Sympathy for the Sinister [Mage: The Awakening]

Mage: The Awakening, News, Open Development

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When You’re Evil

Mage is well served for antagonists. The game has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to opposition, and many of them are close to my heart. There’s just something satisfying about a good antagonist.

So let’s take a look at the bad side of the road.

Before we even get to the Antagonists chapter of Awakening Second Edition, there’s plenty of enemies available. The Pentacle contains great numbers of ruthless sorcerers, some of whom subscribe to heretical or unpleasant versions of the Orders, but most of whom simply have Obsessions diametrically opposed to the player characters. What do you do as a junior Silver Ladder mage when your Deacon has spent years working on fostering a Sleeper Mystery Cult that’s hurting people you care about? When Mystagogues try to “reclaim” an Artifact in your lorehouse? When an Arrow mage who you’d otherwise count as a friend has sworn an oath to support someone who wants your Hallow? When a Libertine column goes decidedly “off-message” and tries to provoke Awakenings by engineering stress in their prospects? Mage can tell all those stories without any special rules, and keying this back to last week’s blog mage society is designed around the idea that this kind of thing happens all the time.

The next major antagonist for Awakening are the Seers of the Throne, the treacherous Order who serve the Exarchs in exchange for temporal power and the possibility of Ascension. Unlike the other antagonist mage-types, Seers are truly the counterparts of player characters – they’re a full Order, with their own Order Tools, their own “perk” Merit (Prelacies, as explained in the Orders blog post) and their own history and culture. In Awakening second edition, the Seers are at the front of the book alongside the other Orders, as although the game never assumes that you are playing Seer characters, there’s not really anything stopping you, either.

The Pentacle and Seers alike call Legacies they disapprove of “Left-Handed” (although the three Sects often differ in just who they think the term applies to); praxes that mark the practitioners as decidedly unmutual. Some cling on inside Orders, either in secrecy or protected by colleagues who value their quiet contributions. Others can’t manage that and exist as apostates or solitaries. The very largest Left-Handed Legacies, those that have survived outside of the Orders for centuries, eventually develop into Nameless Orders themselves.

Then there’s the myriad array of beings and monsters that mages can encounter while exploring the Mysteries. The Abyss is, strictly speaking, more like an extremely hazardous law of nature than an antagonist, but individual manifestations of anti-reality can take the semblance of ephemeral entities. These Gulmoth (when they manifest in physical or ephemeral worlds) or Acamoth (when they manifest in the Astral) can even be summoned by accident of malfeasance. Aside from them, mages routinely deal with Ghosts, Spirits, and Goetia, both in the material world and when exploring the Underworld, Shadow, and Astral. And finally, whether they’re summoned deliberately, drawn to a mage who uses her Mage Sight for too long, or encountered within a Demesne or Supernal Verge, there’s the Supernal Entities. Fae, Shades, Demons, Angels, and Beasts are the namesakes of Fallen beings, but aren’t the same as them, any more than an angel that looks like a Lion is actually a Lion.

Apart from the expected, while exploring the stranger corners of the World of Darkness mages can come across genuine oddities. Not-quite-human beings clinging to existence in ruins of the Time Before. Sentient places, often mistaken for Spirits or Goetia. The experiments in creating life lurking in an archmaster’s chantry, or the living spells fashioned out of archmages’ souls. The bizarre and destructive Acathartoi, inhabitants of millions of fragile not-quite-real universes mages collectively call “the Lower Depths,” of whom the host of the Inferno are the most sane and relate-able. The neverborn Cthonians, crawling through the deepest, darkest layers of the Underworld. Any and all of them can be Mysteries in themselves, enigmas calling for mages to understand them despite the dangers.

These beings – from the simplest ghost to the most terrifying Ochemata – are part of Awakening‘s setting, though, and we’ll go into them in a future blog. So what’s actually in the Antagonists chapter? Mages who – if opposed to the player characters – act like mages normally act and follow the same rules as player characters are covered by the entire rest of the book. As hostile as a Seer or an Austere can be, they’re still fully mages, still walking the tightrope of their Watchtower’s call to the Supernal and the dangers of the Mysteries.

Awakening second edition‘s antagonist chapter is about those mages who’ve sidestepped or fallen off the Path, figuratively speaking. Many of them have mechanical differences to “regular” mages, or perspectives on the Fallen World that even a Seer would find objectionable or incomprehensible. Each of these groups represents a failure mode for an Awakened mage, falling prey to hubris and obsession.

