Mages and the Occult Sciences

This is for those who do more than just your average card tricks. Artificers, Wardens, Diviners, Healers and more reprehensible types, welcome!
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IamLEAM1983
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Mages and the Occult Sciences

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Origins of Via
- is part of the world's Primordial Essences, the only one of the five Elements that can still be tapped in its intrinsic form
- Water, Air, Earth and Fire all exist, of course, but you can't harness *Fire* itself, Fire as a principle, for instance.
- The only element that's never changed from Creation to today is Magic. Mana. Chi. Via. Has several names depending on cultural background. Is essentially the principle of Life
-- Life has no corresponding Throne because it's made *of* the other four. Remove one Element from Creation and Magic as we know it ceases to exist

- Via is essential in the creation of the world's history as we know it. It allowed the angels to create dragons, and for the first anthros to come into being
- Why aren't all humans and anthros attuned to it by birth? Nobody knows. Some people are born to be tremendous living conduits for arcane power - most of everyone else is born to witness it

- first spells ever wrought were more than likely based on a need for survival, or to protect clanmates and loved ones
- as far as we can tell, it didn't take long for Homo Sapiens and his anthro comrades to understand how to weave Magic in primitive ways
- as the goblins' history shows, though, a lot of the first civilizations' base arcane capabilities were dependent on where they came from. Hyperborea was thriving while everyone else was still lighting fires without usual techniques

- evidence suggests that development stalled until writing techniques were devised. Mesopotamia is largely where arcane research tentatively begins
- wizards, warlocks and others are apparently all present by then, but few understand the full scope of what they can do
- earliest examples of liches and preternaturally aged humans and anthros. Some skeletons suggest tremendous amounts of built-up power and several centuries beyond the species' expected lifespan, before death
- these individuals tend to rise to positions of governance and council. Usually regarded as wise men whose advice mattered

The Schools are Formed
- more specific uses of Via won't be adequately codified until mid-Antiquity
- unsurprisingly, first founded School of Magic is Roman, and focuses on healing
- divination isn't so much taught as it's considered part and parcel of being a mage

- it would be quite some time before the other facets of magic would merit their own fields of study
- nobody really saw the point of practicing how to hurl bigger things than small fire bolts, seeing as bows, arrows and swords worked so much better...

- Late Antiquity: sacking of Rome pushes a lot of natives into the repeated use of offensive cantrips. Seeing the "Element Callers" in Visigoth ranks will motivate surviving Roman public
- Middle Ages is where elemental theory is developed. Charlemagne's instigation of school systems inspires court wizards to start taking students
- Alchemists are vilified, however, probably because of the high proportion of them who turned out to be regent-appointed poison-makers

- High Middle Ages: all of the more respectable Schools are formed across Europe. Wizards teach elemental spells, warding techniques, curative magic and divination
- they unofficially teach the mysteries of Pandemonium and the Pit, seeding the grounds for the Renaissance's fairly covert "boom" in Infernalism
- Alchemy is *slightly* more respected as Renaissance looms ahead

Obscurity and Birth of Occultism
- Renaissance starts out as a golden period for practitioners, but Spanish Inquisition forces most mages underground
- 1600: Giordano Bruno's condemnation and execution terrifies any who might have throught to try and present arcane theory as being necessary and beneficial
- 1600-1700: Arcane Dark Ages. Specialized history books denote this century-long period as being a veritable spawning pool for Infernalists and Warlocks
- the demonology market, obviously an underground one, skyrockets. European forms of Necromancy are intensively developed during this period

- Magic becomes an "occult" science. Something you aren't supposed to talk about. A shameful pastime or a disreputable way to earn a living
- marks the first few serious years of intense codification in grimoires and research journals

Rebirth
- 1700-1880s: mages creep out of their holes. The situation begins to be reversed. Second apogee is reached when Naughton and Sons release their first armature
- Victorian Era is marked with a strong interest in spiritualism. After centuries of obscurity, wizards can start adapting to modern research systems. First few research grants in Arcane Theory begin to be offered
- mages work in the open again and come to saturate the audience's interest in the subject
- some mages say the floodgates were opened too fast - credulous public gave as much credence to charlatans pretending to understand magic as they did to proven wizards

