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Rising Phoenix Gaming

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About This Club

A Modern Game of Magick using a Simplified Mage20 Rule Set.
  1. What's new in this club
  2. ok looking like it is just going to be the three of you and me. Lets start talking about concepts tomorrow
  3. If you are interested in this game Post in this thread by the end of the workday Friday May 17th.
  4. Mage Revived is about to launch. It looks like the game will be set in Seattle, Washington. The time frame is now. Meaning early 21st century in the 2020s. This is not The World of Darkness, however many of the same elements, ghosts, werewolves, vampires, etc. may be found here, though not in overwhelming abundance. Mages, by whatever name they go by, are not groups belonging to monolithic organizations. However the do sometimes form small intimate groups such as covens, cabals, gangs, and what have you. Many mages, again depending on AA and Focus, don't even know they are Mages. They probably do realize that they are awakened, that they are different. Your characters at this point fall into this category. I will be using real data about the locations we will be playing in. Sometimes I will change the true nature of a place sometimes I may add a place that does not exist in reality. when i do this i will usually place such created locations in a real similar location. when i do this i will inform you. I may use real people in a fictional manner. Again I will note when this is being done. If i use a real name and person, to be clear they are fictionalized versions and may not act at all like the real person. When creating your characters I ask that you get with one another and myself to discuss your concept and make sure that is some compatibility with the characters. perhaps we will have a session zero (i kinda hate that term) once we get all interested parties.
  5. Character Creation for Mage Revived. Step one: Concept – Characters should be legal adults at least 18 years old. Concept should of course be Tied to your Arcane Approach; however you are completely free to create your own Arcane Approach based upon your concept. In other words, the AAs which are listed are technically examples. A word about magick and mages. Unless your Arcane Approach is of a mystical nature, i.e. Witch, Magus, Shaman, etc. you probably do not use Magickal terms or consider yourself a mage. Write accordingly. Choose Essence. You may choose Nature and Demeanor if you wish for RP purposes but we will not be using the mechanics for Nature and Demeanors. Step Two: Select Attributes Place an initial dot into each Attribute. No need to prioritize your attributes. You have 20 dots to distribute to your nine attributes no attribute can go over 5 Step Three: Select Abilities There are a lot of abilities in Mage20. They include Talents, Skills, Knowledges, and Secondary Abilities for specialized Traits. Distribute 30 dots among your Abilities as you wish, and no need to prioritize. No Ability may be higher than 3 at this stage. Note that some abilities are tied to the base setting, these abilities may be repurposed or eliminated. If in doubt about a specific ability, ask. Step Four: Backgrounds You get the Avatar Background at one dot. You may buy dots of any allowed back ground on a one for one basis. The following Backgrounds are NOT allowed for starting characters. Backup Chantry Cult Demesne Enhancement (exception if characters AA is Cyborg) Patron Rank Requisitions Secret Weapon All other backgrounds are allowed but keep in mind your backgrounds must fit with your concept/AA. i.e. A martial Artist might have a Sanctum that is a Dojo or a Gym, but not an underground laboratory or a Victorian library. You have 9 dots to buy Backgrounds with. No background can be higher than 3 at this stage. Step Five: Focus Define your Arcane Approach, your Practice, and your Instruments. Step Five: Finishing Touches Record Spheres: 6 dots to distribute among the spheres with 2 being the maximum rank for beginning characters. Choose an Affinity Sphere receiving one dot which may take this sphere to rank 3. Record beginning Arete (1), Willpower (5), Quintessence (Avatar rating) and Paradox (0). Spend freebie points (20). Freebie Points Trait Cost Attribute 5 per dot (5 max) Ability 2 per dot (5max) Background 1 per dot Sphere 7 per dot (2 max) Arete 4 per dot (Max. Total: 2) Willpower 1 per dot Quintessence 1 per four dots Merit cost as per Merit Flaw bonus as per Flaw (Max. Total: 7) Merits and flaws are on page 642 of the Mage20 book. If there is a merit or flaw from any other white wolf source run it by me. Description appearance/ impression, quirks, culture, Provide an image of your character either a picture of an actor or an AI generated image (I usually pick an actor then use an AI to tweak it to meet my vision through text prompts.)
  6. I am interested as well. If you'll have me.
  7. ● Substitute subtle, uncanny, and extreme in place of coinci­dental, vulgar, and vulgar with witnesses. The longstanding debate about coincidental and vulgar magick (intensified by the definition of “witnesses” where such magick is concerned) remains a hallmark challenge to running and playing Mage. Want to make things easier? Change that system. In Victorian Mage and Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade, they replaced the coincidental /vulgar dynamic with a system based on the scale of the spell in question. Small, simple Effects are easiest to cast, with dramatic Effects becoming harder and riskier, and drastic Effects being both difficult and dangerous. VM and SC deal with historical settings, and so their systems aren’t entirely suitable for a 21st-century chronicle. For a modern variation on that idea, we will use the following system instead: ● Subtle magick fits into the established “reality” of our media-heavy age. It can be an odd act of coincidence (pulling the right card out of a shuffled deck, walking across a squeaky floor without making a sound, opening an “unlocked” door that was locked a moment ago); a quiet, minor act of “occult” magic (suddenly changing your eye or hair color, stirring your coffee with a spoon you’re not touching, making an uncomfortably accu­rate reading with some Tarot cards); or an improbable feat we’ve come to expect from decades of mass media conditioning (outrunning an explosion, scaring off a street gang with a single glare, punching someone so hard you shatter his jaw, and so forth). Such acts seem unusual but not unnatural. For guidelines, see the sidebars “Hollywood Reality” (The Book of Secrets, p. 103), “Cinematic Damage” (Mage 20, p. 412), “Axis of Coincidence” (Mage 20, P. 533), and “Cinematic License” (Mage 20, p. 616). ● Uncanny magick seems unnervingly paranormal – pos­sible, if you believe in such things, but not “normal.” To most people, it looks like magic… or like technology that does things which apparently defy the laws of sci­ence. Uncanny magick throws into question our entire idea of what is and is not “possible.” It’s the ritual that summons ghosts, or the unnervingly lifelike robot, or the girl so tough she walks through fire without getting burned, or the guy who levitates with the power of his mind. In reality zones that favor magical beliefs, more impressive acts of uncanny magick become possible: the witch can fly on a broom; the shapeshifter can become a wolf. In zones that favor modern technology, strange feats of hypertech – James Bond cars and Tony Stark power suits – are generally uncanny unless they clearly surpass existing physical laws and technologies, at which point they become extreme. (Yes, in short, to Batman-style gadgets, but no to the wild antics from the Indian SF comedy Enthiran.) ● Extreme magick just says “Fuck it” and throws its weight around. It doesn’t matter whether such acts are mystical or technological – they tear gaping holes in the fabric of Reality in order to let a mage enforce her will upon the world. Dimensional gateways? Summoned demons? Stopping time? Levitating trucks? That’s extreme magick no matter what sort of gloss you put on it. Although certain instruments might make an extreme act of magick seem uncanny instead (say, a lightning gun or a “fireball” grenade), such feats displace so much Reality that metaphysical consequences are inevitable. For simplicity’s sake, throw out the entire concept of “witnesses.” It doesn’t matter whether or not people see the Effect, or what they might believe about its origins. Small, subtle Effects are easier to cast than big, dramatic Effects; they incur less Paradox, and risk less notice and potential retribution from Reality, rival mages, human authorities, and other occult forces. Don’t get too wrapped up debating this stuff. The whole idea here is to make Mage easier to run, not to provide a new topic for people to argue about instead of having a good time. Rules-wise, the casting difficulties and Paradox risks follow the rules given in Mage 20 (p. 501): Subtle: Difficulty = highest Sphere + 3; one point of Paradox per dot in the highest Sphere used (on botch only). Uncanny: Difficulty = highest Sphere + 4; one point of Paradox automatically, plus (if botched) one point of Paradox in the highest Sphere used. Extreme: Difficulty = highest Sphere + 5; two points of Paradox automatically, plus (on botch) two points of Paradox in the highest Sphere used. ● Limit Paradox manifestations. Among the most contentious elements of Mage, Paradox can be a headache for players and Storytellers alike. Some folks suggest junking Paradox entirely, but as detailed in the sidebar “Why Paradox?” (Mage 20, p. 552), the Paradox Effect serves several vital purposes within the game. Here is how I will be handling Paradox: ●I will be “banking” Paradox until a dramatic moment: Under the usual rules, the Storyteller rolls to check for a Paradox backlash. In place of that rule, the Storyteller simply hold off until a dramatically appro­priate moment, and then unleashes the Paradox in some fashion that suits the story and character(s) involved. This will not be arbitrary to screw with you but rather to add to the story. You all know how Paradox is generated with this system you just wont know when it will rear its ugly little head. ●: The baffling range of Paradox options can be a pain in the ass. For simplicity, I will only be using the following types of Paradox when I unleash it. Paradox Forms we will be using are: Paradox Flaws Physical Backlash Paradox Spirits When Paradox is unleashed I will have the Mage in question roll a random die and that will be the backlash she faces. ● Downplay or discard Mage’s more complex elements: Avatars and Essences, Quiet, Seekings, Resonance and Synergy, perhaps even Ascension itself. We will NOT be using Quiet, Seekings, Resonance or Synergy. We will be using Avatars and Essence but they are going to have a different purpose and effects than what is written in the rules. This will be covered in a separate post in House Rules thread later.
