Mage: The Awakening

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Mage: The Awakening is a tabletop RPG made by White Wolf. It is part of the New World of Darkness line. The story goes that long ago people all over the world had dreams that brought them to Atlantis. Once there they got the ultimate spirit quest that enlightened their souls and gave them magic powers. Thus the Mages Awakened. Unfortunately, the good times soon ended: Mages wanted to get to the Supernal World, the source of all magic. To achieve their plan they built an enormous ladder that they sought to travel the gap between worlds. This ended badly. After some Mages made it to the Supernal, the ladder broke - destroying the connection between earth and the Supernal, and thus magic - and replacing it with an evil, magic-destroying realm called the Abyss. Atlantis fell, and the rest is history. Literally.

Now the Mages seek to find lost arcane secrets, prevent the Abyss from further corrupting Earth, act as Badass mage cops, find magic in normal life, and rebuild the ladder to the Supernal. They are thwarted by Abyssal demons, servants of the Exarchs, those Mages who made it to the Supernal, and pretty much everybody in the World of Darkness.

Which, sometimes, is for the better.

The various Splats of Mage are as follows[edit | hide | hide all]

The Paths: The inborn classification of the Awakened, representing the Supernal Realm and Watchtower the mage visited during his Awakening. Each Path has an affinity for two kinds of magic, but a deficiency with another.

  • Acanthus: Enchanters on the Path of Thistle, who Awakened to the Watchtower of the Lunargent Thorn in the Realm of Arcadia, Acanthus mages tend to be easygoing, sometimes to the point of carelessness, due to their grasp of Fate and Time magic – it’s hard to be worried when you’ve seen what’s going to happen and you can tweak the dice so you know it’s going to work. However, the magic to which they’re born is subtle, and they have little ability when working with overt Forces. Associated with the Fool (XXII) Tarot.
  • Mastigos: Warlocks on the Path of Scourging, Scions of the Watchtower of the Iron Gauntlet in the Realm of Pandemonium (Hell), the Mastigos tend to be driven and intense. Their ability to use Mind and Space magic to twist their enemies’ paths and thoughts alike make them dangerous foes, but their abilities focus on the intangible and impermanent, making it hard for them to affect Matter. Asocciated with the Devil (XV) Tarot.
  • Moros: Necromancers on the Path of Doom, visitors to the Watchtower of the Lead Coin in the Realm of Stygia (Nothing After Death), Moros are often (though not always) dour and stern. They have dominion over Death and Matter, following the archetype of Pluto or Hades. Both of these things are dead and lifeless, though, and Moros have difficulty learning the ways of the Spirit. Associated with the Death (XIII) Tarot.
  • Obrimos: Theurgists on the Path of the Mighty, Scions of the Watchtower of the Golden Key in the Realm of the Aether (Heaven), the Obrimos tend to be devout and fervent. They often believe that they were granted their magic by some deity or deities, and have power over the Forces of the natural world and the Prime ways of magic itself. However, as creatures so filled with life and power, they have little tie to the powers of Death. Associated with the Strength (VIII) Tarot.
  • Thyrsus: Shamans on the Path of Ecstasy, who Awakened to the Watchtower of the Stone Book in the Realm of the Primal Wild, the Thyrsus (Hungry/Wild Jungle/Woods) are wild, primal, and passionate. Their ability with Life and Spirit magic makes them strong and gives them many allies among beasts and spirits alike, but this magic is wild and untamed and limits their ability to work with the Mind of another. Associated with the Moon (XVIII) Tarot.

The Orders: The chosen, sociopolitical Splats of the Mages. The five Pentacle orders listed below work together (usually) in order to gain power and defend against common enemies. Each Order holds a philosophy on the best way to develop and use magic, as well as a common view on how to interact with Sleepers and the World. Four of the Orders (sometimes called the Diamond Orders) claim descent from organizations which existed in the days of Atlantis, although this can't be confirmed.

  • The Adamantine Arrow: Descended from the Ungula Draconis (or "The Claw of the Dragon") from ancient Atlantis, the Arrow believe that the best way to hone one’s strength (magical or otherwise) is through constant conflict, contest, and trial, and that the strongest and best should rise to lead. They often serve as the warriors and strategists of a Consilium.
  • The Free Council: The only Order not claiming Atlantean descent, the Council was born in the Industrial Revolution and the accompanying social turmoil of the early 20th century. They believe that the works of unAwakened Mortals possess as much magic as the works of the Awakened, and that democratic rule is the best way to run a Consilium. They are activists, revolutionaries, scientists, and often members of a Consilium’s “loyal opposition.”
  • The Guardians of the Veil: Inspired by Atlantis’s Visus Draconis (or "The Eye of the Dragon"), the Guardians believe that Magic should be kept carefully and hidden from the world. They feel that Paradox widens the Abyss, removing further magic from the world, and thus they oppose vulgar magic whenever possible. In a modern Consilium, the Guardians usually serve as spies, secret police, and the like.
  • The Mysterium: Descended from the Alae Draconis (or the “The Wing of the Dragon”), the Mysterium believe that the collection and gathering of knowledge is the highest calling a Mage can seek. They seek out artifacts and tomes from ancient Atlantis, gather them safely, and sometimes share what they have learned – for a cost. They serve as a Consilium’s teachers, loremasters, scientists, and archeologists.
  • The Silver Ladder: Heirs to the Vox Draconis (or " The Voice of the Dragon"), members of the Silver Ladder believe that it is the fate of all Humanity to Awaken, and that until then the wisest among the Awakened (which is, often, the Ladder mages themselves) should lead them well. They often serve modern Consilia in positions of leadership or oversight.

The Pentacle is opposed by various rival mage factions, including:

  • The Seers of The Throne: Servants of the Exarchs, the tyrannical mage-gods that broke the ladder upon reaching the Supernal. They gather in shadowy conspiracies and cults, each dedicated to a particular Exarch. When not stabbing each other in the back or currying for their god's favor, the Seers strive to strengthen the Lie, making sure that as few mortals Awaken as possible, and that those that do serve the Exarchs' will.
  • The Banishers: For whatever reason, sometimes a Mage's Awakening is traumatizing rather than enlightening. Emotionally scarred and revolted by the power they now possess, Banishers view magic as an unnatural perversion of reality rather than a higher spiritual truth. Some seek to tear down the Mages' various social structures. Others won't be satisfied until every Awakened individual on the planet is dead, at which point they will kill themselves (thus, by their twisted logic, ensuring that no one ever practices magic ever again).
