Mage Creation

CHARACTERS WILL NOT BE APPROVED ON GAME NIGHTS
You must submit your character at least two days prior to game to be able to play that game night. The STs have a great deal of prep work on game days, on top of our day to day lives. The Lead ST also takes off the Saturday before game and so is not available for character approval. Games are every two weeks, so this still gives plenty of time for character submissions.

Base Creation

Use the base creation rules and add the following template to Awakened characters during Step Five.

1. Choose a Path
A mage’s Path represents his innate magical connection to a higher reality. It is a result of his Awakening. His soul has journeyed to one of the five Supernal Realms and his name has been written on the Watchtower there. By means of this sympathetic connection the mage can draw down the laws of that Supernal Realm, performing magic.
A character’s Path colors the aura of his magic, and it often seeps into his dreams, influencing his imagination and even behavior at times. His Supernal Realm calls to him and he feels most at home amidst places or imagery that evoke its strange lands. Symbology and myths that hint at the places and presences of his realm are also important and vital to his method of practicing his Art.

  • Acanthus - Enchanters on the Path of Thistle, Scions of the Watchtower of the Lunargent Thorn in the Realm of Arcadia, Kingdom of Enchantment and Abode of the Fae
  • Mastigos - Warlocks on the Path of Scourging, Scions of the Watchtower of the Iron Gauntlet in the Realm of Pandemonium, Kingdom of Nightmares and Abode of Demons
  • Moros - 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
  • Obrimos - Theurges on the Path of the Mighty, Scions of the Watchtower of the Golden Key in the Realm of The Aether, Kingdom of the Celestial Spheres and Abode of Angels
  • Thyrsus - Shamans on the Path of Ecstasy, Scions of the Watchtower of the Singing Stone in the Realm of the Primal Wild, Kingdom of Totems and Abode of Beasts (Restricted)

2. Choose an Order

  • The Adamantine Arrow: spiritual warriors and masters of conflict, who claim a heritage going back to the First City's defenders. Currently, the Order of the Arrow could perhaps be described as something akin to a knightly sect, though bushido and other warrior codes find a place in The Arrow. These mages conduct intensive physical and mental training, honing the minds and bodies of other members into deadly weapons which magical society may then wield against its enemies.
  • Guardians of the Veil: spies and conspirators who claim their descent from the intelligence officers and enforcers of the First City's laws. Currently, they bear a resemblance to a combination of many occult conspiracies, such as the Thule. Many obscure their activities and identities even from other mages, and act as a check on humanity's dangerous curiosity for "that which man was not meant to know".
  • The Mysterium: dedicated to pursuit of magical lore and the acquisition, cataloguing, and study of mystical and occult knowledge and artifacts. The "mystagogues" (as they are called) continue the ancient heritage of the scholarly and intellectual of Atlantean society. Their internal structure often resembles the academic structures of the part of the world in which they reside. The Mysterium gathers, catalogues and maintains items of all types of magical and historical significance.
  • The Silver Ladder: dedicated to ruling, guiding and reshaping the world, the viziers, senators and priests of the First City remain in force. Politicians and authoritarians, the théarchs believe in creating a perfect hierarchy (with themselves at the top, of course) which will seize control of reality, subjugating it to the will of mankind; this dream is not without its altruistic appeal. As a member of the Ladder might point out, control over reality could bring an end to human suffering in all its forms.
  • The Free Council: modernists who wish to create new forms of magic, a union of mages who have discovered ways of using magic that do not adhere to the Atlantean methods, joining the other orders during the Industrial Revolution after their previous form rejected an offer from the Seers. The "Libertines", as they are also called, possess a strong belief in democratic process and anti-authoritarianism.

3. Add Path Favored Resistance
The Awakening hones a mage’s mind to razor sharpness, making him better focused at concentration or rendering him nearly unflappable by surprises. Mages gain a +1 bonus to either their Resolve or Composure dots, depending on their Path.
Add Path Favored Resistance
Acanthus: Composure
Mastigo: Resolve
Moros: Composure
Obrimos: Resolve
Thyrsus: Composure

4. Choose Starting Arcana and Rotes
For beginning Arcana, allocate 2 dots in one Arcanum, 2 dots in a second Arcanum, and 1 dot in a third Arcanum. Two of these Arcana must be from your character’s Ruling Arcana (based on his Path). Finally, allocate 1 additional dot in any Arcanum.

