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> Alternative Path of Magic: Egyptian Path of Pharaohs, Or why I think the one in Digitial Grimoire misses the mark.
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post Jan 30 2011, 09:00 PM
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I'm presenting this to my GM as an alternate Egyptian path for my Egyptian traditioned priestess character, looking for feedback on the balance of spirit choices and over all thematicness.


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Path of the Pharaohs


Why an Alternate?

I felt that the Egyptian Tradition in the Digital Grimoire was more of a sub-genre of Hermetic rather than it's own unique path. The Egyptian Mythos is a rich and deep story that is rooted in the cradle of civilization itself. This alternate, which I call 'The Path of Pharaohs' focuses more on the way Egyptians interacted with their God-kings as a society and what they did for civilization as a whole, rather than on the bastardization of 'New Age polytheism' that the canon tradition seemed to follow.

Concept

The Path of Pharaohs is a more focused tradition than the canon presentation. Instead of viewing it as the worship of elemental forces (which the Egyptians did not do), this looks at the pantheon of the Egyptians as more of the divine heroes of old, and the line of kings as being the God-Kings that the Egyptians viewed their Pharaohs as. The Spirits of Men line is primarily used, rather than elementals, because of the Egyptian's focus on giving the unknown and mystical the faces (or at least bodies) and personalities of men, rather than ephemeral unknowable forces. Logic is used as a Drain stat in place of Intuition because of the importance of Order in Egyptian Civilizations. Intuition is a stat more suited to a 'feel it out and see how it goes' tradition, such as the Path of Chaos, and Wicca.

The Path of Pharaohs is a Possession Tradition. Horus was the Pharaoh, he was not summoned by him.

Spirit Choices

Guardian Spirits are used for Combat for obvious purposes. Horus was a Warrior-King, the guardians of the temples were men, and men with the heads of beasts.
Summoned Guardian spirits would most commonly give the channeling vessel the shamanic mask of an animal headed god. Horus would be most common, though Set was a defender of the Empire as well, just not always a willing one.

Guidance Spirits are used for Detection as the represent the priests that would have been the magicians in a Pharaoh's court.
Summoned Guidance Spirits tend to take the form of either Egyptian priests, such as Imhotep, or goddesses such as Isis; channeling vessels tend to gain shamanic masks of either robed priests with the Crook Staff, or Isis in her winged guise.

Beast Spirits are used for Illusion because the Egyptian pantheon is an animal-headed pantheon after all. Bast was (among other things) a goddess of secrets, and would be the most common representative of an illusion centric beast spirit, lending her stealth and sneakiness to the caster.
Beast Spirits when channeled would take on aspects of Bast, Anubis, Sobek, and the other animal headed gods as deemed appropriate by the needs of the moment.

Water Spirits are used for Health because the Egyptian civilization did live and and die with the Waters of the Nile. This is an exception to the 'not worshiping elemental forces' rule.
Though an elemental force, a channeled water spirit is more likely to take on the crown of Hapi the Egyptian god of the Nile. Perhaps Sobek the god of crocodiles if a more aggressive aspect is needed.

Task Spirits This is the civilization that built the great pyramids and used more slaves than nearly any other large empire in history. If they don't deserve task spirits, who does?
This channeled spirit can lend an aspect of almost any worker in Ancient Egypt. From stone block mover, to engineer, to farmer; all depending on the needs of the summoning magician.
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Yerameyahu
post Jan 30 2011, 09:21 PM
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All traditions boil down to Drain stat, spirit choice, and possession/materialization, right? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

Your window dressing seems nice, though. It adds two of the 'better' non-elemental spirits, so that's a thing. I like the reasons for Water and Beast, although the the traditional outside view of Egyptian never seemed very 'bestial' in essence (yes to the heads, but animalistic?).

I like that you call it 'alternate' instead of something like 'a fix', because the existing tradition seems as well-supported as anything else, with god-corellated elementals, etc. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Manunancy
post Jan 31 2011, 06:28 AM
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Note about egypt abd slaves : from what I've read it seems the egyptian didn't use that many slaves - it was more akin to serfdom or conscription. The pyramid builders weren't slave, they were either specialized paid workers or peasants called to work during the agricultural downtimes to provide muscle power (and as far as I know even those were paid)

I don't mean they weren't salves around, but the vision of an upper caste of priest and nobles keeping hordes of slaves under their thumb isn't accurate. Particularly in the case of the pyramids which weren't built with slave labor.
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Sixgun_Sage
post Jan 31 2011, 03:12 PM
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QUOTE (Manunancy @ Jan 31 2011, 01:28 AM) *
Note about egypt abd slaves : from what I've read it seems the egyptian didn't use that many slaves - it was more akin to serfdom or conscription. The pyramid builders weren't slave, they were either specialized paid workers or peasants called to work during the agricultural downtimes to provide muscle power (and as far as I know even those were paid)

I don't mean they weren't salves around, but the vision of an upper caste of priest and nobles keeping hordes of slaves under their thumb isn't accurate. Particularly in the case of the pyramids which weren't built with slave labor.


