Favored Resistance AttributeEdit
Acanthus is a magical path whose ruling Arcana are Fate and Time. Mages on this Path are also known as the Enchanters on 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 and the realm of illusion, enchantment and constant change. They are characterised by their Awakened companions as flighty, reckless and irresponsible. Using the arcana of Time and Fate allows the Acanthus to sidestep the setbacks and perils that many other Awakened and all Sleepers must endure or overcome. While this can be to the mage's benefit, it can also be detrimental to his/her development. They fail to remember that we learn more through our failures then our triumphs. They seem to rely overmuch on themselves - their uncanny timing and luck. Since theirs is the Arcana of foresight and fortune, this open-minded attitude serves them better than it does most; however they are at times impatient, lack the ability to plan properly, and because of that they often lead into strife by their refusal to plan ahead.
Upon Awakening, Enchanters have their minds opened to the endless eddies, currents, and waves; the possibilities of destiny and near infinite pathways of the time stream.This could explain why Acanthae rarely commit themselves or focus on one thing for any length of time; the uncounted opportunities they catch a glimpse of make it seem as though nothing is impossible, as if anything can be forgiven in time. This is how the other Awakened feel in regard to their flighty, impulsive, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants cousins, and it may shed some light on the behavior of your typical Acanthus. The Enchanters are famous among other Paths as diviners, oracles, and fortune tellers of incredible skill, but that doesn't do much to change the popular opinion of Acanthus as generally unconcerned with the world around them. This is somewhat true, they are pretty mercurial, making decisions based more on their emotions than logic or duty.
This attitude comes from their Awakening, for when an Acanthus goes through his/her awakening he/she must go through the realm of Arcadia. Arcadia is a universe that is in constant flux, and to take too long making plans is a sure route to destruction. Any decision is made quickly, and if an oath is made, it is well nigh impossible to change.
Enchanters are naturally curious, but bore easily making it difficult for them to commit to anything they find dull or meaningless. However this mercurial attitude allows them to have an ability that too many Awakened lack - the ability to laugh at themselves and have fun.
The mages of the Lunargent Thorn have a reputation as the most capricious of the Awakened. To their friends, that makes them ‘free spirits,’ or ‘a breath of fresh air.’ Their detractors are more likely to apply terms such as “unstable,” “immature” or “childish.” Many mages see something fey or otherworldly about the Acanthus, and the Enchanters themselves are hardly in a 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 they could – much to the chagrin of other mages. Their peers accuse them of being flaky or even irrational, but those allegations seem not to phase the Acanthus one bit. Many reasons have been put forth for their odd behavior. Some have suggested that those on the Enchanter’s Path are so inundated with the endless branches of the time stream that nothing seems impossible and no decision irreversible. In their defense, the Path of the Thistle really does promise much more than a mage can handle until one grows in one’s magic.
Because so much of one’s magic takes the form of uncanny good fortune, it’s possible for a mage on the Path of Thistle to imagine herself merely extraordinary lucky, and many show a tendency toward superstition even in their magic. For this reason, many believe that Acanthus epitomize the tarot trump of “The Fool” relying on dumb luck to guide their journeys. Their sense of wonder and endless possibility often inspires hope in others, for to an Acanthus the odds are never unbeatable and there are always second chances. Acanthus are drawn to crowds, but seem destined to be stuck on the edges of any crowd they hang with, always “the new guy” no matter how often they’ve been with a group. Their charming ways make great first impressions, but charm goes only so far, especially once the going gets rough and the Acanthus expects others to pick up the slack.
- Awakening Gambit – The Awakening Gambit are a Legacy who seek to shunt people into situations where they are forced to Awaken in an attempt to create more mages. Their methods are not always successful, and can be quite dangerous (although the Gambit mages do their best to ensure that no lasting harm can befall their target), but the number of successes they do get indicate that their idea is a sound one.
