My first RPG project of the New Year has been to blow the dust off The Magus Hack, get some friends to create modern-day Magi and launch into a weird campaign. Game play has prompted a few rules changes. The setting is post-Lockdown Britain, but things are not as they seem but only the Magi are able to notice it.
The campaign introduction takes the form of these excerpts from mundane and magical news sources over the last 25 years:
The Avalon Crusade
The Magus Hack offers a set of different campaign ideas, referred to as Nemeses. This one is based on the Avalon Crusade Nemesis, with Fae lords invading our reality and subverting it to conform to their Dark Ages ideology.
In this version, the Fae infiltration began slowly and secretly, but has increased in the 21st century and is now becoming blatant. Because it is an alteration to the texture of reality itself, most ordinary humans don't notice anything out of the ordinary going on - but Magi do.
A couple of social changes have taken place. A Christian sect - referred to as Grail Christians - has dominated the Church of England and inspired a successful political party. Grail Christianity is superficially a Celtic-themed Christian sect, but mixes pagan themes with mortification and blood sacrifice. A linked movement is the Sons of Albion - Far Right street agitators who target foreigners and ethnic minorities. Both groups endorse a racist ideology that valorises whiteness and ancestral Britishness.
Huge 'Guest Camps' have been created for immigrants (and British residents whose nationality has been questioned). Needless to say, there are rumours of human sacrifice going on at these places and Fae redcaps 'stitched' into human bodies emerge from these hideous places.
Not everyone buys into this fascistic shift. Even humans who can't see through the Fae subversion of reality still oppose racism and witchcraft: outraged evangelical Christians and the Catholic Church oppose the Grail cult; the Muslim community pushes back against the Sons of Albion; human rights groups deplore the rising xenophobia. Brave journalists try to expose what goes on in the Guest Camps.
Ley Lines have been energised by the Fae and new ones are appearing - usually when a dolmen emerges from the ground. These are rune-encrusted standing stones that now loom over street corners and public parks, unremarked by ordinary people. When Magi cross (or 'trip') a ley line, the Nemesis Die is rolled, increasing the chance the Fae Lords will notice rebellious sorcerers.
Ley Lines: Mechanics
Ley Lines have a magical Power (1d4+1 for new ones, 1d6+2 for established one) and this must be overcome by magic trying to manipulate them - such as using Abjuration to suppress them temporarily or Evocation to re-route them or tap their power; any effect must be combined with Divination and so is at Disadvantage for combining Schools. Tapping a leyline generates temporary Thaum but each Thaum collected calls for a Nemesis check and the Thaum is only usable while the Magus remains on the ley line or at the dolmen. Difficult and dangerous, but a tempting source of magical power.
30 Minute Dungeons
Essays on Forge
I'm a teacher and a writer and I love board games and RPGs. I got into D&D back in the '70s with Eric Holmes' 'Blue Book' set and I've started writing my own OSR-inspired games - as well as fantasy and supernatural fiction..