I’ve just received my print copy of Lands of the Nile, the second African “not-Tribunal” book and it’s an absolutely fantastic piece of work, further demonstrating that “the Mythic World” of ArM5 includes much more than just the conventional construct of Europe and adding to the non-Christian extent of the setting.
To my mind, these two books have always been one project – in fact when Timothy (Ferguson) originally pitched the idea this material was going to be one book. This was how it was developed and brainstormed, until we realised the only way to do the material justice without compromising the amazing potential of this area was to excise Egypt and the Nile into it’s own book and give ourselves more time to get everything right for players and Storyguides alike.
So my contributor copies of Between Sand and Sea: Mythic Africaarrived this week in Oz, which was very exciting apart form the fact I haven’t had a chance to properly read through it yet…
It’s always great to see the interior artwork finally, there’s some really great pieces that capture the flavour of the region – as a line author we get to suggest scenes for the artists but we usually don’t see the actual pictures until the final supplement.
(My copies are often delayed compared to most due to my Antipodean residential status).
I only contributed a relatively small amount to this book admittedly compared to the other authors (the Tuareg nomads, some settuten magic concepts, a few hedge wizard and werehyena ideas, the Cyrenaica and Ahaggar areas, the mundane beasts appendix). I’m really proud of this one as I think it indicates just how far I’ve developed as a writer with the generous help of my more experienced co-authors (particularly Timothy) and how far we’ve managed to stretch the once restraining envelope of Mythic Europe…
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 & Academeand 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.
So while digging through my old material I came across a partially completed article on various concepts useful for playing Andalusian Magi.
I’d long lamented that much maligned ArM3 Tribunals of Hermes: Iberia contained a woefully inadequate amount on Granda and in truth basically no material on Islamic Hermetic Magi. I therefore decided to address this but never finished the piece.
Seemed a shame to waste such good ideas and given there appears to be no chance of a revised Iberian Tribunal anytime soon, I may as well dust them off and showcase them here for general use.
I’ve added the following material to the site already, but more will follow:
Some of the ideas and concepts may well be useful for Sagas set in the Mythic Levant or the Mythic Middle East and may provide interesting material for opponents or allies of characters located in the nearby Provencal Tribunal. The original ideas for some of the more developed concepts appeared in my old Sub Rosa article “Dar al-Nujum Covenant”, the complete text of which is now hosted on this site.
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 sahirAstrological 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.
My fascination with astrolabes began a while ago, but I think it stems mainly from my fascination with clockwork and mechanical devices in general (I’m a bit of a steampunk tragic, but it’s tough to translate this into Ars Magica as it stands although perhaps exciting as a variant setting).
The image to the right is one of the most interesting I’ve found, a spherical astrolabe that would be almost impossible to craft with thirteenth century technology, but potentially simple with Hermetic craft magic.
I think a spherical astrolabe would make a great talisman concept for an astrological magus and is distinct enough from an armillary sphere to play a potential role in ArM5 Sagas. I’ll be detailing other astronomical devices (predominantly mediveal Islamic in origin) over time, but for now details for astrolabes are presented here.
I’ve been doing some maintenance, tidying up in the back rooms of the site and dusting off some of the more obscure artifacts and peering into half-forgotten nooks. During my discoveries I found an old Sub Rosa article I’d decided to repost but had not yet made visible publicly.
I’ve scrubbed it up to a new shine and present for your interest an Iberian based dedicated research covenant based around giant orrery I designed using the ArM5 rules as a writing exercise.