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Awakening is the most significant and terrifying event of your life.

The act of Awakening opens the doors of perception. A Mage sees a different world, a magical world, as if a veil was lifted from his eyes. Long-held beliefs can vanish in that instant, while new truths take their place. The new Mage must struggle to make sense of this barrage of new sensations, and those without a strong sense of self and a powerful will can often be overwhelmed and destroyed by these indecipherable, uncontrollable experiences. Awakening and insanity are hard to tell apart.

Awakening can happen at any time in life. There’s no known method of causing an Awakening; it may happen in childhood, youth, adulthood or elder age. The majority of Mages Awaken as they near the end of puberty, suddenly facing stresses and challenges they were sheltered from as a youth. Children tend to be too comfortable to question society, and older people have already found their place. Young adulthood, however, is the time in a person’s life when they begin searching for their purpose and meaning. Awakening may come as a result of that search, either as a response to a crisis, or as the culmination of a long search for identity.

Many Mages seek a way to reliably Awaken others, but no such method is known. Mentors watch over those with strong wills and unusual lives, while elders try to teach their ways to hopeful novices. None are guaranteed to trigger the Awakening – enlightenment strikes where it will.

Once his eyes are opened, they cannot be shut. The reality of truth – that there is no objective truth – is laid bare, and the new Mage has no choice but to struggle onward in an attempt to understand what has happened.

The only option is to change or die. If he’s going to survive, the Mage must learn what he is and what he’s capable of. Others, a mentor or cabal perhaps, may show the Mage the path to be taken, but he must take the first step. Only by accepting his new state will the mage be able to progress towards enlightenment and Ascension.

The Mage becomes something more than human – something not quite in sync with the natural world. Family will notice a change in the Mage, and may seem to have trouble remembering who he is. Old friends will suddenly find him disturbing and dangerous, like a wolf among sheep. Mages invariably lose their jobs, as their employers come to mistrust and fear them. The only relationships a new Mage will be able to forge are those who understand what he is – other Mages.

Make no mistake – once Awakened, a Mage is no longer human. Sure, he lives, breathes, eats – but his soul has gone beyond his humanity. Don’t just make your character a human with magic. Make them something more. You have become a legendary creature, more like a dragon than a man.

To be Awakened is not simply that first burst of adrenaline-fueled magic. Awakening is an acceptance of the magical world, the realization that the universe isn’t the way you thought it was, and that’s okay. Few people will ever taste the power and insight of a Mage, or feel the determination to do something about the sad state of society. Mage is a game about giving a damn. Remember that.

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