Ars Magica 5th Ed.: Magi of the Old North

Holy explosion of posts!

Firstly, regarding headcount, there now 7 interested parties:
T Riffix Rex
John Graham 52
At this point I'm thinking the more the merrier. Welcome to everyone!
But we'll cap it at 7.

Secondly, I'm excited by all the material that is now in this thread, and my enthusiasm for this saga has grown along with it. loke, I'm completely fine with passing the SG hat to others, to run adventures they have developed (and that way I can make a character and join in!). I did, however, have a story planned for the founding of the covenant. The details will have to change a bit, now that there are so many magi. And in fact, your premise that the magi have banded together to strike out on their own would be a great adjustment. Is it ok for me to appropriate it? It might give character background more depth to figure out their motivation for joining the band too.

And is it correct that the group would prefer a rural site for the covenant? Don't worry too much about the details of what would work with the local nobility, Tribunals, etc. I was planning to determine those aspects through play. Part of the saga arc was for the magi to figure out how to establish their new brand new covenant. The site that the magi will move to will be a coveted location, and there will be competition for it.

As for posting rate, I am more the slow but steady type. I really only have evenings during which to post, and not every evening at that. But I've been in a pbp saga that lasted over two years, and I wanted to start this one to be part of another that lasted a long time. As long as any of you have interest, I'll be here. Barring any unforeseen catastrophic events.

I'll ask for a saga thread and we can migrate there once it's set up. In the meantime let's continue fleshing out magi, for those who haven't started, and considering which covenant hooks and boons we'd like. Considering that we are building a covenant from scratch, not all of the boons/resources will be available from the start, but we can still collaborate on what they will be. Also, the magi won't be living in holes in the ground at the start. There will be a structure, that with a few seasons of work (or handy spells) can be converted to lab and living space. I'd like to grow the rest of the covenant over time.

And another thing I'd like feedback on is what kind(s) of adventure(s) each of you enjoys. And if there is a type of story that you particularly don't like.

All the ideas are up for grabs. Please, go ahead and orchestrate. You are the experienced one; and I would be on thin ice.

Nobody voiced an opinion against a rural setting AFAICS. Personally, as a follower of Verditious, aura and vis are paramount, which is harder to justify in a city.

Anyway, I think you should just start making rulings, based on the ideas proposed. The more decisions we pin down, the easier it will be to focus.

If the covenant concept does not fit my magus, I can design a different one.

I like external relations hooks where external agents, neither friend nor foe, interact with the covenant based on their own agenda. This includes Tribunal Border, Faerie court, favours, Road, and some more challenging ones. I also like the roman ruins and ruined covenant hooks. I am not suggesting taking all of them, but some hooks around this general theme, which also defines the kind of stories I would most like to play. How do we befriend this noble? How can we get that meddling friar off our backs? I can volunteer to design the entity behind one such hook, be it a baron, a fairy court/regio, or the meddling friar (I did not find the appropriate hook in the book, but I am sure I can make it justify a minor one :slight_smile:

We almost certainly need Centralised Kingdom. For a starting covenant, I think vis salary makes sense.

A pagan community concept was mentioned. If we go for it, the following hooks are plausible: Hedge tradition, Heretics, Pagans, Protector. I like this idea, but I am not sure if it fits particularly well or rather badly with you original idea of a saga heavy in mundane interaction. If English nobility is increasing their presence and strengthening their grip, it could fit well, but possible give us a challenge we cannot survive.

I have not thought so much about boons.

Just a heads up that I'm still here and interested. Mulling over character concepts and getting swamped at work.

Speak for yourself! What I have a burrow owl familiar? He lives in a hole in the ground...


Do we have a dedicated forums like thing to post concepts and characters in flux? It may get confusing just in one thread. I think wikidot has forums. Not that I want to move away from here.

The character I'm kicking around is on the Character Template thread. I'm still split between the two. Reynard will get in trouble, a lot. I mean cause trouble and hopefully not get caught. Aella has the possibility of being too flamboyant as an elementalist, but I'm thinking of a lot of Intellego than Creo. So she'll be great investigating ruins, spelunking, mountain exploration, and going to the bottom of the sea.

The only stories I'm not big into are either ones that get weirdly personal and the "never able to detect" reoccurring demon antagonist that never can be defeated. I'm not into the religious aspect of things For Divine and Infernal, but not off put by it. Not that I'll go anachronistic or anything debating clergy, lol. It's just a favourite is all.

Side note: I usually run Divine and Infernal much differently from the books with my friends so my knowledge of how it works as written is not great.

I am fine with any kind of story, except really funny/satyric ones (my magi usually are serious people).
We should let the head ST choose the basics of the covenant first, ie have him do any placement/setting and choose the major boons/hooks. The rest of us can suggest minors, and then start fleshing everything from the ground up. Mind you, if we do rural we will have to be pretty militant at this period of history.
I am gravitating on these magi concepts so far: warrior/magus ex miscelanea, criamon ascetic, bjornae bard and two social characters (Dreamer and healer). For companions I got an interesting Red cap if its allowed.

