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An AU-Mono Paradigm Mage oWoD

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  • An AU-Mono Paradigm Mage oWoD

    Ok. So based on my prior two threads I've been doing some deep thinking on a Harry Potter-ish style AU WoD for mage. This is for a solo game with my wife, who really just wants a decent story and doesn't care a whole lot about the background history. So, no war for reality, or focus on end of days, she had requirements of things like:

    1.) No interest in M:tA's focus on paradigm - Magic just is and there is at least a somewhat consistent approach to magic with some cultural and linguistic differences. Each sphere uses pretty much the same foci with roughly comparable beliefs across all differing magic groups.

    2.) No interest in cross paradigm TU vs Traditions or even something like OoH vs CC vs CoE vs AB etc.

    3.) So from 1&2, it will be an OoH style paradigm world wide, but that does not necessarily mean that there is such a thing as the Order of Hermes.

    4.) No techno magical shenanigans. Magic and Technology interact poorly, similar to the Dresden Files.

    5.) Magic mostly inherited, and not an "awakening". She liked the uncontrolled nature of a child's magic in Harry Potter.

    6.) The game will start in the early 1900s set in Prince Edward Island, Canada, in a Magical Academy.

    7.) Since I'm running the game, no Entropy and the few unique bits are rolled into Time and other spheres.

    That got me thinking. A rough mono culture is the Ars Magica envisioning of Mythic Europe. So a long time ago I had re-imagined the history of the Order of Hermes for my last ars magica game.

    There was a Cult of Mercury in the Roman Empire with Greek and Egyptian roots, but also Cults of Jupiter, Mars, Venus, etc each with their own specialized area of magic. Perhaps the Cult of Mercury was the largest. We can go with the roman equivalent of the 12 Olympian gods, maybe with a couple other major Roman gods included. All with some level of feuding with each other over various types of resources, but cohesive, perhaps exclusive to certain regions and existed with state support directly by the Emperor.

    But the Romans weren't the only ones to have state magi. The Parthians (247 BC–224 AD) and their successor empire Sasanians ( 224 - 651 AD) had their own magi too.

    The Christianizing of the roman world in the 300s and 400s combined with the fall of the Western Empire in the 400s did cause problems for the Cults - in the Western Empire. (Personally, I think the original writers of Ars Magica, ReinHagen and Tweet, had a poor understanding of Roman history and thought that the entire empire "fell" when in fact the better populated Eastern Empire endured for another 1000 years.) The eastern emperors realized how useful the Cults were, and to avoid theological problems, had the cults go underground as reclusive "monasteries" and allowed for a slow conversion to Christianity as paganism died out.

    Then there were the apocalyptic wars with the Sasanians. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzant...3Sasanian_wars culminating in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzant...02%E2%80%93628

    In the final war, Emperor Heraclius didn't just melt all the church silver and gold plate for mundane armies, he made as many wild and outlandish, but believable promises as possible to the existing cults within the Empire, and in the former Empire. The final war in 602-628 saw the near annihilation of every single surviving in Cult in Europe and any other "Order" of magi. As well, The Sasanian wizard population was near annihilated as well. Knowledge was sundered, all that were left were some half trained apprentices with barely more than a single sphere with two dots.

    This is where I want to diverge history some more.

    In Western Europe, the Order of Mercury (OoM) was formed and followed where the Catholic Church and Latin were widespread. Much of the OoM is canon OoH - Bonisagus, Trianoma, Flambeau, Guernicus, Mercere, Tremere, Tytalus & Verdituis.

    In Eastern Europe and Byzantine lands, where the Orthodox Church spread, so did the rival Order of Hermes. (Note: I always thought it was stupid that a group of latin wizards used a greek name). Arabic wizards dominated the Caliphate and any from surviving Eastern Roman traditions converted or left. Bjornear, Criamon, Jerbiton and Merineta among other mystics helped found the OoH about the same time in the mid 700s.

