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  • Aleph
    replied
    Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
    The Traditions lost the Ascension War - why would they have favorable zones Earth side?
    As per M20, the reports on the Traditions defeat was greatly exaggerated.

    People believe in miracles and magic hard enough that in some places what's Coincident shift.

    Also Sanctums count as zones, Chantries can count as zones, that old spooky house that's said to be haunted counts as a zone for spooky effects. And there are wild places on Earth with so little human presence that only Earthly Foundations count as "local Paradigm"
    Last edited by Aleph; 01-02-2020, 08:09 AM.

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  • Grumpy RPG Reviews
    replied
    Originally posted by Aleph View Post
    It's still not enough, Mage Traditions could really use a boost on morale to inspire players to do stuff.
    The Traditions lost the Ascension War - why would they have favorable zones Earth side?

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  • Dataweaver
    replied
    With all due respect, the Virtual Adepts occupy a middle ground between Iteration X and the New World Order — to the extent that they aren't numerological mystics, that is.

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  • Konradleijon
    replied
    Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
    I echo the majority of what Aleph in response to your last comment (and I've responded directly regarding the minority of instances in which I have a different take or opinion.)

    First off, the core book absolutely teaches you the game--but I don't think it's necessarily a failure of the book that it may require more than one or two or three readings to really "get it." Unlike other games, Mage requires active rule synthesis; learning Mage requires that you learn a new way of thinking about problems based on a set of fictional natural laws. You could just limit yourself to the list of common effects and the handful of published rotes--but you'd be barely scratching the surface. So, yeah, it requires multiple readings to truly understand. If you told people that Derrida was a hack because you couldn't fully wrap your head around the ideas presented in Speech and Phenomena after a single reading, those people would think you're nuts, and that book is teeny compared, not just to M20, but most books. Mind you, I'm not saying M20 is more profound or more difficult than the work of Derrida, but I am saying that in both instances, you're necessarily being asked to think about the world in fundamentally new and (for most people) bizarre ways.

    No, I don't know exactly what you meant. I understand that you were probably trying to paint two absurd scenarios ('what if vampires operated on a meritocracy' and 'what if Black Furies accepted "biologically homid men&quot only because I understood how the second analogy functioned rhetorically ("Black Furies are traditionally not supposed allow X, so it would turn everything on its ear if they accepted X",) but the vampire/meritocracy comment did not and does not make any sense to me, unless you have a very particular definition of what constitutes "merit." As far as I'm concerned, "merit" is a just linguistic placeholder for the ability (by a person, group, plan, method, etc.) to bring about outcomes deemed desirable by the community interpreting the conduct or ideas; and even then, the concept of "merit" is further bound up with the idea of "just desserts," which is necessarily a moral judgment made by every individual observing and interpreting a given situation or set of circumstances ("merit" can be unearned, but it can never be undeserved). Vampires are the cockroaches of WoD--survivalists and opportunists; the ones with what most high-minded Westerners would call "virtue" are few and far between (for reasons that will never be better illustrated than the story of Ned Stark in Game of Thrones). Vampires value, above everything else, pure survival, followed by the achievements that aid survival: the destruction of one's enemies; cultivation of resources; other forms of power accumulation. Any system of control instituted by a vampiric hierarchy that purports to care about anything more lofty than 'getting yours while the getting is good, and fuck the other guy' is (without a exception) just a scheme by a more powerful vampire or group of vampires to retain their own power and increase their odds of survival. Thus even when some aspect of a vampiric society imposes some system of entitlement based on birth (err... embrace,) it's just a pretextual smokescreen concocted by someone further up the food chain who stands to benefit from perpetuating the lie. What would have made sense (to me) paired with the Black Furies analogy would have been to posit "what if vampires worked together to institute a form of socialist welfare programs for vampires so no one has to struggle too much, and they all sincerely and genuinely agreed to take a little less for themselves and not try to became a king, in the interest of forging a lasting peace."



    Learning the nuts and bolts of playing Vampire is easy: they have a handful of super-power-tech-trees that scale up in power linearly (as opposed to, say, Exalted power trees that branch). Werewolf is even easier: they have what amount to literal spells connected by a handful of themes depending on who they belong to, but that can be bought in any order, so long as your rank is equal to or exceeds the level of the spell. And all of those powers basically work one way--certainly there are circumstances that sometimes require more interpretation than just reading the "System" and applying the results, but for the most part, every individual power, or level of a power, does one or two (or four if we're talking about Auspex) discrete things. The closest thing Vampire has to Mage's magic system is trying to come up with new combination disciplines, because it necessarily requires understanding the underlying theme of two different families of power, and what can roughly be achieved at every individual level, so as to try to cobble together some power that takes a little from each to do something new. That's much harder to do than just remembering how Dagon's Call works.

