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Boston Unveiled: What have you done with it?

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  • #46
    Responding to a few of those and throwing a few of mine out there...

    I think Hydra makes sense as a thread-cutter. In fact I feel it would be more interesting if more mages in Boston had legacies, creating extra ties between them, going between orders and cabals. It depends a lot on what role the legacies have in the setting. I think in Dave's setting a legacy is something a "mature" mage is expected to join, but I dunno what the official line is.

    The secret conflict between Subtle Ones sounds awesome. With their attainments it makes particular sense that no one else is really aware of this. I suppose the Gray Pope would fit as the most senior member of the Seer Subtle Ones... showing how far they have fallen in their service to the Exarchs.

    Leadership in general is absent or downplayed in Boston Unveiled. They have one councillor less than the norm (only 4 + the nemean). It makes sense to me that Boston isn't considered that important and that some of the order members might be part of other caucuses. Silver Ladder is particularly absent, which fits with the Nemean being an embarrassment to the rest of his order. His presence is preventing himself and those close to him from gaining status within the order. Status 4 is plenty to "run" a caucus, I think... so Guardians, Mysterium and Arrows are actually covered. The Free Council is a bit of joke in the area, isolationalists or bloody pirates, so them not having a lot of status makes sense. I think I would go with leadership being weak in some areas, and with this being a symptom of some of Bostons issues (the Nemean's tyranny and the council's decline) and a sign of Boston not being very visible on the global scale. Also fits with the Seers having a small presence in the city and not doing anything about it for several decades.

    Personally I'm lazy enough that I'll simply make the Seers in Boston part of the example Iron Pyramid in the book. It is mentioned as the one covering most of North America and I kinda like weird mixture of buddhism and masonic titles.

    I got the impression that the Ebon Noose was more a move by the Silvar Ladder to move in and absorb a bunch of the apostate mages coming into the area... something they have been very succesful in, until now. The independence war is an interesting subject in Boston though, got some ideas there. More on that in a later post :P

    The Sanguine Laurel being the heart of a spirit-focused proximi and Numa leading his own court is brilliant. I like the link to the Wood of Empty Houses, it's a fitting temptation (and easy source of Very Bad Things). The relationship between Numa's court and the Austere Stone might be an interesting area as well. I could easily imagine a constant, slow-boiling conflict where the Austere Stone seeks to make Numa's court part of it, and the proximi constantly being engaged in low-level skirmishes to prevent this from happening.

    Regarding Khumeia and co., I'm actually planning to replace them with the Ancients from Reign of the Exarchs (which I am intending to use :P)... or perhaps meld them together. I like them as exiles from some other consillium, who were too obnoxious. They are basically Silver Ladder supremacists... or something like it. The idea of them having a cult of proximi around them that they brought with them, basically a personality cult, fits the bill as well. Their position in Boston could just be where they are gathering strength and licking their wounds, after being kicked out of another consillium. Maybe they are arming themselves for revenge? I like their proximi is a personality cult, showcasing how mages can control the lives of "mortals" around them if they do not impose limits on themselves. Every member of the cabal being worshipped like Gods, that sort of thing. Something that leaves a bad taste in the mouths of other mages. Might be a bit on the nose though.

    Speaking of Seer ministeries, which ministry to you think Psychomemetic Operations and the Asylum should belong to? Scorpio fits the bill as Pratorians. I guess Harvard would make sense as a Hegemonic stronghold, being all about controlling the ruling class. Would also indicate why the Seers aren't bringing more resources into Boston - the ministry that is supposed to care is on the decline.


    • #47
      One thing that's more focused on in 2nd edition is that consilliums need a raison d'ĂȘtre - some reason for attracting mages to form the critical mass for a consillium, other than just hanging out. Boston's is obviously the Secret Concord, but I think it lacks oomph. The Secret Concord mostly seems to determine who rules in Boston, interest in it is actively discouraged and none of the mages and cabals in Boston seem to be investigating it (except the Lodge of the Either Chambers, for obvious reasons). It is very local in nature - Boston mages care about it, but it's hard to see how it attracts and keep mages in the area.

      The Astral plane's special properties in Boston is a good reason to stick around there. Having a shortcut into the Astral that is easier than normal in terms of meditation and doesn't require a powerful Hallow could be a draw.

