Ars Magica Chronology (An in-progress, updated, really big fat Timeline of the Order)

Dear Forum Sodales and Atlas Games,

I have been a lurker here for a very very long time. Recently, I was suprised that I was unable to find a chunky good chronological timeline of the Order that was up to date, beyond this excellent but ancient post from 2006: Hermetic Timeline
The one-pagers from various supplements not really scratching the itch either.

With that as a base, I decided to do what any enterprising magus would and I took it upon myself to research and deliver an upgraded version to enjoy for myself and my sodales, and that can quickly be ready to share with the young and curious magi at your table for many adventures.
It's still a work in progress and not entirely completed, but in the spirit of Bonisagus, I'm now sharing my discoveries as they are currently in the hope that you all can help me fill in the missing pieces and correct my egregious errors:

I have updated with most of Arm5e canon (the appendix has details of what's been done and what's still to do) and multiplied the page count (now amassing well over 100 pages).

My sodales are welcome to post suggested updates and corrections here, but it can also be done directly as comments on the document itself. I assure you I will take them all into account, if just but mockingly ;).

Disclaimer:
As such this document should be considered a freely put together fan resource for the Ars Magica game, and no infringement on the rights of Atlas Games or anybody else is intended. Please continue to support Ars Magica and Atlas Games by buying all the excellent supplements available!

UPDATE 1: v2.01 Work is still very much in progress, I update this from time to time and I want to review the remaining Arm5e works before I consider it a full release. You're welcome to use as-is but understand it's updated more or less live for now (just did a major review for the Levant).

The document settings allow you to comment in it directly, which a few of you have done and there are accepted edits and additions thanks to that! Keep them coming (or let me know here).

UPDATE 2: v2.02 and 2.03 Another dozen books added, and the hefty (and difficult) Normandy Tribunal book incorporated - resulting in about 30 more pages of timeline. Only 5 more locational books left before all ArM5e books have been reviewed...

UPDATE 4: v2.04 Four more books done and only The Contested Isle - The Hibernian Tribunal remains out of all ArM5e. It may take a while since it seems to have a lot of dates and I've never read it before. After that, I may return to some previous editions or enhance the existing a bit. I'm not yet fully satisfied with all parts.
Currently at over 150 pages vs version 1.1's 45 or so.

UPDATE 5: v2.05 All ArM5e books have now been trawled (Hibernia was exhausting to do, but a lot of fun!). Added & fixed quite a few other things. Clarified several Novgorod entries. Added more suitable "historical" magic entries. Cleaned up many entries. This is getting very close to what I would call a "Complete Arm5e Canon" chronology. Feel free to help me nail what I have missed!

UPDATE 6: v2.06 Several comprehensive rereviews and fixes around founding of the Order, Schism War and a lot of additions to the Rhine Tribunal from Guardians of the Forest - as well as some trawling through older 3e and 4e supplements.
I'm nearing the point where I can consider this a full release of "The History of Magic and The Order of Hermes" covering all of the (valid) Ars Magica's supplements officially released, throughout the editions.
From here on it's more or less only fixes and clarifications needed. Now is the time where I really could use some help from my sodales filling in what's been missed, misunderstood or erroneously compiled.

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Impressive work. I like how you tried to go beyond a simple list, to have something that reads like a book.
Thank you very much, I'll read it as soon as possible.

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Exactly, the larger picture should be self-contained and you should be able to read it straight through without necessarily looking up each event in the main text. The balance between main text and this is sometimes hard however, and there's plenty of improvement that can be done (and probably quite a bit of pruning).

Good to see my old project has legs.

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Thanks for checking in @TimOB. Obviously a lot of hard work went into trawling the pre-Arm5e lore, and many thanks for that! Feel free to fill us in on any details that wasn't apparent that can be helpful.

The Pre-Modern material was included because the Order is not an exclusively Western Christian social group, and the same for fringe material. I expected it to be moderately self-contradictory.

The original tabular format was to allow for columns. I wanted Date Entry Gloss Symbol columns to keep things aligned.

There was no editor, although the original document does have a list of credits including readers/commenters. This work was originally a side project in 2001-2002? to keep me occupied in odd moments while I was caretaking my elderly grandfather. It soon went out of date with the ArM5 changeover, and I didn't have the spirit to continue and update, and I know the newer material kept only loose continuity with the old.

The Tribunals books have a considerable wealth of material to include, so there's much yet to do.

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Thanks for the insight, it makes sense.

Interestingly enough, the more I have dived into this, and comparing the old and the new - the less I see it as directly colliding. Yes, there are continuity errors and contradictions - but significantly less so than I thought, and barring a few jarring collisions (which I try to list in the appendix), I feel that once you really go beyond the surface it tends to mesh quite well.
I do feel there is a wealth of details and nuances in the older editions that may have been lost, made inconsequential or are glossed over in Arm5e, and I intend to try and keep as much of that as possible.

The good part is that any remaining collisions, issues and errors can just be attributed to the fictional author - and everyone's saga is their own :).

