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[OOC] [Mage: the Awakening 2E] The Supernal Suburbia

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  • [OOC] [Mage: the Awakening 2E] The Supernal Suburbia

    The Supernal Suburbia

    Close enough to Chicago for an easy commute, but far enough away to avoid the...less than savory aspects of the Windy City, La Grange is a Cook County suburb that some would say is a boring alternative to city living. Many families choose to live in this area for a number of convenient factors: less congestion than its neighboring villages to the east, quick CTA access to the city and nearby towns, and a downright pleasant feeling that scratches the suburban itch that so many middle-class American families are seeking. Locals are quick to brag about La Grange's quality schools and that, yes, the actor David Hasselhoff is from here. What more could you ask for?

    However, very few people, locals or otherwise, will let conversation linger on topics about the strange occurrences that have plagued parts of their town for years. It's a simple fact here: If you don't talk about it, it's not really a problem. Suburban lives goes on...except when they don't.

    So no one talks about, for example, the way that kids from Lyons Township High School sometimes go missing for a week or two at a time, only to show up in town with no memory of where they've been or what they have been up to. People prefer to quickly change the topic when someone asks about the distant howling they heard coming from the woods at night on the north side of town. And no one really knows, and certainly never talks about, why these disruptions to their idyllic suburban life happen in very specific pockets of town while others have almost never reported these same problems. No one in their right mind discusses how absolutely dreadful all of those bizarre experiences are in Chicago, only a short train or bus ride away.

    But you have Awakened. You don't just talk about these odd happenings; you can't get enough of them. And suburban life, it turns out, has a lot of secrets hiding behind its white-washed fences and nicely furnished homes.

    Current Player Characters
    1. Kvitebjørn Kong Valemon - Lynx, Thyrsus animist/college student
    2. Second Chances - TBD, Moros or Thyrsus
    3. DrSteve - Morganna, Mastigos soccer mom / con-woman
    4. DArchon5 - Fatewise, Acanthus high school grad with supernatural family problems
    5. squidheadjax - Caligniosa, Obrimos enlightened 'lady' thief

    Inactive Player Characters
    1. Beans - Dr. Asphodel, Moros theoretical physicist
    2. MagicSwordsman - Binder, Mastigos bookstore owner/family man
    3. Caladriu - Moonstone, Mastigos Sleepwalker-turned-mage
    4. crapcarp - Phoenix, Obrimos Hunter-turned-mage
    5. Haberdasher - Ragnar, Acanthus Renaissance man
    6. Thorbes - Ouroboros Ophis, Moros occult physician

    IC Thread


    Awakened La Grange
    In many ways, La Grange is a stereotypical Midwestern suburb. It has picturesque streets, a healthy blend of chain restaurants and unique local attrractions, and convenient access to the city. For mages, there are also additional perks of living in the city. Suburban "culture" means that no one looks too closely at strange occurrences, creating a natural layer of protection that allows mages to practice their arts with minimal intrusion. While mages, Kindred, and Uratha battle over territory in Chicago for ease of access to crucial resources, conflict between these supernatural in the suburbs tends to be less deadly and less common. Sleepers aren't the only ones who might turn a blind eye to strange occurrences in the suburbs. With this kind of atmosphere, it's no surprise that many mages would gravitate towards suburbs like La Grange for their sancta.

    The weight of suburbia can cause other problems for mages, however. In some places around the city, the Lie settles in more strongly than other regions -- as if the city itself feeds into the Lie. Spellcasting in these areas can be impacted unexpectedly in a variety of ways, such as risking higher Paradox, being more vulnerable to Dissonance, or worsening Quiescence in Sleepers who observe obvious magic. Awakened Scholars haven't been able to pin down precisely why some regions are affected more than others, but they have observed that local events -- LT High School winning a big football game against a rival, a headline news story about an armed robbery in a wealthy neighborhood -- can cause the Lie to settle more heavily on different parts of town. This can be particularly frustrating when one of these zones moves over a sanctum.

