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How does one become the Archmage?


Bud Gray
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In my current campaign, I have a player who has, for a long time, been wanting their character to be n=the new Archmage. After years of play, I am ready to allow this. However, I'm unsure how to finally enact it. The books mention a long forgotten ritual, but no details. I understand that it's up to the GM to figure it out, but I'm not sure what would work out best. Especially if I have to run it as a regular session with 4 other players who's characters aren't really involved. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.

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I believe that you need a mage in high standing to sponsor you. Then...you need a gift from a native of each of the four mystical realms surrounding earth...Elysium...Netherworld....Faerie...and Babylon. You also have to be a powerful mage in your own right and an acknowledged master in some type of magic. That's all I can remember right now.

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Hmm - four mystical realms, 4 other players.  Almost as if it was meant to be...

 

i see a four stranded session, each of the players either co-opted or challenged by one realm to champion/prove worthiness of the aspirant’s comrades.  Each one allowed one or two helping hands by the arch-mage (to test his wisdom and judgement).

 

:-)

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Okay, here's a summary of the process for rising to the official Champions Universe office of Archmage, as described in The Mystic World on p. 57.

 

It should be stated at the outset that the vast majority of Earthly magicians today don't know all the details of how to go about this. The serpentine Nagas almost certainly know, but remain silent for their own reasons. The Eternal Tulku, a retired Archmage himself, would be expected to know, but he's long been senile, although he does still experience periods of relative clarity. Either or both of these parties could be role played as providing the final information or steps for your player's PC to achieve this status, assuming that they deem him a worthy candidate.

 

What is widely known is that, first, the prospective Archmage has to have considerable skill and power even before assuming the office. He also has to have received gifts from all four of the Parterres (Elysium, Faerie, Babylon, and the Netherworld), in bestowed personal abilities or enchanted items; but can't be beholden to any of them -- the Archmage must represent all of Earth. The gifts of power are necessary for an Archmage to learn the greatest requirement for the office, the spell called the Quaternion Banishment, which curses an invader from the Outer Planes, rendering Earth and its related planes toxic to that invader. The way to cast that spell is also unknown to the general Mystic World (but its effects are described in the book of that name).

 

Interestingly, aside from defending Earth from supernatural invasion, and refereeing conflicts between the powers of the spirit world, the moral requirements of an Archmage seem to be lax. It isn't necessary for an Archmage to be a  "good" person as long as he/she fulfills the duties of the office.

 

Once attaining the status of Archmage, a magician gains effortless facility with magic spells, casting them by will alone, without the chants, magic circles, talismans, or other paraphernalia most spell-casters use. It's implied that the power of the mage's spells is also increased. He or she is also granted an extended lifespan, living for centuries unless killed or choosing to retire. Past Archmages had accumulated many potent mystic artifacts and grimoires, but those were lost when the last Archmage, Bohdan Stanislavski, was killed in 1908. They were presumed destroyed in the impact of the Hellstone, but some are rumored to have survived. You could decide that playing out the recovery of one or more of these items is a key step to becoming Archmage. (If I had to pick one, I'd go with the Krypticon, the world's premier book of magic, extensively described on TMW pp. 88-89. Two others are similarly described on successive pages.)

 

On the "gifts from the Parterres" front, the examples of leading official candidates for Archmage may be illustrative of how that could play out. According to his description on Vibora Bay p. 107, Robert Caliburn's Colt 1911 handgun was consecrated by Azrael the Angel of Death, while his Uzi submachine gun is blessed by the Hindu god of destruction, Shiva; so that's two down. The Mystic World notes that the Irish supermage Dweomer was granted increased power by Queen Mab of Faerie in order to fight the Fomorians; while Champions Universe: News Of The World describes how Dweomer tricked the arch-devil Mephistopheles into giving him a potent grimoire, for which he was rewarded by an unspecified spirit of Elysium with the ability to bless other people.

 

Witchcraft of the Champions is another interesting example, in that her mother Martika Duquesne invoked spirits from the Netherworld, Faerie, and Babylon to imbue her unborn child with great magic potential. But an angel came unbidden on the same night as that ritual, to make her children twins. It would be a matter of interpretation as to whether that last act counts as a "gift" from Elysium, because the angel's remarks imply it was merely duplicating the gifts from the other spirits. (The story is part of Martika's write-up in Champions Villains Vol. 2.)

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Gifts from the Four Realms and learn how to cast a special spell dealing with extradimensional invaders.  Why should this be an off-scene for the PC when it could be a campaign arc?  The PCs can't beat their otherworldly foe - is the Earth doomed?  The Quaternion Banishment could prevent the Earth's demise - but knowledge of that ritual died with the then-Archmage in 1908.  But perhaps the Eternal Tulku might retain some knowledge of the ritual (no such luck, but he does know only the Archmage can master the spell - only the Archmage can save the Earth.  But that requires someone to earn the mantle of Archmage.

 

Our PC aspirant must seek out gifts from the Four Parterres (or those from which his back story and gaming history do not already provide), and learn any other steps required to take on the mantle of Archmage - before it is too late!

 

Maybe there are requirements beyond those four Gifts.  Perhaps there are other aspirants (would our Hero sacrifice his own ambition to support the efforts of another candidate who might be able to succeed more quickly, in time to save the Earth?  Is it a race to attain Archmage status before another aspirant who may have less altruistic plans for the enhanced mystical strength of the Archmage once earth is saved?  Maybe there are several candidates, some of whom can help the PC (if persuaded he is more worthy) and others who are targets of less benevolent aspirants.

 

This seems like it could be a major campaign arc (also providing our Wizard PC the opportunity to save up xp for a radiation accident event if he does succeed and become the new Archmage*.

 

* what, he didn't think he just got LS: Aging and a bunch of mystical perks and powers for free, did he?  Some might be paid for with new complications, but he's going to need to pony up some CP for the upgrade, right?

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I think it would be funny, if the Sorcerer Supreme was a contest and you 'd have to have a minimum level of power, but only one person applied and thus got the titled.  Kind of like how Harry on the TV show Night Court became a judge.  He got his assignment because the outgoing Mayor of NYC made a huge number of appointments on his last day, and Harry was the only person on the judges' list who was home and was able to receive the call and accept his nomination

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On 1/28/2018 at 4:11 PM, dsatow said:

I think it would be funny, if the Sorcerer Supreme was a contest and you 'd have to have a minimum level of power, but only one person applied and thus got the titled.  Kind of like how Harry on the TV show Night Court became a judge.  He got his assignment because the outgoing Mayor of NYC made a huge number of appointments on his last day, and Harry was the only person on the judges' list who was home and was able to receive the call and accept his nomination

 

There was an interesting depiction of such a competition in the Marvel graphic novel* "Triumph and Torment".  The winner of the challenge becomes Sorcerer Supreme, but has to perform a service for anyone else who's still standing at the end of the competition.  Doctor Strange won, of course.  Doctor Doom had just enough magical ability to barely hear the call to the challenge, and his armor's onboard sensors, computers, and servos allowed him to mimic the techniques of the other casters, learning more about magical combat in an hour than years of study would have accomplished, by his own admission.  He's the only other person left, and he recruits Strange to assist in rescuing his mother's spirit from Mephisto's realm.

 

 

*This was published back when graphic novel was an actual publishing format, not just a synonym for comic book or trade paperback compilation.

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