  • The Scelesti: Servants of the Abyss, the aforementioned magic-destroying realm, who want to bathe the world in evil forever. The game's Exclusively Evil faction.

Terminology, with translations: Every Mage (Character) once travelled in a dream or vision to a Supernal Realm, ending this visit by signing their name to a Watchtower and gaining affinity to one of five Paths (class). Each Path has special affinity to two Arcana (spell groups) of Magic. Most Mages choose to join an Order (faction) of like-minded will-workers for instruction and support. A city full of mages usually organizes into a Consilium often including one or more Cabals (parties) of allied mages. Some Mages join a Legacy (Prestige Class) to refine their souls and magic, gaining more power and a respite from Paradox.


Tropes used in Mage: The Awakening include:
  • Affably Evil: If Anumerus wasn't trying to destroy reality through the twisting of numbers he'd be a pretty nice gentleman.
    • Dr. Lynden Chambers is a kind, albeit creepy, old mage with a PHD in Art and History who works in the Boston Athenaeum. He is always happy to help out a mage with any information he/she might require and constantly offers invitations for dinner to simply talk. He is also a nihilistic abyss-worshipping Scelestus whose touch can read your past like a book or corrode any object.
    • Theumiel, the example Aswadim (basically a Sclestus archmaster) in Imperial Mysteries. All he wants is a peaceful Shadow...so he's willing to use the Abyss to create one. The book actually recommends he be used as a Friendly Enemy, since he just wants a compassionate world, but thinks the World of Darkness prevents that.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Lustrums in a nutshell; failing to construct one as a non-native Supernal being will worse than kill you.
  • A God Am I: Anyone with Gnosis 10 and anything less then saintly Wisdom will practically say these exact words. To an extent, it's the goal of every single Mage to say these words and have the magic to back it up.
    • And the archmasters have achieved it. That's when the real work starts.
  • Alien Geometries: Some of the Supernal Realms all of the time, and all of the Supernal Realms some of the time.
    • Messing around with the Space Arcana can create this kind of effect to a limited extent and duration; you can also build your own pocket dimension to this aesthetic.
    • The Crossways, False Demenses, the Halfway Houses, the Nemesis Continuum, the Temple of Zanak Khan and Twisting Mazes all thrive on this, all of them being cases of Abyssal intrusions afflicting Space and geography (and dreams in the case of the Temple of Zanak Khan) instead of the more common forms of Abyssal intrusion.
  • Alternate Continuity: The Prince of Ten Thousand Leaves is an Abyssal Intruder one of these. The history it postulates (and tries to make real) is not nice, even by the standards of the World of Darkness.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Up here, we have the Seers of the Throne, in four different flavors!
  • And I Must Scream: Simply put, this will crop up. Whether it's what happens when possessed by a Goetic Daemon, to being locked in an otherly dimensional prison, this trope will be present eventually; on the bright side, Players can do this too. The first installment in the preview chronicle can be resolved by trapping a Sloth spirit in a TV remote control - what you choose to do with the remote afterwards is up to you.
    • Victims of Dark Angel Aphasia literally, The Crossways, The Twisting Maze... the entities of the Abyss tend to this behavior when they aren't out for wholesale slaughter.
  • The Archmage: An archmage is one who's transcended the 5-dot limit in a particular Arcanum and become capable of godlike feats. However, each side has their own archmages (be they Oracles or Exarchs) who really aren't happy with a force of cosmic destruction on the other guy's side. Hence, both the Pentacle Mages and the Seers of the Throne are sworn to an ancient pact that prevents each side's archmages from exerting direct influence upon the world; that pact says nothing about indirect influence, however...
    • This is actually part of a pact that archmages have among themselves, called the Pax Arcanum-given how they can do things that would cause a Physical God to Jaw Drop in disbelief, they need it to protect the continued existence of the universe. Unfortunately, this also protects the Aswadim...
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: According to the main sourcebook, tainted Hallows can "curdle milk, blight crops, sicken animals and children, attract ghosts and corrupt spirits, and ruin television reception."
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The Exarchs pulled this one off through the construction of the Celestial Ladder... and then they tore down the Ladder and created the Abyss, because phenomenal cosmic power was theirs, and no one was going to take it from them.
    • On the bright side, the Oracles got up the ladder with them, and proceeded to kick the Exarchs around like soccer balls before they could finish cutting off the Supernal. The result was the Watchtowers, which allow humans to still Awaken even with the Abyss in the way.
  • Ascended Fanboy: It's not uncommon for an Awakened to have been practicing what Muggles think is magic before their Awakening. The main book opens with a short story about a fanboy who ascended while performing a (mostly) nonsense ritual with Goetic elements...
  • Atlantis: the original home of Mage society.[1]
    • However, it's heavily implied that Atlantis was not a nice place at all; a powerful society that subjugated other weaker ones and enforced its hegemony.
    • Also, there is considerable confusion about which Atlantis is the source of all this tradition. One of the sourcebooks refers to no fewer than nine alternate cities 'lost to the waves'... from one country alone (India). Other sourcebooks point out that the wide variations in architecture, writing and art make it all but impossible to pinpoint where anything came from originally.
      • This is handwaved by claiming that the Fall had magical repercussions, as well as 'mere' physical ones, making it almost impossible to use modern methods to figure out what happened to Atlantis.
      • Not to mention that when Space and Time magics come into play, the answer to the question of which city was actually Atlantis could easily be "all of them".
      • It's best not to think too much about Atlantis and its relationship with Space and Time, all that one can be sure of from reading the various sourcebooks is that Atlantis is almost certainly impossible to restore or properly document in the Fallen World and that White Wolf will milk it for Status Quo Is God.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Shadow Names. Taken by almost every mage, because knowing someone's true name makes them easier to influence with magic. These are usually also Meaningful Names; a mage's chosen Shadow Name will generally tell you something about their personality or their style of magic.
  • Badass Abnormal: The Adamantine Arrow, as per their function as a martial order of warrior-mages, believes that all of their members should be one of these, able to display mundane combat skill in addition to being a skilled arcanist. Their training program is supposed to reflect this, but in practice rookie Adamantine Arrow characters aren't notably more formidable than anyone else. At the apex of their power, however...
