Chris & Bianca
  • coridan

Ascension Nova Playtest

I'm looking to augmet my live Ascension Nova playtest group with a live group assembled over IRC or Skype. The characters would be a group of young Traditionalists who have just survived the Avatar Storm and are now looking to establish themselves in the NYC area. Interested parties are referred to the Ascension Nova Wiki for the AN Mage template and other info. I'm looking at a semi-weekly gathering, preferably on the weekend, based on what would be the most convenient based on time zone. Please mail me at kaiu do keiichi at gmail or message me here if interested.
Chris & Bianca
  • coridan

Ascension Nova!

Please come and check out Ascension Nova, a project for bring Mage: The Ascension into the NWoD world and rules set. Our ongoing project is aimed at bringing the intensity, guerilla warfare and cosmic questions of Mage: The Ascension into the sreamlined, adult and foreboding New World of Darkness setting. Reality is subjective, the Ascension War still raged, but the Traditions and Technocracy are like you've never seen them before!

Ascension Nova uses all of the rules innovations of Mage: The Awakening, but introduces the great setting elements that made old world Ascension so awesome. Finally, we're a community project, and we welcome your contributions!

For more info, message me here or email kaiu dot keiichi at gmail.
Face

Paths, the Arcana, Paradigm and You

(crossposted from journal) I'm trying to pick out some of the essential elements of the Mage world which tend to be understated in the books and missed by new players. This a mix of interpreted canon and some wild speculation, and most of what I'm putting here has been in scattered discussions from a few forums. I'd like to form a more coherent thesis, a reletively straightforward blurb I can link to help people better click with the setting and their characters.

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Input/Output/Reinterpretations/Questions?

from Ascension to Awakening

I'm running a Mage: the Ascension game that follows pretty closely to the "Judgment" storyline in the Ascension book. However, at the end of the story, I am planning for the discovery of the tenth sphere* to change reality into the world described in Mage: the Awakening. The PCs will be the only ones who notice anything is different.

Thoughts?

* - a misnomor, since Entropy is actually going to be split into Death and Fate, thus changing reality

Mage One-shot: Catching Smoke

So, the game was set in New Orleans, and you might recall that I ran a Mage game set there once before. The characters:


  • Alanzau (Mysterium, Paper Krewe): An Adept of Death, but a Master of Life, Alanzau knows many of the dark secrets of New Orleans, including a gateway to the sample Atlantean temple that the Boston cabal found.
  • Isis (Mysterium): Visiting from the Boston Consilium; we haven't seen her since the finale of Gloria Mundi.
  • Kuba (Silver Ladder, Silk Krewe): A Thyrsus and spirit reader, he specializes in reading the spiritual atmosphere of an area and determining what happened (or what might happened) based on that.
  • Victoria (Free Council, Bone Krewe): A Thyrsus crypotzoologist specializing the urban cryptids and trying to help people come to terms with such monsters.
  • Van (Adamantine Arrow, Gold Krewe): An Obrimos who Awakened during Katrina, and is now studying to become powerful enough to divert future storms from his beloved city.
  • Madeline (Mysterium, Paper Krewe): A Mastigos who enjoys soaking up the resonance of a place in a kind of voyeuristic manner.


These characters aren't a cabal. They just share one thing in common: They were acquainted with Jaya, an Acanthus who was studying under Alanzau. And when she was murdered a week before Mardi Gras, these characters agreed to investigate (Isis was just kind of along for the ride). Jaya's body was found in an abandoned shop. From the look of the area (mostly also abandoned, and reinforced with spells so that Sleepers didn't go mucking with the crime scene), she'd been chased, bleeding, into the shop, where something huge tore her throat out.

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Muder in the Pines: Conclusion

Tonight was the final chapter in my Mage: The Awakening chronicle, "Murder in the Pines." Before the write-up, a few thoughts on how this compared to my other one, Gloria Mundi.

First off, there wasn't the same reliance on Dream. Sure, they used it, especially once Whim got involved, but it wasn't the hint machine that it was in Boston.

Second, the Consilium really came alive in Cincinnati. Boston's was fun because the characters were all made and the Boston Unveiled book is awesome, but the characters really got involved in this one and found their niche within it. Not to say that the GM characters didn't, but the Consilium just felt more alive here - probably because I knew the NPCs better since I made 'em (which, now that I think of it, is the opposite of GM; in that chronicle, I made the PCs, the initial ones anyway, but most of the NPCs were from a book).

More of a focus on violence, but that was deliberate. Each story started with a murder, and the chronicle ended with...

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Murder in the Pines Update

Last time, which was quite a while ago, the characters had just learned a group of three Proximi and a mage had been ambushed near the Ohio/Indiana border as they were going to Chicago to collect Red Jester to clear up this whole "who's the Hierarch" thing. Three - the mage and two Proximi - had been killed, and one Proximus was missing. The cabal talked with Bailiff (who told them the Consilium was in high alert - Silas was acting Hierarch and it was a member of his (former) cabal who'd died), so the 6s and 7s teleported out there to see what was up.

