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I wrote this one up a while ago, right before my computer stopped scanning altogether. Now that that problem is finally solved, it seems appropriate to throw it up. After all, Mage: the Awakening is one of my favorite games, up there with Mage: the Ascension, Changeling: the Dreaming, and Exalted.

The Game: Mage: the Awakening
Publisher: White Wolf
Familiarity: High. It sure as hell better be.

Mage: the Awakening is a very straightforward and tight modern occult horror game. You play someone who has awakened to the secret of the Supernal Realms, the higher world whose themes and patterns influence this, Fallen World.

How did the World Fall? Funny story, that. You see, back in the day, a bunch of mages decided it would be nifty to reach the Supernal Realms bodily, rather than just through vision quests. So they built a spiritual tower. Other mages tried to stop them, believing that it was wrong and mistrusting what their fellows would do once they had the power to stick their hands into the workings of reality and mess with things.

Well, the good guys lost. The Celestial Ladder broke, trapping the arrogant mages and the humble ones who chased them up the Ladder on the far side. Now the world is separated from its soul by an Abyss of madness and ruled by the Exarchs, the now-godlike arrogant mages who remain in the Supernal Realms. Fortunately, the other mages became the equally godlike Oracles and created five watchtowers in five of the Supernal Realms. Following the light of those Watchtowers, humans can still awaken to magic.

Mage: the Awakening is about being a person with power in a world full of madness and conspiracies. It’s part Mage: the Ascension, part Changeling: the Dreaming, part The Matrix, and part… well, it’s part a lot of things. I think you get the point.

My Will Be Done )

In retrospect, there is one thing I'd change about this character (well, two actually, only the other was so dumb I fixed it already). The rotes Ephemeral Armor and Second Sight are both a little too easy for him to cast off the top of his head. It isn't worth it for him to have rotes for them, and the points would be better spent elsewhere. The other thing was that I originally had two points in Mind, not Matter, so David could "convince" recalcitrant spirits, but I have since realized that you don't need Mind to mind control spirits, Spirit does it just fine. One of the quirks of Awakening - like Ascension before it - is that humans and other animals are made of multiple Arcana Mind for the mind, Life for the Body, and Death for the soul (for humans), but most other things - spirits, ghosts - are made of only one Arcana. Weird, but there you have it.

And that’s it. Mage: the Awakening. I’m very fond of this character, possibly the most fond of any so far. I’d like to play him one day.
electricpaladin: (Default)
It sure has been a while since I posted one of these. Let’s just say it’s good to be back.

The Game: Desolation
The Publisher: Greymalkin Designs (www.greymalkindesigns.com)
Familiarity: Medium. I read the book cover-to-cover on the way home from GenCon ’08, but I haven’t played with it, yet.

The premise of Desolation is quite simple. Take that most classic of fantasy tropes – the cataclysm that wrecked the world – and give it a little spin. Instead of happening generations ago, the disaster happened eighteen months ago. Every character in the game remembers what the world used to be like and is still mourning it, but they still have lots of work to do.

The game has its flaws. It falls into some of the most damning tropes of fantasy without a backwards glance – rather typical fantasy races, for example, and the conflation of ‘race’ and nationality – but in my mind, the genius of the primary premise carries the game.

Another fun note: the game doesn’t actually tell you what the world is like after the cataclysm – the Night of Fire, as it’s called. The world before the Night of Fire is detailed exhaustively, but the book only presents bare and easy to ignore suggestions of what the world is like now. Golden.

High Fantasy, Brought Low )

And that’s it. I’m ready to play in the world of Desolation, one of the few fantasy games on the market today that isn't a heartbreaker, and one I fondly look forward to playing with!
electricpaladin: (Default)
The Game: Houses of the Blooded
Publisher: Wicked Dead Brewing Company
Familiarity: Low, but growing. I’m probably going to run a one-shot of this one, soon.

