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All Along The Watchtowers: Brainstorming a 1960s Mage setting

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  • All Along The Watchtowers: Brainstorming a 1960s Mage setting

    So I've been chewing on the idea of a 1960s Mage setting for a while now, and with 2e imminent I figured the time is right to toss this out here. What would you folks like to see in such a setting? It's an era of massive upheaval and major symbolic change; the Space Race, Vietnam War and wider Cold War conflict are rife with inspiration, to say nothing of racial tensions, other protests and oppression, and a mystical awakening with the various New Age cults that start to spring up during this time.

    The Exarchs' hands are apparent during the 1960s, with the Praetorians enjoying the conflict in Vietnam and elsewhere and Panopticon thriving during the heightened Cold War paranoia and espionage. For the Guardians, their beliefs are uncomfortably reflected in Sleeper fringe religion as some New Age groups take up belief in reincarnation; Charles Manson is one of many false messiahs preaching to the vulnerable. The Arrows see struggle in every facet of the world around them, from the protesters fighting against the shackles of political and racial oppression to outright fighting in Vietnam, Latin America, and other hot spots across the globe. Libertines threaten to lose their grasp on new symbols as culture around them evolves at an exponential rate, nearly drowning them in the white noise. Mystagogues are similarly adrift as more faux-occultism lead the curious to pursue Mysteries they have no capability to understand, expanding their minds with drugs to the breaking point. The Silver Ladder rejoice as their beliefs seem to be ascendant, Sleepers collectively reaching out for mystic answers and rise to the heavens on rocket boosters.

    What does everyone think? Is this an idea you'd like to see fleshed out, possibly expanded to a collaborative effort on the forums here?


    Remi. she/her. game designer.

  • #2
    I would play it with an upsurge in the Mage 'Cold War' as well, Pentacle vs Seer as each struggle with and seek to exploit the changes in mortal society.

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    • #3
      A good thing is you could still use Boston. Most people don't realize the impact that New England had on the counterculture of the period (many of the movements in California originated in New England then moved to San Fransisco), and it is also highlighted as a period in the Boston Unveiled Book (including the rise of the Nemean.) Just if you were looking for a city

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      • #4
        Originally posted by 2ptTakrill View Post
        I would play it with an upsurge in the Mage 'Cold War' as well, Pentacle vs Seer as each struggle with and seek to exploit the changes in mortal society.
        Oh, absolutely; I'm sure a decent amount of Sleeper weirdness are Ladder/Guardian/Seer pet projects spinning out of their control. Across the ocean, we have major British spy Kim Philby outed as a Soviet double agent, and similar fears of infiltration have to be absolutely rampant in the Pentacle.


        Remi. she/her. game designer.

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        • #5
          This needs to stop, dude. I spent my night at work thinking about a Mage Summer of Love Dark Era.

          We should just merge into the same person

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          • #6
            Originally posted by reseru View Post
            We should just merge into the same person
            Well, duh. How else do you think we're gonna Awaken?


            Remi. she/her. game designer.

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            • #7
              I don't know how global you are thinking but part of the fall out of WWII and the spread, and fight against, communism is bringing the outside world's attention to parts of the world previously hidden and ignored. I could see the Mysterium and Arrows being very busy trying to find lost temples found in the jungles of South America and South East Asia to claim and protect them before the Sleeper fighting destroys them. I could also see the Seers and Guardians taking a page out of the Cold War play book, using local guerillas as proxies in the same cause.

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              • #8
                Adding to the global theme, it would be interesting to see how the Year of Africa and the following wave of decolonization of Africa affected the Seers, the Council and the Pentacle.

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                • #9
                  For the Arrow it's worth remembering that's the 1960s is roughly 20 years on from their great caucus. That would mean you're probably seeing the takeover of Arrows who have only known the newly reforged Arrow agenda.

                  I'm not sure what that would lead to exactly, but it's worth thinking about.


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                  • #10
                    My only useful contribution atm is to not forget about the Cultural Revolution and so forth in China.

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                    • #11
                      So I'm still very interested on working this. In order to get some interest going (and to give me a jumping off point), is there a particular Path or Order you'd like to see a preliminary pass on? I've got some good ideas for the Thyrsus and the Adamantine Arrow of the Era.

                      I'd also like to throw out my 'face' characters for the setting, who need a little bit of work. Saturn is the Silver Ladder face, a middle-aged professor of astrophysics and an Obrimos who sees the space program as nothing less than the physical manifestation of the human souls's innate drive to Ascend. Starflower is our main Mystagogue, a naive young Thyrsus who hopes to use Spirit magic and hallucinogenic drugs to make contact with alien intelligences. There's also an Adamantine Arrow veteran of the war in Vietnam who is probably gonna wind up a very angry Moros, a government spook, hardcore Guardian of the Veil enforcer, and likely Mastigos who winds up embodying the MIB myth, and then the last character is tentaively an Acanthus Libertine and black civil rights activists who hopes to shape the Fate of all America's donwtrodden.


                      Remi. she/her. game designer.

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                      • #12
                        Since you've got some ideas for them and I'm always for listening to someone who actually understands them, what do you have on the Thyrsus?

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                        • #13
                          I want to see the villains first, of course. Bring on the Iron Pyramid!


                          Revlid wrote:
                          Yes, hollowing out your humanity to become an utterly utilitarian asura is the exact suggestion I would expect from you, Aiden.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Aiden View Post
                            I want to see the villains first, of course. Bring on the Iron Pyramid!
                            Here's a fun question; is this a time when the Seers are in power, or are they watching their influence crumble? There's arguments for either. I'm sure the Praetorians are delighted by the fighting in Vietnam and the wider Cold War conflict, but a large and vocal portion of the Sleeper populace are opposed to the fighting. I'm sure the Hegemony is enjoying the racial tensions of the time period, but the inequality between races has never been so apparent and challenged before. Panopticon isn't experiencing this crisis, as they get to experience U2 flyovers and satellite cameras, so their main focus is on maintaining this inertia and possibly making a big play.

                            IMHO, the Iron Pyramid of the 1960s is terrified that things are about to fall apart, and compensate by aggressively trying to subvert or attack the Pentacle. This gives us both a ready antagonist and a reason to have fun espionage regarding double agents in the ranks of the Orders.

                            EDIT: Banishers! This Era is absolutely lousy with Banishers, people who stumble into the supernatural via unpleasant cults, bad trips, near-death experiences during the war, race riots, and visions of a nuclear apocalyptic future.
                            Last edited by atamajakki; 05-14-2016, 08:14 PM.


                            Remi. she/her. game designer.

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                            • #15
                              I don't think the Seers as a whole where faced with the possibility or fear that the Ministries where losing influence, instead I think the threat would have been internal as changing circumstances created a power shift within the ministry. Take the Praetorians for example; before the power base was focused around armies and dictators/militant powers, but now there is a new upswing in civil unrest with an increase in threatening violence in places that were once safely behind the lines. It's no longer just about the bombing of a village, now there is also the bombing of ROTC buildings on once 'safe' campuses. Not to mention the increase in racial, ethnic and class violence as old power structures are challenged. I could see the old Praetorian general being overshadowed by someone he once saw as a useless rabble rouser, one who now pushes people to hide inside there homes from potential riots and the 'other' next door.
                              ‚ÄčI see the Seers undergoing an internal 'Cold War' of their own, with the young and ambitious finding fertile new ground upon which to challenge the elites.
                              I don't think it would be as bad for the Pentacle, but I could see this being the point at which the Free Council gained greater ground against the Diamond.

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