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  • I think he mentioned the rise of (my words) hysterical fundamentalism around the world across the last 20 years, including secular and religious, and a general fatalism and indolence on the part of everyone who has not become a part of the hysterical fundamentalism. All the systems and types of reasonable faith are falling apart. The Nephandi are the only ones really getting what they want.

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    • Originally posted by Konradleijon View Post
      What recent developments? 8chan? Cause it’s my head cannon that in the WOD that Vile site is owned by the Nephandi.

      The rise of Far right authoritarianism? Cause fuck that,

      I'm not sure how much Headcanon that is after Book of the Fallen.

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      • I've not read Book of the Fallen. Does it mention 8chan specifically? Or just discuss on-line nihilistic assholes as a general thing?

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        • Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
          I've not read Book of the Fallen. Does it mention 8chan specifically? Or just discuss on-line nihilistic assholes as a general thing?

          Not 8chan specifically, but a couple of Nephandi are described as doing that sort of thing explicitly.

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          • Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
            I think he mentioned the rise of (my words) hysterical fundamentalism around the world across the last 20 years, including secular and religious, and a general fatalism and indolence on the part of everyone who has not become a part of the hysterical fundamentalism. All the systems and types of reasonable faith are falling apart. The Nephandi are the only ones really getting what they want.
            That could dovetail neatly with what we've all seen in promotional materials for Werewolf, and the idea expressed earlier in this thread that Mage and Werewolf are uniquely suited for crossover. The triumph of nihilism over scientific consensus at the political level is a democratic expression of the same phenomenon in the minds of the public, but that's because they've been coached for decades by media owned by (in the WoD) Malfean-aligned corporate entities like the Pentex subsidiaries.

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            • I don't know if a crossover is in the cards, but both splats are at the end of their respective ropes and at the end of their shared world.

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              • I meant at the game table than rather than an official crossover book, which I agree would be unlikely - especially with the issue of contracting the work out still up in the air for Mage.

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                • Originally posted by Lian View Post


                  Not 8chan specifically, but a couple of Nephandi are described as doing that sort of thing explicitly.
                  Interesting reminds me of this Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMabpBvtXr4

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                  • I agree with the sentiment that the Technocracy have lost as well as the Traditions, which makes it more obvious it's the Nephandi who have won.

                    On the development of a hypothetical 5th edition, I have mixed feelings on the "cut Brucato out" idea. He writes amazing fluff on the nature of magic and paradigm. He has gripping pose about characterizing your PC and how to *think* about playing the game.

                    At the same time, he is overly verbose, using two dozen words where ten would do. His ability to write consistent mechanics, that are (1) easy to understand (2) laid out and easy to find in the book (3) organize them in a coherent fashion are terrible.

                    In M20, he got so busy pontificating about magic, that most of the rules and content on the actual magic had to be released in another two books. Let that sink in. This is not someone I'd want making a brand new edition of the game. It's well time that someone else with a better mechanical grasp of the game took over. At the same time, I worry that such a person wouldn't *get* the game like Brucato does.

                    So. I have many mixed feelings on possible M5.

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                    • Originally posted by Tytalus View Post
                      At the same time, he is overly verbose, using two dozen words where ten would do. His ability to write consistent mechanics, that are (1) easy to understand (2) laid out and easy to find in the book (3) organize them in a coherent fashion are terrible.
                      I see this as a call for a better editor. You can keep Brucato, and just have someone who is going to reign him in more.

                      Originally posted by Tytalus View Post
                      In M20, he got so busy pontificating about magic, that most of the rules and content on the actual magic had to be released in another two books. Let that sink in. This is not someone I'd want making a brand new edition of the game. It's well time that someone else with a better mechanical grasp of the game took over. At the same time, I worry that such a person wouldn't *get* the game like Brucato does.
                      I don't see why you can't have both: Brucato who understands and has a working vision of how the metaphysics of the game function, and then get someone in there with a head for game systems and numbers, so that the system consistently operates according to Brucato's vision of the metaphysics, while still being as balanced and functional as possible.

                      That said, I don't think it's fair to characterize the discussion of metaphysics and the like as "fluff". It very much is the game. With rules as expansive as these, you are just not going to be able to cover even 50% of all use scenarios; and when it comes time to make a call about how something works (or whether it even works in the first place,) you can't necessarily always synthesize a solution from a laundry list of bright-line system rules of how to cast this or that particular effect (i.e., How Do You Do That). In many cases, you need an understanding of what, within the fiction of the game, the character is actually doing when they impose their magical will on reality--the "big picture"/forest-as-opposed-to-the-trees view of the game and system are what are going to let you reason out what would actually happen in weird edge cases. In other words, while a list of common effects and how to do them is important, it's ultimately more important that I understand how magic instantiates itself in the world (which is essentially an ontological question) so that I can make the right calls at my tables.