As antagonist groups driven by their obsessions even more than other mages, these guys aren’t suitable for player characters except in truly specialist chronicles—playing a Seer of the Throne is a walk on the dark side, but playing a Banisher or Mad One is like playing a Slasher.

Use these antagonists as cautionary tales, twisted counterparts to the protagonists, and omens for the future. Many of them have rare and specialized knowledge that tempts other mages to approach them—there’s no better expert on souls than a Reaper or a Mad One who fell from Wisdom experimenting on them.

You’ll recognize many of the names, but the first important thing to say here is that these are categories. Not all Mad Ones lose their Wisdom through the same means. Not all Banishers have the same mechanical differences from regular mages. Not all Liches follow the same means of attempted immortality.

The second thing is to admit, right here months before the corebook’s release, that we simply don’t have room in the book for full game system breakdowns of these Antagonists. Sinister Stew Wilson, who wrote them for second edition, has given brief descriptions of how they might differ, but we can’t fit anything more than that in. And as Left Hand Path (the sourcebook covering them,) was the final book for first edition, we’re not likely to see space for them in a book for years.

To square this circle, I’m planning to take the unusual step of issuing an errata sheet containing the full second edition rules – but no descriptions! – as one of the first things after second edition is released. If you want more details on what their organizations, beliefs, and habits are than the corebook provides, Left Hand Path and Banishers are still available from DriveThru, but this way you won’t have to convert their rules yourself.

The Mad

The Mad are mages who’ve degraded their Wisdom or suffered such esoteric injuries to their soul that they’ve hit rock-bottom: Wisdom zero.

Mad Ones have such overpowering Nimbuses that they leak magic, true spell effects (even ones the Mad One isn’t capable of consciously casting) manifesting around them. Each Mad One replaces her Virtue with one of her Obsessions, which becomes her Fault; an act she’s compelled to carry out, a spell she can’t stop casting, or a Mystery she can’t resolve but has to keep vying at. If she doesn’t work toward her Fault, or is prevented from doing so, she manifests spell effects (called “Tulpa”) that force the issue. The Mad Ones’ ambient magic also serve as a form of camouflage – their presence triggers Sleeper’s Quiescence, so that they fade from memory, and they become increasingly Occluded until they indulge themselves as the pressure to carry out their Fault builds.

Mad Ones often have savant-like abilities concerning their Fault; great personal insights and flexibility with magic that other mages don’t. One might gain Exceptional Successes on three successes when following his fault, another might be able to cast a particular Practice using any Arcanum, even ones he doesn’t know.

Mages who don’t know any better, or don’t have any other option, seek out Mad Ones for their knowledge. A bare handful manage to hide within the Pentacle or Seers, aided and abetted by cabalmates or apprentices who try to manage the risks they pose. Even if a Mad One tries to behave socially, it’s a conscious effort on their part – their broken souls rob them of human empathy and even bar them from the Temenos. And, no matter how much a Mad One might want to stop herself, if she doesn’t follow her urges her Tulpa will make her. Some Mad Ones go so far as to lose their grip on their own bodies, inhabiting their Tulpa as disembodied creatures of magic.

The Mad’s theme is consuming obsession, the drive all mages have turned into a monster that consumes everything else in a Mad One’s life.

Banishers

Mages call any mage who turns on her own kind to act like a hunter a Banisher, but like other antagonists the term covers a number of different phenomena. Some mages fall to trauma or insanity through the dangers of magic and decide that it has to be stopped. Certain Left-Handed Legacies consume or destroy magic to power themselves, like the Timori and Logophages. Finally, some mages’ Awakenings go wrong, leaving them with the Integrity Advantage instead of Wisdom—which means they experience magic, even their own Peripheral Mage Sight, as pain or fear, and lash out to make it stop. What’s worse is that some forms of Banishing are contagious under conditions the Orders don’t understand—friendly contact with a Banisher, even well-meaning attempts to turn them around, sometimes results in once-doctrinaire mages turning Banisher themselves.

Most Banishers commit suicide or are quickly killed by other mages. The exceptions justify their own magic use to themselves as necessary evils, or accept that they’re damned while fighting the damnation of others. Without an Order’s training, most Banishers can’t learn rotes or learn the Arcana outside of the instinctive Arcane Experiences-driven limits of their Path. The handful of hypocritical Banisher Legacies maintain their own twisted lore, recruiting newly-Awakened mages before they have a chance to experience the wider magical world.