- Blank Badge – Dedicated idealists and revolutionaries against the whole of the Awakened establishment (including the Free Council), the Blank Badges are direct heirs to the Nameless traditions of the pre-Council era. They’re magical anarchists and rebels, striking the Seers for preference but also any traitor who tries to stay their hand or parlay with the Throne.
- Daoine – The Daoine are Acanthus who attempt to emulate Fae justice. They punish those who have violated their obscure codes and reward those who have acted virtuously. These mages are masters of the hex and curse, using their powers to perform their duties against violators of their own codes or the scruples of whoever hires them.
- House of Ariadne – The House of Ariadne is a Legacy devoted to urbanity. They are attracted to everything about city life, good and bad, for it is from the city that they gain the power to see into past and future. They walk the paths of the ley lines and the lesser lines they call Ariadne's threads crisscrossing the city, and use the symbols they see along the way to interpret the future.
- Pygmalian – The Pygmalian Society believes that art – true Art, that is – is a link to the Supernal, given its quality to provoke and inspire people, and it is a link that even Sleepers can use. The Society thus seeks to inspire artistic emotions in the Sleepers it interacts with, in the hopes of Awakening them from Sleep via a great induced moment of creative epiphany.
- Singer in Silence – These mages have an almost instinctive understanding of death and its hold on those around them. Theirs is the power to summon and create ghosts, and to read the strands of fate and death to see those who are marked and fated to die soon. This knowledge cannot be suppressed or easily ignored, and as a result of their connection to death the Singers are warped in mind, body and soul.
- Sister of the Blessed – This Legacy is an up-until-recently exclusive to high-class women group whose networking and attainments are focused on helping members avoid the social prejudice levied against them. They are skilled in subtle Fate and Mind magics to assist their endeavours and keep themselves from accruing too much unwanted attention stemming from their power.
- Skald – The Skalds are the heirs to a truly ancient practice known across the world; that of the singing storyteller and songwriter. They are superlative musicians and writers, and use these skills to move audiences of Sleeper and mage to joy, sorrow, anger, or any other emotion the bard cares to conjure.
- Storm Keeper – The Storm Keepers have guarded humanity against the forces of nature unchecked for many centuries. They have an almost intuitive ability to comprehend the weather systems of the world. Their powers give them control over storms and any collateral effects of storms, as well as the ability to predict the effects their abilities will have once employed, the better to be fully warned of the consequences of their meteorological meddling.
- Tamer of Winds – This Elemental Legacy specialises in the element of Air. The Tamers of Winds seek and dispense truth and good judgement, serving as judges and counsellors to Sleepers and the Awakened. They can read truths on the wind and delve into the minds of others.
- Walker in Mist – The Walkers in Mists are an order of mages who draw their wisdom and power from the natural world around them, rather than the tomes and scrolls so beloved of their fellow Awakened. They’re masters of manipulating the continuum of nature they call the Mists to gaze upon and travel to places far removed from their own selves in the blink of an eye.
- Carnival Melancholy (left-handed) – Awakened charlatans and conmen, the mages of the Carnival Melancholy harvest the souls of the Sleepers they dupe and use them to bolster their own chances of success. Their philosophy stems from the Depression and sees the Awakened as a nation of fugitives, doing what they can to survive and attain the Imperium Mysteriorum on the backs of the Sleepers.
The Acanthus OutlookEdit
Below are presented common views, stereotypes, and prejudices held by the Acanthus. An individual Enchanter may disagree with some or even all of these descriptions; as Paths are hardly united fronts, the individual outlooks of those who walk them vary greatly. As a whole, however, the following descriptions sum up what the perceived majority of Acanthus believe about the world, and what the world believes about them.
