In this episode, Shaun, Aaron, and I try to explain the mindfuck that is Mage the Ascension to poor Faust. Avatars? Spheres? Traditions? Not to mention the dreaded GILGUL. It’s all Greek to Faust and even we’re hazy on the details. Prepare your tass, it’s time to fight the Technocracy!
Music: Catacombs by Chinese Hackers
This episode of WoD The Heck helped me purge years of gaming frustrations, let me tell you. I started playing Mage: The Ascension in 1998 with my high school friends, and we pretty much played that and other classic World of Darkness games exclusively until I started listening to RPPR in 2009. I bought 6th Edition Call of Cthulhu and never looked back, ending a dark chapter in my life (and starting a new one where I collect role playing PDFs I’ll never get to play, but that’s beside the point).
Hearing the three of you try to explain all the weird metaphysics and factional politics to poor Faust was a delight. In my time as a Mage storyteller, I’ve definitely lost at least three would-be players because the setting is so dense and incomprehensible that they glazed over and BSODed when I tried to give them a primer. Even stripped down to the barest essentials, Mage can be a real mindscrew that way.
Gotta love how quickly the authors’ notions of “gothic punk” went out the window, too. I know a lot of the games I played in kind of fell on the gonzo side of magickal superheroes fighting Men in Black, with the occasional Nephandus and Marauder thrown in for good measure. I don’t think many people stopped to consider what a terrifying mess reality would be if the Council of Nine actually started winning the Ascension War. You would have to start praying to the spirit of your computer to send an email, carve runes into your flesh to start your car in the morning, and generally invoke all manner of bizarre bullshit just to make it through the day. In retrospect, letting The Man go on winning is probably the best choice available.
Anyhow, keep up the great work! I’m really looking forward to the episode where you cover Wraith. I want to hear Faust’s reaction to Angst points and the Psyche / Shadow dynamic.
Thanks! Demon the Fallen will be interesting since it’s tied into Hunter the Reckoning so closely.