Showing posts with label Mage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mage. Show all posts

Friday, January 29, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Mage 20th Anniversary Edition

I want to end this week the same way I started it; with Mage.  Only this time I am focusing on the massive tome that is the Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition.

The Game: Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition

I remember picking up a copy of Vampire the Masquerade back in the early 90s and thinking it looked interesting, but nothing I was going to play really.  Though my thought did go to moving the whole thing over to Ravenloft.  It wasn't later until I had moved to Chicago to work on my Ph.D. that I found Mage.  

The ground floor of the commuter train station had a bookstore in it.  One of the pure joys of my daily commute. I picked up a copy of Mage: The Ascension (Revised) and thought that it was fantastic.  While I would ultimately stick with WitchCraft, Mage continued to have a fascination for me. Moving back and forth between the systems I ultimately landed on the idea that a "Mage" was an evolved form of a "Witch."  I did some refinements, mostly after Mage the Awakening was released, so eventually came to the idea of an "Imbolc Mage" the term borrowed from a friend that wrote about "Ascended witches."  IT worked for me.  Even in my D&D 3.0 days, an Imbolc Mage was a witch prestige class.  My Imbolc Mage is even tied back to Amy and Megan.  In one universe Amy is a good friend, in another Megan is her grandmother. In Scáthach/Moria Stewart's universe, she is the superhero Witchfire (but more on that tomorrow).

While Mage the Ascension grabbed my attention, it was Mage the Awakening that I created the more material for.  I soon figured out why, it was that it was very close in feel to WitchCraft.  I wanted to do something that took the best aspects, or more to the point my favorite aspects, of both games and use them together.  I grabbed the Mage Translation Guide with great glee, but I never really did anything with it.  With the release of Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition (and its nearly 700 pages) I just dropped all the work I was doing with Mage the Awakening. 

This brings me to Bri.

Brianna was really my first character specifically for Mage the Awakening.  I knew she was going to me an Imbolc Mage according to the myths of my game worlds so stating her up in Mage first made the most amount of sense.  Given that her character birthday is coming up (February 1) I think she needs to be stated up for Mage: The Ascension.  

The Character: Brianna

Of the members of this week's coven, Bri is the youngest and the most powerful.  She is also one of the oldest characters I have made and have detailed this month.  In my first Generation HEX game she was born February 1st, 2005, since that game was set in 2022 she would have been 17.  Well, she will be 16 in a couple of days, so let's see how she looks for Mage.  

One of the big changes right away is shifting her from a Verbena to a Sister of Hippolyta.  While the game even mentions that these two should have merged a long time ago they are separate still.  Given that Brianna is part of the Daughters of the Flame, the sisters feel like a much better fit really.  This is also apparent in her Avatar and Destiny Backgrounds.  She is going to do Big Things someday. But right now she is just a kid.

Abby Cowen as Bri
Abigail Cowen. She has played a witch and a fire faerie.
She is perfect as Bri.

Brianna

Nature: Activist
Demeanor: Idealist
Essence: Primordial

Affiliation: Sisters of Hippolyta
Sect: Daughters of the Flame
Concept: Guardian

Attributes
Physical

Strength 2
Dexterity 3
Stamina 3

Social
Charisma 2
Manipulation 1
Appearance 3

Mental
Perception 4
Intelligence 3
Wits 3

Abilities
Talents
Alertness 2, Athletics 1, Awareness 1, Empathy 1, Intimidation 2, Leadership 1

Skills
Martial Arts 1, Melee 1, Research 1, Survival 1, Technology 1

Knowledge
Academics 2, Computers 1, Enigmas 2, Esoterica 2, Investigation 1, Occult 3, Science 2

Spheres

Life (Affinity) 2, Mind 2, Forces 1, Prime 1, Spirit 1

Backgrounds
Avatar 3, Destiny 3, Mentor 1

Arete 3
Willpower 5
Quintessence 5

Gender: Female (she/her)
Age: 16 (DOB Feb 1, 2005)
Hair: Red
Eyes: Blue
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 120 lbs.

Yeah. This makes me want to play Mage again!

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Dark Ages Mage

Dark Ages Mage
Ah! World of Darkness. 

We have had some great times together. And some not so great.  But I never grow tired of picking up a WoD book (new, old, Chronicle, whatever) and seeing what is going on.  As you can imagine Mage was a particular favorite of mine. I loved all the lines but Mage: Sorcerer's Crusade was my favorite.  Dark Ages: Mage though has a lot going for it though too.

