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[Mystery] Supernal Alchemy & Philosopher's Stone

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  • [Mystery] Supernal Alchemy & Philosopher's Stone

    For a game where 1/5th of all characters are calling themselves Alchemists ( I mean Moros Path in 2ED ) and are capable of changing and shaping both Elements ( by Matter ) and Prime Materia ( by Prime ), Mage has very little info about Philosopher's Stone – legendary “substance”(???) that is said to change any matter in to another, cure any sickness and grant immortality. It’s such a loss the books does not dwell in to this topic, especially as Alchemists quest for finding Lapis Philosophorum. ( other name for Stone ) is very large theme in real world occultism. Also, obvious great crossovers could be made with Promethean based on this subject. So let’s make it, here in this topic!

    From the times of early Mage 1ED I thought of Philosopher's Stone as great material for some stories and rumors to use in setting. Now, with 2ED focus on seeking Mysteries, I think that Lapis Philosophorum is one of the best to be found. More, I think it can be just the most important of them – right beside the Atlantis and Ascension!
    With Mage focus on hermetic form of magic, Philosopher's Stone should be one of greatest treasures to be found and it’s quest idea works perfectly with how Mysteries are reflected and researched by the Awakened.

    So let me tell your stories ( or mechanics ) about Lapis Philosophorum and it’s Grand Mystery reflected on the lives of Awakened. ( And if you found some official material, point it also to us. )

    I start then…

    “You heard those stories, yes? About substance that can change any matter? About giving eternal life? I know that for many Awakened that can rule over simple Elements or extend their lifespan, quest for Philosopher's Stone seems as needless trouble with it’s all Magnum Opus, but hear me out – it is true, and it is glorious!

    Sleepers only were limited in their scope when describing it. They thought that works of normal Matter or Life Arcanum as it’s only miracles. But I assure you – Lapis Philosophorum is much more. The legends of the Awakened state it can make ANY MIRACLE, any Magic possible – even legendary True Resurrection! You know, the idea you do not make someone undead shade, reanimate his body or brought back only his timeline and memory. No, with Philosopher's Stone you can bring back anyone to being – no IFs, no HOWs – just a Stone and your will.

    And it’s all possible before Archmastery! Just you need to be able to create or rather – recreate - ANYTHING. So Lapis Philosophorum can be made from Soul Stone of Master in all 10 Arcana. Simple, yes? Just find a person that dwell in all Arcana and get to the Mastery in each one of them…”
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 12-25-2015, 11:57 AM.


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  • #2
    There's a Legacy called the Uncrowned Kings that use Alchemy, but they regard it as an alchemy of the soul, refining themselves toward the "gold" of Ascension, rather than physical transmutation. The idea of the Philosopher's Stone as an actual Artifact could be pretty neat, though.


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    • #3
      Originally posted by Ophidimancer View Post
      There's a Legacy called the Uncrowned Kings that use Alchemy, but they regard it as an alchemy of the soul, refining themselves toward the "gold" of Ascension, rather than physical transmutation. The idea of the Philosopher's Stone as an actual Artifact could be pretty neat, though.
      From my (admittedly limited) understanding, this is what real-world alchemists were doing, but they disguised it under language of physical science to avoid accusations of sorcery.


      Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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      • #4
        From my (admittedly limited) understanding, this is what real-world alchemists were doing, but they disguised it under language of physical science to avoid accusations of sorcery.
        I think that's a retrospective claim made of it (arguably a quite modernist perspective). Avoiding the fact that a lot of Alchemists were just frauds and con-artists; most of the famous ones seem to have been genuinely interested in alchemy as a practical method (either for medicine or for more general chemical purposes). Also, the people doing alchemy believed in the influence of God on the world to a degree that even the most fundamentalist modern-day believer probably wouldn't agree with. Therefore understanding the way the world works is heavily tied with understanding God. Making a distinction between physical science and mysticism is pretty anachronistic.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by Michael View Post

          I think that's a retrospective claim made of it (arguably a quite modernist perspective). Avoiding the fact that a lot of Alchemists were just frauds and con-artists; most of the famous ones seem to have been genuinely interested in alchemy as a practical method (either for medicine or for more general chemical purposes). Also, the people doing alchemy believed in the influence of God on the world to a degree that even the most fundamentalist modern-day believer probably wouldn't agree with. Therefore understanding the way the world works is heavily tied with understanding God. Making a distinction between physical science and mysticism is pretty anachronistic.
          That makes sense.


          Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
            And it’s all possible under Archmastery! Just you need to be able to create or rather – recreate - ANYTHING. So Lapis Philosophorum can be made from Soul Stone of Master in all 10 Arcana. Simple, yes? Just find a person that dwell in all Arcana and get to the Mastery in each one of them
            Just snip this last part right out, no need to mention archmasters every time you're talking about a Mage plot hook.

