M&M: the Reaping
Welcome to the Sanctum
At 110 Ditko Street in the Riverside neighborhood of Freedom City stands a turn of the century brownstone that, aside from the small plaque announcing its presence in the National Register of Historic Places, appears completely unremarkable.
Appearances can be deceiving. If you’re lucky enough to get a tour, you’ll learn that 110 Ditko Street boasts (at last count) 75 bedrooms, 35 + 2e bathrooms, 15 kitchens (or as many as 19 depending on how much you want to stretch the word “kitchen”), all the libraries, and between 12 and 37 portals to other dimensions. It is the Sanctum of Earth’s Master Mage, Adrian Eldritch.
There’s a certain kind of TV show that revolves around the support staff of one very gifted and/or powerful person. This could be Dr. House’s diagnostic team, the various CSIs that orbited Gil Grissom, or the senior staff on The West Wing. Or sometimes shows that don’t normally have this theme dip into it for an episode or two: the below-decks episodes of various Star Trek shows, Scooby-gang centered episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc. Of course the lead characters, if the show is competently run, are interesting and compelling and get a lot of the show’s focus, but for our purposes we’re interested in the staff.
This is that show, but with wizards and magical beings instead of sexy doctors or sexy forensics techs or sexy politicians or sexy dog groomers. The player characters are all apprentices/disciples/interns of Adrian Eldritch, Earth’s Master Mage. Actually, he’s the Master Mage not just for Earth, but for the universe that Earth is in. So to the extent that alien worlds interact with mystical realms and forces (which isn’t as much as you might think—Earth turns out to be the nexus of something like 90% of this universe’s magic), he’s their Master Mage, too. Unfortunately, between beating back incursions from unspeakable entities bent on the destruction or enslavement of all life in this universe, correcting practitioners who cross the line, and acting as this dimension’s de facto ambassador to innumerable mystic realms and parallel dimensions, he doesn’t have a lot of time to spare for their training.
Thus the PCs get a lot of on the job training. They get sent to investigate mystical events foreign and domestic, deal with some of the busywork that accumulates around power, and maybe do some light diplomacy. Most of the things they deal with are things that Eldritch could clear up with a literal wave of his hand, but he’s needed elsewhere. Sometimes, though, it turns out that a job is more complicated or dangerous than it appears. The party’s standing orders are:
- If you can deal with it, deal with it.
- If you can’t deal with it, gather as much information about it as you can, then pass it along to the appropriate mundane, mystical, or superheroic authorities.
- If you can’t deal with it, and the appropriate authorities either can’t be reached or can’t deal with it either? Deal with it.