The following lists of sources and inspiration are in no way exhausting nor are they intended to. They just contain a few things I found helpful.
Info in the Mage Sourcebooks
Mage 1st Ed (WW4000) has some helpful hints and seeking ideas dependent on the Mage's essence on pp 238/239
Mage 2nd Ed (WW4300) introduces Seekings on p31. The text is a little less substantial than the 1st Ed one, though. Seekings are also described in the flavour text on p37 and p59. The part on Advanced Techniques (p153/154) can be quite useful for storytelling seekings. (Since they are played 1-on-1 outside of the strict confines of game world and logic, playing them is a good opportunity to experiment some.) On pp 227/228 most of what is said in 1st Ed is repeated.
Quiet is explained on pp 178/179.
Mage: The Sorcerer's Crusade (WW4800) takes a less abstract view. Avatars have characteristcs like elements (p80) and, in a seeking, lead the characters through some wilderness (p19) On p177 is a nice step-by-step guide to seekings.
The Book of Shadows (WW4050) contains a very archetypical Seeking story on pp 173-176.
The Book of Madness (WW4251) describes Quiet, Hobgoblins and Mindscapes as Paradox effects. Those make also great backlashes of failed seekings. (pp 52-55)
The Book of Worlds (WW4007) introduces Uranus and Neptune as the Shade Realms of Spirit and Mind (pp153-155). The description contains a few ideas on how the place where a seeking takes place might look like - and feel like! On pp 46/47 in the same book is a list of symbols that can be used to 'furnish' a mindscape.
Generally, many of the worlds described in the book can be useful 'stages' for inner conflict, because they are symbolic in themselves.
The Book of Mirrors (Mage Storytellers' Guide, WW4302) is a very useful book in general. It has a chapter on 'Seekings and the Avatar' on pp53-55. It contains roughly the same step-by-step guide that Sorcerer's Crusade does, plus some vague ideas, and says that the 'test parcours' is basically the same for every seeking a Mage does. This passage is IMO the most helpful in all the Mage books. For those not scared of theory, Ross Isaac's essay "In the Mind's Eye" (pp 145-148) might spark a few ideas.
Stories to ...er... borrow from
- Richard Bach: Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
- It's about a quest for perfection - always good material for Mage.
- Neil Gaiman: Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes and A Game of You
- In "Preludes and Nocturnes" the hero has to pass trials to regain mystical treasures that he lost. In "A Game of You", a woman's mind is lost in a Dream Realm and her friends try to get her out, having to make some harsh discoveries and decisions in the process.
- Neil Gaiman (again): Coraline
- Through the forbidden door, the hero enters a world of symbols (with teeth) and, with the help of a Guide (a black cat), has to retrieve five lost souls from under the nose of child-eating caricature of a mother to save her reality and herself.
- Michael Ende: The Neverending Story
- The second half of the book is the interesting one, Mage-wise. Bastian slowly realizes that he needs to find out what he really wants in a world where his wish is the law and has to face and work through the repercussions of his early, ill considered wishes.
- J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit
- After getting seperated from his friends, Bilbo has to go down deep into the earth, best a guardian and gain a treasure before he can return to the light of day.
- Ursula LeGuin: The Wizard of Earthsea
- In the last chapter, Ged travels to the end of the world and beyond to banish the darkness he has unwittingly let into his life.
- George Lucas: The Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi
- On Dagobah, Luke enters a 'dark place', and battles his enemy only to discover that the enemy is wearing his own face. In choosing battle, he fails the test.
In "Return of the Jedi" he faces the same test when confronting Vader and the Emperor. That time he succeeds.
- Tennyson: The Lotus Eaters
- Strangely enough, whenever I think of a Mage abandoning his quest for Enlightenment for good, I have to think of these lines:
"Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore
Than labour in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar;
O, rest ye, brother mariners, we will not wander more."
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