• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

[Mage: The Ascension] A paradigms question

Thomas Ufnal Crowlake

Registered User
Validated User
There's a thing that's been bugging me for quite some time and I wanted to ask you wise rpgnetters to help me sort it out.

As far as I understand, mages in M:tAs are able to use Magick because (among other reasons) they believe very much in a specific vision of how the world works and how it allows them to do things (aka Magick). The Hermetics believe very much that the world is made of metaphysical laws and powers that can be interacted with using specific words/gestures/symbols, therefore they can use those things to achieve magical results. The Technocratic Union-ers believe very much that the world is made of scientifically knowable laws that can be discovered and harnessed to make technology for everything humanity would ever need, therefore they can discover and use technologies based on such laws to achieve things that seem magical to the Sleepers and deviants. The Cultists of Ecstasy believe that reality is subjective to one's perceptions of it and changing the perception can change the world, therefore they can use drugs/music/ecstatic experiences to change reality, aka magic.

However there are two Traditions I always had a problem with.

Euthanatoi believe that the world is subject to an endless Cycle of death, rebirth and fate. Therefore... therefore what? How exactly does that belief translate to possibility of magick? Is it that fate is some kind of energy that one can manipulate? Or is it that ones who serve the Cycle are bestowed power by the Powers of Cosmos? How exactly does that work?

Virtual Adepts believe that reality is information. Therefore they use their PCs to... what exactly? I remember examples of VA magic from 2ed - such as making a tiger from laser projections from a satellite - were perfectly technocratic, but I don't remember them ever interacting with the "reality is information" principle. How are the Adepts supposed to interact with this information? Does compiling code on PCs mystically change the correspondent parts of the Reality Code? Do they find flaws and exploits in the Code? Do they somehow plug into the Reality PC a la Matrix and hack it using that connection?

There might be something I am missing, as I haven't really read the Traditionbooks. If anybody could and would help me understand those two, it would be appreciated.

[also there is the question about the Akashic Brotherhood and about how much of Buddhist falseness of reality is in their paradigm and how much is just about "kung fu lets you control chi, therefore miracles", but it's of secondary importance]
 

Snoof

Time-Travelling Layabout
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Virtual Adepts believe that reality is information. Therefore they use their PCs to... what exactly? I remember examples of VA magic from 2ed - such as making a tiger from laser projections from a satellite - were perfectly technocratic, but I don't remember them ever interacting with the "reality is information" principle. How are the Adepts supposed to interact with this information? Does compiling code on PCs mystically change the correspondent parts of the Reality Code? Do they find flaws and exploits in the Code? Do they somehow plug into the Reality PC a la Matrix and hack it using that connection?
It's been ages since I've read much Mage: the Ascension stuff, but you can view VA "reality hacking" as very similar to the Hermetic approach, only instead of using occult laws and symbolism they view it as performing code insertion attacks into the information of the universe. There's a fascinating video here which kind of demonstrates how it works: by performing particular actions which change the "hidden variables" behind reality, they're able to cause changes elsewhere.
 

Thomas Ufnal Crowlake

Registered User
Validated User
It's been ages since I've read much Mage: the Ascension stuff, but you can view VA "reality hacking" as very similar to the Hermetic approach, only instead of using occult laws and symbolism they view it as performing code insertion attacks into the information of the universe. There's a fascinating video here which kind of demonstrates how it works: by performing particular actions which change the "hidden variables" behind reality, they're able to cause changes elsewhere.
This is wonderful! Although the video is more about using glitches to insert additional code, and what you said reminded me more of RNG manipulation, both of these ideas seem to fill that empty spot in my mind called "how the hell do they do it?!?" very well. Thank you!
 

Snoof

Time-Travelling Layabout
RPGnet Member
Validated User
This is wonderful! Although the video is more about using glitches to insert additional code, and what you said reminded me more of RNG manipulation, both of these ideas seem to fill that empty spot in my mind called "how the hell do they do it?!?" very well. Thank you!
Glad I could be of help. The video also demonstrates something else that fits well with the VA ethos: bootstrapping. They don't just directly change reality, they start by constructing simple tools and systems (like the bootloader and the x-position tracker) which then make it easier to more complicated stuff. This is where the computers come in; they're not necessarily performing all the occult manipulations outright, but they're starting with simple hacks which then enable them to perform higher-level effects.
 