    The Guardians of the Veil are very active in the suburb of La Grange. They are charged with protecting the secrecy of Awakened society, and the moving "Lie zones" make their jobs easier in many cases. However, more than once they have needed to race to the scene of a ritual gone wrong because a mage overreached and summoned a monster from the Abyss. The Silver Ladder, in contrast, work even harder to guide Sleepers to Awakening to compensate for the heavy weight of the Lie in this suburban town. Their work has understandably led to tension with Guardians in La Grange, as well as the Adamantine Arrow, who more recently lean in support of the Guardians' mission.

    Over the past few years, there have been additional unusual occurrences targeting the youth of La Grange. About every month, a student from La Grange's Lyons Township High School has been going missing. In almost every case, the teenager suddenly showed up a week or two later, with no memory of what had happened to them or where they had been. There have been two notable exceptions, in each case of which the teen's body was found with no identifiable causes of death. For the adolescents who go missing and do return, the community has made it a habit to just pretend that nothing strange happened, and that the teenager was out of town on some kind of vacation -- or perhaps it's the Lie that prevents them from remembering? So far, no mages have been able to figure out what, or who, is causing these teens to disappear.

    Places of Interest:
    Brookfield Zoo: Although technically in Brookfield rather than La Grange proper, the zoo draws crowds of Sleepers and mages alike. mages in particular visit the zoo because there are several hallows scattered throughout and around the area. The Gauntlet also fluctuates here in a peculiar fashion; it is thick during the day, but razor thin during the quiet hours of the night.

    Bemis Woods: This 480-acre forest is located on the northwest side of La Grange. Sleepers come here for a fun, outdoorsy day of hiking and enjoying nature. mages come here primarily to collect mana from its many hallows, and some reclusive mages even hide away in their sancta here. However, Uratha frequent the area as well, usually because dangerous or powerful spirits try to use Bemis Woods as an access point to the material world.

    Rumors Nightclub: This gay bar has only opened in the past year, and already it has been received with excellent reviews. The welcoming, raucous atmosphere inside provides a great cover for mages trying to hide in plain sight while they meet and discuss recent Awakened politics. However, Kindred and their ghouls also frequent the bar, using the popular night scene for easy feeding.

    Marlin's Books: Marlin Matheson's bookstore is located here in La Grange. Although he hasn't previously known it, mages have come here investigating to see how much true occult knowledge Marlin has accumulated, especially thearchs and Mystagogues.

    (Phoenix's Dojo): The martial arts studio where Garric Royce works part-time as an instructor is also located in La Grange. He has good relationships with a number of quality students and other instructors. It also provides him with opportunities to keep honing his physical skills, and it does help pay the rent.


    Awakened Chicago
    Chicago is a busy city with a richly diverse urban atmosphere. Men and women from around the world travel here for business or pleasure. There are many large and well-respected universities and colleges, a thriving entertainment industry, a vibrant music and art scene, and a wealth of knowledge available through museums and public seminars. It also has its fair share of corruption, scandal, and poverty, as well a potpourri of gangs and common thugs.

    For "normal" humans, Chicago can be a dangerous but exciting place to visit or live. For the Awakened, both of these extremes are sharply magnified.

    On one hand, Chicago is home to some of the richest, most compelling, and most potentially lucrative Mysteries in the Midwest. Legend has it that Chicago rests on an ancient battleground where the first mages made war against the Exarchs, before the fall of Atlantis. Despite the fact that modern cabals of brave mages have scoured the city for over a century, forays into the heart of Chicago today still often find imbued items, pieces of Supernal lore, and even the occasional artifact. The exact reason for the sheer number of these items appearing is unclear. Some Mystagogues believe that the city's core resonance allows for Irises to other realms to form at regular intervals, opening into parallel worlds or Emanations where this Atlantean war is still being raged. Mages who return from these Emanations only come back with glimpses of knowledge that don't seem to fit with where or how they remembered discovering these objects -- if they remember anything about their journeys to these otherworldly realms at all. Regardless, it is now common knowledge that these items are more likely to be found after unusual weather patterns, which may be related to their Supernal nature: thunderclouds with red lightning, hail falling in the height of summer, and other odd events. Mages with Prime Mage Sight can identify these magical weather fronts and refer to them as Highstorms. In fact, mages are experimenting with ways to incorporate these storms into their spell casting as a yantra, which has so far enhanced Prime spells and other magic that connects the material world with other realms.

