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  • Noumenon

    There is a thread about archmasters that I am afraid to revive. So instead I will make this.

    Discuss what would make an interesting Noumenon and the consequences thereof.

    I will start us off. When reading about the Orders from the second edition I came across the Hubris that defines each. Suppose each Order was made wiser? Imagine an archmaster that teaches through scandel, controversy, challenge, and questions.

    It is simple enough to make the other Orders fed up with the arrogance of the Silver Ladder, but suppose the Invisible Master gave the Thearchs a chance to prove they would make great rulers over reality by offering a job in metaphysical bureaucracy? Designed to be laborious so the Thearchs would appreciate that nature takes care of itself, and to bring all the callous consequences on their heads for ignoring the needs of their ethereal subjects. If done right, it would leave the Ladder wary of commanding all reality.

    Perhaps the Free Council could learn that all reality creates and innovates the Supernal, undermining the the idea of humanity being special. The core principles would already be shaken by the year 2020.

    An Omen for each Order made to come to terms with their Hubris, for the Noumenon of the Pentacle made wiser. With enough persuasion even the Exemplars will accede.

  • #2
    The Noumenon's objective is to let the archmage Ascend, so the results must be, above all, important to the world they would wish to rule. In addition, changes must be made on 3 levels: Personal, Material and Supernal.

    So far you were stating objectives, a Noumenon is not an objective, its an underlying Truth. Drawing a parallel, if a Noumenon is a theorem, then Omens are the premises that, taken together, demonstrate that Truth.

    The Omens need to build upon themselves towards a key idea: only great men lead history (Prophet), everything can be bought (Chancellor), the king and the land are one (Merlin), war is cruel and dehumanizing (General), etc.

    You also need to account for the Lex Magicka, archmasters normally cannot overtly interfere with the Orders. Even if a personal Omen is exempt, admitting something is one is inviting interference.

    With all that in mind, I think you first need to distill the idea, in order to obtain a short sentence that expresses the Noumenon.
    Last edited by KaiserAfini; 10-31-2020, 11:37 AM.


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

    The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
    The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

    Comment


    • #3
      I basically know this already. I just think in terms of objectives and let the Noumenon be whatever results from putting these particular Omens together. I also know that the Pentacle and the Seers have the mutual understanding that they will annihilate the other, and that this is permissible by the Pax Arcanum so long as they can contain the conflict to a cold war. This hypothetical archmaster does not even announce his real objective and works through subtle politics, perhaps convincing the Exemplars too, so long as it gets the orders to stop rationalizing their Hubris.

      Please add a Noumenon though so we can discuss the story possibilities such as what Imperial menuvers will be waged and what realities may be created. This is why I made this thread.

      Comment


      • #4
        Goal: Needs to align her soul with transcendent joy, a trait she believes she's missed out on) to finally ascend.
        Approach: As such, she's seeking moments of as perfect a joy as she can find, and dallies about with astral and shadow creatures looking for flaws to refine out. She's also smoothing the pathway for her protegee to become an archmagus and, eventually, ascend, as well.
        Noumenon: A transcendent moment of pure joy from watching her beloved student Ascend.

        Goal: Purge all confusion and error from the mind to become a being of pure will and intellect in the Supernal Realm.
        Approach: Ascetic archmaster sought same. Enjoyed long walk s on the beach and extensive philosophical discourse on the nature of being. He excised all that cruft, by now, though. Excuse me. It excised all those distractions. It still has a body that houses its mind, which it must maintain, primarily using magic, anymore, but mostly, the mage wanders free, stashing this vestige inside his Golden Road for safe keeping and projecting out as a mind.
        Noumenon: Body transcends from physical to magical and mind purifies into a supernal ideal of will and thought.

        Goal: Become a literal supernal god with control over the souls of those who died in battles dedicated to him.
        Approach: Secure deep understanding of the relationship of spirits, actions, and ghosts, and learn see beyond mortal ken, at all costs.
        Noumenon: Use the fundamental symbols of death, harrowing, and rebirth to gain command over the world and souls.


        Grump, grouse, and/or gripe.

        Comment


        • #5
          Goal: redeem the Lower Depths.
          Approach: improvising. Possibly involving cosmic deals with the Aeons or targeting specific Annunaki for extermination. Likely to be arduous.
          Noumenon: all that exists is part of the supernal/the cosmos is one.

          I thought this thread would be more popular, but I will take what I can get.

          Comment


          • #6
            I think there are so few groups that actually play Archmage games, potential Noumenons are not really a concern many people worry about, so they have neither stories from their own games nor potential hooks they have thought about. Noumenons are also of such a transcendent scale that basically nothing is off the table as to what you can achieve with them, which makes it difficult because it could be almost anything, there are very few limits within which to work.


            Politeness is the lubricant of social intercourse.

            Comment


            • #7
              But once established the parameters can focus the infinite possibilities to strategy and playability. Maybe that is just me being hopelessly optimistic.

              Comment


              • #8
                Here is my current idea. It defines the Noumenon as an archetype focused on the Truth of positive Wisdom, expressing it in one key phrase. It frames it as a way for the Archmage to Ascend by proving this Truth. Per the guidelines of Imperial Mysteries, it divides the Omens into Personal, Earthly and Celestial.

