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Victorian Mage: speculation

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  • Dataweaver
    started a topic Victorian Mage: speculation

    Victorian Mage: speculation

    OK: what do we know about what's going to be in the upcoming Victorian Age: Mage? What do we hope will be in there?

    We know that the Victorian Age is when the remnants of the Order of Reason reforged themselves as the Technocracy; so we're going to be seeing the Technocracy 1.0. The Union will include the Electrodyne Engineers and the Difference Engineers, the predecessors of the modern Etherites and VAs respectively; and the timeframe covered by this age ends before (or perhaps as?) the Electrodyne Engineers jump ship and the Union undergoes its first reorganization.

    This is also the era where the Hollow Ones got their start, though they weren't called the Hollow Ones (or even widely recognized as a group) at the time. The Batini were still among the Traditions, but otherwise the Traditions were more or less the same as they were nearly a century later.

    I know that a previous plan for VA:M was going to tinker around with the magic system, giving each Tradition a Minor Sphere of its own; but I will be shocked if something like this makes it into this newest version. More likely, we'll see discussions about how Focus differs between the Victorian and contemporary ages, with a mention of what Paradigms were prevalent in the Victorian Age, how Practices differed, and what Instruments were available. Also a bit of a discussion about where the line between Vulgar and Coincidental lies, as mundane technology was still nowhere near as capable as it is today.

    Thoughts?

  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    Originally posted by Matt the Bruins fan View Post
    Don't you mean Barsoom?
    Heh. Somewhere in my collection of gaming sourcebook miscellanea, I have the Space 1889 guide to the planets which includes period ideas of what Mars, Venus, and Mercury are like. I find it useful for period games involving that sort of thing. Also for modern games where Mages might visit what I call the Bygone versions of those worlds.

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  • Matt the Bruins fan
    replied
    Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post

    If asked to come up with an Ecstatic signature character for the period, I'd be hard pressed to top the real life Sir Richard Francis Burton. The man's life reads like a pulp adventure serial, and then he decided to devote his retirement years to translating, publishing, and founding societies devoted to Asian erotica. And that's just what we know, as his wife apparently burned most of his journals after he died. The man could just as well visited Shambala, Irem, Atlantis, and Mars.
    Don't you mean Barsoom?

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  • Dataweaver
    replied
    Originally posted by mark View Post
    Hmm, keep in mind that sorcerer's crusade was written way before dark ages mage and the pillar system
    Yes; and it was written by Phil Brucato, who wasn't around when Dark Ages Mage and the pillar system were written. My impression (though I admittedly don't have anything to support this) is that he's not much of a fan of the latter; and now that he's back in charge of Mage, he's more likely to stick with the notion that “the Sorcerers Crusade established the Spheres in the Mage community, and they've been used by everyone ever since”.

    Note also that the original treatment of Victorian Mage (which was going to give each Tradition a Minor Sphere) was written during the MRev era, after Brucato had left. I don't think Phil is interested in going even that far, let alone all the way into a Victorian-era Foundation and Pillars system.

    Note that this has nothing to do with my own views on the subject. Personally, I've been a fan of using the Disparates as a vehicle for a modern-day Foundation-and-Pillars system (on the basis that the Disparates, by definition, never accepted what the Traditions were offering) and of giving each Tradition a “variant Sphere” (usually, but not always, the Sphere that a given Tradition is associated with in the Council of Nine) to represent that Tradition's special insights into that area of magick. But that's all a matter of how I'd like to see things done, not how I expect that they will be done.

    As things stand, I think that any sort of Foundation and Pillars system in any context other than Dark Ages Mage will be restricted to fringe areas such as V20's Black Hand supplement or Storyteller's Vault products; I don't expect to see them anywhere in the M20 publishing line. As well, I think that Sphere variants will be restricted to the three Technocratic variants (Data, Dimensional Science, and Primal Utility) that appeared in M20, and that even they are going to firmly remain in the “optional rules” territory.

    And with the possible exception of Primal Utility, I don't expect to see any of them make even that much of an appearance in Victorian Mage: as I see it, the emergence of Dimensional Science is closely correlated with the Void Engineers' introduction of Tychoidean Cosmology and the departure of the Electrodyne Engineers from the Technocracy (in Victorian Mage, I expect that the notion of the Ether will be broadly accepted by those in the Union who care about such things), and the Data variant will have to wait at least until Alan Turing and the discovery of the Digital Web nearly a century later.

