Flashback! A couple years ago, Mage: The Ascension was the game for me, in terms of headspace. I thought about it a lot and I read a lot about it and how others liked to play it. It basically dominated my mental field of view. At the same time, I really wanted to embark on some kind of project, but wasn’t sure what to do — that happens to me a lot, as a matter of fact. Eventually, I hit upon something. So many criticized Mage and the Storyteller system in general for wonky mechanics. I would convert it to something universally beloved1: Unisystem!
First I worked with a partner from RPG.net, but his interest waned as it became apparent we approached the task from different perspectives. I wanted to do a very simple, meat and potatoes conversion, bringing Mage‘s Sphere magic into Unisystem with as little fuss and actual conversion work as possible. In retrospect, this really meant leaving in a lot of the vagary and indeterminacy about which some people were very vocal about disliking with prejudice.
The most in-depth thing I did was try to establish an equivalency between how Sphere magic inflicts damage in Storyteller and Unisystem’s Life Points, which involved averaging damage done by firearms, as I recall. I have no idea if it was accurate or the right way to do it, but it seemed like a fair guide at the time.
Unisystem Mage languished as a plain HTML document for a year and a half after that. Then I hit upon the idea of making it a PDF, as surely that would make it more easily circulated. For whatever bizarre reason, doing it up in Open Office wasn’t good enough. Instead, I wound up using it as a way to learn LaTeX, an open-source program for laying out academic books and papers, usually in scientific fields like mathematics. It was an interesting experiment and one I don’t think I’ll repeat. So that’s why the PDF looks so much like a scientific journal article; that’s the template I used to lay it out.
Once complete, I uploaded it to UniFans.org, a repository of Unisystem-related content, where it has since garnered 357 downloads. Which, I think, is kind of impressive. Although I wonder how many of those eager downloaders thought it would lay out the full panoply of Sphere magic in Unisystem for their delectation, instead of being, essentially, a bunch of page references to the Mage corebook.
So, here it is, the final version of Unisystem Mage, as I left it over a year ago, now. Let me know if you find it at all interesting or useful.
[Download unisystemmage.pdf – 140 kb]
1 Stop laughing.