The Fate of Atlantis [Mage: The Awakening]

Mage: The Awakening, Open Development

If you don't know what this is, you didn't play many PC games in the early 90s

A long time ago – what seems like an incredibly long time to me, but is probably actually about a year and a half, I had a conversation with Ian Watson. I was newly-minted Awakening Developer but still claiming to not be in threads because second edition hadn’t been publicly announced. Ian was recently released from similar restrictions with Trinity.

He told me of an anecdote he’d heard about Steven Hawking. When writing the Brief History of Time, the Professor had been warned by his publishers that equations turned the general science reading audience off. Every equation in his attempt to popularize then-cutting-edge physics would reduce the work’s impact. If you know anything about Physics, you’ll know that physicists do double-duty as mathematicians most of the time. At the high end, it’s almost all math.
Still, Pfr Hawking took the advice on board, and the book ended up with only a single equation in it. E=MC2. Once.
“It would be interesting,” Ian said “to see a version of Awakening that treated the word “Atlantis” the same way.”

“It sounds like you’ve read my outline,” said I.

Atlantis and the Occult

atlantisbook

Here’s something you might not be aware of, if your only exposure to occult practices is through other roleplaying games. The 19th Century societies that produced most of the western modern occult were chock-full of Atlantis-Seekers. Mage is (thank you forum-goer I can’t remember the name of who said this) “Neo-Platonism by way of Theosophy,” and part of Theosophy’s baggage is the belief in ancient civilizations who were more enlightened. Plato’s story was a minor curiosity for centuries, limited only to the few people who’d ever head of him (although it informed things like the Arabic legends of what happened to Irem, Mummy fans!) but became popularized when 19th Century occultists got hold of it. Mediums claimed to have Atlantean spirit-guides. Proto-Archaeologists looked for it about as often as they looked for Troy. Over the last century, it’s gone from the province of secretive societies and cultural imperialists to the stuff of cheap paperback “popular science” books. Enter any new age shop, and you’ll find a book about Atlantis.

Some problems with that, and our responses to them as game designers;

Atlantis as used by the Theosophists was a hellova racist idea. The reason these fringe groups went around co-opting 3000-year old Greek parables and inventing places like Lemuria, Mu, and Ultima Thule was to explain how “savage” cultures could have produced their own ancient civilizations. It’s the same thing that only a few decades ago led to “the Pyramids of South America must have been built by aliens, because brown people certainly wouldn’t have been able to”. It’s offensive on many levels. How to make a roleplaying game drawing on the modern occult without being colossal racists ourselves? How can we make a game claiming that the Fall was caused by a particular myth, especially one as White as Atlantis, without alienating anyone who isn’t of European descent?

First, we make it clear that Atlanteans didn’t build Machu Pichu. Human history in the new World of Darkness stands on its own merits – no one is “descended” from Atlantis or “barbarian kingdoms”. Atlantis never existed in the Fallen World; it’s a symbol, nothing more. Mages know that the stories about it aren’t literally true, even that it wasn’t called “Atlantis”, but use them because they’re good Yantras; they’re symbolically true, which is the foundation of magic.

Second, we confront the uglier side of occultism head on with open eyes. The Fallen World Anthology features a story in which the characters meet a tribe of Rmoahals, while one of them complains that Rmoahals aren’t real and the very concept of them is offensively racist. Factions like the Daksha play up the nastier elements of theosophy. The Mysterium, with their globetrotting Mystery-seeking ways, have “culturally appropriate stuff” as one of their suggested means of falling to hubris.

The first edition of Mage did both of these things, but not loudly enough for first impressions – if your sole exposure to Atlantis in Mage is the lengthy section in the corebook, you can be forgiven for not waiting until Secrets of the Ruined Kingdom, Mysterium, Imperial Mysteries, and a dozen other books introduce doubt after doubt about the “official story”. Yes, Amy Wu was a signature character from the beginning (and she still is, as you’ll see when Thyrsus comes around,) but she’s one of fifteen.

Problem two; if we make it clear that “Atlantis” didn’t ever exist in the WoD’s current timeline, that denies us the use of it for another plank of Awakening’s source material: pulp horror-magic stories of ancient temples, ancient curses, and vanished histories. Things like Cxaxa Queraphis and her Heart full of Flies from Reign of the Exarchs, bloody monuments to vanished sacrifices in the Astral Realms, barely-understood defenses built around tombs containing unimaginable horrors.

We’ve picked up the suggestions here and there in the line (especially in Secrets of the Ruined Kingdom, as you’d expect) that “Atlantean” sites are impossible to date or connect to one another and gone for “they still exist despite having no origin after the Fall, and what’s more they’re all from different Atlantises.” That frees the Storyteller to go all-out on artifacts from peoples who never were without worrying, and matches up with the super-Paradox of universal retcons from Imperial Mysteries.

Problem three; if “Atlantis” is just a symbolic name slapped on a theoretical (and inherently, utterly unknowable) civilisation before the Fall to give Mages something to call it, why do the Diamond and Seers claim to be descended from it?

We’ve already talked about our solution to this in “New Order” last month. They don’t.

The Diamond Orders deliberately ape what they see as the Supernal sympathy of “Atlantean society” in order to become closer to the Supernal. It’s a role they’re playing, a vast communal Shadow Name. I’ve had to tell Neall Price off for calling it “the Atlantean Paradigm” in his drafts (a little *too* much winking at Ascension, that,) but the full name of the “Diamond” is based on it – “The Diamond Precept” is named after the Silver Ladder concept of “the Awakened are One Nation.” That before the Fall, magic was glorious.

That still leaves the Orders in need of a historical origin and a reason why they decided on “Atlantis” as a name for their shared spiritual one. You’ll get both in Awakening‘s tenth of World of Darkness: Dark Eras, which depicts the time the Greek, Indian, and Persian mages met and realized their cultural myths of a broken universe and a vanished people had something in common, and when the first Seers of the Throne split off from them. Which is the other part of the setting changes – Seers and Diamond mages sometimes claim that their cold war goes all the way “back to Atlantis,” that they’ve always been enemies.

They’re lying. The first Seers were factions in what would eventually be the Diamond.

As for why Atlantis didn’t enter popular occultism until the 19th century; blame it on the Nameless.

All of this comes together into a particular view of the Awakened City that draws on modern occultism while acknowledging and working around its baggage, that means the history of the World of Darkness still resembles our world’s with extra monsters.

The Disney Effect, and Order of Reading.

All of which is well and good, but we’re still talking about Atlantis here, and the idea seems inherently amusing and/or a turn-off for some people. Readers who don’t know or care about how authentic a setting element it is. Whose opinion can be summed up by… Well… This;

Magician

Laying my Developer cards on the table now. I’ve never seen the Disney movie in question. Atlantis to me is the Aion sequence from The Books of Magic, it’s Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis on my childhood 386. But I get why for some people, the word itself poses a problem.