They found the car had been flipped over, apparently by a well-placed roadside bomb (remember that the Banisher they're hunting, Aaron Murphy, had fought in the Middle East, and knows a few things about such devices). The car had flipped so it was out of line of sight from other bits of traffic, and Asmodeus tried scrying for the missing Proximus, Kenneth Jarmusik, but kept running into weird time skips. Fin looked back in time and saw Kenneth disappear as his compatriots were being dragged from the car and shot. Falstaff looked for spirits and found some big vulture-like things circling - spirits of death, maybe.

About this time, Kenneth (played by danieltallon reappeared. He'd felt everything slow down, and then he woke up in a peaceful forest, but felt drawn to a big, glittering silver tower. The cabal figured out pretty quickly that he'd Awakened (rather peacefully, considering the circumstances) as an Acanthus. Rather than leave him by the side of the road, and knowing that he was schooled in combat as one of Silas' Proximi, they decided to take him along...where?

They didn't know where Murphy was. Kenneth wondered this aloud, and found himself with a vision of Murphy watching TV in a room with corrugated metal walls, with a pool of blood on the floor (the Divination spell). He relayed this, and Falstaff asked one of the vulture-spirits where such a place might be - turns out there's a trailer park nearby. The vulture-spirit accepted payment in the form of dead flesh (sloughed from Falstaff using his first attainment as an Orphan of Proteus) to show them the way. Asmodeus co-located and left the double back on the road, just in case.

They hiked down the road and found the trailer park, and hid by the (now-empty) manager's office. Fin astrally projected and went looking with the others buffed up with spells. He found the trailer with the dead woman and the pool of blood, but no Murphy. There were little death-spirits around, and they pointed out the thing with glowing eyes watching Fin from on top of another trailer. It leaped at him - it looked like a mobile coyote-skin - but it couldn't really hurt him since astral projections don't have a Corpus like spirits do. And then the howls went up.

Meanwhile, back at the building, Murphy and his two Banishers attacked. Murphy himself zipped around the corner and touched Asmodeus on the chest - surprising him before he had the chance to co-locate away. He used Lifeforce Assault and inflicted enough aggravated damage to kill Asmodeus...

...whereupon Kenneth rewound Time a turn. Murphy came around the corner again, but Kenneth yelled a warning. It still wasn't enough to let Asmodeus take a real action, but shifting between duplicates is reflexive. He switched back to the roadside, and Aaron countered the co-location spell, stranding Asmodeus there (until his action, at least), but saving his life.

The other Banisher used Lifeforce Assault on Fin's unconscious body, and the third, standing at a safe distance, shot at Falstaff and Kenneth. Falstaff he just winged, but Kenneth took some serious hurt.

Fin, meanwhile, was sprinting back as fast as his ephemeral body could take him.

Asmodeus teleported back, in time to see Vulcan throw a fire-bolt at Murphy. Murphy threw another Life spell at Fin, and sent his body bleeding out, but his mind was still intact. The other Banisher punched Vulcan and knocked him out, and the third shot Asmodeus with both pistol. Asmodeus responded by using Psychic Assault and filling the dude's track up with aggravated damage.

Fin put his ephemeral hands around Murphy's head, and unleashed that 11-success Psychic Assault he'd hung last time. Murphy stumbled backwards, screaming in the pain, and fell dead, his brain basically mush. Kenneth ran up behind the gun-wielding Banisher and punch him (Acceleration makes you fast!), but one punch was enough to kill him (he was mostly full of agg, remember).

Fin mind-controlled the last guy to run away (since his next action would have been to stomp on Fin's head, probably killing him). Asmodeus used Suspension to freeze him in place. The cops were coming by now, and there were Sleepers looking around. Asmodeus quickly opened a portal back to Bailiff's saferoom, and they threw the casualties and prisoner through. Fin turned the blood to water, and poof.

Asmodeus lost a dot of Wisdom for the fight, but no one else did (even Fin, thanks to his meditation regimen). Kenneth, and ex-Mennonite, was having trouble squaring with the notion that he'd killed someone. Bailiff had one of his Arrow guys take Kenneth aside and talk to him about being a mage and about conflict, and told him that, as an Acanthus, he could learn to predict conflict before it happened and avoid it.

Fin got to the bodies as one of the Arrow's Moros started working on them. She found five different types of blood on Murphy's hands, and the spider in amber in his pocket. "Huntsman spider," she said. "Suborder Araneomorphae." Araneomorphae. Aaron Murphy. Get it?

From the Banisher's dead brains, Fin learned that neither of them had killed Whim. Steven (the one who'd been using guns, that Kenneth had ultimately killed) remembered a conversation with Quentin Ester in which he'd claimed to have seen Whim die, but hadn't taken a hand. Neither of them knew anything about the Guiding Hands, but Aaron Murphy had had an arrangement with the murder spirit back when these crazy murders were taking place - Murphy was turning spiders into people and making them vicious and hungry, just to see what would happen. But the murder-spirit had terminated that arrangement.

