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The collected Fiction Inspirations for Mage: The Ascension

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  • The web comic Gunnerkrigg Court seems like a good fit. It's about what at first seems like a Hogwarts on a bigger scale, but they view magic as a form of advanced science or technology. The Court is in conflict with a forest that amounts to Arcadia, who refuse technology and view magic as everything. It also builds on the idea of human belief shaping reality, though thus far it's a small part of the story.

    And what path do you present to me?


    • Illuminati RPG cardgame is hilarious and fits perfectly for larger scope games.


      • A really obscure suggestion would be Sermomancy, a web serial that had a gimmick about being 1001 word stories or chapters, each posted once a day for 1001 days. (Unfortunately, the writer was forced to abandon the project after only 55 updates, with no signs of it coming back. A crying shame, if you ask me, but such things happen.)

        The premise of the story - the narrative through line for the central plot of its multiple plotlines - was a magic system wherein a magician (a Sermomancer) writes and binds a book, and names it in the language of magic. If it's at least 1001 words long, and has a name that hasn't been used yet for Sermomancy, the book becomes the focus for some magical effect, determined by the title and the contents of the story. One example from the serial is where a character desperately needs information about Sermomancy, and so writes a story designed to give him access to someone or something that can give him answers. When he finishes binding the book and doing the magic, the book is endowed with an intelligence, and can answer questions dynamically. He, in effect, created a familiar; to his chagrin, he wrote his familiar as a smart-ass in the story, and so a smart-ass it became.

        It was this intriguing premise for magical creation, and got me imagining how the act of storytelling could be framed as a method of magic unto itself. I actually used it as inspiration for one of the characters I came up with over in the 1001 characters thread.

        It also got me thinking about how the system could be logically extended to more flexible magic. What's to stop a Sermomancer, for instance, from creating a book whose whole function is to define a practical method for casting a particular spell? Like, the Sermomancer writes a short story where a wizard - their literary avatar that may populate many of their Sermomancy books - pulls out a wand, and the narrative describes in detail what wood it's made from, its length (between such and such inches long), how it's decorated, etc. Then have the wizard character speak a phrase - and have the words described in detail, including pronunciation - resulting in a jet of flame erupt from the tip. When the book is complete, the magic of the Sermomancy serves to make it possible to emulate that spell, no matter where they are or who owns the book, because it's been written (literally) as a new natural law. And then the Sermomancer writes a new book that details a new spell, etc, etc.

        Would be an interesting Mage character, a person who made more varied magic spells possible by writing them into existence. And they just have this growing library of books, anchoring new magic laws to the world with their very existences.

        This is the sort of thing I love about Mage: The Ascension. The ability to entertain insane, beautiful ideas like that, and use them to justify amazing stories or characters.


        • I remember getting a lot of mileage out of Unknown Armies' various magic systems as inspiration for Hollow Ones and Orphans. Postmodern Magick was the name of their magic sourcebook, IIRC.

          Hush Hush (the Sleeper "anti-magic police" faction) and Lawyers Guns & Money (the New Inquisition "crazy billionaire's private army of mystic troubleshooters" faction) books were also good for odd Technocracy ideas.
          Last edited by No One of Consequence; 07-22-2018, 09:03 AM.

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