  • Bald Women: A young 20-something who keeps her head bald because her nimbus manifests as sparks running along her scalp serving as a sample character (for the Pygmalian Society in Legacies: The Sublime). Interestingly enough, she actually has the Striking Looks merit, indicating that she's actually exceptionally attractive in her own unique way.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Averted. For the most part, mages assume that none of their number were ever famous or legendary (and some cases where they believe that they were have a few holes in them). In the few cases where they believe that extremely legendary people were mages (such as Merlin), it's still ambiguous how much such mages may have inspired legends, and how much they may have been inspired by legends.
    • Played straight with the Merovingians, who are said to be a Proximus Dynasty that was destroyed when they started demanding that mages recognise them as the rightful heirs of the Atlantean kings.
  • Better Living Through Evil: The high end of the standard Resources merit will allow a character to live like a millionaire ($50,000 in disposable income a month). Membership in the Seers of the Throne, however, makes a character eligible to take the Luxury merit, which at its higher level allows him or her to live like a billionaire. (The drawback, unfortunately, is that Resources belong to the character, while Luxury belongs to the Seers as a group and can therefore be revoked.)
  • Black Magic: The technical term is the Left-Handed Path, the way of magic that leads to destruction and ruin, for you as well as everyone else. Good Magic can lead to the destruction and ruin as well, but only for your enemies.
    • Good magic can lead to your own destruction and ruin, but going the Left-Handed Path means Every. Single. Mage. is out for your blood and soul. It's almost a Too Dumb to Live case, all mages universally despise them and the orders, especially the Adamantine Arrow and Guardians of the Veil will hunt for them.
  • Blessed with Suck: It is not fun to be a supernatural being. That said, Mages have it slightly better than some of the other supernatural creatures. Slightly.
    • This is certainly the viewpoint of Banishers, Mages who usually serve as antagonists for the PC Mages. Banishers believe that magical power is inherently wrong and evil, and only gather it so that they can destroy other Awakened (usually before taking themselves out in a blaze of horrible glory).
    • Being Awakened does give you extra protection against having your soul ripped out. Silver linings and all that.
      • Of course, there are few things more delicious to all the mind-numbingly evil forces out there than an Awakened's soul.
    • Being a human of the Ractain Strain gives you a powerful memory, a super sense for supernatural activity, and whenever you first experience a life-threatening incident, without dying, your body produces a disease that can spread the infection very quickly. And your appearance is so bizarre you're barely able to interact well with society because you're so damn ugly.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Banishers really, really hate mages, despite the fact that the two groups went on the same trip to the Supernal Realms and came back with knowledge of magic. The differences is that while regular mages viewed the experience as akin to religious awakening, Banishers viewed it as more like Mind Rape and feel an instinctive revulsion every time they use magic.
  • Capital Letters Are Magic:
  • Cast From HP: Mages can mitigate the effects of Paradox by taking it into their own Patterns.
    • And if they start to run low on mana, they can just rip it out of themselves. Yes, this does injure them in a way that magic can't heal, but sometimes you need those three mana points.
      • Need aside, this is probably the worst last resort option available to a desperate Mage, essentially a Dangerous Forbidden Technique that comes with no guarantees it can help the situation, with bonus points if Paradox screws up the next spell and leaves you drained of mana and even more injured.
  • Church of Happyology: Extremely thinly veiled in the form of the Church of Panography (which is actually a front for a Banisher cult called the Militant Auditing Division). They even have magical items called "Suppressive Thetan Energy Auditing Devices" to detect mages, and a celebrity member who has ADHD, is an outspoken critic of psychiatry, is infamously prone to manic outbursts, was set up with a young actress willing to have his child to help his image (whom he's very adamant about how he really, really loves her), and is secretly bisexual.
  • City of Adventure: Boston.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Played with. At first it seems like the subconscious disbelief of non-Mage humans can aggravate the effects of Paradox. However, the Disbelief in question isn't a Muggle not believing in magic so strongly that it can make a spell go poof. It's a flaw in the structure of the Sleeping soul caused by the shard of The Abyss that every Sleeper has. It's also possible for mages to learn magic according to mundane belief systems, which can provide numerous benefits. However, that works because religious or occult traditions can contain fragments of Supernal truths, not because Sleepers believe in them.
  • Continuity Nod: Played with; the Seers of the Throne offered to join with the Nameless and form a Technocracy to rule the world. The Nameless disagreed violently, and became the Free Council.
    • Actually sort of an amusing double shout out if you know the old WoD well. The Free Council are essentially shout-outs to the Virtual Adepts of the old WoD. They also left the Technocracy after a violent disagreement over methods and ideals.
      • It's actually more of a shout out to the idea that even within the Technocrats, there were always two camps at play. The Utopians, who wanted to protect humanity, raise them up, and create a perfect world, and those who simply wanted absolute control. The Free Council in a sense represents all of the technocrats who favored utopia, many of whom went on to become the Sons of Ether and Virtual Adepts (the Free Council book even has Ether Goggles, after all).
  • The Corruption: The forces of the Abyss seek to eat away at the Tapestry of Reality, "unraveling" individual Patterns with its dark influence. Should it come as any surprise that Abyssal forces love to invoke this trope?
    • Noteworthy example: the Nemesis Continuum, a set of Abyssal physics problems that blatantly contradict the laws of physics as we know them. They force themselves into the minds of scientists, causing said scientists to obsess over the contradictions. Said obsession erodes physical law around the afflicted scientist, which in turn may lead to someone coming across the equations, which he starts to obsess over...
    • Anumerus: an Abyssal entity of Anti-Numbers and Negative Numerology, when in his most powerful physical presence 1+1 can not equal 2, period...
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Subverted; The Abyss is just itching to squirm into reality and corrupt everything before it's ultimate destruction... but the real horror is that you let it in, either through incompetence, hubris, or more likely both. There's only one entity in Intruders that comes in without prompting by humans, and it's not even malevolent.
    • The subversion hits even harder in Imperial Mysteries: There's a class of feuding entities who possess divine power as one of their lesser abilities, and with work can remake the world entirely, only kept in check by their brethren. They're called archmaster mages, they retain what makes them human, and you can play them.
  • Cosmic Retcon: The Seers of the Throne believe that the Exarchs of Time and Fate, the Prophet and the Ruin, went back in time and prevented Atlantis from ever existing. How successful they were depends on your GM.
