Secrets of the Ruined Temple (Mage the Awakening S.) Hardcover – 16 May 2006
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Some things are best left forgotten. But why should that hold us back? The ancients hoarded their magic and sealed it in secret redoubts hidden from Sleepers and the debased spells of our age. The lords of these storehouses are long gone, but their enchantments remain, enigmas to confound us, their heirs in magic. In some of these places, the guardians charged with their protection still wait, ready to destroy interlopers. But I have a map, and I know certain secrets. Are you with me? - Athos, Mysterium explorer This book includes: - The legends of Atlantis throughout the ages, including many forgotten versions of the myth of the Awakened City - Temple guardians, enchanted items, and all manner of creatures found near Atlantean ruins - The secret Atlantean "temples" of Astral Space
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The second and third chapters get into the fine details of exploration. The second chapter deals with the concepts of exploration, why mages go looking, how they get leads to lost ruins or artifacts. There are extensive descriptions of all the types of things that could be in a ruin: challenges, guardians, other explorers, weird creatures that escaped from experiments or were attracted to an uninhabited ruin, and of course pages of descriptions of all kinds of traps, magical and sometimes not. Naturally, there are also descriptions of all the kinds of treasures and artifacts and such the explorers may find. The third chapter goes into specifics, setting out example guardians, spirits and weird creatures, and example items and artifacts.
The fourth chapter is still about exploration, but not so much about Atlantis. It is about the Astral Realms, a topic not covered in much detail by Mage books at this point. This section goes into considerable detail about the Temenos in general and various realms in particular. I find the concept itself fascinating, and the image of thousands of generations of mages exploring here and constructing citadels, libraries and universities is awe-inspiring. Then the chapter moves on to the creatures of the Temenos, and how those things can escape into the material world, and it inspires fear as well. Any player or storyteller interested in the Mastigos and inner demons should find this chapter really interesting and useful.
Rather unusually, the book has an appendix which contains a conclusion rounding off the book as a whole. The appendix is about Atlantean High Speech, and goes into technical but clear details of how languages are constructed. It is also about the efforts of mages to reconstruct that language. There is subtle but powerful theme running through this section: in Atlantis, whatever it was, one mage feuded with another, but as a group they were united. Until the Celestial War divided them, that is. Now the main goal of plundering a ruin is to gain magic items and spells that can empower one cabal, or one lone mage, against all the rest. But recording and translating the High Speech would enhance the lives of all the Awakened - with the catch that they have to work together to even begin such a project. It is a sobering reminder that knowledge is power when you hoard it, but can become wisdom when you spread it around, a very fitting image for this game.
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