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oMage v. nMage
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Heaven's Thunder Hammer
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I ran an oMage game a while back, see this thread:

http://tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?p=428021&highlight=#428021

Frank rightly pointed out that I threw out just about everything that made the game oMage. I ran on the premise that the Crafts, Traditions and Technocracy annihilated each other during WWII, so other than a handful of shellshocked survivors no one was left. This event also devastated other supernaturals (werewolves, wraiths and vampires). I used a Syndicate Financier in New York as one of the villians, but she was no longer strictly a technocrat as it no longer existed.

The PCs played a group of "breakfast club" like high school students who found an sentient ancient hermetic grimoire that taught them magic, slowly in fits and starts. They had to balance time to their commitments to school, family, adventuring and studying magic. To mimic paradigm, I just laid out some simple rules that my PCs agreed with:
1. Hermetic Magic and Technology mix very poorly. i.e. They could enhance a hammer, a knife, sword, cloak or staff, but not a gun, let alone anything with flowing electricity or a car.
2. I had fixed "focuses" for each sphere that had to be used, i.e. Forces required a wand or staff to direct the magic. Spirit & Correspondence required drawing massive diagrams, long distance scrying magic required a bowl of water or an orb. Basically, the magic had to have a certain "hollywood" feel, perhaps a bit hokey but me and my players had a lot of fun with it, which is the important part.
3. It was always assumed that they were muttering in Latin and waving their hands around, so if they weren't careful bystanders would notice, and possibly, connect cause and effect.

The story revolved around the fact that other supernaturals in the world were slowly coming back (vampires waking from torpor) and things going bump in the night were causing problems in their small town. Their first adventures dealt more with weak spirits and wraiths, and they pretty much ran away from everything at first because they were just teenagers with one dot in a sphere. The game started with them entering 11th grade, and they didn't get a second dot until 12th grade. "College" was 3 dots and higher. The game didn't last much longer after they had 4th level spheres, as two of my players left to another city. At that point, with prep time, they could take apart most challenges, and the story was more about the consequences of their actions rather than overcoming obstacles.
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saithorthepyro
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mechalich wrote:
You would love to play the Technocracy instead. Technocracy: the Enlightenment is the best oWoD game. It has a setup for why the party exists and what the party does. It has organization goals to serve as hooks for the party to pursue. It utilizes well established themes and tropes that anyone who has ever watched any police procedural or Bond film will recognize and understand. It even manages to understand large bureaucratic organizations correctly and posit an internal conflict (the Schism) that makes sense in context. I'll OSSR Guide to the Technocracy if anyone wants more on that particular front.

As for the motive behind playing on the side of magic, well, it's a hard sell. First you have to accept that the modern world is a horrible place that crushes minds and leaves everyone unfulfilled and trapped by capitalism and life is totally spiritually bereft, corrupt, and sick. Mage just sort of asserts this implicitly, it doesn't provide any evidence or marshal any arguments. Once you've bought that, Mage throws the Technocracy at you - stating that the world is not only irredeemably corrupt, but that there's this giant corporate conspiracy that is actively working not just to keep it that way but to make it worse. With that in place, the Traditions - which represent an alternate core worldview, are presented as the other option available.

This is rather like capitalism versus communism. Capitalism has a lot of flaws and there are people who are beaten down by the system or otherwise dejected and unable to cope with the modern rat race who rebel against it, seeking the total destruction of the modern edifice. Historically, such people were attracted to communism, since it was presented as any alternative system that at least had the potential to work better. That crashed pretty hard when communism actually got hold of Russia and China and the grand experiment didn't work out so well, but there are still communist rebels out there and there's a whole bunch of other anti-capitalist creeds still going, sometimes with surprising local success (Venezuela anyone?).

Mage offers players a chance to indulge in their fantasies of 'bring the revolution' in an extraordinarily literal way, without having to necessarily face any of the costs. There are a lot of people who want that.


I would love to see an OSSR for that, sounds like something I would like. Assuming that the prose and rules aren't the same incomprehensible mess I've seen in other WW products. WoD is the only RPG system where I've been unable to finish the books because of not understanding the mechanics.

From what you've described for why people do play Mage, sounds like it's people who took the exact wrong message after reading V for Vendetta.

If the intent was to show technology as causing problems, that's certainly true, and spiritualism is an alternative (not one I prefer, but I don't think it's supporters have no points), but Mage doesn't really give any examples. Well, it gives examples, but they all seem to support the opposite viewpoint. If I didn't know that it was in fact serious, I'd say Mage was an ironically written stealth Black Crusade for the WoD books.

