incandescens: (Default)
Still on yesterday's theme of Unknown Armies and GetBackers, I found myself wondering if Akabane corresponded to any known archetype or school of magic. He doesn't quite fit the Dark Stalker, and while one could write up a blood-oriented school of magic, that didn't quite work either. But his whole pattern of behaviour -- the constant seeking for a challenge or worthy opponent, quite beside any question of morality -- is common enough in manga, and in Hong Kong movies, and elsewhere too (gunfighters, for instance), that it seemed logical that there should be an archetype involved somewhere.

I think I'll call it the Duellist. The Duellist constantly seeks challenges in their chosen field. They want to be the best. The only way to be the best is to prove it against all challengers, and to challenge themselves by constantly facing stronger opponents. The taboo is to refuse a one-on-one challenge that has been given to them.

Channels would include such options as Make It A Fair Fight (prevents other parties from interfering in a given battle), We Meet Again (something which would let you target a previous opponent and locate them for a return challenge), and so on.

Avatars of the archetype can vary between ethical (some degree of personally defined honour) or unethical (just in it for the killing), but there must always be standards. A Duellist without standards starts wandering towards other archetypes, such as the Masterless Man, the Dark Stalker, the Savage, the Warrior, and so on. A Duellist can serve another character (a contract with the Merchant, an oath of fealty to the True King, etc) but may run into problems with taboo if they are ordered to refuse a challenge.

Duellists show up across the world and through history, and have recently entered pop culture in a number of exotic variants. Occultists mention attempts by certain avatars to try to force an ascension and a change to the archetype via card games or pet monsters in pokeballs. This has not been very successful, as the popular shift in image just isn't there. Yet. Time will tell.

Symbols of the Duellist include six-guns, revolvers, duelling rapiers, certain phrases associated with schools of martial arts (such as "Let's try your Tiger Claw against my Crane Wing!"), and more recently, CCGs and Pokemon. Older symbols include duelling scars (from the period when such scars could be clearly distinguished as such).

(And I could now go into how the whole Divine Design arc in GetBackers was a very complicated Personomancy ritual, but let's not go overboard here.)


Reflections on Ice-Breaking

Is Dandy
But liquor
Is quicker.

-- Ogden Nash
incandescens: (Default)
There is a rpg called Unknown Armies, which I own a lot of the supplements for, because it is a very good rpg. (Modern occult weirdness, basically.)

So I have been reading through these supplements, as one does periodically, and I was rereading the Ascension of the Magdalene adventure. One thing that's brought up in there is the Magus archetype.

(Brief explanation: one of the routes to power, in this game, is by imitating a particular archetype. As you get more in tune with it, you become able to use supernatural powers that are 'in tune' with the archetype, but you also have to observe taboos based on what it would/would not do, and fellow avatars/imitators might well see you as a threat. Not to mention coming up in ritual opposition against the avatars of other archetypes . . . consider the True King and the Rebel, for instance.)

Anyhow. The scenario's set in early seventeenth century Prague, and one of the archetypes then common is the Magus. The consummate magician, the man/woman who believes in the supremacy of magic, who seeks the true meaning of magic as expressed in every aspect of life, who devotes his entire life to it, systematically promotes the occult arts (alchemy, kabbala, hermiticism, astrology, etc), never seeks explanations from other worldviews, etc. The background notes mention that this path has largely fallen by the wayside in the modern day, as people seek more personalised/individual routes to mastery, and see power as something which is acquired by twisting understanding to your worldview, rather than working for the understanding.

It struck me that the archetype/path is still there -- it's just changed names. It's now the Scientist. Insert "science" rather than "magic" throughout that definition, where "science" is something too complex for the average man to grasp, and the sonic screwdriver rather than the wand is the tool of choice, and it fits precisely. (I know that the Statosphere book sees the symbols of science as marks of the Scholar path these days, but that's science-as-understandable-knowledge. The Scientist, previously the Magus, walks the path that common men cannot understand, but devotes his life and focus to understanding it.)

Tune in next week for a discussion of how the profilers in Criminal Minds correspond to the Confessor archetype. Or perhaps not.

(And in conclusion, in the GetBackers anime/manga, there are a number of avatars and dukes: Ban is walking the Masterless Man path, Hevn is clearly a Merchant, Ginji is an ex-True King, now a Fool, Shido is a Savage, Kazuki a Mystic Hermaphrodite, Makubex is an infomancer as well as a True King, Sakura a Necessary Servant, and . . . ahem, please excuse me.)



Time will say nothing but I told you so,
Time only knows the price we have to pay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
If we should stumble when musicians play,
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

There are no fortunes to be told, although,
Because I love you more than I can say,
If I could tell you I would let you know.

The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
There must be reasons why the leaves decay;
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

Suppose the lions all get up and go,
And all the brooks and soldiers run away?
Will time say nothing but I told you so?
If I could tell you I would let you know.

-- W H Auden


incandescens: (Default)

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