The Grey Cat Circus

Game Masters

Game Information
  • Created Sep 11 '12
  • Last Post Jan 26 '13 at 5:58pm
  • Status Complete
  • System Mage

Game Description

It’s 1931, and the Great Depression has unfurled across the nation like a tattered and dusty shroud. As crops wither and die in barren fields, hope and wonder fade from hearts and minds of a population consumed with despair. Amidst the ruin and sadness rolls a small procession of gypsy wagons, the last smoldering embers of the passing age of magic.

The Grey Cat Circus is coming to town.


The setting for the game is America at the onset of the Great Depression. As such, the presence of magic—-real magic—-should be imagined as even more of a rarity, and a thing of beauty and wonder in a world that has become a sepia-colored wasteland. The workers and performers of the Grey Cat Circus are the keepers of that magic, the last practitioners and chroniclers of the dying Traditions. In the struggle to keep that heritage alive, the circus must always stay one step ahead of the relentless Adversary who sniffs at their heels. Success could mean inspiring those drawn to its magic to run away with the circus and take up The Art; failure could mean deformity and relegation to the Paradox-twisted sideshow…or worse.

In anticipating the mood of the game, I recommend HBO’s 2-season series “Carnivale”, Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, Peter Straub’s Shadowland (a fantastic look at showmanship, magic, and fairy tales), Clive Barker’s Imajica and Cabal, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Sergey Lukyanenko’s Night Watch, and John Twelve Hawks’ The Traveler (the last four all being stories concerning magical/fantastic/monstrous societies living just beneath the surface of the “normal” world). I’ll try to include plenty of appropriate archive photos from the era throughout the game, to add some visual flavor to things.

Characters in the game will have a reasonable amount of latitude to use magic without too much concern about Paradox, given the nature of their profession (one in which doing dazzling things that seem impossible is expected)…so long as it always seems to be part of the show. Paradox flaws, once too obvious to be concealed, are likely to consign a performer to the sideshow, frightening children for a nickel’s admission. Whatever your character concept might be, send me a synopsis in a message so I can review it and determine its suitability within the game. Rules will be 1st-edition, and in light of the time period I’ve decided to leave Virtual Adepts out of the Tradition choices.

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