Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Immortality and Legacies or Am I a Lich and if so what's your Problem?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Immortality and Legacies or Am I a Lich and if so what's your Problem?

    I have a hard time wrapping my head around the problem awakened society seems to have with the concept of immortality. I realize that Death is supposed to be a vital part of the CoD, an inevitable end that comes for everyone. And in a certain way that's true, even Archmasters (who don't age iirc) can be killed, allthough it is very hard to do so. Heck even Ascended beings can be dethroned (though I'm less sure wether they can ever be destroyed completly). So death is allways in some form an option. But ageing is something the awakened can handle.... it's just that somehow this seems to be seen as a bad thing?

    Now I can understand why people are upset about the methods employed by the tremere or a bodysnatching mage. Sure. But ghostmages, Morpheans etc don't harm anyone by the virtue of their existence, would they really be considered left handed by definition. Why? Or lets take a look at legacies. Sure the Tremere give them a bad name, but why shouldn't a Life centered Legacy be unable to produce an attainment that prevents aging. There were allready Legacies that slowed it down (Perfect Sovereign in 1e), why not just stop it? That would be what, a perfecting practice of life? Normal spells can be dispelled, but it's very hard to do the same for Legacy attainments. Build a legacy attainment that indefinitly stops your ageing. It probably would be a 4th attainment or so, but you have all your natural lifespan to work toward it. Would such a legacy really be considered left handed? Especially since a legacy around mastering the body like this probably could age again if they wanted to. And doesn't eat souls or babies?

    So what is the problem with an approach to immortality that in of itself doesn't hurt anyone? Does it speak volumes about the fear of death of the practioner? Yeah, maybe. But afaik mages who have other issues aren't declared left handed because of it unless these issues cause serious problems.

  • #2
    For one, I agree with you. However, there is a reason this attitude exists in-setting. If the writers allowed easy immortality, there would be multiple ages-old Mages claiming all the resources and positions of prominence. The game can handle several behind-the-scenes Archmages, but this would be too much. The PCs would be surrounded by a status quo they can barely dent. It's like Vampire: The Masquerade, but much more calcified.

    While Supernal magic should allow agelessness, actually going through it would have harmful ramifications for the game. Note that these aspects can be reconciled. You can assumme that anti-immortality culture of the Pentacle stems from the fact that Mages know its ultimate (political) consequences, and decry it as immoral to feel less petty. Ageless Mages can exist, forced to keep their heads down or face ostracism.

    Final warning. Previous disussions about this subject had a tendency to deteriorate, so tread carefully. People have strong feelings about this, one way or another.


    Find my Homebrew Fangs of Mara 2ed update Here

    Comment


    • #3
      Even if elder mages achieve immortality of the agelessness & eternal youth type, mages in general have this perpetual and incurable habit of poking in places they really shouldn't be looking in if they want to live a long and healthy life.

      The above is the usual answer I give when faced with questions of where all the ancients are in a setting that facilitates easy immortality. The supernatural world in the CofD is inherently a violent one. Sure, a mage could sit in his favorite couch away from the dangers of the world, but this leads to less hands-on experience and thus a relatively low level of power, so they aren't likely to accumulate enough magical mojo to aim for immortality.


      MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

      Comment


      • #4
        None of the big three flavors of ephemeral lich aren't potentially dangerous to have around — Morpheans steal and keep bits of the Astral in order to learn (or at least poke around a place that can warp cultures as a matter of engineering), ghost-mages are by definition at least ghosts with access to soul-severing magic, and spirit-mages mess with the ecosystems of the Shadow as a matter of course.

        Run-of-the-mill agelessness isn't viewed as Left-Handed so much as it is kind of vain — the aspect of lichdom that typically gets you blacklisted is the extra stuff:

        Consilia also take action against Left-Handed mages. While the exact definition varies from Consilium to Consilium, a mage is frequently regarded as Left-Handed if her Obsessions or magical practices involve the abuse or destruction of souls, the destruction of the world’s magical potential, routine interference with a Sleeper’s Awakening, the cavalier abuse of Sleepers, Abyssal corruption, contact with the Lower Depths, or the evasion of death by extraordinary and ethically questionable deeds.


