Strengths: Mages have an ability to sense magic, though it is mild. They can tell if magic has been cast in an area or on an object, or if the level of magic in an area is rising or falling. Detecting the caster or type of magic is not always possible, however, especially in crowded places. Additionally, Mages can choose to either have a familiar at the start, or be able to cast Arcane Magic. They may buy the ability they do not take with XP at a later time.
Familiar: A familiar is a small, domesticated animal that is typically found in the city. At this time, allowed familiars are: housecats, rats, mice, turtles, ferrets, frogs, snakes, lizards, common birds, owls, or dogs. The mage can shift their consciousness into the familiar, and control the animal from a distance, seeing out of its eyes, and hearing out of its ears. They can speak in whatever languages the mage knows. However, while this consciousness transfer is taking place, the mage's real body is limp, inert, and vulnerable. The mage must touch the animal to transfer consciousness, but may withdraw their consciousness at any time. A mage may only have one familiar at a time. They have a "bond" to the animal as well, knowing both the relative level of health, distance, and emotional state of the animal at all times. Mages can not cast magic whilst in their familiars but CAN use their subrace power, except for the Justice. Whatever level of Schildar is active on the Justice mage will be active on the Familiar upon consciousness transfer. Mages are especially vulnerable to casted magics cast both on the familiar and the mage during consciousness transfer. (Suggested by Malthris Resident)
Arcane Magic: With the help of Merlin, Mages have been able to reconnect with their ancestors at a more fundamental level. The release of Arcane magic finally took the nightmares that the Mages had previously experienced, and turned that suppressed energy into something more. Once per day, the mage can channel the energy of one of their mage ancestors, and instantly cast a level one magic spell of a magic they do not know, as long as it is not a restricted or racial magic. However, this disrupts their own magic, and it will be one hour before they can cast their own magic again.
Weaknesses: Magic is not innate to mages, but must be learned through study and mentoring. Even Arcane magic, the use of it, must be studied. Mages are essentially human, except for having magic and a slightly lengthened lifespan, and are succeptible to all human frailties such as disease and injury. Their blood is also highly magical, and can be used as a reagent in many spells to increase the power or duration. Because of this, many Mages hide their identity, so that people will believe them human, and protected by law like humans. Mages can be repulsed or given severe allergic reactions, by the use of fresh hemlock - rare on Juniper. Can only wear cloth armor. (Just kidding on that last one.)
Lifespan: 150-250 years.
Race Leaders: On Earth, the Mages were once ruled by the mysterious Council of Thebes, a group of Archmages, who elected a leader amongst themselves. The Council of Thebes pulled members from each of the bloodlines of the Mages, known as Arcana, who all jockeyed for better positions for their extended families within the mage hierarchy. One of the best ways of gaining those positions was by establishing and controlling local Covens, which tended to be dedicated to one or two causes, such as the education of young mages, research of a particular magical resource, or protection of an important asset.
After leaving Earth, the fate of much of the Council of Thebes is unknown. However, Merlin, or an entity claiming to be Merlin, recently contacted by the old Convergence mages, is believed to have made his way to Juniper, and may occasionally step in if needed to resolve problems within the mage race.
Mages now tend to study magic independently, in one of several groups formulated for such a thing, such as the Traverser Grey Hats, or merely magic study groups within the city. A few mages, clinging to the ways of the past, may create small covens, usually of their own bloodline, magekin, and familiars. If you wish to create such a coven, please consult a Storyteller.
Background: Mages, despite having existed throughout human history, have often been sought after by the rich and the powerful. There have always been sorcerers and alchemists, oracles and prophets at the sides of kings and generals. They amassed great wealth and power, and used both their influence and their power to shape human history.
Unfortunately, in most Earth timelines, the Mages made one critical mistake that would change the course of their own history so dramatically that even today a great many of them refuse to speak of the issue. And that is this: Fearing the rise of the power of the vampires, fae, and other supernaturals via the myriad temples of Rome, they attempted to bring Rome under the sway of a monotheistic religion later to be known as Christianity. (In fact, the mages are the source of the "burning cross in the sky" seen by Constantine, interpreted as a divine sign to switch to Christianity.) The mages thought that it would be a small matter, one promoted by the current leader of their order, the Delphic Sibyl, who foresaw the destruction of much of the mages' competition via the influence of the Church. What she failed to see, however, is that while their competition was burning at the stake, so were the mages.
The Inquisition and subsequent Burning Times remain a terrible and constant lesson to that mages. Mage powers are passed through the blood, though it can skip several generations. And all mages have some ability to glean magical insight from a connection to their ancestors. This insight often presents in their dreams. To this day, mages still report occasional nightmares of burning and torture which linger on, passed down from their ancestors from the Inquisition and the Burning Times. Dreams and cryptic visions from their ancestors are an important source of information to mages, but only one Arcana, the Fortuna, is known to regularly see the future.
Considering the horrors they underwent, it is no wonder that the mages -- once quite visible beside kings and queens, went drastically underground. Many of them obscured themselves within now-legendary secret societies, whilst others hid their knowledges within the rituals of cults and minor religions.
It is believed that at her St. John's Eve rites of 1874, voodoo queen Marie Laveau, a mage of considerable power, attempted to seal off the damaged section of the mage collective unconscious during a massive ritual involving a sanctified bonfire and twelve thousand onlookers. She failed, prevented by unknown forces, but the ritual left a massive rift in the fabric of magical reality. This rift, later widened by Aleister Crowley's early attempts to invoke Choronzon, brought a new age of Spiritualism and a re-birth of mage prowess during the late Victorian/Edwardian era. Mages tend to have lifespans of approximately 150-250 years, so many mages currently living would remember those times, or would have been instructed by mages from those times. In modern times, London became a stronghold of the mages, who used popular culture such as "Harry Potter" to awaken many dormant mage bloodlines. Although a mage may be a mage, their powers /never/ come naturally, and must be learned through study or mentoring.
Mages tend to chart their family histories very carefully. This is because, for a long time, mage-mage pairings were always sterile, however humans and mages could produce mage children. Since the move to Juniper, it has been noticed that two mages can give birth to a mage, though not always. It is still believed that mage-human pairings have a better chance of giving birth to a mage, and for this reason, and because the magekin (human relatives of the mages) are often incredible scholars of Occult lore, the magekin tend to be quite vigoriously protected by mages.
Mages tend to pride themselves on mystery and secrecy, as well as on their ancestry. Due to the events of the Burning Times, they also tend to be paranoid and prone to over-preparing for disaster. No particular Arcana is completely "good" or "evil". They have a long history of interaction with the Fae, and there is some speculation that the first mages learned from the Fae or perhaps the Fomorii, or both.
Notable Mages and Historical Mage Groups include:
The Delphic Sybil
Merlin the Timeless
The Black Hand Inquisitors
The Red Cabal
The major families of mages are known as the Arcana, and each has their own speciality. Mages must choose their Arcana and then get an additional two casted magics to begin the game. Bloodlines do not always beget the same Arcana, though it is typical and common for them to do so. So a family of one Arcana may have a black sheep of another Arcana. It is only the potential to BE a mage which is passed through the bloodline.
.:The Nineteen (XIX):.
One of the most powerful of the Arcana, "The Nineteen" has nothing to do with how many members this Arcana has. Rather, it is a reference to the nineteenth card of the tarot major arcana, The Sun. Often denoted as "XIX", members of the Nineteen believe that the learning of magic brings not only personal enlightenment, but exists to reign above those without powers, either in benevolence...or, should they not submit to being ruled, then by whatever means necessary. The Nineteen are often charismatic and persuasive, and they range from royal sages to the leaders of cults.
The Nineteen have the ability to convince a person that almost any fact is true, though the more preposterous and complicated the lie, the more time and magical energy they need to put into that innate spell. They can not use it to convince a person to DO anything. They can use it to convince a person to believe they have done something they have not, and it can be used to change opinion. Correct examples of use include, "Bob is an adulterer" or "This rain is blood" or "I was never here." This ability works primarily while the person is in the Nineteen's presence, though they will likely continue believing it outside of that presence if they are not given weighty evidence to the contrary. Although the Nineteen must speak the thing they wish the person to believe, the source of that information is immediately forgotten once they are out of the Nineteen's presence.
.:The Hermitage (IX):.
Mages of the Hermitage are not so much a bloodline as birds of a feather, since Hermits do not tend to find mates, their bloodline seeming to more be an anomaly within other bloodlines that crops up on occasion. They are loners among the Mages, those who have chosen to go it alone. Hermits are some of the most mysterious and enigmatic of Mages, often only revealing themselves to those they deem "worthy". Others perceive them as speaking in riddles, though it is postulated that Hermits are speaking perfectly normally, they are just so estranged from society that what is normal to them is not normal to others. Above all, Hermits are known as guides, leading those led astray back to their proper paths. A preponderance of Hermitage mages being born to a particular bloodline rather than the dominant Arcana generally means that Arcana is in danger of dying out. Although long shunned in mage society, Hermitage mages are now highly sought after due to the diseases and mental trauma of the age, and there is a re-evalulation of belief that perhaps Hermitage mages in a bloodline do not mean it is dying so much as evolving to a higher order.
Hermits have Clarity of Mind, which means they can dispel insanity or confusion, natural or magical, from any person they touch. Clarity is easy to perform through touch as long as they are touching, but can also be casted. This casted Clarity has a duration, however, and the more magical energy put into the spell, the longer it lasts. This also means that Hermits infected with mental illness often do not show symptoms, and thus, some Hermits are batshit insane without seeming batshit insane.
