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  • Running Mage 2E without Mysteries

    So I was wondering maybe to return to Mage with some chronicle. However, I have a bit systemic problem with 'solving mysteries' focus of 2E - and I'm just wondering - What kind of games you can run with Mage, without focusing on mysteries?

    I was thinking on Nameless War game in 19th century, once we will ( finally ) get Tome of Pentacle. Probably very much as 'steampunk Invisibles comic' in feel. 😎

    In Mage Chronicle Guide there was also idea on Comic Book Mage - called C.A.B.A.L. ( But probably now runing superhero game would be better with Trinity Aberrant or Scion Hero or Demigod, as more direct systems to those ideas. )

    Other ideas for stories or chronicles of Mage without dwelling in Mysteries you got?
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 11-04-2022, 12:49 PM.


    My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
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  • #2
    Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
    So I was wondering maybe to return to Mage with some chronicle. However, I have a bit systemic problem with 'solving mysteries' focus of 2E
    So as a disclaimer, I’ve read the listed thread, and I don’t seem understand your issues with Mysteries. That might hinder my ability to help you, but I’ll try anyways.

    Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
    - and I'm just wondering - What kind of games you can run with Mage, without focusing on mysteries?
    Pretty much everything Mage can already. Mage Politics. Weird and spooky monsters that do weird and spooky things to people, that’s really hard to fix the aftermath of. Mind bending concepts being used for practical or not so practical purpose. Magic experiments going extremely wrong, or just weird.

    More specific examples: Trying to change societies heart, by traveling to a invisible realm and messing with it. Both the Shadow, and the Astral can be used to mess with people, and both have their own forms of challenges. The real hard part is making the changes meaningful, while keeping the Seers or other Antagonist faction off your back.

    Try and combat Abyssal incursions like the Red Word, or Dread Angel Aphasia happing to friends and family. It’s a bit of a waste for Abyssal incursions to be a gribbly monster. Instead, go for the weird and immaterial: rogue timelines, mathematical equations that break the mind, or cancerous cells of interpersonal relationships.

    Magic can be used for anything, which means someone will use it for something extremely petty. Mages never really stop being human, and humanity is really really weird sometimes. Just go to the internet, any part really, and go and figure out what all the ads and junk are trying to get you to do, and what they are trying to appeal to. Someone is going to use magic to do that instead. So yeah, enhanced food that always is the same from your childhood, magical “material aid”, endless cups of your alcoholic beverage of choice, and pencils/pens that do paperwork for you. Now make purely magical methods of all those things. Now just let any of that go horribly wrong, and you have a plot.

    Mage is stated to be one of the most likely splats to cause Deviants. While you don’t have to use Deviant mechanics, you can totally have mage experiments on sleepers result in wretched abominations that still are people. I’ve still got a image of a Space experiment trying to push how far one can get a sympathetic connection accidentally merging the bodies of people, with all the horror that implies.

    Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
    I was thinking on Nameless War game in 19th century, once we will ( finally ) get Tome of Pentacle. Probably very much as 'steampunk Invisible' comic in feel. 😎
    Cool. Never read that comic, is it good?

    Edit: some grammar fixes
    Last edited by TempleBuilder; 11-04-2022, 12:56 PM.


    To whomever reads this, I hope you have a good day/night. May you be Happy.

    So, I made some Mage Legacies here, with some help. They vary in quality, but I hope you take a look at them. Every one contains pieces of me, for better or worse.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by TempleBuilder View Post
      Cool. Never read that comic, is it good?
      The Invisibiles series is GREAT - it's like Free Council extremiest fights Seers-Abyssal Worshippers to change future Earth's Aeon. And it's great! ( Even if sometimes really bonkers )

      Last edited by wyrdhamster; 11-04-2022, 12:55 PM.


      My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
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      • #4
        Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
        I was thinking on Nameless War game in 19th century, once we will ( finally ) get Tome of Pentacle. Probably very much as 'steampunk Invisibles comic' in feel. 😎
        If you don’t mind, I’d like to suggest a potential plot thread, based on when you want the chronicle to take place. One of my favorite lore bits is that according to the most accurate Masters of Prophecy (the Stewards of the Celestial Orrery legacy), the Nameless Orders wouldn’t ever succeed, and would be mostly absorbed into the Diamond or the Seers. Which would make most non nameless mages start trying to carve up the corpse for themselves in advance. Having this a background element, or even embodied as a major antagonist for a cabal from the Nameless Orders would be a wonderful bit of on the nose symbolism of fighting Fate and Order. Heck, you could even use antagonistic astral shenanigans to poison the majority’s concept of the Nameless Orders chances of success for more plot threads.


        To whomever reads this, I hope you have a good day/night. May you be Happy.

