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oMage v. nMage
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Ancient History
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:50 pm    Post subject: oMage v. nMage Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mage v. Mage
A comparison of Mage: the Ascension and Mage: the Awakening



FrankT:

We're going to do something similar to an OSSR here, but with two products instead of one. Actually, it's closer to four products, because oMage went through some pretty hefty revisions over the years it was active. oMage came out with its first edition in 1993, came out with a second edition in 1995, and came out with a “Revised Edition” in 2000. I guess they thought that calling it “3rd Edition” would keep it from doing well (considering it got the green light before 3rd edition D&D came out, this is not as pants on head retarded as it sounds). I'm mostly going to be looking at the Revised Edition for direct comparisons. We will not, of course, be doing direct chapter to chapter comparisons, because nMage has four less chapters and eighty two more pages than oMageR. We will also not be doing a chapter by chapter writeup of these books at all, because oMageR and nMage together clock in at a bit over seven hundred pages. And we're talking coffee table book pages, not novel pages.

We may actually do side by side comparisons of the prologues and epilogues of these books, because those are actually short and similar enough for that to make sense.

AncientH:

Both games feature a rather similar premise: it’s a Gothic Punk modern day world, and you the player character are one of the few Awakened characters that can reach behind the false façade of everyday life and tinker with the stuff of reality—in other words, however you chose to describe it, you can do magic.

This is in itself not a terribly new premise; the Gnostics were preaching hidden knowledge, mystic powers, and the select few around the time of Christ, and a bunch of groups that shall remain nameless still do it today. Hell, The Matrix and Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles is explicitly this same kind of premise, and if you reach back only a little ways you get Robert Anton Wilson’s The Illuminatus Trilogy and Aleister Crowley’s system of Thelema.

So as with Vampire: the Masquerade, the creators of Mage: the Ascension were not plowing new fields so much as kitchensinking a lot of old ones – but that’s okay, because before Mage most magical systems were stuck in fairly well-defined modern fantasy mindsets – one part Tolkien, one part Lovecraft, one part Moorcock, two parts Jack Vance, shake well and serve over crunchy numbers. oMage, at least, was a bit of a break from the conventional magic-user paradigm—even with respect to Ars Magica, as we shall see.

FrankT:

oMageR credits nine people with “creating” oMage. Wikipedia credits six people with “designing” oMage, and only about half of them overlap. I don't fucking know. It's clear that there were way too many cooks in this kitchen. nMage is even more insane: there are thirteen people credited with “concept and design”, with another seven people tasked with actually “writing” this thing. It is worth noting that Bill Bridges is the only name on all four of these lists (Stewart Wieck is on three), so when Bill Bridges goes off on weird tirades about how Mage is his baby, he's probably less full of shit than you'd think considering that there are literally more than two dozen people listed as having made this thing.

You might think that a book with 19 people working on it (or even just a setting that was created by nine people) would be droolingly incoherent. And neither of these books is going to gainsay you on that point. nMage is one of the most incoherent books I have ever read, and I have read a lot of incoherent books. You can kind of see this coming just by looking at the credits – with half as many people actually writing as there are people telling the writers what to make – and with most of the writers being work-for-hire freelancers having no connection to or feelings for the product. I have worked with Malcolm Sheppard, I respect and like Malcolm Sheppard. But I also know that he is a mercenary who will and has written for games he doesn't like or respect. I respect Stephen Kenson (AncientHistory has a well deserved grudge against him), but I also know that he would write a cancer based role playing game if you gave him money to do so. With the exception of Bill Bridges, there's nobody on the writer list who simultaneously has game writing experience and gives an actual fuck about the work being made.

But while oMage is less incoherent than nMage (as all game books are), it's still an insane rambling diatribe that was already the clear result of too many chiefs and not enough indians.

AncientH:

Part of the problem was the sheer number of influences coming to bear on the game. Vampire: the Masquerade was already an effort to port Ars Magica to a Gothic Punk setting, this was really White Wolf’s attempt to do it even more literally. So you have a game where the setting is essentially late-80s Detroit, when people were afraid Japanese corporations were going to swallow the world, ripped jeans first hit their nadir of coolness, and eyeshadow for men wasn’t just for glamrockers and transvestites anymore, and they’re merging it with this pseudo-Medieval set up of as many different magical societies as they can get, each with their own agenda, and on top of that they layer on the consensus reality shenanigans and the big Mage War against the forces of Science, Technology, and the Illuminati/Corporations/New World Order – who just happen to be mages to. And that’s not even counting the devils…

It was ambitious, and part of the reason it was such a mess is because consensus reality specifically allowed them to kitchensink things. Every magical tradition was allowed to be true for a given level of “true” if only you believed in it – that’s straight Phil Hines chaos magic from the Pseudonomicon – and if you had the Will to impose your changes on reality, which is straight Aleister Crowley/Kenneth Grant stuff (minus most of the sex magic, because nobody really wants to roleplay their character having a wank and trying to conceptualize a shower of gold coins as they ejaculate, or if they do then they can’t do that at my table.)

FrankT:

oMageR was the third edition of oMage, and was explicitly intended to bring the game “down to street level”. I'll let the White Wolf Wiki field this one:
White Wolf Wiki wrote:
The Revised edition of Mage purposefully made the game much darker and grittier, declaring the Ascension War all but lost to the Technocracy, and removing all the most powerful Council mages through the device of the Avatar Storm, which also made it much more difficult for mages to travel through the Umbra. These changes were met with a divided fan reaction.
If you thought that came with a divided fan reaction, nMage went “grittier still”, and the fan reaction was to have the entire product line closed with no new editions even before the company shuttered itself altogether.

Even in oMageR, shit is crazy compared things in nMage. Or most other games for that matter. It may be more “street level” than earlier incarnations of oMage (heck, it is), but we're talking about a setting that has secret dragons who can warp the laws of physics with their minds and player characters getting the power to invert time and shit. Removing a lot of the higher powered characters and stuff still left it with a game where if you wanted to destroy the world you could just do that. So nMage could have ratcheted things way down and still been deeply in crazy town. And they did.

