[Mage: the Awakening Actual Play] Endangered Species Episode 4a & 4b

Posted: April 8, 2012 by pointyman2000 in Actual Play, Articles, Mage: the Awakening, Roleplaying Games, World of Darkness

With the long weekend holiday this week, the group was able to convene for two short sessions this week. Unfortunately the long weekend also resulted in the team only being composed of Masamune (played by Hikkikomori), Amaya (played by Silver Countess) and Reimu (played by Sheimaruen). As such this Actual Play report will basically delve into the plots associated with their characters as opposed to the storyline involving Mikaboshi and Melon Pan.

When we last left off, Amaya had been contacted by Reimu in order to assist in the matter of the “Mu”-Chan board, a sinister message board on the internet that encouraged its users to practice a ritual that would erase them from the world without pain or suffering. Rather than to seek death, it was to unmake oneself, as to never have existed at all. The two, accompanied by Reimu’s friend Jinnai, managed to trace the IP of the Admin account to a dingy internet cafe with a broken computer.

Reimu and Jinnai then cast a combined spell to look into the past of the machine, and Reimu was able to discover that the former Admin of the site is now gone, having fallen victim to the machinations of an ancient acamoth, who learned about the internet from it’s current host, and was able to transfer it’s consciousness to a new host. Rather than the old pendant that once held the Abyssal Spirit, it was able to shift to a virtual form as a website that preyed on the weak-willed and foolish.

Having discovered this, Reimu and Amaya conferred as Jinnai stepped into the washroom to throw up from his first-hand experience at being exposed to the utter wrongness that is the Abyss.

“We can’t just leave it there.” Reimu said.

“That’s a given.” Amaya responded, “But we’re not equipped to handle an Abyssal intrusion. I know you have your own chain of command in the Silver Ladder, but I’m calling this in, the Guardians of the Veil will have to handle this.”

Reimu considered the matter, wondering if her father, Emma-O, would consider such an action to be cowardice and unseemly on her part. No, she realized that getting into more trouble by being harmed by an Abyssal Intruder that she couldn’t handle would come off as an even worse issue.

“Very well, Amaya. Call it in.”

The Guardians of the Veil sent some of their agents to deal with the matter, working with the Free Council to trace and isolate all instances of the website. They managed to secure the server and remove it, and the Acamoth in question now remains guarded under the careful eye of the Guardians.

Meanwhile, Masamune was participating in the first meeting of the advanced courses of the Self-Help Program that was using Astral Constructs. It was in a large restaurant function room, and he was attending using his prior personality, while having his One Mind, Two Thoughts spell up to make sure that he was able to observe while still coming off as completely susceptible to the spells of the group.

He was joined by several others who were also attending, many of which came off as rather aggressive, or assertive, quite possibly due to their earlier exposure to the Astral Constructs who twisted those they came in contact to to react positively to their presence. While that was disconcerting enough, it was when the proctors arrived that the full extent of the spell was apparent. In Masamune’s Mind Senses, each one appeared to be a gaping “hole” an emptiness when it came to their identity and individuality. Instead, each of them were surrounded with an aura resembling the parts of a great machine, each one interfacing with the other.

Turning his attentions again to his classmates, Masamune realized the truth, the spell that was present was eating away at a person’s individuality and ability to make individual choices. The spell was remarkably subtle, even as it scoured layer after layer of a person’s “self” and converted it into Mana for itself. The Self-Help Program was a parasitic entity that subsisted on eroding others of their own free will in order to sustain its own existence.

Masamune tried to see if he could figure out more information on the program by calling for one of the proctors, and asked if he would get a chance to meet the founder.

“Oh, but the founder is very busy,” the Proctor explained, “Even we have only seen him a handful of times, and only during our later sessions or the completion of the course.

Masamune noted how the machines started spinning at his line of questioning, and felt the resonance of a Mind spell being cast by the machine itself, as an illusion of the founder appeared, taking on the stereotypical image of an old, wealthy and successful individual. The illusion apologized, explaining that it had been out on a business trip but happened to be in the area, and so decided to pay a visit to the new students. It stuck around a while to speak with the people there, especially Masamune, as if the machine wanted to assuage Masamune’s concerns.

The thing was adapting and learning.

Masamune knew that at this point, he was already in over his head.

He left the conference, well aware now that it needed to be stopped. There was nothing helpful about this, and its methods prey on humanity. He went on to try and find his mentor, Ebisu, to make his report.

Later that evening, a group of Guardians cast a combined spell in order to restrain the rogue spell, imprisoning it for further study. The spell was of ancient origin, it seemed, and was self-sustaining, and even self-aware, marking it as a particularly dangerous entity that needed to be kept away from humanity.

Amaya returned from helping Reimu to find that she was being called by her brother, Tenjin. Her relationship with her family had been rather strained as of late, as her backstory involved her running away from her family out of spite, as they only began to value her after she’d awakened. Prior to that she was always seen as the unwanted daughter, fit only to be married off for the family’s benefit.

