Tag Archives: Mythic Europe

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…

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

Provencal Tribunal Book Announced!

So finally, my third book for ArM5 is on its way (June)! There’s a fair bit of excitement over on the Atlas Games forums here, where a few tidbits have been spilled already by the Line Editor, David Chart:

  • ArM5 Provencal coverYes, that is Mistridge on the cover! But who is that figure standing in the doorway and what’s going on?
  • It’s a “standard” tribunal where pretty much all the assumptions from the corebook hold true.
  • There is a whole chapter about Val-Negra. Yeah!
  • Bellaquin is detailed, but the other ArM2/3 covenants have suffered from the devastating effects of the Albigensian Crusade.
  • Somewhat cryptically, David states that there is no covenant called Doissetep (insert disclaimer here) included… but I wonder what he means by that exactly?

Actually, to be honest, I know exactly what he means by that… but if I told you, I’d be breaching the NDA I signed a while back, which is frustrating but just the way it has to be.

I do however have an absolute load of Provencal related material leftover that was cut out during the playtest process or final word count check however, which  means I can start rearranging all that for inclusion on the blog and perhaps even trickling out some of the material over the coming months as a teaser of sorts…

Revealing The House of Stars

Grand Orrery in Putnam Gallery (Wikimedia Commons)

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.

Welcome to Dar al-Nujum covenant

The “Other” Redcap Project…

Not to be confused with the excellent “Crossroads of the Order” wiki currently maintained by ArM5 luminary, Andrew Gronosky, I’ve decided to start posting material from my own “Redcap Project”.

Originally I had an idea to do a regular Sub Rosa feature of example Redcaps, statted at 3 main life stages (post Gauntlet, mid-career and close to retirement or retired) under the loose banner of  “Messengers of Hermes”.

Since then, I’ve expanded the ideas to include ideas for ‘Training Packages for Redcaps” and will detail some thoughts on Magic Items for Redcaps, possibly as my first attempt at NaGaDeMon, time and other commitments permitting.

My collection of Redcap related material, “More than Messengers”, can be found here.

More Mythic Genoa Resources

Over on the Mythic Genoa page I’ve finally added a link to a great summary essay by Dr Stephen Epstein, author of one of the books I’ve used extensively in my research on the topic: Genoa and the Genoese, 958-1528. The essay greatly expands on the small amount of detail presented in the original (deeply flawed) ArM3 ToH: Rome and is a great introduction to Epstein’s larger work.

I’ve also included some notes on adapting “The Ship of Desire”, an adventure from ToME written by the very versatile and talented ArM5 line author Matt Ryan, to a Genoese vessel sailing the Ligurian Sea. The adaption could well be used on its own or even as a lead in for travellers on their way to Rome and then onwards to the Levant. With some further adaption and foreshadowing the scenario could be linked to Matt’s adventure from Tales of Power, “Cardinal Decision”, a sterling piece detailing the intrigues created by magi and hedge-wizards interfering in a papal election in the city of Rome. 

There is no Mythic India, there is only al-Hind

SindhTransoxbordersmapThe land of Al-Hind, on the far banks of the great river Indus, is mentioned briefly in The Cradle and the Crescent as a possible destination of merchants, the source of over-sized fantastic elephants and a place of many other marvels. There are vague references to the Mythic Muslim holdings of al-Sindh on the near banks of the Indus but much of this material was later cut.

Mythic India is deliberately not mentioned.

This is because it does not exist.

Continue reading There is no Mythic India, there is only al-Hind