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The Watchtower of the Iron Gauntlet

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  • The Watchtower of the Iron Gauntlet

    I've recently got into the second edition book of Mage: The Awakening and its sparse, barebones descriptions of certain things has gotten me checking out older, possibly still applicable stuff to flesh out my understand. I recently started reading into the Tome of the Watchtowers and all of the Watchtowers have brief, several-paragraph descriptors of what they look like and what might happen there. But I find that Pandemonium's watchtower is fairy vague. They give you a single paragraph of vague descriptions then spend the rest of the section rambling about philosophical views and nightshade.

    Searching the forums doesn't do much good, and the Wikis I find seem to be able to scrape together enough on the other watchtowers to cobble together a page for each. Not so for the Watchtower of the Iron Gauntlet. Are there any other good sources of information on the watchtowers? Or even written accounts of awakenings that might give a better idea of what interactions with the various watchtowers look like?
    Last edited by RobinCoyote; 06-04-2019, 01:38 PM.

  • #2
    Did you read the Awakening examples on page 62 of the 2e core?

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    • #3
      They don't really look consistent. They're the entities in the Supernal that awaken a person; they can basically look like anything you want assuming it fits into the symbolism of the realm. Tome of the Watchtowers is so early a book that a lot hadn't quite been settled yet. There are a lot of odd things in it that the series never revisited.

      Despite the sometime literal presentation, the use of 'watchtower' is probably a term borrowed from Hermetic magic referring to a type of angel/spirit.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
        Did you read the Awakening examples on page 62 of the 2e core?

        Thank you. I had heard there were examples of the awakenings in the book somewhere but I had missed them. Likely due to how much jumping around I've been doing.

        Originally posted by Michael View Post
        They don't really look consistent. They're the entities in the Supernal that awaken a person; they can basically look like anything you want assuming it fits into the symbolism of the realm.
        Makes sense I suppose, still, leaves me curious why the other watchtowers got something mostly coherent as far as examples went and this one was so vague. It's nice to have a baseline to look at.

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        • #5
          The upcoming (soon?) Signs of Sorcery is supposed to have a chapter expanding Awakenings.

          Finally, Chapter Six: Awakening is about just that; the great Mystery all mages have experienced. We look at the majority of Awakenings adding to the descriptions in the 2e core, then examine metamorphic Awakenings, those where the new Mage returns to a world that is not… Exactly… like the one they left. A lucky few return to the Fallen World bearing Artifacts, the most unfortunate come unstuck in space or time. We look at the lore surrounding Awakenings, how mages might observe and follow an Awakening in progress, attempts to trigger or discourage them, the terrible consequences for one gone wrong, and finish the book off with advice for Awakening existing Sleeper or Sleepwalker characters in play, rather than leave it in the prelude as in most chronicles.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by nofather View Post
            The upcoming (soon?) Signs of Sorcery is supposed to have a chapter expanding Awakenings.
            And I've been looking forwards to it! I've been lurking a while now and keeping tabs on it. I really love the magic of the system and can't wait to have something concrete and more expansive in hand.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by RobinCoyote View Post
              Makes sense I suppose, still, leaves me curious why the other watchtowers got something mostly coherent as far as examples went and this one was so vague.
              it's definitely an odd book. I gather each chapter had a different author and each seems to have had slightly different ideas about how to organise their stuff.

              It's nice to have a baseline to look at.
              You could get something like that from the different example characters. The commonality tended to be that perspective would be thrown off in some manner, like you'd be walking on a flat surface, only to suddenly find yourself walking up a vertical plane.


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              • #8
                There is a good presentation of an Awakening in the Guardians of the Veil book.

                The key themes to a Mastigos Awakening are Confrontation and Transgression. The Watchtower forces them to confront their guilt, failings, fears, the emotional clutter that weights them down. It always takes a pound of flesh to purify the mage's mind, then gives them the iron forged will to take charge of their vices. But this process is not very pleasant, a Mastigos Awakens "screaming from within".


                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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                • #9
                  Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
                  There is a good presentation of an Awakening in the Guardians of the Veil book.

                  The key themes to a Mastigos Awakening are Confrontation and Transgression. The Watchtower forces them to confront their guilt, failings, fears, the emotional clutter that weights them down. It always takes a pound of flesh to purify the mage's mind, then gives them the iron forged will to take charge of their vices. But this process is not very pleasant, a Mastigos Awakens "screaming from within".
                  Thiiis this this this

                  For all the peeps I've run for, the best part of our mostly short games (aside for one long 1 on 1 one still going) was the Awakenings and most peeps I've run wanted Mastigos Awakenings.

                  There are also drawings of the Watchtowers in the 1e book that might be fun for inspiration.

                  I characterize my Watchtowers based on a players preferences. I feel they should be dripping with symbols of the Arcana and Path, the towers themselves giving an idea of the flavor of the Mastigos by look, such as the Iron coming from a person's will and not physical matter which is weaker in Pandemonium, so my tower looked slightly ephemeral but still harsh and pointy.

                  For one of my players who played a fashionista I had her Awakening involve the tower's base made of mirrors and the interior full of eyes watching her, and at this time she's a goetia, as part of the Awakening involved Imps ripping her to shreds until only her Mind was left, leaving her scoured and free to go sign her name.

                  Theres a lot of fun to be had, and customization is encouraged. Honestly Mage had been stepping *away* from baseline experiences, especially anything that could be marginally religious in nature so that the game fits more people. As such you honestly barely need the Watchtowers. Even the "sign your name" on the Watchtower bit is outdated now.

                  BUT, I love some of the 1e fluff like the Watchtowers and the signing your name stuff. If you do too, then I'd go look at those drawings of the Watchtowers, and think about details that would capture the feeling of the Path like Kaiser suggested. Between the player and the ST, the Watchtower could be half you and half the other person, reflecting what the ST thinks its like but back-lit by the Awakening Mage's perspectives are on the Scouring. Philosophy turned architecture!

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                  • #10
                    "Philosophy turned architecture". I don't think I ever read a more concise explanation of an Awakening, that is exactly it. The philosophical Truths of the Supernal Realm distilled in a way that is directly applicable to the future mage.

                    But what are the messages of each Realm and the feel of each Awakening ? Here is my take on it:

                    Aether: You see the clockwork of the universe and how you may engineer ways to perfect each piece of existence while improving the whole. Obrimos Awakenings are glorious

                    Arcadia:: The endless possibilities lie scattered before you, wield the software of the universe and create paths undreamed of into the future. Acanthus Awakenings are wondrous

                    Pandemonium:: You are drawn into a gaol made from your own path and confront all the suffering prisoners trapped within it, including yourself. The only way out is to forge it back into shape. Mastigos Awakenings are harrowing

                    Primal Wilds: Everything breathes, grows and changes as the endless chorus of life marches on, you are ready to create your own symphony. Thrysus Awakenings are ecstatic

                    Stygia:: You are confronted with the serene transformations of existence and learn how to create your Ars Magna from them. Moros Awakenings are sobering

                    Lastly, the Iron Gauntlet is trying to teach something along these lines to the future mage:

                    "Watch your thoughts, they become your words;
                    watch your words, they become your actions;
                    watch your actions, they become your habits;
                    watch your habits, they become your character;
                    watch your character, it becomes your destiny."

                    Except it will not be nice about, it will be brutally honest to the mage, painfully so. After the mage is done reflecting, it holds up the mirror one last time and asks "what do you see now ?", and that is when they are ready to sign.
                    Last edited by KaiserAfini; 06-04-2019, 08:42 PM.


                    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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