    First, satire works when it connects with its intended audience and "lands" for that audience; regardless of the size. If I draw a crude four-panel comic strip satirizing my boss, and the only people who get it (besides me) are the three other peons in the office, it doesn't make it not satire. Regardless, I don't think Mage--the entire game--is a top-to-bottom work of satire. It has elements within it that satirize some things, but it is not a giant satire, so I wouldn't judge it strictly according to whether it succeeds or fails on those terms. Similarly, M20 fails as a treatise on world religions and philosophy qua philosophy--but it's not trying to be those things, even if heavily features and draws upon those elements.

    I guess my question is this: Do you think it's hard to understand because it's poorly written; or is it hard to understand because the subject matter itself (teaching people a divergent and fictional ontology, epistemology, and phenomenology) is inherently going to be difficult. And as a follow-up, do you think it would be possible to write with enough clarity and precision that the game would become accessible to everyone while keeping the "heady" aspects of the game? My home game has been going for almost ten years now--we went from magical discussions in-character being handled with a hand wave and a roll ("dude, whatever, I talk to this guy about my character's personalized theory of magic&quot to my Akashic and Etherite player having a heated in-character debate over what is actually happening when each one uses Mind 4 to travel into the High Umbra, just what the High Umbra is in the first place; or people self-policing (with intricate rationales) with regard to what they should simply not be able to do despite having the requisite spheres because their model of reality/paradigm, practices, and instruments just don't allow for a particular thing or other.

    I mean, they're trying; doesn't mean they'll necessarily succeed. And from a game-ist perspective, it creates a narrative "place" for people to play an all Disparate game, if they so please.

    Say more about this. I always saw the VAs as, yes, very similar to ItX, but ultimately more individualistic (or too individualistic to taking marching orders from a singular machine super intelligence), and as people who ultimately consider what they do to actually be magic. My theory of the tradition is (quite the opposite of your own) that they would fall into what amounts to a hundred online enclaves of similarly minded people forever torn apart by the narcissism of small differences, only capable of collection action for short-term, limited projects, essentially run like a pirate ship (which, to @Gyffon15's credit, is how Anonymous was/is supposed to operate).
    Hey stop insulting cockroaches by comparing them to Vampires.

    Leave a comment:


  • CaptOtter
    replied
    I echo the majority of what Aleph in response to your last comment (and I've responded directly regarding the minority of instances in which I have a different take or opinion.)

    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    Imagine being asked "Did you expect to be able to read a rulebook and understand the rules?" or "Did you expect to be able to read a book and understand it's fiction?" Because I sure struggled with this notion. Yes, I expected to be able to understand Mage:The Ascension's core book by reading it. . . .
    I mean, I understood Vampire and Werewolf by reading them. Some sinking in and supplements were helpful, and I think I took to werewolf so well because I understood Vampire. Given That I'd understood both werewolf and vampire, it's not unreasonable to assume that I, a person of reasonable intellegence, would be able to understand Mage. As above, so below, right? Oh what Hubris.
    First off, the core book absolutely teaches you the game--but I don't think it's necessarily a failure of the book that it may require more than one or two or three readings to really "get it." Unlike other games, Mage requires active rule synthesis; learning Mage requires that you learn a new way of thinking about problems based on a set of fictional natural laws. You could just limit yourself to the list of common effects and the handful of published rotes--but you'd be barely scratching the surface. So, yeah, it requires multiple readings to truly understand. If you told people that Derrida was a hack because you couldn't fully wrap your head around the ideas presented in Speech and Phenomena after a single reading, those people would think you're nuts, and that book is teeny compared, not just to M20, but most books. Mind you, I'm not saying M20 is more profound or more difficult than the work of Derrida, but I am saying that in both instances, you're necessarily being asked to think about the world in fundamentally new and (for most people) bizarre ways.

    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    ultimate meritocrasy isn't meritocracy. Next you'll argue libertarianism sustainably offers equal opportunity or how the Nazis were socialst.
    Seriously, you knew exactly what I meant, and decided to ignore that to be 'right'. If that's the kind of thing you're doing to be 'right', you should reconsider your standing
    No, I don't know exactly what you meant. I understand that you were probably trying to paint two absurd scenarios ('what if vampires operated on a meritocracy' and 'what if Black Furies accepted "biologically homid men") only because I understood how the second analogy functioned rhetorically ("Black Furies are traditionally not supposed allow X, so it would turn everything on its ear if they accepted X",) but the vampire/meritocracy comment did not and does not make any sense to me, unless you have a very particular definition of what constitutes "merit." As far as I'm concerned, "merit" is a just linguistic placeholder for the ability (by a person, group, plan, method, etc.) to bring about outcomes deemed desirable by the community interpreting the conduct or ideas; and even then, the concept of "merit" is further bound up with the idea of "just desserts," which is necessarily a moral judgment made by every individual observing and interpreting a given situation or set of circumstances ("merit" can be unearned, but it can never be undeserved). Vampires are the cockroaches of WoD--survivalists and opportunists; the ones with what most high-minded Westerners would call "virtue" are few and far between (for reasons that will never be better illustrated than the story of Ned Stark in Game of Thrones). Vampires value, above everything else, pure survival, followed by the achievements that aid survival: the destruction of one's enemies; cultivation of resources; other forms of power accumulation. Any system of control instituted by a vampiric hierarchy that purports to care about anything more lofty than 'getting yours while the getting is good, and fuck the other guy' is (without a exception) just a scheme by a more powerful vampire or group of vampires to retain their own power and increase their odds of survival. Thus even when some aspect of a vampiric society imposes some system of entitlement based on birth (err... embrace,) it's just a pretextual smokescreen concocted by someone further up the food chain who stands to benefit from perpetuating the lie. What would have made sense (to me) paired with the Black Furies analogy would have been to posit "what if vampires worked together to institute a form of socialist welfare programs for vampires so no one has to struggle too much, and they all sincerely and genuinely agreed to take a little less for themselves and not try to became a king, in the interest of forging a lasting peace."

