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Help Understanding Fate and Sekhem

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  • Help Understanding Fate and Sekhem

    Greetings all,

    I'm musing on these topics at the moment (in a crossover / cosmology kind of way, I confess), and have been trying to wrap my head around these concepts in Mummy. It's been a little while since I've read through the books (and I'm lacking Dreams of Avarice currently), but I just did a quick flip through them - and through the forum topics - to try and find some explanations, but didn't come up with much.
    So, first of all, if there are any page references or links to topics which discuss these, I'd be very grateful if people could share them.
    Otherwise, I was hoping to open up these topics again and discuss them with the community.

    I seem to recall it being said somewhere that the force of Fate in Mummy was different from those in Mage and Changeling - specifically because Mummy refers to the true and ultimate Fate: events which were predestined, the way history (and the future) actually stand, and the ultimate cosmic truth. As opposed to other game lines, where the concept involves oaths, relationships, and causality which can be manipulated. However, I can't find the source for a statement like that, so I could be mis-remembering...
    While it casts a long shadow across the game, I don't recall Fate being very actively explored in Mummy. It's the force that drives the Sothic turns, and the Deceived can ascend to become its literal agents, and I believe I saw a discussion regarding Dreams of Avarice which explain the Judges as emanations of Fate and Law. But it didn't seem to get a whole lot of attention or explanation. So I'm a bit fuzzy as to what Fate means in Mummy.


    Sekhem is a whole other mystery, I know, but I'm musing on that also, so thought I'd tack it on to the discussion. As I understand, it is the Life-Force that pervades the world: it's found everywhere and in everything, but in particular is woven through the Lifeweb and collects in Relics. From the descriptions of Relics, it seems like human emotion is a very potent contributor to Sekhem. I think I remember it being addressed more in Guildhalls, with the guilds all taking different philosophical approaches to it, and some defining sub-aspects (like the Dedwen that the Alchemists work with).


    ...I feel like I know the basics concepts behind these, but in a vague and fuzzy way. I'd appreciate if someone could correct if I've gotten anything wrong, and point me toward further readings, or discuss these a little more with me.
    Thanks for your help,
    ~Seraph


    Second Chance for

    A Beautiful Madness

  • #2
    I don't have the time for a full reply, but it's worth nothing that Dark Eras offers an interesting Mage perspective on Sekhem:

    In contemporary terms, Sekhem is not “Supernal,” but the stuff of existence as it actually manifests. Awakened magic interacts with it like a smith holding tongs, while the Predynastic ancients preferred to grab this molten stuff with the spiritual equivalent of their bare hands. Weret-Hekau do not necessarily believe the works of Irem (a name few of them know) to be evil, but dangerous. Hemka have attempted to learn the old arts before, but progressing beyond elementary knowledge . . . damages them.


    Just call me Lex.

    Female pronouns for me, please.

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    • #3
      Indeed; I remember reading that section with great interest. That paragraph got me thinking that Sekhem was the same as Resonance, and possibly as Essence also. That would certainly fit in with the Lifeweb, and matches up with the description of the energy in Vestiges.


      Second Chance for

      A Beautiful Madness

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      • #4
        Fate's a toughy, namely in how to work around how inviolable it is in game.

        Sekhem is essentially fundamental life force and world memory wrapped up in one, a thing that fundamentally remembers and discovers at the same time.


        Sean K.I.W. Steele, Freelance Writer
        Work Blog Coming Soon
        The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey

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        • #5
          I've actually been pondering this with regards to the fan game that's being community-developed in the forums, which deals with Fate a lot.

          So I've tried to piece together how the different gamelines all view Fate and how they're all right. If you don't mind, I'll be using the five X-splats of this fan game in order to explain the different "versions" of Fate and how they all coexist.

          First, you have Fate as Consequence and Punishment. If you do X, Y will happen to you. This is "powered" by the action itself. It's both causality and retribution working in unison.
          Then, you have Fate as Luck and Randomness. This is based on probability and influences whatever has a random or uncertain chance to happen.
          Thirdly, you have Fate as Personal Destiny and Purpose. This one varies in granularity from "each individual moment in a person's life" to "this one important thing they need to do."
          Then, you have Fate as The Ultimate Destiny of the Universe. This one is a big-picture, long-view type of thing, based on ongoing causality and the metaphors of links in a chain and threads in a tapestry. Basically, it is based on the idea that the universe has an ultimate fate, and that everything that happens merely leads up to it. It can also be downscaled to instead refer to several key events (or, more accurately, "universe-states") that are predetermined to happen.
          Then, you have Fate as That Which Is Inevitable and Like a Need. This is the sort of thing that "must" happen, either because an external force needs it or because the very event itself is both necessary and inevitable.

