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How the Concept of "Logic" contradicts "Consensual Reality"

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
    Only because you're assuming that everything that works must have a majority of the Consensus supporting it in order to work.

    With all due respect, I don't ignore it; I simply don't treat it as all-important. Consensus exists; is just not the only thing that exists.
    Thats all I wanted to know thanks.

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    • #32
      Also thanks Kharnov

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      • #33
        Originally posted by ryu238 View Post

        Thats all I wanted to know thanks.
        There is a false dichotomy people often fall into with Mage where they think compare a simplistic and all powerful consensus to a mostly meaningless one. This is usually followed by attempts to disprove one and hold the other one up as fact. Actually the Consensus appears to be extremely powerful, but also complex and non-intuitive, and one of the very important parts of determining its nature is the needs of the setting and the table.

        Take your breathing example. In universe, determining when and how the Consensus 'decided' everything needed to breathe might be an important study for some Mages. It's not all that important for us. We can just assume that it was true by some point X and that as a fact of life learned from birth it is very hard to change. Or we can assume it's been that way since the beginning. Or we can assume breathing is an Earthly Foundation. It's not important for us to have an answer for how it happened unless that is somehow going to be important to the story.


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

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Kharnov View Post
          Penelope No worries! I was mostly just teasing, which is why I didn't @ you; seemed excessive over a tongue-in-cheek comment
          Consensual Reality is an out-of-game justification for how Bible-thumping exorcists, shamans, super-hackers, and mad scientists can all be lumped into one in-game category, "Mage," that can all work with a mostly-cohesive set of game mechanics. That's not ALL it is, but there is probably some of that going on.
          One point on this topic, especially the mechanical commonality between mages. This is part of the ingame lore developed by the Order of Hermes when the Council was formed, while having the different foci and ways of working, with the acknowledgment that things where lost in adopting this method.

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          • #35
            I want to note here that the current Consensus it's SO not *the only thing that defines everything* in today's Mage, that mages that believe 100% in what the Consensus says, are also Marauders

            Negation Men that believe in "reality as understood by the common man" so hard that they make magick harder or impossible in their pressence. But their reality, as reasonable as it may seem since it's our own, it's actually a reality bubble. One that coincides with what we would believe is normal, but still warping reality in ways that defy what the setting presents as Real (with capital R)

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            • #36
              Originally posted by babi_gog View Post

              One point on this topic, especially the mechanical commonality between mages. This is part of the ingame lore developed by the Order of Hermes when the Council was formed, while having the different foci and ways of working, with the acknowledgment that things where lost in adopting this method.
              Agreed! One can imagine that even before Pillars were a thing, different forms of will-working might have been even more distinct in the past, but the exchange of ideas over time led the "rules of magic" to take on more structure over time.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Kharnov View Post

                Agreed! One can imagine that even before Pillars were a thing, different forms of will-working might have been even more distinct in the past, but the exchange of ideas over time led the "rules of magic" to take on more structure over time.

                It could be that, but I generally avoid the idea that the system mechanics bear more than a passing resemblance to the actual way magic works in setting. That the two use the same terms is mostly for our convenience. Instead I tend to think of the in setting spheres as a common language that were invented for communication rather than a comprehensive description. Certainly that common communication pushed the Traditions (especially the non OoH ones) to try new things but it didn't change the way magic itself works.


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

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                • #38
                  Me too.

                  Incdentally, some Disparate like the Systers of Hippolyta, don't use the Spheres in the modern era - or, rather, they don't use them as part of their Lore (was among the reasons they didn't join the Trads), but they still use them as a game mechanic. This is much easier to explain if you don't conflate the game systems with the Lore.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
                    Instead I tend to think of the in setting spheres as a common language that were invented for communication rather than a comprehensive description. Certainly that common communication pushed the Traditions (especially the non OoH ones) to try new things but it didn't change the way magic itself works.
                    Very much that. The 'spheres' were codified as the Nine Cornerstones back in egypt (By individuals that the Order Of Reason/Union actually claims to be on their ancestrial chalkboard of common thought), and the Hermetics pretty much turned those into their Ars XYZ, which they then turned into the 'Spheres' for the Tradition inter-lingo.

                    Granted, *modern* Mages with rather new paradigms and teachings might default a bit more to that train of thought. Such things just have a way of seeping into newer constructs of belief if they happen to work.
                    But any Tradition subgroup that puts big value on old teachings and passed-down rituals very much scoffs at it internally - you don't replace the very things they hold dear and true and shaped their cultures from with some weird hermetic-sponsored 'spheres' in their hearts and minds.


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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                      While it's big, I'd suggest starting with the 20th Anniversary edition of the core book. It includes most of the relevant concepts in their most defined form to date.

                      And again, Mage is not a purely consensual reality as written; so arguments based on that premise are flawed.
                      Depends on the edition. Frankly Earthly constants have always seemed more of a handwave to me.

                      Originally posted by Kharnov View Post

                      There are some Paradigms/Foci/Practices which do not rely on, or explicitly reject, logic and rationality. One of my personal favourite Paradigms in M20 is "Everything is Chaos, You Only Think It Makes Sense." There is a Practice called "Crazy Wisdom" that is all about trying to find truth or understanding through madness.

