Since Atlas has released rules for all the different realms, I Personally would like a greater bestiary somewhat modeled on the old AD&D / D&D monster manual based on the available rules, with a decent collection of sample-creatures from all the realms, and quick modifications that can be done to make them more or less powerful/challenging.
It would be nice to have some combat- and encounter challenges, ready to throw into different sagas, and maybe a random encounter-/treasure-generator table.
Although different Ars Magica sagas that I have run myself, and that I have been a part of over the years, often has been characterized with a lack of combat and "hack'n slash"-type of play, I think it would be refreshing for both the game, and the different sagas that I refer to have that kind of game-play as a possibility.
I've done about 9ish? creatures for Sub Rosa. We've actually kicked around collecting them and making a few more for a piece.
Right now we have:
SR#1: The Tartalo
SR#2: Bestiary (Basilisk, Griffin, Siren)
SR#4: Bestiary (Centaur, Harpy, Manticore)
SR#5: The Poppele, Beyond the Fields We Know (Discussed: Ill Angel of Remorse, Svartalfar, Leprechauns, Statted: The Burning Scarecrows), The Bishop's Bird (Demon)
SR#6: Unicorn's Ransom (Malmarteaux, the Giant, Unicorn)
SR#7: The Rubezahl, Ghost in the Snow (Muspelli Ettin-mod)
But you know what, I'd be down with doing that for Nagademon, spinning up the appropriate contents of bestiary.ca for a collection.
Figure each statblock is about 500 words-ish... So, let's look at 50 and go from there. That'd give us about 65.
I am not entirely sure how I would organize such a book for Mythic Europe and for the rules, to make it flexible and interesting enough for quick and practical game use. I think the bestiary.ca could be a fine source of inspiration, and probably pictures. But I also have some good experience from my early gaming years, with the Monster Manual for D&D.
One saga that we are doing is a low-powered covenant placed in Mythic Scandinavia isolated from the rest of mythic europe and the order of hermes. For that group we need examples on typical traditional norse mythological creatures. One of the co-story guides and myself, are playing around with creating example creatures, for all kind of weird trolls, dwarves, elves, spirits, ancient gods (æsir an jotnir) and other types of nastiness that lurks around in the mountains and wilderness outside the reach of the steadily growing dominion auras. Of course there are some interesting material that can be found in the official books as well.
I think that if we put some effort into it (our group that is), we can manage to create a fun arsenal of creatures, that can be thrown into the game, and serve as easily available resources for us to quickly assemble encounters and other challenges.
I believe that "hack'n slash" and "dungeon crawl"-type of game play can be quite fun, as an supplement to a story that also have other qualities to it as well. The article in the last SubRosa (#8) about combat, was worth reading and is recommended.
But anyways, I believe that if there should be an official book or an fan-created book, one would have to organize it in a way that gives us a quick and easy to use resource for creatures from all of the realms, and examples and ideas on how to quickly increase or decrease their power and danger-potential. At the same time, mythic europe is a large place, with different kinds of creatures in different parts of the land, with a huge variety of mythology to draw upon. So maybe it makes more sense to organize the book after different places one can travel, or maybe after the different realms...
As a complement to a bestiary, it would be nice to just have several sets of "beastless" combat stats worked out: a set of Init / Atk / Def / Dam / Soak scores, along with some (simulation-based) summary like "here are beast stats that make each beast about equal to a Standard Soldier" or "here are beast stats that make it a good match for two Tough Guys" or "here are beast stats that will rip through anybody without magical enhancement". Then one can "plug in" the stats to our favorite beast's physical description for a quick beast combat encounter.
On a related note: don't forget about trained groups (there's a beast Quality, IIRC, that allows it to lead such groups). A trained pack of 5 wolves is extremely dangerous in combat, I can tell you from experience. (Dangerous to non-magi, that is!)
So that takes us of course to making beasts that present challenges for magi - and back to the idea of going from medieval bestiaries, which is cool.
The trick will be to give such a beastiary the right combination of an implimentation of the rules (since all the different rules for the four supernatural realms are created and released, this would be a perfect opportunity to use and demonstrate them), a right mythic europe feel, and a right level of practical usefullness for storyguides and combat-hungry players.
I totaly agree, that using the medival beastiary as a start, is very cool initiative!
For those considerations, I think ROPM, ROPtI and ROPF do a great job.
With some flaws but there is at least the embryo of a bestiary.
ROPtI flaw is that their demon are weak (50 for the mightest!); ROPF is that the book format is imperfect ^^ and ROPM is the big emphasis on how you do the maths, which take a lot of places... Once or twice would have suffice.
But they are all three great books.
I personally like to share my own creations, but sometimes I feel like for the same might, they seem like two time more efficient than the published ones so think I'm not really good for creating average creatures.
Most deffinently I want to see some variants and suggestions on the trolls from norse mythology, but it is a complex topic...