          The reason all these things are aspects of the same thing is because Fate is basically the power of Narrative in-universe. Fate is simply a force that sets events in motion. Whether they're based on probability, causality, necessity, purpose or some grand predetermined design, they are events that are being nudged into happening and sometimes can be altered on an "essential" level by use of proper magic (usually called Fate/Luck magic).

          The reason the Wyrd in Changeling is a force of connections, relationships and pledges is because of both causality and purpose. Causality connects two things together with an "if then" statement, so by its very nature it's a force of connections. Pledges, meanwhile, are crafting a new intertwined personal destiny between two or more entities, which is sealed by the principle of consequence and punishment.

          The key conundrum is whether Fate can actually be altered, or if those "alterations" are the things that were supposed to happen all along. Another way in which all the gamelines are right is by adopting Schrodinger's Fate, where there is no answer to that conundrum. Mummies may believe that all things that come to pass have been preordained, and everything always goes according to plan (at least for Fate), while Changelings and Mages can believe that Fate can be bargained with or altered with magic.

          At the end of the day, whether something was preordained or not is a philosophical question at best. You'll never know for sure.


          My homebrew hub.

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          • #6
            Think of Sekhem as life force, but not just for "being alive" life, but also "this life I have lived" life.

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            • #7
              I think it's best summed up as the emotional attachment to living life, and all that connotes and implies

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              • #8
                I view it as the same Fate in every game. The difference in Mummy is that a loooooooong time ago some very powerful people made contact with the forces of Fate and through powerful magic "pounded out the kinks" until there was only one destiny possible in these lines of "pure Fate". And then they bound that Fate around their favorite servants like iron chains and left them to toil upon the Earth.

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                • #9
                  Fate in Mummy is both a force of individual destiny (similar to Fate in Mage) and a grand design for the movements of the universe. It's also more of a direct actor in things than Mage Fate or Changeling Wyrd, sometimes drawing the Arisen out of slumber at odd times or transporting them to strange places.

                  Sekhem is the sum energy of life and creation, everything vibrant about the physical world. It is within everything from the squirming insects to the hearts of men to the ocean tides to the movement of the heavens, and can be directed in a manner like ley lines.


                  Just call me Lex.

                  Female pronouns for me, please.

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                  • #10
                    Spoilers for Dreams of Avarice
                    Is it possible that the reason capital F Fate in Mummy seems more powerful and active than in other lines is because it is the Will of Sutek?

                    Lower case F fate seems to be something like the Law of Suffering, compelling consequences for actions. So the reason that Fate cannot be changed by lesser magics is because its the world doing what it wants rather than letting someone play around with interpritations of the law.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Exthalion View Post
                      Spoilers for Dreams of Avarice
                      Is it possible that the reason capital F Fate in Mummy seems more powerful and active than in other lines is because it is the Will of Sutek?

                      Lower case F fate seems to be something like the Law of Suffering, compelling consequences for actions. So the reason that Fate cannot be changed by lesser magics is because its the world doing what it wants rather than letting someone play around with interpritations of the law.
                      Oooh. That's a fantastic explanation. And it has the nice tie-in of why the Aeon of Fate is missing from its Astral tower : it is in all life. And it leaves room for the Wyrd to be the third leg, covering the purviews of "sympathetic comnections" (or rather, the roles people have in the loom of Fate).

                      More importantly, it synergizes with the Deceived.
                      As when they ascend they become literal agents of Fate (Sutek); they make the necessary changes in the living world, while ascended Arisen change Duat and A'aru, to entirely free the world.
                      Last edited by Seraph Kitty; 03-07-2016, 11:16 AM.


                      Second Chance for

                      A Beautiful Madness

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                      • #12
                        Mordred isn't missing though?


                        Sean K.I.W. Steele, Freelance Writer
                        Work Blog Coming Soon
                        The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                          Mordred isn't missing though?
                          Although most of reality probably wishes he was.

                          Mordred is a d*ck.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                            Mordred isn't missing though?
                            The Dark Eras preview presents Set as the Aeon of Fate, and has him missing from his throne.


                            Just call me Lex.

                            Female pronouns for me, please.

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                            • #15
                              Well, sure, but most of this game(Chronicles of Darkness, not Mummy) isn't set in about 300 BCE.


                              Sean K.I.W. Steele, Freelance Writer
                              Work Blog Coming Soon
                              The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey

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