Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Thinking about M5

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Thinking about M5

    It's a long way off, if we ever do see it, but when we do, I think we should expect some big changes. I don't expect all of them to be popular.

    First of all, I think the traditions need an update. Trads like the Verbenae and the Euthanatos need to drop some of the artistic license that has been heaped on them. V5 responded to this, I think, to just let the Ravnos fade out of the picture. I would rather see this unnecessary baggage fade away and leave a more culturally sensitive traditions in their wake.

    In M20 Brucato opened up the favored spheres options for the traditions. While I like neat and orderly systems where everyone has a place, I think for a group as diverse as the traditions to stay in neat little categories is pretty unrealistic, which is why he did it. The fact that the Disparate Alliance is even a thing is kind of a failure of the Traditions, when they insisted on shoving all of the "crafts" into preexisting Traditions. I would like to see an M5 where either the Disparate Alliance has been brought into the fold of the Traditions, or there is some kind of diplomatic process ongoing between the Disparates and Traditions, as they are both really fighting for the same thing. Perhaps even with the Dreamspeakers/Kha'vadi "crossing the table" so to speak.

    That said, I think one issue Mage is going to have to grapple with is that when you look at the Traditions and Disparates, you see the religions of the world laid out before you almost like character classes. On one hand this might lead players to investigate belief systems and cultures that are outside their normal experience, which is ultimately a good thing. On the other, the writers have to be very careful in how these things are presented, and that isn't always easy. Not all of them have been handled well in the past, and changing them while keeping the fans happy is a difficult balance. They had several missteps in how they rolled out V5, and unless they can get their house in order, Mage proves to be a virtual minefield.

    As for the Technocracy, I think the conflict of magic vs. technology is largely over. I think the real question with technology is one of ethics. Information is being gathered on people at an unprecedented scale. Governments are spying on their own citizens. Fascism is on the rise, and people are beginning to question capitalism. Global warming is becoming even more threatening every year. I think it is on these questions that the Technocracy is going to have to declare where they stand. I don't think it is reasonable to expect that the Technocracy will be a monolith in that regard. I don't read the technocracy books much to see how they are presented lately but I think there should be a significant portion of the technocracy that are really in it for the power. "protecting the sleepers" is starting to wear pretty thin and I think a number of technocrats are going to have to face up to that. I expect that a significant number of technocrats are going to push back against the new technocratic dictators, which will probably be a major source of struggle in M5.

    In terms of the spheres, I would expect a bit of a restructuring here. In V5, we saw the Disciplines transformed into trees: one character with Potence 3 is not necessarily going to be the same as another with Potence 3, depending on what abilities they chose. I think we might see similar in M5. One mage with Forces might do better with natural phenomena, like weather, fire, or temperature while another might do better with magnetism, radio waves, and lasers. A Spirit Mage might be able to summon and bind spirits, while another might do better at mediation.

    And/or we might see a unifying structure like the practices in Mage: The Awakening applied to the Spheres. Sometimes the spheres can feel a little haphazard (Entropy 5 lets you do entropic mind effects... without Mind?) and the Practices of Awakening do a lot to help to understand the spheres.

    I think a lot of us see the potential of the hunger dice system being adapted to paradox. I hope they give paradox plenty of teeth. I think the setting feels a little thin when mages get away with blatant effects with little repercussion.

    Mage has always had a bit of a cult following, and I think if they are interested in bringing M5 to life, they are going to want to make the game a lot more newbie friendly. I think it can be done, but I wonder how many Mage fans are going to stand for the changes.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Froggy711 View Post
    It's a long way off, if we ever do see it, but when we do, I think we should expect some big changes. I don't expect all of them to be popular.

    In M20 Brucato opened up the favored spheres options for the traditions. While I like neat and orderly systems where everyone has a place, I think for a group as diverse as the traditions to stay in neat little categories is pretty unrealistic, which is why he did it.
    This has been a part of Mage since the Revised Tradition books or even before, I think...


    "No, no, don't look any further, my profile is actually more handsome than me"

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Alqamar Alaswad View Post

      This has been a part of Mage since the Revised Tradition books or even before, I think...
      Kind of. In Revised, each tradition had one official favored sphere, and different traditions described subfactions that replaced the favored sphere with another one. Often these subfactions were crafts that had been absorbed into the Tradition, since by Revised fiction, the crafts had all but been wiped out. (i.e. The Order of Hermes' favored sphere was Forces, but if I chose House Fortunae, I could choose Entropy as my favored sphere.)

      M20 broke with that and just gave some traditions multiple options when selecting favored sphere, no strings attached. M20 also favored giving many of the former crafts their own identities again in the Disparate Alliance.
      Last edited by Froggy711; 06-26-2020, 05:08 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, you are right. Kind of, but the seed was already there.


        "No, no, don't look any further, my profile is actually more handsome than me"

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Alqamar Alaswad View Post
          Yes, you are right. Kind of, but the seed was already there.
          I guess what I was trying to say is that we will probably see a continuation of this trend. The "9 seat" system of the Traditions may completely go out the window. We may see the Disparate Alliance and the Traditions come under the same umbrella, partially or in whole, or even see Traditions leave and join the Disparates. I think how this plays out will depend a lot on how these groups can be handled while keeping an eye on cultural sensitivity, and still keeping the fans happy.

