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How does quiescence work in a society that believes in magic?

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  • How does quiescence work in a society that believes in magic?

    At first I thought that quiescence affected sleepers exclusively exposed to supernal magic, however the 2E book and some other source material such as Magical Traditions suggest that even sleeper or sleepwalker magic contains motes of the supernal, or that it is a fallen version of the supernal in a sense. According to the sourcebook, some mediums and fallen magic practitioners would be sleepwalkers. The other supernaturals would also be sleepwalkers.

    Which brings me to this question, how would quiescence work in a society where everyone believes in magic, even sleepwalker magic? For example, almost any society prior to the Renaissance, or even many more traditional societies today. Also I could see that in remote villages that still rely on traditional healers, if someone were to awaken, they potentially could practice in the open if they community accepts it. Maybe many spiritual traditions and religions were awakened trying to explain their enlightenment to their communities.

    EDIT: I should emphasize that these traditional practitioners who aren't awakened aren't just humans with wishful thinking, but could be low magic practitioners as in the Second Sight book.

    To be honest, the attitude of quiescence toward magic seems mostly a way that modern people sometimes respond to the supernatural, of course mostly those who are invested in a worldview that does not allow for magic, and not the person who chases the latest New Age fad. An alternate way it could manifest especially in people who do believe in the supernatural, would be more akin to lunacy or disquiet, with great fear and belief the mage is corrupted by an evil spirit.

    Yet it gets murky with the division between sleeper and sleepwalker. I could argue that long ago, sleepwalkers were the norm if belief in magic was the norm, or would it be?

    I am playing a mage who is into archeology and anthropology, she works at a natural history museum and routinely handles "sleeper magic" objects, so I thought that this question might be an interesting obsession for her.

    EDIT: I already know that belief isn't what divides a sleeper and a sleepwalker, but rather I am talking about exposure to the supernatural or even tiny fragments of the supernal.
    Last edited by GreenKitty; 01-26-2018, 07:58 PM.

  • #2
    The Sleeper/Sleepwalker divide is not the same as the believer/nonbeliever divide: there are many, many Sleepers who believe in magic. Sleepwalker status has nothing to do with belief, beyond the fact that it's hard to maintain disbelief when supporting evidence is all around you (which is why disbelieving Sleepwalkers are rare).
    Last edited by Dataweaver; 01-26-2018, 07:25 PM.


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    • #3
      Sleepwalker magic isn’t Supernal unless you’re specifically referring to the Blessings of Proximi.

      For an in depth answer to your question though you could read To The Strongest from Dark Eras which has Neolithic groups living with Mages who are publicly known. The short answer though is that the Mage is taken for granted as being able to work magic because their magic has results, but they have to practice their art in private.

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      • #4
        Such a culture may have more than their normal population of Sleepwalkers, but other than that, nothing special.

        The shard of the Abyss isn't excised by simply believing in Magic.

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        • #5
          Belief has nothing to do with it. Even in the Neolithic era, where the supernatural outright walked together with mortals and mages were venerated as the Wise men and women of the village, mages still had to work their more potent miracles away from Sleepers. And the demarcation of Sleeper and Sleepwalker stems from neither perspective nor belief, but whether one has (non-Supernal) been touched by the supernatural themselves, the minimim bar for the supernatural touch being “My mind doesn’t break from experiencing the Supernal/Abyssal.”

          Of course, this doesn’t stop in-universe mages from believing otherwise. Especially if they’re Free Council (who believe Culture is Magical) or Silver Ladder (who believe Magic is Humanity’s Birthright).


          MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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          • #6
            Yes, I do understand that belief isn't the division between sleeper and sleepwalker.

            I should have emphasized something, and that is if you are talking about communities with bona fide magic practitioners-witchdoctors, mediums, thaumaturges, miracle-workers, etc. that is, ones with "low magic" already going around, and one that works according to more "low magic" rules such as those found in Second Sight.

            Also, in Mirrors: Infinite Macabre, it suggests that a wide belief in magic and the weird can reduce paradox.

            And so how does a sleeper become a sleepwalker?
            Last edited by GreenKitty; 01-26-2018, 07:55 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by GreenKitty View Post
              Yes, I do understand that belief isn't the division between sleeper and sleepwalker.

              I should have emphasized something, and that is if you are talking about communities with bona fide magic practitioners-witchdoctors, mediums, thaumaturges, miracle-workers, etc. that is, ones with "low magic" already going around, and one that works according to more "low magic" rules such as those found in Second Sight.

              Also, in Mirrors: Infinite Macabre, it suggests that a wide belief in magic and the weird can reduce paradox.

              And so how does a sleeper become a sleepwalker?
              If the society is composed entirely of Sleepwalkers and Awakened, then no Quiescence. No Dissonance. An ambitious mage’s wet dream.

              EDIT: “Entirely” is the important word here. Just having a lot of non-Supernal sorcerers running around in a community will do nothing to alleviate the Sleeping Curse for Sleepers in the community, nor for outsider Sleepers visiting it. No Reality Zones here.

