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Running Mage 2E without Mysteries

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  • #16
    Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
    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.
    In fairness, as core as Obsessions are, you could run the game without them and still include Mysteries, and have the game entirely focus on puzzle solving.

    It would not change too much to remove Obsessions, you still get arcane beats (like in 1st Ed) for :

    When your character has a meaningful and new encounter with the supernatural, at Storyteller discretion, you may take an Arcane Beat
    Obsessions definitely compliment this kind of game play, and if the issue is with keeping track of them,and your players not using them, then it is no loss.

    But the question posed was how to run mage without Mysteries (not without Obsessions). And my answer remains, i wouldn't, i would use these extra mechanics to make mysteries more interesting and involved to solve.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
      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.
      Ok, read through the thread Hamster linked, lots of interesting discussion, but Hamster never replied, so i don't see how where you get your conclusion.

      Regardless, what would a mage game look like without focusing on (small m) mysteries.

      It seems like Hamster was asking about running a 1ed game about hubris and the use/abuse of power.

      In that i can see an excellent game about Seers vs Diamond/FC. One about a Bound and how to return it to the Supernal. One about inter-Order politics and control of consillium resources. One about a old cabal who has been abusing their power (low wisdom). One about sleepers and whether indoctorinating them into mystery cults/cryptologies is moral/just.

      Or just all of these ideas (Bound, and sleepers, and resources controlled by an old cabal being fought over by several orders, including the Seers).

      Also a game about Archmages, sitting in the background pulling your cabal's strings. Witting or unwitting pawns in a cold war.

      And another exploration game about finding artifacts and selling them, possibly dealing with the consequences of the mis-use of those artifacts after you sold them...

      Basically, you can run mage and at no point worry about the character's Obsessions/mystery solving, because there is politics to get done. Power to be used, and end goals which are entirely Temporal (aspirations?).

      Might work even better if the player characters are Seers.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by orathaic View Post

        In fairness, as core as Obsessions are, you could run the game without them and still include Mysteries, and have the game entirely focus on puzzle solving.

        ...

        But the question posed was how to run mage without Mysteries (not without Obsessions). And my answer remains, i wouldn't, i would use these extra mechanics to make mysteries more interesting and involved to solve.
        And this is the catch-the game revolves around occult power being subsumed into being of mages through what amounts to spiritual revelation, wherein the legwork is not merely finding out that a standing occultic occurrence came from Professor Plum in the Library and that it limits people's questions to forms of who, what, and where, but in crossing a chasm of becoming and being, to "grok" (in the way Heinlein intended that word) a thing so well as to be changed by the understanding.

        Admittedly, that's dense and esoteric, but the point is that Mysteries are things you're supposed to understand as occult presences and in terms of it's context, not like some tawdry murder mystery. Hamster keeps seeing it in the same light as Murder, She Wrote and fails to understand how Mages are challenged by that in any way, shape, or form. It's been explained by a lot of people in a lot of different ways, and for whatever reason, he can't seem to get it.

        And that's kind of a problem, because the whole of magedom hinges on the mechanics and storytelling of Mages effectively psychosymbolically eating these occult presences for realization-as-power. Even if, say, someone wanted to focus on the sectarian politics and conflicts of Mage (Which Hamster has shown interest in as an avid fan of the Free Council and their fight against both the Diamond and Seers), it becomes hard to effectively engage, and not just because Major Mysteries are the Biggest Resource wizards fight over, but because the root of the politics of all three sects are rooted in this as the main activity, and their cosmological takes on the relationship between the Supernal and Fallen/Phenomenal Worlds are themselves Mysteries that the collected work of mages are trying to psychosymbolically devour in order to become what they eat.

        And after six years of trying to help him understand this most major of support structures for the game's makeup, I think it warrants asking if he really wants to wrestle against making the rest of the game, which relies so heavily on a thing he can't grok, work for him, or if it's time to get recommendations for how to more effectively get The Invisibles: The RPG that he can, you know, actually enjoy.
        Originally posted by orathaic View Post

        Ok, read through the thread Hamster linked, lots of interesting discussion, but Hamster never replied, so i don't see how where you get your conclusion.
        I was there when Signs of Sorcery was being previewed and ultimately released, and so was he. Hell, that's still true if we push it back to the Second Edition Corebook. This is an old conversation.
        Last edited by ArcaneArts; 11-06-2022, 09:18 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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        • #19
          Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
          And this is the catch-the game revolves around occult power being subsumed into being of mages through what amounts to spiritual revelation... in crossing a chasm of becoming and being, to "grok" (in the way Heinlein intended that word) a thing so well as to be changed by the understanding.
          I particularly like the idea of a Mystery where after all the deep info has been revealed, the character has some facts, but the player must think about what that actually means for the world.

          Like you might have them studying a vampire, and the player now comes up with a theory for converting vitae into mana, or breaking blood bonds, and it is entirely possible a mage can or can not do both, but the player has no idea so they go out and try it (and fun gameplay ensues).