Their initial conversation over the phone immediately degraded into an argument as Amaya took the time to belittle her eldest brother’s attempts to convince her to stop her current line of work and go back to the family. Eventually both siblings simmered down and Tenjin repeated his offer.

“Move in with me here in my apartment so I can at least feel like I’m taking care of you. Dangerous things are happening, Amaya, and I want you to be safe.”

Amaya acknowledged that fact begrudgingly, there was something to safety in numbers, after all and she agreed to move in somewhat to his apartment, but she would still maintain her old home and her job.

“Fine, I’ll move in some of my stuff to your place, but I’m not letting go of my apartment, if anything it’ll be a good place for me to do my job without compromising a place where I can sleep and rest.”

“I’m glad you’re seeing things my way.”

“Just be glad that you’re seeing me at all, Tenjin.”

—–

It was a few weeks later that the team got word that the Tokyo Consilium was calling for a gathering of all of their Cabals to meet regarding a pressing matter. Each of the player characters were invited and brought there by their mentors. It was the largest gathering of Tokyo’s Mages in recent history, and the atmosphere of the event was one of nervous anticipation.

The location for the gathering was in Mikaboshi’s hotel, a Silver Ladder holding, and perhaps a stern reminder of the vigilance that Mages in Tokyo must now exercise to keep themselves safe.

It was there that Kagami, the Heirarch of the Tokyo Consilium presented himself, accompanied by Chiyome, his Provost. Kagami, an elderly man that appeared to be about eighty years old, welcomed the various Cabals, citing that the situation in Tokyo at large, with the two incidents involving the living spell and the Acamoth, are signs of a more difficult future ahead. Kagami revealed then that there has been word from the Kyoto Consilium about the situation in Japan as of late.

Reimu’s own mother, Kanzeon, was called to present the news. As a Councilor in the Kyoto Consilium, Kanzeon informed the gathered cabals that her Consilium will no longer be able to assist in matters of the local Spirit Courts in Tokyo, due to a marked increase in Spirit-related activity in the rural areas of Japan. Reports are coming in of sightings of some of the more difficult spirits, such as Kitsune and Kumo manifesting and preying on humans. As such, Kyoto will have to redirect their efforts towards maintaining the balance in the more undefended territories. Tokyo must therefore fend for itself for the time being.

Kagami thanked her for her information, and moved on to the next item on the agenda. Given the alert status from Kyoto, the Tokyo Consilium will also be placed on alert, which will require that all the Cabals be ready to mobilize at any time should there be a supernatural incident similar to those of the self-help group or the Acamoth website. To this end, all Mages who have not yet been assigned to a cabal will be instructed to form one in the meeting.

Reimu was volunteered by her father to lead the ceremony, as she found herself with a few familiar faces: Amaya, Masamune, Mikaboshi and Melon Pan were all part of the group that didn’t have a Cabal as of yet. Taking charge of the rite, Reimu spoke to the others of the Cabal’s charter, and hammered one out that adhered to the following laws: Sanctuary, Hospitality, Crossing and Nemesis. When her father, Emma-O inquired why she didn’t include the Right of Emeritus, wherein respect must be afforded to those deserving of respect, Reimu explained that in this time of danger, where mage can turn upon mage, the new Cabal must be ready for anything. Emeritus will be observed, but blind adherence to law will be a weakness.

The answer seemed to irk her father, but he said nothing. The group’s status as a cabal was then ratified by Kanzeon, who volunteered to user her mastery over Fate to bind the group’s oaths of fealty to each other (while keeping her daughter’s messed-up Fate a secret from everyone else… especially Emma-O.)

The team conferred in private after the affairs of the Consilium moved on to other matters. Their priorities were to find an adequate location for their Sanctum, as well as the assignments of their roles in the group. As of their last discussion, Reimu would take on the role of the Hearthmaster and Doorwarden, Mikaboshi would be the Cabal’s Farseeker, Melon Pan would be the Edgetender, Amaya was to serve as the Lorekeeper, and Masamune would take on the role of the Cabal’s other Farseeker and ambassador to the other Cabals.

As a temporary base of operations, Amaya volunteered her now vacated apartment building, at least until they can secure their first option: the two story building that used to house the Self-Help Group.

—-

This week’s sessions were admittedly a bit on the administrative / political end of the spectrum, but I felt that it was necessary at this point to introduce the Tokyo Consilium as a whole. Up to this point, most of the games had focused on the idea that the various characters were interfacing directly only with their mentors, which was nice, but tended to give a rather isolated impression. I felt that to fix this, it was important to give a stronger sense of place. The characters were part of a society of mages, and their actions would impact just what people felt about them.

Of course, this means that I’ll also have to start putting up a roster of the various Cabals in the Consilium, that’s something I’ll be working on over the next few days and I’ll be uploading them as supplementary material to this series of Actual Play reports.

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Comments
  1. Hikkikomori says:

    Mostly clean up and consolidation of assets for these sessions.

    As a Player, my main conflict was how I wanted to perform certain actions which aren’t in line with how my character would act. Conflicting Player and Character motivations were my main dilemmas.

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