If the difficulty is just the connotations of the word Atlantis, and it getting in the way of taking in what Mage’s Time Before is depicted as in the gameline, that goes all the way back to Ian’s conversation with me when this new edition was just a rambling email from me to Rich Thomas.

So, the Atlantis myth in second edition is not at the start of the book. It’s not even in the middle of the book. We describe the setting of Mage as it is now (which, yes, includes the Exarchs), and mention that the Diamond model themselves after a symbolic “perfect” society, but we’ve got other things to talk about, like Mysteries, the rules, and mage society. When we get to the Mysterious World chapter, we describe ruins of the Time Before, presented next to Supernal Verges and Chantries as examples of weird places mages investigate.

And, then, right at the end of the book, we have an Appendix, which describes Atlantis in terms of what mages have pieced together from Ruins, and what they believe about it. It’s by new-to-Mage freelancer Lauren Roy, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the new corebook. It transitions from talking about the Fall to talking about Ascension, and what it means for the Awakened, which is the literal last words in the book bar the character sheet, but I’ll save that for the final Open Development Blog.
We use the word “Atlantis” more than once, but the spirit of Hawking is with us. In the current draft of Awakening Second Edition, the word Atlantis appears 26 times (and most of them have been amended to “Awakened City” or “Time Before” in redlines,) compared to 106 in First Edition.

Our hope is that the changes we’ve made to emphasis and depiction of the Awakened City and the Time Before convince a few people who couldn’t buy into Awakening because of Atlantis to give the game another look, but here’s another serious note.
In this week’s Promethean Blog, Matt talks about the Humanist Buy-In of Promethean: The Created; how you can remove the urgent desire to be human from the game, but the gameline we publish won’t directly support it. Either you accept that part of the game, change it yourself, or you play something else.

Ultimately, Atlantis is part of Awakening’s Buy-In. There was once a civilisation, who achieved mastery of magic and broke the universe. The Orders, thanks to their Greco-Indian origins only a generation after Plato, call it “Atlantis.”

If that crosses a line in the sand for you, we can’t help you. It’d be easier to excise from Awakening‘s setting than Promethean’s humanism is – Atlantis is presented as a widely theorized origin for the Exarchs and the Lie, but absolutely nothing about them requires it. All you’d really be losing is the possibility of entering a time-lost ruin of neveryear and facing down what’s inside. And

Our hope – MY hope – is that you’ll buy in. Can’t do anything more than that.

Excerpt: The Time Before

And now, the half of Appendix Two in question!

Appendix Two: Legends of the Fall

“Where Humanity gets it wrong, by your time, is in imagining Atlantis as having any kind of quantifiable existence. Which of course it hasn’t; not in the way they imagine, anyway. There have been an awful lot of Atlantises, will be quite a few more.

“It’s just a symbol. A symbol of the art.

“The True Atlantis is inside you, just as it’s inside all of us. The sunken land beneath the dark sea, lost beneath the waves of wet, black stories and myths that break upon the shores of our minds. Atlantis is the Shadow-land. The birth-place of civilization. The fair land in the west that is lost to us, but remains forever, true birthplace and true goal.”

– Neil Gaiman, The Books of Magic

Atlantis was the greatest city that ever existed. Atlantis was the height of Awakened potential. Atlantis was the place where every mage could be her best self, reach for and attain her brightest dreams, make the stars themselves gasp in delight at the wonders performed below.

Atlantis is a Truth ringing deep within a mage’s bones: the reverberation that thrilled through him the day his palm slapped against the base of the Watchtower; the flow of the ink or blood or tears he used to write his name — his Name — on its walls; the scrape of chisel on stone as he carved the letters deep.

Atlantis is a Lie the Awakened tell themselves.

Atlantis was, and then was not.

The Time Before

Mages have passed the story of Atlantis from mentor to eager student for as long as anyone can recall. Tales of the Golden City have simply always been told, though no definitive evidence of its existence have yet been uncovered. Sages speak of towers spiraling up and up, grazing the sky itself. We were priests and viziers, say the Silver Ladder. We were the guards and peacekeepers, say the Adamantine Arrow. And perhaps they would be, if it were more than a symbol. No consistent records survived the City’s catastrophic destruction. No one has yet found the evidence that proves, beyond a doubt, that Atlantis existed.

What the mages have, what makes them cling so tightly to the idea of Atlantis-that-fell, are pieces that simply don’t fit anywhere in this world. The Mysterium have a library full of explorers’ journals, their pages filled with sketches of ruins whose civilizations never existed. In far-flung corners of the world, mages have visited the graves of kings who were never crowned on this Earth, dug up the bones of impossible creatures, spelunked into caves whose painted walls couldn’t have been touched by human hands. Not according to the histories we know.

Sleeper technology is useless on these artifacts. Attempts at scientific dating yield unreliable results: this piece is from the Mezozoic Era, from 50 B.C., from the 13th century. It is a scant few seconds young and millions of years old. Should the machine be making that noise?

Time mages fare no better at tracing the origins of their colleagues’ finds. Most are left with skull-splitting headaches for their efforts, and days or weeks of temporal confusion afterwards. The Earth is far older than humanity; no matter how far back a mage looks, within human history or far before it, Atlantis is nowhere.

The evidence from these ruins and artifacts can’t be shaped into a single, consistent history. Tales of glorious cities and empires that existed in the time before time are sprinkled throughout world mythology. The Aztecs referred to Aztlán; the Mahabharata opens with the history of the Naga Kingdom; ancient Buddhist texts mention Shambhala. Call it Hyperborea or Brittia or Paititi. Name its people Pelasgians or inhabitants of the Dreamtime. “Atlantis” is a catch-all term, suggested for its familiarity to the Diamond Orders whose origins lay in ancient Greece.

Over the last four millennia, the Awakened have chased these conflicting-yet-similar stories to tease out one larger truth: a world existed before this one. Little and less is known about the inhabitants of the Time Before, but the Orders do agree on a few key points.

The Awakened existed in the Time Before.

Stories about these mythical cities center around characters who were something more. Many of them mention feats performed by wizards, magicians, the god-blooded. Others focus on men and women who were faster, stronger, cleverer than their adversaries. Whether those superlatives were granted by the gods or the sheer force of the heroes’ wills, there is no doubt they were more than simply human.

The inhabitants of the Time Before dwelt within, or Ascended to, the Supernal Realms.

It’s there in the cave paintings, if you know what to look for. It’s in a line of hieroglyphs whose revelations the Guardians of the Veil were reluctant to divulge once they’d been deciphered. It’s in a snatch of song sung in the High Speech, recorded in a lonely ruin by a Libertine. The Awakened of the Time Before shed their mortal skins and returned to the Supernal Realm that birthed us all, becoming beings of pure magic.

