The search for secret knowledge is rarely an altruistic act. More often than not, people seek understanding not for others’ benefit, but for a petty increase in their own power. As people entrenched in the pursuit of arcane secrets, mages understand the selfishness of learning better than most. From this obsession with controlling and jealously guarding all knowledge, from the darkness under the light of self-centered enlightenment, the Bibliophagi were created.
The origin of this peculiar legacy is unclear. They aren’t actively Abyssal or under the influence of the Exarchs—at least, not any more than anyone else. But they are still very much a left-handed legacy, for one reason: The Bibliophagi practice the ritual consumption of books. Their presence has heralded the destruction of countless precious libraries. Once one of their kind makes a meal out of a unique grimoire or ancient text, the knowledge is lost forever; only the Bibliophage herself has access to it.
Unfortunately, the Book Eaters are not as uncommon as the majority of mage society would hope. Supernal power empowers will and mystic awareness, but the taste of secrets offered by the Orders is often not enough. Greed is a human failing, and if nothing else, mages are humans with the ability to force their selfishness upon the world.
Nickname: Book Eaters
Parent Path or Order: Obrimos/Mysterium
1st Attainment: Lesser Consumption
Requirements: Gnosis 3, Mind 2
The Bibliophage can rip pages from a book and eat them, gaining perfect knowledge of its contents. This information can be recalled at will, even perfectly recited, as if the mage had photographic memory. Of course, just because the mage eats an original copy of “The Three Musketeers” doesn’t mean that she will suddenly understand French; there is a difference between knowing and understanding.
Optional Arcanum: Prime 2
The mage can also “taste” the presence of all who have read the book, their identities like different flavors on each consumed page. In the case of mages, only their Shadow Name can be revealed, but that is often more than enough.
2nd Attainment: The Gourmand's Wrath
Requirements: Gnosis 5, Mind 3
This attainment allows the Bibliophage to weaken their enemies by eating that person’s writing. The text must be formal in some sense; a scribbled napkin simply won’t do. If this is done from a distance, then Space 2 has to be used separately to establish a sympathetic connection to the target (not hard to do, since the mage has something they wrote). This inflicts bashing damage, or selective amnesia for a number of days equal to the Mind Arcanum rating.
Optional Arcanum: Prime 3
The Bibliophage can also consume a person’s mana in the above fashion.
3rd Attainment: Greater Consumption
Requirements: Gnosis 7, Mind 4
Now the Bibliophage is capable of applying knowledge gained from a book, if only for a short time. She can allocate extra dots to her skills equal to her rating in the Mind Arcanum, which fade after a scene. The same knowledge cannot be applied more than twice a day, and the Bibliophage can only draw this power from her internal library of eaten books.
Optional Arcanum: Prime 4
If she so chooses, the Bibliophage can siphon mana from the pages of particularly resonant or powerful works, such as grimoires and one-of-a-kind masterpieces. She eats the book as normal, but receives the book’s level in merit dots as points of mana. The downside is that this form of consumption completely destroys the work, even for the Bibliophage herself.