Path Ruling Arcana Inferior Arcanum
Acanthus Time/Fate Forces
Mastigos Space/Mind Matter
Moros Matter/Death Spirit
Obrimos Forces/Prime Death
Thyrsus Life/Spirit Mind

The character learns six dots of rotes. A rote’s rating is equal to the highest Arcanum dots needed to cast it. The character can choose rotes from any of his Arcana, although no rote can be rated higher than the character’s dots in that Arcanum.

5. Determine Gnosis
A character’s Awakening gives him one dot of Gnosis. Merit dots may be spent to increase it. The rate is three Merit dots per one additional Gnosis. In other words, you may spend three of your seven Merit dots for Gnosis 2, or six of your seven for Gnosis 3.

6. Merits
A beginning character has seven dots worth of Merits, which may be distributed at the player’s discretion. Awakened can have additional Merits from a special list (see p. 80-89). Please keep in mind that some merits are not appropriate to the setting (resources, locations) and may not be allowed

6. Determine advantages
Defense = the lowest of Dexterity or Wits
Health (Stamina + Size)
Initiative (Dexterity + Composure)
Humanity (7 for starting characters, you may choose to drop this)
Size (5 for most humans)
Speed (Strength + Dexterity +5)
Willpower (Resolve + Composure)
and Virtue/Vice


Paths

Mages ‘awaken’ to the ways of magic. It is unclear whether this is mostly accidental or as a result of a person's nature or understanding.

The process of awakening can be slow or fast, but there are two major ways in which the event may manifest: the Mystery Play and the Astral Journey. In both sorts of ‘awakenings’, the mage-to-be goes on a journey that culminates with them arriving at or in their respective Tower and inscribing their name upon it.

The Mystery Play is a waking dream, where the magical symbolism of their awakening is overlaid on top of the ‘real’ world. Other people, places and real world events mesh together until the Mage arrives at a skyscraper, a phone booth, a grove or some other place that represents their Tower and somehow write their name in both the physical and astral setting, such as a hotel ledger or a statue's plaque.

Astral Journeys, which occur when the potential mage dreams, are common to those who deny or resist the ‘awakening’. Astral Journeys feature strange settings, objects and people, in a full sensory experience.

Mages are called to a given Path, and may join an Order that has similar goals. Additionally, a Mage may join a Legacy in the pursuit of perfecting their soul.

Acanthus

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Name: Acanthus/Acanthos
Plural: Acanthi
Nicknames: Enchanters, Witches, Visionaries
Realm: Arcadia
Favored Attribute: Composure
Ruling Arcana: Fate, Time
Inferior Arcana: Forces

A magical path whose ruling Arcana are Fate and Time. Mages on this Path are also known as the Witches and the Enchanters on the Path of Thistle, Scions of the Watchtower of the Lunargent Thorn in the Realm of Arcadia, Kingdom of Enchantment and Abode of the Fae and the realm of illusion, enchantment and constant change. Their approach to the Supernal is one of Choice and Consequence.

Mastigos

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Name: Mastigos
Plural: Mastigoi
Nicknames: Warlocks, Psychonauts, Watchers
Realm: Pandaemonium
Favored Attribute: Resolve
Ruling Arcana: Mind, Space
Inferior Arcana: Matter

The Mastigos are a magical Path whose ruling Arcana are Mind and Space, their weak Arcanum Matter. They are also known as the Warlocks on the Path of Scourging, Scions of the Watchtower of the Iron Gauntlet in the Realm of Pandemonium, Kingdom of Nightmares and Abode of Demons. Their theme is Triumph Over Adversity and their mood is Antagonism. They approach the Supernal through Transgression and Confrontation.

