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Mages, Accidental Death, Missing Persons, Legal Repercussions

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  • Mages, Accidental Death, Missing Persons, Legal Repercussions

    So two Mages are friends, or lovers, or share a house. One of them dies, accidentally, but in a way which is magical. A spirit vaporizes them, they are warped beyond recognition and stop breathing when they botch a transformation spell, they get disembodied in the Umbra, you get the idea. No body, or a body that cannot be shown to the police. You can't hand a witch's corpse to the police if her body is obviously paranormal or supernatural in some way, since that breaks the laws of the Traditions and also attracts unwanted attention, both mundane and supernatural. So our innocent Mage is left with quite the dilemma.

    Eventually our dead Mage gets reported missing. Friends, a partner, a parent, someone notices. The police show up, and our innocent Mage has to keep a straight face and avoid suspicion. They can't say anything to a sobbing mother who has come to speak to the last person who saw her child alive, and just wants to know where they are. Who might still hope that they're alive, and deny the possibility that they're dead. And they have to do that at the funeral, and perhaps in front of the media in some cases. And for the rest of their lives.

    And if they seem guilty, or they contradict themselves, or their story doesn't add up... well there's always the risk that the police find the body. Or something suspicious. I mean what Mage honestly has NOTHING suspicious among their personal possessions, from weapons to dangerous chemicals to drugs to hypertech. And now we might be facing jail time for a crime we didn't commit.

    Any attempts to solve this will be rife with grief. Who could stand contacting their dead friend's parents over the phone (with some effect mimicking their voice) to trick them into thinking their child was still alive, to prevent a missing persons report? Who could stand warping another dead body in their friend's image, so that they have something they can give to the police?

    Are there any solutions to this problem? Any other types of unforeseen consequences where Mages fall foul of the law, since the very thing which proves their innocence is something they can never share? Do the Traditions, as a rule, have the kind of influence which can protect Mages in these situations?
    Last edited by 11twiggins; 05-08-2018, 10:49 AM.

  • #2
    Mind magic, tonnes of it. Make people forget you, make others forget your friend. Just make the whole thing go away.

    The traditions for the most part look after their own, so if their activities are made known to their mentor, then they might be able to get some favours to ensure the safety and protection of their apprentice.

    Failing that, change you name, face, hair, and perhaps even gender to evade detection. Otherwise find a good life Mage to alter your species, and live out your new life as a vole.


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

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    • #3
      Have the mage create an illusion of the deceased, which will make a brief but definitive appearance. Such that they can be positively identified as the deceased, at least to a degree that law enforcement spend more time trying to find them than in investigating a possible death.

      Preferably, the illusion will be sighted FAR AWAY from the mage, so as to draw the attention of law enforcement and loved ones away from the mage. If the mage is lucky, the difference in jurisdictions will tie the police up in red tape, slowing the case down.

      That's the important bit: buying time. The surviving mage is going to want to cut all ties with this nonsense. Making the police believe the deceased yet lives is part of providing the character with plausible deniability. By the time the police start thinking of turning back to the mage, it will hopefully be enough months that no one could reasonably assume evidence of a crime could still be around. Much harder yet since there's no body. No body, no proof a death even took place, lowering the possibility the mage will get charged with something. If the police have reason to belief the deceased is still alive, they will be reluctant to press charges.

      If the mage manages to buy a year of time, they can probably safely move away. Skipping town immediately is suspicious as hell. After a while, though, it doesn't raise as many flags. At this point, it might also be useful to stage another illusion or two, to get the police on another wild goose chase. Indeed, having "the deceased" make periodic appearances throughout the investigation - nothing in a way that gives any real information on what the character is supposedly doing - would be helpful in selling the lie.

      Fringe benefit, the loved ones will jump on the idea that the dead mage is just wandering around somewhere. No one wants to believe their loved ones are dead, if they can believe otherwise with some ease. The living mage will never need to attend a funeral.


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      • #4
        Mmmmh.
        All in all it simply depends on 'What can the surviving mage actually do?'. As in, what can they actually Magickally pull off?
        Are they *willing* to actually mess with the minds of friends and family of the dead mage? They might as well be dear to him/her. Are they willing to manipulate them at such a core? Does their paradigm and morals even allow such things, or would it be the greatest of sins?

        And if the plan is to escape, are they even willing to just run and leave the town/state/country? Do they have unfulfilled duties? Family of their own that they can't just disappear from? A lover? A job and big investments? A store? A child? Actual duties that go more along the lines of taking care of a Node, a Chantry?

        Or did they just see that home as a temporary thing, a tool to dwell in while pursueing more magick? Were they big friends with that other mage, or are they simply royally pissed off that DumbFuck McParadox is now making life hard for everyone involved?


        All those things make it incredibly hard to generalize what that Mage could do. I think Saikou's suggesting is the best bet: Get The Traditions officially involved. Sound the Klaxons about a potential incoming breach of Shade, and prep things for the metaphysical cleanup crew.

