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  • The Serpent Bracelet

    THE SERPENT BRACELET

    "...[W]earing serpents for bracelets, to indicate his transcendence of the world-enveloping serpent whereas others are bounded by it, he wears it simply as an ornament-or casts it off, at will."

    Joseph Campbell The Symbol Without Meaning(1957) Flight of the Wild Gander p143-4.


    The quote is an introduction to my theme and I'll work to explain it as I go along.

    This setting has a theme and a mood. The theme is bounds and limits and how they shape and transform us. It also about losing old boundaries and limits when others don't.

    The mood is unquiet but hopeful. A future built on a frontier.


    One aspect of the theme is conflict between groups of Mages and the breaking and building of alliances.

    The Order of Hermes, the Virtual Adepts, and Sons of Ether, are all called Prometheans by the Celestial Chorus. This is valid. Prometheus was a titan, he belonged to an older order of things before the ordering of the world, the rewriting of the universe into the forms desired by the Bronze Age kings. He's outside of the World-Serpent's bounds and authority, and invites humanity to join him. He doesn't recognize the World-Serpent as a boundary.


    In this sense the Order of Hermes, the Sons of Ether, the Virtual Adepts, and the Cult of Ecstasy (Sahajiya), all of whom break through the limits of the world and seek to bring others with them are Promethean. They all wear the world-serpent as a bracelet, or cast it away.

    The other members of the Counsel are very different. Each of them makes the world-serpent into a central part of their world system. For the Celestial Chorus, the One is the boundary. Fate/destiny and their duty to it is the serpent that binds the Euthanatos (Chakravanti). In much the same way Dharma defines and limits the Akashic Brotherhood (Akashayana). The Dreamspeakers (Kha'vadi) remind you of the character in the Shaw play of whom it was said "He's a barbarian, he thinks the customs of his tribe are the laws of the Universe. For the Verbena, nature red in tooth and claw is the serpent they shackle themselves with.

    Like the Verbena they loath, the Progenitors accept nature and biology as their boundary and limit. For the Syndicate, economics are the world and the serpent. The New World Order makes society, power, and order their serpent and their chain. Iteration X makes the time table, the computer says so, and efficiency, into their serpent chains. But the Void Engineers are different. They seek to go beyond all bounds. Yes they map these and guard the borders, but the goal is always the hill beyond yon hill. They are Prometheans too.

    Maybe that's why the Counsel always thought they might leave the Technocracy and join them.

    The Disparate Alliance, also has it's Prometheans, but few of them. Ahl-i-Batin, the Taftani, Wu Lung, Kopa Loei, Bata'a, Sisters of Hippolyta, Templar Knights, and even the Hollow Ones, make the same basic choice as the Dreamspeakers. They make a culture, whether and ancient culture or pop culture, the limit and boundary. A mistake that neither The Children of Knowledge or the Ngoma make.

    More later.
    Last edited by Astromancer; 02-18-2016, 05:03 PM.

  • #2
    Part of the conflicts going on with be the dissolution of old alliances in a place were they make no sense, and the formations of new ones. A Promethean alliance to free humanity and preserve that freedom.

    The setting of this campaign is a planet several light years away from the Earth. It has an area where discorperation isn't a risk, A place with it's own Gauntlet that shields the population from the Umbra. The planet is called Adocentyn. Adocentyn is a name drawn from the Picatrix for a Hermetic Utopia were all the people had total and perfect access to all information. The Picatrix was the first work in Human history to proclaim that education was a universal right. The planet's nearer moon, which is large like Earth's moon, is called, The Picatrix, although most folks drop the "The." The Further moon, which is a captured asteroid about the size of Ceres, which has been painted green, is called Hermes. The colonists totally rejected the name Tabula Smaragdina even after the moon was painted green. Similarly they rejected calling the city they lived in Pymander! They called it OZ instead. And they have reasons.

    More later.
    Last edited by Astromancer; 03-21-2018, 08:40 AM.

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    • #3
      The City of Oz is a protected space. There is a Gauntlet around the city. This gauntlet is at about seven at it's strongest and covers a radius of twenty-five miles from the center of the city. (Yes the non-Metric Measurements have been challenged, but no one wants a smaller town). Those living under this gauntlet have the same protection from discorperation as those living on the Earth. Further there is a green glittering field effect, sometimes visible sometimes not, which functions as a horizon around the planet Adocentyn. This Horizon is at the top of the Atmosphere.