Some orders are cautious about taking on Acanthus, feeling that they’re too mercurial and unfocused to be proper members. Given the tendency of Enchanters to feel they can get out of anything at any point they so choose, many orders are concerned about their commitment. Still, when they do join orders, those on the Path of Thistle show a slight preference for the Free Council, where their nimble minds are free to innovate where they see fit, and for the Mysterium, where they are free to test their wits against ancient lore. Enchanters have a love/hate relationship with the Silver Ladder. While they are lukewarm about the order’s goals, they are fascinated by the power and resolve it fosters. The Adamantine Arrow recruits Acanthus for the sheer strategic value they bring to the order, but war is not a popular pursuit with Enchanters. The Guardians of the Veil also try to bring in more Acanthus, because their luck and insight is invaluable in defense of the Mysteries, but many Acanthus find the work of the order dull.
The Adamantine Arrow recognizes that Acanthus mages are not always the most warlike of willworkers. Nevertheless, this militant order appreciates the advantage in having mages who deal in fate, the odds and timing — all of which are essential factors to have on one’s side in a battle. While Arrows may consider Acanthus mages to be flighty and fickle, the Arrow also knows that spontaneity sometimes acts as the deciding factor in a battle. With an Acanthus mage in a position of leadership — a position the Acanthus adapt to readily since they are loathe to follow — an element of unpredictability enters into the tactical scheme and throws the advantage toward the side with the unpredictable element. Acanthus mages also serve the Arrow as scouts or as double agents, able to infiltrate rival groups or even enemies such as the Seers of the Throne and charm them out of secrets or discover tactical weaknesses. As support personnel, Acanthus excels at stacking the odds in favor of the Arrow. So long as the Adamantine Arrow can keep their Acanthus members from becoming bored with the idea of perpetual alertness and battle-readiness, the followers of the Path of the Thistle can thrive among the warriors of Atlantis.
The Free Council eagerly welcomes Acanthus mages since these willworkers are only too ready to try new things and enjoy the challenge of using their magic with a modern spin. Acanthus mages bring their sense of calculated risk and thrill loving exuberance to the Free Council, themselves a more freewheeling group than any of the Atlantean orders. Within the Free Council, Acanthus mages can achieve high positions (should they want them) due to their innovative ideas and their willingness to take chances — and win. Their mastery of Time is no detriment either to their work with the Free Council. Often distrusted by the other orders, members of the Free Council find it becomes difficult for their opponents to lay traps for them due to that order’s ability to elude the trap’s trigger “just in time!”
Guardians of the VeilEdit
The “secret police” and security force of the Atlantean mages find members of the Acanthus path useful within the order. Mages who specialize in luck, fate and calculating the odds — and who can sometimes tweak fate — serve these defenders of the Mysteries in many capacities. Though Acanthus mages sometimes tire of routines and rituals they find dull, they also bring an element of inventiveness to the procedures of the Guardians. The Acanthus’ affinity with all things Fae also places them in good stead with the Guardians, since Acanthus mages sometimes have access to sources of information unavailable to mages from other Paths. The strong independent streak in most Acanthus mages assures the Guardians that these Time and Fate mages will not be simply followers who never ask questions and never challenge an order they believe to be wrong, yet the Guardians realize that Acanthus willworkers usually dislike unnecessary combat so that they will not unnecessarily provoke internal bickering for the sake of stirring the pot. On the other hand, Acanthus mages are willing to fight when goaded or when something important is at stake. Both Fate and Time are excellent assists in combat, and some Acanthus mages have even found their own equivalents to “elf shot.”
The Mysterium actively looks for Acanthus mages to bolster the order’s ranks, and the mages of the Thistle, in turn, gravitate toward this order if they are not snapped up by the Free Council fi rst. The Mysterium’s dedication to unearthing and securing as much magical lore and as many items as possible appeals to Acanthus mages on many levels: first, individuals on the Path of Acanthus enjoy testing their intelligence; second, they don’t mind tweaking the odds in their favor. Third, the glitter and shine of many magical items or the wealth of history and time contained in old scrolls and tomes draw Acanthus mages to the order. Acanthus mages’ connection with Arcadia supplies the Mysterium with additional access to forgotten lore, particularly of the Fae races and their peculiar brands of magic. Steeped in either Celtic or Norse lore as many Acanthus mages are, they bring their own cache of knowledge to the order and have led to many discoveries through their expertise.