          If just revealing the deep information about a vampire doesn't tell you everything there is to know. You have to go out and engage with the topic to get more. To get to the point where the character can grok this small aspect of the Fallen world (and i pick vampire largely because they don't neatly fit into one Arcana to study them with... Because non-supernal mysteries probably don't fit neatly into a Mage's model of the universe broken into easily digestable Arcana chunks).
          And after six years of trying to help him understand this most major of support structures for the game's makeup, I think it warrants asking if he really wants to wrestle against making the rest of the game, which relies so heavily on a thing he can't grok, or if it's time to get recommendations for how to more effectively get The Invisibles: The RPG that he can, you know, actually enjoy.

          I was there when Signs of Sorcery was being previewed and ultimately released, and so was he.
          Fair enough, i was not there for the past six years.

          I will take your word for this unless he cares to disagree.

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          • #20
            All I can say this - Arcane Arts use some high words I may not understand - I'm just engineer from Poland on English B2+ - but generally, I think Orathaic hits closest to my feelings. I run RPG over 20 years now. Run Mage 1E about 3 long games. Run also Mage 1,5E game for almost 2 years ( ending in proper 2E on last half year, as converted characters ). I CAN handle heavy mechanics.

            But I find 2E Obsessions and Mage Sight rules too heavy handed and unnecessary. ESPECIALLY in Signs of Sorcery. It:s like we would like to play Trail of Cthulhu, but without giving every players needed informations - and needlessly marking 'you need this and that Arcana to get it' - but on the other hand, making A VERY BIG DEAL to get that Arcana - in a setting where EVERONE ( of Mages) has at least 1/3 of all Arcana at 1st-2nd dot.

            Instead of taking setting in to 'What should we do with Power? How to save/damned Sleepers?' - We end in sessions 'Do we have Death guy to past this occultation milestone?' ( do not remember SoS terminology, it's been years as I read it). And it's hard coded into 2E settings now - Consilia are created on to very specific Hard Mysteries that are said to be unsolvable by CENTURIES, even with few generations of local Masters. It's ABSURD, seeing what Masters can do in this game.

            It' s all just irritatingly unnecessary complicated, needlessly derailing from theme of Power Corrupts that BOTH Mage 1E and 2E are having at their hearts. ( in corebook texts, at least.)

            I see this more and more as I run Scion 2E - that problems I have in Mage 2E are with some mechanics decisions that not work with setting as promised. In my POV, Scion 2E is better Mage 2E than actual official gameline. 😆

            ( I ran also Werewolf the Forsaken 2E by 3 years in meantime ( 2017-2020 ) - and I mark that WtF 2E is much better 2E than Mage 2E - simply by making WtF 2E really about the Hunt in good and meaningful ways, knowing what it is as gameline. Mage 2E got over the board 'we must SOLVE MYSTERIES' - where almost all Initiates cabals have every tools to solve greatest local settings Mysteries. / Arcana 1-2 dots, 3 per characters. / )
            Last edited by wyrdhamster; 11-06-2022, 10:42 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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            • #21
              Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
              It' s all just irritatingly unnecessary complicated, needlessly derailing from theme of Power Corrupts that BOTH Mage 1E and 2E are having at their hearts. ( in corebook texts, at least.)
              It's not. All my high-minded language asides, it's been explained, multiple times, by people who are not me, that Mysteries are understanding the supernatural as it exists in it's context. Arcane Beats to this end solidly define what goes into that. The fixation on Obsessions and Mysteries emphasizes mages focus on ideas, which are power for mages, over people, to the point where a Free Counciller or Thearch fighting for the liberation of humanity from the lie will likely just cast aside individuals like lambs to slaughter in favor of some kind of idea of humanity. It's pretty simple and elegant.

              Now, I get that you have trouble with appreciating it like that, and that's for you to deal with. But, again, I think that means you owe it to yourself to ask "Do I want spend all this time revising Mage 2nd and running into how deeply ingrained this is into the game system, or do I wanna find another game that will let me have the fun I want more readily?" Because, again, you've been wrestling with how Chronicles' square peg does not fit your round hole (in terms of your needs regarding your regular play style, or your interests in a modern hidden supernatural game) for as long as I've known you, and it's time we have that as part of the conversation.

              If Scion 2e is a better made game than Mage 2nd, and you have an easier time playing it and getting how to play Mage in Scion, then why are you here instead of just playing Scion*? It just seems like you're getting in your own way of doing what you want.

              *"If you want to play Trenchcoats and Katanas, then why are you here complaining about Requiem when you could just be playing Trenchcoats and Katana?", for those who remember why I have problems with people getting in their own way.
              Last edited by ArcaneArts; 11-06-2022, 11:06 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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              • #22
                Well, I MAY be convinced otherwise. And as loyal fan of Mage 1E line, I had sentiment to game settings. Also, I wanted to verified is there in Mage 2E anything more left for me over the 'Mysteries solving' - this very topic pointed that interactions between Orders and their relations with Sleepers can be that thing that build chronicle on.

