Seers of the Throne is a Haunting Blueprint for Immortality

"We're putting a Chucky E. Cheese over there, if we can get the zoning issues worked out."

"We're putting a Chucky E. Cheese over there, if we can get the zoning issues worked out."

Seers of the Throne is the latest sourcebook for Mage: the Awakening, detailing the plots and powers of humans who have become willing slaves of the godlike Exarchs. Why are they working so hard to keep humanity in the dark about the nature of magic? Why would they be willing to subjugate themselves to the Exarchs? And who keeps the passwords to the Abyss?

In the new World of Darkness version of Mage, Exarchs are humans who made it into the Supernal Realm eons ago, before the connection between Earth and the Supernal was severed. Now, Exarchs ruel over all reality with immense, deific power, working through their servants to maintain the Abyss, forever denying other humans knowledge of a higher state of being.

The Seers of the Throne are humans who believe that the Exarchs will inevitably take full control of reality, so they’ve thrown their lot in with the Supernal in hopes of being rewarded by a place in the Supernal Realm some day. In the meantime, they enjoy incredible power on Earth, which they use to keep the rest of humanity in the dark.

This part of the World of Darkness is deeply conflicted, but few things are painted in terms of good or evil. Exarchs and Seers have vastly differing motivations from most humans and mages, but they aren’t actively malevolent (or at least, not always). It’s a very rich story to drop the players into, and this sourcebook thickens the stew even more.

The book itself is lengthy (over 200 pages). It doesn’t have the full-color art some other recent White Wolf books have enjoyed, but you won’t miss the color once you get a look at the pen-and-ink art strewn liberally throughout the pages. Each piece is detailed and evocative, helping create a moody atmosphere of power and betrayal. It’s among the best art I’ve seen in an RPG book.

Like many White Wolf supplements, Seers of the Throne is light on rules crunch, though there’s a hefty spell list and an appendix of antagonists. The bulk of the book is devoted to exploring the history, motivations, methods and subdivisions of the Seers and their overlords. There are quite a few “ministries,” groups of Seers that each have a different take on the whole “keeping humanity in the dark” thing. The overall impression makes the Seers somewhat sympathetic. Though many of them are greedy and use heinous methods to achieve their ends, ultimately they are just humans who succumbed to the lure of power.

Even if you don’t play Mage: the Awakening, Seers of the Throne could be worth a look. Because so little of the book contains system specific rules, it stands as an excellent piece of world-building. If you’re looking for some mystical, mysterious organizations to add to a modern RPG (or even a fantasy RPG, with some tweaking), you’ll find plenty of material to work with here. You can grab a PDF version at DriveThruRPG.com.

2 Responses to Seers of the Throne is a Haunting Blueprint for Immortality

  1. I am a big fan of WoD & my campaign (while being set in my own setting, previously run with D20 rules– kind of dark fantasy? I prefer the term Fabulist) uses their rules. I just can’t do Mage though; the new version especially seems unable to strike a balance between the deep potential of the Mages-can-do-anything system present in the Spheres & the Mages-are-a-pain-in-the-ass-to-run mechanics of the spells & whatever.

  2. I tried the new Mage, really I did. It’s just too much like the old Mage, and far inferior to it.

    The new rotes and Arcana are too limiting, and the elimination of the Paradigm War in favor of these Towers and such really ruin the feel of the character.

    75% of the fun of being a mage was playing a character who Actually Believed He Got His Powers from God Almighty, and could, in fact, smite your ass if you messed with him. Or be the scientist Whose Theories They All Laughed At, But Soon They’ll See, Mwahahahaha and be able to make a death ray with a pincushion and a can of spray cheese.

    I really feel there’s a good game to be made with the new WOD rules and SOME of the new Mage rules (I like the idea that rotes make you better at magic) but it’s a pale imitation of the true Mage game, even if the old game was incredibly difficult to GM.

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