AncientH:

Ars Magica had a basic Noun/Verb magic system, but oWoD went for an even looser system. This encouraged a high degree of creativity among players and a high level of fielding such efforts of creativity by gamemasters, which means that many sessions probably started and began with long-drawn out arguments about how you could use Entropy ●● to snuff out the sun and things of that sort. It was a game where the laws of physics and chemistry and everything else were explicitly make-believe and operated as they did because that’s the way everyone had subconsciously agreed they would work, but the people writing this weren’t very keen on physics and whatnot to begin with—they were still really stuck in D&D wizard mode mentality, where PCs played old men dressed in robes and incanting things to shoot off fireballs from their hands, and they imagined that is what players would want their characters to do and specifically wrote the setting so those people would lose.

I think part of the problem of oMage is that it almost requires a near-omnipotent bad guy for the setting to make sense. If you aren’t fighting the Empire as helmed by Darth Vader and Palpatine, then your band of rebels would just as happily be beating the shit out of each other because you want Voodoo to reign supreme and the guy next to you wants the universe to have come forth from the Cosmic Egg. By the same token however, at the street level there’s not a whole hell of a lot to fight for – are you going to go set a bunch of text books on fire and hope people will go back to believing in the Greek four element theory that your magic is based off of? Sure, Harry Dresden can wander into the local IRS office that acts as a front for the Technocracy, but how much does that really set the back? So even in 1st edition oMage, you the plucky rebel are supposed to be fighting reality and losing…

…but hey, look at these bitchin’ powers. Mage in every incarnation was all about the power trip, all the neat things you could do with your powers, and how you can overcome the limits. Some people went for enlightenment, others played pimp-my-chantry, but the thing is that the reality of “oh shit, if the Bad Guys wins our magic won’t work” was sort of drowned out by “look at all the neat shit I could do!” It was a supers game where everyone is a reality warper and no-one has any responsibility.

The War



FrankT:

Both oMage and nMage are defined by a central conflict that is supposed to be going on. There's the group of mages that you get to play, and then there is another group of mages that fight you because of a core philosophical conflict. In oMage, the conflict is that the enemy mages want reality to exist the way it does in our world, and you apparently want to overthrow that and replace it with a world of magic where wonderment is everywhere and there is no vaccine for polio. Now you can, and I do, make a pretty compelling case that this is extremely fucked up and that the Mages in oMage are total asshats and having them lose and lose hard would be totally balls to the wall awesome. But we can at least, all agree that this conflict is important and that people taking one side or the other of it seems like something people would want to do.


Putting out Carl Sagan's candles is your mission in oMage

In nMage, the central conflict is between the Seers of the Throne and the other groups of mages, and you play one of the members of the other groups. The Seers attempt to guess what a group of “exarchs” who may or may not exist want, and then carry out those orders; while the other groups want to overthrow those people and take over a tower in the supernal world that may or may not exist and may or may not do anything. So basically, you're playing a religious schism where one side believes that an entirely invisible group of intangible and possibly non-existent idea men are good, while the other side believes that an entirely invisible group of intangible and possibly non-existent idea men are bad. This is the central conflict which is supposed to propel you into battle to risk life and limb in order to drive your point home.


In nMage, you are attempting to make it known that you do not approve of a particular invisible, intangible, possibly nonexistent, group that never says anything and is also secret and wish to replace it with a different one

AncientH:

oMage was a magical kitchensink because every belief was true for a varying degree of true. This allowed oMage to borrow from any magical system and culture they wanted and cram into their point-based set of spheres. nMage however took almost the exact opposite tack—all the fucking magic came from Atlantis, and thus all magic in the world that worked was in some way or form derived from Atlantean magic, and you were all reincarnated or super-old Atlanteans, and that was fucking that.

So nMage took a lot of the mystique out of the setting—and with it went pretty much the entire feel of the game. You don’t get to be Neo in the Matrix anymore, you get to play one of those assholes from movies like The Covenant where random superpowered asshats oppose each other for vaguely defined reasons. Ascension always had in there—right in the fucking title, really—the idea that you could, with hard work and perseverance, become something greater; in Vampire: the Masquerade it was just called Golconda, but in oMage it was a magical/spiritual quest akin to achieving the Buddha nature, with awesome cosmic power as a neat bonus.

FrankT:

The big problem here is that I don't give a damn about the nMage conflict and neither does anyone else. It's all people having different interpretations of some legendary Atlantean stuff that may or may not have actually happened. It's like the part of oVampire where various factions were supposed to be pro- or anti- Antediluvian, but I really can't find any reason to care which way it goes. It isn't that the Exarchs are going to wake up and go all Queen of the Damned on everyone they can catch. They left the Earth, and the biggest threat they pose is that it's possible that no one can follow them. I think this needs a map:
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


Is that clear? There are some dudes in the Exarch Realm who do not and probably cannot interact with you in the material world (that is, the place where you actually keep all your stuff and eat sandwiches), and battle lines are drawn over whether we should do things that we guess they will like or do things we guess that they won't. The dudes in the Exarch Realm probably won't tell us either way and may or may not be lying if they did. And people are supposed to be willing to die for this.

It really doesn't help that not counting the sample characters, the primary antagonists get all of two pages in a four hundred page book. Other than that, you get this blurb at the beginning:
nMage wrote:
Persistent rivals of all mages are the Seers of the Throne, mages from a mystical order that seeks control of the world in the name of the Exarchs. The Seers do not “own” or run the government, but their agents are certainly influential in the bureaucratic offices, speeding up or slowing down the engines of governance.
The villains are lobbyists, or possibly a public service worker's union. But they are never given any actual agenda that you would necessarily care about supporting or opposing.

AncientH:

One of the problems in both games is that you’re not the only ones using magic. Oh sure, the mages are the only ones running around with “True Magick” and avatars and shit, but vampires have a bunch of different types of blood magic and werewolves have their gifts and faeries have their charms and there’s a metric fuck ton of sorcerers, mummies, psychics, ki-users, and all sorts of other crap wandering around using magic just fucking fine, and they don’t risk their head imploding if they go “Engorgio penes!” during a hot date. oMage sort of handwaved these guys in by pointing out that was all static magic, with highly limited effects and high costs and not at all as bitchin’ as True Magick! (with a k!) nMage though…their entire spiel is basically that all magic worth talking about comes from Atlantis. So the whole static-magic thing never quite had the same jive. Partially I think this is because the guys and gals making nWoD flat-out determined to avoid cross-game shenanigans as much as possible to avoid the kind of Samuel Haight crap that cropped up in oWoD, but mostly I think they didn’t think it through very well.

