Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Story Seeds - Mage: the Ascension

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101 Mage the Ascension Story Seeds

Please find enclosed 101 story seeds for Mage: the Ascension. These are Tradition and Craft Mage plots, rather than being Technocracy focused (if this is popular I’ll try to provide a list of Union only plots). As usual I’ve tried to develop some of the plots to give Storytellers options of what to use. 

I haven't uploaded the list to my download folder yet, but will try to in the near future. 

Mage: the Ascension, Traditions, Technocracy, Freedom Razor, the Umbra, Umbrood, Marauder, Nephandi and all other technical language in this document relating to Mage: the Ascension are copyright of White Wolf Game Studio 2015.

  1. Another Brick in the Wall: A school is piloting a drug that improves concentration but is having disastrous effects on children’s imaginations and desire to play. Can the PCs do anything about it?
  2. Of Wolf and Man: Someone is killing locals in a savage fashion. Is it a werewolf, or something else?
  3. Suspicious Minds: A fugitive comes to the Chantry to ask for refuge and help. Unwilling to disclose who’s after him how will PCs react when Tradition mages come to look for their ‘guest’.
    1. What has the fugitive stumbled onto?
    2. This may be a good place to introduce the Freedom Razor?
  4. Electric Eyes: Vulgar magic is on the up, even when the Mage thought they were casting coincidentally, is it anything to do with the new CCTV cameras studding every wall and underpass?
  5. Party Crashers: The PCs have to deal with an Umbral outbreak. Is a Marauder behind the attack and can they find him or her?
  6. Message in a Bottle: A strange message arrives asking for help, but who is it from?
    1. It’s been sent from a Mage bound in Quiet, but can it be trusted?
  7. Uprising: A group of activists (for any cause that fits the PCs’ motives and agenda) get involved with the cabal. Are they genuine, or someone else’s pawns?
  8. Turncoat: A Technocracy agent contacts the PCs to desert the Union.
  9. Eye in the Sky: The PCs start to be followed by a ‘fan’, a Sleeper or Sleepwalker who knows they’re different and finds that exciting. They’re documenting the PCs’ actions and activities on the internet. How can the PCs respond without screwing everything up?
  10. Missing: A mage has gone AWOL, can they be found? And what predicament have they got themselves into?
  11. Dirty Money: The PCs catch hold of a Syndicate deal gone sour, and end up with the item the Convention were trading for. Now, everyone and their brother seem to be on the cabal’s tail, trying to get the maguffin. How long before they break?
  12. The Vanished: A group of people are abducted without trace. Can the cabal find those responsible?
  13. Depths: A subterranean chamber has been discovered, along with evidence of its grisly past. Can the PCs discover who’s been using it for human sacrifice before someone else dies?
    1. The victims appear to have entered the chamber of their own will, some of them have been caught on CCTV and seen by eye witnesses walking casually, and even happily, towards their doom.
  14. Wrong Turn: The cabal encounters someone who’s luck just seems to have run out. As their new friend’s life crashes into chaos, can the PCs do anything to save them?
  15. The Spy’s Demise: A Technocracy agent has died, rather suddenly. As fingers are pointed, and hostilities ramp up, the PCs find themselves trapped in a wilderness of mirrors (metaphorically). Can they solve the case before the Ascension War breaks out all over again?
  16. Stairway to Heaven: Something is inducing people to commit suicide, hacking into Google Glasses and Oculus Rift sets and leading the users to leap from tall buildings. Who’s responsible and why are they doing this?
  17. To the Highest Bidder: A Talisman has come up for sale at a local auction house. Can the PCs secure before it falls into the wrong hands?
  18. The Secrets of Laboratory 735: The Union has created something, and rumours abound as to what it is. Can the cabal work out what they’ve actually done and, possibly, contain it?
  19. Trust Issues: A New World Order Agent approaches the PCs to offer an alliance, but is it a trap?
  20. Darkness Brings: A Hollow One has accidentally ‘called up something she can’t put down’ and desperately needs help to banish it. But as the clocks strike thirteen and a chill wind blows, has time run out for the mages?
  21. Mystery in Space: The Traditions need something delivered to the Deep Umbra, and everyone else took a step back when the Chantry’s leader asked for volunteers...