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                      • Originally posted by Tytalus View Post
                        I agree with the sentiment that the Technocracy have lost as well as the Traditions, which makes it more obvious it's the Nephandi who have won.

                        On the development of a hypothetical 5th edition, I have mixed feelings on the "cut Brucato out" idea. He writes amazing fluff on the nature of magic and paradigm. He has gripping pose about characterizing your PC and how to *think* about playing the game.

                        At the same time, he is overly verbose, using two dozen words where ten would do. His ability to write consistent mechanics, that are (1) easy to understand (2) laid out and easy to find in the book (3) organize them in a coherent fashion are terrible.

                        In M20, he got so busy pontificating about magic, that most of the rules and content on the actual magic had to be released in another two books. Let that sink in. This is not someone I'd want making a brand new edition of the game. It's well time that someone else with a better mechanical grasp of the game took over. At the same time, I worry that such a person wouldn't *get* the game like Brucato does.

                        So. I have many mixed feelings on possible M5.
                        It’s a good summation. Nobody could ever accuse Brucato of not loving the source material. However, I think his personal vision of what Mage should be is as good as it going to get with M20 and it’s supplements. The beauty of how game WoD publishing works these days is that nothing completely goes out of print - people will always be able to buy M20 in PDF or POD format from drivethrurpg. That said, I’d probably argue against getting the POD, because that verbosity you speak of has made the corebook unfathomably and impractically big, but oh well.

                        The other criticism of Brucato I’d make is he sometimes gets so passionate about his own vision he can ignore due vigilance over historical details or technical accuracy. My personal beef is that Forces gets defined in the game as ‘elemental energies’ - which is not what a Force is (it’s an interaction between matter - a push or a pull). The definition has become blurred in Brucato’s writings. Other people I have played with have also complained of his writing style - possibly because of his politics which are entirely evident, but also the general ‘I’m a hardcore hipster, MAAAN!' tone. Neither Mage 1st edition or Mage Revised (which Brucato didn’t write) have that tone.

                        But I don’t wan’t to be critical unduly. M20 had an excellent focus on paradigm, looks beautiful and is the first version of Mage that is fully ‘complete’. I just think that no game exists in stasis, and if a new game emerges (which still just may not happen), I’d like a different voice to be heard - and there lots of writers outside of Brucato that ‘get’ magic too - John Snead, Malcom Sheppard, Greg Stolze, John Tynes, Jonathon Tweet, and so on. The 1st edition, lest we forget, didn’t involve Brucato at all. The game can move on.
                        Last edited by Trippy; 12-29-2019, 05:13 PM.

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                        • I think M20 was a mess. 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). Even though I get the magic system, I still can't remember reading a good bit about how the politics of mage are supposed to pan out. The Technocracy seems self-evident, but the traditions... Like, What am I doing with these guys?

                          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.

                          As for paradigms and spheres, I really feel like they could've used a very succinct way of getting the message across and it could've been miles better. M20 really made a simple thing seem very complicated. M20 wasmuch bigger than V20 and W20 and i really felt like it had less to say.


                          V5 is not VTM

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                          • M20'd "How Do You Do That" book had a bad case of mixing up paradigm and rules abstractions, examples being Dream speakers needing to add the spirit sphere to any magic they try and sacrificing life force going from a prime 3 + Life 3 effect to a prime 1 effect for arbitrary reasons.

                            I never understood the "This effect falls under dot 3 of sphere X, but this one case should be easy/hard in this one case so I'm making it dot 1-2/4-5" thing white-wolf writers do. It doesn't make sense in system to tie difficulty level with sphere level, that'd be better to tie into difficulty number and successes needed.

                            Sphere levels are better left as opening up knew ways to interact with their element at each level. As is the basic template for forces:
                            Forces 1 lets you sense forces, Forces 2 should let you alter simple forces(heat, electricity, light, movement, etc.), Forces 3 should let you transmute simple Forces(heat into light or electricity or etc.), Forces 4 should let you bend complex systems of multiaple forces(a storm system like a storm front or a nuclear reaction), Forces 5 should let you Transmute complex systems(a tornado into a nuclear explosion).

                            The difference between levels isn't necessarily about power. forces 1 user with enough Arete(and Mind) can sense and interpret all of the radio signals, digital outputs and light patterns across north america. A forces 5 user could be stuck barely able to make tiny, self-sustaining tornadoes that are only large enough to fit in a ship-in-a-bottle kit if they don't take gaining enlightenment with any seriousness.

                            I think it works the best like that. Let the mind 1 mage read minds because mind 5 mage doesn't use mind 5 to just Read minds, they can Create minds or let minds roam independently of flesh, force, and matter.

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                            • 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.


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                              • 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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