FrankT:

Don't get me wrong, the oMage war was jacked up. For starters: you're very obviously the bad guys. I mean sure, the books trotted out puppy kicking Technomancers from time to time to try to make you feel better about things, but the fact remains that you're fighting against a system where ordinary people can and do have electric light and running water. Life in the present is objectively better than life in the past. And you're supposed to be returning things to the “glory days” where mystery cults ruled everything, and life expectancy was half of what it is now. People sometimes make fun of religious people or conservatives for wanting to take things back to the Bronze Age, but in oMage that is literally and specifically what you're supposed to be doing.
Old Mage wrote:
We come into the world bloody and squalling; we prey on flesh and fruit for survival; we grow, learn and adapt; we wane and die, only to feed new life. This never-ending cycle occupies the Verbena, and its constant pulse is the heart of the Tradition.
These are the heroes in oMage, and they are coming to save you from the tyranny of flush toilets and antibiotics

And more than just being one where it is extremely obvious that you're supposed to be fighting on the wrong side, it's also fairly incomprehensible that you haven't already won. See, the way the war is fought is by convincing ordinary people (called “sleepers”) that magic is real. This means that right away that the premise is absurd, since a super majority of people already believe in magic. But it gets weirder than that. You want to convince people that magic exists because until you do, it becomes hard to cast magic while you are being observed. And that manifests with “Paradox”.

Paradox is bad for you. And you get it for “Attempting magic and failing badly can indicate that a spell has gone awry, which incurs Paradox”. And when you have it in large quantities, you get attacked by paradox spirits or the entire world unravels into a “paradox realm” where everything goes Twilight Zone for a while. So to ground this: if you fail to cast magic because people don't believe in magic, really obviously magical shit happens, and then they would presumably believe.

AncientH:

And, not to put too fine a point on it, White Wolf acknowledged in oMage that people thought the Technocracy was cool. People wanted to play in magical internetz astral realms and have magical shotguns and cars that ran on blood instead of gasoline but got 100 miles to the gallon. This is why I think that in later 2nd edition products oMage really pushed the various other Mage threats – Marauders (psychotic reality-benders), Nephandi, and Infernalists.

Now, I will take a step back for a second and say that the one good thing about nMage removing the central conflict of the setting is that it allows players to more or less relax and have characters that can be good, bad, or indifferent without actively trying to stop evil Japanese corporations from privatizing the multiverse. It meant that you could play an RPG version of Warren Ellis and Mike Wolfer’s Gravel, a big badass magician in a regular world where you can use your magic to get a little beer money than get to go use your clever mage powers to slot some other mage who also happens to be a kiddy-rapist. It’s the basic urban fantasy appeal there and I get it. The problem is though, you being a super-powered contemporary mage with lots of power and deciding how you’re going to act (ir)responsibly with it is not supposed to be the core conflict of the setting.

I mean, let’s look both games side-by-side for a minute here. In both, your PC is a member of a group of similarly-minded magicians, who train you in their secret arts yadda yadda. And then…what? In oMage, you’re criminals and terrorists living on the down low, working against the Technocracy in secret, and you join up with a group of like-minded fellow mages in a little domestic terrorist/paramilitary cell. You are the IRA, and the world is your Belfast. In nMage, you’re still the IRA, but the other bastards are the UVF, and even if you want to retire and live a quiet life of mind-wiping bartenders and prostitutes for free drinks and blowjobs, they’re not going to let you. And that’s terrible.

So the games, despite a vaguely analogous concept (“You are one of the chosen few GothicPunk reality-bender…”) they have vastly different reasons to play (“…if you are listening, you are the resistence.”/ “Them Hatfields is going down!”) embedded in the storyline. This shift in the central conflict from oMage to nMage has had a noticeable effect on the mythology of the game…continued next post.
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TheFlatline
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Actually oMage addressed the idea that you could get away with magic by saying if enough people believed in magic around you it was coincidental and not vulgar. Nobody gave a shit however because the omniscient vs limited 3rd person perspective for determining vulgarity was more important.

The rules generally stated "assume when you do magic that there is a hypothetical observer watching the effect. If they would disbelieve that this is reality, then it's vulgar, otherwise it's coincidental and easier to go off."

So someone says "well if "reality" is watching and can see everything, when you reach into your pocket and pull out a cell phone, but it actually is a portal to your apartment and you're pulling a phone through, that's vulgar instead of coincidental."

and someone else said "So basically 99.9% of all magic in Mage is vulgar except for Entropy?" and the first person said "Yeah, because FUCK PLAYERS DOING FUN THINGS!" and thus was born the eternal storm of omniscient vs limited 3rd person perspective for determining what kind of magic your'e doing.

And as for playing the bad guy that's kind of implied in WoD games.
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Rawbeard
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I sort of love the oMage setting, but the Traditions make it really difficult to not see them as the losing villians. Even with Traditions like the whatshamacallit meditating monks you find out they are hardcore "you sick? you die". So no suprise the only Traditions that don't want to bring the world back to the stone age are ex-Technocrats and freaking deathmages. I guess you could put the stoners in the "non stone age" (pun not intended) camp, but I don't think they care which way it goes as long as they can lick frogs.

I found the Technocrats more appealing. They really had to make them babymurderers for no reason, to remind everyone they are evil. Sprinkled with some Pentex Werewolf badguy goo. Yeah. We don't have crossovers. Unless we do. Aren't we cute?

No, you are not. Stop it. Oh you did? GOOD.
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TheFlatline
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'd also like to interject that it seems like White Wolf wanted to really, really, really discourage, to use MMO terms, PvE content, and went out of it's way to encourage PvP environments when it rebooted WoD.
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nockermensch
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

oWoD's Mage and Changeling are responsible for the most fun I ever had with non-D&D RPGs. My nickname exists because when I first made to the internet (in 94) I was having a blast playing Changeling and listening to German Industrial Music.
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vagrant
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Fuck MtA. Every session I ever played on that bullshit GM fellatio fest was 70% 'Can I do this thing with my magic?' 'No.' 'Can I /do/ anything with my magic?' 'Not until I let you.'

