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  • Astromancer
    started a topic The Serpent Bracelet

    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.

  • Astromancer
    replied
    The division that most Mages make between Mages and Sorcerers or Mages and Shapeshifters or Mages and whatever just isn't as important for us. Cultural differences matter far more.

    Vampires

    The blood drinking dead don't belong here. In most ways they brought more corruption than either the Technocracy or the Fallen. Just kill them if you can. Fire or sunlight work best, but get help if you need it.

    Those nightwalkers must never come here.

    Shapechangers

    We have friends among the Uktena and the Shark changers. Keep these ties strong and let's build new ones. I hear the Children of Gaia are worth knowing.

    Wraiths

    We must see if we can help comfort the dead.

    Changelings

    Only a few of our local changelings got here, but they've introduced us to the Kithian Changelings. I think we can become good friends.


    Mummies

    They are very few and of different kinds. My grandmother knew one who vacationed in Hawaii in the 1920s and 30s. He later wrote her after WWII and explained why he didn't return. Grandma never gave me the details.

    Hunters

    Strange folk, but they sincerely try to be useful.

    Demons

    Angels that picked fights with God. I'm glad they aren't here.

    Leave a comment:


  • Astromancer
    replied
    The Technocratic Union

    These Mages have befouled the world in a quest to build a Utopia. Didn't they know the name "utopia" is a pun for nowhere, which is where they left us all. Still we might get some use out of them.


    Iteration X

    Clockworks and cyborgs, they didn't come around our islands much. They help maintain the infrastructure and the robots. So let others deal with them.


    The N. W. O.

    Although Captain Cook was a Void Engineer and the Celestial Chorus violated our holy places these earn my special spite. Sure their banker allies kept us poor but these bullies ground up our time. They promoted the view of our people as simple and primitive and taught our children to be ashamed of themselves.

    I'm glad they are brought low. I don't think we have to bother punishing them, they seem to make themselves more miserable than they ever made us

    The Progenitors

    They are skilled doctors. Selfish and cruel, but supremely skilled at their trade. Plus they can create new and wonderful crops. They earned our hate, but let us be friendly ( but never friends) and benefit from their skills.

    Given that their medicines free all the peoples from the plague of obesity, which has been especially cruel to our people, they are to be praised. But as they worked to cause both the plague and body images problems, let the praise be moderate.

    The Syndicate

    Their arts are useless here. The frustration this causes them beats any torture we could devise.

    Void Engineers

    Captain Cook was one of these. He destroyed our world. Still, like our ancestors, Captain Cook was an explorer and a navigator. Like our ancestors he sailed into the unknown. He was a better man by far than most of his contemporaries. And, although he destroyed us, he meant us no harm.

    These would be Captain Cooks and Kirks could do us much good. They really aren't in a position to harm us. And we do have some values in common. Let's see if we can build something from that.
    Last edited by Astromancer; 07-18-2022, 05:54 PM.

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  • Astromancer
    replied
    The Council of Traditions

    ​We were once part of the Kra'vadi, so we know something about these Mages. We left them because they seemed to offer no help and much talk. It seems they can be useful, if things are bad enough.

    Order of Hermes

    Academic Mages, now their heads are out of the clouds. They've offered us a world called Iota. It's mainly islands many like the islands of Polynesia. We'll give Iota a better name later, when we've made it our own.

    The Hermetics are still stiff and strange, but they have proven they have virtue.

    Mercurial Elites

    They do magic with computers and say I'm odd. Oh well. Still they do useful work and leave others free for high purposes. That I praise.

    Children of Ether

    ​Mad Scientists. Still they build useful things and help us all. Praise them.

    Sahajiya

    ​Some kahunas are like these. Passionate tricksters lost in ecstasy. They can be scary. However they keep the spirits of the dead content. This is vital.

    Chakravanti

    ​They serve dark spirits but not evil ones. They have often had to perform vile deeds for the spirits. I'm glad they don't do so here.

