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Low mage population cities and Consiliums

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  • Low mage population cities and Consiliums

    What’s a Consilium like if there’s just a couple of Cabals in a city?

    In my new game I’m setting it in a small city that really hasn’t had much in the way of Mysteries for a long time. The characters Awakened after the events of Nightmare at Hill Manor and the way I’m framing it everyone in the upper floors got taken to the Abyss and then when they returned are either Sleepwalkers or Awakened. So there is a Mystery that will attract new Mages but at the moment there’s probably barely anyone there because the last big Mystery was solved back in the 50’s.

    I imagine there’s some old timers there, but are there any old books or sources that would be good information sources for this? So far they’ve just met a Guardian of the Veil whose kinda watching out for them until they make it through their Awakenings but not sure where to go from there as far as the structure of the Mage Society.

  • #2
    Essentially, as many Mages as you feel is appropriate. Typically, I have a few Mages that are scouting or watching an area for potential Awakenings as I feel there would always be that vigilance going on. If the city has a lot of wealth you might add more Seer Mages than Pentacle since they enjoy power more than Pentacle Mages. Or, you might have Seers there because they can control a smaller city better than a large town. Mages don't always need a Mystery to be present, but it certainly helps. The city may not even have a Consilium, since Consiliums sometimes encompass entire regions if the Mage population is really low.


    "Teamwork makes the dream work!"

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    • #3
      Keep in mind that Consilia are not governments the way Vampire's Domains are. Consilia are, essentially, academia and their governance. Everyone has their own crap going on. They're chasing their own Mysteries and Obsessions. Young Mages are generalists, getting their feet wet, hungry to get access to any Mystery they can. Established Mages narrow their "diet", become specialists. Think of your Order as your Faculty in post-secondary education, and your Cabal as your cohort (I think I might actually like cohort better as a term for a group of Awakened, now that I think about it). It's all about who knows who, which prof (read: Adept or Master) is better for you and what you want to learn, the chain of favours flowing from teacher to student and back again.

      Joining a Legacy is like writing your Masters, in that it may take years of your life to finish and fully complete it, and you'll be doing a ton of other work in the meantime, which will (hopefully) be in your wheelhouse. Dedication to academia also seriously narrows your social circle. You might hate Merlin over there but given your overlapping Obsessions he's probably the only person you can compare notes with. Members of cabals might not even like each other, but they could have overlapping mystical interests that need looking after, and at the very least you can respect one another. Or crawl over them and steal their work. Whichever works out for you. Keep the phrase "publish or perish" in mind.

      You want to be relevant in Consilium politics? Do stuff. Make stuff. Unveil Mysteries. Accomplish feats of sorcery and cunning, hubris and wisdom, to make your peers jealous, to make them take notice, to have them court you for the opportunity to work with you, because having your name associated with their work will elevate their own reputation. Sure you could be teaching. Sure you could be going cautiously, examining Mysteries from every angle, producing quality work. But that's less prestigious. If you want political clout, if you want others to keep you in the loop on projects and offer you seats, keep your name on everyone's lips and watch the Impact Factor of what and to whom you distribute information. You can rest when you're unassailably tenured.


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      • #4
        You can also make a consilium take place over a district, with cabals or even individual mages representing single towns. This would make it more like a diffuse guild or a community college to Arcanists apt description.

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        • #5
          Many mages would have left for more supernaturally active cities. What happens when there is a homecoming? How much have they changed ? On a related note, can the Consilia even support and teach all these newly Awakened rookies ?

          Apart from those that left, those that remained would have strong roots planted, so in lieu of new Mysteries to explore, they would work on community projects or research. A master Mastigos could trade bags of holding for favors, the Moros would be making golems or learning how to make ushabti from the Underworld, the Thrysus could be busy making new animal species. Plants that grow like weeds and filter fresh water from sea water, goats whose milk contains spider threads, bugs that have a perfect nutritional value, etc. The Obrimos would probably be in charge of creating permanent Hallows, which is curious, because all those shockwaves on the ley lines should be birthing new Mysteries left and right. If they aren't, are the effects being hidden or redirected?

