Actual Play – On a Magic Carpet Ride (11/1/2009)

GM: Eric Fattig
Players: Travis, Steve, Cameron, Alec, Chrissy, and Sean
System: Mage, The Awakening

“Well, you don’t know what we can find
Why don’t you come with me little girl
On a magic carpet ride” – Steppenwolf

Mages on the Loose!

We finally met Octavius. He’s a bad person who is amoral enough to not recognize that he’s even bad. His pitch: Join me and we’ll harvest souls for the betterment of ourselves vis a vie Eternal Life.

Our answer was “we’ll get back to you on that.” Read: Hell no. What we did find out however is that Murphy (his flunky) has the book, and he’s using it to move ley lines about such that they will rend a whole in the gauntlet and create a verge (doorway) between the shadow (spirit) realm and the physical realm (our home). Good information but bad news.

So we brought the fight to his house, and a fight we did have. Ironically, we went through a lot of effort to keep him alive, as Vogue is really not sure how she feels about killing people because they kill people.

During the fight Fizban rescued a spirit who was trapped in a device. A spirit that turned out to be something of god like power, known as the Silicon Avatar. Through the process of a long ritual he put the godling on a road back home. Meanwhile, Maverick went about destroying the construct that Murphy had built and when it went boom, so did we.

All the way into twilight. On a train, whose exits were North, South, and Cruise Ship! And the cruise ship was attached to an airplane. Fun times in twilight. Here’s a map as far as I remember it.

Airplane – Cruise Ship – Train – Sailing Ship – Bus – Library. The theme breaks with the Library, and that seems to be the piece we need to figure out. We ran around trying to figure out how to get out of this twilight realm but with little avail. The story ended with our characters trapped in the twilight zone!

What Rocked

I think Murphy is an interesting character. I liked that after defeated he wasn’t all “oh no, I’ve failed my master, now I’m gonna die.” He was all “oh crap, I’m breathing arsenic gas, I’m gonna die”. And when Vogue purged it from him, he was just bewildered.

We had some cool usage of our magical powers. One of the most fun parts of mage is just showing off “cool, look what I can do.” We got a fair bit of that.

I liked that we had a civil discussion with the big bad and it didn’t have to resort to violence. Octavius is never someone we’ll be buddies with, but I’m glad we can talk to him civilly.

What could have improved

Mysteries are hard. Hard on players and hard on GMs. We ran around the train with a lot of square pegs were ramming into every hole to try and find a fit and eventually I started getting frustrated. I’ve got two thoughts on this.

1) Thinking about things helps. Now that I’m not in the game I’ve put a few pieces together. Octavius is a Moros mage, so it makes sense that he would be manipulating ghosts rather than spirits. The fact that we’re on a ghost train must be tied to that. Maybe he can eat ghost souls, or these ghosts were going to cause the chaos he needed to harvest live souls, either way I’m sure it’s connected to him. Also, the Library doesn’t match the theme so I think we should focus our efforts there, it is probably what is keeping everything in place. Ugg. I think I had more insightful ideas in the shower, but they are lost to me now.

2) The WoD mechanics have no system for facilitating mystery resolution. I highly, highly recommend looking at any of the Gumshoe systems (I have Trail of Cthulhu) for their mystery resolution mechanics, they are the best I’ve seen.

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