    • Turns out this is how archmasters operate-true Ascension involves changing the world into what you think it should be, and this can involve a lot of cosmic revision.
  • Crapsack World: Especially for humans. Some Mages try to fight this. Others just make the crapsackiness worse.
  • Crazy Prepared: You can choose to either be like a reality-warping Batman, or you can just shoot yourself in the head to save time as you will die without any sort of forward planning, unless you're a very skilled Acanthus, then you can just hit rewind.
  • Cult: The Guardians of the Veil have a secret set of beliefs that they go to great pains to ensure the other Orders do not know about. The philosophy itself is called the Diamond Wheel, and the entire point of it is to find/create the Hieromagus who will bring about a new, glorious golden age for mages around the world. Of course, they don't like it when someone makes steps in that direction without following the philosophy of the Diamond Wheel, which leads the Guardians to take action...
    • The Paternoster both is a cult and loves to create them to distract sleepers from the truth.
  • Cursed with Awesome: At least, that's how some groups play it.
    • Mages have no internal downside for being a Mage (No Vampiric lust for blood, or Werewolf short temper). However, Mage souls are incredibly potent. Whether Mages are Cursed with Awesome or Blessed with Suck depends on how much of a threat these soul eaters are.
      • Well...Your people tore the universe a new one, the universe now actively hates a vast majority of who you are, you have several groups trying to KILL you just for being who you are, and if you try to use your powers in front of anyone who is not another supernatural, you risk blowing yourself up. SO yeah, you got some good stuff, and are less likely to get screwed, but when you DO get screwed, you usually ain't coming out of it alive, much less sane.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Moros "Necromancer" mages, who have the capacity to be as good or evil as any other mage. That said, there's a Moros-only Legacy of Black Magicians (Tremere Liches), but that's because of what they do to sustain their immortality - they eat souls. Yes, you read that right, they eat souls. If that doesn't fall under Immortality Immorality, nothing will.
    • Also could apply to the Mastigos, who develop mind-warping powers, as well as the ability to bend space to their will. What realm do they visit to Awaken? Pandemonium, often compared to Hell.
      • It's really more like Purgatory...
      • Definitely, as the Awakening itself tends to help keep them on the straight and narrow. They also have a Legacy of Well-Intentioned Extremist black magicians, the Fangs of Mara, who literally Mind Probe Cosmic Horrors to find out what they fear and use it against them. Tragically, however, they tend to go crazy from the Mind Rape such activity entails. (Hey, it's like peeking at Jeffrey Dahmer-Hitler-Manson's innermost desires. Except worse.)
      • Ironic that the stereotype for a Guardian of the Veil is mindwipe-happy Mastigos.
  • The Dark Side: A major theme of the game is that power corrupts; the more a Mage uses his magic to screw over others or do petty shit he could have done without magic, the more likely he is to want to keep doing so.
    • Tome Of Mysteries also adds Abyssal magic, wherein a Mage can let a little bit of Abyssal taint into his magic for numerous positive effects. However, it's addictive, and it's not long before the Mage develops Abyssal sympathies...
  • Dark World: Several, but the one which appears most commonly is the Shadow, the animistic reflection of the mortal world, filled with spirits which constantly hunt and devour one another in a sort of ethereal biosphere. There's also the Astral Realms (which contain every single idea and view of the world that humanity has had, including some really warped viewpoints), the Underworld (where the dead who cease to be ghosts go), and several Abyssal incursions can do this too.
    • Then there are the Outer Reaches from Summoners, which are just... weird.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: Mages are actually generally a bit nicer about this than, say, Vampires. The Consililum is usually a sort of common-law court based on precedent, and so at least it tends to be predictable. On the other hand, Mages are human, and knowledge is power (literally), so they can be like a pit of fireball-using vipers if they want something to happen.
  • Deal with the Devil: A particular variety of Abyssal entity, the acamoth, specalize in this - in return for romping around a mage's subconscious, they'll grant further powers.
    • The Harper family, either a clan of inbred rednecks or inbred Corrupt Corporate Executives, their ancestor made a deal with something nasty from the Abyss. Seems to be the only case in the entire World Of Darkness setting where the humans making the deal weren't screwed over or eaten; in fact from their perspective it's never cost them anything they valued.
  • Deity of Human Origin: The Oracles and Exarchs.
    • Archmasters get to call themselves this too.
  • Demonic Possession: One reason why summoning magic is not a good thing.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: The Seers don't want anybody out of their control to gain enlightenment.
  • Dying Like Animals: Almost every human is a Bat, Mages are Moles to humans and Mice to their masters.
    • Although to be fair to Sleepers, it isn't their fault - it's the Quiescence editing their memories so they can't know what's going on. The mages only have themselves to blame however.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Anything from the Abyss. It may be a small as a breadbox or as big as Yog-Sothoth, but it warps reality in its wake, and not in a good way. They are at least able to be defeated...if not easily.
  • Eldritch Location: The Supernal Realms from which mages draw their power, which consist of:
    • Heaven: The Aether is described as a transcendently beautiful place of constant energy, light and music, inhabited by angels.
    • Hell: Pandemonium is described as a place of pure thought, where all spatial points warp to fit people's perspective (its hellish nature is more of the self inflicted variety; the idea is that, faced with a place of pure thought, most people will unconsciously confront their worst aspects) and is inhabited by demons.
      • This confrontation is, however, meant to test the Mages who Awaken there so they can overcome their faults and improve themselves rather than just a place of suffering, so it's really more Purgatory than Hell.
    • The Nothing After Death: Stygia is a place of barren wastes filled with forsaken treasures and dead shades. Apparently, it's supposed to be the place the dead go to let go of their ties to the material world before moving on.
    • Arcadia: Makes up the basic framework, but filled with Fairy Tales and their motifs (some of which are fractured) and bound together by the Theory of Narrative Causality. Also inhabited by the Fae.
      • It's left ambiguous whether the Arcadia of the True Fae is the same as the Supernal realm, or if they just share the name.
    • Hungry Jungle / The Lost Woods: The Primal Wilds is described as a vast ecosystem where absolutely everything is alive and vibrant, constantly seeking the thrills of all manner of physical sensation. Its inhabitants are simply called beasts.
