Thread: GURPS M:tA
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:27 PM   #7
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Default Re: GURPS M:tA

Originally Posted by lugaid View Post
OK, that's an interesting view of it. My own understanding is that each Tradition has a vision of how the world "should" work, and they are working to ensure that their own version, as it were, of reality is the one that is accepted by the world at large. Now, being the underdogs, the various Traditions have banded together against the Technocrats in a sometimes uneasy alliance, judging by the sections which list each Tradition's opinions of the other Traditions.
More or less true, save for one thing: over the centuries of their “uneasy alliance”, the Traditions discovered that their different paradigms were remarkably compatible with each other, to the point that once they accepted this truth, cooperative works of magic by memebers of wildly different Traditions became possible, even routine: e.g., an Etherite and a Verbena can work together to craft an effect. Eventually, someone (among the Order of Hermes, I believe) discovered why this was so: for all their differences, every Tradition had at its heart the same core truth — that magic is the manifestation of an innate human capacity to shape reality. It’s so innate to the human condition that even Sleepers do it (albeit subconsciously, and only when large numbers of Sleepers’ efforts align with each other; thus, the Consensus and Consensual Reality).

Each Tradition has its own idea about what this core truth means (the Hermetics describe it as an act of Will; the Choristers see it as a matter of Belief; technomancers see Enlightenment as the key ingredient; and so on — I attempted to model that by patterning each Tradition’s “Power Talent” after what innate human quality that Tradition thinks is at the heart of magic, and thus which one it cultivates); but they all agree that magic is the fundamental human capacity to change the world.

In fact, the central defining feature of the Traditions is their efforts to promote the notion that their diverse views of reality don’t fundamentally conflict, and that reality should be viewed as a synergy of diverse beliefs rather than as a clash of competing realities. This is in direct contrast to the views of the Technocracy and the Disparates, both of whom view the different takes on reality as being fundamentally at odds with each other.

The Technocracy long ago decided that the correct response to this core truth is to promote the dominance of a single paradigm that provides stability for everyone by driving all competing views into extinction, and in that it has largely been successful in its efforts. By contrast, the Disparates are primarily holdovers from before the Ascension War began and seek in vain to return the world to the way it used to be. Their perspective about the conflicting nature of paradigms left them incapable of the cooperation that the Traditions have fostered; and combined with the fact that none of them is large enough to rival the Technocracy, the result is that they’re slowly dying out.

Originally Posted by lugaid View Post
That is to say, there isn't any particular underlying unified reality, but instead there are the individual realities brought along by each Tradition, and Ascension is the process of elevating humanity through the particular apocalyptic (in the original sense) vision of the Tradition. That fragmented view of competing realities seems to be borne out by the existence of the Technocracy, actually, and its near-monopolistic hold on consensus reality.
Actually, the process of Ascension is pretty much the opposite of that: while a starting Traditionist has been told the the common core truth about the nature of reality, it’s initially a “head knowledge” thing: it takes a while for them to truly understand it rather than merely paying lip service to it, and it takes even longer to really grasp its implications. That process of coming to terms with the common truth of the Traditions and the ultimate irrelevance of any one Tradition’s apocalyptic vision is what Ascension is all about.

Originally Posted by lugaid View Post
Which reminds me, I would need to figure out some way of handling the backlash of consensus reality for those Traditions which don't already have that built in to their magic systems. Hm.
Yeah; that’s an example of the danger of not starting from a common system for all of the magic styles: you end up reinventing the wheel repeatedly, assuming that you even remember that the wheel needs to be there.

Originally Posted by lugaid View Post
Anyway, yes, those are the overviews of the CoX and Euthanatos which one can derive from the core rules. Those don't say much of anything about how their magic actually works, though, in a way that would allow those fluff descriptions to be modeled in GURPS.
When I get home, I’ll see if I can find my copies of the Tradition Books; I just moved, and most of my stuff is still packed up. But I don’t see why you couldn’t, for example, use the Bardic Arts (Thaumatology page 204) to model the CoX; it’s as accurate a representation of them as using Machine Telepathy to model the Virtual Adepts. Mind you, neither is a terribly accurate portrayal of the respective Traditions’ views on magic; but that’s true to some extent for most of your proposed models.

For instance, Chinese Elemental Powers is a closer match to the Akashic Brotherhood than your suggestion of Trained By a Master and Cinematic Skills; but I still wouldn’t use it for the Akashic Brotherhood. I might use it for the Wu Lung, a Disparate faction that’s based on Chinese mysticism: using a magic system for them that’s largely incompatible with everyone else’s magic systems would certainly capture their Disparate nature.
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