The Onyx Wolf: GM Tips

Nov 24

Hello and welcome to another article of the Onyx Wolf!

We have not been around for a while eh? Yes, mostly because I run out of ideas.

One thing I see people writing or video-ing about roleplaying games doing is the mandatory “GM tips” article so here is mine. It will be divided in at least two parts: the first will be a general overview of GMing, while the second will be more specific for the World of Darkness and Mage in particular.


Once upon a time, the structure of roleplaying games was pretty standard. There was one guy who was the Game master or Storyteller and a bunch of other people being the players. The GM would control the world and create the opportunities for adventure, while the players each would play just one character. This model is still around and it is the one I will be focusing on, but do be advised that it is not the only one by any stretch. Nowadays there are games that work without any GM, or have a rotating GM or even multiple GMs that work together. In more recent indie games especially, there is a bigger emphasis on giving the players the possibility of cooperating more fully in the storytelling not just with elements pertaining to their character, but also with stuff about the general story going on.

That being said, let’s focus on “classical” storytelling for now.

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The Onyx Wolf: Magical Styles, past and present.

Oct 08

Tome of Mysteries… I like this book, did you notice??

Hello and welcome to a new article of the Onyx Wolf!

Today we are going to talk about magical styles and why the New World of Darkness tries oh so very hard to make good ones and fails miserably for the most part.

As you might recall, in Mage: The Awakening, magic is created by your will and as such, no style is needed. Your character just wills it and it happens if he has the needed skills, so why would he need any hocus pocus to chain him down? The short answer is that he does not and the core book does not speak at all about styles or stuff like that.

At the time, this was seen as quite a sacrilege, because magical style was a quite important part of the previous system. In Mage: The Ascension you had Akashic mages using martial arts kata for their spells together with Ecstatic using drugs and hermetics using Angel speech or esoteric calculations to do their magic. The effects they obtained were all the same and regulated by a quite similar system of Arcana, but the meat was completely different.

This is because in the old system what you believed in was of paramount importance so that a traditionally trained Hermetic mage could not literally cast any spells without the support of the formulas and foundation of the tradition he so much believed in. None of such remained in the new system as magic works like that and so it is.

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The Onyx Wolf: Wengen recap

Oct 01

By Dee (Dorky)

By Dee (Dorky)

Hello and welcome to another article of the Onyx Wolf!

Today with added official unofficial mascot, courtesy of my friend Dee from the Valinor Aerospace Star Citizen corporation, hurray!

Last time, our heroes returned to the Monastery one more time only to end up quite.. crispy!
This time here is a recap of some sessions:

Alec finally arrived in Wengen and had an interesting story to tell. From his point of view, he entered the monastery with some of them and then was sent into Hell where he passed a nice and interesting “vacation” before getting spit out once again… But the others have no recollection of this as when they entered the monastery for the first time, Alec was not with them… and what happened to the other Alec, the one busy at work all this time??

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The Onyx Wolf: What is the God Machine?

Sep 24

Hello and welcome to a new post of the now regenerated Onyx Wolf!

God-Machine Chronicle cover. Copyright @ White Wolf Publishing Inc.

Couple weeks ago we checked the changes in the mechanics that the God Machine Chronicle brought to World of Darkness. This week we will speak more of the changes in the setting and the atmosphere.

First of all the significance of changing Morality to Integrity cannot be overstated. The original WoD campaign implied a personal journey through a mysterious world that had the chance to change you for the worse. The journey and the change was quite personal and entirely under your control. You lost morality only if you committed a  bad action. Furthermore, you could regain it by being a good boy for a while.

Integrity, however, reflects a world in which things are outside your control and you could lose it just for witnessing an horrendous act.. even if you are doing your best to stop it from happening. Circumstances can mitigate the loss, but it will still happen. In shorts, Integrity is more like the SAN stat in Call of Cthulhu games and the world built around it reflects that.

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The Onyx Wolf: A sick, sad wolf speaks of PoD

Sep 16

Hello and welcome to the Onyx Wolf!

This week, I got infected by some horrible slime plague, so I will be brief (yeah! you wish!).

I’ll talk about the Print on Demand business model that Onyx Path has established and the consequences of such a model. First off, as we discussed previously, this model was adopted as more or less a necessity to avoid the closure of one of the biggest role playing publishers of all times, White Wolf. Then again, the market is full of small or semi-small houses that manage to keep a printed presence somehow and are taking the market by storm with a retro-games comeback. Then you have the phenomenon of the “not-so-indie” FATE system that may have started small, but nowadays you cannot look around a corner without stumbling on some FATE… that and Savage Worlds.

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The Onyx Wolf: God Machine Chronicles, what changed?

Sep 09

Hello and welcome to another article of the Onyx Wolf!

This week we talk of the changes in the God Machine Chronicle from the rules point of view, leaving the setting changes to next week’s article. There are some changes in every piece of the World of Darkness, so prepare for some good amount of stuff, though do be advised that the main mechanic remained the same. I will also offer my commentary on the changes now that I had the time to test them in action in several games.

The Character

A big chunk of the changes are about the character themselves and how advancement work. Character creation is largely unchanged, with the same number of dots going in the same places and meaning the same things. There is a big overhaul of the merit system, unifying many merits existing in different companion books in a single source and changing some. Overall, the new merit system has a nice flow and cover most areas of interest. A couple of observations to note are the Professional training merit and the combat styles.

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The Onyx Wolf: The Return of the Monastery

Sep 02

Hello there!

Welcome to Wengen once again! I swear… next week I will do something different, you will see!

But for this week, guess what? As already mentioned last time, our heroes really could not let it rest and decided that going crypt hunting was really fuuuun! Though this time around there was a very real threat to be defeated, so returning in that horrible place kinda made sense.

First of all, let’s see the roll call. Guess who was still busy with Seraph business? yeps! Alec! Still missing, what a shame. Elsa also was not present, but she had been hospitalized the last session, so that made sense.

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