Moros

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Name: Moros
Plural: Moroi
Nicknames: Alchemists, Necromancers, Executors
Realm: Stygia
Favored Attribute: Composure
Ruling Arcana: Death, Matter
Inferior Arcana: Spirit

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.

Obrimos

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Name: Obrimos
Plural: Obrimoi
Nicknames: Theurgists, Thaumaturgists, Templars
Realm: Aether
Favored Attribute: Resolve
Ruling Arcana: Forces, Prime
Inferior Arcana: Death

The Obrimos are a magical path whose ruling Arcana are Forces and Prime. They are also known as the Theurgists on the Path of the Mighty, Scions of the Watchtower of the Golden Key in the Realm of the Aether, Kingdom of the Celestial Spheres and Abode of Angels. Their theme and their mood is Hope. The Obrimos specialise in the Arcana of Forces and Prime, and suffer penalties when studying the Arcanum of Death. They approach the Supernal through Power and Command.

Thyrsus

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Name: Thyrsus / Thyrsos
Plural: Thyrsi
Nicknames: Shamans, Ecstatics, Stewards
Realm: Primal Wilds
Favored Attribute: Composure
Ruling Arcana: Life, Spirit
Inferior Arcana: Mind

The Thyrsus are a magical path whose ruling Arcana are Life and Spirit, and suffer penalties when trying to learn the Arcanum of Mind. They are also known as the Shamans on the Path of Ecstasy, Scions of the Watchtower of the Singing Stone in the Realm of the Primal Wild, Kingdom of Totems and Abode of Beasts. Their theme is Instinct and their mood is Passion. They approach the Supernal through Boundaries and Intercession.

Orders and Factions

Adamantine Arrow

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Through conflict one purges weakness and becomes greater than one could imagine. Claiming descent from the Ungula Draconis (or "Claw of the Dragon") of Atlantis, members of the Adamantine Arrow say that their Order arose from the Exiles who protected the shards of fallen Atlantis. Carrying both weapons that brought death and instruments that created life. Members of the Adamantine arrow follow the Adamant Way which encourages strength and adaptability. The name "Adamantine" refers to the durability of the order's resolve and illustrious shine of their honor.

The Adamantine Arrow of today has not changed a great deal. They still follow the Adamant Way, and they are almost solely responsible for the training of the ARK's security and military forces, mages or others. Ever vigilant, they watch for any threats to the ARK and its inhabitants

Ranks

  • Prospect - A mage wishes to join the Adamantine Arrow and is not currently a member of another order must make his intentions known to the ranking member of the order in the Consilium. At that point, the mage is a “prospect.”
  • Talon - Arrows who survive apprenticeship become Talons. Talons serve the order, protect mages, and uphold justice. Talons are also expected to present the best side of the order to other mages and keep their vows at all times. Their oath is "No Talon Is Alone".
  • Banner-Warden - Banner-Wardens have been solely dedicated to protecting a special cabal that have been deemed worthy of protection. Their oath is "The Banner Is the Warden's Honor".
  • First Talon - First Talon is "officer" status in the order. Their oath is "You are a soul in many bodies. Do not defile any part of your soul."
  • Thunderbolt Guardian - Thunderbolt Guardians are teachers and counselors, versed in several useful fields. At this rank, no additional oath is levied.
  • Adamant Sage - Adamant Sages are the most accomplished Arrows in the caucus. They have formidable talents, but fall short of the warrior-poet-philosopher ideal that the order sees as Supernal ideal for their order.
  • Magister - An Arrow who gains enough status to be called a “magister” is truly a force to be reckoned with, but magical prowess and skill in combat do not a magister make. Most Magisters are skilled in various mundane fields of study and among the fittest humans on the planet.

Factions

  • The Black Tower: The Black Tower believes in the supernal sanctity of the oath even more than the rest of their order. Just and righteous oaths fulfilled in honor brighten this world, even if only in a small way and for a handful of people.
  • The Council of Dragons: The Council of Dragons believes that there exists another sort of wisdom: the knowing of what is true and the power to act upon that knowledge. They are master tacticians that emulate the virtues of the Atlantean dragon, seeking to transform themselves into supernal paragons.
  • The Crucible: The Crucible believes in the spirit of heroism and that true heroism is a way to strengthen the Supernal in the world.