The original core had a one-line mention of the Banishers being, in some way, like an Order—that they fit into a symbolic niche from Atlantean society, and are therefore as eternal as the Pentacle. We’re dropping this notion – the Atlantean “template” of the Diamond Orders is something they work at, just as the Seers serve the Exarchs and the Free Council draw magical tools from human culture. If the Timori have any Supernal “weight” and symbolism they can use in spells, it’s no different to any other Legacy.

The Banisher theme is rejection of the call. Mages are constantly aware of the Mysteries the World of Darkness has to offer, tempted by the promise of power and further understanding. Banishers fear and hate their own insight, fear and hate magic, and fear and hate other mages for their fearlessness.

Liches

A lich is a mage who has survived beyond the limits of her mortal lifespan by Left-Handed means. Immortality is difficult in Mage, and the various options aren’t palatable for most Awakened. Indefinite Life or Death spells are the easiest, but least secure – you’re one dispellation away from a painful and sudden demise. Some liches forcibly transplant their minds and souls into younger bodies, some work on permanent transformation into ephemeral entities, usually via a Legacy that turns them into a Ghost, Spirit, or Goetia while retaining their consciousness and capability with magic. “Morpheans,” (one example of which is one of the Mastigos signature characters) are astral liches, stalking the Temenos looking for Mysteries of the inner worlds. Some mages cast spells to bind their own ghosts into their bodies, becoming unaging corpse-things devoted to a magical task, like the Barrow-wights of old Catalonia, who emerge once every few centuries to astrally-project themselves in search of Atlantis. Most Pentacle Convocations even go so far as to class ghost mages as liches – most ghost mages are simply ghosts, like any other beyond a tendency to high Rank and Influences that sometimes resemble the Praxes and Attainments of the mage they’re formed from. A minority, though, are free-willed, clear-minded and retain all their powers, the mages’ mind and soul somehow staying attached to the ghost instead of vanishing upon death.

Liches represent fall from humanity—Awakened mages sometimes decry their humanity, or believe themselves better than Sleepers, but liches have crossed the line separating a mage from a true monster. That line isn’t always clear, and the Orders argue about how far from human makes a mage a liche, while those Legacies who shape their physical forms past humanity who don’t survive beyond death have to make their status as not-liches exceedingly clear at Convocation.

Reapers

A Reaper is a mage who commits the ultimate crime—stealing and destroying human souls. Although it requires only middling ability with Death (it’s a Fraying Practice spell to sever a Sleeper’s soul, and an Unmaking one to remove a mages’), the Orders regard Reaping as a taboo subject – to the Pentacle, it denies the victim the chance to Awaken and condemns them to rapid, degenerative insanity. To the Seers, it robs the Exarchs of a slave.

Unfortunately, souls are useful. In theory, a mage could use a soul to access any of the Subtle Arcana relating to the victim—some Reapers consume the Fated good fortune of their unwilling donors, enhance their own minds using souls as fuel, or absorb them to bind the ghosts of victims as slaves.

Reapers are the greatest act of hubris, mages who think their intended purpose is more important than the eternal spark of their victims.

Tremere

The Tremere Legacy were in the original corebook, and greatly expanded on in Left Hand Path. They’re a both Reapers and Liches, and effectively a Nameless Order with far more members than the Orders suppose. Tremere consume souls to maintain a semi-vampiric state that stems from the transformation of their own souls in what’s hinted to be Abyssal corruption. They hunt other Reaper groups and absorb them as “Houses” within their own ranks – the Seo Hel, Nagaraja, and more. Failed Tremere become cannibalistic monsters called Pretas, who serve the Tremere as ghoul-equivalents. In their own twisted beliefs, the Tremere are striving for a grand unified theory of the soul, a Seventh Watchtower that will reject the false Paths and lead them to Ascension.

Scelesti

A Scelestus is a mage who uses the Abyss in his magic, deliberately calling on its anti-symbols or summoning entities from it to further damage the Fallen World. Like Reapers, the Orders are horrified by Scelesti, even the Seers, although Scelesti have infiltrated all of them to some extent.