    But this knowledge comes with a price. Some of the items are cursed, or at least cause extreme damage to those who use them without proper precaution. Many appear tainted with the Abyss, tainting an unwary mage's imago or calling attention from horrific beings that have no known name. Mages have not been able to consistently identify and purify these items of their curses, although Masters of Prime have been the most successful to date.

    Furthermore, mages are not alone in Chicago. Kindred and Uratha alike have flourishing societies or pockets of influence throughout the city, and they are constantly on the prowl for any sign of supernatural beings out of fear of predation. The safest times for mages to travel into the city relatively without fear of harassment are at peak hours during the day, but obviously at the risk of being surrounded by a sea of Sleepers. Even those times are not safe, as werewolves and their wolf-blooded kin have no problem being active during the day, and vampires' ghouls can equally act in sunlight without their masters' same limitations. Kindred and Uratha may lack mages' knowledge about Highstorms, but they can detect mages in their own ways, and they know that each Highstorm often leads to an influx of Awakened invaders on their home turf. Many a cabal has met its untimely demise searching for artifacts downtown -- but not enough to entirely deter the hubris of others. And there are other supernatural beings that may be fewer in numbers, but not necessarily less dangerous.

    Most of the Orders still hold regular meetings downtown, due to a desire to have central meeting locations. The meetings often occur in private meeting rooms at public institutions during the lunch hour, with strict rules about not casting any spells on the premises. Each month, they also meet in varying outlying suburbs on a rotation system, where they are allowed to practice magic more freely. Guardians of the Veil are tasked with ensuring that mages follow these protocols during Order meetings, but also serve to protect mages when downtown. The Silver Ladder has been at odds with them for years; they believe that Mystery Cults downtown are especially important to give Sleepers a chance to have their eyes opened, believing that the Highstorms may be used somehow to facilitate their Awakening. The Free Council has been pursuing humanitarian efforts downtown with the homeless population of Chicago as well as the local LGBT community. They're also actively allied with researchers, including both mages and Sleepwalkers, at several universities downtown.


    Recent Events & Awakened Politics
    Until very recently -- about one week ago -- the Chicago Consilium was headed by a Mystagogue Hierarch named Atlas. Historically, the Chicago Consilium has been a republic by nature, with the leader from each Pentacle Order serving on a council that is overseen by the Hierarch. Atlas, an Obrimos mage, encouraged communication among the Order leaders but was primarily interested in his agenda to study and catalogue artifacts discovered after Highstorms. He had few policies or care for issues involving Kindred or Uratha, except to caution mages from causing more trouble than was necessary. Atlas was a pleasant but relatively reserved man, clearly brilliant and gifted but not always practical; most mages had nice things to say about him, but thought he could be more decisive or involved in major decisions pertaining to Awakened society.

    One week ago, after a particularly large and powerful Highstorm struck over the city around dusk, a surge of mages traveled from the Chicagoland suburbs into the city in hopes of finding artifacts or some rare knowledge.

    That evening, 32 mages were killed.

    The victims were fairly equally distributed across Path and Order, although the Adamantine Arrow and Guardians had relatively fewer, while deaths among the Mysterium and Free Council were higher. The sheer number of deaths was a sizable blow to the Orders. Disturbingly, many of their bodies were found in isolated areas with a powerful Abyssal taint; Death spells to ascertain the nature and time of their deaths caused more than one Moros mage to scream in agony and fall comatose for a period lasting hours to days. Most of the mages killed included Nameless or newly Awakened, but a few were even verified masters. All of them had a look of horror transfixed on their face.

    As a result of this incident, infamously referred to by many as the Deathstorm, a shift in political power led to Atlas grudgingly stepping down as Hierarch in place of a Thyrsus mage who was the Adamant Sage (leader) of the local Adamantine Arrow chapter: a Latina woman known as Cielo. Cielo is part of a small but influential, all-Latina cabal known as Medianoche. Cielo and her "sisters" Luna and Estrella are all masters in their own right, but Cielo is a local legend rumored to have never lost a fight or a Duel Arcane.

    Cielo's chief policies are straight to the point: Defend mages from danger. Subdue Kindred and Uratha if they pose an immediate threat; otherwise, don't pick a fight. And above all, strike down those who willingly seek to support the Abyss or Exarchs. With the full support of the Consilium, she and her cabal led strike teams against several groups of Seers and even some Scelesti in the city and routed them. Her approach has been criticized by a minority for being too extreme, but most have applauded her emphasis on getting results.

    The Deathstorm has had some other subtler effects on Pentacle mages, too. The Free Council has been severely restricted in their ability to pursue some of their humanitarian efforts among the homeless. The relationships between the Silver Ladder and Guardians have grown even more tense. And a number of Nameless and newly Awakened mages have turned to the Adamantine Arrow, either out of admiration for Cielo or fear of being killed by some Abyssal monster without means of protecting themselves. Mystagogues have been arguing amongst themselves about whether it is more important to keep seeking new artifacts and knowledge from Highstorms, or if they should focus on studying the knowledge they've already accrued to ascertain what might have led to the events causing the Deathstorm.
    Last edited by rwknoll; Yesterday, 02:07 PM. Reason: Updated current list of player characters

    My Games
    Mage 2E: The Supernal Suburbia (IC / OOC) - Storyteller

  • #2
    I'm certainly interested in taking part if you're going to run a game. What do you have in mind?


    • #3
      Interested. I'm running a couple of games right now, so I'm all ST'd out, but I'd love to have another game to play in.


      • #4
        I'd be interested in being a player in this. It sounds like it might be a lot of fun.


        • #5
          Yes hello I am here to yes. I'm leaning toward a Silver Path Moros myself.
          Last edited by Beans; 06-25-2016, 03:52 PM.


          • #6
            On a random note, is there a way to edit titles of a thread? I could turn this into the OOC thread, or add the Recruitment tag, but not sure how to do that.

            My Games
            Mage 2E: The Supernal Suburbia (IC / OOC) - Storyteller


            • #7
              Also, already getting a number of people indicating interest to play across Reddit, GitP, and here. So, I'll just dive in and say I'll try my hand at storytelling. God help us. :P

              More details to come soon.

              My Games
              Mage 2E: The Supernal Suburbia (IC / OOC) - Storyteller


              • #8
                I'm leaning towards a hacker/programmer type, potentially an Obrimos Free Councillor who believes magic flows through code and the network in creating invisible structures out of nothing. Th character may take some inspiration from Root from Person of Interest.


                • #9
                  Ok, I updated the first post with a working draft of the story pitch, info about setting (definitely more to come), and what I would like for you in terms of character submissions.

                  I will consider multiple characters with the same Path, so please feel free to submit a character that is of the Path you would most enjoy even if someone else submitted one. However, I think the cabal will be stronger in general if you have a good spread of Arcana covered.

                  Let me know if you have any questions!

                  My Games
                  Mage 2E: The Supernal Suburbia (IC / OOC) - Storyteller


                  • #10
                    This is just a brief summary for now. I'll expand as more details and characters emerge.

                    1. Character concept/archetype:

                    Sara Tath - 'Security Consultant' (Read, legalized hacker)

                    Sara is something of a scandal in La Grange. That might have something to do with the fact that she managed to plunge half the county into darkness when she was twelve and hacked into the electrical grid, marrying technical know how with being too young to really grasp the consequences of her actions. The FBI and NSA both took a certain interest at that point and she went through a lot of questioning to ensure she didn't have ties to untrustworthy elements.

