Expansion comes sometime soon-ish. I have this entry so I can edit it from wherever and keep the changes with me. Once it's done, it goes unlocked and is spread around for further feedback.
Atlantis. Fucking Atlantis. The First City, the Shining Age when men wrested power from the Gods in the monumental act of hubris. It's bullshit. A fractured memory of some dickhead's fever dream. Atlantis never existed, and don't you go listening to the morons who tell you otherwise. The First City wasn't a miracle; it was a nightmare. Their warrior-sages ate the hearts of bloody-handed gods, and their mystics called up things from beyond the borders of time and space. They fucked the world, and magi these days go on about it being some damn Golden Age. Ignore them. Atlantis is dangerous, see. It's more than a city, it's an idea — an artificial limit enforced by the people back then so that they would live past the deserved deaths of their meat-shells.
Hah! How dangerous? They've got to you, I can tell. The Watchtowers existed before Atlantis. They're not conduits for some "supernal" power leaking into the world; they're archetypal facets of creation itself. And the fools addicted to the contagious ideas of the past have got something else wrong, too. There aren't five Watchtowers — there's ten.
You want to know more? You want to know the real truth? Well, buy this old bastard an ale or four and I'll consider it. I'll tell you things about the world that you never knew, secrets that those daft buggers keep even from themselves in walled-off rooms of their memory-castles. And I might just tell you some truth. They've bought into the truth of a psychomemetic teaching aid, and I'll have to break you out of that. Maybe, just maybe, you'll have what it takes. But first you've got to get the bloody beers in, son.
Ten Watchtowers, you heard me right. The Pentagram is the right design, but it's a plane in three dimensions. Five Watchtowers pointing up, five pointing down. The perpetrators of the Atlantean Heresy have warped the original idea, ignoring five whole fields of magic so that the five they approve of can subjugate the rest. There's a reason Heaven and Hell have their own point on the Atlantean pentacle, yet Dharma has none.
The pentacle is the correct symbol. Each point denotes one key way of working magic. There's the Spirit, the Cycle, the Form, the Will, and the World. To give you an idea, the Golden Key and Iron Gauntlet aren't separate points but reflections of each other, stylised Heavens and Hells for the point of Will. One focuses on channelling the Will through implicit order, the other through unfettered Will alone.
Where are they? Not in some spiritual or "supernal" realm. The "supernal" is all bollocks, son. It's a way of making Mages seem special. It, and the Abyss, are both facets of the universal unconscious. The Watchtowers and the Abyss both exist in the minds of everything and everyone. The Atlanteans claimed that they were external to justify their ultimate hubris — and to make it look like magic comes from without. That's rubbish. Magic, all magic, comes from within the hearts and minds of everyone. Their lies would hold us in slavery to their "higher realms", but the truth shall set you free.
So you think I'm talking out of my arse. I can understand that. You came looking for someone who knew the real deal, thinking you were going to learn more. Unfortunately, your divinations found me instead. I do know the real deal, and I know the safe places to talk about it. Which is why we're in this pub. I also know how to charge apprentices, which is why you've been buying the beer. But, on the other hand, I'm not what you expected. The morons that believe the Atlantean Heresy got to you first, and you've no idea what's going on.
They all claim that they're rediscovering the magic of ancient Atlantis, but think about it? If it's Atlantean, why does so much of it look like your typical Western Mystery bullshit? Even the stuff that doesn't appear to be is, in some way. It's because that's what they had to work with. Magic comes from within, but it needs symbols — forms and practices — to work right. But I'll get to that later. Needless to say, they're all imperialist bastards.
Who am I, what Order am I a part of? That's easy. I'm a Lightbringer, part of the Free Council. The brave, the bold, the band of utterly buggered. We stole their terminology for our Orders, and it's five of us against five of them. I'm a Lightbringer, a revelatory mage walking the Path of Discord to the Watchtower of the Perfected Geometry. The fools have their Mysterium, finding ancient secrets that are best left buried. The Lightbringers don't bother with that. It's our job to find new magic, wherever it crops up. And to demonstrate it to the world.
The important thing to remember is that our Orders don't discriminate. We have Magi following Paths that the Heresy wants destroyed, wiped from the minds of all Magi. We have shamen and witches and infomancers among our number. The Atlantean Heresy wants to codify their magic in the minds of humanity, to open the gate to the realms beyond that once stood in the First City. They want to convince the world that theirs is the Way, so they can get back to slaughtering Gods and polluting the world with their magic.
We don't want that. We don't want the final outcome of humanity enslaved by Mages. We don't have a goal, past stopping the Heresy, but we're not going to let that stop us. Yes, we're a reaction. But it's a reaction we need. We're going to save magic, and we're going to save humanity.
And since you found me, you're going to help us.
I'm not sure how much more I can tell you. The Heresy have dug their talons in, and they never just let someone go. If you want to join the Council, you're going to have to prove yourself.
Our Orders mirror theirs in some ways, but we've a different focus. We're not trying to trap humanity in this illusion, we're trying to free them. Sometimes, that means breaking heads, and when the Adamantium Arrows come spoiling for a fight we have the Black Aegis to meet them head on. They're the witches with strange body modifications and the gunfighters with rune-encrusted pistols, but they're also the shamen calling down the wrath of thunder and the lunatic fringe with their weaponised entropy bombs and meme-guns.
