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    Default World of Darkness: Mage the Awakening 2e tips?

    So, some players from my regular group and I are going to play a game of Mage (the one from Chronicles of Darkness).

    It's our first time playing in this system as a group, although a couple of us have some (limited) experiance with Vampire the masquerade from the same system.

    Any tips on what we should know or what to avoid that's beyond what the book says? I'd appreciate any intake from more experianced players.

    Personally I had a question about permanent/long duration spells. For example, if my character is under the effect of Kinetic Mastery and is witnesed by non-supernaturals jumping/lifting like an olympic athlete, could that result in a paradox, or is it within the category of "this can be interpreated as normal, although exceptional". Also, do ongoing spells cause a nimbus when active or only at the time of casting?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Default Re: World of Darkness: Mage the Awakening 2e tips?

    avoid using the fate arcanum. ban it if you can, making only exceptions for when it's a prerequisite for expanding some other sphere/arcanum spell effect.

    i don't think any mechanic will wreck your game faster.

    After that, i suggest applying kid gloves to the Wisdom rules. In Mage forums I've seen, those taboos on whats acceptable/moral for your magic, and what isn't, is really just a can of worms for an argument with no winners. Old Mage avoided this problem by letting people shape their own paradigms.

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    Default Re: World of Darkness: Mage the Awakening 2e tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by Asmotherion View Post
    So, some players from my regular group and I are going to play a game of Mage (the one from Chronicles of Darkness).

    It's our first time playing in this system as a group, although a couple of us have some (limited) experiance with Vampire the masquerade from the same system.

    Any tips on what we should know or what to avoid that's beyond what the book says? I'd appreciate any intake from more experianced players.
    Welcome to Mage the Awakening! This is pretty much my favorite RPG.

    First off, really hash out group goals and expected play-style and behavior in session 0. Mage is very much a game that involves a lot of negotiating with the GM, mostly over custom spells. Even using only the corebook spells, magic is POWERFUL. It's supposed to be, but everyone needs to be prepared for it. If you don't want the game to devolve into rocket tag 4D-chess involving endless contingent spells, wars fought entirely at sympathetic range (including from the past or future!), and a general playstyle that feels akin to an AD&D party checking every 5ft square for traps, just reach a general consensus with the table about not doing that.

    For example, a common houserule I use is that players cannot retry casting a failed spell in the same scene unless there's some consequence for it like: trying again with more Reach than last item (risking paradox); voluntarily accepting paradox; the PCs are in immediate danger and the failure already had major consequences; etc. This stops players from attempting to cast powerful spells with low chances of success and no chance of paradox ad nauseum until they stick it. Likewise, my NPC mages don't walk around prebuffed with ongoing spells cast with less than a die pool of 3 (using only the yantras they could access in one round if they needed to instant-cast it).

    Beware of riding in vehicles when you fear foul play from other mages, especially if you can't magically augment or protect them from tampering. Magic has endless ways to make a complex machine moving at speeds lethal to the human body fail in catastrophic manners.

    Ironman your scenarios, if you're the GM, and then do it again. I cannot overstate the way in which Mage's magic system can readily undermine stories meant for people who can't flexibly alter reality on a whim, so write scenarios that will bend with the players instead of breaking. Embrace writing scenarios that are more concerned with whether the PCs should do something as opposed to if they can. The former fits the theme of hubris very well, and the latter is often a foregone conclusion after a certain point. This involves engaging the players such that they're actually concerned about the possible outcomes of their actions - whether it's for moral reasons (what have I done!?), keeping face (I don't think the Consilium/Assembly would care for that...), or other pragmatic concerns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asmotherion View Post
    Personally I had a question about permanent/long duration spells. For example, if my character is under the effect of Kinetic Mastery and is witnesed by non-supernaturals jumping/lifting like an olympic athlete, could that result in a paradox, or is it within the category of "this can be interpreated as normal, although exceptional". Also, do ongoing spells cause a nimbus when active or only at the time of casting?
    Depends on the sleepers knowledge about you. If the feat is within the realm of human possibility, it shouldn't risk disbelief (the degree to which an individual sleeper's perception of what is possible factors in, or doesn't, is up to you). However, if the sleeper knows the individual mage is normally a noodle-armed weakling, that might trigger disbelief.

