Continuity: Revision or Break?

I'm moving the discussion which has developed out of "Hermetic Demographics: Where are all the Quaesitores" here because it's getting off the intended topic of that thread, while growing out of it. For those interested in seeing the comments to date, check that thread.

Ok, I have a few things to say regarding the preservation of continuity. I respect the fact that each edition will choose to emphasise certain characteristics over others. In a way, previous sourcebooks often had a degree of "filtering" in their perspective, though many of the later 4th Ed. books in particular offered individual Sagas several different possible options to choose from, letting them decide which of the described scenarios, rumours, and, in a few cases, "facts" were true and which ones were merely the tales whispered in the setting. To some extent, I have no objection to this, as history is often a muddle, even when records are kept. Do we really believe the spectacular triumphs proclaimed by Thutmoses III in his battle against the Hittites? Or do we believe their official records, which have also been recovered? Even within the Order of Hermes, with Redcaps, Bonisagi, and Quaesitoris actively scribing histories of events--to say nothing of the other Houses--there will be disagreement as to the "official" explanation of certain events.

Some things, however, cannot be contested. The time frame of the Schism War, for example, or the accompanying Renunciation and eradication from anywhere except deepest secret of House Diedne. The names of the Founders and their general characteristics.

But history is far larger and more complex than that. Sometimes there may be revisions to existing material which can, with some small effort, be justified or rationalised. E.g. the number of Quaesitores active in the Order. It's harder with the number of Gifted Mercere, as there are only supposed to be "about twelve", and we already know the names and locations of seven of them (Insatella at Harco, Viator at Ungulus, Mary and Rogitien at Rorschach, Susan of Whitlow at Three Lakes, and Simon at Venti Rosa). Stretching the numbers largely requires the explanation that it only counts "legitimate" Gifted Mercers of the Founder's own blood lineage, whereas any others are "illegitimate".

Then we hit major revisions. I haven't yet read the "Houses of Hermes" book describing House Flambeau (it's on my eventual reading list), but I've heard that, somehow, Delender, his tutor and master, who was described at great length in "Tribunals of Hermes: Iberia", has been excised from history. How and why? More to the point, this constitutes a severe revision that verges on a break with canon. It is an established fact.

Other changes result from the new edition's rules treatment. Magic Resistance is one of the most (in)famous. I don't want to get into that, here. I'm merely citing it as an example. The removal of the Permanent Duration is another, and one which I cannot fathom, especially since new Durations/Ranges/Targets only rate as Minor Breakthroughs, and Permanent effects are the sort that Magi would certainly have been seeking from the start.

Then there are specific details of Houses and Tribunals' history and character which have been stated in previous editions which are "forgotten" or completely ignored in subsequent publications. This is especially troublesome when the mention was repeated in multiple volumes of previous works. There is a cumulative canon which is being set aside, leaving those who have built off of them, or who might seek out the older works in the position of having no idea of what is canon. This is why I say that it must be preserved whenever possible.

I want to address some of Mr. Ferguson's stated objections regarding the need to recognise previously published material reducing the author pool.

  1. Atlas Games should have a copy of every single sourcebook every published in the game. Acquiring old copies from various sources is not that difficult in this day and age. One would think, therefore, that it could compose a "writer's bible" which would include all pertinent details. If nothing else, the editors should have access to the works, and should have a good memory for what has or has not been said.

  2. The fan base is large enough that anyone working on a subject could simply ask others whether they can recall anything which might be pertinent. This could produce a list of recommended works which the would-be author would find very useful, and if only a side mention is made, this can be gleaned through these sources and then confirmed by the editor.

  3. I've seen a massive timeline compiled using almost every date and figure in the accepted canon. Works like these, done by diligent fans/players, are invaluable resources. They help preserve the continuity, and can also spot alternative junctures where things are in conflict, allowing for future exploration and/or resolation.