Houses of the Blooded is about playing one of the ven, a beautiful and passionate people who existed in the time between the fall of the sorcerer kings and the rise of Atlantis. For a while, they ruled the world. Then, they vanished, setting the stage for the rise of the early human nations.

The Ven are passionate, obsessed with dichotomies. They don’t have crushes, they have Romance. They don’t have enemies, they have Revenge. The ven are everything I want out of a roleplaying game: passionate, interesting people doing really stupid things for the sake of their desires, ideals, and ambitions, getting into trouble… and then having to get out of it. Or dying of it. Houses of the Blooded, after all, is a game about tragedies.

Ambition, Lust, Revenge )

So, what do you all think? This is my first attempt at a Houses of the Blooded character, and while I like to think I got it all right, I know I probably didn’t.

I want to say that making this character was remarkably easy and fun. Something about the Aspects really helps a character jump out and bite. And the random part was a lot more fun than I expected. I may sit around with the charts and a d6 and see what comes out.

*Sigh* I really like this game. If only someone else around me did, too. Even Abby isn’t fond of it.

Up next… I don’t want to use all my new games up right away, so I think I’ll do Mage: the Awakening. Got an idea and everything.
electricpaladin: (Default)
The Game: Promethean: the Created
Publisher: White Wolf
Familiarity: Moderate-high. I’ve read every book released, made a couple of characters for my personal enjoyment, and planned a one-on-one game that never got off the ground. I want to run and play this game only marginally less than I want to breathe, but I’m not sure if it’s ever going to happen.

Promethean: the Created is without a doubt the most beautiful roleplaying game I have ever seen. It’s not the best, it’s not the most flexible, and it’s certainly not the most playable, but it is beautiful.

In Promethean you play a monster made out of a corpse by another monster, a sort of self-perpetuating Frankenstein situation. Your goal is to achieve humanity through a long process of trial and error and alchemical transformation. Promethean is about life: learning to grow, accept, and love. And in the end, your character becomes a human being, loses all his magical powers and special abilities, and gets to embark on the most magical journey of all: being a human being. In a setting dominated by monsters and weirdos (hell, a hobby dominated by monsters and weirdos), Promethean is about the beauty of being a person.

The Sum of His Parts )

So… what next? Any requests?
electricpaladin: (Default)
Fucking temping. I cannot wait until I’m not doing this anymore.

I’m not going to unload the entire story on you all (not that I’m not tempted to), but let’s just say that getting the wrong address, forgetting my cell phone at home (today of all days), and having a rep who refuses to acknowledge the possibility that she screwed up is a lousy combination.


Anyway, I’m going to seek some catharsis by making a character. Today is Werewolf: the Forsaken. Werewolf is good for catharsis.

The Game: Werewolf: the Forsaken
Publisher: White Wolf
Familiarity: Medium. I’ve read the corebook and many of the supplements cover to cover, run a game, and played in a (frankly lackluster) one-shot at GenCon.

So, what is Werewolf: the Forsaken?

Simply put, it’s a game about savagery and spirituality. You play a werewolf, a half-spirit, half-flesh member of an ancestral subculture hiding within modern human society. Your mandate is to police the border between the spirit world and the human world, trying to keep humans from abusing spirits and spirits from abusing humans. Your enemies include powerful spirits with an interest in abusing the human world, humans with an interest in abusing the spirit world, your own kin – werewolves called the Pure who have abandoned their role as spirit cops in favor of trying to remake the world as a primordial paradise – and all sorts of other weirdness.

I think Forsaken compares favorably to Apocalypse. Don’t get me wrong, Apocalypse was a great game, but Forsaken is darker, grittier, and more complex in all the right ways.

We Are Forsaken )

I feel better.
electricpaladin: (Default)
A brief Mark update before the character.

Life has been looking up lately. I made a little money doing an odd job at a local bookstore and made a connection that might result in another afternoon of work from time to time. It's no job, but it's nice not to be broke. I have a few interviews and assorted worthwhile conversations lined up for later this week and next week, and I just found out that the Landmark Education administrative assistant position open, after all, and I think I stand a chance of getting it.