The Silver Ladder does not go out of its way to recruit members of the Path of the Thistle. This order is reluctant to enlist mages who have such a strong independent streak and who do not always approach matters in a logical fashion but rely on intuition and out-of-the-box thinking. On the other hand, power always appreciates luck and likes to know what the odds are before taking decisive actions. Therefore, the Silver Ladder tries to find Acanthus mages who can adapt to the rigors of order membership. Devoted as the order is to the idea that all Awakened beings are a single “nation,” the Silver Ladder cannot very well deny membership to Acanthus mages, though the order usually regards them with some distrust due to their reputation for chicanery and deception. Once the order realizes that Acanthus mages take oaths with great seriousness and that they, in fact, administer many oaths as a part of their mastery of the Fate Arcanum, many Silver Ladder mages rest easier at the thought of an Acanthus in their midst.
Each Path has its own presuppositions about other Paths, not all of them complementary and most of them at least partly incorrect. These stereotypical reactions serve as a guideline for players to use when their characters fi rst confront someone from another Path. Not all Paths get along even after repeated attempts, but usually some common ground can eventually present itself. In many cases, Acanthus mages have a more accepting attitude toward mages of other Paths than some of the other Paths, but these Time and Fate mages, too, are capable of unreasoning prejudice until proven wrong.
This section looks at the most prevalent take on each of the Paths by followers of the Path of Acanthus. This position is presented first. Following it, a dissenting opinion gives a sometimes contradictory view of these Paths.
The Warlocks know risk-taking, for they risk insanity with many of their dealings. They are difficult to befriend, for they tend to think primarily of themselves, valuing their individuality over many other things. For them, the good of the one supersedes the good of the many. The ruling Arcana of this Path is two of the most fraught with anger: Mind and Space. Where Acanthus mages sometimes use trickery and chicanery to gain the advantage, the Mastigos use far more sophisticated methods of deception, working on the minds and hearts of their victims, convincing them that demons are out to get them or that they are going crazy. Warlocks’ tendency to be more violent, cruel and self-serving than the other Paths places the Mastigos often at odds with the Acanthus’s more amenable and less harsh approach. What many Acanthus mages do not want to admit is that they, too, just as the Mastigos, can become harsh and callous in their approach to others.
Dissenting View: The sheer power and energy that impels followers of the Path of Mastigos is something to be envied and desired. They play with dangerous toys, but who is to say that Space and Mind are any more risky than Fate and Time? While these mages possess the capacity for great evil, by the same token they also possess the potential for great good. They represent the will to survive and seize the victory that too many mages have lost. When properly approached with an understanding of both their strengths and limitations, a Mastigos mage can often prove an invigorating and challenging companion who will make you test — and often exceed — your own personal and magical limitations.
These are usually the dourest of mages, obsessed with Death and other dark adventures. They often take themselves too seriously with their dark clothes and somber demeanor. Their ruling Arcana, Death and Matter, are perhaps two of the most demanding forms of magic, beset with rules and limitations that must be taken into account at all times. No wonder they seem to have so little time for laughter and “frivolities.” They feel the literal weight of the world on their shoulders. They see everything as dying all the time: organic matter slows down and ages while inorganic, non-living matter eventually falls prey to the implacability of entropy. Where Moros mages often arouse an attitude of aridity and sterility in others, they also deliver a universal message of strength in the face of adversity. That they seem to lack humor makes them objects of pity.
Dissenting View: The last thing a Moros Path mage wants is to wear the label of stodginess. When not involved in the business of magic, many Moros entertain themselves by telling stories and jokes made by their own Path mates. They are capable of relaxing, but their dedication often makes them see no benefit in personal ease. These mages make good companions, as they are able to place members of their groups at ease with their dry senses of humor and their steadfastness in times of crisis.
