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1001 Mage Story Hooks

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  • #76
    181) You remember clearly the disbelieving tears of joy on their faces as they saw the portal had lead their archeomancer cabal back to reality, together with the shock of everyone upon seeing an Abyssal Iris temporarily open in the middle of the Consilia's meeting.

    The Mysterium's most sacred rituals have removed the bulk of the taint, but they can expect to spend the next few years under a Libertine therapist, and at least the next decade under Guardian observation. Still, they told an unbelievable tale even as their frayed sanity made you question the clarity of the memories.

    Apparently one of the great sages of the Awakened City predicted the Abyss' incursion upon the Fallen as a possibility and that it could be leverages by those mad or desperate enough to cause untold suffering. In order to prevent this, she created a device that could repurpose the most fearsome spirits, the Idigam, into the perfect predators to devour the Abyss.

    She broke the device and hid its parts within the Celestial Ladder, ensuring that when it collapsed, its pieces would be sent to the Void, ensuring their survival past any temporal revisions.

    The notes, debriefs and those who compiled them are still being monitored for signs of Abyssal taint. In the meantime, the Hierarch was able to reveal that many more quest for the pieces. Apart from veteran Scelestus, there were also Seers that navigate the Outer Nothingness by wielding limited authority over some denizens, an army of clockwork parascientific automatons and even pilgrims wielding a sacred flame. What happened to them is unclear, its enough of a miracle the expedition made it back, doubtlessly due to being composed of very experienced masters.

    Why didn't the Atlanteans activate the device immediately? Why are those other parties questing for it ? There is no time to be idle, the race has already begun and the greatest prize awaits those that can snatch it from the maws of madness itself.

    Observation: While the journey is supposed to be a "suicidally insane" quest for a highly powerful cabal, nothing says they initially need to know about it. Their initial experiences could be researching, gathering the materials to help experienced masters prepare and dealing with the fallout of the expeditions themselves.
    Last edited by KaiserAfini; 08-18-2020, 07:35 PM.


    New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

    The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
    The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

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    • #77
      182. The Book of Days
      A local Mysterium cabal found a mysterious book, named "O Livro dos Dias" (transl. "The Book of Days"). The book has a preface, a few written pages and several blank pages. The author - a mage named Taowbeh - explains in the preface that the book is capable to predict future Awakenings.
      In the few written pages there is the detailed description of the events that culminated in the Awakening of the characters. There's also the description of an Awakening that will happen in the next few days.
      Last edited by Redzone; 09-18-2020, 01:30 AM.


      "The universe is basically an animal. It grazes on the ordinary. It creates infinite idiots just to eat them."

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      • #78
        183. The pie shop
        A nameless order opens a pie shop in the Astral. They sell pies that contains psychic impressions of random sleepers memories. A character tries one of the pies and is surprised by a memory of his childhood seen through the eyes of another person; the psychic impression contains details that the character had never noticed.


        "The universe is basically an animal. It grazes on the ordinary. It creates infinite idiots just to eat them."

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        • #79
          184. The new Rhadamantian Minister was just appointed, but he isn't a mage. From February 13th to 15th, a werewolf was given a crown of Underworld metals and wailing souls during a corrupted version of Lupercalia.

          In the wake of this profane ceremony, an army of ghosts emerged from a new Domain, the Aventine Hill. The new Minister claims to be Remus, favored son of Sheppard Wolf (I imagine her personality to be like Granny Goodness), who brokered a deal to reclaim what was taken from her favored child. Six Strixes lead his armies, some ghosts posses the recently deceased to reclaim the city. A few bear masks and seek to "recall wayward citizens back to the Hill". A new Mystery Cult of Remus has sprung up, killings have increased and mad cultists speak of a great ritual.

          What deal did the Seers broker with the ancient spirit ? Is the new Minister truly Remus ? We can worry about that later, 12 Stryxes have contacted mages all over the city with a dire warning: the reincarnation of Romulus must be found.

          Observation: The crown on Lupercalia is a stealthy reference to Julius Caesar, this is a misdirection gambit on his part to get the cabal to fulfill the real terms of the deal.
          Last edited by KaiserAfini; 09-18-2020, 04:30 PM.


          New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

          The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
          The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

          Comment


          • #80
            Here is one inspired by Mushishi (that series has the potential for so many interesting Mysteries)

            185) Hundreds of years ago, this city was dying. Its soil barren, its ley lines pulsing with woeful Resonance, even Hallows had become rare and weak. Then a master summoned down an item from Arcadia, one that was a boon and an Artifact, a promising future and a heartbreaking doom.

