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Theory on Ascended Beings

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  • Theory on Ascended Beings

    Hello all, I had an idea whilst pondering the nature of the Supernal. Ascend beings are themselves supernal symbols. As such, they are eternal and uneditable like all supernal symbols through any process save imperial rights or an ascension (in which case an ascending being can become a perturbation of an existing symbol). In this context, ascended beings have no agency. They cannot affect reality, they are reality. This is why the Exarchs need the seers, because seer archmages can perform imperium rights to edit the exarchs as they want. Also, with their ascension, they become part of them creating a new facet on their supernal symbols. All the ascended seers make up the new details of them like a digit of pi is a part of the whole.

    Ascended beings can send ochema to the fallen, but ochema cannot perform imperium rights, nor ascend. Thus they cannot change the supernal.

    A wise archmage could realize this and actually avoid ascending to retain their near-godhood and their autonomy (sort of a best of both worlds).

  • #2
    I think that being inexorably drawn to Ascension is a necessary trait for a mage who manages to build a Golden Road to achieve archmastery.

    The fact that ascended mages do send ochemata to carry out their will in the Fallen World demonstrates that they continue to have agency, agendas, and passions.

    The supernal symbol of an ascended mage encompasses her complete body, mind, and soul, including her capacity for growth and change.

    I don't believe that it's explicitly stated, but based on how ochemata are described in Imperial Mysteries I believe that they trigger Dissonance and take lethal damage from being observed by Sleepers. For the Exarchs, the Abyss is a double-edged sword: it poses a potent obstacle to any mages would seek to rival them, but it also limits the Exarchs from taking a more direct hand in ruling and defending Sleepers in the Fallen World.

    EDIT: Also, Ascended archmasters continue rivalries with one another, and the only thing clearly more powerful than an ascended archmaster is two ascended archmasters. This is the crux of the Ascension War. The Exarchs continue to want ascended Seers to bolster their strength-in-numbers. It's not that all these ascended mages are rendered inert, it's that they're all deadlocked in perpetual struggle. Every new ascension tips the balance a bit one way or another. As Above, So Below -- the politics and conflict don't end once a mage ascends, and even her godlike individual power to edit the Supernal just makes her a peer with a large number of other ascended mages pursuing their own visions for reality.

    EDIT 2: Ah, actually the core rulebook does state:

    Ochemata are Supernal entities formed of the Exarch’s symbols, god-like in power
    As supernal entities, they take damage just by being in the Fallen World (which is exacerbated by being around Sleepers). So as long as the Abyss remains open, the Exarchs need Fallen World natives to carry out their agendas there.
    Last edited by galivet; 11-16-2020, 10:54 AM.

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    • #3
      Hello, I appreciate the response. I know there are no official rules for playing with ascended characters. Does anyone know of a good homebrew system?

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      • #4
        You wouldn't want to use CofD to play an ascended game. You'd probably want something more like chuubos/glitch/nobilis.


        Genius templates: Super Science Mini-Template for Demon: the Descent

        Oracle the Endbringers: Time-Manipulator Fan-Splat

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        • #5
          Originally posted by galivet View Post
          As supernal entities, they take damage just by being in the Fallen World (which is exacerbated by being around Sleepers). So as long as the Abyss remains open, the Exarchs need Fallen World natives to carry out their agendas there.
          Actually, they don't. Per the full Ochemata rules in Signs of Sorcery

          Ochemata do not lose Corpus over
          time as Supernal entities do and are not linked to a summoning
          circle.


          Dave Brookshaw

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          • #6
            Fascinating. Thanks for explaining. This highlights one of the key differences between M:tAs and M:tAw (the role of Ascension).

            Scarlet Witch what do you think?


            “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her.

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            • #7
              It used to be a truism that Mage: The Ascension spent a lot of time on Awakenings and barely ever talked about Ascensions, while Awakening did the reverse. Which Signs of Sorcery's Awakenings chapter then corrected.

              Anyways.

              Ascended beings can totally change the Supernal, or at least nMage's metaphysics assume they can - the Fallen universe is constantly changing, but as Supernal changes are retroactive and everyone not Ascended is inside the universe being changed, no one notices. It's the good old "the universe was created fully formed yesterday, including all your memories" thought experiment.


              Dave Brookshaw

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Dave Brookshaw View Post
                Ascended beings can totally change the Supernal, or at least nMage's metaphysics assume they can - the Fallen universe is constantly changing, but as Supernal changes are retroactive and everyone not Ascended is inside the universe being changed, no one notices. It's the good old "the universe was created fully formed yesterday, including all your memories" thought experiment.
                What happens if an Ascended entity drops the ball and the world is changed to the point that everything about them no longer fits? Would they just struggle behind the scenes to bring back what was lost? Or be excised along with their purview?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by nofather View Post

                  What happens if an Ascended entity drops the ball and the world is changed to the point that everything about them no longer fits? Would they just struggle behind the scenes to bring back what was lost? Or be excised along with their purview?
                  Ascended beings embody and act upon themselves. I'm not even sure it's possible for, say, the General to eliminate tyranny through violence, accidentally or otherwise.

