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Nomenclature is the magic of True Names known to the Lost Guild. It is some of the most powerful magic available in the Chronicles of Darkness, but its use to strictly limited.

Overview

Nomenclature is a manifestation of "the Law," the fundamental underpinnings of the universe. It operates on three types of names:

  • Lower-case names, which are labels useful for identifying a person or thing. Any sort of name has occult power: nicknames are just as valid as full names, and a word in any language identifies an object equally well.
  • Upper-case True Names, which are occult equations representing the essence of a person or thing. Knowing someone's True Name gives a sorcerer enormous power over them, but learning a True Name is difficult, and for most living beings the True Name changes over time as the themselves change.
  • Titles, which may be used deliberately to avoid any metaphysical connection between the name and the named. These include euphemisms (such as "the Gentry") and other means of indirect reference.

The Rite of Return required the Arisen to surrender their True Name to the Judges of Duat; Ammut devoured the True Names of the Shuankhsen along with most of their Pillars. On one hand, this is how the mummies are controlled from afar; on the other, it makes them immune, or at least highly resistant, to magic effects based on their True Name. Apotheosis allows a mummy to reclaim their True Name and thus their freedom.

Types of Nomenclature

The full power of Nomenclature was lost with the fall of Irem and the betrayal of the Lost Guild. Three forms still remain, however:

  • Soul Affinities based on the Pillar of ren, especially those requiring a ren of 5. This is the one type of Nomenclature any mummy may know, though the Deceived have a special talent for it.
  • Certain Utterances based on name effects
  • The Guild Affinities of the Deceived, the remnant of the power once held by the Lost Guild.

In addition, a type of relic called a seba was created by the Lost Guild. Seba are relics without a physical form; they periodically manifest in the form of a sphere of luminous hieroglyphics, and someone with the right knowledge of Nomenclature can bind it to their soul and utilize it as if it were a physical relic. (Non-Deceived also suffer a curse just as if they were using a foreign relic type.)

References

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