QABAL: INTENT vs IMPLEMENTATION

This thread on rpg.net asks why secret magical settings in games tend to be dumb.

My problem is, it’s never made any sense to me on an absolutely fundamental. The idea in most of these settings is that humans not only don’t believe in the supernatural, they’ll even go so far as to doubt their own personal experiences and rationalize them away, or at the very least refuse to talk about them for fear of being labeled insane. That sort of thing would make sense in the real world, where everyone (or close enough) knows magic doesn’t really exist. But the reason everyone stopped believing in magic in the real world is because it actually doesn’t exist. In a fictional world where magic not only exists but there are monsters that kill people, I see absolutely no reason humanity would stop believing in magic. It’d be suicidally stupid on a species-wide level.

My reply:

Is it going to depend on what your magic effects are?

When magic is showy then it’s going to be hard to hide it. Fireballs, teleporters, flying stuff, people walking through walls, turning into werewolves, eating people – all of that stuff is going to be reported, captured, measured, verified.

When Mage or Werewolf came out in the early 90s, not everyone in the developed world had a cameraphone. It’d be a different world now.

The pitch for Qabal was that magic would not be able to be measured. The importance in magic was the INTENT and not the IMPLEMENTATION. There may be a TELLTALE but for the most part there’s only INTUITION to help you deduct a connection.

Look at The Omen for a great example.

Damien Thorne, the son of the devil, had several telltales. The black dog was one of them but another was found in the photographs.

From wikipedia:

While developing the pictures of the day, Jennings notices the priest has a dark object like a javelin over his head in the pictures he appears in, but the anomaly doesn’t appear anywhere else on the film.

Jennings is also at the event, taking pictures. The pictures again show the dark anomaly above the priest.

As the priest leaves, a sudden rainstorm comes up and the priest is impaled in a freak accident while trying to get into a nearby church.

Jennings said he is now involved because he found an anomaly on a picture of himself in which he has no neck.

Jennings goes after the knives, saying he will do it, and is decapitated in a freak accident.

Damian wouldn’t have engineered the process of the falling church spire or the panes of glass. He’d have registered his intent that they die. And magic would take care of the rest.

QABAL – the origin of Magic

In the beginning
Each culture has its own mythology, a tale of their creation. Some believe mankind came about through the spilled seed of a mighty god, whilst others believe that their maker fashioned them from the clay of the earth. Perhaps the universe was fashioned from the corpse of a great monster or from a vast pool of chemicals which coalesced into planets, mountains and man.

The dawn of Magic
In early times, man could not explain the coming of rain and winds, while lightening flashed from the sky, why some were struck down by disease and others were not. These mysteries caused man to fear as they could not control or predict it. However, some men of greater insight could recognise the coming of these events and, once they could could be recognised, they could be predicted. However, these men were still bound by their fear of the unknown. They interpreted these signs as portents from unknown, supernatural agents and when they saw no signs, they would appeal to these agents, placating them with prayers, sacrifices and complex ritual. This practise of magic in its most primitive form as a component of hysterical supersition formed the basis of early religion. Gods were fashioned from the sun and the rain, and through religion man began to construct his first great civilisations.

Customs and rituals developed over time from priest-magicians, descendants of those men of wisdom, who were charged with placating and diving the future from the gods. Their tradition was recorded through the generations from father to son and mother to daughter. The few that were written down survived many centuries and gave those who could decpiher their dead language an inestimable headstart in the mastery of magic.

Ancient cults
A cult was essentially a group of individuals who united under a common purpose with similar methods and a core belief system. Man found he could not blindly believe in a shapeless and faceless deity and therefore added features to their gods so that they might better identify them. In those primitive times it was enough to follow a totem animal, a god likened to a particular beast for familiarity and in the hope that the cult members would gain part of their god’s strength or cunning.

The great intuitive leaps occured when man finally began to apply human features to his invisible gods. The traditions and rituals, as well as the facets of these totem animals, were preserved and lived on in these anthropomorphic deities.

During the dyasties of Egypt, the priest-magicians were at their height. They had drunk deeply of science and mathematics, slaked their thirst with magic and ritual, and created a religious oligarchy that would ensure that their chosen Pharoah, often merely a child, would prosper and permit them to guide and advise him. In return for permitting them to shape the nation, the Pharoah was promised immortality. Only a fraction made it quite that far and their remains are scattered around the world on show to the masses.