Their actions drastically changed the universe.

Their Ascension broke the world. The how of it is — at first blush — not as important as the conclusion drawn: the damage done by those original Awakened caused the Supernal Realms to drift out of our reach. It left us here in the Fallen World, with the Quiescence settling over the Sleepers and no easy way to reach across the Abyss and return to what once was. The effects of the predecessors’ actions were so devastating, they erased themselves from existence. The world that is now is the world that always has been: one where Atlantis is little more than a fairy tale. A myth. A legend. A Lie.

Next Week

No Poll, as I made David Hill a promise. He’s been hoping we’ll show some of his work, so we’re returning from the setting’s esoterica to the core of the game. It’s time to talk about Wisdom.

Oh, and literally as I wrote this blog post, Good Old Games have released The Fate of Atlantis rebuilt for modern PCs. If you haven’t played it, do.

  80 comments for “The Fate of Atlantis [Mage: The Awakening]

  1. TheMartini
    October 28, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    From what I remember, Fate of Atlantis involved delivering haymakers to Nazis and piloting giant, ancient water-powered robots. If I could get a Mage game involving this, I’m all for it.

    Well done, keep it up, can’t wait to hear more, and though I will probably never get to run or play a game, I’ll be buying it when it comes out.

    (p.s. once the madness of Mage2.0 dev is over, any chance of more Mummy or Mage podcasts? :D)

  2. Octavo
    October 28, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    I really like this careful approach to Atlantis and I very much like how the devs are going out of their way not to regurgitate the racism in theosophy.

    Btw, the (non Mage) fiction for Atlantis I like the best is Stargate SG-1’s season 9 and 10. It comes complete with Oracles (Ascended Alterans), Exarchs (the Ori), Archmages (Merlin) and the Seers of the Throne (The Priors and the Doci).

    Really looking forward to next week’s look at Wisdom!

    • October 28, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      Hallowed are the Ori

      That always felt to me very similar to Mage Atlantis. I also like Stargate: Atlantis.

    • The Cowardly Scion
      October 29, 2014 at 7:03 am

      You may very well have just redeemed my least favorite story arc of the Stargate franchise, kudos.

  3. Michael
    October 28, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Brilliant. I never had a problem with “Atlantis”. I always saw it as a myth- a story of shared origin to unite mages and give context to their struggle. One of my religious NPCs interpreted Atlantis according to the biblical Tower of Babel (attempting to reach heaven, hybris, a schism and a diaspora). And another who believed it was just a political mechanism that enforces tradition and (more specifically) the Diamond Orders’ agenda.

    What really bothered me about the Atlantis myth were the “Dragons”. I found the idea of Dragons much more ridicules and cliche then Atlantis. So I wonder what is the word count for Dragon? 😛

    But part of the reason I liked Atlantis is that it tied to the awesome water theme Awakening had. I hope that theme remains prevalent.

    • sciurrus
      October 28, 2014 at 7:54 pm

      Replace dragon with ancient race that left us in charge and you get the same effect. In context of the myth the dragons are just a symbol for ascension and the hope/fear that one day something greater than us might come down and fix the mess we have made of the world.

    • Zooroos
      October 28, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Yeah, the bit about the dragons was a bit too much for an already loaded term as Atlantis is. I mean, dragons as metaphor I dig, dragons as a literal sapient species and magical masters, not so much.

  4. Tenskwa-Tawa
    October 28, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Can’t say I’m thrilled about this development, as Atlantis has always been one of my favourite parts (and mysteries) about the setting, and thus seeing its part so downplayed is a shame. Of course, it being so controversial, I understand the reasoning behind that decision; not that it makes me like it better but oh well, I can always play with my own version I guess.

    But this poses a question: I understand this is a second edition, so one can’t expect total compatibility with old suplements, but I was under the impression that the setting from the old books would be mostly valid, yet such a change will make havoc with a good chunk of some Order books (the war description and last resistance at the Ladder in the Adamantine Arrow book comes to my mind, for instance). How will this be addressed? Will it somehow be retconned as some kind of allegorical stories, will you treat those supplements’ background as not existing. I’m guessing new versions of the Order books are definitely not in order (not that I think they’re necessary, mind you).
    And, what of the Celestial Ladder, and the dragons (but mostly the Ladder)? Is it also some kind of metaphor, or do the Orders have some inkling of information on *how* the universe was broken, even if they don’t know a thing about how it was before, as basis for it?

    • Uxas
      October 28, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      I don’t think it invalidates all of those stories. Atlantis allways was showed as a myth, and there was a lot of contraditory stories about it (see Ruined Temple book). Those stories about ancient atlantean thearchs and arrows can be seen as some rconstructions done by modern mages about those times from the ruins they find.

      • Zooroos
        October 28, 2014 at 8:10 pm

        Also, the Orders (all six of them) were never above indulging on some self-served historical revisionism if it helped their goals more. I’m sure there is a lot of “Atlantis” apocrypha gathering dust in Censoria all over the world.

  5. Horun
    October 28, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    I really like the new approach to Atlantis!

    As I did not find a group to play Awekening with, I did not buy and read through all the recommended and probably great sourcebooks, that showed the awakened city from other perspectives. I own just a handfull of them.

    Mage the Awakening has been my favorite game in the nWoD-Line and there are many great new ideas, twists, plot devices, … and now it seems I am able to come to terms even with Atlantis. THX!

  6. reseru
    October 28, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I’ll never get to see a sample setting :*(

  7. Arcane
    October 28, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    I’m sure I’ll get murdered for this, but sure, I’d pay to see a Disney-produced Mage the Awakening movie.

    And since I’m in the zone for facetiousness, I vote for Wisdom.

    • Leliel
      October 29, 2014 at 12:51 am

      Honestly, they could probably pull it off. They’re not stuck in kid-friendly mode, and even their kid films have mature elements to them.

      Yeah, horror would be downplayed a tad (the Seers are just a very old, very greedy group that likes to pretend they’re more important than they really are), but honestly, the theme about learning to deal with sudden (and drastic) changes in your life, and learning how to be yourself (especially when the villains are embodiments of the ruthless side of conformity) sounds right up their alley.

      • Eolirin
        October 31, 2014 at 2:13 am

        Are we talking Disney live action, Disney animated musical, or Pixar, here?

  8. Brian Goubeaux
    October 28, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Interesting that “Atlantis” would be internalized, instead of being an actual place. Yet, with Atlantis being now a Lie, it leads me to believe that the Awakened City talked about in this article may now be part of another civilization mentioned in the World of Darkness games, particularly Irem of Mummy: The Curse, which, according to the mythos, actually existed in the World of Darkness.

