Some friends have been badgering me to run Mage, not that I have the time. But it did remind me that I’ve never been totally happy with some of the Traditions’ paradigms. Or, rather, that some traditions are long on “stuff they do” and short on “why they think that works.” Dreamspeakers, Euthanatos, and Virtual Adepts have always been major offenders. Even the excellent Ascension Campaign 2000 got trapped into explaining more about why Euthanatos kill people than why they think magic works. So, here are my ideas in as short a form as possible. I think all of these are generally in line with the canon splats, but may err on the side of boiling complex mystical beliefs down to something that can be explained to a new player.

Akashic Brotherhood

Do is the way and the way is Do. The world is full of chi and your body is the richest source of it. Knowing ourselves, we can order our minds. Ordering our minds, we can direct our chi. Directing our chi, we can command our form. Commanding our form, we can control our environment. Controlling our environment, we can change our world.

The smallest thought, from the mind of a being in harmony with himself and the world can change everything. By practicing the forms of Do, we bring mind, soul, body, and chi into the harmony required to make our own reality.

Celestial Chorus

Reality is the symphony of the creator. Everything is a note in its song. Some of those notes can make music of their own, creating an infinitely varied score of the cosmos itself. Yet infinite variety brings the risk of discord and dissonance. Some of the notes are wrong, and they infect the rest of the symphony with their flaws.

We have been given the gift of singing in a voice that resonates with the symphony. We can use our powers to try to fix the discord and elevate the song back to the beautiful state envisioned by its first singer.

Cult of Ecstasy

Reality has a heartbeat. We call it Ananda, the pulse of the world, but you could call it Bliss. If you can hear it and you can feel it, you can change it. We have heartbeats of our own. If you can match your own pulse to the world’s, you can impose your intentions on your reality.

If you know how to look for the pulse, there are a number of ways to meet it. The best are found in ecstasy: moments of perfect intimacy, altered and elevated states, and strains of pure music. Or, if you’re bound to be glib, sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

Dreamspeakers

What we call reality is the dream of spirits. There are many worlds that border ours. This is fact. Many believe that our world is what is real, and those others are our reflection. This is wrong. These worlds are full not just of waking spirits, but of sleeping ones. Their dreams blend together and make this world.

Many know that a spirit may be roused to use its abilities in our world, and it can accomplish many things. But the wisest of men learns to subtly speak to the sleeping ones, changing their dreams and, thus, changing our perception of “real.”

Euthanatos

Reality is a wheel. Everything turns, powered by the rush of new creation being purified and flowing into Oblivion. Entropy is progress: things that are destroyed merely have their potential released to flow up or down according to their accomplishment while extant. The only bad death is stasis; if things never change, the wheel ceases to turn.

The awake can harness the flow of change. The nearer and greater the change, the easier its motion can be used to turn our own workings. And so we make things happen, and liberate what we can from the flow to ensure that we can remove its obstructions.

Order of Hermes

The cosmos is built on rules. They are not simple to understand. They are the politics of gods and spirits, the correspondences between things that were once one, and the contagion of changes propagating throughout their spheres. Everything we think of as real is the consequence of aeons of accretion from this beautiful morass.

Any can learn some of these rules and to bend them, but only the awake have the intuition to perceive them and the will to force them to change. We are the legates of reality: first you learn the law, then you learn to use it, and then you learn to break it.

Sons of Ether

Reality is weird. Through Science! we can learn how it works. That’s not science, with the lowercase, mind you. Ours still uses the real scientific method, the one you were taught in school but not the one the Technocracy imposes (where they quietly keep sleeper scientists from asking the really interesting questions).

An awakened scientist gains an intuition for staying just inside the line between genius and madness. We discover truths that your secret masters have deemed too difficult. And then we use those theories to make tech that you couldn’t even dream of. But you will.

Verbena

Reality is alive. There is a good reason why many great religions come back to a tree: everything that is has grown from what was. If left alone, reality would be a vast and amazing forest, full of wonders. But it has not been left alone, and the best parts of it have been wounded and left to die to make way for the desires of the few.

Those who awake to the nature of the world can learn to prune reality’s growth, direct it into new shapes, and even change it on a fundamental level. Blood calls to blood as life calls to life, and we use these truths to tend the garden.

Virtual Adepts

The first thing you need to know about reality is that it’s a lie. There is no space, there is no time, and what we perceive as matter is nothing but tiny charges floating in a cosmic void. Everything about it is in flux, at all times, and, if you can figure out the math and where to apply a little quantum pressure, everything is true.

Used to be by the time you’d done the calculations, you had a room full of paper and reality had moved on. But we’ve got computers, now, and they just keep getting faster. If you can intuit the right inputs and run the right program, anything’s possible.

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