If ever there were such a thing as "good witches", they would likely belong to L'Etoile, The Star. Most recently known as Hippies, the Mages of L'Etoile range from simple naturalists, wandering the woods nude and communing with nature, all the way to somewhat notorious hedonists known for deviant, even cruel sex magic and an affinity for drugs. At one end of the spectrum, L'Etoile want to enjoy the bounty of the world, and at the other end...they want to control it via the use of addictive bliss.
L'Etoile's Mages can bring pleasure with a touch. More than that, if they touch an object, they can make that object bring immense pleasure to the next person who touches it. The downside of this? The more they use this power, the less they can feel physical pleasure...themselves. The downside is not normally cumulative, but will "heal" in time, though in some extreme cases, it has been known to be cumulative and permanent.
.:The Hanged Men(XII):.
It is almost universally accepted amongst Mages that there are is no more reviled Arcana than the Hanged Men. At least, none which is still considered still existing. Once, this was said to be a tossup between several Arcana, but an ancient merger of the Arcana of Death and the Hanged Men has left the Hanged Men with the sole claim to fame. The Hanged Men are Mages who have taken the lessons of the Burning Times and now use pain and suffering to power their own magic. This suffering may be their own, such as self-flogging, or the suffering of others. They have such a natural affinity for causing pain that they once usurped the Justice as hounds and watchdogs of the Council of Thebes.
Not only can they use pain to fuel their magic, allowing them to cast for longer should those around them be suffering, they can also use their power to temporarily cut off their own ability to sense pain. They will still be injured, but they won't feel it until their innate spell wears off.
Mages often forget about Temperance, likely the oldest of the Arcana. Steeped in the mysticism of the shaman and the tribal healer, the mages of Temperance heal the spirit and the physical, whereas the Hermits heal the mind. The healing powers of Temperance often bring them fame, and, at the same time, exhaustion. Hounded by the sick, Temperance Mages often learn early to be subtle about their powers. Not all of it is magical, though. Through the generations, Temperance Mages have passed down arcane secrets of herbal medicine. They have been at the forefront of the race to cure many diseases. Temperance Mages can go too far, however. It's Temperance which first discovered Necromancy, or so some legends say. The healing abilities of Temperance have infused their very bodies.
They, themselves, heal very rapidly and can even regenerate an entire lost limb within a few days time. Even without Healing magic, they can turn their natural healing abilities outwards to heal other mages, but only other mages, though it will leave them without the ability to heal themselves for several hours to several weeks, depending on how much energy they expend. Temperance mages spend half as much energy when utilizing Healing Magic, and may, thus, cast it more times than a normal magus.
.:The Papessa (II):.
Members of the Papessa (so named for the High Priestess card that inspires them) often go unseen by the other Arcana, though unlike the Hermitage, it's not because they are reclusive. Instead, it is that their dedication to a singular obsession keeps them from being as social as most. The Papessa are dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, all knowledge, rather than specifically magic. Throughout history, they have worked closely with humans, taking on roles as teachers, mentors, inventors and philosophers. They encourage humans to develop their own intellectual potential whilst at the same time growing their own personal libraries. While it is believed that most of the Papessa do this for beneficent reasons, it is theorized that other Papessa wish to fuse science and magic, which if done, would make them the most powerful of all Arcana and the new ruling class of mages. There is always a suspicion that the Papessa elite are close to mastering incredible and forbidden magics, though none of them would ever admit to the fact. They are indeed, one of the most secretive of Arcana, and their libraries are rarely shared. Papessa have a tendency to get "lost" in their research, an an intellectual project, puzzle, or task has been known to so consume one's attention that they have fallen ill due to thirst, starvation, or exhaustion.
Because of their dedication to knowledge, the Papessa may remotely utilize their libraries to find information on almost any subject. They may do so from afar by the utilization of a rune on their skin, which is connected to a rune inside the library, allowing them to project a physical hologram of themselves into their library to look things up. This requires their total concentration. In addition, the Papessa may "loan" any single knowledge-based skill to a person for the duration of a scene. So, for instance, they could loan their knowledge of physics at journeyman to someone, allowing them to do complex physics calculations. They must touch the person to use this skill, and may only do one skill at a time. The person loses the knowledge when the scene is done. Almost all Papessa have an Eidetic Memory, and they may utilize this for free.
.:The Justice (XI) aka Battlemages:.