    • Imperial Mysteries makes them even more Eldritch-as it turns out, the Supernal Realms are a World of Chaos as well, with the five being general types of subrealm that emerge-an archmaster venturing there literally needs to force it into a form he can understand simply to survive (the Watchtowers do this during Awakening). Since it contains the platonic forms of everything, doing anything there causes the Fallen World (called the Phenomenal World by archmasters on the basis that everything they learn about the cosmos suggests that it's naturally like this) to change (an example of archmaster play has an Alienated trying to restore the Supernal god of Justice accidentally rewriting history so that a Roman mystery cult survives to the modern day as a major religion, though he swears to fix it).
  • Evil Feels Good: Wisdom is lost by not showing remorse for misdeeds.
  • Evil Twin: The Goetia in regards to each individual person they were summoned from.
    • Goetic creatures aren't automatically evil, by any means. They just exist to promote the feeling, thought, impulse or vice that they represent, and don't have a choice in what they do. In the case of your Wrath or Lust, though, it's often indistinguishable from evil as defined by society.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Even though Banishers have been known to gather into cults and many learn the Sense Banisher rote not long after their Awakening, most meetings between Banishers don't go well. Since their worldviews tend to be inherently narrow, a fellow Banisher that isn't immediately recognized as a kindred spirit gets lumped in with the enemy.
    • Also, the Seers and Banishers are none too fond of each other.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Grimoire of Grimoires has the Ancient Lands Pentology, a series of popular High Fantasy novels meant to serve as a way to induce Awakening. This would normally call down a legion of Guardians of the Veil, were it not for the fact that it shows promising results, making it something of a holy grail for the Silver Ladder and the Free Council. As a result, the Guardians mainly have to make do with Moral Guardian groups, who are, of course, ignored.
  • The Fettered: Idealized by the Adamantines. For others, Tome of the Watchtowers has vows that can give you one mana per week per vow.
  • Five Races: As usual in the New World of Darkness. The innate Five Races deal with which Supernal Realm the Mage visited when he Awakened. The social splats deal with what he does now that he's got his Phenomenal Cosmic Powers.
  • Five-Man Band: Somewhat exemplified by the five Orders:
    • The Hero: The Silver Ladder, who are often in charge of the other Mages, attempting to organize them into a viable front against the Exarchs and recreate a fully Awakened society.
    • The Lancer: The Guardians of the Veil are sort of everyone's Lancer, working for Mage society as a whole to cover up their mistakes without complaint.
    • The Big Guy: The Adamantine Arrow are strongarm battlemages, often known to be simple and ascetic.
    • The Smart Guy: The Mysterium dedicates itself to finding ancient secrets and guarding those secrets, or using them to better mankind.
    • The Chick: The Free Council is definitely the faction most prone to being The Heart, wanting to bring democracy and modernization to Mage society, possessed of often the least archaic or austere Mages.
  • Functional Magic: Draws from higher realms outside of existence that basically serves as the highest embodiment of ideas. Split into ten Arcanum: Death, Fate, Forces, Life, Matter, Mind, Prime, Space, Spirit, and Time.
  • Gnosticism: The Supernal Realms are the Source (or the Pleroma), the Exarchs are the Demiurge (or the Archons), Atlantis was Sophia, and every mage is someone who has attained enough truth to become able to remember their divine origin, and actively seek ascension (return to the Source), while largely ignoring the rules of the "false" Fallen World.
    • However, the Abyss is taken from Kabbalah, where it separates Earth and the Astral Plane from God.
      • In fact, the Mage cosmology is not based on any single occult tradition. It takes cues from Gnosticism (the Exarchs), Kabbalah (the Abyss), Theosophy (Atlantis), Hermeticism, Alchemy, Voodoo (blood sacrifice), the Malleus Maleficarum (familiar spirits), Hinduism (mudras), and numerous other sources. The sourcebook Magical Traditions explains this in detail.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Imperial Mysteries has a lot of this. Even the Ashwadim and the Tetrachs have legitimate points, and even the Bodhisattvas have a dark side.
  • God in Human Form: The ochemata are fragments of the Exarchs, and are occasionally sent down to be bodyguards / advisors to the highest-ranking Seers of the Throne. They are frighteningly powerful; a single ochema is more than a match for even a well-prepared cabal of high-level mages due to their Supernal Perfection ability. The books suggest using them as messengers and plot devices, as setting them against the party is a great way for them to get slaughtered.
    • To make things worse ochemata are entirely capable of being archmages.
      • To make things better, generating ochemata is actually an ability of all archmages, Pentacles included.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The Unbidden has Gnomon, a time-traveling homunculus created to give his master "all the secrets of the universe" ahead of time. As it turns out, packing a lifetime's worth of experiences into one's head over the course of two seconds using an inaccurate method at best is... rather reckless.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The Lucid from The Unbidden are Sleepwalkers who had something go terribly wrong in transition from Sleep to Sleepwalking. Being anywhere near a mage drives them insane, and they usually respond to it with violence. Watch out, if they Awaken themselves.
    • The book doesn't give a definitive origin for them, but one of the supplied theories suggests that they were an attempt to breed a better Sleepwalker, which also falls under this trope.
    • The origin of the False Awakening in the same book also fits this trope.
  • Gothic Punk: Less so than the old game, but still present in places.
  • Hermetic Magic
  • I Know Your True Name: Guess how you can locate someone anywhere in the world and drop the magical equivalent of a guided missile on them?
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Mage + Cult + Goetic magic + Gluttony Vice = Delicious...
    • The Abyss is similar in concept, except it cannibalizes other realities...
    • Almost all of the Abyssal intruders in the Intruders: Encounters With The Abyss sourcebook have these traits.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: The main use for the rotes of the Mind Arcana, while other Paths can learn it, the best users are the Mastigos and the most frequent users are likely to be Guardians of the Veil fixing things, victims, witnesses... Leading to the stereotype of the Guardians of the Veil often being Mastigos.
  • Jerkass: The Supernal Wind, from Night Horrors: The Unbidden, is the fractured mind of an Exarch who took a wrong turn getting to Earth and looked directly into the Abyss. How much of a jerk is he? When he fully possesses an individual, he or she takes a penalty to Social rolls because he's that much of an asshole.
    • In the free chronicle, Gloria Mundi, the Envy spirit is a Jerkass, more than normal for the Goetic spirits.
    • Mages with low Wisdom tend to be Jerk Asses with respect to their behaviour; when they're not a Jerkass they're probably aiming more for Complete Monster.