    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    mage is simple insofar as that you're not memorising massive spell lists, you're playing with dynamic magic within certain boundries set by the few dots you have and your paradigm. That should require a lot less reading than say, the DnD spell system and list. Given that there are only nine spheres, you could probably put it all down in less space than Vampire Disciplines and Werewolf Gifts.
    Learning the nuts and bolts of playing Vampire is easy: they have a handful of super-power-tech-trees that scale up in power linearly (as opposed to, say, Exalted power trees that branch). Werewolf is even easier: they have what amount to literal spells connected by a handful of themes depending on who they belong to, but that can be bought in any order, so long as your rank is equal to or exceeds the level of the spell. And all of those powers basically work one way--certainly there are circumstances that sometimes require more interpretation than just reading the "System" and applying the results, but for the most part, every individual power, or level of a power, does one or two (or four if we're talking about Auspex) discrete things. The closest thing Vampire has to Mage's magic system is trying to come up with new combination disciplines, because it necessarily requires understanding the underlying theme of two different families of power, and what can roughly be achieved at every individual level, so as to try to cobble together some power that takes a little from each to do something new. That's much harder to do than just remembering how Dagon's Call works.

    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    Satire works when it appeals to a broad audience, not when it's self-indulgent and preaches to a choir, and I feel that M20 made it very clear that it was doing the latter.
    First, satire works when it connects with its intended audience and "lands" for that audience; regardless of the size. If I draw a crude four-panel comic strip satirizing my boss, and the only people who get it (besides me) are the three other peons in the office, it doesn't make it not satire. Regardless, I don't think Mage--the entire game--is a top-to-bottom work of satire. It has elements within it that satirize some things, but it is not a giant satire, so I wouldn't judge it strictly according to whether it succeeds or fails on those terms. Similarly, M20 fails as a treatise on world religions and philosophy qua philosophy--but it's not trying to be those things, even if heavily features and draws upon those elements.

    Originally posted by Aleph View Post
    Mind you, I think this has to change...I don't think it's a virtue of Mage to be hard to understand.
    I guess my question is this: Do you think it's hard to understand because it's poorly written; or is it hard to understand because the subject matter itself (teaching people a divergent and fictional ontology, epistemology, and phenomenology) is inherently going to be difficult. And as a follow-up, do you think it would be possible to write with enough clarity and precision that the game would become accessible to everyone while keeping the "heady" aspects of the game? My home game has been going for almost ten years now--we went from magical discussions in-character being handled with a hand wave and a roll ("dude, whatever, I talk to this guy about my character's personalized theory of magic") to my Akashic and Etherite player having a heated in-character debate over what is actually happening when each one uses Mind 4 to travel into the High Umbra, just what the High Umbra is in the first place; or people self-policing (with intricate rationales) with regard to what they should simply not be able to do despite having the requisite spheres because their model of reality/paradigm, practices, and instruments just don't allow for a particular thing or other.

    Originally posted by Aleph View Post
    The idea to make the Disparate a "better Traditions" it's something I don't like from M20, it makes them less special (and I think the diegetic reasons given are pretty poor, but geting into that would warrant a different thread)
    I mean, they're trying; doesn't mean they'll necessarily succeed. And from a game-ist perspective, it creates a narrative "place" for people to play an all Disparate game, if they so please.

    Originally posted by Aleph View Post
    VA that aren't anarch cheeky hackers...are just low paid ItXers.
    Say more about this. I always saw the VAs as, yes, very similar to ItX, but ultimately more individualistic (or too individualistic to taking marching orders from a singular machine super intelligence), and as people who ultimately consider what they do to actually be magic. My theory of the tradition is (quite the opposite of your own) that they would fall into what amounts to a hundred online enclaves of similarly minded people forever torn apart by the narcissism of small differences, only capable of collection action for short-term, limited projects, essentially run like a pirate ship (which, to @Gyffon15's credit, is how Anonymous was/is supposed to operate).
    Last edited by CaptOtter; 12-31-2019, 01:23 AM.

