Tag Archives: Hibernia

Design Notes: Mythic 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…

Redcap Concepts by Tribunal #2 – Hibernia

The Contested IsleSo this is the latest (at least currently published) Tribunal Book and I think looking at the Redcaps in it makes for an interesting contrast to the Stonehenge representation of Redcaps I discussed earlier presented in ArM4 Heirs to Merlin.

For a start, there’s a lot more Redcaps – there’s actually 13 in total to be exact (all unGifted). For what seems such a geographically small Tribunal with only 9 large covenants detailed (although possibly many smaller covenants and a fair share of eremites perhaps) that seems like a generous share compared to the five detailed for Stonehenge.

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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?