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  • Mage Populations

    So, I was looking at Sorcerer (Revised) the other day and, on page 31, it mentioned that the Technocracy depended on its Extraordinary Scientists (Sorcerers) to do most of the grunt work because it had only hundreds of Enlightened members. If there are only hundreds of Awakened members of the Technocracy, I would suggest that there are only thousands of Mages across the world and that mages are one-in-a-million. I think that the vast majority of the 'magic' that occurs in WoD is Numina. I do not mind, however, Numina practitioners being one out of five hundred (0.2%) of the population.

  • #2
    Only hundreds? That doesn't sound right.

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    • #3
      I have not been able to find any estimates of numbers from any other book. Anyway, it would explain why the Technocracy has not been able to eliminate 'reality deviants', they lack the Enlightened manpower and have to rely on Extraordinary Citizens to do everything. Extraordinary citizens would use Scientific Numina to change the paradigm and Enlightened members would guide them and take out any threats to the new paradigm.

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      • #5
        I do not practice necromancy .

        The reason why I have brought it up is to discuss the consequences of having only around seven thousand Mages in existence. I think that you could have the WoD with those numbers as long as you had around fourteen million Sorcerers of various types also practicing magic (ranging in capabilities of one level to Numina on up). Of course, this is assuming that the majority of people who say they have powers (magical, psychic, scientific, etc) have just one level of Numina.

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        • #6
          Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
          I do not practice necromancy .

          The reason why I have brought it up is to discuss the consequences of having only around seven thousand Mages in existence. I think that you could have the WoD with those numbers as long as you had around fourteen million Sorcerers of various types also practicing magic (ranging in capabilities of one level to Numina on up). Of course, this is assuming that the majority of people who say they have powers (magical, psychic, scientific, etc) have just one level of Numina.
          Simple. Toss pretty much the flluff whole game out the window. No need for anything above the Sect level really. Factions become more like "loose working groups". Like super-cabals, effectively. Any organization below that goes out the window. (There aren't enough members of the Order of Hermes to divide up into Houses, for example. There would be less than 10 in a largish House. And don't even try to address all the Methodologies and sub-Methodologies out the window... The sum total of "necronaut" VE's would be about equal to the Ghostbusters..) The Ascension War becomes a lot less about controlling the Destiny of Humanity and scales down to more maneuvering to keep each group's "whatever" optimal. (The Technocracy to influence relevant parts of civilzation but other groups might be manuvering to be left alone. Keeping everyone OUT of Shangri-La is more the point...) A LOT more Orphans unless it becomes much easier to detect who is going to Awaken. Then the game has a large "Mage the Recruitment" aspect as nascent mages are so valuable to the Sorcerer-heavy or teensey-tiny all-Awakened groups out there. If Awakening is as mysterious and unpredictable as it currently is portrayed, most mages are going to have to figure it out on their own until they bump up against one of the established groups.

          And so on...

          Which isn't a bad game, but it's definitely not what is portrayed.

          Using the whole idea of the world actually be SORCERERS (+ some mages) is roughly the same as trying to play VtM using the 1 vamp/100,000 rule and expecting to have the cities look ANYTHING like way they are depicted in the fluff . It's pretty ludicrous(with very,very few exceptions for the biggest cities in the world) . Most largest cities in the US will have a few coteries at best. A Clan meeting will be a few folks. Like nuclear family sized. There is no need for all those offices, unless vampires are so self-important that half to all of the vamp population of the city have a title. A city of 1,000,000 people has 10 vampires. So one coterie is the Prince, the Seneshal, the Sheriff, the Scourge and the one poor vamp that doesn't get a title. And the other coterie is effectively "the Oppressed". And so on.

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          • #7
            Yes, that is pretty much how I have always figured the Mages and the other supernaturals. Look at the Garou and the Fera. The Garou are supposed to be only 1:500,000 and the Fera might be 1:500,000 (though the Nagah and the Nuwisha are nearly extinct while the Ratkin are much more common that any suspects). Given the breeding dynamics of the Garou and the majority of the Fera, a realistic assessment should put their Human Kinfolk at one hundred times their numbers and their Animal Kinfolk at twenty times their numbers (Ratkin have their own rules because they are created by the Birthing Plague), so Werewolf should be Kinfolk (+ some werewolves).