The Obrimos lack flexibility in both their approach to magic and their approach to living the life of a mage. Just because something was successful once doesn’t mean it will always work. Their affinity for the otherworldly energies and the essential energy of magic gives them some clout to back up their convictions, but their closed-mindedness and refusal to change once their minds are made up hampers them in many situations. They claim to stand for justice and good, but they also claim the right to define those terms. All this wouldn’t be so bad if so many of them didn’t insist on others submitting to their judgment. They truly believe that they are divinely inspired, whether by God, Buddha or some Great Master of Intelligent Design, and they expect others to fall in line behind them. They need to change their expectations.
Dissenting View: Acanthus mages are known for their adaptability and willingness to embrace change. It is good for a counterforce to exist lest magic become unbalanced. Obrimos also brings a sense of holiness to magic that reminds other mages of the seed of Awakening. Their main flaw is not their rigidity, but their lack of fun and their need to take everything so seriously!
The feral nature of these mages of healing and spirit may seem too raw and too intense for some. They complement Acanthus with their visceral touch in counterpoint to Acanthus’ ethereal approach. Like the beasts the Thyrsus emulate and attune themselves to, they give their loyalty forever. They are also as ferocious and instinctive as the animals they study. Their closeness to nature and the spirit world can make them seem a little “odd,” but they hold no exclusive rights to insanity. They make staunch allies and occasionally know how to let their hair down and celebrate life.
Dissenting View: Thyrsus mages are more dangerous than they would have us believe. They wield the power of healing, but they can also harm or withhold their healing touch. They know the magic of spirit, and they can use this for either good or evil. They would like to be underestimated, but they need to be understood in their potential for turning against those who disagree with them.
Character Creation Edit
Generally charming and quite astute, Acanthus often come from backgrounds in which they survived by their wits, good looks or mental agility. Consequently, they emphasize Social and Mental Attributes, though not necessarily in that order. Physical Attributes are often tertiary, though the most developed of these is usually Dexterity. Social Skills are almost always emphasized, and many Acanthuses seem to have a fair understanding of the techniques of Larceny. Hope is the ideal Virtue of Enchanters, for even those who don’t aspire to it as their guiding principle tend to respect those who do. Sloth, on the other hand, is the Vice elders warn younger mages about, but many still seem to succumb to it. The Danger Sense Merit is especially appropriate for mages on the Path of the Thistle, and any of the Social Merits as well are also good picks.
Mages on the Acanthus Path often have attractive features, but their eyes often take on a crafty, vulpine quality over time may be mistaken for shifty or somehow dishonest. They often appear younger than they are, an impression reinforce by the nigh-omnipresent glimmer in their eyes.
Whether or not they seek their own kind, Acanthus are extraordinarily social creatures. They often "hide in plain sight," setting up their santums in places close to focal points of one type or another: opera houses, theaters, bars, nightclubs or temples. More often than not, sheer dumb luck keeps others from finding such places, or at least realizing what they are.
The Acanthus Path most commonly opens up to those who are young and inexperienced or to those who cast off a former life for a new beginning or stranger horizons. It favors those who rely on illusion, glamour, luck or benign trickery to make their way, and those who are completely lost in the world due to temperament or circumstance. Students, orphans, gamblers, stage magicians, artists, con artists, models, actors, musician, schizophrenics, “escorts” and vagrants are all susceptible to Arcadia’s call.
“Fey” Things seem enchanted or pregnant with the possibility of magic. In some cases, a greenish glow can highlight metals or reflective surfaces, and eerie, strange singing may be heard from afar. With powerful magic, fogs and mists might rise to cloak the ground. Time condenses in to the present moment; concerns about past or present become irrelevant. Everyone’s heart seems in synch, although the silence between the heart beats hints of eternity. Things sometimes seem to move in slow motion, with sublime grace and beauty.