    The immediate nimbus is only visible to active mage sight when the spell is cast. The signature nimbus will still be visible to focused mage sight while a spell is ongoing, though (and for some time after it's gone too, most likely). Nimbuses are only visible to non-mage sight when deliberately flared or in other highly specific situations. Passive mage sight will pick up on anything supernatural as a general "ping," but the other mage wouldn't know that what they're sensing is specifically an ongoing spell, let alone yours, unless they commit to a more intensive form of mage sight.

    Quote Originally Posted by anthon View Post
    avoid using the fate arcanum. ban it if you can, making only exceptions for when it's a prerequisite for expanding some other sphere/arcanum spell effect.

    i don't think any mechanic will wreck your game faster.
    I have to disagree with this. Erasing one of the arcana is... a huge deal. Nor will it help; EVERY arcana can readily break scenarios in half and do things that would seem like madness in other game lines. Time gets a "replay the scene n times, where n is equal to your mana" button that's potentially available at chargen. Life can max out physical stats. Spirit makes Shadowrun summoners look quaint. Forces is hilariously powerful anywhere that makes use of electricity. Prime makes the mana economy increasingly irrelevant. Space lets you [WHATEVER] from halfway around the world. Mind gives the ability to control other people and a lot more besides. Matter and Death are the ones nothing is immediately coming to mind for, but I'm sure there's something (turn anything into nitroglycerin? minion-mancy with ghosts?).

    Even ONE dot in any arcana, to get Mage Sight and Knowing spells, grants the players information gathering powers that will readily foil or shortcut many traditional mystery or investigation setups.

    Banning major portions of the core rules is slapping duct tape on a hull breach, because it's the broad nature of what magic can do that's the issue with Mage. All Fate does is offer a very obvious route to power (control the real world dice; contingencies when combined with Time for Hung Spell) at little risk of paradox (almost nothing Fate does is particularly obvious to Sleepers).

    OP, if you do ban Fate, also ban Time. Time has some similar abilities to Fate, will create mental knots trying to retcon things when a spell is cast with temporal sympathy, and removes Acanthus as a path instead of leaving it with one arcanum. It's also the gross manifestation of Fate lorewise, so leaving it in while removing Fate makes that bizarre.
    Last edited by RifleAvenger; 2021-01-23 at 01:14 AM.

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    Default Re: World of Darkness: Mage the Awakening 2e tips?

    My suggestions where already mostly made, so let me focus on/reiterate:

    Be really REALLY clear on how you all see the world/intend to paly/where you want the game to go.
    Mage 2e is only inferior to mage the Ascension and Ars magica inr egards to "how many different palystyles of amges can we cram into one setting", and clashing ideas of style, golas, theme, power level etc will kill your game faster than a 1st Edition Ascension palyer throwing a fireball gets paradox.

    Only other thing I ahve is IF you create a group (i strongly advise you to do so) make sure that every amge chooses his niche beforehand, and that the overall Pwoer Level is as close as you can get it.
    This ahs little effect on really long games, but will help at the start. massivley.

    All that remains to be said is: have fun!
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    01010100011011110010000001100010011001010010000001 10111101110010001000000110111001101111011101000010 00000111010001101111001000000110001001100101001011 100010111000101110

    Later: An atom walks into a bar an asks the bartender “Have you seen an electron? I left it in here last night.” The bartender says, “Are you sure?” The atom says, “I’m positive.”

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    Default Re: World of Darkness: Mage the Awakening 2e tips?

    Fate is great for getting away with stuff, I guess anthon doesn't like Longshot or Domino type characters. Just talk with your storyteller about what the ambiguities mean. Actually, that for everything in the game.

    Hubris is a theme of the game, so if you mess up, you're doing it right. :P
    yo

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    Default Re: World of Darkness: Mage the Awakening 2e tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by Asmotherion View Post
    So, some players from my regular group and I are going to play a game of Mage (the one from Chronicles of Darkness).

    It's our first time playing in this system as a group, although a couple of us have some (limited) experiance with Vampire the masquerade from the same system.

    Any tips on what we should know or what to avoid that's beyond what the book says? I'd appreciate any intake from more experianced players.

    Personally I had a question about permanent/long duration spells. For example, if my character is under the effect of Kinetic Mastery and is witnesed by non-supernaturals jumping/lifting like an olympic athlete, could that result in a paradox, or is it within the category of "this can be interpreated as normal, although exceptional". Also, do ongoing spells cause a nimbus when active or only at the time of casting?

