I’m going to try hard to avoid spoiling the Madoka Magica finale, but among the revelations was the fact that in the series’ setting there are magical girls/puella magi in every part of the world, and they have existed throughout human history. Before that the series had largely avoided the question of what lay beyond Mitakihara Town, and indeed cultivated a surreal atmosphere to the point where I was beginning to wonder if there wasn’t a Dark City type thing going on. The architecture, which has landmarks from all over the globe, certainly added to that impression.
I didn’t need Madoka Magica’s “permission” by any means, but I do want to explore possible alternate settings and campaign concepts for the game. I’m going to come up with some ideas in this post, and I invite my readers to throw in more. I’ve stuck to ones that I might actually run, and that I think I could do justice, so I’m sure other people could do a lot more, especially when it comes to interesting historical settings.
What do magical girls do when a war breaks out? The power of their magic vastly exceeds the capabilities of any mortal war machines, so magical girls could decimate virtually any military force if they’re careful. Of course, magical girls are not immune to national loyalties, so there will inevitably be magical girls fighting not to end war but to bring victory to their homeland. Chances are the tsukaima don’t actually care about what strife is visited on humanity so long as their mission is fulfilled, so they won’t have any compunctions about providing magical girls to the great villains of human history.
Mankind expanding into space doesn’t mean that there won’t be any more magical girls. Whether a tiny moon colony, a gargantuan spaceship, a fragile agricultural colony on a distant world, a great galactic empire, or some other configuration that puts people in space, magical girls can still end up fighting youma.
The Magical World setting I did way back when was based on the idea that magical girls were not only public, but so common that they’d started to become a nuisance. Anyone who cares will try to talk you out of becoming a magical girl, and there are people who see the destruction magic can cause and seek to eliminate magical girls from the equation.
In The Lab
Hello, and welcome to the Enrichment Center. Suppose someone decided that they needed to learn more about the magical girl phenomenon. The players’ magical girls are trapped in some kind of research facility under the control of a deranged AI, and they must find a way to escape despite all the dangers the “tests” hurl at them. This isn’t brave. It’s murder. What did I ever do to you?
The world as we know it has come to and end, and humanity struggles to survive in a blasted landscape where might makes right because there’s no other order left. There might be something about a psychic maelstrom too, and a Thunderdome is a distinct possibility. Are the tsukaima somehow responsible? Was the end of the world only the next stage in their plan? Whatever the case, magical girls still exist, and their powers can make all the difference in a world where there are men who would happily kill for a gallon of gas.
Taking a cue from Alien Nine, youma outbreaks are such an everyday thing that people are almost blase about them. Each school has a tsukaima on the staff, and each class has to elect someone to become a magical girl who fends off whatever youma might come cause trouble at the school. This version would require changing the game a little, so that the relationship between magic and non-magic isn’t drastically one-sided.