    The Akashayana

    They teach useful skills. I think we will benefit from what they taught.

    Celestial Chorus

    ​They violated sacred sites and broke tabus without number. They fail to respect other faiths. Still, they leave us be and offer healing and counsel to those that need it.

    There can be no friendship between us, but we need no strife either.

    Kra'vadi

    They are many, not one. Like us they will leave here and make far worlds into homes. For both their people and the spirits.

    Verbena

    We have much in common. These mages may be fierce but we can talk.
    Last edited by Astromancer; 07-13-2022, 07:19 PM.

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  • Astromancer
    replied
    The Kopa Loei

    Our islands are gone. But we can save our people and reconnect to the gods. This won't be easy but for a change outsiders are offering real help.

    This city is a raft and a port. It may be built out of old Sci Fi, children's stories, and carnival attractions, but it gives safety and support. And what the hey, the decorating scheme is kinda pretty.

    Ahl-i-Batini

    Their passion to fight the Fallen Ones I respect. But I feel their vision is dangerously narrow.

    Bata'as

    These mages are like us in many ways. I think we could be friends.

    The Children of Knowledge

    They have spiritual insights and deep knowledge, but they are too eager to try strange drugs. Our Kahunas use psychedelics too, but much more carefully.

    The Hollow Ones

    They do much, they dream much, they constantly trip over their own visions. They are worthy but annoying.

    The Ngoma

    They are teachers and councilors of their people. I find much to admire.

    The Sisters of Hippolyta

    When they stop nagging they show they're worthy. To bad they rarely stop nagging.

    Taftani

    I respect that they wish to be left alone. It's their belief that all magic comes from them and belongs to them I have problems with. That said, you can learn from them.

    The Templar Knights

    They are obnoxious. Still they do wish to serve others. But serving others requires some respect and patience.

    Wu-Lung

    These aren't rare in Hawaii or the Pacific islands generally. They are grand and snobbish. Occasionally they are polite. That's mainly when they want something.

    They have much to teach, but little desire to teach

    Leave a comment:


  • Astromancer
    replied
    We were always far more willing to deal with other supernatural types than most Mages. That could help us here.

    Vampires

    I had a bunch of friends among the children of Cain. Still, this place has no room for vampires to feed or play power games. Kill any Vampire that gets on the Yellow Brick Road or anywhere near the city.

    Remember "A fiend in need is a fiend indeed!"

    Shapechangers

    The Bone Gnawlers and the Children of Gaia know us. We can talk to them. We also have contacts among the Fianna, the Basset, and the Crows. But avoid the rats. They are crazy and mean.

    Wraiths

    We have friends among the wraiths and the Risen. We can help them and it gives us ins with the Sahajiya and the Chakravanti.

    Changelings

    We are friendly with these folks. We can build something here.


    Mummies

    I don't know about them. So it's useful they aren't here.

    Hunters

    A mixed bag of inexperienced newbies. Let's see who we can talk to. They might be very useful.

    Demons

    Fallen angels, and the Nephandi are fallen Mages. I think the Hermetics have the right idea here.

    Leave a comment:


  • Astromancer
    replied
    The Technocratic Union

    The Techno Nazis, they made the world an hos d'oeuvre for the Nephandi, and they get more respect than we do. Still, I have been dumpster diving before.


    Iteration X

    They wanted to replace our souls with gearboxes. Here they help the Etherites and the computer witches make robots to do the scut work. I suppose that's the best they could do.


    The N. W. O.

    Letting these creeps stew in impotent rage now seems crueler than I thought. Maybe they aren't getting off Scott Free.

    That said, watch these creeps like hawks. They'll betray anyone for the least gain. If they go back to Earth on the Yellow Brick Road , maybe you should see they have accidents. If you can be subtle about it.

    The Progenitors

    They seem to like being doctors when no one cares about paying for anything. They do what they love to do and others meet their needs. Why couldn't they have understood that earlier?