Scelesti motives for calling on the Abyss range from well-intentioned extremism or martyrdom, seeking the power to control Paradoxes for the greater good, to a desperate need for freedom from reality’s constraints, to outright destructive nihilism. The Orders recognize four main signs of Abyssal corruption in a mage, and not all Scelesti follow all of them. First and least are mages who corrupt their own spells with Paradox deliberately, gaining more power for the spell at the risk of becoming addicted to the process. These are the ones who can, in theory, kick the habit and become redeemed, but they’re also the most numerous—the Orders don’t tell new students, but any mage can do it if they know how. The second and most wretched kind turn away from their Paths to rebirth at an abyssal “Ziggurat”, an anti-Watchtower that corrupts their Path Yantras and Oblations but leaves them with rudimentary control of Paradox. The third and most visible kind join Legacies that deal with the Abyss, and the forth and most dangerous bargain with the Abyss’ astral reflection for command over its forces, allowing them to direct Paradox at will and cause other mages’ spells to twist against them.

The Scelesti in all their forms represent nihilism, the desire to do away with the Supernal and Fallen Worlds entirely. In the end, the Abyss will consume all of creation, including them.

Progress Update!

Awakening itself is still creeping along through writing and redlines, but I do have an update on the Fallen World Anthology, the short story collection that’s going to come out ahead of the core. The anthology is now redlined and in second drafts, and features four old favorites and seven new stories, ranging from an Eleventh Question mage called out of retirement in the Mage Noir era, an unwelcome encounter in a back alley in New York, and Khonsu (the Obrimos signature character, seen in several previous tales) investigating a series of murders with himself as the victims.

Next Week!

We’re getting into another busy period on other books, and I won’t have time for a proper update. So as is usual for a fill-in week, we’ll see another splat page. But now that we’ve seen the Orders, we have a choice.

So… Obrimos or Adamantine Arrow?

  107 comments for “Sympathy for the Sinister [Mage: The Awakening]

  1. Deranged Platypus
    October 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    I think I’ll go with Obrimos.

  2. Troy
    October 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    My favorite Order … my vote goes to the Adamantine Arrows, please.

  3. Neall
    October 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Do I get a vote? If so, I vote Adamantine Arrow, because nuts to Shep.

  4. Montuban
    October 5, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    It is really amazing how much ground you covered while talking about what is *not* going to be in the Antagonists section. This write-up is amazing. I already have too many antagonists in my current game, now I might need to make room for more.

    Adamantine Arrow, please.

  5. The Lone Gunman
    October 5, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Oh dang, I really like both of these choice, my favorite Path vs my favorite Order. I’m going to go with Obrimos, I’m very curious on how the path has been re-interpreted this time around.

  6. Viridian
    October 5, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Voting Obrimos

  7. Michael
    October 5, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Definite want to see the Obrimos next, myself.

  8. Tiresias
    October 5, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    I’m not a big fan of either the Obrimos or the Arrow, so I’ll just roll dice on this one.

    Adamantine Arrow it is.

  9. Arcane
    October 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    We got three Paths, let’s hear about the Adamantine Arrow.

  10. Eric_Crabtree
    October 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Obrimos.

  11. LostLight
    October 5, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Obrimos!!

  12. Iceblade44
    October 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Obrimos.

  13. Yossarian
    October 5, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Tough choice…! I’ll go with Obrimos, because I love their archetype.

    It’s awesome that you’re going to do that errata. That’s going above and beyond, Dave. I love the Tremere, and I’m looking forward to see what they look like in second edition.

    Anyway, I–

    Wait, *seventh* Watchtower?! What happened to sixth?!

    • Yossarian
      October 5, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      (Though admittedly, my Mage lore is shaky even at the best of times, so I might just be forgetting something obvious. I remember the one in the Chroniclers Guide, and kinda that the Tremere have weird ideas about numbers and Watchtowers…)

    • Arcane
      October 5, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      It’s complicated, but for now let’s just simply leave it at “Murdered”.

    • Dave Brookshaw
      October 5, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      The Tremere say that the Sixth Watchtower is The Blood, the progenitor of Vampires. They have a… complicated… relationship to the Kindred and the Strix, going back deep into their backstory.

      Put it this way. The Tremere in the Classic World of Darkness were a vampire Clan who were once mages. The Tremere in the New World of Darkness are a mage Legacy who were once vampires. Sort of.

      • Yossarian
        October 5, 2014 at 6:25 pm

        I forgot that they had their vampire Watchtower theory. That’s awesome…

        But yeah, I love the Tremere reversal from CWoD. No matter what the reality, the Trenere are glorious jerks.

