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  • #16
    Originally posted by ZealousChristian24 View Post
    On a similar note, a user name Patkin on rpg.net produced this thread which includes a trio of Watchtowers refered to as the Erisian Triad, ironically including another Time/Death Watchtower.
    I saw! And I saw another take on Mind/Spirit, much to my delight. I think Death/Time is a popular one because it's actually one of the proper gross/subtle pairings as per the official definition.

    My group and I were talking about the Paths and I figured I'd share the different ways each Path can "go bad" (as might be portrayed in a Hunter-focused game), go Exarch and what the Scelesti anti-Watchtowers are.

    When They Go Bad:

    Drasus: They just sweep into your life and ruin everything. People around you die in strange accidents, they are driven insane by visions of the truth you tried so hard to shield them from, they lose everything they cared about, you lose everything you cared about. Nothing will ever be the same.
    Katalos: They just keep killing. Wherever they go, people die. If they're feeling nihilistic enough, everything dies. Plants, animals, even inanimate objects are not spared. They feel unstoppable, inevitable, and they make sure that whatever they destroyed can't be brought back.
    Therys: They take tricksy to a whole new level. They're sneaky, worming their way into communities, subverting them from within, weaving their enchantments and striking their unholy bargains. They surround themselves with thralls, mind-controlled mortals, bound spirits and Claimed alike. And when you fight one, they always wrongfoot you, distract you, turn your friends against you. Never underestimate them. It's what they want.
    Gares: These guys may not be tricky, but they're certainly hard to catch. You might not find them using their magic openly like the others, but you'll know them for their attitude. They'll write people off as numbers, see everyone as bricks. Whatever gets in their way ends up buried somewhere remote.
    Ravas: These are the flashy ones. When they go off, it's like a goddamn nuke. It's these guys that make me second-guess every "gas leak" I read about. Sometimes, though, instead of just giving into the fire and lightning, they go animalistic, acting like an atavistic predator you could almost confuse for a broken lycanthrope.

    When They Go Exarch:

    Drasus: The Heralds of the Exarchs spend their time slowly preparing the world for the inevitable triumph of the Exarchs. Instead of enacting change for the betterment of humanity, they seek only to change the world in accordance to the will of the Exarchs.
    Katalos: The Judges of the Exarchs spend their time passing judgment over the enemies of their masters and carrying out their sentences. When something gets in the way of the Exarchs' plans, the Katalos are there to end it.
    Therys: The Potentates of the Exarchs spend their time gathering thralls for their masters. Whether they bind spirits to their cause or twist the minds of Sleeper and Awakened alike, the Therys are there to bring more and more servants into the fold.
    Gares: The Artisans of the Exarchs spend their time building up the infrastructure that their masters and fellow Awakened need to carry out the orders of the Exarchs. The Gares build, craft, enchant and train in order to provide a solid foundation for the Exarchs' power base.
    Ravas: The Celebrants of the Exarchs spend their time following the direct orders of their masters, often in an ecstatic, half-conscious daze (that makes them no less dangerous). Whether a Ravas used to infiltrate, fight, heal, bolster or rain death and destruction, she does so knowing she is bringing the inevitable victory of the Exarchs ever closer.

    The Scelesti Anti-Watchtowers:

    Drasus: The Ziggurat of Immutability marks the Scelesti of this Path. These Drasus use their magic to uphold and reinforce the Lies that life is preordained and nothing matters.
    Katalos: The Ziggurat of Suffering marks the Scelesti of this Path. These Katalos use their magic to uphold and reinforce the Lies that suffering and oppression have no end.
    Therys: The Ziggurat of Physicalism marks the Scelesti of this Path. These Therys use their magic to uphold and reinforce the Lies that the ephemeral is forever out of reach of humanity.
    Gares: The Ziggurat of Powerlessness marks the Scelesti of this Path. These Gares use their magic to uphold and reinforce the Lies that humanity is powerless and nothing they build can possibly last.
    Ravas: The Ziggurat of Repression marks the Scelesti of this Path. These Ravas use their magic to uphold and reinforce the Lies that emotions and instincts must be repressed, until the soul is starved and dead.


