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I finished the last post in a kind of limbo...

I described where I was aiming, then when I got to the point, I sort of left things hanging.

I've been looking over Russell Davis's "Sigil & Shadow" playtest copy, and since it's another game about modern urban magic, it's obviously going to be critically compared to what I'm writing. Generally I like it, I like where it's heading. The characters have magical legacies that grant them automatic abilities and drawbacks, the magic system has powers which cause passive effects that may be transformed into active effects by the expenditure of a meta-game currency... it also has a more freeform magic system using keywords, so that plays in some of the same territory that I've been playing with.

What I'm more interested in at this stage is the way "Sigil & Shadow" defines the morality of the characters.

Kind or Cruel Focused or Unfocused Selfish or Selfless Honourable or Deceitful Brave…

Pulling things together

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I like the idea of the triad dynamic, where each facet pulls away from the other two, but no particular facet is directly opposed to another. It's more interesting than the regular option where there might be two forces opposed to one another (good and evil, law and chaos, light and dark), or a two way pair of axes (such as the D&D alignment grid).

Some triads get it wrong...


... often because they set up a false third element. 

Some try to shoehorn ideas into the triad that vaguely make sense on the surface...


...but when you start to dig into them with a bit of meaningful research, they start to fall apart.

Some versions don't even try to be a real triad, but exist more as a continuum with three focal points along the length...


...and that's really not what I'm after at all. We might as well go back to the idea of the linear-two point tension.

Then there are the complications of triads within triads...


...which all gets a bit complicated for what I'm aiming a…

Essences

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As I keep saying, this project is inspired by Mage: the Ascension, like many of my attempts over the years. Like many of the elements used to define characters in Mage, Essence didn't really get a solid set of mechanisms attached to it until later iterations of the rules (a bit like alignment in almost every incarnation of D&D). There were generally four types of essence...

Dynamic essences seek change in the world, because they feel that things need to be introduced into the world to bring positivity. Pattern essences seek stability, because they feel certain changes are causing negativity and need to be neutralised.Primordial essences think things have already gone too far, and it's time to break some of the existing reality to start anew.Questing essences seek something more, pushing beyond the world to greater heights.
The "personalities" at the beginning of this post could easily be a way to define essence in the setting I'm aiming for. The whole nature …

Paradigms

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One of the things that was touched apon in Mage: the Ascension but not really adequately explained in the first few editions was the idea of a paradigm. Everyone has a paradigm, it's basically the underlying set of beliefs that define your interpretation of reality. A Christian paradigm generally believes in an all powerful God who made the universe and who constantly guides it (but then you get into numerous sub-paradigms depending on the specific denomination followed). A geocentric paradigm believing that the earth is the centre of the universe stands in direct constrast to a heliocentric paradigm believing that the sun is the centre. A paradigm defines a world view, and sometimes these views come into conflict.

The thing about a paradigm is that it's more than just a belief. It's informed by reality. Science is a paradigm, a belief that through measurement, research, and hypothesis, a greater understanding of the universe will be achieved, and eventually all the secret…

Resonance

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I've divided the various verb words in the magic system into the six elements that comprise much of the cosmology in the various games I've developed over the years. The idea is fairly kaballistic, with a light at the centre of creation, and darkness toward the edges. At the interface between light and darkness is a mateaphysical cube. 
For simplicity, let's say...
North = Water South = Fire East = Air West = Earth Top = Wood Bottom = Metal
Western mystical traditions look at the cube from the top down, they see a square bounded by air, earth, fire, water...at the centre, they see a fusion of life and mystical essence. 
Eastern traditions look at the cube from the east, they see a square bounded by fire, water, wood, and metal... at the centre, they see a balancing force of earth, and don't really see the air as a separate element at all. 
The hybrid of these cosmologies is depicted by the cube. It's not perfect, but it adds a depth not present in the flat version…

Other Powers to Draw From

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I've gone back and edited yesterday's post, and now present some of the other sources of power that mystics will be able to draw from in the game. At this stage many of the prerequisite abilities are subject to change, especially since there are a few sources that share abilities, and there are a few sources where I've chosen abilities that kind of made sense, but don't quite feel 100% right.

Note that these are just the sources of energy, and they serve a purpose of flavouring the type of magic engaged by the different mystics in the game... they have very little to do with the actual effects that the mystics are capable of invoking.




Destruction Sometimes the act of creation requires a balancing act of destruction, and sometimes destroying something is symbolic of destroying something else. Either way, those who open a Destruction conduit are required to deliberately destroy a specific item; where the actions associated with the task involve damaging the targeted item.…

Drawing Power

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For each connection, a character starts with a single level. This limits them to drawing a single point of energy from that source. When characters improve their connection to the world around them, they may gain the first level in a new connection or may gain an extra level in one of their existing connections and thus improve their ability to draw energy from that source. A character may purchase up to three levels in any connection type. When a character draws energy from a source, they are still limited by the number of conduit paths they open.

Juliana is a veteran mystic with 7 connection, 4 conduit, and 3 capacity. Her connections include three levels to her community, two levels to the belief of others, a level to her bonded familiar, and a level to words. There are a number of ways she can completely open her conduit potential; one of which might occur if she utters an incantation (words 1) when she sees trouble heading to a group of people she identifies with (community 3), a…