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[M20] do Archspheres still exist?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Aleph View Post
    Horizon SoF it's the book where Archspheres appear propperly ruled for the first time. Yet the word "Archmage" it's used in a much looser way (and the Archspheres weren't called that either, they were just the "Sphere Level 6").

    Like: all the council members are called archmages once, but later is said only two use the "Archmage" template, the rest use the template for "Master": Hyemyong Sunim and Getulio Vargas Sao Cristavao are the two Archmasters of the Council.

    The Archmaster template has the following Sphere spread: 30 to 45 dots in any combination, at least 5 in four and possibly 6 in one or two (As comparison, the Sphere spread for the template of Master is: "15 to 30 dots in any combination, at least 5 in one")

    Since it's just a posibility, and Getulio seems to be WAY weaker compared with Porthos in the story (everyone seems weaker than Porthos), I'm inclined to belive he's one that hasn't a 6th dot...but he doesn't have a defined charshet, just an indication to the template you should use. So YMMV

    In any case, to be an Archmaster it wasn't necessary to have the lvl 6 back then.



    In MotA, that's the case. However, in play, Archmasters are more like the leaders of the factions. Most known Archmages are among the big honchos of the factions in conflict (Like, say, Porthos), and thus very much part of the war.

    I see Archmages as the luminaria that found movements and undercurrents in the world of mages. The founders and leaders of whole factions. The greatest teachers and mentors.

    This would naturaly come in conflict with Ascencion because they're very much involved in the "world of magick" (and Ascended mages leave the world, while Oracles are mysterious and far removed).

    But I think MotA shouldn't have banned them from Ascencion. In general, the books have always avoided to give rules for Ascencion - and MotA banning it's a rather hard rule. It would have been enough to just say that the path to become an Archmage it's not the path of Ascencion, and leave it more vague if it's possible at all for an Archmaster to ascend.
    Yeah, I was definitely trying to distinguish between Archmasters, who """only""" have Mastery of multiple Spheres, versus Archmages that actually possess 6+ in a Sphere. If 6+ Sphere Archmages aren't a thing anymore, having it become a synonym for Archmaster or something similar is probably the easiest solution.

    I think I would agree that having it be a "hard ban" against Ascension is extreme, but I think something a bit stronger than "Ascension is something else" might be warranted; I kind of liked the implication that Archmages were running the risk of being distracted too much by the pursuit of power rather than enlightenment.

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    • #17
      The bottom line is that Sphere 6+ is only in the setting of you want it to be. That said, it hasn't been officially "banned"; as I said earlier, M20 doesn't do bans. Of anything.

      Which, presumably, means that it has implicitly lifted the aforementioned ban on Ascension, too. For what it's worth, my understanding is that high Arete is necessary for Ascension, or at least helpful; high Spheres are not, and can be a distraction. That much, I'm okay with; but I wouldn't go so far as to say that high Spheres lock you out of Ascension, or that you need to max out your Arete in order to Ascend. At best, these should be seen as tendencies.
      Last edited by Dataweaver; 07-09-2021, 12:35 PM.


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      • #18
        Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
        The bottom line is that Sphere 6+ is only in the setting of you want it to be. That said, it hasn't been officially "banned"; as I said earlier, M20 doesn't do bans. Of anything.

        Which, presumably, means that it has implicitly lifted the aforementioned ban on Ascension, too. For what it's worth, my understanding is that high Arete is necessary for Ascension, or at least helpful; high Spheres are not, and can be a distraction. That much, I'm okay with; but I wouldn't go so far as to say that high Spheres lock you out of Ascension, or that you need to max out your Arete in order to Ascend. At best, these should be seen as tendencies.
        And, since it's Mage, of course high Arete might *help* with Ascension...but in-game as well as out-of-game it is still not *known* what the requirements for Ascension are - or even what the process of Ascension looks like or ends with, aside of some vague 'something something other plane of existance maybe?'.

        I remember a short-story in one of the books or novels, where a relatively young and rather...normal everyday Mage character has simply vanished, and there is an underlying feeling from the narrator and others involved that she Ascended and is..gone. She wasn't an Archmage or, really, anybody that would stand out if you lined them up in the vast array of Mages that got described in the books. But they just knew she had reached it. Somehow.

        But it was a little intriguing example of how absolutely unpredictable Ascension is, and how all the Mages involved in the Ascension War don't *know*. They just believe - much like us players - in different reasons or requirements, how it must be X or Y, or helped by Z.

        It gives quite a huge chunk of ST freedom to define the exact nature of Ascension differently in each game - or just leave it vague.
        Last edited by Ambrosia; 07-14-2021, 03:53 AM.


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        • #19
          I always see it as a 'different path' sort of thing. That is Horizon and Masters of the Art could reflect different ways to the same goal, with different tradeoffs (if anything what bugged me more about Masters of the Art was how... inhuman or 'other' the archmages there sounded. Something approaching an Oracle mayhap, or a Pure One. Never quite got that vibe from Horizon, but then again narratively the risk of losing humanity on that path to Ascension might be an interesting bit of role playing in and of itself..) I always remember the Masters of the Art take on so called 'hedge' magic (at least from an archmage's POV I believe) and how it can sometimes match or exceed sphere magic even if it is a 'lesser' art - like the hint of extended lifespans/immortality without paradox.) Archspheres represent a different approach but not necessarily a *better* one compared to alternatives. Also, like Dataweaver I feel Awakening's approach to archmages was also really good as well (its more narrative and less game mechanics I feel but that's part of its charm and its strength. Archamges in Awakening didn't feel quite so otherworldly either, at least not to me.)

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Mister_Dunpeal View Post
            if anything what bugged me more about Masters of the Art was how... inhuman or 'other' the archmages there sounded.
            Mh, I have to say, that *is* something that I personally lean towards;
            With changed perceptions and a whole different understanding of the world and reality comes a different mindset and set of behaviors. We don't even need to go as far as Mages - in our very RL, humans that have grown up in vasty different or niece cultures (especially the extremes of *still existing* hunter-gatherer tribal vs. industrialized) can already be utterly baffled at each other's behaviors and mindsets and needs and conceptual differences and cultural quirks. And that's just due to different, mundane RL circumstance and upbringing.

            And then we add something as abstract and otherworldly as a magickal understanding of very reality on top of that.
            Young Mages already do 'crazy' things or think in 'weird' ways that normal folk at times wouldn't understand. Simply from enhanced perceptions and growing from there. I can only imagine that behavior getting stronger and stronger the more the Mage's perceptions and understandings differ from a normal person's. Archmages are far out there when it comes to their thought processes.

            I am not sure 'inhuman' is quite the right term, as if you think about it, those Mages *are* humans that are...simply faced with a whole new understanding of things - but I think a growing sense of 'alien' (as in, different and non-understandable by the norm) is quite accurate.

            As a sidenote, that's why I love the cover of HDYDT so very much: Without any textual storytelling it gives off the vibe of the Mage depicted there being one of those. Old, and very alien.

            EDIT:
            And maybe, just maybe that is the hard trick to actually ascending: Spanning the bridge and doing the balancing act between remaining 'you' and achieving high enlightenment, without becoming too weird and abstract and alien.
            Last edited by Ambrosia; 09-06-2021, 11:24 AM.


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