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The Ascension Will Not Be Televised




Question: If Control's control is absolute, why does Control need to control?

Answer: Control needs time.

A conversation on G+ led me to a few days of thinking about how I'd actually approach a Mage: the Ascension campaign. I regret never getting the chance to have a real go at a campaign back in the day, and the regret of reading so much of it but playing nothing is a fishhook that tears in a little more every year.

Anyway:

• The Technocracy 'Won.' Characters would be a multi-disciplinary amalgam acting as 'Reality Cops,' tracking and neutralizing cognitive deviants and other threats to maintaining Consensus. The timeline of missions depends on the nature of the threat: a large-scale social movement requires a similarly long period of investigation to get to the root, while a folie a masses requires simply locating the centre of the delusion and eliminating it. Multiple missions would be ongoing at one time.

• Cosmology: Ghosts In, Blue Öyster Cult Out. While the Wyld-Weaver-Wyrm trinity makes a good allegory for the dynamism-stasis-entropy thing, having the rest of the regular Umbra in there and Werewolf's shamanism-centric spirit realm seems a bit much. The Dark Umbra is probably all that's necessary; abstract concepts, if someone wants to interact with them on a direct-metaphorical level, may be primordial ghosts shorn of any identity save their Passions for some platonic ideal. The Labyrinth and Yomi give you the possibility of Lynch-dungeons without making the Other World obviously a better place to hang out. Pocket dimensions or fragments of some previous, nicer Other World might still be floating out there in the Tempest—so a multi-dimensional home for Control isn't out of the picture.

All this means that the Void Engineers are going to be fairly different. They might be more focused on theoretical frontiers in quantum physics, or attempting to reach

• Tradition Structure: The Same, Except Where Different. In this version, 'Traditions' and 'Adepts of Hermes' are synonymous. The nine (ten?) Sphere organizational schema, and the associated seats at the Council, were filled by representatives from each House, arch-specialists in that particular Sphere. Most of the sub-traditions in each of the other Tradition's writeups (the Shi-Ren, the Li-hai, Vajrapani, Wu Lung, Children of Albi, Nashimites, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera) exist or existed as independant, discrete groups, not recognizing any affinity with other groups with similar Sphere affinities. The Hermetic Tradition saw these as ignorant dabblers and dangerous cultists, and either sought to police them the way the Technocracy does now or re-indoctrinate them as a member of their appropriate House. Between the Hermetic Tradition and the Technocratic Union, these other cabals may have recognized other persecuted magical societies as co-belligerents, but they were too dispersed and different to actually cooperate long-term.

This means many of the metaplot-heavy factions (Ksirafai) might not be recognizable from the splatbook versions. And, the Technocracy may have developed from a splinter-conspiracy of Hermetic adepts or a Cabal of Pure Thought outside the Council mainstream. (Either way, it's not like it's going to put that in the briefing dossier, is it?)

Now, of course, the Hermetic Traditions lack either the physical Chantries they meet in, or the population density to make a structure necessary. The distinction between a small-d dreamspeaker and a House Whatever Spirit mage are now irrelevant, unless the Adepts still have some sort of communication network going.

• Weird Stuff Is Weird. There's plenty of demons, vampires, and all the stuff from the Book of the Wyrm that you can throw at the Technocracy. It's an open question whether the Ascension War was them most important front in the fight for Consensus.

• It's The End of The World.
Going in, it should be understood that the campaign is about the ultimate fate of humanity, and will eventually feature everything getting pretty crazy. Whether the ultimate fate of humanity includes the Tapestry in the equation will be part of the choices made.

Unfortunately, if you're reading this and getting all excited, I have way too many other things to do right now than give this the time it needs. Mr. Elkins has also been talking about a game that will probably resemble this campaign frame closely, at least in the beginning.  

Question: Is Control controlled by its need to control? 
Answer: Yes

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