          Comment


          • #6
            Aside for a need for brevity and a streamlining of the magic system there are a few things I'd love to see:

            1: Is that I'd love to see an idea in the storyteller's handbook followed up on as the foundation for the traditions in m5, continuing where revised left off: that the fall of the Archmagi was actually a good thing, it was an idea that changed my entire perspective on revised; the idea that a bunch of powerful obsolete old folks had decided to retreat from the world and spend their time politicking and trying to win a fight they lost in the renaissance in some far-flung spirit world wasn't helping the world or the tradition's cause, and that without being tied down by people with ancient grudges and little respect for the modern era the mages actually have an opportunity to change things and are in a better position to band together and have a greater tolerance for eachother than ever before. Take revised's focus and change the presentation to an optimistic one, being about rediscovering lost ancient lore (perhaps have that as a prerequisite for seekings required to actually up both gnosis and spheres, you'd actually have to earn something about magic), uniting the scattered traditions and actually making headway into becoming apart of consensus. For a game about the ascension war, it'd be nice if that actually mattered, keep revised's street-level focus and be about what new wonder or terror is behind the curtain.

            2: Trigger a technocracy schism, as a group the technocracy has always been inconsistently either Orwellian Illuminati seeking to control the world and suppress humanity and the protectors of humanity from magic boldly exploring the boundaries of Science! and they've never quite been willing to commit more fully to either one, and instead letting the storyteller decide, not an inherently bad idea but it does make them a bit inconsistent narratively. However, late in revised it was heavily implied that the higher orders of the Technocracy had fallen to the nephandi and become a force that was actively crippling mankind's ability to awaken. Build on that idea, have a large number of lower-ranking members and void engineers defect to form their own order, taking back their original name of the Order of Reason to distinguish themselves and refocus on being a force of innovation for humanity and have them band together with the new council, allowing you to distinguish between playable technocracy and the technocracy as an antagonist faction (as well as lose that subtle 'modern technology is bad' vibe Mage never quite lost)

            Let that be the status quo focused on in the text, a united front of innovaters and philosophers of all kind fighting against a stagnant and tyrannical force. If the WoD5 era is about going back to thematic basics with a revised system than let M5 be about going back to 1st editions street level conspiracies within mysteries, let it be a game about discovering magic, more than just knowing it. Let the bleakness of the revised era give way to a more fun game about fighting for humanity with reality itself on the line.

            Comment


            • #7
              It would be interesting, I think, to see Brucato's Mage Made Easy used as a blueprint for M5:

              • Start Simple, then add more: have the overall plan be for the M5 core book to be geared toward a style of play that's intimate, immediate, and personal, discarding metaplot and emphasizing arcane approaches instead of mystical societies, while sticking mostly to the mortal realm. But have the first wave of supplements dive into the elements of Mage that the above only briefly sketches or leaves out entirely. For instance, the first supplement after the core book could be “Ascension War”; and this book, not the core book, would introduce the Traditions, Technocracy, and Disparates, and the history and current affairs of the struggle in which they're engaged. Another early supplement would be a new edition of the Book of Worlds, which would facilitate games that delve deeply into Mage's otherworlds. And so on.

              • M5 magic would start with Focus, followed by Common Magickal Effects, and only then get into the Spheres. Consider listing a half-dozen or so Common Magickal Effects for each Practice, so a player has some idea at a glance not only of how the Practitioners Magick works, but also what it does.

              • Replace the Coincidental/Vulgar divide with a Subtle/Uncanny/Extreme split, and replace Paradox with Resonance and/or Echoes; or replace the Backlash mechanics with something potentially as simple as “a five-point Backlash manifests as a five-success Effect that your character could perform (i.e., conforming to his Focus and Spheres), but chosen and directed by the Storyteller instead of the player.”


              Comment


              • #8
                I have not read Mage Made Easy, but his M20 work has certainly made me a fan.

                Comment


                • #9
                  What I would like to see is like someone commented before a split in the technocracy and the traditions, with that split creating a new organization formed by the sons of the ether, the virtual adepts, nuavalon, the void engineers, and maybe someone else. They would act as a counterpoint to the technocracy, while the technocracy becomes a literal Illuminati like conspiracy obsessed with absolute control no matte r what. The traditions would absorb some of the disparate alliance organizations and become sort of guardians of the mythical and mystical, not with the intention of bringing a new dark age, but to guard the loss of knowledge and show humanity the power they have within themselves.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Firanai View Post
                    What I would like to see is like someone commented before a split in the technocracy and the traditions, with that split creating a new organization formed by the sons of the ether, the virtual adepts, nuavalon, the void engineers, and maybe someone else. They would act as a counterpoint to the technocracy, while the technocracy becomes a literal Illuminati like conspiracy obsessed with absolute control no matte r what. The traditions would absorb some of the disparate alliance organizations and become sort of guardians of the mythical and mystical, not with the intention of bringing a new dark age, but to guard the loss of knowledge and show humanity the power they have within themselves.
                    Well, I posted this factional setup a while back:

