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Souls and Spirits, Central Australia

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  • Souls and Spirits, Central Australia

    I've started planning a Mage game based where I live, Alice Springs. So I really need to address the local aboriginal beliefs (Arrernte people) because it's a huge part of the magical landscape.

    The traditional Arrernte belief was that the soul/spirit was an Alcheringa (Dreaming) ancestor who lived in a specific sacred tree or rock then passed into an unborn child in what is a sort of cycle of reincarnation. Hence why the Dreaming was seen as an eternal now. These souls/spirits did not live inside the body but rather hung around their new incarnation.

    What would be a good why to translate this to Mage? A spirit would be the obvious answer but they are associated with sacred objects that just scream "soul stones" to me. Is there some rules impact to making souls mobile semi-independent reflections if a character?

  • #2
    Mages already often believe that souls reincarnate through the Supernal, so there’s that.

    A person’s daimon is the Goetia standing at the center of their Oneiros, so that could work too.


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    • #3
      I would also look into the Dreamspeakers, found in page 14 of Legacies: The Ancient , as well as the Astral Realm book. Then link Hallows and ley lines to songlines, building your Mysteries from that interstice between the domains of the mind and spirits.
      Last edited by KaiserAfini; 06-05-2021, 01:21 AM.


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      • #4
        I would really like to keep away from the Astral. Dream Time is a really bad translation for Arrernte belief. Dreaming is very tied to the land and has a real physicality to it.

        I might just keep the mage concept of soul and have the person's dreaming as a spirit associated with each rebirth.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Old Dog View Post
          What would be a good why to translate this to Mage?
          It depends on what your priority is. Is it to find things already present in the setup of Awakening that can be roughly mapped to this real world belief, or is it to modify the existing setting to present truth to the belief system?


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          • #6
            You might look at the Werewolf second edition corebook. It doesn't get into Mage but it has an Alice Springs Hunting Ground that gets into the Dreaming.

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            • #7
              I also think there are tricky implications to making the beliefs of any one culture more verifiably true than another, especially concerning matters of the soul, which is one of the biggest Mysteries of the setting.

              Like, the most direct answer to how the game translates that kind of thing is that members of the Free Council can buy a Merit that allows them to use participation in one of the society's rituals involving the belief, in order to enhance spells whose effects correspond to the ideas.

              On the other side, the game deals in general Mysteries. It's not actually necessary to map a particular phenomenon to the Astral, the Shadow or any other firmly established thing. It can be a local oddity that just works in its own right, and mages are compelled to investigate it.

              Dark Eras 2 presents several Mysteries along those lines. In the 18th century Carribbean, it was possible to maroon mages on islands because something messed up their ability to use magic that might escape it, and ghosts of slaves bound to work plantations would yield coral Tass in the absence of a Hallow. It can just be that a particular group includes members whose souls seem to naturally rest apart from their bodies, yet they suffer no signs of soullessness. It will intrigue mages; it's not the natural state of the cosmos, I would suggest not presenting it as a thing occuring for every Aboriginal person, but the Awakened could note how it corresponds to the religion even before scanning it with Mage Sight.


              I have approximate knowledge of many things.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                It depends on what your priority is. Is it to find things already present in the setup of Awakening that can be roughly mapped to this real world belief, or is it to modify the existing setting to present truth to the belief system?
                Ideally I was looking at a way to reflect Arrernte belief in the Mage system. Doesn't have to be exact, all the Fallen World is subject to the Lie. So the former.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the replies everyone.
                  I guess time to get the Astral book (and Werewolf) and have a think about it more.

                  Your right Isator, leaving it as more of a mystery would suit mage.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Old Dog View Post
                    I guess time to get the Astral book
                    For what it's worth, the Dreaming Earth portion of the Anima Mundi does include direct representations of geographic features, and interacting with such can have subtle metaphysical effects on their waking counterparts.

                    Also, to the best of my recollection, the Dreamspeakers Legacy has a way of getting in on what you describe of the physicality of the Dreaming in how their First Attainment allows them to meditate into the Astral while remaining active and conscious simultaneously (although they have to choose in any given turn which side they interact with). The Dreamspeaker Attainment actually specifically focuses on meditating into a realm that corresponds to their current physical location; to be one is to be able to stand at the physical Uluru and simultaneously visit either Uluru's presence in your own soul, its representation in the collective awareness of humanity, or the dream of it in the world's soul. A relatively short Astral journey moves between those layers, all the while going about the physical place.

                    There's even a Merit that allows a given Dreamspeaker to form a deeper connection with a particular place, allowing them to acquire greater knowledge while in its Astral Realms.

                    The Dreamspeaker perspective on and relationship with the Astral actually differs a fair bit from most mages, which is part of why they're a Free Council Legacy (complete with backstory of having long been Nameless for not adhering to Diamond convention).


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

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