  8. Now for the hard part. ● Cap starting Arete and Spheres at 2. (Perhaps cap certain Background Traits as well.) This is a hard decision but only when looking at it in base terms. We will cap starting Arete and Spheres at 2 dots. Yes it make casting magick a bit iffy at first but it also gives your characters a broader base for what effects your mage can do when the dice roll right. ● Emphasize focus (how a mage enacts magick) over Spheres (the magickal powers of that mage). ● Use the Common Magickal Effects chart (Mage 20, pp. 508-510) instead of freeform Sphere Effects. These two are interconnected. For magic we will still be using free form as we are able, but the effects charts are indispensable and allow you to easily determine what you are capable of. If you want to do something that requires freeform do so but this is just an easier way. At the same time Focus is your most powerful magick tool but it can be problematic to say the least. Practice and Instruments are easy and straight forward, the problem lies in Paradigm. I don’t like the way Paradigm is handled or more accurately described in the M20 rules. There are a lot of options given but they make it sound like your mage is a nut case running around trying to make reality fit their view. So, what I am doing is, not removing paradigm but I am reducing its priority. Your mage does not have to declare a belief/paradigm to work magick. Simply being awake to the alterability of reality is enough. Reality is reality, you can manipulate it and even change it but it is still reality. Different people regardless of belief do not see a different reality. So what this means in game terms if your focus is your Practice and your Instruments. Your Paradigm is replaced by your belief in Self, for this game it is what we used to call the Avatar. The Avatar is no longer an ancient spirit/element/ whatever it is your inner strength it is how you define yourself. Your Avatar Essence determines how your will works its magick. I will be touching on this more later. For now the essence you decide upon is how your mage should act and as long as you character stays true to her Avatar Essence she will be able to work Magick.
  9. ● Set your stories in the mortal world. ● Establish a small, localized setting with newly Awakened characters who share obvious common ground. these two are also self explanatory. the setting will be a single city and its environs. we currently have two possibilities; New Orleans or Seattle. Once chosen, the game will be set in that place and your characters will be living there. The world is for the most part our world as it is today. the earth is the earth the moon is a rock in space not a mystical home of elves. In other worlds this setting is the real world. this does not mean that there are not other realms where the elves do live just not places easily accessible nor for that matter even known. ● Avoid crossovers with other World of Darkness crit­ter-types; keep Mage about mages. This game will be about your characters. Do other supernaturals exist? yes, maybe, probably. Will your characters encounter them? yes, maybe, Probably. But they will not be central to the story. They will not be the products of their own game line, if you meet them they will be npc antagonist using the rules for their type from the M20 books. There will be no player characters that are not mages.
  10. ● Use Approaches, not societies, to describe and define your characters. There are no Traditions, no Technocracy, no Nephandi or Marauders. Those organizations and factions do not exist in this setting. There may be a group who call themselves the Order of Hermes but it is not the same as the Order in the base setting, There are mages who work magic through tech but there is no faction called the technocracy and yes there are evil mages who may fit the nephandi marauder type but they are usually individuals. So in place of these groups we will be defining ourselves by Using Approches In place of the faction “splats,” define your characters by their approach to magick. That way, players don’t need to know the difference between an Akashic and a Euthanatos, with all the associated metaplot baggage that distinction brings. Instead, you’ll define those characters by what they do, how they do it, the sorts of metaphysical Arts they pursue, and the beliefs, tools and activities they use to pursue them. We refer to that definition as an Arcane Approach, complete with pretentious capital letters to make things clear when using that phrase. By defining Mage characters by their Arcane Approach, rather than by their society, your players and Storyteller can construct a setting which suits their preferred play style. For new players, it’s easier to say, “I’m playing a martial artist” than to say, “I’m playing a Dynamic Akashic from the Warring Fists.” Meanwhile, the Approach method also provides an easy and intuitive guide to the character’s focus; especially under Mage 20’s system of paradigm + practice + instruments = focus, the Arcane Approach method provides a roleplaying template based on what your mage does, rather than which group your mage belongs to. For a selection of Arcane Approaches, there are the following: (Note: where it lists associated groups, those are the groups the approach would be associated with were the base setting being used, they are simply examples.) The Agent (included as an example. Agents will not make good concepts in this game, however some variation could work as long as the whole belonging to an organization is not the focus i.e. John Wick) Certain organizations employ agents who employ extraordinary powers in order to accomplish things normal people cannot. To that end, the agent Approach supports a larger group, often acquiring her powers, training, resources and agendas from that group. This person could be an assassin, an enforcer, a spy or infiltration expert… whatever the job demands. Her methods are as subtle or harsh as her group and circumstances require them to be, but they inevitably take human potential and wild technology past the verge of what is supposedly “possible.” Impression: Although the name “agent” evokes the dreaded Black Suits of the NWO, this Approach could be totally covert (like an authentic ninja), overtly mystical (like the agents from the Potterverse’s Ministry of Magic), subtly metahuman (Brixton from Hobbs & Shaw), supremely accomplished (M’Lady D’Winter), innately technological (Birkoff from La Femme Nikita), or a combination of most or all of those characteristics (James Bond). The impression she gives, therefore, depends upon her role, her organization, and the focus she employs when putting her powers into action. Regardless of the details, an agent functions as a vital part within a larger whole. Her loyalty to that whole might be compromised, perhaps even rejected, but it’s that organization that has made her what she is. Approach to Magick: Again, the agent’s role within an organization defines many (if not all) elements of her focus. Training of some kind is essential, and versatility is a plus. Most agents practice intense physical and mental conditioning (reflected in the practices below), supplemented by gear appropriate to the organization in question. Technomancer agents employ hypertech and weird-science gear and instruments, while agents of mystic organizations use arcane trinkets, magic wands, flying carpets, and other goodies appropriate to their group. Because dedication to that agency defines an agent’s identity, her paradigms, practices and instruments depend on the organization’s nature; an assassins’ guild would mix technology with mind-games and martial prowess, while a Hermetic wizard sect would deploy agents who combine metaphysical technologies and High Ritual Arts; both might favor faith-based paradigms, but a modern spy agency would supplant or enhance those beliefs with tech-heavy paradigms and a creed that reflects the agency’s ideals if not its true character. Associated Practices: Art of Desire, domin­ion, cybernetics, faith, hypertech, invigoration, martial arts, psionics, weird science. Associated Groups: All Technocratic Con­ventions, the Euthanatoi, the Order of Hermes, the Knights Templar, the Sisters of Hippolyta, the Ahl-i-Batin, the Virtual Adepts, and