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Macbeth

New Mage ST Seeks Advice

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Donor

[Cx-posted to MtA area at official WW forum]

Hello! I can no longer deny it: I am a slobbering Mage: The Awakening fanboy! And to demonstrate my ardor I'm running my very first MtA chronicle in a few weeks.

My troupe and I have enjoyed many years of playing various WoD (old and new) games together, but we are all new to Awakening. I'm starting a new Mage chronicle for them, and the characters are beginning as mortals who will experience their Awakenings during the course of the first scenario. While I think I have a solid handle on the story I want to tell after the characters Awaken, I'm finding myself kind of mentally blocked on creating a fun first scenario. I'd value and appreciate any advice or suggestions my fellow Storytellers and players might have.

Here's the chronicle concept; the players have all this information, and are meeting in a few weeks to create characters:

Chronicle Name: Boston Unveiled (original, huh?)

Setting: Boston, Massachusetts

Premise: A new cabal of novice mages explores hidden, haunted and arcane New England (and possibly goes to a Red Sox game).

Genre: Urban magic, World of Darkness-style.

Themes: Self-disovery and the price of power.

Moods: Mysterious, spooky, sexy and dangerous.

Organizing Conceit: The only story requirement for characters is that they be connected, in some way, to the Sullivans, a large Irish-American family living in Boston. Think of them as a World of Darkness version of the Kennedys, with all that this implies! In our story, the Sullivans have several different branches that are prominent in a variety of fields, including: politics, business, law, entertainment, the police and even organized crime. Characters can be connected to the family in any number of ways: prodigal sons and daughters wasting their trust funds chasing heris and heiresses around Europe, distant cousins who break legs for the family's mob connections, college students enjoying free rides thanks to a family endowment at the university, professional atheletes on a team owned by a family member...black sheep trying to deny their roots by playing in a local rock band, members of the church or local police force, or junior attorneys being groomed to inherit significant financial and political power.

First Scenario: The chronicle begins at the annual Sullivan family reunion in Boston. It's the first event in decades to which all branches of the family have been invited. Normally the less respectable members of the clan are snubbed, but this year everyone will be there to hear what they're told is a very important announcement from the family patriarch, Joseph Sullivan. Things will get stranger after that!

It's this first scenario that's giving me such a hard time. I've considered having some kind of seemingly mundane, but very dramatic, event occur -- like a kidnapping, disappearance, atempted murder, or the like -- that draws in the characters and then leads to a supernatural incident which precedes their Awakenings.

Some posters on the WW forum had a couple of good ideas, such as connecting the charactes to a prophecy about the Prince of 100,000 Leaves, and having the family reunion be the venue where they are recognized for their prophetic roles by various NPCs representing potential allies and enemies. Another was to have members of the family require the characters to bring hard-to-get items to the reunion as a test of their pre-Awakening worthiness. I would appreciate any other suggestsion that may leap to the minds of my fellow Mage afficianados!

Thanks,

~Macbeth

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Curator

Are you starting with new Awakenings? Nothing seems more thematic and interesting than having new mages Awaken either during the family bash or beforehand - apart from anything else, it gives the Sullivans the chance to welcome in some of their latest newly - Awakened members into the fold, in a sort of "coming out" ritual.

Also, roleplaying Awakenings can be interesting, from the initial inklings that something's not quite right with the world, to the mystery play where some guy in a uniform, with weird glowing golden eyes and a badge that looks like golden angels' wings on his peaked cap, wanders up to the PC and asks the character to accept a golden key and "sign here on this clipboard if you will ..." etc.

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Donor

Indeed, Libra, I plan to have each of the five characters experience their individual Awakenings at some point during the first scenario. And the players are really looking forward to that! But the players also really want to roleplay the majority of the scenario as their mortal characters, so that they can develop some familiarity and believability in their interactions with one another. So the first story starts at the reunion, and I need to devise some interesting events that can segue into a full story chapter, at the end of which the characters will all Awaken. The notion of having them Awaken at the reunion is interesting; maybe I'll have them leave the reunion for a while to pursue whatever dramatic stuff I develop, and then return, and that's where they will experience mystery plays or waking dreams.

~Macbeth

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Do you have a hook for bringing them together as a group? If not, perhaps the kidnapping of one of the family (maybe the patriarch himself), in which some branches are suspicious of others. Each PC could belong to a different branch, and been put forward to work with a put-together team of family members to sort this out.

This gives each a potential 'secret mission' for their family branch to get one over on the others, while events start to bond them together as a group.

Another thought: what if there's one family member (hey, it's a big family) that each branch knows by a different name, that's never seen by more than one branch at once, and no one really remembers being there - a Mage who's keeping an eye on the family. If the PCs recognise him as the same guy, then they'll start to wonder what he's up to. What does he know? Can they find him?

I'm a bit tired, so I'll leave it there :)

Xanad.

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I'm in a similar situation myself, the major difference being that my troupe consists overwhelmingly of novice nWOD players.

The way I've tried to tackle it is by relating the game closer to home rather than using the preset city of Boston, in an attempt to engage the players' attention (hell, they're only around 15, and Boston is across the pond). I have a concept involving the presence of a cabal of mentor mages that introduce the characters to the Awakened society in London, before going with a classic disappearance scenario with one of those mages.

Mind you, this is all theory, and I'm drafting character sheets on Monday. Wish me luck!

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