The Game: Dark Ages Mage

As it turns out, Dark Ages: Mage requires you to have Dark Ages: Vampire as opposed to Mage: The Ascension or Mage The Sorcerer's Crusade.  That is of course fine, but not what I was expecting for character creation.

Still. This gives the Dark Ages line a sort of continuity that would be both a blessing and curse that the "modern" line did not have and would not have until we get the "New Wolrd of Darkness" in the start of this century.   The year is 1230 AD and stuff is bad all over.  Dark Ages of the World of Darkness. That's like double dark.   

If you have played any of the World of Darkness games then you know what to expect. There are not as many "Traditions" as we will see in Mage, but it does give us a good idea of how they all got here. 

Since we are still in the Dark Ages let's do one of the descendants of Lars and Siân.


The Character: Lowis Larsdottir

Lowis is a reincarnation, future incarnation, past-life or something weird and magical in relation to my Larina. I was playing in a WitchCraft game with her and then I also started a Mage: The Ascension game and wanted to play the same character.  I decided they were the same, but parallel worlds.  This got me on a path where there are many versions of my witch out there and all are more or less aware of the others. 

Lowis here has a Welsh first name and a Nordic last name and I suspect she lives on the continent somewhere.  Maybe Italy or Austria. 

witch
Photo by JJ Jordan from Pexels
Lowis Larsdottir
Initiate

Nature: Pedagogue
Demeanor: Fanatic
Fellowship: The Old Faith

Cabal: Followers of Aradia
Mentor: Gezzie

Physical
Strength 1
Dexterity 2
Stamina 3

Social
Charisma 3
Manipulation 2
Appearance 3

Mental
Perception 3
Intelligence 3
Wits 4

Talents
Alertness 1, Awareness 2, Empathy 2

Skills
Animal Ken 2, Crafts 3, Herbalism 3, Survival 1

Knowledges
Academics 2, Cosmology 1, Enigmas 2, Hearth Wisdom 3, Linguistics 2, Medicine 1, Occult 3, Theology 1

Backgrounds
Mentor 1, Chantry 2, Familiar 2, Library 3

Foundation (Spontaneity) 2

Pillars
Autumn 3, Spring 1, Summer 2

Lowis is new to the Old Faith.  She knows the faith has been handed down over the generations and now she has been awaked to it. As a merchant's daughter, she is afforded some luxuries and can read. She is also a steadfast member of her faith and wants to see it spread.  She is not quite "run naked through the woods" but she is getting there. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Welcome September! Night Shift and Mages

It's September.  The start of Meteorological Fall; the actual Autumnal Equinox is still three weeks away. But change is in the air and there is a change at the Other Side as well.

I have a new banner up. I am planning to do a lot more with Night Shift in the coming months.  

Night Shift was designed to replace many games in my library, but that doesn't mean I am ready to stop playing or talking about those games yet. 

In fact last night I was reminded about a game I really love and I really should do more with.  

Satyros Phil Brucato had posted about a book he had done and it really reminded me how much I love Mage.  Both Mage: The Ascension and Mage: The Awakening.  Though I lean more towards Mage: The Ascension.   But the post was about his book, Mage Made Easy: Advice from That Damn Mage Guy.

Part of the Storytellers Vault (a bit like DMSGuild, but for White Wolf/Onyx Path games) this book is about...well...Mage, made easy.

Now. Anyone who has ever played any version of Mage is likely to be incredulous about now.  I mean, Mage is many, many, many things. Sometimes too many.  But easy?  No. Easy is never a word used with Mage.  But Phil is the Mage expert.  Mage: The Ascension 20th is close to 700 pages and he wrote the bulk of that.  So if he is telling me that MME is something I can read in 60 pages, well I am going to pay attention.

And I am glad I did.  

While I am conversant in most Mage matters, I do not by any stretch consider myself an expert, or even an advanced player.  I am quite enthusiastic though.  I found Mage Made Easy to be a nice breeze guide of solid advice that did two things right away for me.  First, it made me want to play Mage: The Ascension again and secondly it gave me solid advice that is good for many modern supernatural games. 

The book is very heavily focused on Mage and Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary in particular.  

