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Paradox Lost

Who thinks the paradox rules for “Mage The Awakening” really suck?

(No comments from the PC’s please. I wasn’t asking you.)

Take my word for it, they suck. My Co-GM and I can spend countless hours building an impressive array of antagonists to go up against my group of Mages (and his group of Werewolves) in preparation for the big fight at the end of a chapter, and what do my thoughtless, inconsiderate Mages go and do?

I’ll tell you what they do.

They create a gravity well the size the friggin’  building under my antagonists feet (while they, of course, stand just outside the door). This not only makes it impossible for my poor Promethean and friends to move at all (you try moving in 5 times normal gravity), but literally brings the house down on them, crushing them all to death.

We hates the Mages Precious!

My one joy in all of this is the fact that the gravity well spell is horrifically vulgar. I smile happily as I point this out and we begin to calculate the Paradox pool.

Sadly the antagonist, being a Promethean, is in an isolated and unpopulated area – so there are no sleeper witnesses. It’s the first vulgar spell of the scene, so that gives me the Mage’s Base Paradox Pool to work with. At Gnosis 4 this happens to be 2 dice. It isn’t much, but I laugh with evil glee as I select my 2 dice. Mua-haa-h…

“But wait! Not so fast Story Teller! I’m using my arcane tool, and this spell is a rote!  That’s -2 dice.”

And so this horrifically vulgar spell’s Paradox Pool is reduced to a chance die. A CHANCE DIE! What’s up with that? In the highly unlikely event that I manage to roll a success this pain in my butt will simply take 1 Resistant Bashing Damage and laugh it off. Bastard.

Clearly, something must be done… but what?

I have a few ideas:

  1. At the very least absorbing Paradox should be a difficult thing for the character to do. The character must succeed on a RESOLVE + COMPOSURE roll in order to mitigate the Paradox by taking Resistant Bashing Damage. (1 Health Point can be absorbed per success on the roll).
  2. You have absorbed a Paradox – this is some nasty shit. The damage is lethal. (Who’s laughing now?!)
  3. The Paradox is determined by the spell-casting roll. Any 1’s that are rolled as part of that roll contribute to Paradox. The more dice you have to cast the spell, the greater the chance of a Paradox.

Let’s make Paradox the nasty, scary, in your face deterrent it’s supposed to be! Who’s with me?!

Never Mind the Body Posed in the Van… It’s All Good

The Old Posed Body in the Van TrickYou will never receive such a text message from any self-respecting Guardian of the Veil.

You might, however, receive such a text message if you happen to regularly hang out with an Acanthus Mage from the Mysterium.

And if there is a crazy pack of Werewolves in your city.

Let me try to explain:

Way back in the beginning of 2009 someone thought it would be a great idea to run a multi-table campaign set in White Wolfe Publishing’s “World of Darkness”. The idea seemed simple, elegant even… at first. A table of Werewolves and a table of Mages having adventures in the same city in the same timeframe. Every so often their paths may cross. In theory, this was a great idea!

In Theory.

In reality you have a situation that no good can come of. It should have been simple. Some initial sessions for each table from modules to allow the characters to develop a bit, and then you use elements of the character’s backgrounds and current actions to build a campaign story. The Mages were reasonably cooperative with this.

The Werewolves decided to pose a body in the driver’s seat of a van to “call out” the supernatural entity that committed the murder.

They didn’t stop there though. Oh no. That wasn’t nearly obvious enough. They posed this body in the driver’s seat of the van with the keys in the ignition and the headlights on.

The headlights were shining on a tree with the Pack’s territory marker on it.

They left the driver’s door open such that the “you-left-your-key-in-the-ignition-and-your-headlights-on” tone would beep incessantly in the night.

They did this right outside of Central Park, Manhattan.

(And in the interests of complete honesty… at every single place in the module where it mentions something the players might think to do that is smart, they did the opposite. As for every single place in the module where it is pointed out the players could not possibly be dumb enough to embark on a particular course of action… well I’m sure you can see how that went.)

It wasn’t long before the Guardians of the Veil tasked a group of expendable, and well-respected, young Mages to find out what kind of sick, twisted, depraved abomination would do such a thing. The Mage players were not told it was the players at the table in the next room.

In retrospect, hilarity did ensue. (In fact, the looks on their faces at the very moment when they realized the truth is permanently etched into the pleasure centers of my brain.)

My co-GM and I thought, and had hoped to be perfectly honest, that this would lead to fighting between the two groups. It was only the third session of the campaign at this point and Mages are rather squishy when they’re young. In comparison Werewolves are, well they’re F@%#ing Werewolves! We were hoping for some good Player-on-Player violence out of this situation! Maybe even a good character death or two! FTW!

Instead they became BFF’s. #sigh

So now we’re stuck with a table of Crazy Mages and a table of Crazy Werewolves traipsing around New York City together ruining all of our glorious plans.

Why God? WHY??

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