2016 Year in Review: Stew Wilson

Mage: The Awakening, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Werewolf: The Forsaken

Most fun project: W20 Shattered Dreams was the most fun project I worked on this year. It’s the most ambitious book that we’ve produced for W20 in terms of sheer scope — originally, the book focused on the it looks at the life and wars of the Changing Breeds around the Wars of Rage. The first War of Rage covers 70,000 BCE through to 2,000 BCE, while the second runs from 1492 CE to the fall of Bat in the mid 17th Century. Beyond that, the additional material that we were able to add as stretch goals allowed us to include the War of Tears for the first time, as well as the wars between shapeshifters long before the humanity’s existence. Tying all of this together is not one but two chronicle structures, so the majority of the book can be used in a modern game.

Most interesting research: The coolest research references were for Signs of Sorcery. Tome of the Mysteries introduced Ars Novum, magical tools derived from the modern world, and Tome of the Watchtowers expanded the correspondences and magical tools of each Path. Updating these tools for Mage: The Awakening 2nd Edition wasn’t just a case of copying and pasting from those books. I went back to the correspondences between the themes of each Path in various occult traditions to firm up the expanded path tools, and used those to derive a greater range of modern magical tools for the Ars Novum. As someone who studies various occult traditions for fun, it was a great chance to put a lot of what I’ve learned over the years to good use.

Favorite passage: From The Pack, for Werewolf: The Forsaken:

She was a girl hiding in a women’s shelter, no older than sixteen. Her soul was different. Her soul was no soul, but a horror of legend, a great plague wyrm of rotting flesh and tumorous scales. She had tried to starve it, so it had tended its own hunt without her. It wanted her to feed, to run among the herd for prey, but she feared the hunger would destroy her and change her into something other than human.

We told her the truth, as we always do: humanity is weak, an evolutionary dead-end that requires culling. Her dragon was a gift, and we would show her how best to use it. We Izidakh know the power of fear and holy plague. Now the nightmares answer to us, keeping the herd in their place and the Forsaken at bay. We all hunt now, wolves and wyrm together.