            The Artifact was a seed, the color of a grain of wheat, but shaped like a dog's fang. Planting it at a Hallow would cause it to dissolve into the ley lines, to infuse itself into the city. Its Resonance would improve, Hallows would grow more powerful and plentiful, even Sleepers would be visited by prosperity. The effect would eventually fade, but by then the movement towards harmony was very powerful.

            There was, however, a price to pay. The seed would eventually sprout out of the weakest mage in the city. It would grow on their mouth like a tooth, consuming their life force, eventually killing them and becoming ready for use once more.

            Our predecessors reluctantly used it and upon that sacrifice they laid the foundations of the city as we know today. But once the deed was done, they sealed it away.

            But recently someone stole it. We need you to get it back. We will show you where it was held. But you cannot tell a single soul about this task. Many desperate Awakened will start warring for Hallows and poisoning others, desperately trying to prevent themselves from being picked.

            Furthermore, many spirits vanished the last time the seed was used, so many spirits, including the current City Father, would quickly escalate their actions to save themselves. Were they to hear a whisper of this, it could cause a war, or even have familiars turn on their partners. The actions we all had to take to contain the chaos and deal with the werewolves were.....shameful (its not clear if they mean diplomatic or combat).

            There is a reason I (the Hierarch) called this cabal and not the Councilors. The simultaneous emergence of so many Hallows and altering of ley lines created chaos for the Guardians and Arrows for decades. It would be best if this was handled by those without the connections to take....harsh...action.

            Find the seed, prevent it from being planted and return it to us and you will gain a major boon. Refuse and we will simply wipe this conversation from your minds. What do you choose ?
            Last edited by KaiserAfini; 10-06-2020, 08:57 AM.


            New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

            The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
            The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

            Comment


            • #81
              186) There is a giant metal ship in the sky, the size of a continent. Atlantean runes cover it, but the technology looks to be from another world. But its human somehow, halfway between an archaic cathedral of coral and a futuristic human space colony.

              The thing is, records say its always been there since pre-history. Sleepers acknowledge it as part of the landscape, but no one has actually found a way to get inside. Where did this thing come from, how do you enter it and what secret does it hold ?

              187) The latest operation of the Awakening Gambit bore unusual results. The subject did Awaken in a near death experience. In addition, a ghost was produced, but this is not unheard of for such matters.

              The odd part is that is was Metamorphic, mingling the histories and natures of the subject and the newly created ghost on a fundamental level. This has resulted in a Sleepwalker wielding ephemeral powers of death, anchored to an Awakened ghost.

              Their past is constantly being altered as key elements and places phase in and out of existence, leaving echoes that can be temporarily summoned and stabilized via Time magic. Normally, the connection to the Watchtower would stabilize their timeline just enough and that is effectively what is happening, as it constantly attempts to sort it all out.Yet it cannot, because their shared past has a tear, a gash, a wound that was clawed out and cannot be healed. Someone interfered and took a piece of their history right as they Awakened, but who did it, how did they hide themselves from the Gambit and their cabal. Most importantly, what are they using the pilfered past for ?

              188) An old vineyard has just shut down with the recent passing of an aged master. Some vintages contain tass, organically grown by enhanced grapes, producing exquisite flavors as Resonances were combined. Some caskets use water from the Hedge infused with the roots of thunder. There is a summoning room keyed to all things culinary and drink related. But the most spectacular thing of them all is a golem, powered by the master's soul stone. Per his last written request and ratified by the Lex Magicka, the cabal has inherited his estate, provided they also take on his debt, completing a peculiar bit of research for a vampiric patron.
              Last edited by KaiserAfini; 10-18-2020, 10:05 PM.


              New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

              The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
              The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

              Comment


              • #82
                I removed 78 of the original post. Holocaust denial is not a valid adventure hook.


                Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                • #83
                  One inspired a bit by xianxia, masking an Abyssal patron

                  189) Mages aren't the only ones who seek immortality, sometimes mortal occultist become obsessed with it. Some witness the Supernal in their quest. Others succeed, becoming something more than human, at a terrible price. Most tend to die before managing it, but some are too stubborn to stop even then.

                  What makes this unusual is that there are two of them acting in unison, the ghost of an obsessive seeker and a Sleepwalker researcher. The ghost has been sustaining him through his anchor: a tome made of perfected flesh of various beings, merged together by some guttural hexing, mystically stitched together with a Frankenstein patchwork of curses. It sustains the follower as they travel to decypher its formula for the elixir.

                  So far we knew him as a harmless store clerk, a useful provider of magical materials in a small occult shop. Lately he claimed to have made real progress, even approximating simple magical effects using a litany of runes and mantras. But the runes look like melodies from a guzheng and the mantras taste like hermium. He mentioned something about the next steps requiding some lost cauldrons for concocting medicine. That is all I know, I just gave you some very valuable information, so consider my boon paid in full.
                  Last edited by KaiserAfini; 11-10-2020, 01:09 AM.