            That being said, yes it could be an interesting Mage hook, but I don't think it's the kind of thing that should get defined by the developers. Like the Heiromagus it's an illusive promise of a thing that could exist and that Mages search for fervently, but if the developers define it once and for all it won't make everyone happy and some of the magic will be taken out of it.

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            • #7
              Some thinking:

              The term to investigate is "Azoth", which was considered to be both soul and the metal mercury in both Chinese and western alchemical traditions. I don't believe that this was parallel development, but likely the western traditions tapping into the older innovations from the Classical era as well as the Orient.

              The spectrum of alchemists included con-men, pure mystics, extremely scientific chemists, and hybrids of these. (You know, like astrology.) Most of these performed research.

              The four-stage Great Work implied and referenced by the Uncrowned Kings is actually one of the major versions assumed. I've always liked their philosophy in the write-up and the attainment names, but little else. The last attainment should be ascension, which fit perfectly.

              A major part of refining a thing is purifying it, so isolating the Quintessence (the azoth, or the ephemeral element that souls are made of) was presumed to be a major step towards creating the Philosopher's Stone.

              Merging Mage arcana into the related alchemical ideas:
              Studying the various hidden mysteries of the soul is a broad study. Learning to extract the hidden nature of the Elements from base matter is required to free the spiritual aspect stuck inside to make experimentation even possible. Refinement, then, is critical, and that is a matter of Fire and Earth---of Forces and Matter. The mysteries of Life and Death are required to find out how base matter is elevated into something so much more noble. Then, of course, the refined realms are where the true refinement must be made, and that requires understanding the secrets of Pneuma, learning of the Spiritual realms and the Mind. To create an embodiment of these principles require clothing the Azoth in something purified and noble, so as not to ruin it, and to make it embody the High Mysteries in a way that can refine a soul, so a matter of Prime and, again, Matter.

              Time and Fate can be fit to it in various ways. Fate, especially, can be linked to the crucible. If the purity of an object in the Fallen World must be absolute to work, Time could be required to make the past of the object as refined as the present, paradoxically. Success would be an object that actually is and ascended soul. IOW, it could need to be the supernal eidios (concept/ideal/symbol) of the perfected soul to be the Philosopher's Stone. The trick is that it would then vanish from most memory, and the process of doing this could be why successes do not exist.

              Succeeding at the Magnus Opus would be the refinement of self to such a degree that one becomes the Philosopher's Stone.
              That's just a pretty natural flow from assuming alchemy was largely correct.

              Now, to see it as an artifact:
              The Philosopher's Stone works extremely well as a Sarira.
              It could be a thing that casts the various "known" powers, as a subsoul of a magus who achieved ascension. All those swank things, like healing a broken soul, curing any disease, removing mortality, well... archmastery of Death or Life can achieve most of them.


              Grump, grouse, and/or gripe.

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              • #8
                The stone could be special because it isn't affected by the Great Lie. Using it one can make magics permanent and immune to dissonance. With it there is no paradox, like a mobile demesne but not even the presence of sleeper witnesses matter. Sleepers can be made into sleepwalkers and actual awakenings encouraged.
                It could even turn out to be a euphemism for the Hero magus.
                The real question as a mystery, is it a singular relic? Or a process that can be used to make countless stones? If you go for the latter than I would recommend at least one rumored method be the Full Metal Alchemist hubris, you can create one if you sacrifice enough people.​

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by thenate View Post
                  The four-stage Great Work implied and referenced by the Uncrowned Kings is actually one of the major versions assumed. I've always liked their philosophy in the write-up and the attainment names, but little else. The last attainment should be ascension, which fit perfectly.
                  The problem will be in 2ED where you have 5 Legacy normal Attainments and the 6th is the Legendary now. What would you choose for the 2 missing?

                  Originally posted by thenate View Post
                  Merging Mage arcana into the related alchemical ideas:
                  Studying the various hidden mysteries of the soul is a broad study. Learning to extract the hidden nature of the Elements from base matter is required to free the spiritual aspect stuck inside to make experimentation even possible. Refinement, then, is critical, and that is a matter of Fire and Earth---of Forces and Matter. The mysteries of Life and Death are required to find out how base matter is elevated into something so much more noble. Then, of course, the refined realms are where the true refinement must be made, and that requires understanding the secrets of Pneuma, learning of the Spiritual realms and the Mind. To create an embodiment of these principles require clothing the Azoth in something purified and noble, so as not to ruin it, and to make it embody the High Mysteries in a way that can refine a soul, so a matter of Prime and, again, Matter.