The later civilisations maintained their pantheons of gods and imagined thir interactions in legends and tales of great deeds. Most still carried a vestige of their primitive past with Gods of Thunder and Rain, Goddesses of Hunting and, of couse, the mighty all-father who sired an entire race of Gods. Gods at this time were petty creatures, much like their subjects, mostly concerned with appearances, lust, greed and dominance.

The more advanced cults adopted the gods of earlier religions into their mythology, renaming them for their own uses and to ensure acceptance with their own people. The Eqyptian Thoth is possibly the most famous of these. By the Romans, he was known as Mercury but more importantly he was known to the Greeks as Hermes.

Hermes, according to legend, was the author of the Emerald Tablet. This tablet, if it ever existed, was inscribed with thriteen tenets central to the nature and working of magic. The collected works, Corpus Hermeticum, formed the basis of occult learning though it was later thought that many of the works dated to much later than originally suppposed. Despite the proof, many groups, both magical and religious, were inluenced by this work and its effect on their subsequent development cannot be ignored. It has provided a hypthetical link between the gods of ancient times and Classical Occultism.

Hermes was also known as Hermes Trismegistus, ‘The Thrice Great’, his power attaining his threefold blessing from God, according to Gnostic Jewish and Christian legend. That the works resurfaced in the Middle Ages and sparked off an interest in magical Antiquity and a subsequent reaction from the Church indicates their importance, if not their veracity.

The Greeks and Romans documented their religion (and, by inference, their magic) in their art, literature, oral history and widespread travels through the world. Their combined influence formed much of the basis of magical thought in Europe and their traditions are still upheld. There were other influences from the Germanic, Celtic and Norse peoples.

Magic also belonged to the common man in ways that religion could not. While religion and the gods were mainly the province of priests and the higher workings of magic were revealed only by magicians, a common tradition of magic was based on the occult virtues of natural or common things. This magic crossed the boundaries of society and gave simple chrms andblessings to the common people. It was not uncommon to hear part of the Liturgical Word intermingled with pidgin Greek and Latin as a medicinal or spiritual cure administered by ignorant lower clergy.

Even from its humble beginnings, Christianity began to see magic as a competitor. The people would never completely accept the new religion in place of their ancient pagan traditions. To combat this problem, they employed syncretism. They canonised some of the pagan gods, establishing them as saints in the Chirstian hierarchy and attributing their miracles to the power of God. Pagan temples were to be reconsecrated and festivals given a new Christian meaning. Stories of the old gods would still be told, but by the new clergy and where Wotan had once ruled, now a Nazarene took his place in legend.

For the commmon man, Natural magic or Occult virtues presented a viable alternaive to Chritsian prayer. In times of adversity, magic could be relied on to provide a solution where prayers seemed powerless. The Church began to preach against such activities, citing the examples laid down in biblical texts as a warning to those who would consort with demons. They even preached against the use of simple charms and the creration of brews which, though they may not deal directly with demons, were another form of idolatry. Magical practices were used and described by midwives, monks, physicians, priests, folk healers and diviners. Even common men and women who had no formal training or special talnet could harness some of this potential. Before science and medicine became enshrined in universities, it was hard to see how a physician would differ from a lay healer.

The higher echleons of the surviving cults spotted the inevitable outcome. They were greatly outnumbered and even though some of their number were members of the Church, it would not save them from the war to come.

QABAL – a history of the world

History of the world
Legend has it that in ancient times, gods walked the earth beside Man and waged great wars amongst themselves that shaped the face of the lands and seas. To end all wars, the earth was divided amongst them and great domains became ruled by mighty gods. To some was given the seas, others possessed the air, and to the best of them, control of the land. Great magic was their tool and Man was fearful of it as he was afraid of everything he did not understand.

Man did not know his place in this world and so the world stayed for thousands of years. The secrets of fire, science and eventually magic would be handed down to Man by the gods, but he was ignorant and afraid, and so would not use these gifts for many lifetimes. Eventually gods and giants disappeared from the sight of Man and lived only in tales that he would his children as the sat huddled around a fire. Some men spent a lifetime learning about magic while others described the basic principles of science and philosophy. They used both to explain the state of the world but continued to revere their ancient gods and use their names to explain anything that their limitedgrasp of science could not explain.