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  • Gryffon15
    replied
    Glad ya liked it! : D

    tbh that was my personal favorite as well, although I'm also bemused by my now head canon that the tradition as a whole eschew formal titles as a defensive gesture although I imagine that the ML and other such titles have gained used within factions of the tradition.

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  • Aleph
    replied
    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    For realsies, I don't think Mage Spheres need a mechanical overhall, I would lament such a thing, especially since I consider the mechanical overhall of v5 to be an unmitigated disaster and wouldn't like a repeat of it in werewolf or mage. But I genuinely believe Mage could just be written better for new players. The same stuff mechanically, just presented in a better format.
    I see. My proposal was a bit more radical. Partially because I've already accepted that IF there's a M5 ruled by Paradox, it's most likely going to follow the trend and change a lot of stuff.

    Which, sure, if done poorly will prompt a huge backlash.

    Hence why I would be ok with having a traditional writer on board
    Oh, and at least a paragraph on how the traditions organize themselves in the main book would be great. Every other organization from the big three lines has an easily quantifiable template for how it's organizations work, and then there's the traditions who apparently don't. I find myself looking and thinking 'SO, how do I actually Run a M20 game?' Like with Vampire you've got court machinations or player ambitions, werewolf you've got a constant stream of dire quests, mage you've got destroying reality deviants and uplifting humanity or... becoming a film producer so that you can shift the consensus towards accepting Harry Potter as historical fiction? Like how does a Tradition game work, assuming your players aren't instigators? I can imagine one NPC going "I've got an Ingenious idea, Players, go fetch!" (And the other 9/10ths of the campaign is avoiding the Technocratic response)
    Oh, I completely misunderstood what you meant by Organization.

    Lack of a concrete goal for the Traditions was a problem Mage had since Revised...and one that M20, in my opinion, fixed a little but not enough.

    See:

    Before Revised declared that the Traditions lost we were young and there was the whole Ascencion War raging on: Technocracy was mostly "the bad guys" taking the fun of things for very convoluted reasons (to the point that the moon landing was cause for the NWO to reprimend the VE: It was deemed too gamorous and interesting for the Time Table). One would go take Technocratic Nodes, save people from MECHA, and figth in the moons of Jupiter. And also become a hippie proselitist, too. The Technocracy was stronger, but you could punch them in the face and there was a clear sense of purpose in the madness
    (in a sense, the psychodely was an end in itself).

    Late 2ed Mage started "growing up", started to notice that in a world that's largely better because technology and reason, the Technocracy doesn't seem so bad and it may be a good idea to have it as playable faction. Which was hugely popular...Revised doubled on this. The Problem?, that all that was left for the Traditions in this gloomy new world w/o psychodelic dreams was to roll over and die. Fragile Path (start of Revised) downright tells you to get a real job (and has a whole chapter on mages doing real jobs).

    This generated a backlash, that ended in the Roge Council as a tool to literally hand missions to the players much like you state. Too little, too late.

    While M20 doesn't do enough (in my opinion) to reverse the "pathos of rolling over and die", it clearly tries to do so: It declares that the Technocracy it's nowhere near winning against the Traditions (pointing religion everywhere), straightforwardly orders you to not roll over and die (saying it's out of character for mages), and even points to the Nephandi as "the real evil" if you feel unconfortable figthing the one faction that can be easily related to"progress" from an adult PoV. And that already gives you some breath...

    ...but it doesn't tell you what to do with that breath. Much like Revised (and to a lesser extent, since forever), it doesn't tell you how mages figth the good figth...what they're doing when they're not running and dying. And there I agree it fails.

    However M20 provides the 1º mechanic to "measure" the Ascencion War: Reality Zones. By taking Zones you can measure how strong it's X local Consensus vis a vis the Technocratic one. I think that's a step on the right direction because now expanding your Paradigm has a concrete benefit, rather than being just a way to call Technos. It's still not enough, Mage Traditions could really use a boost on morale to inspire players to do stuff.

    Originally posted by Gryffon15
    •The Masked Legion (This is a two-fer of references with the former referring to 'Anonymous' and the latter referring to the biblical Parable of the Legionaire which could be a cheeky wink/slap to the Union whom they now combat in the Union's own claimed turf.)
    I vote for this one.

    VA that aren't anarch cheeky hackers...are just low paid ItXers.

    They may not accept any name, but we need some label to talk about them...or they will become the IT guys.
    Last edited by Aleph; 12-30-2019, 02:18 PM.

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  • Gryffon15
    replied
    Perhaps a bit of a tangent from this main thread, but the mention of the Virtual Adept's new moniker as of M20 got me thinking.

