Download WOD - Mage - The Ascension - Digital Web 2.0 PDF

TitleWOD - Mage - The Ascension - Digital Web 2.0
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Total Pages135
Table of Contents
                            Contents
Prelude: Backlash
Introduction
Site 1: Uncle Toad's Net Tour
Site 2: Life Online
Site 3: Sectors and Avatars
Site 4: Administration
Site 5: Programming Systems
Site 6: Running in the Real Web
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

We are in the beginning of a major revolution...
The whole way we see nature will be changed.

— Joseph Ford, physicist

By Phil Brucato, Jennifer Clodius, Roger Gaudreau,
Jesse Heinig, S. John Ross and Jaymi Wiley

Page 67

popular pastimes here, and everybody smokes. Despite the
aura of broken dreams that fills this room, Bogart's main-
tains a somber kind of romance. A famous pick-up spot, the
bar boasts a good "food" and a better "drink" selection. The
occasional fist fight or single gunshot keeps the bar's mys-
tique alive, but serious brawlers get dumped before the
ambiance can be shattered.

The Wreck Room
As loud and obnoxious as The Cafeteria is quiet and

sterile, the Wreck is a strobe light fan's dream come true.
Stages and individual dance platforms hover throughout the
room, and the beat is always strong. The theme of the music
changes every two hours, cycling through bee-bop to psyche-
delic, from disco to hip-hop, from goth and techno to
ambient and acid-noise. Icon restrictions favor clothing
appropriate to the style of music being played. In an elevated
glass booth, a deejay keeps the tunes flowing. Depending on
what's playing, this icon may be male or female, sexy or
garish. Although s/he answers to many names, the deejay's
genial (if slightly oily) behavior and musical expertise re-
mains consistent. Yes, s/he takes requests.

The Board Room
Reservations are required to secure this private meet-

ing room. Nearly all organized meetings, business or
otherwise, take place here. Naturally, Syndicate types favor
this place; every so often, they get touchy about sharing it
(unti l a few of them get dumped and learn to behave again
for a while). Icon restrictions favor business attire, although
an advance registration allows the visitors to change those
parameters to suit their preferences.

In the center of the chamber, a huge mahogany table
sits surrounded by high-backed leather chairs. The table
automatically sizes itself to accommodate the number of
attendees, and the room always seems to be just the right
size to seat all visitors. Video screens near each chair help
participants stay involved when the table grows too large to
see the current speaker easily. In the past, proceedings in
this room often got out of hand. Someone came along and
constrained the room, however, and now all attendees must
follow Robert's Rules of Order. Since then, things have
been considerably more organized.

Paradise Island
A lush tropical isle complete with white-sand beaches,

clear water and an unbroken cerulean sky, Paradise is a
source of decadent pleasures. A resort filled with night-
clubs, restaurants and bars sits nestled in the heart of a
palm jungle; secluded bungalows and private beaches
await on the outskirts. Friendly island natives attend to
anything a visitor needs or wants, from drink refills to
shoulder rubs to more intimate services. Many visitors
spend their days lounging in the sun and swimming in the

virtual ocean. The resort also hosts a luau every night,
although midnight swims (sharks not included) are always
an option. Icon restrictions favor anything from beachwear
to bare skin. A popular tactic of spinners fleeing Men in
Black is to duck into Paradise and watch the embarrassed
agents either walk away or adopt swim trunks (black, of
course) in order to fit in.

The Galleon
Several entrances from the heart of the Spy's Demise

lead to a small stateroom in the aft portion of an old
Spanish galleon. This is no merchant run or pleasure
cruise, however; this ship is crewed by pirates. Formatted
as a representation of every boy's dreams of larceny on the
high seas (and heavily influenced by Erroll Flynn movies),
the Galleon allows its visitors to indulge in swashbuckling
adventure of the finest sort. Sometimes the crew is eagerly-
preparing to attack a merchantman; at other times, mu-
tiny is afoot. Every now and then, the ship puts in at a
pirate-friendly port, where the crew splits its plunder and
celebrates before heading back out to sea. Visits here are
rarely the same.

