Comments about Canon

Would you mind explaining why? :slight_smile:

(maybe in an other thread as it does not seem related to this discussion)

To add fuel to the fire, I would point out that "cannon" was a tem coined by gamers to refer to published material, and I think it first came into use amongst Ars Magica players. I would also add that, in many discussions between players, terms such as "Current Cannon" and "Old Cannon" are used quite often. Finally, I will close by saying I think "wiping the slate clean" as far as "cannon" goes was a bad idea, one which the community is still suffering the consequences of.

Speaking as an author, I think that the clean slate of ArM5 was an excellent idea. You have to remember that the previous state of canon was hardly coherent, consistent, or uniformly good.

a) Without a clean slate there would be little for the new authors to write about. Most books would just be re-hashes of old material with some new mechanics. Certainly, I would have little enthusiasm writing such books, and I imagine that some of the other authors might feel the same. I would also be less than pleased about buying such books as a player.

b) Some parts of the previous editions look very dated, and either don't really belong in a modern RPG or were just there to align ArM with other contemporary White Wolf products. There is a fair amount of inconsistency in the previous material too.

c) As well as being dated, parts of the previous editions were just bad. Of course, everyone has different opinions about precisely which bits were bad, and certainly you (and others) might consider that some parts of the new edition are as bad (or even worse). However, I think that on average ArM5 is much better.

d) Given that some game mechanics have changed, some elements of the old editions don't make much in-character sense.

I think "canon" may have been invented by the Sherlockians rather before the gamers, IMO.

A case in point of the apocrypha of 4th ed being rehabilitated into canon is my re-introduction of Eleanor of Mercer in Tales of Mythic Europe. :slight_smile:

I liked it :smiley:

I disagree. There has been plenty of great new material that doesn't contradict old cannon in any way. Case in point: House Tytalus. It embraces all past cannon and expounds upon it greatly. Alwo, most of the new authors are actually old Ars gamers, there was no lack of information on their part. Plus, some of the most severe changes were completly arbitray and needless. Why was it important to delete Roto as Primus of Tremere and replace him with Poena? Why was in necessary to remove Flambeau's ethnic identity as a Spaniard? In what way do either of these changes improve the game?

The two examples I cited; in what way do they have anything to do with the mechanics of the game? They don't. They were simply author preference.

Good for you. You can still use old canon, or combine it with the new material. No one is stopping you.

Sure, some things are consistent with the old canon. That doesn't mean it's a good idea for everything to stay the same.

I didn't write that material so I have no idea why. Neither seems like a particularly "severe" change to me?

As I said, some things may have changed due to game mechanics changes. You are right, other things may have changed for other reasons.

Lots of things stop me. Most troupes don't allow the players to rewrite the game setting. If I want to play House Flambeau using the original history, I am (usually) stuck in the role of running the game. In one PbP game where I am just the player, they are just fine with my preference. But trying to play a Flambeau in a table-top game I kept getting the smackdown. So I am quite limited in the role of a player. I have found only one troupe willing to accept me, and I cherish them as if they were saints because of it. But other than that one exception, I am forced to be the SG. I don't want to be SG all the time. Sometimes I just want to play.

I don't care about Roto. It just seemed needlesly arbitrary. I do care about Flambeau. That was a very severe change and has cause me headaches ever since. It really-really bothers me, and has made me incompatible with most games.
Trust me, you don't want to argue about House Flambeau with me. Just smile and nod and let it be.

I realize that this is off topic, but what precisely could you do under the old description of the House that you cannot do under the current description?

I don't want to know what you think has changed in the House (or why the previous was so much better). Can you please just explain how precisely your choice of character and character design has been affected?

Seriously, just smile and nod and let it go. You really-really don't want me to start ranting and raving. I nearly destroyed the Berklist with my flamewars. I am repentant. I have made good friends with Andrew G. He understands. I don't want to get him involved in more of my ranting and raving. He has suffered enough. I even recieved a letter from David C delaring that I am not retroactively made a "heritic", and stated that old cannon is still cannon in my saga (and he was the one who used the word "cannon" that way).
Trust me, it is a very severe change. You are not a Flambeau fan to the degree I am. You just do not understand. That's why I am letting you off the hook.

  • Because Roto was a one line character with a name that's historically impossible, and I like my characters to have names which are really namews, not jumbles of letters in the Dungeons and Dragons style.
  • So that the idea of gender euqity in the Order was displayed in fact, rather than just asserted while being patently untrue.
  • To close off all continuity links to the vampiric Tremere.
  • Becasue I want Judy Dench running House Tremere. 8)

We've done this, what, six times Marko? I have no idea how you can be so passionately attached ot a character who was mentioned once, and had less than a whole paragraph to himself.

Then your troupe is playing it wrong.