                  Time and Fate can be fit to it in various ways. Fate, especially, can be linked to the crucible. If the purity of an object in the Fallen World must be absolute to work, Time could be required to make the past of the object as refined as the present, paradoxically. Success would be an object that actually is and ascended soul. IOW, it could need to be the supernal eidios (concept/ideal/symbol) of the perfected soul to be the Philosopher's Stone. The trick is that it would then vanish from most memory, and the process of doing this could be why successes do not exist.

                  Succeeding at the Magnus Opus would be the refinement of self to such a degree that one becomes the Philosopher's Stone.
                  That's just a pretty natural flow from assuming alchemy was largely correct.
                  It's exactly what I was having in mine mind, only I do not know enough of alchemical terms to wrote it. Good job!

                  Originally posted by thenate View Post
                  Now, to see it as an artifact:
                  The Philosopher's Stone works extremely well as a Sarira.
                  It could be a thing that casts the various "known" powers, as a subsoul of a magus who achieved ascension. All those swank things, like healing a broken soul, curing any disease, removing mortality, well... archmastery of Death or Life can achieve most of them.
                  Looked in to Imperial Mysteries and I see that Sarira are given powers just like Artifacts. It's a bit... limiting.

                  But I very much like the description:

                  Originally posted by Imperial Mysteries
                  Some Ascensions appear to leave bodies but these are actually Sariras: discarded Resonance, condensed into physical form. Sariras may be identified by their unusual characteristics such as hearts of glass and pearl-like objects embedded in the flesh. Besides the body, Ascension withdraws aspects of the soul or mind that were divorced from the mage, including magically duplicated minds and soul stones.
                  Philosopher's Stone as magical, crystallized heart of (Arch)Alchemist that no longer exists? Yes, please!
                  Last edited by wyrdhamster; 01-15-2016, 04:56 PM.


                  My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
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                  • #10
                    I envision that crossover material about the Stone with Promethean gameline will be very not favorable for mages – with running Hubris of Awakened and rising Disquiet in contact with Created, I imagine that sorcerers will objectify them very quickly if not from the start. I would not be surprised if Mysterium would do anything to lock one of the Prometheans in their Atheneum’s Censorium and do all the research their need. Till the death of subject – or granting them Philosopher's Stone.

                    “I heard other version of this story. You meet Created? Very rare, beings that are animated corpses? Galatea, Frankenstein, Prague’s Golem, any of this ring the bell? Apparently, their goal - their entire existence - is to create the Philosopher's Stone! If rumors to be true, they are all big alchemical furnaces and Lapis Philosophorum can be extracted directly from their bodies. Just catch one and he will produce the Stone for you! Or befriend one of them and ask nicely…”

                    There is here interesting mechanical question – Would Vitriol have some smaller properties of Stone for mages? In Promethean it is described as liquefied Stone, but not completed. I do not remember any rules on this matter in official books.
                    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 09-18-2015, 02:21 AM.


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                    • #11
                      Ha, well, you know what: When you purify something, you don't destroy the dross, right? You remove it. In mage hoity-toity speak:
                      "Vitriol is the dross of a soul: Useless to the true Great Work, it's merely cast off, but that hardly means it isn't powerful stuff. It's also clearly valuable to the wretches that have incomplete souls and need to fill in their gaps. Should they manage to complete their work, they could join us in the real work. Perhaps we should aid them? We could learn a great deal. Perhaps that's why people come to loathe them."

                      Also: some ideas: Sophia was a wise maiden who attempted to ascend. Toad was an ally of hers who realized that she was stuck, unable to break free of her ties to flesh, and so created a gift that would purify her flesh for her. The result was too pure to live in the fallen world, and died as dead as a poison would have. The idea remains a symbol for alchemical ascension to this day: The maiden must be poisoned by the toad so she will produce the the life-giving milk from which the Philosopher's stone can be finished. Does this mean it worked?


                      Grump, grouse, and/or gripe.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                        The problem will be in 2ED where you have 5 Legacy normal Attainments and the 6th is the Legendary now. What would you choose for the 2 missing?
                        Well, the alchemical traditions of Europe were originally a 4 step process in the Magnum Opus; the 1ED writeup of the Uncrowned Kings skipped one of them as it was edited out IRL too. So, clearly, the solution is to add in the missing one (citrinitas, or the yellowing process, which was collapsed into rubedo), and then name the capstone either the Magnum Opus or the Cauda Pavonis (or the peacock's tail, where an array of colours appear, like in a rainbow).

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                        • #13
                          Something I preparing for mine newest RPG club game to run. Behold father of modern Alchemy!