Actually, since both books have the goal of bringing back hordes of marauding demons, the two might be closer than I originally though.
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Mask_De_H
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I would also be down for a Guide to the Technocracy OSSR.
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Ice9
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

saithorthepyro wrote:
From what you've described for why people do play Mage, sounds like it's people who took the exact wrong message after reading V for Vendetta.
Eh, we just played it as "urban fantasy, secret organizations, wizard politics, doing cool shit with magic, sometimes monsters show up". There's a lot of stuff to do outside the "main" metaplot.

Awakening changes the Technocracy to the Seers, who aren't "science is bad", they're more "the people in power steer things toward whatever keeps them in control" ... so, very realistic then. Tongue IIRC, one faction of the Free Council is even aggressively pro-technology; trying to advance it more rapidly than the Seers want to.
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saithorthepyro
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Ice9 wrote:
Eh, we just played it as "urban fantasy, secret organizations, wizard politics, doing cool shit with magic, sometimes monsters show up". There's a lot of stuff to do outside the "main" metaplot.


So Dresden Files then? Tongue

Sounds like it was a good time, I would have just done that in the one pbp game where it was the actual setting, but as mentioned above, I have difficulty reading WW material. Just WW.

Did manage to slog through the entire rulebook when someone was using it to run the Holy Grail War from Fate, but then the GM disappeared a week after the game started (off of Mythweavers, not in real life).
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TheFlatline
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Almost all of the nWOD books suffer from "Why the fuck am I reading this?".

Vampire- Took the metaplot away completely, made cities islands that almost never/never had any vampires migrate between the two (ignoring the fact that a vampire could drive from LA to San Diego in 3 hours), and decided that the whole game should be basically a PvP fuck-a-thon. Insert some VII faction fuckery. Oh I almost forgot. Every time a new vampire meets another vampire you have to roll to see if you rage and rip each others' heads off. Which is exactly as fucked from a gameplay standpoint as you can imagine.

Werewolf the Forsaken- Literally the acronym was WTF so that should tell you something. Took away the metaplot and made you a street gang defending a couple blocks of your "turf" from bad spirits and the good guy shapeshifters who are pissed at you for your ancestors killing the mythical wolf father spirit thing. Your morality track was basically trivial to max out and keep max'd out, but to compensate your ability to fuck shit up was nerfed to the point of being absurd.

Mage- The one book I actually didn't pick up. I heard it was the least painful of the books.

Changeling The Lost- I have this book, have read it more than once, and literally can't tell you what the point of the game is. You play someone kidnapped by the fae and now live a hobo life with other kidnapped humans who escaped the fae. I... don't know how you build any kind of game from that.

Promethean- Literally if you play by the rules of the game the rest of the party will eventually abandon you because people naturally shun you.

Scion- Frank did a drunken OSSR review of the bloat and insane bullshit that this game line was. Apparently you're the half human bastard of some ancient deity and... I'm not sure what else.


At least most of the oWOD games had a setting that, while bananas and batshit, you could pick out like 6 or 7 types of games you'd want to play within each setting and just fucking run with.
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DrPraetor
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Chamomile wrote:
Mechalich wrote:
I'll OSSR Guide to the Technocracy if anyone wants more on that particular front.


I'm down.


+one million to this, if that's the technocracy sourcebook I remember reading.

Is there more than one book with rules for playing technocrats? A compare/contrast might be helpful.
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Longes
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

DrPraetor wrote:
Chamomile wrote:
Mechalich wrote:
I'll OSSR Guide to the Technocracy if anyone wants more on that particular front.


I'm down.


+one million to this, if that's the technocracy sourcebook I remember reading.

Is there more than one book with rules for playing technocrats? A compare/contrast might be helpful.


There are also Revised edition convention books, most of which came out shortly before Mage20. But still for Revised edition. For some reason.
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Occluded Sun
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Voss wrote:
I'm not sure why you think sphere dots don't exist in setting. Character refer to the spheres and their mastery levels all the damn time. What the fuck do you think they're talking about?
Ah, the idiot writers strike again. WW had some real problems with them. No, the characters do not know about their mechanical ratings, nor the dice, nor the results of the dice.

Look, the great insight of mages is that they realize that reality is more than what most people assume it is. The great delusion of mages is that each believes reality really works the way they, personally, understands it. Even when they intellectually recognize that other mages can do 'impossible' things, that doesn't give them the ability to do those things too. They don't believe other things are possible. New mages don't have enough Arete (the trait or the mechanic) to believe that.

