All Quiet in Music City
Your Character’s Story
Your character’s story will make the character creation process much easier, since your abilities, skills, etc. are the results of your background.
What was life like for your character? Was he a high school dropout? Did he serve in the military? Did he push papers at a 9-5 job? Was he a football star?
Once you’ve thought about your character’s mundane life (i.e. before his Awakening), you should then consider how he Awakened. Did he miraculously walk away from a devastating car crash? Did he get caught in the midst of a battle between the Technocracy and one of the Traditions? Was he recruited by one of his college professors? Something opened your eyes to the truth behind reality (i.e. that reality is only what you make it), and the circumstances of your Awakening affect how you interact with the magical and mundane worlds.
As part of the guidelines for this campaign, your Awakening happened at least a year ago. You should try to fill in some of the gaps since then. How did your Awakening change your life? Were you able to keep your job after you Awakened? How do your friends and family react to you now? (Most Sleepers can tell that there’s something a little off about Awakened individuals)
Think about what drives your character. Now that he knows that reality is mutable, what are his motivations? Does he strive to ascend to near-godhood? Does he want to be the ultimate philanthropist, tweaking reality to benefit everyone he happens to meet? Does he want to continue the Ascension War against the Technocracy?
Once you have a solid idea of your character’s story and life, consider what kind of magic he would perform most naturally. Of course, you could start here first and then build your character around the type of magic you want him to use. Consider, though, that he likely could sense/influence only one of the spheres immediately before and after his Awakening. This particular sphere is likely your character’s most comfortable sphere, whether or not it is his strongest once you’ve gone through the minor number-crunching.
All the background information helps solidify your character’s place in this brave new world, but equally important is how he perceives and performs magic (i.e. his paradigm). Technology is the paradigm of the Consensus, and most people, Sleepers and Awakened, are able to use devices that produce the most basic magical effects. However, you Awakened because somehow you saw the flaws in the Consensus, and you were able to produce an effect that should be impossible through “normal” means.
When you perform magic, do you use magic words? Do you use a kata to channel your chi? Do you make a blood sacrifice? Whatever your paradigm is, it is often very personal and specific. Each of the Traditions tends to have similar paradigms within their own group, but very rarely do two mages produce the same effect in exactly the same way.
However you perform your magic, it is as important to gameplay as your story, and it can often determine whether your magical effect is vulgar or coincidental. For example, many Sleepers would find a storm summoned by a rain dance more believable than one summoned by saying “Make it rain.”