Covenants vs Alliances

ArM5 Alliances (French, link to Ludo Games)

So there’s a French version of Ars Magica 5th edition and it has very beautiful cover-art (see the Covenants equivalent to the right).

I’ve been thinking about this since Timothy posted the announcement over on his blog, and since I haven’t quite worked out the whole “reblog” kung-fu, I’ll just post some comments here…

Sure, although I like the moody art, I think there’s something more here, perhaps just a trick of translation or emphasis but I’ve noticed that over time, particularly on the various forums, the concept of a covenant has become solidified for the vast majority of the community into a physical home for the magi, the whole “castle-on-the-hill-in-the-faerie-wood” trope alluded to in ArM5 Covenants.

Most of the canonical ArM5 covenants are described in terms of places, sites and locations, with some notable exceptions such as the Transylvanian examples.

But to me the place magi live is not actually what a covenant truly is.

Continue reading Covenants vs Alliances

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Hooking in to the latest supplement

ArM5 Hooks

I’m enjoying my recently picked up copy of Hooks, the latest ArM5 supplement released in softcover this last month.

It’s an interesting concept for a book, part a collection of starter adventures, part primer and part… something else.

I think it’s going to take a while for me to work out how best to use this from a writing perspective, although I’ve written some thoughts about the book here in the newly renamed “Reflections” tab  – as I never really intended to write reviews, so this seems a better group name for the pages here.

I need to digest the format a bit more I think, but it looks like a structure I might be able to have a bit of fun with for a few projects (Provencal, Mythic Genoa, perhaps the Mythos concepts).

 

 

 

 

Mythic Corsica Part 1 – Mundane Landscape

Medieval CorsicaI’ve just now completed the first half of the Mythic Corsica gazetteer articles.

Originally one large article, I’ve decided to split it into a few sections (the Mazzeri article being one of the sections), both so I can post some material now and then finish off the second main section but also because I’ll probably add smaller articles over time under the Mythic Corsica page as a sub-folder of the larger Mythic Genoa project.

Continue reading Mythic Corsica Part 1 – Mundane Landscape

Daoine Domhain – the Deep Ones of Hibernia?

There’s a story I really like by Peter Tremayne in “Shadows Over Innsmouth“, a collection of Lovecraftian horror stories featuring the icthyic Deep Ones. Titled “Daoine Domhain”, the Gaelic phrase for approximately “the People of the Deep”, it proposes the Deep Ones as analagous to the Fomorians or Fomorach of Irish folklore. The story is set on the island of Inishdriscoll, an isolated community near Baltimore in Cork where a sinister aspect of the Old Ways remains in the form of a ritual sacrifice of an outsider every seven years… but enough spoilers. Read the story for yourself.

So back to Ars Magica. According to The Contested Isle: the Hibernian Tribunal, the Fomorach have long been exiled to the islands off the north coast of Leinster, where they maintain a remnant kingdom ruled by their king.

The ArM5 Fomorach are depicted as a form of misshapen Magic Human linked to the seas, at home in water but suffering when on land, with the more powerful potentially possessing additional magic powers aligned to Aquam (see The Contested Isle, page 119). Their heroes and legendary leaders are portrayed as Aspects of powerful Daimons, further stressing their alignment to the Magic Realm.

Realms of Power: Faerie, page 91 however presents the ancient Abgal variant of mermen, alluding to their underwater cities and tutoring of ancient humans and suggesting that these Faeries may be a response to stories told by sailors about the Atlanteans (Realms of Magic, page 90) or a similar tribe of Magic beings, the apkallu. In private discussion with Timothy, he always intended the Abgal to represent his version of Mythic Europe’s Deep Ones, although they were not specifically presented as such to remain within official paradigm at the time ie. Line Editor: “No you can’t have Cthulu in Ars Magica Timothy” or similar.

Turns out from the sketchy sources that the Abgal are thought linked to the apkallu or “sages”, ancient men-fish from the Erythraean Sea (modern Persian Gulf) detailed in Sumerian myth as teaching mankind the arts of civilisation (and magic). The first of the  apkallu, known as Adapa (or Uanna) was referred to as Oannes and may be synonymous with the Philistine deity Dagon, later equated with the god Marnas of Gaza mentioned in the life of St Porphyry.

Are these opposing depictions compatible?

Continue reading Daoine Domhain – the Deep Ones of Hibernia?

Hedge Magic Tragic

One of my somewhat more left-field topics of interest has always been hedge wizards and hedge magic – in fact, ever since I started reading and playing Ars Magica, I have always wondered about the role of the lesser magi and lesser magics in general.

De Alchemist (from Wikimedia Commons)

Yes, I’m a self-confessed hedge wizard tragic. To collate the various ideas, I’ve now added a page to link together my variant hedge magician articles here.

So far I’ve added the mazzeru of Corsica (Nightwalker), the practicos of Sardinia (Folk-Witch) and an updated ArM5 version of the ‘arraf of the Levant (Cunning-Folk). Once the Faith and Flame: the Provencal Tribunal supplement is released in the coming months, I will be posting various leftover Provencal hedge wizard ideas from my cut-files.

The City and Walls of Genoa

Medieval GenoaI’ve loaded up another gazetteer page for the Mythic Genoa section, this time detailing the basic city features and the stout medieval walls built by Frederick Barbarossa.

Eventually I plan to commission (from Sean Macdonald over at Fantasy Cartography) a detailed map of medieval Genoa based on the various anachronistic maps I’ve found on the web and some sketches I’ve made based on my research, as I really like the maps of Sark and Rome he did for Tales of Power.

Of course, I need to flesh out more detail about the actual commune first… there’s still the Lanterna (lighthouse), the leper colony at Capo Fari and some of the notable noble residences to work on but I’m hoping to fill in the spaces soon.

Mazzeri of Corsica

Animal envisioned by a mazzeru

As follow up to this previous post, I’ve drafted a page detailing expanded rules and story ideas for the mazzeri, the endemic Nightwalker tradition of Corsica.

The page includes a more detailed template of the Corsican hedge tradition as well as some suggested Mystery Virtues for exceptional mazzeru based on the legendary powers of this group.

I’ve almost completed the Mythic Corsica gazetteer article (now about 2000 words or so), which includes many of the concepts and ideas I outlined in my first post. Both articles will appear ultimately in the Mythic Genoa project section of this site.