After an age of ignorance, Man crept out of the darkness and embraced the world of magic and science. He built grand cities and great works which he dedicated to his ancient gods. The greates of these cities was the legendary Atlantis. The greatest philosophers, scientists and sorcerers exercised the knowledge passed down by the gods and built the most advanced civilisation in the world.

The Fall of Atlantis
After millenia of fortune and prosperity, Atlantis fell. Some say their science and magic brought about a calamity they could not prevent. Others claim they were corrupt and a good and just god destroyed them for their iniquity. It is more likely that they suffered from a natural disaster and had years to leave their island paradise, which would explain how the legend lives on and the effect the Atlantean culture had on mankind.

When Atlantis fell, it was looted of its treasure and its knwoledge, and both were scattered to the four corners of the earth. Many of their magicians and scientists found their way to Egypt where they helped found a dynasty of kings. Perhaps the Egyptian Thoth, the Greek Hermes and the Roman Mercury are all based on these Atlantean survivors, who handed their advanced knowledge to a primitive society and helped them gain ascendancy over their neighbours.

Atlantis survives only in myth if it ever existed. Plato describes Atlantis in some detail, though modern thinkers still believe that Atlantis was no mor than a legend. It may well be a cipher for the origin of all knowledge, in other words the location of Eden. It has been suggested that the Bible relates to myth when it needs to. Perhaps the fall of Atlantis was during the Flood which covered the earth. The same Flood which destroyed a race of giants which walked the earth in those days alongside man.

Despite the lack of proof regarding Atlantis, there have been many people who have claimed that they are the holders of a secret lore which came from the sunken island. Even whn geographical evidence denies the possibility of a vast island-city in the Atlantic, some people still cling to the legend. The proof of Atlantis is as much a question of faith as it is a question of knowledge. If you believe it is there, then there is no need to look for it. If you know where it is, then there is no need to question its existence.

A Carpenter’s Son
During the reign of Herod the Great in a small desert backwater called Judea, a child was born who was to become the inspiration for the largest religious cult in the world a mere two thousand years later. This youth was remarkable in that he possessed knowledge and understanding of Scripture far beyond hismeagre years. During his travels as a mendicant preacher, he gained some notoriety for his skill with magic. People flocked to hear him talk and see his great works. Amongst the crowds were the sorcerers of the day. Their command of magic was considerable but even their greatest could not rival the works of this yougn upstart and thus they plotted against him.

In those days there were many cults who thrived on the ignorance and isolation of their followers and their intention was to usher in a golden age with themselves at the helm. They alone would be enlightened and they alone would control the earth. This upstart disagreed, preferring to spread the word of a universal enlightenment attainable by all. To add injury to insult, his cult was growing at a phenomenal rate and even foreigners, worhsippers of strange alien gods, came to hear him speak. At the height of his popularity, they sent their advocate to bargain with him for regency over the earth, but he refused.

As a result, their agents were sent out across the land, spreading word of how this man would throw off the yoke of Roman oppression and free them all. He knew that he could not combat them at this game. He was but one man and they were numerous. Thus through blackmail and magic, they were able to ahve him arrested and executed at the hands of the Romans. The people were demoralised but rallied behind his surviving followers. The Romans were now involved, but they could not grasp the complexity of the situation. As a result they did their best to quash what they saw as a civil uprising.

When it became clear that the situation was not as simple as they thought, they quickly realised that further action might provoke open hostilities with all sides of the community (as it would around half a century later). Thus they decided to concentrate their attention on the remaining ringleaders, a motley collection of agricultural workers, fishermen and former tax collectors. Their champion was to be Simon Magus, a foreign sorcerer of some skill. However, the resulting magical duel ended in Simon’s death and the cult went underground to avoid Roman retaliation.

During the next few centuries, the cult grew and its followers became well-versed in scripture and magic. The life of its founder and the travels of his understudies were to be documented in a great book which would be distributed across the world. their crowning victory was to come in the fourth century when they were able to capitalise on the misfortunes of the then-declining Roman empire to emerge from the shadows and present a solution to the Roman problems. Whilst the power and knowledge of the cult had grown, so too had its reputation (although at a high price, given the persecutions during Nero and Diocletian’s reigns). It only took a glimpse of this power to convince a Romano-British general, and the Church was established.

