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  • Dataweaver
    started a topic The Other Five Paths (2e)

    The Other Five Paths (2e)

    This topic is the Second Edition counterpart to my original The Other Five Paths topic. For the overview, I'm using the Pathfinding blog entry as my template.

    TO DO LIST
    Now that Signs of Sorcery is out (early release at this time), I can look at what else needs to be done with the Paths.

    First, each Path needs a “Vision of Truth” entry describing the Supernal World of that Path: how the Ruling Arcana are viewed, and how the other Arcana for into its worldview. This needs to be followed by one Environmental Tilt for each Ruling Arcanum for use with the Aedes systems.

    After that, I need to devise a series of Boons for each Path's Supernal Entities, one per Arcanum. See Signs of Sorcery pp.39–43 for examples.

    Next, there are charts for Classical Tools and Ars Novum Tools for each Path (pp.47–48); those will need counterpart tables for these Paths.

    I've already started work on how Perfected Materials should apply to the various new Paths. But that needs to be completed. This should be done in conjunction with the Path Tools, since one of the entries there is materials.

    I think that's it. Am I missing anything?

    The Paths

    As with the regular Paths, each of these new Paths is defined by a central dichotomy.

    Aretos: Theory and Practice
    Axios: Risk and Reward
    Kleos: Memory and Myth
    Mæstros: Authority and Duty
    Sophros: Growth and Decay

    The Watchtowers

    Aretos: the Watchtower of the Amalgam Mallet in the Realm of Utopia
    Axios: the Watchtower of the Jeweled Scale in the Realm of the Seven Seas
    Kleos: the Watchtower of the Tin Flute in the Realm of the Akasha
    Mæstros: the Watchtower of Brass and Flame in the Realm of the Elemental Nation
    Sophros: the Watchtower of the Wooden Chalice in the Realm of Elysium

    Aedes
    Aretos: Functions and Forms
    Axios: Terra Incognitae and Ways
    Kleos: Rhythms and Rhymes
    Mæstros:
    Sophros: Harvest Glades and Fertile Fields

    Path Stereotypes

    Aretos: Artisans and Craftsmen
    Axios: Traders and Advocates
    Kleos: Sages and Bards
    Mæstros: Sorcerers and Evokers
    Sophros: Druids and Mediums

    Paths As Game Mechanics
    Path  Ruling Arcana  Inferior Arcanum 
    Aretos  Matter and Prime  Fate 
    Axios  Space and Fate  Life 
    Kleos  Time and Mind  Space 
    Mæstros  Forces and Spirit  Prime 
    Sophros  Life and Death  Time 
    To an Aretos on the Path of Excellence, the world is full of potential; when he looks at a slab of marble, he sees the sculpture that he can bring out of it. They summon Archetypes.

    To an Axios on the Path of Merit, the world is full of Opportunities and Connections. They summon ___.

    To a Kleos on the Path of Enlightenment, the record of the world is an open book, and she can read the stories that surround her. They summon Eidolons.

    To a Mæstros on the Path of Mastery, the forces in the world are alive with purpose. They summon the Djinn.

    To a Sophros on the Path of Balance, the cycle of the Seasons is everywhere, as everything is either developing or fading in turn. They summon Serpents.

    How To Use These Paths
    Here are four alternate settings to illustrate how these Paths might be used.

    Another World
    In this version of the Chronicles of Darkness, there are only five Paths; but instead of witches, wizards, alchemists, theurges, and shamans, you have artisans, traders, sages, sorcerers, and druids.

    The Ten Watchtowers
    In this setting, all ten Paths coexist, and have always coexisted. There is talk about “the Paths of the Soul” (Acanthus, Mastigos, Moros, Obrimos, Thyrsus) that supposedly favor the Subtle Arcana, and “the Paths of the World” (Aretos, Axios, Kleos, Mæstros, Sophros) that supposedly favor the Gross Arcana; but, like the distinction between Subtle and Gross, it's largely a theoretical distinction. Nonetheless, associations are drawn:

    Paths of the Soul
    Acanthus: the Name
    Mastigos: the Spirit
    Moros: the Shadow
    Obrimos: the Essence
    Thyrsus: the Heart

    Paths of the World
    Aretos: Quintessence
    Axios: Water
    Kleos: Air
    Mæstros: Fire
    Sophros: Earth

    In this setting, the new Paths of the World get the common Elemental Mastery Legacies, and the original Paths of the Soul get a new set of Legacies based on the five parts of the soul.