I have several ideas that are on the burner. I was waiting for the urban/rural decision. I was got to suggest Stanwix as it had a large roman fort and is not far from Carlisle.

I have a Elementalist that likes dark places but I saw someone else might go in that direction. I have an illusionist that was made for another game. He is a Criamon but that can change. And I have a Merintia who likes crows. He is from the highlands and is a bit daft. At this point I am leaning towards the Illusionist but I need to look him over.

2 would allow a little specialisation and possible spell sharing, really useful since elemetalist specific spells are usually harder to find. The character I'm working on is a Aurum primarily and Ignem second. Intellego and Muto I think, little to no Creo. If you were thinking Terrem and Aquam, we'd have fire and ice. The character also has Abilities to invest in that will limit xp in arts, so she won't be too proficient in Terrem or Aquam.

No pressure heh.

Companion proposal

I have an idea for a companion, depending on the covenant concept.

He is a landed noble, but did not grow up with his noble family, and thus is not a knight. Being an illegitimate, he was raised elsewhere (see below). The old lord (father or grandfather) had no other descendants, other sons being killed in recent local wars. On his deathbed, he decided to have his only remaining descendant tracked down and reinstated as heir, bypassing a number of jealous nephews.

As to upbringing.

  1. If the covenant is essentially pagan (opposing the church and protecting openly pagan practioners), I would go for a character who is raised in a pagan cult, with a very pious pagan belief. He is a patriot of the local lands where he was brought up, violently (literally) defending his belief. His heretic beliefs may or may not be a secret.
  2. If the covenant is Christian, or at least not opposing the church in any way, I would go for a character raised by a friar of one kind or another. Possibly by an hermit (sheltered upbringing) or possibly not. Probably non-combatant. He is very pious, and he is likely to spend significant money erecting churches, funding crusades, or whatever else he believes to save souls. I wanted to make him ordained, but that is probably a bad idea since celibacy is not really compatible with the aristocratic duty of securing an heir. However, not being ordained does not need make him any less zealous.
  3. If I need a more neutral concept to fit into the covenant, I might consider troupe upbringing, but I am not sure if I can make this work for me.

His immediate family is all dead, but the relations to his cousins (who would inherit him) constitute a dark secret if not a major story flaw (enemy or whatever). The pagan case (1) may have to drop this story flaw, in favour of story flaws relating to his pagan belief.

He could serve as a «tame nobleman» for the covenant boon. This is probably most plausible in the pagan case, but not impossible in the Christian case.

What do you think? Is this a good companion for the troupe?

The companion would be interesting and get pulled into a lot of the history of the area. There will be Scottish raids in this area and Armies marching around for some time. Carlisle was one of the areas that was effected less. Hiding in a mine would be helpful but we will still be raided. We would need to make a fortified manor even for the mine.

My point is that the nobleman may lose his lands and or money in the course of the saga. Do you want to play that storyline?

Hi could lose his life as well, regardless of concept, so what's the difference?

And the covenant could lose its lands.

And magi could lose their laboratories.

No, I do not want to play that storyline. Nor any other. A storyline suggests that the outcome is predefined, and that is contrary to roleplaying as I see it. I am happy to play that story, if there are chances of success as well as of failure.

The real question is if the companion and his holdings would fit into the stories of the covenant, or if he would require additional stories with no time to tell them.

I like both #1 and #2, #1 the most.

I'm thinking it comes down to how much combat we're interested in.

#1 seems proactive
#2 seems reactive

Either way we will get sucked in to things because of the setting :0)

I actually think #2 is more dangerous for the Covenant, which in my mind danger = fun. The reason I like #1 the most is in case we want to go Diabolical, jk. It would make Mystery Cult stuff easier in case we have any.

#3 seems like you wouldn't have fun. If you wanted #3 and needed a tie in Aella would benefit from troupe upbringing. I'm thinking Enchanting Athletics (Dance) and Performance: Athletics (Dance) would fit even without the Virtue. Doing the equivalent of Poi as a performer.

I did not plan one more proactive than the other. The main difference here is that #1 is against the establishment and #2 is with it. Both may be proactive or reactive depending on the situation in face of establishment and the world at large.

If we play with the assumption that magic is sin and all magi are pagan, then the #2 character would oppose the covenant and be unsuitable as a PC. #1 would be an obvious ally.

If, however, we assume that in Mythic Europe the divine is real, and magi are as worried about their immortal souls as everybody else, then it makes sense for the magi to attend mass, and keep good relations with the church. This assumption leaves a lot of ambiguity, as well as personal dilemmas for the magi. For me, it is the ambiguity, rather than the danger, which makes this interesting. Maybe we think the same, even if we use different words!? In this case #1 would be the opponent, and #2 a suitable ally.

