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  • Advice on Obsessions for a Mage ST?

    Hey guys,

    I just started up running my first Mage 2e game. None of my players are on the forums, so I can safely confide in you guys for advice. I've run lots and lots of Mage 1e games, but this is my first time doing 2e, so obviously Obsessions are the new bag.

    The game is set in my city of Seattle. Seattle is a city with only an Assembly, the Strategos having completely dismantled the Consilium back in 1999. There are definitely Mages loyal to the Diamond Orders, but they are expected to follow the laws and routines of the Assembly. No Hierarchs or Councilors here. Just Citizen Agents and Syndics. The Seers have one Pylon divided into three separate fronts - Black Lotus Communications, a former subsidiary of the Cheiron Group bought out by the Seers dedicated to Bringing Humanity Together...through cell phones and stuff, of course, The Castle Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to educating children in developing countries and fighting the spread of "Fake News," and The Rainier Club, a hundred year old club in the heart of downtown Seattle where entrepreneurs and the wealthy gather to remind themselves of the benefits and power that come from being one of The Beautiful People.

    All in all, there are about 30 Mages in the City, not counting the PCs, of which there are 3. 12 Free Council, 3 Mysterium, 2 Silver Ladder, 2 Adamantine Arrow, 1 Guardian of the Veil, 9 Seers of the Throne, and 1 Mad One (I originally wrote him as a Banisher, but he's pretty in love with Magic, he's just incredibly twisted.)

    ANYWAY, setting aside, one of my PCs has a very interesting Obsession - he's a Biologist who awakened after hearing the "Pulse" of the City, and realizing that the City is a Living Being. His nimbus is the constant thrumming of a heartbeat in a certain rhythm, and it's driving him nuts. He wants to make the noise stop. He wants to -kill the city.-

    ...what advice can you give me on that obsession, and playing with it?

  • #2
    I bet the House of Ariadne is going to hate him. That said, there are entities that can help him achieve his goal. From the Abyss or the Lower Depths, maybe even Typhon. A nuke could do it too of course.
    Last edited by Mrmdubois; 02-27-2017, 03:32 PM.

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    • #3
      I might throw in one or two members of the House of Ariadne in the city for the sake of opposing him, or perhaps recruiting him and redirecting his obsessions? It's an Acanthus-only Legacy and he's a Thyrsus, but stranger things have happened.

      As for actually killing a city, I think physically destroying the city via acts of terrorism would only change the pulse of the city, not stop it. Destroying something doesn't change its reflection in the Shadow. Now, summoning some terrible beast from the Abyss or the Lower Depths, or actively killing the Spirit of Seattle in the Shadow, that is something that could work. It would probably be brutal, and lead to total dissolution and anarchy and collapse of the city as a concept, but it sure as hell would work in killing the City.

      That would be quite the feat.

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      • #4
        He might be able to pull it off by destroying Seattle's Temenotic realms as well.

        The spirit of the city might try to talk him out of it or take action itself if he goes far enough. It'd essentially be like trying to kill a god.

        He actually strikes me as somebody who's treading very close to being a Banisher or slipping into being one of the Mad and/or a Scelesti.

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        • #5
          You're running Mage and didn't call me? I'm hurt.

          I'll give a serious answer when I get home.


          Just call me Lex.

          Female pronouns for me, please.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
            He actually strikes me as somebody who's treading very close to being a Banisher or slipping into being one of the Mad and/or a Scelesti.
            Oh I agree completely. It's the first thing I thought. So my job as ST is to either prepare for that very possibility (which is not necessarily BAD, per se, since it should always be an option in Mage) or try to somehow create a story that leads him away from that fate.

            The player is very chill, though he tends to like darker stuff and personal horror, and won't object to just about anything as long as it's fun and makes a good story.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
              You're running Mage and didn't call me? I'm hurt.

              I'll give a serious answer when I get home.