    Like ItX, they're extracting use from them. Leave them be, but watch them.

    The Syndicate

    Trying to have a capitalist market economy in this place is like building a full sized model of the Taj Mahal out of a single packet of Legos. Besides, once people live outside of that kind of hell, in a robotic low scarcity society, who'd ever go back?

    They're functionality insane.

    Void Engineers

    The only Technos with some Romance to them. Also the only group of Technos that got recruits from the Hollow Ones without mind control. Running off to be Captain Kirk or Barbarella I suppose.

    The most useful of the Union lot too.

    We need to work on connecting with these guys.
    Last edited by Astromancer; 07-10-2022, 08:46 PM.

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  • Astromancer
    replied
    The Counsel of Traditions

    ​As obnoxious and tricky as it is going to be, we need to see if we can get some allies among the Trads. As many of our defectors joined the Trads we do have some ins.

    Order of Hermes

    I'm always surprised they don't wear long star covered robes and cone shaped hats. (One of the only Hermetics I could ever stand dressed like that every Halloween, always said "I thought it was a come as you are party.")

    Still the Merlins are trying to listen and they have the power here, so we need to see if we can get a working relationship.

    Mercurial Elites

    At least they aren't as full of themselves as they were. We always could hang together. Let's see what we can do.

    Children of Ether

    ​Still nuts, but their robots clean my apartment and tailored my new clothes. So they're useful nuts.

    Sahajiya

    ​They are still unbalanced, think of that little dictator "Joy" in Inside Out. Still we get them, sort of, and they get us, sort of. We can get something done.

    Chakravanti

    ​We actually work better with the Sahajiya. Still I always appreciate people who appreciate the darker things in life.

    The Akashayana

    Their serenity always irked me. But it does mean they'll be calm and listen. So we can at least talk.

    Celestial Chorus

    ​They creep me out. Still they comfort the afflicted. Praise them for that, but watch them closely.

    Kra'vadi

    They're angry at us, but they listen. Always remember, they expect straight answers, clear and truthful.

    Verbena

    I think they dispise this amusement park purgatory as much as we do. Surely we can build some connections off that.
    Last edited by Astromancer; 07-10-2022, 08:49 PM.

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  • Astromancer
    replied
    The Hollow Ones

    Not only are we stuck in a Disney theme park we're shunned as traitors and ingrates. The Council was as static as the Union. They sneer at us for being fashionable, well at least we can change. Look at the natural world it's in an eternal process of change. Everything, everyone, is decaying, dieing, so that the new can be born.

    That said Earth was/is being eaten. We must save those we can. This obnoxious little sitcom city is the only tool we have to save the sleepers. We need to make allies while watching our backs.

    The Wonderful Wizard is clearly caught between a primal Avatar that chains him to the past and his grossly high Resonance. A typical Hermetic Merlin if there ever was one.

    Let's see who we have to work with and which burnt bridges we'll need to rebuild.

    Ahl-i-Batini

    Their "Unity" is as rigid as the Technocratic Union. Still they see the threat of the Nephandi and focus on counter measures. The problem is they refuse to make a distinction between the baby and the bathwater.

    Bata'as

    These folks have substance and style. The get the spirits and the streets. We seem to get on their nerves. We'll need to mind our manners but I think we can get these allies.

    The Children of Knowledge

    Ascension in a pill? They may be less out of it Etherites, but we can connect.


    The Kopa Loei

    I find their goals far too narrow. But for what they are, not bad goals. They aren't our problem nor are they out opportunity.

    The Ngoma

    Much like the Kopa Loei, narrow vision but a good one. In many ways they're like improved Hermetics. But give them time and stability and they'll be just as bad.

    The Sisters of Hippolyta

    Like us they never stop challenging injustice and stagnation.

    Taftani

    We both want to tear down everything that gave the oppressors power. Their belief that magic belongs to them alone is a burden. We'll have to get around that.