  4. The old edition game books are now much, much cheaper than they were due to the presence of the new edition. If one is patient and interested, it isn't that hard to acquire the key works at a discounted rate. When working with Houses, for instance, one should have both the "Order of Hermes" and "Houses of Hermes" (4th Ed.) to know what has already been said (alas, I must confess that I haven't been able to snag these). Of the two, the latter is probably the more pertinent, since it is integral to 4th Ed., which seems to have the greatest range of actual sourcebooks as opposed to adventures.

Ultimately, the question is whether the intent is to preserve the continuity of the game, embellishing, consolidating, and streamlining the grand canon which has been created, or whether the intent is to break with the canon of previous editions in order to "reenvision" it. Fifth Ed. seems to be a mix of the two, leaving the question of what is canon in doubt. Unless it plans to rewrite all of the major sourcebooks (including the Tribunal books, as these are key) into the new edition--invalidating the previous works, many of them good, some not--there needs to be a clear set of guidelines in order for players to gauge what to trust and what not. And an explanation of why those changes were made.

Thus far, of the 5th Ed. books that I've read, "Guardians of the Forest" stands out for its extreme respect for previous canon. "Houses of Hermes: True Lineages" has a number of excellent elements (including, yes, the House Tremere section, as it finally shows a House with strong Classical roots--true of House Mercere, now, too), however, some of it doesn't mesh well with established canon. It lives up to a standard of high quality, however, these changes to the canon can be distracting.

When I first responded to this on the "Where are the Quaesitores" topic, I was not questioning the value of continuity. I was touching on the "what's the point" part of the question.

Continuity is important I do agree with that. It just can not be more important than the enjoyability of the game, that's my issue.

Things will be changed. As David pointed out the issue is a matter of if one agrees with the changes actually made. When a writer does their thing, they will engage in some self editing, picking what they do or do not want to change. Then the actual editor will edit the work some more, just for the heck of it. (Editors are like puppies, a project isn't theirs untill they've piddled on it) Once the product gets to us however, we have the greatest editing power of all, we can buy it or not; we can change things ourselves for our saga; and we can also voice our opinions in places like this forum.

However things will be changed, sometimes in support of what we, the target audience, suggested in places like this forum. This is part of the growth of Ars. The important thing is the quality of the game and this is why we should explain when an issue of continuity is important and to be maintained, and when we're dealing with a bad idea that needs to be fixed. As Arawn has done above. This is far more constructive than a blanket statment like "continuity must be maintained" which feels a little uncompromising on the surface.

At times changes will happen one doesn't like, but that's why we self edit for our saga. Even in our troupe changes may be made we don't care for. I remember when Matt Seidl introduced his idea for ablative Parma into the Berkeley troupe. I didn't like the idea, but he and Shannon were hot for it and they sold the troupe on it. I think the world of Matt, he's good guy, but I didn't care for this idea, reguardless I had to put up with it. As much as I hate to admit it, the game was still fun. (p.s. don't tell Matt I said it worked ok)

Bill Filios

Well David, since you asked (and you knew I would be someone to respond), I would be very glad to explain. But first, allow me to make this disclaimer. I have nothing personal against any individual person. I really like Andrew, and I am woe to be so critical of his work. I have said many-many times, I love Andrew’s crunch and everything he did with that chapter save for the revision of cannon. And I actually don’t fault him for wanting him to be creative. But I feel that the editor should have set limits and reined him in. Now, I know you are the editor, and I am woe to be critical of you as well. You work as a writer and editor for the line through editions has been fantastic. I hope you stay on board a long time. However, I honestly think you should look back and reconsider some of the decisions you have made.