    What could be some other good new names for them? A couple ideas:

    •Digital Adepts (slight upgrade)
    •The Cyber Guard (as a reference to their guardianship of humanities new technology)
    •Neo-Revolutionaries (This offers a further emphasis on the tradition's anarchic nature as well as a cheeky reference to The Matrix)
    •The Masked Legion (This is a two-fer of references with the former referring to 'Anonymous' and the latter referring to the biblical Parable of the Legionaire which could be a cheeky wink/slap to the Union whom they now combat in the Union's own claimed turf.)

    Although given the nature of the tradition, I also wouldn't be surprised if they refused to acknowledge any efforts to unify them under a single title, (their "leaders" recognizing the power of a shared title to bind them), and in fact might even combat it with all members proclaiming wildly different faction names and an exhausted Council of Traditions thus referring to them as either the 'Virtual Adepts' or if they actually want any of the Adepts to acknowledge hearing them and reply, simply the 'Seat of Correspondence', in reference to the pre-existing position rather then any specific title.

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  • MyWifeIsScary
    replied
    For realsies, I don't think Mage Spheres need a mechanical overhall, I would lament such a thing, especially since I consider the mechanical overhall of v5 to be an unmitigated disaster and wouldn't like a repeat of it in werewolf or mage. But I genuinely believe Mage could just be written better for new players. The same stuff mechanically, just presented in a better format.

    Oh, and at least a paragraph on how the traditions organize themselves in the main book would be great. Every other organization from the big three lines has an easily quantifiable template for how it's organizations work, and then there's the traditions who apparently don't. I find myself looking and thinking 'SO, how do I actually Run a M20 game?' Like with Vampire you've got court machinations or player ambitions, werewolf you've got a constant stream of dire quests, mage you've got destroying reality deviants and uplifting humanity or... becoming a film producer so that you can shift the consensus towards accepting Harry Potter as historical fiction? Like how does a Tradition game work, assuming your players aren't instigators? I can imagine one NPC going "I've got an Ingenious idea, Players, go fetch!" (And the other 9/10ths of the campaign is avoiding the Technocratic response)

    Leave a comment:


  • Aleph
    replied
    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    Imagine being asked "Did you expect to be able to read a rulebook and understand the rules?" or "Did you expect to be able to read a book and understand it's fiction?" Because I sure struggled with this notion. Yes, I expected to be able to understand Mage:The Ascension's core book by reading it.
    Well, obviously you were unaware of Mage: ​The Ascension reputation as "that game that it's complicated to understand", "that game that it's for philosophers/learned people", etc...

    Mind you, I think this has to change...I don't think it's a virtue of Mage to be hard to understand. But M20 keeping this trend has 0 to do with Satyros writting. M20 it's a compilation, it has some good ideas and a fix thrown here and there but it retains 100% of what made MtA the "complicated" game of the WoD

    I think that if Satyros and other writers were given leeway to overhaul the system, they could be able to reflect upon the experience in freeflow magic systems gathered by other RPGs with their own understanding of Mage to reimagine the system in a way that's less hermetic.

    1- Sounds like bad design
    I agree that it's bad design, but again it's not a design flaw of M20 in particular.

    2-I'm pretty confident in my capabilities to understand good design. I mean, I understood Vampire and Werewolf by reading them. Some sinking in and supplements were helpful, and I think I took to werewolf so well because I understood Vampire. Given That I'd understood both werewolf and vampire, it's not unreasonable to assume that I, a person of reasonable intellegence, would be able to understand Mage. As above, so below, right? Oh what Hubris.
    And even now, you insist you understood the game after just 2 reads...you should know better.

    One doesn't just understand mage. :P

    Fo reals tho; how do the traditions organize? Can't remember where it said they do.
    In the Book of Secrets.

    Though, really, they don't have a consistent organization. That's their whole problem, that in spite of having agreed on a general structure they're too individualistic to have any real organization outside "we gather in chantries" and a few common sense rules, and even then that's not always true for all members.

    Mind you, if you had entered in Revised (Satyros was less present) you would have needed to wait until Guide to the Traditions to know about their organization (arguably, it's still the best book regarding that subject).

    You're missing the point, Why are old orders of proud miracle workers so prone to zeitgeist? It's very clearly the work of one writer and not something with diagetic reasoning
    Perhaps because that's not what the Traditions (in spite of the name) are or were?

    The Traditions were always depicted as having an incredibly strong progressivist component, as far as I know, and I've played 2nd edition and read 1rst edition. The only exception it's Cruzade, and even there they were described as more progressive than their medium by the very fact of they working together.

    Mage: the Ascencion had a component of "old grump traditionalists vs the young new age progesist", but unlike Vampire the young were always the visible face of the Traditions because old masters had to leave for the Umbra thanks to Paradox. Also because mages aren't immortal by default, so their society "refreshes" a lot more than vampire society. The drama of Traditional Mage was always more about surviving the opression of the Technocracy rather than figthing the of-world grumps.

