[Faces of Magick] Preview

We return to another Faces of Magick preview for Mage: The Ascension! 

As mentioned previously, Faces of Magick profiles 24 individuals found throughout in the network of the Nine Traditions. Last time we gave you a peek at Emma Tavares of the Order of Hermes and Jacob Mullen of the Euthanatos. Let’s see where we go this time, with another two characters found within the collection:

Danni “Wildheart” Davies: Faded Star, Burning Bright

“This coming tour, it’s gonna blow your sweet mind wide open!”

Tradition: Celestial Chorus

Awakened: 1975 (Born: 1950)

The Glam and Prog rock scene of the ’70s saw many stars break through into the popular consciousness; Danni Davies was one of the lucky few to make it big, and she’s dominated charts on and off for decades since. Growing up in rural Wales, the young Danni surrounded herself with song and music. Small towns breed big dreams, and she knew her star would rise and shine upon everyone — it was preordained.  Age and the threat of obsolescence hit her like a hammer, and despite her fame and dedicated fanbase, the world moved on without her. That wasn’t in the plan, so the planned “show to end all shows” must correct this error. She’ll become the god she deserves to be.

It’s true the One has something in store for Danni, but it’s not what she thinks. Fame, delusion, and a reinforced tunnel vision have warped her priorities and ability to sense risk. Never encouraged to see her own failures, Danni’s upcoming farewell tour will see years of pent-up energy unleashed in one perfect, public storm.

In Focus

Moving away and “abandoning” home was the most heartbreaking decision Danni ever made, but she always carried their song in her heart, and even now, thinking about and concentrating on what she left behind brings her energy to the surface, the light of the One having shone on her since she was a child. Her breakthrough song “The Wildheart” was an ode to her homeland’s spirit, and her fans quickly made it her epithet. The name now anchors her, centering her every time she hears it, like a mantra or a prayer. When she feels low, or needs a quick rush, she has hours of audio with her fans chanting this name.

Few people ever meet the same Danni, as the Wildheart is a mercurial creature. Having spent decades in the public eye — mainly for her music, but also for her decadent lifestyle, she’s risen to an unassailable position in her fans’ eyes. Danni’s constant reinvention drives her popularity, bringing countless musical styles, art projects, and interests when they catch her keen mind. She acquires hobbies as quickly as she subsequently drops them from her orbit, but the speed of change makes pinning down the real Danni an impossible task. This outsider’s view feels tangible, and she feeds off this inscrutable image. The universe may all lead back to the One, but it is made of multitudes, with each person unique, and this uniqueness deserving to shine; for Danni, the more unique she is, the brighter she’ll shine.

Danni compensates for this unconscious selfishness with infinite charm, making everyone in the room gravitate toward her. Her real trick is making everyone the center of her attention, ensuring they know how important they are to her in that moment. Ignoring someone and not giving them the gift of her time is the worst sin imaginable, but these moments are fleeting, and it takes a loud voice to truly crack her shell, hardened by decades’ worth of limitless praise.

Rise and Ruin

Danni’s a classic example of what happens when we’re not allowed to learn from failure, when good intentions shield us from the truth, giving a false sense of invulnerability. Rare is the rock star who doesn’t let the adoration of the crowd go to their head at least once, but for some, there’s no turning back from unadulterated worship. Danni intends to use all that love to ascend and take her place as a true God; it’s what her fans would want.

The arena tour of ‘77 was the crowning achievement of her career, and it culminated with her Awakening midway through a live show, everything suddenly falling into place and making sense. Danni knew she had conquered her own destiny and claimed what the universe wanted for her, but once the initial rush receded, she realized something was still missing. Now, after many years of change and toil, Danni understands why she still feels incomplete: she’s been held back, and the masses suffered from being denied glory such as hers. Coming off the back of a surprise hit album, the latter-day rock star prepares to unleash the show to end all shows.

Danni’s launched a media blitz to really push her farewell tour. It’s clear from her interviews, ads, and streaming spotlights that something’s different this time around, and her words point to a newly acquired finality. Those in the know have taken note; she’s never openly flaunted her abilities before, but when you know what to listen for, the clues are there. With typical selfish confidence, Danni doesn’t care what others think — her own divinity is preordained.

  • The Greatest Star: Everyone wants a piece of Wildheart right now, and her imminent tour has made her hot property. Danni wants to flex her muscle on a livestream to increase the anticipation for the real thing. If things go well, the multitudes love it. If not, the live stream goes dead, everyone in the room but Danni banished to a paradox realm, their tortured faces barely visible in the static of the feed — conspiracies abound regarding the event.
  • The Greatest Show: Back in the public eye in a way she hasn’t been for years now, Danni has a tour planned that will literally blow people away. She remembers the exact moment back in ‘77 where she and the audience became one, where she joined thousands of people together in perfect unity, each breath, heartbeat, and thought all focused on one singular idea: the certainty that everyone could be so much more. Danni refuses to keep everyone in the dark for a moment longer and knows the love her fans have for her holds the key to her becoming a being of pure light. She just needs the will to see it through, then everyone can bask in the glory of a real god, albeit by fueling this transition with their souls.
  • The Greatest Fall: Nothing lasts forever, and good intentions can only keep failure at bay for so long. Danni’s set to learn this lesson in the hardest way possible when reality decides to show her just how wrong one can possibly be. With her show cancelled or ruined, and Danni unable to take her rightful place as the One, she’ll still bring the house down, only now on those responsible for crashing her party. Soon, she adds the faces of record executives, budding musicians, and even that one roadie that mislabeled her equipment that one time to the white noise of Paradox.

