View Full Version : DM Help Mage the ascention: for newbies

2018-02-07, 11:39 AM
So I've been running a mage game for the first time for the last 3 months and my newbie have just wrapped up their first story and I'm a little unsure what to do next because this is my first time running a game also.

They're all arte 3, and they don't really have very many lv 3 spheres between them. I have a euthanatos, a virtual adept and a akashic brotherhood.

Their last plot was to recover an artefact book that had supernatural beings locked away in after it had been activated by mortals letting loose a Bane which possessed one of the mortals and went on a killing spree across the city. which is going to tie into a much harder lv 5 level plot for later.

My players are super brand new to mage, and not really used to the whole paragrim and thinking up spells. they kind of got a little too fixated on trying to teleport to fix problems with the last story (lol) I kinda want some story ideas which they might find challenging but could also have a simple way to solve them. (like for instance my book all they had to do was obtain it and read the binding passage on the bane to reseal it, but they could have used other creative methods to solve the problem.)

2018-02-07, 01:09 PM
I suggest creating a small set of antagonists, maybe 2-3 fewer than you have PCs, who are very paradigm-locked. Who play it even more rigidly than your PCs do. Each has a specialized set of spells along a theme they use almost exclusively, but with which they're very creative. Almost like supervillains controlled by optimization-prone players, where there magic is treated as limited as a superpower would be.

Then, after they get used to this group, introduce a new antagonist who is built on the same points and exp as the PCs, but who is highly flexible with his or her spellcasting, taking full advantage of the breadth of a paradigm similar to one or two of the PCs' own.

Make the prior group likable rivals as much as antagonists, people the PCs like to fight but also kind-of respect. See if you can't come up with a not-too-evil goal for them that parallels but clashes with the PCs' own interests. Make the late-coming antagonist hatable and vicious. This mage should come in and use the versatility of Sphere Magic to crush the first group in a way that makes the PCs feel for them.

Seeing tricks a foe can use is a good way to get players to start asking, "How can I do that?"

As to plots, maybe the rival/antagonists want that book, but for reasonable reasons. They just are demonstrably not...careful...with paradox and their powers. And maybe what they want to do with it is awfully close to something less reasonable/more nefarious.

The new, versatile antagonist should then steal the book from them brutally when they finally get ahold of it. And probably want it for selfish reasons and be willing to use it in ways that create a lot of collateral damage or require a lot of murderous sacrifices.

2018-02-07, 02:48 PM
White wolf games in general tend to be sandboxy almost to a fault (they can easily fall into the trap of everybody making really cool characters, and then not knowing what to do with them or how they'll work together from there), and Mage in particular takes that one farther. A starting group can quite reasonably have powers that break the world if no other supernatural types oppose them, sometimes even if they do, and the "player describes how their spells come to be" sounds like they wanted to make collaborative GMing more of a thing while not adding any relevant mechanical bits to their signature rule engine.

If you want simple objectives where the whole party has to work in cohesion, you'll need areas where other mages have set up their own magic to counteract what the PCs have brought to bear. Otherwise, you'll need to build around fuzzier problems with no clear objectives or solutions. It shouldn't be about catching up with the guy who can teleport around the globe in the blink of an eye. You'll want to focus on the fallout that happens to the people who can't teleport.

(On that note, what sort of ties have your players given you with their backgrounds? Having many of those ties spelled out as explicit game mechanics means that you're encouraged to use them. And if the PCs are lacking, you might as well make that relevant too.)

2018-02-08, 05:04 AM
Thanks for the suggestions so far. I like the rival idea. The only problem so far of them having a proper antagonist is they have no ambitions to set up their own things. One of my players complained that the game was too much fluff and not enough crunch. which I guess is more an inherent problem with mage then my GMing style. but we're doing a mage game because we're playing over roll20 over 3-4 hours and we thought a RP heavy game would be better for that, rather then spend all 4 hours rolling dice and only managing a single combat.

I think I'm going to have to stick with more linear stories until they can think more out the box. but I may introduce a few high level mages so they can see the potential of what they can achieve.

A bit of background on my setting for idea spawning:

meta events:

Avatar storm - the avatar storm occurred in 2000 and obliterated the majority of the mage population in my universe this was caused by the technocracy testing a 'spirit bomb' their new weapon in the asention war. now it's like 18 years later the avatar storm has regressed but still present, with the gauntlet watched for the rolling storms which plague it.

all other meta events - No - I personally hate a great deal of the WoD lore and meta and the whole thing with ravnos ect I find kinda dumb. but I Like the avatar storm because it means I don't have a bunch of high level mages walking around fixing problems.


