Secrets of Detroit
Paths of Awakening
Awakening is not the same for everyone. It is almost never the same for any two mages. Yet, there is one constant, one thing that is common. Everyone awakes in one of the five Supernal realms and everyone ends up in one of the five Watchtowers. This is the most important step for any mage, and writing one’s name into a Watchtower, binding your soul to it, shapes how you pull down the realm Supernal into the Fallen world. Also, while these may sound like “classes” or choices, there is nothing resembling a choice in this for the Mage. It is something thrust upon them, sometimes unwillingly and the tension between the Mage’s personality and the Path chosen for them can be a great source of drama, the best example being Necromancers who find death and manipulating it distasteful and dirty.
Enchanters of the path of Thistle,
Scions of the Watchtower of the Lunargent Thorn in the Realm of Arcadia, Kingdom of Enchantment and Abode of the Fae
Many mages see something fey or otherworldly about the Acanthus, and the Enchanters themselves are hardly in any position to deny it. Maturity and stability are not the strengths of those on the Path of Thistle. They are visionaries with extraordinary insights into
events both past and future, but they may not always make as much of their insights as
Acanthus are drawn to crowds, but they seem destined to be stuck on the edges of any crowd they hang with, always “the new guy” no matter how long they’ve been with a group. Their charming ways often make great first impressions, but charm goes only so far, especially once the going gets rough and the Acanthus expects others to pick up his slack.
The Acanthus Path most commonly opens up to those who are young and inexperienced or to those who cast off a former life in favor of a new beginning or strange horizons. It favors those who rely on illusion, glamour, luck or benign trickery to make their way, and to those who are completely lost in the world due to temperament or circumstance. Students, orphans, gamblers, stage magicians, artists, con artists, models, actors, musicians, schizophrenics, “escorts” and vagrants are all susceptible to Arcadia’s touch.
The Enchanters are strongest when manipulating Time and Fate, the Arcana connected most deeply to Arcadia, and they tend to favor Subtle Arcanum more than their Gross counterparts. Their preference for the subtleties of magic and the distance of Arcadia from the realm Aether leads to the Arcanum of Forces being very hard to master.
Warlocks on the Path of Scourging,
Scions of the Watchtower of the Iron Gauntlet in the Realm of Pandemonium, Kingdom of Nightmares and Abode of Demons
Those Awakening to the alluring nightmare of the Path of Scourging are fated to be among the least trusted mages in existence. Their connection to the Kingdom of Nightmares bestows upon them a creeping, seductive urge toward manipulation and subversion. Despite the constant temptation they experience, however, they remain in full control of how they express that urge.
While many Mastigos grow into their bad reputation over time, many take pains to use their
extraordinary talents in ways that ultimately serve the common good. Some see themselves as serving a Darwinian role. By honing in on others’ flaws, they prod people to be more selfaware
of their weaknesses and so work to shore them up. Although this seems rather ignoble to some, many Awakened judge things more on their evolutionary results rather than on a merely ethical basis. When the end goal is ascension to the Supernal World, one’s weaknesses can prove to be fatal. It’s better to have a friend in the role of catechist than an enemy.
Mastigos acknowledge none but themselves as masters. They eschew any code of behavior that they did not establish for themselves. In some cases, this results in hyper-strict codes of conduct that one would expect more from an ascetic monk than from a Warlock, but others on the Path of Scourging use their particular brand of nihilism as an excuse to indulge in any behavior that feels good — regardless of the consequences to themselves or others. Many associate them with the tarot card of “The Devil,” a powerful will unfettered by moral concerns. Magically, the hallmark of the Mastigos is subtlety. Their magic is rarely flashy or blatant, and many on this Path are acutely uncomfortable using any kind of obvious magic.
The Warlock Awakening falls most commonly on those who are devout individualists. They make their own way regardless of what others may say about them. They are often rebels, innovators, egotists and some seem to be inherently prone to deception, seduction or manipulation to get what they want. Many on the Path of Scourging began as lawyers, seducers, inventors, porn stars, liars, iconoclasts, sociopaths, mental-health professionals, writers, televangelists and con men.
The realm of Aether is the realm of the Arcana of Space and Mind, and these subtle manipulations of both people and the Fallen World come easily to the Warlocks. The Gross Arcanum of Matter is almost impossible for them to master, though.
Necromancers on the Path of Doom,
Scions of the Watchtower of the Lead Coin in the Realm of Stygia, Kingdom of Crypts and Abode of Shades
Many on the Path of Doom Awaken after a near-death experience, with the violence of their close call and their brief trip to the lands of the dead opening their eyes to the existence of magic. These mages often describe their Awakening as hearing the noise of the world die away and being wrapped in a shroud of tranquility. It is this shroud that allows them to maintain their composure once they gain the capacity to hear the shrieks and pleas of the restless dead. More than anything else, the Moros Path is concerned with transition and transformation. Its magics focus on the transformative edge where life becomes death, lead becomes gold and ignorance blossoms into understanding. Necromancers are fascinated by the edges of objects, places and states of being, where shore becomes sea, where coal becomes diamond and where the land of the living segues into the land of the dead.