        Resident Sanguinary Analyst
        Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

        Comment


        • #5
          Ninja'd by Satchel.
          Last edited by Mrmdubois; 02-16-2017, 05:06 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Teatime View Post
            For one, I agree with you. However, there is a reason this attitude exists in-setting. If the writers allowed easy immortality, there would be multiple ages-old Mages claiming all the resources and positions of prominence. The game can handle several behind-the-scenes Archmages, but this would be too much. The PCs would be surrounded by a status quo they can barely dent. It's like Vampire: The Masquerade, but much more calcified.
            I understand the design choice made, trying to avoid early edition Ascension prevalence of masters everywhere. I merely aim to understand the in character reasons for this hostile behaviour against life prolonging practices when awakened society flouts alot of social taboos with alarming frequency. I'm not too deeply versed in the Awakening material, but from the impression I've got so far there aren't that many taboos that will lead to a mage being exiled or outright killed.


            While Supernal magic should allow agelessness, actually going through it would have harmful ramifications for the game. Note that these aspects can be reconciled. You can assumme that anti-immortality culture of the Pentacle stems from the fact that Mages know its ultimate (political) consequences, and decry it as immoral to feel less petty. Ageless Mages can exist, forced to keep their heads down or face ostracism.
            This explaination seems a bit shaky to me. It assumes alot of forethought and united "idealism" on part of the mage youth I don't really see. In mage society older more experienced mages usually are more powerful, it would make sense for them to push agendas that benefited their own power (such as acceptance of immortality if they are so inclined), convincing younger mages to follow step with political leverage. It's feels a bit like assuming being rich should be banned in todays society as the majority of the population isn't rich and acknowledges that that's bad for them. Instead we tend to aspire to become rich, just as I would assume people would aspire to become immortal.

            21C Hermit

            I can see immortal mages being comparativly less powerful than a more active person of the same age would be. We run into the same problem as vampire here. Elders become lazy and don't develop as many new tricks anymore, but have a vast powerbase upon which they can rest in general. Mages being pushed to persue more dangerous interests by their obsession is certainly a very valid point. That nicely explains why even with the capability of immortality only a few actually live extremly long, except for a few lazy mages who try very hard to abstain from obsessions. But a few would probably exist. Why would these people be social outcasts?

            Comment


            • #7
              For the same reason archmasters are banned from holding political offices in the Pentacle: They, like liches, are sufficiently removed from the human experience that they look at mages like mages look at Sleepers. Both sects in the Pentacle hate that. For different reasons.

              Remember also that the Diamond had a growing-pang war with itself when one of the Orders (the Tremere) turned out to be soul-eating liches. After a certain point, distrusting mages who prolong their lives is like not being able to call yourself a Socialist and get anywhere in American politics.


              Dave Brookshaw, Mage and Deviant Developer, writer of many things

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Flinty View Post
                Why would these people be social outcasts?
                Aaaan ninja'd by none other than the developer himself.


                MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dave Brookshaw View Post
                  For the same reason archmasters are banned from holding political offices in the Pentacle: They, like liches, are sufficiently removed from the human experience that they look at mages like mages look at Sleepers. Both sects in the Pentacle hate that. For different reasons.
                  But isn't it more the peer pressure of other archmasters that don't want their rivals to control a vast amounts of mages that keeps archmasters out of office? The Silver Ladder itself tries to uplift sleepers, often placing themselves into positions of authority regarding to sleepers. I don't really see their philosophy forbidding an archmaster to do the same with them in order to uplift them. I could see many resenting it, sure, but it fits their goal.

                  Good point with the historical context.

                  Satchel

                  I suppose that is a fair point. So let's say we redesign the perfect sovereigns (who are probably seen as vain anyway) into a legacy that stays perpetually young through their attainments. Would this cause them to be declared left handed? Depends on the Consilium I suppose, but most would just see it as suspect but not left handed, yes?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Flinty View Post
                    But isn't it more the peer pressure of other archmasters that don't want their rivals to control a vast amounts of mages that keeps archmasters out of office? The Silver Ladder itself tries to uplift sleepers, often placing themselves into positions of authority regarding to sleepers. I don't really see their philosophy forbidding an archmaster to do the same with them in order to uplift them. I could see many resenting it, sure, but it fits their goal.
                    Archmasters who don't give up political power: Tetrarchs, the Pentacle wouldn't stand for it, too similar to Seer power structure.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Archmasters' peer pressure is aimed at not letting them interfere with one another's work using their world-breaking spells, not at turning up to Consilium and saying "you guys are meritocratic, right? Anyone else abe to cast a Dynamic spell? No? I'm in charge"

                      After all, the Seer archmages do have command positions in the Pyramid. Other archmasters only go after them for breaking the Pax when they flagrantly cheat on behalf of their Ministry.