      The city's buildings and landscaping are largely Art Nouveau with lively Sci Fi influenced touchs and decorations. Though some sections have different styles. The city has an area around three times that of London and tens-of-thousands of buildings more the one hundred stories high. The towers generally look like airy spires. Their are vast underground areas and subways which seem to be much larger and deeper than the upper city. Much of the land area of the city is taken up with parks, many of which are meant to look artfully natural, but formal gardens are common too.

      Much of the city seems empty. This is because the population is only around nine hundred thousand people and the city could easily house upwards of thirty million people in spacious luxury. This emptiness is somewhat creepy because long empty areas tend to weaker Gauntlets and visitors!

      The city is on a peninsula between a bay and the sea, much like San Francisco. But the channel between the bay and the sea is too the Northeast rather than the North of the city. The Bay is called Emerald Bay. Like San Francisco's bay, which is much smaller, rivers empty into the bay. In this case three rivers, the Amethyst, from the North, the Ruby, from the South, and the Sapphire, from the East. These are large navigable rivers like the Hudson or the Rhine.

      The climate of the area around the city of Oz is West Coast Marine much like San Francisco itself. Heavy fog and heavy dews are more common than in San Francisco, rain is much less common, but the heavy dews more than make up the difference in precipitation.
      Last edited by Astromancer; 03-11-2016, 04:52 PM.

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      • #4
        The peninsula the city is located on is a plateau averaging about twenty-five meters above sea level. Several steams and brooks drain the plateau, all of these empty into Emerald Bay. The shore facing the ocean is a cliff about twenty meters in height in the north to 15 meters in height to the south.

        Both within and around the city there are extensive woodlands. Deer and similar fauna live in the area.

        Most of the food, more than 99% of it, is grown indoors both in specialized buildings and large underground chambers. A surplus above population demand is always grown so that there will be food if surprise refugees show up. A real possibility.

        In the center of the city is the Lamphouse. This structure is a talisman connected to both the Archmage who founded the city and a goddess (a form of Cittia, lady of the city, and OZ's City Mother) who aided him. The Lamphouse creates the gauntlet that lets the city survive.
        Last edited by Astromancer; 02-17-2016, 04:17 PM.

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        • #5
          The Lamphouse is a mile and a half high and may be the tallest building ever. The Wizard (the locals call the Archmage who build the lamphouse and caused the city to appear the Wizard, or the Wonderful Wizard, and every now and then Oz, the Wizard's objections to this are waved) lives in the upper reaches of the Lamphouse. The Talisman is powered by gems that contain nodes within them. (that was allowed as a treasure in the 3rd edition). The heart of the Lamphouse is a Mandala made of jewels each and every one of which is a level five or higher node. The Wizard guards this mandala with potent magicks and powerful servitors. Few people ever see this mandala.
          Last edited by Astromancer; 02-11-2018, 06:23 PM.

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          • #6
            I'll describe the wizard now and go back to the city and general setting later. The Wizard is an important background character and the creator of the city of Oz. The Wizard is a Kinain-Archmage. Sidhe blooded with the Seeming's Blessing advantage.

            Born in 1895 and named Brendan Nicolas O'Malley. His father was a first generation immigrant from Ireland and a successful doctor, his mother was of mixed heritage Irish and Native American. Brendan was clever and active, precocious both mentally and physically and very attractive. His only significant flaw was a pronounced limp. It never seemed to slow him down, but it was always noticeable.

            In the year 1900 Brendan's parents gave him the latest hit book for Christmas, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

            Brendan loved the book and read it obsessively. On May 16th 1901, St. Brendan's day, Dorothy stepped out of the book and introduced herself as Brendan's avatar and gave him a secret name. Theodore!

            Over the next few weeks, Brendan's eyes changed from light blue to a weirdly Jewel-like Emerald green. Brendan gains both the Changeling Eyes and Primordial Marks flaws.
            Last edited by Astromancer; 03-21-2018, 08:47 AM.

