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  • Akashics vs Euthanatoi

    Hi. Once again, I turn to you looking for inspiration.

    One of the central themes of my Mage chronicle is the necessity of Traditionalist mages to work together in a city where such unity does not exist.
    I have 2 NPCs whose previous incarnations have been killing each other constantly for thousands of years, over a feud they had in the Akashic Wars (or however that war was called). Clearly, one is an Akashic and the other one an Euthanatos. I feel I need more substance for that particular feud and ideas to resolve it through something different than mutual killings, ideally, with the players help.

    Could you help me with the brainstorming? Any experiences you could share about the use of the aforementioned conflict (or its consequences) in your chronicles would be much appreciated.

    Thanx in advance.

  • #2
    First question, how is this cycle continuing?

    You need a reason why the past somehow dominates their present characters. This could be a matter of them both remembering their previous lives, but it is probably more than that. Those memories would have to be very intense and very dominating to keep a feud going over the generations. Perhaps one of them remembers the other one becoming a Nephandi, though they have no way of proving it.

    Other ways of keeping this antagonism going over the generations is to add a metaphysical aspect to it. Perhaps they are fated to always slay each other, despite what they may want. Perhaps their Avatars are the ones actually feuding. In this case the issue is less that they aren't willing to work together and more that they know it is futile.


    Second question, have all their incarnations joined those two factions, or is that just a convenient coincidence this time around? If so, why?

    There's no problem if they have, but if so there is probably a reason and that reason probably plays into this ongoing feud.



    Third question, are they the only two in this particular dynamic?

    You probably want this to be more complex than a simply A says X and E says Y dilemma, which means sooner or later you'll have to get into what happened in the past. There are plenty of ways of doing that, but adding a third person who is also involved and also has an opinion on events is a good choice. This could even be one of your players.


    Fourth question, in what way are these two good representatives of their Traditions? In what way are they bad representatives?

    Since this whole thing is about the Traditions mages having to work together, this story should tie back into that. For a meaty dilemma these two should represent the Akashics and the Chakravanti at their best and worst.









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

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
      First question, how is this cycle continuing?

      Second question, have all their incarnations joined those two factions, or is that just a convenient coincidence this time around? If so, why?


      Third question, are they the only two in this particular dynamic?


      Fourth question, in what way are these two good representatives of their Traditions? In what way are they bad representatives?

      1. They have killed each other several times over the past millenia. Different ways, different times, different places. But every time Sek Ligh Nah and Snow Tiger meet again, one of them ends up dead. They both believe there's no way out of that, and somehow they have inherited the "hatred" for the other as a supernatural drive. The whole idea is for them to overcome that, but I still dont have a good way to get the players involved in that...specially because half of the group is friends with Snow Tiger and half of the group friends with Sek Ligh Nah.

      2. Yeah, all their incarnations have been Akashics or Euthanatoi. Why? It fits the theme (dont want to overthink that one in particular).

      3. Yes. Sek Ligh Nah is gonna be the only Euthanatoi in my story and Snow Tiger the only Akashic.

      4. I think they represent part of the philosophies and "stereotype" of their Traditions. Snow Tiger (current incarnation) is a japanese gardener and Sek Ligh Nah (current incarnation) is a spiritist medium.

      Comment


      • #4
        There's only so much you can do to get the players involved. They will, ultimately, do what they want. That said, you already have a way of getting the players involved: if the fate/drive is external to the two NPCs it acts as a uniter not a divider (to the players anyway). That's your motivation, all you need is an event to kick things off. Maybe the two are actually planning their duel/encounter, that would put a time limit on things.

        The harder element is that two wheel driven NPCs may not see this fate as a bad thing. These are two characters from two wheel driven philosophies, they may think this fate is a good or necessary thing.


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

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        • #5
          My question is since mages don't exist in a vacuum why haven't their respective traditions stepped in to break the cycle?

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          • #6
            You never get involved in a lover's spat.

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            • #7
              Both of the Traditions involved wouldn't agree with that sentiment.

              Though more importantly, both Traditions spent a considerable amount of time and energy to break the cycle of reincarnated violence born of the Himalayan War precisely to avoid what the OP's characters are going through; there's too much that needs to be done to waste mages in death feuds from a long ended conflict.

              So it is a valid question to consider for this setup. Not that the OP should ditch the concept completely, but how has this feud endured with all the effort spent ending them? Answering that could be a door to a lot of potential story hooks.

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              • #8
                The mages involved in the previoulsy mentioned conflict have met sporadically throughout the past 2 or 3 thousand years. Every time they have met, one has died at the hands of the other, but it's not like they are "fated" to do that (which would explain the intervention of "elders" of both Traditions before)...they just think they are.