The cabal (and Kenneth) regrouped with Bailiff to talk things over. Turns out that normally, the Silver Ladder would get first crack at Kenneth, since he was a Proximus under Silas' employ, but since Silas was now Hierarch and therefore had no cabal, Kenneth was kind of on his own. He elected to hang with 6s and 7s, at least for now. Bailiff told the characters that the Hecatonchire had come to collect the still-alive Banisher (whose name is William Hegl, BTW). The cabal, figuring that their edict from Helen would hold up (here), went to question him. Patience let them in without a problem, and Fin and Asmodeus read his mind.

They learned that he knew pretty much what the others did - no knowledge of what had killed Whim, other than a lot of Paradox was involved. No knowledge of the murder-spirit beyond what the characters already knew, and no knowledge of the Guiding Hands. About this point, Silas showed up, and wanted to know if this guy knew of any other Banishers in town (he didn't). There were tense words exchanged, but the best was when Silas expressed pleasure that Kenneth had Awakened and figured that he'd be training as a thearch. Kenneth said that he would rather stay with 6s and 7s for now (Vulcan cracked a smile; everyone else stayed composed).

So, now, the Banishers are gone. But the characters still need to learn what happened at that house, and to find out how to beat the murder-spirit. And the answers, they realized, must lie in the woods in Kentucky, where this whole mess began.

Oh, one more thing: Kenneth took the Shadow Name "Prospero." Someone who was taken from his home and then learned magic.

Murder in the Pines Update

The characters, recall, had just learned where Aaron Murphy was...but he knew that they knew. They started discussing their options and trying to figure out how to approach him. They figured that getting the werewolves on their side might be good, so Asmodeus scryed him - nothing. Added Death - nothing. Added Spirit to see beyond the Gauntlet, and found him wandering in between pine trees, apparently at the old shooting range. Bolg called the pack's house to ask about Emory. Blake told him that Emory had disappeared after he'd learned of Whim's death and hadn't been seen since.

About then, the power died and something attacked the characters - scorpion spirits. Bolg, in perhaps his only successful roll of the night, turned the power on, but by that time Fin and Asmodeus were both unconscious (dying of scorpion poisoning). Falstaff healed them enough to get them back on their feet, but with the lights on they could see the spirits and the three mages who'd gotten in somehow - one of whom was Aaron Murphy. He got Bolg in a headlock and tried to bite him with ugly spider-like fangs, but Bolg resisted the poison. One of his compatriots sent the scorpions after Fin, who tried to text Bailiff for helped but failed. The other hit Falstaff with Trigger the Lizard Brain, and he hid under the table in terror. Asmodeus teleported the characters out to the Hallow, and Fin called Bailiff for aid. Bailiff arrived via portal with several other Arrows, but by that time, Murphy and crew were gone.

Bailiff insisted that they come back to the Guardian Angels sanctum for the night. In the morning, Falstaff contacted his mentor up in Cleveland, Chupacabra, for some healing help (Falstaff can't heal aggravated damage on other folks). They zipped up there via portal (popular way to travel), and met with Oswald, the highly paranoid Mastigos of the Untold Secrets cabal (first introduced here). They talked with Billy Pilgrim and Chupacabra, who healed up Fin and Bolg. They asked the mages about Aaron Murphy, and when Oswald saw a picture (a memory, really), he recognized him. Oswald was ex-Marines, and had played football against Murphy once - Murphy had been in the Army out in California.

Oswald helped the characters figure out who the DI had been back then, and Bolg (whom you'll recall is retired Army, too) called him up and asked for help in identifying a soldier that he'd met in the Gulf. The DI, now a Colonel and an administrator, identified him (by picture, faxed) as Donald Clay. One superb Manipulation roll later (aid by Fin), the Colonel revealed that Clay had lived on the streets of LA for some time before enlisting, and that he'd been strange - maybe a sociopath who'd slipped by the psych screening. He'd been discharged after an "incident" in Kuwait involving multiple bodies, but not dishonorably. Apparently he'd conned his CO into covering up some of the details.

The mages went home and started digging up info on Clay. Bailiff informed them that Helen had stepped down as Hierarch, and a contingent of mages was going to Chicago to get Red Jester and bring him back. Asmodeus learned that Clay was actually from Dayton, Ohio, and that his mother had died in 1994 (about the point that Clay was back in the States). He also found that the mother's murder case had been reopened recently, when a necklace of hers had turned up in a pawn shop in Phoenix, AZ...and remember, of course, that Falstaff's hometown was Page, AZ, where first all the spirits and then all the mages had vanished. Fin, during this time, built up a powerful Psychic Assault and hung it in time for later.

Bailiff came to find them and told them that the mage contingent was dead. On the Ohio/Indiana border, the Proximi and Omnus (one of the former Hierarch's cabal) had been killed, and one Proximus was missing. The characters continued casting spells to buff themselves up. Next time, they're going hunting for Donald Clay.
Music, Cthulhu

Legacies Bundle

So, WW has posted a new Mage Bundle at RPGnow this week.

I currently only have the core book, Intruders and the SAS adventure. What would I be getting from these two Legacies books?

I'm mostly looking for interesting antagonists to use in my modern occult/horror game (most of the PCs are built with Second Sight). Would these books be useful in that area?