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How to downplay the Mage Traditions/Conventions/Crafts

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Aleph View Post
    Dreamspeakers, on the other hand, don't work as a Tradition - that's not for lack of Focus among individuals, however, but rather because they're compressed into a "Spirit Tradition" that has no Focus. Is that the example you're proposing to follow?
    What do you mean by that Dreamspeakers have no focus as a Tradition ?

    Aren't the Dreamspeakers - or they were, at the start of M:tA , at least - united by their belief in Gaia, which guides their thinking and actions ? Isn't this what the ' Dreamspeakers ' refers to - that they cast their Spells by manifesting the dreams of Gaia ? When this is forgotten or not mentioned they might seem like a hastily gathered " Spirit Tradition " ; what gives different Dreamspeakers very clear common ground is that Dreamspeakers get initiated into the the belief in and the mystery of Gaia, and into concepts and ideas related to this.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
      What do you mean by that Dreamspeakers have no focus as a Tradition ?

      Aren't the Dreamspeakers - or they were, at the start of M:tA , at least - united by their belief in Gaia, which guides their thinking and actions ? Isn't this what the ' Dreamspeakers ' refers to - that they cast their Spells by manifesting the dreams of Gaia ? When this is forgotten or not mentioned they might seem like a hastily gathered " Spirit Tradition " ; what gives different Dreamspeakers very clear common ground is that Dreamspeakers get initiated into the the belief in and the mystery of Gaia, and into concepts and ideas related to this.
      Well there is an element of canonical explanation in the game, noting that Gaia as a concept is lifted from Greek mythology rather than being a universal idea, but it doesn't quite ring true when you have such diversity of individuals represented by the singular group. Depending on which edition you have, much of the Dreamspeakers are made up of isolated hermits, which makes the notion of some overarching 'organisation' that can be represented by anyone on a Tradition council seem unlikely.

      My view is, if we to have some sort of free-reign to go back to the core of the game, that there are a few groups in the Council of Traditions that actually make more sense without having some sort of over-arching organisation. To take the Dreamspeakers as an example, I would find it more likely to have a categorisation of mages who happen to share a similar paradigm, rather trying to shoehorn them into a group affiliation. So, in this case, you could collectively categorise them as 'animists', by paradigm, without any reference to some supposed organisation. Of course, if this becomes the default aspect of fundamental character design, you'd have to then decide what actual organisations there are to establish the world politics.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
        Aren't the Dreamspeakers - or they were, at the start of M:tA , at least - united by their belief in Gaia, which guides their thinking and actions ? Isn't this what the ' Dreamspeakers ' refers to - that they cast their Spells by manifesting the dreams of Gaia ? When this is forgotten or not mentioned they might seem like a hastily gathered " Spirit Tradition " ; what gives different Dreamspeakers very clear common ground is that Dreamspeakers get initiated into the the belief in and the mystery of Gaia, and into concepts and ideas related to this.
        At the very start of M:tA 1º edition , when it was a game supposed to take place within Werewolf cosmology with Nephandy = Wyrm/Entropy, Marauders = Wyld/Dynamism, Technocracy = Weaver/Statism. Yes. But that link has never been mentioned again, except to note how Gaia it's not their focus and how Werewolves are wrong about it's importance. In the Revised book it's downright stated that Dreamspeakers have no focus as a Tradition: That they were hodgepodged there by the OoH and are resentfull because of that it's a whole plot point in Revised.

        Which isn't bad per se (it works as a sad story), but shows the need to study the relationship between "belief" and "faction" - there's no way you can cover all the spectrum of belief in the world whitin 9 umbrellas, but if you decouple belief and faction (much like Revised was already doing) you can create organizations that may cater to certain type of beliefs and practices but aren't defined by these.

        1º edition also decoupled faction and belief, but it did so by stating that belief it's just window dressing. Mages know the truth of the universe and their so called Paradigms isn't that truth but merely a convinient lie to explain shit to sleepers and the youngest apprentices. No Dreamspeaker truly believed in vodun or any other human religion, they knew earthly reality it's defined by human belief and they knew that Werewolf cosmology it's right about the Umbra, and thus they were Gaian mages.

        Personally, I think that takes aways some of the glamour of Mage. Paradigm becomes unimportant and thus you don't care to fashion your magick after it. Also I would rather not have a whole Tradition based on Werewolf. I would preffer to define them similarly to the Spirit-Talkers of DA. That they're mages with a special relationship with spirits. There could be an overaching organization that catters to such mages, but it wouldn't be defined by a particular set of beliefs.