              You never return my calls. :P

              Also, it's an in-person game (for once) so you'd have to live in Seattle instead of where ever the heck you are now in the American Southwest.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by RomulusGloriosus View Post

                ANYWAY, setting aside, one of my PCs has a very interesting Obsession - he's a Biologist who awakened after hearing the "Pulse" of the City, and realizing that the City is a Living Being. His nimbus is the constant thrumming of a heartbeat in a certain rhythm, and it's driving him nuts. He wants to make the noise stop. He wants to -kill the city.-

                ...what advice can you give me on that obsession, and playing with it?
                His own Nimbus is painful and driving this drives him to attack the supernatural on a conceptual level... definitly sounds like a Banisher to me. You may want to think about the reactions of other mages to this even outside the bounds of a specifically city devoted legacy.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Flinty View Post

                  His own Nimbus is painful and driving this drives him to attack the supernatural on a conceptual level... definitly sounds like a Banisher to me. You may want to think about the reactions of other mages to this even outside the bounds of a specifically city devoted legacy.
                  The idea, as of now, is that he talks frequently of the power of the spirits and the lifeblood of the city. He's a Mysterium with Status 2, and Egregore 2. The Mages definitely think he's a little off, but Mages are generally "off." They don't know the full extent of his obsessions. He's got pretty good Subterfuge.

                  EDIT: for the record, him ultimately succumbing to his obsession and becoming a Banisher is completely on the table. The idea is that he's not quite that far yet to have completely lost himself, and he's deeply interested in the power and supernal symbols that come with being Awakened. He does not want to go back to normal. He's just tired of the City being so damn loud.

                  My goal as ST is to either create an interesting story that allows him to Fall with style, or help him satisfy his obsession and co-exist with the Heart of the City and avoid becoming Banished. Preferably one where there is a choice involved.
                  Last edited by RomulusGloriosus; 02-27-2017, 04:59 PM. Reason: More content

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                  • #10
                    Could he not just move away from the city? I mean if it offends him that much he could just leave. And if it honestly has jack shit to actually do with the city and everything to do with his nimbus, moving away should teach him that since it stays with him wherever he goes. At which point he needs to kill his own Nimbus.

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                    • #11
                      In the game it is possible to change or modify your nimbus, perhaps an interesting story that leads to that?

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                      • #12
                        The Nimbus is only an extension of the character. Everytime the character goes through a change (doesn't have to be as extreme as a life changing event) the Nimbus should change to reflect who the character is at the moment. The book mentions increases in Gnosis as one event that can completely rework the Nimbus Tilt, but I personally don't think it's wrong to rework it whenever it doesn't feel up to date anymore.


                        Bloodline: The Stygians
                        Ordo Dracul Mystery: Coil of Smoke

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                          The Nimbus is only an extension of the character. Everytime the character goes through a change (doesn't have to be as extreme as a life changing event) the Nimbus should change to reflect who the character is at the moment. The book mentions increases in Gnosis as one event that can completely rework the Nimbus Tilt, but I personally don't think it's wrong to rework it whenever it doesn't feel up to date anymore.

                          I agree with you Tessie. I saw the "heartbeat" being his Nimbus as an extension of his Thyrsus-nature (Life and Spirit) combined with his preoccupation with the heartbeat of the city. Should he, one day, manage to make peace with the City somehow, his Nimbus would change accordingly to reflect the shift in his preoccupations.And if his wrath and pain were to grow, the sound would probably worsen.

                          What's important is figuring out interesting ways to use his obsession as story hooks. Choices that can either lead to him falling, or coming to terms with the nature of his condition.

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                          • #14
                            My Space focused Mastigos has wrinkles in space as his Nimbus. Should he get his shit together and stop acting rashly (he has the lowest Wisdom in the Cabal for a reason) I'd describe his Nimbus as creases in space as from planned folds instead of as from being crumpled.


                            Bloodline: The Stygians
                            Ordo Dracul Mystery: Coil of Smoke

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                            • #15
                              You could explore the reason why it's so annoying to him. Maybe City is sick and it's crying and screaming for removing a tumour. Or maybe it's literally asking for killing it, because death is not bad, and laying something to rest is wise and harmonious. "Kill me, the old 10000 years old tree so a new one can be born and I can find peace" is a classic. Replace tree with city.

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