        • Dataweaver
          October 6, 2014 at 6:08 am

          And what did you think “VII” stood for? 😛

      • ale
        October 17, 2014 at 1:38 am

        i dont remember any hint about the Strix in LHP

  14. Uxas
    October 5, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    As a catalan, I loved the “Barrow-wights of old Catalonia” reference.

    Could you expand a lttle about it? Are they based on some old catalan legend, or are they an Awakening creation?

    • Dave Brookshaw
      October 5, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      The Stone Pilots are described – briefly! – in Secrets of the Ruined Temple. Essentially, a handful of the megalithic barrows of Spain and Brittany are designed as “astral railguns”, intended to project the liches occupying them along the ley-lines in search of Atlantis. Every few centuries, the liches emerge to adjust the menhirs and trilithons “to correct for spiritual drift or cosmic parallax”.

      And if you’re respectful, and happen to speak proto-Basque, maybe you can calculate when they’ll come out and ask them questions.

  15. Merkonan
    October 5, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Adamantine Arrow.

  16. Levi
    October 5, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Adamantine Arrow.

  17. Leetsepeak
    October 5, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Obrimos is my vote.

  18. Felipe
    October 5, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Obrimos

  19. Riley
    October 5, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Obrimos, please!

  20. Quinn Y
    October 5, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Obrimos

  21. Leliel
    October 5, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    The Adamantine Arrow seems unchanged enough.

    I vote for Obrimos. And wonder how THEY might lich themselves. Maybe living Phantasm?

    • Dave Brookshaw
      October 7, 2014 at 10:13 am

      What’s a “Phantasm?”

      Yeah, I know, I know. But Prime has had some… Uh… *changes*. It no longer covers illusions as part of its purview. It covers *Truths*. So Platonic Forms (inanimate) and Eidolons (animate) are solidified constructs of pure mana, replacing Phantasms.

      • NateD
        October 8, 2014 at 12:04 am

        OH MAN! *ppppppplease* show us the Obrimos write-up, then!

        The themes and ideas of the Obrimoi are SO up my alley, but Prime and Forces never quite clicked for me… but I have the funniest feeling that may be about to change. 😀

  22. branford
    October 5, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Dave, you forgot to mention the other supernatural “races” as examples of more conventional antagonists. A vampire, werewolf, Demon or most other nWOD templates can be just as difficult and threatening as any other fellow mage, ghost or similar entity. 😉

    I also vote for Obrimos, my favorite Path! It would so depressing if we had three Path previews, and then skipped the Obrimos just when it was their turn alphabetically.

    • Dave Brookshaw
      October 5, 2014 at 5:08 pm

      I’d sooner give wordcount to weird things like Rmoahal and Cthonians than on the other gamelines. Yes, to a *character* vampires and werewolves can be intriguing, but Awakening has a very deep well of the downright strange to draw on before ever needing crossover.

      As it turns out, we wouldn’t have room for either. So the decision’s made by default.

      • Dataweaver
        October 6, 2014 at 5:32 am

        Personally, I’d like to see Chthonians outsourced to Geist 2e, given how much Mage has on its plate.

        As for the vote… that’s a tough one; but I’d rather complete the roster of Paths first, before getting into the other Orders. So I’m voting Obrimos.

        • Dave Brookshaw
          October 7, 2014 at 10:25 am

          Cthonians have their only writeup in a Mage book, though! They’re in Summoners and nowhere else. Plus, the Underworld is as open territory as the Shadow.

          That said, though, I don’t think we’ll do anything other than note their existence in this corebook. We, too, are all hoping that the second edition trend continues and we get to do Geist 2E eventually.

          • Dataweaver
            October 8, 2014 at 1:57 am

            Yeah, the Underworld is as open territory as the Shadow is — and the Shadow and its denizens are being detailed in Werewolf 2e, not a “blue book” supplement.

            I don’t mind if chthonians get a 2e treatment in a Mage supplement. But as I said above, you’ve got a lot on your plate; and Geist 2e strikes me as a game that would benefit from having chthonians detailed in it: their absence in Geist 1e strikes me as an oversight. So kill two birds with one stone…

          • reseru
            October 8, 2014 at 7:50 pm

            I think they also have a write-up in the Mummy core, being summonable by a tier 3 Utterance

          • Dave Brookshaw
            October 9, 2014 at 1:59 am

            Maybe, in a crossover game. Mummy doesn’t use Geist’s description of the Underworld.

