In a game where everyone uses magic, magic becomes the cornerstone of design. This is one of the big areas that makes Mage: the Ascension different from Sorcerer from a Harry Potter RPG.
This playset is meant to create a Fiasco inspired by, or at least paying homage to, the classic story of the Seven Samurai. The players depict Samurai protecting a village from a bandit attack, though they may be little better than thieves themselves. A few more supernatural options have been included towards the ‘6’ roles, though they can easily be avoided if the playgroup decides they want to eschew such influences.
I’ve written before about my love of Mage: the Ascension. I even went and hacked another game system to play it in a way I really enjoyed, and have run it that way multiple times now. I’m not the only one who wanted to bring Mage back with a modern system. Ryan Macklin also wrote up the hack he was playing with. Now we’re joining forces on it.
In Part 1, I started sharing a summary of my 13th Age campaign. In this post, I’ll catch up to current events and tell you a bit more about my players and table dynamics. If you’ve been reading my recent 13th Age posts, you should know that the next chapter is what inspired me to write the 13th Age hack about dealing with PC vs NPC contests.
Our 13th Age campaign is blossoming into one of the most amazing, highly improvised RPG campaigns I’ve ever played. So much so that I consider it one of the high points of my GMing career. I decided it was a good time to share some of its highlights and show you how we made the 13th Age Dragon Empire our own.
I don’t usually do New Year’s resolutions. They feel so much like shoveling ahead everything we hate about ourselves. Much like everyone else’s, my last year has been filled with ups and downs. And like many, when I get introspective about the past, I tend to focus more on what worked less than what worked great. I’d like to break that cycle.
Last week, I was scrambling to prepare for my bimonthly 13th Age game session. We’d just completed the campaign’s first story arc, one I’d run with tight narrative control (That’s fancy jargon for “railroading”). I wanted the next arc to be more episodic in nature and allow players to chose where to the story would go. I am, however, well aware of the chaos and paralysis that can occur on both sides of the proverbial gaming screen if the GM opens up the world and waits for the players to do something. As I was brainstorming to find a good compromise, I stumbled on an idea.
It comes as little surprise to me, then, that when I look back on all the really good DM’s I’ve ever played with, I see a 10d6 fireball made out of people skills. These people manage to complete the cat-herding ritual that is holding a weekly game night. A lot of them work with their players individually to give each one something personal to enjoy in-game. They manage interpersonal conflicts, both in and out of game. They manage the expectations of their players. And they do it while running a game.