    The World Has Changed
    In 2009, some sort of cosmic event occurred, and new mages started Awakening in large numbers to a sixth Watchtower, the Watchtower of Brass and Flame. But that was just the beginning: over the next two years, four more Watchtowers “came online”, one after the other. It has now been nine years since the first of the New Watchtowers erupted, and seven years since the last one did, and their appearances are as much a mystery now as they were then. No one speaks of “Paths of the Soul” or “Paths of the World”; rather, they're simply “the Old Paths” and “the New Paths”.

    Science and Magic
    This setting combines these Paths with Gifted Science from Mage Chronicler's Guide. That is, the Aretos, Axios, Kleos, Mæstros, and Sophros aren't Mages who Awakened to Watchtowers; they're Gifted Scientists who have Actualized different Utopias:

    • the Aretos are the Path of Engineering, builders of the Singularity
    • the Axios are the Path of Utility, advocates of the Market
    • the Kleos are the Path of Society, founders of the Republic
    • the Mæstros are the Path of Physics, seekers of Type V Civilization
    • the Sophros are the Path of Biology, tenders of the Garden


    Thanks to Dave Brookshaw and Malcolm Sheppard for devising these Technocratic Utopias while writing the Mage Translation Guide; it's unfortunate you had to cut them for space.

    Thanks also to malonkey1 for the sigils.
    Last edited by Dataweaver; 02-15-2020, 08:01 PM.

  • Dataweaver
    replied
    Originally posted by The Kings Raven View Post
    Let the buyer beware isn't fitting at all, and while that might not be the *only* definition of Trickster it's the one that will first come to people's minds. Good Traders don't stick to the letter of the deal and screw you in the small print. They make a deal that you're happy with so that when they come back next time you'll be happy to trade with them again. Every MBA knows that brand image a key to success in the marketplace, and a brand that says "read the small print, twice, with a lawyer" is not a good brand.
    True. But it's also true that a group can end up with a bad reputation because of one bad actor. I'll grant that the “let the buyer beware” Tricksters give a bad name to the rest of them; and when I write them up, I'll emphasize that point. They do exist, and they are what most people think of first; but they're not representative of the average Trickster.

    Originally posted by The Kings Raven View Post
    Also I don't think the idea of an adjective works either. The canon ones: Faeries, Demons, Angels, Shades, Beasts, Djinn. They're all nouns. It would be weird to have a Path who's Supernal Entities are a grab-bag of different canon realms.
    Not a grab-bag, no. They're unified by a common trait that they share. In that regard, they're not really any different from the way demons were presented in the Tome of the Watchtowers:
    Pandemonium is often equated with the Jungian idea of the “Shadow” of the “collective unconscious” — that which is rejected, and hence identified with (but not necessarily identical to) rejects from the other Paths, i.e., fallen angels, Unseelie Fae, rabid beasts, evil dead, etc.
    As well: in Signs of Sorcery, angels, demons, fae, beasts, and shades aren't defined in terms of “how are they angelic, demonic, fae-like, bestial, or shady?" They're defined in terms of how they represent the principles of the Obrimos, Mastigos, Acanthus, Thyrsus, and Moros. That is, there's very little in there about what they look like and a lot about how they do things. Conceptually, that's more “adjective” than “noun”.

    That said, I'm not using adjectives, for the most part. Archetypes, Tricksters, and Vocalists are nouns; and Chthonics could easily be turned into Chthonians (but that's a separate debate).

    And finally, part of the difficulty comes from the fact that the Seven Seas draws on “Arabian Nights” sources which puts it in contention with the Mæstros, who have dibs on that source. Given that common source, the notion that Tricksters might take the form of genies despite the overlap with the Djinn isn't terribly surprising.

    And finally, the notion of the common thread of Bargainers between demons, faeries, and genies was in the back of my head when I first conceived the Axios. I've always seen that Path as a conceptual extension of Changeling's Pledges, Demon's Pacts, and Exalted's Eclipse Caste anima banner.

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  • The Kings Raven
    replied
    Let the buyer beware isn't fitting at all, and while that might not be the *only* definition of Trickster it's the one that will first come to people's minds. Good Traders don't stick to the letter of the deal and screw you in the small print. They make a deal that you're happy with so that when they come back next time you'll be happy to trade with them again. Every MBA knows that brand image a key to success in the marketplace, and a brand that says "read the small print, twice, with a lawyer" is not a good brand.