                      But see, this is why people are picking up on the fact that, as you've admitted, you have not read the actual texts. I sympathize, I have largely only read M20 material because there is so much out there. But not having any basis in solid content is leading you to make a serious oversight, which is you are conflating the meta-OOC/ecumenical-IC concept of Consensual Reality with the particular Beliefs and Paradigms of individual Traditions. There is no Tradition, Craft, or Convention that accepts the notion that Reality is Entirely and Arbitrarily Consensual. That notion is much more prominent in Out of Character discussions of Mage, but In Character Mages don't buy into a vague idea of Consensual Reality, with each Paradigm being an arbitrary construct. Most Mages are intensely committed in their Belief in their Paradigm, and even if they can accept that there is some validity or truth to the way other Mages do things, they almost always think their way is better deep down. At most, In Character Mages talking about Consensual Reality or Spheres are mostly just using common terminology for the places their different theories actually manage to overlap.

                      In Character, Mages DON'T "set up a Paradigm"; they are educated/indoctrinated into it, or discover it, much like real-world beliefs. If Mages eventually come to believe in a wider "Consensual Reality" rather than the metaphysics and cosmology of their Paradigm, it is largely an individual thing.

                      P.S. To address the part about "moving the goalposts," that's a misinterpretation on your part. It's that every group has a different set of goalposts. "Consensual Reality" is just the vague thing that a bunch of blind people can agree "is there" while they grope an elephant, but each has different beliefs about the actual truth of the matter, based on what part of the elephant they are feeling.

                      Consensual Reality is not meant to be a cohesive Theory of Everything because Mage has no cohesive Theory of Everything beyond what an individual Storyteller decides for their Mage game. Whether or not Everything is Chaos or the Choristers are right depends on the Storyteller ultimately, the game will never give you a solid answer.

                      P.P.S. Penelope, you make me sad D,= Wonky esoteric concepts are what makes Mage one of my all-time favourite games! Hearing about someone boiling it down to D&D-style spell-slinging almost makes me cry lol
                      Eh, the Technocracy are ironically the foremost proponents of the 'Reality is an Arbitrary Consensus' in setting. They just don't like that and want to eliminate it.
                      Last edited by Enginseer-42; 01-26-2021, 03:03 PM.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Enginseer-42 View Post
                        Depends on the edition. Frankly Earthly constants have always seemed more of a handwave to me.
                        Well, the difference between "reality" and "Reality" it's a staple of Mage since forever. Isn't it?

                        While reality it's what the Consensus deems real, Reality with capital R it's the reality that Awakening shows to the mages - that the world it's not limited by what the Consensus says.

                        I think people thinks that the Consensus it's the omnipotent definer of everything because what "reality" encompasses can be A LOT. Stuff like saying that earth was flat until the Technocracy decided to make it round, or vampires only existing because old legends and subconscious beliefs, were all valid interpretations of what constitutes reality at some point - as in, the Consensus decides over that.

                        The Consensus can be interpreted as being the defining force over almost everything, but yet the game makes the distinction between reality and Reality. That distinction it's very important. Note that if the Consensus was trully omnipotent, mages would be unable to do Vulgar magick at all. From day 1 it was necessary to establish that the Consensus doesn't get to define everything in order to have a supernatural world.

                        But how much does it define? Objects of this Reality always included stuff like the Avatars, for instance - at the very least magick needs to have some leeway, a game where magic fails to *exist* can't be called Mage - but ultimately the ST has a lot of gray space to define where reality ends and Reality begins. The Consmological Constants of Revised were just an extension of this. Ultimately the ST it's supposed to choose what makes most sense.

                        I like Revised's version of Cosmological Constants. Because of the name (as it implies it could go beyond the Earth), also because they suggested/implied crossovered things like the Curse of Caine and the Triad could be part of that. Historical Inertia gets mentioned there, too. Lot's of good stuff packed in a small square.
                        Last edited by Aleph; 01-26-2021, 05:53 PM.

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                        • #42
                          M20 gives some very specific examples of Earthly Foundations (pp.612–613): sudden large alterations of physical and metaphysical mass or space, obvious violations of normal physical laws, cross-dimensional rifts, and messing with the time stream are all things which nearly always count as Vulgar Magick no matter who's doing them, or where or how. That's not particularly handwavey, as far as it goes. I tend to go a bit further, myself; and that potentially gets into handwavey territory.

                          MRev's Cosmological Constants are a related, but distinct, concept: basically, they're an in-game expression of the fact that the game has rules that you can't just Magick away (e.g., Quintessence is a thing, and no amount of Willworking is going to change that) and that Mage doesn't trump other gamelines (no need to come up with Consensus-based rationales why vampires and werewolves aren't Bygones: the Curse of Caine and the Metaphysical Trinity exist independent of Mage's metaphysics and count as Cosmological Constants; so the existence of vampires and werewolves doesn't need to make sense within the context of Mage). That said, they're more handwavey than Earthly Foundations are, in that it's explicitly left up to the Storyteller to decide what is and isn't a Cosmological Constant. Still, they establish some basic principles about what Cosmological Constants are there for.