                  It more likely would need other entities ascending with the goal of removing another for that to happen, and depending on the Ascended in question might even need multiple such cases.


                  Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                  The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
                  Feminine pronouns, please.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nofather View Post

                    What happens if an Ascended entity drops the ball and the world is changed to the point that everything about them no longer fits? Would they just struggle behind the scenes to bring back what was lost? Or be excised along with their purview?
                    This is the Ascension War. This is why the Exarchs continue to act in the Fallen World.

                    The change to the world would have to come from without, though. I don't believe it's possible that a being's own ascension should change the world into such a context that the newly ascended symbol-being is untrue and negated from existence. The process may introduce contradictions which invite the Abyss and damage the world, but not such thorough contradictions that the noumenon is undone.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Stupid Loserman View Post
                      The change to the world would have to come from without, though.
                      That is what I was asking about.

                      I was thinking of something like Atlantis or its people, except a region or creature where all traces of it have been wiped from existence, not even leaving scattered ruins to be found. The Ascended dropped the ball and wasn't safeguarding or protecting its asset, and now all trace of it has been wiped from Earth and the only proof it ever existed was some Ascended being that failed at making sure it did. What happens to them?

                      An extreme example would be 'comet strikes the Earth and wipes out all life and capability of life, what do the Exarchs do without anyone to be a tyrant and anyone to tyrannize' but I'm more curious about examples with people still around to manipulate.
                      Last edited by nofather; 12-10-2020, 02:19 PM.

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                      • #12
                        As below, so above. Without humans, the Supernal would be cut off from the world and the symbols would lose meaning/power until some other kind of living being resonated with the Supernal enough to rediscover them. If that makes you think of the dragons of Atlantis, its because its exactly what I am referencing. Were the dinosaurs truly wiped out by a meteor or was that Aponeia of much greater acts of Imperium ?

                        Ultimately Ascended beings are limited by being in the Supernal. They cannot manifest their full might in the Material or even enter it fully. But with certain resonant areas they can. The more their symbols are significant, the more followers advocate them, the more people study and innovate upon them, the more their Mysteries and Artifacts spread, the easier it becomes. Ochemata are powerful, but cults and institutions are where the real power comes from.

                        So ultimately they are constrained by these limits and the Pax Arcana, an agreement not to turn their full might around. If a 6 dot Imperial Rite can have devastating effects on the world, the beings that are a step beyond can easily shatter the reality they all depend upon with even the most minor degrees of escalation. Its all about pushing their Symbol's portfolio while undermining their rivals. That is why milo's suggestion to use Nobilis as a way to model this is brilliant, because its exactly the kind of problems those characters face.

                        On the subject of acting against other beings, ideally they would want to stop the problem early. But should the Ascendent hopeful survive and remember to hide his moves of Imperium from notice, then the only solution left is to make a counter rite, which will be a monolithic undertaking by the Ascended being and their agents. Otherwise, since their rival's symbols are True and the Lustrum is locked tight in the Supernal, it cannot be fully wiped out. If they try, it will end up like Atlantis or Camelot, a high Opacity Mystery that survives as a legend, very powerful and significant. The Truth remains hidden behind scattered and sometimes paradoxical (or Paradoxical) pieces of the puzzle.


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

                        The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists
                        The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
                          The more their symbols are significant, the more followers advocate them, the more people study and innovate upon them, the more their Mysteries and Artifacts spread, the easier it becomes. Ochemata are powerful, but cults and institutions are where the real power comes frome
                          In imperial mysteries it claims that supernal entities do not require worship or even people knowing about them. (It was talking about ascending fallen Gods, but I assume that extends to all ascended beings)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Letalis View Post

                            In imperial mysteries it claims that supernal entities do not require worship or even people knowing about them. (It was talking about ascending fallen Gods, but I assume that extends to all ascended beings)
                            I didn't mean to imply they need worship. Let me try to draw a different parallel: movies.

                            Once movies were invented, they had a Supernal symbol and were an objective Truth. But the more people made movies, the more the meaning of that symbol expanded. Every touching script, every clever practical effect, every high end 3D effect, every camera trick and touching music score expand what they mean. When colored movies were created, it expanded them from always being monochromatic. Same goes for them evolving from silent to having sound. The more people iterate on the symbolism, the more its domain grows. The value of organizations is to willingly do so for the Ascended beings.

                            The reason for the Ascended being of movies having an easier time manifesting in Hollywood is because it has greater sympathy with it, therefore the distance from its Supernal domain is "closer"

                            In summary, they exist as self sustaining, but the reason to seek greater perch in the Fallen is to expand what their symbolism means.


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

                            The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists
                            The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate

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