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A Twist of Will...

xxxxxThe Traditions have seen much in their 500-year history. Nothing could have prepared them for the reality of the present. The dawn of the twenty-first century brought with it a wave of terror and defeat at the hands of not just the Technocracy but also of enemies never before realized and or even expected. It brought defeat at the hands of enemies within their own halls.
xxxxxDoissetep destroyed itself, killing almost all of its members and many Masters, including the great and venerable Porthos Fitz-Empress. A being claiming to be Heylel Teomin laid siege to Concordia in Horizon with an army of Hollow Ones and Orphans, burning much of the Great Library and destroying all semblance of order in that Realm. The Digital Web rebooted itself, erasing almost all of the battle lines, which had been drawn over the past decades. Three thousand people, magi and sleepers alike, were killed in this random reboot, and the Digital Web was left a virgin, unformatted place.
xxxxxBattles were waged in the Umbra, in the Void, in Cyberspace, and in the Shadowlands. The sages and seers of both sides saw an oncoming Storm rising, one which would forever sever the spirit world from the world of Man. Fearing the Paradox inherent in their very existence, the Masters fled to the depths of the Umbra, leaving their young allies to fend for themselves, waiting for the storm to pass, even if it did come.
xxxxxThe Storm did come. Spirit passage became difficult. Communications and travel ceased. Soon, the Earth had no contact with its Elders and the War seemed to stop momentarily, as everyone tried to determine what to do next. The storm never stopped and the War lost all direction, as it became clear that they were fighting for something that no longer existed.
xxxxxSheltering Sky is a place of learning and sanctuary. It is either the grave of an idea or its seed.

xxxxxMorality has no bearing on the power of magick. Once you understand how to make something and have the will to cause it to happen, why you are doing it has no meaning. This has its advantages for a mage, but it also has a draw back. One of the the themes of Sheltering Sky is the terrible danger of apathy. Apathy means that you avoid that which is dangerous or difficult; that you retreat in the face of hostility or intransigence; that you see to your own private desires to the exclusion of the bigger picture. Apathy causes atrophy of the will; it causes the shrinking of perspective. When you stop caring, the world shrinks to your immediate vicinity.

xxxxxOnce you have the power, each mage must answer for himself or herself: "What shall I do with this power?" Hubris lies at one of end of the spectrum of answers; selfishness lies at the other. You cannot remain as you were before you were Awakened; being a wizard is not a job or even a career; it is a transformation.

xxxxxThere have been mages for most of humanity's existence. Through tragedy and vision, ancient traditions have been created and handed down from one generation to the next. There are those who fight against these traditions and there are those who fight to uphold them. Before a mage can choose how he or she wants to relate to these traditions, he or she must learn what they are.

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Akashic Brotherhood: (1) OPEN
Celestial Chorus: (1) OPEN
Cult of Ecstasy: (1) OPEN
Dreamspeaker: (0) OPEN
Euthanatos: (3) OPEN
Hollow Ones: (0) OPEN
Order of Hermes: (2) OPEN
Orphan: (0) CLOSED
Sons of Ether: (3) OPEN
Verbena: (2) OPEN
Virtual Adepts: (1) OPEN
Iteration X: (2) OPEN
New World Order: (0) OPEN
Progenitors: (0) OPEN
Syndicate: (1) OPEN
Void Engineers: (0) OPEN

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Nephandi Notes
We will be using the infernalist rules from the Book of Madness Revised. However, there will be no "soul shearing" by your demonic masters. To remind you of what that is, it is what happens in the book eventually to all Invested mages. After arete+avatar years, no matter how many investments your mage has, your Patron starts taking one point of avatar per year, and the one point of arete until both reach zero, at which point you are incapable of using true magick. I have several reasons for this ruling.

1. It is beyond the scope of the MUSH. Metro 1.0 went eight years and Metro 2.0 when seven years, which would be ten years IC time. The chance of a character lasting for that length of time is miniscule

2. It seems to me foolish for a Patron to destroy a servitor who can do true magick for no benefit whatsoever. Patrons have different motivations, and there may be one or two that would find the ability to manipulate the fabric of reality unnecessary, but they are cracked in the head. A Nephandi/barabbi servitor means power for the Patron.

