Transmogrification of the Soul's Echo
Night Magnitude 60
Performing the Ritual
Performing this ritual takes at least 2 minutes of roleplaying. This ritual targets a character, who must be present throughout. This target must be willing. If they are unwilling or unaware of the general nature of the ritual, their mind remains closed and the ritual fails.
This ritual permanently changes the personality of the target character.
- This can be a subtle alteration or a full 'rewrite' of their nature, goals, aims, beliefs and behaviour.
- The changes may be as sweeping or minor as the target desires, and seem perfectly natural to the target from that point onwards.
- The character still remembers who they are and what they did before; memories do not change.
- They remain physically the same person; their lineage, sex and appearance do not change.
- Their abilities do not change.
- Everything else from the kind of food they like or dislike to their core beliefs can be changed with immediate effect.
The decision about what elements of personality are changed and in what way is left in the hands of the target; the coven performing the ritual may try to influence these changes, but the final decision is up to the target.
In addition to giving the target character a new personality, this ritual is effective at permanently removing lower-magnitude curses that effect the emotions or mind of the target.
The apogee of alchemy - the 'Great Work' - is often said to be more than the process of turning orichalcum into green iron. Rather it is sometimes seen as being the same transformative effect rendered on the very soul, transmuting the fabric of the person into something new. This ritual can be compared to an alchemical change wrought upon a living mind, rather than gross materials.
Characters who undergo this ritual sometimes take a new name, but it is not mandatory. Those who have experienced the change describe their earlier life as being like a dream, from which they have suddenly awoken. Many students of Night lore claim that the new personality is the character a person might have had if they had made different choices at key points, or chosen to unravel their skein in a different way. Others say that the person who undergoes it becomes essentially a new person, and treat them as such - although it must be noted that Imperial law makes no distinction between the identity of a person before and after this ritual and claims that the old person no longer exists are generally dismissed out of hand.
Some people react quite badly on discovering the new identity of someone they thought they knew; on one occasion a woman attempted to bring a coven before magistrates on charges of having murdered her brother and replaced him with some sort of Night-spawned doppelganger. The case was dismissed, but the ritual continues to have a slightly shady reputation. Occasionally friends and relatives claim that the ritual has been used as a form of brainwashing, to force changes on a loved one; magical scholars are usually called on to give evidence that the ritual affects only willing targets.
Some theologians have questioned how the ritual works, and what implications it might have for one's soul; how one's past deeds effect one's path through the Labyrinth if the person who performed them no longer exists; and whether someone who has chosen their identity can be truly virtuous. There are even those who go so far as to suggest the 'new' personality is nothing more than a spirit from the Night realm possessing the body of someone whose spirit has been displaced during the ritual.
This ritual is quite expensive to perform, and is rarely used simply to change someone's mind. It sees much more use as a method of treating curses that disturb the thoughts or passions of a victim; even then it is much more likely to be used to counter a devastating effect such as All the World in a Grain of Sand than a comparatively mild curse such as Unfettered Anarchy. When used in this way, the ritualists focus on the nature of the curse, and the target leaves the rest of their personality as-is. On some occasions when the ritual is used to end a curse, the target still awakens to find that not only has the curse gone but some minor element of their personality has changed as well; they like a type of food they disliked before, or now find a piece of music they previously enjoyed to be intolerable. Most Night ritualists just shrug and point out that the ritual only changes things that the target wants to change; sometimes people don't realise how much they want to change things.
The ritual often involves the target symbolically dying, so that a new personality can be born. Funereal elements appropriate to culture might be used, especially shrouds and clothing associated with the dead. Many rituals make use of narcotics, sedatives or mild poisons to relax the target. The target is often encouraged to consider their previous identity to be a dream, and that when they awaken they will have changed. Sometimes the ritualists describe the changes the character will undergo (although they are doing this to help the target change, not dictating what those changes will be). Butterflies and frogs are a common image used, as is the profound ability of fire to change things from one state to another.
Masks or items that represent the personality or identity are often used, and may be shattered during the ritual. Sometimes multiple mirrors are used to capture the reflection of the target as they describe the person they wish to be. The name of the eternal Soghter is sometimes evoked during this ritual, although there is an unproven superstition that doing so increases the chance that the target's children will become naga.