      One idea I've been slinging around is that something weird is going on with the Liberty Road. It is weird enough in itself, but maybe it could be a symptom of something that is happening in Boston and elsewhere that could attract interested mages. In some ways the myths and mythology around the independence war seem to be supplanting the reality of it. Maybe a weird, idealized version of the past is slowly manifesting in Boston. A lot of the wild myths about the founding fathers and the independence war is becoming reality and supplanting the truth. There is a conflict taking place, influenced by all the different groups trying to harness the myths to their purpose - the Tea Party being the most obvious culprit. It's really more of an mage: the ascenscion theme, but it could work here as a draw because it isn't supposed to be happening. Could be linked to the Wood of Empty Houses - things are slipping in there that shouldn't be, as the mythical version of the independence war and the events supplants the real history.

      Any idea of what a different central draw to Boston could be?

      Another thing I've been pondering is the different mortal secret societies that form the heart of the Seers, the Silver Ladder, the Mysterium and the Guardians mortal supporters in the area. I like the idea of them having very different flavors.
      I like the Seer's cults as being exemplified by the Skull and Bones Society ( I see them as rich socielites and coming politicians looking for an occult "fix". It's not about self-improvement, it's not about getting a deeper understanding of some mystery. It's about networking, improving your material life and getting that feeling of being in the presence of something supernatural and special. I know the Skull and Bones society is in Yale, but it's easy to imagine something similar in Harvard. A bunch of cults, a guilty pleasure for young powermongers in training, a manifestation of the Hedgemonic Ministry's hold on the souls of the ruling class.

      The cults that are affiliated with the Diamond Orders are mainly Masonic Orders and cults. They are about self-improvement and searching for something deeper. Most of it is a dog-and-pony show, but it's still fertile ground for recruiting hangarounds for the orders. Masonic occultism, to my limited knowledge, is all about harnessing symbols to improve oneself. I haven't ironed this completely out yet, but I think one of the ways you can tell the difference between cultists who are being led around by their nose, and those who are actually being helped closer to awakening, is by whether they are adding lots of new symbols or deepening their knowledge of a handful. Those who are focusing on mastering a few symbols, understanding the allagories completely, are actually being drawn toward a path. Those just collecting them like trading cards are focused on the rituals and the prestige of it, being drawn toward the smoke and mirrors, rather than the deeper truths. This difference is a remnant of the Guardians' labyrinth, something the Shadow Chorus is in the process of bringing under their purview once again.

      The gist: The Seers' cults are about getting a "fix" of the occult, strange and supernatural. THe Diamond's are about self-improvement in some form, as exemplified by the freemasons.


      • #48
        A central draw to Boston? There is an entire section of town that functions like one big demesne, that I think would draw the interest of everybody including the Seers.


        • #49
          Good point, the Combat Zone is pretty much dismissed in the book as not being of much interest and of being fading, but that never sat right with me. Especially with the new rules, an area with no paradox means you can work some huge spell effects and rituals without risk. I can easily imagine that being the Cabal to control it would be a huge conflict... actually I think it might be important enough that there likely is a consillium decision saying that no single Cabal can control it, that one must allow others to access it. Neat little conflict there.

          So, just to sum up.
          Reasons to go to Boston, and to stay there:
          The Combat Zone
          A huge, unspecified demesne. It seems there should be soul stones there, but they can't be found. It's plagued by a "cabal" of Banishers who occasionally attack mages trying to use the demesne.

          The Bleached Schooner
          A way to enter the astral, without needing a powerful hallow and with easier requirements for meditation can be a powerful draw. Mages interested in the Astral come to Boston for this. A small idea is that there is actually a belief going around that the quality and type of poem recited can have an effect on the journey, so a few poets make a bit of cash selling poems to mages.

          The Secret Concord
          Mostly of interest to local mages, but still, it is mysterious and possibly connected to big things. That interest in it is actively discouraged by the Nemean, the Ebon Noose and the White Putnams doesn't prevent mages from coming and asking questions. The risk of being flayed alive by mysterious forces just adds spice to it.

          The Wood of Empty Houses
          While the same, or similar, phenomenon is found all over the world (particular in places where a native population has been displaced or been wiped out), the Empty houses are most common in and around Massachusetts. The leap from forgotten mundane concepts to forgotten supernal concepts isn't that big, so mages looking for lost rotes or atlantean lore visit them... as well as free councillers looking for lost human crafts. Hell, some mages are historians and interested just because.

