Some thoughts on Mage and Exalted

Over the holidays, I read a weak fantasy book called Prospero’s Children (by Jan Siegel published in 2000). It was one of the many second hand books I picked up before I left. It isn’t very good, well at least I didn’t think so. But the world and mythos it created screamed parallels with Mage the Awakening RPG (also see here, a previous post about it). In the book, there are the “Gifted”, mortals have inherited the gift from ancestors in Atlantis. Atlantis itself is the origin of all these gifted beings. They even use Atlantean language to cast magic.

I didn’t think it was very original idea (the novel or the RPG) but I thought, if you took this mythos and then put White Wolf’s WOD2.0 formula onto it (see Vampire the Requiem) and extended it a bit, you would have Mage the Awakening. However, I don’t think White Wolf have to worry about being sued for copyright, there is more than enough that is different.

I don’t like Mage the Awakening. In the same way I don’t like White Wolf’s Exalted RPG. They are both unoriginal, which is not necessarily a negative quality. However if you do go with unoriginal, you better do it well and/or do it in an original/inspired way. Do I think they did it well? Shrug. I don’t know.

To be honest, the reason I don’t like them is that I find both games un-inspiring. A concept it would seem that is hard to phantom by at least one friend of mine, however. While I do have qualms about the setting and system for both games, it is not as important, because even attempting to fix those will not rise it above uninspiring for me. “Boring” is probably a more appropriate word than uninspiring. If a setting does pique my interest, then a broken system will not stop me trying it out or if the concepts behind the system excite me, I can forgive failings in the setting.

C’est la vie. That is all I will say on Mage the Awakening and Exalted.

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