          • reseru
            October 9, 2014 at 8:34 am

            Ah, well…that’s odd for me, I guess. The Underworld is blue book, technically, and so I always thought the Underworld and Duat were separate – but possibly similar – realms.

            Well, I still do think that but at least now you can see where my thought process comes from

  23. Eric Christian Berg
    October 5, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Obrimos!

  24. Wolfgar
    October 5, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Hi, I’m Wolfgar and I’d like to vote for AA.

  25. Yawgmoth
    October 5, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Obrimos.

  26. J-Frog
    October 5, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Obrimos please.

  27. GhostTurtle
    October 5, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Let’s see the Obrimos.

  28. Asaram
    October 5, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Obrimos

  29. Kwom Masbag
    October 5, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Obrimos takes my vote.

  30. WuseMajor
    October 5, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Obrimos.

    Also, will you be sure to explain why attaining immortality automatically makes you a monster? I mean, ok, yes, stealing souls, bodies, life, etc. is bad, but what’s the problem with becoming a spirit or whatever or using a complex Life/Death spell to simply extend your own lifespan indefinitely?

    What’s the downside there that causes other mages to call you a monster? Especially if people who mess around with really weird Life magic on their own bodies don’t get called monsters?

  31. shkspr1048
    October 5, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Adamantine Arrow, por favor.

  32. Chris Borgars-Smith
    October 5, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Obrimos.

  33. Octavo
    October 5, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Great writeup. Btw, are Archmages going to make it into the errata since their recent book probably won’t get a 2e for a while?

    I vote Adamantine Arrow

    • branford
      October 5, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      A 2e update for the Imperial Practices (and related abilities) would be fantastic.

      If an “errata” is not viable, maybe an inexpensive PDF mini-book?

      • Dataweaver
        October 6, 2014 at 5:49 am

        Indeed; I’d like to get something on such things as how Mage Sight changes when you become an Archmaster, and in general how Archmasters interact with the Supernal World: to what extent are they still tied to the five-fold Path system, and to what extent do they transcend it? As well, 1e’s Imperial Mysteries made a big deal about how all Imperial Practices are Extended Actions; with 2e’s magic rules being retooled such that “extended castings” are no longer a thing, what does this mean for Imperial Practices?

        Frankly, if such issues could be concisely addressed in a blog entry, I’d rather see that than either Obrimos or Adamantine Arrow.

        • Dave Brookshaw
          October 6, 2014 at 6:11 am

          I haven’t even begun to assess the scale of that particular job – it’d definitely not be done until we’ve finished the corebook, and probably not until pre-writing for Shards of Sorcery (which is meant to include things like Ananke, created by Imperial magic).

          The Left-Handed are much simpler – it isn’t particularly *difficult* to write the Tremere up as a combination Nameless Order / Legacy, or to tweak the fourfold Scelesti paths to use the new edition. We already *have* rules for ephemeral entities that use Arcana – Supernal beings do! – and for things like creating zombies in Death, so liches are quite simple too.

          The hardest are the Mad, and as you can see in the blog, I’ve already figured out how to do them.

          It’s only wordcount constraints stopping us – if we had three times as much space for them, we’d get all the mechanics in.

          Converting Imperial Mysteries, a much, much more mechanical book, is a considerably longer job, and not one I’m going to contemplate while we’re still working on the corebook beyond “the Imperial Practices are the same, Quintessences will probably build out of the Yantra rules in some way”.

  34. Nicias
    October 5, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    It seems appropriate to cast this vote in an uphill battle: let’s see the Adamantine Arrow, please.

  35. Olivier
    October 5, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Such a cruel choice… I’ll go with Obrimos.

  36. CJ_D
    October 5, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Couple o’ Things:

    The description of Acamoth and Gulmoth doesn’t quite line up to what has been previously established. If memory serves correctly, Gulmoth were transitory summoned abyssal beings, whereas Acamoth were stuck here for good. And while the Acamoth did have intimate connection to the astral, the plane of existence where they actually existed was the shadow. Am I misremembering or is this a deliberate change?

    I am exactly the sort of person who likes playing “skirting the edge of madness and oblivion” style characters and while that’s probably shouldn’t be a demographic thats a high priority, I am interested to see what nasty and wretched things there will actually be mechanics for. It looks like the 3 paths from Tome the Mysteries are sticking around.