The other cults would languish willingly in relative obscurity. With the ascendancy of their former rivals, it was safer to remain obscure than risk extermination. The Middle Ages witnessed between these minor cults and Chrstianity, a war that neither won but which convinced both to strengthen their positions. A treaty saved a few from fighting among themselves but the end of that treaty is coming and all the wealth in the world is for the taking.

And for those cults who have forgotten their faith and their magic? It is expected that they will die out. Those who have magic often forget the power of one sorcerer pales alongside the power of a thousand human beings equipped with sword and flame. Then again, those with long memories and a broad perspective often point to the example of one charismatic individual who, despite humble origins, founded a tradition which has spanned two millennia.

QABAL intro – Genre

This game can be played in one of many genres. A genre is a certain style where recurring themes show up and both GM and player are expected to perform within this style. In a low magic, high suspense game then the players would be expected to react accordingly and the GM would be expected to introduce only minor magics, to keep mystery and drama high. Just as players will know how a grizzled private detective will act in film noir, the players can then play their characters according to the genre. In this way it is possible to evoke roleplaying from the group as they know what is expected of them.

Some might prefer the Scavenger campaign where the characters spend their time tracking down the legacies of lost civilisations and the belongings of dead Masters. The struggle for magic should be a recurring theme as this game was designed with the Scavenger genre in mind.

Perhaps the Haunted campaign might suit your group if they are intrigued by the concept of the afterlife and undeath. Magicians can be plagued by the spirits of lost friends.

Others may prefer the Tainted campaign – usually set in a remote geographical location where magic has twisted the region according to the whims and jealousies of the people. Remote villages in the north of England can hide as much horror as the crumbling hamlets of Dunwich and Arkham.

A fourth campaign is called Revelations which focuses on the impending doom of the new Millenium and the ending of the Covenant. As the treaty breaks down, powerful magicians may seize the opportunity to rise in power. Conflict is inevitable.

There are more genres available for a QABAL game and all they require is a little work on the part of the GM. There are start-up scenarios in the back of the book and further information to flavour the genres already mentioned.

QABAL – The essential nature of spirits

“Firm, constant faith works wonders even in the course of a flawed operation, whereas mistrust and hesitation in the soul of the worker, who holds himself aloof from all excess, leads to dissipated effort and ruin”

Spirits are constructed of matter. The matter that forms their bodies is not immutable and often depends on where they are. Often a spirit will clothe itself in more visible matter or more tangible material in order to better interact with the world.

Spirits are usually invisible but if moving in a smoky atmosphere they can be seen by the whorls and eddies they create when they move. As they can be touched, though it be light as a feather, it indicates that they have form and substance. This might also mean that they can use their teeth, claws, limbs and body to attack.

Spirits can pierce materials. Perhaps on the most base level they interleave their bodily atoms with the obstacle. Most will prefer to go around walls and through doors. Some may be able to take the aspect of liquids or gases and pass through tiny cracks in walls and doors.

“You call us monsters…but when you dream it is flying and changing and living without death” – Rachel (Cabal, by Clive Barker)

These beings, essentially of spirit, have deigned to clothe themselves in flesh. Their differences to terran forms can often be seen and it is easy to see how much of our mythology is populated with these creatures.

Sometimes the beasts do not survive the transformation unscathed. Some are broken and twisted by the experience. These creatures become our demons (Peloric Fragments…Terata) – twisted in mind and body.

The laws of summoning are clear – A creature must follow the terms of its binding which defines its shape, behaviour and loyalty.

-The Circles-
May just be simply of chalk upon the maiden ground but can be elaborate with attendant pentagrams and symbols. It may be drawn in paint, blood, coal or set permanently into the floor with stones, wooden tiles or inlaid silver.

“According to the Cabala, the dybbuk is a spirit that takes possession of a living person. A famous legend tells of how a young Cabalist was in love with a certain girl. He died and subsequently took possession of her body” – The dibbuk, by Charles Anski

-Performing a Summons-
A Circle must be drawn in which the caster remains until the binding is complete. This can take time so he should be well-prepared for his ordeal. A pentacle should also be drawn and ringed with significant symbols (such as the names of the Archangels).

