In The Beginning:


I had been playing Role Playing Games for more years than I’d like to admit to, and I had at times played antagonist NPCs. It is not nearly the same thing as GMing your first game though.

My first session as a GM was the first session of the Mage campaign, back in May 2009. There were issues from the start. For one thing, the game formed at my friendly local game store Ravenblood Games. Ravenblood is hands down the best place to play games ever, but the challenge was running for a public group. Because this was to be an ongoing campaign people signed up if they were interested in staying in the campaign for the long haul, not as a group of one shots with different players each week. Some of the people I had gamed with before, some I hadn’t. Unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict, some of the people who signed up couldn’t make it to the first session, which gave me a smaller and more manageable group to start with than the one I wound up with. At least there was that!

So, at the start of the session I had two people who would become Mage campaign regulars at my table, and one person who intended to play a Werewolf, and ultimately wound up taking over as GM for that group. Argus, an Obrimos Guardian of the Veil, and Niels, an Obrimos Free Councillor, were my regulars. Macabre, a Moros Free Council Mage, was being played by the future Werewolf GM.

My idea was fairly simple and straightforward. The Consilium has noticed that a Ley Line is being corrupted. They want it investigated, but quite frankly New York City is a big place and they have more urgent matters to deal with. As a result, they have called on a few Mages who have been deemed reasonably trustworthy (and not irreplaceable) to investigate.  The Ley Line lead them to a house that was so nondescript that it could only be deliberately so, and they did some poking around. I had intended that they decide to stand a watch outside of the house, hoping that when they decided to enter it the cabal of Mages using it would be in the midst of their ritual and have all of their protective wards up. It would be a big, flashy battle and ultimately at very least the leader of the cabal would escape by teleporting away.

Naturally, my players decided to break in right away. A little invisibility, and boom I can pick the lock with no one seeing me. Stupid Mages!

I did hit them with a problem once they got inside though. The Mages using the house had bricked over the way to get into the basement. As high powered Mages they didn’t need it. Clearly, this meant that the basement was where all of the action was happening. Now, how do the players get down there? They are new Mages and don’t have fun spells like create portal, teleport, or plasticity just yet. Various ideas were discussed. These ideas included:

  • Creating a workforce of zombified rats from the New York City subway system. After all, we all know that NYC Subway Rats are a special breed, and they should be able to dig through the distance between the nearest subway tunnel and the wall of the basement.

The Guardian of the Veil stepped in and said absolutely not. (Good on you, Argus!)

  • Calling upon the Consilium to see if they can help.

This seems like a good idea on the surface, but the Consilium sent the players here for a reason: they simply don’t have time to deal with something this trivial and that’s why they sent the PCs. They are supposed to find out what’s going on, not call in to ask the Consilium to do that for them.

  • Using the Atlantean Backhoe that the Moros Mage had written on his character sheet under “Merit: Artifact” to tunnel into the basement.

The GM did not approve this artifact, and that player was summarily thwapped upside the head.

Eventually the resident science guy, Niels, decided to use his Mage sight to see if he could detect any existing shortcuts to and from the basement. After all, Mages have all kinds of abilities that tend to support laziness, and so it might be a good idea to have something that triggers a portal into the basement on your second floor so you don’t have to keep bothering to cast the spell. Sure enough he found a full length mirror that did exactly that, and they went downstairs to investigate.

As GM I figured they would take some notes on what they found, maybe pick up an item or two to bring to an Acanthus Mage (the “regular” Acanthus Mage was away that weekend and couldn’t make it to the session) to see what was probably going on down there. That would seem to make sense.

The players decide to camp out down there, invisible (too many Forces Mages dammit!), and wait to see if anyone shows up. So much for my glorious battle!

While they are waiting the Moros Mage decides to zombify the corpses of any rats that might happen to be near by and I have to come up with rules for that on the fly because the average Moros Mage zombifies people, not rats, and I didn’t have any rules for that handy. We figure something out and he gets a bunch of rats, which makes him all happy.

Eventually the Mages who are using the place do wind up portaling into the basement. They portal in because one of them is carrying a young child who is to play a key role in the ritual they are about to perform. First the security guard of the group comes through to make sure everything is clear, but the dimwit carrying the child botches his timing role and comes through too quickly after him. As he is coming through my Guardian of the Veil, who is invisible, blows the head off of the first Mage through the portal.

Having the brains of his cabal mate sprayed all over his face scares the second Mage coming through more than a little, as it might be expected to do, and he winds up dropping the child and heading back through the portal.

It is at this point that the Moros Mage decides to order the zombie rats to go after him through the portal, and then return. Sadly the portal snaps shut as they leap through after the Mage that is running away. Clearly someone on the other side of that portal heard the gunshot, saw the brain-splattered coward leap back, and decided that closing that portal might be a good idea.

The Player Mages try using the rats as an anchor to scry on the location of the antagonist Mages, but this only leads to a severe headache and a confusing image of a rickety building overlapped with a shopping mall.

Upon returning to the ground floor the players discover something near the kitchen door. Just inside of the dog flap is what appears to be an old flyer, being held by a nearly destroyed skeletal rat. The flyer is for a new tourist attraction in Long Branch, New Jersey: “The Haunted Mansion”. It clearly dates back to the 1970’s.

The players have some mysteries on their hands now. Who are these Mages who are powerful enough to portal through Time? And more immediately, what are we going to do with the sleeping little girl they left behind?

Mages Make Me Cry

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Posted on December 9, 2011, in Campaign Summary, Gaming, Mage Awakening, MtAw, RPG, Time Travel, White Wolf, WoD, World of Darkness and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Aenaiyah (The Acanthus)

    Heh. I call the information I’m gleaning from these pre-Aenaiyah posts “Postcognition.”

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