certain groups within the Society of Ether, Verbenae, Solificati and Wu Lung sects. Roleplaying Notes: When you got a job to do, you got to do it well… Media Examples: John Wick, Kim Possible, Carmen San Diego, and the vari­ous agents of the organizations featured in Assassin’s Creed, The Matrix, Dollhouse, Mis­sion: Impossible, and the various Nikita series, plus other examples mentioned above. The Cyborg (another one you will have to be careful using, but not impossible) Blending the seams between human and machine, this Approach focuses on integrating modern technology with human consciousness and physicality. In older times, this involved grafting cumbersome machines into living tissue; now, those machines tend to be miniscule – perhaps microscopic – and the technology in question is more often biological and /or intellectual than mechanical. A 21st-century cyborg mage, then, often combines overt or hidden machines with biotech and a literally transhuman perspective. Not long ago, the word “cyborg” conjured up images straight out of The Terminator. Now, any citizen of an info-age culture is, to some degree, a cyborg; a mage pursuing this approach is just more extreme and obvious about being one. Impression: While the word conjures up images of bulky machine-men (and still refers to practitioners of the more extreme sorts of transhuman modification), a 21st-century cyborg may appear completely “normal.” Hell, to some degree, you’re 21st-century a cyborg, especially if you’re reading this text off a PDF on your phone. Approach to Magick: While they might conceivably use the term “magic(k) to refer to what they do, a typical cyborg perceives their unusual powers as acute demonstrations of technological potential, human consciousness, and the possibilities of a technologically enhanced human organism. Two of the three characters presented in The Book of Secrets are obvious cyborgs (Able Ferox and Sanjay Sachdeva) are obvious cyborgs, but Dr. Hans von Roth could be seen as a cybernetic technomancer, too. Associated Practices: Craftwork, cybernetics, dominion, hypertech, infernal sciences, invigoration, psionics, reality-hacking, weird science. Associated Groups: Though traditionally associated with Iteration X, Etherites, and the Virtual Adepts, any group that isn’t devoted to purely “naturalistic” lifestyles and Arts can have modern cyborgs among its ranks. Roleplaying Notes: “Magick” is what weak and limited minds call technology that most people cannot understand. Media Examples: Tony Stark, Motoko Kusanagi, Terminator Model 101, Darth Vader, Y.T. and Hiro Protagonist. The Devotee Bob Dylan said, “You gotta serve somebody.” Devotee mages agree. Although the object of veneration depends on the character in question, the devotee Approach reflects a mage who views her powers as an extension of religious devotion to godly powers. This Approach covers anyone from a Catholic priest to a Wiccan priestess, a santera, an imam, a Lakota medicine-man or a Hindu tantrika. The nature of that divine force isn’t important to the Approach as a game system, but it means everything to the devotee. Although often referred to as “clerics” in other fantasy games, devotees don’t have to be ordained leaders of their faith; that said, the faith itself provides the foundation of their focus. As the sentiment goes, “I’m just the messenger for someone greater than myself.” Impression: The overall impression put forth by a devotee comes mostly from the culture of that character and the force(s) that she worships. Rarely, though, will that source of devotion be hidden from even casual observation. Approach to Magick: Unlike the egotistical practitioners of “willworking,” the devotee views herself as a living instrument of faith and a conduit of divine powers. Therefore, prayer and ritual provide the core of her life, magickal and otherwise. Even so, a devotee employs various instruments beyond raw faith. Candles, bells, incense, rites, invocations, fasting, scriptures, sacred vestments, symbols of the creed, oaths taken in Divinity’s name… such instruments remain essential tools of spiritual devotion. Associated Practices: Elementalism, faith, god-bonding, invigoration, High Ritual Magick, medicine-work, mediumship, psionics, shamanism, Voudoun, witchcraft, yoga; potentially (for malignant devotees) demonism, maleficia, and the Black Mass. Associated Groups: The Celestial Chorus, Bata’a, Knights Templar and Ahl-i-Batin are the most obvious devotee sects, but any mage with strong spiritual convictions can embrace this Approach. Roleplaying Notes: You are the vessel of your god’s will on earth. Media Examples: Jue Yuan, Joan of Arc, Crazy Horse, Brother Justin Crowe, Tang Sanzang, and Father Andrew Kiernan. The Ecstatic If reality can be transformed by human consciousness, then it stands to reason that transformed human consciousness allows us to change reality even further. That reasoning provides a foundation for the ecstatic Approach – an often-underestimated philosophy that advances enlightenment by deranging the senses and pushing human capacities beyond their limits. Going “outside stasis,” an ecstatic mage (who need not belong to the Tradition of that name) strives to overcome internal and external boundaries, using excess to open greater doors of perception and accomplishment. That’s a dangerous Path, to be sure, but a rewarding one with a surprisingly rich and ancient legacy. You can’t envision what’s over the next hill, after all, much less procure its bounties, if you spend life stuck in your own cave. Impression: By nature, ecstatics seem rebellious, disordered, and sexy as hell. The saying “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” captures the spirit of this Approach and those who practice it. Though they’re not all drug-addled hippie-types (quite a few avoid such things altogether), the mystique of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll shapes impressions about this Appoach even when an individual ecstatic mage wants nothing to do with those things at all. Approach to Magick: For the ecstatic, magick flows from enhanced perceptions and forbidden secrets. Dance, sex, ordeals, trance states, mass media, psychoactive chemicals, and self-altering feats of physical and mental endurance… such instruments provide keys to magick if you use them properly. To outsiders, this Approach seems reckless and undisciplined; that perception isn’t entirely wrong… yet, paradoxically, it is entirely wrong, too. Contradiction is just one more limit to overcome. Ethics are vital; otherwise, this mage becomes a monster. And yet, moderation is anathema. All things – even sobriety – must exceed prior limitations if they’re to be effective at all. Associated Practices: Animalism, alchemy, Art of Desire, chaos magick, crazy wisdom, dominion, demonism, gutter magick, infernal sciences, invigoration, medicine-work, mediumship, psionics, reality-hacking, shamanism, Voudoun, weird science, witchcraft, yoga. Associated Groups: In addition to the Cult that bears its name, the ecstatic Approach can often be found among Progenitors, Verbenae, Etheritres, Bata’a, Virtual Adept transhumanists, Hollow Ones, Solificati, some Dreamspeakers and Thanatoics, a handful of Akashics, many Nephandi (especially Goatkids and the K’llashaa), antinomian Hermetics, and the vast majority of Marauders (whether they practice it intentionally or not). Roleplaying Notes: Transform yourself so that reality can follow. Media Examples: Jim Morrison, Lord Byron, King Mob and many of his Invisibles, Florence Welsh, Terrance McKenna, and a certain Mr. Crowley. The Gadgeteer Invention is the greatest human art. Other animals use tools, but human beings invent new ones to suit our needs. For a gadgeteer magus, quick wits and visionary imagination provide a bottomless toolbox from which she can change her world. While a technician labors to perfect technology, the gadgeteer works best on the fly, inventing small, ingenious devices and then modifying them when necessary to accomplish simple yet surprising things. Both Approaches employ mechanical technology, not absurdities like “magic.” Even so, their wonders tend to violate conventional understandings of physics, manifest powers well beyond their apparent size, and seem to come “from nowhere,” work