Virtual Adept

Mage, Session Three

So this session would include the first prophetic reveal, that is what was prophesied will come to pass. Being that I personally constructed the first prophecy this is the only thing I really intended to happen. In the future I reserve the right to create similar prophecies of my own. That said lets get on with what happened during the session.
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Virtual Adept

Mage, looking ahead to session two

So this Sat is my next Mage session, we'll be getting our first non prompted prophecy from my Tarot deck so I'm actually quite excited to see this in action. I want to draw the cards starting the beginning of the session which would give me time to interpret the prophecy and then reinterpret it into something that Chelle's character would see.
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Eberron, The Expedition Begins

As I mentioned last time, the game started with all the players at a party. This party was essentially a send off thrown by the Library of Korranberg, Morgrave University, with the support of The Wayfinder foundation, and funding in large part by one Lord Avlamin. The players made up the majority of the expedition, to be led by one Professor Irieaga Littleknight. This was the backdrop that I used for their character generation and to introduce to the players the game that I was wanting to run. It was during this party that I was able to approach Cass and Eric's characters concerning the setups I mentioned previously.
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Elder Sign

Mage, session one

We just finished up our first session of the Mage game for which I had my tarot card concept. I have to say I'm not feeling the excitement that I started with in my Eberron game, and I have to remind myself that this Mage game was much less initially defined, much more open, and given my format for moving the plot along will take a few sessions before it really starts getting under way.
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The journey


When I started my Eberron game, my thought was to really emphasize the pulp fiction elements of the Eberron setting. To that end I told my players to think Indiana Jones while coming up with character concepts. My idea was to have them go to a dig site and dig up a journal that could be used to find some important trinket and then we could have a number of factions competing to get the treasure. It was a general idea that I knew I needed to solidify but was confidant that I could do so. It needed to be something powerful, but I wanted it to be something that the players didn't want for themselves as much as they didn't want it in others hands. So a cursed item of some sort that could be used to really screw the world up.

I also didn't want my other factions to be predictable, I wasn't sure how all it would work out, but I didn't want my players predicting what their opponents would do simply by knowing me well enough. So one thing I did early on was to approach other people separately to ask for their help, and essentially made them Lords of Dust (secret society of powerful beings, think the Illuminati, only factional and made up of Rakshasa's). I had approached Paul and Sean, 'cause they were both regular GMs who I could use to learn from as well as having a lot of experience in dealing with Player's. I figured at the very least it might give them a chance to be sneaky and underhanded with what they knew the players would be doing, because hopefully people would talk about what was going on in my game which might mimic the rumors that agents would learn otherwise in game.

It was actually pretty fun watching that work out, one friday night over at Seans for his game Eric was talking about what was going on in my Eberron game, and it involved things that Sean's particular faction had done. So Sean and I were sharing those devious knowing grins when we thought no one else was looking. It made for a lot of fun.

Now Paul, he was trying to get his own game going at the same time. The idea was to have two games running each Sat. The purpose being that his Sat. game had gotten quite large and he was tired of handling a lot of players all at the same time. Having two games would allow everyone to still play and would split the groups up into more manageable slices. Paul was the other GM, and that put a lot on his plate with me asking for a background player. Unfortunately nothing really took off with what he had suggested, and it wasn't all his fault. The player who I selected as his contact also failed to really take advantage of this mysterious benefactor. So, /shrug, thats how things go.

That said, the way I worked things out was that I had a couple of my players approached by npc's within game who offered them money if they were to operate within the dig team on the npc's behalf. Eric was approached by a shop keep who his character often visited while in Sharn, while Cass was approached by a shadowy figure during the initial party. What I told Paul and Sean was that they were aware that this dig site potentially contained a particular journal that would lead them to an item their faction would want. From there I let everyone decide what they wanted to do and how they wanted to go about it.

Both Sean and Paul wanted to initially confirm the location of the dig site, a logical request, so the information they requested from their contacts was information about the dig site. Both Cass and Eric felt they could copy maps and locations and as such wouldn't be stealing anything.

Now I wanted a lot to be going on, so I invested a third faction that I could use, but who's primary purpose was not the dig. Tys's character was from Karrnath, a Russian-esque country that was ruled by a Vampire and used necromantic magic to fill out its military ranks. The Emerald Claw used to be sort of the secret police of this country until the ruler officially banned them, but they didn't fully disband. They exist now in game as a sort of unpredictable fanatical cult. I had Tys's character receive a letter postmarked from his own home. In this letter I basically blackmailed him to report regularly on the whereabouts and goings on of the Professor who would be leading the dig. As character concept Tys created a Teachers Aid to the professor, and that was his connection. It was then through Tys that the others would be hired.