It is into the pentacle that the beast will form. It will be made visible through the burning of incense using the heady scented smoke to form a representation of its body. As long as the pentacle is unbroken it will remain there. It can be given a single instruction in return for release or forced into a Vessel which should be present in a circle attached to the pentacle. Once inside the Vessel, which is naturally marked with the appropriate sigils, the caster may leave his circle.

If the Pentacle is broken (or worse yet, not present) before the completion of the ritual the caster must not leave the circle. At this point the beast is free to roam about the room and immediate area but may not be seen and cannot enter the casters circle.

Such beasts are difficult to detect and capture and they possess considerable tangible and magical power with which they may assault unprotected targets. Even those protected by a magicians circle may find themselves the victims of missiles, mundane in nature, which have been hurled by the beast whose claws and magic cannot penetrate the circle.

Truly the safest place is within that circle though remaining there may result in injury and possible loss of life. Should anyone leave the circle they immediately open themselves to the creatures claws and magic and attempts at posession.

-Binding-
Once binding has begun, the smoke appears to pour into the Vessel until the beast is wholly consumed. Its appearance returns to normal though some report a vessel becomes heavier after binding.

Almost anything is suitable for binding though what is suitable for the required task may differ. Objects (rings, doors, statues, gems), Animals (cats, toads, newts, ravens, dogs), humans (alive or dead), and Materia (blood etc for a homunculus, clay for a golem) are all suitable.

QABAL – Wandering Mystic

It came to me while I was out shopping. The voice said “You are the chosen one”. I had always known I was special. It went on “You must dedicate your life to contemplation and gather others who wish to share in sublime glory”. I knew then that this was no mere flight of fancy so I went home, quit my job, sold my house and told my wife I was leaving Sheffield for greater things. She didn’t understand at first but now I think she accepts it. She and my children now live in Newcastle with her sister.
– Father Lemuel, The Brotherhood of the Glad.

The Wandering Mystic is a strange beast. At first he makes you think of an esoteric holyman making his was across continents dispensing wisdom in return for a crust of bread. He walks barefoot and shaves his head, his clothing is coarse and plain and signifies his humility. Some may see him as a beggar or a lunatic but most regard him with awe as he flouts modern conventions.

The reality is much less romantic. He still shaves his head and walks around barefoot but he is much more likely to own several cars and his bare feet seldom touch the cold ground and are cared for by expensive manicurists. His followers work hard in their respective careers and give their worldly belongings gladly. He might be targetted by one of those documentary investigators for his new television series but every member of his collective interviewed will talk at length about how his teachings have enriched their lives

Darren Mitchell was an unemployed factory worker before his Shining Moment. His wife Sharon wasn’t quite as enthusiastic when he announced he was going to become a preacher. She was more interested in when he was going to go down the Jobmarket and get a job. This preacher malarkey was just another grand scheme. “The way I’m playing it” he would rhyme off as he was about to elaborate on the next great scheme. They were going to get rich two years ago with his chip-van sideline and last year he managed to get his hands on a load of computer games which he was going to sell down the market and make a killing. Neither made him any money so now they had a greasy smelly health risk filled with obselete computer programs occupying the front lawn. And to top it it all he wants to be a preacher.

Sharon did what any responsible mother would. She packed up her bags and moved herself and the children to her mothers house. Darren didn’t really mind. He sold the house and disappeared.

Six months later The Brotherhood of the Glad appeared on television. The documentary that featured them interviewed a few members who spoke volumes about how fulfilled they were and arranged a meeting with their spiritual leader, Father Lemuel. You can imagine the look on Sharon Mitchell’s face when she recognised her husband under the bushy beard and voluminous robes.

The Brotherhood of the Glad has been accused of brainwashing and kidnapping but nothing like that actually goes on. The acolytes wake at five in the morning and begin their chores. After that (usually at about noon, some say when Lemuel wakes up) gather into the Hall for a sermon. The sermon is mostly the usual new-age feel-good nonsense but normally sensible people attend and afterwards speak volumes of well-being and confidence they have received as a result.

Darren takes his new life quite seriously. He honestly believes that he is enriching lives when he speaks. The fact that others more successful than him agree with him provides him with more proof. He sees his relaxed lifestyle, collection of soft furnishings and numerous sexual partners as his legitimate payment for his services. He doesn’t believe in magic but has a strong belief in fate, luck and destiny, People who he perceives as lucky instantly earn his friendship as part of his personal philosophy is to surround himself with positive influences. This means lucky people, wondrous examples of art and craft and beautiful women.