        Of course if that other Mage was acutally dabbling in things the Traditions do not approve of, the still living Mage might find themselves between a rock and a hard place for a while...
        Last edited by Ambrosia; 05-08-2018, 12:39 PM.


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        • #5
          These are all good, practical solutions, and I think that realistically these are what a mentor or fellow Mage will suggest. In the interest of sensitivity they probably wouldn't be left to conjure up these illusions and create these fake leads themselves, or to use these Mind effects.

          I feel like "they're alive but missing" is a decent outcome, however it does create its own problem. Abandoned friends and family. In time, they grow to hate the memory of this selfish person who simply disappeared, who won't even take the time to call them. Memories sour. And it's a very... Moral tragedy. The only real victim for the mage personally is their own conscience.

          And then there's irrational behaviour. As the love interest, the police may grill you and then drop it after some magick draws them away. But close friends, relatives... Someone starts poking around, and finds something they can latch onto, especially anything supernatural. They become convinced someone killed their child or friend, and they have a perpetrator in mind. Maybe it's not even you, but since you know the truth it becomes your responsibility.

          I'm essentially running through the especially cruel things an ST can justify at this point however... ;-)

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          • #6
            It’s crap like this that make mages so uneasy about having sleeper friends.


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

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Saikou View Post
              It’s crap like this that make mages so uneasy about having sleeper friends.
              Well a superiority complex might also feed into it. Plus the sanity issue; most mages deviate from baseline reality in some sense, so many surround themselves with other mages, night folk and sycophant sleepers. Simply spending time with someone who is sitting on baseline reality and doesn't have a sense of "the beyond" can be difficult. But it's incredibly valuable to have sleepers grounding you, since getting wrapped up in your own little world puts you closer to being a Marauder (in the fluff at least).

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              • #8
                Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post

                Well a superiority complex might also feed into it. Plus the sanity issue; most mages deviate from baseline reality in some sense, so many surround themselves with other mages, night folk and sycophant sleepers. Simply spending time with someone who is sitting on baseline reality and doesn't have a sense of "the beyond" can be difficult. But it's incredibly valuable to have sleepers grounding you, since getting wrapped up in your own little world puts you closer to being a Marauder (in the fluff at least).
                Until they die on you, that is.


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

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Saikou View Post

                  Until they die on you, that is.
                  A bit of Spirit does wonders ;-)

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post

                    A bit of Spirit does wonders ;-)
                    Depends, not all humans become wraiths, and even then, most are usually enslaved or turned into bricks before they even have a chance st afterlife.


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

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                    • #11
                      This thread reminds me that Colin McCloud, the resident Verbena in my campaign, who was 'killed' by NPCs after the PC was slower than her bosses wanted in implementing the hit order, needs to come back at some point. There will be some drama, but since I basically had a character from Highlander, well those guys had to practice dying regularly.

                      The Highlander TV series might give you some ideas on how to disappear and then reappear in society after a faked death or just needing to move on because others around you got killed. Like mages, everyone Duncan McCloud knew was a pawn in the fight for the Prize.

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                      • #12
                        This, among many other reasons is why at least in my head canon, all competent mages don't live in society to start with. As far as their parents know, they're already a missing persons report.

                        Basically, only initiates and orphans actually still have the deep ties to sleeper society that this bring this circumstance to bear. And maybe not even then in the latter case.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Enginseer-42 View Post
                          This, among many other reasons is why at least in my head canon, all competent mages don't live in society to start with. As far as their parents know, they're already a missing persons report.

                          Basically, only initiates and orphans actually still have the deep ties to sleeper society that this bring this circumstance to bear. And maybe not even then in the latter case.
                          I could swallow this (with a lot of caveats) for many adherents of most of the Traditions, and I can see many Technocrats living in "urban isolation" (loneliness is ironically endemic in cities; nobody notices a person who keeps to themselves in an apartment block), but this could never apply to the Disparates. Part of their thing is being part of cultures and human societies.

                          As for the "big two"...

                          Among Mystic Mages, it is worth remembering that they stand out among Night Folk. Vampires are forced, by the nature of their curse, to become nocturnal. Their beast and immortality drives a solitary lifestyle, along with the Masquerade and the nature of their society. Vampires who embroil themselves in groups of humans rely on supernatural powers and manipulation to make this tenable. Werewolves are often born into their own special society, or adopted by it. Kinfolk are a culturally promoted alternative to human interaction. Changelings are driven away from many mortal societies by their banality, which is toxic to them.

                          Mages, however, are so frail and human. Awakening doesn't make you just stop loving your mother or hanging out with the people you went to school with. Sure, Mages do get detached from "normal" people eventually (I doubt Porthos had spoken with a sleeper within 30 years of his death). Sleepers are witnesses, and attachment to them is a weakness others can exploit. All of the natural defenses you have against supernatural abilities are completely useless when a friend can be used as leverage.

                          However, the same could be said of having a family or friends as a member of a criminal organization or cutthroat dictatorial regime. Despite all of the risks and problems, people just tend to have friends and family because we are social creatures, and nostalgic.