Free Council

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Modernists in every sense of the word, the Council of Free Assemblies, also called the Free Council for short, claims neither ancient texts nor links to the ancient island of Atlantis. Instead they forge ahead feeling that Sleepers have touched on the supernal through modern ideas, science and technology. By learning these ideas the Free Council hopes to change the face of magic and revitalize it for the modern age.

The Free Council of today are constantly looking to the future. They are not content to dwell in the past, preferring to forge ahead. This tends to be the most vocal group when it comes to space exploration rather than seeking to return to earth

Ranks

  • Voter- Basic members of the Order
  • Host- Any voter who donates his space to the order for an Assembly or debate.
  • Emissary- Mages who act as contacts to the Consilium or the Diamond Orders
  • Minuteman- Council members that act as soldiers and protectors for the Order
  • Letter Carrier- Emissaries that travel abroad to consult with other mages
  • Citizen Agent- Minutemen that act as spies and watchmen for the Order. Their identity is often known, while their missions are kept secret.
  • Strategos- The Strategoi are the generals, pundits, experts and directors of Free Council Consilii. A strategos represents a willful surrender of democratic power on the part of the people — the voters’ authority is invested in the strategos with the understanding that it will be paid back later. The post is only given in cities that boast an exceptional strong mage (and Free Council) population.
  • Syndic– Orators and politicians that discuss ideas during Assemblies

Factions

  • The Wrights- Wrights believe that the act of creating is inherently magical and push humans into creating by forming situations of need.
  • The Historians- The Historians are Libertines that examine their favored era with a surgeon’s discerning eye, looking for the success and the failure in each situation and extrapolating how to use those lessons learned in future situations.
  • The Cutting Edge- The Cutting Edge (TCE for short) strives to push human innovations to the point that magic and technology become indistinguishable.
  • Open Source Movement- The Open Source Movement (OSM for short) argues for the freedom of information.

Guardians of the Veil

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The Guardians of the Veil are the sons and daughters of Visus Draconis (or "Eye of the Dragon") and serve as enforcers, secret police and spies for the Lex Magica and Consilii that hold to its tenets. Oftentimes social pariahs, they are considered by Awakened society to be assassins. Down through the centuries, disguise and infiltration have been honed to levels unheard of by any Sleeper intelligence agency. They have developed 49 different types of identities, called Masques (in game terms, Masques are based on all possible combos of the seven traditional Virtues and Vices). A favored infiltration/monitoring tactic is to temporarily intercept newly-Awakened who might be better suited among the other Orders and, after passing on some tantalizing question or other fact to the unaligned new mage, release him/her to be formally claimed by one of the other Orders; the other Order thus receives a new recruit who may or may not become a Guardian spy.

The guardians seek to keep the Diamond Wheel (their vision of the sacred path of creation) moving, whole, safe, and in balance; with this in mind they may make the sacrifices other Orders are simply unwilling to make so that all may fulfill the true destiny of magic. They also await the coming of the Hieromagus, who will unify Awakened society, seal the Abyss, and judge the Guardians' sins.

Today the Guardians focus has shifted. They work alongside the Arrow and security forces to monitor the population on the ARK, guarding it from internal threats. They keep watch on the other mages, reacting swiftly to perceived threats. While they no longer guard the veil, they do ensure that information that the council does not want getting out to the general population, doesn't. They also guard/eliminate any potentially dangerous equipment, artifacts, etc, that might be discovered aboard the ARK