  22. The Duel: Two NPCs mages have declared a duel, committing themselves to Certamen. If either falls in battle, the Chantry will be weakened. Is more going on than there seems?
  23. The Tower: Things take a sudden turn against the PCs, their lives become more difficult as their projects run into complications and begin to fail. What’s happened?
  24. Fall: The worst happens and the Chantry falls. What do the cabal do now?
  25. Homelands: A Dreamspeaker requests aid when their Node is threatened by Technocracy expansion (through a variety of proxies).
  26. Harmony House: A rehabilitation centre has opened up for teenage delinquents, but when an escapee reports strange, cult like, activities, the PCs become involved as a confusing web of clues point in contradictory directions.
  27. Thunderstruck: A series of power cuts blight the city. As darkness consumes the city, things in the night are moving, striking terror into the hearts of men.
  28. In Chains: The PCs get a tip off about a group of people being taken to Autocthonia. Can they infiltrate the operation and rescue the poor unfortunates?
  29. Back on the Chain Gang: The PCs (having failed to release the people above, maybe) wake in a Technocracy prison. Can they escape or are they condemned to a life of servitude?
  30. Happy House: The PCs wake in a mental hospital, with no memory of how they arrived. Their magic is gone and their being treated for their ‘delusions’ which seem to revolve around a game they were playing...
  31. Dragon Chaser: An Umbral sanctuary for Bygones is under threat. Can the cabal help, and why does the leader of the sanctuary seem a little too much like a Marauder?
  32. God is in the House: A town seems to be perfect. There’s no crime, no tensions between communities, it’s wonderful. What’s it secret and what lies under the surface?
  33. Tupelo: An unnatural storm breaks out over the city (perhaps an Umbral storm, or even the Avatar Storm), crashing into the really, real world with devastating results. Can the PCs protect the people of their city and work out what’s caused the Gauntlet to fail so drastically?
    1. The storm is a precursor to a much more serious threat.
    2. Afterwards, the city is haunted by spirits that are out of their element and doing things that are detrimental to human life.
  34. Death Is Not the End: The lands of the dead beckon as their influence starts to slide into the material world. The PCs must investigate why, when an old enemy begins to make their lives hell.
  35. Red Right Hand: Someone is killing mages, but who?
  36. Song of Joy: The killer from Red Right Hand returns, in true horror movie style.
  37. Boulevard of Broken Dreams: Something is inspiring people to great heights, only to make them kill themselves as they burn out. What’s the source and can it be stopped?
  38. Tests: ‘Cell 23’ targets the PCs, throwing them into a series of tests to be sure of their loyalties.
    1. They claim, in the aftermath, to speak for the Rogue Council, whatever that is.
  39. Courier Work: The PCs are sent to Doissestep with a message for one of the Masters. Can they navigate the complicated politics of the ancient Chantry and actually deliver their missive?
    1. Spin lots of small plots off this, as the characters have to earn access and information by doing the other mages’ dirty work… possibly up to the point where they snap.
  40. The Resistance: The PCs are contacted by the resistance from a Technocracy ‘Construct’ asking them for help. Can they really unseat a Convention from its place of power?
  41. Sing: Transported into a nightmarish version of the world where the Technocracy won (in actual fact an Umbral realm) the Cabal must see if they can survive in a world where everything is measured and everything is watched. Can they figure it out, and find a way home?
  42. The Bitter End: An Archmage is dying and is determined to go out in a blaze of glory. He enlists the Cabal to help him track down one of the regrets of his life, an enemy he never managed to defeat permanently. What happens when the PCs realise that this will a) be a suicide mission for them as well as him, and b) that his enemy is one of their allies?
  43. Beautiful Trauma: A group of people have lost time, and claim to be abducted by aliens. As the number of incidences grows, can the Cabal work out what’s going on and put an end to it?
  44. Caught in my Shadow: The Cabal gets trapped in the Umbra, and is forced to rely on the local spirits for aid. Meanwhile, a Technocracy hunter tracks the ‘parallel world’ to kill the Tradition Mages.