3. It goes against established White Wolf precedents (imagine that!). I can name three Nephandi from White Wolf canon off the top of my head (Lo Pan, Jody Blake, and Ibn Fariq) who have served their dark masters with True Magick for centuries. Using the "soul shearing" effect in the book, the maximum length of time a mage can still do true magick after an investment is 30 years.

In other words, this rule is not an actual well-thought out rule but something White Wolf slapped in there to reinforce kindergarten-level concepts of Evil and Badness (tm). They do that.

You will have only one pact at start, unless you are a feature Nephandus.

In addition, you can only have as many soul points in a pact (only when you start) equal to a fraction of your soul points discovered by 1/Avatar Rating. Thus, if you have an Avatar rating of 3, you can have two pacts when you start, and you can only have up to 1/3 of your soul points in any one pact. This is only to /start/.

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Staff: Heron

Make contact with Heron if you have interest in being an RP Admin

Approved Books
Core Book WW 4600
Storyteller's Handbook WW 4604
Guide to the Technocracy WW 4014
Blood Treachery WW 4046
Book of Madness: Revised WW 4602
Conventionbook - Iteration X: Revised WW 4035
Conventionbook - NWO: Revised
Conventionbook - Progenitor: Revised
Dead Magic WW 4045
Dead Magic II - Secrets and Survivors WW 4048
Dragons of the East WW 4047
Guide to the Traditions WW 4603
Lost Paths - Ahl-i-Batini and Taftani WW 4030
Storyteller's Companion WW 4601
The Bitter Road WW 4044
The Infinite Tapestry WW 4632
Tradbook - Hollow Ones WW 4666
Tradbook Akashic Brotherhood: Revised WW 4657
Tradbook Celestial Chorus: Revised WW 4665
Tradbook Cult of Esctacy: Revised WW 4661
Tradbook Dreamspeakers: Revised WW 4662
Tradbook Euthanatos: Revised WW 4663
Tradbook Order of Hermes: Revised WW 4664
Tradbook Sons of Ether: Revised WW 4658
Tradbook Verbena: Revised WW 4659
Tradbook Virtual Adepts: Revised WW 4660

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Charter of the Chantry of Redemption’s Brilliance
I. These shall be the purposes of this chantry

xxxxx* Its First Purpose shall be to preserve the node and history of the Mission of Our Lady of Redemption, so that its lessons and power be of use to the mages of the Council of Nine Mystick Traditions and its allies.
xxxxx* Its Second Purpose shall be to maintain the imprisonment of the nameless fallen mage imprisoned on its grounds, so that he never walks the earth again.
xxxxx* Its Third Purpose is to provide advanced training for mages who have completed the apprenticeship of their respective traditions.

II. The membership of the Chantry of Redemption’s Brilliance shall consist of mages, consors, and acolytes who fulfill the following conditions.
xxxxx* Mages who are named to the Faculty Cabal by the Council of Nine Mystick Traditions shall be members of the chantry.
xxxxx* Mages who apply and are accepted to the body of the chantry shall be members of the chantry. Only the Council of Nine Mystick Traditions or the Ruling Bodies of the nine recognized traditions can accept these applicants; the Faculty Cabal must accept all applicants approved by these bodies.
xxxxx* Consors of the Faculty Cabal and consors of members of the body of mages if approved by the Faculty Cabal shall be members of the chantry.
xxxxx* Acolytes pledged to the Chantry of Redemption’s Brilliance shall be members of the chantry.

III. The Faculty Cabal of the Chantry of Redemption’s Brilliance has right of rule over the chantry house and the mundane city of Pokoh’s Peak. In this domain, their word is law.
xxxxx* All members of the Faculty Cabal are approved by a vote of the Council of Nine Mystick Traditions and derive their authority from this body.
xxxxx* A member of the student body may appeal the command of one of the Faculty Cabal to another member of the Faculty Cabal.
xxxxx* A vote of two-thirds of the Faculty Cabal may expel a member of the body from the chantry; this must be reported to the Council of Nine Mystick Traditions within thirty days.
xxxxx* Members of the Faculty Cabal serve until they die, renounce their position, or are removed by the Council of Nine Mystick Traditions.