I considered doing colums as well, but I decided to rewrite to this style to make it more of a in-game reference document that can be directly shared with the players - in part or whole - for both flavor, as well as direct use in the saga as an interesting way for players to direct interest, investigations and perhaps even finding their next adventure (which is why a lot of hooks have been embedded). All old and new entries have been reviewed with this in mind.

This is still a live WIP document and I intend to cover the remaining Tribunal books as suitable (the appendix outlines what I have covered, and what may remain). Regardless, I think that pretty much all the most interesting parts for the Order as a whole is already all there - but can still be refined and enriched of course.
Helpful entries, comments and suggestions are welcome as mentioned.

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@TimOB I've credited you more properly in the Appendix. Thanks maestro!

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This is amazing! Thank you for putting it together :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Oh, I am likely to have opinions... :slightly_smiling_face:

One of the original design goals was to have a text for both SGs and players to refer to for setting clues. ("Hey, that dragon we're looking for, Pan Cauderax? I found a note about where he's raided before.") As an open document, an SG could insert new entries or comments.

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@TimOB Precisely how I want to use it myself. I just activated it in my current campaign by the troupe's covenant receiving a request from a Mercere at Harco to submit important covenant history to their "project", soon to be shared. (Perfectly "coinciding" with the troupe finding definite proof that their covenat was founded and run by mainly Diedne magi, and has been obfuscating its history since the Schism War).
I intend for the Mercere to intermittently release a new version as their inventory of the Order's history grows along the time of the campaign.

Since the history is vast and meaty, the players themselves can be invited to make choices what fancies they want to investigate from the Order's rich past ;).

This is super cool. There should be a note that the 14th Grand Tribunal of 1129 oversaw the formal recreation or recreation of the Levant Tribunal. Though in hindsight, I suppose this is a 4e-ism.

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That sounds quite interesting. Can you point me to a reference so I can read up on it and refresh my memory. Which 4e supplement at least?

The fact is that older editions still have a lot of good, and sometimes required lore that was never updated to 5th. Rome, Alps... cough cough. Or as I have recently noticed, been quite glossed over or watered-down in 5e.
This is why I felt it was important to keep previous edition lore and details in this timeline, but have it as in line with 5e as possible.

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Not so surprisingly it is from the 4e supplement covering the Levant Tribunal: Blood and Sand, Appendix IV and possibly somewhere in the main text as well.

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@ErikT Yes of course, silly me :slight_smile:
@Heaven_s_Thunder_Ham

As I'm still in pre-release mode, I have just updated the timeline with a few dozen edits to incorporate 4e Blood and Sand: The Levant Tribunal (it's ofc also in the notes). I was under the impression it had been covered by previous versions, but I don't think that was the case. I have to say the book is pretty solid, and had more juice for entries than most 5e supplements so far.

Please note I did the entire review in one go, so I might have missed something or made some error. Feel free to add any more suggestions or correct any mistakes (I had to make some judgements on what happened at which tribunal - but should be the best choices).

Since the additions were fairly hefty, I bumped the version a minor step to 2.01 (still in pre-release mode, I'm not done - so I would advise to come back as it will improve more).

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UPDATE 2: v2.02 and 2.03 Another dozen books added, and the hefty (and difficult) Normandy Tribunal book incorporated - resulting in about 30 more pages of timeline. Only 5 more locational books left before all ArM5e books have been reviewed...

The Normandy Tribunal book gave me plenty of headache - as it is incredibly rich, but has so many minor inconsistencies and plain errors in the chronology. I've attempted to sort them with the least remaining issues (but yes, timings have been moved to the ACTUAL years there are Tribunals etc).

The only remaining books are now:
Between Sand & Sea
The Cradle & The Crescent
The Contested Isle - The Hibernian Tribunal
The Sundered Eagle - The Theban Tribunal
Lands of the Nile

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Well, your user name certainly fits. That's a lot of analysis to do! At the same time, someone did this for Faerun in in the D&D 3e era, and it resulted in this book: Grand History of the Realms: James, Brian R., Greenwood, Ed: 9780786947317: Amazon.com: Books

Which I actually found rather useful for understanding the setting better. After a few reads, of course.

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Well you said it :). I just did four more books. Cool link, thanks!
It's pretty much the same idea here - my idea this chronology should be one of the best ways to understand the Ars Magica setting better. It has certainly helped for me building it out.

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UPDATE 6: v2.06 Several comprehensive rereviews and fixes around founding of the Order, Schism War and a lot of additions to the Rhine Tribunal from Guardians of the Forest - as well as some trawling through older 3e and 4e supplements.
I'm nearing the point where I can consider this a full release of "The History of Magic and The Order of Hermes" covering all of the (valid) Ars Magica's supplements officially released, throughout the editions.

Page count is getting a bit nuts (180+ and counting), so I'm also thinking about doing a one-liner Timeline (for myself and others) now that this is nearly ready.

From here on it's more or less only fixes and clarifications needed. Now is the time where I really could use some help from my sodales filling in what's been missed, misunderstood or erroneously compiled.

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