White Wolf is doing a remarkable job of capturing the zeitgeist of ‘Mage: the Ascension’, firstly with ‘New World Order’ and now with ‘Progenitors’. It is challenging to tap into the mood of an out-of-print game, almost pretending that the intervening years did not exist; but the writers have successfully tackled this project.
‘Progenitors’ is blessed by simplicity. By that, I mean that the authors have very astutely chosen a single theme to apply to the Convention and examine their role in the World of Darkness from that theme. The primary them is one of healing, with a subtheme of ethics woven through it. The advantage to selecting this single theme is that the authors can focus purely on this exploration – and they do so with skill, bringing a richness to this Convention.
In this treatment, the Progenitors seek to heal the Union, and the subtleties employed in bringing together disparate Conventions is explored very well through the opening and closing fiction. The style of writing conveys a sense of empathy with these Technocrats, and a reasonableness of purpose that could be adapted by a Storyteller in chronicles where recruitment is a possibility (or objective).
Likewise the Avatar Storm (edit: Dimensional Anomaly) is used to great effect to humanise the experience of both the Progenitors and their closest allies – the Void Engineers. Again, this is part of a great effort by the authors to move away from a depiction centred on mass-cloning mad scientists, and towards a serious exploration of the Convention and how they would operate on a practical and strategic level.
There is a section detailing new gear like grafts and enhancements, as well as materiel from the Pharmacopeia Division, and this is icing. The real substance lies in the descriptions of the Methodologies, the current agendas and a few intriguing mysteries that could easily be used as the basis for entire chronicles.
Overall, the authors have captured Ascension’s feel once again, and given Mage fans like me a real treat. As with NWO, I’ll be ordering a print copy for my shelves as well this digital copy – and my collection feels just that bit more complete.
[5 of 5 Stars!]