Maging Against Machines

This week, we played another session of Mage Against the Machine by Jordan Palmer with a different crew and cast. We are a group of mages who must travel back in time to prevent an otherwise unstoppable robot apocalypse, despite the damage that may do to reality and our own lives.

After our travels and interventions the apocalypse is voided but so are some of our personal histories. River’s cherished childhood memory of visiting a circus with his family turns into grief as tiny robots injure the crowd due to changes caused when Camile casts Twitchy and overrides the local AI programming. In another moment, Leopold casts Cheesy to bring pizza to a hungry family so Aster’s memory of playing with blocks with her mother remains intact and unchanged. In the new timeline, John never meets his wife through an online dating app because Aster casts Repulsive to make the app’s chatbot so unpleasant that no one uses it. And Leopold never reunites with his brother after Camile uses her shapeshifting abilities to infiltrate the prison where Mika, his revolutionary brother, is being held so he can return to lead the anti-AI movement.

An insectoid robot towers over three wizards in a circle casting a spell with Mage Against the Machine emblazoned overhead.
Mage Against the Machine cover art by Matthew Warwick courtesy of

River retains untouched his memory of meeting a beautiful girl with a halo of red hair on the day an AI bus driver glitched and attacked passengers after Aster casts Grounded to reset the driver’s AI and reground them to basic protocols. John’s memories of winning at the battlebot fights that helped the surpass all other forms of entertainment are inverted into shame at losing in the fights after Leopold casts Cagey to prevent the AI from ever noticing the fights. Camile’s memory of learning shapeshifting from her Grandmother had been a source of pride, but after John casts Reimaged to prevent a bionic arm from killing a king, it becomes a source of shame because her Grandmother had failed to take action when a similar incident had occurred long ago.

Aster’s memories of coming a wizard are lost as is Aster’s magic abilities as a consequence of our meddling in the timestream, and Leopold’s memory of becoming an ambassador becomes a source of shame for having collaborated with the AI regime. Camile’s memory of joining the city rescue mission and saving the life of a girl remains cherished and unchanged in the new timeline.