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  • New to Awakening, Seers of the Throne subgroups

    So, I am not nearly at the point where I want to buy Awakening, but I'm interested enough to examine whether I will like using Seers as a storyteller. Online wikis aren't telling me much. I think the divisions are called Ministries, further divided into Methodologies. What are the different Ministries? What is your favorite Ministry to use? Why?

  • Isator Levi
    replied
    A thing that used to come up in the past was what would motivated the enthusiastic participation of the Seers, and while I think that the last few years have actually proven a fairly stark example of how eagerly some people will go along with toxic hierarchical systems, I think one thing in particular is to focus on the point about how they are emphatically not the inventors of human misery.

    There's a bit in the novel Good Omens (and possibly the Amazon adaptation series, I've never watched it) where the demon Crowley, assigned to matters of human corruption since the Garden of Eden, recalls his bosses having given him credit and a lot of praise for the Spanish Inquisition. Crowley is supposed to have been totally unaware of what that was until he receives such credit, and upon finding out needs to take a long vacation to recover from what he's witnessed.

    I think of such a thing as a model for the Seers, but with a slight adjustment. One where it's not just a matter that, upon seeing this example and innovation of systemic human cruelty, they latch onto it, embedding themselves within its structures for the purposes of individually profiting from it as well as expanding its scope and deepening its commitment, but where they use it as their justification itself. That indoctrination as a Seer of the Throne points to the example of such a thing and says "the fact that they come up with such things on their own means that it's exactly what they deserve", with maybe a side order of victim blaming for the people who end up persecuted (i.e. the fact that they're vulnerable to such a thing means that they also deserve it).

    I think much can be done to make the Seers feel organic and tie them more closely to the game's themes and cosmology if there's this idea that these are people who are given a peek behind the curtain of reality, especially of what's going on inside of people's heads, and what they find there just fills them with disillusionment and contempt. That it's not just a simple matter of "we're elevated, so we're entitled" but that directly seeing the ways in which people independently come up with and eagerly participate in such systems means they deserve little better. Even the "protect the Sleepers" commandment might be seen in a context where the main thing they need to be protected from is themselves, and so it's not a thing done from a position of valuing human life.

    It's not the kind of thing that should be an honest or rational reading of people in general, mind, I would think a lot of it is owed to the terms in which Seer mentors frame and present it; that they don't necessarily fabricate outright so much as curate examples when doing things like showing new recruits some of their projects or how to observe with Mage Sight. But I think it can be the kind of thing that makes them more compelling and sinister antagonists, especially if they're ever given the opportunity to communicate their beliefs to player (or adjacent) characters as part of a pitch to recruit them, or at least undermine their own commitment.

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  • FallenEco
    replied
    Methodologies are what you (and your office) do on a day to day basis. They aren't organised, that would be like unionising under big corporate. Technically they could but the tetrarchs would never stand for that. These are the functions of the Seers in that pylon. Here is their internal responsibilities. You have your three main groupings; the Secretary/Armoury group (Condecoi), the Research group (Skopoi) and the Incentive Actors (Oikoumene).

    Ministries are who work for and your advancement track. That said, you don't have to tell the truth when people ask, not even your co-workers but the big bosses know whose your payroll you are on. Different Ministries that serve the same Exarch are examples of irreconcilable differences, usually based methodolgy/toolkit (not Methodology). Eg. Mammon is about greed & materialism as tools of oppression but the Pantechnicon is more about walled garden technocracy but both are dedicated to the Chancellor.

    The Iron Pyramid is opaque for a reason, it lets you mess about with cross Ministry pylons for required infrastructure and still have them beholden to Ministries that are actively hostile or acting on cross purposes. Heck the pylons don't have tell the other pylons who they work for or their places in the hierarchy. The way Seer pylons operate is almost like a covert cell, though they do have more access to their bosses. Even if their regional bosses are demigods in sub-dimensions attached this reality. Not counting those who have a door to upper management in their souls.

    But for a quick, consolidated look at the ministries, they are listed below, by their Exarchs & with prelacy Crowns for those who have officially described. With the exception of the Kyrian Ministry because they serve two Exarchs (the Prophet and the Ruin).
    • [Unity] Hegemonic, Logthetes; Crown of Obligation
    • [Eye] Panopticon, Phemian; Crown of Vision
    • [General] Praetorian, Herodian; Crown of Fury
    • [Father] Paternoster, Dolusian; Crown of Doctrine
    • [Chancellor] Mammon, Pantechnicon; Crown of Scarcity
    • [Prophet] Horologian; Crown of Agency
    • [Raptor] Sycorian; Crown of Instinct
    • [Nemesis] Orphean, Geryon; Crown of Secrecy
    • [Reaper] Rhadmantian;
    • [Ruin] Periasmon;
    That is all the listed Ministries. There is no Secret Order of the Gate (Abyssal/Scelesti Legacy), there are no Gatekeepers
    You may not worship the Gate.
    The Exarchs have seven general orders/priorities that they agree on to give to the Seers as a whole. My favourite one is "Protect Humanity" but "Regulate the Abyss" is also fun.