    Then there's also the whole Avatar Storm plot (canon in M20. In spite of the purple squares telling it's optional, it happened as far as metaplot advances are concerned) that removed all those old archmages, that were the ones depicted as being mostly Traditional, thus making the Traditions even more progressive than they already kinda were

    Maybe if you had read the book a third time...Sorry :P

    BtW: I completely agree with the Disparate part. You see, these were the uncompromising proud miracle workers of old editions. The idea to make the Disparate a "better Traditions" it's something I don't like from M20, it makes them less special (and I think the diegetic reasons given are pretty poor, but geting into that would warrant a different thread)

    mage is simple insofar as that you're not memorising massive spell lists, you're playing with dynamic magic within certain boundries set by the few dots you have and your paradigm. That should require a lot less reading than say, the DnD spell system and list. Given that there are only nine spheres, you could probably put it all down in less space than Vampire Disciplines and Werewolf Gifts.
    If you want actual rules. As in, rules, to govern a flexible magick system that can adapt to whatever the players can think w/o breaking in a millon houseruled pieces, you need a complex and robust group of flexible mechanics that allow to interact with every aspect of the whole System, complete with methaphisics explaining what's what, and various examples.

    It needs to give enough flexibility w/o needing to invent houserules each time a player wants to go a little outside of the norm.

    Making it "simpler" shouldn't be the main goal. If you do that you would either fall on Awakening 1e problem (that it was largely a list of spells, and players didn't understood well how to improvise with just 1 page in the core dealing with that) or on Urban Shadows "do whatever you want" magick """system""" (and for a game like that I would rather stick to Apocalipse engine)...or back with Mage "3 rules and 1 million exceptions" format

    If that needs more space than Werewolf, or just a cleverer use of space, I don't know.
    Last edited by Aleph; 12-30-2019, 12:25 PM.

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  • El Barto
    replied
    Personally, I thought the changed names were an interesting section, but they were just mentioned once and I felt the idea clashed with M20's timeline agnostic narrative voice. That more a personal feeling than a critique.

    But you are right, CaptOtter, metaplot-advacing M5 can and should use the new names since the context makes perfect sense. It's a new beginning for the Traditions and for the writers.

    Just not Mercurial Elite. I like Brucato's writing when it gets philosophically weird, but he's the paradigm of gen x in the rpg community.

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  • MyWifeIsScary
    replied
    Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
    Did you expect to be able to read any Mage: The Ascension core book just once and "grok" it all immediately?
    Imagine being asked "Did you expect to be able to read a rulebook and understand the rules?" or "Did you expect to be able to read a book and understand it's fiction?" Because I sure struggled with this notion. Yes, I expected to be able to understand Mage:The Ascension's core book by reading it.
    (a) misapprehended a learning curve that has historically operated as the biggest barrier to entry for the game; or (b) overestimated your own capacities.
    1- Sounds like bad design
    2-I'm pretty confident in my capabilities to understand good design. I mean, I understood Vampire and Werewolf by reading them. Some sinking in and supplements were helpful, and I think I took to werewolf so well because I understood Vampire. Given That I'd understood both werewolf and vampire, it's not unreasonable to assume that I, a person of reasonable intellegence, would be able to understand Mage. As above, so below, right? Oh what Hubris.

    Fo reals tho; how do the traditions organize? Can't remember where it said they do.

    Why wouldn't a group get to name themselves?
    You're missing the point, Why are old orders of proud miracle workers so prone to zeitgeist? It's very clearly the work of one writer and not something with diagetic reasoning

    I would argue that Vampire operates on the ultimate meritocracy, if you consider that "might" and "merit" are the same thing to a society of ruthless predators and monsters playing an endless zero-sum game.
    ultimate meritocrasy isn't meritocracy. Next you'll argue libertarianism sustainably offers equal opportunity or how the Nazis were socialst.
    Seriously, you knew exactly what I meant, and decided to ignore that to be 'right'. If that's the kind of thing you're doing to be 'right', you should reconsider your standing

    There's nothing simple about the magic system in this game, or paradigm/foci/instruments/etc. If there's one thing the entire fandom seems to agree on (or at least I thought it did) it's that Mage is far more complex game than any other WoD game, and most other RPGs.
    mage is simple insofar as that you're not memorising massive spell lists, you're playing with dynamic magic within certain boundries set by the few dots you have and your paradigm. That should require a lot less reading than say, the DnD spell system and list. Given that there are only nine spheres, you could probably put it all down in less space than Vampire Disciplines and Werewolf Gifts.

    I want to understand what you're trying to say with this, though I'm fairly certain I'll disagree with it because the tone of the statement is dismissive and full of contempt,
    Not exactly a good reason to be disagreeing[/quote] and I happen to like M20 even if I don't think it's perfect.