    Thanks in advance.
    Nimbuses arise from the casting, not the spell.

    Mages will... break everything. That's the point, in my opinion, in several meanings of the word. You're one of the most powerful people in a given city by existing, so power balance is broken. You break the rules with magic. And as a Mage, you are arrogant beyond belief, because you think you have the right to use magic to get what you want, and that breaks things. If you want to focus on the more personal struggle of Mage, that's where I'd focus. The PCs will make mistakes: show them the natural progression of those mistakes, and (importantly) let them try to fix them and grow from it.

    My personal opinion is that the Paradox penalty for a sleeper watching a spell is them looking at the effect, and their knee jerk reaction being "Impossible!". Not "what are the odds?" and not "no way!", but a sheer instant disbelief in what they're seeing, because that could only be magic, and magic isn't real to them. As such, somebody doing peak-human athletics seems fine to me, with the exception of a situation set up to make that seem impossible to the Sleeper.

    Edit: an important addendum. I can't check my books right now, but iirc, Paradox is checked on casting the spell, and the "gross" or "subtle" nature of the spell is actually secondary to how much you have Reached in CoD Mage 2e. A Reach gets you the spell done at instant instead of ritual speed, a Reach makes it so that it last for the advanced duration table (which starts at a scene-long spell, and goes up) instead of the basic duration table (which starts at a round and goes up). A Sleeper witnessing the spell after the casting (and the Paradox check) changes a dice roll that's already been done: I don't recall anything that stated how that should be handled. My personal opinion is that I'd treat it as a new Paradox event happening that might disrupt the spell, using the difference between the Paradox check as it was and the penalty from the Sleepers.

    Quote Originally Posted by anthon View Post
    avoid using the fate arcanum. ban it if you can, making only exceptions for when it's a prerequisite for expanding some other sphere/arcanum spell effect.

    i don't think any mechanic will wreck your game faster.
    I disagree, but I am very curious as to your reason for the fate arcanum specifically being terrible for a game. It takes a bit to wrap your head around as one of the most abstract of the arcanums, but once you've got a fix on it (my personal way to think of it is to imagine it as manipulating the narrative of the world) it doesn't seem to me to be offensive. Time would be my knee-jerk reaction if I had to pick a single one, to be honest, and I quite enjoy mind-bending time-travel stories.
    Last edited by Eldest; 2021-02-04 at 08:34 AM.
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    Default Re: World of Darkness: Mage the Awakening 2e tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by RifleAvenger View Post
    Matter and Death are the ones nothing is immediately coming to mind for, but I'm sure there's something (turn anything into nitroglycerin? minion-mancy with ghosts?).
    With Matter you can never be restrained or kept out of an area, and the ability to spend Mana instead of a Reach for Advanced Durations is really handy.

    Plus, transmuting air into FOOF is fun!

    Death can do basically everything Spirit can do. The powers ghosts can have can get downright weird, and the Underworld is full of nasties you can call up.
    Last edited by Yuki Akuma; 2021-02-04 at 07:36 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by archaeo View Post
    Man, this is just one of those things you see and realize, "I live in a weird and banal future."

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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: World of Darkness: Mage the Awakening 2e tips?

    I'm not sure if it carried over, but the most fun bad guys were always the Technocracy. They used and abused popular culture to get away with magical stunts that the players would get paradox-stomped for trying. That said, a creative player could easily pull the same tricks...a slippery slope leading directly to the Technocracy's door...after all, only agents of the T use those techniques you must be a spy/agent...
    "There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter."
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    Default Re: World of Darkness: Mage the Awakening 2e tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by aglondier View Post
    I'm not sure if it carried over, but the most fun bad guys were always the Technocracy.
    It did not.

    It's been fifteen years man you could've checked.

    Awakening is older than Ascension was when Awakening came out, come on.
    Last edited by Yuki Akuma; 2021-02-06 at 08:57 AM.
    There's no wrong way to play. - S. John Ross

    Quote Originally Posted by archaeo View Post
    Man, this is just one of those things you see and realize, "I live in a weird and banal future."

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    Default Re: World of Darkness: Mage the Awakening 2e tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki Akuma View Post
    It did not.

    It's been fifteen years man you could've checked.

    Awakening is older than Ascension was when Awakening came out, come on.
    Fairly sure I haven't played since the 90's...
    "There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter."
    ~ Ernest Hemingway

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