  45. The Sun Always Shines on TV: There’s been a spate of death. All the victims were couch potatoes, slumped in front of the TV when they had heart attacks, suffered an attack of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, or other causes of death. Worse than that, their souls are missing and there’s no sign of entry. What could have caused it, and can the Cabal stop whatever is going on before its too late? The clock is ticking and they’re running out of time.
  46. Chinese Burn: A Sleeper is Awakening and the Cabal are sent to recover her before the opposition can. The problem? She’s a truly unpleasant individual who has no interest in anyone but herself. The Chantry head is insistent she be brought in, though she won’t discuss the reasons. Can the PCs do it? Should they?
    1. The Chantry’s head is aware that the newly Awakened person is their lover from a past life, damned to be a Widderslainte. They are desperate to rescue her.
  47. Fear Unending: A wave of fear and terror has swept the city, affecting everyone. Someone has to get the core of it, and take whatever is creating the fear out of commission.
  48. Sin City: One of the PCs runs into an old acquaintance and finds they’ve fallen on hard times. This leads the Cabal into the seedy underworld of real life problems, prostitution, drugs, and worse. If the human operators that take advantage of each other weren’t bad enough, one of the so called Enlightened is reaping a cut from every human trafficking deal and every snuff film, using it to justify the power of money over the population. Kicking over this ant hill is going to have consequences, but dare the PCs turn away?
  49. Hope Street: There are more beggars on the streets, more people being made homeless while at the top of the skyscrapers the rich stare down at the insects below. To make it worse, something is feeding on the street sleepers, stealing their hopes, fears, and dreams. This cannot continue, but can the PCs actually do something about it? Or are they limited to what they can punch?
  50. Only Happy When it Rains: A Hollow One Cabal has landed itself deep in trouble, their own misery, personified, is hunting them. Can the PCs help?
  51. The Miracle: A small cult have started to claim they can perform miracles. Is that true, or is something else at work?
  52. Messages from the Void: A new force has started to make itself felt in the form of a visionary young woman who’s views and programmes for change are catching people’s imaginations and creating hope in the poorer sections of the city/region. Is she the real deal, or just a repackaged attempt to sell the same old rubbish others have already tried. And if she’s genuine, can the PCs help her before the vultures start circling and trying to sabotage her good works?
  53. Lucretia my Reflection: A mortal is being haunted by the ghost of his former lover, Lucretia, and it’s driving him to his wits end. Why is the ghost unwilling to move on and what’s binding her to her lover? What secrets keep her in the Shadowlands?
  54. Burn: Someone burnt down a Technocracy lab and destroyed important research. Naturally, the Traditions are in the frame, but as far as any of them know, no cabals were involved. Who set the fire and what did they hope to achieve?
  55. A Confusion of Options/Home Invasion: The PCs Chantry has been invaded and they’re doing their best to fight back when the order comes for them to get out and take a Talisman or five with them. Plunging from their home through doors that could take them anywhere, what happens when they end up scattered across the globe?
    1. Each PC ends up somewhere else, facing a solo adventure (or adventure that allows them to team up in small, and potentially unexpected, pairings) and it turns out that each of the talismans has guided them to a place where it will be safe (and perhaps belonged before the Mages took it for safe keeping). The PCs must make a choice whether they can return the magical items or if they should keep them.
  56. Here Comes the War: The Technocracy may have declared victory but other things are coming up to fight. When the Union has to take drastic steps over a major threat to the world, will the Ascension War begin anew? Can the PCs stop the war from rekindling, and do they even want it to?
  57. Face to Face: A woman is found dead in an alleyway. She was a bartender at a local bar which the PCs frequented. A few days later, though, she’s spotted in town. Who is she and how can she come back from the dead?
    1. In reality the women are clones, placed in the city by the Progenitors to act as spies.
  58. The Ritual: A lone killer has started abducting people and killing them in an old house (one with a horrific past and the horror is engrained into the building itself). Is he the house’s victim, or have his actions reawakened the house’s horror? More than that, has he accidentally created a Node? What should the PCs do?
  59. The Assassin: A prominent figure in Mage local politics has been killed, assassinated by someone. The killer is in the wind, and the PCs have been nominated to find them. The only problem is that they’ve vanished into thin air.
    1. The killer is a Euthanatos, gone mad in the Quiet.
    2. The name ‘Ksirafai’ is lost to history but the cult still exists. Sometimes they strike out, seeking to clean up something they deem to be a mess.
  60. Jenny Slater is Missing: A teenager girl has gone missing from a remote town and something suggests that magic is involved. Has she vanished through a Shallowing or has something else happened to her?
  61. High Ground: The PCs must travel into the Umbra to seek out an artefact. Their steps lead them into the High Umbra, where they must undertake quests and riddles in order to win the day, at the court of a strange, almost abstract Umbrood who’s face is hidden behind a mask.
  62. To Map the Uncharted: A new Umbral realm has opened up and the PCs have a chance to map it. What’s the realm like and what dangers does it hold?
    1. It’s a jungle realm and full of ancient monsters/creatures
  63. Numbers on Numbers on Numbers: There is a ghost in the Digital Web, a figure who doesn’t belong and is tearing at the realm’s delicate connections. A Virtual Adept team is trying to track them down, but they’re struggling because the intruder seems to be specifically designed to fight them. As a result they’re calling for help from other Traditons.
  64. Blue John: In a small village in the British countryside, there’s a myth of an ancient god, a boar who watches over the place. There are other, darker, tales of course, but the important thing is that the stories have suddenly come back into fashion. When a Hermetic looks into the myths’ resurgence, he disappears. Now it’s up to the PCs to dig into the past and find out what’s going on.
    1. The local Mage, a Verbena, is the source of the stories, which s/he started spreading to create his/her own sphere of influence.
    2. The stories have been popularised by the local Changelings, who have an agenda of their own.
  65. First we Take Manhattan: The Traditions are planning a major blow at the Technocracy and the PCs have been roped in as scouts. What obstacles are in their way and does the thing they’re hunting for actually exist?
  66. Crash the Ceremony: A Mage is getting married to their lover but someone is planning a hit on the wedding. Can the PCs stop it in time?
  67. The Left Hand of Darkness: The Fallen have set up a game in the PCs city, one which involves many deaths and corrupted souls. The weight of Oblivion’s gaze has come to rest on the city and all within it. The PCs aren’t just playing for themselves, but for everyone. Already hellish magics are warping the Gauntlet and it maybe the metropolis will go the way of Atlantis.
    1. Stalking Horse: The Nephandi have set up a number of false trails and fake ‘games’ to distract the local magi. They’ve also recruited some vampires who are dumb enough to think they have an accord. While Mages investigate burnt down churches, murders that lay out an inverted pentagram onto the city, and other gimmicks, the Fallen’s real plan continues apace.
    2. The Grapes of Wrath: The city sees a spike in anger (and the other deadly sins) as the Fallen cast their dark magic, manipulating the mortals to do their will.
    3. The Most Dangerous Game: The PCs realise that part of the ‘game’ is that the Fallen are hunting them, trying to bring them to ground. Why?
  68. The Bondage of Geometry: The PCs start to observe that something inhibits their magic at certain places. Research reveals that parts of the city were built according to occult practices and that the city itself may be acting against them. Can they counteract the effects?
  69. Baal’s Altar: A local museum has acquired an altar of Baal and is displaying it. Naturally, its attracted attention, of the wrong type. When the altar is stolen will the Cabal work out who’s taken it and what purpose they have for it?
    1. The thieves are the Knights Templar, and they plan to destroy the altar… which will release the demon bound inside it.
    2. The Nephandi are behind the theft, planning to place it in one of their dark temples, and the demented little dupes who stole it will be their first sacrifices to the dark god.
  70. Target: John Smith: The infamous Man in Black, John Smith, has been sighted and the PCs (along with all the other Mages) are on high alert. What does the maverick want and how far will he go to get it?
  71. The Witch Hunt: A Tradition Inquisitor arrives at the Chantry, looking for traitors, Nephandi, and other Mages who might have committed crimes. Will the PCs help their friends, or leave them to the Inquisitor’s ‘tender’ mercies.
    1. One of the other Mages in the Chantry was a Nephandus in a past life, he’s clinging on trying to stop the dreams that haunt him from influencing his life. The Inquisitor terrifies him because he may crack… And if he does, who knows what will happen to him?
    2. The Inquisitor seems particularly interested in the PCs and their handling of some situations where they may have dabbled in things they shouldn’t, or made alliances that were regrettable. Can they fend him off and keep him sweet at the same time?
  72. Let Chaos Reign: A rare alliance of Marauders try to break reality by performing a strange stage show one night, infecting the whole city with madness and chaos.
  73. The Grand Conclave: A great meeting of all the Mages on Earth is called… including some the PCs would rather never meet again.
    1. The PCs are employed to gather information for their Tradition or Chantry leaders, no mean feat when there are wards on every door and window to stop snoopers.
    2. A Technocracy spy has infiltrated the Conclave and is planning to cause chaos.
    3. Those old enemies… Some of them are keen to settle things with the Cabal and Certamen challenges are being issued all over the place.
  74. Crosstown Traffic: An Ahl-i-Batin Mage has come looking for relatives who supposedly ended up in the city after fleeing the war in Syria. The problem is, they never arrived. Or if they did, they’ve never registered with the authorities. Where could they be and what does the Syndicate know about their fate?
  75. To Protect and Serve: Hammer Security Response are brought in to protect a militant Christian preacher who’s earned a fair amount of opprobrium for his hardline stance on everything from abortion, Creationism, and LGBTQQI rights. When the inevitable issues around his appearance start, God’s Hammer will step up… breaking head in the Lord’s name… Just what their Nephandic masters want.
    1. They’re led by a borderline psychopath, who’s faith is the only thing that keeps him check.
  76. Tomes and Stones: The characters are contacted by a bookseller, who seems to have a lot of original occult books for sale. Books that may be full of old, powerful, lore. As a new threat surfaces on the horizon, can they afford to pass up the opportunity?
    1. The dealer is a Nephandus, of course, tempting the characters in with knowledge.
  77. Fragile: Having been defeated by their enemies, the PCs are feeling the strain as things go wrong. It seems as if the set back has spread across their lives. Can they get back in the fight?
  78. A Djinn Calls: An act of Vulgar Magick attracts the PCs attention and sends them to investigate the matter. A Taftani is looking for something stolen from her homeland, determined to find it and take it home again. Will the PCs help or hinder her?
    1. Good Intentions: The artefact in question has been taken by a well meaning set of archaeologists trying to preserve the past.
  79. The Outcasts: A band of Orphans (literally a band, playing heavy metal) arrives in town, following an apparently perpetual tour where they keep on the move. They claim to know what they’re doing but the list of enemies they have suggests otherwise. Now, the people they’ve alienated are at the door, swearing this will be the last gig they ever play. Can the PCs persuade them to accept help?
  80. Byron’s Secret: A Hollow One Mage approaches the PCs for help. Specifically, she’s looking for an old manuscript by the poet Lord Byron, which she believes holds the key to spells he created during his life. The problem? The work has been lost since before Byron died and nobody knows where it is. Perhaps a spot of necromancy could help? But do you really want to call up the shade of a sex mad, club footed, poet from the 19th Century?
  81. The Experiment: The Children of Knowledge at the local university are trying to run experiments with drugs and alter states of consciousness. Their goal?, to find a way to Awaken people safely and reliably. The results so far have not been particularly reassuring… and they may have created a monster or two… Oops.
  82. Lost Armies: The Technocracy rewrote history once but it didn’t hold. Now, the wards that shut them away have begun to fade and those lost armies are coming back. Could the Marauders be involved?
  83. End Times: There are rains of fish in Boston, frogs in France have started to make dirty jokes, a politician’s been caught telling the truth, and the four horsemen are rumoured to have stopped off for fast food… It looks like the end times are really, truly, upon us. Let’s just hope someone slightly heroic can put a spanner in the works as every mad cultist and Mage scrambles to protect themselves, and possibly, to try and make the end of the world come to pass.
  84. Incursion: The Void Engineers have moved in to deal with an honest to God reality deviant but are badly outmatched. Will the Cabal help?
    1. A possessor entity, the entity is loose in a block of flats, where it’s presence is disrupting the electricity supply.