          Treasure hunting
          The Stone Assembly, the original Emerald Scroll, several Seer Pylons, have all been wiped out in and around Boston. Some of them very quickly and abruptly. Though presumably most of their treasures have been found or secured by their orders now, there are always stories and rumors. A few mages come to Boston looking for the treasures of the past.

          Peace, Quiet and Community
          I think for some mages Boston has the right mixture of a community, but also lots of room to be left alone. Those mages who want to pursue their own thing, without interference from others, but yet also have other mages to meet and exchange ideas/favors/etc with, probably like Boston. There is a lot of room to "opt out" of the awakened community, but also other mages to talk to. Most of the Free Council in the area epitomize this - they don't bother with politics at all, but still stick around.

          Yeah, that's... 6 fairly good reason. Enough to expliain why ~100 mages stick around in Boston, other than growing up there, being apprenticed there or just ending up there through the vagaries of fate and awakened life.


          • #50
            How useful is Boston Unveiled to someone running 2e who is not familiar with all the backstory and metaplot of Boston and the Nemean? I'm considering picking it up, if only for all of the premade cabals.


            • #51
              The fiction isn't really necessary, they're just a way the setting could bear out. It's okay, I think. You won't have that much in the way of interesting or powerful stuff just going by the cabals alone, but you can always alter them around. I think the cabals tended to be order or path aligned, which can be limiting. You still have a bunch of write-ups for people and organizations, what they're like as mages and so forth, that's always good to mine.


              • #52
                I personally think it's a great setting and very well-written, but it lacks some context for some of the cabals and political dynamics in the Consilium.

                My personal highlights for the setting are:

                - The Consilium is Cabal-aligned, instead of Path- or Order-aligned. Each have some strong themes going on.

                - The Nemean is a textbook-failed-state thearch begging to be deposed. He's a bully with little interest in diplomacy and legalese, but otherwise he's pretty hands off regarding individual mages' freedoms.

                - The Secret Concord is the Big Obvious Mystery, but very little is discussed regarding how does it actually affect Consilium laws.

                - The Prince of 10000 Leaves is the best thing in the book, the lovecraftian horror ready to be used in your chronicle.

                For a 2nd Edition game, I'd take the following into account:
                - Is the Nemean still in charge? If not, what happens with the balance of power in the region?
                - What are the main Legacies influencing the area? Where are the Order Caucuses located, and how they influence the Boston & Salem Consilium?
                - For a regional sourcebook you might want to add some extra cabals, especially since most important characters have only Order status 2-3. Guardians of the Veil, in particular, are in sore need of more sympathetic members. The Free Council could use a few more members.

                That's my two cents, at least.


                • #53
                  I am cribbing a bunch of the characters and cabals for my London game, its a really nice resource if you want some interesting folks to drop into your own setting, as well as being a great setting by itself.

                  My one criticism of the setting as a whole is that I would be kind of at a loss if I had someone turn up wanting to play a Guardian. The Shadow Chorus are a funky crew of oddballs, but as the settings only Canon guardians it leaves a prospective Guardian PC with very little 'order' to interact with. I am stealing them for my game, but they will be acting as a particularly shadowy part of a larger organisation.


                  • #54
                    I stole the red word cult and the prince of 100,000 leaves but ported them my city setting of New York and also used alot of the named characters/cabals to flesh out my npc's. I tried to do something with the secret concord but lack of info or interest from my players meant i didnt nail down what it was (not would i want to its a head ache). I wanted to use some of the astral things like the ship and stuff, but again my players didnt hang about and explore the astral as much as i thought they would.


                    • #55
                      I will just point to my/our started project of updating Boston: Unveiled as whole to 2E Mage - here it starts.

                      My stuff for Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
                      LGBT+ through Ages
                      LGBT+ in CoD games


                      • #56
                        Here's a link to the Actual Play of my Boston Unveiled game: http://mage-doomcrew.obsidianportal....=oldest&page=1


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Johnny Awesome View Post
                          Here's a link to the Actual Play of my Boston Unveiled game: http://mage-doomcrew.obsidianportal....=oldest&page=1
                          Cool! What about Arachne's ghost familiar? I get she managed to manipulate another mage into binding it to her, but why would she go with a ghost? I've had a bunch of ghost familiars in my game so I'm curious.


