In Mage the Ascension
, the Sleepers are anyone who isn't aware of how reality is a sham
, and thus, do not possess the powers that the Awakened
do. For the most part, they have bought into the reality that is being proposed by the Technocracy
, and most have no idea that they are being controlled, much less any clue about the existence of the Ascension War
However, the Sleepers aren't pushovers. Give one an automatic weapon, and he can cut down a mage
with ease; point them towards a mage slinging fireballs, and the mage suddenly finds that Paradox
has taken a much greater interest in his life.
The culture of the local Sleeper society often determines what ways reality will easily bend- and thus, what is coincidental magic
and what is vulgar magic
. In most developed Western societies, the Technocracy
is the undisputed master- people find it easier to believe that there are cybernetic limbs and plasma guns in the hands of secret government agencies, while speaking through the spectral form of their ancestor is hardly possible. Among the nomad tribes living in the open African savannah, though, the Dreamspeakers
, with their natural, spiritual magic, are more likely to be acceptable to the local reality.
There are a number of theories about why Sleepers exist. According to some, an individual is born knowing that reality is all perception. However, as they grow older and are indoctrinated into the reality that the other Sleepers share, they slowly go to sleep themselves, and only some are destined to Awaken from the dream and become mages themselves. Another theory states that while everyone has a shard of the Pure Ones
within them, only the mage
s have a strong enough or pure enough Avatar to Awaken; everyone else is fated to Sleep until the Ascension War is over and done.
Ultimately, the fate of the Sleepers is what the Ascension War
is all about. Each of the four major factions, Nephandi
, and Traditions
alike, have their own views on what the ultimate destiny of humanity is... and how to go about achieving it.