    Befouling seems likes it would fit just fine into the Yantra system (though it’d be nice if it was merit or something so there’s some way to establish who knows how to do it and who doesn’t). Second path still bothers me in that there doesn’t seem to be a proper “Slot” for it to occupy, as thematically its practically a change of template. I’d also like to see a bit more to 4th path.

    • Dave Brookshaw
      October 5, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Did you see the expansion on the four types of Abyssal magic in Left Hand Path? The mechanics were the same as in Tome of the Mysteries, but they got explained a little better, and the Forth Path got much more fleshed out.

      • CJ_D
        October 5, 2014 at 8:21 pm

        While there’s some definite thematic overlap, I’m under the impression that the little sidebar on 4th path in Tome of the Mysteries and the Elder Diadem aren’t really the same thing, as the blurb in ToTM would suggest awakening to an abyssal watchtower instead of a supernal one, and the heavy prerequisites of the Elder Diadem can’t really be met if one hasn’t been a mage for quite awhile already.

      • Rhaedgar
        October 8, 2014 at 10:32 pm

        Speaking of Tome of the Mysteries, is the alchemy section (and crafting magic items overall) going to be revamped in 2E?

        • Dave Brookshaw
          October 9, 2014 at 2:01 am

          In the first book *after* the second edition core.

    • Dave Brookshaw
      October 6, 2014 at 6:13 am

      It’s deliberate. For a while there, I was going to have Gulmoth be gross-Arcanum failure Manifestations and Acamoth be subtle-Arcanum failure Manifestations, but that got dropped sometime last year.

  37. mr.shafrd
    October 5, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Arrows please

  38. NateD
    October 5, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    So good. Also: I love the HELL out of the Stone Pilots getting another mention!

    Also also: Obrimos! I am SO intrigued to see how they shake out in 2e (and to read the presumably-awesome writeup.)

  39. BigDamnHero
    October 5, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    I’d love to see the Obrimos in action. Selfishly, because I’m playing one in my friend’s 1E game.

  40. Simplicity Lost
    October 5, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Obrimos please, I can’t wait to see their write up.

  41. Illuminated
    October 5, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Obrimos!

  42. Eolirin
    October 5, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Yay Voltaire.

    So it seems like souls are being changed/expanded a bit? I don’t suppose there’s any more that can be said about that at this point?

    Also, Obrimos.

    • Dave Brookshaw
      October 7, 2014 at 10:32 am

      We put Soul Loss into the core rules with God-Machine Chronicle with a view to the long-term; when I wrote the progression of soulless Conditions, I also designed (and then cut out) what they did to mages.

      The main change on top of the existing GMC-era mechanic for mages is that losing your soul doesn’t mean you can’t cast spells any more, “only” that they automatically add Paradox dice and you can’t even attempt to contain it. Also, you can’t enter the Astral Realms when you don’t have a soul. Your Obsessions get suppressed, too.

  43. Axelgear
    October 5, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    I’ve always had the most trouble with Obrimoi of any Path, so… Obrimos please.

  44. KingCarnival
    October 5, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Obrimos

  45. Wolf
    October 5, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Adamantine Arrow

  46. Sir Phobos
    October 5, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Obrimos, please.

  47. Seidmadr
    October 6, 2014 at 12:27 am

    Obrimos, of course, it’s their turn. It’d bother my sense of order if we jumped away from Paths before we have had them all!

  48. ArcadianAwakened
    October 6, 2014 at 1:04 am

    I’m guessing this is going to be grouped in with the “setting material” antagonists, but since they were touched on here I’m curious as to whether the Bound will be getting any mention or specific rules in 2nd edition.

    I’ll toss my vote to adamantine arrow, I don’t think I ever really fully understood their philosophy and this’ll probably be the best time to learn.

    • Dave Brookshaw
      October 6, 2014 at 2:07 am

      Yeah – mages sometimes meet beings that seem *part* of ruins of the Time Before, set there by the ancients. When they’re guards, they’re called Temple Guardians, when they’re prisoners, they’re called The Bound.

  49. Chazz
    October 6, 2014 at 1:17 am

    Adamantine Arrows

  50. Nathan Henderson
    October 6, 2014 at 6:19 am

    Obrimos

  51. Thorbes
    October 6, 2014 at 6:22 am

    I think I can do without Orders for a while until you give the choice to get the Guardians.