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by Michael View Post

    As mentioned, Methodologies aren't sub-Ministries (as they are for the Technocracy). A Methodology is essentially a way of categorising what an individual Pylon (cabal) does. However, the idea is that the Methodologies have become institutions of their own that work at cross purposes with the ministries. So Seers that might be technically members of different ministries might nevertheless have much more in common because they share the same methodology.

    That said, it's, in my opinion, a little underdeveloped in the book, as there are only three listed. That said I really like the idea.
    I think Seers of the Throne is one of the strongest books in the game, but I've got to admit that Methodologies seem to be a bit of an odd element where what they're described as being seems to differ a bit from what they're presented as being, even though both of those are things that would logically fit with the Seers as a whole.

    Like, the overall description seems to suggest groups with particular agendas that necessarily require an intersection of several Ministries, or maybe a kind of collaborative project. But then you get to them and the examples are more like... particular ways of going about general Seer stuff. The presentation of a Methodology whose deal is that they find mortal mouthpieces for instructions from on high stands out; it makes sense to the definition and as a thing that Seers of any stripe might be interested in, but I find it a lot more low key than how the concept is initially introduced.

    Originally posted by Michael
    it's difficult to get that interesting stuff across to players whose characters are in the Pentacle.
    I think it can depend on what the focus of the game is. The distinctions of Ministry modes and motives might be more apparent in a game where the player cabal is more dedicated to involvement in operations conducted by their caucus(es) in specific opposition to the Seers. The kind of thing where gathering and analysing intelligence on what they're up to, and planning and executing moves to undermine them is a regular occurrence. Possibly also a game where players might have a point of contact with somebody actually in the Iron Pyramid; not exactly friendly, but warily cordial, and where that character might convey details of the internal workings of the tetrarchy in a way that players can respond to them (not necessarily with direct conflict, but affecting how they go about things).

    Leave a comment:


  • Michael
    replied
    Originally posted by HorizonParty2021 View Post
    ...further divided into Methodologies.
    As mentioned, Methodologies aren't sub-Ministries (as they are for the Technocracy). A Methodology is essentially a way of categorising what an individual Pylon (cabal) does. However, the idea is that the Methodologies have become institutions of their own that work at cross purposes with the ministries. So Seers that might be technically members of different ministries might nevertheless have much more in common because they share the same methodology.

    That said, it's, in my opinion, a little underdeveloped in the book, as there are only three listed. That said I really like the idea.

    What is your favorite Ministry to use? Why?
    I've not really found it all that important. They're a fascinating faction but individually I've found them to be kinda weak antagonists, and it's difficult to get that interesting stuff across to players whose characters are in the Pentacle.

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Which is something I find to help reinforce the sense of them as mages; they aren't the masterminds, they just have deep insight into the workings of the world, and know where to apply pressure and collect outputs.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dave Brookshaw
    replied
    Some of these Ministries are only a couple dozen Seers, though.

    It’s important to realise, while we’re on the breadth of the Sect’s scope, that while they’re the only nWoD faction that’s a truly global organisation, the Seers differ from the Technocracy in one very important way - they exploit, encourage, and reinforce human evil that reinforces the Lie. They don’t *cause* it. Panopticon didn’t cause the surveillance state, they were a collection of Seer prelates of the Eye who saw it forming and thought it was a good idea. There are dozens to hundreds of Ministries that are just one or two Seers with big dreams.

    Leave a comment:


  • Father Enoch
    replied
    Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post

    Wow. Almost every type of social jerkass in modern society is covered by a Ministry or two

    So, really, the Seers should outnumber the Pentacles five to one.

    Leave a comment:


  • 21C Hermit
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

    In addition to the ones he's stated here, Dave has provided descriptions elsewhere for the other Ministries mentioned in Signs of Sorcery.

    Herodian, a lesser Ministry of the General, is about promoting the pre-emptive violence in response to the fear that somebody is coming to take away what is yours. They cover things like hostility towards immigrants or the idea of the rich preparing to hole up in bunkers against climate change (and in particular, any angry uprisings it might prompt).

