AGWW Online Campaigns

MtA: A Light in the Darkness

This page was last modified: 2005/04/28

2005 ??


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Mage: the Ascension
Storyteller:MrBoogedy
Status:planned

IRC server: irc.quakenet.org -- Channel: #agww


Story outline so far (© 2005 by MrBoogedy)

As tensions grew between nations during the beginning of the 21st century, a secret faction within a heretofore unknown government agency conspired to bring about the fall of the former "sleeping giant". Through the collaboration of expert scientists, unknowingly guided by powerful occult forces, a mighty engine of destruction was created.

The unstoppable power of this device was concealed within an object no larger than a softball and smuggled across the country's borders within the body of an unsuspecting American Senator. The device was then unleashed within the nation's capitol.

Believed by those left partially ignorant of the scheme to be nothing more than an incredibly effective biological weapon, the device was actually a masterpiece of blended Enlightened Science. Its construction was supervised and manipulated by those possessed of an evil to rival that of even the Christian devil himself, contriving to turn the device into something far more nefarious.

Three days after returning to the United States, Senator Julia S. Mitcham was admitted to Mercy General Hospital for symptoms of an unidentified "wasting disease". A public funeral was held for her two days later, attended by over two thousand citizens and forty two different news organizations. The nation lamented the passing of one of its few representatives worthy of the position.

Five more patients with similar symptoms and morbid results were admitted to D.C. area hospitals over the next week. Rumors began to abound concerning newly mutating diseases and the possibilities of biological warfare. The second theory was heavily supported by right wing militants and backed up by circumstantial evidence as twenty three different terrorist organizations claimed responsibility over the next two months. During that time another one hundred and ten people died of similar causes.

Dark murmurs, whispered into the ears of influential Americans caused an immediate investigation into the matter, the evidence for which simply seemed to materialize as needed to indicate a rather bloodthirsty organization known to operate throughout the Middle East and the northern areas of the African continent. As hastily as went the investigation, so did occur the mobilization for a counterstrike.

As the strategists and coordinators of the United States gathered, their conferences were monitored and manipulated by the same hands that brought about the true nature of the device which started the escapade in the first place. It is said that when the conference ended, all of its participants emerged seeming a bit confused and out of sorts, but of course that is only speculation.

One month after the military conference, a tactical nuclear strike was set to occur, targeting a large village in southern Saudi Arabia known by U.S. Intelligence agencies to be a "safe house" of sorts for the organization believed responsible for the alleged biological attack. An attack which had killed over four hundred people as of that date.

As the nuclear strike was enacted, historical computer records show that some form of "super-virus", which had apparently remained latent an undetected for quite some time, caused a serious malfunction. The targeting program re-calibrated itself within a nano-second, the missile barrage now aiming for a seemingly inconspicuous patch of desert in northern Egypt.

As time passes, the number of hypothesis grow, as to what may have once lain at the location of the strike. Regardless of the truth, it is doubtless that it was some artifact containing great energy, for the land was destroyed for many, many miles around, wiping out entire nations with its blast. In the wake of the blast radiated a foul wave of energy that touched the souls of those in its path with something that would be the spiritual equivalent of thick, greasy smoke. It has been said more than once, that the very light of the sun darkened that day.

The world stood still for a brief moment in the calm of the aftermath, though any semblance of momentary peace was shattered. It is difficult to say where the first sighting occurred, though news of the initial sightings was heard worldwide within a matter of days. Those who had died of the mysterious plague were once again walking the Earth. Though in some cases, walking might not be the appropriate term.

It was quickly made obvious that these people who had been recently deceased had undergone some strange and inexplicable happening. If not simply for the fact that the dead were not generally known to get up and move around, these individuals quickly made the more subtle differences apparent.

Accounts speak of Senator Mitcham returning to the Senate and flatly stating that it was the place of all mankind to pay homage to her person. In the face of many chortles and outraged protests, the Senator's form shifted into one of unspeakable horror, sprouting masses of barbed tentacles in place of arms and distending her jaw until it was large enough to swallow a small child whole, let alone reveal uncountable rows of teeth as large as railroad spikes and far more wicked looking.