    • Mages of Left-Handed Legacies period.
    • Anyone casting The Final Spell of Eli Ben-Menecham is intentionally making themselves being completely incapable of not being Jerkass.
  • Karma Meter: Wisdom, and there are benefits to keeping it high, and penalties for keeping it low.
    • One could say that Wisdom is the Jerk Ass Meter; the descriptions of behaviours that characterize low Wisdom Mages paints them as either a Jerkass or a Complete Monster, while on the other end of the Wisdom scale it's impossible to be a Jerkass.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: In spades. Just about every Mage that survives beyond the initial A God Am I stage without getting eating by a passing Abyssal Intruder.
  • Knight Templar: Ooooooooh, boy.
    • Banishers, mages who think magic screws up the world, and kill other mages to stop it.
      • Which is made especially ironic, since the book on them points out that they actually envy normal mages, who seem to (and do) cast spells without the instinctual revulsion most Banishers feel towards their own. The only example in the book where this isn't the case is Anti-Villain Richard Paine, and it's more or less stated he's being deceived by the Seers of the Throne.
    • The Jnanamukti from the Mysterium sourcebook, who believe that sleepers are to blame for everything that's wrong with the world. The Jnanamukti believe that three things stand in the way of reclaiming the lost glory of Atlantis: Sleeper civilization, Sleeper technology and "the Fallen Supernatural" (i.e. all supernatural beings that do not claim descent from the Supernal Realms). Their answer to these problems, respectively? Destroy all Sleeper civilization, Destroy all Sleeper technology, Destroy the Fallen Supernatural. In case you still see any possibility of them being portrayed as Well Intentioned Extremists, consider the fact that they approved of the Holocaust.
    • On the other end of the scale (ie, straddling the line between an Anti-Villain version of Knight Templar and Anti-Hero Well-Intentioned Extremist), are the Logophages, from Legacies: The Ancient. They realize (not think, realize-other sourcebooks have examples) that, despite the typical byline of "knowledge is power" among mages, there are some secrets Man Was Not Meant to Know. Since humanity (or at least, human-derived supernaturals) are the only inhabitants of the Earth that they know of, they have decided that they need to eliminate said secrets, via honing Laser-Guided Amnesia to a science, stealing knowledge from the minds of other people and then erasing it from their own (the name comes from the Greek term for "Word Eater", a pretty good descriptor of the process). The subtext is that the reason that they're Left-Handed is not their goal or methods, but that they can very easily abuse their power.
    • Most conflicts within the Mage community (excluding anything involving Seers, Demons, the Abyss or mere Spirits), tend to be because almost every Mage acts like a Knight Templar whenever anything compels them to interact with other Mages.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: It's kind of the default tactic for Guardians of the Veil clean-up crews; naturally Mastigos are often the most common Path found in the order, but not overwhelmingly so.
  • The Magic Goes Away: Kind of. Also inverted in that the departure of the dragons, according to the introduction, was what caused humans to discover magic in the first place.
  • Magic Is a Monster Magnet: The worst thing that can happen when you use magic in front of mundanes.
  • Masquerade: Pretty much the raison d'etre for the Guardians of the Veil, who protect magic from publicity - often by any means necessary. All Mages tend to keep things hush-hush, if only because doing magic in front of normal humans is a good way to call down paradox to eat your face.
    • Breaking the Masquerade would cause magic to cease functioning. Sharing magical secrets with Sleepers weakens magic as a whole, and Magic has actually become weaker over time. Resurrecting the dead and making permanent changes to living patterns were possible in the past, but now lie solely in the hands of the Archmasters.
      • ...According to said Guardians of the Veil, who may have a source bias, and the quote itself is a throwaway. So maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. Mage cosmology is confusing like that.
  • The Men in Black: Division Six, but they're not a real government agency. They're actually the pawns of a Seer of the Throne (aka, a member of the evil society of mages that the player characters are assumed to be against).
    • Summoners adds the Men in Black, who are Men in Black in the original, conspiracy theorist sense of the word. They're inhuman, alien, and not that good at pretending to be like us. They're rather fond of performing impromptu lobotomies on people who cause supernatural incidents or talk about having seen them after having been warned before.
    • The Guardians Of The Veil do a similar role, cleaning up magical messes and investigating unaccounted for supernatural incidents. Think of them as Mages In Black.
  • Metaplot: Averted, as with the rest of the New World of Darkness.
  • Multiple Choice Past: The thing about the evidence for Atlantis? Each new piece of evidence that comes up is likely to contradict some /other/ piece of evidence. There are about as many theories as to where and what Atlantis really was as there are mages. All that can be said with any degree of certainty is that there was (or will be, or is...) at least one advanced Awakened civilisation.
    • Mastery of Fate arcana allows the Mage to rewrite their own past...
  • The Multiverse: Mage has the widest array of defined otherworlds of all the New World of Darkness lines, giving it reason to bring in some of the other lines. There's the world proper, of course. Then there's the Shadow Realm and intervening Gauntlet, and while not portrayed on the multiversial map in the corebook, there are numerous mentions of ghosts and their home plane, the Underworld. Spirits and ghosts can appear in the world proper in the state of Twilight, immaterial and invisible. The Abyss stretches around these three (technically four) planes and attempts to blockade the five Supernal Realms.
    • Whether the Arcadia of Mage is any connection to the Arcadia and/or the Hedge of Changeling: The Lost is Shrug of God—that is, individual StoryTeller perogrative.
    • There are also the Astral Realms, which are probably the most 'proprietary' of the Invisible Realms that mages can visit. They are the realms of thought, ideas and souls. They are composed multiple layers, starting from Oneiroi, realms of individual souls, the Temenos, the collective human soul and the Dreamtime, the soul and dreams of everything. It ends at the Ocean Oroboros - a black ocean that is the Astral representation of the Abyss. According to the mythology, on the other side of the Ocean lie the Realms Supernal.
  • Mundane Utility: Doubly Subverted. At first it seems subverted - while it's possible to use magic for everyday chores, doing so is considered an (extremely minor) act of hubris and dings the Karma Meter if you're in its very upper reaches and that Paradox also makes most overt applications of magic just not worth it. However, it quickly becomes apparent that there's tons of covert magic where it's almost impossible to invite Paradox and using magic for Mundane Utility is as serious an offense as a selfish thought is - that is, it might and only might be an offense if you're a saint among saints.
