[nMage] Manila By Night – Plot Hooks

Posted: September 5, 2011 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Campaign Design, Mage: the Awakening, Roleplaying Games, World of Darkness

I’m still musing about a Manila By Night campaign, mainly for Hunter, but since Mage is still one of my favorite games, I couldn’t help but think of what would make for good plot hooks for games with Awakened protagonists.  Given that this country is full of various superstitions and urban legends, there’s plenty of stuff to go around with as mortals, and while those are always fun, I’ll try to focus on hooks that would work really well from the point of view of a Mage-Centric campaign.

Maling Akala (False Assumptions)

There’s something to be said about the common perception that having a mistress is considered “macho” here in the Philippines.  So much so that there are some who can’t even afford to feed one family, but go ahead and find another to fool around with anyway.  A male NPC that the player characters are friendly with ends up with a mistress and brings the topic up to the team, bragging about how awesome she is during some downtime get-togethers over copious amounts of beer.  Cellphone pictures are passed around, sordid (and likely exaggerated) stories of her eagerness in bed are shared with equal zeal, along with the requisite begging for them to not tell his wife.

Regardless, the NPC’s mistress seems to be a strange one as the NPC knows nothing more than her name, but that never really bothers him.  When pressed for detail, the NPC will wave it off as unimportant.  Peeking into his mind to figure out his memories reveal that his memories are vivid, but incomplete.  It’s like looking at a montage of highlights, but the spaces between are missing.  Awakened who are adept with Fate or Spirit might also catch a whiff of something amiss.  The NPC’s destiny is warping in an unnatural fashion, something’s jerked his life to a different direction quite forcibly.  There’s also the scent of tampering from the Spirits on him

The hook is set, but the answers can be myriad:

  • A Seer expert in the Mind Arcana has taken an interest in the NPC’s proximity with the player characters and has injected a thought form, a “living” hallucination that burrows deeper and deeper into the NPC’s mind, using the sympathy of being a “Dirty Secret” to burrow deep enough and use him as an unwitting spy.
  • The mistress is an Ananke, a living spell.  In order to continue existing, she has to draw emotional energies from people.  Crafted as a mistress, being one is all she knows how to do.  As a spell, she’s sensitive to the Awakened, and any tampering on their end might encourage her to take either drastic measures or put the NPC at risk to escape.
  • The mistress is a Changeling (or worse, one of the Engkanto) that is using the NPC as a source of glamour or amusement.  This entity isn’t exactly eager to lose a dedicated resource and may decide to take on the Mages when they least expect it using the strange methods available only to those native to Arcadia.

Upping the ante:

If the players don’t investigate the matter and leave it alone, then things can get worse.  The NPC’s marriage shatters, or the NPC starts getting violent.  Perhaps his wife comes to the PC’s for help as he’s been hurting her, or asking her to do strange things or forcing himself on her.  Maybe she fears that he might actually try something to their child.


Maybe after the incident is resolved, the NPC finds himself tormented later on by consequences of his infidelity in the form of a Tiyanak, a result of his union with this mistress.

  1. Hikkikomori says:

    First there was Grunge music in the 80s, then the Emo phenomenon during the 90s, now there is the rampant and constantly expanding number of night shift-related work – is this another of the Vampires machinations in order to protect their Masquerade?

  2. Hikkikomori says:

    Front page of the Manila Bulletin: Wealthy Entrepreneur Found Dead in his Hacienda.
    Stockholders withdraw their investments when his multi-million construction project is put on hold.

    Lower right portion of the first page: New breed of wolf spotted in the provinces. More on Page 8.

  3. Hikkikomori says:

    The Department of Health’s statistics show that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people who has experienced the Philippines-only, heat-induced, berserk-state known as “Amok” this summer.
    Since there is no scientific or medical basis for this condition – could it actually be of supernatural origin?

  4. Hikkikomori says:

    It is said that OFWs are the number one export of the Philippines. With Filipinos flying off to distant & exotic lands and coming back /changed/.

    So it’s not farfetched that the Fae haven’t noticed the quantity, if not quality, of Filipino laborers.

  5. ZilWerks says:

    Disputes of the Spratly islands is not over oil or geo-political concerns. A few islands are the last refuges of pre-sundering creatures and societies. Ley-lines and nodes are being shifted as military forces from China, Malaysa, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines conduct secret wars, test military units, and otherwise destroy the hidden sanctuaries.

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