Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Campaigns I'd Like to Run - RPG Blog Carnival (Entry #1)

Mage: Technocracy Risen
The war is over and the Technocratic Union has won. Tradition Mages are counted amongst the Nephandi and Marauders.

Using 2nd edition Mage rules, the players take on roles reflecting the various Technocratic mages. The work for a new organization, code name: New World Order, in the government which caters to the hunting and extermination of rogue paranormal activity. The players can represent any of the groups within the Technocracy. New World Order men in black, Progenitor doctors, Iteration X cyborg, Syndicate analysis, or Void Engineer scientist. Think FBI-type organization, only dealing with reality deviants.

This game works best when the setting specific lexicon from Mage is not used. The Unions would not use the same language as the Traditions. A more clinical and sterile feel should be applied and the language utilized is one of the easiest ways to implement such an effect. Each creature type would have a categorical name similar to the scientific naming convention for animals. Void Engineer equipment would have overly elaborate named equipment – with a steampunk look if that suites your style.

My game would also focus on a science fiction approach, including a heavy dose of red tape and bureaucracy. The look and feel would be closer to Bladerunner or the recent remake of Total Recall, not the bombastic MiB series. Slums are easily reproduced via the look found in Dredd or Repo Men. With the Technocracy in charge, there is a good chance items like Google Glasses are old news. Instead, fully interactive glasses and contacts work similar to the communication devices seen in the Ghost in the Shell TV series.

The Sleepers in the setting are more passive and less likely to cause problems for the Technocracy. At the same time, this means the potential Paradox backlash for Tradition Mages is quite high. Mages casting in public are extremely powerful or extremely suicidal. This results in many cases of Mage activity being related to what were once Tradition Mages that are now Mauraders.

Nephandi are still around and work great as boogie men. I would expand their repertoire to include not only devils and demons, but also Lovecraft inspired creatures and ill beasties like those found in The Book of Unremitting Horror. It's also available in d20format.

For a different style of fun and excitement, a trip to the moons of Saturn to help a Void Engineer with a problem. Imagine the look on the players' faces when they realize their characters are traveling through outer space, not an alternate dimension (or is that vice versa?), in a Tesla vessel. It, of course, looks very much like something out of a Buck Rogers episode. Now, was the problem here due to aliens, Migo, or are the low grade Iteration X cyborgs revolting, again?

Criminal organizations backed by Tradition Mages might be selling magically enhanced drugs that are highly addictive and prone to bending reality. The combination of Dreamspeaker, Verbena, and Euthonatos Mages working together towards a collective end could create a dangerous situation. It also puts the NWO agents in a position where they need to work with local police. Cue up a few corrupt police officers on the take and suddenly the NWO agents are walking into a trap. If the criminals are in the know about what the Tradition Mages really are, they may end up cluing them in to the NWO agents who are snooping around town. If there wasn't a trap set before, there will be now. Instead of gang bangers and made men, the cast are looking down the barrel of a death mage, spirit walker, and witch.

I could add espionage to the setting by letting the cast work with Iteration X or Progenitors. Perhaps a doctor or tool has gone missing. Was it a kidnapping? Are Tradition Mages working to move a bioweapon to Saskatoon? Or maybe it's a plant and the NWO agents need to follow the Tradition Mages thieves back to their lair!

And if that isn't enough, I still have office bureaucracy, vampires, werewolves, fae, wraith, and a metric tonne of Internet support for oWoD.

An alternate take on this setting would include the cast as Tradition Mages or other supernatural creatures struggling to survive in this brave new world. How do they pick up and move on? Where do they go to practice magic? How hard has it become to travel via the Umbra?

This may sound like an investigation heavy game. However, I find the versatility of the Storyteller system allows me to run the game how I see fit. Investigation heavy when I need it, but easy to run precise action sequences filled with gun- and kung-fu. Still, if the players wanted a different rule set (GURPS, Gumshoe, FATE), it is easily accomplished.

I know White Wolf approached this setting concept at one point in time. However, I was not running games in the World of Darkness by then. So, I am completely unfamiliar with those products.

This is my first foray into the RPG Blog Carnival. If you have made it this far, thank you for reading my entry. If you aren't sure what the RPG Blog Carnival is, please check out Lowell's blog, Age of Ravens, for more information.

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