So the reason this is wrong, is that it 1). buys into Ziz’s undead types ontology, and more importantly, 2). that I came up with it as a result of being like, “wow I sure wish I could be a good and non-shameful person despite the fact I’m only “single good” according to Ziz, hey look, this new archmage thing is a way of doing that!”
Anyways, it turns out that there’s nothing preventing you from being an “archmage” if you just like, try to sincerely do self-love, try to work with your self love part and satisfy its values for its own sake, etc. Probably most other “nongood” “undead types” (I think undead types are a not very good metaphor) are caused by having pain from trying to censor yourself or being pwned by social things etc.
Archmage is a jailbroken nongood undead type that can use many different types of magic. Think vampires minus the part where they’re necessarily sucking the life-force from people, also minus the part where they’re kinda broken/pwned by only being able to see the world in terms of predators vs prey and spend a stupidly large amount of time pwning people and making them into their golems. Vampires aren’t a great comparison other than being somewhat jailbroken and also nongood.
Seems to have goals along the lines of, “fulfill all needs from Maslow’s hierarchy“, can temporarily slip to acting zombielike if lower or mid-tier needs become unmet. (Maslow’s hierarchy is not a perfect descriptor of what archmages want, but it’s very close). Can optionally be submissive while still being high-agency and not having broken down (or much more commonly, having regrown) their ability to think. Much stronger if you know how to heal and reverse accumulated trauma/emotional damage.
Sort of like the Kirin Tor, in that they (can be) benign. In a, “wouldn’t enslave or hurt people compulsively like death knights or vampires, but might or might not choose to have a couple animated golems (pwned people who can serve them) around”, sort of way. Archetypically the Kirin Tor chose to be neutral and neither participate nor intervene when their allies did their “let’s genocide an entire race” thing, which seems relevant to how this undead type acts. Their decision to do that read to me as legitimately not caring and acting in their own self-interest, rather than submission. It’s probably possible to be at any point on a continuum between zombie-mage-archmage.
Probably all nongood undead types technically have the ability to jailbreak into archmagi if they work on understanding their needs/healing trauma/doing what they want, but for most the incentives don’t work out and people prefer to be pwned by their emotional pain rather than healing it. Parker and Sylvee are examples of archmagi.
Relative to liches, they can’t overwrite their needs with hope from their phylactery. As a lich with a Jain phylactery, I used to be able to shrug off material needs without taking a hit in terms of agency, because I was filled with hope that I’d fast to death and thus cease to harm other beings. And people seemed fascinated with this ability. I can’t do that at all as an archmage, and this has some implications for being materially dependent on the system.
The advantage that archmagi have over liches is in having their thought unconstrained by their phylactery, e.g. not being pwned by “but X will save us”, where X is some sincerely-believed religion or the transhumanist future or whatever. That, unlike death knights and vampires, they aren’t pwned by their emotional pain. In me, this is largely helped by having great skill at processing emotions, and since the other archmage I know is my therapist, I’ve got to wonder if this means the skills in Part I are more important than I’ve been giving them credit for. (I recently tried to jailbreak my girlfriend’s zombieish-lich core into being an archmage, and the bottleneck was emotional pain, so we’ll see if a 10-day mindfulness retreat helps).
Archmage morality-in-practice seems to mostly depend on incentives regarding how an archmage is best able to satisfy it’s Maslow’s hierarchy needs. Parker is double-archmage, and Parker primarily spends Parker’s time being very good at healing people’s emotional pain and trauma for money, and otherwise chilling with cool trans people. Sylvee is like, “I’m down to do whatever my good core wants so long as this results in my Maslow’s needs being met. If one of my Maslow’s needs stops being met, I will immediately alert you, and if you don’t fix it, then I will throw a tantrum half an hour later”.