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  • Ajax
    replied
    Ya know, now I've been reading this, I just don't think I've ever run, been in or seen a Mage game where any character, NPC or PC, actually acted like an Awakening Guardian of the Veil and sat around spinning webs of influence over the Consensus by tucking bits and pieces of their Truth away into the various little niche sub-cultures. Has anyone else? We've always been doing mage-y stuff.

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  • Captain Aeon
    replied
    Originally posted by herkles View Post
    Curious why you say that as I have not felt like the Egyptians or the greco-Romans were verbena. I have always felt the were more generic neo-pagan or in general 'witchy'. Which does not capture my religion or similar ones. So just curious.
    The Verbenae as a whole have accepted (in some cases, very reluctantly) modern neo-pagans and Wiccans, because that's where the metaphysical action is. The Verbenae's roots are in exactly the sorts of classic polytheistic small-t traditions you speak of*, and I suspect that a majority of the (centuries-)old guard would rather support your sort of serious recreationism than my New Agey goddess faith. And even if they're not the majority, there's definitely a deep, powerful strain of upholding those ancient traditions there.

    *They probably share the Egyptian reconstructionism with the Hermetics' House Shaea.

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  • Solomon Black
    replied
    Originally posted by The Hanged Man View Post
    I have a problem with individual Hermetics always being presented only as idiots. If a Hermetic is mentioned in the text, it is to be an example of someone being a fucking imbecile. When Porthos Fitz-Empress and Caeron Mustai are called out in this Rote Text, it is to say, "Look at these ignorant chuckleheads, wasting their vast cosmic power in such a foolish and risky manner. Wow, HUBRIS am I right? HUBRIS, as you may have heard, IS A MAJOR THEME FOR HERMETICS. It's so vital to their portrayal that it robs them of any other positive mental characteristics, every time it is invoked. HUBRIS. HUUUUBRISSSS."
    Don't know sounds to me like you're grinding a personal axe there and seeing way waaaaaaay more subtext then is there.

    If its even there which I'd dispute.

    I took the unspoken message of the rote being "These badasses may have pulled off this trick well enough to not have a downside, but your podunk two bit nobody ain't them capiche" but maybe that's me.

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  • The Hanged Man
    replied
    Let me make one thing absolutely clear. I have no problem with the Order being on the ropes, fallen from a once mighty place and struggling now just to hold the fragments together. I have no idea where the suggestion that that was my complaint came from, because it certainly doesn't chart to anything I have ever actually said. Indeed, I don't know any OoH fans who think that is the problem. We are not interested in them as part of some juvenile power fantasy where they have to win all fights and be the best of all guys, all the time, forever.

    I have a problem with individual Hermetics always being presented only as idiots. If a Hermetic is mentioned in the text, it is to be an example of someone being a fucking imbecile. When Porthos Fitz-Empress and Caeron Mustai are called out in this Rote Text, it is to say, "Look at these ignorant chuckleheads, wasting their vast cosmic power in such a foolish and risky manner. Wow, HUBRIS am I right? HUBRIS, as you may have heard, IS A MAJOR THEME FOR HERMETICS. It's so vital to their portrayal that it robs them of any other positive mental characteristics, every time it is invoked. HUBRIS. HUUUUBRISSSS."

    Why would Porthos Fitz-Empress transmute vampires into firewood and keep them around his house? He is not stupid. He is a Hermetic Archmaster. He understands things like spell durations and the inherent magic resistance that most supernatural creatures possess. He is busy (before he died anyway) trying to encourage and assist the rising generation of mages. He is very focused on his goals, and having a bunch of vampire bombs by his fireplace doesn't do much to forward his agenda. So why would he put a trap like that for himself into his house? He wouldn't. Because Porthos Fitz-Empress is a lot of things, but he is not an idiot.

    Why would Caeron Mustai transmute vampires into firewood and keep them around his house? He is also not stupid. He is subtle, callous and ambitious. He is prideful, but not to a degree that has traditionally hindered his pragmatism. If he wants a specific Vampire dead, he will have them killed, and in a manner that ensures they can't recover. He will probably not kill them himself, because he is a cautious schemer and manipulator who has built a network of expendable allies and subordinates for the express purpose of making someone else take the risks. He's not above killing someone personally when it is more convenient and relatively risk-free, but when he does, he also makes damn sure they're dead, because he's not a 70s Batman TV series villain. He wouldn't do this either, because Caeron Motherfucking Mustai is a lot of things, but he is not an idiot.

    Now, if you desperately want a member of the Order to be the Vampires-into-firewood guy? There's a perfect example in canon.