Necromancers are often hypersensitive to the brevity of life and understand just how little time they have to gain the transformative secrets they crave. They often become obsessive about their studies, sleeping only a few hours each night to leave enough time for their research. Moros mages who have mastered the basic arts of alchemy are free from the quotidian financial worries that plague some other mages, as they can create fortunes in gold and gems with only a modicum of effort.
In one way or another, mages Awakening to the Path of Doom have an uncommon connection to death or the dead. It is not unusual for soldiers, doctors, morticians and serial killers to Awaken on the Path of Doom. Alternatively, this Path also calls out to the greedy, including bankers, industrialists and well-connected plutocrats.
The ruling Arcana of Stygia are Death and Matter, while the communication with and the manipulation of Spirit is very hard for the Necromancers.
Theurgists on the Path of the Mighty,
Scions of the Watchtower of the Golden Key in the Realm of the Aether, Kingdom of the Celestial Spheres and Abode of Angels
Mages who Awaken with a connection to the Kingdom of the Celestial Spheres often recall their Awakening as being struck by divine lightning and becoming the thunder. With no warning and no
clear understanding of why, they are overcome with the absolute certainty that they are the champions of the Divine — though how they define “the Divine” seems to vary drastically. Some feel the Divine to be a patriarchal god of judgment. Others sense the Divine as a manifestation of immanent Nature, while still others feel it to be an ongoing sentient process of self-aware coincidence. Whatever they feel the Divine to be — and many take years trying to discern just what force it is they serve — the Mighty all agree that they were Awakened to serve as Its warriors. Ultimately, no particular faith unites mages on the Path of the Mighty. It is their shared conviction in doing the right thing, fighting the good fight and making the will of the Divine manifest on Earth (and elsewhere). Obrimos are committed to doing what they see as just and right for the greater good. As they see it, the world has lost its way, and they have been charged with putting it back on track — by any means necessary.
This sense of divine right gives the Obrimos a confidence that is hard to shake. They suffer from self-doubt less than most others and frequently suffer from a rather ironic case of hubris. An Obrimos mage is aware that the world is made of energy and magic, and he’s been given the right to wield it. Lacking any direct communiqué from a divine being, many come to the conclusion that their own wills are the divine will. What they say goes, even if it conflicts
with what another mage says — even another Obrimos.
The only common denominator that joins mages on the Obrimos Path is a deep familiarity with conflict. Those who become Obrimos are fighters and survivors, well acquainted with struggle.
The presence or depth of their religious beliefs prior to Awakening appears to have no bearing on their Awakening at all. An atheist is just as likely to Awaken on this Path as is a rabbi or other devout individual. This can be especially confusing to those with a dogmatic (or nonexistent) concept of the Divine, and some Obrimos spend many years trying to come to terms with their new roles in the world.
The ruling Arcana of Aether are both about the manipulation of energies – Forces and Prime, for manipulating both the Fallen energies and the Prime energies of magic and the Supernal. They are the weakest when dealing with Death.
Shamans on the Path of Ecstasy,
Scions of the Watchtower of the Stone Book in the Realm of the Primal Wild, Kingdom of Totems and Abode of Beasts
Mages who Awaken with a link to the Realm of the Primal Wild tap directly into the primordial forces of vitality that drive creation. Their hearts beat with the pulse of the world, and they are moved by a passion and vigor that sets them apart from their Awakened peers.
Many Thyrsus are already in unusually good health when they Awaken, while others are sick or injured and Awaken in the course of their fevered dreams. Once they gain sufficient mastery of the Life Arcanum, many reach a level of physical fitness and sheer hardiness that few besides
Olympic-level athletes could ever hope to attain. Many of the most physically powerful of the Awakened travel the Thyrsus Path. Shamans’ connection to the Realm of the Primal Wild is not entirely beneficial. It often gives them an intensity that others find disturbing. Upon Awakening, Thyrsus gain insights into the mysteries of life and the spirit world that almost invariably shift the focus of their lives to a drastic degree. They may come across as somewhat distracted or impatient with those who possess less vitality and drive than they. Some may seem antisocial or vaguely feral. Emphasizing this is the fact that mages on the Thyrsus Path commonly have more energy than their peers, and they invest vast wellsprings of passion into everything they do. Those they love, they love with an incandescent passion. Those they hate, they despise with a terrifying intensity. They pursue their goals with a fervor that would lay low lesser mortals (or mages, for that matter), and others sometimes see them as obsessed because of it. In the grip of their passions, Thyrsus may seem positively amoral, like forces of nature in their own right, more akin to animals or spirits in human guise than mortal men and women. They may seem callous or crude at times, discussing matters of life and death almost flippantly, but then that’s hard to avoid given their perspective. Life and death follow each other in an eternal cycle. Calling one “good” and the other “bad” is ludicrous to these amoral mages.
Few mages Awaken to the Thyrsus Path who do not already possess a strong connection to life and/or the spiritual world. They are often those who are intimately familiar with the pulse of nature’s cycles. Doctors, hunters, midwives, farmers and sailors may Awaken when their professions grant them insights into the world of spirits or the flow of life force. Children who Awaken become Thyrsus in disproportionate numbers, but even adults on this Path often possess a degree of childlike enthusiasm and innocence that seems out of place in those capable of bending reality to their wishes.
The ruling Arcana of the Primal Wild are Life and Spirit, while Mind is not a powerful influence for the Shamans