                    ~~~~

                    THE TRADITIONS
                    -Led by the New Horizon Council based in New Zealand, they seek to keep magic and mysticism alive in the modern world, generally fine with modern society and technology.
                    -Order of Hermes,
                    -Euthanatos/Chakravanti
                    -Solificati/Children of Knowledge
                    -Ahl-i-Batin
                    -Verbena
                    -Dreamspeakers/Kha'vadi
                    -Celestial Chorus
                    -Akashayana
                    -CoX/Sahajiya

                    THE NEW ORDER OF REASON
                    -Seek to purge the corrupted leaders of the Technocracy to establish a safe, stable reality and lead mankind into a technological utopia.
                    -IBM (International Brotherhood of Mechanicians), ItX as presented in Revised
                    -Virtual Adepts
                    -Society of Ether (Highly tense with the others apart from the Adepts, it's unclear if they'll stick on after Threat Null is dealt with)
                    -Revised Syndicate
                    -Revised Progenitors (One of the smallest conventions of the NOR, large numbers stayed with the Technocracy)
                    -Lightkeepers (Revised NWO, also rather small)
                    -Void Engineers

                    TECHNOCRATIC UNION
                    -Corrupted by Threat Null, the leadership have become as ruthless and totalitarian as they were back in the early 90s. These co-opted elements must be taken down before they break down the Gauntlet and allow Threat Null to openly invade Earth ...

                    THE DISPARATE ALLIANCE
                    -A grab-bag of insular crafts allied for self-defense who try to keep their idiosyncratic cultural forms of magic alive in the modern day, and reject the idea of the Traditions that all mages essentially do the same thing.

                    ROGUE COUNCIL
                    -Fanatical traditionalists led by spiritised Tradition masters and archmasters in the Umbra, a mix of old-school Ascension warriors who never stopped fighting for various personal reasons and younger mages who have romanticised the conflicts of the past. The strawman version of the Traditions, these are radicals who reject the New Horizon Council and want to bring modern civilisation down so they can party like it's 1399.

                    NEPHANDI AND MARAUDERS
                    -You know the drill.
                    Last edited by Czernobog; 06-26-2020, 10:26 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'd prefer a setting update that at once both more modest and more radical than that.

                      More modest: the Traditions get renamed as per M20's New Horizon Council. The Technocracy has reorganized, and Navalon had jumped ship. And the Disparate Alliance has “gone public” (to the extent that any secret society can go public).

                      More radical: the default protagonists of the game are what used to be called Orphans — though as with M20, they've got all the diversity of the magical organizations of the earlier editions, and then some.

                      The more aggressive Technocracy is pretty much required, considering that it is apparently behind V5's Second Inquisition.


                      Comment


                      • #12
                        -The Avatar storm has chilled out
                        -Mages have become more interested in political ideology, and there is some small infighting with that, but there's nothing huge to shake up how things are going. Perhaps they see ascension as something that might need to happen soon. The Nephandi are everywhere; the left, the right, big government and small. Don't make the same mistake as vampire.
                        -The M20 alternative names never happened. The disparates remain seperate.


                        I actually think they can't do a mage. Given how they've treated magic in vampire, it seems a bit much to ask.


                        Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm the opposite. I hope they keep the new tradition names and the Disparate Alliance. For me, both of these changes feel like a logical progression within the setting. Assuming the Avatar Storm did happen, and the Archmages are gone, then it would be the younger mages, with more modern ideas, who are in charge of the Traditions. The new names are a nice way to underscore that there are new people in charge, with different values, who want to be perceived differently than their predecessors.

                          And honestly, I've always loved the idea of the Disparate Alliance. The Traditions aren't the answer for everyone and it makes sense to me that the Crafts would both want to protect themselves, but also not want to get involved in the Traditions' particular brand of politics. I'd really like to see some long term ramifications of the sudden emergence of a new group amidst the long time Ascension War stalwarts.

                          Beyond that, I'm not really sure what I'd want to see. I think maybe I'd like to see more focus on the individual Traditions, Conventions, and Crafts as their own entities, beyond their roles as part of the Traditions/Technocracy/Alliance. Like what kind of secret goals, or alliances, or rivalries do they have between one another? What are the Janissaries or the House Helekars of this new generation? That kind of thing.

                          ETA: Mostly, I'd really like to see more emphasis on conflict that isn't just Nephandi manipulation. I like the Nephandi, as villains, but I sometimes think the setting relies a bit too much on them, when the Traditions and Conventions, and probably the Crafts too, are full of plenty of jerks who can make trouble for their own reasons.
                          Last edited by kalinara; 06-26-2020, 05:27 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            IBM (International Brotherhood of Mechanicians) is a cool alternative to It X.

                            I've been tinkering around with the idea of naming a group in the Technocracy that just does chemistry/physics stuff but I'm lacking a name....

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm also a big fan of both the new names for the Traditions and the Disparate Alliance (with the one sticking point that Orphans should be more clearly divided from them) for much of the reasons said above - both to show the progression of time and in some cases to provide more accurate names or to counter some of the ambiences that have sprouted up amongst the traditions.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X