[Mage: the Awakening 2e Actual Play] Smoke and Mirrors Part 1b: Open Season

Posted: October 27, 2016 by pointyman2000 in Actual Play, Articles, Mage: the Awakening, Roleplaying Games, World of Darkness
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The team regrouped later on outside of the crime scene, and discussed their options in Prism’s Sanctum.

“What we know is that this ‘mage-killer’ tracked our victim down somehow.” Prism reviewed their notes.

“And that the assailant has some proficiency with Life magic.” Reynard confirmed, “I saw it, nobody can snap a neck that easily unless it was in the movies. He’s pumped with magic.”

“So it could be that he caught our DMV guy snooping around? Are there any locations on the board that match up?” Jane asked as she peered at the board again.

“I’ve got an idea.” Reynard pointed out a trailer park, “My post cognition also showed me that our military man had a trailer. If our DMV guy had been snooping around there for ley lines, then he might have tripped the Military Guy without knowing it.”

“Victim of circumstance.” Jane frowned, “Hell of a way to go.”

“Better him than us.” Reynard shrugged.

Prism decided to case the trailer park and see if he could get a bead on their military man. After five hours of frustrated searching (and a failure on the first investigation roll) she finally found his trailer… and was caught snooping around.

The Military Man packed his trailer quickly and drove off, eyeing her suspiciously as he pulled out of the park.

Reynard sat on the park bench, looking at the vagrant that spoke to him. “Thanks to your investigations, we had the tip we needed.” the man spoke in a familiar tone, sharing a faraway look, “Thank you, Detective. We’ll make sure you’re compensated fairly. Don’t worry, we take care of our business cleanly.”

Prism called for backup, and Reynard and Jane cased out the second trailer park where the Military Man moved to.

“I need to know what he’s got in there.” Prism said, “Don’t worry, I’ll be careful.”

The Mysterium Mage layered several spells carefully on herself. Invisibility, a spell to conceal her magic, and a spell to make her inaudible. Prism felt herself struggle with the imago, feeling it slip and forced herself to contain the screwup. Trying to force reality to your will was very much like wrestling a snake covered in oil. One mistake and you could pay for it dearly.

Soon she was ready, stepping outside, she approached the parked trailer, and disconnected the generator.

After twenty minutes of waiting, the Military Man stepped outside to check on his generator, and Prism slid inside, turning on her Mage Sight to see if there’s anything in there of note.

What she found was a strange metal bell encrusted with jewels… but strangely, no clapper inside. She was supposed to inspect it further when she felt the trailer sway and the door close.

“I know you’re there.” Military Man said, brandishing a hunting shotgun, “You witches think you’re clever. I can’t see you. I can’t hear you… but I can still smell you, little girl.”

Prism kicked something over, goading the Man to fire his shotgun, before she deflected the pellets away, shattering the windows of the Trailer and jumped out, quickly casting a spell to conceal the bell, feeling paradox surging and twisting something inside her head as she did so. Too much magic, too quickly. Prism was dizzy with pain, but she powered through, hearing the sirens of the police coming to respond to the gunshots.

She paused by a tree, catching her breath as she watched the scene, police lights, officers responding… each one with a strange High Speech rune on their person, superimposed somehow. What was the meaning of that?

Jane observed the proceedings with a clinical eye. She wasn’t Jeanne right now, she was someone else, an assassin for the Guardians of the Veil. The response from the police officers on the scene was like clockwork.

Nobody responds within seconds of a reported shooting.

There were other forces at work. And this was high profile enough to get the Consilium’s attention. Time to see how much this Banisher has kicked the hornet’s nest then.


This marks the first session of our run through on Mage the Awakening’s 2nd Edition. I’ve been light on the mechanics on this one, but here’s a breakdown of some of the more interesting parts:

  • Paradox is much more common, akin to Ascension than the 1e of Awakening. This is a good thing, and gives spellcasting more risk than just simply failing. To that end, Prism is now carrying an Abyssal Condition upon failing to absorb all of a 4-success Paradox roll.
  • Reynard is now bestowed with the Connected condition to the Seers of the Throne. He has a bonus to dealing with them, but can be occasionally coerced to doing them a favor now and then, at risk to himself being exposed to the Consilium.
  • Jane Doe is now looking at an opportunity of getting in good with the local Consilium’s Guardians of the Veil faction with the information she’s gleaned. Add the fact that the cabal has managed to secure a strange artifact and suddenly the team has some strong leverage… if they can figure out what it does.

After the game, the players had a chance to give their feedback so far. They enjoyed the new casting system, even if it was a slog to understand the first time around. It felt more deliberate, consistent and fair.

They also realized that the way the new experience system works, it encourages player characters to take more risks and get into more trouble. Failing isn’t a bad thing now, and getting yourself into trouble is the fastest way to get experience. It’s tempered somewhat by the fact that you still want your Mage to live, so that should balance out the temptation to throw yourself headlong into trouble all the time.

Besides, you gain beats upon resolving a condition. You need to get out of the trouble you’re in, or suffer through it first to earn the experience as opposed to just amassing it by being a sociopathic ball of bad juju.

I’m enjoying it so far, and I’m glad I was able to get my feet wet again with this game. Next session, we get to meet the Consilium, and find out just how much this encounter with the Banishers will shake up the status quo.

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