                          Nicolas Flamel



                          This version of Flamel is Archmaster, previous Moros mage. Living once as Parisian member of Silver Ladder in XIV century, working with poor and Jews of from Île-de-France, he dedicated his life to unlocking Mystery of immortality to give it back to people. His Sleepwalker wife Perenelle helped him in his research for decades. Finally, he unlocked secrets of Philosophical Stone, change of base Matter in to everlasting Life - and become Archmage by this very act. But the price for this was the life of his wife. When he became immortal, she died from the old age, now and forever written in reality. Flamel then understand the principle of Stone – it can grant you life, only it costs the life of others. This Quintessence is simple – a life for the life.

                          Flamel know he could not continue his works in open, especially after departure of wife, but as once a Ladder mage, he tried to stir some possible alchemist in their studies. He faked his death with her, change identities and traveled world, bringing his own legend with him as stranger talking about himself. Once or twice in generation he proposed the Elixir of Life to those he thought are worthy – only to made them aware that it would take someone others life to do it. If they agree, he would made the Elixir, but then left the prospect suddenly – they would have only one more life time to uncover secrets of Alchemy, or they would parish. But he taught some time those that declined his offer, marking a true Wisdom.
                          As to his whereabouts, nothing is sure now. Some said he omits Ascension War to continue his research, even after over half millennium of it. Others say he went to New World the first time Europeans sailed to Americas and there is somewhere, hiding in the middle of nowhere from the Orders and their brutal politics over Mysteries. And others say that Flamel finally get to Ascension, reconnecting with his wife in Supernal – but he left a body made of red crystal that is whole made of Philosophical Stone.

                          Nicolas Flamel
                          Virtue: Dedicated; Vice: Judgmental
                          ( Ex-Path: Moros )
                          Noumenon: Becoming the Alchemy itself
                          Entente: None ( closest is Bodhisattvas and Examplars, but he omits politics )
                          Legacy: Uncrowned Kings
                          Mental Attributes: Intelligence 7, Wits 4, Resolve 7
                          Physical Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 4, Stamina 5
                          Social Attributes: Presence 5, Manipulation 6, Composure 5
                          Skills: Academics 7(Alchemy), Athletics 2, Brawl 2, Crafts 5, Empathy 3, Intimidation 2, Investigation 5, Medicine 4 (Anatomy), Occult 7(Alchemy) , Persuasion 4, Politics 4(Alchemists), Ride 2, Science 3(Chemistry), Stealth 3, Subterfuge 3, Survival 2(Travel), Weaponry 3(Tools)
                          Merits: Eidetic Memory, Holistic Awareness, Indomitable, Patient, Hardy, 3 X Alternate Identity 3, Anonymity 5, Inspiring
                          Arcana: Matter 8, Life 7, Prime 6, Mind 5, Fate 4, Forces 4, Death 3, Time 2, Space 2
                          Wisdom: 8
                          Gnosis: 9
                          Willpower: 12
                          Size: 5
                          Initiative: 9
                          Defense: 6
                          Speed: 12
                          Health: 10
                          Last edited by wyrdhamster; 01-31-2017, 12:08 AM.


                          My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
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                          • #14
                            If he's an archmaster then he doesn't need to worry about the Orders. He also doesn't have to hide in America since he has a Golden Road.

                            Ever hear of Enoch Root?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                              If he's an archmaster then he doesn't need to worry about the Orders.
                              He is one of most famous alchemists ever living - and he has working Philosopher Stone, thing that Orders look literally for ages. With his Noumenon to become Symbol of Alchemy - that he is somewhere in the middle point now, or even ended, if he is in Ascended variant - I suspect other mages would die for to get info about him. His works can - literally - move their research by decades. He made them by centuries now.

                              It's also the premise of mine next game - that Boston Awakened will fight other the remnants and research of Flamel, taken from middle of nowhere in Massachusetts. And there be a small Nameless Order the PCs will make there, inspired by the Flamel stories...

                              Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                              He also doesn't have to hide in America since he has a Golden Road.
                              Here is tricky part - he needs to teach others about Alchemy and himself. To become Symbol, people need to assert his role in the Royal Art and think about him as the alchemist that give them all. He cannot then only sits in Golden Road - he need to spread his own legend, tell people about this, show some alchemical miracles, from time to time. His story need to live and sitting in his Chantry all the time will not help him. Also, he is alchemist - he need to be in the world to make transmutations.

                              America was only example - I plan just to have his last stop in there for mine game - but he can be, easily, everywhere on the world where Western ( or maybe even Eastern ) Alchemy is studied, to empower his Symbol.

                              Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                              Ever hear of Enoch Root?
                              Did not, but Google it when you mentioned. It's basically what I had in mine mind for Flamel - "immortal mentor" figure, as I see. Question only leaves - if this kind of way more Siddha or more Bodhisattvas philosophy?
                              Last edited by wyrdhamster; 12-25-2015, 12:22 PM.


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