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        • #19
          I've been reading the first edition core book recently and one thing that I noticed was that there's a lot more focus on the idea of "rogue" mages. Basically mages that have left their Traditions and basically work for the highest bidder. I don't think they get as much mention in the later editions but it strikes me that this could be a useful way of keeping the general idea of the Traditions/Crafts as a backdrop, but de-emphasizing them in the game.

          A bunch of Orphans trained by a bitter ex-Hermetic could learn a lot of the stylistic trappings without getting wrapped up in the complex hierarchy of the actual Tradition. Then you'd still have the option of introducing the more traditional (pun intended) elements of the game later on, if you wanted.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by kalinara View Post
            A bunch of Orphans trained by a bitter ex-Hermetic could learn a lot of the stylistic trappings without getting wrapped up in the complex hierarchy of the actual Tradition. Then you'd still have the option of introducing the more traditional (pun intended) elements of the game later on, if you wanted.
            A question could be asked and an issue could be explored whether those Orphan Mages being trained by a ex-Hermetic ( or a Hermetic ) become Hermetic Mages ( or even Mages of the Order of Hermes ) to any extent ; and if they aren't, then whether they can become Hermetics more easily than other Mages.
            And the same or similar for other Traditions, and maybe other Mage groups. After all, it is often written about particular single Mages and about factions within individual Traditions that " This member does this and this, which is what identifies her as a member of [ a given Tradition ] ... but otherwise the Mage does her or his own thing because of [ reasons ] . " or similar.
            Last edited by Muad'Dib; 10-09-2018, 04:42 AM.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
              A question could be asked and an issue could be explored whether those Orphan Mages being trained by a ex-Hermetic ( or a Hermetic ) become Hermetic Mages ( or even Mages of the Order of Hermes ) to any extent ; and if they aren't, then whether they can become Hermetics more easily than other Mages.
              And the same or similar for other Traditions, and maybe other Mage groups. After all, it is often written about particular single Mages and about factions within individual Traditions that " This member does this and this, which is what identifies her as a member of [ a given Tradition ] ... but otherwise the Mage does her or his own thing because of [ reasons ] . " or similar.

              I think that depends on the tradition, but for the Order of Hermes at least, I'd say that orphans trained in Hermetic methods by a rogue would probably not be considered members of the Order. The Hermetic structure is as much about the socio-political structure of rank and House as they are about their individual methods.

              I think if we just look at methodology, these Orphans might well have an easier time becoming mages since they'll already have at least some of a background in the technique. But there are other factors: they'd have to be willing and able to work within the very rigid Hermetic house structure and be willing to show deference to elders and follow all the Hermetic rules. It'd probably also depend on exactly which rogue Hermetic trained them, and why that person became a rogue to begin with.

              If we're talking someone like Mark Hallward Gillan, then the Orphans might have a chance, since Gillan left more for reasons of ideological conflict than misconduct. He also still has some friends and allies still inside the Order that might be willing to sponsor his students (like Porthos, if he's still around.) If the renegade Hermetic is a suspected barabbus, or someone who seriously transgressed the Order's rules, then his students would likely have a much more difficult time joining.

              I think there'd be similar complications for Orphans trying to join the Akashics or Chakravanti: it'd be very difficult without the right connections or impressing the right person. But I'd imagine it'd be fairly easy to end up joining up with say the Verbena or Sons of Ether, assuming that the Orphans are trained in the correct methodology.

              Having the characters be Orphans trying to schmooze their way into a Tradition could be a fun way to downplay the internal Traditions/Conventions/Craft stuff, while keeping it on the backburner for occasional flavor or plot points.
              Last edited by kalinara; 10-10-2018, 03:54 PM.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by kalinara View Post

                (...)

                I think there'd be similar complications for Orphans trying to join the Akashics or Chakravanti: it'd be very difficult without the right connections or impressing the right person. But I'd imagine it'd be fairly easy to end up joining up with say the Verbena or Sons of Ether, assuming that the Orphans are trained in the correct methodology.

                (...)
                This ( and also other parts of your post ) made me think whether there is some significant set of ( for example ) methods, values, thinking techniques, and rules about Foci that is pretty much standard for all Tradition Mages, having circulated and been developed for centuries. Skills, qualities, and knowledge that makes a young Arete 1-3 Mage clearly a Tradition Mage ; they would be also valued by more experienced, powerful, and capable Mages in the Nine Traditions.

                Assuming this, or a similar characteristic ( or tendencies ) of Mages in the Nine Traditions, it possibly wouldn't be that much easier at all for an independant Mage to join those Traditions who would, to an extent, be more permissive and/or inclusive towards potential recruits.

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