The Avatar is a Mage’s best friend and greatest enemy. The Awakening is a fantastic moment, but the truth of the event is a mystery to all but the greatest masters.
When confronted with a crisis, a human tends to take one of two responses: fight, or flight. Confront the problem, or escape from it. The Awakening occurs when a person confronts a truth so great that it cannot be confronted nor fled from. The human soul retreats, hiding itself away from the world to make room for something more powerful, something which can take care of the problem. The Avatar.
The Awakening terrifies part of the Mage’s soul, the part closest to their humanity. This is the part which relied the most upon their preconceptions of the world, the beliefs which kept them going day to day. Unable to cope with this new reality, the human soul retreats a little, and the Avatar fills in the gaps, bringing with it a connection to a different world – a magical world. The ability to use magic comes from that connection to the magical world, and as that connection grows stronger, so too does the magic.
The Avatar is often considered to be intelligent, yet incomprehensible to the human mind. Many Mages think the quest for enlightenment, for Arete, is just the Avatar teaching the Mage his language, so they may finally speak clearly. Until then, the Avatar speaks in strange hunches and shrouded whispers, and many Mages don’t even believe in them. Who would want to believe in the truth of their own shattered soul?
The role of the Avatar is simple: to keep the Mage moving. The goal of the Avatar is Ascension, and as long as the Mage is moving towards that goal, the Avatar stays quiet and watches. Only when the Mage is stuck, unable to find enlightenment and becoming frustrated with magic does the Avatar give that breath of knowledge, that glimpse of insight which causes the Mage to stand up and fight on.
Riding the flames of change, the Dynamic Avatar drives a Mage to strive, alter, tear down and create. Restless and capricious, she embodies the dynamic urge of chaos and wonder. Taken to an extreme, this Essence can bring madness; more often, she tantalizes a Mage with the promise of novelty and the thrill of rebellion.
In the Mage’s dreams, Dynamic Avatars resemble pillars of flame, devils, whirlwinds and shadows. Always hungry, ever-curious, they’re brilliant, inspiring and often frightening to behold.
- Essence Paradigm
- Nothing is static, everything must change.
Like a fortress, the Pattern Avatar safeguards the land, building wondrous things where chaos once reigned. Comforting, ordered, and meticulous, he weaves webs of security. Without his influence, Creation would spiral into madness. This Avatar soothes pain, slays dragons and brings a wandering soul to peace.
In the Mage’s dreams, many Pattern Avatars appear as castles, parents, angels, and rays of light. Although these Avatars work their Mages hard, the promise of order and comfort makes all sacrifices worthwhile.
- Essence Paradigm
- Strength comes from order and stability.
Deep as the endless waters, a Primordial Avatar keeps her silence, sweeping a Mage into her depths with seductive waves and currents. Though her grace seems devil-sent, this urge is older than time and more hallowed than heaven. The Avatar thrives on mysteries and carnal pleasures. Through a wild life, the Mage gives birth to a new world, and watches the old one from afar.
Rich and strange, Primordial Avatars in a Mage’s dreams often take the form of animals, Pagan gods and nature spirits. The Mages they inspire have a knowing way about them and seem ancient, even if they’re young.
- Essence Paradigm
- The most basic things are the most powerful.
Blowing through a crossroads, the Questing Avatar glides over worn paths and crumbled ruins. A questing soul, he leads a wizard on an endless journey past thickets of greed and snares of doubt. Bearing gifts of balance, calm and vision, this spirit has more focus than the wild Dynamic and more imagination like the rigid Pattern. Like the Primordial, he flows past obstacles, but his works are more temperate and beneficial.
Heralds of a new day, Questing Avatars rarely take solid forms in dreams. Like the winds they resemble, these spirits are formless, relentless and ephemeral. Refreshing as they seem, such souls never rest. Their Mages wander until death ends their journey.
- Essence Paradigm
- Purpose comes from seeking and accomplishing goals.
Avatar Rating Edit
All Mages start with a minimum Avatar rating of 1. This background is a rating of the relative strength of a Mage's Awakened Avatar. The stronger the Avatar is, the more Quintessence the Mage will be able to absorb at a Node and hold in readiness for usage, and the more Quintessence is available to the mage to fuel his or her magical workings. This is also your permanent Quintessence score on your +sheet.
See also: Background: Avatar
What is Ascension? Nobody knows. Since no Mage has ever been confirmed to have Ascended, and no Mage has returned from Ascension to tell us what it’s like, nobody knows what they really mean by this concept. Every Tradition has a different idea of what their final goal is.
Many Mages agree that Ascension is perfection of the person – a being in perfect harmony with the universe, enjoying perfect enlightenment. An Ascended Mage would know everything, see everything, control everything, but not as a god – rather, as a natural and essential part of the universe. That’s one theory. Others see Ascension as freedom from reincarnation – the final death, where one’s essence is released back into the primal forces of the world. Some believe Ascension and Armageddon are the same, that the only way to move past our limits is with the destruction of everything.
What your character thinks of Ascension will be a critical part of their Paradigm, an ultimate goal to strive towards and encourage humanity to pursue. Take some time to think about what a perfect world and a perfect being would be like.