World of Darkness - Alpha Network
The Supernal has many Realms and many Watchtowers, and occasionally someone Awakens to them instead of the typical five-fold towers. This is one of them.
Laborers on the Path of Toil
Scions of the Watchtower of the Bronze Noose in the Realm of Tartarus
Kingdom of Ashes and Abode of Watchers
Death and Time rule the ashen and lifeless wastes of this Realm, for in death is eternity, and in time all things come to death. Life, that vital animation, is weak here, for the skies are black with smoke, the ground buried beneath fields of dust and ash, the rivers choked with silt. Only that which is determined, stubborn, and unrelenting can survive here, and so only mages of great Resolve sign themselves to its Watchtower.
The Realm’s Tarot card is the Hanging Man, its Watchtower the gallows and noose he hangs from. Its element is the lifeless earth. Its weapon is the pitchfork, the sickle, the hammer, those symbols of man’s toil and labor upon the earth. Its metals are bronze, copper, and tin. Its jewel is coral (which is merely the lifeless shell of a living thing). Its plant is the cypress, that mark of mourning. Its earthly animal is the goat, the stubborn creature. Its mythical beast the harpy, which tears away sustenance from those that reach for it. Its fragrance is that of smoke. Its fabric that of linen. Its vehicle is the wagon. Its planet is Saturn and its food is grapes.
The Realm is occupied by the Watchers, who the Greeks called Egregoroi and the Slavs named Grigori. Fallen angels, giants, all that is known of them is they stand and watch, never sleeping, as those who enter the Realm toil endlessly. Here a man rolls a boulder up a hill, only for it to tip and fall back down. There, countless women attempt to pull water from a river in jugs without bottoms. Over yonder, a man reaches for a bare and possibly-dead tree, but for a handful of grapes hanging above him. Each time he extends his hand, the tree pulls back. And further back, another man hangs upside-down from the gallows, waiting for an eternity for the mystery of the universe to be revealed to him.
The Realm instructs those in patience, struggle, perseverance, labor, toil, perspective, and futility. Some say Ponos is the Exarchs’ dream, others call it the domain of the Locust-Eaters, others say it is infected with the Abyss, while yet more call it the true reflection of the earthly Underworld.
Nemeses on the Path of Retribution
Scions of the Watchtower of the Blood Law in the Realm of Dis
Kingdom of Malice and Abode of Furies
Fate and Life rule in the Realm of Dis, where oaths broken are visited with swift and brutal violence. The arcana of Spirit is weakened, for the law and oaths are interested solely in the word and letter, with little thought given to what one meant to accomplish with an oath. Still, words are not spoken lightly here, and the Resolve of the Awakened who come to this Realm must be of impressive magnitude in order to say what one means and mean what one says.
The Realm’s Tarot card is Justice, its Watchtower a judicial court flush with blood, pain and suffering. Its element is fire, the blazing of vengeance, jealousy and righteousness. Its weapons are the scourge, the rod and the sword. Its earthly animal is the snake, its mythic beast the gorgon. Its vehicle is the chariot.
The Realm is occupied by the Furies, who the Greeks named Erinyes, the Romans Dirae. They visit great reprisals upon those who come to the Realm, every hurt and harm committed being revisited and accounted for. It is in some ways reflective of the great purification of sin in Pandemonium, but more immediate, more visceral in character.
Vitus – The Watchtower of the Phoenix
Ascetics on the Path of Resurrection
Kingdom of Strength and the Abode of Olympians
Life and Prime rules in the realm of Vitus. With the subtle Arcana of Prime and it’s transcendent power invigorating and reinforcing the worldly patterns of Life, this is a place of raw physical growth – verdant jungles, towering forests, and giant versions of plant and animal life. The cycle of life, while not as savage as the Watchtower Thyrsus, life here is more real than real. Strength and power floods all life here, and the Arcana of Death and Time are weak weak here. The cycle of life and it’s inevitability are triumphant here, although Life here is by no means kind. Life constantly struggles against itself, and seeks to improve, struggle, and overcome. The Tarot card for this watchtower is Strength, and it is populated by perfect, mythic beasts. It is said by some scholars that this realm contains the primordial, supernal forms of all things that live and will ever live. Animals associated with this realm are the Lion and the Unicorn, both symbols of primal strength and the living nature of magic, respectively.
The form that the Watchtower takes is indeed a curious one. Instead of a great tower that must be ascended, the watchtower is a great stalk or tree which must be climbed. The realm embodies ideal physical excellence of living things. The initiate signs his name by breathing his last breath onto the Great Egg at the top of the watchtower. If he or she is successful, that egg will hatch, and the signatory will be reborn from it.
