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  • #16
    If there is a M5, I would vastly prefer that Paradox handed it to another company. For exemple, both Mophidus (with Kult) and Atlas Games (with Unknow Armies) have some experience with occult conspiracy games, and I'm very curious of what they can do with Mage.
    It is not that I dislike Brucato, but after M20, I'm ready for something else, The same way MRev was the brainchild of Jess Heining and had a different focus from the previous edition, M5 should shed a new light on the Mage setting.
    The only thing I'm a bit concerned is that in the presentation video of the return of the World of Darkness, a few years back, the Technocracy was among the antagonists. OTOH, there always be Technocracy Reloaded and M20 if I really miss the black hat and mirrorshade protagonists.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Asimar View Post
      If there is a M5, I would vastly prefer that Paradox handed it to another company. For exemple, both Mophidus (with Kult) and Atlas Games (with Unknow Armies) have some experience with occult conspiracy games, and I'm very curious of what they can do with Mage.
      It is not that I dislike Brucato, but after M20, I'm ready for something else, The same way MRev was the brainchild of Jess Heining and had a different focus from the previous edition, M5 should shed a new light on the Mage setting.
      The only thing I'm a bit concerned is that in the presentation video of the return of the World of Darkness, a few years back, the Technocracy was among the antagonists. OTOH, there always be Technocracy Reloaded and M20 if I really miss the black hat and mirrorshade protagonists.
      I think the thing with any new edition of Mage, is that it would need a tighter focus than what we have with M20 - and yes, I think Brucato might have to let somebody else have a go, which he may not want to. If they did make the game a tighter focus, then I can see why the Technocracy would end up being straight antagonists again. Indeed, in MageRev (Jess Heining’s edition) they chose to cut out the Technocracy from the core rules book, although there was a separate Guide to the Technocracy book available.

      You could make the argument, as I’d like to see, for two separate games - one for the Traditions and one for the Technocracy. I could see this working for Vampire too actually, with a spin-off game for playing The New Inquisition (which would mirror nicely with the Technocracy, in a way).

      All that said, this is all just loose speculation. Since nobody has proposed taking the license for Mage any time soon, I think any M5 could be years away right now. I must say that the option of Atlas Games taking on Mage is intriguing, considering they have both Ars Magica and Unknown Armies (and Over The Edge, and Feng Shui too, to a degree). Not sure if Jonathan Tweet, Greg Stolze and Robin D Laws are available for development though.
      Last edited by Trippy; 12-17-2019, 10:19 AM.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Trippy View Post
        Both Vampire and Werewolf are also easier to develop multimedia platforms for video games, primarily. Mage would probably require much more exposition to explain concepts and gameplay...
        Personally, I don't think Mage's complexity is as much a hindrance to video game adaptation as people make it out to be.

        The key, I think, is to limit the scope of any given game. (I mean, it works for Games Workshop with the myriad, highly specific Warhammer 40K games).

        A while back, I floated the idea of a Progenitors "Damage Control" first person shooter, where the player heads up a squad of Damage Control agents that go on missions throughout the World of Darkness. Using their combat skills and Enlightened Science in the field to cleanse the various biological ills of the setting. The protagonist's Focus is tightly defined, so the idea of Mages being these reality-warpers doesn't need to be front-loaded to the player to make the premise comprehensible.

        Each mission takes them to a different locale, where they fight a different form of "Biological Reality Deviance". It can start with cleaning out a Progenitor lab experiment gone awry, to get the player familiar with the Technocracy as an organization. Later, they're raiding Etherite labs (with their stitched together monstrosities), a Sabbat haven (complete with flesh-crafted horrors), a sewer full of Fomori and were-toads (the mockery breed from W20: Book of the Wyrm), a Black Spiral Dancer den, maybe a haunted house (with a helpful Void Engineer ally air-dropping anti-EDE ammunition), a Giovanni crypt full of zombies, and maybe ending off with a trip to a Nephandi stronghold (assuming the Nephandus isn't an infiltrator of the Union, and the last mission is to assault a Technocrat highrise to remove the cancer in the Technocracy's ranks).


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        • #19
          Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
          Personally, I don't think Mage's complexity is as much a hindrance to video game adaptation as people make it out to be.

          The key, I think, is to limit the scope of any given game. (I mean, it works for Games Workshop with the myriad, highly specific Warhammer 40K games).

          A while back, I floated the idea of a Progenitors "Damage Control" first person shooter, where the player heads up a squad of Damage Control agents that go on missions throughout the World of Darkness. Using their combat skills and Enlightened Science in the field to cleanse the various biological ills of the setting. The protagonist's Focus is tightly defined, so the idea of Mages being these reality-warpers doesn't need to be front-loaded to the player to make the premise comprehensible.

