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Ideas on African Mages? (M:tSC / M20 game set in 1460 CE in Ethiopia)

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  • Ideas on African Mages? (M:tSC / M20 game set in 1460 CE in Ethiopia)

    Hello there. I'm writing a (brief) setting for Mage: the Sorcerer's Crusade. Player characters will be in Ethiopia in 1460.

    In addition to the usual M:tSC groups I want to include some new African socities, ideologies, groups, etc... I would like to include some other mages beyond the Ngoma and the Madzimbabwe.

    I have quite a stack of books to peruse (I have almost all the White Wolf / Onyx Path books ever published), but page and chapter references are always welcome.

    So far so good:
    I'm building a group of Ethiopian mages, called the Disciples of Solomon, developed around the figure called "debtera", a type of church official in the Ethiopian Coptic Church and in Beta Israel Judaism, said to have some magical abilities. I will post them here as soon as they are ready for play. Currently, I guess they finally joined the Celestial Chorus. Or maybe not. I'm not sure yet.

    I'm also thinking about developing the extremely short information on Songhai mages, in the Sorcerer's Crusade Companion.

    Any ideas you would like to share with me?

  • #2
    The Babalawo - Yoruban Mystery Priests/Diviners who are willinging possessed by the Orisha. Fully Dreamspeakers by modern times.

    Ecstatic Sufis seeking jedbah in the Maghreb.

    As "ancient traditions continued to exist in secret despite having been utterly wiped out far earlier in reality" is a thing in the World of Darkness - obviously practitioners are Egyptian Heku are going to be a thing.


    Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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    • #3
      Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
      Ecstatic Sufis seeking jedbah in the Maghreb.
      Thanks for your suggestions! What does jedbah mean?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Alqamar Alaswad View Post

        Thanks for your suggestions! What does jedbah mean?

        Also called jazbah or majzoobiyat - it's the state of religious ecstasy and spiritual awareness sought by Sufi mystics.


        Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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        • #5
          Thanks for your quick reply.

          Some details:
          The mages in Ethiopia 1460 (the setting needs a better name, this is just a placeholder) are going to be split, broadly speaking, in three groups, according to their religion: Christians, Muslims and Outsiders (Jews and Pagans).

          Currently, Jews are being actively discriminated and even persecuted by the Empire, and most of them have migrated to the north-western provinces and the Kingdom of Semien, in more-or-less open rebellion against the Emperor. Pagans, on the other hand, are thought to have been completely destroyed and their presence in the country is barely testimonial, despite the influence of pagan traditions in daily life.

          The lot of Muslims is slightly better, but not much more. Being the religion of Ethiopia's south-eastern neighbors, Islam is seen by many as a dangerous, foreign set of beliefs. The feeling of being trapped between the Mamluks and the sultanates in the Horn of Africa felt by many members of the Ethiopian nobility and clergy does not help.

          Christians, on the other hand, are very powerful, in the court, in the cities and in the rural world. Christians from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (or Coptic Ethiopian Orthodox Church), that is. Roman and Greek Orthodox Christians are unknown in the country until the arrival of the Europeans.

          The Order of Reason will be present in the game. There will also be some Traditionalists and some Disparates, being members of groups that rejected the invitation to the Great Convocation, that never heard about it or that simply haven't reached an agreement yet about what to do.

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          • #6
            Yesterday, one of my players asked me: Why Ethiopia and not another country?

            And I said: Because in 1460 Ethiopia is at the end of its Golden Age. It is a period full of interesting opportunities. It is also a very interesting place for a Sorcerer's Crusade game, as a crossroad between Asia, Africa and Europe (despite its location in the Horn of Africa). I have also thought about setting a game in the Ottoman Empire, but I think I'm going to keep that for Victorian Age: Mage.
            Last edited by Alqamar Alaswad; 08-19-2018, 04:45 PM.

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            • #7
              The game is getting momentum and we will soon have our first game session. So far there are two members of the Order of Reason: an Aragonese Explorator and an Ethiopian Celestial Master. The Aragonese is a Muslim and the Ethiopian is a Coptic Christian. Things are looking great!

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              • #8
                Please Alqamar Alaswad publish your setting. Could be nice read it. I have a few Settings in Sorcerer's Cruzade and Vampire: One of then was the legendary (And Fictional) original realm of the Magi Balthasar.(In our christian-catholic folklore "Sorceror-King" or "Mage-King"). Was a part of the travel of a vampire when i was running Rome By Night. A lost citadel in modern Ethiopian territory. Another Afrocentric scenario i did (but never run. Yet) Was the Quilombo Dos Palmares. A republic founded by fugitive slaves amidst Bazilian jungles in 17th century, standing proud between powerful monarchic colonial Powers (Portugal, Holland, Spain, France) and where black resistance resisted until our days.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Gagarin Malé View Post
                  Please Alqamar Alaswad publish your setting. Could be nice read it. I have a few Settings in Sorcerer's Cruzade and Vampire: One of then was the legendary (And Fictional) original realm of the Magi Balthasar.(In our christian-catholic folklore "Sorceror-King" or "Mage-King"). Was a part of the travel of a vampire when i was running Rome By Night. A lost citadel in modern Ethiopian territory. Another Afrocentric scenario i did (but never run. Yet) Was the Quilombo Dos Palmares. A republic founded by fugitive slaves amidst Bazilian jungles in 17th century, standing proud between powerful monarchic colonial Powers (Portugal, Holland, Spain, France) and where black resistance resisted until our days.
                  That sounds great! I am actually considering sending the adventure (and everything I am writing) to the Storyteller's Vault after it is finished.

