Legend of the Archons: The Thrice-Three Principles

The following is a bit of information for Legend of the Archons, that SotC variant I’m preparing. Well, it’s more like what might happen if SotC and tSoY got together and made mutant babies, but there you have it.

Feedback and thoughts on the Principles are not only welcome, they are actively desired – especially alternate names for certain Principles. Yes, there are nine of them like there are nine Spheres in oMage, and also nine Pillars in LoK. It’s a good number with mystical significance in some traditions, and I decided to go with that number. I’ve got symbols/glyphs for each of them as well but haven’t translated any of them to digital format.

anyhow, without further ado, I present…

The Thrice-Three Principles

The magical theorists and theologians of the Church and of contemporary scholarship adhere to a system for dividing reality, Fate and Magic into nine interconnected concepts, known as the Thrice-Three Principles. These Principles were expounded upon in detail by the Prophet, and are the framework around which contemporary magic theory is built. Occidan[1] Legends[2] that have magical abilities are automatically affiliated with one of these nine principles, which is an important part of their nature, magical style and personality. Beyond the nine divisions, the Principles are also placed in groups of three, known as Great Principles or the Triads. Each of the Triads is a group of three Principles connected conceptually to one another. Each of the Triads is more rarefied and abstract than the last, progressing from the material and observable world on to matters of the nature of life, death and the soul and on from there to abstracts related to the purpose that drives the other principles, concerned with why rather than what.

The First Great Principle – Manus, The Triad of the Hand

  • Mind (Enchanters) – Mind is the principle of perception, worldly awareness, factual knowledge and thought. The human mind’s messy tangle of contradictions, emotions and motivations is the playground of the Mind magician. Enchanters can cloud and manipulate the minds and senses of others as well as bestow clarity and insight and heightened awareness. Discerning the motives and desires of others is the stock in trade of Legends of the Mind – together with their impressive ability to even take complete mental control of others, Mind magicians inevitably swim in murky ethical waters. Many take a cavalier attitude to others’ rights and privacy. They tend to be dispassionate and emotionally remote – their abilities lay people bare so thoroughly and intimately that most Enchanters seek a degree of distance from others. At their best, these Legends are perceptive, insightful and intelligent, using their powers to gain knowledge and influence others for good as investigators, counselors, lawyers, scholars and the like, and at their worst they are mental rapists stealing secrets or charlatans living within layers of lies, illusion and manipulation without the least regard.
  • Forces (Virtue / Power) (Elementalists) – This is the Principle associated with the dynamic and inconstant natural elements. Fire, wind, electricity, waves and other natural forces are under the purview of Forces. Forces-wielders tend to be mercurial and passionate individuals, full of boundless energy. At one moment, they can be diffuse and distracted or even serene but at the next they can be terrifyingly focused on a very specific task – or simply terrifying. Subtlety is often lost on Elementalists, who tend to be direct, blunt and straithforward. Given taht the weather itself can be theirs to command, scions of Forces can command a healthy dose of respect and fear from common people, and out of all magicians are perhaps the most readily recognized as miracle-workers. At their best, Elementalists are kindly yet fierce warriors, experimenters, stargazers and outright adventurers – at their worst, they are reavers, pyromaniacs, capricious warlords and stormcallers.
  • Substance (Form / Matter / States) (Alchemists) – Substance is the Principle of the physical, observable and tangible realm. Stone, earth and the trappings of mortal beings are under this purview, as is pretty much anything that is concrete and established. Legends of Substance tend to be “down to earth” to pardon a pun. They’re practical, sensible, rational and patient… but once riled, their fury is that of an avalanche. They also tend to be very crafty and handy yet with a strong materialistic and self-serving streak. A lot of the better scions of Substance end up becoming great artificers, engineers, natural-philosophers and the like while many of the worst are greedy merchants, counterfeiters or demented arms inventors.

