It’s all happening in the world of Mage: the Ascension, so I’ve taken a break from my work on fusion Mage & Street Fighter. Terry Robinson recently released a fabulous book: Ascension’s Landscape, which I highly recommend. Terry is also one of the hosts for Mage the Podcast, so please use their affiliate link.
Video/Audio version if you’d prefer:
In addition to what I wrote in my review on the Storyteller Vault I’d like to highlight an extra reason why this book is particularly impressive to me. It is a book lots of World of Darkness players have talked about writing, including myself, but not only did Terry actually write it, but it is also excellent; somewhat related years ago I wrote an article touching on WoD crossovers. Also, even if a group rarely use Mage the Ascension aspects in their World of Darkness games, this book could still be of use because there are suggestions for crossovers.
I love this book. I think it tackles common questions in a detailed and straightforward way, crucially without destroying the mystery or metaphysics of Mage. The World of Darkness (WoD) is a mysterious and contradictory monster (IMHO by design), so I assume most players have been involved in conversations discussing how fitting the WoD together could work. Example queries:
- How many Mages are there and how does this affect the Ascension War?
- How much violent crime does different parts of the WoD have, what does that violence translate social-economically? From when the games were originally created, how do we track the changes in real life to WoD?
- How does money work in a world of seemingly abundant Supernatural power, and in particular mind control?
And so forth, with each answer typically resulting in more fun queries. I love this about RPGs in general, that my groups and I get to decipher and decide; I’d very much have appreciated this sort of book back in the 90s, when we were are all first getting to grips with the WoD. It is not to suggest that the numerous WoD books have never presented questions and provided several answers, they have; nor to imply that this book is an exhaustive list of queries and suggestions. It’s that Terry’s approach of exploring different answers in relation to each over and also in a focused product is great and pithy; I’m a big fan of altering numbers/dials and exploring the results. I think what really takes this book from being classed as a Complete Success, to a Phenomenal Success, is including so many Story/Chronicle Hooks.
I recommend this book to all. Whether you are a new player or a veteran, there are many things contained within for you.
I’m a fan of Mage the Podcast, which I’ve written about before.
Terry also wrote: A Magickal Fiasco: Full Tilt Story Creation for Mage, which I am currently reading.
Book of the Fallen has just been released, a complicated book.
Hopefully the new Technocracy book will be Kickstarted this year.