                    She also got a lot of warnings and restrictions, but at the same time, her skills received more positive attention and her education was watched and shaped by those who had found her and wanted to ensure she was kept under control and motivated to use them in more desired ways. Her childhood and youth was therefore an awkward time, people both angry at her, and envious at what she could do, and the tale of the 'Blackout' circulated for a number of years.

                    2. Awakening:

                    Path: Obrimos

                    Her Awakening came about after several weeks of toying with code and the most complex program she'd ever worked on, one that kept filing on her for reasons she couldn't grasp. It was designed to write it own code, to solve simple problems she put to it and to be adapt to find correct solutions. She lost herself in the shining, ever more complex code as it grew tangled and ensnared her like a web, systems flickering to life and dying around her as she felt more and more, like she was in a living creature.

                    When she realized that everything she felt and sensed around her in the web as the living energy of both the physical and the digital world, her eyes finally opened.

                    3. Preferred game/player style: I'd be very keen on exploring mysteries and seeking answers, as well as dealing with tough choices and philosophical quandaries.


                    • #11
                      @Retias: Digging the character concept. How old is Sara now? Does she work for a specific firm or company, or does she do private consulting? How do you envision the "blackout" experience shaping Sara's relationships and interpersonal experiences with other people now that she is an adult?

                      For everyone else: I hope this format for submissions is ok. I know many of you have preferred Legacies or long-term visions for your character, and I don't want to discourage that by any means. I just want to know more about your character's foundation and personality.

                      I plan to keep recruitment active for about a week, give or take depending on volume of submissions and speed of posting. If you want certain information kept private from other players, you can discuss with me via PM, although you are also welcome to share OOC information and trust that we will keep it separate from IC knowledge.

                      How do people feel about the suburban Chicago setting specifically? My idea is to use La Grange as a contrast to Chicago, so the PCs get a chance to feel how different the areas can be. The local Consilium will be housed downtown, as will some of the Orders' headquarters. Like Sleepers, many mages will live out in the suburbs for more privacy and reduced intrusion from antagonistic rivals or the Consilium. Mages in La Grange this have less oversight, but also less immediate protection, from Pentacle mages.

                      I want trips into Chicago to feel special. Dangerous, brimming with possibilities, and dark. Corruption, predation, and danger will be big here.
                      Last edited by rwknoll; 06-26-2016, 07:25 AM.

                      My Games
                      Mage 2E: The Supernal Suburbia (IC / OOC) - Storyteller


                      • #12
                        I see her as being around 25 when she awakens, and, she's likely into private consulting, with the freedom that provides. (Though I'm pretty sure that she's on a watch list of some sort for the federal government). Her activities can sometimes be shady, but she avoids outright law breaking. All the same, she's go a capable presence on the Dark Net and in hacker communities. As for how people see her. I think a lot of older people see her as a potential nuisance, despite it having been 13 years since the Blackout. Those nearer her own age likely have more varying reactions, some seeing it as a cool story, others thinking she' reckless. A lot of local kids likely think the story's awesome and bug her for details. ^^

                        I like the contrast between the two areas. Gets us chance to be involved in two different types of lives, and also means it can reflect the difference between mage lives and 'cover' lives. (Sara's Shadow name is almost certainly going to be Spider)
                        Last edited by Retias; 06-26-2016, 01:01 PM.


                        • #13
                          Okay, here I go.

                          1. Character Concept/Archetype
                          Vivian "Vo" McCallister, PhD - Theoretical physicist (Shadow Name: "Dr. Asphodel")

                          Vo grew up in Ohio and was always a bright, hard-working girl. In fact, she skipped a grade or two and bagged herself an impressive scholarship to an in-state college. Her studies in physics caught a few eyes, and soon she was off to the University of Chicago for her Master's. She found herself a nice girlfriend there named Sandra, and everything seemed pretty great.