As with all of the other rooms, the sensory experience
is vivid and total, if a bit idealized. Icon restrictions demand
that each visitor assumes pirate guise and appropriate props
(cutlasses, parrots, peg legs, etc.). Many rival vessels are
actually other rooms — another pirate, a merchantman, an
English Navy warship, etc. Regulars often play both sides,
becoming a Spanish pirate-hunter one day, a buccaneer the
next. All combat is "soft," of course. "Dead" crewmen
simply dump their senses back into waiting icons in the
Grand Bar. The pirate icons lay in heaps to simulate the
dead men who do tell tales... often while their "corpses" still
lie in the thick of battle.

Ghastenburg Castle
Monstrous walls rise from perpetual mists in a wooded

countryside under a cloudy sky. A wide, scum-coated moat
surrounds the walls; the only way across it is an imposing
drawbridge of oak and iron. Inside, guests gather in the
main audience chamber and the great hall, toasting the
health of King Henry and Queen Branwyn. Outside the
great courts, the passages are liberally scattered with sleep-
ing quarters, dining halls, dancing chambers, and the like.
Above the castle, towers reach up into the air like skeletal
fingers; the tower windows stay alive with strange light well
into the night. In the depths below, the dungeons echo with
the screams of tortured prisoners, and in the woods outside,
eerie beasts stalk the storm-swept hills.

This room is LARPer heaven, with knights and lords,
wizards and quests, heroes and villains, swords and sorcery.
The constraints of the room require appropriate garb and
speech, but within the rules of the game, anything goes. Of
course, there are consequences for careless behavior. Anger

Page 68

the lord or break his edicts, and you'll find yourself at
swordpoint... or in the dungeon, providing entertainment
for other visitors. All "magick" is, of course, coincidental, so
long as it fits the classical mode. The staff, however, frowns
upon large, powerful or destructive enchantments. Many a
careless "wizard" character has vanished forever in a puff of
smoke, or been dragged to "hell" (a dump conduit) by
"demons"; thus dumped, the visitor must begin with a new
"character." If he strays too often, he is barred from the
room for good.

Although the king, the queen, and several of their
henchmen are staffers or Digital Dollz (no one's quite sure
which are which), the court intrigues are open to a host of
guests, many of whom are regular "players" in this colossal
MU*. New guests often enter as "strangers to the king-
dom," quickly embroiled in the love/hate political romance
of Henry and Branwyn. Although the monarchs adore
each other, they conduct a fierce rivalry, played out like a
game of chess with oh-so-willing live pieces. A full platter
of evil knights, conspiring lords, dedicated clerics, pas-
sionate peasants and horrible creatures keep Ghastenburg
Castle hopping. While some visitors complain that the
Castle is either "not period" or "in bad taste" (the dun-
geons ate fairly harrowing, especially for Verbena with a
sense of history), this room is among the most popular
"attractions" in the Demise.

Reputation
The Spy's Demise is a source of eternal conjecture

among those who visit i t . . . which includes nearly every
mage in the Web. No one knows who opened the club or
who maintains it, but everyone loves to speculate. Popu-
lar theories state that it's an NWO Construct collecting
information on everything that happens in its rooms;
that it was built by the Virtual Adepts during the experi-
mental days of the '50s and '60s; and that it's really a
Nephandic t r ick, undermining both the Council and the
Technocracy. Some spinners maintain it was the spot
where Turing first appeared in the Web, or that it was set
up by the Ahl-i-Batin, who are gathering data for their
triumphant return. Some even call it the growing wish-
dream of a species on the brink of self-extinction.. . or of
a spirit on the threshold of Awakening. Then there are
the really weird theories.

Though opinions about the Demise's tolerance policy
vary, everyone enjoys having a place to relax without
having to watch their backs. Recent increases in the
security protocols have some patrons (mostly Virtual
Adepts) grumbling about "the good old days." Many
Technocratic patrons think the changes are positive ones,
and encourage more of them... especially if they drive out
the Tradition mages.