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    • #17
      Now, I admit this is very much a matter of interpretation and presentation, but I believe your Ziggurats did not quite nail it down.

      I honestly think your Ziggurats sound more like Exarchal twists on the matter than Scelesti. There is this strong focus on supporting the Lie. Scelesti, those with any semblance of coherent believes anyway, usually want to go beyond the Lie and Truth both. Abyssal Ziggurats should be about something more than just reversing the Paths. They turn them in on themselves, twist them beyond sanity. They do not give them new Meaning, they eliminate what Meaning was there. In a way, your Ziggurats make too much sense, as depressing as they are.

      Your Scelesti Therys are essentially the Nemesis' goal (Exarch of Spirit) as a Path, and Gares are essentially a Path-wide Ministry of the Ruin with some Prophet thrown in. The Ravas might have gotten it right, I feel.

      I would advise taking a look at the original ones and see what is there. Abyssal Moros do not embrace stasis (as would be the direct inversion of their philosophy) they embrace change without Meaning or End. Everything rots forever. Abyssal Acanthus do not deny or support Destiny, they acknowledge the essential pointlessness of it, every Oath can be broken, but some Curses haunt you forever.


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      • #18
        Originally posted by ZealousChristian24 View Post
        On a similar note, a user name Patkin on rpg.net produced this thread which includes a trio of Watchtowers refered to as the Erisian Triad, ironically including another Time/Death Watchtower.
        any case you could post them here or send me file of them in PM? for some reason, my computer doesn't like RPG.net :P


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        • #19
          So I took another long look over the Arcana combinations you have there and considered how I'd expect them to work in an actual game and I don't think you'd have a lot of problems at all.

          It would be a game with a lot more variance between the paths than I think you had in 1e Mage but this isn't necessarily a bad thing, just something to be aware of when you're running the game.

          Your Drasus and Therys mages would be extremely subtle and mystical. Your Gares and Ravas mages would be very physical and direct. Katalos would be... awesome. I really want to play one of them to be honest. Their mix I think would be very interesting and perhaps a little bit more subtle than the 1e Average, although it would probably be similar to an Acanthus actually.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by LostLight View Post
            any case you could post them here or send me file of them in PM? for some reason, my computer doesn't like RPG.net :P
            In case nobody has granted your request, I'll paste the Triad here:

            The Supernal has many Realms and many Watchtowers, and occasionally someone Awakens to them instead of the typical five-fold towers. This is one of them.

            Ponos
            Laborers on the Path of Toil
            Scions of the Watchtower of the Bronze Noose in the Realm of Tartarus
            Kingdom of Ashes and Abode of Watchers

            Death and Time rule the ashen and lifeless wastes of this Realm, for in death is eternity, and in time all things come to death. Life, that vital animation, is weak here, for the skies are black with smoke, the ground buried beneath fields of dust and ash, the rivers choked with silt. Only that which is determined, stubborn, and unrelenting can survive here, and so only mages of great Resolve sign themselves to its Watchtower.

            The Realm's Tarot card is the Hanging Man, its Watchtower the gallows and noose he hangs from. Its element is the lifeless earth. Its weapon is the pitchfork, the sickle, the hammer, those symbols of man's toil and labor upon the earth. Its metals are bronze, copper, and tin. Its jewel is coral (which is merely the lifeless shell of a living thing). Its plant is the cypress, that mark of mourning. Its earthly animal is the goat, the stubborn creature. Its mythical beast the harpy, which tears away sustenance from those that reach for it. Its fragrance is that of smoke. Its fabric that of linen. Its vehicle is the wagon. Its planet is Saturn and its food is grapes.

