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?

http://drivethrurpg.com/product/149562/Mage-the-Ascension-20th-Anniversary-Edition?src=hottest

48 thoughts on “Anyone able to tell me about Mage the Ascension 20th?

  1. I haven’t looked at the 20th anniversary edition but, just generally, Ascension is so much better than the nWoD version. Ascension was a game about working magic based on philosophy and your understanding of reality and the conflicts came out of the disagreements between different understandings of how the world works or should work.Then nWoD turned it into, “I’m the fighty mage!” “And I’m the sneaky mage!” Bluhhh.

  2. < ![CDATA[I haven't looked at the 20th anniversary edition but, just generally, Ascension is so much better than the nWoD version. Ascension was a game about working magic based on philosophy and your understanding of reality and the conflicts came out of the disagreements between different understandings of how the world works or should work.Then nWoD turned it into, “I’m the fighty mage!” “And I’m the sneaky mage!” Bluhhh.]]>

  3. The 20th Aniversary edition is pretty much all the core material for Rev cleaned up, consolidated, and spruced with options.

    If it’s playable depends on you. Was 2nd playable? No? Then this isn’t either because that’s not the fucking point. Yes? Then totes, it puts all the eggs in one basket, but it’s a super good basket.

    It’s so thick because it’s about 7 old books worth of material in one book. You know, exactly like they fucking said it would be.

    If this is a good plan or not depends, again, on how you parse info. Generally I’d say if you’re a newbie or it didn’t work for you in the day, then it isn’t for you now.

    Tl:Dr – its fucking awesome, and you should not buy it because shut up

  4. < ![CDATA[The 20th Aniversary edition is pretty much all the core material for Rev cleaned up, consolidated, and spruced with options. If it's playable depends on you. Was 2nd playable? No? Then this isn't either because that's not the fucking point. Yes? Then totes, it puts all the eggs in one basket, but it's a super good basket. It's so thick because it's about 7 old books worth of material in one book. You know, exactly like they fucking said it would be. If this is a good plan or not depends, again, on how you parse info. Generally I'd say if you're a newbie or it didn't work for you in the day, then it isn't for you now. Tl:Dr - its fucking awesome, and you should not buy it because shut up]]>

  5. Like Bret Gillan, I preferred the 1st edition of Mage with its emphasis on using your unique ontology to describe malleable reality. I didn’t feel the same sting of betrayal that some felt with the 2nd edition, but it drained much of the charm of the game for me.

  6. < ![CDATA[Like Bret Gillan, I preferred the 1st edition of Mage with its emphasis on using your unique ontology to describe malleable reality. I didn’t feel the same sting of betrayal that some felt with the 2nd edition, but it drained much of the charm of the game for me.]]>

  7. We backed it at the PDF only level, because I have so much purple on my game shelf that I’d surely accrue Paradox if I hadn’t backed it at all.

    That said, it’s not really on my reading list. I probably should download it one of these days.

  8. < ![CDATA[We backed it at the PDF only level, because I have so much purple on my game shelf that I'd surely accrue Paradox if I hadn't backed it at all. That said, it's not really on my reading list. I probably should download it one of these days.]]>

  9. If you’re keen on Mage, track down a used copy of the 1st. Ed. corebook. It’s probably the purest expression of the game and plenty of people (like my group) played whole campaigns using just that book. 😉

  10. < ![CDATA[If you're keen on Mage, track down a used copy of the 1st. Ed. corebook. It’s probably the purest expression of the game and plenty of people (like my group) played whole campaigns using just that book. ;)]]>

  11. See, I liked 2nd Ed better. Or Sorcerer’s Crusade.

    Actually, Sorcerer’s Crusade may be my favorite iteration.

    But in any case (even Rev), the oWoD version is better than the new.

    I mean, the new is fine and all. And the oWoD purple is full of dumb, dumb, dumb shit. But it was dumb shit that people cared about that was about dumb shit we actually kinda sorta want to think about magic. Where the new one was a logically consistent and coherent view of magic that I could not force myself to care about even at the pointy end of a spear.

  12. < ![CDATA[See, I liked 2nd Ed better. Or Sorcerer's Crusade. Actually, Sorcerer's Crusade may be my favorite iteration. But in any case (even Rev), the oWoD version is better than the new. I mean, the new is fine and all. And the oWoD purple is full of dumb, dumb, dumb shit. But it was dumb shit that people cared about that was about dumb shit we actually kinda sorta want to think about magic. Where the new one was a logically consistent and coherent view of magic that I could not force myself to care about even at the pointy end of a spear.]]>

  13. I’m interested in playing Mage sometime but only because I watched Hackers for the first time recently and someone told me it makes a lot more sense if I look at it as a Mage game where the PCs are all technomancers.

    For help in whether you ought to buy this, I cast the digi-spell of summing to bring forth Rob Wieland

  14. < ![CDATA[I'm interested in playing Mage sometime but only because I watched Hackers for the first time recently and someone told me it makes a lot more sense if I look at it as a Mage game where the PCs are all technomancers.
    For help in whether you ought to buy this, I cast the digi-spell of summing to bring forth Rob Wieland]]>

  15. Here’s what I like about Mage 20:

    The scope: You can go from one session where you’re chasing fugitive dreams to the next where you’re protecting a coffee shop from cyborgs. Even in a setting with immortal vampires and werewolves fighting Cthulhu, Mage felt like it had the biggest vision.

    The magic: Because the magic system is flexible, it was the first game that got me to embrace player input in the story. Failing at magic generates story, because paradox is an active, living force. Most magic systems shrug and say its a whiff or cause you to lose health when you fail. Paradox can lead a player to get locked up in the Twilight Zone for a bit, or literally bring their worst fears to life.

    The tome: Mage has been the most dynamic of the Classic WoD lines. The 20th edition collects that info and offers suggestions on the pieces that you might want to add…and the ones you want to skip. It also collections both the Traditions and the Technocracy in the same book and presents each case for being right.

  16. < ![CDATA[Here's what I like about Mage 20: The scope: You can go from one session where you're chasing fugitive dreams to the next where you're protecting a coffee shop from cyborgs. Even in a setting with immortal vampires and werewolves fighting Cthulhu, Mage felt like it had the biggest vision. The magic: Because the magic system is flexible, it was the first game that got me to embrace player input in the story. Failing at magic generates story, because paradox is an active, living force. Most magic systems shrug and say its a whiff or cause you to lose health when you fail. Paradox can lead a player to get locked up in the Twilight Zone for a bit, or literally bring their worst fears to life. The tome: Mage has been the most dynamic of the Classic WoD lines. The 20th edition collects that info and offers suggestions on the pieces that you might want to add...and the ones you want to skip. It also collections both the Traditions and the Technocracy in the same book and presents each case for being right.]]>