Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

2 Fluff based mage questions: Can "Anyone" Awaken? and What is an Imago in narrative?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 2 Fluff based mage questions: Can "Anyone" Awaken? and What is an Imago in narrative?

    Hello,

    I have two general questions, and one of them I tried to ask before but I did a horrible job with my wording so I am going to try and reword my question.

    1st question comes from a section of Signs of Sorcery on page 130 in the section "The Intercession of a Watchtower"

    "Inquisitive people confront the Lie in their tens of thousands every day and come off failures, dead, or suffering Quiescence without so much as a ripple in the Supernal World. If they survive, they might do so repeatedly, never achieving the third Pillar. No matter how much a mage manipulates a Prospect’s life, she can’t force an Awakening.

    It isn’t up to her. Not entirely.

    As an external force the Awakened have no control over, the Watchtowers represent the hard limit on their population, so mages have obsessed over what criteria the Watchtowers use for choosing candidates since the first Nameless Orders realized their existence. Countless mages have experimented with means of attracting a Watchtower’s attention onto a person, without success
    In essence this states two things, the first is that mages cannot affect another's awakening (excluding the Archmasters, Aeons, and Ochemata) which makes sense to me because awakening is such a personal thing. The part that I have trouble with is the idea that the watchtowers seem to be sentient and actively choosing individuals though the text states almost immediately after that their is no set criteria or theme that relates the watchtower and the mage. Does this mean that the watchtowers can actively rejecting individuals who are confronting the Lie? The idea that anyone can awaken is presented at the start of 2e but it seems that the watchtowers can dictate who does and doesn't awaken potentially limiting the mages that exist. In this case why would the Watchtowers not actively bring in as many mages as they could to try and work to defeat the Exarchs/Abyss? And if watchtowers are such powerful godlike symbols why would mages still fail their awakening if a watchtower is choosing them to entering the Adyton? Or are the watchtowers impartial and I am misunderstanding?

    2nd question comes from both the 2e Core Book and Signs of sorcery

    From the Core Book on page 66

    A mage casts spells by virtue of her Path — a massive, theoretically near-infinite set of magical symbols she can sense and understand. To cast a spell, she imagines the effect she desires, focuses her mind on the symbols of her Path that will create that effect (the Imago), and through the medium of her Gnosis makes the world obey. Magical properties that were only theoretical override what’s “real,” and the universe change
    From the Core Book on page 111

    The mage imagines each part of the spell in her mind before she casts it, envisioning the Imago of the spell. The Imago is the mental representation of the end result of the spell including all its effects and factors. Without the Imago, the mage is incapable of fully envisioning what she wants to impart into the world, her will incapable of imprinting the truth without a defined Pattern.
    And from the Core Book on page 84

    Gnosis is the power and understanding that drives Awakened magic. It’s not magic, per se, but it’s necessary to create, to drive, and to foster magic. Gunpowder is not a gun, after all, but it is necessary to use a gun successfully. Gnosis is largely a subconscious awareness. It’s your character’s ability to take a mental leap beyond what others can; she can connect dots others cannot even see. She understands the universe intuitively, and can see the threads she must pull to enact meaningful change. For her, the question is never how to make change, but instead whether she’s able and willing to do what is necessary.
    So when a mage is casting a spell they are using the Imago to picture the end results of the spell. So if I want my mage to cast a fire ball them my mage focuses on the image of fire shooting from their hands in the fallen world? Or are they thinking of the supernal symbols for fire and whatever associated symbols are needed, and then they come together to create a fireball in Mundane reality? Is them Imago then akin to mage sight within the mages head? When I describe my character spellcasting should the imago be them picturing the end result of the spell and that's it? Or am I correct that the Imago is this idea of how spellcasting is flavored by their path and mental image of the supernal?

  • #2
    The Watchtowers are deliberately a great setting mystery. The difficulty encountered by mages' long history of trying to trace and predict the patterns of Awakenings suggests that if the Watchtowers discriminate in their selections, it is not in any way from which a clear bias can be distinguished. It is suggested that in the Time Before, the lost history mages call Atlantis, anyone could awaken by their own power. In the existing history of the world, the prospective mage's will and wisdom is still necessary to achieve Awakening, but an additional impetus seems required to bridge the Abyss, in the form of the call of the Watchtowers.

    I'd suggest that prospects can fail the Awakening for potentially the same reason that those forcibly Awakened by works of archmastery go mad. The Watchtowers call, but do not force, because the human soul breaks under the stress of an artificial Awakening without the spiritual preparation of a successful Adyton. The frequency of failed Awakenings could be read to suggest inhuman, alien directives behind the gaze of the Watchtowers. It could also be read to suggest that the Watchtowers are indeed lenient and welcoming, inviting prospects to attempt the Adyton without assumptions of who is more likely to surmount it.

