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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Maestro Mago] Basic Concepts & Themes  (Read 1975 times)
Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« on: May 04, 2006, 04:46:59 AM »



I was thinking… I love Doctor Strange- he’s my favorite Marvel character by miles.  I like the whole mojo of the character- the brownstone, the funky companions, the mystic origins, the vast but hidden responsibilities, the crazy Ditko Dimensions…  Doc Strange rocks.  But most supers games fail to capture the whole Strange thing- too broad a focus, and too specific a niche.

“So,” thinks I, “Why not a game devoted exclusively to the idea of Earth’s guardian magician and his circle or friends and allies?”

Part occult adventure, part soap opera… informed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer as much as Doctor Fate- and leveling ‘screen time’ of the more literally powerful Maestro Mago ‘central’ character with his companions and friends. 

The more conventional ‘occult action’ aspect of the game runs parallel to the dramatic soap-opera aspect- relationships, how they change, and what they mean to the characters needs mechanical weight- at least as much as more conventional gewgaws like kung-fu skills or supernatural talents.  The Maestro Mago character would be the most literally powerful- but such power comes with consequences and costs, and the Maestro is often better served using his more mundane talents, and relying on the aid of his companions.  The Maestro would be a PC- though perhaps not the same PC- Master Magician is a dangerous job, and the old Master’s companions might find themselves adopting and training a new Maestro (played by a different player).

The major themes are ones of ambition, power, responsibility, and how those things affect and are affected by relationships.

I have some mechanical ideas already- but will save those for a later post.  Here are the specific questions related to concept and themes I have (beyond the usual ‘is this cool enough for you to want to play it/tell me what you think’ default):

Tone- should the default tone for this be ‘comic-booky’?  A little camp, a little melodramatic, a little ironic humor?  Or would it be better served if played straight- trying to model convincing “real” relationship struggles and consequences?  Regardless, I’d like it to be engaging on both the mechanical and the thematic levels.

Theme- does the power/relationship convergence work… it isn’t intended to represent opposition, rather the two factors are meant to complicate the other- to make things more interesting.  Can the college dropout chosen by Fate to be the Master Magician of Earth and it’s Aligned Spheres work out his commitment issues with his girlfriend who has been transformed into huge white lion?  And when the Leonid Rex- ruler of the Savannas of Nith- takes a fancy to her… can the Maestro best both his noble rival’s attempts to transform Earth into his own personal game preserve and his efforts to win the affection of the girl? 

Bricolage VS Scripting- of late, I’ve become enamored with the concept of bricolage (though, the word makes me choke)- that complexity and order can arise from the creative input of players, elements of characters, and details of setting- that coherence can be achieved without more traditional GM scripting.  My recent experiences with Stranger Things have especially turned me onto this.  However, running a game using this strategy is hard (if rewarding).  Is there a viable middle-ground between these two play styles? 

Hrm…  I’ll perhaps have some more questions when I get answers to these, and have the chance to ruminate a bit further.

Thanks,

-Ben


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chris_moore
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Posts: 129


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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2006, 05:54:53 AM »

Quote
Tone- should the default tone for this be ‘comic-booky’?  A little camp, a little melodramatic, a little ironic humor?  Or would it be better served if played straight- trying to model convincing “real” relationship struggles and consequences?

I think the more "realistic" the relationships, the better to contrast the surreal magical side of the story.


Quote
Theme- does the power/relationship convergence work…
  I think it will, as long as the relationships are with the other PC's.  Otherwise, you'll have one player interacting with NPC's, while the others watch.

Here's an unsolicited idea - it intrigued me when you said:
Quote
The Maestro would be a PC- though perhaps not the same PC- Master Magician is a dangerous job, and the old Master’s companions might find themselves adopting and training a new Maestro (played by a different player).
Maybe the Maestro Mago is an NPC, and how he handles things mystically depends on the training and quality of relationships of his attendants?  (the PC's)  And, how would that feel for the PC's, finding and training the next Chosen One, only to possibly lead them to destruction?



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Iowa Indie Gamers!
Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2006, 06:05:07 AM »

Quote
Tone- should the default tone for this be ‘comic-booky’?  A little camp, a little melodramatic, a little ironic humor?  Or would it be better served if played straight- trying to model convincing “real” relationship struggles and consequences?

I think the more "realistic" the relationships, the better to contrast the surreal magical side of the story.


Quote
Theme- does the power/relationship convergence work…
  I think it will, as long as the relationships are with the other PC's.  Otherwise, you'll have one player interacting with NPC's, while the others watch.

Here's an unsolicited idea - it intrigued me when you said:
Quote
The Maestro would be a PC- though perhaps not the same PC- Master Magician is a dangerous job, and the old Master’s companions might find themselves adopting and training a new Maestro (played by a different player).
Maybe the Maestro Mago is an NPC, and how he handles things mystically depends on the training and quality of relationships of his attendants?  (the PC's)  And, how would that feel for the PC's, finding and training the next Chosen One, only to possibly lead them to destruction?


I was considering an alternate mode of play in which the Maestro would be a commonly created character- his circle of companions and friends would- by their stats and traits- create him in essence... advising, helping, and guiding the Master becomes a common unifying element of the game.

However- I do also want the flipside, where the Maestro is also a PC.

Good points on the relationships as well- teat them realistically, and make them as -in-group as possible.

-B
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