The Second Great Principle – Anima, The Triad of the Soul

  • Horizons (Psychopomps or Evokers) – The Principle of Horizons has a lot to do with the interactions between different layers of reality and liminal points within the material and conceptual as well. The barriers and accesses between the Material Realm and the Otherworlds are complex and the relationship between the various realms impacts the health of each intimately. The transition from one place, one dimension or one state to another are tied up in this Principle, which is greatly interested in bringing what is here and taking it there, or in taking what is already there and bringing it here. The acquisition of new knowledge for the sake of novelty also falls within this purview. Horizon-walkers tend to be restless and curious, always driven with a compelling wanderlust, yearning to see the next sunrise, the next hilltop or the other side of the next doorway. While both scions of Horizons and Concord are adept at travel and movement related magics, they do so from a different conceptual underpinning, and often to different ends; Horizon-walkers are much more interested in dimensional travel, portals, swift movement and summoning. At their best, Evokers are explorers, trailblazers or theorists. At their worst, Evokers are pirates, demonologists and brutal robbers.
  • Life (Lifeshapers) – Life the nurturing Principle of birthing, of springtime, of green growing things and of youth as well as the blood-spattered and heaving Principle of hunger, predation and sex. Growth, physical development and survival epitomize the Principle and its adherents. Lifeshapers are emotional beings who feel deeply and fully, savoring the smells, tastes and sensations of the world about them. Plants and the beasts of the field alike are subject to their will, and they can draw upon a connection with all that lives. Healing the wounded and ill comes easily to the experienced Lifeshaper, but the enterprising Legends soon discover that this is merely the beginning of their command over the flesh. They can mold, twist and warp life into new and original forms, or even from one species into another entirely. At their best, Lifeshapers are healers, midwives, protectors of the wild places and beastfriends. At their worst, these Legends are hedonistic sensualists, vengeful woods-furies or deranged fleshcrafters leaving a trail of leathery gibbering things in their wake.
  • Death (Necromancers) – People die; things fall apart; the center cannot hold. Death is the principle of autumn, night, entropy, disease, dissolution and of course death itself. This influence over destruction also confers some power to influence the destroyed – sites of ruin, corpses and even the departed spirits of the dead are subject to the Necromancer’s will. Especially powerful necromancers dare to actually step across the veil of mortality to walk in the world of the dead and stand face to face with legions of shades that inhabit that place. More than any other Legends, the power of Death’s scions fuels the nightmares and dark imaginings of common people. Magicians affiliated with Death tend to be somber, thoughtful and stoic though often with a certain morbid sense of humor. One thing that might surprise others is that Necromancers are frequently very gentle and compassionate souls. Less surprisingly, others are deeply callous and bitter. At their best, Necromancers are mourners, physicians, mediums and merciful angels of death while at their worst they are serial killers, plague-sowers, vivisectionists and graverobbers surrounded by a horde of rotting slaves.

The Third Great Principle – Telos, The Triad of Judgment

  • Vision (Seers or Visionaries) – Vision is the Principle of higher awareness and greater purpose, taking the other Principles as the building blocks of a better world. Knowledge of the hand of Fate on future, past and far places is used as part of the process of seeking the wisdom to exercise judgment. Without Vision, the world perishes, for the untrammeled energy of Opposition and the purposeless direction of Concord cannot be properly balanced unless there is a balance between them. Vision is the Principle of perspective, intuition and, paradoxically, logic. Visionaries are deeply attuned to their surroundings and the flow and rhythms to be found therein, and have a knack for understanding chance and probability. At their best, scions of Vision are wise men, statesmen and forward-thinking geniuses. At their worst, Visionaries are lost in the mechanisms of Fate and become manipulative gamesters toying with others as mere pawns in a vast game that only the Legends themselves can see.
  • Concord (Concordians) – This is the principle of oneness, connection not only between persons but locations. This is the Principle of order and structure in both society and magic, pushing back the raw chaos that is the beginning of things and putting it into order. Without Concord, there can be no cooperation or direction. Concord is the principle of coming together, combination and cohesion, the bringing of disparate things togetherand of the connections between things. Persuasion, negotiation, travel and anything that brings one thing into contact with another. Concordians are noted for their mastery of spatial magics – they are as interested in unity of space as they are in social unity and so are able to perform feats like bilocation, teleportation and the folding of space. At their best, scions of Concord are mediators, enablers, organizers, promoters of virtuous society and advocates. At their worst, they are reactionaries, cynical manipulators and tyrants.
  • Opposition (Change / Barriers / Conflict) (Contraries or Discordians)– Opposition is the principle of reactions between people, substances and purposes, of physical and societal barriers, and of raw unformed chaos. Accordingly, this principle represents the powerful, primordial Source and motive energy that impels to action and ambition, and is largely considered the Principle most connected to raw, pure magic. Without Opposition, there can be no power and vigor. Opposition is the principle of strife, of struggle and of the pain of a new idea. Innovation and creativity are tightly linked with this Principle. At their best, scions of Opposition are philosophers, questioners, artists, innovators and crusaders. At their worst they are contrarians, nihilists and blood-soaked rebels. They are always dynamic, forceful beings and catalysts of change.

[1] Occida is the name of the continent where the Legend of the Archons takes place.
[2] Legends are persons marked by Fate for great and terrible things, IE named characters in games of LoA. Some Legends are skilled in deliberately, overtly twisting the threads of Fate – in other words, working magic.

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