And if the GM liked you, they would go out of their way to give you awesome shit. 'Oh, your motorcycle turns into a robot? That's totally coincidental because sleepers saw Transformers.'

Even without clearly biased GMs, I spent less time playing and more time playing Mother May I. Fuck that game.
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Voss
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I generally ran into a specific version of 'Mother May I.' What each sphere could do was generally* agreed upon, but several Storytellers wanted in-depth explanations on how the characters were doing whatever magic they were doing. They wanted in-depth analysis of each character's system of magic.

I remember one campaign where I randomly tied 'runes' as a focus to correspondence for some vaguely Norse wizard I was playing. He wanted to know how I teleported. I said something about connecting rune shapes in one location to similar shapes at the other location (or something), and was told I needed to come up with a more 'convincing' explanation for next session. I wasn't sure why I as a player needed to come up with a functioning metaphysical system for a style of magic that was completely made up so that my game character could perform trivial shit when I successfully rolled dice above a certain number.

I'm sure it matter to the character, and that in-universe he gave a shit about such things, but fun at the table didn't need to be predicated on me really spouting bullshit for five minutes before doing anything.


*generally. I once talked a Storyteller into letting Mind 1 allow multiple actions. I then realized it was broken as fucked and never did it again.
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fectin
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

One quibble there: the reason you think that the bronze age was terrible for most people is that archaeology and oral history say it was. Which is to say, if you take everything the Technocracy says at face value, you believe they're the good guys. As much as you rail against anti-penicillin sentiments, the technocracy's reality is the one in which people get sick in the first place.

You can very easily construct a rationale where magic becomes commonplace, so it becomes easy enough that everyone can do it, and then everyone is living in their own bubble of personal-utopia reality.

It may be that the books utterly failed to frame any of that, but still.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm pretty sure that the leading cause of death in the oWoD bronze age was being raped to death by rampaging demon hoards, with being eaten by werewolves coming in a close second and being eaten by vampire demigods a respectable third.

And the nature of Consensus reality meant that Medusa could spontaneously show up in your bedroom and turn you to stone because enough people actually believed she existed.


Last edited by hyzmarca on Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:44 am; edited 2 times in total
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fectin
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yes, but that's an argument for the bronze age.

If we solved disease, accidents, war, hunger, poverty, crime, etc, wild animal attacks might well eventually become our top priority. I wouldn't say we're worse off because of it.
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Vebyast wrote:
Here's a fun target for Major Creation: hydrazine. One casting every six seconds at CL9 gives you a bit more than 40 liters per second, which is comparable to the flow rates of some small, but serious, rocket engines. Six items running at full blast through a well-engineered engine will put you, and something like 50 tons of cargo, into space. Alternatively, if you thrust sideways, you will briefly be a fireball screaming across the sky at mach 14 before you melt from atmospheric friction.
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hyzmarca
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

fectin wrote:
Yes, but that's an argument for the bronze age.

If we solved disease, accidents, war, hunger, poverty, crime, etc, wild animal attacks might well eventually become our top priority. I wouldn't say we're worse off because of it.




No no no.. When I say that being raped to death by demons was the leading cause of death I mean that Earthbound Demon Lords ruled 90% of the Earth and getting your ass dragged to a clockwork rape cathedral where your faith energy would be extracted in the most brutal and efficient manner possible was a near-absolute certainty. There was still disease. It's just that demons were even more prevalent.

That's also what the Technocracy is fighting against.

Of course, the demons got their asses kicked by the other Angels, eventually. But being caught in the crossfire of that war wasn't pleasant as the heavenly Angels gave less of a shit about your welfare than the Fallen who were raping you to death did.


During the Middle Ages vampires ruled Europe openly in their own little fiefdoms and could do whatever the heck they wanted to the morals in their domains with impunity. And most of them had an alternate morality system rather than humanity, so its not like they even had mechanical incentive to play nice.

The Technocracy is literally the reason that the Masquarade exists and why vampires aren't openly running the world.

The Technocracy didn't come around until the Enlightenment. Disease predated them by quite some time. The Black Death should ring some bells. They just made it so medicine works and prayer doesn't. But given how inconsistent faith healing was, it's not like that's a bad thing.
Also, our vampire overlords rule us in secret and go to great lengths to make sure that we don't find out about them because we would slaughter them all. And that's all the Technocracy's doing.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:51 am    Post subject: Re: oMage v. nMage Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I wish to interject with just one pointless thing here...

Ancient History wrote:
and on top of that they layer on the consensus reality shenanigans and the big Mage War against the forces of Science, Technology, and the Illuminati/Corporations/New World Order



According to White Wolf, these guys are wizards

...how did they make a game world that's actually more stupid than what I just put there?
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Rawbeard
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

fectin wrote:
You can very easily construct a rationale where magic becomes commonplace, so it becomes easy enough that everyone can do it, and then everyone is living in their own bubble of personal-utopia reality.
That is the goal of the Virtual Adepts. No one else seems to have a comperable goal. They are actively busy with creating a better reality. The other Traditions don't like them. Making everyone special? That sucks!

So yeah, Technocrats are still the evil good guys, while most traditions are dicks, with some being facist assholes, or crazy hobo murderers. Or both.

Sure, they are supposed to be the good guys, but it is hard to ignore the stoopid that is written about them. And it get's worse if you get into their splatbooks. "We want everyone to be healthy. So we kill all the sick people." how about your Brotherhood goes fuck itself? Seriously, that's not the deathcults attitude! Fucked the hell up, that's what it is.

The less details you got, the less you think about it, the better the setting works.
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Prak
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I really wonder what a WoD game would look like with characters that had actual sane, functional motivations would look like.

I mean, lets start with the setting's basic, biggest conceit--that the apocalypse is coming and you really cannot do anything about it. That is the absolute core of WoD, even unto The Dot having told people that to play WoD is to be "standing on a turd in a toilet, and someone just flushed," because... I don't know, that's the game he wanted to write.
So lets hold that constant, along with the idea that the supernaturals all know it's coming.

The question is: what, then, do supernaturals decide to do knowing the apocalypse is coming and it can't be averted?

