The first and most important decision is you Identity. Whilst expressed in strict mechanical terms they represent your characters deep-seated personality, their strength of will, their rationality. Because of this they have a deep impact on your character, and cannot be changed after generation.
The three key aspects of Identity are:
Ego ~ A measure of self-confidence, will and strength of character.
Elementalism ~ The fury at the heart of storm, the power of chaos and sheer destruction.
Aether Mastery ~ The cold rationality of logic and order.
A person is a complex interplay of drives and passions, as such you will have a mix of these to form your Identity. Some may seem contradictory like Elementalism and Aether Mastery, but to truly harness the elements you need control as well as power.
You must choose one of these three to be your primary motivator, this will decide if identify as an Ego, Mentalist or Maester. The three are explained below:
The Elementalist, commonly referred to as just ‘mentalists owing to their
general lack of sanity. Years, if they’re lucky enough to survive that long,
of invasive surgery and a cocktail of drugs and painkillers slowly shatter
the psyche of a Mentalist as they gradually become more obsessed with
their goal of amassing more power. Some ‘mentalists start with some
goal in mind, maybe some misguided urchin looking for a way off the
streets, perhaps a crime lord looking for an easy way to acquire respect,
but they all end in the same way, in a blaze of glory. Or on the street
docs slab, but those ones don’t get sung about in the local.
These guys are the heavy hitters, no one else can hit as hard as or as
often. If you need something absolutely annihilated, you need a ‘mentalist.
But it comes at a cost, the extensive surgery and drugs have wracked
their body making them physically frail so they try to keep away from
the front lines. A ‘mentalists best moves come at the expense of their
health and sanity, fueling their abilities with their own lifeforce for a kick
Many ‘mentalists start out amongst the gangs on the streets of
Oxford. Petty magicians and petty arsonists. Mostly a bunch of wannabes
wishing they were in the big leagues, maybe some of the higher
ups sporting a bit of chrome but nowhere near enough to truly count
as a ‘mentalist. Maybe they were one of the few that made it; landed a
big haul, got sponsored by a gang or simply took the parts second hand
from another ‘mentalist that didn’t quite make it. Maybe they never
thought their lives would head down this path until one day one of the
gangs found themselves in need of shock trooper and choose some
unfortunate sod to be the recipient of an all-inclusive surgery package.
Drugged up and let loose on the enemy but lucky, or crazy enough to
survive. However it happened they are now amongst the most feared
magicians across Oxford, if not simply for their unpredictability.
The Egos are not concerned with the external manipulation and direction
of magic, but it’s internal applications. Through indomitable will
bolstered by arcane energies they make their bodies proof against bullet,
blade or fireball. Whilst lacking the outwardly destructive qualities of a
‘mentalist or the guile and manipulation of a Maester, they make up for
it in sheer resilience. In and out of the Dreamscape their endurance is
legendary. No other person could hope to survive falls from a ten storey
building, let alone a ten storey building falling on them.
The Ego is the frontline fighter on the streets of Oxford. Some apply
more skill than others to the duty, but one thing unites them, on
the streets there are none quite as robust as an Ego.
Tough, strong and fast, paragons of both body and martial skill.
The one uniting feature of Ego’s is their confidence. They are one of
the most disparate groups, when a group of Ego’s meet it’s normally to
show off to one another. Near anyone can become an Ego; from the bare
knuckle boxer living fist to mouth in the slums to the Mafioso brooding
over his empire. All you need is the instruction of another Ego, indomitable
will and access to a certain few drugs.
AetherMaester, the pioneers of the application of magic and the ones
to perfect Dreamscape combat. Their insights into its workings makes
them potent combatants. Less with sheer force and more with cunning.
Manipulating the environment around them to suit them, tapping into
the energies of the Aether to bolster defences and attacks alike. Their
understanding of the Aether gives them another advantage. All conscious
beings, magicians or not, reflect upon the Aether. Maesters can
exploit their deeper connection with the Aether to gain glimpses of their
opponents conscious states and can potentially use this for more forceful
Maesters, whilst a little tougher than their drug addled cousins , the
‘mentalists, they still don’t boast the sheer resilience of the Ego. Whilst
able to tough it out on the front lines a bit better than your average
mook they often don’t want to stay there too long, in order to take advantage
of their flexibility in roles on the battlefield. Maesters normally
try and fight smarter, not harder, using the battlefield and clever gambits
to their advantage in an attempt to keep their opponents off balance.
Maesters are normally the best educated of the Magi as there’s is the
most technical art. It requires at least a basic understanding of the
principles of physics, mathematics and the field of Aetherics, of course.
Many Maesters are academics and scholars by first profession. Though
the larger gangs have started “college” programs to educate the more
promising urchins of the streets in the ways of the Aether. These are
often looked down upon by other Maesters holding proper doctorates
but they normally get the job done just as well.