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What We Played: Mages of the Isles (Microscope)

Ben R
thatsabigrobot
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 84
players: Caroline, Mike, Marc, Ben

Mages! Sea monsters! Spirit-creatures walking the unseen paths of the second world!

We used one of the quickstart history seeds, and wound up with a big picture where refugees fled to distant isles to escape a magical plague. Despite me explaining the rules in super-confusing sentence fragments (go, jet lag!), everybody got the gist and rocked the mythical house.

As I mentioned after the game, before we started I would have guessed our history would have focused on after the refugees settled the archipelago, but instead everything we did came before the wild seas (and accompanying sea monsters) were tamed.

There's a ton of stuff I'm curious to explore further in that history:

- The evolving relationship between the different generations of mages and the spirit-beings of the second world has all sorts of interesting facets. I totally didn't see the revelation coming that the spirits were the vehicle the mages used for the plague (which highlights why Microscope demands you not collaborate: surprises like that are awesome). In hindsight I also realized that while the spirit-entity that Mike played was a strange, fairly inhuman creature, the spirits that Caroline and I played in the "mage conspirators ensnared" scene later on were much more like people. Now I'm totally wondering what that means... more questions!

- During the advent of sea exploration and the maiden voyage of The Wanderer during the golden age, people had been living on floating islands, but in that scene they clearly had a port city on the ocean. And as we established in the scene, the city didn't have mages. What's up with that? So curious!

- And hey, what magic was the mirror using to mow down the soldiers with heat rays? All magic must come from a local source, right? (spoiler: my guess is that it was using the mana of the sun itself. The sun's local, because, heck _it's everywhere_. How about them apples? Of course we'd have to play again to find out for certain...)

- And the most burning question of all: why was Archmage Katrana called "Starfury?"

One of the sweet things about Microscope (I think) is that when you have those "hey, wait a minute!" moments after a scene, it just motivates you go to back and find out why what happened, happened. Even oversights or continuity "errors" become fodder for cool ideas.
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