That was the one thing I had requested of the players, was to assume that they had worked together during the wars. I wanted them to consider themselves part of a unit, and as such I wanted them to trust each other. The idea was that since the wars ended, they had all gone on to try and make a life for themselves, and this dig represented an opportunity for them to work together like they used to.

So that's how I started things out. I had six players, each with their own characters, and two additional background players who would work against my players and had less defined characters. Given my two background players and the emerald claw, I had three factions who each had ties to the players and would hopefully make things interesting. That left three players who had not yet been otherwise corrupted; one a ninja/assassin, who I could easily approach through his trainers if I wanted to later; one a warforged, who I could approach later with interest from the Lord of Blades; and the last I figured I could come up with something later if I needed. In fact come to think of it, I think I did approach the warforged early on, but just as a test of footing to see if he had any interest in working with the Lord of Blades. The warforged turned me down, so that was out.

Given that preparation, it was time to toss the dice and see what happened. Which I will return to later, at the moment I have things I need to do.
Elder Sign

yea, its been a while

Moved at the beginning of February. Moved in with Cass, Marcus, and Joey. Between the four of us we were able to afford renting a house. Its a nice little place, though compared to where I was living with Tys and Chelle it almost feels like a mansion. We've got a courtyard in front, and a porch in back. The back yard opens into a creek that runs by, which offers a soothing sound that I don't think I've heard in years. We're far enough away from the highway that I can hear the creek so its very quite too. It even has floor element heating, there's coils that cross underneath the floor to heat the place, so it heats evenly and keeps our feet warm! I'm very impressed by this. We have a proper kitchen, though its no larger than my parents kitchen, so we're limited to how many people can stand in there. I guess my only problem is my room, it wasn't built to be a bedroom. The one wall is not a wall, its got a fancy mesh design that doesn't really offer any privacy at all. I can hear everything that goes on outside my room, and I'm sure anyone could hear what happens in my room. The saving graces being that since I'm single and all four of us go to bed early 'cause we all generally get up early.

I'm very pleased with the new place, and the others are all gamers, so they've brought with them their computers and consoles. I have access to rock band now whenever I want to play! Well assuming no one else is using the TV, or the console. We've been hosting a bi weekly Arkham asylum game, every other Sat. And my Eberron game played out its last few sessions at our place.

Speaking of Eberron, the game ended on a good note. I'd made no secret that I was looking to wind it down. It would have lasted 2 years if it made it to July. The game had run about as far as I had conceived of it running, so its not like I got tired of it or anything, just that that was the story I wanted to tell. In fact where I ended it leaves it open perfectly for a sequel game, something I want to sit down and work out at some point. I want to do a write up for the Eberron game, just an overlay to sum it up and present what I had done and how I did it. From the sound of it my players enjoyed the game, and were mostly satisfied with the way I ended it. I am a little disappointed that I wasn't able to give them a good last battle, but that's just how things worked out.

This has also opened up my time, which I am using to go forward with my Mage concept. Paul and Maynard expressed enthusiasm to play, Tys was willing to play, and Cass had expressed interest so I invited her as well. That gave me 4 players, which I felt made for a good group while remaining small enough to keep the game more intimate, which is what I'd like. Tomorrow we'll be building characters and we can talk about what we'd like to get out of the game. Paul and Maynard had done something similar with the Iron Claw game that we are now playing, and I liked how they handled that. They and I know that the game will run as dictated by the Tarot cards that are drawn, which might prove interesting or might prove boring. So what I'm thinking is that if we can build sort of a structure for the player characters to work out of, what the cards dictate happens can be something for them to interact with. I don't know, we'll see. Paul and Maynard have the most experience with Mage, and with GMing in general, so I'll be leaning on them a lot. I'm relying a lot on my ability to interpret random rolls to make this happen, which I think I'm pretty good at, we'll see.

As usual I want to keep up with my mage game here on LJ, but I haven't been keeping up with things as well as I'd like for some time now. One thought running through my head is to live-blog, work on an entry during the session as it goes and post it at the end. But that might become distracting, so I'm not sure its a good idea. Maynard has been working on recording our sessions for the Sunday Iron Claw game, which I'd love to do but I just don't have the equipment for. (I'm dreaming of a new laptop) Speaking of Maynards recordings, if he ever does put them up online for the general public I'll definitely try to mention it either here on on my Facebook page. I don't know how interested others will be in listening, but I like the idea of our game being podcast. I definitely want to keep up with what cards are drawn each session to give me a record I can look over, and I figure while I'm at it I can do a write up for what happened that session and the like. I don't know, we'll see how it works out. If not during play, maybe at the end of play? I want to make it something I just do as a part of the game, rather than waiting to write it up the next day or during the week. We'll see.