                          Then came the car accident. Her body was surprisingly mostly fine, but she suffered nerve damage. While fully functional both mentally and physically, she was left with a stammer and tremors. She bounced back pretty well, having her studies and her girlfriend. She carried on to get her Master's degree, to marry her girlfriend, and then to achieve her doctorate. Sandra assured her every step of the way that the nerve problems didn't change anything for their relationship. Unfortunately, this was not true.

                          After her Awakening (below), Vo believes her ex-wife cheated on her at least partly because she thought she could get away wit hit, because Vo was harmless. Paradoxically, while Vo wants nobody to underestimate her again, she plays into the imagery of helplessness; she lets her stammer and twitches make her seem vaguely pathetically eccentric, and walks with a cane she doesn't really need (which also functions as a dedicated tool).

                          Vo herself may be the center of a bit of a scandal, given the whole infidelity-and-divorce situation. I imagine that the general sentiment is one of pity.

                          2. Awakening
                          Path: Moros

                          Vo came home early one day with flowers for her wife. Like an agonizingly unfunny parody of tired old soap opera drama, she found Sandra in the arms of another woman. She shuffled to the kitchen to put the flowers in a vase of water, then made her exit while mumbling about some work she needed to get back to. The whole drive back to U of C and as she dug into work, she realized that there had been signs of her wife's lessening affection and she hadn't recognized them. The more she focused on the physics to block out the pain, the more she found new connections. She Awakened to a whole new world, a world more real and with physical laws outstripping the ones she'd spent her life studying. She had to see it again. Science studied what was real; theoretical physics studied what could perhaps be real; she wanted to study that which was more real than real could ever be.

                          Vo returned home to find the fornicators still present. Calmly, quietly, she ousted them from her house. Divorce soon followed.

                          3. Preferred Game/Player Style
                          Mysteries, adventure, and fun social dealings! A central part of Vo mirrors the Chicago/La Grange duality; outwardly, she seems pitiable and harmless---while in truth, she's a mage sizzling with the desire to prove herself.

                          Whoops, I missed the bit about not having direct Order ties. I do intend Vo to get involved with the Silver Ladder before long, though.
                          Last edited by Beans; 06-26-2016, 02:14 PM.


                          • #14
                            Question about this:

                            Note that the game will start immediately post-Awakening, so your characters most likely won't have direct ties to any of the Orders, unless it fits into their background (e.g., was a member of a Silver Ladder Mystery Cult and want to have contacts in the Order).
                            I have a vague concept of a character who was a Sleepwalker servant/companion/aide to a mage for several years, and had basically resigned themselves to being part of that world but never actually Awakening, until their mentor died or they otherwise had a massive break, and it led to them Awakening as an Acanthus when their destiny was radically altered by being forced into a new situation. Like, Wong if Doctor Strange was suddenly taken out of the picture. It would be fun to take the Infamous Mentor merit and deal with that complicated legacy and relationship.

                            I like the idea of a character who's been on the periphery of the Orders and their society, maybe living in a Sanctum and being around magic regularly, knowledgeable as an assistant and ritual companion but only in the background, and is just now being thrust into the role of full participant. Struggling to find their own voice and gain respect from other mages who already know them as "X's precocious Sleepwalker." The difference between "favored servant" and "independent but inexperienced mage".

                            Does that sound workable for this game, or would it be better to make a character who isn't as connected to Awakened society?

                            2E Legacy Updates
                            Brotherhood of the Demon Wind
                            Choir of Hashmallim (plus extra Summoning content)
                            Storm Keepers


                            • #15
                              I must say, I now more about my character's Awakened life (devout Mystagogue, focused on viewing magic itself as an organism) than what he was beforhand (probably something to do with outdoors).

                              The awakening involved getting lost in the woods, that's one thing I'm sure of. Probably looking for some cryptid sighting alone.

                              The gamestyle should focus mostly on Mysteries and adventure, preferably Archaeomancy. Player is interested in being the most awesome scolar.

                              Simurgh, Mysterium Thyrsus in Mountains of Shadow (IC|OOC)