This is always exciting, although somewhat anxiety provoking as if I can’t source something from a library or obtain a preview on Google Books, I am often taking a calculated risk based on scraps of evidence gleaned from the web and a writer’s hunch.
Due to lack of shelf space, the majority of my physical books consists of an eclectic collection of hardback and softcover history works, material I’ve collected while researching Ars Magica writing projects or both (you never know what will be inspiring) as I now try to read everything else in digital (kindle or iBooks) format to save space.
Both books are about (Old)London Bridge, and both look to be useful, fortunately in complementary ways although there is considerable overlap.
So I’ve been running a poll over at the Atlas Games forums here for about a week now to get a sense of potential direction for the blog. Overwhelmingly (aside from the somewhat dispiriting “What Ars blog?” responses) the admittedly small sample suggests Mythic Genoa as the preference, although it looks like there’s some interest in the London Bridge Covenant concept as well.
I’m a bit surprised at the lack of interest in Redcap Magic Items to be honest, but although I’ll be shifting gear a bit back to more gazetteer style articles effectively, I’ll keep trickling through some of the concepts – there’s enough overlap given one of the key concepts for Mythic Genoa I want to develop is it’s potential role as the “Port of Harco”.
I think the poll has been a useful stimulus however, so I’ll probably repeat it next year.
And yes, the image above is a Venetian vessel unfortunately and anachronistic at that…
The annotated image below is my initial working sketch of ideas for the London Bridge Covenant. Unfortunately the resolution for this example is poor (I’ll try and fix it later), but I’ll summarise the main points below in the months to come. It’s based on a plan from this website detailing construction of a model for a casino based on London Bridge!
It’s an example of the way I often flesh out ideas – I use a map, plan or other image and brainstorm ideas around it in free association. I then flesh out the most promising concepts after I’ve done some research and checking the existing canon for specific key terms.
(Incidentally, PDF versions of the ArM5 supplements are great for this – for instance I can search the term “Redcap” across my collection and then consult all the relevant mentions much quicker than if I had to rely on my own memory of where things are).
I’ve started to scan these “concept maps” into my files, not only for posting here but also because I keep losing the pieces of paper and otherwise my study fills up with project folders of tattered A4 sheets of indecipherable faded scrawl…
The ArM4 supplement Heirs to Merlin, by David Chart,briefly details five male Stonehenge Redcaps (Jocelin, Percival, Great William, Little William and Edgar) based out of the so-called Mercer House near Coventry, a location that is geographically central (pages 114-115).
Although no longer canonical for fifth edition, the supplement contains no game statistics and the material within can be readily adapted to ArM5 (or potentially adapted to a different game system and used as background setting material).
The Mercer House and Redcaps mentioned in Heirs to Merlin differ somewhat from the later ArM5 versions (for details see Houses of Hermes: True Lineages, pages 82-88). These differences may be readily developed however and may create interesting stories.
Almost a year to the day since Timothy posted about this on his blog, and I’ve decided there might be something more in this than just idle speculation…
The various images I’ve found are certainly inspiring. Who knows, perhaps I can work up a sample covenant set upon London Bridge over the course of the year (or perhaps as my hopefully more successful upcoming November’s NaGaDeMon challenge)?
As I’m Australian, I don’t have local knowledge (I’ve stayed in London for a week once many years ago now), but I’ve dug up some interesting tidbits readily enough. Apart from the existence of a chapel on the bridge as Timothy noted (actually quite common to most significant medieval bridges), I’ve collected some other really interesting aspects to the medieval bridge, three in particular which cry out for Hermetic explanation or seem to generate stories: