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From Innocents to Awakened (2e plan)

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  • From Innocents to Awakened (2e plan)

    So while we won't have 2nd edition for awhile yet, I'm still thinking about a campaign I want to run. Inspired by the format of Derendel's Changeling AP, where the characters became Changelings as children and grew up, I thought to myself that it might be interesting to try to engage with the idea of young people undergoing the significant and possibly traumatic idea of Awakening. Right now it's a very loose idea, where I'm mostly considering the story implications and how to go about playing it.

    I'm a big fan of Mage's setting, especially what we know of the 2nd edition, so I want that to be something they're engaging with, possibly as children and definitely as adults.

    I'm wondering about Awakening itself, as well. I imagine among the reasons children don't tend to Awaken is that they haven't experienced the extremes that seem to push people into Awakening.

    Since I'm just musing about the concept, I welcome any input or thoughts you guys have on that sort of thing, including why it might be a bad idea. How do you feel about it?


    I am no longer participating in the community. Please do not contact me about my previous work.

  • #2
    It sounds like a neat idea! I wonder if the characters, being young and without as much of an established identity, might cling a bit close to path stereotypes at first.

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    • #3
      It's definitely one of those things I could see heavily shaping their perceptions.

      I think I want to start with a focus on their mundane lives, with some gradual exploration of whatever Weirdness might help spur their Awakening. That way, it should set up some personal goals and relationship dynamics, which might help when it comes time to explore Hubris and Wisdom a bit.

      I'm also toying with the idea that they might be in a small town or a city where the local Caucuses either fail to take notice of their Awakening or aren't around for it, at least initially. Maybe the area's Mystery temporarily drove those Awakened to leave, and they start trickling back in over time.

      Another idea is that there might be an Archmaster in some kind of guise mentoring the children and teaching them about Awakened magic and its own philosophy, but I'm worried that might be a bit tacky.


      I am no longer participating in the community. Please do not contact me about my previous work.

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      • #4
        The one thing I always have in my games is that they have to be old enough to actually understand symbolism and the abstract in addition to undergoing a stressor or enlightening moment. Otherwise they won't grasp the mystery play/ astral journey when thrown into it, since the Supernal is symbolism. In my games, this is actually where a lot of my Sleepwalkers who never experience a mystery play but have seemingly been Sleepwalkers their entire life comens from: they experienced their Mystery Play/astral journey at an early age and failed since they were not ready for it, and now remember it as a childish daydream.

        As for when a child can understand the abstract, the jury is out/it varies. Most kids start to grasp it by 7-10, with relatively good comprehension around 9-13 (think about when you start learning algebra...letters representing numbers is a huge thing). Obviously, there are outliers on both sides, and some people never really get it.

        So, the tl:dnr version is that I wouldn't go much younger than 7-8, as you then start getting into the issues of how your characters can even interpet the Supernal (never mind the other issues of dealing with a preschool crowd).

        And I would actually have them be in a established mage community for 2 reasons.

        First, it let's you play on the dynamics of the mage community, especially as the setting moves forward and they become more powerful, of the interplay between adults and children when the children is more powerful. While this can exist without a mage community, imagine what it would be like if your mage is now 12 year old mastigos, gnosis 5, status 3 in the AA and a sentinel, and he is dealing with the power dynamics of older but more inexperience mages as well as consileum politics- all while dealing with family and middle school.

        The second is it grants your players more freedom. A 10 year old sneaking out to meat up with his Cabal to explore a Mystery is going to find it tough between school and family. Even if a latch key kid, he will still have to deal with the public perception of him being 10. Having a mage community can help assuage some of these hang ups as you could have an older mage mentor offer cover for the players. While the issues of being a mage and also a child should be explored, they shouldn't dominate the play (Yes, you could ignore the restrictions kids face, but then you are just playing mage with short adults). Having a mage community doesn't mean they have an out always. My game with teenage mages had them learning something last minute, requiring them to sneak out after curfew since they couldn't reach their mentor to arrange an excuse. But it does mean that for mundane stuff, they aren't always risking cover.

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        • #5
          Those are some good points. How do you guys think the Orders, particularly in the 2nd edition, might treat children?

          I'd planned for them to be in the 13-16 range, so that's where my head is at with regards to them.


          I am no longer participating in the community. Please do not contact me about my previous work.

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          • #6
            Can you be born awakened ?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Suleri Drals View Post
              Can you be born awakened ?
              Based on the setting info to date, the short answer is no. The best you can get is being born into a Proximi family, which have their own magical blessings, sleepwalker status and a high(er) chance to awaken. Awakening is a conscious choice, where you choose to inscribe your name into the realms supernal. I don't want to get into the questions about the nature of a fetus and conscious thought, but outside of some crazy tomfoolery involving an Archmage or some other powerful entity, it doesn't occur to my knowledge in the Mage setting.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post
                Those are some good points. How do you guys think the Orders, particularly in the 2nd edition, might treat children?