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            • #7
              Brendan was a mage when he was found by a Hermetic Master of House Luxor (Shamantic Awakening). The House Luxor Hermetics trained Bredan well, he developed both Forces and Spirit as his specialty Spheres. He was a highly versatile Hermetic Adept by the time he graduated High School, two years early, in 1911. Mages from other houses and traditions were often envious of the new talent's skill and good looks. He was often dismissed as "looking like a Kansas Farmer who found a good Barber" or that "Handsome cowboy with some Indian blood in him." The racial politics of the period, and the simple fact that House Luxor, as the first American Hermetic House, and one with a strong interest in science and engineering, was not respected among the traditions, made many people resentful of the young prodigy. Brendan's mixed racial heritage and homosexuality, made his college years hard. However he gained degrees in Classical Studies, Engineering, Mathematics, and Music, and became a Master of both Spirit and Forces by 1919.

              The fact that Brendan was not only Kinain but seemed to have a unique understanding of his Fay heritage got him favorable attention from the remnants of House Merinita, which got the Young Mage an introduction to European Hermetic circles in the 1920's. As an Hermetic of House Luxor he was able to meet with renegade members of the Electrodynne Engineers who would soon become the founders of The Sons of Ether. He was involved in the Sons of E joining the Counsel. In spite of his closeness to the Etherites, he remained an Hermetic when House Luxor left the Order to join the Sons of Ether.

              Some Hermetics disliked his continued use of the title Bani Luxor, but he was the Master of Forces, Spirit, and Mind, and an adept of two other spheres and a disciple of the other four, so they wanted him around.

              Brendan gained a close alliance with the Cult of Ecstasy in the 1920's and worked to show both the Hermetics and the Sahajiya their commonalities. His close ties to the Etherites aided Brendan in forging close ties with the Virtual Adepts in the 1940's and aided their joining the counsel as well. From the 1960's on Brendan seemed to be very focused on Outer Space and travel beyond the Solar system. There were jokes about his wanted to snare the Void Engineers like he did the Sons and the VAs.

              By the 1940's it was noticed that Brendan aged far more slowly than others, it was assumed that his Fay Blood caused this.

              During these years of space exploration Brendan picked up a set of strong Resonances. His Dynamic Resonance is best described as Brilliant Colors. The Entropic Resonance is best described as Comedy. Harmonics and Music are the best way to sum up his Static Resonance.

              In the 2030's decades after being thought lost for good, Brendan returned during an apocalyptic disaster. He announced that he had foreseen this disaster and was able to prepare a safe place for some of humanity and a chance to save the rest of the world's people. A thin chance, but a chance.
              Last edited by Astromancer; 09-04-2016, 03:36 PM.

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              • #8
                Brendan Nicolas O'Malley is a tall well formed man who seems to be in his late 20's. He's lean and muscular. He's six foot four inches tall with oddly Jewel like green eyes, black hair, a dark complexion, and prominent cheekbones.

                Tradition: Order of Hermes
                Nature: Architect/Visionary
                Demeanor: Bon Vivant/Celebrant

                Kinain-Mage: Sidhe kin.

                Between his mastery of the Archspheres and his understanding of his Fay nature, all of the Wizard's Attributes except Manipulation and Appearance, are at six. Manipulation is at five and Appearance is at seven.

                Resonance
                Dynamic 5 : Brilliant Colors
                Entropic 4 : Comedic
                Static 4 : Harmonic/Musical

                Brendan mainly stays in the upper stories of the Lamphouse trying to get work done. He's has several boyfriends (they aren't exclusive either) so he regularly goes out dancing or to shows in the evening. When giving audiences Brendan will wear a Gentleman's Morning suit. When in his laboratory he'll dress in jeans and work shirts. He will dress appropriately for the venue when going out in the evening.

                The Celebrant trait references the Wizard's idealistic commitment to Democracy, especially Social Democratic forms of Democracy.

                Brendan has achieved Archspheres in Spirit, Forces, Mind, and Prime. The other Spheres are at Mastery. If you use Horizon: Stronghold of Hope all Archspheres are at six. If you preper Masters of the Art Spirit and Prime are both at seven, Mind and Forces are at six.

