The Moros are a magical path whose ruling Arcana are Death and Matter. They are also known as the Necromancers on the Path of Doom, Scions of the Watchtower of the Lead Coin in the Realm of Stygia, Kingdom of Crypts and Abode of Shades. Their theme is Death, their mood Respect and Contemplation. They approach the Supernal through Permanence and Transition.
The first thing being a Moros teaches you is there is no good or evil in death. In this universe a good man will die as soon as a wicked man. It rains upon the head of a wicked man, the same as a good man. Death is the great leveller, as the song says 'You may be a king or just a street sweeper, sooner or later you'll dance with the Reaper.' The Moros specialise in the Arcana of Death and Matter, and suffer penalties when trying to learn the Arcanum of Spirit.
Moros mages are calm, almost eerily so, even while discussing or witnessing truly gruesome acts. Having experienced the moment of death, if not the aftermath, they are aware that pain and suffering are transitory, mere moments after which comes a long period of quiet. Moros, therefore, don’t tend to be fearful or easily shocked. Chaos and disorder, however, disturb the Moros. Too many things all changing at once gives them too much to focus upon, and not enough time to study a given transition before it changes again.
To the Moros, though, everything that matters must be taken seriously, for tomorrow might never come. Likewise, anything that isn’t important enough to merit a Moros’ full attention might just as well be scrapped. For many Necromancers, this attitude means that they aren’t afraid to admit failure or give up a cause, project or argument when it is obvious that it can’t be completed successfully. Many mages accuse Moros of having no sense of humor, but this is not entirely accurate. It isn’t that they don’t have senses of humor, simply that they find humor a luxury, one that they can’t spare the time to enjoy. They don’t deny or hinder others who would rather spend time in pursuit of enjoyment than work, but they aren’t interested in opening their sanctums to such people, either. Mages in general are willful and driven as a rule, but Necromancers tend to be nothing short of workaholic. They tell themselves that they will have time for pleasure when their work is done, but they never seem to reach the point at which they feel satisfied.
Not all Moros are rich, despite stereotypes to the contrary. The power to turn lead into gold isn’t available to newly Awakened mages, although powerful mentors often bequeath their students a bit of material wealth so that the apprentices can concentrate on their studies. The Path does call out to the greedy and the power-hungry, however, and since the applications of much of the Necromancer’s magic allows for wealth and power Moros often do seem avaricious. Indeed, a Moros can easily fall into the trap of seeing himself as a sort of “lord of the dead” and revel in the power to command otherworldly beings. Respect and reverence are key principles to the Moros Path, but, at the same time, they are some of the most commonly ignored virtues among hubristic Necromancers.
Stygia is the place of shells, whether the hollow shells of egos worn in life or the heavy shells of material greed. Whatever is most heavy falls to the influence of this realm. Ghosts who are anchored to the world they have already left, material treasures that distract the soul from its true work, and even darkness, which weighs down the light. There is a price to be paid for entering places influenced by Stygia, and there are many tollgates on the road the soul must travel through death to attain new life. This price isn’t in mundane lucre but in the treasure reaped by the soul during life. If its weight is light, like that of precious metals, the soul can rise above its death. But if it is heavy, like lead, the soul must remain in the abode of shades until it can relinquish its hold on life. Death is a form of alchemy, allowing those who pass on to purify themselves by shedding material attachments to meet new incarnations, or perhaps the destiny that awaits souls after death.
The outlook of the Moros path is fixated on the concept of transition. At the moment of transition, the subject is both what it was and what it will be — this holds true for material as well as spiritual objects. At the moment of death, a person is both among the living and the dead, glimpsing what she is leaving behind and what she is approaching, but likely not seeing either too clearly. That moment is the Awakening for most Moros, though, and instead of looking back on their lives and reaching out to hold on or looking ahead and embracing the Great Beyond, they dwell on that moment, that endless instant when life ends and death begins. Transition, however, is not change. Change is chaos. The world is in a constant state of change, but on either such minute levels (molecular or cellular changes) or such grand scales (political or cultural shifts) that an individual cannot perceive them. The Moros are more interested in the precise moment of transition, and in such scales that is difficult to note.
Sadness or depression isn’t terribly common among the Necromancers. Depression kills energy and ambition, and makes for a long, slow slide into nothingness. While a transition certainly exists at the end of that journey, it isn’t something most Moros are interested in experiencing. Despite the Path’s emphasis on death, Moros mages don’t tend to dwell on the negative aspects of life’s end. Instead, they respect and contemplate its meaning, but do not give in into grief or mockery.
More than anything else, the Moros Path is concerned with transition and transformation. Its magic focus on the transformative edge where life becomes death; lead becomes gold and ignorance blossoms into understanding. Necromancers are fascinated by the edges of objects, places and states of being, where shore becomes sea, where coal becomes diamond and where the land of the living segues into the land of the dead. Many Moros mages practice alchemy and its modern brainchild chemistry to gain a more profound understanding of the exact nature of individual transitions.