The Pulp Era
- 1910-1945: those research grants start to pay off, but some wizards need more... Full expenses-paid trips abroad are arranged by wealthy creditors or prestigious universities
- Amazo is part of the early Pulp Era and is "lucky" enough to breach his way into one of the hidden Void Weaver islands during his travels...
- *may* very well have inspired Lovecraft...
- has undoubtedly inspired Mandrake the Magician

- also marks an age where arcane theory is "invaded" by archeologists, linguists, anthropologists. The mundane perspective on the Occult is both incredibly useful (roots of via, etc)...
- ...and invasive. Some wizards give their entire libraries away for Science - and still haven't gotten them back... :)

- first "active" practitioners of the modern era. People who entirely live by and for their arcane pursuits. Arcane vigilantes aren't as common as superheroes, but still widely seen and felt
- electricity is starting to be a problem... Some mages just can't seeme to get a break and keep blowing their fuses up! Some old wizards seriously have a beef against Edison, around that time

Technology Sucks!
-1950: Arcane Theory program attendance nosedives in campuses across the country. Why? Because the mundanes are getting too nifty for their own good!
- this decade marks the beginning of a series of fast and excessively complex technological breakthroughs, both alien-assisted and native
- the more everyday mundane life gets easier, the more things get harder for mages!
- 1975 has the lowest number of registered mages on record since the field of study's emergence in America. University programs are deserted
- nobody's surprised - half the classes have to do with how to compensate for a lack of power or heated water
- until 1990, a *lot* of talents go undeveloped because of that.
- the public obviously considers the idea of living off wood stoves and old ice boxes in the middle of a thriving city to be borderline indigent
- active wizards are once more relegated to weirdos and marginals

And Then...
1986: Theophile Grandier, a French mage, publishes his Arcane Resonance Theory
- he claims to know how to force arcane emanations to "bounce off" advanced electrical appliances

1990: first mage-proof water heaters, power boxes and outlets are produced. Cost of producing specially warded casings is so low that these eventually replace standard casings
1994: first mage-proof television is produced by Sony. France's own Count of Saint-Germain tests it successfully
1995: desktop computers and all associated electronics are similarly rendered mage-proof at no extra production costs. The '95 Honda Civic is the first mage-proof car to be sold on the mainstream market

2000: practically everything, from televisions to pacemakers, guns and Tamagotchi, is mage-proof
- tests have since revealed that a mage can still hex or curse any piece of equipment out of commission if he so chooses, but this now has to be a conscious and willing effort
- the turn of the millennium also sees the publication of the Technomancer's Manifesto
- born out of the hacker culture, Technomancy "lives" exclusively on the Web and in dedicated messageboards and Usenet areas.
- it still isn't classified as a "School" per se, and no official teachers exist. You're either called, or you aren't. Online groups mostly exchange DIY information or try and collate basic theory

- 2005: MERLIN is launched as a sort of mage-centric cousin of Wikipedia, and acts as an open-source and freely editable and ever-expanding "virtual grimoire" of sorts
- like Wikipedia, MERLIN's reliability is sometimes put into question... Some trolls seem to enjoy tweaking particularly dangerous rituals so the end result is rather... inoffensive and annoying. :)

- things have naturally picked up. With no lasting counter-indications to picking up magic as a career choice, school programs and research grants have swollen back to healthy proportions
- the general opinion is that mages are useful in just about any domain, bringing a sense of universality and versatility to whatever it is they choose to specialize in

Informal Ranks
- the appelation of "Wise Man" will graduallly become linguistically corrupted from its Old English base, centuries later, giving us the word "Wizard".
- "Mage" comes from "magus", in Persian. Used to refer to celestial cartographers, soothsayers - "pure research" elements of Zoroastrianism. Used to refer to practitioners involved chiefly in research and documentation
- this can be viewed as an non-official "lower rank" of magical practitioner. People tend to refer to Mana-users-in-training as Mages
- "Hedge Mage" is a derogatory term used to refer to arcane tryhards, or people who study in secret, without the benefits of proper schooling and supervision
- "Wizard" refers to an accomplished practitioner
- "Warlock" refers to wizards who "game" circumstances or antagonize others to increase their personal power. May come from the fact that belligerent wizards were wily enough to trick rulers into going to war on their behalf
- today tends to refer to any wizard you'd consider as being essentially "evil".

