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Infernalists who aren't

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  • Infernalists who aren't

    This is something that sort of bothers me about mage the ascension. M20 mentions the left hand path, but doesn't go into detail on the role that more demonic entities play in those sorts of paths. Is there room in mage for luciferian PCs who see Lucifer as a noble spirit who liberated humanity, or the dark neopagan who reveres the parts of nature most reject and fear but isn't evil per se? Or are all such people just on the track to becoming nephandi?

  • #2
    Sure there is place for them. If they're lucky they may even have contact with spirits that have been born of such ideas. Far more likely they will come into contact with spirits that are based on more... classical interpretations of demons that only pretend to be benign and will tempt the naive practitioner into darkness.

    So in short: sure it's a thing, but it usually doesn't end well and most educated mages would thus try to prevent the worst from happening (wether that means a friendly warning, attempting to change the infernalists world view or assassination depends on the mage in question).


    My Mage 2e Homebrew

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    • #3
      Disappointing, but it's the answer I was expecting I guess.

      I mean, I get that even angels can be dangerous and I could understand if traffic with demons was risky, kind of like how it's stated somewhere that even the positive aspects of kali can shift to angry butt kicking destroyer goddess at the drop of a hat. But having every other mage respond to it with "Oh n0ez, what if a demon moose eats your soul?!" Or "you're a devil worshipper and we must burn you at the stake after a sound gilgulling" just seems to make the concept nearly unplayable.

      Plus it seems to make the in game lhp less valid and harder to play if something that's a big part of its rl equivalent is objectively wrong.
      Last edited by Dragonchild; 07-20-2018, 07:15 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Dragonchild View Post
        Is there room in mage for luciferian PCs who see Lucifer as a noble spirit who liberated humanity,
        Don't see why not. Hell, if you're into crossover, that is in fact more or less correct. It'd really depend how that translated into practice.

        Also, I guess it'd depend exactly what Lucifer liberated humanity from. If it's ideas of guilt and social control, then sure, if it's the petty morality that keeps us from trampling the weak maybe less so.

        or the dark neopagan who reveres the parts of nature most reject and fear but isn't evil per se? Or are all such people just on the track to becoming nephandi?
        No. The Verbena are more or less described in those terms. There's also the Aided faction of the Euthanatos.


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        • #5
          I use Luciferians in the Cult of Ecstasy and Hollow Ones, and to a lesser extent in House Tytalus. Demonology also has a presence in various Traditions, especially the Order of Hermes, Hollow Ones, and Wu Lung, among others. (the revised edition Book of Madness talked about it.)

          The Twisters of Fate are meant to be the hardcore "dark and grim" old school pagan aspects of the Verbena, but there is a vein of that running through the whole Tradition.

          There's also various forms of necromancy in multiple Traditions and Crafts, and Etherite Mad Science that gets pretty out there, morally, at times.

          Seriously, sometimes summoning the Furies, striving to become Nietzsche's over-man, or growing your own kaiju can be a perfectly justifiable reaction to having your friends or family killed by the Technocracy or others. There is a certain darkness to the setting and its characters that sometimes seems to get buried by all the fantasy and wonder, and while Vampire is the most focused on personal horror, there is a bit of it running through all of the games. With Mage, it's usually "how far am I willing to go to get what I want?", be it personal enlightenment or power, freedom and independence, social/cosmic justice, the preservation of one's culture, or any of a dozen other things. These are the sort of things, IMO at least, help drive interesting and rememberable characters.


          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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          • #6
            One man's god is another's demon. However, there are entities that are objectively evil, and there are a Lot of beings that are opportunistic and ready to exploit a dambass. Not to mention cultural norms change even within a single mortal generation. 20 years ago sacrificing tass made of unborn babies would be an implication of horrific crimes. Today you just need a contact with Planned Parenthood Clinic.

            Curiously, if you look into renaissance occult books the infernalist is not the one that communes with demons, it's the one that OBEYS them. So a shaman that blindly follows the orders of naturae will be at best a clueless pawn for a Hermetic, while a sorcerer commanding demons with iron fist would be a respected man for the same guy. On the other hand an Angelic Hermetic summoner would be a heretic overfilled with pride and delusions for the chorister and all three would eye very suspiciously a Jungian conjurer being all bro-ish with his Shadow.

            So I prefer a practical, case-to-case approach. Can the mage handle it? A succubus that is but a favored pet to one could be a soul-eating monster to another.

            As or the social implications - don't bring questionable entities to respectable company.