                When meeting the Wizard the first thing people notice is the colors. One woman described it as being like "You'd been colorblind all your life and then saw the true beauty and wonder of the rainbow!" Most people simply say "It's like the scene in that Movie when Dorothy opens the sepia colored door and looks out at technicolored Oz!" Primordial Marks has it's effects. The other resonances create a feeling of joy and delight when meeting the Wizard, especially the first few times. The Wizard is generally conciderate and friendly. If met when he's out for the evening he will try to get away quickly, but he will be reasonable about making appointments.

                I may add more to Bredan, but back to the city and then it's politics.
                Last edited by Astromancer; 03-11-2016, 05:01 PM.

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                • #9
                  The Wizard isn't in the Government of the City. But because he created the city and maintains its Gauntlet, the government is always careful to listen to the Wizard. Further as there are about 1300 mages in the city, mages are important power players. But 90% of the actual elected officials and important bureaucrats are either norms or sorcerers.

                  The City of Oz is a democracy. Anyone who has graduated the city school systems at a vote granting level, or has been certified educated by the ministry of education, can vote. Full citizenship takes somewhat longer unless you were born here. The US Bill of Rights, the UN Charter, and FDR's Second Bill of Rights are recognized in this city.

                  The people elect a counsel of fifty deputies (the election is proportional) and the deputies elect the ministers.

                  The Mages are divided along these lines. Around 600 mages are Council Mages. The Hermetics, the Etherites, the VAs, and the Cultists having about 100 each. The other five Trads split the remaining two hundred roughly evenly.

                  The Technocracy has about three hundred mages. The Void Engineers have about one hundred members. The Progenitors and ItX have about eighty each. The NWO and the Syndicate have about twenty each.

                  The Disparates split less than two hundred fifty mages about their nine groups. The Children of Knowledge and the Ngoma have about fifty mages each, The other groups split the rest.

                  The Final hundred fifty or so mages are divided between other crafts and orphans.
                  Last edited by Astromancer; 02-10-2018, 08:30 PM.

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                  • #10
                    You having fun talking to yourself?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dwight View Post
                      You having fun talking to yourself?
                      Other people clearly look at the posts. If they want to comment they will. Does any of this injure you?

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                      • #12
                        The City of Oz has no walls, unlike the storybook version. Wild animal herds have been known to wander into the outer sections of the city. Herds of plant-eaters bring meat eaters. Lions from the south, Tigers from the north, and Bears from the East. This makes the subway passages and the subway trains even more popular as transport. Some buildings on the outskirts of the city have doors that won't let anyone outside. They'll let you out through the subways, but they don't want Lions to get you. Mind you. if you're caught outside these doors will let you in PDQ.

                        There are fenced and warded areas were people can enjoy the outside air without fear of wild animals. Some buildings on the edge of the city are popular residences simply because you can regularly see large wild animals outside your windows.
                        Last edited by Astromancer; 03-09-2016, 02:32 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Two major features related to the City of OZ which bring in story lines and conflicts, The Dark Kingdom of Flowers and The Yellow brick Road get described next.

                          When the Wizard met the form of Citia (Ozma) that lives in the Lamphouse, he also met an avatar of Fate (the Lady of Fate always takes the form of Pollychrome, the Rainbow's Daughter when communicating to the wizard). The Lady of Fate pointed out that the Dead and the Living would need to be kept somewhat apart for the good of the Living, especially the children. So The Wizard, Ozma, and the Lady of Fate, wove a profound wyrd and created The Dark Kingdom of Flowers for the dead of Oz.

                          As Wraith's can get to the Yellow Brick Road far more easily than humans, The Dark Kingdom of Flowers has a far larger population than the City of Emeralds. As all these Wraiths need Pathos, this creates stresses between the living and the dead.

                          The Yellow Brick Road is a strange realm in and of itself. It's an Umbral Road that leads from places on the Earth to the City of Oz's Eastern gate. As the City lacks walls, this "gate" is more like a Triumphal Arch (the triumph being the lack of wars). At certain times and places, ordinary humans can get on The Yellow Brick Road and walk across the sky to the City of Emeralds in less than a day.

                          The Road has some major problems. First it is limited in where it can manifest on the Earth. At present it can only manifest in either California, the Midwest, New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Zealand. The last seemed really odd, until the wizard realized that an assistant had mixed up which rocks he through into the fire during one of the rites to create the Road. Actions are being taken to find ways to get rocks from others places on the Earth. However these have to be important places.