It shows you how to use the vast Mage meta-plot OR discard it altogether (that's me!).  It gives you some fantastic archetypes to try out and even solid advice on Mage's biggest issue, Paradox.

Plus the art, as expected, is fantastic.

While I do say there is good advice for any modern supernatural game, the advice is also very Mage specific.  This means to use this book it helps to have a basic working knowledge of the Mage RPG.  Once you have that then translating this advice to your own game, be it Mage or something else, is pretty easy.  BUT that is going beyond the scope of the book and not the fault of this book if it doesn't work out.  But advice like "start small" or "start with the characters" is ALWAYS good advice.

While the focus is on Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Ed. (Mage20), I found there was good advice here to apply to my particular favorite flavor of the game in Mage The Sorcerers Crusade

Makes me wish I had a Mage game going, to be honest!

Friday, April 17, 2020

PWWO: Calidar, Part 2

A while back I a did a "Plays Well With Others" for Calidar. It's pretty to do, there are a lot of great ideas and it has a system that lends itself well to easy conversion.  After doing a series of reviews I thought another go at another PWWO.

The Reviews
For this PWWO I think I am going to focus mostly on Calidar On Wings of Darkness and related products.  In particular the various magic schools featured in Caldwen.

Given the various conversion guides and the rules presented in the books, mathematical style conversions are less of an issue, the big factor is more how do I replicate the same feel of Calidar in a different game while still preserving what I liked about the original game.

Calidar and "New" D&D


These are the easiest of course.  The level limits for both D&D 5 and Pathfinder are a set 20. So follow along with the rules for 20 levels.  D&D 5 and Pathfinder characters tend to be more powerful than their same-level counterparts in older editions.  Cantrips really boost what a Wizard can do every round even at the lowest levels.  Plus the addition of cantrips can become an interesting element to the wizard school. 1st level wizards/magic-users have a lot more they can do.

Retro-Clones


These conversions are handled by various current products and upcoming products from Calidar.  Plus these mimic the games played by most of the people involved with the Calidar lines.

Calidar and Glantri


Let's address the obvious mix here.  Bruce Heard is fairly well known for his work on the Mystara lines and Glantri in particular.  You can use details from one mage school for the other, they are roughly compatible in style, and it makes either product a little more robust.  You do lose a little of the unique feel of Calidar this way if you set it all in Glantri.  Though what I have been doing is considering setting the caldera on the north pole.  The whole area is hidden away from the rest of the world.  Still playing with this idea.


I am using the "Mystoerth" map for this. I made a globe, and see there is some room up on top. Enough for Calidar?  I have not done the math yet, but it looks right.   I still to play around with it.

That is if my next idea doesn't take over.

Mage: The Sorcerer's Crusade


This idea has grabbed my imagination.  Calidar has a great early Renaissance feel to it.  So somewhere between Dark Ages Mage and Mage the Sorcerer's Crusade is a perfect time.  In this case I would use Calidar as is, but the game system would be White Wolf's Mage.
What I have not decided yet is if the various schools represent Spheres (which means Mages would need to attend to multiple schools) or Traditions (which would make the rivalries more intense).
So everyone in "How to Train Your Wizard" would be part of the Euthatoi.   I think just to have some fun I would keep the Verbena out of it unless I work in the Glantri Wokani.

There is a lot I would love to do with that idea.  D&D backdrop, Calidar setting, Mage/White Wolf rules.  The possibilities are staggering, to be honest.

Conversion though is a bigger issue.  The Calidar system is pretty flexible, but it is level-based to a large degree. Mage uses the White Wolf Storyteller system which is a dice pool system. So the conversion books won't be much help here save to figure out some guidelines.  Still maybe if I can dig up a copy of Monte Cook's d20 World of Darkness it might give me some ideas.

WitchCraft


Nothing specific yet.  But if I can convert Mage I can convert this a lot easier.

Most likely I would combine a lot of these ideas to make the schools in Calidar a little less D&D and little more Scholomance if possible.

Blue Rose AGE


Ah.  Now here is something that would be a lot of fun.
I would need to make some changes to what kinds of magics could be taught at the schools, but AGE is level-based and so should convert well.  Green Ronin already did some of the heavy lifting for me with their converting for Fantasy AGE.

The bottom line is that Calidar gives me a great magic school that I really want to drop anywhere.

Plus it gives a Fantasy-era Breakbills and an excuse to do this:



And any excuse to put more Brakebills into my games is a good one.