Provencal Tribunal Summary for Project Redcap updated

Now that Faith and Flame has been out for a few weeks, I’ve had a chance to start to update the Provencal entry on the Project Redcap wiki on the page entitled: Which Tribunal to Choose? – The Provencal Tribunal.

Provencal Tribunal Summary (Atlas Forums)

This very useful page on the wiki briefly summarises the various Tribunals from a play potential perspective, using where possible a template developed back about a year ago now. The idea grew out of a prolonged discussion thread on the Atlas Games Forums about Tribunal Books, which now provides (incomplete) summaries of the various regions of Mythic Europe (and beyond) that a Saga could potentially be set.

One of the comments that led the discussion was the perception that all the existing Tribunal books at that time had some unusual quirk or cultural aspect that dominated the Tribunal and the way magi interacted. During the writing of Faith and Flame we intentionally tried to keep Provencal “vanilla” ie. as close to the default Hermetic society portrayed in the ArM5 corebook.

This concept is briefly outlined in broad terms in the insert on page 22 of Faith and Flame, “A Tribunal for Every Magus?”. The philosophy behind this was to provide a “default” setting, which would therefore make it easy to start a beginning Saga and to allow ideas and material from supplements from previous editions (particularly ArM2) to be utilized with only minor need for conversion (albeit with a 23 year jump in timeline due tot he different canonical starting dates between editions).

By updating the page I hope that the information provided will prove useful for Troupes considering starting a new Saga and make choosing Provencal as their initial setting more likely.

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Design Notes: Mythic Groot?

ArM5Rocket+Groot
Design Notes for Mythic Groot

Inspiration strikes in the strangest ways.

As I’m in between official writing projects at the moment, I’ve decided to try a few different exercises to work on the technical aspects of ArM5 writing (aka “grogging” would be the appropriate word perhaps here) that I feel I need to develop more. This basically means practice.

The skill I think needs the most work is stat blocks – when it comes to a choice of “crunch” (mechanics), I’ll take “fluff” any day… partly because I think there are enough mechanics and sub systems already but mainly to avoid stat blocks.

So to make this more fun, I’ve  decided to undertake a more whimsical project – I’m intending to interpret two of popular culture’s more recent misfits, Rocket and Groot, in ArM5 terms, but not just as a straight conversion, I want to represent this oddball pair in the Mythic Europe paradigm as characters that could be used in a default Saga.

I’ve started with Groot, mainly because I’ve been interested in the concept of Loamwalkers and their relationship to the Redcaps of The Broken Branches but also because I believe I can use the Elementals from Realms of Power: Magic as a starting point and then deconstruct and carve out a “Herbam Quasi-Elemental” from it, literally whittling out the Character Guide / Description from the rough block. He’s basically a lumbering giant made of bark and wood, with powers relating to changing parts of his form through growth and twisting, so I think I can replicate those elements readily enough with existing Powers and creative use of the Hibernian warrior feats or clesrada introduced in The Contested Isle (see pages 102-104) while still remaining within the ArM5 paradigm.

My initial design notes for Groot, sketched onto a promotional graphic can be found in the annotated image above, and the completed block will be uploaded shortly.

As to Rocket, a major stumbling block is that raccoons are not native to Mythic Europe (although have been introduced in later years apparently) and the morphologically similar raccoon dog is only found in the Far East… so unless I invoke a Criamon Greco-Buddhist mystic travelling back from a pilgrimage along the Silk Road with an exotic familiar I’m seemingly out of luck.

Fortunately Timothy has given me a great suggestion for the anthropomorphic weapons master that makes great sense and links the pair into Ars canon and history nicely…

The Studia Arabum (Andalusian material)

Arabic script octagram “Read”

Books are an integral part of ArM5 (and earlier editions), and I’ve always been fascinated by the potential story options around books and the potential flavour they create.

While working up some ideas for Andalusian Magi, I researched a load of texts written in Arabic – both original works by Arabic or Persian scholars and those Greek texts translated by the House of Wisdom I wrote up an article on the Studia Arabum, in the style of the Appendix to Art & Academe and collated some ideas on books in general.

The Studia Arabum is the corpus of books later translated from Arabic back into Latin (often via Greek by the Sephardic Jews of southern Iberia, the so-called “Toledo School”. Many of the books later considered seminal works entered medieval Europe via this process, which has just started to provide a glimpse into the secrets of the past and the polymaths of the Arabic speaking lands by the canonical starting time of a default ArM5 Saga (ie. the year 1220 CE).

I’ve begun to post some of the material in sections in the Andalusian Magi section of this site, which I hope players and Troupes will find useful not only for use in Andalusian, Levantine and perhaps even sahir led Mythic Middle East Sagas but also for play in stories involving academia, universities, books and libraries.

Enjoy!

See below for the initial Studia Arabum material:

Related useful material can be found in the article Books in ArM5 

Scions of the Rhone

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Stone Drac (Wikimedia Commons)

Originally the Drac of Beucaire concept was much more extensive than the material presented in the various paragraphs, Character Guide and Story Seed inserts in Faith and Flame, pages 116-119.

In fact, at one stage when Antagonists came out I thought of expanding the material into a whole chapter for that book but lacked the time to fully develop Aucassin mechanically to my satisfaction or explore the apotheosis mechanics of the Mystery path and the representation of the Elder Drac living in a Vestige in the Magic Realm.

Too Dark Sun for ArM5? Perhaps…

See the various cut paragraphs here:

Mythic Africa Announced!

So finally, my fourth book for ArM5 is on its way (December)! I was privileged to contribute some concepts and ideas to the latest opus crafted by Ben, Mark and Timothy.

The 2nd “Not-Tribunal Book”, Between Sand and Sea, deals with North Africa… well, everything along the southern Meditteranean littoral except Egypt actually (or as Timothy would say: “Guaranteed to Contain No Egypt at No Extra Charge!”)

Although we’re all bound by NDA, I can say that this supplement is full of great material and ideas to allow your characters to explore another exotic set of locales or create characters from the lands outside the core heartland of Mythic Europe.

If you liked the potential and possibilities of exploring beyond the boundaries of Hermetic influence presented in The Cradle and the Crescent, you’ll likely not be disappointed and find hours of inspiration and enjoyment!

Oh, the cover art is shaping up to look great too…

 

Between Sand & Sea: Mythic Africa

Everyone knows Egypt, but Egypt is just one corner of Africa. Between the sand of the Great Desert and the sea of the Mediterranean lie the great cities of Marrakesh and Fes, home to merchants, scholars, and thieves. The Atlas mountains and the plains of the Tell are home to Tuareg and Berber nomads and raiders, and the ruins of Rome and Carthage still await exploration. Not all of the inhabitants of this land are human: the Blemmyae have no heads, bearing their faces on their chests, while the Panotii have ears so large that they can fly, and the isle of monkeys tolerates nothing human on its shores. Trade caravans from all cultures cross the Great Desert, but none know what lies beyond, or where the slaves brought north come from.

Beyond the Bounds of the Order

This book provides cultural and magical details for the lands of Mythic Africa west of, but not including, Egypt. From the jnun to the dark gods of old Carthage, from the bustling cities of the Tell to the wind-haunted mountains and deserts, this is a land that will take magi away from the familiar. Whether building a new covenant outside the Tribunals, or visiting in search of magical secrets, there is something for every maga between sand and sea.