A game that Sphynx might like

If you happen to be one of my players (that’s me Erik Tyrrell) and happen to be browsing the Atlas boards to familiarize yourself with the game, I’m happy that you’ve come.

Now go read another thread.

So my plan is to start up a game in a few weeks that deals heavily with high fantasy themes. Hopefully my players (all but one of whom are new to the system) will feel a bit more at home with high fantasy than with high history.

So here’s the outline for the saga as I see it now. I’m looking for feedback, specifically what you would choose to do differently.

The Axis Mundi (a magic spirit of fantastic power) has deduced or deluded itself that if it can punch a large enough hole in the world by pushing a large chunk of land into “twilight” (yes I realize that twilight is something experienced by magi not by real estate) all of the world will drain out of this hole and creation can escape from the prison of time (see Sanctuary of Ice for an explanation of Criamon philosophy).

The axis has decided that the best place to punch this hole in the world is Ireland. Using queens of vis and people possessed by the spirits of past Criamon Primi, four simultaneous rituals are performed around the island of Ireland and the entire island is transferred to something akin to a magic regio.

The plan of the Axis does not succeed. Creation does not drain through the opening created by the removal of Ireland, instead Ireland becomes completely isolated from the rest of the world and becomes overrun with magical beings.

My intention is to start the first (play) session by destroying all of the covenants that the PC mages live in and having the angel Sefreil (from page 198) guide the PC’s to safety telling them that what has happened to the island is a mistake that the order bears responsibility for and they have an opportunity to correct it. (leaving open the possibility that God himself may choose to correct the “problem” at some point using fire and brimstone old testament style methods when he finishes moving in the particular mysterious ways that he’s moving in presently and chooses to move in different mysterious ways)

The new Ireland will look much like the old Ireland with some additions including a violet sky and a low level magic aura that begins to warp every being on the island.

The players will be ushered to a monastery from which all of the monks have been removed having been saved from this tribulation by their piety.

The first adventure will deal with the PC’s setting up their covenant (made with anything that they could grab from their respective old covenants) including convincing the lay people that it behooves them to accept the magi as their new leaders. Arriving with the escort of a mighty angel should help them and as should the fact that the magi are going to be two decades out of apprenticeship and hopefully quite capable of taking care of themselves.

Going forward I suspect that the characters will want to explore the ruins of their old destroyed covenants, investigate how the island was transformed, and, eventually, reverse the transformation.

Things that I’d thought I’d bring in to the character’s lives include:
• One or more powerful dragons who believe that they should rule the land and/or eat one of the villages that supports the covenant.

• A race of trogldidic men who wish to take revenge on one of the PC’s for their actions when they were younger.

The island will, over the course of years, become a gradually less pleasant place to be. Giants and dragons will rampage over the countryside. A deep forest will expand over much of the land incorporating everything that it comes across. The city of (whatever city was the largest port at this time in history, Dublin?) will become a maze of interconnecting overlapping and changing regios preventing any creature from navigating successfully. Everything will start to show the effects of warping.

The beginning seems to be a little bit scripted to me. I’m willing to accept scripted-ness in order to get the ball rolling but I’d be happy to hear people’s ideas of how to get the group together ina mannerthatisn't so forced. I had considered that they possibly took the oath at the same time and something happened at this event which effected them and not the other magi present because the PC’s had not yet been taught the final piece of the parma ritual and had no MR.

The angel in particular appears scripted to me.

Couldn't Axis Mundi and its minions move during the meeting of the Hibernian Tribunal, and try to kill off the magi there instead of destroying their covenants piecemeal? That Tribunal meeting could be the start of the campaign. You just have to devise a strategem to bring the PCs together at the Tribunal: you could e. g. put them all into a team organizing some research related to early hints at Axis Mundi, which the elder magi do not take seriously but still want to have investigated. The PCs could also at the Tribunal just be the least magical beings, hence least affected by some warping of magic or the Magic Realm perpetrated by Axis Mundi.

If the PCs are the survivors of that onslaught of Axis Mundi and have seen their parentes and sodales die, they might without angelic guidance be motivated enough to find out what happened, and if possible reverse it.

The covenants of Hibernia that way would not be destroyed, but quickly overrun by mystic creatures drawn to places with strong magic auras. So it would make sense for the PCs to search them for salvageable goods and clues as what really happened: 'dungeons' galore.

Kind regards,


The axis mundi has no desire to harm covenants, the destruction of the covenatns has to do with them being quickly overrun by "creatures" in the new environment (in two of the four cases the environment itself takes out the covenants).

All the same I can get the PC's together during the tribunal meting and not have to bring in the angel at all. I just have to get the rest of the magi out of the way.

Still scripted but less so, thanks.

I don't mind the angel though it does seems scripted. Assuming this is the bit that needs tweaking what about this.

What if 'a group' a mystery cult or something like it has held to the old ways. They have passed there traditions/beliefs on through the ages. These teachings were passed on to various magi who spread across numerous covenants in Ireland.