Did we want to go Diabolical, you say? Is that a firm decision made?

I might have fun with #3, but I have not figured out how, yet.

Emelric needs to requesta forum. Sometimes it takes a while.

Looking back on the mine/covenant thread ( pgs 3-4), I like the idea of a winter Covenant or at least a former Covenant site. That gives us some buildings and a community to start. Or go with Ruined Covenant Hook. Do we have a list of boons/hooks that we are considering now?

TLDR: my personal view is one needs to change certain aspects of the game or history when it comes to Divine, Infernal, and the Church. Which is why I usually ignore it or make characters completely ignorant of the topic.

Faeries are fake, but may mislead ignorant folk. Daimons just want Vis and use ritual sacrifice for magic efficiency.

Pretty much everything that wants to be worshipped is evil. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty sure 'Magic Gods' want followers, observation of special days, special animals, and all around veneration. Really Faeries just want attention.

Which leaves the other "two" realms. The Divine assuredly exists. However a commitment to Any religion is insane. Especially the Divine ones.

Heresy is worse than Paganism, though both can get a public outspoken figure killed. The latter gets ignored in the country and fringes. Heresy calls for sending out someone to kill the heretics. Pelagius in Ireland, which is debatable if Patrick's snakes were heretics, I actually doubt it. In game though the New Aristotle at the college of Paris, also a historical event, is mentioned in A&A.

So making a commitment to absolutely anything that can be misconstrued as heresy is insane. Religion persecutes the similar much harder than the alien. (Japanese persecution of Christians for considering Christ their lord and not the Emperor after previously accepting them as a Buddhist variant happens to come to mind.)

Hermetic magic can't tell the difference between god and a powerful demon.

Since Divine Grace is irresistible and a thing one can experience, how does one know if a friend was touched by god or a demon? You don't. The only people that do seem to be able to detect demons... happen to be the same political entity that says not to dance, have music, or venerate daimon protectors etc. want money and influence over kings. Convenient, isn't it?

Once you get into the Jewish concept that Demons do God's will as punishment for disobedience... Disobedience of a magical protector of a political entity. Now one asks if there isn't just one Realm and not two.

Most of the people being misled by Faeries and Demons are the desperate poor. Which then one needs to ask if the socioeconomic oppression and torture of the poor is really worth something so petty. I don't see how an educated character can worship, nevertheless respect, such a monster and earnestly think they're good for doing so. If anything it's deciding to join those in power for power. Now the Church starts to look more insidious than the historical Church.

How can two different faiths have True Faith? The moment the two characters meet their faith will be called into question. The Church if Divine knows the other religions it condemns are Divine. So then, how can the Church be good? It has to be depraved, it's the only way to make sense of history and keep Divine good.

Even if we ignore that, the monsters of the world are real and very much exist. They aren't just Faeries feeding off fear. Or giants wanting your bones for bread. They want very bad things to happen to you and threaten you everyday by calling what you do a sin.

No one knows though which one's are the real one's. So it's really just better to not commit to any and keep your head down from my perspective, lol.

Which is really why I ignore the RAW and run Divine as humanism and Infernal as depravity regardless of religion. The latter I do Lovecraftian horrors and what not. However you guys would like to run it, I'm easy :slight_smile:

I usually make characters completely ignorant of the topics and neither Christian or Pagan and just go with the flow.

We don't have a list, but given the area we should totally have Death Prophesy and a Bean Nighe running around.

I can certainly agree with you that running the realms of power by RAW is a challenge, on more than one account. Your view that one needs to change it though, is only saying that you are not up to the challenge :slight_smile: No offense intended; I really do think it is a fair point.

What you propose is a rather gross deviation, not only from the letter of RAW, but also from the spirit of Mythic Europe. Lovecraft is not medieval :slight_smile:

Personally, I accept the challenge and accept the risk of failure.

Now, I'd really like to hear the alpha SG's opinion on the matter ...

+1 vote, as far is it does not ruin the story plans of the alpha SG.

Ruined Covenant Hook is probably safe, as it is plugin feature. Turning around a Winter covenant may not fit the SG plan of founding the covenant.

Me too. I played Ars in the demon filled 3rd Ed. and it was a pain. But the Church is a great stick for the Order. I have used them as the big baddies on more than one saga.

Yah... I wanted to play a game of pretend with Magic and Faeries and Legends and bit of history mixed in.

RAW and historical accuracy I can do if you like, but it may make people sick.

Oh gawd, 3rd edition. I hated Ars Magica and refused to play it then.

RAW everything is a Faerie

Everything COULD be a fairy :slight_smile:

I like the 5th Ed fairies because they are quite usable for a lot of stories. I will most likely play a Mernitia so I will want stories with Fairies