            The Realm is occupied by the Watchers, who the Greeks called Egregoroi and the Slavs named Grigori. Fallen angels, giants, all that is known of them is they stand and watch, never sleeping, as those who enter the Realm toil endlessly. Here a man rolls a boulder up a hill, only for it to tip and fall back down. There, countless women attempt to pull water from a river in jugs without bottoms. Over yonder, a man reaches for a bare and possibly-dead tree, but for a handful of grapes hanging above him. Each time he extends his hand, the tree pulls back. And further back, another man hangs upside-down from the gallows, waiting for an eternity for the mystery of the universe to be revealed to him.

            The Realm instructs those in patience, struggle, perseverance, labor, toil, perspective, and futility. Some say Ponos is the Exarchs' dream, others call it the domain of the Locust-Eaters, others say it is infected with the Abyss, while yet more call it the true reflection of the earthly Underworld.

            Horkos
            Nemeses on the Path of Retribution
            Scions of the Watchtower of the Blood Law in the Realm of Dis
            Kingdom of Malice and Abode of Furies

            Fate and Life rule in the Realm of Dis, where oaths broken are visited with swift and brutal violence. The arcana of Spirit is weakened, for the law and oaths are interested solely in the word and letter, with little thought given to what one meant to accomplish with an oath. Still, words are not spoken lightly here, and the Resolve of the Awakened who come to this Realm must be of impressive magnitude in order to say what one means and mean what one says.

            The Realm's Tarot card is Justice, its Watchtower a judicial court flush with blood, pain and suffering. Its element is fire, the blazing of vengeance, jealousy and righteousness. Its weapons are the scourge, the rod and the sword. Its earthly animal is the snake, its mythic beast the gorgon. Its vehicle is the chariot.

            The Realm is occupied by the Furies, who the Greeks named Erinyes, the Romans Dirae. They visit great reprisals upon those who come to the Realm, every hurt and harm committed being revisited and accounted for. It is in some ways reflective of the great purification of sin in Pandemonium, but more immediate, more visceral in character.

            Pseudologos
            Conjurors on the Path of Illusions
            Scions of the Watchtower of the Obscure Stage in the Realm of Carrefour
            Kingdom of Mirrors and Abode of Tricksters

            Forces and Mind take precedence here in this Realm, a strange pocket of trickery, misdirection, deception and lies. Prime, that essence of the truth of magic, is weakest here. Indeed, it's said that Pseudologos is perhaps the closest of the Supernal realms to the earthly world, with its power more from what it can convince its visitors of, than what it actually possesses. To keep ones' tricks straight, each magus who walks up to the Obscure Stage must weave a mask of Composure.

            The Realm's Tarot card is the Magician. Its Watchtower is a dark theater stage, a single spotlight lit from above. Its element is air. Its earthly animal is the rabbit, its mythical beast the sphinx. Its planet is the Moon.

            Along with Ponos and Horkos, Pseudologos is considered part of the "Erisian triad", a grouping of Supernal lands which delight in strife, toil and confusion; all aspects certain magicians still trapped in the Fallen world imagine they can escape by Ascension. The Erisian triad serves as a reminder that all things in the material world have their reflections in the Supernal.

            The Erisian Triad

            "They're our cousins, of a sort. As Doom (Moros) was born of Night (Nyx), so was Toil (Ponos), Oath (Horkos) and Falsehood (Pseudologos) born of Chaos (Eris), and Chaos born of Nyx. So, second cousins, once removed. But is family, even distantly, really something we can throw our hands up at? They're an insight into the Supernal, each magus signed over to them increasing the boundaries of what we know. They're not broken, not invalid expressions of magic, and just because we don't have a tale for who constructed their towers should we assume the worst of them."

            It was with this statement that Geras, Moros of the Larissa consilium in Thessaly, tendered his resignation from the Mysterium in 1881. His advice was not heeded, and four apostates living on the outskirts of the consilium were executed for the strangeness of their magic and suspicions of complicity with Accursed schemes (as well as complicity with the Ottoman regime, which may have been the actual reasoning for the push of their trial and execution).