    The Nemesis has Orphean, Seers who follow the model of Men in Black, intimidating witnesses of the unusual or supernatural into silence (although like the Psychopomp, the Nemesis has a preference for inhuman servants)*.

    The Father's other Ministry are Dolusian, who are all about things like conspiracy theories, denial of major disasters like climate change and pandemics, and general news media misinformation. While the Unity has Logothetes, the faceless and impenetrable bureaucracy that embroils people in arbitrary procedure and hostile workers.

    And the Eye has Phemian, a Ministry focused on building up transitory celebrity which gets crushed under an excess of public scrutiny and then quickly forgotten.

    * You mentioned Geryon before, but keep in mind that in the modern day setting, that Ministry is extinct. They diminished rapidly after falling from Great status, and what was left of them was wiped out when they incurred the wrath of Angrboda, the game's signature Scelestus, driven to revenge for the murder of his family (and members of a cult he was building trying to more openly espouse Silver Ladder beliefs).
    Wow. Almost every type of social jerkass in modern society is covered by a Ministry or two

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post

    Fascinating…
    In addition to the ones he's stated here, Dave has provided descriptions elsewhere for the other Ministries mentioned in Signs of Sorcery.

    Herodian, a lesser Ministry of the General, is about promoting the pre-emptive violence in response to the fear that somebody is coming to take away what is yours. They cover things like hostility towards immigrants or the idea of the rich preparing to hole up in bunkers against climate change (and in particular, any angry uprisings it might prompt).

    The Nemesis has Orphean, Seers who follow the model of Men in Black, intimidating witnesses of the unusual or supernatural into silence (although like the Psychopomp, the Nemesis has a preference for inhuman servants)*.

    The Father's other Ministry are Dolusian, who are all about things like conspiracy theories, denial of major disasters like climate change and pandemics, and general news media misinformation. While the Unity has Logothetes, the faceless and impenetrable bureaucracy that embroils people in arbitrary procedure and hostile workers.

    And the Eye has Phemian, a Ministry focused on building up transitory celebrity which gets crushed under an excess of public scrutiny and then quickly forgotten.

    * You mentioned Geryon before, but keep in mind that in the modern day setting, that Ministry is extinct. They diminished rapidly after falling from Great status, and what was left of them was wiped out when they incurred the wrath of Angrboda, the game's signature Scelestus, driven to revenge for the murder of his family (and members of a cult he was building trying to more openly espouse Silver Ladder beliefs).

    Leave a comment:


  • 21C Hermit
    replied
    …… Although the Exarchs are linked to the ten Arcana (and Paradox, in the case of the Gate*), they each symbolise a particular thing - the General isn't Forces, he's Violence. The Eye is Surveillance.
    ……
    Aww, thought I got that with the whipping parent analogy.

    Anyways, OP, it’s good to listen to what this guy says — the Arcana are good for keyword-ing what each Exarch is about, but they’re ultimately all symbols of oppression.

    Sorta like how ‘Mind magic specialists’ is a quick but incomplete explanation of what the Akashic Brotherhood is.

    Originally posted by Dave Brookshaw View Post

    Psychopomp's main Minor Ministry is Rhadamantian, the Ministry of cruel, punitive punishment. ……
    Psychopomp is "obey or suffer forever" - in terms of deathliness he's the threat that if you disobey your religion of choice's tenets you'll burn in hell, but Rhadamantian focus on more earthly punishments. The Prison-Industrial Complex and making sure rehabilitation is a pipe dream keeps them *quite* busy. It's canon that the Psychopomp has more inhuman servants than Seers - there's a lot of ghosts that worship her, in various forms, deep in the Underworld.

    Raptor's main Minor Ministry is Sycorian, who are evo-psych assholes, proponents of biotruths, gender-critical TERFs, life coaches to the powerful who sell them on the idea that they're alphas, excusers of evil by pretending it's instinct. They're a little unfocused which keeps them Minor, but a Sycorian Seer's project will tend to be along the lines of convincing people that evil is "in their nature".

    Ruin and Prophet (Fate and Time) share the Kyrian Ministry, who are the largest Minor Ministry - bigger and more successful than Mammon - but Minor because of their unusual situation of being shared by two Exarchs. They're the Ministry of castes, classes, inborn wealth, gender roles, and other barriers to social mobility.

