Friday, March 4, 2011

[RPG] [WOD] Mage, the Awakening + Other Cool stuff

Check this out, yo! I went from somewhere in the high 20's, low 30's to 12! I am pretty sure the new readers came on the heels of my giveaway contest, but I'll take whatever I can get. I'm truly excited to be able to reach folks in so many genres and categories.
On the RPG front, I started reading the nWOD Mage, The Awakening book (again). Last time, I did not get very far into it- I just got a feel for what it was all about and put it aside because it was not for me. It completely baffled me and was nigh incomprehensible beyond the "power corrupts" theme. Well this time, I don't get to say "I don't like it"- I have to learn it. I have to admit, I'm more than a bit intimidated.

Before I really got too far into it, I read the credits pages- the writers, designers, playtesters etc. Folks, this book was totally dreamt up by dudes. There is ONE woman's name in the dizzying array of guys.

I think I finally understand why I don't understand this book- it's completely written in dudespeak. Overall, I do tend to understand the weird dialect used by the three legged mammals, but there are some times when I just do not know what the heck you fellows are saying. This book (to me) is nothing short of a boys-only club handbook, ala Lil' Rascals. Maybe this is why there are so few kick-ass lady mages?

I don't generally fall into the stereotype crap, and I'm not a big fan of leaving ANYTHING to "the boys" simply because it's a "typical" male subject or because it might be easier. I'm far too stubborn, and even when I'm over my head, I keep at something until I have at least a semblance of a clue. [Seriously. I took Algebra three times because 1- my dad made me, and 2- I really DID want to learn it.]

So I refuse to let this book get the best of me. I will figure out a way to understand it and get into the world the White Wolf folks have created. What strikes me as odd about this book that every OTHER WW product I've read makes complete and total sense to me. Even without completely understanding the mythos or fluff, I've grabbed onto all the other White Wolf stuff fairly easily.

Perhaps the difference is the book approaches the topics as if you already know everything about the world, or because there's so much symbolism and synergy- but M:tA is KILLING me. In addition to the massive verbiage, there's all of the mechanics to learn as well.


If you love the game, or have any handy ideas on how to break it down into less confusing chunks, I'd love to hear what you have to say. But in the meantime, I am reading that darn blue book and swearing a lot under my breath.

Be Well,



  1. Maybe this is why there are so few kick-ass lady mages?

    I ran Mage for a group of two ladies and a chap a while back and it seemed to go down well. They both kicked arse, certainly. Would you like me to ask the girls how they wrapped their heads around Mage? Seems more appropriate than me trying to project myself into lady-heads...

    The difference between Mage and the other WoD supernatural games, as far as I can tell, is that Mage is much more intricately connected with its metaplot than with its themes. That may be a result of the predominantly male dev team, or it may not. The point is that Vampire is very much about the experience of being a vampire first, and the history and origins of vampires second. Mage doesn't have that distinction. To be a mage is to be part of the history of mages - even becoming a mage means entering an abstract, symbolic part of that history. As written, Mage doesn't run without its metaplot.

    Book's written in a stupid order, too. It might be worth skipping the backstory in favour of looking at the five flavours - I forget what Mage calls them, but if I say 'clans' and 'covenants' you'll hopefully know what I mean - rather than wading through the Atlantean history/myth bit first.

    Mechanically, bear in mind that almost a third of the book is suggested rote spells, which are by no means required reading. You can probably just get by with reading the section headings when you get into that bit.

  2. Heh, I kind of wondered why there was not one female Mage in the Saturday night WOD game. Maybe this explains it. Seriously though, after paging through most of the WOD books, I also found Mage to be the hardest to get my head around. Like you said Loq, it's like trying to learn calculus instead of basic math.

  3. Sadly I'd have to say I had the same experience moving to the nWOD mage as you describe - I just didn't click with it. Which was odd for me, since the original Mage: The Ascension is one of my favorite RPGs of all time. I still think there's good stuff there, and if I was still in the same country as my copy of the rulebook, I'd send my (three-legged) mammalian brain in to check what I could for you, Lo. Dig a bit more is that best advice I can give, I'm sure Mage will bring forth bounty... But like most of the nWOD, it's probably hidden pretty deep in the dark...

  4. I haven't read any of the New World of Darkness stuff besides poking my nose into a Vampire one and wondering WTF was wrong with the old World of Darkness that they had to change everything so large and alienate an audience with 3 generations of rule and fluff memorized...

    That said, I never really got into Mage.. all that potential for power and not being able to use any of it. You could kill a guy with a fireball, but repair a car and it'll eventually fall apart again? Maybe our ST for it wasn't that great, but if I'm going to spend hours roleplaying, I'd like to play something where I can really participate than just walk around as a big ball of unfulfilled potential.

  5. So, does this mean I'm not getting my book back?
    Seriously though, I got faith you'll figure it out.

  6. DMC: No, I mean 12. Last month, I was about 25th from the top of the list. This month, I am at#12.

    John: Thanks for the encouragement, I am trying to muddle through.

    TR: There was one a while back, but she quit- she moved, but she indicated many times she didn't "get it" either.

    Von: Yes, talking to those ladies might help. Please send along any comments you may hear. I'd appreciate it greatly. Also, I will check the link out.

    DaveG- Actually, that might be the key for me to "get it"- hidden power is something I actually enjoy.

    FD: I actually bought my own.

  7. Just build a character with a 5pt Occult Library and be done ;)

  8. I like almost everything about nWoD, from the setting to the mechanics. The only exception is the settings and groups inWoD - I just miss the mad scientists, mad pagans and mad men in black.

  9. The ladies have returned to me, and both of them suggested that exploring the character archetypes is probably the best way in, especially if you're trying to construct a character as you go along (not so much stats on paper, but more who she is, what's she's about; that's how Gee did it and her character Aurora was frankly one of the best I've ever had the privilege to GM for).

    You'll get an idea of what each type of mage is about, which will give you an idea of what their powers and Watchtowers are about, and you'll get an idea of the major groups in mage society, which are all derived from the Atlantean backstory in some way.

    Basically, start with character creation and work outwards into the deeper mechanics and backstory from there.

  10. Mage is in my experience about limitless possibilities , therefore I think it should attract a very broad audience. But I don't really know, being a guy and all.

    Though generally we use the new rules with the old setting. That have worked wonders for our gaming group.

  11. Hey there!

    Being a predominantly Mage: the Awakening GM, I'd be glad to help you figure the game out.

  12. DaveG: I'm actually not building a character. I'm learning the rules to help in running a game.

    Grumpy Celt: I love the nWOD too. I just can't seem to "get" this particular book. I'm working on it, though.

    Von, Ray: Thanks EVER so much for your help!

  13. About the readability of nWoD Core, no one should feel bad regardless of gender. The book was rushed. It is full of typos, contrary examples and poor description. It is three separate revisions stitched together hastily to make a deadline. And it was so big that a bulk of text had to be thrown into Tome of the Mysteries. It is surprisingly information dense for a game book and it is poorly organized to boot.

    I suggest hitting up the official WoD forums as well as hashing out system details with others. The errata is helpful too, it is a Q&A session between a dev and several players.