                  New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

                  The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
                  The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    190) No doubt recent event have been unnerving. Mages with mangled Gnosis, bartering away their potential via soul stones or being blackmailed into it by others, both heedless in chasing their Obsessions.

                    The almost viral emergence of more Rapt in the city, from both the Pentacle and the Seers. People are too tempted to chase their Obsessions harder, a convenient insight or limited time opportunity appears all to often, tempting them to go over the edge.

                    Some clues point you at a mage trying to collect soul stones, trying to remake this city as a Demesne of all 10 Arcana. In contrast, some suggest this is the work of a Banisher, seeking to cast out the Supernal from the city with a perfect Annulity. A few clues point to a Scelestus, whether one seeking to use the Annulity to free a bound Gulmoth, dessecrate the souls stones to facilitate the passage of an Intruder or both is still a matter of debate.

                    I am here to tell you, those are all true. You face not one puppet master but 3, competing with each other from the shadows. They are at a stalemate, a deadlock. My mentor, the Pentacle/Seer mage, is getting close to Rapture.

                    Had things progressed as they did, she would have broken, it was an inevitable consequence of their situation. But then you lot happened, you imbalanced the equation ever so slightly and its there I see hope, for this city and for her.

                    All of them saw you as a risk, one tried to eliminate you so far. But I spirited you away in the last moment. They don't you or I are alive, we can use that to our advantage. Much needs to be done, lets get started.


                    New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

                    The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
                    The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
                      190) No doubt recent event have been unnerving. Mages with mangled Gnosis, bartering away their potential via soul stones or being blackmailed into it by others, both heedless in chasing their Obsessions.

                      The almost viral emergence of more Rapt in the city, from both the Pentacle and the Seers. People are too tempted to chase their Obsessions harder, a convenient insight or limited time opportunity appears all to often, tempting them to go over the edge.

                      Some clues point you at a mage trying to collect soul stones, trying to remake this city as a Demesne of all 10 Arcana. In contrast, some suggest this is the work of a Banisher, seeking to cast out the Supernal from the city with a perfect Annulity. A few clues point to a Scelestus, whether one seeking to use the Annulity to free a bound Gulmoth, dessecrate the souls stones to facilitate the passage of an Intruder or both is still a matter of debate.

                      I am here to tell you, those are all true. You face not one puppet master but 3, competing with each other from the shadows. They are at a stalemate, a deadlock. My mentor, the Pentacle/Seer mage, is getting close to Rapture.

                      Had things progressed as they did, she would have broken, it was an inevitable consequence of their situation. But then you lot happened, you imbalanced the equation ever so slightly and its there I see hope, for this city and for her.

                      All of them saw you as a risk, one tried to eliminate you so far. But I spirited you away in the last moment. They don't you or I are alive, we can use that to our advantage. Much needs to be done, lets get started.

                      I'm a little confused. Could you please explain this plot hook in greater OOC detail?


                      A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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                      • #86
                        Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post


                        I'm a little confused. Could you please explain this plot hook in greater OOC detail?
                        Sure thing. There are 3 mages that wish to collect a set of Soul stones from all 10 Arcana, each for different reasons. The Pentacle/Seer mage wants to make a Demesne of all 10 Arcana, making an area free from the Lie for their own purposes. The Banisher wants to make an Annulity of all Arcana, isolating an area from the Supernal. The Scelestus wants to befoul them to summon an Invader or awaken a bound Gulmoth under the city. All have done research on the rituals and resources needed to do this.

                        The catch is that only Rapt produce soul stones that are not of the Inferior Arcana of the Paths, and even then only for Arcana related to their Fault. So the 3 are manipulating all mages in the Consilia from the shadows, making it too easy to become Rapt. Obsessions become more tempting, breakthroughs or limited windows of opportunity appear more often to drive mages away from Wisdom. All the while they try to gather as many soul stones as possible via black market deals.

                        But somehow they are at cross purposes (maybe their rituals are mutually exclusive), each manipuling catspaws to get in the way of the other. Essentially they are in a deadlock. The escalation is driving the Pentacle/Seer mage ever closer to Rapture.

                        The cabal are at the crossfires of this as they investigate the Mystery. They disturb the power balance. Eventually one of the 3 lures them to a deathtrap. But the Pentacle/Seer mage's apprentice saves them, faking their death, asking for help to end the madness and save their mentor. Now the cabal can engage in their own secret missions, to take the offensive to neutralize the 3 threats and save the sanity of the Consilium.
                        Last edited by KaiserAfini; 12-26-2020, 12:51 AM.


