of Stygia. It is used to manipulate all forms of unliving matter, including organic substances which are not themselves alive, like orange juice or milk. It encompasses the classical elements, alchemical arts like transmutation, and the workings of non-magical tools and weapons. As a mage gains greater mastery in Matter she learns to affect more complex materials. This is a more metaphysical distinction than a scientific one; it requires lesser mastery to transmute liquids than gases, for example, and mud is easier to affect than precious metal. Matter cannot be used to enchant devices - that requires Prime - but at high levels it can affect or destroy extraordinary substances. A Master of Matter can combine the Arcanum with Prime to create a unique magical substance known as Thaumium. This material is expensive to create, as it is a magically fortified alloy of perfected gold, silver and mercury, but it is prized by mages because items made from it can deflect Awakened magic.
Alchemy, chemistry, elemental air, elemental earth, elemental water, shaping, transmutation.
Nature and Power
The Arcanum of Matter is the Gross Arcanum of the Supernal Realm of Stygia, a trait it shares with the Arcanum of Death. Stygia is riddled with objects of wealth to the cultures of the Fallen World, whether the piled gold and silver in the tombs of the dead, the veins of precious ore and gems that run through the rock, or the rich marble that composes the ground of the realm. The country of death is filled with base objects and solids, and so influence over these substances is strong in that realm. Of course, the Fallen World is not quite as riddled with matter as Stygia, but the power of Matter is still formidable. Though most of the Fallen World is composed of empty vacuum, awash in a sea of energy, everything that truly matters in the material universe is made of matter. Our stars are made of flaming gas. The planet we live on is built from metal and rock and magma, covered with oceans of water and sheathed in a protective shroud of air. Without the anchor of matter, stars could not burn, the galaxy could not remain tied together, and life could not come to be. Considering the power of matter on a less cosmic level, the Fallen World and its peoples are intimately connected to the material. Mundane matter is all around a mage who sets out to influence it. Humanity has a great reliance on tools and devices, and a mage with the full power of the Arcanum of Matter can make his devices or those of his allies superior to those of a mundane Sleeper, or reduce the quality of the tools of his enemies to the point where they become useless. He can create the means for himself to survive on from nothing, crafting devices, conjuring up raw materials, or simply spinning the gold to buy such things out of thin air. A mage can shape objects and substances as he desires, whether solid, liquid, or even gas. He can convert types of matter into other types, or simply render them unto dust, as he wills. Higher level mages are capable of creating the mythic substance of thaumium, a metal capable of storing Mana within its form, though this also requires some mastery of the Arcanum of Prime.
Levels of Mastery
An Initiate of Matter, with the first level of mastery, can read dense resonance, discern how to operate a complex machine, detect specific substances in his surroundings, and recognize the structure and density of an object. He can also alter the conductivity of a simple item, and detect hidden compartments and passages within walls and objects.
The second level of mastery allows an Apprentice of Matter to grant his perception of dense resonance to others. He can improve the balance and weight of an object, making it more accurate, or alter the transparency of objects to allow sight through walls or to bar the sight of others through normally transparent objects. He gains power over the composition and shape of liquid objects, allowing him to turn one liquid into another or shape it into any form he desires, without heed of gravity or cohesion. Finally, the mage gains the power to employ surrounding matter as a shield, using water vapour to douse flame, softening oncoming projectiles, or using air to dampen the inertia of blows.
With the third level of mastery, a Disciple of Matter can bestow his shield upon others. His power over the composition of liquids expands to solids, allowing him to change one solid into another (though he cannot yet shape solid matter, or change things into rare or precious objects). He can make substances more or less resistant to damage, repair broken objects, and make weapons or ammunition armour-piercing. Also, he can now combine various parts of unrelated devices into a working machine to do whatever he pleases.
An Adept of Matter can, using the fourth level of mastery, alter the form of solid objects as he wills or create rare and precious substances out of base materials. His control over solid and liquid matter is extended to gaseous substances, as he can now alter the density and course of gas or change one form of gas into another. He also gains the power to transmute solids into liquids or liquids into solids, whether they are related (ice into water) or not (soup into iron). Mechanical objects may be altered to be more or less efficient. Finally, the mage can annihilate chunks of mundane matter, dissolving it utterly and leaving behind no trace of its existence.
At the fifth level of mastery, a Master of Matter may change the size of an object, making it larger or smaller as he pleases. His ability to transform substances grows yet again, allowing him to transform objects between states of solid, liquid, or gas. His faculty with objects increases to the point where he can cause them to constantly repair themselves, and he can create objects out of nothing. His powers over destruction also increase to the point where he can unravel even magically charged objects such as enhanced or imbued items, thaumium, or even Artefacts.
Archmaster and Above (●●●●●●+)
Archmasters are rare but not unheard of. They don’t follow the same rules as the other ranks. Archmasters become Avatars of the Arcanum they studied, living embodiments of the Watchtower their power comes from. They become conduits for power and are no longer barred from their power by the Abyss and so aren’t subject to Paradox. They take on the physical characteristics of their Arcanum. They should be addressed as Arcs (i.e. an Arc of Matter). Archmasters can cast all the spells from Initiate to Master, without using any Mana, and in any preferred duration. They gain the powers of a God, including limited immortality (e.g. they stop getting older, and become immune to all diseases), but they’re still human beings and can be killed just like anybody else, but only if they get careless. They still suffer penalties of their Inferior Arcanum. A mage can’t over come that until he/she has become the Arc of that inferior Arcanum. Archmasters no longer belong soly of the planet of their birth they now become citizens of the cosmos, so their concerns must move beyond their planets to our Universe.
An Archmaster of Matter's skin becomes incredibly dense, allowing bullets and other weapons to bounce off them. They can breathe any gas as if it were regular air. The exact powers of an Archmaster of Matter are, too many to list here, so I'll merely show a few of them. There are states of matter that exist beyond solids, liquids, and gases, plasma is one of them. Many substances even more perfect than thaumium can be manufactured. A mage with sufficiently enormous power may be able to create or destroy matter at a prodigious rate, gaining the power to create mountains out of nothing or render cities unto dust. The powers of an archmaster can go further; a mage at extremely high levels of power may be able to delete the Moon or Earth itself, or create another body of similar mass. An Arc with sufficient power in Matter and Space may create his own personal planet or moon somewhere in the universe, as a private sanctum.
In Conjunction With Other Arcana
A Disciple of both Matter and Life can transform inanimate objects into minor living creatures, such as swarms of insects or spiders. The spell does not grant him control over the creatures created, however.
A Master of Matter and Disciple of Prime can combine the perfected metals of orichalcum, lunargent, and hermium to create a powerful magical substance called thaumium. Thaumium can be used to store Mana, and if properly made it can be harder and lighter than any other substance.