IV. These are the Laws of the Chantry of Redemption's Brilliance.
xxxxx* The chantry respects the Protocols of the Council of Nine Mystick Traditions.
xxxxx* The chantry respects the ancient tradition of Certamen. Certamen may not be declared against a member of the Faculty Cabal without the approval of a majority of other members of the Faculty Cabal. Certamen between members of the Faculty Cabal is prohibited.

V. The Charter can be amended only by the Council of Nine Mystick Traditions.

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Mage's Mission Statement
xxxxxWe tell stories of the World of Darkness. This should go without saying, but it does not. Stories on a MUSH are cooperative between player and story-teller. This means that as a staffer, I am supposed to be sensitive to the types of stories that you want to participate in, but it also means that I am constrained by the milieu in which these stories are told. Some stories belong in this setting and some do not. I should try to tell stories that are enjoyable to participate in, but I am also going to tell stories within the proper context. In the World of Darkness there is no guarantee that the good guys win or that they even survive. It is easier to be selfish; it is easier to be apathetic. This is what makes the World of Darkness dark: it takes effort and pain to shine a light upon it. In practical terms, I must never penalize people simply for being selfish or apathetic, and I should never give players a break because they've decided to act as heroes. This is tough for some players to stomach; this is sometimes tough for me to stomach, as I like heroes, but it is the way this world was written, and it is the world in which we play.

xxxxxWe determine the consequences of player's actions. This means, in principle, that I do not restrict the IC choices a player makes with his or her character. The only exception is when I believe that the motivating factors for the IC choice arise out of OOC conditions. If I believe that a character is making a choice out of a player's frustration, because of a player's grudge against another player, or through an accident of time or memory, I can question those motivations. However, I am neither a god nor a mind-reader, so all I will do is question the motivations of those actions. If a player assures me that the motivations are completely IC, I must accept that. However, if a player assures me that the motivations are completely IC, and I find out later that they are not, I may remove them from my sphere.

xxxxxThis also means that if you have a problem with the IC actions that another character takes, I am under no obligation to resolve the conflict. If a player is mystified or stymied by another character's actions, I will only offer possibilities for resolution that a character would know about IC and that their player may not know about, such as appeals to higher authority. These possibilities are suggestions, and there is no guarantee that they will work. Their actions may be doing great harm, but that is an IC conflict, and you will need to resolve it conflict by IC means. Mage NPCs will work only within their stated personalities and abilities, and they may not care.

xxxxxFinally, this means that I am under no obligation to tell you how to accomplish an IC goal if your character (or player) cannot figure it out for yourself. Again, I can offer suggestions that I think that the character might know ICly that the player does not, but I do not have to. These conflicts are for the players to resolve, not for staff to resolve.

xxxxxWe insure as well as we can that the MUSH is ethically fair for our players in OOC matters. The world is not fair IC. Period. A werewolf who gets the drop on you ICly will most likely kill you. There may be twice as many Sabbat vampires as there are mages. Your chantry head can betray you to the Unseelie Changelings to be used as a sex toy. These are IC inequities, and if you are screwed over by them, then tough cookies. My responsibility as a staffer is to make sure the rules as written and the setting as described is applied fairly and equally. This means that all players who desire it get equal access to my time. This means I do not choose to ignore certain types of stories because the majority of players don't like them or I don't like them.

xxxxxThis does not mean I do not get to bend the rules; there is a difference between being ethically fair and applying all rules with adamantine precision, regardless of the situation. I try to minimize this occurrence by keeping clear distinctions between rules and guidelines, and as I said above, I will interpret the rules with regards to setting. For example, by the rules, a mage with sufficient levels of correspondence, forces, and prime should be able to kill anything on the grid that is not immune to magick without fear or reprisal or any defense, (a.k.a. the Telenuke). However, if this was true, the Technocracy should have eliminated any known supernatural being decades ago, and that's not what the books describe. Thus, I discourage this use of your powers, and I will not adjudicate in its favor.