    Both groups were built on the very few survivors and scattered remnants of other traditions of the final war. It also explains the reticence of the magi at the time of the founding to get involved in the affairs of state and spent centuries withdrawn from society. The OoM was very militaristic and and wiped out any competing organization or magical traditions in western Europe. The OoH was much more accepting and worked as an umbrella for different traditions to organize and resolve difficulties peacefully. They accepted the Diedne refugees in the early 800s.

    The two Orders dueled a bit and fought over turf in the Balkans & Eastern Europe. Then the crusades happened, which caused a lot of mixing between the OoM, OoH and the Arabics, whom by the late 1000's were no longer united either, and split into rival Shia and Sunni camps & empires. The resulting mixture in the Holy Land were members of respective Orders who were no longer "pure" in method and a lot of dissemination of knowledge happened.

    The OoM was the dominant winner of this exchange. Empowered with new knowledge and rising power, many began to work with the Catholic Church and other European Monarchs again. This went very well, until it went very, very bad. House Tremere of the OoM turned into vampires in the 1200s. The OoM kept as much as they could quiet about it while waging a war against them, until the Catholic Church discovered the corruption in the 1300s. Horrified about what might happen, the Church declared a quiet war on the OoM, forcing the OoM into deep hiding after grievous losses. The church ended the "war", but kept a policy of persecution on the books.

    Meanwhile, the OoH had been slowly losing ground to Muslim invasion and Arabic sorcerers. When Constantinople fell in 1453, it was open season on the OoH, frequent raids deep into Christendom before Ottoman armies followed.

    Then in 1492, Columbus discovered the Americas. Many of the OoM and a few of the OoH fled in the early waves of colonists to flee persecution. They found massive land more awash with magic than they could have possibly imagined. They eagerly went hand in hand with mundane conquerors in the South America to claim new nodes for their quintessence and tass. The OoM quickly establish colonies within the colonies to harvest magical goodies. Many left Europe very early on to flee catholic persecution.

    The protestant reformation caused some problems for the OoM, but nothing like on the scale of the American revolution. There were disputes over access to resources between American and British OoM members, who wanted regularly harvested magical resources brought back to Britain for them. The revolution caused a massive split within the OoM. American members declared themselves separate*.

    *Note: Need a name. "Order of the Americas" is what comes to mind.

    As many countries in south America had their own revolutions against Spain, so did their membership renounce the OoM and join the OoA.

    America in particular has a mix of the different political factions where they have to get along. Western Europe, and their non American colonies are OoM, Eastern Europe is OoH. The exception of course is Canada, which is OoM.

    The Middle eastern, African, and Asian groups/traditions orders I'm not detailing that much at this point because I don't actually expect to use them. I'm figuring some kind of Sunni vs Shia split between the two main umbrella organizations. If someone knows more about the history of those groups and the time period and wants to help fill in some blanks that would be cool. Because there was never any TU - many regions never unified or tried to until they were colonized.

    Other thoughts?

    Some themes that come to my mind are:

    1.) Legacy of Colonialism: The early OoM wiped many native magical practitioners out to take control of magical resources. However, they did not account for curses, long standing deals with powerful spirits, and other supernatural critters native to the Americas that only the natives knew how to fight.

    2.) While not a "war for reality" the OoM is fragmented by national and cultural lines, and swings between really wanting to meddle in mortal affairs vs being burnt at the stake by their meddling and then have to withdraw. With WWI in the dawning, I think the rise of Nationalism will be a big deal.

    3.) North America is not united. There is still the OoM in the US, (somewhat) some of the OoA is in Canada, the OoH has come in with greek immigrants, and now on the pacific Chinese, Indian and Japanese wizards have been arriving. (not a major point, but something to think about).

    4.) Caribbean islands a melting pot.

    5.) What the hell are those Tremere up to?


    Prior threads:

    http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...a-harry-potter

    http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...estions-wanted
    Last edited by Tytalus; 11-26-2015, 11:04 PM.