    Tytalus, founder of House Tytalus, comes shuffling out of the Black Forest after a friendly afternoon of tea and illusion-dueling with the Faerie Queen (which lasted centuries due to otherworldly time shenanigans). His personal motto (and the motto of his eponymous house) is Incrementum Ex Certamen, or "Through Conflict, Growth". His whole schtick is picking fights with powerful beings to provide himself live-fire training exercises. He would totally be into stacking temporary-duration transmuted vampires all over his house, so he can Kung Fu fight them later. But he is also not a fucking idiot. He is an intensely dangerous individual who got to be so powerful by engaging in that exact sort of challenge, surviving, and learning. His boisterous enthusiasm for hurling himself into the crucible was a big part of why Tremere (who knew Tytalus from when they were both apprenticed to the same Master, and found him quite tiresome) started to look for options to leave the Order. Tytalus making a big stupid heap of vampire bombs for himself to deal with later illustrates that HUBRIS IS A MAJOR THEME FOR HERMETICS, which we can never be allowed to forget for a second, but does so in a way that's not a gross departure from his primary characterization.

    Of course, it's only "according to rumor" that Porthos and Mustai are this dumb. That gives whoever scribed this rote a little wiggle-room to go "well, it's not necessarily true". But if the data available consistently makes Hermetics look like stupid, ignorant, wasteful, pathetic assholes, nobody's going to care that a lot of that data is from unreliable sources.
    Last edited by The Hanged Man; 03-27-2014, 08:46 PM.

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  • herkles
    replied
    Originally posted by Captain Aeon View Post
    Frack, you're a better Verbena than I am.
    Curious why you say that as I have not felt like the Egyptians or the greco-Romans were verbena. I have always felt the were more generic neo-pagan or in general 'witchy'. Which does not capture my religion or similar ones. So just curious.


    Originally posted by Ajax View Post

    <Shrug> It's the term that was used. It's not technically inaccurate, though I guess it's really less "conquer" than it is "loot and pillage and take home" kind of interaction. If you can think of a better term that encompasses the same meaning, I'll do my best to promulgate the meme.
    Cultural Imperialism? Cultural Apporpration?

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  • Thebian
    replied
    You could argue (well, I could argue) that the Hermetic paradigm has enjoyed widespread success. Kabbalah, astrology, tarot, spirit-working, mediums - these are all big business because lots and lots of people think there's something to it, even if only a bit. The same for neo-platonic thought and gnostic philosophy. All those things are part of the Hermetic paradigm, and have bled into the mainstream (which probably annoys the hell out of the more elitist Hermetics, heh heh). You can see this as dilution, but I see it as success of a sort, certainly in areas where the "western occult traditions" finds its home.

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  • Ajax
    replied
    Originally posted by Wolfgar View Post

    That changes things; the Hermetics are certainly that way under that definition. Still, we might want a more neutral term that doesn't conjure up such negative historical images.
    <Shrug> It's the term that was used. It's not technically inaccurate, though I guess it's really less "conquer" than it is "loot and pillage and take home" kind of interaction. If you can think of a better term that encompasses the same meaning, I'll do my best to promulgate the meme.

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  • Wolfgar
    replied
    Originally posted by Ajax View Post
    Sorry, definition of terms... academic imperialism is one discipline going out and taking the ideas of others and bringing them back to integrate into their own research. It's not to be confused with going to other lands, meeting the people and taking their stuff &/or killing them off then settling in the voids you've just created.

    I got the term back when I was an archaeologist, because we were cheerful academic imperialists. We'll take that from physics! Now we have radiocarbon dating! We'll take that from biology! We'll Now we have the idea of co-evolution of humanity with it's own technology! Even, we'll take that from soil science! Now we have stratigraphy!
    That changes things; the Hermetics are certainly that way under that definition. Still, we might want a more neutral term that doesn't conjure up such negative historical images.

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  • CaptOtter
    replied
    Originally posted by Chase Variant View Post
    Only because they've had the furthest to fall.
    I won't dispute that for a moment; they were biggest, baddest tradition, complete with a Castle on Mars and everything. But simply because they had all of that to lose, doesn't mean they necessarily had to lose it at all. Not only did they have the potential to demonstrate the greatest change in fortune, but they in fact did realize that potential. I could easily make the argument that, had their paradigm had been looser or more liberal, that they could have weathered the Ascension War better than they did.

    Originally posted by Chase Variant View Post
    You cited that the Dreamspeakers were able to adapt to technology and urban life as a strength, when there's no indication that the techno-/city-shamans are a significant portion of the Trad[.]
    You're right -- by definition, the Dreamspeakers are less of a cohesive magical tradition than they are a conglomeration of mages lumped together because no one cared enough to make a distinction between the various differences between them (not unlike how the Order has House Ex Miscellanea, which may as well be called House "Other"). That said, you're probably not going to find Dreamspeakers marginalizing one another cause someobody is doing it wrong. What they lack in homogeneity, structure and organization (the strengths of the Order), they make up for in flexibility and adaptability.

    Originally posted by Chase Variant View Post
    but when one of the modern, technology-inclined Houses is strong enough to make a big power play, it's a weakness?
    I never said that's a weakness -- the fact that the Order has Houses like Thig is a feather in their cap -- but it took the Reckoning for Thig to breathe, and the ideas of its members not to be marginalized. Again, it's been a couple of months since I read OoH(Rev.), but my understanding is that the rise of Houses Thig, Xaos, etc. are largely a product of the fact that the older, formerly strong houses (Bonisagus is an excellent example) tried doing thing their way (the old way) and lost badly.