Moros perceive the lingering presence of death as an effect they call memoria. Memoria colours the world in the after-effects of death perceivable by Moros Mage Sight, revealing places with a strong connection to death. Likewise, Moros see Matter's transformations, immediatly perceiving the multiple small components, impurities and chemical compositions of an object and their state of being in it's path of transformation.
Stygia resonates with Death and many Moros have found out that funeral rites have a special connection to the Kingdom of Crypts. Cultures whose funeral rites have outlasted the ravages of time, like those of Egyptian or Etruscan origin, have a special connection to the Moros, as does ancestor worship. Another prominent figure is Hades, the ruler of the Greek Underworld and lord of the dead as well as over the riches of the earth, which resonates with their favored Arcana. Modern Moros are fond of Haitian Voodoo as well as various superstitions regarding the protective powers of metals like iron or silver.
In Western Culture, the Moros are associated with the element of Earth, while in the East, they are associated with Metal (in the Hiden Gogyo Bujutsu) or the element of Earth (in taoistic influenced consilia). In the Neolithic Age, the Moroi were associated with the Sea, as its waters symbolized the endless pull of Death and what sank to the sea floor what remained of Matter after Death's transformation.
The Free Council assigns the Moros Path two Tarot cards, Death and the World. Death is assigned to the Path and its focus on the transitory nature of things, while the World signifies the Mysteries that the Moros confront as well as their Great Work.
A mage's Nimbus accompanies his casting of magic. The Nimbus reflects his personal style of magic, as well as his advancement in the Ars Mysteriorum. The Nimbus of a Moros usually recalls his connection to Stygia and showcases the transitory nature of its surroundings.
- Bleak: Sounds become dampened and colors muted. Depth perception becomes difficult as edges of objects blur together and points of reference are hard to resolve. Horizons seem distant, and words seem to echo. A pervasive feeling of hopelessness arises, as though whatever might be accomplished at present ultimately won’t matter. With powerful magic, onlookers might start to cry or a cold rain might start falling. (Death)
- Brittle: Everything becomes delicate. Clothes seem to tear easily, objects crack or shift with the slightest touch and taking a step seems to strain the floor or leave dents in the ground. With powerful magic, a thin layer of powder might appear on stone as though it is disintegrating. (Death/Matter)
- Eerie: Sounds take on a slightly higher pitch and a faint echo, and colors shift toward the blue end of the spectrum. Onlookers see movement from the corners of their eyes, but this ceases if they try to focus on it. Nothing moves quickly when directly watched. Movements seem slow and dreamlike, and a disturbing calm surrounds everything. With powerful magic, the mage’s words seem to ring in a listener’s ears before she speaks, creating the perception that she is out of synch with her own body. (Death/Mind)
- Endless: Things taken on a timeless quality. Words echo, but the echoes don’t fade entirely, instead remaining as a soft undertone. The mage appears unassailable, as if he cannot be attacked or affected by others. Powerful magic might distort onlookers’ sense of time to the point that the second in which the spell is cast seems minutes or even hours long. (Time/Death)
- Haunting: Onlookers think they see vague and blurry figures. Shadows grow deeper or seem to reach out to an onlooker, and objects look decayed or rotted. With powerful magic, they might even hear whispers. Corpses might twitch or seem to moan. (Death)
- Kingly: The mage appears regal and powerful (though not necessarily noble — the feeling is intimidating, not inspiring). Anything he is holding or wearing seems like a treasure, and anyone who meets his gaze feels compelled to look away. Animals, even inanimate objects, seem to defer to him, and, with powerful magic, even shadows stay below his gaze. (Mind)
- Mutable: Things seem in flux. Objects might undergo color shifts, while light and shadow intensify and dampen seemingly at random. Water flows in whirlpools or waves, even if it’s currently in a drinking glass. Fabrics stiffen momentarily, while metal or glass seems to warp when touched. Powerful magic might cause iron to change to copper or lead to gold for a few seconds. (Matter)
- Paranoid: Shadows turn to face the mage or the target of the spell. Onlookers feel breath on their necks and hear whispers from darkened corners. Footsteps might sound from above or below the mage’s current position, even if he is outdoors. Someone picking up an object might develop a distinct sense of guilt, as though he were stealing it. Powerful magic might result in ghostly faces appearing in reflective surfaces, watching those around the mage with stern or angry expressions. (Spirit/Death)
- Respectful: Light and sound seem to defer to the mage; shadows darken as he approaches and when he speaks, other sounds dampen. People have trouble meeting the mage’s eyes, and their gazes are naturally drawn to whatever he points to. The respectful air doesn’t just apply to the mage, though. People aren’t inclined to become angry or violent — it just seems inappropriate, especially when powerful magic is involved. (Spirit)
- Rotting: Foul smells of decay emanate from the mage or from her target. Fabric, food and other soft materials sag and seem befouled, while harder organic matter (such as wood) feels soft and porous to the touch. Onlookers feel unclean and might have trouble drawing breath, as though the air tastes foul. Powerful magic might result in fungus or mold growing in corners or on foodstuffs. (Life/Death)
- Solid: Sounds do not echo, but seem pregnant with meaning. Footsteps are loud as though the person’s weight had increased. Doors and windows are harder to move and substances that should tear easily, such as paper, require effort to destroy. Liquid seems to become slightly more viscous, and with powerful magic might even congeal for a second. (Matter)
- Bokor – These mages are unusual amongst the Moros in that, unlike most members of their path, they see death not a serene, calm experience, but as a violent and painful process. The see the bodies of the dead as being mere shells, and so have no qualms about using them as servants or soldiers. Interesting to note is that their ethics are tightened when it comes to dabbling in souls; the Bokor philosophy does not allow that to imprison or sever souls, though they can be used to create revenants.