                Some time ago I wrote a Legacy based on Wisdom, these were created thinking what someone like that would do to Ascend. While the Omens are not the most insane things, they qualify for enough Omen dots and I think they stick to an overarching theme of building the foundations to make mages Wiser in general. Anyway, without further ado, here is what I currently have:

                Noumenon: The Flying Sage (a reference to the symbolism of Hermes in the Greek Paideia and to these type of sages in The Twelve Kingdoms)
                Idea: Wisdom leads to positive improvement of the self and the world
                Description Phrase: Elevate the mind while keeping your feet planted on the ground and all will be well

                Omens

                Personal: The Three Severings (inspired by the ones for Meng Hao from I Shall Seal the Heavens)
                Description phrase: "Your Noumenon is the Dao which you seek to achieve, to do so you must sever the parts of your personal Dao that block you on this road" (reference to the Spirit Severing level in I Shall Seal The Heavens, the Hanged Man and other seemingly paradoxical fonts of wisdom)
                Sealing the Omen: You must use Excision to sever 3 things from yourself:

                Perfection
                Description: "Perfection is the far off end of the road, but it is an end. Sever it from your path and you can go beyond it, your road of self growth extending outward towards infinity"
                Severing: Use Life and Mind to sever the limits of Pattern Restoration.
                Effect: Allows one to scour physical and mental attributes as many times as needed per day (provided they don't fall below 1) . It also allows you to treat resistant and aggravated damage as lethal for purposes of healing and Pattern Restoration, restoring any limbs lost when the damage is healed (aka going beyond the perfection of Master levels of Life and Improved Pattern Restoration).

                The Devil
                Description: "One cannot have a great capacity for good without an equal capacity for evil. Do not fear your own humanity or try to defeat yourself, face these impulses and choose"
                Severing: The caster goes on a journey to make amends for past Acts of Hubris, endeavoring to raise Wisdom to 10. Once achieved, they enter their Oneiros and summon the manifestation of their past hubris and apathy using Mind, defeating it (even in a Social battle) completes the Quintessence to sever it and gain an 11th dot of Wisdom (both gain the dot and push back the dot limit).
                Effect: It does not remove one's Vice (that would be Unwise). Rather it gives rote property to any act (mundane or magical) done in service to one's Virtue and strips any dice trick (mundane or magical) made in service to one's Vice. This is in addition to any mechanics relative to reaching 11 Wisdom and is not tied to its loss (its more like a predisposition to act Wisely).

                The Fetters
                Description: "Seek the path of Freedom and Independence, without foregoing the connections that make you who you are"
                Severing: Use Fate to sever the karmic threads related to the Ruin on oneself. This is probably a very good reason for them to seek out the Ring of the Dethroned Queen or the rote learned from it, as a baseline to understand the Quintessence.
                Effect: The mage can use an action to roll Gnosis + Fate to break free of any binding, be they mundane or supernatural (similar to a broader version of a Werewolf's Unchained Gift), provoking a Clash of Wills for a magical one. When they die, they reincarnate as themselves, retaining their memories and Awakened power, growing back into their full stats over the years.

                Earthly: The North Star Sect (symbolizing Dhruva in Hinduism, Polaris as a guiding star to sailors, the Purple Star in China, the association of purple with good omens and sages in Daoism and Wisdom as a constant guiding light in general)
                Description phrase: "Wisdom is cultivated by hard work, but tempered by experience and maturity"
                Sealing the Omen: Create a Wisdom focused Legacy and build up its resources to be on par with an Order Archive.
                Effect: Anyone with Status in it (Sleepwalkers included) can requisition resources. Dots can go up to 5 (same as an Order), has specialties (determined at time of creation), suffer the standard availability penalty (+1 rather than the typical +3) and can be built up via a Legacy Archive merit.

                Celestial: The House of Wisdom (a deliberate reference to the center in Baghdad responsible for a lot of our modern knowledge of science and philosophy, elements of Constantine's House of Mystery and the Sanctum Sanctorum from Dr Strange's Way of the Weird story could also serve as sources of inspiration)
                Description phrase: "A better way will always be made available to those who need it most"
                Sealing the Omen: Create a peregrine Verge / Emanation that appears to those that need it most, offering a Wise solution that shatters tyranny or providing insight back to the path of Wisdom and self improvement (although remember that what you Need may not be the same as what you Want)
                Last edited by KaiserAfini; 11-17-2020, 11:28 PM.


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

                The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
                The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Since there is a distinction between granting yourself a new capacity and removing something from yourself, I am not convinced that what you put here works. That is not my main gripe though. I have been contemplating how to change the rules for second edition with regards to imperial masters.

                  Maybe I should get to that sometime next month or year.