            Geras spent the next forty years traveling southern Europe and Asia Minor searching for other expressions of the Erisian triad. Even as someone newly made an apostate, the Moros had enough pull amongst his former mystagogues to make a go at it.

            * In central Anatolia, he met a woman who claimed she was a child of Atë (Ruin) but discovered late that she spoke of the Exarch of Fate's name and not a possible fourth tower. A running battle took place in the night streets of Polatlı as Geras sought to outrun the Seer, her pylon and servants. Geras would spend much of the rest of his life terrified that the Exarch was following his footsteps, or possibly even directing them.

            * In Tunis, he spoke at length with a man signed to the Watchtower of Horkos, a leg-breaker and rented thug who ensured people didn't cross his cabal (supposed descendents of a Hellene Free Company). The gentleman died during one of the Allied-Axis conflicts that struck Tunisia during the 40s without meeting a fellow member of his Path.

            * In Siena, Geras met a young Afro-Italian woman who was working for a up-and-coming Italian stage magician. While the magician was of no consequence, a simple escapist and presdigitator of some passable skill, he was fascinated by the magician's assistant who managed to flex her magical talents riding the sheerest edge of improbability. He recognized her as a signatory of Pseudologos, and carried on a long correspondence with her as she settled into the shadows of other wizards amongst the Free Council of Italy.

            Geras would later write up his dissertation upon the Erisian triad, calling them an apple of discord tossed in the neat and tidy literature of Atlantean orthodoxy. While the the paper (Kallisti: A Revolutionary's Unnamed Siblings) did not see its proper due during Geras' life, it developed a fair bit of infamy when his Pseudologos compatriot died and her student (a Mastigos who simply regarded his mentor as 'eccentric'), gave her copy of his dissertation over to the Siena lorehouse in 1935. The Free Council of southern Europe has carried on the search for fellow 'Erisian' magi, and new Erisian Watchtowers to this day.

            It is recognized that too many chiefs cannot run a tribe, too many cooks ruin a broth, and that in any society, someone must clean the toilets. The Awakened society has, in all of its wisdom, never truly planned for this, falling back on its grand ideals and world-shaking power to explain just who exactly will be left with the back-breaking labor of their various utopias and gleaming cathedrals.


            Some are more convinced of this than others.

            John is a prophet. Most people don't recognize that about him. They see a man who, in his mid-thirties, is still scrubbing toilets and mopping floors. Those of the magical world are nothing if not worse for it. They ask of him where is his pride, his ambition, that one of the Awakened would have satisfaction in cleaning up after others. Not in the noble, self-destructive fashion of a Guardian of the Veil, but in the ignoble, soul-crushing way of a minimum-wage janitor. John ignores them as he's ignored every other demand of him by others. John knows his path, knows everyone's path, and intends to provide the way to those few who can recognize it.

            John Awoke during a graveyard shift at a local hospital in Baltimore. He doesn't really describe it in that fashion, more typically calling it the first of many visions. He remembers cleaning, sneaking out to the roof to have a cigarette, and the world cracking open. He remembers treading in ash up to his waist, remembers breathing in and coughing up black, remembers ten days as he attempted to help a man (who he later recognized as his father, his grandfather, and his great-grandfather all in the same man) push a boulder up a hill. He remembers men in the fashion of a chain gang silently breaking rocks under the gaze of a giant who only stared ahead into the middle distance. Finally he remembers a gallows and a cut under his chin as he put the metal noose under his neck.

            The Realm of Tartarus had marked him as one of its own.

            When John came back from his vision, one of his fellow janitors was shaking him and telling him that if he was going to sleep on the job, he could at least not do it where the hospital staff went out to smoke.

            A mere 15 minutes had passed.

            John returned to work, and began to see the world differently. His second vision had come to him, as he looked into an emergency room coated in ash, doctors and nurses in a constant struggle to keep death and time back one more minute. He watched a giant curled up in the pediatrics ward waiting room, passively watching as children with terminal diseases waited for the inevitable but still labored through one more day.