  • #2
    If you're wanting to keep to the “Order of [something Latin or Greek sounding]”, you might consider the Order of Columbia. Columbia is the female counterpart to Uncle Sam (or was, until the French gave us the Statue of Liberty) and is generally portrayed as an Athena-like figure who embodies classic American ideals. Her name actually derives from Christopher Columbus, so it's neither Greek nor Latin; but it arguably sounds right, and is the sort of name that a Revolutionary War splinter group of the Order of Hermes might adopt.

    Also, you might want to look into American Freemasonry.


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    • #3
      American Freemasonry eh? I'll have to take a gander in wikipedia. And yes, I do like the "Order of Columbia" - that has a distinctly American sound to it.

      I like the idea that the various orders have spread around in places they've colonized. The OoM in isolated chantries in Africa, the Middle East, South and East Asia, Australia, NZ and other South Pacific Islands.

      The OoH in Greece, Balkans, Eastern Europe, Russia, and central Asia.

      The OoC in the Americas, with Embassies in Europe, China, Japan and Canada.

      I have to do a bit more on what defines these organizations. Loosely:

      The OoM is the most militarized. They expect to fight.
      Bonisagus - Theoreticians (Prime)
      Flambeau - War Wizards (Forces)
      Guernicus - Police and Judges (Mind)
      Mercere - Travelers, Traders & Bankers (Correspondence)
      Trianoma - Politicians and Peacemakers in the OoM (Any)
      Tytalus- Schemers, with a hankering for spirit magic on the side. (Spirit)
      Verdituis - Builders & Crafters (Matter)

      The OoH
      Bjornear - Shape-shifters (Life)
      Criamon - Religious Mystics who use their magic to understand reality at a higher level. Focus on Sensory and Investigative magic. (Any)
      Diedne - in the early days of Iorder, Druidic refugees from Spain, France, England, Scotland and Ireland. Their flight made them paranoid, and now are the defenders of the OoH and excellent ward makers. (Correspondence, Forces)
      Jerbiton - Leaders of the OoH, with an intense interest in "making the world beautiful". Find artistic applications for magic for both mortals and mages to appreciate. (Matter or Forces)
      Merineta - Nature mages (Life)
      House of Many - an umbrella for the minor factions that the OoH has absorbed from Greece, Anatolia and Slavic lands.

      The OoC: I have no idea yet, but either the same as the OoM, or dramatically different.

      Last edited by Tytalus; 11-27-2015, 12:31 PM.

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      • #4
        I'd just like to point out that the "Rough monoculture" of Ars Magica is a direct consequence of OoH pursuing the JOIN US OR DIE methodology. There are quite a few different and strange groups that have little to do with the OoH style of magic.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Cogliostro View Post
          I'd just like to point out that the "Rough monoculture" of Ars Magica is a direct consequence of OoH pursuing the JOIN US OR DIE methodology. There are quite a few different and strange groups that have little to do with the OoH style of magic.
          I'm assuming a very effective "Join or Die" policy. And even then, other traditions just use a different language than Latin, maybe they use a spear instead of a Staff... The foci across the world even in very different traditions are roughly similar.
          Last edited by Tytalus; 11-27-2015, 12:31 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Tytalus View Post

            I'm assuming a very effective "Join or Die" policy. And even then, other traditions just use a different language than Latin, maybe they use a spear instead of a Staff... The foci across the world even in very different traditions are roughly similar.
            Yeah. Go to the Middle East, south of the Sahara and into Scandinavia and claim that. There are nasty practitioners there with very different methodologies to the Order. Ars Magica never really dealt with Asia, but there is probably something nasty there as well.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Cogliostro View Post

              Yeah. Go to the Middle East, south of the Sahara and into Scandinavia and claim that. There are nasty practitioners there with very different methodologies to the Order. Ars Magica never really dealt with Asia, but there is probably something nasty there as well.

              As stated in the first post - the wish is for a roughly mono magical world.

              Any suggestions on how an American "Order of Columbia" might reorganize themselves, or would they be the same as the OoM? Should I add any other Houses to the OoM or OoH?

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