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  • Ajax
    replied
    Originally posted by Captain Aeon View Post
    About as close as Chorister belief is to either Christianity or Islam, or the Order of Hermes is to actual Qabala, or the Void Engineers to RL NASA...you get the picture. They're all deliberately fictionalized.
    .
    I'd argue it's MUCH closer than most of those. It's just intensely, brutally and practically applied.

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  • Ajax
    replied
    Originally posted by Wolfgar View Post
    I'm not sure where people keep getting "imperialist" in regards to Hermetics, other than being white guys from Europe. Imperialism means well, trying to build an empire, and that's just not what the Hermetics did, like ever. The wizard king is at best a lie of Technocracy propaganda, and at worst not even relevant to the Hermetics. They didn't rule over people, they didn't invade or colonize or enslave anyone. They sat in their towers and read and researched for the most part. Pretty much all Hermetic conflicts have either been internal or in response to a legitimate outside threat. Yes, they did try to bring everyone into the Houses when the Traditions formed, but nobody was going for that and they didn't push the issue. They are responsible for organizing the Traditions, for good or bad, but that's all they did and it's not like the power structure particularly benefits them. So I think "Imperialist" is a bit of a misnomer.

    Sorry, definition of terms... academic imperialism is one discipline going out and taking the ideas of others and bringing them back to integrate into their own research. It's not to be confused with going to other lands, meeting the people and taking their stuff &/or killing them off then settling in the voids you've just created.

    I got the term back when I was an archaeologist, because we were cheerful academic impreialists. We'll take that from physics! Now we have radiocarbon dating! We'll take that from biology! We'll Now we have the idea of co-evolution of humanity with it's own technology! Even, we'll take that from soil science! Now we have stratigraphy!

    Leave a comment:


  • Ajax
    replied
    Originally posted by Captain Aeon View Post
    Not in the West. India has over one billion people in it, and the Vedic faiths aren't the only ones that include a belief in reincarnation. The Chakravanti are *much* healthier than, frex, the Verbenae.
    I totally agree with you. 100%. There is definitely a place for the idea of reincarnation and the karmic cycle. Explicitly in India. Implicitly in Buddhism. Super big in the super most populous parts of the world.

    Unfortunately, I can't agree that they have ANYTHING to do with the Euthanatos/Chakravanti that pop up in Mage games. (OK, OK, I'll give you the thugee...) Those are spooky, death mages specializing in necromancy. I have already bowed out in another thread trying to talk about the Euthanatoi/Chakravanti "Specialty" Sphere having more to do with Fate/Karma/Dharma than necromancy and just kept getting pounded down about it. People want them some death mages. Mage Giovanni/Cappadocians. The way Entropy gets skewed (not really the way it was written IMHO) that's going to target the Euthanatoi. And that's the part of the zeitgeist I am talking about.

    I guess I will go with the Euthantos winning the hearts and minds of the Consensus with the "sexy misunderstood serial killer anti-hero" stereotype (Dexter, Hannibal Lecter, etc.). Even THAT is better than having the sterotype being Voormas.

    BTW, two of the best Mages in all the Mage games I've run (which has got to be over a dozen in the past 20 odd years) were Euthanatos. And neither one was associated with Necromancy at all.

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  • Wolfgar
    replied
    I'm not sure where people keep getting "imperialist" in regards to Hermetics, other than being white guys from Europe. Imperialism means well, trying to build an empire, and that's just not what the Hermetics did, like ever. The wizard king is at best a lie of Technocracy propaganda, and at worst not even relevant to the Hermetics. They didn't rule over people, they didn't invade or colonize or enslave anyone. They sat in their towers and read and researched for the most part. Pretty much all Hermetic conflicts have either been internal or in response to a legitimate outside threat. Yes, they did try to bring everyone into the Houses when the Traditions formed, but nobody was going for that and they didn't push the issue. They are responsible for organizing the Traditions, for good or bad, but that's all they did and it's not like the power structure particularly benefits them. So I think "Imperialist" is a bit of a misnomer.

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  • Captain Aeon
    replied
    Originally posted by herkles View Post
    True, but how close to actual dharmic faiths is the Euthantos philosphy?
    About as close as Chorister belief is to either Christianity or Islam, or the Order of Hermes is to actual Qabala, or the Void Engineers to RL NASA...you get the picture. They're all deliberately fictionalized.
    What I am more curious about is where the hell would my faith(hellenismos or ancient Greek religion) or similar polytheistic reconstructionist faiths, such as Kemeticism(egyptian) and so on?
    Frack, you're a better Verbena than I am.

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  • herkles
    replied
    Originally posted by Captain Aeon View Post
    Not in the West. India has over one billion people in it, and the Vedic faiths aren't the only ones that include a belief in reincarnation. The Chakravanti are *much* healthier than, frex, the Verbenae.
    True, but how close to actual dharmic faiths is the Euthantos philosphy?

    What I am more curious about is where the hell would my faith(hellenismos or ancient Greek religion) or similar polytheistic reconstructionist faiths, such as Kemeticism(egyptian) and so on?

    Leave a comment:

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