[Mage: the Awakening Japan] Culture Shock

Posted: March 1, 2012 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Campaign Design, Mage: the Awakening, Roleplaying Games, World of Darkness

The reason why I chose Japan for a setting for my Mage: the Awakening campaign is simple: Japan is STRANGE. There are strange habits, trends, behaviors, ideologies and practices that I find baffling. While some of these are a feature of tradition or art, a whole lot of them also exist as strange trends in the modern world. From the baffling world of Japanese sexual fetishism to the obsessions that seem to form the very core of certain Otaku sensibilities, a lot of things can be downright bizarre to the average observer.

In taking my players away from a setting that they’re more familiar with and transplanting them to a place with an entirely different set of social norms, I’m hoping to capitalize on some of the most fundamental sources of horror: Fear of the Unknown, and Fear of Alienation. Things don’t necessarily work the same way as they do in their daily experiences here in the Philippines, and that puts them on edge as opposed to just taking things completely in stride.

Add the fact that the World of Darkness assumes a setting that is “Like ours, but worse” and then everything starts taking on a macabre dimension. Much like stepping into a carnival hall of mirrors, even things that are familiar are twisted to the point that they are unnerving. In every building, there’s a ghost story and every urban legend holds a terrible truth.

I’ve always believed that Mage is by far one of the most optimistic of the WoD games, and in this setting I’m putting that hypothesis to the test. The Player Character concepts I’ve been receiving are varied and interesting, and I’m looking forward to running a game focused on a given lens of Japanese society as dictated by their concepts.

Definitely looking forward to running a game that will disturb even myself.

  1. Hikkikomori says:

    Time to take apart Tokyo.

    Block by bloody block.

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