Maybe you could make several versions, each with a number of heads (one, two or three) for a start
And I would like to see a suggestions to how to make a more classical version of the vampire, both as a magical creature and as a faerie creature. I don't know if a magical vampire can be defended at all, but we played around with one version in a saga that I was a part of some years ago.
Maybe we should make a reference-lists from the bestiary, let me come back to this...
I totally love this idea and had always hoped Atlas would have come out with an official Beastiary. Anyways, one thought would be to have the creatures in Excel so you could easily pick a certain stat/power that you are looking for in a monster to use in the battle (Might for example).
As far as increasing a monsters power, it is hard to just come up with a general rule. Let's say I have a creature with a 20 might and a 10 soak. Now I want to make him tougher. If I add 10/5 to each, the might possibly could keep him out of range of my troupe based on their years out of apprenticeship, but the soak may be too low if they decide to bring along a Knight type companion. Unfortunately, it is not D&D easy to just bump a monster up.
Sure you can, you go with the Curious Case of Charles Dexter Ward, and the reanimated people who need fresh blood in order to simply exist, who are really nothing more than simulacrums unable to advance beyond the point where they died and doomed to be unraveled with the proper magics. You might need to go a little non-Hermetic to make it stick well (maybe Persian or Babylonian with Gallu) -- but there's a lot of room out there to develop.
First a quick summary of the sources for monsters, that are available so far:
5th Edition Core Rulebook
Realms of Power: The Divine
Realms of Power: The Infernal
Realms of Power: Magic (with also include: Book of Mundane Beasts - that can be freely downloaded)
Realms of Power: Faerie
There are also some example-monsters in other official 5th-edition books, which more or less uses the rules from the RoP-books above.
4th: The Medieval Bestiary - Revised Edition
The different editions of Sub Rosa
Both the bestiary in the main book, and the bestiaries in the RoP-books serve mostly as examples and guidelines on how to design your're own monsters, but they are not that useful for throwing out quick and dirty challenges and encounters. Although there has been put a lot of effort into trying to design rules for the different realms, and to provide different creature examples - I think the game would benefit from a more dedicated monster-handbook, so it is most likely worth the effort. The 4th edition-book could be worse, but it is not perfect either.
Maybe something along the Magi of Hermes approach would be a good way to thing, with different designs and power levels (development stages) for each creature. At least: One not-that-dangerous version, one that has a more average treat-level, and one version that tries to maximize its nastiness.
Another way to tackle this point, could be to throw in a more informal and quick way to increase (or decrease) the "threat level" of the monsters.
For example: Add 10 might, add +x soak, +y attack, +z defense, +w damage... and some extra powers that are suggested along with the creature.
It would be nice to have creatures both that covers most of the mythology of the middle ages, and a rich selection for all the different realms.
To be honest, I think there would be value in revisiting the mundane beasts and making the list more robust. I mean, the ArM source books do give us everything we need to build the beasts (except, IMHO, an indication of how to tailor Qualities chosen to the desired combat threat level), but the work still needs to be done by some enterprising soul....
Gerg: Maybe a fan-made wiki or some similar concept could be used as a temporary solution to create a greater monster-catalogue. And if there are a gifted soul dedicated enough, one should be able to make a high quality, printable pdf document of it when the collection has grown into a decent and respectable one.
I don't know how it works with copyright and things like that, to include official monsters from the current game (f.eks. RoP: Magic, and the Mundane Beast Collection).
The Legend of Hermes, describes The Magic and Fearie Realm as the Existential Realms, and Dominion and Infernal as the Moral realms.
Maybe it would be fitting with one Bestiary of the Moral Realms with demons, angels and other beings from the infernal and the dominion, and one Bestiary of the Existential Realms to cover the rest of the mythological universe.
Anyways, just to have a demon and demon prince-making competition would be quite fun to see a how cruel, nasty and sadistic powers one can make, the same goes for dragons.
If you really wanted to get into it, you could consider the Lesser Key of Solomon and try spinning up 72 demons. It would be seriously cool if you could find a way to use the images being generated here.
Personally, I find demons to be the most difficult of the 4 realms to generate, because they must often be combat-capable creatures but the rules for generating demons in RoP:I are much less mechanical than either the Fae or the Magical realms and so balancing them is tougher. My Divine-aligned creatures are often more Magical, but with the Realm-dependent qualities shifted to Divine. Additionally, I've been able to handwave them with the knowledge I'd need to wait for the RoP:D reprint. The magi in my saga haven't yet had the stones to attempt facing off against angels. Demons, though, have a specifically antagonistic role to play, and so their stats really do matter. I guess it can pretty easily be said that they need to do what they need to do, but something in the way of guidelines (aside from inferring them based on the rather large number of options in RoP:I) would be good.
Demons are only automatically antagonists if your characters/players knpowthat they are demons. "Faerie" encounters with demons are fairly common IMS. Or do you think all pool maidens are faerie/magical creatures? Corruption does not mean them asking for your soul at first sight after all.