[nMage] Awakening High – Episode Zero

Posted: May 9, 2011 by pointyman2000 in Actual Play, Articles, Mage: the Awakening, Roleplaying Games, World of Darkness

Last weekend I decided to see if I still remembered how to run Mage: the Awakening, and decided to run a quick two scene test run for the Awakening High.  My current players, Mappy, Hikkikomori and Silver Countess were quite cooperative with this, and brought out their characters:

  • Marie Isabella Elizabeth Victoria King, Shadow Name: Belladonna (Silver Countess) – A rebellious delinquent Thyrsus “Witch” with Goth fashion leanings
  • Alexander Espada, Shadow Name: Visa (Hikkikomori) – A terribly spoiled multi-millionaire Mastigos student
  • Patrick Guthrapali, Shadow Name: Rajah (Mappy) – A tough Obrimos kid from a tough neighborhood that recently got moved into St. Germain upon Awakening

Sadly, Sheimaruen couldn’t join us for this dry run, but his own character, a prodigy with a blade and sometimes gentlewoman thief is also slated to join the game.

The game began with Rajah and Visa being roused from their sleep by the sound of a clattering of metal against concrete and an eerie hollow-sounding whinny from outside their boarding house.  Belladona on the other hand, was busy smoking near the bike shed when she saw the copper statue of a WWI era British Cavalry Scout that decorated the front of their boarding house charge past her and outside the gate.

The three met up in front of the base of the statue where they found one of their fellow students, Anarchy looking rather sheepish.  After a quick interrogation the three found out that Anarchy had decided to try out a few spells he’d pilfered from the library, this particular one being a spell that went quite awry with Paradox going out of control and bringing the said statue to life.

Now absolutely convinced that they were certainly going to get it if the teachers found out that the statue had decided to gallop off into the streets among the Sleepers, the group hastily came up with a plan.  Visa took out his cellphone and cast Lesser Spirit Summon, homing in to that particular spirit to make contact and urge it to come back… on orders from the commanding officer (with a well done Manipulation+Expression roll).

The cavalry statue came back, dismounting from his steed and taking off his hat in respect even as the kids tried to come up with some semblance of authority.  Thankfully, Visa’s Mind Arcana was able to instill an aura of command upon himself, fast talking the statue to take on the pose that it had before it was animated, as part of an effort to make WWI propaganda, of which the cavalry officer was especially chosen to be the model for.

The team made good on their task, before casting a combined spell to put the spirit back to slumber, reducing the statue back to its inanimate and non-sentient form, albeit with a few tweaks here and there.  With the task done, the team went off to get some real sleep.

The next day saw them called to meet with the head of the Office of Student Discipline, the cold and unsmiling Ms. Alice Finnegan, also known by the Awakened students by her Shadow Name: The Red Queen.  As a result, Anarchy was given three hours of detention for letting such an event almost get out of hand, while Belladona was given an hour for smoking.  The students (except for Anarchy) were then requested to report to another teacher to assist them in the act of forming their Cabal.

The teacher in question Mr. Roland Graves (aka Hekatonkhieres) was there to meet them and guide them to the steps, the first of course, was to think of a Cabal name…

The session was fairly short, with a few rolls in between.  There was a lot of character interplay in this short session as the players were pretty gung-ho about portraying teens with their sense of bravado and a little bit of mischief running about.  The group had a lot of laughs, and the face Hikkikomori gave me when I decided to up the ante by having the spirit dismount and take off his hat (making it much, much more difficult to get him to how he was when they began) was priceless.

Overall, a good start, and perhaps if I pay enough attention I can make sure that I don’t end up making this game far too serious as this is supposed to be a lighthearted campaign for a change of pace.

  1. Can’t wait to play this game. 🙂 Been looking forward for some lighthearted stuff.

  2. Sounds like a great start. I really liked the whole scene with the animated statue, thta sounds wonderful.

    • Hey there!

      Yeah, I was looking for a good Call To Action to start the one-shot off since I didn’t want to spend too much time with the warm up. In Medias Res seems like a good option to start with, and the idea of “Quick, let’s fix it before the adults find out!” seems like a strong, visceral hook that is near and dear to anyone’s childhood experience.

      • Hikkikomori says:

        “Hooks that matter to children” is the main problem you have to deal with as a GM.
        Because as a child, its relatively easy to just leave the clean up to the adults.

        So hooks that damage reputation, trust of peers (perceived or otherwise), and friendship are the best angles to attack this boat.

  3. Von says:

    I think you may have found a way to run the World of Darkness for laughs – or at least for laughs with the occasional hidden sting – that doesn’t undermine the whole business.

    The whole ‘Awakening High’ thing makes me think of ‘Ten Things I Hate About You’ and wonder if it wouldn’t be possible to similarly embed some sort of archetypal magicians’ stories: Merlin and Vivaine/Nimue/Whoever or Faustus. That might be the part of me that wants to write novels instead of running RPGs talking there, though; it certainly seems like an invitation to railroad.

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