Rand Brittain

Go on until you're stopped.
RPGnet Member
Banned
Validated User
Euthanatos are servants of karma, and by adopting the ritual personas of deities associated with karma, they can take on the powers of those deities in order to rebalance the scales. You can find a lot of information about this in Tradition Book: Euthanatos Revised.
 

Isator Levie

Registered User
Validated User
As I understand, paradigm was not so much a case of "believing really hard means you can do magic" as it was the framework that an already Awakened person used to conceptualise and articulate their powers and cosmos, often but not necessarily referential to the circumstances of their own particular Awakening.

I think that's why one can get paradigms that are a bit more political stance on the nature of the universe than descriptions of the principles of any give spell.
 

Thomas Ufnal Crowlake

Registered User
Validated User
Euthanatos are servants of karma, and by adopting the ritual personas of deities associated with karma, they can take on the powers of those deities in order to rebalance the scales. You can find a lot of information about this in Tradition Book: Euthanatos Revised.
This is cool! Shame it wasn't mentioned in the corebook (although I have mainly read 2e corebook, might have missed that in Revised)

As I understand, paradigm was not so much a case of "believing really hard means you can do magic" as it was the framework that an already Awakened person used to conceptualise and articulate their powers and cosmos, often but not necessarily referential to the circumstances of their own particular Awakening.

I think that's why one can get paradigms that are a bit more political stance on the nature of the universe than descriptions of the principles of any give spell.
I believe your description is a way more sophisticated way of saying what I said, although I might be wrong. If the framework doesn't contain any means to channel/articulate the Mage's reality-changing powers then it would be useless for the purpose of making magic.
 

LuciusAlexander

PalindromedaryRider
Validated User
the world is subject to an endless Cycle of death, rebirth and fate. Therefore... therefore what?
Not a single cycle- numerous cycles, indeed, infinite cycles.

The universe that existed when you read the previous sentence, no longer exists. The universe you are in as you read this sentence is not the same as the one you will be in when you read the next.

The entire universe is destroyed and created anew in every moment.

When you truly understand that the universe that is to be in the next moment is not the same as the universe of NOW, that it will be a different universe even if it looks much the same, you can begin to grasp how to choose NOW just HOW different the next moment will be, and in what ways.

Lucius Alexander

You cannot ride the same palindromedary twice
 
Last edited:

Chris24601

Registered User
Validated User
Euthanatos are servants of karma, and by adopting the ritual personas of deities associated with karma, they can take on the powers of those deities in order to rebalance the scales. You can find a lot of information about this in Tradition Book: Euthanatos Revised.
Yeah, the fact that this KEY piece of information was stuck deep in the fluff text of the Tradition Book was a downright crime. It actually took the Euthanatos from being probably my least favorite tradition to one of my all time favorites.

Ironically, it was actually easier for me to create a viable faithful Catholic character as a Euthanatos than as a Celestial Chorus (many of the core tenants of the Chorus fall under what the Church considers gnostic heresies). By contrast, a faithful follower of the Catholic Faith who was a Euthanatos could totally adopt, say, St. Michael the archangel as their patron saint. In the Catholic tradition, St. Michael is also the angel of death as he comes to offer the dying one last shot at redemption so as to thwart Satan's plans and guide the worthy souls to Heaven. In terms of magick, said faithful Catholic prays to St. Michael for God's intervention and in answer to their prayers feels the strength of the Archangel filling him and allowing him to work wonders in God's name... which is WAY more in keeping with actual Catholic doctrines than any of the other mystical Traditions make possible.

Michael Palatine - Kicker of asses and saver of souls was definitely a favorite of mine.
 

1of3

Registered User
Validated User
[also there is the question about the Akashic Brotherhood and about how much of Buddhist falseness of reality is in their paradigm and how much is just about "kung fu lets you control chi, therefore miracles", but it's of secondary importance]
They are pretty ecstatic about it. That's why they do Mind after all.
 
Top Bottom