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Mage 5 and a new vision

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  • A few thoughts:

    1 I think there are quite a few people out there, myself included, that liked elements of both ascension and awakening and would not mind M5 taking the best of both worlds. Especially i think some of the mechanics were better and clearer in awakening and while i love the basic set up of the acsension war i much prefer the more localized and modular aspects that M20 seemed to take from awakening.

    2 On mechanics I would particularly like to see the spheres work a bit more like the arcana in so far as they don;t require so much combination with other spheres to produce common effects
    3 I would also like to see a reworking of paradox. Love the idea but never liked any of the systems! .

    4 I i liked the way that M20 was pointing to an greater focus on nephandi as a significant faction in the ascension war, both in terms of having been a corrupting force in the technocracy and as a separate force. The former point allows for more division within the technocracy and more opportunity to take the unity out of the Union and allow for more factions either breaking away from the Technocracy or fighting to save it from itself. This provides for more nuanced and varied kinds of interactions with the traditions. I also like the idea that Traditions and Technocracy might start realizing that, like the warring families in Game of Thrones, they have been fighting among themselves over who gets to rule reality while ignoring the far more dangerous threats to reality posed by the nephandi and marauders, and that this might again reorient the game to be about a different and more complex ascension war that involves more alliances with people you don't like but need to deal with bigger and more pressing problems. This has been a direction they have been moving since revised and and definitely in M20 but I'd like to see that explored further.

    5 With respect to the V5 controversy and its impact on M5 and W5, i would suggest a greater realization "in game" that despite their pretensions otherwise, supernaturals are rarely in the drivers seat on real world events. they may nudge and influence and they may definitely take advantage of awful things being perpetrated by human actors but they are not the driving forces. That seems more real to me and i have never been a big fan of conspiracies, and even less so now considering the real world damage that conspiracy thinking is doing in real world politics. This way avoids the major pitfall (that V5 fell into) of attributing real world and difficult issues to supernatural interference in a way that is problematic for many.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Aleph View Post

      I've never seen those contradictions, I would love to see a few of those many direct contradictions you mention, because it's easy to make up indirect stuff.

      On the other hand, I bet you won't find any place in all of Mage history where the ultimate goals of the Nephandi as a faction are stated that doesn't include some mention of bringing ruinin to Earth. Prove me wrong.
      Here are quotes - some the direct contradictions that I mentioned - from the second " Book of Madness " :

      "The motivations, approaches and tactics of Nephandi can be as varied as you want them to be."
      States that the Nephandi can have other motivations than destruction or corruption.

      "Of all the Nephandic sects, it is the infernalists who cling most tightly to the illusion that they have some control over their situation."
      "Other have more hopeful notions. Some claim that their masters will allow them to live on, to rule the surviving human population in a time of smoke and desolation. This train of thought is particularly favored among Infernalist Nephandi, who eagerly await the day that they can serve their Princes' will on earth as governors of Hell's newest province."

      This contradicts these sentences that say that Nephandi, due to being Nephandi, wish to destroy the world and only want suffering. One whole sub-faction of the Nephandi is stated to have an entirely other goal. If the Nephandi are unavoidably predisposed towards wanting to destroy, how is it that the Infernal Nephandi have somehow adopted another outlook ? I have no way to reconcile these contradictory texts other than to consider that the authors used much too strong words when talking about the Nephandi in the sentences that say that the Nephandi only want to destroy and cause suffering ; I don't think those sentences are meant to be taken literally.
      Also I think that " who cling most tightly " in this quoted sentence might be an implication that there are other Nephandi than Infernal Nephandi who have this outlook.

      "Often villains are fond of claiming that they are misquoted, or misunderstood, or really oppressed heroes whose names have been unjustly tarred by vengeful enemies. Not so the Nephandi. They know what they are and they accept it, with no mamby-pamby moralizing or angst-ridden bemoaning of the fact."
      This precludes the Infernal Nephandi from somehow being unaware of what and why they want ; thus establishing that it is possible for Nephandi to have non-destructive outlook and approach.

