From WoD Gotham
Seekings in World of Darkness: Gotham
Because we’re running True Magick, things can get out of control real fast without the proper counterbalances in place mechanically and without the proper RP standards in place. So that’s why we have a pretty high bar on our expectations for mage players and keep a tight leash on Arete ratings. They are expected to understand paradigm, or learn it. They are expected to RP out and journal their character’s development. The last thing we want is to have a bunch of high Arete mage characters running loose with the power to totally wreak havoc on the entire Chronicle behaving IC and OOC like a bunch of football hooligans. It’s just not going to happen. On the flip side, we want to give cookies out and let players have fun with the challenge of character development in WoDG’s Mage venue. So we have to strike a balance and let players have the potential to reach higher ratings of Arete with consistent effort and commitment. With that in mind, Mage players will have to prove that they are responsible both IC and OOC in order to really make the most out of that balance. Period. Now that we have that out there in the open let’s discuss how mages gain Arete in WoDG and get their Seekings.
What is a Seeking?
A Seeking is the process by which a mage deepens their understanding of the nature of reality – in a nutshell. It is brought on by deep introspection usually after a mage experiences something profound or has a challenge to his status quo. How that Seeking is brought on and the shape it eventually takes depends on your character’s Avatar, the relationship with that Avatar, Essence, paradigm, Tradition, belief structure, goals, obstacles, Resonance, etc. etc.
At the end of a successful Seeking, the mage has an epiphany and his understanding of the world around him deepens. His world-view alters or and all aspects of him matures as a result of the experience. His paradigm becomes more cohesive. With each Seeking, previous limitations, inhibitions, obstacles, etc. are overcome.
Note that Seeking is ENTIRELY an individual process. No two Seekings are alike and all need to be RPed out. No Seeking will ever be left to a matter of downtime. The before and after parts should be Journaled, but you will never ever get to simply Journal yourself a Seeking.
When Is My Character Able To Seek?
Because Seekings are so personal, they take a lot of preparation and a significant time investment on the part of the ST. So we require a time investment of the player. This means as a player you need to be active with your mage to have had that character develop enough for a Seeking in the first place.
Because gaining every dot in Arete isn’t just one more dice in your casting pool, it’s a representation of your mage’s wisdom and understanding of reality and his connection to it, we require that you demonstrate your character’s understanding and RP it out on a regular basis.
We need to see your character progressing ICly in your RP and in your Journals. One of your Journal entries should be a Character Ascension Arc. This is a fundamental requirement before a Seeking will take place.
It Doesn’t Seem Fair. Why Haven’t I Got a Seeking?
If you haven’t gotten a Seeking in a while there are a number of reasons why that could be happening and there’s no reason to feel slighted. So let’s take a look at some of the causes for delayed Seekings before anyone starts taking things personal:
- It could be that you haven’t been devoting enough effort into your Journaling. You should really be using that Journal to reflect on your character’s experiences and how those experiences affect the development of his beliefs and philosophies. We need to see that your character has been challenged in some way to overcome his shortcomings.
- It could be that you haven’t been playing enough to substantiate a Seeking. This is a touchy subject. We all have lives. We all have things to do and obligations to meet. However, we are running a chat here on a limited staff and we need to prioritize our attention on the participants who actively help keep it going. The best we can say to inactive or semi-active players is that do your best on the Journals and we will try to get to you. However, our priority has got to be on our active player-base. We need you to understand that, just as we understand that your IRL takes precedence. Just know that we will always keep your chair warm in case you find yourself with some spare time.
- It could be that you got your Seekings quickly at first and now it’s been months and months since you’ve had another. Well that’s typical of everyone. The first steps in attaining Enlightenment aren’t as challenging as later steps. Going from Arete 1-2 or from 2-3 will be relatively quick going. However, when you start talking about the intellectual leaps and epiphanies needed to substantiate going from Arete 3-4 or 4-5 and above, you’re talking a significantly longer development period. So expect your later Seekings to be much more spaced apart. There’s no need to get nervous about that. The good news is that you have the potential to attain those levels for your character in WoDG. So long as it’s appropriate. We don’t limit Arete here, we just STRICTLY regulate it.
If none of those situations seems to be applicable to you, feel free to drop a note to your ST and ask what you could be doing differently so that your character does progress. Likely the ST will be able to give you some ideas and point you in the right direction so you can get back on track.
Things To Have Fleshed Out For STs
It's a given that you already have your character sheet and the details of your Avatar, Essence, paradigm, etc. as a matter of record to have a sanctioned mage character in WoDG. However, things have developed with your character and if you haven't updated your character sheet in a while, you'll need to be current. You can update your sheet simply by submitting sheet change tickets and you can back that up with appropriate journal entries:
- Avatar and Essence – if there are any updates or other details other than what’s on your Character Sheet that you want the ST to take into consideration, supply them. If your Character Sheet didn’t include the personality or the relationship of the mage and the Avatar, then do supply it now.
- Paradigm and Belief – Give a summary of your character’s current belief structure and world-view. State your character’s paradigm as it currently stands if the one on your Character Sheet needs expansion.
- Resonance – Briefly describe your character’s Resonance if you haven’t already on your Character Sheet.
- Important Associates – Who are the people who have most influenced your character’s life? Who are some of his current close associates? What types of relationships are those?
- Goals and Obstacles – Discuss your character’s goals and obstacles to those goals. We’re looking for goals dealing with personal development.
- Psychological Profile – Build a present and current psychological profile on your character. We want to know about inner demons and conflicts. We want to know about strengths and weaknesses.
- Character Ascension Arc Info – Here is where you have the most say in how your character's Seeking might manifest. To qualify for a Seeking you must have a Character Ascension Arc entry in your Journal. In it there should be a list of triggers and obstacles to your next Seeking. This will give the ST a frame of reference for the Seeking that is likely to be both more in tune with the vision of your character.
Provided you've met the above criteria, you can have a Seeking at any time. STs will constantly be on the lookout for hooks and trends in your RP. If you're embracing the essence of Mage: the Ascension and active enough to warrant it, chances are you'll get Seekings relatively quickly. You will not have any warning or know that a scene is a Seeking.
WTF?! Epic Fail! I Biffed My Character’s Seeking!
In the off chance that your character totally blew a Seeking, you’ll be able to try again in a month or so. This is provided that your character hasn’t been ripped apart, or died horribly as a result of the failure. That can happen at higher Arete ratings and it’s part of the risk you take with your mage when you start talking about Seekings for Arete 5 and above. At lower Arete ratings, Seekings should be less complex and so failure should be rare. However it can happen, but the results of a failure aren’t so spectacularly perilous at lower levels. It should be relatively painless, just morally depressing and embarrassing.
Just RP out and journal the wound licking period and the ST will contact you when it’s time to try again.