Pics or it didn’t happen.
One way of analyzing this overused statement in the internet is that people demand proof of having been somewhere before they believe it. The other way is that if you can fabricate data well enough, people will believe anything. The Virtual Adepts are the masters of Correspondence in Mage: the Ascension’s Council of Nine, and their specialty lies in the mastery of connections, perception and space.
Despite being among the more technologically oriented of the Traditions, the Virtual Adepts have a decidedly un-Technocratic approach to the practice of their magic. They’re free spirits, who believe in the natural meritocracy inherent in cyberspace and who believe that rules are meant to be broken for the sake of experimentation and learning.
The Virtual Adepts specialize in magics that propel their consciousness to distant places. Scrying through technology, and even entering into Cyberspace through virtual selves wrought from programming code and magic. To them, the Digital Realms is a playground, and their mastery of being present in two places at the same time (the Real and the Virtual worlds) make them a natural fit for Correspondence magic. Correspondence is a tricky Sphere, working on the manipulation of space and sympathetic connections, of relationships in terms of distances both physical and metaphysical.
Virtual Adepts are often saddled with a paradigm that is closely tied to their tools. Take their toys away from them, and many find themselves helpless in the face of danger. This is somewhat mitigated now with the presence of so many computerized gadgets in the present day, but when robbed of these, a Virtual Adept usually needs a stronger metaphysical paradigm in order to survive.
There’s a computer in everything. From cellphones, to smart watches and even car engines, you’ll be hard pressed to find a place in the city that isn’t wired somehow. Add the fact that humanity is perfectly willing to trust in technology that they don’t understand, and you’ll see why the Virtual Adepts thrive in this kind of setting. Their methods are maturing, as gone are the days of the 90’s hacker, and in their place are the CEO’s of tech corporations that can push the Consensus towards new modes of thinking. By growing up, the Virtual Adepts develop the kind of patience and methodology to introduce lasting change to the Consensus, and might just be the best hope for the Traditions moving forward.
Software Angel Investor – You used to be a hotshot. You had big dreams and bigger balls but it call came crashing when you got too hot and the Technocracy came down on you, your partners and your business. It took nearly everything you had and every favor you could pull, but you managed to get out alive, wiser for it and with a better appreciation for a more moderate approach. Slowly you put back your business on track, and had the funds to bankroll the future. This time, you turn your eyes towards other up and coming businesses, sorting through the trash and finding the ones with the spark of true Inspiration, the kind that can push the Consensus forward. That’s when you move in and inject the funding that the Technocracy would deny, giving the start up the break they need to make things happen.
E-mail Activist – You run a network of keyboard activists. Individually, each voice would be nothing, but you collect each voice, and put them together to form a greater whole, an overwhelming bomb of opinion, fact and criticism that you can level to any target you want. It’s a simple process, a carefully crafted email meant to present facts in the light you want. A gathering of outrage, and some donations to your cause… and the result is an explosion of will that can change the course of mortal policy, and even make a dent on the Consensus.
Mathemagician – Computers are so last decade. They call you a hipster, but you’ve come to understand and appreciate the fact that information technology is based on the basic principles of computation. You’ve learned to eschew the trappings of modern Virtual Adepts, instead relying on mental processes and your mastery of presenting and re-presenting information in charts, data and graphs to twist the truth around your world view. Sometimes it’s not about changing the world, but how people perceive it. All it takes is a little bit of magic.