Vampires will probably continue doing what they're doing. The apocalypse may be coming, but that doesn't remove one's hunger, and political games are to vampires as phone apps are to us, ultimately pointless, but a good way to kill time.

Werewolves were charged by a goddess to defend Earth and fight the Wyrm, so the basic idea remains there too. Some werewolves probably say "fuck it, the world is ending, and we don't know when other than soon, so I'm going to go get my rocks off" which is probably an actually better source for Black Spiral Dancers than what we got. But for the rest of them, they're basically "we may be doomed, but that's no reason to abandon our duties" stoic fatalists.

I honestly think the metaplot for mage should be "the apocalypse is coming, fuck it, lets party." For some mages, this means going out and being super villains, which gives the players something to actually do--either be villains themselves, or fight the super villains. I think the "bring back the good old days" needs to be an attitude mostly held by the older members of the traditions who actually come from those days with a few older mages who say "holy shit, cell phones are amazing! I can talk to my big spoon from the year dot without spending quintessence!" while the younger, newer mages are all for ipads and laptops and cell phones and just want to be able to actually use magic too.

Demons are probably the most deluded supernaturals in this model. They broke from Heaven because they saw the apocalypse coming. They're probably gearing up for a new war with Heaven, though there are probably some hedonists here too.

And that's the limit of my WoD splat knowledge.
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In Soviet Russia, cosmic horror is the default state.

You should gain sanity for finding out that the problems of a region are because there are fucking monsters there.
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Rawbeard
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

For mages it might be more fiiting to be "apocalypse is coming? shit, it's wednesday again? Have to remember to buy milk". If you have guys that can rewrite fundamental principles of reality, the apocalypse is not something that fazes you for long.
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Prak
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

That screws the core conceit of WoD though. It's literally supposed to be "the world is ending and you can't do fuck all about it."

Though, yeah, I'd much rather run Mage like Supernatural/Buffy:
Quote:
"I suddenly find myself needing to know the plural of apocalypse"

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Dean, on Paranoia wrote:
The book is a hardbound liars paradox.


Winnah wrote:
No, No. 'Prak' is actually a Thri Kreen impersonating a human and roleplaying himself as a D&D character. All hail our hidden insect overlords.


FrankTrollman wrote:
In Soviet Russia, cosmic horror is the default state.

You should gain sanity for finding out that the problems of a region are because there are fucking monsters there.
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TheFlatline
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Prak_Anima wrote:
I really wonder what a WoD game would look like with characters that had actual sane, functional motivations would look like.

I mean, lets start with the setting's basic, biggest conceit--that the apocalypse is coming and you really cannot do anything about it. That is the absolute core of WoD, even unto The Dot having told people that to play WoD is to be "standing on a turd in a toilet, and someone just flushed," because... I don't know, that's the game he wanted to write.
So lets hold that constant, along with the idea that the supernaturals all know it's coming.

The question is: what, then, do supernaturals decide to do knowing the apocalypse is coming and it can't be averted?

Vampires will probably continue doing what they're doing. The apocalypse may be coming, but that doesn't remove one's hunger, and political games are to vampires as phone apps are to us, ultimately pointless, but a good way to kill time.

Werewolves were charged by a goddess to defend Earth and fight the Wyrm, so the basic idea remains there too. Some werewolves probably say "fuck it, the world is ending, and we don't know when other than soon, so I'm going to go get my rocks off" which is probably an actually better source for Black Spiral Dancers than what we got. But for the rest of them, they're basically "we may be doomed, but that's no reason to abandon our duties" stoic fatalists.

I honestly think the metaplot for mage should be "the apocalypse is coming, fuck it, lets party." For some mages, this means going out and being super villains, which gives the players something to actually do--either be villains themselves, or fight the super villains. I think the "bring back the good old days" needs to be an attitude mostly held by the older members of the traditions who actually come from those days with a few older mages who say "holy shit, cell phones are amazing! I can talk to my big spoon from the year dot without spending quintessence!" while the younger, newer mages are all for ipads and laptops and cell phones and just want to be able to actually use magic too.

Demons are probably the most deluded supernaturals in this model. They broke from Heaven because they saw the apocalypse coming. They're probably gearing up for a new war with Heaven, though there are probably some hedonists here too.

And that's the limit of my WoD splat knowledge.


The saddest apocalypse for me was the Long Winter in Changeling, where creativity basically seeped out of the world entirely. So as a changeling, your impending doom was... forgetting that you're a 10,000 year old creature of wonder and magic, waking up the next morning, and getting a job at the chicken hut where you serve fast food for the next 30 years and die, forgotten, in an apartment. Every now and again something would tickle you just enough to wonder if maybe there was more to life than this banality, but then you'd slip back into the quiet life of desperation.

The End.
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TheFlatline
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Voss wrote:

I remember one campaign where I randomly tied 'runes' as a focus to correspondence for some vaguely Norse wizard I was playing. He wanted to know how I teleported. I said something about connecting rune shapes in one location to similar shapes at the other location (or something), and was told I needed to come up with a more 'convincing' explanation for next session. I wasn't sure why I as a player needed to come up with a functioning metaphysical system for a style of magic that was completely made up so that my game character could perform trivial shit when I successfully rolled dice above a certain number.


I'd be totally down for that. It fit within your general paradigm of rune magic and the idea of correspondence.

Anyway, once you get past a certain Arete rating, your paradigm was a bonus but not necessary, since you could just shove really hard with your willpower and reality said "yessir!" in reply.

As far as the "mother may I" game, I never really ran into that except with new players who thought first dot of any sphere gave them uber-powers.

Except... 1st dot is "sense <insert sphere name here>" more than anything else. Some of them are kind of nifty... Correspondence 1 lets you suss out connections between objects (Sort of like Vampiric Spirit's Touch) or the ever-popular "whereami?" which tells you where you are relative to some spot you know, like your haven. Second dot is minor manipulation, 3rd is standard manipulation (lead into gold, fireballs, portals, etc...), 4th is major manipulation, 5th is game-breaking manipulation. And seeing how fucking expensive 5th sphere dot is (It costs 50 experience to raise your 5th dot of arete, and *then* it costs I believe 25 for your 5th sphere dot, and you're averaging 2-4 xp per session), you're never ever ever going to see 5th sphere in anything like a reasonable time frame.
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TheFlatline
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Rawbeard wrote:
For mages it might be more fiiting to be "apocalypse is coming? shit, it's wednesday again? Have to remember to buy milk". If you have guys that can rewrite fundamental principles of reality, the apocalypse is not something that fazes you for long.


