Thread: GURPS M:tA
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Old 02-18-2014, 03:25 AM   #8
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Default Re: GURPS M:tA

Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
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.
I suppose that's what I get for not really following the oWoD closely. There's a lot that they worked into their background that I wouldn't have, and had no idea that they had. I suppose, then, that what I'm really asking about is MWoD, which operates from the assumptions that I probably haven't made clear because I didn't even know that they needed to be.

Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
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.
So, the argument that the people writing MtA were making is that there is a core One True Reality that is singular, but everyone gets it wrong until they have the Secret Knowledge. How disappointing. I prefer the "there is no True Reality other than what you experience" interpretation, where different experience sets interface with each other in interesting and chaotic ways.

Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
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.
I could see that, perhaps, but it leaves out the "sex" and "drugs" parts of the CoX in favor of just the "rock 'n' roll". (Heck, throw in the Enthrallment skills, and you've got something going!) Anyway, I think that I'm starting to get a handle on how to handle the CoX, at least.

The thing is, we are presented, in the basic rule book, with a view of the Traditions that is pretty straightforward (excepting the CoX and Euthanatos): Akashics are Shaolin Monks, Celestials are dedicated to a vision of God, Dreamweavers are Shamans, Etherites are Mad Scientists in the Tesla or Steampunk (though the term wasn't yet current, the idea was) mold, etc. The individual Tradition splatbooks may have altered that basic, straightforward approach, but I don't know that, in most cases, it's really needed or warranted.

Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
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.
I could probably see using Chinese Elemental Powers (though I don't actually have that as yet), and I probably would. It seems to me as though it should be able to model a version of Onmyodo, too, since that system of Japanese magic developed out of the Chinese system, so it wouldn't be limited to just Chinese Mages. But, even without that, I think that Chi Powers, as well as TbaM and Cinematic Skills, would do pretty well toward modeling the Brotherhood.

I should also add that you are using terminology that is unknown to me. Keep in mind that I left WW games behind before they ran out the oWoD clock, so a lot of the later concepts (Disparate?) are unknown to me. I'm supposing that Disparates are factions that are minorities in the Reality game, like the Traditions, but which have not got the alliance thing of the Traditions down?
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