My Body Is A Cage (Silver Ladder) [Mage: The Awakening]

Mage: The Awakening, Open Development


First, some Peter Gabriel.

The end is approaching. Not global Ascension, but of these Open Development posts – we have only two more of these posts to go. Game’s nearly out of Development and into Editing, the playtest groups are beavering away, and my Development “to-do” list now fits on one page.

What to say about the Silver Ladder?

The Silver Ladder are would-be Bodhisattvas, and all too often fall into becoming tyrants. They simultaneously define themselves by inequality – the Order is named after their precept that some humans are more enlightened than others – and devote the majority of their time to helping people find their most comfortable “rung” in that system. They created Mage society and do the most work in maintaining it still, all the while demanding that Wisdom bow to Gnosis. Their intentions are good. They see the potential in every human soul, but hate the world those souls inhabit. They hold that the ideal mage is a wise advisor, teaching by example, and often end up forcing their advice on other mages. They despise any restriction on their own action, spend lifetimes refining Lex Magica, and manipulate Sleepers “for their own good.”

The Silver Ladder are a complicated bunch.

Their Order Merit is a short one, and doesn’t scale, but relies on other Merits to make it work. It’s designed around the idea of the Ladder as the glue holding Pentacle society together, and supports them in taking on Consilium roles.

Lex Magica (••)

Prerequisites: Silver Ladder Status •

Effect: The laws of the Pentacle are symbolic concepts designed by people who make symbols real. A Théarch acting in an official, titled capacity (such as Herald, Sentinel, Factotum, Deacon, Hierarch, or Magister) gains certain advantages with this Merit:

First, add her Silver Ladder Status or Consilium Status (whichever she’s acting with) to her Doors when a character attempts to outmaneuver her socially (see p. XX).

Second, characters cannot use Willpower to increase dice pools on Social actions or magic which would influence her behavior.

Lastly, your character may use her Silver Ladder Status or Consilium Status (whichever is higher) as a Yantra in spells directly enforcing the Lex Magica’s laws. This includes spells to investigate potential crimes, to pursue offenders, to use the law to defend innocence, and any other spell to help the rule of law work more thoroughly. The dice bonus for the Yantra is half the Merit dots used, round up.

Silver Ladder Preview

You know the drill by now.

Next time, it’s the penultimate post, as we allow the opposition their pitch and look at the Seers of the Throne.



  19 comments for “My Body Is A Cage (Silver Ladder) [Mage: The Awakening]

  1. Grunt
    July 19, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    If there has been one spoiler I have been waiting for more than for the Thyrsus, it was this one.

    I did not like the Silver Ladder from the core book.

    I absolutely loved the Silver Ladder from its own book.

    And this, is very very beautifully the Silver Ladder I have grown to adore. I’m really happy that you managed to nail their core-ideal in such a limited word-count.

    • Neall
      July 19, 2015 at 10:51 pm

      I sure hope so. I had to read all of those books.

    • Uxas
      July 20, 2015 at 2:53 am

      So did I. I didn’t like the corebook Silver Ladder. It seemed an Invictus mage Order version.

      I read its book and I just loved it. If a book has made me change my view of an splat, was The Silver Ladder one.

  2. ManusDomine
    July 19, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    This is great! Like the rest of the Order Merits theirs seems to be balanced and flavourful in a way that makes one want to play them.

    Their text is great and evocative, but then again:

    Great and evocative are very much the words that I have come to associate with Mage – The Awakening Second Edition.

    And soon…

    The Seers of The Throne await…

    *Looks around shiftily to ensure no Pentacle Mages nearby.*

    (Glory to The Exarchs!)

    • Neall
      July 19, 2015 at 10:52 pm

      No Lie (!), the Seers are my favorite Order writeup. I am full of hubris at their “join our Order” argument.

  3. YOLF
    July 19, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    This is one lovely introduction to the Silver Ladder, with all their twists and contradictions and their ideals.

    They are definitely the most hubristic of the Pentacle in some ways, despite being the most humanistic in some ways. Perhaps /because/ they’re so humanistic.

  4. Kaye
    July 19, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    First, I think that this is an excellent opportunity to confess that I spend a lot of time planning the ST architecture for Mage games while listening to the title song of Peter Gabriel’s OVO.

    Second, I really like the evolution of the Silver Ladder in the preview you have shared. No one in games I have run has ever wanted to be in the Silver Ladder, and part of that is because most people I know tend to view Vampire as the more political game and want something a bit different when they play Mage. (It probably doesn’t help that I often use bureaucracy as a conflict generator.) I think that the allusions to the personal empowerment industry will make (less explicitly) political character types easier to brainstorm.

  5. Octavo
    July 19, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    I’ve never really liked the SL until now. Great writeup! One thing that really stands out is that they really do believe the Awakened is One Nation and that means they accord respect even for the Seers.

  6. Octavo
    July 19, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    This writeup has my favorite list of stereotypes. They’re are just so positive about the other orders!

  7. kumiko
    July 19, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Wow, for the first time I “get” the Silver Ladera and they rock sox!

  8. atamajakki
    July 19, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    Is that mention of a Traingle in Nassu from an existing book, or is that just a glorious little plot hook? It’s delicious and I need to build something around it ASAP.

    Cannot wait to see the new Seers; I’ve got my fingers crossed that 2e can finally redeem them in my eyes as a worthy faction.

  9. WuseMajor
    July 19, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    Once it goes into editing, how many more stages does it have to go through? Is it just Layout after Editing? Because I really want to give you guys money for this book.

  10. WuseMajor
    July 19, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    …And now I’m imagining Peter Cullen saying the Precept of Thunder.

    I still kinda wanna punch them in general though. But, I don’t necessarily want to hurt them in specific anymore, which is a step up. I think that all the Orders have been made more interesting and accessible to me, so good job.

    Still going with the Free Council, but good job.

  11. Michael Stein
    July 20, 2015 at 2:37 am

    Roll up, Roll up, Come see the amazing Thearch who’s ideals are so strong he can literally disappear up his own arse 🙂 (Seriously, Phil this was the best line in M20 for me).

    And what are you doing here Lord Baelish? You should be in Westeros being stabbed.

  12. MisterE
    July 20, 2015 at 5:52 am

    All of these new edition Orders have been pretty excellent and the Ladder is no exception. I too love the hubrisitic humanism/supra-humanism of the group. I’m especially interested to learn more about the soul stealing demon mentioned in the text. Sounds like a great antagonist.

  13. Eric Crabtree
    July 20, 2015 at 11:41 am

    I can’t lie I was never a fan of the SL. They felt like another cheap knock off political group and I found most of the political splats in WW boring. I will check them out in 2.0 and hopefully they evolved into something I can find myself playing.

  14. Andrew Thomas
    July 20, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Nice to see them shift from “we are right therefore we should rule,” to “we are usually right, therefore you should listen.”

  15. shkspr1048
    July 20, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Didn’t the Silver Ladder have a networking ability? Cryptopoly, I believe it was called?

  16. JediVaillant
    July 25, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Really good preview. Personally I prefer Solsbury Hill or Signal to Noise has a mage theme song from Peter Gabriel, but still. And this preview really present the conflict within the SL between there ideals and what they really do, between the Lion and the Sage. Waiting for any other post for MtAw.

    On an other musical mage inspiration, King and Lionheart from Of Monster and Men.

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