    The Templar Knights

    Their vision is pure...guano. They're aware that the oppression must be torn down. But they'd only become the new oppressors.

    Wu-Lung

    They can teach you a lot. But they're users and racists. We'll need to work with them for a while.

    At least they want to rescue lots of sleepers.
    Last edited by Astromancer; 07-12-2022, 08:19 PM.

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  • Astromancer
    replied
    Mages aren't the only game in town. But we all learned that when the monsters came to eat the town.

    Vampires

    They bring misery in their wakes. I knew a Vamp, he had been a good man. The struggled to retain some decency. He degenerated into a monster. One day he realized that and walked out into the sunlight.

    Put any vampires out of their misery. That is the only way to keep them out of our misery.

    Shapechangers

    We don't understand them. But some are friendlier than others. Try making connections with the Cat shifters and the Irish wolves. Both of them are known to have a sense of humor.

    Wraiths

    We're out of our depth with Wraiths. Let others handle them. And burn a candle or two in commemoration. I'm told it helps.

    Changelings

    Confusing, dangerous, but worth knowing. They're both powerful and underestimated. Sounds like ally material to me.

    Mummies

    We known them before. If they show up we'll be friendly.

    Hunters

    We have no track record with them. Be friendly, even if they don't make good allies, maybe they need friends.

    Demons

    A world of no. No good ever comes of the damned.

    Leave a comment:


  • Astromancer
    replied
    The Technocratic Union

    We have both old connections and bitter history with these guys. But some of them seem changed. We might take a look.


    Iteration X

    An Alchemist is changed by the process of what they do. These people still separate themselves in unhealthy ways from their work. Still, they add to the technological base around here. And it's better that machines do the drudge work than people.

    Still, they're a long way from ally material.


    The N. W. O.

    They saw themselves as chess masters and the rest of us as pawns. Then the game totally changed. When they figure that out they might be useful. But keep your distance, they're still trouble.

    The Progenitors

    We can share insights, it isn't easy, but we can do it. It is probably worth the effort. The chances are small but there.

    The Syndicate

    Yes markets are still technically possible. And one day maybe useful. But classical capitalism isn't possible here and it probably won't be possible with the combo of science fiction technology and high magic. Besides, who is even going to want it?

    Get yourself a new gig

    Void Engineers

    Best of the Technos lot. Definitely ally material in so many ways. They think we're nuts. But we've worked around that sort of thing before.

    Leave a comment:


  • Astromancer
    replied
    The Counsel of Traditions

    They called us traitors and worse. They've scorned us as degenerates and fools. Still they're the best resource out there.

    They saved us and they hope to save many more people. So we've got similar goals.

    Order of Hermes

    The Merlins were always tough. Now they listen too. Not very well, but they listen.

    They get alchemists. We should look to make connections.

    Mercurial Elites

    What they do is an alchemy of symbols and codes. I think we can connect with them.

    Children of Ether

    The kooks make super toys that not only last all summer but do the washing up. Any group that came create legions of Rosies the Robot Maid to do the drudge work are worth connecting with.



    Sahajiya

    These folks always had insights we could use. And they listen to us. We should build on that

    Chakravanti

    Like their allies the Sahajiya, these guys are both worth knowing and have taken us seriously.


    The Akashayana

    Like the Sahajiya, these guys have useful insights. But they think we're self destructive fools. Let's try cultivating them anyway.

    Celestial Chorus

    They comfort the sleepers. They do that well.

    They look down on us. Let's see if we can connect on the subject of sacramentals.

    Kra'vadi

    We have common ground on some things. Let's try offering respect and starting a dialogue.

    Verbena

    We've got a bad history between us. But there is common ground to work on.
    Last edited by Astromancer; 07-09-2022, 04:56 PM.