    "Mage sight within the mage's head" is a good way of describing the Imago, I think. If the symbols of the Arcana can be thought of as a sort of supernal mathematics to describe and predict phenomena, then to form an Imago is to sketch out a plan and blueprint using those mathematics to extrapolate the spiritual, symbolic image that would incarnate into the Phenomenal World as the desired effect.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Brassfist View Post
      So when a mage is casting a spell they are using the Imago to picture the end results of the spell. So if I want my mage to cast a fire ball them my mage focuses on the image of fire shooting from their hands in the fallen world? Or are they thinking of the supernal symbols for fire and whatever associated symbols are needed, and then they come together to create a fireball in Mundane reality? Is them Imago then akin to mage sight within the mages head? When I describe my character spellcasting should the imago be them picturing the end result of the spell and that's it? Or am I correct that the Imago is this idea of how spellcasting is flavored by their path and mental image of the supernal?
      I'll use a slightly different example. A mage wants to start a fire, and imagines the ambient thermal energy concentrating itself briefly at a single point. Then that mage reaches to the Supernal and imposes the relevant symbols upon the world, and the imago becomes a momentary reality. Gnosis mainly measures your "closeness" to the Supernal, your Arcana your familiarity with particular sets of symbols.
      Last edited by LadyLens; 01-13-2021, 07:34 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        By default, the Watchtowers have to help. However, nothing is stopping you from introducing an alternative, "forced Awakening" mechanism, whereby a would-be sorcerer does some awful, soul-destroying, spine-tingling horror magic transgression to "claim" the right to walk a Path. Presumably this always has awful consequences and never goes well, because it's the Chronicles of Darkness.

        For example, you could say that most of the Awakened were chosen by the Watchtowers, except for a secretive cult of mages who used the Rite of Hecate to steal the awakening from another mage, having carved out their heart, eaten their brains, changed the expiration dates on their yogurt so it's all gross when they try to stir them up, etc.

        Comment


        • #5


          Originally posted by LadyLens View Post
          I'll use a slightly different example. A mage wants to start a fire, and imagines the ambient thermal energy concentrating itself briefly at a single point. Then that mage reaches to the Supernal and imposes the relevant symbols upon the world, and the imago becomes a momentary reality. Gnosis mainly measures your "closeness" to the Supernal, your Arcana your familiarity with particular sets of symbols.
          So this makes sense to me, and when you say " reaches to the Supernal and imposes the relevant symbols upon the world" this is different for every mage in how they interpret it because all mages have slightly different interpretations of the supernal according to signs of sorcery, so all mages would pull on the same symbols but they would interpret/visualize them differently right?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Stupid Loserman View Post
            The Watchtowers are deliberately a great setting mystery. The difficulty encountered by mages' long history of trying to trace and predict the patterns of Awakenings suggests that if the Watchtowers discriminate in their selections, it is not in any way from which a clear bias can be distinguished. It is suggested that in the Time Before, the lost history mages call Atlantis, anyone could awaken by their own power. In the existing history of the world, the prospective mage's will and wisdom is still necessary to achieve Awakening, but an additional impetus seems required to bridge the Abyss, in the form of the call of the Watchtowers.

            I'd suggest that prospects can fail the Awakening for potentially the same reason that those forcibly Awakened by works of archmastery go mad. The Watchtowers call, but do not force, because the human soul breaks under the stress of an artificial Awakening without the spiritual preparation of a successful Adyton. The frequency of failed Awakenings could be read to suggest inhuman, alien directives behind the gaze of the Watchtowers. It could also be read to suggest that the Watchtowers are indeed lenient and welcoming, inviting prospects to attempt the Adyton without assumptions of who is more likely to surmount it.
            So because there is not a good metric for how often failed awakenings occur or how often people in the Chronicles of Darkness actually confront the Lie. We have no real way of measuring the watchtower's leniency/frequency/interference with the un-awakened population as far as I am aware. I suppose this is up to storyteller discretion? Just like the number of awakened a storyteller includes in the setting?

            Comment


            • #7
              There's a multi-stage filter going on

              There's people who have the right mindset to be a mage, a tiny proportion of whom confront the Lie. A tiny proportion of those get selected by a Watchtower, and a tiny proportion of *those* Awaken.

              The means by which the Watchtowers pick which human beings having a crisis of Integrity to form the Adyton in is what mages don't understand. It's clearly not "will pass the tests" because most people don't. It might be "*could* pass the tests without breaking", which is why when Archmasters force the Watchtower to admit someone it doesn't want to they usually break.