      In regard to the Nephandi and how to consider them, I think that it is a question:
      Are the Nephandi meant to be a faction of refined black Mages which, to a large extent, has been presented in M:tA books ( due to mistakes made in writing ) as a group solely focused on destruction, corruption, and suffering as goals to the exclusion of other possible aims and motivations ?
      Or are the Nephandi meant to be such a group with such narrow goals, that turned out to be much more interesting, intriguing, and complex ; and grew beyond the initial narrow concept ?
      I think that it is the first option. It has to be noted that the Nephandi are one of the three principal Mage faction in M:tA , next to the Traditions and the Technocracy. With " Book of the Fallen " due to be written, they will have their own book.
      Last edited by Muad'Dib; 11-30-2018, 07:52 PM.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post


        In regard to the Nephandi and how to consider them, I think that it is a question:
        Are the Nephandi meant to be a faction of refined black Mages which, to a large extent, has been presented in M:tA books ( due to mistakes made in writing ) as a group solely focused on destruction, corruption, and suffering as goals to the exclusion of other possible aims and motivations ?
        Or are the Nephandi meant to be such a group with such narrow goals, that turned out to be much more interesting, intriguing, and complex ; and grew beyond the initial narrow concept ?
        I think that it is the first option. It has to be noted that the Nephandi are one of the three principal Mage faction in M:tA , next to the Traditions and the Technocracy. With " Book of the Fallen " due to be written, they will have their own book.
        I actually think its the second option. It seems to me that Nephandi and marauders started as secondary villains, focussing on destroying or unraveling reality while the traditions and technocracy focussed on creating it in their respective images. From a conceptual point of view I think the difference between nephandi and marauders originally was why they wanted reality destroyed and maybe how -Nephandi for their dark masters to rebuild it in THEIR images and marauders just cos! But as time went on (and maybe as more people like me started using cthulhu scenarios for their Mage games!) Nephandi became more complex and grew beyond their initial concept into a more fully formed faction. But In some ways the literature still hasn't fully caught up (although maybe it will in M20) and I would like to see it do so in M5.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by scifirabbi View Post
          (...) But as time went on (and maybe as more people like me started using cthulhu scenarios for their Mage games!) Nephandi became more complex and grew beyond their initial concept into a more fully formed faction. But In some ways the literature still hasn't fully caught up (although maybe it will in M20) and I would like to see it do so in M5.
          The M20 Corebook outright states, in a separate paragraph entirely about it, that the Nephandi don't serve the Nephandi Patrons / Infernal Princes / beings from the Deep Umbra / Dark Lords ; these beings are a source of considerations and inspiration for the Nephandi.

          Your mention of specifally "cthulhu scenarios" does surprise me a bit. The K'llashaa, the lovecraftian Nephandi, barely got developed compared to the Infernal Nephandi ( The Malfean Nephandi also have very, very little written in regard to them - but in their case information from W:tA can be used. ) . This is especially visible when one is aware the amount and variety of literature by H.P Lovecraft ( and other writers ) that can be used as material pertinent to developing the K'llashaa as distinct group.

          Comment


          • Above all else, I want an up-to-date, refined system of magick that gives new-level mages a chance to pull off cool shit without being unduly penalized, and is clear and simple enough to adjudicate throughout play. I'd also like a focus on Orphans, with both the Technocracy and Traditions (and even the Disparates) seeming like relics from an obsolete Cold War of Magick, with the Nephandi and Marauders being looming threats that the Orphans end up dealing with because of the aforementioned Cold-War paralysis. Help me as a player make a consistent enough paradigm, let my magick do cool things, and let me struggle on my own or not from my character's point of view. The rest, let me use it as ideas to embrace or rebel against.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
              The M20 Corebook outright states, in a separate paragraph entirely about it, that the Nephandi don't serve the Nephandi Patrons / Infernal Princes / beings from the Deep Umbra / Dark Lords ; these beings are a source of considerations and inspiration for the Nephandi.

              Your mention of specifally "cthulhu scenarios" does surprise me a bit. The K'llashaa, the lovecraftian Nephandi, barely got developed compared to the Infernal Nephandi ( The Malfean Nephandi also have very, very little written in regard to them - but in their case information from W:tA can be used. ) . This is especially visible when one is aware the amount and variety of literature by H.P Lovecraft ( and other writers ) that can be used as material pertinent to developing the K'llashaa as distinct group.

