[Let’s study Mage: the Ascension] Part 3.2 Traditions: Celestial Chorus

Posted: October 25, 2013 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Let's Study, Mage: the Ascension, Roleplaying Games, World of Darkness
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LogoTradCelestialChorus

The Celestial Chorus are one of the most easily stereotyped of the Traditions. Often portrayed as magical priests and religious types, the stereotype has some basis in reality, but it becomes even more important to understand where they come from.

The Choristers believe in Reality being akin to a Song. Mages are the singers that play a part in this grand scheme, and the purpose of their being is to ensure that the Song is perfect, free of aberration and disharmony. This harmony is what the Choristers are after. They believe in the One, a concept of Unity that unites all of humanity.

The most relatable means by which to explain this concept is that of religion. While not all Choristers are religious, many find the lessons that they want to teach Humanity in the teachings of many religions. A Chorister isn’t bound to theism either. There is space for an Atheist to believe in the Unity of mankind by simply being a good person, and that is an equally valid method of being one of the Celestial Chorus.

Being a Chorister is not about being an exemplar of a religion as much as it is about being an exemplar of being a good person. At the heart of all religions lies a code of behavior that is universal. Kindness, generosity, the willingness to help your fellow man are all admirable in any faith. The courage to fight for what is good and right is also present, as well as the wisdom to discern what is the correct thing to do in any situation.

This is what it means to be a Chorister. It has never been about one kind of faith being superior to another, but the quiet understanding that all faiths find basis in that singular code of behavior that represents the best in all of us.

Magic

The Magic of the Celestial Chorus often appears as “miracles” or evidence of faith. Unlike the Akashic Brotherhood’s focus on martial arts, the Celestial Chorus employs religious practices as a means of focusing the will to empower their intended effects. These can take the form of prayer, song, meditation or even particular gestures such as Mudras or crossing oneself.

The effects of the Choristers are miraculous in nature most of the time, which may, in turn draw down some Paradox from reality. However, should they be operating under the Consensus, some Miracles may slip past unharmed. Things such as a fatal wound actually missing all vital organs (when Magic mended such a wound to make it appear so) is a classic example of this.

That said, subtle effects are well within the purview of the Chorister as well. Few people would doubt a Chorister talking down a potential violent encounter with just a few quotations from a holy book, or with a humble prayer uttered for peace.

Weaknesses

The Celestial Chorus is plagued by a major flaw in the fact that just as it is an amalgamation of multiple faiths, these faiths make it harder for them to reconcile with each other. It is always important to remember that Mages were people first, and many of the Celestial Chorus define themselves simply through their faith alone.

Because of this the Celestial Chorus is prone to infighting. Whether these lines are drawn along national, ideological or theological lines, the Tradition struggles daily against Mankind’s need to define themselves as different from another. Complicate that further by their desire to be the correct option and you get quite the potential for schisms within the Tradition.

In some ways if they cannot practice what they preach, then the Chorus is doomed to repeat their mistakes time and again.

Opportunities

Despite the factionalism, the fundamental foundation of the Celestial Chorus has the potential to bring people together. Sure they might argue the fine points of dogma, but once the Chorus gets their act together they are incredible to behold. In many ways the days after the Avatar Storm have been something of a Renaissance to the Tradition. These days they’ve spent less time arguing about who is better and have spent more time helping people in need.

Whether it’s manning a suicide hotline or fighting for Equal Rights, the Celestial Chorus finds causes wherever they look, for the world of darkness is not wanting for injustices that they can fight against. Individual Choristers are making themselves heard simply by focusing on their communities and friends, making a difference by simply being a good person who isn’t afraid to take steps to do the right thing.

Sample Characters

Graffiti Political Activist – You’ve always had a way with art, but now you’ve found a cause to work for. Sure you were a brat for the early part of your art career, but one day spent in prison for simply looking suspicious in a government protest and your world changed. You can’t just use art to express yourself, you needed to give society the voice that it needed, a clarion call to get people united against injustice and evil in any form. Now you’re more than just some punk that paints on walls, your works move people to action, awaken emotions in them to fight for their rights, and shake off their apathy.

Devil’s Advocate – If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then it’s your job to point out where that idea is headed. Your official title is a business consultant, but your real work is in making sure that the bottom line doesn’t break the golden rule. You’re snide, critical and at times infuriating to talk to, but you draw the lines that the corporate bigwigs don’t dare cross thanks to your warnings about litigation and protests. You keep them safe from a PR crisis, and they keep your wallet full. Best of all? You get to do this with a clear conscience.

Professional Martyr – Sometimes the best way to fix someone is to scare them straight. Your methods are crude and unorthodox but incredibly effective. You walk the night in dark alleys and dangerous neighborhoods inviting criminals to do you harm. When the attack happens, you play up the violence and fear, driving the cold reality of the act into their bodies and their minds while you keep yourself alive with Life magic. Add a dash of guilt via Mind magic and you’ve got criminals traumatized from doing harm, and suddenly seriously rethinking their options. Sooner or later you’re going to get into real trouble where your Magic can’t help you, but for the time being you’re doing good while punishing yourself for your own sins the only way that makes sense to you.

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