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They are guarding all the gates and they are holding all the keys.
(Credit where credit is due: Most of this is taken from URNOVI's The Magus/The Hacker from back in 2003. I've rewritten the Archetype to be more universal but more specific to people who, in our day to day lives, hold very secret knowledge).
Magus. From Magos, wise man. Wizard from similar roots. Sorcerer comes from "poisoner". Etymologically speaking a magician is one thing, it's somebody who knows something that you don't. In times past that "something" was how to keep the bad spirits at bay, or how to read the stars and the entrails. In the old days magicians worked with rules and lines and circles. They knew how things worked and that made them powerful.
These days things have changed. Magic is about make-it-up-as-you-go syncretic symbolic freewheeling. The world does what you tell it because *you* have power and *it* does not and sacred formulae be damned. These days any moron with the chutzpah to leap in front of a lorry for the charge can be a magician and in the Statosphere the Archetypal magus watches and, insofar as such a thing can, winces.
These days things have changed and, yet, stayed the same. Magic is still about arcane knowledge, things most men do not know. But today, it's the knowledge of quantum physics, lawsuits, infectiology and escapology, laws and rules the common man does not have truck with.
There are ever Deeper Mysteries, matters which most men fear even to speak of, but in which a select few are initiated into the proper arts, and can make sense of a world of strange rules and arcane ritual.
Attributes: The Magus has an understanding of mysteries most mortal men do not, and will have the capacity (if not the inclination) to exploit that understanding to tangible effect.
Taboo: Admitting ignorance or inability. The Magus is about confidence in your own ability and your own knowledge. More importantly, it's about convincing everybody else that you have confidence in your own ability and your own knowledge.
Additionally, teaching someone else your way is forbidden outside of the appropriate venue (courtroom for a lawyer, a hospital for a doctor) and only to initiated students (paralegals, medical interns and so on). The Magus hoardes knowledge and passes it along to few (if any).
Finally, the chaotic, anybody-in, uncodified magic of today doesn't sit well with the Magus. Following a modern school of magic also breaks taboo.
Symbols: Depends if you follows the old ways (or the new ways). Swords (scapels, needles, the pen), Wands (gavels, test tubes), Lines (modem cables, wiring, schematics). Dusty tomes (books of law, medical textbooks, nuclear power plant operation manuals). Anything related to your mystery that suggests knowledge, power and superiority.
Suspected Avatars: Rasputin, Aleister Crowley, Nikola Tesla, Bill Gates, Imhotep, David Blaine, The Masked Magician (Valentino).
1% - 50%: The Avatar picks one skill which would be considered arcane to the common man (quantum physics, ritual magic, psychotherapy). The Avatar can flip-flop any roll with that skill once per day.
51% - 75%: With a successful Avatar: the Magus/the Hacker roll, the Avatar can diagnose the root cause of any problem which has its basis in his area of expertise. The amount of detail you get is based on your mundane knowledge about the arena. If you're a forensic Magus and you find somebody dead in a mysterious car crash, for example, and you know nothing about Urbanomancy, then a roll on this channel will tell you it was "some kind of impossible occurence", if you *did* know about Urbanomancy you'd get "probably an Urbanomancer Significant Blast" (only in more IC sounding terminology)
75% - 90%: You can "jury-rig" solutions to a problem in your chosen field. These are short term affairs (ultimately a GM call on how long they last, but generally it's the Avatar skill check in Rounds, Minuites, Hours or Days, depending on what you're fixing) and you do actually need to *do* something, however minor to get the effect. You may only use this channel once per problem, then you need to find a real fix.
For example: a lawyer Magus could jury-rig extra downtime in a court case to buy time for his legworkers to find more evidence, track down a key eyewitness. A Magus at the CDC could come up with a stop-gap antidote for a particularly virulent plague while a full cure is found.
91%+: Those things Bound by the Laws are bound to your will. From the point of view of the Magus, this means that you can command unnatural beings with an Avatar: the Magus check for a variable length of time depending on the power of the creature, and how well you roll.
What kind of Thing you have control of is dependant on your area. A hacker could control a mainframe through sheer force of will and give it sentience; a lawyer could command any currently incarcerated felon to do his bidding or fuse an entire cellblock together into a juggernaut of flesh and muscle (if he rolled spectacularly); a quantum physicist could, perhaps, call up a duplicate from a parallel universe, and a ritual magician could - if he had the texts - call up something old, ancient and primal.
A cryptozoologist Magus could, potentially (if he was in the wilderness), summon Bigfoot.
What you hear
David Blaine is still trying to ascend as the Street Magus. He hopes to topple the archetype from it's ivory tower, becoming more of an urban shaman.
CSI: Vegas is a videomancer's way of demystifying a forensic Magi's domain and, thus, her hold on the archetype.
One bodybag in Cali is writing down everything to do with her magic. Every charge is documented, from collection to use. Blasts are tested. Her friends think she's trying to codify enough of her magic to start walking the road of The Magus.
Sam German is the current Godwalker of The Magus.
Chesterberg | profile | Mar 15, 07 | 2:13 pm
Sweet! It's a little bet to close to being a general "expert" archetype (and thus a bit to common), but I'm not sure what the fix would be, or even wether it really needs a fix.
Mattias | profile | Mar 16, 07 | 3:28 am
Fair points, Mattias! I suppose one more additional taboo could be that whatever field it is must have some kind of qualification that takes, say 5 or more years of study AND a valid qualification? So 33 degree Masons, 333 degree Anti-Masons (thank you, Grant Morrison), doctors, lawyers who've passed the bar only, please. How about that?
Chesterberg | profile | Mar 16, 07 | 5:23 am
Anyone have any ideas for a better 2nd channel? As Mattias points out it is, frankly, pants.
Chesterberg | profile | Mar 16, 07 | 5:26 am
I disagree. Archetypes must be recognisable and accessible to the majority of humans on the planet. The majority of people do not possess degrees but there are plenty with bizarre hobbies and useless trivia and obsessions (the magus doesn't have to be useful) - I don't think knowing how to calculate THAC0 or reciting the contents of the Goetia requires a degree. You also do not need a degree to be a preacher but you have access to secret knowledge.
Chesterberg: That the magi is secretive about his knowledge clashes with the "convincing everybody else that you have confidence in your own ability and your own knowledge" a bit. Tricky to convince people you know your stuff when you can't discuss it with them.
Mattias | profile | Mar 16, 07 | 6:29 am
The conjured divination can only answer questions any normal person could answer (as an eyewitness).