              It might be that the person has something about them that calls to the Watchtower's Path; mages continually debate whether the stereotypes of the Paths are nature (only Acanthus-y people get picked by Lunargent Thorn) or nurture (having the powers that being an Acanthus gives you makes people Acanthus-y). And suspect the answer's "both".

              It doesn't appear to be influenced by numbers - the Watchtowers don't have a quota and don't seem to need to "recharge" between Awakenings, as the number of Awakenings per year since the Diamond starting trying to record it is actually increasing, and the specific weirdness that results when a Watchtower Awakens two people simultaneously was theoretical until the last century or so and has been happening more and more. But even then, the Awakening rate has not increased as exponentially as the human population, so while there's more *mages* than there were in the middle ages, there's a fuckton more Sleepers, and the Sleeper:Mage ratio has gone *down* while the Awakened population has gone *up*.

              As Signs says, ultimately Awakenings rely on the action of a Supernal Realm/Entity that mages only really understand by their actions. Even Archmasters who can actually travel to the Watchtowers and examine them perceive them as being part of a larger entity that remains mysterious. Whatever criteria they use are impossible to ascertain. The Awakened community have been unable to determine a pattern beyond "should be sufficiently obsessed and in a crisis with the Lie" despite thousands of years of trying.



              Dave Brookshaw

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Brassfist View Post
                So this makes sense to me, and when you say "reaches to the Supernal and imposes the relevant symbols upon the world" this is different for every mage in how they interpret it because all mages have slightly different interpretations of the supernal according to signs of sorcery, so all mages would pull on the same symbols but they would interpret/visualize them differently right?
                That is my understanding, yes.
                Last edited by LadyLens; 01-16-2021, 11:38 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dave Brookshaw View Post
                  There's a multi-stage filter going on

                  There's people who have the right mindset to be a mage, a tiny proportion of whom confront the Lie. A tiny proportion of those get selected by a Watchtower, and a tiny proportion of *those* Awaken.

                  The means by which the Watchtowers pick which human beings having a crisis of Integrity to form the Adyton in is what mages don't understand. It's clearly not "will pass the tests" because most people don't. It might be "*could* pass the tests without breaking", which is why when Archmasters force the Watchtower to admit someone it doesn't want to they usually break.

                  It might be that the person has something about them that calls to the Watchtower's Path; mages continually debate whether the stereotypes of the Paths are nature (only Acanthus-y people get picked by Lunargent Thorn) or nurture (having the powers that being an Acanthus gives you makes people Acanthus-y). And suspect the answer's "both".

                  It doesn't appear to be influenced by numbers - the Watchtowers don't have a quota and don't seem to need to "recharge" between Awakenings, as the number of Awakenings per year since the Diamond starting trying to record it is actually increasing, and the specific weirdness that results when a Watchtower Awakens two people simultaneously was theoretical until the last century or so and has been happening more and more. But even then, the Awakening rate has not increased as exponentially as the human population, so while there's more *mages* than there were in the middle ages, there's a fuckton more Sleepers, and the Sleeper:Mage ratio has gone *down* while the Awakened population has gone *up*.

                  As Signs says, ultimately Awakenings rely on the action of a Supernal Realm/Entity that mages only really understand by their actions. Even Archmasters who can actually travel to the Watchtowers and examine them perceive them as being part of a larger entity that remains mysterious. Whatever criteria they use are impossible to ascertain. The Awakened community have been unable to determine a pattern beyond "should be sufficiently obsessed and in a crisis with the Lie" despite thousands of years of trying.
                  Thank you Dave! I really appreciate your response on this!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dave Brookshaw View Post
                    There's a multi-stage filter going on

                    There's people who have the right mindset to be a mage, a tiny proportion of whom confront the Lie. A tiny proportion of those get selected by a Watchtower, and a tiny proportion of *those* Awaken.

                    The means by which the Watchtowers pick which human beings having a crisis of Integrity to form the Adyton in is what mages don't understand. It's clearly not "will pass the tests" because most people don't. It might be "*could* pass the tests without breaking", which is why when Archmasters force the Watchtower to admit someone it doesn't want to they usually break.

                    It might be that the person has something about them that calls to the Watchtower's Path; mages continually debate whether the stereotypes of the Paths are nature (only Acanthus-y people get picked by Lunargent Thorn) or nurture (having the powers that being an Acanthus gives you makes people Acanthus-y). And suspect the answer's "both".