                          That said, another premise of M20 is that it's your game to do with as you see fit. If you don't like Earthly Foundations, throw them out. If you want the game to be fundamentally Consensus-based, go for it! If you don't want to bother with the implications of doing so, then don't bother with them.


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                          • #43
                            BTW, Aleph: I personally phrase your “reality vs. Reality” point as “Tapestry vs. Consensus”.


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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post


                              It could be that, but I generally avoid the idea that the system mechanics bear more than a passing resemblance to the actual way magic works in setting. That the two use the same terms is mostly for our convenience. Instead I tend to think of the in setting spheres as a common language that were invented for communication rather than a comprehensive description. Certainly that common communication pushed the Traditions (especially the non OoH ones) to try new things but it didn't change the way magic itself works.
                              I'm of two minds on this. On the one hand, there's a certain simplicity to having a single, consistent set of rules. On the other hand, there are times when it's handy to bend those rules; and both the Pillars and the Technocratic Spheres variants demonstrate ways that having different rules for things that are different can be beneficial. I'm a fan, for example, of the idea that the Sisters of Hypollyta don't just say that they don't use Spheres, but actually don't use Spheres: I like presenting them as the modern-day counterpart to the Old Faith, with Seasonal Pillars instead of Spheres. And I also like the idea that the Technocracy doesn't use precisely the same set of divisions that the Traditions use; ancient Egypt was a long, long time ago, and some drift can be expected over millennia.

                              But I'm under no illusion that that's in any way the “official line” where Mage is concerned; and as I said at the start of this past, I do see the benefit of a single, unified set of rules for everything (even with the irony that comes with insisting on One True Way for a game that tends to say otherwise within the setting).


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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                                M20 gives some very specific examples of Earthly Foundations (pp.612–613): sudden large alterations of physical and metaphysical mass or space, obvious violations of normal physical laws, cross-dimensional rifts, and messing with the time stream are all things which nearly always count as Vulgar Magick no matter who's doing them, or where or how. That's not particularly handwavey, as far as it goes. I tend to go a bit further, myself; and that potentially gets into handwavey territory.
                                How handwavey they are depends on what and why we want something to be an EF. Certainly putting something 'out of bounds' solely because we don't want to deal with it is a handwave. However, the things you mention tend to be things we learn about the world before anything else. Children start learning about gravity from day one, for instance. They get years of experience with it before they can even speak. The entire world is united in a shared belief that gravity is real and consistent. It makes sense that it would be so deeply ingrained in the Consensus that it is functionally impossible to remove.

                                Unsurprisingly, the same things that would be that deeply held by the consensus are deeply held by us, for much the same reasons. The losses of these elements are literally the stuff of nightmares and no world that doesn't have them could look like our world*. They are so important to making a world look like our world (as Mage is supposed to) that if they were not already made ironclad rules by the Consensus, we would be forced to invent them.

                                So while I do think it is a handwave to declare something absolutely beyond the Consensus, the reason for wanting that handwave is often an indication that something is functionally beyond the consensus. Outside of very specific kinds of games, the distinction largely doesn't matter. At least for Earthly Foundations. Cosmological constants are another matter.

                                *Time travel and parallel dimensions are a bit outside of normal experience but the consequences- everyone and everything changing instantly and without warning- are very much the stuff of nightmares.


                                Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                                I'm of two minds on this. On the one hand, there's a certain simplicity to having a single, consistent set of rules. On the other hand, there are times when it's handy to bend those rules; and both the Pillars and the Technocratic Spheres variants demonstrate ways that having different rules for things that are different can be beneficial. I'm a fan, for example, of the idea that the Sisters of Hypollyta don't just say that they don't use Spheres, but actually don't use Spheres: I like presenting them as the modern-day counterpart to the Old Faith, with Seasonal Pillars instead of Spheres. And I also like the idea that the Technocracy doesn't use precisely the same set of divisions that the Traditions use; ancient Egypt was a long, long time ago, and some drift can be expected over millennia.

                                But I'm under no illusion that that's in any way the “official line” where Mage is concerned; and as I said at the start of this past, I do see the benefit of a single, unified set of rules for everything (even with the irony that comes with insisting on One True Way for a game that tends to say otherwise within the setting).
                                The problem I have is that a large continent of Traditionalists would really only use the Spheres for communication with others and wouldn't even think about them To use an analogy, it would be like the Traditions using Esperanto as a common language. It might be used to talk to each other, but most mages would still think and learn in their own language. It doesn't make a lot of sense that the Sisters overtly refusing to even speak Esperanto would have a metaphysical effect when the lack of training in Orphans doesn't.

                                I agree that sometimes using different systems is a good way of showing that magic is esoteric and hard to quantify (although I think the variant spheres are a better example than mixing pillars and spheres), but that is a table goal; it is using mechanics to evoke a feeling or understanding in the players. Variant rules should arise from that purpose and not in universe thoughts about the Sphere system.


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

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