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            • #8
              Originally posted by Ajax View Post

              Simple. Toss pretty much the flluff whole game out the window. No need for anything above the Sect level really. Factions become more like "loose working groups". Like super-cabals, effectively. Any organization below that goes out the window. (There aren't enough members of the Order of Hermes to divide up into Houses, for example. There would be less than 10 in a largish House. And don't even try to address all the Methodologies and sub-Methodologies out the window... The sum total of "necronaut" VE's would be about equal to the Ghostbusters..) The Ascension War becomes a lot less about controlling the Destiny of Humanity and scales down to more maneuvering to keep each group's "whatever" optimal. (The Technocracy to influence relevant parts of civilzation but other groups might be manuvering to be left alone. Keeping everyone OUT of Shangri-La is more the point...) A LOT more Orphans unless it becomes much easier to detect who is going to Awaken. Then the game has a large "Mage the Recruitment" aspect as nascent mages are so valuable to the Sorcerer-heavy or teensey-tiny all-Awakened groups out there. If Awakening is as mysterious and unpredictable as it currently is portrayed, most mages are going to have to figure it out on their own until they bump up against one of the established groups.

              And so on...

              Which isn't a bad game, but it's definitely not what is portrayed.
              Well, actually, I was reading through the 1E OoH book the other day and apparently most of the "Houses" are made up of a handful of Mages. House Tytalus has 4 cabals. (which I assume number somewhere between 3-5 members each) House Thig had like 1 surviving cabal hanging out on Doissetep. So, the numbers, at least originally, really don't seem to be that huge. So, can see most members of various groups just being mid to high level sorcerers if the ST wants that. Not like Sorcerers can't kick serious ass if pushed. They're really not that "linear" despite the name Mages put on them either. Most of the Paths are quite versatile.

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              • #9
                Originally posted by angryicecream View Post
                Well, actually, I was reading through the 1E OoH book the other day and apparently most of the "Houses" are made up of a handful of Mages. House Tytalus has 4 cabals. (which I assume number somewhere between 3-5 members each) House Thig had like 1 surviving cabal hanging out on Doissetep. So, the numbers, at least originally, really don't seem to be that huge. So, can see most members of various groups just being mid to high level sorcerers if the ST wants that. Not like Sorcerers can't kick serious ass if pushed. They're really not that "linear" despite the name Mages put on them either. Most of the Paths are quite versatile.


                this has basically been retconned to 1 mage per 200.000 people.



                also by the way concerning vampire population. the 1 per 100000 works much better if you care to remember that all these vampires are concentrated in cities .


                there's no such thing as a vampire living at once in 10 cities with 10.000 people each.

                plus some cities just have a larger population. of vampires. while others have a bit smaller.


                for the same reason that london is bigger than manchester

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                • #10
                  Where can I find the retcon? I would like to know for reference sake in case I ever run another Mage game. I think I will keep to the old population myself and just have a lot of Sorcerers. I am uncomfortable with more than 7000 nascent gods playing with reality.

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                  • #11
                    Then you'll be playing a game that is pretty far removed from the setting as it is presented in pretty much every way, EXCEPT for some really badly thought out population numbers back in the very very beginning. No real cabals. There aren't enough True Mages for them. True Mages are going to be precious flowers that need to be protected and cultivated by their specific groups until they are one-person powerhouses or Bond villain types. No group is going to waste a potential asset of that caliber by having them run around and get in dangerous situations. The game would probably entail a whole lot of trying to capture the recently Awakened and then locking them down for "education". Probably with a lot of attempts to find and extract young mages from their "creches".

                    As you said, they're nascent gods. What group of Sorcerers is going to waste that kind of potential by allowing them to go out and "adventure"? It''ll be like playing a Vampire game where the PCs are all neonates of very low generation. They're just too vulnerable and precious to allow them to do interesting things.

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                    • #12
                      I take my numbers from Sorcerer (Revised). If you have a more recent book with more accurate numbers, please share the book and page number. I generally think that it is difficult to prevent Mages from doing anything, at least if you want them to continue working with you.

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                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                        I take my numbers from Sorcerer (Revised). If you have a more recent book with more accurate numbers, please share the book and page number. I generally think that it is difficult to prevent Mages from doing anything, at least if you want them to continue working with you.
                        You should consider those numbers to be what I call 'White Wolf canon.' That is to say, canon that's so stupid that you should just ignore it, as it doesn't fit either the setting or common sense.

