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Magicians of England Actual Play Report

Last week I ran Magicians of England Playtest #2 with Pat and Phil. Magicians of England has been previously discussed here. I was trying out a new, more streamlined plot twist mechanic, which worked out pretty well, and we also solved some of my problems with how to incorporate magic, which was awesome. I’ve included mechanics notes in square brackets.

Pat played retired Colonel Eustace Beerbellows, renowned war hero and eccentric quack whose ambition is to become more rich and famous. Phil played Byron Burns, idealist poet and champion of the common folk. I played Marcus Beauthorpe, wealthy book collector who seeks to cure his obesity through magic.

We also had to formulate some theories about magic, to wit: Magic must be concentrated to work, Magic can be done with a rare flower from the forest, and using Magic may incur the wrath of the faeries.

Pat set the first scene with Col. Beerbellows vigorously directing two lackeys to dig up the soil in the Oxford public park while Byron Burns looks on from the window of the library. A group of constables appears on horseback demanding to know what is going on [plot twist!]. Pat creates a character – the chief of the constables, who also turns out to be a former member of his regiment, and wins the plot twist, narrating how the constables chip in and help Beerbellows deface a public park for Magic and the Empire!

Phil set scene 2, and chose to have his character trekking through the woods in search of the rare flower (Q. Arcanthus) that is known to have magical properties. As a plot twist, I threw in that Wilhemmena (one of Beerbellows’ lackeys) was following him with intent of stealing his notes so Beerbellows could find the flower for himself. At that moment, a well-dressed gentleman appears and begins questioning an astonished Byron as to his activities. As an additional plot twist, Phil throws in that the man is indeed a faerie, and he intends to steal away both the flower and its possessor. After some bidding over the resolution of this plot twist, it is decided that the faerie may only steal a person away if that person has found the magical Q. Arcanthus, so the faerie (now named Lucien), who has that very flower in his lapel, offers it to Byron, who takes the bait. It also emerges that Lucien is quite a powerful magician, but his Magic rarely works as intended. The other plot twist is resolved with Wilhelmmena returning to report these events to Beerbellows. In the “tying up loose ends” phase, Pat narrates that Beerbellows will be spending some time at the police station explaining himself to the constabulary.

Scene 3 is mine, so I narrate that as Marcus is tending his garden, Byron and the Faerie appear from nowhere. There’s quite a bit of dialog and back-and-forth from which it emerges that the faerie believes this house is actually his own, with some humor as Lucien and Marcus both attempt to invite one another into the same home for tea. The dialog winds around as it’s clear that no one is exactly sure what should happen next in the scene, so someone interrupts and makes the situation into a plot twist, stating that Lucien is minded to disappear to the faerie realm and take the house with him. There was a cool moment in here when Pat spent some chips to narrate a few things about Faeries into the world, that they consider all of England their property, and that they prefer to alter the world to match their opinions (by magic) rather than change their opinions (that’s not how he put it, that’s the best way I can find to phrase it).

Now that the plot twist is set up, Phil decided to resolve it, stating that Byron, who has fulfilled the requirements for Magic, is going to use a spell from his notebook to reveal the true owner of the house. After some bidding he succeeds, but Pat latches onto the risk “incur the wrath of the faeries”, to narrate that both Marcus and Byron have won a bitter enemy in Lucien.

This seemed to be a good point to wrap things up. Everyone agreed that the plot twists worked well, but that Magic needed to be more streamlined. We decided to meet up and continue this storyline, and see how it goes with one more person.

NOTE The playtest packet is almost ready. I am doing some final editing tonite, so I should have rules ready for people to play with themselves very soon. Please let me know if you have a group who are willing to try this out, and I will send you a copy of the rules as they currently stand.

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Please please please send play test stuff soon!!!!


Thanks - looks good. Only had a chance to give it a quick skim last night.

Cool! Question 1 is "can you figure out how to play the game?" Everything else is gravy. :)

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