near-perfectly, and change functions with a simple twist of screws, a flip of the switch, and some creative swearing on the part of the master gadgeteer. Impression: Although some gadgeteers perfect an aura of cool competence, the archetypal gadgeteer is a loose cannon in human form: brilliant, disheveled, often mumbling esoteric theories while tinkering with a miraculous device that might or might not function until she needs it most. Naturally, the gadgeteer needs pockets, utility belts, hidden pouches, and other places to store her gear. Without some form of technology within reach, this character is SOL. Approach to Magick: Tech, and lots of it. Not big bulky machines and endless calculations but the sort of gee-whiz gear that dazzles the imagination and meets immediate needs. Sure, the gadgeteer needs to spend plenty of downtime in her lab, pulling all-nighters in a quest to perfect the necessary tech. With a miniature tool kit and a minute or two, though, she can modify that tech into whatever circumstances demand. Again, such miracles are not considered “magic” even if the gadgeteer embraces a metaphysical discipline or two in order to supplement her scientific acumen. Tools and materials, therefore, are essential for this Approach. Although her gadgets perform seemingly impossible tasks, such miracles do not occur through the mage’s will alone. Associated Practices: Craftwork, cybernetics, hypertech, infernal sciences, psionics, reality-hacking, weird science. Associated Groups: Most commonly associated with the Etherite Tradition, gadgeteering is an essential Approach among Technocratic agents, most especially those of Iteration X, the NWO, and the Void Engineers. Exie and Ironhands factions of Nephandi, meanwhile, specialize in especially dire toys. Roleplaying Notes: Given a few odds and ends, some time, and the space to run with inspiration, you can accomplish damned near anything. Media Examples: Batman, Angus MacGyver, Gyro Gearloose, and – of course – Inspector Gadget The Healer Bodies are fragile. Without the healers to patch them up and purge disease, our frail lives would be painfully short. The healer, then, keeps our biological machines in order. He might be a traditional medicine-worker using pre-modern methods, a “miracle-worker” who takes modern medicine to the next level, or a hypertech genius whose machines and formulas far exceed the powers of mundane medical technology. Whatever his specialty might be, our healer is dedicated first and foremost to the preservation of life and health. The marvels he performs focus on healing (sometimes on harming) living things, and occasionally (as is often the case among the Progenitor and Iteration X Conventions) on “upgrading” those biological machines into more powerful and effective forms. Impression: A healer’s impression depends a great deal on the sort of medicine he practices. An Evangelical faith-healer, a Voudu mambo, a First Responder EMT and an Ayurvedic doctor will come across in very different ways. That said, healers tend to be sardonic, clinical, and possessed of (or by) a sick sense of humor. Contrary to the common stereotype of blissful caregivers, many healers adopt a sarcastic demeanor, if only because their vocation brings them into constant contact with suffering and death. No healer can save everyone, and a healer who cannot save himself first won’t be good for saving anybody else. Approach to Magick: The specific tools and beliefs involved in a given mage’s medical skills and magicks will depend on that character’s approach to healing. Given the extraordinary range of healing disciplines, a player who wants to run a healer character should research the type of medicine his character pursues. Some healers work from deep spiritual conviction, while others view medicine as a biomechanical discipline. Many medical practitioners hold both views simultaneously. Years ago, I collaborated with one of the world’s foremost heart surgeons on a book that combined modern medicine with religious faith; for that doctor, such faith was as essential to his practice as the medical technologies he employed. Associated Practices: Alchemy, cybernetics, faith, invigoration, medicine-work, shamanism, Voudoun, weird science, witchcraft, yoga; certain martial arts also feature medical /healing elements, and a handful of healing disciplines (notably bagua and t’ai chi) have developed from martial arts. Associated Groups: Although the Progenitors, Celestial Chorus, Verbenae, Bata’a, Solificati, Dreamspeakers and Hippolytoi are all renowned for the healers in their midst, Thanatoics, Templars, Akashayana, Iteration Xers and Ecstatics have long histories with the healing Arts and Sciences, too. Roleplaying Notes: Would you idiots please stop running me ragged by testing the limits of your mortality and my skills? Media Examples: Katara, Dr. Gregory House, James Wyngaarden, Mary Mason, and Dr. Stephen Strange. The Mad Scientist Let’s be honest: All science looks like madness until its tenets become part of the accepted paradigms. Some sciences, though, seem madder than others, and this… well, she’s obviously not a “mage” – that’s nonsense… favors sciences whose cutting edge seems bloody to everyone else. “Credibility” is the hobgoblin of tiny minds, and this scientist would rather plunge bravely into the Abyss than limit her vision by imposed boundaries. From a more objective standpoint, the “mad” scientist harnesses alarming technologies with an apparently reckless disregard for their potential effects. Some such scientists are outright malign – the Josef Mengeles and Victor von Dooms of their respective worlds – while others have altruistic aims but reap terrible results. Whatever ethics they uphold, such technomancers leave “reputable” science in the dust, striving for Daedalus achievements without falling from the sky. Impression: This Approach’s name provides cues for the aspiring mad scientist. She might be loveable and brash, cold and distant, gleefully cruel or boundlessly enthusiastic but, by definition, her obsessive approach to science feels extreme even by the standards of the average mage. Approach to Magick: Scientific technology of a most unorthodox kind is the mad scientist’s calling card. It might take the form of psychic channelers, giant robots, death rays, accelerated mutations, transhuman enhancements, alien hardware, cross-dimensional gateways, resuscitated corpses, surgical extremities, nanotech cyberware, artificial lifeforms, psychoactive chemicals… every mad scientist has their own pet theories, and individual initiative is more important to such technomancers than social approval. Even so, the mad scientist is a scientist, not some mumbling nuisance with a garish book of spells. As deranged as her theories might seem to outsiders, they make perfect sense to her. (See the Mage 20 entry SCIENCE!!!, p. 290.) Associated Practices: Alchemy, craftwork, cybernetics, hypertech, infernal sciences, medicine-work, psionics, weird science, and certain applications of animalism. Associated Groups: The Society of Ether appears to be composed entirely of mad scientists, though that impression isn’t entirely accurate. Every Technocratic Convention has a place for its mad scientists, although those loose cannons must at least attempt to fit into the Union’s vision of reality. Other sects populated by mad scientists include the Virtual Adepts, the Solificati, certain Houses of Hermes (especially Xaos and Ex Miscellanea), technopagan Verbenae and transhumanist Ecstatics, and the Exie and Ironhand factions of Nephandi. Roleplaying Notes: Vision is the ultimate validation of the human experiment, and your vision is keener than most. Media Examples: John Dee, Jillian Holtzmann, Nicola Tesla, Seth Brundle, Egon Spengler, Karl Jung, Doc Brown, and the many incarnations of Frankenstein. The Magus Certain people make no apologies for their pursuit of magick. While other Approaches dither about the nature of what they do, the magus stands resolute: He practices the Arcane Arts, forbidden and often ridiculed techniques of mastery over this world and many others, besides. Such studies demand discipline and surpassing intellect, and so while he might appear old-fashioned to his peers, his dedication to mastery unlocks doors that other