                Now they happen to be in a secluded country where the Traditions are all but united. They are the only representatives of the Euthanatoi and the Akashics. Solving their conflict (somehow) with the help of the players would contribute to achieve the much-necessary union they have lacked so far...which is the main topic of this particular chronicle. Btw, the players formed - on their own volition - the first multi-traditional cabal in the city. Thats another reason why it would be meaningful in the solution of this feud. After all, they are a symbol of union.
                Last edited by Argonot; 03-30-2021, 09:42 PM.

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                • #9
                  I think you're painting yourself into a bit of an unnecessary corner with the whole "they do it despite not being truly fated to do so," thing. It begs too many questions on how it keeps happening, and how each incarnation ends up believing it has to happen, if fate isn't involved. It also undermines the Euthanatoi a lot as their group code would not allow them to have a member succumb to that as a belief, and they have a whole specialist group who's job is to track reincarnations over all those lifetimes to look for ones that need adjustment. The Chakramuni are supposed to be on the watch for exactly this sort of thing so it can be put to a stop.

                  Fate is, basically, a better path to take here. If it is clearly fate that they continue their dance through reincarnations until a specific criteria is met that can finally end it, there's far more reason for the two Traditions to let it keep happening while they try to figure out what this destiny is. If they've figured out that the destiny in question will only come about from those external from these two Traditions... what better reason to have manipulated events so the two have ended up in the same place with no other members of their Traditions around.

                  Then the PCs can come in as the triggering event to fulfill this fate once and for all. How can either be something you come up with that they solve, or you can keep it loose and tie it into what the players choose to focus on in the story as your STing style prefers.

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                  • #10
                    I agree with Heavy Arms here. Whatever cause you choose for this recurring conflict, it defines the nature of the problem and the struggle. Right now you are keeping that cause nebulous even from yourself. No surprise then that you feel like there's not enough substance. If it is a personal conflict, make it a personal conflict. If it is fate, make it fate. If you don't want to decide which of the two it is yet, map out both so that you are prepared for either cause.





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

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                      Fate is, basically, a better path to take here. If it is clearly fate that they continue their dance through reincarnations until a specific criteria is met that can finally end it, there's far more reason for the two Traditions to let it keep happening while they try to figure out what this destiny is. If they've figured out that the destiny in question will only come about from those external from these two Traditions... what better reason to have manipulated events so the two have ended up in the same place with no other members of their Traditions around.

                      Then the PCs can come in as the triggering event to fulfill this fate once and for all. How can either be something you come up with that they solve, or you can keep it loose and tie it into what the players choose to focus on in the story as your STing style prefers.
                      This is a wonderful idea that would make much more sense. Thank you very much.

                      Now I have to think about that external "event" which would help them break the cycle.
                      I read that the Himalayan Wars started while the Akashayana and Thanatoic cults were attending a plague in Bhutan. Akashics struck the first blow over disagreements regarding some thanatoic practices. Their collaboration ended because of that...maybe if they see themselves collaborating once more to attend a plague in modern times (to come full circle or something like that), this time without the violence between them?
                      There's actually a spiritual plague happening in the city and, of course, the players are working to stop it...

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                      • #12
                        Don't worry about what any books say about why the Himalayan Wars started (they're kinda contradictory anyway). It sounds like a great reason why the conflict between those two started, which matters far far more. And seems to slot into your game nicely with more than enough references to deep game lore to keep those invested in such things happy.

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                        • #13
                          Well the Akashics are Dharma and the Euthanatoi are Karma, Justice/Propriety verus Fate/Results. So understanding is not automatic.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
                            You need a reason why the past somehow dominates their present characters. This could be a matter of them both remembering their previous lives, but it is probably more than that. Those memories would have to be very intense and very dominating to keep a feud going over the generations. Perhaps one of them remembers the other one becoming a Nephandi, though they have no way of proving it.
                            I disagree with making one of them a Nephandi, for a couple reasons.

                            1) Not everything needs to tie back to the Nephandi, you guys. Seriously.

                            2) It undercuts the theme of a feud across ages when one side is objectively "right" to hate the other. Not in the sense that their feud cannot have legitimate grievances - they've had countless lives to do awful things to each other - but in the sense that one being a Nephandus and the other knowing it makes it not "about" their feud. Not "about" the cycle of revenge that sustains itself over lifetimes, that needs to be broken because it's serving no good purpose anymore. It's a cut and dry fight against an unambiguous evil.

                            3) It derails any other plotline OP might be going for. The Nephandi are a narrative black hole, swallowing all other concerns and making it solely about them. They're too big an antagonist to allow for anything else. It all feels small and petty by comparison.

                            4) The stated goal was to establish that uniting warring Traditionalists is the main theme of the campaign. There is no uniting when one of the parties is a Nephandus. There's uniting against them, but not with them. This is not to say "uniting against a Fallen infiltrator in their midst" is not a valid story. It's just not what the OP was going for, from the sounds of it. This is not that story.


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                            • #15
                              I don't think that's a fair reading. Ramnesis was saying that one of them might think the other is a Nephandus (not an illogical conclusion about a mage that keeps reincarnating just to kill you), not necessarily to actually have it be the case.

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