Origin: Choosing the Path

Magic is Real.

We fly over oceans, hold the sum of all recorded knowledge in our hands, and speak with relatives halfway across the world without leaving our chairs. Magic isn't just flying on broomsticks or calling down fire from the Heavens. Magic is limited only by your Imagination, and your Will to make it manifest. There's a battle going on over the nature of Reality and Mankind itself. Pretend it isn't there, or get involved and forge the Future you envision.

Welcome to the Ascension War.

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Post by ManWithDoor » Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:50 pm

His companion listens attentively, nodding his head and looking thoughtful. "It is fortunate that you are a follower of The Way then. You are finding your own Path, outside the standard orthodoxy. Not all Traditions would have so easily let you wander to find your own road to understanding." He begins slowly walking again, heading deeper into the ICU. "I myself have difficulty abstaining from being involved in the mundane world, as you quite easily know." He gestures with a mild smirk at their doctor garb. "We have felt a calling to make the world a better place. I believe there is wisdom in "navel gazing", as you put it. Showing our fellow man that there is a way to live that is not obsesses with wealth, power, pleasure, and conflict. But not all of us can live like that. The world also needs men of action, to help guide the world to a better Way, rather than simply beckoning them."

He comes to the end of the hall, and turns in to a private room. "I have one last patient to show you. Perhaps you can help where I can not." He closes the door, then turns to the man in the bed. He is likely only in his 20s, but looks to be at least 50. His skin is gray and colorless. Black and red puncture marks almost cover the entirety of his arms. The nurses evidently couldn't find a vein in his arms, and the IV is instead going straight into his jugular vein, the needle taped in place very firmly. He does not appear conscious, although his body moves listlessly, uncoordinated. His eyes open and close periodically, although there is no clear thought behind them. The color is a startlingly bright blue, the only bright thing about him, really.

"I found him like this, two weeks ago. I brought him here, where he could be safe. I haven't been able to figure out what did this to him, or why none of my treatments, magical or otherwise, have brought him out of it. I thought I'd get a consult, see if you understand something I'm missing." He gestures to the prone figure, backing off to give you some space.
Perception (4 - Uncanny Insight) + Awareness (1) @ TN 6 = 1,2,9,9,10. 3 Successes. The man has a supernatural aura, but it is seriously snarled. You've never seen anything quite like it. His aura seems to be in flux, fighting itself rather than flowing harmoniously.

Arete (3) - Life Scan @ TN 5 = 5,6,10. 3 Successes. Outside of the obvious track marks and decaying body, you can find no root cause for his physical symptoms. Whatever drugs he may have been taking have passed. He has standard life support fluids being pumped in, but nothing suspicious.
Rule Number 12: "A soft answer turneth away wrath. Once wrath is looking the other way, shoot it in the head."

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Post by Trogdor » Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:22 pm

Jon listens quietly as Dr. Chen opines about the Way, an occasional nod punctuating his silence. The more experienced doctor was certainly right that there were different manners of following the true path. And just because Jon's initial steps went in one direction, doesn't mean that his later ones can't go in another. He would pay heed to the wisdom of his colleague.

When they arrive in the new room in the ICU, Jon narrows his eyes and carefully assesses the patient, both with his outer and inner sight. What he sees startles him. Dr. Chen was right; this was a difficult case. As Jon hears more about the poor man's predicament, his interest in definitely piqued. A mysterious illness and an unresponsive patient. It was a page out of one of the medical dramas that were so popular on television these days. But more importantly, it was a poor man suffering from an inexplicable ailment.

Jon nods once more and gives the strung-out addict a quick examination, checking his pulse at neck, wrist, and ankles, listening to his heart and lungs, and tapping on his abdomen. In doing so, the resident makes a careful medical assessment of the patient's physical status, while at the same time neatly checking the flow of mystical energy at key focal points in the man's body.

"You were right to ask my opinion," he says at last, drawing his hands away from the patient. "This man has a supernatural aura, though one that's almost hopelessly tangled. Almost." His eyes show a determination not to give up on this patient. "I've never seen anything quite like it. His aura seems to be in flux, fighting itself rather than flowing harmoniously. Most curious and most disturbing."