                  In the mean time:

                  Goal: heal or erase all kinds of Mages defined by the death or stillbirth of Wisdom.
                  Approach: perhaps found a Nameless Order dedicated to wiping out the Rapt, Harrowed, and Nasnoi. Maybe use archmastery to make a talisman able to strip Gnosis from the target so the Act of Imperium will create a world where those who lose all Wisdom forfeit their Gnosis and Path. Maybe invest in treatment for the Harrowed.
                  Noumenon: only the Wise may use magic.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Technically its a mix of Entities and Excision, but I merely mentioned the most thematically prevalent practice. In part it works with the idea that cutting away something from the Pattern increases the power of its abscence. If a character would remove the ability of light to be around him, the area would be not only supernaturally dark, but actively deny any light to enter it by either mundane or magical means (save for another Imperial spell).

                    The symbolism also plays with the idea of removing distractions from enlightenment, like pruning a bonsai tree. Another analogue is to create a hormê that directs one towards Wise actions in general or katorthōmata when needed.

                    Regarding archmages, Dave mentioned they stand in a weird place in 2ed. They have enough content that there wasn't enough space for their own in depth section in the core book, but too little for their own dedicated book. I think going over Imperial Mysteries is a good place to start, then cross referencing with some of the updated mechanics from Signs of Sorcery. Spell factors and Arcane XP costs will probably be the biggest challenges, but I expect a lot should carry over well enough.

                    In the topic of "only the Wise may use magic", one big problem is that Silver Ladder philosophies denounce Wisdom as part of the Lie. So any Ladder Exemplars and their mage agents would have more of an inclination to oppose it. Seers as well, since becoming Rapt is all too easy in their line of work. Guardian ones would wholeheartedly support it, creating a tangled political and strategic game between the Invisible Masters.
                    Last edited by KaiserAfini; 11-18-2020, 10:33 AM.


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

                    The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
                    The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
                      Technically its a mix of Entities and Excision, but I merely mentioned the most thematically prevalent practice. In part it works with the idea that cutting away something from the Pattern increases the power of its abscence. If a character would remove the ability of light to be around him, the area would be not only supernaturally dark, but actively deny any light to enter it by either mundane or magical means (save for another Imperial spell).

                      The symbolism also plays with the idea of removing distractions from enlightenment, like pruning a bonsai tree. Another analogue is to create a hormê that directs one towards Wise actions in general or katorthōmata when needed.

                      Regarding archmages, Dave mentioned they stand in a weird place in 2ed. They have enough content that there wasn't enough space for their own in depth section in the core book, but too little for their own dedicated book. I think going over Imperial Mysteries is a good place to start, then cross referencing with some of the updated mechanics from Signs of Sorcery. Spell factors and Arcane XP costs will probably be the biggest challenges, but I expect a lot should carry over well enough.

                      In the topic of "only the Wise may use magic", one big problem is that Silver Ladder philosophies denounce Wisdom as part of the Lie. So any Ladder Exemplars and their mage agents would have more of an inclination to oppose it. Seers as well, since becoming Rapt is all too easy in their line of work. Guardian ones would wholeheartedly support it, creating a tangled political and strategic game between the Invisible Masters.

                      With opposition, drama. With drama, stories. With stories, a tabletop game worth playing.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I know, I was just citing where that conflict could come from, brainstorming what kind of shapes it could take.


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

                        The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
                        The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Calling the ability to sidestep or resist aponoia ontological inertia, what if the Archmage decided in his Noumenon to grant this quality to the whole universe? Make the universe able to retain its identity despite the changes of Imperium?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Excess View Post
                            Calling the ability to sidestep or resist aponoia ontological inertia, what if the Archmage decided in his Noumenon to grant this quality to the whole universe? Make the universe able to retain its identity despite the changes of Imperium?
                            That sounds like a good way to anger the Exarchs and have to spend a lot of your timeline preventing them from ruining your spell, including using imperial magic and Time tetrachs from preventing it. And that's not even considering if any other ententes dislike the idea (Time siddhi for example). While it's certainly possible, it'd be a sure fire way to put a big bullseye on your head. Ironically, by eliminating the side effects of imperial magic, nobody knows what the side effects of that would be. Would there suddenly be a thousand Atlanti, each without diminished power? Would the careful balance of the Arcana fall apart? Would removing aponoia make ascension or even awakening impossible?

                            Either way, expect a visit from the Ruin and the Prophet, at least the majority of the Siddhi, a few supernal gods, the Judges of Duat, and God knows what else.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cleverest of Things View Post

                              That sounds like a good way to anger the Exarchs and have to spend a lot of your timeline preventing them from ruining your spell, including using imperial magic and Time tetrachs from preventing it. And that's not even considering if any other ententes dislike the idea (Time siddhi for example). While it's certainly possible, it'd be a sure fire way to put a big bullseye on your head. Ironically, by eliminating the side effects of imperial magic, nobody knows what the side effects of that would be. Would there suddenly be a thousand Atlanti, each without diminished power? Would the careful balance of the Arcana fall apart? Would removing aponoia make ascension or even awakening impossible?

                              Either way, expect a visit from the Ruin and the Prophet, at least the majority of the Siddhi, a few supernal gods, the Judges of Duat, and God knows what else.
                              To be clear: Acts of Imperium would still happen, the fallout would just be less severe.

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