RetCon Relic Romp


I’ve decided that this year I’m going to run 2 games at RetCon: Long Island’s Gaming Convention.  I’ve also decided that this year, one of them will be a “Mage the Awakening” game.

I never tried to convince anyone here that I’m sane. This blog is called ‘A “Mage the Awakening” Game Master’s Descent into Insanity’ after all.

I’m all about truth in advertising like that.

Anyway, so I’ve decided to up the ante by running two games this year. One will be the highly successful session I ran at last year’s convention called “Asylum”. I named it that before I realized that White Wolf published a supplement with the same name.  I have since considered re-branding it “Truly Terrifying Tales: The Asylum” to distinguish it from said “World of Darkness” supplement, but it’s already on the schedule and I’ve been a bit lazy about changing it, I admit. Of course, this entire paragraph is really just one more way to avoid thinking about the inevitable… that being the fact that I now have to write up a one-shot “Mage the Awakening” session.

I know what you’re thinking.  “You run a regular Mage campaign, how hard could writing a one-shot be?” Silly you. That’s what I thought when I agreed to do this. Those were in fact the very words that flitted through my brain. (Are you sure you aren’t a Mastigos?)

The fact of the matter is that they are two very different animals.

In the campaign I have all the time I want to allow events unfold as they will. If my characters feel like making a stop at their favorite bar, The Hole in the Wall, then I have to do that much less planning for the next session. Win for me! I also get a bunch of new ammunition to use against them in the future. It’s Bi-Winning. I can always pick up the main storyline next session, or the session after that, or whenever the PC’s finally do make a successful sobriety roll. (RESOLVE+STAMINA)

At RetCon I won’t be able to do that. I’ll have one chance to tell the story. That’s it. There is no “next session” here. The pressure is on! I need to have enough material to fill the four hour slot, but not so much that they don’t make it to the payoff. This is a tricky thing with Mages. You just never know when they are going to whip some annoying spell (Postcognition I’m looking at you!) out of the book and completely circumvent the very cool meeting of the Mastigos Minds you had been planning on. It’s all terribly unfair.

Of course, there are also those times when you have the best, most awful, most wonderful thing that can’t be unseen all ready because you just know they’re gonna look at you all smug and say “well I cast Postcognition and see what actually happened”, and they just don’t bother to do it! Royal pains in my arse these Mages be!

And so I’ve decided to run what I like to call a Relic Romp. At the end of the romp is some rare antiquity which the local Concilium has assigned the PC’s to be the acquirers of. Between my hapless players and the Thaumium MacGuffin will be a series of challenges. In theory these challenges will test various attributes to determine whether or not the PC’s are worthy of obtaining the Thaumium MacGuffin. In reality, well I guess I’ll just have to wait until July to see how they do. In any case, the structure of a series of challenges will allow me the flexibility to fit the session to the time slot on the fly. If I have veteran Mage players at the table I’ll have a bit more time for throwing things at them. People who are new to Mage will need a little more time to find the spells they want to cast and I’ll be free to leave out a challenge or two if necessary to allow the end game to happen at a natural pace.

Unless of course they get stumped at the front door.*

Why not stop by to see how it goes for yourself! RetCon: Long Island’s Gaming Convention is in July this year, and Pre-Registration discounts are in effect until June 1st. You know you want to come!

*The Elven word for friend is Mellon.
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Posted on May 27, 2011, in Gaming, Mage Awakening, MtAw, RPG, White Wolf, WoD, World of Darkness and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. The front door is unlikely to stop a determined Obrimos or Moros. The Acanthus will shrug and say “Oh well. Better luck next time–” then step on the special trigger to open the door as they’re walking away.

  2. Timing games for a con is a bitch. I definitely prefer running an ongoing campaign for the reasons you stated.

    I had a Werewolf the Forsaken one-shot planned that should have confounded their investigative and tracking abilities until the real issue snowballed into a substantial challenge — only the players came up with a long shot idea and exceptional enough dice rolls to find and follow a trail far too soon for things to develop into the challenge I had hoped. Fortunately, crazy player antics were enough to ensure a good time anyway.

    Pacing a one-shot is, arguably, the toughest GM skill to develop because so much of it is dependent on crazy players.

  3. Seriously! Crazy players are a royal pain in my butt. We seem to have no shortage of them in the LIRP.

    Not that I am a crazy player of course. Not at all. I would NEVER cause my one-shot GM to throw her module at the nearest wall and break down into tears behind the screen. Never!

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