"What's more, though he's clearly partaken of many drugs in the past, he's not currently under the influence of anything beyond the few medications I see on his chart; I suspect that the toxicology report has revealed that much already. But my investigations also can't identify any root cause for his physical symptoms. Nothing. They plague him, clearly enough, but I can't pin down a reason why. I have to wonder if he's suffering from some kind of magical malady, rather than a physical one."

"The one person who could tell us more about what brought on this condition," Jon observes with a grand gesture at the addict, "is the patient himself. Unfortunately, he's insensate right now, and not likely to directly answer our questions. Thankfully we have more indirect methods of questioning at our disposal. Give me some cover in case a nurse walks in and I'll see if I can find the answers we need in his memory, or perhaps his Dreams."

Then, taking several centering breaths, Jon positions himself next to the patient. One hand grasps the man's needle-marked wrist, while the other is placed gently on the dry skin of his forehead. On the ring finger of the hand placed on the patient's head rests the dragon ring that was a gift from Jon's grandmother all those years ago. Formed in the shape of a dragon's head with two small sapphires for eyes, it often serves as a focus for Jon's use of Life magic. And though this was an attempt to use Mind magic, not Life, Jon relishes the comfort it brings him.

Now, his preparations complete, the resident would, to all outside appearances, be just a doctor taking the patient's pulse while checking his temperature. But this positioning would also give Jon physical contact at two key bodily focal points, which would make the Mind magic much easier to accomplish.

Finally, with nothing more to delay him, Jon dives into the patient's mind, seeking memories of whatever caused this terrible condition.
Take extra time to lower the TN. And do it as an extended effort, if that would be more beneficial.
Use meditation, his ring, and bodywork as a focus.
Here's the first Arete roll. Not sure of the TN, so I guessed 7 to be conservative: 3, 10, 10: I'm assuming two successes.

The plan is to try and look through the patient's memories to see if he can figure out what happened to him. If that doesn't work, Jon will then try and see if the unconscious man is dreaming at all, and try and visit his Dream.

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Post by ManWithDoor » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:39 am

Your first impressions are of action. Momentum. Energy. As you begin to separate the impressions from the mind behind it, you feel a passion built into every fiber of his being. A human made for exploding boundaries and exploring new directions. A consciousness beyond being constrained by labels, or definitions, or limitations. Magic itself can be a form of Dynamism, illuminating the Path, making it possible to find the Way. But boundaries still exist for a reason. To provide structure, stability, or even stepping stones for those who can only walk, and not yet fly. These limiters seem to have failed, or be missing, in this mind. The Pattern is being eroded by the power of the Dynamic, while the body falls to Entropy.

The thoughts underneath these impressions are similarly a whirlwind. Thoughts, concerns, decisions, all passing by almost too fast to perceive. But overall, you feel a pulse powering it all. A divine Heartbeat, a cosmic connection connecting him to all things.
Mind 3 is generally what you'd need to do anything more than a surface delve into someone. It's coincidental (as almost all Mind is), so +3. So that's normally TN 6. Since you're really taking your time and making more of an extended roll / ritual out of it, I'll even lower it to TN 5. So yeah, 2 Successes. Keep making Rolls each post.
Rule Number 12: "A soft answer turneth away wrath. Once wrath is looking the other way, shoot it in the head."

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Post by Trogdor » Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:18 pm

Jon's eyes widen as he gazes deep into the patient's soul. One hand remains fixed to the man's forehead, while the other grasps his wrist in a hold that is both gentle and firm at the same time. The resident starts to see hints of the man's life as he watches, though the truth is much more than skin deep in this case. Passion, for certain, but magic as well. The man had some magic in his soul, whether he knew it or not.

But somehow the man had no boundaries for the use of his magical power. Jon could see that clearly. It was possible, he knew, for those with the greatest level of control over themselves. But just as you wouldn't let a child out on a balcony with no railing, you couldn't let an untrained person deal with power like this without some kind of restraint on its use. To do otherwise left open the possibility that something like this would happen - untrammeled exercise of such power without any focus on it's use. The man's spirit seemed to be caught in a spiral of power without any ability to bring himself out of it.

As he looks, Jon searches for more details of the situation. Where is the source of this power? Where is the core of the man's being, which could be used to anchor his sense of self? Where are the edges of the man's soul, so that boundaries could be built back up around them. For it seemed more and more likely that Jon would have to construct some kind of framework for the man to use, some sort of lifeline for him to pull back from the mystical abyss and return to a more normal life.
Arete Check (difficulty 5): 4, 7, 9 (two successes)

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Post by ManWithDoor » Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:16 pm

As the idea of a framework comes to your mind, you see a foundation block form underneath your feet. You realize that at least part of you has moved into the young man's mind. A bastion of order extends from underfoot for thirty feet in every direction, the only calm in the whirlwind.

As you look around, you begin to detect some sense in the madness around you. Like many chaotic systems, there are repeating patterns if you look hard and long enough. You see a circulating nature to the "wind", if you can call it that. More like flows of energy than true air, but you know what you are seeing in this Mindscape is all symbolic anyways, your physical mind visualizing higher truths in the only way that makes some sense still. Regardless, the longer you look, the more certain you become that there is a center to this hurricane. Either an eye of calm, or the center of power for the storm. Either way, it is the logical place to search.

As you will yourself towards the Eye, your mental body walks forward. The stone foundation extends forward, creating a sturdy path for you to travel. After a time you look back, and notice that the stone path back to your origin point is being slowly carved away by the buffeting winds. You're uncertain if you can find your way back, should you stay here long.
Glad to have you back! :) Keep going with those Rolls, should you decide to delve deeper.
Rule Number 12: "A soft answer turneth away wrath. Once wrath is looking the other way, shoot it in the head."

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Post by Trogdor » Mon Oct 03, 2016 4:21 pm

Jon sees the ebb and flow of the energy coursing around him. There were patterns, if barely, and where there were patterns, there might yet be a chance for a sane core to all this madness. If these patterns were a fleeting sign of a solid base around which all of this upheaval arose, there was the possibility that he might yet save the patient from what amounted to eternal madness.

As he considers the matter, Jon sends a mental flare out through the maelstrom of thoughts and images toward Dr. Chen, the mystical equivalent of a lifeline. He'll brave the mental chaos on his own if he has to in order to save the patient. But there was no sense in taking needless risks when he has a perfectly capable mage right there in the wings to serve as an anchor.

But alas, his flare is lost in the turmoil of the patient's mind. It's a solo trip or none at all. And Jon's hippocratic oath, combined with the knowledge that there are few others who could set this upended mind to rights, compels him forward.

Cognizant of the crumbling path behind him, the mystical resident quickly steps forward, looking to bring some order to the chaos around him, or at least to find the center of the man's mind, from which he might get answers and, with luck, bring healing.
What's the use of having a second mage on call if you don't put him to work?

Mental life line roll: 1, 4, 10
My understanding is that that would be 0 successes (the 1 takes away the 10), but it wouldn't be a botch because there was one success to begin with.

Okay, I guess he's doing this solo.

Mental Exploration: 3, 5, 8; 2 successes

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Post by ManWithDoor » Wed Oct 05, 2016 1:26 am

Jon's mind is made up. Despite the difficulty or the danger, he's committed to helping this man. His pace is steady and strong, not hurried or erratic. He brings a sense of order and calm as he progresses, an island of sanity in the madness swirling around him. His senses are clear, unaffected by the disorder around him.

The colors swirling through gain more sense as he progresses toward the Eye. They resolve themselves into images, symbols, and sounds. He sees an intricate Mandala in black-and-white thread. The sound of a universal Heartbeat. A brief scene of an intensely erotic coupling. Little snippets, disconnected from each other.

Step by step, he gets closer to the center of the Maelstrom. Jon feels an energy strongly emanating from further ahead, powering the storm. He is getting close.
Your math is correct. Also keep in mind that you can try again (although the Lifeline difficulty will be TN 6 instead of TN 5 next try. Also, you have the option of spending Quintessence (lowers difficulty) or spending Willpower (AUTOMATIC success). Just sayin'. Don't forget your resources.