    Let’s see Obrimos.

  52. Dave
    October 6, 2014 at 6:48 am

    Adamantine Arrow

  53. tau neutrino
    October 6, 2014 at 7:13 am

    Glad to see in depth and powerful antagonists, as opposed to recent trends (cough cough Demon cough).

    Adamantine Arrow.

  54. October 6, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Obrimos

  55. Stupid Loserman
    October 6, 2014 at 7:46 am

    I love, love the new detail and attention being paid to making the Paths matter and giving them character, but I think by now we’ve had a good amount of spoilers on them. Tell us about what’s new with the ARROWS.

  56. Satchel
    October 6, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Obrimos.

  57. Nepher
    October 6, 2014 at 11:34 am

    It seems to be implied, but it’s worth asking: will we see useful and practical uses of souls outside of the legacies ? Like soul fueled spells or the like ?

    Oh, and Obrimos please 🙂

    • Dave Brookshaw
      October 7, 2014 at 10:35 am

      They make excellent (near-universally applicable, and high-bonus) Sacraments for Subtle Arcanum spells.

      • Nepher
        October 7, 2014 at 11:11 am

        So a Legacy is not necessary anymore for a Reaper. Thank you

  58. October 6, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Even if it takes a while, I’m still looking forward to any further tidbits about the Timori.

    My vote is for Obrimos. Prime magic is best magic.

  59. Wildeyes
    October 6, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    I vote for Adamantine Arrow.

    My favorite description was of the Mad. I look forward to telling some stories of truly deadly Hubris.

  60. Saibot
    October 6, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Let us see the Path of the Mighty, please! Obrimos!

  61. stsword
    October 6, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    I vote for adamantine arrow

  62. Rayn
    October 6, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Obrimos please; have to fill out the paths before we start to wander.

  63. B
    October 6, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    “Fae, Shades, Demons, Angels, and Beasts are the namesakes of Fallen beings, but aren’t the same as them”

    Does this mean that the Gentry are definitely Fallen beings in 2nd edition and there are two Arcadias? “Imperial Mysteries” mentioned the Old Gods of the Thistle as banished Supernal beings that appear to be the same as the Gentry.

    Obrimos, please.

  64. atamajakki
    October 6, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    We’re finally seeing non-vague wordcount thrown at Cthonians? Oh, happy day.

    Obrimos! Would love to seevmy favorite Path. (This is really tough, as the Arrow is my davorite Order).

  65. Tori
    October 6, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Obrimos

  66. Full Time GM
    October 6, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Obrimos please.

  67. October 6, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Souls ARE useful. Especially awakened ones. I know a few uses for them, but if you’d like to tell me a few more …

    The will of the mob is clearly against me, but I want to hear what you have to say about my friends in the Adamantine Arrow, and especially what hubris they’re prone to as an order.

  68. fuud
    October 7, 2014 at 7:44 am

    Obrimos

  69. Ephsy
    October 7, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Adamantine Arrows

  70. Juhn
    October 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Gonna have to go with Obrimos. I’m also eager to work our way to Thyrsus eventually.

  71. Josh
    October 7, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Obrimos please!

  72. Caelene
    October 7, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Definite thumbs up for the Voltaire from me. Love his stuff.

    As far as a vote, I’ll go with Obrimos and keep the Watchtower train going.

  73. Zooroos
    October 8, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    As always, an exciting new spoiler! Sad to see there’s not enough wordcount for detailing the antagonists more, though.

    I was really on the fence for this week’ s vote, but the comments here made my mind: Obrimos, please! 🙂

  74. Alok
    October 8, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Tough one this week! Especially since one of my playres is an Obrimos Arrow. Buut… I think I’m gonna have to vote for Arrow.

    There have also been hints dropped here and there about fancy new nimbus rules. Any chance they’ll be on the vote list?

  75. MorkaisChosen
    October 9, 2014 at 7:07 am

    Obrimos!

    I’ve always liked the Path almost /despite/ the writeup in 1e – I read the first few sentences and went “ah, this is the Path of Being a Mathematician And/Or Theoretical Physicist” and then the whole thing was about how they tend to be devoutly religious.

    Since then I’ve discovered my fondness for roleplaying religious fanatics, so I’m very interested to see what you’ve done with the Path. 😀

  76. Stephen
    October 10, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Adamantine Arrow, please!

Comments are closed.