. . .

The Game: Hunter: the Vigil
The Publisher: White Wolf
Familiarity: Low. I haven’t even quite finished reading the thing yet.

Hunter: the Reckoning was one of those games I never liked, except for when I did. It had some fun ideas – being one of those people who really sees the World of Darkness for what it is, and fighting back – but it was hindered and diluted by the abundance of supernatural powers that made the Hunters little different from the monsters and an over reliance on the functional groups structure.

Hunter: the Vigil is everything Hunter: the Reckoning should have been, and more. On one level, it’s just a guide for playing ever so slightly extraordinary humans lighting a torch for the good and crossing swords against evil. On further levels, it can be about how like-minded heroes band together against the darkness, or even get tangled up in conspiracies, secrets, and the machinations of monsters, both human and supernatural.

Man, I like this game already.

A Storytelling Game of Light and Shadows )

Next up, Mage: the Awakening!
electricpaladin: (Default)
The Game: Changeling: the Dreaming
Publisher: White Wolf
Familiarity: Incredible! I have read every book I can get my hands on and I have played in three games, one that ran nine months , one that ran four months, and one that ran a year and a half. I’ve never tried to run it (though I really want to), except for one kind of abortive attempt. This game is one of my favorites and I love it dearly.

In Changeling, you play a fragile faerie soul who has survived the thousands of years since faerie homeland, Arcadia, was cut off from earth by the growing power of human disbelief. Faeries survived by becoming “changelings,” faeries souls that entered into a symbiosis with a human soul so that the resulting being could live in both worlds, at the cost of some measure of amnesia on the part of the faerie side. Fey society was recently thrown into turmoil by the exile to Earth of several houses of fey nobles in 1969. These Sidhe don’t coexist with human souls, they boot them out, meaning they are, in some sense, different creatures altogether.

Changeling is a game about balancing two radically different identities and points of view – the human and the fey – and trying to build a life that works in both worlds. It is a game about mortality: the beauty of childhood, the power of adulthood, and the wisdom and tragedy of old age. It is a game about the fragility and tenacity of wonder in a world that seems to have forgotten it.

The Right to Dream )

And that’s it for Changeling. Next up, one of my new GenCon aquisitions... Hunter: the Vigil!
electricpaladin: (Default)
The Game: Call of Cthulhu
Publisher: Chaosium Inc.
Familiarity: Medium-Low. I played it this one time in high school, but I’ve had access to Abby’s copy for a long time and read it as a Cthulhu Mythos resource and occasionally drawn inspiration from it for other games. Tulzscha, for example, once showed up in a Mage: the Ascension game as one of the outer things worshipped by the K’llashsa Nephandi.

'Nothing I could say could even adumbrate the loathsome, unholy, nonhuman, extra-galactic horror and hatefulness and unutterable evil of that forbidden spawn of black chaos and illimitable night.' – H.P. Lovecraft and Hazel Heald, 'Out of the Eons' )

I’d like to add (as if my character creation project posts aren’t long enough as is…) that I found this character creation process surprisingly fun. I liked how easy it was to create an old and wise character, in contrast to most games, which break down if you don’t build a relatively inexperienced young adult. For a random character generation, I was also surprised how quickly this guy came to life in front of me.

Up next... well, let me be honest. I've just finished unpacking all my gaming books, and some of the alphabetizing changed. So, I think I'm going to drop the alphabetizing and just do whatever I feel like doing. So probably Changeling: the Dreaming next. Then I dunno. I've got an idea for Nobilis that I've been meaning to try.
electricpaladin: (Default)
The Game: Changeling: the Lost
Publisher: White Wolf
Familiarity: Medium. I’ve read the core and every book produced thus far (except Lords of Summer, which we haven’t bought yet) and I’d love to run it one day soon. If only I had more players…

What is Changeling: the Lost? In my mind, it’s a game about being abused. Not just by parental or authority figures, but by life. It’s a game about how the worst thing about being hurt is that the thing that hurts you gets into you, becomes a part of you, changes you.