Essentially correct, conscript labor was also drawn from client tribes and the actually slaves were often treated as prized posessions (atleast among the upper castes), the problem is in countering the popular conception.
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Ascalaphus
post Jan 31 2011, 03:32 PM
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I thought the concept of "free citizens" didn't really exist during old pharaonic Egypt actually. In a certain sense, everyone was an unfree member of a hierarchical society. But it's been very long since I read up on it.

I like your reasoning for the spirits. Something I recall reading somewhere is that old egyptian magic used masks for priests to "assume the god-form", which fits very well with Possession traditions and vessel preparation.
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Yerameyahu
post Jan 31 2011, 03:35 PM
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Do note, though, that the existing tradition is already Possession.
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Sixgun_Sage
post Jan 31 2011, 03:35 PM
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QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Jan 31 2011, 10:32 AM) *
I thought the concept of "free citizens" didn't really exist during old pharaonic Egypt actually. In a certain sense, everyone was an unfree member of a hierarchical society. But it's been very long since I read up on it.



The concept of free citizens as we understand it didn't, but they did have a caste that roughly fits the term. The problem is as much as we do know about ancient egypt there are still areas we have a very shaky understanding since it is, essentially, a dead culture.
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Neraph
post Jan 31 2011, 03:36 PM
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I think it goes a little deeper than that: slavery in how the old world viewed it versus slavery that we think of now is a massively different thing. It used to mean something very similar to wageslaves in SR, but sometime around 1700 - 1800 things got changed (without getting too far into philosophical debate I'll leave out the main driving philosophy of change there). As I've said before, there were laws in place in at least one culture for how to legally handle a situation where a slave after paying off their debt wanted to stay a slave.

The Hebrew slaves' taxes under Egyptian rule was 25% of total "income," or production if you'd prefer. Look at America's tax rates now - 44%+. I find that fairly interesting.
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Yerameyahu
post Jan 31 2011, 03:59 PM
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Let's focus, though: the tradition as presented has nothing at all to do with slaves or slavery. Replace the word 'slaves' with 'workers'.
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Draco18s
post Jan 31 2011, 05:19 PM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ Jan 31 2011, 10:36 AM) *
Look at America's tax rates now - 44%+. I find that fairly interesting.


44%? Last I checked we were at ~30%. Oh, yes, yes we are.

And that's the tax rate and doesn't include deductions (such as owning a home, which most people in those higher brackets do). IIRC, the actual percentage being paid by people is around 20%.
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Yerameyahu
post Jan 31 2011, 07:02 PM
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Oy, no politics. Bleh.
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Finis
post Jan 31 2011, 07:20 PM
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*boots politics off his thread* (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)

Thanks for the feedback, and yes, please replace 'massive amounts of workers' with 'slaves' if need be. They built some of the great monuments of human civilization, and they did it on the backs of an untold number of 'slaves/workers' toiling for generations under the sun - I felt that was a good reason to be able to summon task spirits (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

I submitted it to my GM this morning, so we'll see how it goes. I feel pretty good about it.

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Neraph
post Jan 31 2011, 08:07 PM
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QUOTE (Draco18s @ Jan 31 2011, 11:19 AM) *
44%? Last I checked we were at ~30%. Oh, yes, yes we are.

And that's the tax rate and doesn't include deductions (such as owning a home, which most people in those higher brackets do). IIRC, the actual percentage being paid by people is around 20%.

That's just the Federal Income Tax. That doesn't include state and other taxes, and I honestly think 44% is being very generous. Some states are much higher than the average, which is why it's called an average in the first place.

However, the tradition proposed looks fine. I like the idea of the possessed spirits automatically giving Shaman Mask-like effects to people - it gives the tradition a better flavor.
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Sengir
post Jan 31 2011, 09:07 PM
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QUOTE (Manunancy @ Jan 31 2011, 07:28 AM) *
Note about egypt abd slaves : from what I've read it seems the egyptian didn't use that many slaves - it was more akin to serfdom or conscription. The pyramid builders weren't slave, they were either specialized paid workers or peasants called to work during the agricultural downtimes to provide muscle power (and as far as I know even those were paid)

I don't mean they weren't salves around, but the vision of an upper caste of priest and nobles keeping hordes of slaves under their thumb isn't accurate. Particularly in the case of the pyramids which weren't built with slave labor.

The problem is that western pop culture is heavily engrained with Abrahamic mythology, leading to the popular image of scores upon scores of Israeli slaves being whipped to pull stone blocks by Egyptian masters. The truth is more along the lines that the pyramids were built by Egyptian workers who were treated quite favourably (starving slaves are crappy workers), while something like a Hebrew people only came into existence somewhere around 1100 BCE.