As to your question, I feel that you threw the baby out with the bathwater. Yes, I do agree that the Infernal tone and the perversity in ToH: Iberia was overdone and out of place. But there were good parts. Duresca is a legendary covenant. Nix the demon and the Covenant of Barcelona is a fantastic setting. And the story of Flambeau was a good story. It was worth preserving.. It was epic in a way. Not in the way classic literature is epic, but in the way one’s favorite comic book or sci-fi movie can be epic. Further, up until 5th edition, more was written about Flambeau than any other single founder. He is the North East Cornerstone of the saga of the Order of Hermes. Delendar was the very first pre-Hermetic founder, having been invented even before Guanora I believe (serf’s parma). The story of Delendar and Reculed was the archetypical peer-mentor relationship. It was very inspirational and full of lessons for payers of magi from any House. The Legend and Lore of the Order of Hermes is all the poorer without it.

Now, I agree perhaps some revision and repolishing can be a good thing. Look at Battlestar Galactica. Still, part of what makes that show great is that they recognize Landmarks and feed the audience with anticipation (meaning that they play to their expectations and knowledge of the original series). One of the biggest landmarks that was taken away was the fact that he is Spanish. I was sorely disappointed that the one and only Spanish magus of the Order was remade French. Nothing against the French. But being the grognard idiot I am, I have studied endless amounts of Spanish history and developed an odd obsession with Medieval Iberia. I know how wrong that old tribunal book is in places. I enjoy the trend of being more historically accurate. I agree that the Infernal was overdone, and though I wouldn’t say throw it out entirely I would say that it should be reduced to a fraction of what is represented in that book. The perversities, such as Craft-Sex Toys and accusing Simon DeMontfort of being a child molester, that was simply inexcusable and has no place in a fantasy RPG.

But the epic story of the entire life and death of Flambeau, greatest of all the Founders; should it have been polished right out of existence? I don’t think so. I understand Andrew’s vision, and I appreciate and agree with his end result. But I would have rather it had been accomplished by polishing the original story and maintaining a link with continuity. Did you think that Flambeau had no fans? Go into the Berklist Archives. May 1999. “Why are there specialists”. I used to post from the e-mail address Dyvynarth at AOL dot Com. Okay, some people thought they were a house of brutes and one trick ponies. These people played magi of other Houses and it was fine. They had their niche. Me and my friends had our niche. We saw things a different way and we liked adventure.
Then the new edition and this revision is made. It pleases the people that didn’t play Flambeau magi, players that were not very action oriented or could not see beyond the stereotype. Now they are happy, and they probably still don’t play Flambeau magi, but they feel safer. Where does that leave people like me, who had our niche? I mean, I still have my niche. I still play interesting and fun (for me) Flambeau magi. But I cling to my origin story, because I am a fan, and being sent off into hand-wave-house-rule land makes me feel disconnected.

And [i]that[/i] is my entire point. It is not this incident, about me specifically or that specific story in Iberia. It’s about appreciating fans that already liked the game for the setting as much as the cool magic rules. Rabid fanboys like to collect little bits of trivia. I bring up comics a lot because there is a parallel here as far as revisions and retconning. Take Batman. Batman has changed a lot over the years and they have revised him again and again. Look at the new movies, they revised things again. Still, landmarks are there that reward the fanboy for his trivia knowledge. He watches the new film revision with eager anticipation to see how they will reinterpret or give a nod to a landmark. In the Incredible Hulk movie, even though they changed the way he becomes the Hulk, right when it happens they show the image of a nuclear explosion in his eyes, giving a nod to the mythic Gamma Bomb.

So, you specifically asked why that specific story should have been kept when the other bits are tossed. Demons and Perversions were a side show, what was considered adventure hooks and flavor by White Wolf editors, and was completely irrelevant as far as cannon is concerned. And please don’t tell me that it about Flambeau being a blood thirsty killer. You totally misunderstand the way I viewed the story and the way I play. The story of Delendar and Reculed was an important part of Hermetic history, very relevant to cannon, and part of the very foundation of my experience with this game.

And that’s all I can say. Thank you for asking me for my opinion. I shall endeavor to measure my actions in order to be a good “Hermetic Citizen” :wink:, and I shall try to keep myself circumscribed within due bounds. But I will carry the Torch. As new fans come along, older fans like me will tell them stories of old cannon. You have created an Earth 1 / Earth 2 situation here. 

