Friday, April 1, 2011
Bargain Bin Find - Mage The Ascension Second Edition
Last week I got the urge to stop by the not-so-local Half Price Books when I was out of town for work to check what the local RPG selection looked like. I had extremely low expectations for anything at all to show up. Maybe I'd get some over-priced D&D 4e books or shelves and shelves of older D&D books (nothing collectible to be sure). I went in with an open mind interested in just seeing what selection they could have and what kind of pricing they went with the stuff.
Much to my delight, there was a nice small selection of World of Darkness products, both Old and New. For some reason both Old and New Mage had the most selection of books out of all the series. There really wasn't that much else there actually outside of a Werewolf: The Forsaken book and a couple of Vampire: The Requiem books. I did take a second look at the Monty Cook World of Darkness book for $20.00. It's a very fair price, but ultimately I remembered that although the concepts I've read about being in it sound awesome, the whole thing is d20 based, and as above, d20's not exactly my system of choice.
So what did I end up getting? They had two copies of Mage: The Awakening that I considered selecting from. Then I flipped through one of them and remembered how frustrating the book's interior is. The gold cursive writing they use all over are practically unreadable for me. Instead, I gleefully picked up the other Mage core book they had there - Mage The Ascension Second Edition.
You see, I know this game meant quite a bit to a lot of people. I know that this game formed a lot of modern game designers and players into what they think gaming should be today. A big reason I know this is because, when I posted a thread to reddit/rpg asking for what other books I should be looking for, there was almost 60 comments and a good chunk of upvotes with people reminiscing and sharing their grief over the death of the game.
This may not seem like a big deal, but that's a ton of activity for /rpg on a random question thread. I don't mean to s'pose that a game's value and quality should be measured by the volume and quantity of the game's fans. The reddit thread (which you can find here) is packed with almost all positive memories and remarks. It's full to the brim with helpful assistance and guidance on how to get into the meta story of Mage and the overall Old World of Darkness. These people talk with a passion that isn't annoying but rather gives you inspiration to take a big swig of the story, swish it around in your mouth for a while, and spit it out with minty fresh enlightenment.
Overall I'm very impressed and pleased with what I'm getting here for my twelve bucks spent on the game. I may end up going to Noble Knight to pick up a couple more supplements (I've heard in particular that the Books of Shadows is invaluable, and it's hella cheap at Noble Knight used). Do I think I'll ever end up playing the game either as a Storyteller or a Player? Probably not. That doesn't diminish the pure entertainment value I've already got out of it and am looking forward to continuing to squeeze out of this bargain bin purchase. A couple more pictures below show off some of the bitchin' 90's art from the core book which I find to be completely endearing.
Got a good memory of reading or playing Mage The Ascension? I'd love to hear it. There's just something about this game's fans which stand apart from any others I've read the comments of.