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Reviews 6. Please log in to add or reply to comments. David R. Very well laid out perfect for anyone who needs to jump into the game quickly. And written in a formation easily usable for those moments you need a little memory refresher. Mage: The Ascension revised Quickstart rules Why did White Wolf do this? This game is amazing? And it has nothing to with the final product. They did the same thing for 1e Exalted. They create a Quickstart rules that surprised me with its innovati [ Super streamlined, but has all the Mage: The Ascension stuff I love!
Mage: The Ascension
I would have liked to see a bit more detail about how to use the game mechanics, especially with regard to the magic system. I liked the original "Mage: The Ascension" book, but this quickstart would not have convinced me to buy it. Timothy B. Great intro to the game. Enough here to begin to play but not enough to run a full Chronicle. Gave me a real good felling for the full game that I went out and bought it right away. See All Ratings and Reviews. Browse Categories. Pathfinder Blowout Sale.
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It was the last book I would buy for the game. Even the developer and writers of that book seemed to admit there still seemed so much left to cover in the Mage setting, but time had run out. In turn, a small studio named Onyx Path was formed, to make something of all the intellectual property that CCP had acquired, and new anniversary editions began to be printed.
Maybe this time I would fall in love again. Maybe this could bring the magick back. The book is quite an impressive overall work, clocking in at pages. This thing is a monster.
Almost all of the previous anniversary editions are hefty reads, but this monster is gonna be a table cracker in print. Heft is good; I like heft. So that is a start. For the anniversary edition Onyx Path managed to acquire the original developer, Phil Brucato, to do most of the writing, and it shows in a conversational, even flippant, style. Concepts come across cleanly when given the proper page space, although the writing may not be for the easily offended, as there is quite a fair amount of cursing and political jokes made. The original flame wars between the 2nd and Revised editions of Mage: the Ascension were quite intense, and the secondary flame wars surrounding the release of the New World of Darkness game Mage: the Awakening were similar if not as intense.
The 20th Anniversary edition has quite a job to do in trying to mend the past and be an edition that can service fans of all the different versions of the game at once, and the decision seems to be to make no decision at all: decisions about whether or not to include a given setting element are left from group to group. Indeed, several things do have to happen for some of the setting elements to make sense. The second section starts getting into one of the most important part of the setting, which is the various factions and groups available for play and as antagonists.
Some of the art in this section is really amazing. First we have the Traditions , who were the only playable faction originally and who are made up of a diverse collection of magical practitioners and styles, including pagan witches, Buddhist martial artists, aboriginal shamans, mad scientists and Christian theurgists. The groups are often presented with two different names. The first name is the name they were originally given in the old setting. These are presented first, largely for intellectual property reasons. Most of the others seem to be shifts to foreign names that may or may not be improvements, although they do generally seem less descriptive.
Next up in this section we get a brief overview of the Technocracy. Originally the Technocracy were the main villains of the game, but over the years they were rearranged to be a more shades-of-gray PC friendly faction when the possibilities of Technocratic monster hunters and other ideas started becoming more apparent. The only strange thing here is there is a noticeable dip in the art quality. While the pieces for the Traditions and the Disparates, the next section, are very vivid, the Technocracy portraits are much flatter and relatively uncreative.
The Disparates are not a faction from any of the original books. Instead, they are a new faction cobbled together from the old Crafts from the 2nd Edition. Ultimately the game makers decided no one knew what to do with them, so the Crafts were removed from the game in the Revised edition. It was one of the previously mentioned controversial decisions.
It was also at the time a decision that ended being a little racist in some aspects, as magical style seemed to have less to do with what group a Craft was folded into than the members ethnicity or country of origin. In the Anniversary edition, these various Crafts are now part of a super secret alliance called the Disparates. They are the other secretive group of unlikely allies fighting against the Technocracy. It just seems pointless, and in a book this big with so much to cover, there seems like there are more important things to devote word count to than something that could easily be made into a supplement.
More on that later. While the overall descriptions are good in this section, the individual blurbs seem to not quite hammer out how a groups beliefs translate into magical practices. I find this especially true in the Disparates section. We then see a discussion on the factions that are always antagonists in the game: the super evil Nephandi , and the chaotic Marauders.
This is honestly where things start to go off the rails for me. Spheres are your areas of magical influence. The Affinity Sphere is a sphere that you learn a little more cheaply than other Spheres. Most groups get a choice of two or three possible Affinity Spheres, sometimes four or even any — except members of the Order of Hermes , who get one, and only one. Then we come to the skills, or Abilities as they are known in classic World of Darkness. Now, old school World of Darkness had a problem, which was the proliferation of Secondary Abilities. Mage decided to throw that out the window.
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Instead, we are introduced to a whole host of Secondary abilities which needlessly pad out the word count of an already huge book. We get such things as:.
The game also includes three unarmed fighting abilities: Brawl , which is the old standard, Martial Arts , and Do. Do is a special schtick for one of the player factions, so I can let it slide here. Martial Arts and Brawl needing to be separate just makes me grind my molars down. Martial Arts gives you supah-doopah maneuvers that you can use, while Brawl gives you bupkiss.
So, there is the unarmed fighting style, and the crappy unarmed fighting style no one has any good reason to take. This all pales to my least favorite thing though, which is the Core Knowledge Esoterica. Let me be blunt: I hate this ability. So as some back story, all World of Darkness games feature a Knowledge called Occult, and it has the unique position of being the only Knowledge that can produce inaccurate information.
If you want facts about supernatural stuff, then you need an ability called Lore, one of those secondary abilities that crapped on a core ability that I talked about earlier. Note that Esoterica is a core ability, so it crowds up the character sheet. It now can be the skill you take instead of Occult, which is now functionally useless. I called the writer on this, saying it was a stupid treatment of the skill, and no other skill worked like that. He said that was how the Occult Knowledge worked in the other anniversary editions, so apparently his hands were tied.
Finally we move onto systems. We get a very brief overview of the core mechanic, multiple subsystems, and of course, combat quite at length.
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