          Each mission takes them to a different locale, where they fight a different form of "Biological Reality Deviance". It can start with cleaning out a Progenitor lab experiment gone awry, to get the player familiar with the Technocracy as an organization. Later, they're raiding Etherite labs (with their stitched together monstrosities), a Sabbat haven (complete with flesh-crafted horrors), a sewer full of Fomori and were-toads (the mockery breed from W20: Book of the Wyrm), a Black Spiral Dancer den, maybe a haunted house (with a helpful Void Engineer ally air-dropping anti-EDE ammunition), a Giovanni crypt full of zombies, and maybe ending off with a trip to a Nephandi stronghold (assuming the Nephandus isn't an infiltrator of the Union, and the last mission is to assault a Technocrat highrise to remove the cancer in the Technocracy's ranks).
          It’s not just about the scope, it’s also about the exposition and execution. Just a quick glance at your own post details well over a dozen different groups and terms - some of which actually come from other games - there would be a lot of front on explanations needed in order to make these accessible to a casual audience before they assume play. Secondly, Mage has the particular issue about how to translate the magic system into a video game, replete with all the options and variations it provides - and this would be tricky.

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          • #20
            Mage could work as a video game, depending on how much is invested in the game. The simplest solution would be a visual novel, similar to the recently published Coteries of New York. That set up would allow for only very specific choices on a part of the player, making the use of magic much more manageable by the game producers.

            Something similar could be true of a larger game, ah la Bloodlines, but the magical system would probably be complex and slow the game.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Trippy View Post
              It’s not just about the scope, it’s also about the exposition and execution. Just a quick glance at your own post details well over a dozen different groups and terms - some of which actually come from other games - there would be a lot of front on explanations needed in order to make these accessible to a casual audience before they assume play.
              The amount of exposition for any given mission is negotiable.

              Let's take that Sabbat mission, for instance. It would take maybe a minute to explain "lol, Hemovores exist, and some of them don't even bother being subtle about it" in a briefing cutscene. They can easily do it on the helicopter ride over. Then, once the player gets into the Sabbat haven and starts encountering flesh-crafted monstrosities, that this was even a possibility can be explained very briefly over the radio. You can even make a joke about it, like the protagonist was being improperly briefed about this aspect of vampire ability.

              The player does not need everything explained to them. Even VtM: Bloodlines didn't bother explaining all that much about the Kuei Jin and how they worked, and they were one of the main antagonists of the game. The hypothetical Damage Control game is allowed to be selective about what aspects of Mage and the greater World of Darkness it shows. If anything, keeping lore dumps to a minimum is an advantage, since it makes the world seem strange and mysterious. Like there's more between heaven and earth than is dreamt of in the Technocracy's philosophy (and that the protagonist, like all Technocrats, is the victim of a Union that is not entirely forthcoming to its agents).

              (Also, the fact that these missions are levels in a game that you play makes blunt exposition less necessary than you think. Having to do battle with a Giovanni's hoard of zombies, or an Etherite's Frankenstein creations, is its own exposition. It speaks for itself, especially when the Etherite in question joins his stitched-together minions by breaking out a cobbled-together lightning cannon. There's nothing to really explain at that point; the player is fighting a mad scientist. The phrase "Show, Don't Tell" comes to mind.)

              Secondly, Mage has the particular issue about how to translate the magic system into a video game, replete with all the options and variations it provides - and this would be tricky.
              Then don't try to translate the system directly. That's a fool's errand.

              I made a point of saying the protagonist of the Damage Control game would have a Focus that was "tightly defined". This was deliberate. You don't need to explain the tools and powers at the player's disposal in terms of Spheres, though you easily could as part of a nine-branched progression system. Most Mages don't use all of what the Spheres allow them to do; they prioritize the powers their Paradigm is built for. Various Mage groups are built around archetypes, that dictate what sort of fantasy or SF abilities they favor.

              In this hypothetical game, you hew close to that fact, and have this Progenitor agent use what tools and techniques are relevant to their Focus. They buff themselves by injecting chemicals or activating devices. They carry around a variety of weapons, some of them being provided by Iteration X. They get upgrades by tinkering with their DNA or getting xenografts.

              Don't fixate on how to stuff the entirety of Mage's magick system into an FPS. That's not remotely the point, and is counterproductive. You narrow it down to what's appropriate for the character and the game.