xxxxxThis also means that I am your advocate with other staff when there is a conflict with another staffer over /sphere/ matters. Note the emphasis. If there is a matter of conflict with another staffer and it has nothing to do with sphere rules, sphere powers, or sphere society, then I am not involved. For example, if the law staffer is ignoring your arcane, then I am your advocate, and I work with the law staffer to resolve the problem. But, if you have a problem with the law staffer about how the police are resolving an investigation, that is not my jurisdiction, and I should not be involved. There are established guidelines on this MUSH for resolving such difficulties. Thus, questions about building, code, and XP spends are not my concern. I will not involve myself in such trouble.

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Mage NPCs
The Faculty Cabal
  • Jack "Tux" Penhall is a Virtual Adept who looks to be in his early thirties, and the youngest member of the Faculty Cabal. He is relatively handsome, with dark curly hair and so-retro-it's-cool sideburns. He has made some effort to keep physically fit behind his computer screen. He dresses a little young for his age though, like he's trying to hold onto his youth a bit too long. He is known in the chantry for being the easiest person to get to know, hosting frequent parties and doing his best to make people feel at home. He assists students in establishing means to interact with their families and the modern world without becoming targets for the Union. He also teaches courses in the Union, frequently leading 'field trips' to Technocracy facilities that are in actuality data raids.

  • Faisal Mehsud is an Iranian Euthanatos; he is a powerfully built man in his early forties. He is bearded and has close-cropped black hair that is graying at the temples. He dresses in nondescript clothing, amplifying his natural Arcane. He is considered a brutal teacher and is known for his scathing attitude toward the body of students at the chantry. He has especial disdain for those he considers products of corrupt, decadent Western culture, and he is not shy about speaking his mind nor is he reluctant to use punishment on those who talk back to him. He teaches combat and magickal ethics. It is rumored that he has given the Good Death to several failed students who disgraced themselves in particularly spectacular ways, though given the fact that the Euthanatos promised never to give the Good Death to members of other traditions, the rumors are probably not true. He is known to almost never leave the chantry without being cloaked in protective and stealth spells.

  • The Staff. These acolytes are all non-awakened individuals. There is a chauffeur, a cook with two assistants, four maids, and two gardeners. They are always polite to the body of students, but they now that Mehsud and Sister Leigh frown on fraternization.

  • Forrest McKenna is known as the local Technocracy agent -- the only one actually stationed in town. He is the Bureau of Indian Affairs agent for the local tribes and has an office in downtown Pokoh's Peak. He and his Men in Black only tend to show up when there is a public display that needs covered up.

OOC Information

Each of the NPCs in the Mage sphere have their own personality and agenda. They do not exist simply to help or hinder the PCs, though they will do so if they feel it is what they should do. They are free to act in any way, including the death of PCs. If you thwart or anger them repeatedly, you are not protected by the fact that they are NPCs. Mage staff encourages you to use all your attributes, abilities, merits, and talents when dealing with NPCs. While mage staff might ask for rolls in certain situations, they are not required to do so.

You must not confuse the desires and actions of NPCs with mage staff's own desires. While they do serve as mage staffs hands and eyes, they do not share in the limited omniscience or narrator capabilities. It is possible for them to be fooled, wrong, or foolish. Mage staff will build them as starting level mages with 200 xp bonuses. They will be fully statted, and while they can spend xp, mage staff will be following all the rules PCs follow. While 200 xp is a nice and comfortable head start, it is neither insurmountable nor overwhelming.

It is very annoying to have people treat NPCs as untouchable super beings or game support. If players choose to act that way, mage staff will not compensate for it.

Mage Opinion on TinySex
xxxxxThere are a lot of players and staff who mock and deride sexual and erotic aspects of the World of Darkness in online games. I am not one of them. Stories spring from conflict and love, lust, jealousy and decadence are prime sources of conflict. Thus, I don't find any character's explorations of the topic silly or juvenile, unless of course a player or staffer approaches it in a silly or juveline way. I look upon characters who are one-dimensional TS hounds as much as I look upon characters who are one-dimensional Pkillers or one-dimensional anything. They are inferior. Luckily, I believe I have no one-dimensional characters in my sphere at this time.