  • Mythology Gag: Most to Mage: The Ascension:
    • The Perfected Adepts are inspired by the Akashic Brotherhood.
    • The Subtle Ones are based on the Ahl-i-Batin, a former Tradition (even taking Ahl-i-Batin as an alternate name).
    • The Uncrowned Kings riff on the Solificati (or Crowned Ones), another former Tradition.
    • One of the Scelesti's alternate names is the Nefandi, a reference to the Nephandi.
    • The Tremere Liches are based on Clan Tremere, a former House of the Order of Hermes.
    • The Dreamspeakers are obvious.
    • The Tamers of Stone are based on the Craftmasons, the founders of the Order of Reason.
    • The Thread-Cutters are based on the Euthanatos.
    • The Thrice-Great are Awakening's take on Hermeticism.
    • The Celestial Masters share a name with a faction of the Order of Reason.
    • The Hollow Ones of the Seers of the Throne share a name with Ascension's pseudo-Tradition.
  • Necessarily Evil: The Guardians of the Veil know perfectly well what they do is morally suspect and based on rationalizations, and none of them like themselves very much for it.
  • Oh Crap: Standard reaction to pretty much anything coming from the Abyss, with or without warning. Also common whenever a cabal is caught off guard by their enemies - in a game where being able to warp reality requires some time to prepare, being caught with your pants down is generally a death sentence for players.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Scelesti. How much? They serve entities that have a stated goal of destroying everything, including themselves.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: The Abyss is one big honked-up pile of wrong that takes the form of everything from contagious aphasia to brain worms to cannibal timelines to evil grimoires to sinful dream temples out of a pulp novel to...
    • Your own Goetic doppelganger personification of your worst Vice. The Gloria Mundi introductory chronicle on White Wolf's website spends either 7 parts, or all 8 parts if you screw up, on fighting Goetic Vice spirits that do such wonderful things as frame you for crimes or you luring to rescue it from a cult of cannibals.
  • Our Souls Are Different: They crossed from one reality (which is false), over an unreality (which is a horrible abomination) and into another reality (which is a magical reality), then back again... And thats just the first part of the character creation process.
    • Souls are even the source of magic! Unfortunately, it also makes any and all mages high priority targets for any kind of soul eating entity.
    • Mages can distill pieces of their souls into physical forms called soul stones. These have numerous uses, the most common of which is the creation of a demesne, a place where Paradox does not occur. There are some drawbacks; creating a soul stone lowers a mage's magical potential, and also makes them vulnerable to control (see Rule of Three).
    • Mages can even incorporate elements of the Supernal Realms into their very selves via a Legacy, allowing them to replicate certain spells without the risk of Paradox.
  • Point Build System
  • Power Perversion Potential: You can develop the ability to transform into any shape you like, control others' minds, inflict or remove blindness at a command...
    • And the Whipping Boys Legacy (described in the Keys to the Supernal Tarot) is based entirely around pain and BDSM. Yes, some mages shape their very souls in order to derive magical power from kinky sex.
  • Pride: If the Abyss doesn't get you in some form, this, in some way or another, will.
    • Case in point: Abyssal deals, vulgar magic, and other things that have a high or guaranteed risk of making things very bad for the mage in question typically have comparatively little payoff for the trouble they can bring. Why would anyone make use of them? If desperation doesn't factor into it, nine times out of ten it's because they think they can handle the consequences.
    • Pride is practically a separate cosmic force working against humanity.
  • Properly Paranoid: Leads to a long and productive life as a Mage. It's not very reassuring that the Properly Paranoid is probably right or probably close.
  • Public Domain Artifact: Several make their way in. It's typically ambiguous as to whether the Artifact is the actual one featured in the legends, simply inspired the legends, or was brought about because of the legends.
  • Reality Warper: A powerful enough mage has almost no limitations in what they can do, making them the most powerful (with prep time) faction in the World of Darkness. Balancing this is Paradox, which has NO limitations and actively hates the mage.
    • Anything even remotely connected to the Abyss.
      • Becoming an archmaster involves walking up to your old limitations, flipping them off, and then claiming a bit of the Supernal for yourself so you can work Story-Breaker Power levels of Reality Warping. Balancing this, besides even meaner Paradox, is Aperion, which is the tendency to change the world unintentionally in the process of doing what you want.
  • Rule of Three: Mage tradition dictates that any mage who obtains the soul stone of another mage is owed three favours by them, after which they return the stone.
    • Not returning the soulstone to its owner afterwards is a good way to become a social pariah, lose standing in the community and maybe even lose allies. It's not technically an actual crime against the laws of Mage society, but try convincing your peers, while refusing to give someone back a piece of their very soul, that you're not some evil tyrannical slavemaster or a Tremere.
  • Science Is Bad: Subverted utterly, in the sourcebook about Seers of the Throne. Any mage who actually says this is (A) a Luddistic hypocrite who has a morality 50 years behind the times, or (B) a Seer.
    • Actually, it's a bit more complex then that-the Seers draw temporal power from narrow-mindedness, and the inability to accept that which people don't understand. While this means that they can deceive and use Flat Earth Atheists, it's actually a bit easier to use religion (indeed, one of their Ministries, the Paternoster, specializes in this). An actual scientist (ie, a person skeptical enough to not take things at first glance, but open enough to accept the supernatural when it's in his face) is everything they hate and dread in a person.
  • Screening the Call: One of the duties of the Seers of the Throne is to prevent people from Awakening.
    • The Guardians of the Veil also do this, but in their case it's more testing people so that only those who'll be able to responsibly handle Supernal power learn enough to be able to Awaken, while the others are nudged into a Labyrinth that holds no real truth.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Often the best way to deal with a troublesome spirit, the Abyss is a larger unreality-scale version.
    • Pity that the sealed can seems to have a revolving door for the evil...
  • Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny: The Unbidden features Franklin High, a school under a persistent enchantment by a (now deceased, thankfully) mage who wanted a return to the sexual and moral purity of his youth in The Fifties (stop snickering). The classes under its effects become idealized Happy Days-esque students, with a dislike of premarital sex, polaymorous behavior and homosexuality in any form. The problem, of course, is that the same hormones the enchantment represses are kinda vital to the development of the mind. 90% of the time, the alummni find passive outlets for that bottled passion (if creepy-it takes the form of the Fixation Derangement, meaning that the individual alummni literally cannot stop thinking about it). The other? Oh, nothing, it just screws up the Karma Meter so that sexuality-related sins rank up higher than what would normally be there-like say, murder. And let's not get started on actual homosexuals...