              This would also be the same in other Mage video games. You could have a narrative adventure game starring a Hermetic wizard detective (basically a Harry Dresden or John Constantine), where the "spells" are tools the character uses to solve puzzles, or else are rituals that are entirely narrative (maybe with part of the challenge being collecting all the elements needed to perform the rite). The character knows what they know, because their Focus and skillset are already established when the game starts. If there's something the character needs but can't do according to their skillset, they either need to do research or get other Mage characters to help him.

              The point being less to capture how a Mage game plays - which is difficult - and instead show what kinds of stories can be told with the system or what characters players can run.
              Last edited by Bluecho; 12-17-2019, 01:27 PM.


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              • #22
                As a mage player and ST i prefer when the books give me ideas rather than tie me by the balls while saying "No, you CAN'T do that because it's unfair to vampires". I only hope they don't turn True Mages into Static Sorcerers.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Asimar View Post
                  If there is a M5, I would vastly prefer that Paradox handed it to another company. For exemple, both Mophidus (with Kult) and Atlas Games (with Unknow Armies) have some experience with occult conspiracy games, and I'm very curious of what they can do with Mage.
                  Atlas Games would indeed be a fascinating choice. They are the ones who own Ars Magica. Atlas and White Wolf are both descended from Lion Rampart (I think, something like that). Something like this would freak out the Ars community (they are still bitter about the "divorce"). Hell, I am a major part of that community, but I am the rogue that likes to shake things up.
                  Atlas has access to some real talent. And they are great at recruiting and molding new talent. If they could get David Chart to work on it, it would be amazing. Great writer, but his true brilliance is as a line-editor. I know he knows Phil. Don't know if they get along. But I do know how pleasantly diplomatic David Chart can be when working with chaotic writers (I was one of them). There are other freelancers that work with Atlas that I would love to see tackle Mage. Jonathan Tweet, Timothy Ferguson, Mark Shirley, and more. And David Chart is a wizard at recruiting quality talent from the fan base. Ars Magica 5 was written mainly by fans turned freelancers under his guidance.
                  Mage has a rich fan base, and some of them would make magnificent contributions to this game. I have a hunch that is how Atlas would handle a project such as this. Atlas is also very apt at keeping up with the internet community of their games. Another trait essential to Mage.

                  On a related subject, something that would benefit Mage is to isolate it further from the oWoD storylines and systems. Make Mage its own game. Don't worry about crossover compatabillity. And cut the cord to some of the old history of the game. M20 had this strange feel to it. More of a piece of nostalgia than a current event. It real like "a bunch of stuff happened back ten to twenty years ago, some of that stuff didn't happen, nothing has happened for ten more years, now go!".

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                    Then don't try to translate the system directly. That's a fool's errand.
                    Well, if you do that, you aren’t really playing Mage - just a modified version of Mage. That’s really my point - it’s hard to translate to other mediums, or at least harder to translate than both Vampire and Werewolf.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Marko Markoko View Post
                      More of a piece of nostalgia than a current event. It real like "a bunch of stuff happened back ten to twenty years ago, some of that stuff didn't happen, nothing has happened for ten more years, now go!".
                      Given the final apocalyptic events of the game - the Avatar storm devastating the command of the major factions - this should be very possible. A not-quite clean slate world for surviving mages should be feasible.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Marko Markoko View Post
                        Atlas Games would indeed be a fascinating choice. They are the ones who own Ars Magica. Atlas and White Wolf are both descended from Lion Rampart (I think, something like that). Something like this would freak out the Ars community (they are still bitter about the "divorce"). Hell, I am a major part of that community, but I am the rogue that likes to shake things up.
                        Atlas has access to some real talent. And they are great at recruiting and molding new talent. If they could get David Chart to work on it, it would be amazing. Great writer, but his true brilliance is as a line-editor. I know he knows Phil. Don't know if they get along. But I do know how pleasantly diplomatic David Chart can be when working with chaotic writers (I was one of them). There are other freelancers that work with Atlas that I would love to see tackle Mage. Jonathan Tweet, Timothy Ferguson, Mark Shirley, and more. And David Chart is a wizard at recruiting quality talent from the fan base. Ars Magica 5 was written mainly by fans turned freelancers under his guidance.
                        Mage has a rich fan base, and some of them would make magnificent contributions to this game. I have a hunch that is how Atlas would handle a project such as this. Atlas is also very apt at keeping up with the internet community of their games. Another trait essential to Mage.