                  Would you mind sharing with me your info on this realm of Balthasar? Of course, you would be credited in the bibliography of the finished book, if it is released, and you would have my endless gratitude.

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                  • #10
                    Was not sooo big deal. I created very little things. My focus was in this time roman republic. Balthazar of Balthazaria, (Baltasar da Balsazária in Portuguese) was a Generic, wise, just and mary sue African King of a bit generic Shangri-la in africa. In the court of the King, some transcendental and exotic human-like vampires, the Salubri are allowed to fix residence and join the court halls as nobles. This part of Chronicle was a metaphorical, introspective, in-game voyage created by a physical voyage of our friend, that goes to europe in vacation. Was a PBEM centered in recent embrace of his Salubri Warrior, being trained to hunt demons in a African hide-out. Balthasar recieves the newborn anti-heroic vampire because the King's Physician was a Salubri Vampire, his mentor. Some emissaries of the great imperial powers of that ages (Rome and Carthage ruled by cainites) was there also, like Nazis and Allies in Casablanca. When thee player comes back from Europe, he goes back to Rome. The future Destiny of Belsazária was obscure, even to me. I planned Carthagian troops of Numidians, veins full of Brujah Blood, destroying the Physical Kingdon. The powerful Magi-King should preserve the spiritual essence of his realm building a spiritual gate for an exodus of his folk to Umbra. When Jesus born, the return of Balthasar was a surprise even to Gaspar and Belchior... more spirit than Man. In my modern games, unearthed Belsazária exists yet, and his king. He is an archetipe to the Old, Black, calm, and Wise Guy. ( In Portuguese, in our games, we talk in Balthasar as an ancestral spiritual matrix to Preto Velho, an entity of Candomblé)

                    Indeed, i'm writing about this place in my own book too rrsr. I'll develop it a little bit more. When it comes, i'll give it! Thanks!

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                    • #11
                      That sounds interesting, if a bit difficult to use in my game's timeline (1460-1500, broadly speaking). Thanks!

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                      • #12
                        News: the Ethiopian Celestial Master has been retconned as an Ethiopian Keeper of the Sky (I have created an Ethiopian branch of the Order of Reason, for Orthodox Ethiopian Christians, and the analogues to the Celestial Masters are called the Keepers of the Sky). The other Ethiopian character is an Architect of Lalibela (similar to a Craftmason).

                        This branch of the Order of Reason is going to be called "The Sons of Menelik" and its four main groups are the Architects of Lalibela (construction, urbanism and daily life), the Keepers of the Sky (astronomy, astrology and being on watch against celestial threats), the Bearers of the Ark (religion and history) and the Disciples of Solomon (government and law).

                        I have decided to create a new branch of the Order because I didn't see the Cabal of Pure Thought willing to accept Ethiopian Orthodox Christians in the Order of Reason proper, considering the Ethiopian Church, "even if they are Christians as they say they are" (this is my Cabal of Pure Thought in-character voice) have been separated from Roman authority for more than a thousand years.

                        I am considering, for Future Fates, to have "The Sons of Menelik" break away from the Order of Reason during the 19th Century.

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                        • #13
                          Look at smiths. Metal workers were seen as uncanny in much of Africa. They could be with any faction.

                          Several cultures had judge mystics who represented slash channeled the ancestors to decide lawsuits. Again they could be with any faction.

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                          • #14
                            Indeed. Thanks for your comments, Astromancer.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Alqamar Alaswad View Post
                              This branch of the Order of Reason is going to be called "The Sons of Menelik" and its four main groups are the Architects of Lalibela (construction, urbanism and daily life), the Keepers of the Sky (astronomy, astrology and being on watch against celestial threats), the Bearers of the Ark (religion and history) and the Disciples of Solomon (government and law).
                              That's rather neat. I like that.

                              I would presume that perhaps their version of the Explorers/Seekers might have died out/been subsumed by the Keepers when the Aksum Empire lost all of their territory along the Indian Ocean?

                              I have decided to create a new branch of the Order because I didn't see the Cabal of Pure Thought willing to accept Ethiopian Orthodox Christians in the Order of Reason proper, considering the Ethiopian Church, "even if they are Christians as they say they are" (this is my Cabal of Pure Thought in-character voice) have been separated from Roman authority for more than a thousand years.
                              I've always seen the Cabal as primarily being a Catholic thing - the idea that the Church of Rome being the "One Church" of their idealized world view - with a sizable "heretical" movement in North Africa/Southwest Asia picking Islam once that faith appeared, and Greek Orthodox dissenters being mostly wiped out by the Fourth Crusade and/or the final fall of Constantinople. An Order of Reason expedition to Ethiopia (perhaps as part of a search for the kingdom of Prester John or so such) would be a great place to include Dove characters who've come to peacefully "educate" those outside the authority of the True Church.

                              I am considering, for Future Fates, to have "The Sons of Menelik" break away from the Order of Reason during the 19th Century.
                              They might eventuntually end up as part of the Celestial Chorus's Alexandrian Society.



                              What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                              Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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