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                        • #14
                          Which is another way of saying 'no book, no page' or, to put it another way, 'home brewed numbers pulled from one's rear end'. How is it stupid that there are only 7,000 Mages? With instantaneous communication and teleportation, you could have the members of a Circle living across the United States without much trouble.

                          I do not think that there could be 35,000 Mages globally without the very fabric of reality on Earth starting to fray at the edges. The Marauder populations would be in the thousands rather than the hundreds. Instead of Marauders working in small groups, dozens of Marauders would be working together. It is hard to imagine how much damage sixty Quiet 3 Marauders could do to a major city in an hour. Manhattan would be transformed into an abattoir as they could summon and release twenty-four thousand Umbrood within that amount of time.

                          The Technocracy and the Traditions could not stop them, the Quiet of the Marauders gives non-Marauders Mages the paradox that they are generating, and their sorcerer allies in the local area would be overwhelmed. Mundane resources would be overwhelmed within minutes and, even though the Quiet would reset the frame of the world from the delusion of the Marauders to the real world when they leave, the Umbrood would still be running around without supervision. It could easy take days or weeks to hunt down and destroy the Umbrood and, by that time, there would be no doubt to the existence of the supernatural.

                          Now, if the desire is for a world where entire cities disappear without explanation once a year, then 35,000 Mages would be suitable. If the desire is for a world more like ours, a world of darkness, then I do not think that there can be a larger population of Mages just because of the Marauder problem. When the problems that would occur if the number of Nephandi were thousands instead of hundreds are added into the equation, then a smaller population of Mages makes much more sense than a larger population of Mages.

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                          • #15
                            No page doesn't matter when it completely invalidates the setting as presented to keep with BS numbers that literally make no sense. It's just as bad as Vampire, where 1:100,000 negates much of the rest of the setting. Even the largest cities don't have enough vamps for any real politics, much less a raft of titles and duties LARGE cities have a dozen vamps. You have to have an actual metropolis to even get started on inter-coterie rivalries. Clans aren't political or social organizations, they're nuclear families. Even "this city is over-populated" falls flat when every city has to be "over-populated" to have enough vampires to have anything relevant to happen.

                            Mage with 1:1,000,000 is pretty much the same. You don't NEED most groupings with that few mages. They are so thin on the ground, most are going to be Orphans. Those that aren't are going to be in fairly small groups. Traditions and Conventions would pretty much be cabals with similar Foci within the Sects. A cabal of mages is a BIG deal, as even a small group is actually a measurable fraction of ALL the Mages there are.

                            People don't need to cite "this page in this book" to refute the 1:1,000,000 concept. They can cite entire BOOKS that refute it. Every cabal presented. Pretty much all the history and background in every book. Every stab at a setting books (Chantries, Horizon, Las Vegas). Hells, there are too many NPCs in the first adventure for San Francisco to hold comfortably (not the one with the statue crying blood with the screen, the one with the spiders). It's embedded into the matrix of the game's rules where PCs aren't portrayed as the vanishingly rare super-special snowflakes they would be under the "mages are SOOOOOOOO super rare" regime.

                            Similarly, you don't have to work too hard to refute the whole "the difference is Sorcerers" either. Since, as has been pointed out, I can't think of a many NPC as having been depicted as having risen up from Sorcerers to Mages. Nor have cabals been depicted as being composed of mostly Sorcerers. Nor have Chantries been depicted as being full of Sorcerer personnel with a few true mages sprinkled in. Sure it SAYS that over here in this one place, but, from the get-go, that was a double-take moment. When it came out, people said "Huh?", not "Oh, finally! Now it all makes SENSE!"

                            You can always do what you want in your own game. It's not a bad way to do it, if you want to make the relevant changes. Like, why are there this many fairly newly minted mages thrown together to form the cabal of PCs? Statistically, it would be quite an aberration for this many mages of this many different groups at this level of expertise to all be thrown together instead of working within the matrix of Sorcerers that make up the entirety of their respective Sects. Make sure the character's meet few mages as opposition. It should be Sorcerers when it's "like vs. like" unless that's the whole point of the encounter (e.g. the are meeting the "dark mirror" version of their group, or this is the "BIG BAD" for this portion of the chronicle). You will need to retool the way that various groups are presented and probably use spirits and other supernaturals extensively. Most of the "Darkness" of the World of Darkness isn't mages in this setting, so the PCs are going to be banging elbows against the more common supers of other flavors. And so on.

                            What it won't be is the setting described in pretty much all the books and supplements.

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