                        On a related subject, something that would benefit Mage is to isolate it further from the oWoD storylines and systems. Make Mage its own game. Don't worry about crossover compatabillity. And cut the cord to some of the old history of the game. M20 had this strange feel to it. More of a piece of nostalgia than a current event. It real like "a bunch of stuff happened back ten to twenty years ago, some of that stuff didn't happen, nothing has happened for ten more years, now go!".
                        I like David Chart, and directly congratulated him at the time when he chose to stand down from developing Ars Magica. Under his stewardship a relatively small print game kept regularly chugging out excellent supplements for years - indeed it was one of the longest running games kept in continual publication I think. Unfortunately, the supplement driven game line doesn’t appear to be as effective business model as it used to be, and the indication was that they were actually losing money on some of the later books. When they finally stopped the line, they declared that there 40+ supplements still around, and this was more than enough to finish the line.

                        It would be interesting to see they develop the game from this point - and it is notable that all their other lines (Feng Shui, Unknown Armies and Over The Edge) have had new editions in recent years, so maybe they might decide to do something similar with Ars Magica. There was some talk about doing a Gumshoe version of the game, focussed mainly on the investigative House Geurnicus, but it’s not come about. I’d like to see it, as the rules-set would actually simplify a lot in the game I think (the rules became a little convoluted over the years).

                        How does all this relate to a new edition of Mage? I dunno, but I would argue that all of Atlas games are Mage related in some ways - they all deal with magical systems or paradigms on one level or another, and so Mage would fit right in there and could sell a lot for them. I’d love to see what Jonathan Tweet could do with the game, especially.

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                        • #27
                          There is a surprising amount of talk about the plausibility of a MtA – but then forms always wander off topic.

                          I played the Dark Wars: Dark Forces II game. Before the dark times, before the Empire (i.e. Disney).

                          In the game, a character gradually acquires force powers with no real teachers, and little to no in-game exposition on the subject. The player chooses among a set of symbols to use various powers, gains experience and either has new powers appear or existing powers grow.

                          The point being, something similar could be done with MtA – a minimum amount of momentum killing exposition, but thematic appropriate powers.

                          Back on subject, I am most intrigued by the property being handled by Green Robin, or Atlas Games.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by JuniorALR View Post
                            As a mage player and ST i prefer when the books give me ideas rather than tie me by the balls while saying "No, you CAN'T do that because it's unfair to vampires". I only hope they don't turn True Mages into Static Sorcerers.
                            There's an in universe reason for that, it's not just that it's 'unfair'.

                            Mage as it is is really, really fine. The explanation of how powers work just needs to be better


                            RE- Mage computer game

                            Players level up spheres. Spheres provide lots of handy little 'perks' based on paradigm. Some of which have odd keybindings or are set as a 'weapon' (The plasmids from bioshock, but more subtle, are a good leaping off point) But many are completely passive.

                            I don't think it'd be undoable. Though there would be much more issue in grand schemes. Then again, it's not like a Vampire game has really let you set off free form machinations with your social powers so...


                            V5 is not VTM

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Trippy View Post

                              You could make the argument, as I’d like to see, for two separate games - one for the Traditions and one for the Technocracy. I could see this working for Vampire too actually, with a spin-off game for playing The New Inquisition (which would mirror nicely with the Technocracy, in a way).
                              .
                              This is a very interesting idea. We can even push more into speculation territory and poses that there could be 2 magic systems, one for the Traditions and one for the Technocracy. This could royally piss some fans, but then again, I'm open for something different.

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                              • #30
                                The problem with a discussion about who I'd like writing the new Mage game (or who would be good) is that there's no way to have that discussion without first, or simultaneously, having the discussion over whether M5 should be as radical a departure setting- and mechanics-wise as V5 was from previous versions of V:tM, because different studios are going to be good at different things. Some studios are great at weighty social issues; some are great at crunch; some are better with freeform or more "rules lite" systems; etc. The likelihood is that M5, like V5, will have only a nominal/superficial relationship to the game that was, and will, in most ways, be a wholly different and new game wrapped in some of the proper nouns from the IP as we know it. That won't make the resulting game necessarily bad--but it'll be a different game regardless.

                                As for developers, if they decided to go in a V5-sort of direction (e.g., actual magic no longer exists; characters in the game are mortal stage and close-up magicians who dress exclusively like Criss Angel, and "battle" for prime time slots at The Magic Castle, while at the same time struggling to make rent at unfulfilling jobs as baristas and paralegals), then there's probably very few wrong answers. Maybe Memento Mori Theatricks since I think InSpectres is fun, light and hilarious, and I really enjoy it. Or if Paradox wants something closer to a D&D or Shadowrun--except with spheres (e.g., like a giant spell list, no improvisation, ONE reality zone for everywhere that isn't your sanctum, in-character discussions of paradigm and metaphysics are boiled down to a skill check so no one has to learn anything) then I think a company like Paizo is probably the way to go, though I doubt they'd take time away from their own Top 5 best-selling games to make a game for their competition, particularly when they're already dunking on that competitor in sales numbers.