- Forge Master – Awakened artisans and craftsmen beyond parallel, the Forge Masters are the supreme alchemists, item crafters and Imbuers of the Awakened world. Even the mundane items they make are of exceptional quality and the greatest among them can use their own souls as forges to conjure items from thin air.
- Master of Destruction- The Masters of Destruction have dedicated themselves to the process of destruction. They carefully observe the decay of elements and the entropy of matter and use their insight to destroy evidences of supernatural entities in the world.
- Stone Scribe – The Stone Scribes are a Legacy devoted to finding and recording the Final Names of the dead and the dying, in the hope that someday they will be able to work backwards from all the names of power they have collected to reconstruct the names of dead Atlantean archmages and conjure up their shades, seeking genuine Atlantean magic from these ghosts.
- Stygian Heralds – The Stygian Heralds are Moros that have chosen to bring the capabilities of fallen heroes that rest in Stygia back to the Fallen World. They channel the essence of these heroes with special artifacts that are connected to them in order to inspire other mages to heroism.
- Tamer of Stone – This Elemental Legacy specialises in the element of Earth. The Tamers of Stone are builders, masons, and architects, who lay out Supernal symmetry in their designs and who remain steadfastly on the ground with the common people, despite their Awakened condition.
- Thread Cutter – The Thread Cutters are the self-appointed guardians of destiny. They read the fates of others, and groom or destroy them in accordance with what they find to be their subject's proper role in the tapestry of fate. They serve beings embodying fate, which they call the Three, who weave a person's thread of fate, measure it to the appropriate length, and sever it once it has reached its end.
- Uncrowned King – The Uncrowned Kings are alchemists, though their studies transcend the vulgar work of other Awakened alchemists. Theirs is alchemy of the soul, designed to refine the purest essence of the soul out of the dross of sorrow and pain.
- Votary of the Ordained – The Votaries of the Ordained are mages who devote everything they are to protecting an important item, person or place from supernatural interference, although their stewardship over each item only lasts until that item has fulfilled its worldly significance.
- Wraith of Epochs – The Wraiths are mages who reject the modern world and eschew its technologies as distractions from the power and true ways of the Supernal and the Awakened. They have incredible power to look into and draw upon the past but lose their ability to wield the tools of the present to best effect.
- Celestial Masters (both right-and-left-handed) – The Celestial Masters are mages that seek to uncover the connections between energy and Matter. To this end, they have turned to astrophysics in order to uncover the hidden magical energy of the stars. Left-Handed adherents seek to harness this power for themselves to ascend to physical godhood.
- Cult of the Doomsday Clock (left-handed) – A paradox-born conspiracy, these mages seek to annihilate the Fallen World so that their souls can ascend into the Supernal Realms, unfettered by matter. They specialize in disrupting timelines.
- Shadowbinders (left-handed) – Shadowbinders use the connection between a ghost and its anchor to reroute this connection. In doing this, they become temporary anchors of the ghost, who is forced to serve the mage. While enslaving ghosts is perfectly acceptable to Wisdom, a Shadowbinder with several ghost servants becomes more and more erratic and callous.
- Tremere Lich (left-handed) – The Tremere Liches are mages who have been infected with the power of a presumed-extinct bloodline of vampires called the Tremere. They are gifted with immortality, but only as long as they consume the souls of mortals to sustain it.
Necromancers aren’t necessarily organized, but they are surprisingly social with one another (in part because they are often ostracized by other mages). Behind this social urge is a driving curiosity about what others on the Path of Doom discover in their research, though some of this intrigue stems from their knowledge that connection with others becomes much harder once one has passed across the shroud. The Moros don’t usually go in for long ceremonies or formal greetings; life is too short. Their conversation at forums is short and to the point, although individual members might linger afterwards to discuss unrelated matters.