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  • Astromancer
    replied
    The Children of Knowledge

    The apocalypse came, the world is gone and so is my record collection. Now we're in the city of Emeralds. I don't think I am the only one who wonders if they took bad drugs.

    We were working on universal awakening, the vital first step to universal ascension. Now we can't even find square one to start again.

    So, we've been here before. We start over anyway and do what we can for others as well as ourselves.

    We'll need allies to do anything. And we'll have to be allies to get allies. So let's see who we can get.

    Ahl-I-Batini

    They created both the Council of Nine and the Disperate Alliance so they like teams. Problem, they aren't team players, they're team users.

    The Bata'as

    These are tough survivors, who think we're lightweights. Still we have connections with them and they have insights worth knowing in more than magic.

    The Hollow Ones

    They get a surprising amount of stuff done. But they are always rebels. Whether the context is good or bad, they must rebel against it. Star Trek's Federation is exactly like the Evil Empire in Star Wars to them. What ever it is they need to pull it down. That's toxic here.


    The Kopa Loei

    I respect their choices. I think we should help them as we can. I don't think they can help us.

    The Ngoma

    These guys are deep and decent. Seriously worthwhile. We need to get them as allies.

    The Sisters of Hippolyta

    These women bully everyone around them. They do have insights, but like the Hollow Ones their attitudes are simply toxic.

    Taftani

    They have insights that help prevent them from going Marauder. This deeply impresses me. It will take patience to learn from them. But it would be so worth it.

    The Templar Knights

    We've avoided them in the past. I think we need to do the same here.

    Wu-Lung

    China has an incredibly rich history and culture. Their alchemical lore alone is vast. That said, these guys are jerks. Still, we've delt with jerks before. We might build some kind of alliance. It would be limited though.
    Last edited by Astromancer; 07-09-2022, 04:36 PM.

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  • Astromancer
    replied
    There is always more to the world than we know or can know. But here are a few groups we do know about.

    Vampires

    Back in the day, these were an unavoidable evil. Here they are merely evil. Kill them. If you don't, they'll simply use you as cattle. Even the few decent Vampires, and they were few indeed, are simply useless trouble here. Kill them quickly.

    Shapechangers

    They are ancient powers with ancient wisdom. Be polite and learn from them.

    Wraiths

    Fate wears the mask of the Rainbow's Child here and works with the Sahajiya and the Chakravanti to ease their pains. We should see if we can join this vital work. Until then, ask permission to speak to the dead. We don't take stupid risks.

    Changelings

    Lovely people, and they have more substance and knowledge than most folks know about.

    Mummies

    We worked with them before. If any show up, we'll do so again.

    Hunters

    We have met. They're new and must be delt with as individuals.

    Demons

    They were Angels once. They were fools and got sent to Hell. They have no place here.
    Last edited by Astromancer; 07-09-2022, 08:37 AM.

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  • Astromancer
    replied
    The Technocratic Union

    These were the Man for several centuries. "Oh how the mighty have fallen." Too bad I was to busy to grab a bag of popcorn and enjoy the show.


    Iteration X

    They make tools. They seem a bit over focused on that. They wanted to make everyone a part of the machinery. I prefer they make tools and leave me and mine alone.


    The N. W. O.

    Basically, villains from a James Bond movie that thought they were the heroes. And saw us as "acceptable losses." They're still trouble.

    The Progenitors

    Doctors, insane doctors, but doctors. Others are keeping them focused on healing rather than butchering. Be polite, but be careful.

    The Syndicate

    I guess they never saw that Twilight Zone episode about the two men in the desert with backpacks full of gold but no water. If you can't buy things, money isn't real.

    Void Engineers

    So Captain Kirk is real. Oh well now's when we need him. These seem to be the most useful and best mannered of their faction. Interesting how that works out.

    Their heads were in the clouds when we suffered. So I assume they can still drift aimlessly away. But they are proving to be heroic in this hour of need.
    Last edited by Astromancer; 07-09-2022, 08:22 AM.

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