Suggested Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 4, Stamina 3, Charisma 5, Manipulation 4, Appearance 5, Perception 2, Intelligence 3, Wits 4

Suggested Abilities: Academics 2, Alertness 2, Art (Singing) 5, Athletics (Dancing) 4, Awareness 3, Crafts 2, Empathy 3, Esoterica 1, Etiquette 3, Expression (Audiences) 5, Intimidation 2, Leadership (Fans) 4, Meditation 2, Occult 1, Subterfuge 2, Technology 2

Suggested Arete: 8

Suggested Spheres: Correspondence 4, Forces 3, Life 3, Prime 5, Spirit 4, Time 2

Willpower: 7

Health Levels: OK, ?1, ?1, ?2, ?2, ?5, Incapacitated

Armor Rating: 0

Suggested Merits: Folk Hero 

Suggested Flaws: Discordant 1 (change to 2 and 3 as she progresses toward ruin)

Equipment: Danni’s people carry things for her — she wouldn’t want to break the silhouette of an outfit

Image: Dozens of memorable record sleeves and imitators ensure Danni’s look is utterly iconic — athletic, androgynous, seemingly ageless, and always immaculately made up, with hair that’s never short of effortlessly perfect. Whatever style she’s adopted seems to exist as if the creator conceived it only for her. The outrageous outfits of her glam days are gone, but she can still pull off any look that would look egregious on all but her.

Roleplaying Notes: A whirlwind of charm, ideas, and energy, the “Wildheart” epithet is as fitting as they come. Danni is never off her game, exuding energy and enthusiasm. She’s in love with the world, and if you’re lucky enough to be speaking with her, then you’re her world. Onlookers and critics might mistake her for being high, but the only drug she needs is life. The only thing that breaks her bubble is talk of home, and the sense of nostalgia looms more so now than ever, as she endeavors to ascend to greatness.


Signal to Noise: There’s something in the pharmaceutical commercials Danni’s been competing against for airtime that rub her the wrong way. At first, she thought it was just a feeling, but she knows it’s something more. Danni doesn’t yet know how Julieta Santos is involved, but she’s about to find out.

Julieta Santos: 24-Hour Party Person

“Sleep? What do you mean sleep? You never woke up in the first place!”

Tradition: Cult of Ecstasy

Awakened: 2010 (Born: 1989)

Julieta firmly believes in gateway drugs, having experienced the effects on friends and family. However, in contrast to others sharing this outlook, the Brazilian chemist sees only positive connotations — everyone experiencing these gateway drugs only increases their chance to progress to another, more eye-opening gateway. Better living through chemistry isn’t just a cute phrase; it’s an ambition — one Julieta thinks she’s finally cracked. Having worked her new designer drug into several household brands, she’s finally in a place to shake the population awake with some mass enlightenment. Of course, there are side effects, but honestly, the ability for a drug to forcibly Awaken a Sleeper to their true potential is beyond value to the consensus, while its chance of overdose just serves to weed out the weak. This coming quarter will be a bumper time for business!

In Focus

Julieta’s Awakening followed the 9th consecutive day of a drug-aided sleep deprivation experiment, her mind, body, and spirit exhausted beyond belief, and yet tweaked so hard that Awakening or expiring were its only options. Using her family connections to facilitate her hobby, the girl only doubled down once the scales cleared from her eyes, and reality was as whatever she wanted it to be. She’s noted Paradox backlashes are far rarer when the Sleeper witnesses are sharing the same mind-altering brew as she is, perhaps as they somehow see the possibility in everything as well — reality bending to accommodate these expanded consciousnesses.

Julieta is generously described as a high-functioning addict, and a delicate cocktail of uppers, downers, hallucinogens and other, more obscure, products keep her mood in a chemically assisted balance — the perfect foundation for her magick. Her mood changes as each drug asserts itself in unusual ways, and as she notices her perfect sense of equilibrium fading, she ensures she can top up with just the right amount of “insert-substance-here” to keep her functioning. From an outsider’s perspective, she’s addicted to the chaos of it all. In truth, she’s an expert in control.

This pharmacologically assisted mood keeps Julieta tapped into what she refers to as “the next level” — a brighter, more flexible (and frankly, happier) plane of existence, which is unattainable to those unwilling to wake up. She’s seen others plug themselves into the next level with certain techniques — meditation, casual drug use, even rigorous study — but only ever temporarily. For Julieta, this plane is permanently open. This doesn’t stop her upping her dosage or continuing her experiments with sleep deprivation — she always strives to reach a further level, one above whatever she’s already plugged herself into.