    Also I don't think the idea of an adjective works either. The canon ones: Faeries, Demons, Angels, Shades, Beasts, Djinn. They're all nouns. It would be weird to have a Path who's Supernal Entities are a grab-bag of different cannon realms.

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  • Dataweaver
    replied
    I was originally going to use the term Bargainers; and that term may well serve for the Axios Entities of Space, the ones whose imagery tends to be along the lines of the demon, fae, or genie. Their defining feature is that they traffic in some sort of deal-making; and that when you make a deal with them, you need to be wary: they'll give you what you ask for, but not necessarily what you want. They're all infamous for sticking to the letter of the deal, as it were, while perverting the intent. Let the buyer beware. It's in that sense that they're Tricksters.

    On the other hand, trickster gods tend to also be benefactors for mankind: I mentioned Prometheus, but I've also seen Hermes described as a trickster god who also fosters trade, and coyote is apparently both a trickster and a benefactor in the Native American mythologies that feature him. In the Axios worldview, you might think of them as “investors”: they find humans who are down on their luck and give them the startup they need to make something of themselves. One might say that they're not doing so out of altruism, but rather to foster future trading partners and customers. So be it: the Axioi are never about altruism, but they can very much be about “growing the pie” so that everyone wins. (From the TaleSpin episode Citizen Khan: “I only desire money and power. Unpresentable employees give me neither.”)

    And these are Tricksters, too; it's just that they're tricksters in the sense of being clever and cunning in their largesse.

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  • The Kings Raven
    replied
    Can you think of some kind of supernatural creature that's symbolically linked to Ventures? I ask because while fitting ventures doesn't seem like a word describing a being you can talk to.

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  • KaiserAfini
    replied
    Trickster is more the purview of a con man, not a merchant. The best merchants want to provide you with mutually beneficial agreements, that way you want to come back to them often, recommend them by word of mouth, enter into a joint project with them, etc.

    So lets say your cabal wants to make an amazing Sanctum. Demesne, bleeding edge security system, tons of magical defenses, the works. They go to a merchant and try to broker two deals:

    1- They want to sell some very interesting enhanced/imbued item that only they can make. This will be the source of mundane resources for the upgrade.

    2- They want to borrow a big amount of tass to fuel the magical part. They estimate Hallow production to pay it back in X time with Y interests plus they present some collateral.

    Seeing the great tass loan, the merchant asks them to sell him the items at a discount until they can pay back the loan, he will even lower the interest if they do. The cabal agrees and walks out with a better deal than expected, whereas the merchant has a safer way to recover his investment and even earn some nice profit.

    How about if they summoned Ventures ? They know better than anyone else where to find the opportunities that lead to success.
    Last edited by KaiserAfini; 02-18-2020, 09:44 AM.

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  • The Kings Raven
    replied
    I'm not keen on Tricksters. I think it goes against the fundamental themes of the path. A good Trader isn't a dodgy used car salesman, the path is about mutually profitable exchange. There's risk and reward, but the risk isn't deceptive, a sea storm doesn't trick you. I agree with the opportunities/judgement split, but not tricksters.


    As for Chthonics. Serpents are 100 times more fitting. They're symbols of immortality via death and rebirth thanks to mythic interpretations of snakes shedding their skin, and they're venerated by druids. Chthonics come from Greek underworld where death is absolutely a finality rather than a transition, you *might* be able to squeeze Persephone in as a Chthonic under Greek Myth, but she's very much the exception to the rule, she was born an Olympian and kidnapped. More typical Greek Chthonic deities like Hades are all Death all the time without a hint of Life. You mention the hooded Reaper, another example of something that's very much Death-as-an-End and not Death-as-a-cycle.

    Stick to Serpents as the entities for Elysium, they're literally perfect for the Sophros while Chthonics are too strongly associated with Death as an ending; and barely associated with Life at all. Serpants are both Life and Death, and they're Cycles as well.


    For the Kleos, Muses and Banishes work well.
    Last edited by The Kings Raven; 02-18-2020, 08:13 AM.

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  • Dataweaver
    replied
    Lost my post. Nutshell version:

    You got my creative juices flowing; so consider your suggestions a success even if I don't use them.