so-called “mages” don’t even realize exist. Impression: It’s not fair to paint every magus as a wand-waving throwback; even so, there are reasons that stereotype exists. Our magus might not necessarily be a haughty, intense intellectual with a penchant for archaic fashions and melodramatic pronouncements… but then again, he totally might be, too. Depending on the type of magick he pursues, this mage could be a wizard of the Western High Ceremonial school, a Confucian mystic sage, a Persian wizard-priest from the sect that gave us the word mage, a scruffy malcontent with appalling secrets… even within such an archetypal category, that archetype has plenty of room to move. Approach to Magick: The trappings of classical wizardry come from this Approach: robes, wands, scrolls, glyphs, scrying mirrors, flying carpets, alchemical labs, Goetic pentacles, rituals of staggering power and complexity, spells of awesome elemental phenomena – such instruments are the magus’ stock-in-trade; those tools, however, also demand intricate rituals and proper preparations. Given the powers at his command, a magus who half-asses his way through his Arts is a hazardous disgrace. As with the healer Approach, I suggest that a player who wants to explore specific tools and paradigms for his magus research the kinds of High Ritual Magick his character prefers. Associated Practices: Alchemy, chaos magick, craftwork, demonism, dominion, elementalism, faith, Goetia, High Ritual Magick, maleficia. Associated Groups: The Taftani, Wu Lung and Order of Hermes personify this Approach, but the Celestial Chorus, Akashics, Thanatoics, Ngoma, Solificati, Templars, Hippolytoi, and Kopa Loei employ such disciplines, too. Occasional Hollow Ones favor this Approach, while Infernalist and Malfean Nephandi pursue such Arts in their darkest, ugliest forms. Roleplaying Notes: Magick is too powerful to be left to amateurs. Media Examples: Harry Potter and his Hogwarts peers, Nico Minoru, Merlin, Zatanna, Gandalf, Maleficent, Lo Pan, Harry Dresden, John Constantine, and his creator Alan Moore. The Martial Artist Danger changes your perceptions of reality. Stresses to body and mind force organisms to transformation. And so, the martial artist – whose arts can hail from any culture, not merely Asian ones – uses techniques and disciplines of war as pathways toward a greater understanding of herself, her world, and Creation as a whole. Those pathways demand extreme, even superhuman, accomplishment; physical skills, mental focus, and spiritual clarity are ideals of martial arts. And so, beyond the practical applications of ass-kicking power lie esoteric goals of self-perfection… goals where an Awakened martial artist grasps the keys to Reality itself. Impression: All warrior cultures have martial-art disciplines, plus legends about heroes so skillful they became essentially inhuman. Our martial artist mage, therefore, is not necessarily Asian, nor does she necessarily practice Asian techniques. Nor does she necessarily come across as a warrior at first glance. That said, a perceptive eye can spot signs of martial training in a person’s grace, posture, confidence, reflexes, muscle tone, and so forth. Such arts refine the human animal, especially when a practitioner reaches the deeper levels of her art. Approach to Magick: Secret techniques and intense conditioning allow an Awakened martial artist to focus physical and energetic forces in devastating ways. Depending on the arts and Arts in question, this can range from psychic defenses and dazzling speed and strength, to the ability to manipulate elemental phenomena, life-force, emotions, and more. Such abilities get focused through meditation, movement, shouts, and other aspects of martial dedication which often go far beyond the ability to throw a punch. Mundane applications of martial arts can be found in Mage 20 (pp. 422-430) and The Book of Secrets (pp. 102-111). For an array of metaphysical Effects employed through martial arts, see the section of that name in How Do You DO That? (pp. 57-69). For an example of martial arts magery, see Tanisha Royale in The Book of Secrets (186-187). Associated Practices: Dominion, invigoration, martial arts, medicine-work, psionics; certain martial arts also employ alchemy, animalism, craftwork, crazy wisdom, cybernetics, elementalism, feralism, yoga, and perhaps hypertech, as well. Associated Groups: Akashics and Thanatoics are the obvious practitioners of esoteric fighting skills, but Technocratic field agents (especially within the NWO and Syndicate) have employed such skills since the Renaissance. Metaphysical warfare is literally the foundation for the Templar Knights, and the Wu Lung have their very own style of kung fu. Any sect or faction can host an Awakened martial artist, but those groups specialize in such things. Roleplaying Notes: Mere violence is just the lowest application of the disciplines you cultivate. Media Examples: Ng Mui, Mani, Bruce Lee, D’Artagnan, Lu Mu Bai, John Rambo, Amy Johnson, Jen Yu and Yu Shu Lien, Brass, Blossom and the Blacksmith, and pretty much everyone in Avatar: The Last Airbender. The Necromancer “Death is the road to awe.” For millennia, that sentiment has inspired people to plumb the mysteries of death. Some seek to resurrect the dead; others traffick with ghosts or turn corpses into undead servants. The term necromancer means “to view through death,” and different death-mages have taken that phrase different ways. Though not as decisively evil as many fantasy sagas portray, a necromancer does pursue Arts and aims that make most people turn away in disgust. Such Arts range from Frankensteinian weird science to cruel favors from Baron Semedi, and while such pursuits might not be malignant per se, they’re certainly disreputable, relegating the necromancer to the fringes of mage society and mortal company alike. Impression: “Morbid” is the first word that comes to mind when discussing necromancers. Even the most “normal” ones seem a bit odd and distant, and many necromancers embrace the sinister image wholeheartedly if they feel safe enough to get away with it. Granted, that morbid definition depends a great deal on the cultural acceptance of necromancy; classical Egyptian magic focused heavily on the mysteries of death. Among modern cultures, though, an obvious necromancer seems eccentric at best and – at the nastier extremes – ripe for handcuffs or a rousing bonfire. In Mage, three metaphysical factors weigh heavily on a necromancer’s impression: the death-Resonance Jhor (Mage 20, pp. 88, 478, and 560-561), the death-obsession Morbidity (pp. 558-559), and the death-perceptions of the Vidare Mortem (pp. 82 and 474). Although a necromancer won’t necessarily suffer from such afflictions, avoiding them all demands balance, introspection, and a very firm sense of discretion. Approach to Magick: Necromantic Arts in fantasy media tend to deal with skeleton armies, zombie slaves, bloody sacrifices, and blasts of necrotic essence; real-world occultism favors divination, spirit-channeling, seances, soul-capturing, near-death (or death-and-rebirth) experiences, and coming to terms with one’s own mortality. Both forms employ complex and often dangerous rituals, mortal remains, the spirits of the dead, and a great deal of secrecy. In game terms, a range of necromantic applications can be found in the sections about “Energy- Work” and “Necromancy” in How Do You DO That? (pp. 49-51 and 84-89.) Corpse-crafted servitors can be found in Gods & Monsters (pp. 85-89 and 94-95). For details about the dire effects of death-magicks, see How Do You DO That? (pp. 84-85). Associated Practices: Abyssalism, ancestor veneration, demonism, faith, High Ritual Magick, infernal sciences, maleficia, mediumship, Vamamarga /yoga, Voudoun, weird science, witchcraft. Associated Groups: The Euthanatos Tradition literally has “death” as part of its name, and many Hollow Ones practice necromancy, if only for fashion’s sake. Contrary to popular culture’s stereotypes about “voodoo” and those who practice it, most Bata’a avoid necromancy; certain devotees of Le Baron and the Guedé Loa, however, know there’s a time and place for such Arts. (See Gods & Monsters, pp. 171-179.) Occasional mad scientists display an unhealthy fascination with mortality, too, and though