My mages are associated with Canterbury chantry (London is claimed by the technocracy and while not an entirely no go zone the traditions hold in London was kinda obliterated in the avatar storm) Canterbury chantry is the only remaining horizon realm chantry in the world. it survived the storm thanks to the ancient magical walls which had been reinforced over a millennia by the mages of the chantry to protect it from its enemies, and its this wall that buffered the storm and kept the horizon realm in one piece. but the chantry was cut off from reality for about five years after the storm, until it was reconnected.

Being the only remaining horizon realm chantry, the majority of the mages of Europe belong to it and works as a central hub, it sends out mages to find chanteries that may have been destroyed in the storm and rebuild. Meaning the majority of the time it's empty of mages, and any powerful mage is occupied with rebuilding projects. this also means theres lots of forgotton wonders/ artifacts just floating around to be rediscovered.

strongest NPC

my strongest NPC is of course head of the chantry who is one of the few remaining archmages alive. he survived the avatar storm by simply being on the prime material when the storm hit. He is a hermatic, super old and powerful.

He currently has the evil binding book that I mentioned in my first post.

the evil book

this plot is for later, but what it can do is relevant for later plots. the book contains 11 evil/supernatural beings from banes, demons, vampires and I think one true fae. it also holds a single hermatic mage. and on the 13th page a single word "abbadon" can be found. - I'm sure some of you might be able to see where this is going ;) any ideas related to abbadon would also be fun :D

the players

the euthanatos - A more celtic/druidic inspired euthanatos. She has the lifesaver flaw so she's a bit of a reject from her tradition, but she takes on the whole grave watching role to ensure the spirits stay resting. She is also a P.I.

the virtual adept - he was an VA experiment, they were trying to master their 'back up' technology by cloning one of them, unfortunately they carried their 0's a bit wrong and created life instead (oops!) he is pretty much a lab rat grown mage and has data instead of correspondence for his sphere. He wants to create A.I's and is my only player that actually gets the game.

The akashic brotherhood - his gone for a hipster who was toring asia when he awakened and got claimed by the brotherhood. his inspired by doctor strange but has chosen a might is right paragrim and is the one obsessed with teleporting, but can't suss how to teleport with his paragrim. (I admit AB is my weakest tradition so I can't help him much with ideas :S )


My current idea for my next story stems from a dark ages game I used to run. I personally like trying to tie all my WoD games together.

so it focuses on this tzimise which is the ultimate kauldonic sorcerer. His a mithusila, he's a genius. In my world lore he is the reason the tremere exist. He is as close a vampire can get to being a true mage while being dead and is a total egomaniac. in my dark ages game he had left a bunch of treasure vaults scattered around the worlds filled with traps and his utterly insane inventions (like a machine which turned chemicals into vitae) which were hundreds of years advance from anything you'd have in the dark ages. and he was leaving clues in each dungeon to his library which was meant to hold all the secrets to how he did it. the ultimate treasure trove for any occultist.

well I figure in modern day his probably up to his tricks still, and he is a massive troll. his probably decked out any of his 'dungeon's in modern day techno stuff along with some more archaic traps with promises of rich rewards at the end. Which lends to a nice linear adventure full of things that a modern mage might find whimsical but may require some imagination to over come, but ultimetly shouldn't be too difficult because it's been set up by a vampire. and as we all know true mage magic trumps vampire magic, even if they is the best vampire mage. But I think he could also be a good antagonist for them. Mages vrs mithusilia with like 8 int, I think it could be fun!

what do you think?

2018-02-08, 02:45 PM
Regarding the Tzimisce Methuselah, if he's that big of a troll, I'd have him be one of the producers on Sasuke and American Ninja Warrior (the American spin-off of Sasuke). He has an underground hidden super-prize for those who make it through with certain requirements he sets forth, tipping them off to his "real" dungeons. Where he watches them die horribly for his own amusement. Maybe he also has underground death mazes he publicizes in gladiatorial criminal circles.

You could have him have some tie to the Akashic Brother, given presence in Asia. Maybe some of his friends were doing Sasuke and have disappeared.

As for teleportation via Akashic paradigm, the two that I can think of are either leyline teleportation, or Goku's "instant transmission" based on targeting chi of known people. Given he's inspired by Dr. Strange, he could just literally have a sling ring, too. It's a focus for that particular bit of Correspondence.

Encourage the VA to come up with plans for making AI. Come up with obstacles he'll have to overcome to his steps. Use those as plot hooks.

Maybe have ghosts of ninjas showing up in England looking for the Akashic Brother but being noticed by the Euthanatos. She can serve as "interpreter" for them as they tell their tale of being trapped/tricked/forced into the Tzimisce's gladiatorial events. Maybe they want their bodies put back to rest, as they're being used as zombies against new victims.

Introducing rivals could actually be done as fellow members of this massive Chantry, too. Have them have ambitions, and conveniently make the PCs linear plots get in their way.

Also, have daily life issues crop up. That tends to be a good way to spark some ambition, as the players seek ways to make little things stop being big problems through life changes.