This is always exciting, although somewhat anxiety provoking as if I can’t source something from a library or obtain a preview on Google Books, I am often taking a calculated risk based on scraps of evidence gleaned from the web and a writer’s hunch.
Due to lack of shelf space, the majority of my physical books consists of an eclectic collection of hardback and softcover history works, material I’ve collected while researching Ars Magica writing projects or both (you never know what will be inspiring) as I now try to read everything else in digital (kindle or iBooks) format to save space.
Both books are about (Old)London Bridge, and both look to be useful, fortunately in complementary ways although there is considerable overlap.
Since refocusing this blog somewhat, I’ve been trying to build in time to upload a significant amount of material once a week, typically a page worth of gazetteer material accompanied by a post elaborating on the inspiration or providing design notes.
Apologies, but I’m a bit behind as the material I’ve been working on is a specific region of northern Sardinia.
I’ve added some more material to the Mythic Genoa section, a short gazetteer page on the Tuscan Archipelago – the group of islands offshore of Pisa and between Corsica that comprises Elba, Montecristo and several smaller islands. The group forms a loose southern boundary to the Ligurian Sea tightly controlled by Genoa’s galleys. In 1220 is guarded by the ships of nearby Pisa, which patrol the waters between the rocky outcrops in an attempt to prevent their Genoese rivals taking the shorter route to the Levant through the Tyrrhenian Sea rather than having to skirt around the rocky western coasts of Corsica and Sardinia.
Adopting the styling of The Sundered Eagle, Chapter 6: the Islands, the page details the geography and notes some of the local sites of potential interest to Hermetic magi. Similar to my comments on some of the smaller Aeolian islands, the Tuscan Archipelago may potentially hide the villa of Fortunata, the theurgical archmaga detailed in Chapter 3 of Legends of Hermes, or contain suitable isolated sites for Mystery cult initiations.
As wild goats are particularly common on these rocky islets, I’ve also dug out my ArM5statistics for wild goats from my cutfiles (a 500 word piece of writing that so far has been cut from 3 supplements to save space). While not as fearsome as some mundane beasts, wild goats seemed an unfortunate omission from the ArM5 Mundane Book of Beasts PDF and would make suitable Heartbeasts for Bjornaer magi, pack animals, Hermetic or hedge wizard familiars, (Magic) animal companions, and/or low-level foes for Grog-based stories. Perhaps even a transformed goat as a somewhat dim-witted grog…
So I’ve been running a poll over at the Atlas Games forums here for about a week now to get a sense of potential direction for the blog. Overwhelmingly (aside from the somewhat dispiriting “What Ars blog?” responses) the admittedly small sample suggests Mythic Genoa as the preference, although it looks like there’s some interest in the London Bridge Covenant concept as well.
I’m a bit surprised at the lack of interest in Redcap Magic Items to be honest, but although I’ll be shifting gear a bit back to more gazetteer style articles effectively, I’ll keep trickling through some of the concepts – there’s enough overlap given one of the key concepts for Mythic Genoa I want to develop is it’s potential role as the “Port of Harco”.
I think the poll has been a useful stimulus however, so I’ll probably repeat it next year.
And yes, the image above is a Venetian vessel unfortunately and anachronistic at that…
The annotated image below is my initial working sketch of ideas for the London Bridge Covenant. Unfortunately the resolution for this example is poor (I’ll try and fix it later), but I’ll summarise the main points below in the months to come. It’s based on a plan from this website detailing construction of a model for a casino based on London Bridge!
It’s an example of the way I often flesh out ideas – I use a map, plan or other image and brainstorm ideas around it in free association. I then flesh out the most promising concepts after I’ve done some research and checking the existing canon for specific key terms.
(Incidentally, PDF versions of the ArM5 supplements are great for this – for instance I can search the term “Redcap” across my collection and then consult all the relevant mentions much quicker than if I had to rely on my own memory of where things are).
I’ve started to scan these “concept maps” into my files, not only for posting here but also because I keep losing the pieces of paper and otherwise my study fills up with project folders of tattered A4 sheets of indecipherable faded scrawl…