    Let me explain. The first hint was that “Atlantis” existed in a Time Before History. I don’t know how exactly what were the specifics, but that makes me hypothesize that it means a civilization that existed before the Recorded History of Mankind. This fits Irem, being that it was a precursor of Ancient Egypt. Plus, there are parallels of Iremian society and the god-priests that forsaw everything in the Nameless Empire, and tales of “priests, viziers, and the god-headed”, not to mention that Irem and the Nameless Empire vanished when the god-priests sent the entire city of Irem into Duat, now an alleged parallel to the erasure of the supposed “Atlantis” from reality.

    This leads to the hypothesis, at least for the Awakened who deal with the Deathless, that Mages might’ve been ancient citizens of the Nameless Empire, who developed a new form of magic that’s separate from the common guild Sorcery of the time. When Irem vanished from the world, these remnants of the former city developed, what is considered Atlantean ruins today, in various part of the world to replace the Nameless Empire. They later on called their ideal society Atlantis, to solidify the Awakened Lie in a mental defense of delusion, because none of the Awakened would like to think that they were the byproduct of another’s society.

    Please consider this in a Theories of Atlantis blurb, being that the ancient city of the Arisen fits into the theories placed among the Orders and it actually existed in the mythos of the World of Darkness, purely for plot ideas.

    • Rosicrucian
      October 28, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      Well that’s the thing. It’s multiple choice now. Irem was an Atlantis. So was the Tower of Babel. Thule. Lemuria. Mu. It goes on and on. Some ancestral memory in the human species tells it a Truth that there was a World Before the Lie, but we can only contextualize that world within the Lie, and with every passing day the Lie gets better at patching up the spots where that fundamental Truth shines through.

    • IanW
      October 29, 2014 at 9:23 am

      In very general terms, as I understand it (and Dave can certainly feel free to correct me):

      – A civilization we modern barbarians refer to as “Atlantis” once existed, let’s say 10,000 years ago. It may have been the first human civilization.
      – Atlantis and its people Fell. Perhaps because of the Ladder myth, maybe not.
      – Archmages (and Oracles and Exarchs) being who they are and doing what they do, they wiped Atlantis from history. Face it, when you’re that powerful, Shadow names aren’t going to cut it: erasing the civilization you came from is the ultimate occultation.
      – (There may have been a bit of a tug-of-war with new Atlantises being created, altered, and summarily erased, leaving evidence in the miscellaneous incompatible ruins we find today.)
      – In the current history of the world, Atlantis doesn’t exist, and never existed.
      – With no Atlantis, the title of “first civilization” fell to Irem, thousands of years later.
      – Irem actually existed, because no one’s yet been interested in erasing it. Aside from mummies, few are aware of it anyhow.

      • Dave Brookshaw
        October 29, 2014 at 10:48 am

        It’s not so much “being an archmage” that alters reality, it’s “acting in the Supernal” – the same thing that warps archmasters’ pasts when they break the Threshold, multiplied by however many people Ascended to become Exarchs at once, erased the civilization they were from and did untold (and untellable) damage to reality, making it a Fallen World.

        It may or may not have been a *deliberate* consequence of the Exarchs assuming their Thrones – the Seers say it was deliberate, other mages may disagree. No one has dared to straight-up ask an Ochema.

  9. Andrew Thomas
    October 28, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    I always felt that Scion and Ascension/Apocalypse handled the Atlantis question better than Awakening did, at least as far as leaving the possibility of its existence, let alone its utility for players, open to storyteller interpretation. That being said, this new take makes for better story elements, IMHO. Idk, the political cyberthiller angles from Ascension, particularly the ones related to the ex-Technocratic Traditions, still appeal, and this is just one of them.

  10. Phil
    October 28, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    How does this new take on Atlantis essentially being a lie mesh with the Mysterium’s whole “don’t add to pancryptia” ‘cultural mandate’?

    Also, count me in the “Dragons are cool, I don’t care if that makes me immature” camp. 😛

    • Zooroos
      October 29, 2014 at 5:38 am

      But Atlantis is a “lie” insofar the Fallen World is a “Lie”: they both an artifact of a flawed universe. Passing down lore about Atlantis wouldn’t add to Pancryptia; that’s not the same as having a coherent recollection of lore, however.

      • Phil
        October 29, 2014 at 10:42 am

        “Atlantis is a Lie the Awakened tell themselves.”

        I think the dualism in the text is causing a bit of confusion. (For me, at least.) If Atlantis is a supernal truth and/or actually existed at some point (before being flagged and removed from the Forum by Reality’s Moderators), is it appropriate to call it a lie or a Lie?

        Sorry if this comes off as nitpicky trolling; it’s not intended as such, honest. It’s just that, to me, one reading comes off as the Diamond mages as either being sort of manipulative, cynical faux-religious or willfully self-deluding; the other is more “Yeah, it was a thing, but then it was wiped out in Ye Olde Exarch War.”

        Kind of curious how the Oracles fit into this structure, too. It seems like we’re solidifying Exarchs as a “Thing” (but not necessarily what common myth purports them to be). When did the Oracles enter into the Diamond lingua franca? What sort of emanations did they leave behind? (If anything, I honestly can’t remember.)

        • Zooroos
          October 29, 2014 at 4:36 pm

          I’ll try a different approach:

          – Before the Fall, Atlantis was a real city/empire/island in the Phenomenal World (a concrete manifestation)

          – After the Fall, Atlantis became a real city/society/whathaveyou in the Supernal World (a symbolic manifestation)

          So, Atlantis is/was/will both things at once. It’s like Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle: light is both a wave and a particle, but you will only find it in a particular state in discreet event. Atlantis is the same I believe.

          • Phil
            October 30, 2014 at 10:52 am

            So what you’re trying to say is that it wasn’t the just the Exarchs who ascended to the supernal.. they also brought Atlantis with them? 😛

            I think I understand the gist; I feel it’s very much the same as it was – just a different presentation. That said, I think some of the presentation, while stylistically great, might need some tweaks.

          • Zooroos
            October 30, 2014 at 11:36 am

            Yeah, essentially Atlantis suffered from a society-scale Aponoia that erased it from existence. As soon as a person acts in the Supernal, his whole identity -his Shadow Name, his tools, his opinions, his personal history- becomes a Supernal truth, able to impose change and consequence in the phenomenal world, be it deliberate or unintended. Multiply this effect by the thousands, add a Celestial Ladder that lets Mages enter the Supernal bodily and relatively unprepared and you have a recipe for Universe squash.

  11. Wildeyes
    October 28, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    It really kind of boils down to “Atlantis never existed, yet there’s evidence that it did, but none of it makes sense.” It leads to a whole lot of questions as to whether perhaps the ruins can be scoured to determine what the world was like, or could be like before the fall. I’m really looking forward to displaying quite a few different Atlantean ruins in my game, I’m thinking of having a few hidden rather close to each other geographically all with radically different architecture, and themes.

