Thursday, April 28, 2011

Modern fantasy feat. Harry Potter and WoD (A-Z part "M")

I watched all the Harry Potter's in order I had access to. From first to sixth. And I have to say, I enjoyed them! Even though the first is old, and Harry Potter is young and the whole movie is like overly long introduction to the series I liked it a lot.
When I first time saw the movies, I didn't find them that fascinating or interesting. I started to watch them the second time, because I enjoy boring movies in the night. Helps me to fall asleep. Still, even though I thought that Harry Potter's would be perfect sleeping remedy, I was wrong!

Why Do I Like Harry Potter Movies?

They are magical. There's magic everywhere, and I like the real world in it. It's normal, like ours, but slightly different. And behind the curtains of this normal world is this fantasy world with wizards, strange plants, mythological beasts etc.
Harry Potter, when in summer break, comes to our normal world and basically tries to live like any normal kid. But when his semester starts, he enters this world of magic and wonders.

I like the special effects. They are good enough. And there's some magical stuff happening all the time, even though it is not relative for the plot of the movie. I thought, if I watched the movie and pushed "pause" button and wrote down every time some strange or magical was on the screen with all the six movies I have seen, I'd write a pretty decant sourcebook of magical items, creatures and spells. Seriously, I have thought about that!

Secondly, I think that the main characters are quite neutral. Even though Harry Potter is the chosen one and everyone is like "OMG POTTER", he's quite modest guy. He doesn't brag, and earlier in the series he is not the best wizard in main characters (Hermione Granger is). Hermione was first pretty annoying know-it-all, but well, she's a girl who knows-it-all thanks to reading a lot. Still, she is good friend with Harry and Ron and doesn't try to show off with her knowledge mere than help. Ron... his sympathic. Not annoying at all.

Dumbledore is boring, otherwise other characters work well.

Huh, Harry Potter movies are something that I shouldn't like at all, so I have no idea why I find them so fascinating. Haven't read the books, and I think I never will. Movies are enough...

But, how does this relate to roleplaying games?

Mage: the Ascension

Mage, after watching Harry Potters and heard good about Mage and that I knew how versatile the spell system is, I though that it could be cool to run World of Darkness version of Harry Potter universe. I don't know if I ever will, but it would be cool. Harry Potter could be easily turned into World of Darkness setting, just add a bit more dark, and that's it. Also the school of magic could be in remote location, or somewhere at Umbra. That's how they access the school like in Harry Potter walk through a pilar at train station to get to the "other" station platform.

Could it work, Mage: the Potter? I don't know. I started reading Mage: the Ascension 2nd edition and I have to admit, that the beginning of the book bores me to death. I am not interested in Umbra and all the planes. That's why Werewolf (both Apocalypse and Forsaken) are a bit turn off in that aspect. I do like werewolves, but all the spirit worlds and that? Noooope. Well, maybe for certain tribes etc. but not in general.
So, when Mages share these extra universes, and almost all the pages I have read this far are about it, I am not that pleased.

But I think, when you master the idea of Mage or Werewolf, it's easier to approach the other. This far I have been mainly playing Vampire: the Masquerade, and they don't have to worry about that shit.


Seth said...

My old roommate actually used the Mage rules to produce an incredible Harry Potter campaign. He's a genuine fan (once spent around $200 building a Ron costume) so he kept the tone as it was in the books rather than WoDifying it.

If you discarded most of the fiction (especially Avatars and so forth) from Mage, and just focused on a magic system that builds on knowledge in particular areas, and requires specific trappings to work, you'd have a pretty powerful standpoint.

Unknown said...

@Seth: Haven't read Mage that much yet, so not so sure about how Avatars actually work. I think that when you strip elements from Mage, you will get a nice system to use in different kinds of magickal systems. Cannot underline that though, as just started reading the book.
Still, I like how it's written, rock solid White Wolf quality. It just seems a bit too complicated for me with all these "dimensions" and things when you could focus your game on tons of other more physical world oriented topics.
If I'd ever run Mage, I think I'd ignore Umbra in most parts. Well, it could be there in meta setting, but I wouldn't necessarily include it in my games.

Unknown said...

@Elizabeth Mueller: Thank you very much :)

Seth said...

The Avatar's actually pretty easy, though it does kind of tie into a lot of other WoD games like most of their stuff.

Basically, you understand the idea of reincarnation, right? There's two kinds of reincarnation you'll find in religions: one where it's YOU who comes back every time (past lives) often in a form that's the result of the karma you gained in your past life; and one where, when you die, your "essence" gets scrambled up into a big mess with everyone else's, and all the new people and animals who are born next are a made from those scrambled bits. So with the second way, if you die as Ted Brown and come back as Tina Barrent, you may not remember being Ted at all.

In Mage, though, you have your Avatar. Everyone has an Avatar, but as a Mage your Avatar is a piece of your "soul" that's always awake in every one of your lives. You can help wake up other people's Avatars (that's the goal of Ascension, for most of the Traditions). People who don't have awakened Avatars still contribute a little trickle of magic to the world, and this little trickle of magic from billions of people ultimately creates the "Consensus" of established reality. When you read more into Mage you'll find out about Paradox, and Paradox is just the smack to the face you get, as a Mage, when you do something that doesn't fit with reality while people who aren't awakened see you dong it.

Having an Avatar who is awakened is what gives you the ability to work the kind of magic that your Mage works. There are people (Sorcerers and Crafts) who can work a little magic despite not having an Awakened Avatar, but it's the difference between learning how to play your favorite tv show's theme song on a guitar and being able to make up your own melodies.

The other thing that your Avatar does is help you get stronger. You can take a background called Dream, which lets you talk to your Avatar when in a trance and gain some wisdom from it---because your Avatar is ancient, and remembers all of the past lives you lived with it, with all the magic you had in those lives, and everything you learned. Even without Dream, though, your Avatar sometimes sends you on Seekings, which are journeys you take through mostly metaphorical dreamscapes. You learn things, and often come out of the Seeking with greater power and knowledge.

The other thing you'll get to around the Magic chapter is that your Avatar helps give your magic Resonance. Resonance is a combination of qualities that show your character's approach to magic. If you made a character who was jumpy and agitated, and always liked thunderstorms, you might have "Twitchy" and "Booming" as your Resonances. Any time you can work a spell so that it does those things...maybe you're trying to disrupt someone's phone tap by shorting out the line, maybe you're trying to stun a bunch of Technocracy by blowing up a water'll get a bonus from your Resonance.

It's really pretty easy to ignore the Umbra in your games, unless one or more of your characters wants to put a lot of points into Spirit. If all of your Mages are more interested in Forces/Matter/Prime/Mind/etc, you don't have to worry about it.

Unknown said...

@Seth: Wow, thank you for this explanation putting basics in a nutshell for me.
"because your Avatar is ancient, and remembers all of the past lives you lived with it, with all the magic you had in those lives, and everything you learned"

That quote from your text is worth of gold and now I understand the Avatar thing better!

And I know, further reading will help a lot also.