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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve always been meaning to collate some of the threads written in response to The Cradle and the Crescent, particularly relating to the sahir and jinn. This recent poston the Atlas Games forumsprompted me to revisit this idea.
I’ve been doing some housekeeping and have activated the page containing the Jinn as Characters article I wrote for the first incarnation of Sub Rosa back in 2007 over here. This article and the research I did for it not only formed the kernel for my later dedicated Jinn chapter in The Cradle and the Crescent, but was also seemingly responsible for the “tap on the shoulder” from Niall Christie that started me writing for ArM5… but that’s perhaps a story for another time.
Back in the day, I had little other than the ArM4 resources Niall had written and RoP: the Divine (the original tainted by partial ArM4 legacy plagiarization edition), RoP: the Infernal and HoH: Societates so the mechanics are somewhat off. I was trying to extrapolate from Erik Dahl’s Holy Companion / Nephelim and Cult of Heroes Mythic Companion creation rules and twist them towards Faerie – time has shown I was way off what Timothy and the others who worked on RoP: Faerie would deliver, but at the time it seemed as good a guess as any.
I think there’s still some good ideas in here – in particular there are some concepts on elemental nature like the Close Elemental Ties Flaw and the idea of Jinn Mysteries that for some reason I never translated into the official product. I’d like to particularly explore the latter at some stage.
Newsflash just today on the Atlas Games website – my first ArM5 supplement, The Cradle and the Crescent is now available for download as a PDF from e23 (the digital store for Warehouse 23)!
I’m very excited by this for two reasons.
Firstly it means the first print run has sold out – as an author that’s particularly gratifying that people like your work and that your ideas are truly “out there in the wild”. Second and perhaps more practically relevant, it means that I can store the book on my laptop in future, which means less lugging hardcovers around and makes it much easier to research for future writing projects (a process I’ll discuss at a later date hopefully).
At 192 pages, that works out to less than 10c per page, amazing value IMO, but I’m possibly biased. If that doesn’t sell you, check out the free preview of the ToC and part of the Introduction & Sagas chapter and/or head over to my comments on the writing process and further concepts and ideas cut from the final draft.
I’ve started on the comments for The Cradle and the Crescent, the first supplement I worked on for Ars Magica. Over time this will link into some of the themes I’ll be developing on this blog particularly the Levant, Jinn, sahir and non-Hermetic magic.