  12. Zooroos
    October 28, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Dave, as usual, you deliver more than I’d hoped for. That quote from Books of Magic? Priceless, truly.

  13. Anaximander
    October 28, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Interesting that Ascension is what essentially broke the world. It wasn’t a Good Thing: it birthed the Abyss, the Lie, and put humanity to Sleep. I’m both intrigued and a little saddened by that.

  14. EmanantVolition
    October 28, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    I know this is anecdotal, but so many of the people I’ve gamed with or seen posts of in forums have proclaimed how lame they find the Atlantis myth because it’s so overdone and so new agey, but then go on and on about how the Ordo Dracul is their most favorite Covenant in VtR, that it just boggles my mind. “Linked to Atlantis” gets all the eyerolls, but “scions of Dracula!” does not? Huh, i guess.

    Not that I have a problem with it getting toned down some per say. I just think it’s odd that Atlantis references needs to defend itself from anything but the “Theosophistic racism” argument.

    • Leliel
      October 29, 2014 at 12:54 am

      Actually, that’s probably because the “scions of Dracula”…aren’t. Those regal vampires would be the Invictus.

      The Ordo is the vampiric mad science wing and transkindredism, which is something that comes off as being entirely new, and they like to dress themselves in the vein of Vlad III. They just aren’t as cliche in the Requiem core as Atlantis seemed.

      • EmanantVolition
        October 29, 2014 at 7:31 am

        “Blood Alchemists” who wish to transcend man and beast altogether to become an all new unholy terror aren’t cliche in vampire?

        I’m not saying that I don’t also like the Ordo myself. But “Dracula was a SPECIAL kind of Vampire (perhaps even clanless!), and if you follow his methods you could be special too” is cliche as shit. With mage you got folks who couldn’t even get past Atlantis as a word, but I’ve not heard anyone say “christ, Dracula is a thing in vampire? overdone. pass.”

        I agree with the majority that the 1e MtAw core book left a lot to be desired in it’s presentation. But I just don’t see how Atlantis is somehow innately more cliched than anything else WW references that is part of mainstream awareness.

        Anyhow, I think this weeks entry is interesting. I’d prefer it not be relegated to a super brief mention at the back of the book, but I’ll need to see the whole presentation before I judge the book’s structure for real.

        I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more about Wisdom. I’m hoping it’s more like 2e Harmony than “Integrity +”, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough!

        • SunlessNick
          November 2, 2014 at 8:56 am

          I think Leliel’s point was that the Dracula of the novel is someone who’d be prominent in the Invictus rather than founding the Ordo Dracul. Fortunately, there are other reasons why the Ordo might have that name – dragons are cool enough that they’ve been used as symbols for everything, so they’re also symbols of alchemy and power – so dropping the man himself is pretty easy.

  15. Thorbes
    October 29, 2014 at 7:04 am

    As whith most of the tidbits so far it is very, very well written. Clear and evocative seems to be the party line and I’m loving it.

  16. Dave
    October 29, 2014 at 9:21 am

    I really like this write-up, I am glad Atlantis is being spelled out as an ephemera of the setting and it’s use as a Communal Shadow Name is a lovely meta approach. That said, my issue with using Atlantis has never been “Atlantis is overdone”, but the lack of competing theories in the corebook like what the Requiem line alluded to for the first Vampire. I would have rather seen Lemuria, Mu, Kumari Kandam and etc used in addition to Atlantis as other ‘truths’ rather than “we just call all of these places of the Time Before the Same Name” by the Awakened from around the world with a less Greco-centric culture than my own.

    That said, I may still run my games that way. I would be interesting to see different aspects of the Time Before resonating with the modern world.

  17. IanW
    October 29, 2014 at 9:30 am

    For fun, here’s a section from the Trinity ST Handbook I was developing as a fan project waaay back in 2003, before the new WoD was a thing:

    Æon also had two special projects that didn’t deal with Inspired people at all. One was Project Argonaut, journeying into the hidden places of the world. Some of these places — such as the Louisiana Dinosaur Swamp and the Inner Earth during the Adventure Era — almost literally could not have existed without the energies of “Inspiration” (the same energies that empowered the Inspired). The 1970s saw a similar burst of Inspired locales — Æon has files on nine separate places that match legendary descriptions of Atlantis, but none of these are still around in the 2120s. Triton’s Data Analysis (Space) section still carries on much of the same work.

    I always thought it was fun to see the same basic idea approached from completely different directions.

  18. Yawgmoth
    October 29, 2014 at 9:53 am

    “How to make a roleplaying game … without being colossal racists ourselves?” White Wolf has been struggling with that question since its creation.

    • Dave Brookshaw
      October 29, 2014 at 10:33 am

      It’s always a process. The pioneers at White Wolf were better than most other companies, I like to think we’re better than that now, and I’m sure whoever replaces me eventually will be better still.

      Was there a specific complaint you had about Awakening, either the one book published under my watch or those of my predecessors?

    • Andrew Thomas
      October 29, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      It’s very apparent in the Classic World of Darkness line, especially in the various Changing Breeds books, Kindred of the East/Ebony Kingdom, and to a lesser extent in Ascension, with the Akashic Brotherhood, the Orphans, etc. I guess the real challenge is to find a balance between established horror tropes and to avoid cultural fetishization while trying to maintain a level of authenticity.

      • Pensman
        October 30, 2014 at 10:29 am

        That’s preposterous to claim racism is “very apparent” in oWoD. I’ve had plenty of exposure with over a hundred people of all cultures and I’ve never heard anyone complain about the material being racist. I’ve read a ton of the material myself and I’ve never seen a word that would be racist. Maybe you know someone or read something that made you or someone you know feel offended because something didn’t go into the intricacies of a particular culture, but that’s not racism. Racism is the belief in the inherent inferiority of others based on their genetics.

        • October 30, 2014 at 12:55 pm

          So you mean OWoD Werewolf? The game where you play racist Luddite hippies who are also crazy religious zealots?

          • Pensman
            October 30, 2014 at 1:07 pm

            Hey now. Only the Children of Gaia are hippies.

        • Eolirin
          October 31, 2014 at 2:34 am

          So, WoD: Gypsies, was, you know, a thing.

          There were problems with the oWoD. I don’t think there’s anyone that worked on those books or that works on the 20th lines that isn’t aware of, and who wouldn’t admit to, that. It wasn’t intentional, and it was driven out of ignorance in a time before the internet, but there’s a lot of problematic stuff in there.

  19. Full Time GM
    October 29, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    I like the reframing of Altantis as “the best guess we have right now”. As someone who really enjoys playing Silver Ladder theocrats this is going to make them pop out as fringe way more than it used to.