          Then there are also Order projects, developed on a greater scale yet hosted in the town due to its relative tranquility. Meaning specialists occasionally being sent over to aid with some complex parts and review boards sporadically showing up to assess the results. The Free Council could be using Fate magic to build a supercomputer that leverages the Infinite Monkey Theorem to uncover lore or lost grimmoires. The Arrows could be working on training (or creating) an elite unit with top tier equipment to take down the Seers and other supernatural threats, the results looking disturbingly similar to Judge Dredd. The Silver Ladder could be building astral citadels and expeditions to uncover lost bits of the Lex Magica or even understand the oldest ones. What does "The Exchequer of Immanent Verbs is forbidden from authorizing trade with the Topaz-Eyed Mummery" even mean ? Bored mages can get into a lot of shenanigans.
          Last edited by KaiserAfini; 01-03-2019, 08:19 AM.


          New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.


          The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists

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          • #6
            A Consilium with maybe a dozen Mages?
            There's a scene in the movie "Doc Hollywood" were the protagonist tracts down the city mayor and finds him having breakfast at a local café. At one point in the conversation the mayor says I'll have to run that by the city council, then he turns to the café at large and says "All in favor?", most of the other people also having breakfast say "Aye" and the mayor turns to the protagonist and happily announces that it passed.
            That is how I picture a Consilium with only a handful of Mages being, very personal (notice I didn't say personable, small groups are prone to feuds). Love or hate them everyone knows everyone else and meetings tend to be informal affairs more like that café scene then a board meeting.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 2ptTakrill View Post
              A Consilium with maybe a dozen Mages?
              There's a scene in the movie "Doc Hollywood" were the protagonist tracts down the city mayor and finds him having breakfast at a local café. At one point in the conversation the mayor says I'll have to run that by the city council, then he turns to the café at large and says "All in favor?", most of the other people also having breakfast say "Aye" and the mayor turns to the protagonist and happily announces that it passed.
              That is how I picture a Consilium with only a handful of Mages being, very personal (notice I didn't say personable, small groups are prone to feuds). Love or hate them everyone knows everyone else and meetings tend to be informal affairs more like that café scene then a board meeting.

              That's pretty good imagery. I wonder what the Cabal breakdown of something like that would look and or if there would be more Solitaries.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Therian View Post


                That's pretty good imagery. I wonder what the Cabal breakdown of something like that would look and or if there would be more Solitaries.
                If it's evengoing to have a Concillium, there's going to be two or three amall-ish cabals who interact on a regular basis, or a mix of solitaries and two-or-three member cabals. Otherwise you're going to have a single good size cabal whose leader declares themself Heirach on the grounds that their Cabal has a clear majority.

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                • #9
                  Something I've used in low density consilia is to have some cabals be more or less paper cabals. Powerful solitaries act as a bloc for political purposes, but otherwise don't actually work together. I had a cabal that was just two adepts and a master who went drinking occasionally.

                  Originally posted by Darth Fanboy View Post
                  Otherwise you're going to have a single good size cabal whose leader declares themself Heirach on the grounds that their Cabal has a clear majority.
                  In 1e that was a plot point in Boston Unveiled. Although dominating Boston, the Ebon Noose actually are based in the Salem Consilium, though it's suggested that they're probably the only mages in Salem.

                  As of 2e, I'm not sure that'd work as well. It appears that convocations have a lot more say in where consilia are positioned.


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                  • #10
                    I think you got a lot of good answers but I want to throw in my thoughts into the mix.
                    I eould chose one of four options:
                    • one: The city is part of an assemby.
                    • two: There is no concilium.
                    • three: The city is part of a greater area that boined together to form a concilium.
                    • four: There once was a lot more mages in the city with a large concilium, now the concilium is just the five councilors, perhaps the majority of the mages in the city is on the council. The need for a concilium is no longer there but they go through with it because they know that some day there will be a need for a concilium with strong foundation and long tradition.

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                    • #11
                      nevermind, misread the opening post
                      Last edited by Aiden; 01-05-2019, 09:58 PM.


                      Revlid wrote:
                      Yes, hollowing out your humanity to become an utterly utilitarian asura is the exact suggestion I would expect from you, Aiden.

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