Which brings us BTT, given how popular the distorted image of Egyptian history is, the "bastardization of 'New Age polytheism'" sounds like a great tradition (belief makes reality). Yours on the other hand sounds more like the "back to the true gospel" variety, which could lead to some interesting conflicts (read: roleplaying opportunities).
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Makki
post Jan 31 2011, 09:15 PM
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I'm missing Re/Ra. he's the most important god. shouldn't he be represented by a Spirit of Fire (replacing the elemental effect "Fire" with "Light")?
but maybe he's just a very common mentor (see "Sun")...
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sabs
post Jan 31 2011, 09:19 PM
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Uh, you can't claim that the Hebrews didn't come into existence until 1100 BCE, when Abraham Comes into play around 2000 BCE. The Exodus is admitedly in 700 BCE. So you have roughly 400 years of a Hebrew slave workforce in Egypt.

But certainly by the times the Hebrew are there.. most of the pyramids were long ago built. It's pretty clear that most of the pyramids were built by skilled workers. Given that we still have NO IDEA how they actually did it. (There are at least 7 viable theories on how they did it)


All that being said, this sounds like a fun.. "Back the the Roots" Egyptian Tradition.
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Sengir
post Jan 31 2011, 09:33 PM
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QUOTE (sabs @ Jan 31 2011, 10:19 PM) *
Abraham Comes into play around 2000 BCE. The Exodus is admitedly in 700 BCE.

Again, Abrahamic mythology and historic research don't align well...
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Yerameyahu
post Jan 31 2011, 09:35 PM
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That means we have SEVEN ideas how they actually did it. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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sabs
post Jan 31 2011, 09:37 PM
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That's because they've got Abraham being alive for a couple 100 years (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

Moses is part of the Exodus, around 700 BCE.

Abraham is born in Ur, given it was the largest city in the world (outside of China, we're Europeans here noone gives a damn that China was ahead of everyone else for millenia) around 2000 BCE. It's not unreasonable to have the Hebrew in Mesopotamia around that time period.


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Yerameyahu
post Jan 31 2011, 09:38 PM
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This is worse than the politics and the slavery. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) Not relevant.
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Sengir
post Jan 31 2011, 09:40 PM
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QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Jan 31 2011, 10:35 PM) *
That means we have SEVEN ideas how they actually did it. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

Does that number include "IEs did it"? Otherwise we're at eight...
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Draco18s
post Jan 31 2011, 09:41 PM
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QUOTE (sabs @ Jan 31 2011, 04:37 PM) *
That's because they've got Abraham being alive for a couple 100 years (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)


Side note:
If you replace the word "year" with "moons" you get more reasonable figures (i.e. divide all the numbers by about 12-13; so "700 years" is really only ~58 years).
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sabs
post Jan 31 2011, 09:41 PM
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personally, I think that the Therans built the Tombs on specific places of power, so that when the awakening happened they could recover their empire more quickly.


Thera didn't explode, they used the last bit of magic to send it out of time, until the awakening.
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Finis
post Jan 31 2011, 11:04 PM
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QUOTE (sabs @ Jan 31 2011, 01:19 PM) *
All that being said, this sounds like a fun.. "Back the the Roots" Egyptian Tradition.



Thank you, (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

The idea was actually taken from a Middle Grade kid's book, The Kane Chronicles, "The Red Pyramid", and The Mummy franchise, where the main characters are descended from the line of Pharaoh's and thus - like the kings of old - have the ability to channel the old Egyptian gods. I went with the idea that this would have been the Path the Pharaohs and their priests themselves would have followed, rather than the New age 'Pop Culture' tradition laid out in the Digital Grimoire; not that there is really anything especially wrong with it, it just missed the mark of what I wanted for my character. A very similar concept to The Path of the Wheel being the old 'path of kings' from Earthdawn for elves. And yes, my GM and I have already discussed the idea of conflict/storylines between my character and the popular Egyptian Magical group in her city. The two of us sat down this morning and hammered out the details. They follow the tradition in the Digital Grimoire, and there should be plenty of room for ideological conflict (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif) .

Thanks for the feedback guys, even the 'off topic' stuff was good, as it gave me the incentive to refine my own ideas of how the Task Spirits she summons will be portrayed.

For the curious, the wiki'fied version of the path is on my group's Shadowrun wiki Here. I'll be filling in more details through out the week outlining the views and philosophies of the path in greater detail.
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post Jan 31 2011, 11:15 PM
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QUOTE (sabs @ Jan 31 2011, 10:41 PM) *
personally, I think that the Therans built the Tombs on specific places of power, so that when the awakening happened they could recover their empire more quickly.


Thera didn't explode, they used the last bit of magic to send it out of time, until the awakening.

/me slaps sabs with a large orichalcum-lined trout weapon focus (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif)

And from a historic perspective, having Hebrews around at 2000BCE in Mesopotamia *is* unreasonable. A distinguishable Hebrew/Israeli people can only be dated back to ~1100BCE, in Canaan and with evidence typical of Canaanian (Canaanite? Cainite? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif) ) descendece. In other words, no exodus, either. Not even bushs made from True Fire.
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