    What I find confusing is that your other complaints above seem to indicate that you have a problem with a particular sociopolitical bend to the content, or perhaps that the game has politics at all; in other words, there are political statements being made both explicitly and implicitly. I don't know that I would characterize that as having "less to say". On the contrary, the game seems to have a great deal to say; the fact that you may not agree with these particular social politics, or that they may be deeply upsetting to you, doesn't change the fact that the message/statement is there for better or worse.
    This is very wrong. I care very deeply about literature and satire, and am very upset when the quality is lowered. Satire works when it appeals to a broad audience, not when it's self-indulgent and preaches to a choir, and I feel that M20 made it very clear that it was doing the latter.

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  • CaptOtter
    replied
    Originally posted by El Barto View Post
    The Dreamspeakers were the only ones changing their slave name. And to be fair, accusing the rest of the traditions as colonialists using the DS as a "tribal dump" was a part of their characterization since 2nd or revised. As for the rest... yeah, it's kinda dumb that everyone got caught in this renaming zeitgeist. The names themselves range from cringey(mercurial elite) to unnecesary(verbenae) to reasonable(chakravanti, the tradition's oldest roots) to actually cooler(Society of Aether, a name that sounds even more like a pompous gentleman's club than Sons of Ether).
    The changeover all at once makes sense to me in light of the fact that, at least if you're using Revised canon, the top of all the hierarchies got cutoff and the leadership necessarily skewed younger and newer to the game--i.e., no attachments to old labels, less nostalgia for the way things were/have been, etc.

    In addition to the fact that the writing was on the wall for the DS going back to earlier editions, I think the same thing can be said of the Sons of Ether, whose 2nd ed. and Revised Tradition books had scattered mentions of how individual members of the tradition weren't keen on the gendered naming; for instance, in the 2ed. book, there are "excerpts" on pages 34-35 from Paradigma wherein feminist Etherites argue for changing the name of the Trad. In the Revised Trad. book, on page 11, in the "Lexicon", it says, "Etherite: informal, popular term for a member of the Sons of Ether. Favored by Scientists who would like to divest themselves of sexist connotations of the Tradition's proper name". Another mention of these talking points are brought up in-character on page 26:
    “‘Sons of Ether’ it says. So, no ladies allowed?” A definite note of disappointment was in Ace’s adolescent voice.
    “Hah! Don’t you believe it, kid! That’s just leftover terminology from the Victorian Age, when old white guys held all the big Chairs. Everyone’s been so busy fightin’ the good fight, no one took the time to call the printer and change the letterhead. Maybe it is sexist to leave it that way, but we ain’t the only ones. The Akashic Brotherhood’s had plenty of Akashic Sisters for thousands of years, so what’s their excuse? Maybe all us humans are just too lazy to change how we talk, ’specially if there’s extra syllables involved. Necessity’s a mother, I guess.”
    That passage also notes that they've only been the "Sons of Ether" since 1905, before which they were the Electrodyne Engineers (when they were still with the Technocracy) for less than half a century, before which they were the Guild of Natural Philosophers (for seemingly centuries), and before that they were House Golo in the Order of Hermes--so it's not like the full weight of history is supporting the name "Sons of Ether"; it seems like these people change their name with some frequency. I also like the move by the Euthanatos to go to Chakravanti, and the other name (that reflects the more Greek traditions). I feel like it portends a sort of split in the tradition between sides that should probably never have been so seamless.

    That said, I agree that "Mercurial Elite" is an ugly and clunky name. I understand them changing their name (as it's weird that they're still using the name and symbol from when they were in the Technocracy), but Mercurial Elite is weird, and confusing given The Order of Hermes archaic name (Cult of Mercury). And it's also weird that the Verbena would bother changing their name to anything.

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  • El Barto
    replied
    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    I also found the "everyone gets to name themselves" of M20 to be in massively poor taste. This is da world of darkness, you're supposed to have a slave name. This nice ultra-progressive crap just doesn't belong in a world where things are meant to be shit. If one group changed their name, sure, but they all got up at once and said 'Fuck the Order of Hermes, we're using a gender neutral word from a specific culture (Even if, y'know, Each tradition isn't supposed to represent a specific group) Oh and there was that really weird section on using third gender pronouns that got ignored by the rest of the book... Plus there was all that... Disparate stuff? Why is that a thing, They're disparate, so they shouldn't become the Disparates. It's like having all the different racists of the world uniting against the non-racists. M20's politics were an absolute laughing stock. Imagine if vampires became meritocratic or Black Furries started allowing biologically homid men.
    The Dreamspeakers were the only ones changing their slave name. And to be fair, accusing the rest of the traditions as colonialists using the DS as a "tribal dump" was a part of their characterization since 2nd or revised. As for the rest... yeah, it's kinda dumb that everyone got caught in this renaming zeitgeist. The names themselves range from cringey(mercurial elite) to unnecesary(verbenae) to reasonable(chakravanti, the tradition's oldest roots) to actually cooler(Society of Aether, a name that sounds even more like a pompous gentleman's club than Sons of Ether). And they were mentioned once and then dropped entirely, like that pronoun sidebar. At least stick to your guns.