Mages didn't have an apocalypse per se, they had the Ascension War. And they lost it. Meaning Revised is really post-apocalypse anyway.

Before Revised you could just say "fuck this noise" and pass through the gauntlet and go out deep into the Umbra/Horizon and create your own bubble of reality and contemplate your navel for the rest of your life perfectly happy.

And that's what all of the really powerful mages did at the beginning of revised: They won and left. Leaving the rest of you bumping into the glass dome that was the Avatar Storm and leaving you to rot.

Street level grittiness in a Mage game seemed absurd to me. You could fucking reshape reality and take a stroll through the entire universe by pushing hard enough and they wanted you to play a street level game where you already lost. I dunno. It seemed like a weird direction to go in.

Also, I loved the implications of paradox and consensual reality. I had a story that I loved to tell in Mage boards about a technocracy mage who fucked up hardcore in his sub-atomic particle study and earned himself a permanent paradox flaw so that sub-atomic particles behaved in incredibly unpredicatable ways when he was around. Of course, this was a repeatable result for him, so he started believing it. He showed it to all his other researcher friends, and when he did so, he was around, so the results were repeatable until the researcher magi began to expect the same results, not realizing it was paradox.

Fast forward a decade or two, and the Technocracy has fully encoded this new science and explored it and plumbed it, and enough tech magi *believe* in it now from repeated experimentation that the original paradox cursed mage doesn't have to be there. They then build technology based on these ideas, and after years of research start prepping the public to accept this new reality paradigm. Thanks to a few celebrity sleeper scientists and just how *fascinating* sub-atomic physics really can be, the public at large accepts this new field of science on faith, because it defies every fucking known law of physics ever codified. Enough people come to believe in it that consensual reality shifts and this once-paradox curse becomes The Way Things Are.

And thus, Quantum Mechanics is born.

And then begins the hunt for the Unified Field Theory, which doesn't exist yet but eventually will when enough people believe in it.
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Rawbeard
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Every other "sci-fi" show uses the supreme magicks of the holy quantum. It's fucking ridiculous. It totally fits within mage, though. That is simply the way the Union goes from enlightened science (mages) to linear science (sorcerers) to sleeper science.

It's not hard to see why they have "won", when even their "magical artifacts" work in the hands of sleepers with only mild degrees of cthulhu.

Yeah, mage is pretty crazy and it doesn't mesh with the rest of the oWoD very well. Ancient Vampire god rises in India? How about we put some orbital mirrors on top of him and burn him with a couple amounts of sun? And that was after they grittied it up. Yeah. Werewolfs start getting crazy and are tearing up the city? How about we dust off the old power armors, so we can keep busy until our cyborg soldiers are back online and murder EVERYTHING?

How do you NOT want to play THAT game? But how do you pretend any apocalypse matters to you? One of the Mage endings was "the world is fine, people are save and free, that's terrible, because now your magical drugs don't make you high anymore, so go back in time and stop it" or something along the lines. Fucking stupid!

I don't even know what my point is. Do I even have one? Do I need one?

Bah, White Wolf.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Fucking White Wolf.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Don't forget, that orbital strike on Ravnos involved Magical Nukes as well. They just had those, in orbit on (presumably) multiple satellites around the globe.

Fact was, the Technocracy could have simply taken anyone they found valuable up into space and then leveled all the supernatural threats. And literally no one in the entire setting had equal capability to do jack-shit about it. The Sons of Ether and maybe Virtual Adepts could have been bothersome, but really only on an individual basis.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:53 pm    Post subject: Re: oMage v. nMage Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Honestly, things like the nWo pic just make me wish Koumei would run After Sundown sometime, since Mexico City already explicitly features luchador luminaries. The fact that she hates White Wolf doesn't hit me as a significant handicap for running a game given that everyone hates White Wolf.
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Ice9
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

TheFlatline wrote:
Street level grittiness in a Mage game seemed absurd to me. You could fucking reshape reality and take a stroll through the entire universe by pushing hard enough and they wanted you to play a street level game where you already lost. I dunno. It seemed like a weird direction to go in.
Even in nMage, where they tried to take the street level grittiness up to 11, it didn't really "stick". I mean, based off some of the example characters, it seemed like "work in a crappy retail job, use magic powers to keep lawn clear of abyssals/spirits/etc" was supposed to be a thing that people did. But - not at all, in practice.
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Ancient History
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The Secret Histories
The world is stranger than you think.


The Longest Journey wrote:
This story, like all good stories, begins where it ends: in a tower


Wikipedia, Rasputin in Popular Culture wrote:
In White Wolf Game Studio's World of Darkness role-playing game metaverse, many factions of supernaturals claim Rasputin as one of their own, including one faction of mages (the Cult of Ecstasy), at least five factions of vampires (the Brujah, Malkavians, Nosferatu, Ventrue, and Followers of Set), and one faction of werewolves (the Shadow Lords). The second edition of Wraith: The Oblivion has a description of the 'Stamina' attribute referring to the stories of Rasputin's assassination. The in-game "truth" is still disputed, though Ethan Skemp (developer of Werewolf) has since mentioned that the multiple conflicting stories were meant as little more than an in-joke running through many of White Wolf's early books.


FrankT:

At its core, the secret history of oMage, and oWoD in general, is one of the world getting more crazy magical the farther back in time you go. The Mages (and werewolves, and vampires, and fairies, and mummies, and dragons, and manticores, and swan maidens, and everything else) of yesteryear were more powerful than the ones of today. And if you go back two sets of years, they were more powerful still. It seems like it's based on a piece of fallacious reasoning – every magical creature gets more powerful with age (including the player characters), so if you go back to an earlier age, the magical creatures there are more powerful. Apparently Rein * Hagen never worked through the implications of the fact that in the past, people who are old now are actually young then.