they’d seldom consider themselves necromancers, death plays an innate role within their Approach. On a kinder note, Catholic priests, Spiritualist mediums, and devotees of ancestor veneration (see The Book of Secrets, p. 193) employ a more reverent form of necromancy; in this regard, you might find such necromancers among the Celestial Chorus, Ngoma, Verbenae, certain Dreamspeakers and Akashayana, and other mages from African, Asian, Catholic European, and Latin American cultures. Roleplaying Notes: Death is a doorway, not a dead end. Media Examples: Dr. Kananga, Herbert West, Light Nagami, Miriam Black, Rowan North, “Papa Doc” Duvalier, Ota Mae Brown, the Knights of Death Vigil, and The Fountain’s Mayan priest. The Reality Hacker Clever people can find backdoors and workarounds to any system. Why should Reality be any different? By definition, Mage’s mages hack Reality through their Arts. This Approach merely throws a postmodernist spin on that idea. A reality hacker employs sophisticated tools and theories in order to circumvent the apparent limitations of the world he’s been given. While it’s doubtful he’ll call himself a mage (though he just might, if only to get a rise out of people), this IT-era malcontent uses his skills to rewrite the code that binds lesser mortals to their fate. Impression: The archetypal reality hacker is a tattooed white dude with a hoodie, a laptop, bad social skills, and an unhealthy addiction to caffeine. So naturally, this person might look nothing like that at all. Genderqueer people hack social “realities” simply by existing. So do women who refuse to fit into their assigned social roles. People who’ve lived their lives outside their cultural power structure learn to hack reality as a basic survival strategy, and so an Awakened reality hacker could be anybody with enough wit and grit to get the job done. Approach to Magick: Although the idea of existence as a system that can be circumvented if you have the proper keys (see the paradigm entry “Turning the Keys to Reality” in The Book of Secrets, p. 194) is not a new idea, the tech-focused concept of using computers to decipher and rewrite Creation’s code sits at the heart of 21st-century reality hacking. To that end, our reality hacker probably employs all kinds of IT technologies (computer gear, smart drugs, cybernetic enhancements, mass media, internet activity, etc.), combined with older instruments that may or may not be “occult” in nature (body modification, chaos magick, Goetic sigils, alchemy, and so forth). Certain fringe group reality hackers favor anarcho-primitivist philosophies that paradoxically combine feralism with high technology; others integrate High Ritual Magick and Goetia into their reality-cracking attempts. Anything that seems like it might work is fair game, especially among transhumanists, technoshamans, technopagans, ecstatic artist-types, and other metaphysical insurgents. In The Book of Secrets, Able Ferox personifies the cybernetic reality-hacker Approach (pp. 176-177). Associated Practices: Chaos magick, cybernetics, domination, gutter magick, hypertech; certain techniques add in alchemy, hypereconomics, feralism, Goetia, High Ritual Magick, infernal sciences, shamanism, witchcraft, yoga, and other such practices. Associated Groups: Virtual Adepts are most obviously identified with this Approach (especially among their Mercurial and Reality Coder factions), but Ecstatic Cultists, Iteration X operatives, certain Etherites and Verbenae, computer-oriented Hermetics, “Bible Code” Choristers, and other mages from various factions practice reality hacking, too. Roleplaying Notes: Everything is data, and you can change the code. Media Examples: Kaden Lane, Morpheus, Genesis P-Orridge, Maelcum, Dozer, Grant Morrison, Henry Dorsett Case. The Shaman Beyond our world of matter moves a greater world of spirit. The shaman provides a living bridge between those worlds. Generally considered to be a healer, seer and prophet of the spirit world, the shaman becomes a channel for Otherworldly powers. That role occupies a similar social place as a priest or priestess, and the shaman might be known by that name (or its cultural equivalent) as well; unlike the priests and priestess of many churches, though, the shaman mediates personally with her patron spirits, not through the auspices of a religious organization. This person enjoys – often endures – a personal relationship with those spiritual powers, and their strange whims and unseen voices often make her seem strange herself. Hence, the shaman exists in a liminal state both socially and metaphysically, a human borderland between the everyday people around her and the sublime realm of ephemeral forces. Impression: The popular image of a shaman comes from a combination of romanticized Noble Savage stuff and selective appropriation of “spiritual” garb and behavior from pre-industrial cultures. (Yes, we WoD creators have been guilty of perpetrating that image ourselves.) In reality, a shaman can be anyone who has a close metaphysical relationship with animist entities. The name shaman comes from the German form of a Siberian word for spirit-working magician-priests, and so shamans are not innately Indigenous American or African; many of those people, in fact, find that term offensive. That said, many shamans do adopt the familiar “tribal” trappings, partly because it’s familiar and partly because those instruments do have power, if only because so much belief has been invested into the symbolism associated with shamanism. In the 21st century, growing numbers of Europeans embrace their ancestral shamanic traditions, too. “Urban shamans,” meanwhile, merge ancestral elements with industrial technologies, and sometimes incorporate computers, cybernetics, and experimental hypertech into the more “primal” instruments and rituals of pre-industrial cultures. Regardless of their garb and instruments, shamans tend to come across a bit spacy and strange by the standards of the people around them. Even in pre-industrial cultures, spirit-workers are viewed with a combination of awe, respect, and fear. Approach to Magick: Animism – the understanding that the world is alive and aware in a spiritual sense – is the core of shamanic practices. Because animism is literally true in the World of Darkness, a shaman has a front-row seat at an aspect of Reality that many mages don’t really understand. If your chronicle features the Avatar Storm metaplot option, a shaman might have a challenging time working with certain aspects of the spirit realms; that said, shamans traditionally work through pacts, bargains, advice and partnerships with spirit beings, so a spirit-worker’s powers remain strong whether she can cross over into that world or not. As for the shaman’s tools and beliefs, they’ll depend a great deal on the culture from which she comes. Many spirit-workers practice their ancestral ways, often with help from the ancestors themselves. Many others, especially in our era, adapt elements from various cultures (which they might or might not belong to personally), and combine them in a “whatever works” fashion. Either way, the shaman derives her Arts through contact with the spirit worlds (typically those of the Middle Umbra) and their inhuman inhabitants. Although a shaman character doesn’t need the Background: Totem (Mage 20, pp. 326-328 and 633-636), that Trait and associated spirit-based Merits and Flaws (see The Book of Secrets, pp. 68-99) are common among spirit-working mages. Ashpaw Ten-Sticks (see The Book of Secrets, pp. 166-167 and 178-179, and The Mage Cookbook, pp. 84-87) presents an example of the shamanic Approach in a 21st-century setting. Associated Practices: Ancestor veneration, animalism, chaos magick, crazy wisdom, elementalism, demonism, faith, feralism, god-bonding, gutter magick, invigoration, medicine-work, mediumship, shamanism, Voudoun, witchcraft; technoshamanism incorporates weird science, too, and certain forms of maleficia and martial arts include spiritual connections to Otherworldly guides. Associated Groups: The Dreamspeakers, of course, are most associated with this Approach, but it is not exclusive to them. Kopa Loei essentially employ shamanism too, and although the Bata’a and Taftani would never refer to themselves as “shamans,” they often deal with Otherwordly entities in the same ways a shaman would. Ecstasy Cultists, Thanatoics, Verbenae, Hermetics, Hollow Ones and “orphans” have many shamans among their ranks, with the occasional Virtual Adept and Etherite perfecting unorthodox methods of technoshamanism. Roleplaying Notes: Most people think this material world is all there is. Those people are fools. Media Examples: Muktuk Wolfsbreath, Korra, Bagi, Black Elk, Nakoruru, Nobody, Tanya Tagoq, Amaaji, Nightwolf, Brother Christopher, and musical artists like Wardruna, Heilung, Tanya Tagoq, and Soriah. The Technician Magick is a technology, and technology has often been regarded as magick. From metalwork to computers, human innovation elevates us beyond our primal ancestry. If “magick is the Art and Science of causing change to occur in conformity with Will,” then the technician’s Approach is no less “magical” than a wizard’s own. Oh, her tools and procedures seem modern enough: computers, weapons, vehicles, data, cybernetic interface, smelters, wires, mechanical parts and complex consoles and all the treasures of industrial scientific miracles. This technomancer, though, employs gear and theories that go far beyond what mundane tech can do. Unlike the gadgeteer, she prefers stable and reliable technologies; unlike the mad scientist, she believes that her hypertech must at least attempt to fit in with existing scientific laws and machines. Even so, our technician bends physics to her will in ways that should be impossible… but only if someone who knows what’s going on looks closer than usual at what she’s doing and how she’s doing it. Impression: Serious science is this Approach’s specialty. Of course, that science is too advanced for lesser minds to comprehend, but it is science, nonetheless. Our technician probably isn’t a humorless jump-suited drone; science is pretty damned wondrous, and this character takes joy in the things her technology can do. Even so, she often lacks the bizarro persona that gives mad scientists their name. Her achievements are “arts and sciences,” and she pursues them with precise dedication. Approach to Magick: Intense discipline and visionary intellect are hallmarks of this Approach. Depending on the technologies involved, this person could be a biotech geneticist, a mechanical engineer, a quantum physicist, an inventor, a crafter of advanced weaponry, a miracle mechanic, a creator of robots and artificial beings, a designer of radical innovations… the specifics depend on the player’s desires and the characters specializations. Regardless of the details, this Approach demands appropriate hardware, workspace, and labor. Her instruments include tools, theories and devices both mundane and hypertech. Though she might integrate “occult” influences into her creations, she’s not some stupid “wizard,” thank you very much. Her technologies follow established scientific rules, but they take those rules further than unEnlightened minds could venture. For associated game-system details, see the Mage 20 entries for SCIENCE!!! (p. 290), “Technocratic Backgrounds (pp. 302-303), “The Technological World” (pp. 458-464) “Enlightened Adjustments /Technocratic Procedures” (pp. 601-607), and “Technocratic Hardware /Biotech” (pp. 655- 661), as well as the Book of Secrets entries for Computer Systems (pp. 116-127) and Wonders (pp. 139-165), and the Gods & Monsters entries for Constructs (pp. 78-96). Associated Practices: The Art of Desire / Hypereconomics, craftwork, cybernetics, hypertech, infernal sciences, invigoration, medicine-work, psionics, reality-hacking. Associated Groups: Ideally, Technocratic operatives embody this Approach. Many of them go much further afield than this, of course, but their hypertech is more reliable and predictable than the mad science of their Etherite rivals. Even so, non-Union technomancers often favor this Approach as well, especially those from the Virtual Adepts Tradition. Roleplaying Notes: Spellcasting is for amateurs. The real “magic” comes from a proper understanding of science and an imaginative application of its principles. Media Examples: Lucius Fox, Ada Lovelace, Seymour Birkoff, Acid Burn, Montgomery Scott, Dr. Henry Deacon, and the various incarnations of James Bond’s Q. The Tycoon Money is the ultimate magick. With a proper understanding of it, you can turn lies into truths, facts into fictions, elevate or degrade whole nations, or send their people spinning into wealth or poverty. Wealth transforms frogs into princes, and so a “money man” (or, more rarely, woman) has his finger on the pulse of this world. Such tycoons (from the Japanese taikun, “great prince”) rework Reality not with vulgar spells or summoned beasties but with the vast influence of wealth. A skilled practitioner doesn’t need to get his hands dirty at all; with the right words or keystrokes, he can slash credit ratings, deny funds, kick people out of their homes, send agents to teach brutal lessons to his enemies, or manipulate popular opinion against the target of his ire. On a more benevolent note, a money-mage can fund schools, repair homes, rescue people from poverty, support endeavors, dispatch aid, and otherwise change lives on an individual, local or even national scale. All this, he can do without sending up a ripple of Paradox energies! Money made the world as we know it, and so wealth can change that world in ways that don’t seem “magical” even when they absolutely are. Impression: The old-school image of the tycoon as a gaudy aristocrat or suit-and-tie smoothie have been largely replaced by a cooler, hipper, or perhaps geekier impression. In the 21st century, an absurdly rich person might be an online influencer, a nerdy genius, a gorgeous film star or ripped athlete, a traditional financier, or a young Midas with a literally magic touch. That impression, however careless it might appear at first, has been meticulously cultivated to appeal to the tycoon’s intended audience. For such mages, social cache is as vital as financial acumen. After all, “value” has many different elements, and charisma rates high among them. Approach to Magick: A money mage seldom employs typical spellcraft. Instead, he’ll manipulate social appeal, access resources, deploy agents, pull strings, encourage risks, juggle probabilities, and generally act from a distance when altering reality. It’s possible that he’ll call upon demonic favors (see the infernal Investments detailed in The Book of the Fallen, pp. 120-127), but he’s more likely to use mundane instruments than occult tools. Thus, unless he’s incredibly careless and stupid, an Enlightened tycoon escapes the obvious risks of Paradox and discovery. He’s quite likely to stir up Echoes (as the Flaw of that name), Quiet and Resonance, though, which explains a lot about the eccentric behavior and uncanny aura accredited to wealthy people. And because social value is tied so intrinsically to energies of all kinds, tycoon mages specialize in working with energy and influence (as described in the How Do You DO That? entries of those names, pp. 42-51 and 114-136). For details about what this sort of magick looks like in game terms, see Mage 20’s entries “Resources” (pp. 322- 323), “Fashion” (p. 591), “Mass Media,” “Management and Human Resources,” “Money and Wealth” (p. 594-596), and “Social Domination” (p. 598), plus the practice entries noted below and the character Malcolm Jamal Leonard (pp. 254-259). Associated Practices: Art of Desire /Hypereconomics, dominion, hypertech, invigoration, and reality-hacking. Malignant tycoons (like those of the Mammonite Nephandi faction) might also work in maleficia, infernal sciences, demonism, and the Black Mass; historically speaking, the atrocities attributed to La Voisin and Gilles de Rias were specifically aimed at generating wealth. Associated Groups: The Syndicate are acknowledged masters of hypereconomic Arts, and they’re the only Technocratic operatives who can refer to what they do as “magic” and get away with doing so. That said, the Order of Hermes, Wu Lung and Etherites hold long associations with wealth as well, and many Ecstatics and Virtual Adepts use their Arts to become wealthy, too. The Fallen sect of Mammonites, mentioned above, consider wealth to be the ultimate form of power, and their fellow Nephandi (especially