Once considered to be nearly extinct, the Order of Hermetic Justice have their roots as the mages who accompanied great kings into battle, increasing the abilities of their forces from afar. However, when the Burning Times came, the Order changed. No longer were there kings to assist. Instead, they worked in increasing their own martial prowess, and blending it seamlessly with their magic. Eventually, they sought out the Cu Chulainn of Avalon to learn the secrets of the great magical fae weapons. Although they were not able to reproduce those, the Justice were able to develop the Schildar. My sacrificing one of their magics permanently into the ink used to create the Schildar, which takes the form of a tattoo, they instead get a significant boost to strength, speed, or resilience. The Schildar allows accomplished Justice mages to go toe to toe in battle with such infamous creatures as vampires and shifters. During the Victorian Era, the Justice re-formed as the Order of Hermetic Justice under the auspices of the Council of Thebes who in return for an oath of loyalty installed them as the law enforcement arm of the mages as a whole. They were extremely loyal both to the Council and to any Coven they joined. However, now, on Juniper, they must find new causes to be loyal to, and many have taken up with factions that show respect for that loyalty, often in the form of credits.
For each level of the Schildar, the Justice picks one of the three traits, Strength, Speed, or Resilience/Endurance to significantly increase, though they may choose each only once. (For instance, you could take Speed first, then Strength, then Resilience/Endurance). For comparison, the Schildar promotes them to being /almost/ as fast as a normal vampire, /almost/ as strong as a shifter, and so forth. Buying levels of the Schildar costs the same as buying a magic and is a casted magic. Only one level of the Schildar may be active at a time, but may be applied at the beginning of the day. If you have the Schildar active before entering a scene, noting what trait you have active in your titler is requested. To change traits mid-scene, the Schildar must be re-cast. Like illusion, you do not have to do the RP for this every time, just simply note in your titler which trait is currently cast.) The Schildar counts as a casted magic for the purposes of total casted magics.
.:The Onmyoji (I):.
It might be strange to think that of the mages, the Arcana of "The Magician" seemed, for a long time, to be under-represented. By the onset of the 20th century Earth time, this Arcana was gone, rumor having said that they had died out long ago. This was patently untrue. The Onmyoji did not die out. They were suppressed. And not by some malicious entity, but by their own hand. Long ago, the bloodline of the Onmyoji appeared in Asia, concentrated mostly in India, Korea, Thailand, China, and quite heavily in Japan. It is from Japan that they take their standard name, mostly because that is the place where they rose to the most power and became the most organized. They became standards at the Imperial Court, and within noble families, trusted advisors who conducted unseen magical wars to assist their patrons (and themselves) to grow in power. However, with the age of the industrial revolution approaching science became at odds with "superstition". The Onmyoji began to worry that they might become the victims of purges similar to those of their European brethren ages earlier, with the Inquisition. As such, they had their bloodline sealed. It was rendered dormant and undetectable in their children, and their children's children. Many believe that this was a power beyond what the Onmyoji themselves could achieve, and that they, in the end, had to get help from a more powerful race or entity to complete the sealing. What was traded to that entity in return for this favor...nobody knows. However, recently, the Onmyoji bloodlines have begun to re-awaken...and with a vengeance. After becoming connected to their past as all mages are, they sought out the local Covens, in order to train and reconnect. Many of them report dreaming of a strange and distant land, with magical features and peoples, one that matches no known Earthly realm. The Onmyoji are best known for enslaving the Yokai to do their bidding, through the use of Calligramancy, and a spell known as "Taming the Fifth Element" (not related to the movie of the same name). This spell has, unfortunately, been lost to time....for now. But, as this was a source of immense power for them, it's certain they'll be trying to recover it as they venture forth on Juniper.
The Onmyoji are powerful, but also limited. Because of the Imperial laws surrounding their lives in the past, they developed only certain magics, Calligramancy, and Onmyodo. Onmyodo is a combined Elemental magic. It allows you to manipulate all four elements, Water, Wind, Fire and Earth, instead of learning each individually. However, only two of these may be used in any one spell. An Onmyoji can start with either Full Onmyodo (four elements). Or they can start with Calligramancy and Half Onmyodo (two elements), though they must specify which two elements upon taking. Full Onmyodo costs 12 xp for level 2, and 24 xp for level 3. Half Onmyodo costs 10xp for level 2, and 20xp for level 3. They may learn other magics over time at the usual rates. They can not start with any other magics or magic combinations. Note also that the Onmyoji are just awakening, and should take into consideration that they are probably still learning their magics. Onmyoji can forego Calligramancy and Onmyodo at the start and take two other magics, but get Onmyodo and Calligramancy later.
.:Fortuna (X):.(This Arcana is restricted and closed.)
Oh, Fortuna. The Mages of Fate are rare, and many Mages believe that this Arcana has been cursed since the days of the Dephic Sybil. They are an elusive group and little has been written on them in the annals of history.
The meekest of Fortuna's children have minor oracular and divination abilities. Those who have grown the most powerful? They have the ability not only to see the future, but to know which threads to pull to change Fate's course.