Anyone able to tell me about Mage the Ascension 20th?

I normally stay the heck away from White Wolf stuff, but I’ve always been curious about Mage. I’m curious about this new fancy-shmancy, stop-a-bullet-its-so-thick edition. Is it playable? Does it capture something that the nWoD version doesn’t? (Not that I have any interest in the nWoD version.)

I know it’s pretty new, but if folks who’ve read or (better yet) played it want to share their impressions, I’d appreciate it.

Really, my question would be: In a world chock-full of proven urban fantasy RPGs based on contemporary design techniques, is there any point to investing effort in this?

Today must be the day for setting KS reminders.Cheesy video aside, this seems neat, and I like the look of the previewed rule cheat-sheet.

That said, I find it a little weird that the goal amount ($40k!) is just to create an “Agent’s Handbook”, and creating a complete DG game with GM content is a stretch goal. I mean, they’re going to hit it (more than halfway there already), but the idea that I’d be dropping $50 for less than the full monty is a little off-putting.

The difference in economics between indie KSs (Fate Core’s goal was $3,000; Dungeon World was $4,000) and these mid-tier publishers (which seem to never start lower than $20k) is just bizarre to me.

Player event sign-up for Gameyda 42 starts tonight at 7:00 p.m. on Warhorn.

We’ve got our roster of events, now it’s your turn to grab yourself a seat in one of them. Tonight at 7:00 p.m. I flip the switch and the floodgates open.

If you need help using Warhorn, take a look at the registration/sign-up guide in the second post in our companion thread on ENWorld:

#chicagogameday   #chicagogameday42

Women in early Star Trek

So, in the original pilot for Start Trek, “The Cage”, the female crew members of the Enterprise wear pants, basically in the same uniforms as the men, and Capt. Pike’s second-in-command (“Number One”) is a woman (Majel Barrett, who would go on to play Nurse Chapel in TOS).

Apparently, NBC called B.S. on this and in the second pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, while women do continue to wear pants, they are not command officers. Still, we have Dr. Elizabeth Dehner (Sally Kellerman), who is an officer and holds an important position (ship’s psychiatrist).

Once we get into production, this is apparently still too much. and by “The Man Trap” and “Charlie X”, we have the now-iconic TOS mini-skirts, and — with Uhura the sole exception — the women we see are Yeoman who mostly serve men food. (Seriously, the first time we meet Yeoman Rand, she is delivering a plate of food to Lt. Sulu in the botany lab. Later we see another female Yeoman bring Kirk a snack on the bridge.)

I think it will take us until 1979 (The Motion Picture) to see Starfleet women wear pants again.

Anyway, I’ve just begun to re-watch TOS, and it’s still amazing for its time (so many brown people on the crew!), but this observation jumped out at me. Props to Roddenberry for trying, I suppose. Having Barrett as “Number One” in 1966 would have been awesome, though.

Fun fact: It’ll take us until 1986 to see a woman captain a federation starship (Capt. Madge Sinclair of the USS Saratoga in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home).

I was reading up on the original Star Trek series and found this interesting tidbit:

The Spock character was at first rejected by network executives, who were apprehensive that his vaguely “Satanic” appearance (with pointed ears and eyebrows) might prove upsetting to some viewers, and (according to Leonard Nimoy) they repeatedly urged Roddenberry to “drop the Martian”. Roddenberry was also dismayed to discover that NBC’s publicity department deliberately airbrushed out Spock’s pointed ears and eyebrows from early publicity stills sent to network affiliates, because they feared that his ‘demonic’ appearance might offend potential buyers in the religiously conservative southern states.

Burning/The Far Hinterlands

Last Saturday I played the second session of the Burning Wheel campaign MadJay Brown started with me, Michael Miller and Rachel E.S. Walton. It was a great session, and not just because I’m finally in an ongoing BW game that is actually ongoing.

We decided on Mannish stock, with Spirit Binding and Faith the only types of magic available. Somehow this pointed us to western Asia for cultural inspiration: Mongol, Tuvan, Rus, and Turkish imagery with dashes of Shintoism and Africa here and there. The result is the Hinterlands, a far-off corner of the world, and therein the village of Five Roads, where our first session took place.

Our PCs are three siblings — same father, different mothers. The world as a whole has been rocked by some Great Disaster involving the spirit world and the spirit binders, and so the common folk are very wary of those marked by the spirits — and our PCs happened to have recently been marked by the spirits. As the sessions begins, each of us is facing difficulties due to how our spirit marks have impacted our lives, and on top of this our wayward father seems to have re-entered the picture and is somehow tied to the Order of the Five Pillars (sort of the jedi council of spirit binders).

I’m playing Omak, a simple farmhand for whom the spirit-mark has meant the alienation of the woman he’d intended to marry. Michael is playing Khenbish, a loyal initiate of the Order. Rachel plays Goat, a rogue for whom the spirit-mark is simply serving to complicate an already complicated life (when you’re a crook, never date a cop).

We opted to start as 3LP characters, so no one was throwing down a whole lot of dice for the few tests that were made this session. Thankfully, failure in BW is generally even more fun than success, so scrounging for dice was a joy. In the first test of the campaign, I failed to bind a spirit attacking two men on the road, resulting in one death. Rachel also lost a Duel of Wits that resulted in a great compromise that drew our three siblings even closer together (at least in terms of proximity).

It was a wonderfully tight 2.5-hour session. Jay excels at putting the pressure on, pushing hard on our beliefs like a good BW GM should. It’s also a wonder to see how BW always manages to bring the character drama to the forefront; the BITs-Artha cycle is such a great engine for driving play. BW fanboi alert!

I’m really looking reared to the next session. I’m also happy to see how gaming via Hangouts is exceeding my expectations. I wish I had started sooner.


“Only with a GM you trust”

In a post elsewhere, someone responded to a comment about a given GM technique with something like, “yes, but that only works with a GM the players trust”.

This is an old topic I think, and the quote gave me flashbacks to fiery discussions on ENWorld back in the day. Still, I couldn’t help but think, “Why are you playing games with people (GMs or otherwise) you don’t trust?”

Maybe I’m weird, but even in a game played with strangers at a convention, or a first meeting with a new group, I default to trust unless I am given reason to do otherwise. And given reason, I don’t play with them.

And the “don’t trust” phrase is key here. I understand taking certain attitudes with people you don’t know, but don’t trust implies to me an established relationship. If you know you don’t trust someone, why would you continue to play around in each other’s imaginations with them?

Or am I being naive here?

This is not the first time the 32-year-old Mr. Shkreli, who has a reputation for both brilliance and brashness, has been the center of controversy. He started MSMB Capital, a hedge fund company, in his 20s and drew attention for urging the Food and Drug Administration not to approve certain drugs made by companies whose stock he was shorting.

Vomit-inducing. This man should be put in jail and his assets seized.

h/t to Ian Williams for the link.