Snatching the other Senators from their seats and rending them in twain as they tried to flee, Mitcham simply giggled in an unholy, echoing voice. Even as the Secret Service arrived to protect the officials, the Senator turned monster only laughed harder, ignoring the myriad of bullets that struck her/its flesh like stones being skipped across a lake of pink pudding. When police and nearby military personnel arrived as backup, the only people living were only doing so for the next few moments. It is said that the monster, as we shall now term the Senator, bellowed in a voice that shook the very foundations of nearby buildings and rippled the pavement. Those that survive claim its words to be thus; "Do not resist, foolish spawn of Man. Though you are all to feel the embrace of death in time, it need not become familiar now. Bow before our might and cling to the fabric of time for a short while longer, for in the end our power cannot be defied." The monster's words had such force as to be heard throughout the city. The skulls of those within normal range of earshot were delivered to their afterlives in agony, as the vibrations shattered their very bones and caused blood to spew forth from each and every orifice.

Similar stories erupted in one thousand other major cities throughout the world. Governments collapsed and societies crumbled as these monstrosities ravaged the world of Man. In time, the numbers of the monstrosities grew, though those that came later often seemed less powerful and subservient to those who came first.

During the next two decades it was learned that the creatures were something akin to what mankind has often termed demons. Vile creatures of awesome power, they ruled the world with iron fists or tentacles, claws, etc. Mankind became a species whose niche lay something between that of cattle and a collection of disposable children's toys. A vast majority of the world's technology ran to disrepair, as formal education was no longer a worldwide concern. The elements of basic survival became the curriculum of the day, whether through subservience or remaining hidden.

The characters are Trad mages acting in resistance to this worldwide demonic domination, in case that wasn't insinuated clearly above.

Here goes with details...

  1. Primarily Trad mages, excluding VA's (I might allow one under special circumstances). I can see allowing for possibly one or two Techys, depending on group size. The reasoning will be explained later.
  2. Gov't structures have fallen, being replaced by anarchies and monarchies led by demonic overlords. Picture the medieval government mentality of might making right in most cases, coupled with modern technological (occassionally Enlighted Tech) capabilities for such things as surveillance.
  3. Many individuals have seen it as better to serve their overlords than fall victim to their wrath. These people were mostly Sleepers (many of which were minor gov't officials before the Coming), though it is believed that at least 5-10% are either Awakened Trad mages or Enlighted scientists now bent to the will of the demonic overlords. In addition, the demonic lords are advised by the hordes of Nephandi, whose numbers grow with each year, regardless of the fact that infighting, scheming and plotting amongst one another are all things that help to thin out their numbers.
  4. Nearly all of the Enlightened scientists work for the demonic lords, as technology is no longer widely available to all people. Internet, global television, and most other modern conveniences no longer exist, save for in the hands of the overlords and their minions. Satellites do exist, however, making some of those things possible for one with enough knowledge. In short, due to the need for materials, equipment, etc., the handful of Enlightened scientists (the weaker ones who were not destroyed in the initial resistance) who remained felt it better to serve evil while continuing the struggle for mastering super-science, than to have one's avatar devoured.
     
    However, a few Enlightened scientists have managed to resist the mind probes and aura readings and whatnot, using the resources possessed by the overlords and their minions to develop science to aid in the resistance. (by a few I mean...maybe 10 including any allowed Techy pc's...out of all of them that remain. Maybe 10 out of 200 or so, most of which will be disposable npc's who die while lending the pc's a hand.)
  5. The VA's are even more rare than the Techy's. Since they weren't as common before the Coming and already in hiding from the Techys, for the most part, they had less chance to gain access to resources than the Techys. I might allow 1. Basically, one would have to have a good background story for how they manage to get away with using their technology in a world where it has become so rare, or of how they have avoided detection while working within the midst of the overlord's minions (same goes for Techys).
  6. Etherites are responsible for most of the 'new technology' that is seen by the populace. As time has passed and the average person has forgotten most of their technical know-how (if old enough to have any), the beliefs of what is and isn't possible through science have become more vague.
     