    Ruin also has the Peirasmon Ministry, a minor Ministry dedicated to finding upstanding, virtuous role models for humanity, figuring out what their vice is and tempting them into public humiliating shame so people stop listening to them.


    * Do not worship the Gate. Do not listen to her in your dreams. He offers nothing.
    Fascinating…

    Leave a comment:


  • HorizonParty2021
    replied
    I find this all fascinating and will give a longer reply after tending to some inconveniences happening at home.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dave Brookshaw
    replied
    Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
    The Seers as a whole serve the Exarchs. A Ministry serves one Exarch. So the Ministries are to the Pyramid, what Conventions are to the Technocracy… but where the Technocrats are assumed to be working together despite the rivalry, intra-Seer and inter-Ministry relations are much more cutthroat.

    Currently, the four greater Ministries rule as the major powers of the Seers; the Paternoster serving the Father (Exarch of Prime and tyranny by faith), the Praetorians serving the General (Exarch of Forces and tyranny by violence), the Hegemonic Ministry serving the Unity (Exarch of Mind and tyranny by conformity), and the Panopticon serving the Eye (Exarch of Space and tyranny by surveillance). Those four Exarchs are honored as the Archigenitors.

    … The operative word here being “currently.” The ‘canon’ of which four Exarchs are Archigenitors and which four Ministries are the greater Ministries is being revisioned and corrected in-universe. Some time ago, the Geryon, servants of the Nemesis (Exarch of Spirit and tyranny by conspiracy), were a greater Ministry iirc.

    The lesser Ministries are; the aforementioned Geryon, the Horologians serving the Prophet (Exarch of Time and tyranny by routine), and both the Mammon and the Pantechnicon at each others throats for who gets to serve the Chancellor (Exarch of Matter and tyranny by scarcity). I don’t remember if we had names for lesser Ministries serving the Psychopomp (Exarch of Death), the Raptor (Exarch of Life), and the Ruin (Exarch of Fate).
    Psychopomp's main Minor Ministry is Rhadamantian, the Ministry of cruel, punitive punishment. Although the Exarchs are linked to the ten Arcana (and Paradox, in the case of the Gate*), they each symbolise a particular thing - the General isn't Forces, he's Violence. The Eye is Surveillance. Psychopomp is "obey or suffer forever" - in terms of deathliness he's the threat that if you disobey your religion of choice's tenets you'll burn in hell, but Rhadamantian focus on more earthly punishments. The Prison-Industrial Complex and making sure rehabilitation is a pipe dream keeps them *quite* busy. It's canon that the Psychopomp has more inhuman servants than Seers - there's a lot of ghosts that worship her, in various forms, deep in the Underworld.

    Raptor's main Minor Ministry is Sycorian, who are evo-psych assholes, proponents of biotruths, gender-critical TERFs, life coaches to the powerful who sell them on the idea that they're alphas, excusers of evil by pretending it's instinct. They're a little unfocused which keeps them Minor, but a Sycorian Seer's project will tend to be along the lines of convincing people that evil is "in their nature".

    Ruin and Prophet (Fate and Time) share the Kyrian Ministry, who are the largest Minor Ministry - bigger and more successful than Mammon - but Minor because of their unusual situation of being shared by two Exarchs. They're the Ministry of castes, classes, inborn wealth, gender roles, and other barriers to social mobility.

    Ruin also has the Peirasmon Ministry, a minor Ministry dedicated to finding upstanding, virtuous role models for humanity, figuring out what their vice is and tempting them into public humiliating shame so people stop listening to them.


    * Do not worship the Gate. Do not listen to her in your dreams. He offers nothing.

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by HorizonParty2021 View Post

    In some YouTube content about Ascension, a storyteller was talking about how you have to keep the players under so much pressure that they have great difficulty accruing Resources, Contacts, Influence or Nodes they didn't buy with background points. While I do thrust them into a story, I take different approach.

    The storyteller has way superior knowledge of the terrain and can apply this knowledge to how they run a single experienced, but not too powerful, Mage-adversary. One determined rival can seriously mess with a Cabal, even as they get more of the aforementioned goodies.
    Well another thing would be that Mage: the Awakening places a strong emphasis on the idea that mages are deeply focused on discovering and understanding occult Mysteries. Addicted to Mystery is one of the game taglines, and Obsessions are features of the character sheet describing what your character in particular is most fixated on. Second Edition even built this emphasis into the refreshed take on how the Awakening itself works, that the Sleeper at the time was obsessed with something mysterious.

