Mirror Magic Races

Mirror Magic and the Peoples of Rebma

Mirror magic is common enough in Rebma that it does not draw too much attention, but it is still not on the same level as sorcery in Pathi, where nearly every citizen seems to have a talent for it. Even the lowest levels of initiation into mirror magic are difficult, and the higher levels require dedication, natural ability, and diligent study in equal measure. While PCs have a right to be exceptional, there are still some guidelines to keep in mind when creating a character, or developing one in play.

Humans are far and away the majority of mirror mages. Perhaps as many as one in five Rebmans has at least studied mirror magic, and roughly one in ten has pursued and survived the first initiation. Most of those do not pursue the art past the basic abilities of communication and travel; less than one in a hundred Rebmans pursues mirror magic as an occupation. Masters of the art are rarer still, with somewhere between one and two hundred alive currently. The numbers of the inner circle of the Cabal are a complete mystery, even to the Masters - rumors range from only three to the undying rosters of all who have ever lived.

Sirens occasionally pursue mirror magic, especially if their human parent was a sorcerer of any significant power. Some Sirens are known to manipulate glass with their voice, and become highly prized in the community of mages even if they do not themselves practice the art; they can find a particularly eager market in reshaping the shards of history into more aesthetic shapes for display. In general, though, Sirens prefer to rely on their own abilities of voice rather than external sorcery.

Tritons and Dolphins, quite simply, do not practice mirror magic. Records are inconclusive as to whether this is because they have no interest or no ability, but even the best-kept histories of Dilwen have no mention of any member of these two races using the mirrors.

Selkies are a special case. They have a long history of interbreeding with humans both Rebman and surface-dwelling, and there have been selkie sorcerers in the past. However, they are even more rare than sirens in the community of mirror mages, with less than a handful in each generation. Those who have researched this situation have come up with a theory to explain this rarity:

Mirror magic requires of its practitioners a strong sense of self, a rock-hard certainty that rivals the Pattern adepts of Amber. The more esoteric theories of mirror travel, for example, posit that the sorcerer does not in fact physically travel when using mirrors as a gateway - instead, the sorcerer merges with the mirror on one side, and recreates himself from the mirror at his destination. To attempt to sense the space between the mirrors, then, is to become aware of one's temporary non-existence, resulting in oblivion. The first initiation of mirror mages is based around this sense of self - the prospective sorcerer is left alone with their own reflection, and nothing else, and is forced to confront their self for an extended period of time. It requires a mind strong and secure in self-perception to face such a trial, a mindset deeply at odds with the fluid, shapechanging nature of the selkies. Most selkies trade easily between their forms, even between genders in some cases. To such a being, it is difficult to find a single 'self' to face down. Even for those who do, and succeed in their initiation, they may find quirks that put constraints on their magic; the most frequent is that a selkie sorcerer may settle on one form during the initiation, and begin to prefer it to their others, even to the extent of shapeshifting only when circumstances strictly require it. Needless to say, this behavior is seen as profoundly odd by the selkie community, and depending on the form chosen, can be incredibly awkward in day-to-day life.

From a game perspective, there are a few considerations. As mentioned above, PCs have a right to exceptionalism, and in fact there are no mechanical barriers to selkie or siren PCs learning mirror magic. However, both of those races have their own, exclusive gift trees, intended to prevent the homogenous association of 'Rebma=Mirrors'. Any non-human mirror mage is exceptional, and therefore an exceptional level of play and effort should be expected - learning mirror magic should not be easy, comfortable, or without cost for non-human characters.

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