[Mage: the Awakening] Well… that was a fun ride.

I just caught word from RPG.net that the Mage: the Awakening Chronicler’s Guide just came out in pdf format.  But while that is awesome news, it was also quickly brought to the attention of the people in RPG.net that it was going to be the last book for Mage: the Awakening. This was evidenced by the following Afterword by Bill Bridges, the original developer behind the line.

Mage Chronicler’s Guide Afterword

And so, once more, we come to the end. A sort of well-deserved sleep after being Awake for a time, perchance to dream anew. As a certain fictional archmaster of Time said, “Nothing ever ends.” This Mage is ending, but your Mage can go on. That’s the wonder of roleplaying games – unfettered imagination to a degree unknown in traditional forms of storytelling. Okay, it sounds silly and pretentious, but roleplaying is a form of will-working. Every participant can change the story, mold what happens, and so shape time. Sure, it’s not too different from what an author does when he sits down to write, but in an rpg, anyone can do it in collaboration with others and on the fly. There’s no time for revisions and second drafts – in the heat of the game, what happens happens. An rpg session is a spontaneous group spell.

While I haven’t personally guided Mage’s line of game books for a while now, I’m damn pleased with the quality and imagination of every book in the line. Every book has made me want to play a new character – even a Seer of the Throne or a Banisher. Mage: the Awakening was launched as a step away from its Ascended predecessor, as a more purposefully occult setting, one that fit better into the murkier and more mysterious World of Darkness of its new siblings. It also aimed to provide a magic system that was less daunting to new players but still retained a wide-open malleability, one that both represented that hoary old trope of the “laws” of magic and the sheer, unbridled creativity of a will-worker. I like to think it succeeded in these goals, these purposes, these teloi. But don’t take my word for it – judging from sales figures, it was quite well received, despite some grumblings about Atlantis.

Ah, Atlantis. I’m pleased that the exegesis on that fabled isle’s legendry throughout history, as presented in Secrets of the Ruined Temple, better established its place in the setting not so much as the literal, historical realm of some New Age crystal gazers, but as a primordial archetype of the Magical City on the Hill, a Supernal idea casting many distorted reflections into the Fallen World. A memory of what was lost. A legend of the Fall.

Excuse me as I get this out of my system: Certain Forces have worked to bring us to this moment, but Mage is Primed to continue in the Minds of its players. While I can’t reveal what Time holds for Mage, I suspect Fate will conspire to revisit the Spaces it chartered. Think of this not as a Death but a new form of Life, in the hands of those who love it most. Its Spirit lives on with its players, and that’s what Matters.

All right, enough with the analogies. I’m supposed to be writing a farewell here, and this is becoming an elegy for something that’s not really going away. The books will still be here, even if in the years to come they’ll be primarily accessible to new players as PDF downloads — digital traces rather than ink on paper. In a sense, Mage is becoming more Supernal. Its truths will continue to emanate from its world of ideas into the games of its players.

I hope you continue to peel back the Veil of the Mysteries.

Stay Awake,
Bill Bridges
August 2009

I suppose this does lend some credence to those that were calling the radio silence of White Wolf to mean the end of the new World of Darkness.  Still, I don’t feel particularly bad, because honestly, Mage: the Awakening was a fantastic line.  Sure it had a rocky start for me, with nearly a year of unlearning Ascension, and re-learning Awakening.

But learn it I did, and I completely loved the game.  Now Mage: the Awakening joins it’s older sibling on my shelf as games that I absolutely have no regrets in buying, and will continue to play in the years to come.

I’d like to take this moment to thank everyone who made Mage: the Awakening possible, the artists and writers of White Wolf, and the forum people that have continued to preach the wonders of this game for these past years.

That said, I’d like to invite those who have tried to figure out Mage but have had difficulties with the concepts to check out my Mage: the Awakening 101 series of articles detailing some of the Mage Cosmology and Concepts.  Who knows, they might help you get a better handle, and give this fantastic game a chance.

22 thoughts on “[Mage: the Awakening] Well… that was a fun ride.

  1. I think it’s kinda cool the way the end is being brought to these games. They go out with a sense of completion and not somehow just cut down in their prime. This end to the World of Darkness is more like leaving a world behind that is now fully mapped and ready to just enjoy itself rather than just destroying it.

    SO what the hell will they do next. I am guessing that in the time between this world of darkness and the next (the next more than likely tying in with the design of the WoD Online) that the EVE table top game will hit the shelves.

