A Mage is a person able to use Magick to reshape reality itself.
Reality is consensual. All sentient beings shape reality by their beliefs, the universe is they way it is because the vast majority of them agree, subconsciously and consciously, that this is the way it is. Most people cannot change their beliefs at will, much less believe in an alternate reality strongly enough to over-ride the beliefs of everyone else. You may believe you can fly, but there are 100 billion other humans who believe you can't, and so you can't.
Unless you are awakened to the consensual nature of reality, anyways. In which case, your beliefs can be more powerful than those of the unawakened. In which case, you CAN fly. Or start fires with your mind. Or throw lightning bolts from your fingertips. Or slow down time. Or anything else you can believe you can do.
Of course, it's not as simple as it sounds. Most people require some form of ritual or symbol to focus their belief, whether it be a chanted incantation, a crystal ball, or a scientific equation. And while it is easy to perfrom "coincidental magick", acts which do not seriously violate the consensual reality of the majority, acts which greatly violate the expectations of witnesses are termed "vulgar magick" and can backfire spectacularly via a Paradox backlash.
Mages have existed since the dawn of history, whether they be tribal shamans and medicne men, or practitioners of superscience. Before Gehenna, they were careful to hide their existence from the unawakened majority, operating in the shadows as much as Vampires or Werecreatures did. Since then, they have been able to operate much more openly. In a world where everyone is aware of the existence of Mages and Magick, consensual reality actually supports Mage abilities rather than limiting them, so only the most inept and clumsy of mages need fear a paradox backlash these days....unless they try something truly stupendous and reality-defying.
Long before Gehenna, the Mages divided into two major and two minor factions. Although the names and affiliations of the groups changed many times over the centuries, in the modern era the major division was between the Conventions of the Technocracy and the Council of Nine Mystical Traditions. While the Traditions stayed focused on more mystical and spirtitual forms and methods of Magick, the Technocracy had found a way to greatly increase their freedom to act while shackling their rivals. They created science. By propagating the idea that the universe worked on specific scientific principles, they reinforced the aspects of consensual reality that favored their preferred methods of Magick via technology and superscience, while weakening the consensual support for the mystical and spiritual forms of Magick practiced by their rivals in the Traditions. Meanwhile, both major factions were opposed by Marauders, rogue Mages dedicated to Chaos and their own personal aggrandizement, and by Nephandi, Mages who used the darkest forms of Magick and actively sought to corrupt reality to suit their own twisted ends. Most of the Nephandi and Marauders were crushed in Gehenna, and the Technocracy came out on top.
But all mages of all factions draw their power from Quintessence, the fabric of reality itself, and all mages operate via the nine spheres of magick. Modern mages can usually perform at least some magick from each of the nine spheres, but they all are naturally gifted in one sphere more than others, one type of magick that they can perform at a higher proficiency than any other.
List of Mage sub-pages plannedEdit
Mage Spheres: Correspondence, Entropy, Forces, Life, Mind, Matter, Prime, Spirit, Time.