  85. Black Dogs: A black dog has been sighted in one of the city’s neighbourhoods, and when it appears people die. Can the PCs get to the bottom of the mystery?
  86. Threat Null: Threat Null is coming, Threat Null is coming. The Void Engineers need help to fight the encroaching Threat Null, a deadly Umbral enemy they struggle to explain. Fearing the other Conventions won’t help, or worse that they’ll join Threat Null if they find out what it is, they’ve ended up approaching the Traditions. Strap your spellbook on and get ready to blast into deep space… um Umbra.
  87. Shoot the Messenger: Someone is leaving cryptic messages for the Cabal, guiding them new discoveries and mysteries that need solving. Who is it, and why do they want the PCs to help so much?
  88. Operation Orpheus: The PCs have to descend into the underworld in order to trace a drug that’s killing ‘cool kids’ and seems to have a touch of magick to it. In time, they may have to go further and brave the Shadowlands themselves to find the drug’s source.
  89. Brave New World: In an effort to recruit the PCs, a Technocracy Mage offers them the chance to see the future the Union is building. Will they accept what they see, or go digging?
  90. Stealing Fire: An Umbrood is stealing Quintessence from Nodes to fuel its plans to gain more power. As the Mages lose their own power, will they be able to defeat the rogue spirit?
  91. Myth and Mystery: A story is unfolding around the PCs, an old story which has repeated itself throughout history and which always, always, ends tragically. Can the Cabal prevent doom happening again or will they allow fate to run its course?
  92. House of Cards: The local Mages in the PCs’ chantry are planning something, and internal politics is getting in the way of their fight against the various threats and Technocracy. A coup is starting to grow as the Awakened take their grudges more seriously and a small group plot their way to power.
  93. X Marks the Spot: The PCs have managed to irritate the local members of Iteration X and they’ve released the Hit Mark X to hunt them down and dispose of them. Caught in a game of cat and mouse, the PCs will have to survive as best they can.
  94. Boys in Blue: A group of cops have stumbled onto the knowledge that somehow the world is more than it’s usually advertised to be, and are taking matters into their own hands to try and make things better. Will they help, or hinder, the Cabal?
  95. The Nerds Strike: A group of eager mortals have caught footage of the PCs doing magick on camera and have started to follow them around. Keen, eager, and rather annoying they remain insistent about getting underfoot.
    1. They seem weirdly resistant to Mind magic, preventing them from simply being told to go away and bother someone else.
  96. Trees Come Down: A sacred Verbena grove is threatened with being torn up to make way for a new development (possibly in a Technocracy move hidden behind the banality of planning and urban expansion). Will the PCs prevent the ancient trees being destroyed, and are they willing to ally with the Garou to do it?
  97. Manhunt: A Cabal of Tradition mages are using magic to commit crimes against other members of the Awakened and the PCs are called in to catch them. The only problem is that the suspect Cabal insists its’ innocent.
  98. New Recruits: The Silent Alliance is in town recruiting Craft mages. When one of them goes missing, the Cabal is called in to help.
  99. Love is a Battlefield: A Tradition and Technocracy Mage have fallen in love (damn you internet dating) and want to escape to somewhere where they can live peacefully. Can the PCs help?
  100. The Traitor: Evidence of the Hollow One Ambassador’s betrayal of the Traditions at Horizon has come to light and now he’s being hunting. The other Hollowers might hide him but the Traditions are determined to bring him to justice and the Union want an annoying piece of their past wrapped up. The PCs may just end up stuck between opposing forces.
  101. She’s in Parties: A member of the Cabal’s Chantry is throwing a party as he/she pushes to get more political power. The problem is, this is a political party and all sorts of people have been invited, including rivals, Tradition Mage enemies, and even local Craft members.
    1. A Spy in the Cab: One of the guests wants to steal a tome from the Chantry library
    2. Rivals: Tanked up with punch and cocktails two Mages who dislike each other come to blows and before you know it they’re setting up a drunken Certamen duel.
    3. Dude, Where’s my Broom: The aftermath of the party is a difficult one. Much of the Chantry is trashed and the PCs apparently did a lot of things they don’t remember… Looks like they’ll have to retrace their steps to find out the sordid details.