Page 134

Gelernter, David, Mirror Worlds
Gibson, William, Neuromancer; Count Zero, Mono. Lisa

Overdrive; Burning Chrome

Gleick, James, Chaos: Making a New Science
Hawke, Simon, Psychodrome
Heim, Michael, The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality
Prigogine, Ilya and Isabelle Stengers, Order Out of

Chaos: Man's New Dialogue with Nature

Rheingold, Howard, Virtual Reality

Scott, Melissa, Trouble and Her Friends
Shirley, John, A Song Called Youth; Eclipse; Eclipse

Corona; Eclipse Penumbra

Simmons, Dan, Hyperion; The Fall of Hyperion

Stephenson, Neal, Snow Crash; The Diamond Age

Sterling, Bruce, Islands in the Net; Globalhead; The
Hacker Crackdown

Vinge, Vernor, True Names... and Other Dangers; Across
Realtime; A Fire on the Deep

• Magazines
MONDO 2000 (Is this magazine still in publication?

Its erratic schedule makes one wonder. Even if it isn't, back
issues of R.U. Sirius's brainchild make fascinating reading.)

Wired (From its anarchistic beginnings, this magazine
has become, for better and worse, the leading organized
source of futurist commentary... kinda like the Virtual
Adepts themselves.)

• RPG Sourcebooks
(Bolded entries are White Wolf supplements; all

others published as noted.)
Dansky, Richard, Guildbook: Artificers (an excel-

lent Wraith: The Oblivion supplement dealing with ghost
hackers and their archaic brethren.)

McKeeman, Darren and Harry Heckel, Virtual Ad-
epts (an essential Net book, reprinted in Traditions
Assembled, Volume One: Songs of Science.)

Mike Pondsmith and crew (R. Talsorian), Cyberpunk
2020 (and its various sourcebooks. Fairly typical cyberpunk,
but fun.)

Various Authors, Beyond the Barriers: The Book of
Worlds

Various Authors, The Technomancer's Toybox
(loaded with all the Devices that wouldn't fit in the Virtual
Adept and Son of Ether sourcebooks.)

Music
Helpful background stuff for Net-based games. All good.
Delirium
Die Form
Die Krupps

Enigma
Front 242
KMFDM
Prodigy

QNTAL
The Residents
:Wumpscutt:

Websites
Unlike books and magazines, Websites come and go

with frustrating speed. As of this writing (summer 1998),
the following Websites can provide helpful information,
inspiring source material and other fun stuff:

http://dev.null.org/psychoceramics/ The
Psychoceramics mailing list, absolutely the best resource for
kooks and strange ideas.

http://info.isoc.org/guest/zakon/Internet/History/
HIT.html — Hobbes's Internet Timeline, a guide to the
history of the real-life Net.

http://kalex.engin.umich.edu/mcelwaine/ -- Robert
McElwaine's rallying cries to save the future from the
hidden powers of the world.

http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html—The
Crackpot Index, a short but funny guide to bad science.

http://www.amazing.com/internet/faq.html — Den-
nis David's Internet Access Provider FAQ, a useful resource
for technical and Net-culture info.

http://www.deoxy.org/index.htm — The Deoxyribo-
nucleic Autonmous Zone; techno-magickal "realism,"
mythohash and bizarre running commentary.

http://www.eff.org/— The Electric Frontier Founda-
tion homepage; more real Virtual Adepts promote the
freedom of information in the Net and elsewhere.

http://www.etext.org/Politics/Beter.Audio.Letter/—
The Peter Beter Audio Letters; secret history of the infor-
mation revolution.

http://www.godlike.com/muds/mres/mweb.html -
The MUD Resource Collection. See above for details.

http://www.mcs.net/~jorn/home.html — Robert Wis-
dom, a real-life Virtual Adept, explores politics and futurism.

http://www.student.nada.kth.se/~nv91-asa/ -
Anders Sandberg's link site, a jumping-off ground for futur-
ism and transhumanist theory.

http://www.technorealism.org — A work in progress
founded by a group of "techno-realists" who strive to find a
middle ground between future shock and pollyanna futurism.

http://www.white-wolf.com—White Wolfs own Website,
including FAQs and occasional updates about new stuff.

rec. games, frp. story teller — Online discussions (some
profound, some amusing, some heated, some lame) about
White Wolf-related subjects.

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