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  • Normal GM Question

    I played in a game of MtA 1e and loved it. I've always wanted to run 2e but I have some concerns about how a *normally skilled* GM could run it.

    The magic system seems overwhelming. When I played we just used rotes. I have a flowchart and it seems very very complicated.

    Given that creative players can do anything (given spheres and such), it *seems* like creative magic use could render any scenario / problem over in 1 step.

    e.g., Players are facing Dave the Villain / Antagonist who has all sorts of plots and henchmen and stuff. Normally, players would have to investigate this guy, find out his plans, try different ways of handling him. In mage, each of these could be done in the first 5 minutes of the adventure (e.g., cast a spell to figure out who the villian is, cast a spell to figure out how to neturalize him, cast a spell to neutralize him). This might be fun the first few times, but would be a terrible campaign.

    Along the same lines, an antagonist Mage NPC also has an infinite number of things they could be doing to the players? I feel like I would need to take hour breaks during the game to come up with all of the magic things the antagonists would be doing in response to the players, which again would be weird.

    I assume that MtA 2e can be run by normal GMs, but i'm not sure how.

  • #2
    I don't think mages are quite as omnipotent as you're imagining.

    Like, for one thing, to cast at range you need some sort of sympathetic link. Those don't just fall out of the sky.

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    • #3
      A big paradigm shift from mage compared to games like D&D is that you can't count on keeping things hidden until the right time. Mages are the most optimized splat for investigation.

      How do you deal with the bigger fish ? How do you deal with problems beyond your weight class ? A creative mage player can do just about anything, but that is not the focus. The questions you should be asking is should they do it ? What methods are they employing ? What costs and consequences do they have ? Here is an example, an Abyssal invader:

      https://m45t1g05.blogspot.com/2017/1...ivity.html?m=1

      Those are the options they figured out so far. Your optimal result is to solve the issue without permanently damaging either the host or the cabal in any physical, spiritual or mental way. So what now ? What do the players choose to do ?

      In addition I would like to recommend that blog, they have some great stuff on how to run mage. Here is an index of articles, go over the storytelling ones and you should be good to go:

      https://m45t1g05.blogspot.com/2016/1...links.html?m=1
      Last edited by KaiserAfini; 06-20-2019, 08:28 PM.


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


      The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists

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      • #4
        Yeah, worry less about whether your players will figure things out and whether or not they'll accomplish their goals. The answer to both is that they'll probably pull it off. You'll be happier focusing on the how, why and fallout.

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        • #5
          Thanks. How do you all manage the infinite things antagonists could do in response

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Archivist View Post
            Thanks. How do you all manage the infinite things antagonists could do in response
            While I rarely if ever write full stat lines for NPCs, with NPC mages I always note their Gnosis and Arcanum ratings out early on and stick to them. By changing the conversation from the strictly theoretical AnyMage who always has just the Arcana for the situation to something more grounded, your antagonists 'infinite options' become much more managable.

            NonMage antagonists can also be good, spirits, cryptids, abyssal entities and so on can have access to lots of power, without presenting an overwhelming array of options.

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            • #7
              Another easy trick is to make your main villain strong in Arcana the cabal is weak and vice versa. The asymmetrical tactics lead to interesting interactions and give everyone a unique way to shine.

              When you are learning something new and feel overwhelmed, its always a big help to see how other people do it. If you have the time, read a few APs, the best ones I can recommend are:

              The Bleak House
              The Broken Diamond
              The Man Comes Around
              The Soul Cage
              The Voice of Freedom

              Here in the forums BlueWinds is also actively writing her own one, called Walking in Absolute Silence. Its a very good read, with cool roleplaying and creative casting. But it starts with a more experienced cabal, so it won't cover the newly minted mage stage.

              There is also another one called Occultists Anonymous, the link to their session's YT playlist is also in a topic here, though I have yet to go over it.
              Last edited by KaiserAfini; 06-21-2019, 03:16 PM.


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


              The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists

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              • #8
                Great advice

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Katana1515 View Post
                  By changing the conversation from the strictly theoretical AnyMage who always has just the Arcana for the situation to something more grounded, your antagonists 'infinite options' become much more managable.
                  This is the key right here, in my opinion.

                  A followup - NPCs can make mistakes. They might not realize that one of the options they have is actually as well-suited for a problem as it actually is. The Storyteller may be omniscient relative to the setting, but that doesn't mean all of the NPCs are. They can all only act on the information they could realistically have, which likewise reduces their options dramatically in most cases.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Archivist View Post
                    Thanks. How do you all manage the infinite things antagonists could do in response
                    Another way to handle this is to remember to give important NPCs Rotes and Praxes and always first try to have them solve problems with those and only using improvised spells when that particular solution really jumps out to you as the ST. By keeping it mostly to their Rotes and Praxes you have distinct powers to consider for their offense and defense. That makes managing them much easier.


                    Politeness is the lubricant of social intercourse.

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