  • Sinister Surveillance: Extremely common, but the Guardians of the Veil and the Panopticon are still the most notorious examples.
  • Sourcebook: Standard for any tabletop RPG, the quality of the M:tA sourcebooks varies somewhat but it's generally agreed that it averages better than most games.
    • Hit and Miss pretty much sums it up; some can be quite pointless to buy *Cough*Sanctum and Sigil*Cough* but it's generally agreed in the fandom that after the core rules, Tome of the Mysteries and Intruders: Encounters with the Abyss are the ones to get.
  • Splat
  • Squishy Wizard relative to the other three gamelines.
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: The Abyss wants to destroy everything that reminds it of its own warped existence, ie, the Universe.
    • On a lesser scale a Nativity intrusion will produce a child that may develop this power.
  • Summoning Ritual:
    • For the love of god, don't summon anything larger than your head! Half the creatures in the Sourcebook for Summoners are either toxic, madness inducing, undead monsters that can't be confirmed to have ever lived, Cthulu-esque creatures from the Abyss, creatures incapable of understanding the fallen world from the Supernal, or extra-dimensional monsters that exist to lobotomize people. One of the only SAFELY summonable entities just drops some rare items out of the sky...oh, but you have to burn someone alive to call them up. There ARE instructions on summoning spirits, ghosts, and Cryptids (weird creatures from other universes that act like spirits and are implied to exist due to mortal belief), which are somewhat safer...but still potentially dangerous without the right precautions.
  • Tarot Motifs: Each of the Paths is associated with one of the Major Arcana (Acanthus - The Fool, Mastigos - The Devil, Moros - Death, Obrimos - Strength, Thyrsus - The Moon), an entire sourcebook, Keys to the Supernal Tarot, is dedicated to providing Tarot-inspired story elements, and there's a full Awakening-themed Tarot deck available.
    • Also a recurring theme for Ascension.
  • Tragic Monster: If there's a Seer-made monster about, odds are he's this (the Myrmdions are Punch Clock Villains forced into becoming minions of the Praetorian Ministry, Grigori are brainwashed ghosts enslaved to an artifact, and Hollow Ones have had their individuality and memories destroyed). Seers are not nice people.
    • Imperial Mysteries reveals Qlippoth, failed archmasters who have had their soul hollowed out and replaced with the lies of the Abyss, effectively turning them into Zimmy. About the only thing archmasters agree on is that killing them is a kindness.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Seers Of The Throne skirt this trope. Anyone who summons or otherwise willingly seeks contact with the Abyss for reasons other then killing it has taken a perfect 10.0 dive into this trope.
  • The Virus: Dark Angel Aphasia (a contagious Aphasia), Blood Worms (think tapeworms spread by vampires which eat magic), Abyssal Spiders (invisible brain stomping Demonic Spiders summoned by abusing Mind Control), the Lethean (a memory eating demon), Ractain Strain when infectious (bizarre ugly humans that carry a bizarre disease when they experience life threatening situations that causes one to be drawn into the Spirit World), Flesh Intruders (Donor Organ rejection taken to the extreme) the Oath Of Ruin (an inbred clan of rednecks or CorruptCorporateExecutives depending on the needs of the game that carry Abyssal genes)... Essentially half of the entries in the Intruders sourcebook.
  • War Is Glorious: Played with. Both the Adamantine Arrow and the Praetorian Ministry encourage people to think so, but only the Adamantine Arrow actually believes it.
  • War Is Hell: The Raison d'etre of the Praetorian Ministry.
  • Weirdness Censor: Paradox, a flaw built into the very structure of the universe that gives explicitly Supernal magic (e.g., throwing fireballs and freezing time) a chance to backfire spectacularly. On top of that, there's Quiescence, which causes any blatantly magical activity observed by Sleepers (e.g., a demonic servitor crafted entirely from the raw stuff of magic) to decay rapidly.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Consciously averted with the Seers of the Throne; the Seers are not the Technocracy, and they're painted as the Bad Guys from square one.
    • Played straight with the Banishers and the more extreme members of the Pentacle.
  • Wild Magic: Night Horrors: The Unbidden details how magic isn't entirely under the control of mages, and at times can even be spontaneous or actively out of control.
  • Wizard Duel: The Duel Arcane, a highly formal method of combat, in which two mages choose Arcana to act as their Sword and Shield, enter a magically created ring, and pit their magical will against one another in the form of elaborate illusions. It is said to be the preferred method of resolving disputes, as it is quick, generally non-life threatening (attacks start off harming willpower before going to actual physical damage, unless the combatents agree to a Duel to the Death, which are rarely permitted) and has no collateral damage.
    • Take note the ring for the Duel Arcane requires a mage with Prime Arcana to create; usually this is a third party nominated by the challenger but sometimes the challenger or rarely the respondent will forge the ring. It's acceptable to reject the challenge if the mage responsible for the ring is accused of not being impartial, no loss of face or honour is incurred and it's generally considered rude to coerce someone into accepting a challenge to duel or to choose a person that is biased to either party.
    • Cooking Duel: The eccentricities of mage society mean that virtually any form of magical (or occasionally non-magical) contest can be used with the same legality as a traditional Duel (although simply throwing magical attacks at one another is considered the least sophisticated of them).
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Theumiel.
  • World Half Empty: The oppressive helplessness of the setting is what appeals to many.
    • Also part of the appeal of the Seers after their Sourcebook came out-they aren't as powerful as the Technocracy was, but they're twelve times as evil-it specifically mentions that their plans for the world require them to make it as oppressive and helpless as possible.
    • It's not so much a case of general helplessness in the setting as it is a setting where it's possible to solve all of the troubles of the world, except for the fact that each act towards fighting for a better world is cripplingly hamstrung by so many complications and problems. It's a given that you can't fight all the troubles at once, since the scale is just too huge. But you have no chance to achieve a permanent victory against any single threat without defeating the other dangers as well.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: Tremere Liches.
  1. which should be more accurately called "The Awakened City"; as a. Atlantis is just a Greek name for it, and b. there is far too much Fan Dumb about the use of the name.