- Archmage: wizards who have conquered Death, generally speaking. They've died, come back, and found ways to either escape the Ghoul status or lichdom
- largely because death very much is *the* final arcane frontier. Wizards with terrifying level of skill. Use of the word "mage" refers to their extensive theoretical knowledge

- Witches: very rarely, herbalists and talented natural healers of the female persuasion also developed arcane powers. The term "witch" is considered ill-fitting, nowadays, even if a female mage is addressed
- their place in arcane circles is debatable. Wiccans who actively use magic are welcome, for instance, but a nurse who favors holistic methods isn't a witch
- this isn't so much prejudice as the community's need to focus on those who *do* show arcane talent. Or else, even stage magicians would be part of the culture

- the feminine variant is sometimes encouraged (ex: Wizardess), but most of the denominations are unisex

Spellmaking 101
- everything depends on your focus and your ability to draw in via
- words of power are only powerful in the mind's eye. If you have any doubt about what you're trying to do, it probably won't work
- so why are formulas or gestures remembered? Because they carry mnemonic links. Remember part of an incantation, chances are the rest is going to spring up as needed
- essentially, words of power carry the "memory" of the specific state of mind or sustained concept that's needed. That's why some mages still use Latin - because the spell was codified in Latin to begin with

- so why pentacles? Why diagrams in grimoires? Same thing. Pentacles, pentagrams, etc. have other purposes, but some sigils aren't much more than visual keys to a state of mind, an abstract concept to sustain
- some sigils and pentagrams can be endowed with power, however. Geometric shapes and willpower can fence in arcane energies. The more regular and orderly the shape, the better control you have
- this is why the circle works great as a basic boundary. It's an absolute geometric construct, and you can overlap other clear constructs on top of it. Stars, equidistant points between candles or symbolic objects, etc.
- via seems to be drawn to geometric basics: perimeter of a space, absolute center of a space, etc.
- if your demon-summoning ritual opens a portal that's off-center in your pentagram, you're probably in deep shit...

Being a Mage
- mages are very close to superhumans, structurally speaking
- the difference is, they start out as people with a predisposition for channelling via. That doesn't make them immune to fuckups, though, like becoming a lich or just plain dying
- initially, the only difference an undiscovered talent has compared to a mundane is a certain ease at putting his or her mind in "the zone".
- a very personal, very imprecise state of mind that comes with a borderline-conscious awareness of surrounding ley lines and smaller arcane currents and tributaries
- it's not something you can teach. You either have it or you don't. There's been cases of mundanes deluding themselves for decades and dying bitter and dissatisfied because they worked *so* hard...

- the more you tap into the primordial forces of Life, the more they leave marks in you. A "casual" mage who only does parlor tricks won't receive any perks
- a mage who really focuses on his trade is going to notice an increase in his energy levels, a slightly higher resistance to effort, especially effort of the mental kind, a more effective metabolism
- the more you push, the more this is boosted. By the time you've reached Wizard status, you're in your sixties and don't look a day over forty-five

- Karthians have noticed that lifelong practitioners have *longer* telomeres than the norm and that their telomeres appear younger. They age much slower
- seems to suggest that regular exposure to via has regenerative, if not slightly transformative qualities. Mages are far more spry than their apparent age would suggest, usually

- Mages who don't make it to the next level usually die within 200 years - give or take a few decades

Being an Archmage
- the same factors apply, but Archmages tend to have mastered every single School or at least gained an extensive theoretical knowledge of them
- the one remaining factor to conquer is death, then

- archmages are exceedingly rare, and their exploit typically involved such a degree of arcane focus and control that their complete resurrection is a one-time display
- assuming they're not killed a second time, their telomeres appear to be frozen and their internal organs completely rejuvenated. There's no factual limit to the age of an Archmage
- assuming nothing unfortunate happens, Archmages can very well live forever - prospectively speaking.
- are said to enjoy the fast cellular regeneration of newborns and the speed and agility of persons in their prime health

- archmage X-Rays would be fairly baffling: take some a week after a bad fall, and you'll find break marks
- X-Ray the same leg a month later and the bones will have fused together so well as to not leave lines or scars. Bones and organs consistently appear "new".
- severe burns that would have irreparably damaged nerves will be slowly and steadily healed. Ruptured corneas or glaucomas "fixing themselves" have been observed

- ex: Meris (?), Oxford's Martin Embries
Last edited by IamLEAM1983 on Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Because it needs to be stickied!

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