Mage: Fuzzy Set Theory
True Selves and Masks
The True Self of any being is the manifestation of its Avatar in physical form. For most people lacking an Avatar strong enough to influence reality — in other words, non-Mages — the True Self simply is the body. In werewolves, who share in the Avatar of Gaea, and in Vampires, who share in the Avatar of Caine, the True Self is a mixed manifestation which is the source of their powers.
The Avatar of Caine is itself human in origin, and thus the vampiric form isn’t strong enough to greatly disrupt people’s expectations. Vampires are creepy, and perhaps even upsetting, but they’re not reality-breaking. Maintaining their existences, however, violates a basic rule of the concept that dead means dead. As such, they suffer from a small but constant Pattern leak that, if uncorrected, will at least temporarily force them into quiescence. Fighting this steady trickle of quintessence loss requires a regular infusion of life force, which they take in the form of blood from the living. This extraction produces a form of Tass which may be further refined into Quintessence, if someone felt like extracting blood from vampires. Rumors exist of vampires which feed on flesh, bones, or even emotional energy, but the end results are roughly the same for the vampires themselves.
The Avatar of Gaea is not and has never truly been human. The essence of chaos itself, Gaea offers those in her care a measure of control and protection, since otherwise they might simply vanish. The Veil is Gaea’s tool for ensuring that, even though werewolves may enage in grotesque vulgarity such as running around as giant engines of death, they don’t actually get noticed.
Mages whose True Form vary far enough from baseline don’t have any such protection. However, they do have the fact that most people simply don’t expect to see anything too strange. Thus, they tend to write off things that push their expectations too far out of whack.
Interacting for a significant length of time with mundanes in a way that could lead someone to wonder if something’s amiss may trigger a Mask roll.
The Avatars of individual mages, however, are not pr