Your Avatar or Genius or....Edit
What the other factions call an Avatar is known as Genuis within the Technocracy. Individual mages or sects might use a different word (Bodhictta, Howahkan, Holy Guardian Angel, etc.,) so do not feel bound to have your character refer to their Avatar as such. For simplicity's sake, the word Avatar is almost exclusively used in the ECC Wiki, however. Described in M20 p.43 as "the embodiment of the God within", the avatar can be a challenge for both Storytellers and players in a MtA chronicle. The following are suggestions on portraying this shard of divinity through RP or details about Avatars that might be missed when reading the M20 books.
- spend at least 1 background point on Avatar at creation. Ask your Storyteller in advance if Avatar is a background they will allow to be raised over time- M20 Core suggests that the Avatar background represents the basic strength and capability of the Avatar, but the rating could also be viewed as not the Avatar's power, but the bond between it and the mage, which could conceivably increase/decrease, like friendship or love between two people. (see Avatar Background) In addition, M20 Core recommends a high Avatar rating if you have the Legend Background.
- select 2-3 Character Traits to establish a "voice" for your character's avatar and include them as notes in your character sheet. Use character traits that seem well-fitted to the avatar's Essence (see below).
- consider what form or forms the avatar takes if and when it appears to your character. It should be something meaningful to them, something that matches their belief system and what they hold sacred or true. Include this in your notes as well. This is especially important with an Avatar rating of 3 or higher. Avatars are themselves immune to Paradox when they manifest in forms that other people besides their mage can see, but it will probably look like something more or less 'normal' for the situation to them.
- remember that an avatar can act like a teacher, parent, advesary, bully, lover, master and/or slave- ever guiding its mage through self-discovery and transformation. The Avatar burst to life in its mage with the Awakening like a phoenix from a funeral pyre.
- "how" the avatar communicates is also personalized, but the more dots spent in the background trait, the louder it is. Storytellers might consider having character's roll Perception+Avatar rating or Perception + Awareness when they feel the Avatar has something to say.
- page 141 of M20 Core mentions mentors branding students who attempt to leave without repaying debts, and that no reputatable Tradition mage will teach them. The mechanics of such Branding appear to be left up to Storytellers, but likely include Prime Effects.
- For a Technocratic mage, a strong Genius is a key to retaining individuality- and the Technocratic nomenclature for an Awakening is Epiphany. For more information about Genuis, refer to p. 184 of M20 core.
- The dice pool penality from losing health levels does not affect Avatar rolls.
- A mage without the Spirit Sphere can attempt to soak a spirit's Rage-based damage with thier Avatar rating as a dice pool, difficulty 8.
- Mages in conflict with their Avatar gain a +1 to +3 difficulty to Magickal Effect rolls.
- To see another mage's Avatar, Mind 3/Prime 2/Spirit 1 is required; to conceal your own from other mages, it is Spirit 2/Mind 1.
Avatars and SeekingsEdit
Seekings are tests presented by the Avatar to its mage, full of perilous obstacles and tests. If the mage succeeds, something within them unlocks and they gain mystical knowledge and understanding and prowess. No one knows if the mage's consciousness is spirited off in a manner similar to Astral Travel or if the Seeking takes place in the imaginative archetypal world of their deep subconscious. Seekings are lifechanging, even when they end in failure- or madness. Marauders, in fact, are mages who are driven into madness by their Awakening or a Seeking- which possibly might have been the intention of their Avatar. No one knows, just as no one is certain what role an Avatar plays when it comes to Quiet.
- minor Seekings- Storytellers might wish to present mage characters with the opportunity to have Seekings that don't raise their Arete but provide other tangible benefits: a new dot of Perception, Awareness, one of the Spheres, the Avatar background: some other Trait that greatly benefits a mage. Some Storytellers may decide that the only way a Mage can improve a "mystickal" or "Enlightened" Trait is through a Seeking, in fact.
- major Seekings- Arete is one of the most "valuable" Traits in M20. A high Arete provides a better dice pool for all Effects, and it is the only Trait limited to 3 at Character Creation. An Arete of 4 is one of the signifiers that a character has evolved from Initiate to Adept. Such seekings should be rare and well-earned, and very difficult to succeed at the first time.
Avatars and EssenceEdit
Most factions teach that an Avatar has an Essence that guides and shapes the nature of the Avatar, and therefore also the nature of its mage. The most common monikers for the types of Essence are:
The stronger a mages Avatar rating, the more dramatically that the Avatar will express that essence in the mage.
The most feared punishment one mage (or group of mages) can inflict upon another, Gilgul tears an avatar apart- unmakes it completely. Gilgul isn't physical death, but mages rarely live long afterwards unless forced to. It is supposedly permanant, notwithstanding a legend or two about exceptions. The most common means of Gilgul is a Spirit 5 effect.
Avatars & QuintessenceEdit
Avatars absorb Quintessence, which isn't physical until it manifests as Tass, and even then it remains luminal,experienced differently by each person that experiences it. The ways in which a mage can gather the Quintessence its Avatar hungers for are diverse- but access to nodes and the Prime sphere are simplest and most common. When neither of those are available, buying, trading for, or outright stealing Tass (or an item with a Legend rating) from another mage might be used as a temporary measure.
A character's starting Quintessence matches their Avatar rating, which reflects the maximum amount of personal Quintessence a mage can store. The amount of Quintessence that a mage can spend or absorb in a given turn can match but not exceed their Avatar rating. Channeling more Quintessence than your Avatar rating via meditation at a Node (or any other means to absorb Quintessence) requires Prime 1.
Once Paradox and Quintessence overlap on the Quintessence/Paradox wheel, no additional Quintessence can be gained until Paradox is reduced.
The Avatars of the NephandiEdit
It can be said that a mage does not become a nephandus until their Avatar wishes to become a Nephandus. Barrabi are mages who begin their Awakened life as part of a different faction, but then they convert. Their Avatar is subjected to a Caul, a kind of inversion chamber that preliminary to its passage through the Gate of Dark Rebirth. By contrast, the Windderslainte had thier Avatars converted to Descension in a previous life. They might struggle against the Abyss, but will be inexorably dragged in with the same relentlessness that an uncorrupted Avatar would urge its mage on towards Ascension.
The Avatars of the MaraudersEdit
A Fusion of Marauders- a group caught in a shared Quiet share a mental bond, and possibly a common Avatar, according to Hermetic theory. If not, their Avatars work symbiotically and collectively. Confluxes of Marauders have individual Avatars who most likely share some mysterious agenda. A Marauder's Avatar often translates the "real world" into terms that the Mad One can understand in order to allow them to interact with it.