    1. Well, according to the folks who’ve read the World of Darkness: Mirrors book a similar message was on their book as well. So that’s the Core line and the Awakening line. I wouldn’t be surprised if the latest books for Vampire and Werewolf might follow.

  2. Actually, here’s White Wolf’s release schedule for the next year. Looks like as of August, it’s Requiem, SAS books, a bit of Scion and Exalted, and one last Hunter book. In August, they’ll be announcing a new PDF line, which rumor has it will include the fabled archmage book for M:tAw, and may continue some of the other lines. My guess is that by a year, year and a half from now, White Wolf will be PDF only, because they know that their fan base will buy PDFs, and because printing books is expensive, and my thoughts are that the economic situation is hitting them.

    1. Hey Charles!

      I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of White Wolf’s books. I hope I didn’t give the impression that they’d stop publishing immediately, and across all lines. The note at the back of the Chronicler’s Guide seemed rather definitive about there no longer being any additional Mage books in physical form (and if you want to get into the game, you can grab them as pdfs.) It’s good to know that they’re restocking the core books though. If anything it’ll at least give those on the fence a chance to grab it in physical form.

      1. It does look like they’re paring down significantly, however. I’m kind of sad that this is happening before I really get a chance to play Awakening…time to get on hunting down all the books I haven’t picked up yet.

  3. I decided to ask since I can’t find it anywhere but just what is Mage: the Awakening a book or a game? and if a book then how is it writen? everyone seems to talk about it like it’s a game but i can’t find it anywhere and i spent a few houers looking.

    1. Hi Trebor9!

      Mage: the Awakening is a Tabletop Roleplaying game whose rules are published in book format, so I guess you could say that it’s both a book and a game.

      If you’re interested, you can find it on Amazon here But you’ll also need the World of Darkness rulebook and some dice to play.

      Like most roleplaying game books, Mage: the Awakening presents a fictional setting, and gives details on how Magic and other central concepts to the game work both in terms of how it looks like, and then later within the context of the rules.

  4. thanks pointyman2000! might try it later. but i think they should make it a PC game if they put some work into giving the player as much freedom as you seem to have it could be one of the best RPG games up to date.

    1. Hey trebor9!

      I’d be totally floored if they could make Mage: the Awakening into a PC game with that much freedom honestly. As far as I know the boys who are behind EVE Online are working on a World of Darkness MMORPG, so PC gamers could eventually get to try playing a Mage soon enough!

      1. I’m looking forward to the WoD MMORPG…with some reservations. I don’t know how they’d manage Mage. Though I might finally be able to find people to explain how W:tF is supposed to appeal…

        1. i agree. im sure they have the skill to do it but it would take a lot of work and imagination to make the game good.

          btw i wouldn’t write Werewolf: The Forsaken as W:tF it can be misinterpreted.

          1. I don’t use my initials because well, they’re ‘B.O.’ but have you read Werewolf: the Foresaken? I think W:tF is entirely appropriate. 😉

          2. I’m with DarkTouch. W:tF is definitely accurate. Plus, what do you suggest that’s better? W:tFo? WoD games are general X:tY and the only reason I use M:tAw is because there was already an M:tA.

  5. never said it was inappropriate just that it can be misinterpreted, and does any one know if thers a website where i can play mage online? all i found was a chat based thing which i don’t even compleatly understand but no acual campaigns.

    1. Most online gaming in the world of darkness is for large-scale groups with no set game-time…and most of those that I’ve seen focus on the Old World of Darkness. I’ve heard of a few groups considering putting together big online nWoD games, but very little has come of them (in fact, mine is one of them, but we’re finishing off a large-scale end of the world game to say goodbye to characters we’ve been playing for many years first, and so nWoD stuff likely won’t get off the ground for another couple of years, yet.)

  6. Just as an update here, even though the thread is really old. Several books have been printed for MtAw since the Chronicler’s Guide came out. It looks like it was intended to be the last, or maybe just the last for Bridges. But the line has certainly continued, and looking at White Wolf’s 2012-2013 release schedule, it looks like a new supplement called ‘The Left-Hand Path’, which seems to be a book about Legacies that Awakened don’t agree with, is in the works.

    Cheers!

    1. Hi Colt!

      Mage: the Awakening certainly has managed to keep churning out new books, which is always good to have for a game that has brought me no end of amusement. I’m definitely looking forward to picking up the Left-Hand Path supplement when it becomes available.

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