                        New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

                        The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
                        The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          191) 30 years ago, the city was struck by a magical storm that killed all of the Awakened. All magical attempts to find out what happened fail. Temporal scrying reveals nothing, like that time never existed. However, recently an old Grimoire has been found, rumored to belong to a Wise one who lived before the catastrophe. In the tome, there is also a photo, with an unusual note on its back, written as if by a madman:
                          "HE IS COMING! WE CAN NO LONGER ESCAPE HIM, FOR HE CAN FOLLOW US EVERYWHERE! THE ONLY SAFE PLACE IS IN THE MIND! FORGIVE ME, JAMAL, BUT THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO ENSURE SOMEONE DEFEATS HIM!"
                          The photo shows an old building, like a school or a hospital, perhaps.

                          [what really is the case:]
                          The Awakened of the city angered [insert cataclysmically powerful being] and brought a curse on themselves. The mage in question was a Mastigos Master of the third degree who found a secret weakness of the enemy, but unable to fight him, and unable to escape the curse, he hid the knowledge inside the mind of a Jamal Brown, who went catatonic from the experience, and was placed in the Lady of Compassion Mental Institution (in the picture).
                          If the PCs can project into the Astral while in Jamal's presence, they'll enter his mind, which is a magical realm where they can uncover the secret and also try to save Jamal from his trauma.
                          Insert various clues about this, Jamal can be scryed upon, is in the list of patients of the mental hospital etc. Also, the Astral version of Jamal's mind is a magical chaotic place, go nuts with it.

                          (this is based on the initial plot hook of my previous Mage campaign)

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                          • #88
                            A shaken member of the local Free Council (or whatever) shows up to a meeting. Apparently, he just figured out that whenever his uncle Larry does the "pull my finger" gag, there's a quake or volcanic eruption somewhere on the planet. Thousands have died from the effects of these bizarre coincident events, so he's trying to figure out what's possibly going on. He's also started trying to convince his uncle to quit doing it until he can suss it out, but both efforts have been going similarly poorly; Uncle Larry is set in his ways and telling him the discovery really won't help convince the irascible old fart to stop.

                            He's checked spells and ghosts, and is pretty confident the secret doesn't lie in those, but needs a hand checking other esoteria. So far, the only pattern he's found is that the scale of the toot and the power of the natural(?) event correlate. Location may have a pattern, but as yet undiscovered, if so.


                            Grump, grouse, and/or gripe.

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                            • #89
                              193) We were exploring a Temenos realm of sci-fi, you know, taking a break by assuming roles in classic movies. We were in the Alien movie. One of our cabal members brought their familiar in via an entrance in the Shadow of a movie studio. It got infected by a chestburster and it...incorporated its Essence into its own, gaining its Manifestations and tenacious hunger.

                              We tried to quarantine the realm, but it has been reproducing while following the trail of predatory realms to the Shadow exit. One recently broke through, the rest of the hive is soon to follow. We need to prepare ourselves, they are coming.
                              Last edited by KaiserAfini; 01-24-2021, 01:34 AM.


                              New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

                              The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
                              The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                194) Rumors are going around of "Books of Magic" that grant the power to cast spells to those who read and master them. Standard Sleeper nonsense. Except this time is holds a disturbing degree of truth - Sleepers who read these books do gain some knowledge of the Arcana, though they possess no Gnosis, Path, nor Wisdom. They do have Awakened-like Obsessions, though - to locate more of the books and grow their knowledge. Each one seems tied to one of the Arcana, and each one these former-Sleepers read grants greater mastery, unbound by the limits of their non-existent Gnosis. Though they hold recognizable Truths to Awakened eyes, they yield no special effect upon them. What is going on?

                                A) Upon detailed examination, you have uncovered Symbols of Tyranny in these books. A plot by the Exarchs to replace the Seers with more culpable minions?

                                B) These false-Mages have one notable characteristic - they still seem to count as Sleepers for the purposes of exaggerating Paradox. Even for their own spells. Without Wisdom to contain it, Intrusions are cropping up in greater number.

                                C) These books are only appearing in the local area, and efforts to remove them cause them to vanish. Likewise, these false-Mages only retain their Arcana (and memories of their powers) so long as they remain in the region. It is obviously a localized phenomena, but what caused it, why, and how can this be used?

                                D) You are one of these people who have learned True Magic, and these other people are looking at you like some oddity. Even talking about removing you and those like you as a threat. Can you escape these "Awakened" before they put their plans into action?

                                [For running such characters, just give them few dots in Arcana, and let them use Resolve + Composure in place of Gnosis for most purposes, like Mana Capacity, spell casting Dice Pool, Yantras, and Combined Spells. They have no limits on Arcana ratings, but can't increase them on their own. All Arcana are treated as In Path (no +1 Mana cost for casting), and they can use Mana to mitigate Paradox, but don't have Wisdom to Contain it.]


                                Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                                Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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