[Mage: the Awakening] Awakening High Actual Play – Why, Hallow There!

Posted: July 4, 2011 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Mage: the Awakening, Roleplaying Games, World of Darkness

After the postponed game last week due to a storm, I’m back to running the Awakening High campaign.  Today’s episode was the second part of a two sessions story arc that revolves around the first test that was given to the various student cabals to complete.  But before we continue, let’s go over the Player Characters:

Cabal Name: Chimera
Members:

  • 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
  • Aniese, Shadow Name: Nyx (Sheimaruen) – A mysterious eurasian Obrimos transfer student who just made it to St. Germain to acquire the skills that she needs to further pursue her rather larcenous career.

After establishing their Cabal, they were given a task: Over the next week, the player characters were supposed to compete with another Cabal in finding and tapping several artificial Hallows set up by the teachers.  The conditions are as follows:

  • There are three Hallows every night, but not necessarily in the same place
  • Once a Hallow is drained into a mana battery, it disappears
  • No lethal methods may be used upon the other team
  • Avoid paradox backlash
  • Don’t let sleepers find out what you’re doing

It was a simple enough task, and each team was given three mana batteries apiece to fill up.  The first team to submit three fully charged mana batteries to the headmaster wins the competition.

The first day was fun and games as both Cabals set off doing what it is that mages do best: Cheating.  It’s not really cheating, but both sides found some neat little effects that helped them to secure one mana battery each, while they dispelled the other Hallows to sabotage the other Cabal’s efforts.  Both teams found out more about the other, and put together a profile of their capabilities in hopes of getting an edge.

The second day however was much more interesting.  The first two Hallows were vicious stalemates as each Cabal went on to try putting the other into a situation where they couldn’t recover.  The first Hallow was dispelled, and the second was in contention when Chimera reached the third Hallow.

They’d managed to force the rival Cabal (the Illuminated) to back off from the engagement as they were outgunned, but the moment that Chimera tapped the Hallow something went terribly, terribly wrong.

Elliot (currently an NPC, as the player couldn’t make it that day) was tasked to tap the Node as he was an Obrimos mage.  He’d only begun the spell when the Hallow itself reared up, shifting into a strange crimson mist that lunged at him.  The spell was vicious, cutting into skin and drawing blood, as Elliot staggered out of the haze, screaming in pain from all the abrasions.

The Hallow spun around, looking for a fresh source of mana, and the players realized that it was some sort of living spell that was hurting people for mana, drawing mana directly from the patterns of those it touches.  The monster pressed on, striking several other targets, dealing severe damage while gaining more mana.  The more mana it drew, the bigger it became, to the point that it was no longer possible to hit the strange “core” that was in the middle of the haze with melee attacks without stepping completely inside it… something that was not an option for many players.

What made it worse was when Alexander tried to commune with the spirit of the thing, it manifested as a thirty foot tall amalgam of divine beings.  To the Catholics and Orthodox, it took the form of an angel, with seven wings and a burning, terrible gaze.  While to Rajah, it took the form of an Asura.  In a thousand tongues it spoke to them: “Repent sinners, and turn from your heresies.  You walk the path of the fallen, the weak and the debased.  Submit to the will of the Exarchs, lest you be destroyed.”

The sight of such a creature was overwhelming, and Rajah panicked, running off in sheer terror, as the others barely stood their ground.

Eventually, the Cabal managed to conceive a plan where they would use an improvised version of monkey in the middle.  The spell turned out to be rather stupid, content to go after the nearest, most powerful source of mana, OR whatever it was that did damage to it.  The teens spread out and began to take turns casting spells at it to draw it’s attention, keeping it corralled and confused, wearing it down until it finally faded away, dispelled from lack of energy.

The teachers arrived to see this, and told the students to take the next day off, while they would drop by to talk to them about their experience.  It was a worrying situation, that something like this could happen in a place so close to them, and that a lethal trap would be set to harm (or kill) young, promising students of the Orders.

—-

Overall, I think this is where Chimera is forced to acknowledge that they would have died if they didn’t have each other.  Also, it begins the classic whodunnit arc, that plays to the strengths of any Mage.  The players are finally into their characters, and I can take this campaign to a variety of directions, as long as I’m careful to make sure that the threats are scaled right, and that the paranoia levels don’t exceed those recommended for a teen campaign such as this.

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