With enough enlightenment, the mage eventually realizes that obtaining perfect control over the dream is useless and meaningless, and the point is to wake up, leaving the dream and all power over it behind.
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Longes
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Occluded Sun wrote:
Voss wrote:
I'm not sure why you think sphere dots don't exist in setting. Character refer to the spheres and their mastery levels all the damn time. What the fuck do you think they're talking about?
Ah, the idiot writers strike again. WW had some real problems with them. No, the characters do not know about their mechanical ratings, nor the dice, nor the results of the dice.

Look, the great insight of mages is that they realize that reality is more than what most people assume it is. The great delusion of mages is that each believes reality really works the way they, personally, understands it. Even when they intellectually recognize that other mages can do 'impossible' things, that doesn't give them the ability to do those things too. They don't believe other things are possible. New mages don't have enough Arete (the trait or the mechanic) to believe that.

With enough enlightenment, the mage eventually realizes that obtaining perfect control over the dream is useless and meaningless, and the point is to wake up, leaving the dream and all power over it behind.


I've began OSSRing the New World Order book today, and in the opening fiction of that book a character referes to himself as the "Master of Forces" which is, surprise surprise, the in-character designation for having five dots in Forces.
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Mord
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The names associated with Sphere ratings - Adept, Disciple, Master, etc. - are part of Hermetic parlance in-universe, and to the extent that Hermetic thought informs the way that the Traditions in general refer to things, it kind of makes sense.
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Voss
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Occluded Sun wrote:
Voss wrote:
I'm not sure why you think sphere dots don't exist in setting. Character refer to the spheres and their mastery levels all the damn time. What the fuck do you think they're talking about?
Ah, the idiot writers strike again. WW had some real problems with them.


So you're willing to admit it objectively happens, you just don't like it. Gotcha.
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Occluded Sun
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

No, it's more that the setting contains self-consistent and comprehensible principles that rule that out, and some idiot writers keep ignoring them.

Rather the same way Star Trek deals with transporters. The setting exists the way it does because of established limitations to the technology, which individual episodes, written by idiot writers, ignore. The whole makes sense if and only if you exclude the incompatible parts.

Characters do not know about the dots, period. The only WW characters that know anything about the mechanics of their game systems are the Raksha. And that makes perfect sense.
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virgil
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Occluded Sun wrote:
The whole makes sense if and only if you exclude the incompatible parts.
This feels like Oberoni Fallacy applied to setting continuity.
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Occluded Sun
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

More like finding typos and printing errors in a text. Except instead of text, it's the writers' understanding of what they're writing about.

I'm not defending the setting, I'm condemning the writers. There are more than enough problems with the game, they didn't need to go about adding more. But, they did.
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Omegonthesane
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

How the fuck is being able to relate your character sheet's numbers directly to things you can talk about in the actual game a problem?! Back when I larped my immersion was fucking killed whenever we were expected to come up with a different in-character term than spell level to describe the level of our spells.
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Occluded Sun
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

That's stupid. There's no reason characters wouldn't consider spells to have 'levels'. There's also no reason Mage characters wouldn't think there were different explicit levels of insight, although it's somewhat silly and ignores the various problems with making that system represent actual knowledge and insight.

But why would any Mage character say they have five dots in a Sphere? What is the 'dot' supposed to be, exactly?
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Omegonthesane
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I don't think anyone was pushing for mages to say the exact phrase "I have 5 dots of Prime" as opposed to "I have the 5th level of mastery in the Prime sphere" or just "I have Prime 5".

The presented rotes IIRC present a "you must be this tall to X" limit that mages would be physically able to measure their dicks sphere mastery by.
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And if there are any weeds that grow better in barren soil than laziness and ignorance, I don't know what they are (and don't care enough to find out).
Kaelik wrote:
Because powerful men get away with terrible shit, and even the public domain ones get ignored, and then, when the floodgates open, it turns out there was a goddam flood behind it.
FrankTrollman wrote:
As far as death and human misery goes, Tobacco is basically World War II grinding on forever with no real sign of stopping in our life times. Death camps and nuclear bombs and stuff are certainly dramatic, but public health crises are always and forever bigger than wars on the global scale.


Zak S, Zak Smith, Dndwithpornstars, Zak Sabbath. He is a terrible person and a hack at writing and art. His cultural contributions are less than Justin Bieber's, and he's a shitmuffin. Go go gadget Googlebomb!
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Omegonthesane wrote:
How the fuck is being able to relate your character sheet's numbers directly to things you can talk about in the actual game a problem?! Back when I larped my immersion was fucking killed whenever we were expected to come up with a different in-character term than spell level to describe the level of our spells.