All changelings are hurt, all of them have a bit of what hurt them inside them, and all of them have been changed.

That’s the long of it. The short of it is that in Changeling, you play a poor goon kidnapped by faeries. They took you away and did horrible things to you (or were just their horrible selves, which probably wasn’t good for you).

I'd like to note that this is one of my favorite games in the New World of Darkness line, surpassed only by Mage and Promethean. Overall, it's a great game, and I can't wait to get a chance to actually play with it.

Where will you go, now that you are Lost? )

And if you don’t think the violin can rock, check out:


Up next? Probably I’ll post that Call of Cthulhu character I made already. Then? Probably back to the schedule with Changeling: the Dreaming followed by Dark Ages: Fae and CthulhuTech, or as I like to call it EvangelionTechRun Plus: The Apocaypse :P.
electricpaladin: (Default)
The Game: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Revised
Publisher: Eden Studios
Familiarity: See above. I’ve run it once and played it a handful of times. Once I did a cameo as a villainous NPC in the final confrontation, once I played an ordinary White Hat in a game that never got off the ground, and once I played an Israeli magician hoping to hijack the Slayer away from the Watchers in a game that crashed and burned hideously.

I like to start these off with a little description about what the game is, to me. So, what is Buffy, as a roleplaying game?

Buffy is about living in a really grim supernatural world and not realizing it, because you’re just a kid. And as the darkness of the world becomes increasingly apparent, as it rips away your innocence, you have to decide how you’re going to live. Will you try to turn your back on the fight and pretend you can forget the secrets you’ve seen in the dark underbelly of the world? Will you continue to fight, knowing that death and worse wait for you every night? Will you go out in a blaze of glory and leave the work to your less fortunate friends?

Think about it. Vampires – the lowest, as it turns out, on the demonic totem pole – are hideously strong, unfairly fast, and universally sadistic (and often quite creative about it), and there are worse things than vampires out there. The best defense the world has is a cabal of Brits, and their best weapon is a teenage girl who they sacrifice over and over again.

But as I said, you’re living in this world, but you’re a teenager. The journey into (or out of) darkness is only beginning.

Girl Power! )

Next up: Call of Cthulhu.

Abby commented that while I’ve made Jewish characters, WASPy characters, and a Catholic character, twenty-somethings and a teenager, and even a disabled character, there are a lot of things I’m missing. She challenged me to write a gay black woman as one of my characters for this project. And an elderly character.

Well… it won’t be the next one. I want to write a 1920s Call of Cthulhu character, and that game is depressing enough without playing a black lesbian in the 1920s. Maybe my Call of Cthulhu character can be older, though. I can’t be sure. Call of Cthulhu is my Anyway, my answer to that challenge will have to wait. Maybe until Changeling
electricpaladin: (Default)
The Game: Angel
Publisher: Eden Studios, Inc.
Familiarity: Medium. I’ve never actually played Angel, exactly, but I’ve played the Buffy roleplaying game about four times, one of them as the "Director." I’ve seen a handful of episodes of the television show.

If you’ve seen Angel, the TV show, you know what the game is about. If you haven’t, let me tell you a little. The game is a dark modern fantasy, urban and gritty, with serious noir influences. There’s a thread of the whacky running through the story, too. There are demons living in alternate dimensions that want to eat you in some creative way, but there are other demons who run karaoke bars. There is power available to mortals that can drive them mad, but there are heroic ensouled vampires who want to be human again so they can go back to their girlfriends.

Fighting the Good Fight )

Up next: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, followed by my first serious classic… Call of Cthulhu!
electricpaladin: (Default)
This character creation marks a first: the first game that can be best described as “little known.”

