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How do you RP the mindsets and social norms of awakened mages?

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  • How do you RP the mindsets and social norms of awakened mages?

    Obviously, awakened society is MASSIVELY different from our own. Many things that would be impractical or silly in our day to day life are entirely feasible in theirs. As an example of this, the Big Brother Esque brainwashing and surveillance that Technocrats simply accept as part and parcel of being part of the Technocracy. Privacy is entirely dead, and not even your thoughts are safe. This is something EVERY Technocrat knows and lives with.

    Another example is the Cult of Ecstasy, who, with access to awakened magic to help them take it, can party harder than the average person can without fear of too many consequences. Life 2-3 can really take away the risk of STDs for example.

  • #2
    Thanks for posting this question, this is the kind of topic I want to see more of on this forum.

    I think the most important thing get across with any Tradition Mage character is they are different. Of course this is important for a lot of heroic characters in a lot of settings. But for Mages, their difference is how they actually derive their power--if they were conformists who accepted the Consensus, they would not not be Mages. One way to get this across is to put a bright hard point on the character's personality traits. Extroverted? Make her larger than life and magnetic. Introverted? Give him an inner life of unfathomable depth and intricacy. Pattern Essence? Brilliant eccentric with lots of ritualized behaviors. Dynamic Essence? An overwhelming force of nature that leaves fond memories and huge messes in his wake. Mages are a vivid human ideal. They're not just some shmo's with powers.

    Mages are intensely human. They should not be easily jaded--their capacity for awe should be greater than that of Sleepers, despite their otherwordly experience. It's the concept of "selling" in roleplaying, making sure to bring across a character's reactions to things (thanks, Ander Wood). In that vein most Mage characters should not be blasé about being able to see into the past or sense a person's life essence or hear the voices of spirits--or about life in general.

    Lastly, Will is magic. Not just the kind of Will that lets you use Spheres--any kind of free will. The scientific, materialist perspective says our actions are determined by brain chemicals and outward stimuli. The idea of free will is a rejection of that perspective and an assertion that the mind is to some degree separate from cause and effect. A Mage is far more free-willed than a Sleeper. The course of her life and many, many of her individual actions should reflect this. For the most part a Mage does not take the path of least resistance carved by genetics and environment. Of course they are still influenced by these things. But with them there is another component--their Awakened soul.
    Last edited by Faradn; 02-08-2017, 02:28 AM.


    • #3
      I'd say the mages Tradition would be one of the biggest factors regarding how they viewed and treated other Mages. The Order of Heremes, for example, is strict, ordered, disciplined, and places a great emphasis on rank. For them rank equals respect, and without rank, you might as well not exist. Some may be very uppity about this and consider all non-Hermetics as inferior, others may be more relaxed and recognise the relative ranks of other traditions such as the Exarchs of the chorus or the High Priestess of the Verbena. But rank is important. Your house defines who you are, it is a part of your identity and your magic. For this reason, rank is part of the true name.

      For the VAs, however, it's all about Rep. what you've done and how well you've done it. What you know and how much you can get away with. Theirs is a culture built by rebels of the system and hidden back foot entryways. No one is at the top for long, unless they can't be toppled. That being said, they have great camaraderie around all of the oneupmanship on display. Though they'll grill you and troll, they look after their own.

      Verbena tend to be quite individualistic. They abhor a system of centralised command that other traditions like the Hermetics, Akasics, and Choristers adhere to. Instead they tend towards small covens which live, practice, preserve, and teach, with new covens sprouting off once they feel they have nothing more to learn where they are. They are also the most open of the traditions, practically nothing is a taboo subject, even pain is an important aspect of life. In fact, they mostly scoff at how clean the other traditions try to make their magic.
      Because of their secular nature, there will ha all kinds of covens around. Some will only deal in the most disgusting of rites, cutting open goats to read the future in their entrails, diving naked into pools of mud (or worse) to influence nature, and the ever popular blood orgy. If a particular witch is grossed out by this, they may be ridiculed but are ultimately free to find a new coven or create one of their own.

      Etherites are a strange cross of the above three. Rank is important to them, but is defined more by reputation than by discipline. Their lack of conformity echos aspects of the VAs but their great scope of incompatibility between their therums often leads to more secular practice, like the verbena. However, unlike the three above, they are all unified by the belief that reality can be questioned, and any theory is worthy of scrutiny. Their society therefor is built primarily on being able to demo strategy their work, and how many times their papers are referenced in journals like Paradigmea. There is a great sense of compotition among etherites, especially for recognition. And while they are the most open in regards to talking about the differences between their theories, they can also be the most defensive. Unlike the Hermetics, most etherites theories are fairly recent inventions with no central history or culture to bind them, leaving each society of Etherites more or less out to fend for themselves. So unless your reputation is such that they will take your criticism seriously, prepare to have your intelligence questioned a lot.

      Those are the examples I have right now.

      Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy


      • #4
        The other deciding factor for the Traditions it's the Chantry. Whil all Technocratic Constructs work more or less under the same rules, Chantries are political and legal grounds of their own. The Chantry fully determines what's OK and what isn't within it's walls, their laws may be less important than those of the Traditions as a whole, or the internal laws of particular Traditions, but they are easier to enforce, as the members of the Chantry probably have more contact with each other than within the Traditions. This includes things like the morality of mind-scaning (there's no explicit rules about it, if a chantry believes it's ok, it's ok)

        Also the type of Chantry (or Construct) will severely impact on the lives of it's mages. It's not the same a super-paranoid war Chantry, than one which it's main purpose it's investigate. Probably being troughly scaned by some weirdo with bizarre superstitions or technologies it's more common in the first. A low level street chantry may not be a lot different from a club house, but a powerful Chantry whorthy of a Horizon Realm it's going to be much more magical, including things like guardian spirits that you need to placate to enter, talking animals, geometry-defying corridors and all sort of weirdness (only possible within the small, rarified, Reality Zone).

        A Chantry hosting one Tradition it's going to have the mindset and norms of the Tradition, but in a multi-Tradition cabal it's interesting to emphatize the weird. The Chantry it's going to harbor a lot of stuff that would be alien even to other mages, they will have to accept that other Paradigms just work. Imagine being in a place where the most alien and contradictory ideas seem to be true at the same time.

        Another thing worthy to mention among the Traditions it's the aura scaning. Scaning the aura and the Avatar of people seems to be fairly common among the Traditions, after all, one of Traditional punishments, Branding, it's to make a mark on the offender's aura. No unknown Mage should be greeted without a good aura sweeping.
        Last edited by Aleph; 02-08-2017, 11:21 AM.