Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade is a historical game set in the Classic World of Darkness, around the time of the founding of the Council of Nine Mystic Traditions in 1466. The Renaissance is in full swing, with the forces of magic, religion, and science all competing in the mindspace of humanity.
The Main Idea Edit
As in Mage: The Ascension, reality is concensual: belief shapes the world. Things are the way they are because people believe them to be so. Mages are individuals who have made contact with a Higher Self, a Mystic Self they call the Daemon. The Daemon allows them to impose their personal will directly on reality, shaped and channelled by ritual and the personal belief system, or paradigm, of the mage. Thus there are as many ways of practising magic as their are practitioners of the art, though as most mages understand magic through the lens of their culture and mystic beliefs, they join one of the Mystick Traditions, groups of mages whose paradigms agree with one another's.
But the renaissance is bringing the dawn of a new age, an age in which Science and Reason begin to dominate over the mysticism and superstition of old. The Order of Reason is composed of orders of mages who understand magic through these new ideas. With mass media becoming a reality through the printing press, the concesus that shapes reality is becoming larger and less maleable, and a conflict between Science and the Mystic is inevitable. It is a crucial time for all mages, and each must choose her path: will she champion the old ways of the Traditions, or the new ways of Science? Regardless of her choice, there are other dangers: mages are tempted by Infernalists, those who have given themselves over to demonic powers. As well, the path to magical enlightenment is steep: there is always the danger of falling from the path into a powerful madness, becoming one of the terrifying Marauds.
Renaissance mages speak of Creation as being divided into three parts: the mortal world, the Otherworlds and the Void. The world of mortals is separated from the Otherworlds of the spirits by the Gauntlet, a barrier also known as the Mists. Only those who have awakened can pierce the Mists of Periphery - the cloud that prevents common folk from seeing the true nature of Creation, not the Gauntlet - and see the barriers between worlds. There are various weak points in the Gauntlet where the worlds touch each other: Regio, where energy bleeds through from the Otherworlds but the Gauntlet remains strong; Crays, where the Gauntlet becomes so thin that piercing it becomes a simple task; and Shallowings, where the Gauntlet becomes virtually non-existant and, under the right circumstances, even the unawakened may cross without knowing it.
The Otherworlds beyond the Gauntlet are divided into three rings. The Inner Ring consists of the Penumbra, the close spiritual echo of the mortal world, and the Dreaming, the home of the fae (its doors barred to all in recent times). The Middle Ring contains the Aether Realms, grand worlds separate from the rest of the Otherworlds and each other which are inhabited by Gods, angels, wizards and fantastic creatures. The greatest Aether Realms are the Elemental Courts, populated by very powerful spirits who influence magic and the mortal world alike. The Middle Ring is also home to the Lesser Paradises, peaceful realms where souls, spirits and weakened magi may rest safely.
The Outer Ring consists of the farthest reaches of Creation, bounded only by the Horizon Crown, the barrier between Earth and Heaven. There are found the Horizon Realms, similar to the Aether Realms but all created at great risk by mighty wizards. Also in the Outer Ring are other worlds, amongst the stars, too far and too strange to imagine, known to few but the Void Seekers. These include the Fragmenti, strange but more-or-less earth-like realms of the gods that rule the nine Arts, and the Vada, shadows of the Fragmenti that cnosist of little more than the chaotic energy of each Art. The Underworld, or Contrarium, also lies in the Outer Ring. It is home to the souls of the dead who do not travel to Heaven or Hell.
While Christian mages claim Heaven lies beyond the Horizon Crown, others know that in reality there is Void: a vast chaotic nothingness in which untold monsters and Infernal entities hold sway, unable to cross into the nearer Rings or the mortal world unless called by earthly mages.
Mages of the Renaissance traditionally ally themselves with either the Council of Nine Mystick Traditions, an affiliation of mystical orders, or the Order of Reason, an alliance of scientific societies. Religious mages find a home in either, depending on how they resolve their power in the light of their faith; since the major religions all brand mages as heretics, pagans or Infernalists, there is no separate society of religious mages, though religion still contests with science and mysticism in most areas of life.
In the canon history, the Council survives into the modern nights and the Order of Reason goes through a schism in which some societies leave to join the Council. Those who remain eventually become the Technocratic Union. Some of the traditions and societies do not survive, however, and most undergo significant changes (the main exceptions being the tradtions rooted in the most ancient or well-established beliefs: the Akashic Brotherhood, the Dream-speakers, the Verbena and the Order of Hermes).
There are some mages who claim membership in no society; they are known as Disparates.
The Council of Nine Mystick Traditions Edit
- Akashic Brotherhood
- Chakravanti (Euthanatoi)
- Chœur Céleste (Celestial Chorus)
- Order of Hermes
- Seers of Chronos (Sahajiya)
The Order of Reason Edit
- Artificers (High Artisans)
- Cabal of Pure Thought (Gabrielites)
- Celestial Masters
- High Guild (Grand Financiers)
- Hippocratic Circle (Cosians)
- Void Seekers (Explorators)
The Disparates Edit
The Spheres Edit