    Conversely, I tend to link the emergence of Primal Utility to Adam Smith's “the Wealth of Nations”, which precedes the Victorian Age by almost a century; so I could see the fledgeling Invisible Exchequer featuring that variant.

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  • mark
    replied
    Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
    They haven't said; but Sorcerer's Crusade used the Spheres, and this is set centuries later. As well, Phil is writing it, and has expressed no interest in doing anything other than the Spheres. I'll be shocked if it's anything else.
    Hmm, keep in mind that sorcerer's crusade was written way before dark ages mage and the pillar system

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  • Dataweaver
    replied
    They haven't said; but Sorcerer's Crusade used the Spheres, and this is set centuries later. As well, Phil is writing it, and has expressed no interest in doing anything other than the Spheres. I'll be shocked if it's anything else.

    Leave a comment:


  • mark
    replied
    Do we have any word on the magic system that this book will use? WIll it be the spheres, the Pillars from dark ages mage, or some combination?

    Leave a comment:


  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    Speaking of pulp, The Hollow Earth is very much a thing in Victorian literature. Underground seas the size of Europe, artificial suns, various lost/aliens/master races, and multiple feminist utopias are all part of period literature on the subject.

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  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    Originally posted by Malkavian87 View Post
    "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" graphic novel. But I don't expect Mage to be quite as pulpy.
    If asked to come up with an Ecstatic signature character for the period, I'd be hard pressed to top the real life Sir Richard Francis Burton. The man's life reads like a pulp adventure serial, and then he decided to devote his retirement years to translating, publishing, and founding societies devoted to Asian erotica. And that's just what we know, as his wife apparently burned most of his journals after he died. The man could just as well visited Shambala, Irem, Atlantis, and Mars.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dataweaver
    replied
    While true, bear in mind that at the time of the actual Victorian Age, the Sons of Ether didn't exist yet. They were the Electrodyne Engineers, one of the founding Conventions of the Technocracy. Which, incidentally, is one of the reasons I hope (and suspect) that Victorian Mage won't fall into the trap of presenting the Technocracy solely through the lens of being “evil colonialists”.

    Another is the Analytic Reckoners: while they admittedly have a way to go before they discover the Digital Web and become the Virtual Adepts, the rather libertine attitudes of the VAs didn't just spring up out of nowhere. Especially with the Analytic Reckoners, there's a lot of potential for Steampunk goodness in the setting.

    (Ironically, the Electrodyne Engineers aren't so much interested in “steampunk” as they are in the potential inherent in electricity. That said, they're primarily heirs to the Solificati and champions of the Book of Ether, which promotes a philosophy that the new Technocracy has not yet rejected —
    though admittedly it hasn't embraced it, either.)

    (Conversely, the Batini are still among the Traditions at this point; and Mount Qaf is still a thing.)
    Last edited by Dataweaver; 07-04-2019, 10:53 PM.

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  • Bluecho
    replied
    Originally posted by Malkavian87 View Post
    "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" graphic novel. But I don't expect Mage to be quite as pulpy.
    Why not? Mage includes the Society of Ether as a primary group. They're so pulpy, I'm surprised their Trad Books haven't disintegrated by now.

    Seriously, Etherites have a huge emphasis on Two-Fisted adventure. Other groups can be bent towards pulp archetypes, even as early as the Victorian era. It depends on how you want to flavor characters, and what tone the Storyteller is going for.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dwight
    replied
    Of you want to read something a little less fictional there is Dirty Old London: The Victorian Fight Against Filth by Lee Jackson. It covers the creation of the sewage system, street cleaning, public toilets, baths, the cemetery reform movement and the chimney sweeps.

    Leave a comment:


  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    I've read The Alienist novel and it's sequel, but haven't seen the series yet. Both are a really good look at turn of the century New York City. I also recommend Michael Crichton's The Great Train Robbery and the film version he directed with Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland.

    Over the years, I've found Cthulhu by Gaslight to be fairly useful. I've been trying for years, still unsuccessfully, to find a hardcopy of the Golden Dawn sourcebook Pagan Publishing put out in 96 for a reasonable price. Someday it will be mine.

    Leave a comment:


  • Malkavian87
    replied
    "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" graphic novel. But I don't expect Mage to be quite as pulpy.
    On the more subdued end of the spectrum I really enjoyed two series with an 1890s setting; The Alienist and the Lizzie Borden Chronicles.

    Leave a comment:


  • Damian May
    replied
    The Frankenstein Chronicles.

    Leave a comment:

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