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Am I the only one who wished M20 had more metaplot?

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  • Am I the only one who wished M20 had more metaplot?

    I run Mage chronicles but enjoy reading about the other lines. Beckett's Jyhad Diary was a giant update of everything in Vampire that happened between 2004 and 2014 or so and is 500 gorgeous pages of notes, pictures, and such. I very much wish there were a Mage analog.

    Am I the only one that wished M20 had a metaplot update? The Metaplot asides gave options but didn't include much detail on "hey, this is what a world where the avatar storm died down would look like" or "hey, here are some masters that could return to the other side of the gauntlet". I tend to get plots from picking elements from the metaplot and using those to create large arcs.

  • #2
    WIth Only 3 books.. and a cookbook released I'd argue more of the metaplot has been set than 3 books into v20. V20 only really pulled ahead with the JHD.. Mage still has books in the line so it might get one.

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    • #3
      The whole point of the X20 line is more retrospective more than progress.


      Call me Remi. Female pronouns for me, please.

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      • #4
        The thing with Mage is that there was never all that much metaplot to begin with and most of what was there only got bolted on with Revised to line it up with the “End of Days” from the other game lines.

        Once the “End of Days” got relegated to “Y2K-ish panic that didn’t amount to anything” the Mage metaplot basically collapsed into a heap of “not that important.” Particularly since most of those metaplot elements were basically, this long-standing person/place/thing went BOOM! rather than something new being built.

        Old masters died, new masters rose to replace them, the rumors of XYZ’s demise were greatly exaggerated. Life goes on for the newest generations of mages.

        Far more important from a Mage sense is how the various traditions and conventions have adapted to the last dozen or so years of innovations and now historical events and M20 has done a decent job of covering those.

        Mage is such a gonzo “go anywhere” setting that I think trying to even maintain a metaplot would be a mistake. For the crew of the Etherjammer USS Challenger exploring the strange worlds and cultures of the Deep Umbra and the Hyde Park Cabal just trying to bring hope back to a blighted neighborhood the schemes of whomever is currently in charge of whichever faction just don’t matter and, to the extent they do, are better served being tailored to that particular chronicle than made uniform across the game setting via a metaplot.

        Put more simply, I think Mage’s metaplot works best if it’s as subjective as the reality Mages manipulate is.

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        • #5
          Chris24601 is wise.

          However, this advice might be extended to any of the lines and any of the metaplots. M20 does an admirable job of presenting a lot of options in terms of how the metaplot can be adapted, and kudos for that fact.

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          • #6
            Personally I find the metaplot to be a pain, especially the sadly out-of-date 'apocalypse' meme they were running back in the day so I'm quite happy _not_ to have 'THE METAPLOT!' influencing any campaigns I want to run, it means there's not so much work to be done with persuading a well read player that things in this decade are not the same as things a decade or more ago.

            That sort of applies to this forum too - most forumites are very well read on different versions of the books and some like to state their canon views very firmly which kind of goes in opposition to the 20th anniversary's 'buffet' approach.

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            • #7
              I do expect to see some Metaplot when Technocracy Reloaded comes out; in particular, I won't be a bit surprised if the Purge hinted at in one of the M20 boxes comes to pass in that book, and we get a restructured and refocused Technocracy.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Chris24601 View Post
                The thing with Mage is that there was never all that much metaplot to begin with and most of what was there only got bolted on with Revised to line it up with the “End of Days” from the other game lines.
                Sort of. Most of the meta plot, such as it was, in 1st and 2nd edition was built around the fall of the House of Heklar (starting in Book of Chantries and creeping along into Horizon and then the Euthanatos tradition book), and the idea of newer, younger mages becoming leaders of the Traditions (Horizon, again). Beyond that, most of the metaplot was in the fiction novels, and if you were someone who didn't read them, all of this stuff got dumped on you when Tales of Magic: Dark Adventure and Digital Web 2.0 came out. After that was the Avatar Storm, which was a Year of Reckoning thing and first appeared in Masters of the Art. The only big change that started with the revised edition was what happened to several of the Crafts, IIRC, with all of the "end of days" stuff coming a few years later shortly after the Storytellers Handbook came out.


                What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                  I do expect to see some Metaplot when Technocracy Reloaded comes out; in particular, I won't be a bit surprised if the Purge hinted at in one of the M20 boxes comes to pass in that book, and we get a restructured and refocused Technocracy.
                  I am hoping for the "buffett" approach Dogstar mentions, in that the book presents a number of opportunities. That would make it a more flexible tool for gamers, while a book with only one story is limited and too proscriptive. Maybe the Technocracy is riddled with a metastisized Nephandi threat, and maybe the Technos purged the Fallen, but both options should easily be available.