                          Anyone for stealing stones from Temple Mount, Stonehenge, or some other highly guarded national monument?
                          Last edited by Astromancer; 04-01-2016, 11:57 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Other important areas outside of the city of OZ include Crystal City the big airport/spaceport Southwest of the city on an island that's shield volcano. The Void Engineers use Dimension Science to create safe work areas beyond the main city's influence.

                            OZ has suburbs. At least they're called that. Basically a number of large houses, mainly rather Victorian looking or Victorian/Medieval pastiche always with distinctive Sci Fi touches. Or as one Hollow One put it "The Munsters meet the Jetsons, for an episode of This Old House." Weirdly enough, and predictably too, the subway systems seem to link to the basements of all these houses. The various groups of mages tend to use these places as loges and chantries. Most of these houses are given a gauntlet by the residents.

                            Twenty-three worlds orbiting nearby stars, each is labeled with a letter of the Greek alphabet, have bases on them. Each of these bases is working to terraform the planet the base is on. These bases aren't as pleasant to live at as the city of OZ nor as safe, but these worlds will be needed when they finally can get humanity onto the Yellow brick road. Each of these settlements as basically a spaceport, a township, and some laboratories.
                            Last edited by Astromancer; 04-02-2016, 04:55 PM.

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                            • #15

                              Each of the Mage group has it's own view of the planet Adocentyn and the society that lives there. These views difine much of the politics of the setting.

                              The Council of Nine

                              Order of Hermes At last we're getting to a real expression of Pymanderian Idealism that matters! Soon we'll build our ideal community where everyone has full access to the mysteries and the discipline to take full charge of their own lives. Yes there's a lot of tech around, but machines can do the scut work. People are meant for higher things.

                              Children of Ether Science! shall prevail! At last we don't need to hide in the shadows and the sleepers can follow their dreams too. Justice and equality means everyone has the true freedom. The freedom to follow your own vision.

                              Virtual Adepts/Mercurial Elites This isn't our Reality2.0 but it works...mostly. The freedom and security, especially the freedom and security for the sleepers, make this place the best humanity has achieved..so far. Hopefully we can improve on this. But it's more than just good enough for now.

                              Cult of Ecstasy/ Sahajiya This isn't so bad. All the Sci Fi tech gives the sleepers the time to follow their personal paths. The society has plunked down for a pro-pleasure worldview and has informed the people of the truth. Pleasure is a spiritual path, and the Code of Ananda is the map to that path.

                              Working as a team, we may yet save all the sleepers still on the Earth. That will take profound strength to achieve. We must teach true joy to empower both our allies and the sleepers. We must make them into heroes.

                              Celestial Chorus At least there is a passion for religious freedom here. But I question how spiritual this place is. Still, we must remember the Book of Jonah, both the whale and the vine. Many seek our guidance. We must be generous and respectful.

                              Euthanatos /Chakravanti The Wheel is respected here, but we aren't. Still the Archmage and the Sahajiya both strive to show us they respect us, and they aren't alone in working to get people to see us as a vital part of this society. We've had less cooperation and still served the wheel.

                              This city is well set up to nurture people that can't find their own destinies. We must strive to keep it that way.

                              Verbena My this city is so neat and clean and antiseptic. At least we have basic freedom, safety, and some few grains of respect. We've done much with far less. The sleepers are well cared for and willing to take risks. That is golden all by itself.

                              Dreamspeakers / Kha'vadi This is a place of safety, but not growth for us. Tribal ways have little place in a city. Still, the sleepers are respected and cared for, and better yet, encouraged to make themselves more than they are. We are respected by the sleepers, we can teach them much for now. And when we can leave the city, the seeds we plant can flourish.

                              Akashic Brotherhood/ Akashayana Much about this city is simply a distraction. Still we are invited to teach our ways to the sleeper children. Sure, they think of us as Physical Education Teachers, but it lets us start the children with the Do and meditation, and those are where one starts. The Archmage is generous to let us start the children out well.

                              Next the Technos and the Disperates.
                              Last edited by Astromancer; 04-05-2016, 02:33 PM.

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