Hmmm… Now there is an interesting story idea! You go deep into a Regio and come out in an alternate Ars Magica universe!

A few points in reply:

  • Atlas is, as I understand it, John and Michelle and a few other people, like David, who work for them part time. John's off being an alderman now, or something too. I'm guessing Atlas has little scope for things which do not immediately profit the company.

  • I'm guessing Atlas doesn't have -one- full-time editor for Ars Magica, let alone "editors" plural. It may do. I could well be wrong. I don't think I am.

  • "It shouldn't be difficult..." seems to indicate you have no idea of how difficult this would be. Have you tried to index an Ars book? I have: I indexed the Tribunal book for Russia. It took about 16 hours. I did it for freebies, because I rock like that, but in my day job, I charge $30 an hour for this sort of thing. I'm happy to get you your writer's bible together if you pay me my regular fee, which is about $450 per book, for every book of standard size.

  • How many pages in your bible, Arawan? Either you are defending a lot less than you have previously said you are, or your bible will be the size of an actual Bible.

Ars materials are already double playtested (as noted by David in one of his many posts on this subject.) I'd make the point though that again, this model does not work for several reasons.

If you are a new author and you want to, say, write the Jerbitons, and you are told their culture is referenced strongly in the previous editions' Houses of Hermes, Pax Dei, SoI and FS, you then need electronic copies of all of those that you read as homework (assuming you think Atlas should give them out free, this involves a digitsation project which Atlas would need to pay for).

All that homework may not seem so bad if you are actually writing the Jerbitons, but you may not be. You may well do your homework, and pitch your idea, and David may choose a different author with a better idea, so now you have lost all that time you spent on homework.

The other reason is that it means Ars can't keep its good ideas secret until they are ready. So, ROP:Faerie has been announced for 2009 sometime, right? (Actually its cover artist announced it months ago on ninja mountain, but Michelle has said "Yes" in the forums so it means we can be sure there's some plan there.) Say, for example, Ars has a great new way of doing faeries. I'm not saying it does: but say it did. If you tell the entire fanbase the basic shape of what you are doing, then dollars to doughnuts the good mechnics will be in pdf supplements on DriveThru in a month's time, and so the good ideas would all have circulated through the gaming community online before Faeries hits the shelves. The whole fanbase can't be in on the big picture for commercial reasons that trump any concept of community-building, IMO.

This is irrelevant to your argument, though. I've more than seen, I've contributed all of the Russian dates to one of these: it is not very useful unless you know what the proper nouns in the index mean.

So, forget the digitization, you think authors should buy all of the old sourcebooks?

I haven't got a copy of HoH 4th ed. either. I do have the second edition version, and the fifth edition replacement. I didn't see the point in buying the 4th edition version because it wasn't relevant to my play and was mostly a repetition of what had gone before.

As to "much cheaper", speak for yourself. I assume, pardon me for pointing this out, that you are of the American persuasion. I'm not, and I'm not alone - about half the pool seems to be non-American. Ars has a small enough circulation that is quite difficult to find older edition OOP material secondhand in, say. Australia.

No, it isn't: the intent is to preserve the game. That means you need a pool of authors willing to work cheap. That means you can't weigh the line down with unreimbursed costs, or demand the authors spend more money than they already do.

5th edition stands on its own. 4th is useful for many games, but its not supported. Like Windows 98...

Is it 5th? Then it's canon.

Canon is a tool to allow authors to find some level of consistency to provide quality to their work. Creativity is also a source of quality, however. For your own, personal, games, playing strict canon is likely to make your game less fun to play than if you chose not to play strictly by canon.

Trust your troupe.

You didn't get an explanantion for your six bucks after the Iron Man movie, did you?

The idea that you deserve an explanation is, respectfully, false: you pay your money, you get the book. The idea that somehow someone should have some duty to tell you why the book has turned out the way it has is a conceit on your part. Some of the authors choose to offer explanations. