Mage the Awakening Primer
Above everything are the Supernal realms (though there’s a Magi in Manchester who incessently blogs about the “Higher Realms”). There are five Supernal Realms:
Stygia – the land of the dead; ruled over by Matter and Death. Moroi travel here when they awaken. It’s antithesis is Spirit, only the dead soul exist here.
Aethyr – the land of energy, and angels; it’s the source of Force and Prime magics. Obromoi travel here upon Awakening. It’s antithesis is Death, degration has no place in the Realm of Eternal Light.
Pandemonium – the realm of demons, hell and servitude. It is the source of Mind and Space magics. It is the home realm for Mastigoi. It’s antithesis is Matter, this Realm supercedes trivial considerations of ‘matter’.
Arcadia – its the land of the Fae, where Oaths, and Time are very real things. It provides the Fallen world with Fate and Time Magics – and is the parent realm of Arcanthi. It’s antithesis is Forces, in the wild tmepest that is the Fae, the elements cannot easily be controlled.
Primal Wild – The Garden of Eden, where spirit and animal are joined in Pangean simplicity. It is the source of Life and Spirit magics, and is the destination of Thyrsi Awakenings. It’s antithesis is Mind, cognitive thought is not needed in the Primal Wild.
Each Realm has a Watchtower in (crafted by forgotten Oracles – the ‘Good Guys’ who traveled up the Silver Ladder) – when you Awaken, your soul travels to the Supernal realm, and once you ‘write’ your name (a subjective term) you become Awakened. You realm infuences who you are, and also dictates which magics you are exceptionally good (and bad at).
Each of these ‘Paths’ are Superior and Inferior Arcana dictated by their Realms. Their superior Arcana are also split into Gross/Subtle Arcana, these descirbe the role they have in the Fallen world’s tapastry:
There are the Pentacle Mages (who belong to the Five Orders:
The Adamantine Arrow – A bunch guys who believe in Honour, and through the philophy of the ‘Adamantine Arrow’ they remain strong through adaptability and honour. They claim descent from the Ungula Draconis – the “Claws of the Dragon”, an Atlantean Warrior Cult (or so they say).
The Guardians of the Veil – Coming from the “Visus Draconis” (Eyes of the Dragon) in Atlantean. They believe that not everyone is worthy of Magic, and use of Vulgar Magic and Paradox only increases the Abyss’ strength. Therefore they tightly control magic availibilty to those who can use it. They also await the fabled “Heiromage” – a legendary figure who will stop the Abyss and bring the Fallen World back in contact with the Supernal.
The Mysterium – The scholers, originating from the “Alae Draconis” (the Dragon’s Wing) who believe that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. So they gather knowledge, and treat magic like a living thing. That is to say they aren’t naive, like the Guardians, they know some Lore is too great to be shown, so have some Libraries that seek to lock away such dangerous knowledge – like the one in London.
The Silver Ladder – These believe that there will be an Awakened State, where Sleepers and Magi alike will be able to throw off the Exarch’s yoke. And naturally there should be leaders of this state – some join because of the obvious power, though most join because they believe genuinely that they would be able to make a good job of it. They originate from the “Vox Draconis”, or the Voice of the Dragon.
The Free Council – Before regards the old orders (The ‘Diamond Orders’). Then in the turn of the 19th Century, there was the Nameless War. This was fought between revolutionary types who decided the Diamond and Iron Pyramid did not have all the answers. In the embers of the war, the Free Council was formed – and the Pentacle was complete.
The Free Council believes that modern ideas have the hint of the Supernal in them, not just the echoes of the fairy tale ‘Atlantis’. They have a long standing hatred of the Seers of the Throne, due to the “Great Refusal” in the Nameless War.
If someone doesn’t join either orders, they are known as “Apostate”.
Seers of the Throne are the servants of the Exarchs, the original Kings of Atlantis who Ascended, and who rule the Fallen World. They are Mages who have seen the way the world is going, and have decided to sacrifice liberty for a place on the winning side. They may see themselves as the Jailors of the Fallen World – but in truth they are the grasses in the jail, answering to reality’s true masters. Not much is known of their organisation, other than it is known as the Iron Pyramid, and is split into a myriad of Ministeries, of which Four are in prominance at the moment.
Banishers – These are Magi who, upon Awakening, are spiritually repulsed by magic, and decide that all magic must be exterminated – but the only way to do it is to fight fire with fire – as a result they are somewhat unhinged. They could be a firey priest seeking to rid the world of the devil, a scientist trying to rid reality of the power that cancels his equation – or someone just terrified. Some say there’s a conspiracy creating these Supernal mistakes, or that the condition’s contagious, but they’re just rumours… Aren’t they?
Left Handed Magi – These are Mages who belong to Legacies that purposely hurt, maim and often mess with Souls – either by choice, force or accidentally. Other Magi fear them (as joining is a very easy path to go down on) and hunt them where-ever they can find them. Possibly the most hated are the Scelesti, magi who make bargains and pacts with Abyssal Entities, even Seers are knwon to hunt these depraved mosters.
They are known, collectively, as “Nefandi”
Spells, Ranks and Practises
The 5 Dots of Arcana you are trained in indicate your ‘rank’:
1 dot – Initiate
2 dots – Apprentice
3 dots – Disciple
4 dots – Adept
5 dots – Master
6 dots + – Archmaster
Generally you’re just called by your highest rank, so someone with the highest arcana being 3 dots in Forces, you are known as an Dsiciple of Forces. Multiple 3 dots would therefore be a 2nd degree disciple, third degree etc.
1 Dot -
Practise of Compelling – This is the art of Subtly changing the nature of a phenomenon so it does not harm it, or grant it the ability of harming others. They are invariably written off by Sleepers; and can grant 1 or 2 dot bonuses if the mage is creative enough.
Practise of Knowing – These almot never cost mana to cast and are invariably Covert. They impart knowledge and intellectual facts – like the composition of alloys for example.
Practise of Unveiling – These are the most recognisable of Practises. If it imparts a sensory means with which to see the magical world then it’s Knowing. They can be scaled up to 2 dot versions that grant others the same spell. The actual sensory experience differs from mage to mage, and is deeply personal, two mages with the same fate sight do not see the same thing. Another key part to Unveiling is that they allow Mages to sense Resonance – making them keys spells in any Mage’s repatoir.
2 Dot -
Practise of Ruling – This is the ability to actually control the world around the Mage. Most first mages get a bit excited at this point, after all they’re doing ‘real’ magic for once. They are generally Covert and even the Vulgar ones can be shielded from Sleepers with a bit of care and planning. If they are used to damage they only cause one or two points of bashing.
Practise of Shielding – These provide a shield for incoming attacks upon the mage. They are always covert, though some (like surviving a shotgun blast to the face) may invoke Disbelief in Sleepers.
Practise of Veiling – This is the hiding magic, and are almost always Covert (unsurprisingly). At two dots a small item can be hidden, at higher dots a mage can hide his/herself or even another.
3 Dots -
Practise of Fraying – This is the part where the truely offensive magics begin. These fraying spells degrade, attack and hinder (often with offensive capabilities – but some can damage someone’s chances for example). These can be upgraded to cause damage other than bashing with higher kowldge of the arcana. Indirect damage (degrading girder supports so a jagged spar can impale an enemy) can cause damage other than bashing.
Practise of Perfecting – This practise descibes the ability to improve on an existing thing, or repair something. They are often taught as the opposite of Fraying spells. Sometimes they can cost mana (see mana expenditure), and are Covert/Vulgar depending on the improvement in question.
Practise of Weaving – This is the dumping ground of third dot spells that don’t kinda fit. In general, if the spell changs the function of a thing without fundementally altering it’s nature, then it’s probably a practise of Weaving.
4 Dots -
Practise of Patterning – These seplls are somewhat generalised, if they don’t Damage, Influence or Create something then it probably falls under Patterning. These spells often change something into something else, not necessarily keeping with it’s original nature.
Practise of Unravelling – These are not merely destructive magics, that’s the purview of Fraying. These are precise cuttings of the Tapestry, and utterly lethal.
5 Dots -
Practise of Making – This is where Magi start gaining almost god-like power. This practise can create things seemlingly out of thin air. These are mostly vulgar, creating materials out of nothing – they often need mana to be cast.
Practise of Unmaking – These are terrifying in that they do not destroy. They annhialate things, literally deleting matter from exisitance. These spells are always Vulgar, as the Fallen World abhors such destruction. As a result, more ‘balanced’ mages often hesitate to use this practise.