            When John punched out of work that morning, he wound up writing his name on the time card. This then, was the signing of name over to the Watchtower. It was here that he truly became one of the Ponos.

            John has since spent most of his life working his job, and otherwise engaging himself in visions of what will be, what must be, and attempting to instruct others in how futility is not something to scorn, but to embrace as the magic of the world.

            A Seer attempted to assassinate him for his instruction, pushing back as it did upon the Throne's means of keeping others Asleep. At the same time, the Baltimore consilium (and Assembly) keep an eye on the peculiar apostate prophet, worried that he's in some way their enemy; for his magic is of a strange character and he speaks of something that resembles Stygia without really being Stygia.


            Originally posted by saibot View Post
            Now, I admit this is very much a matter of interpretation and presentation, but I believe your Ziggurats did not quite nail it down.
            You know how that feeling when you read something years ago and you're so sure you get it you never go back to check? And then it turns out you've been wrong all along? Well, apparently, I have no idea how I got this impression, but this was my understanding of the Seers vs. the Scelesti:

            Scelesti: They worship the Abyss, so they want to strengthen the Lies, feed the Abyss and hopefully one day drive the Supernal Realms so far away from the Fallen World that the Abyss becomes everything.
            Seers of the Throne: They worship the Exarchs, who they believe have already won. So they seek to exploit their magic to push for each Exarch's ministry, destroy or subsume all Awakened who don't follow the Exarchs, and prepare for the inevitable [thing the Exarchs want to do].

            Having actually reread the Antagonist chapter, I now realise I was quite wrong.

            Originally posted by Michael Kenner View Post
            So I took another long look over the Arcana combinations you have there and considered how I'd expect them to work in an actual game and I don't think you'd have a lot of problems at all.

            It would be a game with a lot more variance between the paths than I think you had in 1e Mage but this isn't necessarily a bad thing, just something to be aware of when you're running the game.

            Your Drasus and Therys mages would be extremely subtle and mystical. Your Gares and Ravas mages would be very physical and direct. Katalos would be... awesome. I really want to play one of them to be honest. Their mix I think would be very interesting and perhaps a little bit more subtle than the 1e Average, although it would probably be similar to an Acanthus actually.
            Thank you so much! I am very very pleased to hear this, especially since I held a love-hate relationship with Mage for the longest time (love the fluff, have some issues with a few specific mechanics), so my stance on it has always been as an observer, rather than a player or GM. I am now finally pushing out of my comfort zone and incorporating Mage into my games.

            I actually really like the way the Watchtowers came out, since the 4 NPCs I mentioned in the OP have been retconned from Acanthus to Drasus. Of the 4, only one is a "proper" mage. She' s a Master of Fate (with a few other arcana to help her), and she acts as the "Seer" archetype for the player. She scries for them, sees the future, changes Fate here and there to help them out, gives them info, etc. The other three became Prometheans. One already reached her New Dawn, the other one lost her magic and accepted it, while the last one (the current main antagonist) tried to regain her magic (since she was the best of the four at it) and in her doing, became a Mad One. She's a Master of Prime that spontaneously creates Tulpas and other Prime creations, and has a good amount of other arcana (particularly Forces and Space) to make her a credible threat. Furthermore, all four of them being Drasus neatly explains why they would go through all the trouble of becoming Prometheans: Drasus have a hard time making peace with the idea of Death.

            My players are also very witty and easily came up with "in-jokes" about the Watchtowers. They suggested that Therys mages get so mad at objects, like cursing at a coffee table when they bump their toe against it, or shouting "WHO PUTS A WALL HERE?!" when they're in the middle of some exciting chase and their quarry gives them the slip. They also suggested the idea that the Gares are the "foil" and "straight men" to the antics of the others, being completely unimpressed with everyone else's shenanigans.

            If you try them out in a game, please let me know how it goes!


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