Still, while ramping up power levels as you go into the past may be a fundamental error of reasoning, it was at least fairly consistent in oWoD. Everything was more powerful in its earlier incarnations. And power ramped up fast. In the pre-flood period (yes, Noah's Flood totally happened), there were no less than five vampires (Brujah, Saulot, Veddhartha, Set, and Arikel) who individually had the power “dream world” that allowed them to control the dreams and nightmares of everyone on Earth and the power “perfect world” that caused everyone for miles around in every direction to dedicate themselves to doing whatever it was that the vampire in question wanted while they were awake. And there were eight Vampires who though lacking in those particular tricks were considered their equals by dint of having other stuff considered just as good. And there were eight more so much more powerful than the Vampires on that list that they don't even bother describing their powers even in hyperbolic terms.

And oMage was roundly considered to be the most overpowered splat, so it probably won't surprise you that in an edition where supernaturals were so powerful just a few thousand years ago that every person's hopes and dreams were voted on by committee, the recent past of oMage was over the top insanity. First of all, until quite recently, the worlds were not divided one from another. So armies of dragons and demons could and did simply walk into human settlements, leaving everything a charred wasteland. This was supposedly OK, according to Mage, because there were wizards who raised everyone back from the dead every day. Which they needed to do, because the universe was a giant lava lamp of insanity where rocks didn't fall if left in the sky and monsters of primal chaos came and murdered you every day. Not that there were actual days and nights, because the sun was literally a dude who you could talk to.



But no one really cares about the pre-medieval oWoD, because it specifically doesn't make any sense and there weren't any rules for playing in it (not that there could be any). What's actually important is the secret histories of what is supposed to have happened from about 900 CE to the present.

AncientH:

Really, White Wolf was borrowing from Larry Niven’s “The Magic Goes Away” much in the same manner as Shadowrun…the problem is, each game line did this pretty much their own way. For V:tM, the idea has some legs because Anne Rice explicitly made vampires more powerful as they got older, and that drinking their blood made younger vampires stronger. For oMage, this was…more complicated.

It didn’t help that in addition to oMage White Wolf produced a couple of alternate time period settings: Mage: the Sorcerer’s Crusade set during the Renaissance, and Dark Ages: Mage set around the close of the 12th and early 13th centuries (one could make a serious argument for House of Tremere being a joint oMage/V:tM supplement too). Both of these games attempt to hack the existing oMageRevised overpowered nonsense by pretty much scrapping the existing systems and replacing them with other, equally broken systems. Ironically, both of these products would also foreshadow the basic problems with nMage, because they were set before the Technocracy had really taken hold, and so as a mage your basic job in life was to be magical, promote your way of looking at reality, and try not to get caught by the Holy Inquisition (yes, really, I don’t understand how they’re supposed to be a threat either, even with their explicit anti-Mage powers) or shot by one of those newfangled gun thingies. The more I think about it, DA: Mage really was a dry run for nMage in a lot of way, right down to a bunch of the names in the credits of the core book.

In a way, looking back at these attempts at medieval Mage-dom, when you could un-ironically build a tower and carry a staff and nobody would give you shit if you ensorcelled the buxom wench down at the pub—which you went to religiously, because even though magic was stronger you still had a relatively good chance of dying from dysentery if you drank the water and didn’t know the right Pillars to sort your sick ass out again—it really does presage one of the most basic problems of Mage, and that is that it really did not have any way to go forward. If you look at a number of fan supplements (and hell, a couple quasi-official supplements), there was always the unspoken assumption or desire that you could segue most of White Wolf’s GothicPunk games into a Cyberpunk Future. I think I still have a White Wolf Quarterly that talks about how garou deal with cyberware (not well) and shit. Mage…didn’t really have the same kind of easy tradition. I mean, a vampire in a plague-ridden 13th century European walled city and a vampire in a plague-ridden 22nd century European is a bit “the more things change, the more they stay the same”—they may not prowl around in a bear fur cloak anymore, but that’s fashion more than anything else. Shadowrun at least had mages adopt to technology a bit, but in oMage you’re supposed to be fighting that…I dunno, maybe CyberMagePunk was the future if the Virtual Adepts won.

Anyway, I’ve gotten off-topic, so let me rewind a bit: the efforts to shoe-horn in oMage secret Illuminati-style history on top of all the other WW-game secret history did not work—and these were the guys who were arguably the most successful and influential breed of supernatural in the world. Vampires are in hiding or in torpor and the blood thins out one generation after the next, the Changing Breeds and Changelings face extinction, nobody gives a flying fuck about mummies, ghosts wonder what all the fuss is about until OhFuckHolocaust, sorcerers are said to diminish but really their rules have just always always sucked…mages, on the other hand, get objectively more powerful as the setting timeline is supposed to advance. Magic draining out of the world be damned, the only reason the World of Darkness isn’t living in a Gernsback future is because Tesla was killed.

FrankT:

By contrast, nMage's secret histories are pretty boring. There was a magic mountain on Atlantis, and some White people went there and learned Magic. Then they got all hubrisful and built the tower of babel (which is called the Celestial Ladder in this book). Then they got all freaked out that people might follow them up the Celestial Ladder, so they broke it, and Atlantis broke and now it's really hard to get to the Supernal Realm (not that there is any specific information about what is actually there and thus why you might want to go there in the first place). Various Mages who were killed in the cataclysm below have been reincarnated today, and there are five other towers that send out pulses that make the reincarnated mages get magical power again.

That's seriously it.

AncientH:

Again, this is more or less a direct steal from Larry Niven’s “The Magic Goes Away” and popoccult clap-trap like Madame Blatavasky’s The Secret Doctrine. The idea that Atlantis is the theoretical source of magical knowledge is not new—fuck, the writers probably swiped the idea from the Books of Magic comic series. The same basic idea was a staple of 70s fantasy and sword & sorcery novels though, so they literally had endless numbers of places they might have stolen it from. Amazingly, someone decided it was a good idea to marry nMage Atlantis with the Biblical Tower of Babel myth—and if there was every a standard by how much White Wolf loves to push the fucking Christian supermyth viewpoint, I think that takes the chocolate celestial cake.

Another point about nMage that deserves attention is the whole reincarnation bit. This has its roots in, of all possible things, the movie The Crow based on the graphic novel by James O’Barr.