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                  • #10
                    I probably should have started with an opener of why I like metaplot. This isn't complete nor is it categorical. If you throw it out the window and replace it with something you've created, awesome, but this is what I get from it. Every point has an alternative and one can say "the storyteller should do that". Sure, but I'll never turn down help:

                    *It provides something to direct the mood of the game. The sense of horror in Vampire is escalated by the existence of Gehenna cults and the belief that we're in the final nights. The mood of Dark Ages: Fae is anxiety about the world changing but the impending ending of the oath-truce greatly heightens this.

                    *It gives the ST not just setting but direction. The WoD provides a setting but metaplot provides a sense of movement to that setting that makes the world seem alive and static.

                    *It provides ideas. Giant events give you an idea of what can happen. There are scales at which the game does and doesn't make sense and metaplot can provide an upper limit.

                    *It's fun. My characters have never visited the Digital Web or Doissetep but it's interesting to me to see what happened there.

                    *it provides a way to address system problems. Mage's metaplot changes seemed to be heavily influenced by wanting to change the focus of the game to lower level players on this side of the gauntlet and the avatar storm, etc did a good job of that.

                    So in that context, I find metaplot helpful. It gives me cues on how to play the game at a level I may vaguely feel but that the writers and developers maybe have put their finger on.

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                    • #11
                      I really like Mage's metaplot actually, it's easier to follow than the one in Vampire and it doesn't have the same problems that one had (a bunch of canon NPCs doing everything and a lot of conflicting info).

                      Also it more or less presented a story to give you ideas to use. The very big game changer was the Avatar Storm and the Union "winning", but even that whole "we now want to go low key street based" lasted like 3 or 4 books until Revised started giving lots of options to circumvent the Avatar Storm and the Sphinx basically reignited the Ascension War.
                      Last edited by History; 11-22-2018, 06:38 AM.

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                      • #12
                        I think that the Technocracy's stance in regard to Mystic Mages should be more defined and consistent throughout the Technocracy in the future, as a metaplot development.

                        Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                        I do expect to see some Metaplot when Technocracy Reloaded comes out; in particular, I won't be a bit surprised if the Purge hinted at in one of the M20 boxes comes to pass in that book, and we get a restructured and refocused Technocracy.
                        " Book of the Fallen " could also have some metaplot developments or options.
                        Last edited by Muad'Dib; 11-25-2018, 04:15 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
                          I think that the Technocracy's stance in regard to Mystic Mages should be more defined and consistent throughout the Technocracy in the future, as a metaplot development.
                          For various reasons, I just went back to where their attitudes follow the traditional real world technocrat ones of "We know what's best for you, peasant, so shut up", with the only real variation being if the punishment for not shutting up is reeducation or liquidation. Members of the Union who decide this is wrong have to defect to the Traditions or go on the run as Orphans. Ironically, I used to be one of the most vocal advocates for making the Technocracy playable protagonists with a valid and possibly heroic world view.


                          What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                          Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post

                            For various reasons, I just went back to where their attitudes follow the traditional real world technocrat ones of "We know what's best for you, peasant, so shut up", with the only real variation being if the punishment for not shutting up is reeducation or liquidation. Members of the Union who decide this is wrong have to defect to the Traditions or go on the run as Orphans. Ironically, I used to be one of the most vocal advocates for making the Technocracy playable protagonists with a valid and possibly heroic world view.
                            Why did you change from a possibly heroic Technocracy all the way to a merciless and dogmatic Technocracy ?
                            One of the reasons why the extremely ruthless Technocracy doesn't work for me is that such a portrayal doesn't go in line with the Technocracy's mission statement of exploring and investigating reality. If Mystic Mages are capable of the feats that they are, doesn't this merit investigation, and respect ? Also, I think that it might very well be that the objectives which involve guiding and influencing mundane humans can be accomplished more easily by Technocrats if cooperation with Mystic Mages is undertaken.

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                            • #15
                              It is important to remember this is the World of Darkness we are discussing. There are no heroes here, with the possible exception of the PCs themselves. Further, there are no "good" institutions, and that includes the Conventions of the Technocracy (and the Traditions as well). They are all hopelessly compromised. Also, there is a difference between a recruiting line like "...mission statement of exploring and investigating reality," and the actual working principal, which is more Harrison Bergeron than Star Trek.

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