Goatkids, Hobs and Ironhands) agree. Roleplaying Notes: The ability to conjure fireballs is nothing compared to the ability to buy or bankrupt an entire city. Media Examples: Bill and Melinda Gates, Gordon Gekko, Donald Trump, Bruce Wayne, Elon Musk, Professor Xavier, Don Draper, Winston and Evelyn Deavor. The Witch Despised and exalted, the witch works close to the hearth. Where wizards traditionally perform elaborate rites with expensive instruments, witches favor a more practical approach. The details vary from culture to culture, of course, but the foundations of witchcraft remain intimate and often humble: herbs, earth, blood, crops, food and drink, dance, household tools, bones and remains, the time of day or year, and – most controversially – sexuality. Witchcraft is more an Art of the body than of the mind; intimate and carnal, tied to the seasons of the living earth and worked through the connection of humanity, animal, spirits and the elements. Often traced to root words referring to wisdom, bending and shaping, connection or division, dancing, prophecy and raising the dead, the word witch holds ominous connotations. Though not specifically gendered, that word’s so intrinsically tied to femininity that modern forms of witchcraft favor a female perspective. Where a wizard seeks to impose his will, the witch works with what she has, bending and weaving her Arts through the hidden corners of our world. Impression: The popular image of a witch ranges from a seductive young woman to a bitter old crone. The reality could be as stereotypical or removed from that impression as the witch herself wishes to be. Some witches cultivate a sinister mystique, while others seem utterly mundane. Behind that impression, however, a witch remains connected to her surroundings. She might employ modern technology, perhaps even a hint of hypertech, but the core of her Arts remains earthy and pragmatic. Feet in the soil, eyes on the horizon, she embodies the crossing between ephemeral essence and the living world. Approach to Magick: Many modern witches refer to this Approach as “the Old Ways.” Though that’s not historically true with regards to Wicca and other recent innovations, witchcraft feels ancient even when its rites are roughly a century old. Connection to the elements, spirits, animals and Pagan gods are essential to traditional witchcraft, although certain witches (both modern and historical) favor the Christian God instead of Pagan ones. Brews, herbs, potions, and prayers to elders and deities of choice mingle with simple symbols (as opposed to the dazzling complexity of Hermetic designs), earthly elements, bodily remains, and everyday tools. Where the wizard affects a rarefied distance from mundane affairs, the witch gets down and dirty with her Arts. At least some of the inherent snobbery of the phrase “low magick” refers to the contempt that ritual magi hold for common witch-folk. In The Book of Secrets, Corvia Delbaeth (pp. 180-181) embodies this Approach. Associated Practices: Alchemy, ancestor veneration, Art of Desire, chaos magick, demonism, dominion, elementalism, feralism, gutter magick, maleficia, mediumship, Voudoun, and witchcraft. Certain technopagan witches add god-bonding, invigoration, psionics, weird science, and /or yoga to the more traditional Old Ways. Associated Groups: The Verbenae, of course, hold pride of place in the witchcraft arena, although many Hollow Ones, Hippolytoi, Ecstatics, Thanatoics, “orphans,” and Ex Miscellanea hermetics follow this Approach as well. Nephandic Goatkids and Infernalists favor the bloodiest forms of witchcraft, if only because so many of them enjoy living up to the bad reputation witches have. Roleplaying Notes: Nature’s secrets are your sacraments. Standing at the threshold of her shadows, you are not afraid. Media Examples: Sabrina, Kiki, Maleficent, Nancy Downs, Gerald Gardner, Marie Laveau, Morgan Le Fay, Willow Rosenberg, and the Owens women.
  11. Keeping things intimate, immediate, and personal - In this game the focus will be on the characters not the world. I want believable characters – not stereotypes and not the usual. The story will be about individuals both separate and together and while I will have an overarching plot it is not going to be my usual save the world sort of thing. This game is a sand-box type game. I will be running multiple threads starring each character as well as a main thread with all involved. There is also room for each of you to run threads either solo (with my input if needed) or grouped. ● Ignore the Ascension War. ● Toss out most, if not all, of the metaplot. Both of these are self-explanatory. There is no universal Ascension War, no world spanning magick conflict. The Metaplot which is built into Mage does not exist although some elements may make an appearance. As is usual with me the built in setting is not being used. In place of the Ascension war we may focus on one or two of the following or who knows maybe even all of them in an individual sense. ● The challenges of having metaphysical powers in a mun­dane world where rents must still be paid, laws must be observed (if only to avoid inconvenient visits from the cops), and loved ones must be protected from your rivals and enemies. ● “Mundane” yet dangerous enemies (criminals, witch-hunt­ers, dangerous wildlife, conspiracy theorists, law enforcement and Armed Forces personnel, etc.), and “friends” (cultists, churches, New Age devotees, hang­ers-on, family members, and so forth) who drive your mages up a wall yet cannot simply be blasted into oblivion. ● Other Night-Folk sharing and perhaps invading your mages’ territory. ● Occult rivalries between small yet dangerous arcane cults. ● The temptation to abuse your powers and become every­thing you despise. Any or all of these are suitable replacements for the Metaplot Ascension War.
  12. I will be posting the setting to be used here.
  13. this is where we will discuss everything else about this game. to begin I would like anyone interested in joining to post
  14. here is where we will discuss the rules used in this campaign. post your questions and comments as you will but please keep them relevant.
  15. Despite its epic backstory, thematic complexity, and confounding rule systems, the core of Mage is simple: Human beings both blessed and cursed with the power to change reality. Blessed because such abilities empower them. Cursed because change has consequences, and other people possess that power too. Stripping Mage Down To strip Mage down to its foundations, this campaign will do the following ● Keep things intimate, immediate, and personal. ● Ignore the Ascension War. ● Toss out most, if not all, of the metaplot. ● Use Approaches, not societies, to describe and define your characters. ● Set your stories in the mortal world. ● Establish a small, localized setting with newly Awakened characters who share obvious common ground. ● Cap starting Arete and Spheres at 2. (Perhaps cap certain Background Traits as well.) ● Emphasize focus (how a mage enacts magick) over Spheres (the magickal powers of that mage). ● Use the Common Magickal Effects chart (Mage 20, pp. 508-510) instead of freeform Sphere Effects. ● Substitute subtle, uncanny, and extreme in place of coinci­dental, vulgar, and vulgar with witnesses. ● Limit Paradox manifestations. ● Downplay or discard Mage’s more complex elements: Avatars and Essences, Quiet, Seekings, Resonance and Synergy, perhaps even Ascension itself. ● Avoid crossovers with other World of Darkness crit­ter-types; keep Mage about mages. ● Start simply, adding elements and complexities if and when it is appropriate to the story to add them. Before you think I am being arbitrary I do wish to mention that all of the above was written by Phil Brucato, the man who wrote Mage20, they are his instructions and Ideas on how to simplify M20 into a more manageable and accessible game. I will be adding some of my own modifications, but they aren’t important right now. In the following pages of this thread, I will explain and expand on the above for how this pertains to this campaign. I will also create another thread for discussions and questions pertaining to these rules, please make you comments and questions in that thread.

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