The Golden Scepter aren't like their Silver Ladder. The Scepter lead from the bottom up, working with the community of mages and humans around them. They organise and they get things done, but they make sure everyone is clued in. Everyone from the marketroid using numerological hypermathematics for organisation to the houngan hearing advice from the Loa and passing it on to the chav on the street with a gang of his fellows, using the alchemical resonances of shaped gold to make himself a better leader.
The Seers of the Throne are the Heresy's innovators, finding ways to hide Atlantean magic in modern objects. Our Knights of Dischord — though most of us prefer ‘Lightbringers’ — go one further. We find new forms of magic, either through bold experimentation or combining elements of other forms. Some of us refine the practice over years, writing books on electronecromancy before dropping it all to start a new project, others spin out one idea a month and work on all of them at once.
Every group needs secrets, and for us the Panopticon don't just keep ours hidden, they break the Heresy's lines of communication. Hackers writing in Perl with mod_enochian working alongside mages with their scrying pools and numerologists. They keep us hidden, covering up what the Heresy would reveal to badmouth us, and they fight an informational war with the Heresy much as the Black Aegis fights the physical. The Panopticon are masters of secrets, both making them and breaking them.
Finally, the Seekers of the Void are the closest we get to magical research and occult archaeology. They use magic to study magic, and they're the ones working on our eventual goal — freeing humanity from the Heresy and letting it make it's own way. The Seekers won't be done until they find the Void that humanity can cross without them. Everyone from research witches to Zen Buddhists signs up, because the Seekers won't rest until they have the Truth behind it all.
That bell's last orders, sunshine. Get another round in. And a packet of pork scratchings, I could just do with some to soak up the ale. You can have the soft ones. What're you questioning me for? Just do it, I'll explain pubs later, when I'm finished with the underlying nature of reality. Fucking septics have no priorities.
Good. That's better. Now. The last crucial thing you need to know are the Watchtowers. We don't have long before we get kicked out, so I'll be quick. You sit there and drink and listen. The beer makes sure this conversation goes into state memory, you won't remember until you meet me again, in here, and drink the same beer. Simple enough trick, but a bugger to undo. So drink up, you've another couple of pints to go.
The Atlantean model of a pentagram is fair enough, it makes sense — like all lies it has its grounding in truth. But it's still another lie, another memetic incursion into the common headspace. The pentagram isn't a graph of the Arcana or anything. Look, think of it this way. If I tear this beer mat into a simple approximation like so, then I can tell you what each point represents. You've got the Will, the Form, the Spirit, the Cycle, and the World. Each of those points has two watchtowers, like if I pushed a cocktail stick through each point. One either side, at right-angles to the shape.
One side, which some wankers call the "ascendant" side for no readily apparent reason, has the Watchtowers of the Golden Key, Perfect Geometry, Stone Book, Lunargent Thistle and Sapphire Globe. That's Will, Form, Spirit, Cycle, and World. They're all about working within their elements — seekers of the Lunargent Thistle don't try to break the Cycle, they take what it brings as it comes or give it a bit of a nudge. Likewise, the Sapphire Globe don't think that the world is here for living things, or that life is irrelevant — all the world matters, and they use that to their advantage.
What the selfsame tossers call the "descendant" side is the side for people who exert personal mastery. Seekers of the Golden Key refine their Will through excercises and thoughtforms, seekers of the Iron Gauntlet don't give a shit, twisting other tools to their use as they need to. The Watchtowers on this side are the Iron Gauntlet, Shining Tesseract, Shadow Blade, Burning Wheel, and Lead Coin. Same order as before. The Burning Wheel will fuck with the Cycle to get what they need, but don't get the benefits of working within it like the Lunargent Thistle. It's not a simple thing to explain, but when you meet a few of the other buggers you'll figure the difference easy enough.
Last call to head home, sunshine. If you really want to meet more, come back here next week. Don't tell anyone you met me. There'll be others here. Who am I? Well, that's a good question. I know you want to know my name, but I don't know if I trust you enough to give you any name just yet.
What the Hell. Call me "Hemmingway".
Most of them are the same as Awakening. Differences follow:
Primary Arcana is granted dependant on the character's Point. Secondary Arcana is granted by Watchtower. Table follows:
|Will||Prime||Golden Key||Forces||Iron Gauntlet||Mind|
|Form||Space||Perfect Geometry||Matter||Shining Tesseract||Fate|
|Spirit||Spirit||Stone Book||Fate||Shadowed Blade||Death|
|Cycle||Fate||Lunargent Thistle||Time||Burning Wheel||Space|
|World||Matter||Sapphire Globe||Life||Lead Coin||Death|
Both Arcana count as primary Arcana for rules purposes.
Improvised casting costs no Mana. Other effects that cost Mana are subject to revision - Is there a good reason to cost mana beyond "game balance"? If not, it doesn't cost Mana.
Only the Atlantean Heresy can use runes to extend duration.
Free Council characters should create two Oblations that fit with the character's Path and magical style, and choose a "mystical" language & magical gestures that fits with your chosen magical style.
Rote Skills/magical tools to follow. These are entirely Order based, though suggestions for Path and Style also work.