So those are my thoughts at the moment, if I'm really good I'll start in on the Eberron write up here in a bit.

Game idea cont.

This last weekend Chelle took me out to get Tarot cards, and I found a neat little deck called the Elemental Tarot. Nice artwork, a lot of symbols which I just love, and its got a modern/fantasy feel to it that I think will allow it to fit in well in any game I decide to use it for.

I'm a hands on learner, so this has really helped me to get a feel for what I'll be working with given the game idea I'd had. I've never actually had a tarot deck before, nor even received a tarot reading, so I don't really know a whole lot about it. One of the first things I've come to realize is that the tarot deck is meant to do a reading for either the person dealing the cards, or the person the reading is done for. I don't yet see that the deck is meant to be used to identify a 3rd party and tell about them. Now I may be wrong, all I have is the generally available notes that are found on the internet and in the instruction book that accompanies my deck.

So until I find any such method, my first problem in using the deck to tell the story of the game is to find a way to use the cards to identify specific NPC's or organizations within my story world. After identifying them, I have to use the cards to be able to tell me what they are going to do. So I have to create my own "spread" based upon the cards my players pick, and I have to create the meanings.
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Elder Sign

I'm still here, and a game idea

So its been a while since I've wrote anything here. My posts were getting more political and more religious which I felt didn't belong *here* and was never what I intended this journal to be. That said I kept writing on such topics, I just did it elsewhere. My attention being on those subjects, I haven't had a lot to say otherwise. Life, as usual, is life.

In August I celebrated my birthday by taking some friends out to Flemmings steakhouse, which was incredible!

I've still been running my Eberron campaign, though I haven't even updated it on Obsidian portal for the last four sessions or so. I think as of this last session my players have finally grasped what I had intended for the game, they are starting to be proactive instead of reactive.

So just some quick catching up on my life, which is what this journal was intended to do. That said I had an idea for a game last night that I wanted to write down and give people a chance to see and comment on. I still have my Eberron game going, so this is not something I will pick up anytime soon, but if I don't write it down I'll forget about it. But I would also like some feedback, if people like this idea I'd be more interested in pursuing actually running it, otherwise it'll just be an idea.

Mage: The Ascension is a game I really like to think about. The way it handles magic and reality is a great exercise in thought and possibility. Having come to understand each of the different Traditions as having wholly different worldviews has opened up to me a better grasp of how the game is supposed to work. So it has given me an itch to play it. As always though, the curse of the GM is that if you want to play a particular game, you have to run it.

So I've been thinking somewhat about how I might like to run a Mage game, a little bit here and there only as I have a lot of other things to think about. Last night I had an apostrophe, lightning struck my brain. What if, at the beginning of each session I were to shuffle a tarot deck, and then were to pass out cards to each of my players? What if I were to use the cards they selected to build the events that would then happen? I would start out with my own translations of the cards, and this would give the players a chance to read the cards for themselves and attempt to decode my understandings. In this way they would be able to see into the future in a matter of speaking. I'm pretty good at translating die rolls as to what it means happened within the game (or at least I think I am). Translating randomly selected cards wouldn't be too much different.

So I thought as a structure, perhaps each player gets two cards, one face up, the other face down. I can translate off the face up card, and they can keep the face down card for their own use. By leaving that open I can see what they do with the card and perhaps fit it into how my game story works. The game itself would be less about presenting a problem and letting the characters react to said problem, and would be more about everyone building the story together. Die rolls would not be a big thing, combat would most likely be generically handled, a lot of it would come down to seeing how everyone interprets the cards as they have been presented.

Now I am by no means a reader of tarot cards, I don't even have a deck and would certainly need to get one. But I thought it was an interesting idea, and I wanted to toss that out there to see if anyone else finds it interesting as well. I'd want a small group, if I'm handing out a lot of random cards each game that means I have a lot of things about which to interpret, and the more people the slower the game goes. Four people would probably be best, and that would mean I'd have six cards to interpret every game (one for each player that is face up, and two for me). It sounds interesting, at least to me. I could easily see this as a frustrating style of play for some, so I won't be disappointed if noone responds. But if anyone else finds this interesting, let me know, we could at least discuss it over emails or something and maybe come up with a more solid concept of what I have in mind.