In Qabal:
Though not a magician, this character wields considerable power. He may have a touch of magic that has been realised through this vocation. He would not be a suitable as a player character unless the other players were also important members of the same cult. He coould be a powerful ally and a powerful enemy as his disciples include city lawyers and brokers and family members of other influential people.

QABAL – The Orthodox Sorcerer

I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe. I’ve touched the Hand of God, I’ve
watched Angels feasting on the entrails of Devils, witnessed the seven
headed dragon and yes it burned me. Yes it burned me. And tonight, when
the stars are right, you too shall be burned. More tea, Vicar?

– Henry Olcott, Grand Magister

The Orthodox Sorcerer is perhaps the most familiar to the scholar.
Commonly recognised by a long robe, also seen with a flambuoyant headdress
and a penchant for much ritual and pomp. While some will dress casually
with shirt and trenchcoat, most take their costume seriously and keep
special robes for the purpose of performing magic.

It is also common for the Sorcerer to maintain a room in his house
specially consecrated for ritual magic. This sanctum will contain the
necessary paraphernalia for the magic – chalice, sword, cord and candle
will be evident. Sorcerers commonly have assistants, plucked from a wider
group of adherents because of one or two special qualities. These
qualities could be an aptitude for magic, a special trust between sorcerer
and assistant, a merely sexual relationship or something else.

Orthodox Sorcerers predominantly come from religious backgrounds either
from the clergy itself or from a particularly devout upbringing. This may
influence their later predilection for dressing up and performing grand
ceremonies.

A classical education is also a prerequisite in order to help them cope
with the esoteric literature and occult blinds so prevalent in the
subject. A background in psychology, egyptology or archaeology would be
obviously an advantage.

Olcott has been a member of the Aegyptian Order of the Everlasting Way for
the last twenty-five years. His official title is Grand Magister which
belies his actual status. He may not be a member of the inner circle but
his importance to the organisation is much greater than his apparently
lowly station. The AOEW pay him a monthly salary as a retainer for
consultancy work in addition to his other work as a touring authority on
egyptology.

In 1965 Olcott was an avid student of the occult and attended many of the
lectures around the country and on the continent in relation to this
subject. As he had few friends and his only real relationship had ended
several years before he fit right into a new more liberal culture proposed
by the pagan revivalists.

After a few years living in such a group, having taken his fill of
indulgence and nonsensical ritual, Olcott left the group and bought a
house in Ealing. He invited some of the more learned of his brethren to
live with him and create a college of learning in his cramped townhouse.

After a decade of honest research punctuated by behaviour reminiscent of
his youth, Olcott kicked the remainder of his colleagues out of his house
and initiated a vendetta that eventually caught the eye of the newspapers.
Olcott managed to distance himself from the fracas and from then on
cultivated the image of the beleaguered academic. From here, after his
fill of indulgence, things began to get interesting for him.
In truth he fell in with another cult. Olcott had always been
spectacularly bad at magical effects. He never seemed to achieve the right
state of mind that the others slipped into easily. Then again, the others
success was always measured in the most subtle of ways while Olcott placed
much higher demands upon himself. Magical expermentation within the new
group was much more structured. There were rules about what could be
called in and what could be cast out. There were regulations on binding
and prophecy. Because every night did not start out with attempts at magic
(usually followed by either a drugged orgy or a drunken depression), the
rituals began to have more meaning and correspondingly, an effect.

It was a frosty Thursday night when Olcott saw his first spirit.

Even he would admit that his faith in the process had been faltering
before he joined the AOEW. Their honest and open ways and utter dedication
to the study of magic inspired him and reaffirmed his flaccid faith. He
had settled into his seat (he was never comfortable in the lotus position
which may have contributed to his earlier failures) while his assistant
completed to preparations. Aftter two hours of feverish chanting nothing
seemed to have happened. Olcott lifted himself from his chair and only the
surprised gasp from his assistant alerted him. Inside the circle, where
the smoke from the incense brazier had drifted, was a churning smoky
zephyr. His assistant spoke in what seemed like a whisper. Perhaps a quiet
prayer. The spirit remained within the circle for the next few days as the
AOEW filed in and made their observations. At that time they had no way to
communicate with it and Olcott dedicated his time to researching how to
dismiss the presence.