    Very excited out this new edition.

  20. Pensman
    October 29, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I’ll admit up front that I’m an Ascension player, not an Awakening player, so maybe there’s a key part of this conversation that I’m missing. But I am reading this post because I like to keep up to date on what my nWoD brothers and sisters are doing and how their lines are developing. And as best I can tell the argument being made here is that the folks that created the Atlantis Myth did so because they were racists. So if we use the Atlantis myth ourselves, we are also racist. Which is absurd in several ways. Am I missing something?

    I’ve been reading White Wolf and now Onyx Path products for over ten years (Some 1st ed, a fair amount of 2nd ed and a LOT of Revised) and I’ve never read a word to suggest that the company or it’s artist or developers are racists.

    • The Cowardly Scion
      October 29, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Pretty sure he meant that the assumption that there had to be a progenitor civilization to teach the savages how to do whatever it is one thinks they shouldn’t have been able to do on their own is racist. Not necessarily that WW of the early 2000s intended for the Atlantis of NWoD to represent the same ideals of those Westerners who think the Egyptians, Meso Americans etc needed a tutor. The original creators of the line made Atlantis ethnically neutral except for the name so far as I could tell.

      • Pensman
        October 29, 2014 at 2:52 pm

        I can see how my comment may have been confusing. By “folks that created the Atlantis myth” I’m referring to “The 19th Century societies that produced most of the western modern occult”.

        The second paragraph was more my reaction to the exchange between Yawgmoth and Brookshaw.

        Sorry for the confusion and thanks for replying! 😀

        • The Cowardly Scion
          October 29, 2014 at 7:36 pm

          Now that I understand the question, I will say that for our purposes whether or not Atlantis is racist depends on why a person believes in it, what they think it was or uses it. For gaming purposes, Atlantis should either be the torch lighter of Western civilization and occult heritage with regional competitors like Irem who lit the fire for their own heritage (from the perspective of Atlanteans, these might be the barbarian kingdoms in much the same way that cultures regarded as foreign were looked down on by Rome even though they may only have been inferior by the standard of what a Roman valued.) I think this is probably one interpretation of Awakening 1e’s back story. Barbarian was almost certainly intended to have air quotes and represented an Atlantean value judgment not necessarily an objective one.

          Alternately there’s the concept of Atlantis as a catch all for a civilization that fell to hubris. Atlantis as an idea or label rather than one specific place that was destroyed at one point in time. This would be the allegorical use of Atlantks more in keeping with what Plato intended rather than a literal telling.

          A unified Atlantis responsible for lighting the fire of civilization everywhere may also not have been a singular place but rather a global civilization united by magical affiliations rather than geography. If you have a class of wise men who can teleport, then ideas can be exchanged across continents until everyone participating in this global magical civilization of ideas has something that has gone into the stewpot of ideas. And then this metaphorical tower of Babel gets smashed, everyone is on their own again and will drift apart as their immediate and future needs push the Americans, Asians, Africans, Europeans and Australians in wildly different directions.

    • Andrew Thomas
      October 29, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      I suppose I could spend some time waxing poetic about all the micro aggressions inherent to dividing character factions along ethnic lines, as they did in Classic World of Darkness, but I think the company already got the message when they started developing the New World of Darkness setting and rules set. One of the nicer things about New WoD is that there is no in-game precedent for invalidating character archetypes based on race or ethnicity, a minor but extant issue in CWoD, despite aciduous attempts by the devs to maintain a level of political correctness in how things are represented. While this is largely a player/storyteller problem, debalkanization, to use a foreign policy term, of the various factions within the game world is the easiest way to make the playing space more inclusive, which is something New WoD does well.

      • Pensman
        October 30, 2014 at 10:58 am

        By faction I’m assuming you mean things like Tribe or Clan or Tradition etc. To ignore that culture and ethnicity are tightly bound historically would be naive and ultimately unrealistic. And the Tribes, Clans and to a certain extent the Traditions are manifestations of cultures. Hell, the formation of the Council of Nine required globe trotting to get all these people from around the world together to formalize their society. Is it really surprising that the Hindu will workers looked at their brothers and sisters from India and said, “Yea, we’re all pretty similar in our paradigm here. I think we can represent each other”. (Yes, I’m aware I’m simplifying metaplot)

        Frankly I would find it harder to believe that groups of culturally like minded people from the past would *not* stick with their cultural groups. Remember how short in the span of human history globalization really is. We can take for granted that we have the internet and super fast and cheap forms of transportation that can give us exposure to other cultures. So if the Tribes/Clans/Traditions all formed in the 21st century, then sure, having groupings along cultural/ethnic lines may be a little harder to believe. But with groups who’s history extends centuries or millennia, from a time when ethnicity defined your sense of self and community, should we really be surprised and offended to see people (even if they are fictional) grouping themselves?

        If the games *required* you to split yourselves along ethnic lines that would be one thing. Saying you couldn’t be an akashic unless your character was asian would be asinine, I think we can all agree to that. But to set a stage that mimics the world we know and recognizes the historical inertia of culture on groups of people should be more than acceptable. The Akashic philosophy came from that part of the world. So why is it surprising or offensive that a large number of the people who are following it are from that part of the world?

        • Andrew Thomas
          October 30, 2014 at 12:08 pm

          I guess you have never been in a group where the ST interprets the word “usually” as meaning “always.” That’s where the problem lies. When the game setting treats factions as insular, mono cultural organizations, it makes it too easy for STs to take hardline orthodox stances on what their players can and can’t do. By largely removing game factions from mortal cultures, New WoD allows for more player agency and makes justifying harmful cultural norms a lot harder (it also makes more sense thematically if these secret societies our characters are supposed to be part of are not tied down and dependent on a particular group of people for their source of new members and occasionally, prey). What I’ve been saying is that CWOD’s past attempts at being inclusive have been problematic in that at best, they made only a token effort to avoid fetishization of noneuropean cultures, at worst, those attempts were viewed as jarring or disposable (case in point: Kindred of the East). Even some Core level factions are, for some STs, too hard to be sold on including in their stories, like the Independant Clans in Masquerade, for example (with the noted exception of Clan Gangrel).

          • Pensman
            October 30, 2014 at 12:39 pm

            What I’m hearing is that you had some or one ST who wasn’t very good and allowed their own biased to keep you from making the character you want (Or your fiends wanted). I hardly see how that qualifies as the old devs committing “micro aggressions” or justifies the implication that the Devs have been racist.

            If the problem lies with STs interpreting the world “usually” as “always”, then I would suggest that you lay the blame squarely where it belongs, with the ST(s) in question that you are describing. It’s asinine to be so scared to recognize the historical realities of ethnicity and culture because someone else may take your material and twist it as justification to marginalize another. Folks that marginalize are going to marginalize. You can’t stop that and shouldn’t let that fear keep you from creating art.