                      No, the Silver law about the Pentacle's titles having a cap of Master is because of the *well documented and understood* tendency of Imperial wizards to treat everyone else like chesspieces at beat and raw quintessence at worst. After the first few hundred cases of an archmaster putting more priority on their lofty cosmic Obsessions than reality itself, the Pentacle wised up. No one driven enough to seek the Imperial Mysteries is your friend.

                      The Silver Ladder just assumes that any archmage who does have it on her to act as a Sage toward lesser mages will do so by proxy or in disguise of being a master.


                      Dave Brookshaw, Mage and Deviant Developer, writer of many things

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Flinty View Post
                        Now I can understand why people are upset about the methods employed by the tremere or a bodysnatching mage. Sure. But ghostmages, Morpheans etc don't harm anyone by the virtue of their existence, would they really be considered left handed by definition. Why?
                        Nnnnot quite right. Ghost Mages are obsessed even by the standards of a splat that has a feature outright called Obsession and aren't really considered a form of immortality anyway; they're static echoes of the Mage they're made from, endlessly repeating forever, and it's Diamond dogma that ghosts thoroughly aren't the same person they were before. The one example we have of a Ghost Mage that retained their personality, soul, and capacity for growth, she turned into a horrifying soul-eating monster.

                        Morpheans, meanwhile, are solipsistic non-beings who can only grow by carving pieces of the psyches of others. I don't think that needs explaining.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Flinty View Post
                          I suppose that is a fair point. So let's say we redesign the perfect sovereigns (who are probably seen as vain anyway) into a legacy that stays perpetually young through their attainments. Would this cause them to be declared left handed? Depends on the Consilium I suppose, but most would just see it as suspect but not left handed, yes?
                          I expect that most fairly Wise mages would realize that immortality almost inevitably leads to left-handed behavior. As someone before me noted, the long years slowly remove immortal people from the human experience. There's a reason that the Pure Sovereigns, especially the older ones, are generally arrogant jerks who feel that everyone else is beneath them--and they only live roughly 200 years. After a thousand years, how could any given human really matter all that much to such a being? Sure, liberal applications of Mind effects might solve the problem, but would any mage who chased everlasting life willingly discard its primary benefit--that being the vast perspective that millennia of experience brings?

                          As examples, I offer Bayaz and his peers in Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy (which I heartily recommend if you haven't read it). If that isn't a fantasy in the mold of the World of Darkness, I don't know what is.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ehhh.... the problem with this entire discussion is that "lich" isn't quite the same as "immortal" for a mage. Its trivially easy for a mage to achieve immortality through some Life spells or with some practical use of Death magic. And that's generally acceptable in Mage Society, handwaved away as "not true immortality." Or "just long lived." Frankly, I think that's nothing more than lawyer-semantics. Much like the term "Left-Handed" itself, its pretty much a social convention for a mage that went bad-wrong.

                            Make no mistake, immortal mages do make interesting antagonists. They also make good advisors if you track them down, and stories are out there with neigh immortal wizards who are benevolant and still very much human in outlook. But, mages being who they are, tend to take things to an extreme. Need a Demesne? Lets hunt down the god of all Foxes, kill it, and take its soul to make one instead of just making a soul stone or two. Obsessions make Monsters out of mages as much as crapping their Nimbus on everyone does.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Flinty View Post
                              I suppose that is a fair point. So let's say we redesign the perfect sovereigns (who are probably seen as vain anyway) into a legacy that stays perpetually young through their attainments. Would this cause them to be declared left handed? Depends on the Consilium I suppose, but most would just see it as suspect but not left handed, yes?
                              Because the mary-sue levels of boring writing to get behind this would make fanfic.net blush.

                              In a fallen world, there's nothing perfect anymore.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X