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Old 09-07-2017, 03:43 PM   #39
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: my new campaign ideas

As I mentioned, the consensus of my local players was for Mage: The Ascension. Naturally, I've been fiddling with it a bit; I hardly ever run anything completely straight! In particular, I don't want to use the Werewolf or Vampire rules, which seem to me to be too focused on making the respective monsters the centers of the game universe. So I've been puzzling over how I think supernatural beings should fit into the game world.

For werewolves and other lycanthropes, I think I want to borrow a motif from Jack Williamson: lycanthropy is a matter of projecting your consciousness out of your body, as a spirit entity, and having it take on animal form to manifest itself. That seems to account fairly well for the difficulty of harming lycanthropes with mundane weapons, and also for their not behaving like actual animals—their behavior comes from the human image of the critter, and from the emotional drives of the person. I can define the spirit manifestation of the person reasonably well by saying that Willpower equals Willpower, Rage equals Strength, and Gnosis is based on the average of Mental and Social traits (possibly modified by the number of points invested in relevant abilities; I need to fiddle with that). But I'm not sure how to handle Power. A first thought would be to make it equal to Quintessence, but I think that lycanthropy ought to be a static magic path, and hedge mages don't use Quintessence.

For vampires, the obvious hint seems to be that beings who are "unnatural"—for example, people with big boosts to their Physical stats—become thaumivores (a really misformed word; it ought to be thaumatophage, or perhaps virivore, "eater of vis"), needing to consume Quintessence or start devouring their own Health levels. Taking blood from other humans could be a specialized source of Quintessence, with each Health level granting one Quintessence. This would imply that vampires are either mages who've pushed their own bodies outside the natural limits, or legendary creatures that can only survive in the physical world by preying on mundanes. I can also see an analogy to the way that Marauders export their own Paradox to the people around them, so maybe vampirism is a vice that Marauders fall into.

Changelings and wraiths aren't such a problem; they seem to be spirits that inhabit, respectively, the Middle and Low Umbra.

I've also been thinking about groups. I definitely don't want the Disparates as they appear in the recent reissue, and not just because my campaign is set more than a century too early. The whole point of the Disparates is that they were groups that refused to join the Nine Traditions; the idea of taking a bunch of nonjoiners and having them join together to maintain their common nonjoinery just doesn't feel right. Certainly I want there to be Crafts out there in the world! I also like the idea that Crafts tend not to make a sharp distinction between dynamic and static magic, and include members of Crafts who have suitable static magic Paths.

I'm more bothered, though, by the Nephandi. For one thing, they're presented as embodiments of entropy; but there are also the Euthanatos, who are masters of the Sphere of Entropy and are members of the Traditions, and I don't see how those two concepts fit together. But more importantly, it seems as if Mage has done the same thing that RuneQuest did long ago by having many different Runes and gods, in a relativistic worldview, but then having Chaos, which was apparently an objective evil that all the gods were against: You have a theme of conflict between different worldviews, but then you have a faction that is the Evil faction. It's kind of like having the Slytherins be the Evil House at Hogwarts. If I'm going to run a campaign based on a relativistic worldview, I think I want to have it be relativistic all through.

This isn't going to affect character creation, which is a good thing, as the character creation session is ten days from now. But it's interesting to puzzle over.
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Bill Stoddard

A human being should know how to live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse. Specialization is for insects.
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