The Game: Blue Rose, the Roleplaying Game of Romantic Fantasy
Publisher: Green Ronin
Familiarity: Quite high, actually. I ran Abby a solo game in Blue Rose that ran for a month or so before we reached a stopping point.

So… I know what you’re asking yourself. You’re asking yourself: “what the heck is romantic fantasy?”

Let me tell you )

Ultimately, I’m not too fond of this game. I mentioned some of the setting’s failings above, but mostly it’s the system. I hate d20, and True20 doesn’t manage to improve sufficiently on its base material. I don’t play class and level based systems for a reason, and that reason is that they aggravate the shit out of me. I find them incredibly, mind-bendingly counterintuitive and limiting.

Up next is the first game that will spawn more than one character: Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You see, the games share a system and can be used as sourcebooks for each other (and are both filed under “Buffy”) but have distinctly different feels and themes, so they will get one character apiece.
electricpaladin: (Default)
The Game: Ars Magica 5th Edition
Publisher: Atlas Games
Familiarity: Zero. I flipped through it once and thought “oh, it’s kind of like the high mythic age of Mage: the Ascension, only not quite” and that was it. The book was originally Abigail’s. She bought it at Gencon.

That’s part of what’s fun about this whole process, though, isn’t it?

Ave Hermes! )

I would like to say that Ars Magica gets the ‘least user friendly character generation so far’ award. So many points! Tables and charts used during character creation! Arcane rules! It’s like being a member of the Order of Hermes, without the magic powers. I’m pretty sure this character is missing important things, possibly so badly as to be unviable in a real game. Ars Magica is clearly one of those games that takes a lot of learning.

That being said, I would totally play it. I’m not sure I’d run it, mind you (at least not until after I’ve played it), but I’d give it a fair shot.

Up next: Blue Rose


Jul. 13th, 2008 09:04 pm
electricpaladin: (Default)
This game is actually related to one of my childhood tragedies. See, I was one of the lucky few who acquired the spiral bound, plastic-covered first print run ever and God wasn’t it gorgeous Trinity book. It was the star of my (extremely small) collection. And then, on my way to summer camp… it was stolen out of the back of our car along with my backpack and my entire folder of character sheets.

I blamed my dad. But… my parents were anti-roleplaying so they weren’t exactly inclined to buy me a new copy, as I was certain I deserved.

I was Trinityless for years, until I moved in with my beautiful girlfriend, Abigail, who – as luck would have it – already had a copy. One of the least of the many reasons we are clearly perfect for each other.

The Game: Trinity
Publisher: White Wolf
Degree of Familiarity: The highest so far! I was in a Trinity game this one time in high school.

Hope, Sacrifice, Unity )

Incidentally, I’ve found that making characters this way for some reason takes a lot longer than it usually does. I’m a lightning-fast character-making machine… but not when I’m posting them.

Anyway, up next: Ars Magica!
electricpaladin: (Default)
The Game: Aberrant
Publisher: White Wolf
Degree of Familiarity: Low. I’ve made Aberrant characters before, but it was a while ago, and I’ve never actually run or played it. Abby wants me to, though…

Freak! )

EDIT: I swear, I'm not usually even remotely this derivative. I promise. My next character will be completely original ant not in any way resemble anything anyone else has even thought of. It's true.

electricpaladin: (Sons of Ether)
I'm going to make a character for every game I own. It's an rpg.net thing.

Those of you who are gamers may find this amusing. Those of you who are not will probably be bored to tears. I don't care. This is my livejournal. I can post about rutabagas if I want to.

I'm going to do it in alphabetical order, so that it will serve the secondary purpose of boasting about how many games I own.

As an aside, I'm going to follow the format set up by [livejournal.com profile] innocent_man.

The Game: Adventure!
Publisher: White Wolf
Degree of Familiarity: Low. I played around with Jon's copy, and I skimmed it when I first acquired my own, but I've never run it or played it. I vaguely recall making a character for it, but that was a long time ago.

Onward to Adventure! )


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