        So, I made some Mage Legacies here, with some help. They vary in quality, but I hope you take a look at them. Every one contains pieces of me, for better or worse.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
          and I'm just wondering - What kind of games you can run with Mage, without focusing on mysteries?
          Doing the things that the Orders are about.

          You'd probably end up pushing the Mysterium into the background a bit.


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

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          • #6
            Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
            Other ideas for stories or chronicles of Mage without dwelling in Mysteries you got?
            I'd run Boston Unveiled or Chicago as presented. Like, it was written early enough that the cabals aren't terribly interested in mysteries.


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            • #7
              And on practical running the game, session-to-session -
              Just left out Obsessions from 2E? Not using them as mechanics?

              Aspirations are enough things for players to run after? And if one of them point to something Mysteries related - just go with making it normal Aspiration?

              How do you see this? 🤔
              Last edited by wyrdhamster; 11-04-2022, 07:46 PM.


              My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
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              • #8
                Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                So I was wondering maybe to return to Mage with some chronicle. However, I have a bit systemic problem with 'solving mysteries' focus of 2E - and I'm just wondering - What kind of games you can run with Mage, without focusing on mysteries?
                And as in that thread, I will again point out that when Mage talks about Mysteries it is not talking about solving the means-motive-and-opportunity sort of detective-fiction puzzles associated with mystery fiction; it is talking about understanding manifestations of the supernatural, which goes all the way back to how Arcane Experience worked in 1e.

                Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                And on practical running the game, session-to-session -
                Just left out Obsessions from 2E? Not using them as mechanics?

                Aspirations are enough things for players to run after? And if one of them point to something Mysteries related - just go with making it normal Aspiration?
                You're then short a nontrivial amount of mechanics that affect Wisdom, Acts of Hubris, Mana recovery, Mage Sight, the Enraptured, and potential long-term shifts in a character's Anchors, as well as a signaling device specifically for supernatural events the characters might be given opportunities to interact with, experience, and/or orchestrate.

                If you don't want to focus on characters' use of magic and interaction with supernatural phenomena in particular, why are you running a game whose default assumptions include the player characters being wizards with some level of formal training in the study and application of magic?


                Resident Lore-Hound
                Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                  And on practical running the game, session-to-session -
                  Just left out Obsessions from 2E? Not using them as mechanics?

                  Aspirations are enough things for players to run after? And if one of them point to something Mysteries related - just go with making it normal Aspiration?

                  How do you see this? 🤔
                  I think that's quite reasonable.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                    And on practical running the game, session-to-session -
                    Just left out Obsessions from 2E? Not using them as mechanics?

                    Aspirations are enough things for players to run after? And if one of them point to something Mysteries related - just go with making it normal Aspiration?

                    How do you see this? 🤔
                    Kinda like it would be a non trivial amount of effort for little gain. It also removes character decisions and characteristics in a way that seems pointless. Even if you don’t really engage much with Mysteries as a story focus, I don’t see the point in removing obsessions.

                    I’m really not understanding the connection here. From what you stated, Mysteries are too easy for your liking, but I’m not sure how that correlates to removing Obsessions. Could you please explain your issues again?


                    To whomever reads this, I hope you have a good day/night. May you be Happy.

                    So, I made some Mage Legacies here, with some help. They vary in quality, but I hope you take a look at them. Every one contains pieces of me, for better or worse.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      In 1E Mage, Arcane Exp was awarded for encountering supetnatural. Players got in to weird plot - supernatural Things happened - they got Experience.

                      In 2E as I run it for few months - Players need to declare what they dwell in to - Obsession - go for flavorours mechanics - extensive Mage Sight - to lock on the reaping of few more de facto Arcane XP.. They still will probably succeed as 1-2 dots in Arcana still makes you best detectives in the World.

                      I run A LOT of Storytelling and Storypath game systems, with a LOT of players. ( Like probably it's my 6th chronicle in 3 years.)
                      Players have problem with using Aspirations correctly, even afters few sessions. Veterans get them, but they STILL have problem to implement them, sometimes.

                      And now we want DOUBLE it with Obsessions as magics-only Aspirations. That also lead to needlessly extensive investigations with Mage Sight rules. 😔

                      ( In last 3 years I run, prepared or at least started creating characters in Storypath games for about 30 people. There was a problems with internalizing Aspirations with about half of them. And here we want to put even second set of them to manage... .)
                      Last edited by wyrdhamster; 11-06-2022, 01:25 AM.


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

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                        In 2E as I run it for few months - Players need to declare what they dwell in to - Obsession - go for flavorours mechanics - extensive Mage Sight - to lock on the reaping of few more de facto Arcane XP.. They still will probably succeed as 1-2 dots in Arcana still makes you best detectives in the World.
                        Again: solving mysteries by having your magic powers start out at "here's a suite of information-gathering tools" has basically nothing to do with Mysteries and Obsessions as a source of Arcane Beats.

