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  • Why is immortality such a big deal?

    The rules seem to demonize attempting to become immortal quite a bit, especially on p. 237 under Liches, claiming that any mage having the austerity to want to live forever has "deeper rooted problems", because who would dare be so bold as to survive their own children? It's also claimed that it's incredibly difficult to live such a long time. But why? It seems like a Life Perfecting spell should do the job. The example spell "Knit" can only repair damage that your body could repair on its own, but I don't see why that should logically be the case. Seems someone was really worried about mages going for immortality?

    It's not very important to me, but it seems like an odd stance and I wondered if I missed anything.

  • #2
    Morally safe solutions usually either have drawbacks (look at the "immortality" spell of Time - even after Reaching the hell out of it, you will NEVER develop a new condition, and NEVER spend XP while under it's protection), or are very fragile - "one dispellation from death" fragile.
    The "safe" and "sturdy" methods of immortality are often, well, morally dubious.

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    • #3
      It is weird. Especially from Onyx Path. But it happens across the lines, 'normalcy' is something to aspire to. Genderfluidity and sexuality are part of that normal, a good thing, but there's a lot that hasn't been accepted. And deviance from that is inherently monstrous and soul-damaging.

      Mage has some reason for the immortality thing, in that most of the ways to achieve immortality involve harming others. But if a method had been created that doesn't harm others, why would it involve deeper rooted problems? Especially in a game with hubris and overreach as such powerful themes they're entwined with the mechanics.
      Last edited by nofather; 08-07-2016, 04:48 PM.

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      • #4
        From an out-of-setting perspective, there are two reasons that immediately appear to me why the game would go out of its way to present a certain image of lichdom, and enforce that with rules:

        1. Thematically, immortality is a massive act of hubris, and one which serves to divorce the individual from humanity. This is, in Mage's humanistic cosmos, generally a dangerous thing to do. It's worth noting there are a number of example liches who are perfectly fine people - barrow-wights who use their undeath to pursue ultra-long-term magical experiments, for example - but all of them are weird, inhuman, and kind of sideshows to the magical world. And most forms of immortality that already exist - Vampirism, for example, which inspired and was the origin of the Tremere Liches - are morally horrible, because it's a horror-fantasy setting. Being pessimistic about mages being able to hold onto humanity in the face of the abyss of time just follows from the basic themes.

        2. Mechanically, the easier and less risky it is for mages to gain immortality, the more ultra-powerful elder mages there are in the setting. If immortality is trivial and costs almost nothing, you get a social structure where everything is permanently run by ancient supermages, until they become Archmages, who are plentiful. The Free Council and the Player Characters become almost powerless in the face of legions of multi-degree lich masters. OR, you ignore the mechanics you wrote and write the setting the way you want to write it, and players feel dissonance about that.

        That's my 2c, anyways

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        • #5
          2nd reason is one I personally care about the most, honestly.

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          • #6
            It's definitely the more generally important to players! But I would argue that having coherent themes and ideas underlying the setting make the whole much more functional and interesting, and can and should be a major influence on writers' decisions.

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            • #7
              It's a fairly common motif that the pursuit of immortality is an act of extreme hubris. See also: Qin Shi Huang.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Unahim View Post
                The rules seem to demonize attempting to become immortal quite a bit, especially on p. 237 under Liches, claiming that any mage having the austerity to want to live forever has "deeper rooted problems", because who would dare be so bold as to survive their own children? It's also claimed that it's incredibly difficult to live such a long time. But why? It seems like a Life Perfecting spell should do the job. The example spell "Knit" can only repair damage that your body could repair on its own, but I don't see why that should logically be the case. Seems someone was really worried about mages going for immortality?

                It's not very important to me, but it seems like an odd stance and I wondered if I missed anything.
                It does, thing is, when, not if, but when it gets dispelled, say hello to the afterlife.

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                • #9
                  First, pretty sure you mean "audacity", not "austerity".

                  Second, there is an "acceptable" way to achieve immortality in the Mage setting: seek Archmastery. The irony, of course, is that in many ways Archmastery is even more hubristic than even being a Tremere. Sure, Tremere consume souls to survive, but an Archmage creates Aponia as part of their quest and fundamentally alters reality with every 6+ spell they cast.


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                  • #10
                    There's also the fact that Death is one of the major ruling forces of the known Mage cosmology. Everything has its time.

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                    • #11
                      I would say that it isn't as much about immortality being wrong, it's more about utter majority of mages who even consider it going about acquiring it the wrong way. They *could* modify their genome bit by bit and clear their body of stuff that degraded over time, but that 1) requires careful study of several Arcana *and* exoterics like biology over a significant period of time, sometimes to the point of Mastery and 2) related to that, some patience and foresight. Many mages want things now, they cannot wait and become lured into various left-handed Legacies (like the Tremere), that in the end do more harm to them than good.

                      Add to that the cultural bias: Moros Path bias + war with the Tremere, which created a pretty good indoctrination system in a mage society that tells people, that they shouldn't want immortality. Ask any random person on the street whether they want immortality and they will usually say no, either because they believe it either isn't possible or because "they wouldn't want to live a lone life", not realizing that their friends and family would be immortal as well. Mage society is misguided in a similar way, just with different reasons at the root of those attitudes.

                      In short, this means that most mages don't even try for immortality, and those few who try do it the wrong way.

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                      • #12
                        Using the real world is missing the point slightly. The real world doesn't have a grand spiritual cosmology (or at least it's very well hidden). The CofD does.

                        The Moros aren't bias, they're made intimately aware of profound metaphysical truths. I mean, the setting has an exarch to represent the fear of death.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Michael View Post
                          Using the real world is missing the point slightly. The real world doesn't have a grand spiritual cosmology (or at least it's very well hidden). The CofD does.

                          The Moros aren't bias, they're made intimately aware of profound metaphysical truths. I mean, the setting has an exarch to represent the fear of death.
                          Well, fear of death that causes you to disregard life is a bit different from wanting to live longer to enjoy said life.

                          You could argue that metaphysics are different, but even in CofD exist organisms that don't age, some people have progeria and some have good genes that let them live longer that most of the population. Their lifespan is dependent on their biology, not on any metaphysics. Also, why would species that evolve over millions of years to live longer be any more "metaphysically correct" than a situation when the same physical change is introduced by an act of will over a shorter timespan?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Prometheus View Post
                            Their lifespan is dependent on their biology, not on any metaphysics.
                            Maybe. I mean, biology doesn't have active forces of death, fate and life which apparently are things in the CofD; that's before you get to souls being real.

                            Also, why would species that evolve over millions of years to live longer be any more "metaphysically correct" than a situation when the same physical change is introduced by an act of will over a shorter timespan?
                            Because the former would be part of a coherent cycle, and your version is basically just damning up that cycle without any regard to the broader system.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Michael View Post
                              Because the former would be part of a coherent cycle, and your version is basically just damning up that cycle without any regard to the broader system.
                              But that could be said about anything happening in modern civilization. Rest of the world couldn't prepare for the arrival of humanity during such an astronomically short time. What makes long life stand out from the ton of things humanity imposed on the world in such a short time? If extensively and quickly taming the environment to serve men is alright...

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