Conjurors on the Path of Illusions
Scions of the Watchtower of the Obscure Stage in the Realm of Carrefour
Kingdom of Mirrors and Abode of Tricksters
Forces and Mind take precedence here in this Realm, a strange pocket of trickery, misdirection, deception and lies. Prime, that essence of the truth of magic, is weakest here. Indeed, it’s said that Pseudologos is perhaps the closest of the Supernal realms to the earthly world, with its power more from what it can convince its visitors of, than what it actually possesses. To keep ones’ tricks straight, each magus who walks up to the Obscure Stage must weave a mask of Composure.
The Realm’s Tarot card is the Magician. Its Watchtower is a dark theater stage, a single spotlight lit from above. Its element is air. Its earthly animal is the rabbit, its mythical beast the sphinx. Its planet is the Moon.
Along with Ponos and Horkos, Pseudologos is considered part of the “Erisian triad”, a grouping of Supernal lands which delight in strife, toil and confusion; all aspects certain magicians still trapped in the Fallen world imagine they can escape by Ascension. The Erisian triad serves as a reminder that all things in the material world have their reflections in the Supernal.
As with the regular Paths, each of these new Paths is defined by a central dichotomy.
Aretos: Theory and Practice
Axios: Risk and Reward
Kleos: Memory and Myth
Mæstros: Authority and Duty
Sophros: Growth and Decay
Aretos: the Watchtower of the Copper Mallet in the Realm of Utopia
Axios: the Watchtower of the Hermium Mirror in the Realm of the Firmament
Kleos: the Watchtower of the Tin Flute in the Realm of the Akasha
Mæstros: the Watchtower of Brass and Flame in the Realm of Mount Qaf
Sophros: the Watchtower of the Wooden Chalice in the Realm of Elysium
Aretos: Artisans and Alchemists
Axios: Traders and Advocates
Kleos: Sages and Bards
Mæstros: Sorcerers and Evokers
Sophros: Druids and Mediums
Paths As Game Mechanics
Path Ruling Arcana Inferior Arcanum
Aretos Matter and Prime Fate
Axios Space and Fate Life
Kleos Time and Mind Space
Mæstros Forces and Spirit Prime
Sophros Life and Death Time
To an Aretos on the Path of Excellence, the world is full of potential; when he looks at a slab of marble, he sees the sculpture that he can bring out of it. They summon Archetypes.
To an Axios on the Path of Merit, the world is full of Opportunities and Connections. They summon the Stars guide him
To a Kleos on the Path of Enlightenment, the record of the world is an open book, and she can read the stories that surround her. They summon Eidolons.
To a Mæstros on the Path of Mastery, the forces in the world are alive with purpose. They summon the Djinn.
To a Sophros on the Path of Balance, the cycle of the Seasons is everywhere, as everything is either developing or fading in turn. They summon Serpents.
How To Use These Paths
Here are four alternate settings to illustrate how these Paths might be used.
In this version of the Chronicles of Darkness, there are only five Paths; but instead of witches, wizards, alchemists, theurges, and shamans, you have artisans, traders, sages, sorcerers, and druids.
The Ten Watchtowers
In this setting, all ten Paths coexist, and have always coexisted. There is talk about “the Paths of the Soul” (Acanthus, Mastigos, Moros, Obrimos, Thyrsus) that supposedly favor the Subtle Arcana, and “the Paths of the World” (Aretos, Axios, Kleos, Mæstros, Sophros) that supposedly favor the Gross Arcana; but, like the distinction between Subtle and Gross, it’s largely a theoretical distinction. Nonetheless, associations are drawn:
Paths of the Soul
Acanthus: the Name
Mastigos: the Spirit
Moros: the Shadow
Obrimos: the Essence
Thyrsus: the Heart
Paths of the World
The World Has Changed
In 2009, some sort of cosmic event occurred, and new mages started Awakening in large numbers to a sixth Watchtower, the Watchtower of Brass and Flame. But that was just the beginning: over the next two years, four more Watchtowers “came online”, one after the other. It has now been seven years since the first of the New Watchtowers erupted, and five years since the last one did, and their appearances are as much a mystery now as they were then. No one speaks of “Paths of the Soul” or “Paths of the World”; rather, they’re simply “the Old Paths” and “the New Paths”.
Science and Magic
This setting combines these Paths with Gifted Science from Mage Chronicler’s Guide. That is, the Aretos, Axios, Kleos, Mæstros, and Sophros aren’t Mages who Awakened to Watchtowers; they’re Gifted Scientists who have Actualized different Utopias:
• the Aretos are the Path of Engineering, builders of the Singularity
• the Axios are the Path of Utility, advocates of the Market
• the Kryos are the Path of Society, founders of the Republic
• the Mæstros are the Path of Physics, seekers of Type V Civilization
• the Sophros are the Path of Biology, progenitors of the Garden