    I wouldn't claim to have the best understanding of Ascension, but I'd infer that for the Traditions building up a base of worldly influence mattered a bit more because they're fighting an ideological battle for the hearts and minds of humanity. In Awakening, such a concern is not totally absent, but I think a lot can be achieved just be selling players on the flavour of mages being people who might not dedicate time to building up that kind of infrastructure just because it can be a distraction from their Obsessions.

    Part of how I conceive the Seers working and being advantaged is that you can in fact give commands to the people at the lowest levels of the pyramid to disregard their personal Obsessions in favour of things that preserve and extend the material power base, for the use of their superiors.

    Originally posted by HorizonParty
    My guess is that a large part of what the Pentacle is trying to achieve involves trips through dangerous parts of the Umbra - military invasions, perhaps.
    The Chronicles of Darkness cosmology doesn't really resemble the Umbra except in a fairly superficial sense, and the Pentacle Orders do not conduct operations in that manner that the Traditions did. There's no Doissetep, no direct command from archmasters, not actually a centrally coordinated system at all. They're more like... most Protestant religions, adherents of the same ideas who communicate with one another but largely operate autonomously (and almost entirely within the familiar human world; when access to strange dimensions is discovered, they're carefully approached as objects of study more often than confidently occupied as bases).


    Originally posted by HorizonParty
    A paranoid psychopath's dream.
    In addition to that idea of being coordinated when it matters, there's also a matter of how the Seers distribute responsibilities and portfolios that are likely to be pursued even when they're competing with one another. If they're fulfilling functions that the people on top know is part of a larger operation, and can fine tune from their knowing vantage point as necessary, they're still accomplishing goals on a larger scale than a Pentacle which tends to allow individual cabals to do their own thing.

    I only recently acquired the Guardians of the Veil book, and found something very elaborating in the description of how the leaders of that Order work with a fairly light touch with the operations of their subordinates, on the logic of people who have made it through the demanding initiation trials can be trusted to know what they're doing.

    Originally posted by HorizonParty
    That says a lot. A Technomancer would more likely use Magick to frame the family for something, a long-unattended roach infestation, let's say, and then use a social agency to legally remove the kid.
    Seers might do that kind of thing as well. Unlike the Pentacle, they are one where ultimately there are archmasters calling the shots, in addition to receiving esoteric commands from the abstract symbols of human oppression. Sometimes you get orders that you don't quite understand, but can probably trust that the method is fulfilling things apparent to a mind that can see into the connectedness and consequences of things to a depth that you cannot comprehend. The particular method of acquisition might be desired for the psychological impact it might have on the target, or on the family, or on everybody who hears about it. The added quality of utilising trust and the shock of betrayal might be significant. The guy's command is definitely unusual, even by the standards of the Seers.

    It should be noted that Seers are also the kinds of people who will regard tea leaves, cartomancy, and the flight patterns of birds as conveying orders from the Exarchs to them, without any actual spells being involved at all. They're not strictly always acting in a rational manner, although there's at least a sense that doing such things does not often cause them to act in ways that are totally contrary to the wishes of their masters.

    Originally posted by HorizonParty
    this pitiless interdimensional bureaucracy.
    As others have said, it's not quite the correct mindset to take to this that the Exarchs are a kind of alien overlord governing from a discrete physical dimension. The Supernal World is not really a place as such, it is the underlying meaning and essential forms of everything around you. The Unity is not a person who has a focus on using systems of conformity (and hostility to those not in the conformed in-group) as a means of control, the Unity is that very concept itself.

    It's a concept that can communicate with people to varying degrees, but the driving ideas of the Seers of the Throne are still ultimately mystical.

    Leave a comment:


  • nofather
    replied
    While it's popular to anthropomorphize the Exarchs, and they can send off ochemata, as the developer has noted, "the Eye isn’t some archmage sitting on a throne in another dimension, she *is* surveillence. The symbol of it." Wherever surveillance is, the Eye is, wherever commodification is, the Chancellor is, and so on. While the Seers are antagonists, the Pentacle works off the back foot in an ideological struggle, and rather than running through alleys blowing each other away they're more likely to openly try to act diplomatic while behind-the-scenes try to screw each other plans over. Because it doesn't matter if you kill the Seer who influenced a series of mortal mouthpieces striking fear among an entire nation that their low-wage employees are stealing from them and the only hope is setting up security cameras to watch them. The Seer's dead but the damage is done and more peoples souls are crushed under the weight of Exarch tyranny.

    The Free Council is the only one that has as their core beliefs something close to actively wreck the opposition, in 'Destroy the Followers of the Lie,' and even then only the radicals are about killing Seers.

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