When a mage Awakens, his soul travels out of his body across the yawning chasm of the Abyss to the Realms Supernal. He is guided through the void by the light of a Watchtower with which his soul most closely resonates. The Watchtower and its surrounding Supernal Realm dictate a mage's path, and that path determines what sort of mage he becomes. Choosing one's path is often one of the earliest steps in character in Mage: The Awakening. There are also a number of "sub-paths," called legacies.
“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”
The Acanthus, often referred to as the Enchanters, are those mages who have Awakened to the Supernal Realm of Arcadia, the abode of fae and realm of illusion, enchantment, and constant change. They are characterised, at least by their fellow Awakened, as flighty, reckless, and irresponsible. This is, to a large extent, true. The precognitive abilities of the Acanthus allow them to sidestep the setbacks and hardships that other mages and especially Sleepers must endure or overcome. They tend to rely very much on themselves and their uncanny luck and timing. Since theirs is the mastery of the two Arcana of foresight and fortune, this happy-go-lucky attitude serves them in better stead than it does most, but they are marked by impatience and a lack of proper planning ability, and as such are often led into strife by their refusal to plan ahead.
“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”
The Mastigos, or Warlocks as they are sometimes called, are those Awakened who gain their magical power from the realm of Pandemonium, the realm of demons, nightmares, and punishment. Mastigos have a reputation for being deceptive, manipulative, and evil, and in some cases, this reputation is fully deserved. However, many Warlocks take great pains to remain on the path of virtue and many more are as difficult to categorise as simply good or evil as anyone else. Many Mastigos believe that they function in a Darwinian role, exposing the weaknesses of their fellow mages, that these mages may then improve themselves. This sounds callous to outsiders, but during the quest for ascension, any weaknesses unknown to the mage may be exploited by their enemies, so it is best to expose and remove as many of one's weaknesses as possible.
“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”
A mage who walks the Path of Doom, treading the barren wastes and black rivers of the realm of Stygia to attain the Watchtower of the Lead Coin. There is a price to be paid for entering places influenced by Stygia, and there are many toll gates on the road the soul must travel through death to attain new life. This price isn't measured in mundane lucre but the treasure reaped by the soul during life. If its weight is light, like the 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 grasping hold on life.
“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”
The Obrimos, often called Theurgists, are the path of the Awakened who draw their power from the realm of Aether, the realm of angels, gods, and magic unbound. The Obrimos are commonly seen as haughty, self-absorbed, and zealously moralistic. Indeed, a great many of those who walk the Path of the Mighty live up to this stereotype perfectly. But many Obrimos are of a far more pleasant bent. They can be virtuous paladins, stalwart defenders of mankind, or simply people who wish to do the right thing by other people. Yet more are as morally indefinable as are most people. Though they do not all believe in the same god or gods, and many do not believe in such entities at all, the Obrimos path as a whole is devoted to making the will of the Divine manifest on Earth. They believe, for the most part, in various and sometimes misguided ideals of justice, virtue, and honour, all directed towards making what they perceive to be a better world.
“Shamans on the Path of Ecstasy
Scions of the Watchtower of the Stone Book in the Realm of the Primal Wild
Kingdom of Totems and Abode of Beasts”
A mage who walks the Path of Ecstasy, forging his own trail through the realm of the Primal Wild to discover the Watchtower of the Stone Book. Most of the hallmarks of civilization are but dreams not yet dreamt in this realm, where the world into which mortals were first born thrives in all its teeming grandeur and horror. This place speaks to the primordial in all beings, causing them to lose themselves to ecstasies of the flesh or spirit, exalting in the very act of being alive. Some claim that all wine is blessed with the taste of the Primal Wild, and that those who get madly drunk dance in its humid embrace.