As mentioned in yesterday’s post, we’re moving on to discuss some of the core principles behind Magic for Mage: the Awakening. Unlike it’s predecessor, Mage: the Awakening assumes that there is one unified Awakened Magical Theory that serves as the backbone for all magic. While different traditions, cultures and paradigms may have different names and practices which can influence the way this magic takes shape, it all ultimately comes back to Awakened Magic.
While other supernaturals may have magics and powers that they may channel, these are considered to be a separate form of phenomena, as Awakened Magic must cleave to certain behaviors, mainly:
- Awakened Magic is drawn down from the five Supernal Realms
- Awakened Magic is capable of incurring a Paradox
- Awakened Magic cannot be taught to someone who has not experienced an Awakening
Therefore various powers from other Supernaturals do not fall under this category, and are therefore not considered Awakened Magic.
The one advantage that Awakened Magic has over other supernatural phenomena is the fact that a Mage is not nailed down to a specific effect. Mages are adaptable and unpredictable, capable of surprising their opponents with anything as subtle as using Matter magic to make a gun misfire to as vulgar as using Forces Magic to call down lightning from the heavens to strike down an assailant.
The Supernal Realms are the very source of Awakened Magic. Without visiting them during an Awakening, it is impossible to channel their power and cast spells. According to Mage lore, there are Five Supernal Realms:
- Arcadia – Connected to the Watchtower of the Lunargent Thorn, Realm of Fate and Time
- Pandemonium - Connected to the Watchtower of the Iron Gauntlet, Realm of Mind and Space
- Stygia - Connected to the Watchtower of the Lead Coin, Realm of Death and Matter
- the Aether – Connected to the Watchtower of the Golden Key, Realm of Prime and Forces
- the Primal Wild – Connected to the Watchtower of the Stone Book, Realm of Spirit and Life
When a person Awakens, their soul travels to one of these Supernal Realms, and eventually finds their soul drawn to one of the Watchtowers. There the Mage makes their mark, either carving out their name on the walls or some other symbolic gesture to seal a contract, cementing their connection to the Supernal Realms, and its magic.
The Supernal Realm that the Mage visits has a profound effect on their soul, as it colors their proficiency with certain Arcana. Some would say that it is the nature of the Mage’s soul that determines which Supernal Realm they find, as each Realm seems to call to a different sort of personality. Many, if not all Mages which find themselves in Pandemonium, for example, exhibit a strong sense of conviction.
Today we’ll be looking at the Acanthus, Path of the Thistle, as well as the Path’s primary Arcana: Fate and Time.
Mages who Awaken to the Path of the Acanthus find themselves in Arcadia, realm of the Fae. Much like the stories of old, Arcadia is simultaneously beautiful, timeless and deadly. Strange creatures bound by arcane rules and odd behaviors are the norm, eager to trick or beguile the unwary to dooms that are better left unknown. Oaths and promises have power in Arcadia, and it is only by wits, luck, guile or simple charm that the Mage finally completes their quest and finds the Watchtower of the Lunargent Thorn.
Those that find themselves on the Path of the Acanthus tend to embody the same kind of personality as Arcadia. Artists, con men, gamblers and actors are but a few of those who find themselves often called to Arcadia. The Acanthus are well known for their ability to use their considerable skill at misdirection, illusion and just plain luck to get them through in any situation.
The Acanthus are well known for their proficiency with their Path’s Ruling Arcana: Fate and Time.
Fate is the Arcana of luck, chance, oaths and curses. With it, the Mage gains mastery and command over the vagaries of chance, tugging strings of causality to make things go their way. Mages proficient in Fate magics live blessed lives, as misfortune avoids them, while good luck seems to grace them in every which way.
In combat, a practitioner of Fate magics is a terror, as they can bolster themselves and their allies, while cursing their enemies to suffer all manner of misfortune. Shots go awry, missed bullets ricochet to injure comrades and random accidents are but a sampling of what a Fate mage’s enemies can expect.
The Time Arcana is by far one of the most frightening and impressive Arcana, if used properly. Precognition, postcognition, and even manipulating the very flow of time is possible to those with sufficient mastery of this Arcana. The primary drawback of this Arcana however, is the fact that most of its most potent effects are blatantly Vulgar, and will call down Paradox upon the magus.
But should the Mage be forced to pull out all the stops, the Time Arcana provides one of the most impressive arsenal of effects, from accelerating a Mage to speeds beyond that of ordinary mortals to even going so far as rewinding time to a more favorable situation.