That being said, with the principle of ICA=ICC firmly in place, and the principle of IC/OOC separation adhered to as much as possible, there are things that, being in my sphere, you should bear in mind.

1. Erotic explorations are just as much within the purview of my storytelling ability as anything else you choose to do. For example, If you sleep with a character who is married to an NPC, I get to determine that NPC's reactions. It is indeed my business who you sleep with on this mush.

2. As my personal rule, pregnancies only occur when both partners desire them, UNLESS supernatural abilities were involved, e.g. Life or Entropy magick.

3. There is no special dispensation for erotic actions. This is a nebulous concept, but many people seem to draw some sort of invisible line between TS and other RP. I do not recognize this invisible line.

4. Finally, this is a game. This is not a dating service. If you sleep with someone IC, romance someone IC, and then get unpleasantly screwed by that person IC, that's where it stays. These are your characters, not you.

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Staff Principles
1. Mages are human beings. This comes from a review of the other games, specifically Vampire. One of the fundamental truths of that game (and Demon, Werewolf, Changeling, Wraith, and Kindred of the East) is that you are no longer (or never were) an average human being. You are different and separate from humanity. For most mages, you could put away the paraphernalia, extract your cyberware, sever your connections to your spirit allies, you could refrain from using magick, and you would be Just Like Everyone Else. This applies to even genetically dispositioned PCs, like widderslainte, kinfolk, and kinain mages and sorcerers. This is why I set mage auras to normal if you have no standing rotes or enhancements. This is why I do not insist that mages must be part of a chantry or society. Every human has an Avatar; they are simply unaware of it. Every human being can learn sorcery either as an end to itself or as a step towards Awakening. The three exceptions, of course, are cauled Nephandi, artificial beings, and psychics. While it is possible to redeem a cauled Nephandi, such a PC has renounced humanity. Psychics are, to borrow from other milieu, the next step in human evolution. They have to deal with being more than human. And artificial beings can look and act human, but most of them are condemned to never really being human.

2. Given enough preparation, understanding, and will, a Mage can do anything. This is not an empty boast; both the game setting and the game system support this principle. That is why no mage staffer should ever answer a mage's question of "can I do this?" with "No." They most negative answer they should ever use is "Not yet." This is ultimately why the wise among other races have warnings against screwing with mages, because as easily squished as they are (and they are squishable) they are also adaptable and dangerous and in the end, there is no line they cannot cross. For example, what about turning a vampire back into a human being? My favorite glib answer is that "God has more Arete than you" which would seem to contradict this principle, but it does not. With sufficient will and understanding of the Curse of Caine, i.e. understanding God's will in the matter, you could defeat the Curse. However, most mages who have achieved this state (the Choristers would call it Ascension) have chosen to leave the matter as it stands.

3. Mage, more than any other of the World of Darkness games, is a game of choice. This arises logically from the first two principles. If you are human and able to accomplish anything, then there is nothing to prevent you from choosing to do anything. A vampire, as compassionate and as "good" as some are, cannot choose to not be a vampire, rumors of Golconda notwithstanding. A werewolf, or any shifter, will always feel the weight of his or her duty towards Gaia (or the Wyrm). A changeling, as creative as they can be, will always live in fear of Banality. Wraiths are dead. Demons are damned and spent eons in Hell. A mage can change what they are, who they are, what they think their duty is, they can cheat death, they can be damned or saved. They can choose. Sorcerers and psychics have taken their first steps on the path that will lead them to this point; where they can also choose. That's why I always resist telling you what to do; this is why 'good' Tradition mage NPCs always resist telling you what to do and try to persuade instead. This is why the Technocracy NPC supervisor expect initiative from those beneath them. This is why the Dark Patrons of the Nephandi lull their charges to sleep with promises of power rather than overpower them. Ascension is about the choices you make, because you are free to make them.

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