    The Supernal Entities of the Aether aren't angels; they're angel-like symbols that are defined more by the role they play in the Path of the Mighty than by any adherence to the human mythology of angels. This holds true of all Supernal Entities. With that in mind:

    Aretos: the Archetypes serve as personifications of ideas (for the Archetypes of Prime) or personifications of things (for the Archetypes of Matter).
    Axios: the Tricksters are distinguished by their priorities: if they prefer to emphasize opportunities and rewards (like Prometheus bringing fire to humans), they're Tricksters of Fate; if they prefer to emphasize connections and risk (as tends to be the case with deal-making entities like demons, djinn, and fae), they're Tricksters of Space.
    Kleos: the Vocalists (I need a better name for them) might inspire (like a siren or muse) or warn (like a banshee). The former are entities of Mind, while the latter are entities of Time. The Vocalists of Time tend to take the form of a figure from the past warning about the future.
    Mæstros: the Djinn are straight out of the Mage Chronicler's Guide; I don't really have much to say about them, other than you have Djinn of Spirit and Djinn of Forces. Suggestions?
    Sophros: the Chthonics are entities that “tend the garden”, either as the Sowers (chthonics of Life who give life and nurture the living) or as the Reapers (chthonics of Death who take life and guide the dead).

    Note: things like sphinxes, sirens, banshees, serpents, and so on are still a thing; it's just that they're examples of Tricksters, Vocalists, and Chthonics. Likewise, there are Tricksters that resemble demons, djinn, or fae; but they are first and foremost Tricksters, whatever appearance they wear. And conversely, there are Tricksters that look nothing like any of the above, just as there are Angels that look nothing like angels.

    And while there are chthonic serpents (both reapers and sowers: think of the Rod of Asclepius), there are also many chthonics who look nothing like serpents: the traditional hooded figure wielding a scythe is a popular appearance for Reapers, and Sowers often look like the stereotypical dryad. But there are an inordinate number of serpents in the garden.

    Put another way, I'm not abandoning the Serpents; they're just being demoted from being the Supernal Entities of Elysium to being examples of Supernal Entities of Elysium.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Dataweaver; 02-18-2020, 05:22 AM.

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  • Adrasalieth
    replied
    Fair. Sphinxes and Kraken, then?

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  • Dataweaver
    replied
    I'm thinking that Sirens and Banshees might work better as the Mind and Time Entities of the Kleos.

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  • Adrasalieth
    replied
    Does Axios still lack Supernal Entities? I think I have something that could work.

    Space - Sirens or Apsara

    And I precise that I do not mean "mermaids", but "sirens" [i.e. more avian than aquatic: altough both may be featured in the Seven Seas]. This way, we attain a certain balance between the celestial and oceanic feel of the Path.

    Argument 1: Perfect etymological fit: if Wikipedia is to be believed, one can trace the word "Siren", σειρά (seirá "rope, cord") and εἴρω (eírō "to tie, join, fasten"), resulting in the meaning "binder, entangler".

    Argument 2: When they attempt to seduce Odysseus, they tempt him with knowledge "of all that happens on the surface of Mother Gaia", especially things related to the Trojan War that he just fled from. Pretty Space to me, and respects the idea that Axios are concerned with the "flavor" of Sympathetic links, more than the distance that separates each of their ends.

    Argument 3: You chose the Scale as the symbol of this Path, and Sirens. In the Republic, Plato imagines them singing a single note atop the seven planetary Spheres (hence the lasting image of the "Music of the Spheres"), to steer them in their orbit around some Cosmic Whorl where the Three Fates grant dead souls their future reincarnation.

    Argument 4: The theriantropic nature of the Sirens (bird wings, fish tails, etc.) marks: Life, here, only serves to propel oneself from one transaction to the next, to imprint a straight wake upon the erratic currrents of winds and waves.

    Fate - Banshee or Dakini [Keres, Shikome, Ghouls, and all manners of Crones]

    Here, the key notion is Lament, and/or the potential Cannibalistic tendencies of all the figures I've listed.

    Remember in the Odyssey, that nobody knew who ate the remains of the marines drowned and washed ashore because they heeded the Sirens' song ? Those gals sure did. Most of them are wizened, unkempt or emaciated, representing the Price of Life: a body subject to luck and pleasure is also an electable prey for misfortune and suffering, which piles up over the course of your existence until it marks your body, and ultimately snatches it back from you.

    What would characterize them? I'd propose it to be the fact that they are many. Even if you summon a single Banshee, you summon a manifold being: a impossibly dense crowd of black-clad women, huddled within a small invocation circle: a single body with three faces, or a hundred voices; or three women bickering over who gets to have its turn of their singular eye or tooth, like the Graeae.


    [Also, if the Banshee/Sirens doesn't work because Celtic/Greek isn't fun, we could replace Banshee by the Greek Sphinx. As Oedipus learnt, a simple bargain may not be so simple, and riddles hide more of your Fate than you think... plus, the cannibalism and the facts that Greek sphinxes are winged also plays well with their Siren countepart]
    Last edited by Adrasalieth; 02-17-2020, 09:40 PM.