              So first, in my game I always focused more on the infernalists, who as i understood it did, in some way at least, serve these patrons. It is also, i believe stated that nephandi, encourage cults and i run with that!

              As for the distnction between the loveraftian nephandi and the malfean, I will admit to playing a bit fast and loose with that in so far as liberally interpreting the chthulhu scenarios to fit a more WoD cosmos and not being just literally about just teh mythos.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by scifirabbi View Post


                So first, in my game I always focused more on the infernalists, who as i understood it did, in some way at least, serve these patrons. (...)
                I think that if this happens, then the Infernal Nephandi serve in the sense of being a person that could be compared to, for example, a majordomo serving a ruler. For the Nephandus the relation is not disadvantageous or detrimental.
                Last edited by Muad'Dib; 12-03-2018, 12:23 PM.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post

                  Here are quotes - some the direct contradictions that I mentioned - from the second " Book of Madness " :
                  1ยบ. When you provide quotes - especially cherry picked one liners - it's a good idea to include page number. Otherwise it's necessary to scan the whole book to find your particular line in it's context and that can be a thankless task.

                  Other than that, let's remember contradictions to what I asked for:

                  Originally posted by Muad'Dib
                  While it is relatively often mentioned in M:tA books that the Nephandi have plans or intentions of bringing Earth to ruin ( sometimes with the aid or in agreement with beings from outside the earthly reality ) , this is contradicted, directly and indirectly, in many places.
                  So, you need quotes to contradict that the Nephandi (plural) have plans or intentions of bringing Earth to ruin.

                  Yes?

                  Well...

                  Let's begin from the most egregious example:

                  "Of all the Nephandic sects, it is the infernalists who cling most tightly to the illusion that they have some control over their situation."
                  "Other have more hopeful notions. Some claim that their masters will allow them to live on, to rule the surviving human population in a time of smoke and desolation. This train of thought is particularly favored among Infernalist Nephandi, who eagerly await the day that they can serve their Princes' will on earth as governors of Hell's newest province."
                  How it's "A time of smoke and DESOLATION" not equivalent to "bringing Earth to ruin"?

                  You know what DESOLATION means when isn't used to describe an emotion?

                  THIS:
                  1.
                  a state of emptiness or destruction.

                  Which doesn't need to mean Absolute Void, but can also mean things like a not nice Wasteland or the Hell on Earth that your quote makes reference to. In general it's rather compatible with the meaning of RUIN. All of which makes me think you aren't employing the regular, most accepted, meaning of the words you're using. Why?

                  This contradicts these sentences that say that Nephandi, due to being Nephandi, wish to destroy the world and only want suffering. One whole sub-faction of the Nephandi is stated to have an entirely other goal. If the Nephandi are unavoidably predisposed towards wanting to destroy, how is it that the Infernal Nephandi have somehow adopted another outlook ? I have no way to reconcile these contradictory texts other than to consider that the authors used much too strong words when talking about the Nephandi in the sentences that say that the Nephandi only want to destroy and cause suffering ; I don't think those sentences are meant to be taken literally.
                  SO. If my evil master promises me I'm going to be spared after having "a time of smoke and desolation" befall on Earth and give me power over the desolate remains of humanity then I'm totally not having destructive goals that would ruin Earth. That's your logic?. If they don't want to kill everyone - even themselves - then they aren't trying to bring ruin to Earth?. The expresion "ruling over the ruins" doesn't ring a bell?

                  Some Nephandi believe (and the obvious meaning of the first phrase: "clinging to an illusion" it's that they believe wrongly) they will have good lives after ruining Earth (a time of smoke and desolation) for everyone that's not them...

                  How it's all of that "ruling over the ashes" talk a contradiction to the goal of bringing Earth to ruin?. How it's that bringing this "time of smoke and desolation" isn't a destructive goal?.

                  Also I think that " who cling most tightly " in this quoted sentence might be an implication that there are other Nephandi than Infernal Nephandi who have this outlook.
                  Having went over the unavoidable and crushing fact that this outlook it's also all about ruining Earth, your quote only directly implies that this rather apocaliptic outlook it's the most optimistic one. That it's, it implies that every other Nephandic outlook it's even more apocaliptic that ruling over the smoking ruins of Earth.

