[nMage Japan] Adjusting My GMing Style

Posted: February 20, 2012 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Campaign Design, Mage: the Awakening, Roleplaying Games, World of Darkness

Mage: the Awakening is an entirely different beast from Legend of the Five Rings. As such, it is only natural that I have to force myself to shift my GMing style to fit the more contemporary sensibilities of the modern setting as opposed to the rather rigid social structure of Rokugan. While this doesn’t seem to be that big a deal, there are a lot of little details that will have to shift in the way I run, but the most obvious might occur from the fact that in Mage: the Awakening, the characters aren’t a party.

The L5R game worked out pretty well because all of the characters were technically working for the same team. As members of the Lion Clan, they had a single allegiance that was crucial to the group as a whole, and it benefited the entire team to work in the greater interests of their Clan. In Mage: the Awakening however, they’re free to play whatever they want. This means that their characters could be pretty much anything, resulting in a smaller likelihood of them being able to band together for a common cause.

I believe that this isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. While most Mage games assume that the players will be working as part of the same Cabal, I tend to not really make it a requirement. The result is a game that tends to be more of an anthology of related stories, where protagonists will sometimes meet and help each other out, but they’re rarely ever obligated to do so. In some ways, the player characters are each others contacts and allies, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll help each other out.

Mage is a horror game at heart, and while player characters will undoubtedly be able to pull off all sorts of crazy spells, I’ll try to give them sufficiently strange and dangerous opponents that will make them question just how safe and stable reality is in the World of Darkness. Hopefully, if I do this right, my players will find this game to be at least every bit as fun and memorable as Never a Dull Blade.

  1. Hikkikomori says:

    I have a day job, you know – or in this case, a night job.

    Money doesn’t grow on trees…

    …or do they?

    • Heh, so far all the characters seem to have some source of income or another. That said we’ll have to sit down an discuss character concepts and work on character generation after we wrap up L5R for this season.

  2. mythicast says:

    I was reading about fighting styles and guns. Now that I think about it, I want the character to be a talented archer… An archer who likes to shoot his opponents in the knees. Though that would really suck should an unlikely PVP arise

    My character: Shoots at *insert other guy’s name* in the knees.
    Pointy: It hits!… dude, you have to make a new character now.
    Other guy: Why? that was minor damage at best!
    Pointy: Well, in my game, you used to be an adventurer like him…

    note: wouldn’t make an arrow to the knee joke if I couldn’t make it unique to us. sorry! LOL XD (pointy is going to deduct penatly exp points now)

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