Category Archives: faerie

Scions of the Rhone

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:


First ArM5 Mythos Material

The Elder SignI’ve been promising (or perhaps threatening?) this for a while now but I’ve now published the first ArM5 Mythos material here. There’s a lot of fragments and concepts I’d like to explore that link into other sections but for the moment I’ve started in media res with some mechanics for the Elder Sign (see image).

I’ve deliberately  chosen to use cryptic branched line rather than the Derleth influenced pentagram with an eye style symbol.

Follow this link to the relevant article:

I’ll be running a poll soon on the Atlas Games Forums to clarify what other elements may be readily adaptable, but will upload some other related material soon.


More Andalusian Magic

A Sahir’s Tower? (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Given the remarkable response and popularity of the Andalusian Magic articles I posted recently, I’ve decided to add a few more to the menu and also link them in to the The Mythic Levant project pages.

First, Niall Christie’s article “Islamic Magic and 5th Edition” (published with permission) updating the Islamic Parameters from ArM4 Blood & Sand to 5th edition.

The second article is an update to the concept of “the Faerie Problem” experienced by non-European Hermetic magi more familiar with jinn than traditional Celtic, Germanic or Slavic style faeries.

Both article may also be useful for Sagas set in the Mythic Middle East drawing upon the material in The Cradle and the Crescent.

Rediscovered Sahir and Levantine Material

I’ve been rearranging some of the site structure and editing some of the older pages to keep more in line with the overall theme and style I’ve developed over the last year. This includes checking on blank pages and links to ideas that I intended to create pages for.

I realised some of The Cradle and the Crescent pages were a bit bare, so I’ve filled them in with text and the appropriate links while I dig up some of the older cut-file material. Since one of the original intentions of this site was to supplement that particular work I want to make sure there’s easily accessible Mythic Middle East material.

Excitingly, I’ve also been granted permission by Niall Christie to host his additional ArM4 and ArM5 material for Blood & Sand: the Levant Tribunal, in  particular his unofficial web supplement known as “Vestiges in Sand”. I’ll add this slowly to the Blood & Sand – Redux pages over the next few weeks but for now I’ve added his Variant Fifth Edition Sahir article as a counterpoint to the official tCatC version presented by Erik Dahl.

Niall’s ArM5 version of his original sahir is a simple, more traditional summoner build style of sorcerer that concentrates on Goetic style powers of Summoning and Commanding while incorporating the rules from The Mysteries: Revised Edition. Although I like the way Erik presented the Order of Suleiman and the Solomonic Arts, I prefer a more basic sahir style (reflected in the Solomonic Sihr only style of the Ashab al-Halqa or “Followers of the Circle”).

Rereading Niall’s article has made me think about some of the concepts for sahir Astrological Mysteries (essentially Planetary Invocation style magic) and Jinni Mysteries (powers granted by pacts with jinni tribes) that I wanted to develop but ran out of time, word count and experience to develop further. Hopefully I’ll find some of the old drafts an have a chance to polish them up soon.


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?

#5 Not Just any Old Tarnkappe

Alberich wearing the Tarnkappe and vanishing (Wikipedia)

Magic cloaks are a very common trope in many fantasy settings and have been made popular recently by several book series and their movie adaptions such as the famous Harry Potter franchise. Cloaks of invisibility such as Harry’s were standard fare for thieves, rogues and other stealthy types since the earliest days of role-playing.

Perhaps the earliest recognised appearance in recent fantasy literature is Frodo’s elven cloak that inspired the classic cloak of elvenkind mentioned above, but this is almost certainly based in part on the original Tarnkappe (German: “magic cloak”, although often misrepresented as a helmet or Tarnhelm as in Wagner’s Ring Cycle) that is stolen by the hero Siegfired from Alberich the dwarf in the Nibelung Saga.

Although undoubtedly useful, an Invisibility Cloak is perhaps not as well suited as a Redcap magic item, even thought the basic spell used, Veil of Invisibility (ArM5, page 146) is only a PeIm Level 20 spell. Invisible characters still cast shadows, make noise, and leave footprints – but more importantly invisibility is relatively unsubtle and marks the wearer as plainly a user of magic as opposed to more subtle effects that can assist a traveling Redcap which are less likely to draw the suspicion of mundanes.

Examples and ideas for this type of magical clothing can be found here.

Reread of Marco the Liar and Items as Faeries

I’m catching up tomorrow over lunch with Timothy Ferguson, line author extraordinaire and a great inspiration to me. To this end, I was rereading his collated “Marco the Liar” posts over breakfast. Theses short tales were originally written as part of an attempt at NaGaDeMon, but he became ill during the writing process, completing only 15 posts and then a final post that winds up some of the loose threads. It’s complete enough in its own right, although I do hope for more Marco tales in the future.

The Tales of Marco the Liar is not only a great piece of fiction IMO but also a very interesting insight into the subtle and sophisticated “Fergusonian” meta-game philosophy that underlies all of his contributions to the line and his unofficial material that surfaces in Sub Rosa or his “Games From Folktales” blog (itself constructed mainly from high quality offcuts and extras from his published works).

Continue reading Reread of Marco the Liar and Items as Faeries