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Johnny Awesome View Post
                            Here's a link to the Actual Play of my Boston Unveiled game: http://mage-doomcrew.obsidianportal....=oldest&page=1

                            This 1e?. Asking because im reading through the old quickstart and demo and seeing how much conversion to 2e it needs before i try running it for a new group.

                            *edit never mind checked the dates posted and it has to be 1st ed?
                            Last edited by totalgit; 08-09-2017, 07:26 AM.


                            • #59
                              Yeah. It's 1e. Arachne's ghost familiar was mainly for character reasons (her Grandmother's ghost).

                              I think that Gloria Mundi would mostly work as written. You'd probably have to adjust Bans and Banes for some of the Spirits, but otherwise it would work I think.


                              • #60

                                I just started running a Boston Chronicle for 3 players of 3 Mage the Awakening 2e characters.

                                2 of the players never played wod or cod games. One played Requiem 2nd with me as ST. I myself never ever played Mage before only Requiem and Masquerade and some Masquerade LARP. We are a colorfull group of Fathers living here in Germany.

                                I needed a Mage Beginners Chronicle. Couldn't find one in public domain and couldn't find one on drivethu. So I decided to "design" a Mage version of the New Orleans Chronic and the Danse de la Morte story.

                                Cast and City
                                The BU Dilivered me the Mage Cast, but I have changed some places. Like I changed the Manray(Neutral ground club) and made it the Middle East/Zuzu &c. So I refitted all places so they have real world representation and marked them on Googlemaps/Googleearth . As it's a bit difficult to transport the look and feel of a place that is on the other side of the world by storytelling only, I use tools like Google streetview and Zillow(for intiriors).
                                (Did you know that there are NO walled estates anywhere in Boston....while all Sanctums are located in walled estates in the BU book?)
                                I will add the Vampire Cast from Chicago and I will also add the God Machines Angels to help out on the side of the Seers, as surprise.

                                Introductory Idea for the Characters
                                To make the whole story evolve around the players I took inspiration from the Buffalo Chronicle that is flashed out in the Mage Chroncilers Guide.
                                January 15, 1919 was the Boston Molassacre several cityblocks were hit by a 7 m high tsunamy of hot molasses 23 died 160 injured...
                                It was the result of an attack of a Seer on a gathering of a group of Pentacle Mages and he wanted to make their end to be sure. In my book The Boston police strike was a retaliation of the Pentacle Mage against the Seers influence.
                                The Molassacre had a paradox effect: "Boston will sleep for a 100 years."
                                And no mage awakened the next 100 years in Boston...all mages in the area came from elsewhere or awakened elsewhere.

                                Play so far
                                First day of play was the January 15, 2019 ^^ , We played the awakening of each player. Starting with the news on the radion about the jubelee of the molassacre and the laying down of a plate with the names of the victims at the childrens league baseball diamant Langone Park.
                                So uppon waking up the characters entered the Awakening...
                                When they got back into the fallen world each player was standing at on e of the bases looking toward each other, But they were not in January/2019 anymore but in December/2019.

                                Play planned
                                So before entering the real story they can deal with small problems like Family, IRS, How to get registered a live again...I intend to nake all the paperwork to get easier by dealing with the Vampire cast that controlls the courts and Administration.
                                Like in danse Macarbre I will send an emergency mentor , it will be the MIT professor of the Benefit cabal.
                                This guy will help them to find proper mentors that show them how rotes and improviosed spells and healing and mana and shadownames work. Also they will tell about the orders and the local powerstructure and the Seers.

                                I have still no idea how to deal with the secret concord. I hope it will resolve it self...If the players speculate once they get that it exists I will pick something they come up with. They will never know...and will think that they are soo smart knowing it right away.


                                A Houngan (Moros)
                                Living in Roxbury
                                Having a Vodou and ocult shop

                                Rich Kid, Hacktivist and Student (Acanthus)
                                beeing an Orphant he inherited all his parents wealth (Basically little bruce wayne...but not that rich)
                                (this player only had character Ideas that were bad, like FSB Killer covering as a regular student &c.)

                                Egyption Sufi Mystic (Obrimos)
                                Studies at Medical school
                                Working as driver and carpark manager for Rich Kid

                                As I'm a beginner I don't think it will help a lot of people, but here is how I transfered BU to become usefull to 2nd edition Mage
                                Last edited by QuickAndDirty; 01-16-2020, 12:47 PM.