I also really need to work on my writing style. I keep switching between You and He for posts. *sigh* I'm just going to leave it as is, rather than re-write it. I'll try to be better about it going forward. If it's only 1 person in the Thread, I'll stick with You. If it's multiple PCs, I will of course stick with pure 3rd person.
Rule Number 12: "A soft answer turneth away wrath. Once wrath is looking the other way, shoot it in the head."

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Post by Trogdor » Thu Oct 06, 2016 7:40 pm

Casting out with his mind, Jon uses what strength he can muster to command calm within the maelstrom. He can only do so much in the mind of another, but unlike most, he has both the power and the skill to force his will upon the minds of others.

It's a thing he does with the greatest care and hesitation, knowing that it's wrong to tamper with the mind of an innocent man. But here he has no other options. First he must establish some control in this realm of pure thought before he can begin to help restore the mind of his unwitting host. Just as it might be necessary to physically restrain an unruly patient to treat him, so too must Jon at least create an island of calm before he has a chance of fixing what's wrong.

As he moves forward, the mage-doctor imposes order where he can. Absent true healing, it won't last for long. But it only needs to last long enough. The physician of both body and mind sees images as he walks, memories, dreams, nightmares, or stray thoughts, it was hard to tell. Part of him wishes to ignore them and give the patient his privacy. But another part of him knows that he needs all the information he can to make a proper diagnosis. And knowing what's wrong is the first step of the healing process.

Step-by-step Jon advances, each step bringing him closer to the center of the man's mind and the truth of what could have shattered his psyche. He only hopes that he is up to the task of repairing that damage.
Arete check for Mental Examination: 7, 9, 10; three successes

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Post by ManWithDoor » Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:01 pm

The closer you get to the origin of the storm, the greater the winds become. The images and sensations sharpen, tearing at the order that you are trying to impose. But you are an Enlightened Being, not some charlatan playing at greatness. You have studied under Masters of the Art, meditated on higher truths, communed with ancient minds. This chaos is as nothing. You blend with it, creating a new order amongst the disorder, setting your consciousness amidst the fury without error. All at once, the winds die down. You feel calmness and warmth here in the Eye. But you are not alone. In the center is a Being, the source of the energy and power surrounding you both. His features appear to be in shadow, although that may simply be because of the brilliance pouring out from him.
Image
This energy and might extends in all directions. At first it seems to have a purpose, an order, a meaning, but that control almost immediately seems to evaporate. The energy tangles, snarles, and turns into the storm you see. The Being has a generically masculine shape, but little else can be seen. So far it doesn't seem to detect, or at least acknowledge, your arrival here.
Threshold for the Extended Test was 8 Successes. You hit 9, so you're good. You've gotten to the center of the storm, and can now interact freely. You don't need to make any further Mind rolls for getting here or maintaining yourself.

If you want to do other effects or whatnot, feel free to Roll those. You'll need to start rolling again once you try to make your way back.
Rule Number 12: "A soft answer turneth away wrath. Once wrath is looking the other way, shoot it in the head."

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Post by Trogdor » Tue Oct 11, 2016 4:08 pm

Finally Jon arrives at the eye of the storm, not entirely certain whether the calm he sees is due to his own mental discipline or the presence of the mind of his patient. Regardless, he appreciates the ability to gather his thoughts again, and pauses for contemplation. He looks at the representation of the mind before him and considers what he must do. There was no doubt some pain and suffering that needed to be healed; that much was clear. But would the patient be willing to be treated, or would be resist? Best to take precautions against the latter possibility.

In the calm he finds himself in, the doctor-mage centers his being and quietly erects a shield around his psyche that he hopes can withstand an assult should the patient lash out. In these circumstances it was better to be safe than sorry.

Then, his protection in place, he mentally calls out to the presence here at the center of the maelstrom.

"Hello. My name is Jon. I'm here to help you." The thoughts are sent with a feeling of compassion and love to try and reassure the man that he means no harm.
Arete check for Mind Shield (assuming difficulty 6): 3, 7, 9; two successes

I don't know if I need to roll to send compassion with the thoughts. I'm not trying to manipulate him at all. That might be taken as an offensive act. I'm just trying to flavor the thoughts with compassion.
BTW, the image didn't come through.

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