There is no one group so utterly dedicated to making things difficult (if not impossible) for Mages than the Seers of the Throne. The Seers are a group of Mages that work for the godlike beings known as the Exarchs. Few know the truth about the Exarchs, but it is believed that these beings were once mages who managed to breach the Supernal Realms, and are intent on keeping the Fallen World separated.
Many of the Seers view themselves as working for the “Winning” side. Since the Exarchs were so successful in their own personal apotheosis, it would make absolute sense to actually work for them, rather than against them. After all, who would be so foolish as to go against the whims of a god?
The hidden price for this sort of power and access to the backing of a divine being is your freedom. To work for the Exarchs is to give up your independence. The Exarchs are capable of giving their followers access to special abilities known as Prelacies, which modify the way a Seer’s magic works, giving them quite the leg up over other Mages. But to earn these Prelacies, a Seer must submit himself to receiving visions from the Exarchs in their dreams, giving them cryptic instructions to do particular tasks, with little to no explanation of the bigger picture.
What makes them Villains?
The Seers of the Throne are diametrically opposed to all other mages, as the Exarchs do not want anyone to be able to traverse the Abyss and find a way into the Supernal Realm. The Exarchs are selfish as they are powerful, and do not want anyone having the slightest hope of being a threat to them.
The Seers themselves are a tragic sort of villain. Whether by short-sighted ambition, a lust for the material world, or a need to “belong” to a powerful organization, these mages have sold their individuality to serve an uncaring god, in exchange for promises of power, safety and material gain.
The best way to describe a Seer’s motivation is that he or she is obsessed with maintaining the status quo. They have access to nearly everything in the material world. Money and influence come naturally to them, and they enjoy being the lords of their tiny slice of reality. The Mages present a very real threat to that sort of stability, and no Seer will be willing to part with their life of material excess because of the meddling of a few Mages who just don’t know when to stop struggling.
- Ambition – Seers who aren’t lulled to complacency by obedience and access to wealth are dangerous opponents. Those who have their sights set on the next rung of the corporate ladder that is the Seer structure will see Mages as a perfect sort of prize, recruiting them to join the Seers, or eliminating them to please his masters and improve his chances for a promotion.
- Fear – As I said before Seers are afraid of losing the cushy status that they enjoy. These are the ones that don’t care for the Supernal, or higher aspirations, but are deathly afraid of losing that which they’ve worked hard to gain. Paranoid, wary and prone to lashing out with excessive force, these Seers will seek to destroy Mages rather than risk anything by recruiting them.
- Righteousness – Some Seers don’t see themselves as a bad guy. They’ve got the world on lock, and the Exarchs are clearly powerful, so there’s no point in this senseless struggle. These are adherents of Order vs Chaos, Tradition vs. Innovation. These Seers are among the most dangerous because in their minds, they are the good guys. Bringing mages to the fold, saving them from their ignorance is a perfectly valid and noble goal.
Think of the ruthless social climber, the corporate snitch, Judas Iscariot from the Bible, Cypher from The Matrix. Seers are powerful, paranoid and treacherous. Eager to advance their standing, or deny others a chance at achieving what they have, they manifest Hubris at an entirely different level. All of the Vices in the corebook fit these mages perfectly, making them a dark reflection of just what can happen when Mages forsake enlightenment and wisdom for material gain and power.
The Seers of the Throne are nothing but well equipped. Mages that work for the Exarchs have access to artifacts like the Profane Urim, which allow a Seer to hijack a mortal’s mind and body from a distance and use them to enact their plans while wearing someone else’s body.
Aside from access to Spells and Artifacts, Seers also have access to absurd amounts of material wealth. Being part of the Seers alone can give one enough money to make an Oil Baron ashamed. This also translates to being able to bribe authorities, win over politicians and membership rights to nearly any sort of organization.
- A Seer Pylon takes notice of a PC, and decide that he or she would make an excellent member of their team. The Seers use every angle, from bribery, seduction and promises of power to win them over, and when that doesn’t work, then perhaps a little bit of intimidation is in order.
- A close friend of the PCs is starting to act a little strangely ever since they joined that Assertiveness seminar last weekend. It might be nothing, but it’s like she’s an entirely different person at times, including her speech patterns. It seems to be a positive change…
- Someone in the Consilium is making remarkable breakthroughs in spell research, gaining influence and power within the ranks. If he remains uncontested, he would be Hierarch, but where is he getting all his breakthroughs? The characters are then tasked to gather dirt on this prodigy, a dangerous task, and doubly so if he happens to have Seer contacts.
If this article has made you interested in finding out more about the Seers, including their organization, methodologies, advantages and history, then go check out Seers of the Throne for Mage: the Awakening, available in PDF form from DrivethruRPG for $16.00 (roughly Php 720.00)