The success of the 1994 movie prompted White Wolf to break out the Xerox machine and produce 1996’s The Risen, a book where wraiths come back in their old bodies and get vampire powers while engaging on short-lived roaring rampages of revenge. This in turn was merged with World of Darkness: Mummy to give us Mummy: the Resurrection (2000), which was “mummy souls cast out of the underworld are merged with dying humans to create new superpowered creatures”—sound familiar? It should! Because that’s the same fucking basis as Hunter: the Reckoning, Demon: the Fallen, and probably a couple others I’m forgetting. The basic idea of supernatural soul reincarnated/merged with human body = new game! led pretty much directly to nMage.

FrankT:

nMage kept things “mysterious” by not telling you what was really going on. There was a lot of speculation that the world wasn't real, although if this had any practical consequences I couldn't tell you what they were. Every new mage in New Mage “awakens” (that is, becomes a Mage) by having a hallucination about a tower that is in the supernal realm. They (that is, the towers) are quite possibly fighting a guerrilla war against the Exarchs in the supernal realm, which you can't see or get any direct confirmation of because you are cut off from the supernal realm. The towers are called “watch towers” and “oracles”, and in addition to possibly not existing, they possibly are mages who ascended up the ladder back on Atlantis, and there are five of them. Or maybe there are more than that, but in any case there are five flavors of them, and the one you get a vision about defines some of your starting magic powers.

oMage on the other hand, kept mystery going by simply having the authors not talk to each other. Which was easier to do in the nineties back when the manuscripts weren't being emailed back and forth. So rather than simply have the writers give you multiple page tirades about how they weren't going to tell you what was going on, each and every time they tell you what's going on it's a bizarre shot in the dark by someone who is writing totally without knowledge of or regard for whatever the other authors were doing. This ended up with “mystery” that was a lot more organic and felt a lot less dickish.

AncientH:

Some of the Tower/Oracle nonsense was the nMage writers dicking around with real-world parapsych astral quests and stuff, but…well, no, I tell a lie, because the nMage writers generally shat on “real world” occultism in favor of doing Exalted-style things like making Five Magical Metals and crap like that. It is a bit glaring how in oMage there was at least a veneer of research that went into magical traditions and ideas – just as, I might add, there was with Shadowrun 1st edition, someone’s Hermetic stripes were definitely showing there – but in nMage, that was all gone in favor of anime-style glowing rune circles and crap.

I think a large part of the crossover/secret history nonsense of oMage was that it explicitly crossed over with V:tM—House Tremere of Ars Magica became Clan Tremere of Vampire that was part of the Order of Hermes in oMage. Now you could argue that even back in 1st edition there were a lot of more blatant crossovers—Gangrel could learn fucking werewolf martial arts for fuck’s sake and fishmalks could pull an Alice and go visit the gods-be-damned faeries in Arcadia—but I think that it really grounded the setting of those two White Wolf games together in a way that the other games in the line either didn’t have or lost. Does anyone remember when in V:tM the Vampires wouldn’t leave the cities because the fucking werewolves would kill them? That used to be the default canon. You venture out of the suburbs and into the trees, and a werewolf would rip you a new asshole.

But Mage and Vampire shared that connection right up until the Ascension War and Time of Judgment—it really was one of the fundamental, bedrock elements of the setting. They might have retconned the Nagaraja/Euphanatos connection, but the Tremere were supposed to be hermetics right up until they all burnt to crisp. I really think it was part of the shared history that sort of made oWoD work, even as batshit insane as it was…and I think the lack of connection between game lines (or, hell, individual products) is really what made nWoD such incomprehensible drivel. Atlantis doesn’t really factor in to any of the other nWoD products, just as the umpteen bazillion variants of supernatural critters introduced in the shovelware expansion books ever had any impact on the setting because…well, because there was very little shared setting material there. The basic idea in oWoD was that you might be the terror that flaps in the night, but You Are Not Alone…and again, that’s at least in part a rip from the later Anne Rice books, but it gave the various White Wolf games a distinction. In AD&D, most of the settings were at least nominally connected, but they rarely really interacted – Dark Sun and Planescape only crossed over a couple times, and most of those were retconned out, but in oWoD it was taken as given that there were other supernatural out there but they were doing their own thing and while you had to look out for them your first concern was the bastard you knew was trying to stab you in the back.

FrankT:

oMage was a “greedy” setting. Various authors were constantly writing in various ways that the stuff in the other splats was a subset of the goings-on in Mage. The entire plotline of Werewolf was supposed to be because the Technocracy was overzealous in persecuting the dragon-god of destruction. The entire setting of Wraith was reduced to an umbral realm that Mages could and did play with at their leisure. This sort of thing actually pissed off fans of other splats, which is understandable because oMage writers and fans were basically constantly shitting on everyone else's cakes by claiming ownership of every plot point, magical doodad, and important character in every other setting.

On the flip side, nMage has its head so far shoved into its own navel that it cannot be fucked to worry itself over what the heck is going on in the other splats. And this also kind of pissed people off. The fact that Changeling's Hedge is mentioned zero times in Mage made people offended in its own way.

AncientH:

Yeah, the lack of consistent overlapping cosmology in nWoD is one of its most glaring differences from oWoD…it really is a “pick your own” setting, choosing what to include in the books and what not to include. I can understand the appeal of that, but I don’t really respect it. It’s my same complaint with Time of Judgement and VII, if you’re going to the trouble of presenting some major change/secret, you need to pick one option and give it all you got. Giving people five shitty incompatible options is not acceptable in a gaming product.

On the straight powergaming side of things, I think that oMage’s possessiveness was another part of its downfall—the powers of individual mages were so broad that it became difficult for the writers to come up with explicit effects (rotes, artifacts, etc.) and to a large extent they relied on copping concepts and powers off of splats from the other lines and reworking them as mage-versions. So while other player characters worked to earn the nifty new power from the hot-off-the-press book, the oMage could probably copy it and claim they’d been doing that sort of thing for years. It led to a real creative dearth in a lot of the oMage products…and, I think, resentment. That’s why when they discuss non-vampire magic in later books like, say, the abortion Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom, it’s really shitty hedge magic that doesn’t even jive with the rules for WoD: Sorcerer.

But for a real look at that sort of thing, we need to discuss mechanics…
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