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Controlling Paradox (Scelesti)

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  • Controlling Paradox (Scelesti)

    So, being new to the 2nd edition of Mage, explain this to me like I'm five: how do Mages invite Paradox into their spells, thus corrupting them and making them more powerful? How is this addicting? Provided examples would be awesome.

    Secondly, how does swearing yourself to an Abyssal Watchtower or gaining a Scelesti Legacy work in this new edition? What benefits does it grant?


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  • #2
    The 2e version of the least degree of Abyssal initiation works kind of like anti-containment of Paradox; you release the Paradox and roll Gnosis, and each success lets you control how one Paradox Reach gets applied.


    Resident Lore-Hound
    Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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    • #3
      Swearing yourself to an Abyssal Watchtower or joining/creating an Abyssal Legacy has not yet gotten any rules in 2E. As of now we only got the core book and a few entries in Dark Eras and Dark Eras Companion.


      Bloodline: The Stygians
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Tessie View Post
        Swearing yourself to an Abyssal Watchtower or joining/creating an Abyssal Legacy has not yet gotten any rules in 2E. As of now we only got the core book and a few entries in Dark Eras and Dark Eras Companion.
        Where abouts in the book are these references, Tessie?


        Grump, grouse, and/or gripe.

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        • #5
          238-239 with the system rules being the start of 239 for inviting paradox. I lack the dark age parts if that's what you're asking. Sorry.

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          • #6
            Swearing to an Abyssal Watchtower could also give you the Abyssal Arcanum.


            Let Him Speak.

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            • #7
              That's homebrew.

              We haven't had time yet to 2e the Scelesti mechanics beyond the one-line description of first initiation everyone's talking about. You can, if you know how to, attempt to control how a Paradox manifests, but the process is extremely addictive and runs the risk of you becoming a second-stage Scelesti (a Nasnasi), where your Path symbols are corrupted by their abyssal antitheses, your ability to summon supernal creatures is replaced by one to summon Gulmoth, and your nimbus is poisioned.

              Third initiation Scelesti are just those with Legacies, some of which require you to be a Nasnas.

              Fourth Initiation Scelesti are those who bargain with the Aeon of Paradox for the ability to mess with the Paradox roll, not just how any Paradox appears. Their powers require the most work.

              The thing that we're noodling about, playtesting when Scelesti come up in our games, is to replace Wisdom for Nasnasi-and-up Scelesti to represent their fucked-up natures. Scelesti probably become Qliphoth instead of Mad Ones when they completely go off the edge.

              Oh, right, yeah. A Qliphoth is a mage who is a walking Iris to a Annunaki, spawning Gulmoth wherever they go. They're in the "way too powerful for even most mages to do anything other than run" category along with Exarchal avatars and archmasters.


              Dave Brookshaw

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Dave Brookshaw View Post
                The thing that we're noodling about, playtesting when Scelesti come up in our games, is to replace Wisdom for Nasnasi-and-up Scelesti to represent their fucked-up natures. Scelesti probably become Qliphoth instead of Mad Ones when they completely go off the edge.
                That... sounds amazing. I have to wonder what you guys might think would be an appropriate replacement for Wisdom. My first thoughts might run towards themes like "Control" if I think of a Qliphoth as their 0-integrity result - or for a warped take on Wisdom, "Restraint". I am legitimately curious what the opposite end of a Qliphoth might look like in your vision.

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                • #9
                  Lemee chck my Developer folder notes...

                  Yeah, so my version currently calls it "Joining" after the original name for the second initiation from back in Tome of Mysteries; it goes up where Wisdom goes down. 0 Joining you turn back into a normal Mage with Wisdom 1 (it was always canonical that nasnasi could, in theory, go cold turkey and return to normalcy), 10 Joining turns you into a Qliphoth, the trick to being a Scelestus is to fuck your Path's symbolism just enough but not too much; to draw on your linked Annunaki without being consumed by it. The experiments are in what causes it to go up and down; what's a "sin" for a Scelestus?

                  It's a parallel to Tremere, who in the protoype 2e notes replace their Gnosis with "Hollow", the trait that lets their Gnosis consume the soul currently attached to it as fuel, gives them Houses instead of Legacies, and so on. The Tremere are the most complex fallen mages because they're both an altered template , a group of not-exactly-Legacies and an Order, and it's figuring out what parts of them are inherent powers, what's the various Legacies they've consumed being turned into Houses, and what's the Tremere-Order-Status-only Merit equivalents to Egregore, etc that's the trick. But Tremere *do* use Wisdom.


                  Dave Brookshaw

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                  • #10
                    I should note that I intended to get the Scelsti, Mad One, and Tremere rules out by now, but paying work must come first. However, Deviant has mechanical things to say about "altered templates" that are coming in handy when thinking about them, so it's not wasted time. That my time's eaten by preparing a game that's required time and attention on a parallel topic is a lucky coincidence.