            (If the art thing is confusing I consider the writers to be just as much artist as the folks that do the images. They’re just painting with words. 🙂 )

          • Andrew Thomas
            October 31, 2014 at 2:18 am

            Calling out when someone is creating a situation in which a fictional group that superficially resembles them has more agency in and out of the story than those that don’t is not calling the Devs racist, but merely pointing out a potentially dangerous pattern, one that if not actively discouraged throughout the description of the setting and mechanics would leave part of the gaming community excluded.

        • Eolirin
          October 31, 2014 at 4:03 am

          The problem with that particular line of thought is that much of cWoD treated very diverse sets of cultures, many of which in no way got along with each other, sometimes to the point of active conflict, as if they were monolithic groups with no divisions. The problem wasn’t the presence of ethnically based groups, it was the tendency for those groups to ignore the diversity of the ethnicities that they were based on, to tend to fall into stereotypical portrayals, and for those overly simplistic and stereotypical examples to be the only examples of said ethnicity.

          The way you talk about Hinduism is exactly the issue that the books have; it isn’t a singular religion or tradition, and the practices of some members of what we westerners would refer to as Hinduism are going to have as little in common with each other as they do with Christianity. There are everything from polytheistic to atheistic belief systems within the overall Hinduism umbrella. The idea that they’d all band together on the basis of a common world view is, if the diverse traditions of India aren’t utterly eradicated in favor of a grossly simplistic and inherently Western viewpoint, completely ridiculous.

          There were other similar issues all over the place. Here’s an interview with the DA:V20 writers talking about trying to fix some of the issues in that line with the 20th Anniversary update: http://gomakemeasandwich.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/peeling-back-the-curtain-on-progressive-game-development-long/

          Saytros Phil Brucato has said similar things about Mage in the context of M20.

          None of these things make the writers of the problematic stuff racist, btw. Just (at the time, at least) ignorant of, or insufficiently skillful in dealing with, complex subjects.

          • Dave Brookshaw
            October 31, 2014 at 9:34 am

            To be clear about this – Eolirin raises a good point – this is *not* the case in nMage. Indeed, the Diamond Orders are the result of Indian proto-Ladder Group X realizing they have more in common with Greek proto-Ladder Group Y than they do with Indian Proto-Arrow Group Z, and so on.

          • Pensman
            October 31, 2014 at 10:54 am

            Ignorant, perhaps. I can see that, especially in the 90s. Information wasn’t remotely as readily available as we’ve become accustomed to. But problematic? Why? Should I also be offended that in general the books generalized Christians instead of going into Baptists, Mormons, Lutherans, Catholics, Gnositcs etc? Sure, as a writer it helps to show casing a rich and diverse culture. It provides a vibrant environment and that’s great. But eventually at some point you’re just pandering to a special interest out of fear you’ll offend someone. Something of which you have no control over in the first place. You can’t control other’s feelings.

            Your problem with how I spoke about Hinduism is a perfect example. I’m well aware of the intricacies of the religion but I ask you, how would have mentioning them in my last post have served the point I was making? Should I go over every group and their distinct beliefs just to prove that I’m not ignorant and I’m not implying someone’s culture is simple? I think you’re smart enough that I shouldn’t need to.

            The Dev’s jobs are to produce something interesting that we enjoy, maybe even teach us some things along the way, but also to not sell us ten thousand page history books. The target audience has always been a mature and intelligent one. And I think it’s fair to say that the vast majority of us that walk the Onyx Path, either as consumer or producer, are mature and intelligent. As such, I think we all also understand that every culture is complex. And I should hope that the devs understand that we are mature intelligent adults that don’t need our hands held to understand that every culture has a labyrinth of complexity.

            If a work doesn’t go into the particular complexity that I know about, that’s okay. I have no reason to take it personally. Because here is the point. If fear over insulting someone or being construed as ignorant or simplifying something complex means that Vampire or KoE or anything else in the 90s never got created, then that fear is doing a far greater disservice to the community.

          • Andrew Thomas
            October 31, 2014 at 12:51 pm

            I agree with this. Pointing out how something is wrong, and giving the person engaged in it time to change, is how these things get fixed.

          • Andrew Thomas
            October 31, 2014 at 1:07 pm

            Also, Pensman, to answer your question, yes, you should be offended, especially when the insensitivity and marginalisation is targeting you, and even when it isn’t. And no amount of Anecdotal Evidence, or No True Scotsmen, or moving the goal post, will change that. It’s clear that you don’t see any merit to a basic idea that other cultures deserve to be more than caricatures to support a particularly disposable class of character archetypes and that you find attempts to build a more inclusive game community by addressing the outmoded and patronizing elements of your source material to be less important to a company’s bottom line then the comfort of a few hidebound legacy customers.

          • Pensman
            October 31, 2014 at 2:08 pm

            Should I also be offended, Mr. Thomas, that you just implied that myself and countless others are too old, out dated and inherently patronizing to considered valid? Cause that’s really all I’m getting from your response. I mean don’t get me wrong, I see some buzz words, but no rebuttal to a particular argument I’m making. And if I’m not offended, will you be offended for me?

          • richt
            October 31, 2014 at 2:30 pm

            OK gang. Keep it civil. No group attacks in either direction, please.

            Oh, and no personal insults either.

          • Pensman
            October 31, 2014 at 2:49 pm

            Fair enough, richt. I’m willing to consider this dead horse quite beaten. I suppose we’ve hijacked an awakening thread on a tangent for long enough anyways. I appreciate the civility I’ve received from by brothers and sisters, even if we don’t see eye to eye. 🙂

  21. crawlkill
    October 29, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    I suppose I dislike it less this way. it’s a little odd to tell your audience that their associations with an imaginary concept are ‘wrong.’ no one owns a myth; the way it’s used is the only definition of what it is, and ranking one person who makes up a bunch of bullshit about that idea’s use of it above another’s because the one was bullshitting and pretending their bullshit was true where the other was open about just making popular entertainment seems weird. when generating a fiction and handing out names for things, it seems to me that it’s key to pick words that are going to generate neutral or positive associations in your target audience.

    and I’m a little unclear as to why we need to have an ancient meta-civilization(s) to have temple raiding. couldn’t we have ancient tombs that are just attributed to worrying wizards from the distant past without attempting to conflate that with a big, icky, vague mythic past?

    I do appreciate the Orders being more explicitly definitely not descended from those civilizations-that-were-real-but-not-real, though. having the Awakened City be an ideal they strive for rather than a time they claim to be the inheritors of is a lot more believable.