The idea is you all sit down and through the character and covenant creation processes, you make a world that suit -you- personally to an optimal degree. If your troupe refuse to tailor to you, then they are simply playing really badly and you should feel free to tell them so.


irony on:
na na na na na!
na na na na na!
marko is a loser! marko is a loser!
His troupe can't play ars magica!
That is pathetic:
posts 6000, clues: not one!!
na na na na na!
na na na na na!
irony off

I don't know if I'd say "playing really badly," but probably there's a communication failure going on. If something matters a whole lot to you, and the rest of your troupe won't play along, then presumably they can give you a good reason why not. (It had better be very good, IMO).

As I've said before, it's probably a better approach to explain why the old thing you like is super great, than to bash the new thing. If you tried that, and the rest of the group still won't budge, then I wonder what is going through their heads.

Given that we're talking about an hermetic, rather than birth, name, I'm confused. An hermetic name is much like an internet handle; it's a useful ltag which removes the need to use one's real name (a real danger to magi) and potentially provides some other information. One published magus did, after all, call himself, "Erat Caecus". Having something deliberately devoid of meaning would seem to be actively favouring the flavour of the setting, rather than the opposite.

I suspect much of Mark's ire is because some of the changes achieve nothing save a change. One could easily rename House Verditius to House Artificis and set the Domus Magna in the ruins of Carthage without actually making more than minor ripples to the rest of Europe, but it'd still irritate everyone who plays a member of the house as it is.

There will be a 7th and 20th time. I honestly don't care about Roto. He is just an example of author preference being th cause of changes in cannon. You said yourself, you prefer realistic names. That is fine, but as you just admittd, it was your preference. Not any need to accomodate new rules or make cannon more consistent. The gender equity thing, that is your preference again. It is something I myself am really unconcerned about. As for the vampire thing, you included lots of vampirish stuff in your chapter. I have said before, I admire the way you took the bull by the horns on that one. You gave reasons why mundanes often misidentify Tremre magi as vampires, you introduced a new vision of what a vampire is, and you brought Tremere back to its necromancy roots.
As for the Judy Dench thing, you got me there :laughing:
Seriously, I don't care about Roto. He is just an example. My whole point is to ask future authors to be a little more careful when revising old cannon. Mutate, don't Obliterate.

They did somethings right, other things wrong. I came into an established saga as a newbie, so I wasn't part of the negotitions for the "play contract" (a term I am borrowing from you Timothy, a brilliant concept I do say). I created an Apromor style Flambeau, which was to grim and spooky for even me! So I created a new character, a traditional style Flambeau magus from Spain. Old School style. There were two instances that my vision came into conflict with that troupe (or rather, with the dominant member of that troupe). I like using the old quotes from Houses of Hermes. I got the smackdown there when I was told that none of that applies and Flambeau culture is something different in 5th edition. I brushed that off. But the whopper was the one time they asked me to run a beta story because the ASG was out sick. So I put together a spontaneous Diedne plot (admittedly with the intent of sowing story seeds for my character for future use). I recieved a severe smackdown in mid plot. It was very frustrating. I told them "well, you guys figure out how you want the rest of the story to go. I'm going out for a smoke". I had my cigarette, thought up a way to save the story, and completed an entertaining session where the companion characters wound up saving the day.
There were other issues as well, but anyway; because of a change in job, I am unable to play with that group. I might add though that after seven months they are still in the same season. Too much micromanagment of minute details.

We're drifting into a new topic here but the best thing I ever did was have a whole session devoted to discussing the play contract. I try to do this in every game I run (not just Ars Magica).

I think the lesson here is that it's smart to re-visit the play contract discussion from time to time, especially before newcomers are asked/invited to storyguide. I do think it was a bit harsh of your group to come down on you for not following their "rules," when you hadn't signed up for them.

Getting back to the topic of canon, I think having a clear definition of a baseline really helps those discussions. If I am hearing Marko and others right, they are upset because the baseline changed at the start of 5th edition and things that they liked are not considered part of it (by some). I guess if something changed hugely and I could no longer take it for granted that (for example) the Code says being a court wizard is Wrong, I'd be upset too.

That said, I would still want to play the way I want to play, and I'd talk about it with my troupe. Knowing the differences between what's "official" and what I prefer is very important to being able to discuss the play contract.

That's why I am puzzled and frustrated that we have various definitions of what people consider "canon." That obscures the real differences between people's preferences and makes it harder to have an insightful conversation IMO.

..and not mine at all, I must say, but stolen from, um..., well the whole indie gaming movement, basically, although I'd argue Ars was there first, and the terminology has just caught up with us. Covenant design has always been play contract negotiation, but in the newer editions this is far more explicit. This is because David's idea that personal Flaws aren't Flaws because they impair your combat effectiveness but because they hang story hooks on you, when extrapolated to the covnenant caracter, mean that the covenant character is explicitly a bundle of story leads and resources, and so its a negotiated play space.

The thing which is really rather neat in the new design, which I've not seen anywere else, is limiting your hooks by how often you play in real life. I think this shows we are still on the innovating edge, as regards to interesting design tricks, even though we are not an indie game community.