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  • Dataweaver
    replied
    By the way, I ended up going with the Jeweled Scale as the Axios' Watchtower symbol.

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  • Dataweaver
    replied
    Originally posted by The Kings Raven View Post
    I think the key for Sophros Aedes is that they both show signs that they're about to change to the other half. Fertilizer works for that, as does burred seeds. Trees, flowers, etc work fine for Glades but I think there should be a sign that they're about to die. Not painfully, they're not unhealthy, just that it's their time. The fruit is ripe and it's time for a druid (or a bird) to take it from the vine.
    Fair enough. Maybe “Harvest Glades” and “Fertile Fields”, or something like that? The other thing is that it's possible for an area to be rich in both Life and Death at the same time; so the Aedes need to be such that they can coexist if needed. I think that's doable with this pairing.

    Originally posted by The Kings Raven View Post
    I actually hit on that same idea of seeing a sculpture inside a block of marble but I thought you were aiming for something different. If you want to go that way, "Conceptions" maybe?
    They appear around things with great potential? An Artisan could see a statue inside any block of marble, so something needs to set this block of marble apart from the crowd.
    Hmm… while I feel no obligation to avoid stepping on Genius's toes and thus would be perfectly fine using the term Inspiration for the Aretos' Prime Aedes, I'm thinking now of using Functions for that, and Forms for the Matter Aedes. I'm liking the ideas you're coming up with for what they'd be like.

    Originally posted by The Kings Raven View Post
    If threads are too similar to Chains, maybe Roads, Routes, Passages, or just Ways. Trade routes as connections is an obvious choice.
    Terra Incognitae and Ways, then.

    Pending feedback, I'll put these changes in.
    Last edited by Dataweaver; 02-15-2020, 08:04 PM.

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  • The Kings Raven
    replied
    I think the key for Sophros Aedes is that they both show signs that they're about to change to the other half. Fertilizer works for that, as does burred seeds. Trees, flowers, etc work fine for Glades but I think there should be a sign that they're about to die. Not painfully, they're not unhealthy, just that it's their time. The fruit is ripe and it's time for a druid (or a bird) to take it from the vine.

    I actually hit on that same idea of seeing a sculpture inside a block of marble but I thought you were aiming for something different. If you want to go that way, "Conceptions" maybe?
    They appear around things with great potential? An Artisan could see a statue inside any block of marble, so something needs to set this block of marble apart from the crowd.

    If threads are too similar to Chains, maybe Roads, Routes, Passages, or just Ways. Trade routes as connections is an obvious choice.

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  • Dataweaver
    replied
    The Aedes already in print are:

    Thorns and Mists (Time and Fate)
    Crypts and Shells (Death and Matter)
    Auras and Chains (Mind and Space)
    Mandalas and Dominions (Prime and Forces)
    Singing Paths and Ecstasies (Spirit and Life)

    There may be references to glades in 2e (though not in Signs of Sorcery); but there aren't any references to Glades. So that's a valid option for the Sophros Aedes of Life. I was hoping for it to manifest as trees, bushes, flowers, even wheat and grass: an area with this Environmental Tilt would, to Mage Sight, be populated by exotic plant life, just like the Supernal Entities that inhabit such areas are exotic animal life. So yes, I could see the Life Aedes of the Sophros being Glades.

    The reason I suggested Soil for the Death Aedes is, frankly, fertilizer. We bury the dead and they decompose and become plant food that allows life to grow. It's the other half of the cycle. Soil may not be the best name for it; but that's the basic idea I'm thinking of.

    When I suggested Schemata and Prototypes, I was thinking of Schemata kind of like the visuals that have been so popular lately in media portraying mathematicians, or like Neo's “Matrix Vision”. It would be a lot like Mandalas, but for Prime rather than Forces. It's all about seeing implications; so that matches what you're describing.

    Prototypes might not be the right name for the other idea I'm going for here; I'm thinking that an Aretos' Matter Sight shows what can be done with the materials: it's literally “I look at a block of marble and see the statue within, just waiting to be released” — but broader than that.

    Terra Incognita and Threads: I got those backward. I definitely like the notion of Terra Incognita as opportunities and Threads as connections; my only worry is that I see opportunities as manifestations of Fate and connections as manifestations of Space; and Threads being Aedes of Space is way too close to Chains.

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