Rise and Ruin

Humanity’s holding itself back, with petty laws and weaponized moral outrage keeping Sleeper society from realizing its full potential. Sure, there are other ways to Awaken, but humanity only needs one big chemically assisted push before enlightenment becomes a commodity item, rather than being restricted to the 1%. Julieta installed herself as a department head at Magadon Pharmaceuticals after befriending an executive during a hallucinogenic-charged boat trip on the Río de la Plata. Her off-kilter behavior’s since gone unnoticed or been conveniently ignored by those valuing profit margins over ethics. All the better for Julieta, as she’s now seeded her custom chemical compound into a wide range of marketable and common pharmaceuticals. Once she successfully propagates the idea of side effects to enough of the masses, the psychotropic effects will begin. Hundreds of thousands will be affected, wracked by a nervous energy and unable to sleep or relax until they either Awaken or die trying.

The chemicals are incredibly potent, indiscriminate, everywhere, and nothing without their trigger. Julieta’s taken a sabbatical to kickstart the propaganda, having recruited a small cadre of marketeers and journalists to construct her story. This group have their own little demons and addictions, so Julieta’s dosed them up to the point where they’re docile, thoroughly in her pocket, and supercharged on designer drugs — they might not be Awakened, but Julieta’s personal stash’s hardwired some special abilities into each. When this is over, she’ll reward them with a strong dose of the raw compound — they might not sleep for a month, but if that doesn’t wake them up, nothing will.

The ads and billboards for the drugs were already running – courtesy of the Magadon marketing machine. Now the team focuses on stoking fear of side-effects. Targeted social media, chat-bots, and even a right-wing conspiracy radio show have all taken the story and run with it. The story is gaining strength, and when the populace picks it up, it’ll have enough critical mass to sustain itself. It won’t take long for the deaths to start, as people are forced to stay awake until their minds snap from exhaustion. By the time Julieta notices how many die compared to Awaken, and how extensively the drugs have spread, it’ll be too late to stop the propaganda from reaching critical mass, and snowballing outside of anybody’s control.

  • Designer Drug: This isn’t Julieta’s first experiment with custom narcotics, and she only ever takes street drugs when her need is dire and her stash low. Her personal selection’s also open to her friends and allies, and has a real kick to it, not to mention being rather moreish. Anyone willing to help her could easily find themselves with access to these potent chemicals, each benefiting a different Sphere as it works its magic on their nervous system.
  • Sleep Deprivation for the Masses: Julieta’s underestimated how quickly a story can blow up, how paranoid people can be about side effects from drugs, and how much people hear even when not looking for it. Unfortunately, this drug’s triggered by these thoughts, and whether you believe them or not, the effect blossoms and takes hold. Unable to control the flow of data, the stories of mania go viral, and all over the world a mass Awakening attempts to take place, killing hundreds of thousands and driving many mad.
  • Page Against the Machine: The chemicals activate because of the belief they’ll have an effect, and Julieta and her team have propagated the idea that the pharmaceuticals and products are more than they seem. Of course, if memetic thought can start a process, then counter-stories might stem the tide, drowning out the negative, and an addled member of her team can’t keep their mouth shut about what they’re doing, confusing social marketing with telling everyone who’ll listen.

Suggested Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 3, Stamina 3, Charisma 4, Manipulation 2, Appearance 3, Perception 3, Intelligence 4, Wits 3

Suggested Abilities: Art 1, Athletics 3, Awareness 3, Computer 1, Drive 2, Esoterica 2, Etiquette 2, Firearms 2, Leadership 2, Medicine 3, Meditation 2, Research 3, Science (Chemistry) 4, Streetwise (Drug Culture) 4, Subterfuge 2, Survival 2, Technology 3

Suggested Arete: 6

Suggested Spheres: Correspondence 3, Entropy 2, Matter 4, Mind 3, Prime 3

Willpower: 8

Health Levels: OK, ?1, ?1, ?2, ?2, ?5, Incapacitated

Armor Rating: 0

Suggested Merits: Light Sleeper. Her hired lackeys gain Insensible to Pain before going into a fight, so long as they’re prepared for it.

Suggested Flaws: Addiction 1

Equipment: Magadon ID card, mobile phone full of contacts, purse filled with various drug paraphernalia

Image: Julieta has two modes: work and casual, and if she’s being honest, she’s mixed up the two on occasion. When working, she wears her long hair in a tight bun, nestling a pen or two in it, ready for action. Clothing is straitlaced, consisting of a suit and lab-coat. When left to her own devices, she lets down her hair and dresses as if heading to a party — which is often the truth. Julieta’s skin positively glows, matching her vibrant brown eyes.

Roleplaying Notes: Either calm and mellow or highly strung, Julieta doesn’t have much of a middle ground. She’s got a kind and generous streak that colors everything she does — she just wants everyone to have the same experiences and opportunities she has. Unfortunately, her impulse control can be a little off base, meaning these good intentions don’t always take others’ wishes into account.


Interception: Torin Roberts and his enigmatic Bluetooth headset intercepted one of Julieta’s clandestine plans and will blow her plot wide open if she doesn’t comply with “Mr. Simmons’s” demands for her paramilitary resources. She wavers between continuing the forced agreement and sending her own mercenaries after him.

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