    This shift in consensual reality also applies to the more mystical Trad paradigms. Let's face it...when demons show up and take over the world, it can do a lot to make you believe in magic.
  7. I have a map, showing the Earth and a large section that has been blotted out, centering around northern Egypt and extending in diameter to reach across a large portion of Europe. This area was completely destroyed at the time of the nuclear strike. Over the years, the radiation has weakened somewhat, lessening the energy levels to a point. In this area, there is no Gauntlet. The physical and spiritual worlds are one. At this point, the Earth touches the Umbra at a point that is = to the realm of Nephandic overlords. People simply call it Hell. The closer one is to the edges of this zone (on the outside), the easier it is to cross the gauntlet. (Other, similar areas have sprouted as the gauntlet continues to weaken, though each has its own theme, and few are widely known.)
  8. The Chantry bg will be allowed only for those characters who work within the midst of the overlords and their minions, at game start. Influence; Government will be x2 cost, and available only to those characters with the means to avoid detection through technological and spiritual means.
  9. Though the Nephandi behind the disaster that wreaked such havoc upon the Gauntlet were a trio of K'llashaa, the gigantic rift centering around what was once Egypt actually opens into the realm of the Lords of the Pit. The Infernalist Nephandi pounced upon this opportunity, forcing themselves into a position of power over the other factions.
     
    The K'llashaa as a collective were nearly obliterated before the remaining few took to hiding, in an effort to prevent a second attempt at creating a rift leading beyond the Horizon to the Outer Dark. The remaining few conspire to either close the current rift or open a new one through which their own masters (whom they believe to be far more powerful than the Pit Lords) may enter the physical realm and thereby gain dominion. Some accounts even report that one or more of these K'llashaa has provided aid to those who resist the dominance of the Pit Lords and their minions, whether through direct action or more discreet means.
     
    The Malfeans too, were either obliterated or converted, as concrete proof of the Pit Lords was provided in the form of unspeakable agony and torment for their disobedience, while there is apparently no record of the Maeljin Incarna ever appearing in the flesh, so to speak.
  10. During the first few years, as the Pit Lords asserted their dominance over the Earth, an edict was passed around the world (the only decision to be agreed upon by all relevant parties to this date), stating that it was a crime punishable by the devouring of one's soul to do so much as posses knowledge of an Awakened or Enlightened person not acting as a henchman of the Pit Lords. That's right: the witch-hunts returned, but with a slightly different flavor. (Think more like the attitude Robin Hood would have received or maybe the X-Men, in the sense that some people will see them as saviors, though their reactions may range from helping them out to turning them in for fear that they themselves will suffer. Also, like the X-Men, the Mages who choose to resist are likely to cause a lot of collateral damage. In a world already ravaged, no one likes to lose what little they have.)
     
    Needless to say, the number of Awakened/Enlightened individuals left have dwindled through conversion or destruction. Most who are newly Awakened are hunted down long before they gain effective control over their powers and those with the ability to mentor students are often too concerned with hiding and protecting their own flesh to worry about teaching the new generation.
  11. There are people who resist the domination of the Pit Lords, however. Many small groups attempt such rebellion and usually find it quickly and terribly reprimanded. In addition, a secret organization (very much a counterpart to the dark alliance that caused this madness in the first place) has formed over the last decade, consisting of both Sleeper and Awakened alike. In this day where magic and science exist hand in hand and the laws of what are possible and what are not have become so blurred, Mages need usually hide themselves only from those who would betray them to the Lords and their minions, allowing these Awakened to work hand in hand with their Sleeper allies without as much risk of incurring Paradox.
    • There is no "Domino Effect" upon difficulty from multiple uses of coincidental magic.
    • All Paradox accumulation is halved (with each half being rounded up). One half of the 'dox is attributed to the Paradox chart as usual. The other half is converted into a dice pool, that is rolled against diff 7. The successes on this roll indicate that the Lords and their minions

There is more...some I don't know yet, the rest I just can't think of right now. I'll get ahold of you with more once I have it.


The Players

Main Cast:


Session Logs:

  1. N/A

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