In Mage the Ascension, Paradox (with a capital P) is how reality responds to mages who decide that their will is how things should be done.

Paradox takes its toll on the mage in a number of ways...
  • Paradox Flaws screw with the mage's surroundings. People might suddenly become transparent, the walls might scream for vengeance because you nailed a picture on them, glass becomes sand and bubbles a bit, and the television might explode. These are generally the least harmful of the lot, but are never harmless.
  • Physical Backlash occurs when a mage accumulates a number of Paradox points at once. Energy burns through the mage's body, quite possibly causing him to explode in a bloody mess.
  • Pocket Realms entrap the mage (and those around him), quite nicely removing him from this reality. The mage who is responsible has to realize what he did wrong and seek how to renenge on his mistake. Escape from a realm can be as easy as walking out a door, or as strenuous as a whole game session's worth of soul-searching.
  • Paradox Spirits are the most dangerous of opponents. Invisible barring someone's skill in Spirit magic, they are the SWAT team of the reality police. As with all White Wolf spirits, they are almost unpredictable; sometimes, all they ask is a sincere apology, while other times, they drag the offender into an eternal torture chamber, and others they simply ensure that he was never born in the first place.
There are few ways to easily get rid of Paradox. Those mages who have familiars have a way to slowly bleed it off, but reality holds grudges for a long time... and the more Paradox you accumulate, the more problems you'll be having when it DOES go off.