                    Dave Brookshaw

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                    • #11
                      I'm so confused when reading these Scelesti terms. I vaguely remember them from Left Hand Path, but I don't own it. Should I murder...erm, borrow it from my friend when the Dark Trio Rules come out, or will I be able to understand and use them just with the corebook?
                      This probably doubles as a question from my GM, because if so, she will want to make notes from the LHP to in order to quench her anxiety.
                      Tremere stuff makes me more excited about it each time I read it, so good job with that.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dave Brookshaw View Post
                        Lemee chck my Developer folder notes...

                        Yeah, so my version currently calls it "Joining" after the original name for the second initiation from back in Tome of Mysteries; it goes up where Wisdom goes down. 0 Joining you turn back into a normal Mage with Wisdom 1 (it was always canonical that nasnasi could, in theory, go cold turkey and return to normalcy), 10 Joining turns you into a Qliphoth, the trick to being a Scelestus is to fuck your Path's symbolism just enough but not too much; to draw on your linked Annunaki without being consumed by it. The experiments are in what causes it to go up and down; what's a "sin" for a Scelestus?
                        The concept behind that is even better than I originally thought it would be. I look forward to seeing the full thing when you finish

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                        • #13
                          Sure. So, a brief lexicon of the Scelesti

                          Scelestus - a mage convicted of dealing with the Abyss. The Pentacle recognises four main classifications ("initiations") of Scelsti, in order of severity.

                          Rabashakim - first initiation Scelesti, guilty of casting Befouled spells. The only form of being a Scelestus that doesn't carry a death penalty in most gold laws, though some Consilia will kill you for it anyway.

                          Befouled spell - a spell where, mechanically, you then roll Gnosis to direct how any Paradox reach is spent. Rabashakim can only cast Befouled praxes or rotes, and they can't make the rotes. Each Befouled spell cast worsens the addiction to the practice, which if unchecked can lead to the mage becoming a Nasnasi

                          Antominian spell - another term for a Befouled spell

                          Nasnasi - second initiation Scelesti, whose Path has become corrupted by a Dur Abzu, inverting their Path symbols, turning their natural Summoning Gulmoth-wards and doing weird things to their Wisdom. Can cast Befouled improvised spells and write Befouled rotes. Technically rehabilitatable, but most Consilia won't bother, they'll just kill captured Nasnasi out of hand.

                          Dur Abzu - the abyssal "Paths", centered on antisymbols the Nasnasi call Ziggurats instead of Watchtowers.

                          Shedim / Autarch - third-initiation Scelesti, guilty of organizing and recruiting others of their kind. Beyond the point where good intentions and addiction can excuse the Scelestus' behaviour. Technically speaking, a Shedim has created a Scelestus Nameless Order while an Autarch has created a Scelestus Legacy, but it gets confusing and the Pentacle often treat them interchangeably.

                          Baalim - A Scelestus who has achieved control over Paradox itself, being able to shape and direct it. Usually gained by bargaining with the Other. The highest crime on the Pentacle's books.

                          Elder Diadem - the abilities of a Baalim

                          Acamoth - an abyssal entity formed from corruption in the astral realms

                          Gulmoth - an abyssal entity formed from corruption in the physical and adjacent worlds

                          Annunaki - an abyssal world/being

                          Qliphoth - a mage who has become hollowed-out into a walking gateway to an Annunaki

                          The Other / the Old Man - the Aeon (rank 7 Goetia) that represents Paradox in the Anima Mundi, and acts almost like the Annunaki's "ambassador" to the Fallen World. Bears a striking physical resemblence to Voormas, the metaplot villain of Mage: The Ascension.

                          Aswadim - archmasters who promote the Abyss as part of their intended direction for the Fallen World. Stand apart from the heirarchy in that they usually weren't Scelesti before becoming archmasters, and use the others as pawns. Meet using the Other's astral domain as neutral ground.


                          Dave Brookshaw

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                          • #14
                            In any case, the wordcount pressures and priorities for the corebook were such that we made the hard call - we couldmonly provide playable rules for one of the Pentacle's enemies, and in service to The Fallen World Chronicle (and efficiency, as they have the least special rules) we went for the Seers. If you're a storyteller, you don't *need* any of the rules for Joining we're working on - just to know that a Nasnasi can roll Gnosis and control how Paradox Reach is spent on released paradoxes. I guess the full rules with conditions for creating a Befouled Praxis or learning a Befouled rote (and therefore being a rabashakim) will be interesting for troupes wanting their pcs to play with fire, but part of me does wonder how many people would actually use systems for being a Baal.

                            Tremere, though, are an Order. A secretive, hated-by-the-others Order who were expelled from the Diamond in the middle ages for eating souls, but they're the point where the venn diagram bubbles of "Nameless Order", "Legacy," "Reaper" and "Lich" all meet. If they were Abyssal, too, they'd be all the Mage bad guys combined!


                            Dave Brookshaw

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                            • #15
                              Thanks! While I usually prefer plain English for stuff, dark magics are a special case as them being mysterious and preferably from a obscure dead language is kind of the part of the charm. This is super useful and should invite discomfort just from hearing these terms at the table.

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