    As for the disparates, again, explaining the name as sarcasm somehow makes it cringier. But the idea of a new alliance of crafts at least makes them more useful than them just being around or dead like before.

    And just for the record 1) You can find meritocratic vampire societies in the Anarchs. Still full of conniving monsters. 2) I actually like the idea of new world Furies being trans-inclusive while the old Greek cairns are run by TERFs. Adds tension to the group.

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  • CaptOtter
    replied
    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    This was my first mage book I read from cover to cover, and I felt like I needed to read it again to sink in (I believe I read some of revised or 2nd previously).
    Did you expect to be able to read any Mage: The Ascension core book just once and "grok" it all immediately? If the first time you read M20 was the first time you ever read an entire Mage book (which is to say you had not previously read or learned any prior edition of the setting or rules), I don't think any experienced Mage player or ST would expect you (or any other similarly situated person) to have "gotten" the entire game--i.e., understood and internalized all the rules and minutiae, all the ways the spheres work and interact, all the metaphysics--after a single read through. If you're taking points off because you had to read the book twice before you "got it," I'm gonna say that you either (a) misapprehended a learning curve that has historically operated as the biggest barrier to entry for the game; or (b) overestimated your own capacities.

    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    I also found the "everyone gets to name themselves" of M20 to be in massively poor taste. This is da world of darkness, you're supposed to have a slave name. This nice ultra-progressive crap just doesn't belong in a world where things are meant to be shit. If one group changed their name, sure, but they all got up at once and said 'Fuck the Order of Hermes, we're using a gender neutral word from a specific culture (Even if, y'know, Each tradition isn't supposed to represent a specific group)
    Why wouldn't a group get to name themselves? I mean, who else is going to name them? You imply that everyone changed their name to buck the Hermetics, but who did they ever name? At best the Order names its own internal Houses, but it's not like the Order named the Euthanatos, Sons of Ether, Verbena, Akashic Brotherhood, Virtual Adepts, etc. I mean, which of the name changes specifically did you have an issue with, and why? And who exactly is going to stop a tradition from changing their name? Even if the Hermetics were interested in policing people on that level, their hegemony, even as of 2ed., was waning heavily. They have bigger fish to fry than the Sons of Ether changing their name for the third or fourth time in 150 years.

    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    [T]here was all that... Disparate stuff? Why is that a thing, They're disparate, so they shouldn't become the Disparates.
    I don't see the issue here--if the Nine Traditions (some of which have generational vendettas against one another) can form an alliance for 500 years, a smaller number of groups, with a collectively smaller number of members, with no noted bad blood between them, should have an easier time making a handshake deal work for 20-30 years. The book also notes their meeting and dealing with one another starting in the early-90's is a function of the rise of globalism and the ever increasing interconnectedness of the world via telecom and the internet. This mirrors a very real phenomenon: small pockets of special interest groups finding one another and organizing over the internet--which has yielded good and bad results, regardless of where you stand politically (i.e., I think the resurgence of unabashed open-and-notorious white supremacy is bad, but the fact that queer people have been able to find one another, and build community and find support is good; whereas a white supremacist gender fascist would think the resurgence of out-in-the-open white supremacy is good, but would think queer people finding community online is bad and gross). And from a purely game-ist standpoint, why wouldn't you want more splats and factions with which to concoct intrigues and stories?

    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    Imagine if vampires became meritocratic
    I would argue that Vampire operates on the ultimate meritocracy, if you consider that "might" and "merit" are the same thing to a society of ruthless predators and monsters playing an endless zero-sum game.

    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    M20 really made a simple thing seem very complicated.
    There's nothing simple about the magic system in this game, or paradigm/foci/instruments/etc. If there's one thing the entire fandom seems to agree on (or at least I thought it did) it's that Mage is far more complex game than any other WoD game, and most other RPGs.

    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    M20 wasmuch bigger than V20 and W20 and i really felt like it had less to say.
    I want to understand what you're trying to say with this, though I'm fairly certain I'll disagree with it because the tone of the statement is dismissive and full of contempt, and I happen to like M20 even if I don't think it's perfect. What I find confusing is that your other complaints above seem to indicate that you have a problem with a particular sociopolitical bend to the content, or perhaps that the game has politics at all; in other words, there are political statements being made both explicitly and implicitly. I don't know that I would characterize that as having "less to say". On the contrary, the game seems to have a great deal to say; the fact that you may not agree with these particular social politics, or that they may be deeply upsetting to you, doesn't change the fact that the message/statement is there for better or worse.

    Leave a comment:

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