These magi have spent years slowly prepareing their covenants to act as focal points or points of power or 'something' that is usefull to the Axis Mundi. In effect, these covenants aid the Axis Mundi in it's plan to punch a hole to twilight.

Side note, ever read Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Trilogy? One part of the books deals with Merlin trying to remove all Christians from Briton and restoring the old gods. This is my point of inspiration. Perhaps these magi wanted to emulate Merlin and restore Ireland to the old gods and old ways.

However, like you said things go bad and the covenants are destoryed. The covenants are destroyed because they were key points in the manifestation of Axis Mundi. Either the summoning, or the botched summining or a misunderstanding by the wizards caused Axis Mundi and it's cohorts to turn on the covenants and destroy them. Perhaps the Old Gods can't be controled and the wizards were foolish to think they could be controled. Regardless, covenants go boom.

Anyway, the magi in the game are/were members of these various covenants, taught by magi who summoned Axis Mundi. Essentially their parents caused this crisis, and they must suffer the crimes of their family.

Perhaps one part of mystery tradition is to bear a Mark, something akin to the Mark of Cain or something. When their parents trained their students they marked them, even if they didn't know why. Their parents brought this doom, but because these particular magi bear the mark of Axis Mundi and were not at the ritual they were spared. To their knowledge, these magi could be the last magi on earth.

Perhaps because of the regio maze the magi that survived (the Player characters) have no idea what's going on in the outside world. Did their masters succeed and only Ireland exists, the rest of the world having been destroyed when the old gods were released? Are they IN a regio right now, and the Order of Hermes still is in existance "in reality", but can't help them?

I like the idea of Ireland being cut off from the rest of the world and the characters lack a certainty to why. Are they IN Twilight realms? Regardless, as you say this world they are trapped in, whether it is a Twilight island or the last place on Earth, it is narrowing (as the forest expands), or collapsing (as regios expand), or starving (as vis and food dries up) or all of the above.

Only the action of gifted men can save not only their own lives, but the lives of everyone trapped in Ireland. Sounds fun.

You're absolutely right, a game I'd love completely. :slight_smile:


No dragons (not yet). Ars lacks a decent Beastiary for a medieval setting, and the 'dragons' listed are more akin to Wyverns and Drakes than Dragons in our games. Once you have (and can) beat a Dragon, expectations drop. In a pure fantasy style game, you should just never be able to defeat a Dragon until you're the best wizards in the world.

Aside from that, the game idea looks awesome. Personally, to get the group into the game, I'd put them in Ireland, and tell the story of their background to fit them in. Unlike normal Ars Magica, where politics are a strong focal point, Fatnasy needs strong comradry. Having them all as good friends first, and returning to see their Covenant destroyed, their Masters lying in pools of blood, limbs seperated by large falling parts of the covenant that is almost beyond repair, these things draw a team together for a more powerful game. Us vs TheRest. Houses and methods become negligably important when your goal is just to survive.

I'd let them feel the ritual done to Ireland, from a personal PoV. "Armageddon" is my favorite way to start a game actually. Kill the world around the players, and hit them so fast and hard that you never have to encourage team-work, or worry about back-stabbing. :slight_smile:

Best of luck with the game, it looks awesome.

I'm inclined to agree.

Maybe the PC magi are sort of the Tribunal organizing committee, and they met at some mundane place some distance from all of the covenants. When the Axis Mundi pulls it prank, horrible beasties spring out from all of the high magical auras in Ireland, including all of the covenant sites, and the covenants are destroyed while our heroes are fiddling over agenda items. A little survivor guilt. Mabe you could even play out the PC magi arguing with their covenants about who has to do the boring job of helping organize the Tribunal, and the PC magi get stuck with this job...

Remember that GOD is all knowing & does not make errors.

The angel could bring the attention on a choice that the players can make.

Meaby the spririt was corrupted over the centuries & is not tainted by the infernal.

Otherwise, I don't know why the divine would interfere in the choices of mortals.

It might be a personnal greif the angel has against the current events. Angels, after all, are also prone to sin & might place self interest infront of freedom of choice which might lead Sefreil away from God's good graces.

The players could see the corruption of an angel should they help him.


I don't consider this a mistake. The spirit was created by the order and is arguably a part of the order (not that it's a voting member but it is at least as much a part as a a family of consors that has been with a covenant for generations)

In any case I think that some of the other ideas regarding tribunals and meetings will remove the need for angelic intervention. Perhaps I'll have the angel appear to an NPC and give the magi a second hand account of it.

I don't like angels explaining complex connections between mundane facts to PCs very much, either.

The PCs could plausibly find hints about Axis Mundi, its relationship with the Order, its nature and weaknesses scattered in one or several remains of covenant libraries which they ransack to support their magical career in the new fantastic world. Especially the library of Cliffheart should contain such stuff. If they do not feel responsible and motivated then, some angelic admonitions are perhaps in order.

Kind regards,