                                However, in the (from my perspective) insanely unlikely event that it is decided that M5 should hew closer (re: systems and underlying metaphysics) to prior editions, then I think it simply MUST be Onyx Path with Brucato at the helm, for reasons that were so perfectly set forth by Ambrosia that I'm just going to quote the bullet points from their comment supra:

                                Originally posted by Ambrosia View Post
                                * They already have good relations with Satyr - who was lead dev for 2nd, Sorcerors Crusade AND M20. He just knows all the inside-outs of the setting, and even if Revised did a controversial hard turn in a different direction, even Revised was influenced by all that came before it. And even if Satyr isn't the one who is going to lead dev it in any way, OP can easily consult with him.

                                * Onyx Path just does good books, hands down. If not influenced too much by Paradox (oh the Pun Potential...), they have shown to be utterly capable of handling oWoD in all regards

                                * Mage is a gameline that *heavily* relies on philosophical lore-knowledge and having a feel for what it's supposed to be, how Magick works, and what the headspace of it all is. It requires heavy investment. It is a gameline that can easily be fucked up by changes that might seem Like A Good Idea At The Time to somebody without much experience with it. Likewise, I think 'streamlining' it in any regard would not affect it positively - IMO. More straightforward examples and good tables? Sure. Simplifying its mechanics away from the freeform Magick system we have? No.
                                Onyx Path and their hired writers that worked on M20 *have* that experience. If a different company touches it, and people who possibly never touched Mage much try to develop for it...things might get so much harder to pull off right. It *could* be a refreshing change to have new pairs of eyes working on it, of course - and it *could* get pulled off right. But the risk would increase as much as any possible reward.
                                That last point, about the metaphysics, is potentially the biggest reason I'm going to be a Brucato-or-Bust type (a Brucato Bro if you will). The metaphysics of magic(k), and paradigm/theory, are the game; the soul/essence/what-have-you. Mage is the only game that, to run it, you must not only figure out a time/place to set your game, and the overall milieu of the characters and stories you want to run... but you have to make preliminary decisions about the fundamental operation of causality itself, and the very nature of subjective/objective reality--i.e., the discussion of "HAB/ HOO/ HYP and RDB/PBD" on page 534 of M20 asks storytellers looking to play a game for fun to engage in an analysis involving (at a minimum) ontology and epistemology (and arguably phenomenology)--basically subjects that are hard enough to wrap your head around when you're reading about it for school and have an ostensible expert teaching it... and this is what we're doing for leisure and recreation! The fact that we love the game, and come here to discuss it ad nauseam, and that thought experiments about the weird edge cases of rules are the norm (and often necessary) in this community, can only mean that the people who presently love this game and are engaged in the Mage dialectic such as it is, must like this incredibly onerous component of the game, because it's too huge a part of the meta-game for it to be plausible that there are a whole lot of Mage fans just not engaging with those first-order, preliminary concerns.

                                HOWEVER, that may not be something Paradox wants to keep about the game. I mean, you can strip enough stuff from Mage that it basically just becomes like any other RPG, and so will not "scare off" new players. Notably, my issue with the "inaccessible to new players" thing is that these rules have always been this dense and difficult--and yet I, at the tender of age of 15 (20 years ago), having played only a little V:tM and a little Werewolf, picked up Second Edition and never looked back. Forget the fact that I didn't understand a whole lot of what was going on in the game--I understood enough to know that my lack of understanding was more than anything a product of my own (excusable given my age and level of education) lack of knowledge and still-developing cognitive faculties. I understood on an instinctual level (even if I could not articulate it this way at the time) that the game was moreso about learning how to think, than about memorizing the step-by-step process of working out how much Paradox to take in any given scenario, or some other such thing. But, again, that may not be everyone's bag; like I said above, people who gravitate to and love Mage are obviously a breed apart from much of the rest of the market--not necessarily better, but certainly different.

                                Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
                                This is everything I dread about Mage 5. Mage desperately needs an entirely fresh set of hands to make it a game and a setting that can attract anyone who isn't a millennia-old mage grognard.
                                Is your issue limited to first bullet/asterisk of Ambrosia's comment, or all of them? What do you even like about this game in the first place? Do you just hate the setting canon, and if so, why? Jess Heining basically hit the hard reset button on masters, the Umbra, horizon realms, non-street-level play in Revised (V5 before V5 if you really think about it)... what is it about this metaplot that scares you at this point?


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