                    It doesn't appear to be influenced by numbers - the Watchtowers don't have a quota and don't seem to need to "recharge" between Awakenings, as the number of Awakenings per year since the Diamond starting trying to record it is actually increasing, and the specific weirdness that results when a Watchtower Awakens two people simultaneously was theoretical until the last century or so and has been happening more and more. But even then, the Awakening rate has not increased as exponentially as the human population, so while there's more *mages* than there were in the middle ages, there's a fuckton more Sleepers, and the Sleeper:Mage ratio has gone *down* while the Awakened population has gone *up*.

                    As Signs says, ultimately Awakenings rely on the action of a Supernal Realm/Entity that mages only really understand by their actions. Even Archmasters who can actually travel to the Watchtowers and examine them perceive them as being part of a larger entity that remains mysterious. Whatever criteria they use are impossible to ascertain. The Awakened community have been unable to determine a pattern beyond "should be sufficiently obsessed and in a crisis with the Lie" despite thousands of years of trying.
                    Can I ask a follow up question? How much does a mage actually know when they awaken? I imagine they understand how to magic innately but do they also get knowledge of an oneiros and other such phenomenon?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
                      Can I ask a follow up question? How much does a mage actually know when they awaken? I imagine they understand how to magic innately but do they also get knowledge of an oneiros and other such phenomenon?
                      I think that the free occult dot granted by Orders membership covers those subjects

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Neos01 View Post

                        I think that the free occult dot granted by Orders membership covers those subjects
                        This is more referring to Signs of Sorcery. There are rules for newly awakened PCs but there's kind of a lack of context on how a mage actually works in the first days of their awakening. Yes, they get super charged casting but what exactly does a mage know what they can do and can't do.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
                          This is more referring to Signs of Sorcery. There are rules for newly awakened PCs but there's kind of a lack of context on how a mage actually works in the first days of their awakening. Yes, they get super charged casting but what exactly does a mage know what they can do and can't do.
                          I suppose newly mages knows how to use basic template abilities, mage sight, mana uses ecc.
                          They would probably start experimenting on the three arcana dots they have, and by casting those spells they would start to understand paradox and develope Praxis and Attainment.
                          In the first days they would probably analyze a lot of things with mage sight.
                          Lucid dreaming would probably be reached instinctively some days after.
                          After the pneuma expires, they would start to use mage sight to discover ways to recover mana.
                          Mages feels the connection to the watchtower, and could try to reach it again, in a suitable place they could discover Astral projection.
                          All other things i think can be gained after years of experimenting or from a mentor.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
                            This is more referring to Signs of Sorcery. There are rules for newly awakened PCs but there's kind of a lack of context on how a mage actually works in the first days of their awakening. Yes, they get super charged casting but what exactly does a mage know what they can do and can't do.
                            "Arcanum" means secret (the noun, not the verb) so it does bring some sort of knowledge. I would assume that the knowledge is purely about how the Arcana works (rather than anything about the world at large), meaning they have some intuitive knowledge of what the Practices can do of the Arcana they have access to, and some understanding of what they can affect based on what they know about the subject. Basically, they fully understand the theory of everything they're capable of, but that's not the same as practical knowledge.
                            For example, a freshly awakened Mastigos somehow knows they can gain information about minds and mental states as well as influence them to a point, but they don't know every single spell effect they could conjure forth. The basics are easy enough; the Mastigos can put two and two together and realise that applying a bit of Knowing on a person's mind leads to knowledge about them, and thus reinvent Know Nature, and when they wish to recall something they can easily just figure out how to cast Perfect Recall.
                            On the other hand, if they meet a Goetic entity before they know what Goetia are, they wouldn't know that Mind would be applicable for more than the entity's mental state. But when they finally figure out "hey, you come from the mind of a person" (or just activate Mage Sight) it'd just be a matter of time before they also realise they can get a whole other subset of information of this particular type of entity by casting a Mind equivalent of Know Spirit, and get to know stuff like their "power level" (Rank), abilities (Influences and Numina) and weaknesses (Bane and Ban).

                            At least, that's how I'd run it. Basically, when relevant in the game, the players gets to use their meta knowledge about the Arcana because that coincides nicely with what the character should be aware of regarding their own powers. (But it's not a free pass to cast Mind spells on an entity because the player happened to recognise the Goetic entity before the character found out. That's meta knowledge about the setting rather than the spellcasting rules.)


                            Bloodline: The Stygians
                            Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                            Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
                              Can I ask a follow up question? How much does a mage actually know when they awaken? I imagine they understand how to magic innately but do they also get knowledge of an oneiros and other such phenomenon?
                              I think that description given for Gnosis can cover mages knowing the basic extent of their capabilities, even if they lack a theoretical framework.

                              I think the actual structure of the Astral Realms needs to be taught or discovered, but if meditating one's way in at the right places is an innate property of mages then I think they can get an impulse to try when the conditions are correct.


                              I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                              Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X