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Scenes duration in Mage chronicles

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  • Scenes duration in Mage chronicles

    Dear friends, I read "Chronicles of Darkness" time details about Scenes and Chapter and it is quite different from other roleplaying games I used to play in the recent past.
    In other RPGs we used to have sessions of 3-4 hours in real time but we usually had from 0 to 2 scenes per session. Zero means that we needed some of the following session to complete that.

    I'm writing you because under CHAPTER description, it says that it is a container of more scenes and that it lasts for the whole real-time game session. Is it then too much to play such long scenes?? Would a chapter longer than a scene be weird?
    On the other hand, if there are many scenes (average 1 per game hour?), the Paradox menance will look much less threatening.

    What do you think?
    Thanks for your insight

  • #2
    You're definitely supposed to have multiple scenes per session, and one scene per RL hour is quite reasonable. Consider that earning Beats (regular and Arcane) are limited to once per scene (per source for the Beat, so only one resolved Condition and one resolved/advanced Aspiration, and so on), so it's quite important to have multiple scenes during a session if you want the characters to progress.
    I want to point out that the approximate in-game length of a scene is one hour, but it is a loose approximation that can be anything from a few minutes to multiple hours depending on what's happening during the scene.
    My advice is just to consider it a scene change every time the characters change location. This should naturally give you a good amount of scenes during one session; but if the PCs quickly moves between different locations within a short amount of time, those can collectively be a scene; and if the PCs don't move at all during the session, you could say it's a scene change whenever the main focus of the scene changes (for example, when an important NPC shows up, or when a social scene turns into combat).

    Edit: Paradox could definitely be less threatening, but one way to preserve the increase for subsequent Paradox rolls is to enforce the one hour of in-setting time even if the scene changes during that time.
    Last edited by Tessie; 10-11-2021, 05:39 AM.


    Bloodline: The Stygians
    Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
    Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by LorenzoC View Post
      I'm writing you because under CHAPTER description, it says that it is a container of more scenes and that it lasts for the whole real-time game session. Is it then too much to play such long scenes??
      I don't understand the question.

      Originally posted by LorenzoC
      Would a chapter longer than a scene be weird?
      If a chapter by definition consists of multiple scenes, then a chapter is longer than a scene by default sure.

      Originally posted by LorenzoC
      On the other hand, if there are many scenes (average 1 per game hour?), the Paradox menance will look much less threatening.
      Well, it doesn't want to be so inhibiting that people are reluctant to cast spells across the whole session. Still, I think there can be even short scenes set up in a manner where players may feel the need to cast a number of spells in sequence.

      Or a player might actively do so to get in the spirit of things, and maybe flirt with inviting Paradox Conditions as a source of Arcane Beats.

      Or Anomalies as a source of drama.


      I have approximate knowledge of many things.
      Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
        I don't understand the question.
        Thanks for your opinion on this topic. Concerning my first question, that was related to very long scenes we had in other RPGs that lasted more than a session. I think there's no problem in other gaming system to do that, but in MtA the paradox dice per scene are an impactful issue.

        Tessie's advice to set a scene duration as a fixed Real Time hour (or so) may be a nice idea. It reminds me of Pathfinder 2nd edition where players get a Hero Point (a free reroll) each gaming hour...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by LorenzoC View Post

          Thanks for your opinion on this topic. Concerning my first question, that was related to very long scenes we had in other RPGs that lasted more than a session. I think there's no problem in other gaming system to do that, but in MtA the paradox dice per scene are an impactful issue.
          I don't think it would be just that, I think the Storytelling System as a whole attaches many things to the assumption that sessions are divided into scenes.

          I'd say that even in sessions that function as a kind of bottle episode, there would be logical ways to divide into scenes. It would be a matter of what the focus of the action and interaction was on, or anything that might cause a shift in the tone.

          Mind, even in the event of a scene that accounts for the entire session's distribution of Paradox, that wouldn't necessarily be a burden. Barring Conditions or the presence of Sleepers, there's always the choice to not Reach far enough to roll for it in the first place, if the dice pool is starting to get a bit too big. If taking place in one area, might it be easier to Touch subjects? Maybe a desired effect could be achieved with something with longer Transitory Duration, rather than Advanced.

          Alternatively, one might have ideas about Yantras that can provide additional Reach.


          I have approximate knowledge of many things.
          Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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          • #6
            We will see what will happen in the first session. Will we be responible magic user or will we explode of paradox?
            We players never played the Awakening before, but many many years ago, our most memorable sessions in Old World of Darkness / Mage the Ascension were the one we played in hallucination... we thought it was real, but only the Storyteller knew it was a Fugue.
            The most epic one was when it happened to a single Mage and we other player realized it and started behaving crazy to adapt to the hallucinations the Storyteller was throwing at him. At the end of the session the player still had no idea he was on a "mind fugue" and was confused and broken, thinking of changing PC!
            Last edited by LorenzoC; 10-12-2021, 05:45 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by LorenzoC View Post
              Tessie's advice to set a scene duration as a fixed Real Time hour (or so) may be a nice idea. It reminds me of Pathfinder 2nd edition where players get a Hero Point (a free reroll) each gaming hour...
              I didn't suggest that, but if that works for you just go ahead.


              Bloodline: The Stygians
              Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
              Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

              Comment

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