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What Type of Game is Mage the Ascension?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Tuch View Post
    I seriously doubt that any of the writers of White Wolf set out to develop a "munchkin" setting. There are a few games where this is not the case and in them things like an Awakened Abomination would be under powered. The first edition of World of Synnibarr (not up to date on later editions) being one example. This of course does not mean that Mage isn't open for considerable abuse by power-gaming/munchkining. But then again what game isn't? Especially one that allows for open ability creation on the spur of the moment. That's what the GM is for. If a game devolves into muchkinery its the GM that allowed it, end of story. Then again if that type of story is desired have fun. Who cares what other people think or say about your groups play style if your group is having fun with it. It's none of their business.

    Balance between Mage books exclusively I don't see that they aren't. All Mage have access to the same spheres, only their way of invoking them changes. Some are able to do things quicker than others but ultimately they all have the same ability. Personally I find Mage to be the most balanced of all the White Wolf Games because of this.

    As for balance between all White Wolf books, I'm not sure it was ever a priority. It's not like this is a competitive MMORPG. Reasonable balance is to be expected I agree, but Mage, Werewolf, Vampire, etc have no need to be balance between each other. The writers discourage crossovers in each of these and give example of how to handle the various supernaturals in each setting with their own rule sets (making a Vampire by using the Mind sphere instead of Dominate for example). So it's not like they didn't provide for a way to include everything if that was what was desired. But people being people we expect to crossover all the books as written then complain that it has balance issues. If full crossover is desired use the NWOD rule set. It much more balance than CWOD since everything starts with the same template then have their supernatural powers added on.
    Given I've seen that every game line has horrendously, ridiculously over powered powers....


    • #17
      Powergamers and munchkins are hardy and versatile, they can thrive in almost any environment. Focusing on minimizing powergaming, rather than on facilitating good roleplaying, gives you the nerfed blandness that is much of NWOD. In the words of the great Ander Wood: you can play the badass, just don't play Billy Badass.


      • #18
        On topic: Mage is about a lot of things, but mainly it is about playing nascent gods.

        Not in the munchkin sense. In the Nietzschean sense. It is about defining your own reality and imposing that reality on the world. It is an anti-materialist viewpoint that sees people as more than just the sum of biology and circumstance. Spheres or no Spheres, a true exercise of will is magic because it has no cause besides itself. It is that ideal, the self-defined human, that defines Mage.

        The type of game that Mage is is technically urban fantasy. But it avoids some of the pitfalls of that genre pretty well--it maintains a mystical tone rather than a banal one. I doubt is any other roleplaying game that does this so well. One thing I really appreciate is how the system subtly encourages players to focus on the experience of a mystically Awakened person rather than just what they can do. First-dot Sphere abilities are almost all sensory, and they give a great roleplaying opportunity to evoke supernatural sensation.

        Mage scales very well. It can go from the personal to the street-level to the epic completely naturally. ...I don't think Mage is really a type. It's its own thing.