The AOEW has reorganised. Rather than being an occult group trying to
contact “those-in-the-know” they have become an esoteric group who give
the impression they are in the know. They hold rituals no more than once a
week to a select group of initiates. Olcott has deliberately distanced
himself. Previously he was clinging to the ceremonial robes of those
within the AOEW but now he finds himself the advisor and realises he will
never again have to kowtow to a middle-class accountant in a
stars-and-moons bathrobe.

In Qabal:
This sort of character would be a magician with a fairly important
lineage. He will gather acolytes or a circle whom he treats as equals in
order to perform his magic. His predilection for pomp and requirement for
ceremony will mean that his magic will be quite specific to him and his
lineage. It also means that a considerable amount of preparation is
required for any magic to take place.

QABAL – a brief history of Magic

The beginning of time
In those days giants walked the earth and fought with the gods. Secrets were passed
from the gods to man through Thoth, Prometheus and Hermes Trismegistus – Secrets
of fire, science and magic.

350 BC
Plato describes Atlantis. It symbolises the origin of all knowledge. Believed to
be a myth, certain mystics claim it is a cipher for the location of the biblical
Eden. It has become apparent that there is a link between the ancient gods, Atlantis,
Eden and the biblical Flood that rid the earth of evil.

62 BC
Magi congregate at the court of Antiochus. They have foreseen a great conflict and
a divine peacemaker. The meeting is called to a sudden end after heated arguments
on how to deal with this matter. They depart undecided as to whether they should
welcome this new king or oppose him.

30 AD
Jesus of Nazareth, member of the Essene cult, is arrested and executed. Though he
was crucified by Roman hands it was the desire of his enemies, the Hebrew sorcerers,
that he die as a criminal. His chief disciple, Peter, defeats the sorcerer Simon
Magus in a magical duel and moves the cult of Christ into secrecy to avoid further
persecution.

685 AD
Khalid ibn Yazid, an arab prince, refuses his crown and leaves his court in order
to pursue his studies. He is taught by Morienus, a sorcerer and alchemist, but his
subsequent actions, purging his lands of other sects, have tainted his tradition
so that they are no longer known as holders of a secret wisdom but regarded as butchers.

930 AD
Sabbatai Donnolo unearths the hidden Sefir Yetsira or Book of Creation, a major work
of theology and also of magic and miracles. It is prolific during the Middle Ages
but later passes almost into the realm of myth. Whether or not the work is authentic,
passages from it survive and describe the magic used to create the earth.

1224 AD
A covenant is drawn up between two cults to ensure mutual protection til the end
of the millennium. In their desire to consolidate their agreement they alienate many
of the other cults extant at this time. Fortunately for them, most of these other
cults are destroyed by the fires of the Inquisition but some survive and remember
the betrayal.

1314 AD
Established in 1118 AD, the Knights Templar are destroyed on account of possessing
too much political and economic power. The charges brought upon them, however, were
idolatry and sedition.

1520 AD
In his key work De Occulta, Agrippa lays down his Unity of Traditions, a desire to
unite all religion. His intention was that his magical brethren should unite under
one purpose. His attempt fails but his works were widely distributed and have become
one of the main inspirations on magical thought.

1785 AD
Claude Louis, Count of Saint-Germain reappears to his pupil Etteila. Though his claim
that he is 325 years old is disputed, he surfaces several times in the next eighty
years. The last time he is seen is in 1875.

1850 AD
Eliphas Levi alleges Vintras and his Institute of Pity are an "absurd, anarchic
sect". This may have been true but it also has the effect of endearing Vintras
to Levi’s enemies. The depravity of the time also drew attention back to occult philosophy.
This was received with mixed blessings among the Masters.

1875 AD
The Great Purge Several Masters are slain along with hundreds of their followers.
Their groups were small and their followers weak so there were no retributions. This
highlights the encroaching end of the millennium and the end of the covenant and
thus an attempt to regulate the members of the covenant is made.

1900 AD
Crowley expelled from the Golden Dawn for ‘extreme practices’. He, and some of his
more loyal acolytes, form the Order of the Silver Star.

NOW
The Covenant is ending. An ancient alliance is ending. The future and untold riches
await those with knowledge and power enough to take it