                  So, now that the quote that affirms egregiously that Nephandi do want to bring Earth to ruin (sometimes with the illusion of being allowed to rule over the ruins) has been analized, we can go to the one that isn't so destructive for your point but it's useless devoid of context:

                  "The motivations, approaches and tactics of Nephandi can be as varied as you want them to be."
                  States that the Nephandi can have other motivations than destruction or corruption.
                  No, it states that Nephandi have varied motivations, approaches and tactics. Motivations to do what?, Approaches to what?, Tactics to achieve what?. Devoid of context that phrase means nothing. In English that can mean a lot of things depending on the context.

                  For instance, if the context of these "motivations" was "motivations to be a Nephandi", then it doesn't contradict that their goals are bringing ruin, because these goals could be assumed whitin "being a Nephandi"

                  I could say that the motivations the Nephandi has (to bring ruin to Earth) can be as varied as you want (maybe you hate the world, maybe you want to stop suffering, etc.). In the same vein they could employ varied approaches and tactics to bring ruin.

                  Now, if you hadn't cherripicked that line devoid of context, it may actually have said something that would bring water to your theory. I don't know because you've not provided a page number and thus I can't find it whitin it's context (and even then the goals of some aren't the goals of the faction, but since you haven't provided anything to think that a given Nephandus might have less than destructive goals I don't see a need to diferentiate here).

                  "Often villains are fond of claiming that they are misquoted, or misunderstood, or really oppressed heroes whose names have been unjustly tarred by vengeful enemies. Not so the Nephandi. They know what they are and they accept it, with no mamby-pamby moralizing or angst-ridden bemoaning of the fact."
                  This precludes the Infernal Nephandi from somehow being unaware of what and why they want ; thus establishing that it is possible for Nephandi to have non-destructive outlook and approach.
                  Only if you prove that they aren't all about bringing Earth to ruin. If you haven't then the fact that Nephandi, as villans, are aware of what they do only proves that it isn't possible for them to have a trully non-destructive goal even if they ALSO seek domination (but never devoid of ruin, not even in the most optimistic cases it seems)
                  Last edited by Aleph; 12-04-2018, 01:16 PM.

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                  • My understanding is that the Nephandi are by definition destructive and corrupt and seek to bring the earth to ruin. What varies is what they think the world will look like after that destruction and what their role will be. For some, probably the ones who are actually right about what will be left, they are just nihilists, fully expect the earth to be utterly destroyed and they just want to be there to see the world burn with them included. Others think they will be the rulers of the (better to rule in Hell that to serve in heaven). And others believe they are engaging in creative destruction, destroying teh world so it can be remade in the image of their dark patrons.

                    Comment


                    • The Nephandi grew more complex and more relevant to the setting over the years but they are never going to be a fully formed and coherent faction. Partly that is because they do not have a shared Paradigm, ideology, or mythos, only a specific metaphysical quality and a vague, general goal. Partly it is because they are supposed to be a cipher that other Mages cannot understand. It would limit a lot of their utility if we ever got a simple, understandable explanation of what they actually believe.

                      All Nephandi are ultimately destructive, their inverted Avatars have seen to that. How they are trying to be, why they are trying to be, and if they are trying to be can all vary, but that doesn't change that original fact. Even those who say they want to serve in Hell will continue to be corrupt, corrosive, and destructive if Hell is all that is left.


                      Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
                        All Nephandi are ultimately destructive, their inverted Avatars have seen to that. How they are trying to be, why they are trying to be, and if they are trying to be can all vary, but that doesn't change that original fact. Even those who say they want to serve in Hell will continue to be corrupt, corrosive, and destructive if Hell is all that is left.
                        Well, while all Nephandi are destructive, and certainly they want to bring doom to the world, I think that the idea that they will be corrosive even for the standards of Hell it's a call of a higher order. As far as I know Nephandi were always depicted as pure evil and destruction lovers, but were never declared to be more destructive or somehow worse than the demons they sumon.

                        However, I think M20 may be following that idea, insofar as Nephandi are described as using their "patrons"rather than worshipping them. I think that M20 may push the idea that "Hell on Earth" it's just a step closer to their final goal.