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            • #7
              A few of the darker factions I've used/modified/created for my games:

              The Maenids (Cult of Ecstasy, part of the Discordians, rebels and revolutionaries who use chaos to break down the boundaries erected by modern regimented society in their quest for ecstatic enlightenment), an ancient but dying sect of angry, violent women, originally considered part of the Seekers of the Divine (those seeking congress with higher spiritual powers), they engage in full moon rituals to the great god Dionysus in which they work themselves into violent murderous frenzies of revenge against perceived enemies. The rest of the month, they work as radical feminist social justice activists and crusaders against the various forces of the Patriarchy/Technocracy. Much of their magic is focused through psychedelic vision quests, extreme physical exertion, raw force fo personality, and sexual rituals.

              The Hagalaz (Cult of Ecstasy, part of the Discordians), Nordic seidr witches and Loki worshipers named after the rune for radical change and confrontation, focused on spreading chaos and undermining the conventional order of society. Militantly anti-Christian and anti-government, they're often accused of ties with both original Nazis and modern neo-Nazi groups (a charge not entirely without merit in some quarters), They do have a heavy involvement in Northern European biker gangs and the death metal music scene, and dwell among the fringes of modern Heathenism. They are highly skilled with seidr magic/shamanism (from Dead Magic II), as well as aspects of modern chaos magic and shapeshifting. Many also tend to be tricksters adept at Are Cupidae.

              The Lightbringers (Cult of Ecstasy, part of the Discordians), modern Luciferian satanists advocating the ideas of personal freedom, objective morality, intellectual clarity and rigorous self discipline while violating societal mores and taboos as a way of escaping group think. Their ritual magic involves the trappings of Black Mass, sex, animal sacrifice, and other potentially offensive subjects. Somewhat surprisingly, many of them are staunch prosecutors of the Ascension War, acting as militant "hell-knights" and inquisitors against the Technocracy and the Nephandi.

              The Kiss of Astarte (Cult of Ecstasy, part of the Destroyers of the Flesh, extremists seeking enlightenment and power through obliteration of moral and physical limits of the self), a female mystery cult originating with the worship of the Middle Eastern goddess Astarte (Ianna.Ishtar/Cybele) with a special focus on her torturous voyage through the Underworld. They preach a doctrine of female empowerment through tribulation, revenge and sexual power. Only through personal suffering can one become stronger. Their rituals include acts of sacred harlotry, bondage and the castration of male attendants/Acolytes.

              The Studiosi (Cult of Ecstasy, part of the Destroyers of the Flesh), a radical offshoot of the medieval Cathars fanatically devoted to the destruction of the Rex Mundi in its modern form of the Technocracy and it's mundane front groups. Members strive to overcome the prison of material existence through extreme fasting, scourging and other forms of self torture. Their bodies are often able to survive damage that would kill others, and many have developed the ability to subsist on spiritual energy in place of food and water. The sect's method of prosecuting the Ascension War usually involves violent terrorism and assassination.

              The Aghoris (Cult of Ecstasy, part of the Destroyers of the Flesh), Hindu vamachara who strive to cast off the limits of humanity, including empathy and civility, in order to ascend to godhood. They use near death experiences, painful yoga exercises, violations of social taboos, sexual tantra, necromancy, eating meat, the taking of animal forms, and the use of torture on themselves and others.

              The Monster Makers (Sons of Ether, part of the Progressivist Alliance, the radicals, rebels and loose canons of the tradition, united only by their opposition to Etherite leadership), a small circle of fanatics obsessed with the creation of biological and robotic monstrosities that they can unleash against the Technocracy, often headless of collateral damage. Most have short but interesting careers.

              The School of the Dark Arts (Hollow Ones, part of the Unseen Society, the more intellectual and scholarly oriented members of the sect), an elite society of aesthetics with an appreciation for dark, morbid and gothic works of art as well as the practice of Luciferian satanism. Members study and debate the merit and impact of art which shocks and offends conventional sensibilities, while also snubbing banal and predictable efforts at attempted blasphemy. Most members pursue their own artistic endeavors while practicing ritual magic, demonology, and tantra.

              The Bahari (Hollow Ones, part of the Darklings, outrageous radicals prone to nihilism and self-destruction in their search for dark enlightenment and mystic power), also known as the Children of Lilith, a secretive cult of the Dark Mother who believe in enlightenment through pain, shocking the sensibilities of themselves and others while causing anguish to those they wish to "teach". Members also practice gardening and art, trying to balance creation with destruction. Their group rituals tend to be drop torture sessions blended with sharing of new insights members have learned. Individual magic usual focuses through herbalism, blood letting, and ritual prayers to Lilith.


              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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