Category Archives: Time Travel

No Good Can Come Of This:

OK, where were we again before I was sidetracked by Hobbitses and Apocalypses…?

That’s right! The players had just seen Officer Brewer change into a Werewolf for the very first time. The joke’s on Officer Brewer, since I don’t suppose he’ll be hunting down those “Horrible, Evil Werewolf Monsters” now will he! Ahhhhh irony…

In the process of breaking him out of jail there was a wee bit of chaos outside of the police station. Pedestrians were put in harm’s way, the police tossed some tear gas grenades into a near riot situation, Hunters (capital H) arrived on the scene, one of those Hunters wound up unconscious and in the hands of some crazy new Werewolf players… good times.

And then they came across the possessed nun. The nun was possessed by none other than my very favorite Demon, Sangre Santo! This is a story I’ve told before, so I will be lazy and let you go back and read my original post here: Death is Always an Option (The original post features original artwork from Sangre Santo’s creator!)

After which one of my players decided to make a quick side-trip to the Vatican, but that was after the group’s attempts to capture a Seer of the Throne, which lead to my brain being broken (again).

Keep in mind as you read through the reconciled time line that this particular Seer of the Throne was once married to everyone’s favorite shady lawyer turned Mastigos Mage, Damien. That’s right, that’s his ex-wife they are beating the hell out of without any indication that she has herself done anything wrong. His poor ex-wife who he cheated on multiple times, and who he made completely miserable, has been beaten into a coma because she wanted to talk to them.

Tune in next week to find out how they twisted this poor woman’s mind and made her even more insane than they make me!

Mages Make Me Cry


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

The Principles of Time Travel

The Principles of Time Travel

as I (Sort-of) Understand Them (in Theory)

Before I say anything else: The First Rule of Time Travel is “Don’t.”

The Second Rule of Time Travel is “Don’t Talk About Fight Club,” but I think that was someone’s idea of a joke. Possibly mine. In the future, that is. Anyway, not important.

Seriously though, “Don’t” is a very important rule. Time Travel should never be undergone lightly. If a Moros Mage f@#ks up, the worst that can happen is the zombie apocalypse or the complete and utter destruction of all matter in the universe. In the case of a serious Acanthus fustercluck, the whole of existence—at best—never happened. The problem is if you’ve done enough Time Traveling that someone’s teaching you the rules then you’ve gone and broken the First Rule of Time Travel (and possibly the second) already.

So, you beautiful little rule-breakers, welcome to my domaine.

Most people who have studied (read as: “mucked around in”) the workings of the timestream conclude that there are only two ways the universe could stabilize itself with so many people disobeying the First Rule of Time Travel:

The SPLIT TIMELINE or MULTIVERSE theory suggests whenever someone travels back in time and changes something, two timelines branch off. In one the original event happened unaltered, in the other something completely new happens. Apparently Nintendo subscribes to this theory, much to the chagrin of obsessive Legend of Zelda fans wanting to know how the various games fit in the Zelda continuity. If you are one of those fans, let me try and settle that debate for you once and for all: There isn’t any continuity. None of it ever happened. It’s fictional..

The INEVITABLE FATE or YOU’RE PROBABLY SCREWED theory is best demonstrated by any episode of Disney’s Gargoyles that involved a handy little item called “The Phoenix Gate.” Essentially, If you try to change something you’d find yourself the catalyst for the event you wanted to prevent. For example, you travel back in time to save your childhood friend from being hit by a car. When you see them alive and well and just how you remember them after so many years you shout out in joy—but this shout catches their attention and they step into the street without looking both ways and. . . . you get the idea.

In my opinion, both theories suck. The first creates an overwhelming number of possible universes (and even more debates over said universes), and the second is just damn depressing. I like to believe in a different theory, which I’ll call the BACK THERE theory, after the Twilight Zone episode of the same name. This suggests that “Major Events” are stable, but “Minor Events” can be changed.

Let’s say you decide to get all noble and assassinate a certain crazy German leader from the 1940s. That would be the historical equivalent of rewriting the Harry Potter series so that our eponymous hero croaks in The Chamber of Secrets. Lord only know what horrors you’ll unleash when you unravel that intricate weave of cause and effect. Actually, the Lord doesn’t know. . . but other Time Travelers do. Should you manage to kill Hitler you’ll find yourself a massive target for every (Somewhat) Responsible Time Traveler, and if you’re lucky your work will be undone before you can even begin it. If you’re unlucky, you’ll blink out of existence before you can say “What do you mean my father was never born?”

Saving one Jewish family from the same era doesn’t rewrite as much. It’s similar to the removal of Peeves from the Harry Potter movies. It alters things, but the changes are manageable.

In essence, a Time Traveler is like an editor; The universe is a finicky author. If you want to rewrite things in the author’s beloved manuscript you have to do it with a light touch. Otherwise the author will have a temper tantrum and things will turn out poorly for everyone involved.

All right my little rule-breakers, I’d write more on this but I have to be somewhere yesterday. Good luck on your journey, but if you can slip back and teach yourself the First Rule of Time Travel before you get started that’d probably be for the best.



Mage the Awakening PC Aenaiyah RPG at Ravenblood Games

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