                I'd planned for them to be in the 13-16 range, so that's where my head is at with regards to them.
                I imagine they might make the Guardians somewhat nervous, at least. On the opposite end of the spectrum, The Free Council might like the idea of Mages who can dive into the Mysteries with less preconceptions than most.

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                • #9
                  If I remember correctly the Hieromagus is supposed to be born awakened. I'm tempted to ignore this as just a pipe dream but with mage being what it is their might be something to that prophecy.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cmwatford View Post
                    If I remember correctly the Hieromagus is supposed to be born awakened. I'm tempted to ignore this as just a pipe dream but with mage being what it is their might be something to that prophecy.
                    I don't remember that part, but I believe you. That said, the Hieromagus is a messiah of the awakened that is spared from paradox and will lead to a new age of awakened magic. So I think said mage is allowed to be fantastical/an exception to the rules governing awakening.

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                    • #11
                      I wonder how he is supposed to be spared from paradox, maybe he/she (Why the Hieromagus would be a white guy ?) living Demense (maybe his/her soulstone is his/her body), linked to a Emanation Realm or something like that.

                      But I wonder if it would be possible to see a difference between a true Hieromagus and a dark messiah of the abyss who would be paradox-free because the abyss (or some powerfull abyssal entities) want it....or even a trap of the Exarchs. (Maybe they are powerfull enough to protect him/her from the Paradox and they still can ask the help of the Gate)

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Suleri Drals View Post
                        I wonder how he is supposed to be spared from paradox, maybe he/she (Why the Hieromagus would be a white guy ?) living Demense (maybe his/her soulstone is his/her body), linked to a Emanation Realm or something like that.

                        But I wonder if it would be possible to see a difference between a true Hieromagus and a dark messiah of the abyss who would be paradox-free because the abyss (or some powerfull abyssal entities) want it....or even a trap of the Exarchs. (Maybe they are powerfull enough to protect him/her from the Paradox and they still can ask the help of the Gate)
                        All great questions we should move to another thread since we are straying far from the original topic.

                        For 2e, I think the Orders would for the most part be okay with, with the exception of the Guardians. They just might not take the PCs too seriously as members right away, since in their eyes they are children. The AA and FC would be the areas where they would likely have the best shot, since the AA is a meritocracy and the FC is pretty welcoming about most things (They just have to convince the AA that they are worthy). In 1e, the Mysterium had schools for gifted youngsters (their book is where you will find the rules for newly awakened) so I could see them taking the Mages on in an academy of theirs. The Silver Ladder would likely be okay with them, but likely see them as potent tools that are ready to be crafted, since they are still young and impressionable. And the guardians would be wary about how well "high schoolers" and "secret magical society" would go together, and would likely keep extra special tabs on them.

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                        • #13
                          The Guardians are also wholeheartedly a meritocracy so if they can make it in the AA because of that fact then they can make it in the Guardians for the same reason.

                          What I think likely though is that in both the Guardians and the AA kids would be shut out from "grown up" missions. I think their philosophies would prejudice them towards thinking of either the innocence of childhood or the jaded views of adults to be merits that need to be weighed when considering who gets assigned to what. Of course as the kids grew into up and further into the Orders this would eventually stop being an issue.

                          The Mysterium is also pretty meritocratic, but they also believe in self-empowerment so they usually won't stop you from learning things on your own they just won't help you if they think you're not ready. So while you could be stuck with less important missions, duties, etc. it doesn't actually get in the way of one of the core philosophies of the Order itself.

                          Free Council is pretty accepting of everyone that's capable of following the tenets. You might not get elected to a leadership position or whatever, but you get a vote and can do your own thing.

                          Silver Ladder I think is likely to look at a kid and start thinking of ways to turn them into or portray them as a poster child of their successes as an Order. "Look how close we're bringing humanity, now even the kids are Awakening!" I think they'd teach you just about anything you wanted and let you get into things, but they'd also keep you under strict supervision at least as much as valuable proximi. So on the bright side you get the best teachers in the world, on the downside you're more restricted than you might be in the other Orders until they deem you ready. When you hit that point though the world is pretty much your oyster.

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                          • #14
                            From what I've read in the core book, the Awakening can come upon a person under almost any circumstance. Deep meditation, profound insights, extremes of fear or hate, anything that takes a person sufficiently out of their normal state of awareness is enough. It's perfectly conceivable that a Star Wars fan who's created a Jedi character for cons might get really deep into character during an event and undergo a mystery play Awakening. Awakening doesn't need to be a horribly traumatic experience that leaves you forever scarred, and it normally shouldn't. Changed, yes, inherently. Scarred, not automatically.

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                            • #15
                              The Guardians would certainly endoctrinate them even further than adult ones and turns them into "child soldiers" cherub-like (An child espion could really be unoticable)

                              The Seers would certainly be have an similar approach : no kind at all with them, endoctrine them to produce ultra-endoctrined and loyal unexpected follows, I wouldn't be surprised if the Exarch would even tends to choose as prelates. (Imagine the horror of a young mage enslaved by a Exarch)

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