Ideally, the mechanics are the in-setting terms; but in experience it's as varied as the quality of the larps themselves. In the more widespread larp NERO, it's much more explicitly D&D. Spell have levels and people talk about them in terms of a spellcaster being defined by the spells they can cast when fully rested. NERO's spell progression works on a pyramidal growth tree; if you want a 9th level spell you need two 8th, three 7th, and so on until you have nine 1st level spells; after that you can "fill in" the pyramid to have 9 spells of each level. Spellcasters sometimes define themselves by the highest level of spells that they have nine spells per rest (e.g. "9-Stack Chaos Mage/Healer", "9-Stack Arcane").

In a homebrew larp in-game terms for spells can be the same as the in-setting ones (e.g. Epoch's "tier Y [spell/power]"). Some cling to older D&Disms (e.g. Fantasy Alive's magic system having multiple gradients with respect to knowing and casting spells; both access to the spell & sufficient Magic Points to cast it are necessary; but spells are still referred to by their level, and only divine spellcasters refer to any specific tiered terms; as arcane spellcasters require only physical access and sufficient spell points to prepare & cast a spell).

While contemporary larps might flatten the notion of having many power tiers down to three (e.g. Secrets of Magic's various "Secrets of [Element]" have three ranks; Shadow Realms abilities having a "Three Pips" ranking structure). Often this reduced amount of powers can help keep powers all of the game's Player Character powers balanced (even martial & supernatural abilities), if that's intended (e.g. Secrets of Magic), of simply give its players the perception that its balanced b/c it's ad hoc design (e.g. Shadow Realms).
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Occluded Sun
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Are characters going to walk around describing their personal wealth in terms of Resource? No. But by the game rules, wealth is quantified to just that degree.

Because the game rules are abstractions for the players, not realities for the characters.
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Mechalich
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Actually characters walk around describing their wealth in terms of resources all the time they just use in-game terminology. So you could describe a persons as 'flat broke' (resources 0), 'poor' (resources 1), 'working class' (resources 2), 'middle class' (resources 3), 'upper middle class' (resources 4), or '1%' (resources 5) all very easily. Backgrounds aren't tied to attributes, so the typical dot by dot breakdown actually works (in fact, the typical dot-by-dot breakdowns actually do work as a frame of reference even if they impart no useful mechanical information).

With the spheres, no, a character should never say 'he has Forces 4' they would say 'He's an Adept of Forces.' Most mages and technocrats, in-universe, understand what this means because the Order of Hermes and the Technocracy have spent centuries working to quantify exactly what people at various levels of mastery (or enlightenment if you're a technocrat) are able to do with their spheres.

There are certainly characters in-universe who don't accept the overlying Hermetic/Technocratic magical paradigm and think all of this is bunk, like certain particularly old-school Dreamspeakers or rigidly theocratic Choiristers, but the Mage community is small enough that this sort of thing has penetrated deep.
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Ice9
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

IIRC, the dot ranks had titles, like at Matter 4 you were an "Adept" of Matter and at Matter 5 you were a "Master" of it. And IME, people did use those terms IC when it came up. Given that a number of distinctive abilities like "can make portals" are impossible before a certain rating and then easily done once it's reached, it would be pretty jarring for characters not to recognize this.

Which does screw up the "everyone has their own paradigm which is equally real" thing, but eh ... I'm not sure there is a way to have that with any kind of concrete magic rules. You could do it with a more abstract system like Fate, I guess.


Has anybody read nMage 2E? I've heard it makes some pretty big changes from 1E and improves the mechanics somewhat, but I'm reluctant to buy and learn a new system unless it actually manages to reach "fully functional".


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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

You could have each paradigm basically be a class, and have a completely different resource scheme and maybe even some unique abilities that violate the laws of physics in other paradigms. That actually sounds way cooler than what we got, although it also obviously requires far more effort.
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Longes
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I am in a nMage2 game at the moment. Yes, there are some pretty big changes from 1E, although how much of an improvement they are is arguable. I'll make a more detailed post once I get home.
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Occluded Sun
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'd love to hear an analysis of new-Mage from someone with meaningful experience and a track record of quality posts. I look forward to your post with great interest.

I do wonder whether Fate would be a good system for the sort of game that I'd like Mage to be - I'm not especially pleased with Evil Hat's representation of the Dresden Files when it comes to the magic, but the basic system seems very sound.
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