[Bizarre Tales] The Diner Club

This isn’t the first time we’ve previewed some of Bizarre Tales & Unusual Characters for Victorian Age Mage: The Ascension, but with the book containing so much fun content, we’ve decided to do another!

Let’s have a look at a couple more story seeds in Chapter One:

The Diner Club

Paris, 1851. The Mystic Diner’s Club is hosting its grand dinner — an annual year event when the club opens its doors to sponsors and prospective members alike. The sommelier imported fine Dionysian wine, and the sous-chef prepared fleur de mer from Lyonesse for the occasion. Unfortunately, the main course, a pristine white bull, is missing.

This adventure is set in the brief age of the French Second Republic, wedged in between the February Revolution of 1848 and Napoleon III’s coup d’état in 1852. The president of this ill-fated experiment in democracy is Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte — the fox in the hen house waiting for the right time to strike. That backdrop of waiting for the other shoe to drop should always be there, right under the dinner’s polite veneer.

Involving the Characters

The Diner Club consists of food lovers and epicureans, rather than “hunters, or whatever they call people who find bulls” (to quote Chef Darlene). There’s a reward for the bull’s return. Furthermore, food is a great uniter, and the Diner Club counts members of the Council and the newly-reformed Union. The coven can meet Parisian mages of both the Traditions and Order and make a few friends among both sects.


  • The bull was liberated by a Marauder, Hopeless Lad, who believes the creature tells prophecies. It indeed does, but only in the Lad’s personal Quiet — and who knows if the prophecies apply to anything beyond that bubble.
  • Sous-Chef Rogier hired another coven to find the bull to undermine Chef Darlene. His motive is ambition with a dash of misogyny, as he has long coveted the position of chef — as well as having long rankled at working under a woman.

Major Players

Antagonist: Hopeless Lad, Marauder awakened during the February Revolution. He has already died in his personal Time-saturated Quiet, and reality has no say over the dead. His Quiet will catch up to reality during Napoleon’s coup — the bull told him — but that’s not the point. The point is the bull also prophesized the rise and fall of Napoleon III, something Hopeless Lad — a staunch socialist — cares about far more than his own life.

Bystander: Marie LaRue, Sleeper waitress for the Diner Club. She overheard talk of the missing bull and its reward — and she wants in. She could be quite useful — she has a lot of street contacts — but thinks the Diner Club is nothing more than a group of eccentric rich people.

Potential Ally: Madam de Latour is a rising star in the Diner Club. Her knowledge of Time and Correspondence magick could prove a boon if the coterie shares the glory of finding the bull with her. Assign her a Tradition or Convention to be of value as mentor beyond this adventure.

Wildcard: The Crystal Coven hired by Chef Rogier to find the bull — and if that fails, make sure no one else finds the bull either. They harass and sabotage the characters at every turn but stop short of actual harm unless the characters escalate first.


This is a low-stakes adventure intended as intermezzo in a larger campaign. The real, long term reward lies in the contacts a coven might make among the Diner Club — which is Paris’ leading gathering of mages.

Every Man is an Island

India, 1870. India is the jewel in the crown of the British Empire – to the English. To Indians, the British yoke is heavy, to be thrown off as soon as possible. In Siwar, a small, isolated outpost on the Western fringe of British-occupied territory, a group of local mages came together to strike back. With the help of Nagarani, a powerful and skilled Chakravanti, and a number of Akashayana from farther east in the Empire, they set out to destroy the very idea of colonialism — starting locally, affecting the British garrison at the village and slowly radiating outwards.

It simply didn’t work. The year-long ritual, for which a dozen mages including Nagarani sacrificed themselves, failed cataclysmically, and the resulting Paradox unleashed a sickness in the minds of Siwar’s people, both locals and colonizers. They became profoundly afraid of anyone deemed ‘other,’ and divided into factions, increasingly small and isolated. Most of the village’s Sleepers went into hiding, trusting nobody beyond their immediate family members, and the soldiers in the fort became paranoid and aggressive, shooting strangers on sight and patrolling the village to ensure they’re the only people there. The remaining Chakravanti advocate killing those affected to stop the sickness spreading, but an influential Akashayana has so far insisted on cordoning off Siwar in the hope the effect will fade over time.

Involving the Characters

Characters could become involved as agents of the British Government in India (in which case they’re likely associated with the Technocratic Union), or as local Traditionalists acting against the British. British agents might just as easily be specialists dispatched from elsewhere in the Empire as members of the local occupying forces. While the indigenous opposition is, in this scenario, led by Chakravanti mages, other Traditions are widespread in India: the Sahajiya are prominent here, as are Muslim Choristers.

Characters could be participants in the ritual or, whichever side they’re on, arrive after it’s taken effect.

At present, the sickness is confined to one small area, but it will spread. The impact if it were to reach Kolkata or Delhi would be devastating.


The Paradox effect diminishes over time: in a few more weeks, it will be neutralized, but only if it’s contained. Infected sleepers, whether they were in Siwar at the time of the ritual or arrive later, are memetically infected with the poisonous idea of isolation, and carry it with them when they leave, spreading it to others.

The Traditionalists are divided. They were assisted by a number of Akashayana from Hong Kong, also keenly interested in divesting themselves of colonial rule. The Chakravanti are on the verge of deciding it’s safest to bring the Good Death to everyone in Siwar, British and Indian alike. The few remaining Akashayana vehemently oppose this strategy. This is exactly how the Himalayan War started, they claim.

Key Players

Antagonist: Deepika Lal, the highest ranking Chakravanti remaining in Siwar. A nervous, plain girl without an ounce of tact in her body. She’s nineteen years old and still in the early stages of her magickal training, but as Nagarani’s student, people look to her to lead. Deepika sees only one way out of the situation: the Good Death for the afflicted, so the sickness can’t spread.

Potential Ally: Zhang Wai, a middle-aged Akashayana with memories of a hundred lifetimes and the physical and mental strength of a steel trap. Wai accepts responsibility for her part in the ritual, but not blame: Paradox is by its nature unpredictable, and no one could have known the cost of failure. So far, she’s worked with the Chakravanti to contain the ‘infection’ but she knows the death dealers are close to the murder of hundreds of people. She won’t let that happen.

The Wildcard: Captain Thomas Malloy, the young Awakened commander of the British garrison. Malloy nearly died in the early skirmishes but survived and Awakened in the midst of the chaos. He scarcely knows what his new gifts mean, or how to use them, but he retains his senses while those around him are losing theirs. He imprisons any British sufferer he can subdue within the garrison and hides from the locals. Malloy has a powerful Destiny, apparent to anyone with a knack for seeing such things.


If the sickness spreads beyond Siwar, its impact on India’s history will be grave, potentially shattering both the stable Indian states, as well as the British hold on the region. On the other hand, any who learn of the coven’s role in saving scores, or even millions of lives will be suitably impressed.

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