Ranks

  • Neophyte - Mage who have passed the Black Veil and are full members of the Guardians
  • Emissary - Emissaries act as in-betweeners between the Guardians and the other Atlantean Orders. They also specialize in neutralizing threat against the Guardians
  • Cultor **- Cultors are tasked with maintaining and cultivating Labyrinths
  • Famulus** - Mages who have the responsibility to plan and execute important tasks within the order and to act as propagandists to maintain the secrecy of Guardian activities.
  • Interfector - Interfectors act as henchmen to a local Consilium, stalking and torturing enemies of the Awakened
  • Susceptor - Susceptors act as the Order's spies, infiltrating hostile groups and sometimes even other Pentacle orders
  • Epopt - Epopts guide and direct Labyrinths and the local Guardian forces
  • Magister - Magisters have mastered their first Arcanum and have to guide the Order morally and spiritually, maintaining the Guardians’ sacrificial integrity in the face of ever-increasing threats to their way of life

Factions

  • Faceless: Masters of the Masques, the Faceless believe that the Fallen World is imperiled by the actions of vain and careless mages, and the Faceless harbor a deep resentment against each and every mage who's too stupid, irresponsible and vain to adjust her magical practice to reflect the dire reality of the situation. As such, they haunt such mages and try to teach them the errors of their ways.
  • Messianics: These mages experience their defense of the Veil as a spiritual calling and a religious struggle, and even though it may take a toll on their souls, they believe that their efforts and their pain are for the noblest of all possible causes: the defense of the Fallen World and, ultimately, the defeat of the Exarchs.
  • Inheritors: As they see it, the Inheritors are the only faction within the Guardians of the Veil really dedicated to keeping the Mysteries from the eyes of the unworthy, and there's little the Inheritors won't do to keep the blindsided from nudging aside the Veil and seeing what they're not supposed to. This definition doesn't distinguish based on whether a person has Awakened or not, it judges others based on their intelligence, prudence, and discretion in dealing with the Mysteries.
  • Ordeal Keepers: Seekers of perfection that strive to perfect Sleepers via the Labyrinth and guid them towards Awakening. Consequently, they are ardent foes of cronyism or any system of assigning authority in which competence is not the sole criterion for assessing worth and fitness to lead.
  • Prophets: Information brokers and mystics, they are the most open faction within the Order

Mysterium

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Lore masters who hold (or seek) all the keys to all the doors, the Mysterium seeks out knowledge for its own sake. The Mysterium comes from the remains of Alae Draconis (or Dragon's Wing), the research and development branch of Atlantean society. Now they seek to reclaim the lost lore of the world and remember the lessons of fallen Atlantis.

Given their predisposition for finding knowledge it would be logical to assume that mystagogues and Guardians of the Veil would have a natural animosity to each other, and indeed the two groups have heated debates over the fate of particularly interesting subjects. However, the Mysterium does make a point of making sure querants are worthy of receiving secrets in question, which mollifies the Guardians somewhat. The Mysterium mages are keenly aware that some secrets were hidden for a very good reason. In some cases, the object of the search was not so much 'lost' as 'contained'; even the Lords of Atlantis were faced with powers and creatures they could neither tame nor destroy, and the only answer available was to simply imprison it until such time as a more permanent solution could be discovered. The secrets of the Mysterium aren't made free to the general public at large. There is usually a price to be paid, more often than not including tests of discretion and loyalty as well as requests for goods and/or services. Knowledge without wisdom is meaningless, and few hold this truth as deeply as the Mysterium.

The Mysterium today still seek out knowledge, often for the sake of knowledge. A small faction within the Order has been a surprising supporter of a small, but growing faction on the ARK, looking to explore more of space, rather than to remain where they are and return to earth when/if it becomes habitable again. The vast majority would however like to reclaim much of the information that was lost on earth. Mysterium legends tell of vast facilities that hold artifact of great power.

Ranks

  • Exemplum - New initiated members who have yet to learn anything about the Atlantean Mystery
  • Acquisitor - Field agents that travel the world to unearth Supernal knowledge
  • Neokoros- Members who have mastered the Mystery of the Principle
  • Censor - Safekeepers of artifacts who protect them from abuse by unenlightened hands
  • Theoricus - Members who have mastered the Mystery of the Soul
  • Savant - Mages who train in a certain field (one supernatural, one worldly) to preserve its knowledge for the Mysterium, in case that an Athaneum that confined this knowledge is destroyed
  • Daduchos- Members who have mastered the Mystery of Nightmares
  • Curator - Keeper and custodian of an Athaneum
  • Philosophus - Members who have mastered the Mystery of Misfortune
  • Hierophant - Members who have mastered the last Golden Mystery
  • Heliodromus - Archmages that have chosen to retain ties to their former Order

