An Archmage is a mage of such exceptional power that they have reached an understanding of their chosen Sphere beyond the scope of normal Masters (by attaining the sixth dot). The Technocratic equivalent is Archmaster. The Nephandic counterpart is Aswadim, who instead master the Qlippothic Spheres and strive for all-encompassing Descension.
To become an Archmage is to break the limitations one had imposed on one's own power. Akin to an Awakening Sleeper, the Archmage realizes that they are capable of things they thought impossible by diving deeper into their chosen Sphere. Their study, however, is far from over, as different levels of power await for Exemplars and Postulants, who later have the chance to either Ascend or stay as Oracles to guide others.
It is nearly impossible to reach the ultimate level of mastery without the support of existing Archmages, and not every mage has what it takes to become an Archmage. Those who passed the Threshold usually claim that they were driven by their Avatar since their Awakening, through harrowing Seekings and similar obstacles, to reach Ascension. Most Archmages show a combination of ambition, a thirst for knowledge, personal responsibility, and sheer power. Other Archmages watch their would-be peers for every sign of failure or corruption and handle dangerous adherents by themselves.
Most Archmages are also dependent on support from their paradigm. It can be difficult to become an Archmage when one fails to understand the basics of one's own belief system. Each Tradition, Craft, and Convention favors different characteristics in their Archmages and Masters that are carefully cultivated.
Most Archmages discharge their Resonance even without casting a spell, making them easily detectable. As such, these beings are plagued by potent Paradox that makes a mundane life nearly impossible. However, they are encouraged by their peers to maintain connections to normalcy, in order to avoid the greater streaks of hubris – the events surrounding the fall of Horizon and Doissetep show how dangerous it can be for mages to seclude themselves from reality into self-created Umbral realms, and Archmages are no exception to this.
Because they become increasingly disconnected from the Consensus the more power they amass, most Archmages are eventually barred from contact with the mundane world, forced to dwell in Horizon Realms. Some stay in contact with humanity by keeping small Sleeper communities in their Horizon Realms, while others keep contact with different, long-living supernaturals, like Cainites, wraiths, or mummies. Others simply go mad. Be that as it may, Archmages are usually valued guests in Umbral Courts.
- Saint Damian
- The Unnamed
- Maimonides - most likely a Lion of Zion
- Solomon - probably a Chosen of Abraham, a paradigm containing elements later adopted by the Order of Hermes and the Taftâni