                        Perhaps Nephandi that want to "rule in hell" are akin to the normal mages that can't Ascend because they are lost to the "illusion of power", while more enligthened Nephandi seek the Truth in the Absolute Void of Nonexistence (which does mirror the idea of "overcoming the need of power" that Ascencion supposedly represents). But then again in Ascencion Al-Aswad was very comfy rulling in Hell...I think we don't have enough data on Nephandi to know for sure.

                        That's why I think that having more data on Nephandi could be useful. Even if humans can't understand them, the ST should know how to use them: How a Nephandi "progresses" trough their various Ranks? How Descencion, Anty-Seekings, and Arete manifests for them? What kind of deals do they make with the forces of the Outer Dark, since they would refuse to worship them as per M20?.
                        Last edited by Aleph; 12-06-2018, 10:05 AM.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Aleph View Post

                          Well, while all Nephandi are destructive, and certainly they want to bring doom to the world, I think that the idea that they will be corrosive even for the standards of Hell it's a call of a higher order. As far as I know Nephandi were always depicted as pure evil and destruction lovers, but were never declared to be more destructive or somehow worse than the demons they sumon.

                          However, I think M20 may be following that idea, insofar as Nephandi are described as using their "patrons"rather than worshipping them. I think that M20 may push the idea that "Hell on Earth" it's just a step closer to their final goal. But I think we need to get more data on Nephandi before knowing for sure.

                          That's why I think that having more data on Nephandi could be useful. Even if humans can't understand them, the ST should know how to use them: How a Nephandi "progresses" trough their various Ranks? How Descencion, Anty-Seekings, and Arete manifests for them? What kind of deals do they make with the forces of the Outer Dark, since they would refuse to worship them as per M20?

                          It's not so much a matter of what the Nephandus wants, though, it's what their Avatar does. The Fallen Mage may think she has the world exactly the way she wants but her Avatar isn't going to stop pushing its destructive impulses just because she's content. Contentedness is not something Avatars are usually interested in.


                          Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
                            It's not so much a matter of what the Nephandus wants, though, it's what their Avatar does. The Fallen Mage may think she has the world exactly the way she wants but her Avatar isn't going to stop pushing its destructive impulses just because she's content. Contentedness is not something Avatars are usually interested in.
                            Exactly. That's why I added, a bit too late:

                            Originally posted by I
                            Perhaps Nephandi that want to "rule in hell" are akin to the normal mages that can't Ascend because they are lost to the "illusion of power", while more enligthened Nephandi seek the Truth in the Absolute Void of Nonexistence (which does mirror the idea of "overcoming the need of power" that Ascencion supposedly represents). But then again in Ascencion Al-Aswad was very comfy rulling in Hell...I think we don't have enough data on Nephandi to know for sure.
                            We really need to know more about their Avatars than we do. Is Descencion to achieve the Void?. Maybe it is. But is Descencion so easy to reach?, perhaps even with Inverted Avatars being so pushy some Nephandi will never reach that level of "anti-enlightenment" (they don't seem to increase their Arete much faster than normal mages, as far as I know. Do they?).

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Aleph View Post
                              Perhaps Nephandi that want to "rule in hell" are akin to the normal mages that can't Ascend because they are lost to the "illusion of power", while more enligthened Nephandi seek the Truth in the Absolute Void of Nonexistence (which does mirror the idea of "overcoming the need of power" that Ascencion supposedly represents). But then again in Ascencion Al-Aswad was very comfy rulling in Hell...I think we don't have enough data on Nephandi to know for sure.
                              Okay, I admit, that's a really good analogy. The only response I have to that is that there's some indication that Inverted Avatars can be more demanding or influential than regular ones. Mainly the way Widderslainte children act even before their awakening. Since we don't fully know if the Avatar is part of the soul or not (and for the record, I don't want that question answered) it is hard to say how meaningful that is.

                              I agree we could use a bit more information. Not enough to make the Nephandi coherent, but perhaps enough to know how their Avatar affects their behavior. I would say in regards to your question "Is Descension to achieve the Void?" that it's not even clear regular Avatars know what Ascension is. They might know more about it than their Mages do, or at least have a slightly better idea of its direction, but that's about all we can say. So I think it's highly likely that inverted Avatars don't know if Descension is the Void. They still pull that way, or at least they pull towards incomprehensible things that lay in the same apparent direction.


                              Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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