Factions

  • Archaeomancers - Archaelogists that seek to uncover lost or forgotten Mysteries
  • Archivists - Librarians that seek to protect and preserve the store of knowledge already amassed by the Order
  • Bricoleurs - Innovators that seek to combine the knowledge found in the archives of the Order and inventing something new
  • Egregori **- The Egregori are dedicated to preserving supernal impressions that cannot be written down, like feelings or sceneries
  • Reclaimants** - Thieves that seek to retake knowledge and bring it into the safety of Mysterium Athaneums. This group is the most impatient to return to earth

Silver Ladder

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Silver Ladder is a humanist Order dedicated to the ideal of lifting every human soul to its natural level of enlightenment, healing the Fallen World under their leadership of course.

Today the Silver ladder looks to subtly shift control of the council to themselves. While they do not openly defy the council, or openly undermine it, the do take the opportunities present to showcase their greater leadership capabilities

Ranks

  • Neophyte - Neophytes are the salespersons, advocates, messengers and lawyers of the Order that have been recently introduced into it are not yet accustomed to its secrets.
  • Acolyte - Acolytes are junior members of the order that perform mainly menial tasks.
  • Famulus - Famuli hold positions of power, administrate the ranks and efforts of the Consilium and generally direct the exertions of the order toward Ascension. To become a famulus, reaching the adept level of a singular Arcanum is necessary.
  • Lictor - Lictors are traveling mages that spread the Elemental Precepts, further the agenda of the Silver Ladder, and act as judges for any Consilium they pass through.
  • Claviger - Claviger are responsible for maintaining the Silver Ladder's ideological purity and recruit other mages for the Order.
  • Deacon - The Deacon is all things to all théarchs: leader, lawgiver, priest and chief representative. He organizes the caucus, calls in Convocations and presides over the regional Lex Magica.
  • Magister - Every Magister is a deacon, but not all deacons are Magisters. Together, they form the Magisterium: the Convocation’s supreme Council. Least Convocations have small Magisteria, often composed of the only two attending deacons. Tradition encourages the Magisterium to have at least one member of each Path, but smaller gatherings don’t have the numbers to permit it.
  • Great Magister - There are honorary Great and Grand Magister titles given to deacons who’ve served the order with special distinction, though technically these are meant for mages who actually gather Great and Grand Convocations. There are allegedly a few real Great Magisters left from the European Convocation of 1900, but these super-centenarians are said to be either bedridden and senile, or have cracked the secrets of Archmastery and hidden themselves away.

Factions

  • Powerbrokers - The Powerbrokers are honestly named; the members are interested in power, although not always for its own sake. More specifically, the members are mages who have an interest in controlling and directing others in both the mortal world and the society of mages. Also, regardless of their other interests, most Powerbrokers consider themselves to be the rightful rulers of the Sleepers. Because of their efforts and the power some of their members hold in both mage and mortal society, many mages from other orders consider Powerbrokers to be synonymous with the Silver Ladder.
  • Theurges - Theurges see themselves as the direct heirs of the priest-kings of Atlantis. For them, magic is not merely a source of potentially endless power and knowledge: It is also a source of spiritual enlightenment, enlightenment their predecessors in Atlantis used to spread to the Sleepers. While Theurges often differ on what they see as the proper role for spiritual seekers and teachers, they belong to the most mystical and spiritually focused faction within the Silver Ladder.
  • Ascended - members of the Ascended specifically focus their efforts upon attaining Archmastery and eventually achieving the even more legendary one of Supernal Ascension. Many of their efforts involve seeking out whatever information they can about existing Archmages and the methods by which they attained this exalted status. In addition to sharing a single-minded dedication to magical excellence, members of the Ascended are fascinated by the nature of magic and are driven by some mixture of ambition, perfectionism and desire for magical transcendence.

Resources

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