                        1e's sources of Arcane Experience were as follows:
                        • Get a point whenever you brush up against a supernatural phenomenon you didn't know about and shed light on its mystery or participate in the process of doing so. (Has to be for new phenomena.)
                        • Get a point whenever you make a substantial discovery about the supernatural. (Has to be a new discovery you couldn't have extrapolated from what you already knew.)
                        • Get a point when you put together what's actually going on with a supernatural event (likely after making one or more substantial discoveries about the phenomenon as described above).
                        • Get a point (two if you were instrumental) when you resolve a supernatural dilemma.

                        Arcane Experience was explicitly there to encourage mages to pursue the Mysteries and represented moments of understanding about the occult and mages' desire for that knowledge. 2e carries that over chiefly by giving Arcane Beats to mages for meaningful and new encounters with the supernatural, resolving Conditions from spellcasting/Paradox/magical effects, upgrading failures on spellcasting rolls, and fulfilling/making major headway on/changing the direction of their Obsessions.

                        All of these can provide an Arcane Beat per scene and Obsessions are equivalent to long-term Aspirations that most starting characters will have two of at most — that's the same as werewolves and Sin-Eaters and certain Prometheans and vampires get, and like any Aspiration, they're supposed to be fairly broad; this is stuff like "my Mastigos wants to find out what gave him his Destiny" or "I want my Moros to be inconvenienced by spirits for an extended period of time" or "my Obrimos wants to create a rainstorm big enough to cover her hometown for a day." You will have this information ahead of time and can prepare opportunities for players to move toward their fulfillment as goals specific to their magical advancement, which is meaningfully distinct from "I want my Thyrsus to be hospitalized at the workplace of their mortal enemy" or "my Acanthus wants to earn their driver's license on skill alone."

                        You've explained that you don't like Obsessions as an extension of your table's style not meshing well with Aspirations in general, but this doesn't explain a single blessed thing about your problem with either the narrative category of Mysteries (i.e. the supernatural phenomena mages study) or the game-mechanical devices labeled as Mysteries (i.e. the system allowing characters to determine a bunch of information about a supernatural phenomenon that might not be obvious at a glance, which does not provide any intrinsic form of Arcane Beats and is slightly more likely to yield information to a mage whose Obsessions apply to that phenomenon).

                        Mage Sight and Knowing/Unveiling spells don't give you context for the information beyond what you already have, which tends to be the most important part of any detective work you might want players to engage in — being able to tell that somebody magically masked a body's cause of death doesn't tell you whodunnit.


                        Resident Lore-Hound
                        Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e

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                        • #13
                          I'm obliged to ask.

                          So, you understand that the feature you're talking about is rather core to the story Mage is setting out to tell*, but you've had enough time and run-ins with this question where we have to reasoanbly assume either you just can't wrap your head around the concept, or blatantly won't. So I have to ask**, that being the case, why are you bothering with Mage the Awakening when there are any number of other games with robust magic systems and cultures that seem like they'd better fulfill your interests? There's no shame in saying "I guess I just don't get/don't like what this game is doing" and moving on.

                          THis is a fairly consistent issue for you, and I think you at least owe yourself the question of "Why am I bothering with this?"

                          *maybe not so central as to be comparable to the Pilgrimage in Promethean or Lair in Beast, but definitely tightly wound with the central element, like embracing the essentialness of switching points of view on humanity by embracing different Refinements over a Pilgrimage or in how pursuing Hunger and Kinship and Heoric/Insatiable opposition are all important elements to building Lair.
                          **Again, rather like people who can't accept the humanism of Promethean


                          Kelly R.S. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                          The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
                          Feminine pronouns, please.

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                          • #14
                            If solving Mysteries is too easy, i suggest reading the, eh, i want to call them advanced Mysteries rule in SoS.

                            Specifically, Mysteries as Clues, Clues as Mysteries, Both, Locked Opacity and Linked Opacity.

                            At least as a base líne for inspiration for making solving problems interesting.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by orathaic View Post
                              If solving Mysteries is too easy, i suggest reading the, eh, i want to call them advanced Mysteries rule in SoS.

                              Specifically, Mysteries as Clues, Clues as Mysteries, Both, Locked Opacity and Linked Opacity.

                              At least as a base líne for inspiration for making solving problems interesting.
                              Hamster has, and it still hasn't helped-because, again, he seems to have trouble grasping the concept at the core of Mysteries and Obsessions on the whole, even with plenty of explanation.
                              Last edited by ArcaneArts; 11-06-2022, 06:21 PM.


                              Kelly R.S. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                              The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
                              Feminine pronouns, please.

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