  22. Yossarian
    October 29, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    I’ll be on record as admitting I actually liked the Atlantis myth in the first edition (I’m pretty much the only person I know who does). I’m a sucker for pulpy fantasy, and by the time I got into Mage, it was at a point where the line had been going on for a few years, and the material on Atlantis was more explicitly mythic, rather than being presented as a fact.

    It also helped that I just don’t have the same negative associations with the name as a lot other people do. I completely understand those negative associations, though.

    Anyway, this is all to say I like this new presentation of Atlantis a lot. It’s much more useful to players and Storytellers, and it’s just plain more evocative. It manages to be both the myth and the literal truth, and I think that’s the essence of Mage.

  23. Quinn Y
    October 29, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Wow. That sounds like a huge mess. If you’re going to go into absurd contortions to not include Atlantis but still in a sideways sort of way include it, then why don’t you just eliminate it completely? You could just have a gigantic 10,000 page source book that turns all the myths and legends of every culture that’s ever existed into a basis for the magic that’s in the game. That way nobody would ever feel left out. 🙂

    Aren’t all mythologies “racist” if we use your world-view as a basis? Most mythologies don’t go out of their way to include all the other races of humans the world has ever known.

    The “racist” epithet seems to only ever apply to European mythologies and points of view – which, in itself, is racist.

    I knew Mage The Awakening 2nd edition was going to blow – but I didn’t expect this.

    • Leliel
      October 29, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      Yeah, this guy above me?

      Based on his own whining about the fact that Promethean is about Prometheans, he’s a troll.

      A concern troll (I think that’s the variety he’s doing).

      Don’t feed him.

      • Pensman
        October 29, 2014 at 3:48 pm

        Maybe. But he’s not *wrong*. I’ll agree that hating on Awakening as hard as he is is a bit much. The sarcasm is not conducive to a discussion with candor and good will. But that’s it.

        • Eolirin
          October 31, 2014 at 4:14 am

          Except for the bit where he’s completely wrong about everything he said?

    • An Fhuiseog
      October 30, 2014 at 6:39 am

      Personally I find this argument a bit odd.

      I’ve rarely seen people apply the word racist to European mythologies (like Greek, Celtic, Germanic). I don’t think accusations of Odin, Thor, Hades or Lugh being racist figures are common.

      Secondly, I don’t think having misgivings about a 19th century mythology created with explicitly racist elements implies one believes all mythologies are racist (I actually don’t understand this chain of reasoning you’ve followed here).

  24. Joe
    October 29, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Man, I am so glad you guys references the Atlantis from the Books of Magic, because that is exactly what I always thought it was. Well played. So far we’re looking at a world where Atlantis is not a real place (or time) and the supernal is not really a place either so much as it’s a n ideal that underlies all of reality. This is shaping up to be a game that really makes a lot of sense.

  25. Nick W
    October 29, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Personally, I don’t think it “blows”, I think its great. Atlantis, the great Paradox. Did it exist? Its a contradiction. Its a mystery, which to me, gives an ST far more reign to pursue than publishing hard ” facts”. I love the CWoD, I cut my teeth on VtM, but eventually there was no real mystery because everything had an explanation.

    I think this version of Mage is going to be even better than the first. More than giving me ancillary back story they’re giving me plot ideas.

    Atlantis was an alien city.

    Atlantis was a Lovecraftian abomination so vile that the ascension war destroyed it out of mercy; the ruins you find are the Atlantean monster trying to re-assert itself into our reality.

    Atlantis never truly existed.

    Atlantis is buries beneath modern day Istanbul.

    Atlantis is another metaphor for Ascension; mages subconsciously seek to return to a sublime state, called by their sympathy to the Watchtowers.

    Atlantis is a Venus fly trap that consumes the unwise and drowns them in the madness of its anti-existence.

    Atlantis is… Well, you get the idea. I personally prefer the approach it’s taking; we all wonder where we came from, what our purpose is, etc. Mages have access to world-altering truths but even they struggle to answer this fundamental question. They’re still human. And, like any humans, the atrocities they’ll commit in the name of a belief… oh yes, story potential. Anyways, my two cents. Thanks for the update, DaveB!

    • Andrew Thomas
      October 29, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      Totally on the same page with the “choose your own adventure” approach.

    • wyrdhamster
      October 30, 2014 at 1:01 am

      If there would be possibility, i would click on “Love the comment”. 😉

      For now, I just say I will still those Atlantis ideas to my private Mage folder, thank you Good Sir. 😉

      • Nick W
        October 30, 2014 at 10:57 am

        Glad you liked them!

  26. tau neutrino
    October 29, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    My worry is that Wisdom will be “Integrity +”, with mages degenerating faster than vampires.

    • machineiv
      October 30, 2014 at 4:38 am

      For whatever it’s worth, my Wisdom writeup looks almost nothing like Integrity. They do different things entirely. So they look different.

  27. Burke
    October 30, 2014 at 10:00 am

    I love it! I always had questions about Atlantis until a few days ago when I bought and read the Imperial Mysteries, then it all made sense; if Atlantis ever existed, ascension removed it forever. At some point something happened and now nothing is the same anymore. It totally sounds like what an Exarch, the first exarch maybe, would do as their omens: reshape reality so that no one could ever rival them. Or maybe an Aswadim who ascended, we will never know.

  28. UrsoPolarMarrom
    October 30, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    I find this new Atlantis Paradox idea amazing. I have been a diehard Mage fan since 1994 when I bought my copy of the MtA 1st edition but I wasn’t very thrilled about Awakening until I read Imperial Mysteries… It is ingenious!!! One of the best books I have ever read!!! So, when I identified many of its concepts in Awakening Second, I became an even greater admirer of Mr. Dave Brookshaw. Congratulations and thanks for your marvellous work!!!
    On the topic of racism, I am Latin-american (Brazilian) and we have never felt “left out” by any of White Wolf’s (or Onyx Parth’s) books!

  29. SunlessNick
    November 2, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Plato’s story was a minor curiosity for centuries, limited only to the few people who’d ever head of him … but became popularized when 19th Century occultists got hold of it.

    Another aspect of this is that Plato presented Atlantis as just one civilisation among many, just an unusually rich (as opposed to unusually advanced) once. Both the true-original and super-advanced came from the 19th Century.

    From that perspective, it makes sense to treat Atlantis as a collective name for *all* the cultures that existed back “then.”

  30. Revlid
    November 7, 2014 at 7:58 am

    I am Andrew Ryan, and I’m here to ask you a question.

    Is a man not entitled to the power of his magic?

    “No,” says the Diamond, “it belongs to the mage orders.”
    “No,” says the Seer, “it belongs to the Exarchs.”
    “No,” says the Free Council, “it belongs to everyone.”

    I rejected those answers; instead, I chose something different.
    I chose the impossible.
    I chose… Atlantis.

    (granted, Ryan makes a better Syndicate member)

Comments are closed.