                But I will not bother you more with the unnecessary frustrations of a former fan on the game forum. Apparently, the most important thing is clarity in playing lines only as the author of the 2E stand made on it. 😔 I really DO HAVE Scion 2E, Trinity Continuum (2E) and Realms of Pugmire - that all have much healthier fandoms than Mage 2E. Pitty it's on the gameline of my 20s. Oh well...
                Last edited by wyrdhamster; 11-07-2022, 12:09 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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                • #23
                  Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                  Well, I MAY be convinced otherwise. And as loyal fan of Mage 1E line, I had sentiment to game settings. Also, I wanted to verified is there in Mage 2E anything more left for me over the 'Mysteries solving' - this very topic pointed that interactions between Orders and their relations with Sleepers can be that thing that build chronicle on.

                  But I will not It harassed more of the unnecessary frustration of a former fan on the game forum. Apparently, the most important thing is clarity in playing lines only as the author of the 2E stand made on it. I really have Scion 2E, Trinity Continuum (2E) and Realms of Pugmire - that all have much healthier fandoms than Mage 2E. Pitty it's on the gameline of my 20s. Oh well...
                  Sorry it feels like that, mah dude. I hope I can be forgiven, though, having been there through this a lot, that I finally got to wanting to figure out why this matters so much.*

                  *"No, I meant, why are we here, in this box canyon?"


                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                    Well, I MAY be convinced otherwise. And as loyal fan of Mage 1E line, I had sentiment to game settings. Also, I wanted to verified is there in Mage 2E anything more left for me over the 'Mysteries solving' - this very topic pointed that interactions between Orders and their relations with Sleepers can be that thing that build chronicle on.
                    I have to say, i loved 1e, and i was very excited when i (belatedly) found out 2e was not only out (for about 5/6 years at that stage) but also by far the superior game.

                    So many part of the magic system are better. The core book's description of the orders is superior, the inclusion of things like Supernal summoning and utility attainments, all big improvements over 1e.

                    You are free to ignore the mysteries and play about power vs corruption, the scelesti are there and just need a bit more reason why anyone would join them (in the core they get more powerful spells by controlling their paradox, but in Nameless and Accursed they get nerfed i think). But they should be a go to antagonist for a 'power corrupts' themed game (along with Seers, who get all the reasons to sign up and then just sit around in the lap of luxury not using any power...).

                    But the ententes from Imperial Mysteries also facilitate different philosophers regarding what character goals should be. Ie free the Bound, become the perfect human and ascend, help all of humanity awaken.

                    It is just having some mechanical system for figuring out how any of those things are possible is the issue you seem to have with Mage 2e.

                    How do your character collect Clues, should it be easy (automatic?) Or require investment of time/mana? What do your characters share when they have the Clues (with each other, with mentors, with political rivals?) Can they trust others to work together and not steal the credit for solving the Mystery on their own?

                    What would your ideal system look and play like?

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                      And it's hard coded into 2E settings now - Consilia are created on to very specific Hard Mysteries that are said to be unsolvable by CENTURIES, even with few generations of local Masters. It's ABSURD, seeing what Masters can do in this game.
                      Wyrd, Consilia are built around researching and controlling access to major Mysteries. That's not weird at all, because they do this for the same reasons that conspiracies in Deviant set up shop around places that can produce a form of the Divergence or Agencies spring up to keep an eye on particularly long-running God-Machine projects or the Ordo Dracul sets up chapterhouses on Dragon's' Nests. It's the flipside of why mummies are kept in tombs and served by cults, it's part of why lodges have proprietary secrets in Werewolf, it's why the Freehold of Hoyle and Kerosene is built around a secret from a hundred and fifty years ago that pretty much all the higher-ups are in on.

                      The important thing about Consilium-grounding Mysteries in 2e is not "nobody has ~solved~ this in decades," it's "this is a supernatural phenomenon large and complex enough to hold a group's collective attention through the study and management of its manifestations, potential applications, and unexpected interactions with the world around it for a good long while."

                      The first paragraph of the introduction makes it clear that, even in the context of "solving a mystery," the investigatory angle of the Awakened's pursuits is not for purely abstract reasons:

                      As you walk down the street, you feel it. Though the sidewalk is choked with people, they all remain oblivious, not one of them reacting to the building as they walk past it. You were like them once, blind to the secrets beneath the skin of the world, but one day you Awakened. Somewhere high above you, the apartment — and the thing it contains, calls to you. It’s a Mystery. You will solve it, and you’ll take its power for yourself.

                      Characters' politics and ideology will affect the way they pursue and use power, and magic is an extremely potent form of power in Mage due in part to the vast majority of human society being unwilling or unable to acknowledge it despite its impact on their lives. The breadth of ways the supernatural manifests and the variety of ways a mage can feel about it means the system for charting how they develop their magic needs to be as viable for characters who do research in distant mountain laboratories as it is for characters who sweep through towns tweaking every facet of the neighborhood to meet their standard of perfection.

                      2e manages that by giving a broad method for setting goals for the character about how they interact with the supernatural and a tool that lets them piece together a bigger picture over the course of their career as wizards — a bigger picture that can include things like "This is related to that other weird parallel world you fell into in Salamanca last year. Not just the same category of event, the same magical process is happening." or "This kid's hallucinations are connected to that weird goat you shot earlier."


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