                          So yes, plenty of Mages aren't part of society at all. To them sleepers are nuisances, tools, victims of [Rival Sect], potential converts... But such detachment brings problems. Getting detached from sleepers is literally detaching yourself from the consensus and baseline reality, in a social sense. You can see why this would lend to detaching yourself from the consensus and baseline reality in a metaphysical sense. I'm sure the majority of Mages that end up becoming Nephandi think they're too good, too special, too important, too busy to spend time with ordinary folk for anything other than manipulation and personal gain. After all, realizing that normal people don't matter is just a stepping stone onto realizing that no one matters!

                          Furthermore, spending time with normal people, doing normal things, lets you get rid of Paradox. Simply playing along with baseline reality and restricting yourself to Level 1 Sphere effects restores you and protects you, if you do it long enough. The polar opposite of this are the Mages who are too paradox-ridden to even step onto the mortal plane. Clearly it's avoidable. And on a level of fluff, think about which Mage is more likely, by and large, to become a Marauder. The Mage who spends time with sleepers, and constantly reacquaints themselves with their beliefs and views on the world, or the Mage who cloisters themselves away, only listening to sycophants (cultists, apprentices, allied night folk) and fellow Mages? The latter is already wracking up more Paradox as the years go by, and since the kind of Quiet you enter (and whether you enter Quiet at all) is determined by ST caveat, I feel like the latter example is more likely to lose their sanity. Then again, the former is much more vulnerable, and losing the people they love could easily drive them over the edge. Nothing is without risk!

                          For the Technocracy, they don't think of themselves as Mages, and having ordinary interactions with the Masses is hardly unusual from what I can see. I'm sure plenty of Technocrats are asocial outside of their fellow union members, but I doubt there could be a hard and fast rule either way.

                          I think that this concept is best explored by Terry Pratchett's books on the Witches (Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad etc.), along with the Tiffany Aching sequence. A key focus is that smart witches stay in touch with eachother, and with the communities around them. Spend too much time alone with your thoughts, and you might start thinking you're better than normal people because you know more than them, and are more powerful than them, and before you know it you're cackling and luring children into your home to clean your oven.
                          Last edited by 11twiggins; 05-08-2018, 08:33 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Personally? I despise the whole concept of the Disparate Alliance. It's hamfisted and frankly nonsensical. So at least personally, I ignore the fact that it's a thing at all. The Crafts exist. They do things, but they're even MORE insular than the Traditions.

                            As for the Technocracy, I disagree. I see the Technocracy as VERY connected with the Modern World. For the very same reasons that Traditional Mages and Craft Mages aren't. The Modern World is an artifact constructed to enforce the Technocrat's Will upon the consensus. Upon Humanity. Every police officer might not be a Technocrat. But the system they serve serves the Technocracy. If a strange body shows up on the Technocracies doorstep? The Men in Black from the Government will flash their badges and the problem goes away. But like you say, if an old school mage get's a body dumped on their doorstep? Well that's no end of trouble.

                            For a Mystical Mage, Trying to coexist with Modern society is not only a nonsensical and pointless attempt to hold onto something you don't have anymore, it's outright dangerous because the entire setup is designed to make you STOP being a Mystical Mage. The system is built from the ground up to make life inconvenient and dangerous for you. So trying to exist inside it is.... well. Inconvenient and dangerous.

                            That isn't to say you can't pop by and visit dear old Mum now and then. Just that you'll be teleporting back to your chantry in the mountains of tibet afterwards. Rather than driving your buick down to your tenement apartment a few blocks away.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Enginseer-42 View Post
                              Personally? I despise the whole concept of the Disparate Alliance. It's hamfisted and frankly nonsensical. So at least personally, I ignore the fact that it's a thing at all. The Crafts exist. They do things, but they're even MORE insular than the Traditions.
                              I can see where you're coming from generally, but the DA makes sense within the setting. Sure, these groups are spread out and have little in common, but Magick makes connectivity simple. They are connected by common enemies, and some common philosophies. Sure there are huge differences, especially between the Templars and some of the other groups, but they accept fighting Nephandi as the core purpose they should all adhere to, and each Craft places a great deal of emphasis on protecting their cultures and identities. Each Craft has a protectorate which the others (in theory) cannot harm under any circumstances (barring self defense). Christians on Pilgrimage. Chinese people outside of china. A specific Islamic sect. These are communities which the crafts are deeply invested in.

                              They're organized to share information and collaborate on fighting/hunting Nephandi, and they have a general setup of mutual protection (for example, if one group could protect another from a Technocracy pogrom they would do so as a general rule). They aren't an organized sect on the same level as the Traditions, and certainly not the Technocracy. It's easier to accept and enjoy them when you don't try and directly equate them to the other sects, since they're not as tight-knit or co-dependent, they're just sharing necessary information and support to survive and fulfill important goals. The alliance is low-key enough that very few Mages seem to know about it, which shows that their co-operation is staying below the radar.

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