              The mention in Mirrors was made when Dissonance was still called Disbelief, so I highly doubt it being canon in 2E, much like how the “Arcadia Question” is now firmly answered with “No.” I’d consider it a relic of 1E... but I admit, the story hook potential in it remains too tantalizing to ignore.

              Out-of-game, just buy the Sleepwalker or Fitful Slumber Merit, a Supernatural Merit, or outright get a supernatural template like Wolf-Blooded or Vampire. In-universe, it involves internalizing supernatural power.
              Last edited by 21C Hermit; 01-26-2018, 08:08 PM.


              MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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              • #8
                21C Hermit , I guess that sort of is were some of my questions stem from is that lore differences exist in 1e and 2e, yet most of the material out there was done when it was 1e and some corebook lines are still in 1e. And yet, much of what addresses these ideas are in those supplement books. For example, the supplement book Magical Traditions shows a dialogue between a supposed sleepwalker and a mystagogue, wherein the mystagogue dismisses the sleepwalker's story and brushes it off, but the sleepwalker insists the power lies in the story.

                Another question though, and I guess this is something that depends on the ST a lot-is just how common low magic users were compared to wannabe magic practitioners out there back in the old days or in societies that still steep with belief in magic. Some people get the impression that even long ago, magic was something esoteric, especially something like the Lesser Key of Solomon. However I know that "traditional magic" was an everyday thing, such as Appalachian "Granny Magic" and Hoodoo, and still is in many parts of the world. I would assume that given the World of Darkness and how it is, that many of these practitioners would produce results and would tap into the supernatural due to the existence of spirits, ghosts, ESP, and well. that it exists.

                Or would they?
                Last edited by GreenKitty; 01-26-2018, 08:35 PM.

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                • #9
                  If a person had some form of hoodoo magic and used it to cure the sick they of course would not cause Dissonance, right? Right. Now let's even assume that this is a place where such 'hoodoo magic' was common and widely accepted. If an Awakened mage dressed up in all of the hoodoo trappings, went through all the hoodoo motions, healed the exact same sort of wound for the exact same person in the exact same circumstances but used Supernal magic instead, it would *still* trigger Dissonance in the person/people watching.

                  As for how common and believed magic and stuff was way back when and in some places even in modern day. Magic was essentially as accepted as true as science is today. It was a fact of life. How 'true' these instances of magic were/are is indeed going to be up to ST fiat though. It depends on the needs of the story.
                  Last edited by Ashenrogue; 01-26-2018, 08:47 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ashenrogue View Post
                    If a person had some form of hoodoo magic and used it to cure the sick they, of course, would not cause Dissonance. Let's even assume that this is a place where such 'hoodoo magic' was common and widely accepted. If an Awakened mage dressed up in all of the hoodoo trappings, went through all the hoodoo motions, healed the exact same sort of wound for the exact same person in the exact same circumstances but used Supernal magic, it would *still* trigger Dissonance in the person/people watching.
                    Only if they weren’t Sleepwalkers, which the practitioners of hoodoo (If it’s working for them) would be.

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                    • #11
                      The Free Council will be more open to ideas of magic originating from things that have nothing to do with the Supernal, while the Diamond (and the Seers) will insist on the contrary. That Sleepwalker practitioner who argued with the Mystagogue will find an ear willing to listen among the Libertines.

                      As you already suspect, it’ll be an ST call. IIRC, the 2E materials haven’t yet given us how common non-Supernal magic is supposed to be. We only know that Supernal magic is rare, and it doesn’t seem so only because we’re seeing things from the mages’ perspectives.

                      While “folk magic” practitioners can be indeed Sleepwalkers, it’s also entirely possible that a lot of those practices are actually just how the world in CoD functions, requiring no internal supernatural ability on part of those who exploit it. Like how anyone can do Abjurations, Exorcisms and the like.

                      For now the only impact of altering the degree of Sleepwalker presence in the world that I can think of is how much the Awakened are alienated from the world, which would set the mood of the game.


                      MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post

                        Only if they weren’t Sleepwalkers, which the practitioners of hoodoo (If it’s working for them) would be.
                        Of course, I'm assuming we're talking Sleepers if we're talking Dissonance. If the onlookers are sleepwalkers it's as fine and real to them as anything else.

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                        • #13
                          So what I gather from this is that mage sight is inherent to humanity and sleepers just aren't able to process the symbols they see due to the shard of the abyss within them? Or maybe just because of The Lie. Otherwise seeing magic in a way perfectly compatible to their worldview wouldn't affect them so traumatically.

                          Also, they've confirmed the two Arcadia's aren't the same? When was this?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dragonchild View Post
                            Also, they've confirmed the two Arcadia's aren't the same? When was this?
                            Several times.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dragonchild View Post
                              So what I gather from this is that mage sight is inherent to humanity and sleepers just aren't able to process the symbols they see due to the shard of the abyss within them? Or maybe just because of The Lie. Otherwise seeing magic in a way perfectly compatible to their worldview wouldn't affect them so traumatically.
                              No, Mage Sight isn’t inherent to humanity, it’s inherent to Mages.

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