ArM5 for Feb: Hermetic Projects

More rules (again)... :frowning:

Looking through the table of contents I see "optional rules for breeding", and possibly "what is an intangible tunnel effect" as places that include new rules (less than four pages). The rest all looks like application of what has already been published.

It looks like mathematical applications of what has already been published. :frowning:

For instances pages 15 to 27, 35 to 47, 62 to 75, etc., all seem dedicated to descriptions of magical effects related to volcanoes, tower-building and shipbuilding.

I have no real interest in spells or artefacts numerical description and numbers crunching. I am only interested in the stories they can generate and how I could use them with my players. That's why I'm disappointed by this table of contents.

But with many of these, a critical part of any stories would be those spells - how else can one dive into a volcano? Better to have ready examples of those spells, and have all obstacles duly considered and accounted for in game terms, than to have to guess and work them up yourself. Huge time/labour savings.

But to your point, there are relatively few Hermetic landmarks in 5th ed canon - the library at Durenmar, the various Domi Magni, some specifically large/powerful Covenants... not many others. (Some used to exist (in previous editions?) but are now "lost", one way or another.) Many are referred to in passing, but left up to the SG to build from scratch. I recall a recent plot hook suggested that referred to "the glass submarine of House Mercere (somewhere in Italy)" - this is inspirational, but leaves a lot of work to be done before the PC's arrive on scene.

These projects fill that void, and (one can safely assume?) are ready to go. Even if these projects are specifically placed, a SG could drop them (almost*) anywhere and have their story hook(s) from there.

(* Okay, "volcanoes" are not quite ubiquitous across Europe, but there's still some room for flexibility there.)

More, these projects are also meant as inspiration for PC's to create their own projects - and then those projects should generate stories without problem, and far more custom-tailored to the character and saga.

Right. Especially useful for the people who aren't interested in the number crunching; it's all done for you. There is plenty of material on the stories, as well, but in Ars Magica deciding what to do in the lab is an important part of the story. Got a player who hates working out what to do with all those Arts? This book does all the sums for him, so he can just go to work on one of these projects.

Actually, it's very heavily inspiration for PCs. In canon, none of these projects have been done yet. They're eminently possible, but no magus has decided to take the time. Having an NPC pursue them is certainly an option, but it's not the main purpose of the book.

Just checked out the ToC on this book and I think it may just become my all-time favorite. I've been tinkering around with magical ships for awhile now, unsure of sizes and magnitudes etc, due to designing a mobile covenant (Fleet of ships) and a covenant that supports itself with viking-style raids. So looking forward to it! Hurry up!

I seem to be in the minority here, but this book is not something I'm looking forward to and may well be the first 5th Ed book I'll skip.
Reason: I have noticed a subtle trend in recent crunch-focused books: stuff is getting more and more fantastical and high fantasy-ish and less "medieval belief but true". I like my Ars Magica subtle in a "was it magic or coincident" kind of way. Sure, the occasional eruptions of fire-balls and stuff is all fine and well and not enough to break my immersion. But flying ships, fire-proof covenants and high-rise construction projects... not my cup-o-tea I'm afraid. I appreciate that ArM can be played and enjoyed in many different ways, no so accusations of badwrongfun or anything :slight_smile:

That's a good point, Horus, but there is lots of room in ArM5 for different takes on the setting. I happen to be working on a setting that is a bit more fantastic so flying ships and such are definitely on my magic radar. I think, like most any gaming book, there will always be something to take away from a book. The ship section is not just about flying ships but also about sailing vessels and causing effects on such large, mobile devices so it is more than likely that everyone will find something of interest.

I don't buy the Tribunal books because I don't like all the lines sketched in on the map. At the same time, there is lots of good information in those books so I ended up picking up Guardians of the Forest with no intention of using the covenant writeups and only the new options. Everyone's mileage is different.

Horus and Kilgs

I agree that many high-fantasy elements don't match my taste either, but it is unlikely that the entire Projects book fits this label. ArM isn't about high fantasy in the basics, but it is an option used and wanted by some. There should be enough for all tastes. Something less overtly magical, things useful for less flashy sagas. I know I want this!

Prior to this edition I also shunned the Tribunal books, because we always had things worked out before the relevant book came out. So we decided to not bother. Not untill years and years after switching to 5th did I buy my first Tribunal book GotF. And I really, really like it! Good stuff even if you don't use the covenants as written. And this has been my oppinion since, I like those books. In one saga we use L&L as well as GotF because our saga features the split into the Lotharingian Tribunal (only it is called North Sea Tribunal here), so we use the covenants as written plus some additions and minor changes. We also play a saga in Constantinople where we use the material from TSE with changes only for the covenants in Constantinople proper.

I had the same feeling with some contents of Legends of Hermes. Thomae's Flying Castle, for instance, seemed too high-fantasy to me. Fortunately, some of the other sections were prizeless (Conciatta!), so I still find the book really interesting. I expect something similar from Hermetic Projects... at the least!

Actually Tomae's castle is something that can be fairly standard in the OoH easily. He is not into big breakthroughs after all. Not even big lab totals. Our rego magus could have created that as his apprentice's gauntlet, for example. No, she was not over the top in power level back then. The background story is quite high fantasy, I grant you that :slight_smile:


Yep, that's the whole point. I'm not talking about "hermetically possible" but "plausible in a low-, or even mid-fantasy setting"...

(Also, IMS, just-gauntleted magi are barely able to cast a BOAF, let alone make a castle fly).

You need to read the castle rules again, then :wink: BOAF was not possible for any of our characters at the saga start. But the castle was feasible. :slight_smile:

Ambition, aspiration, or if those are too difficult there's always diabolism.

Does that come in a bumper sticker? :smiling_imp: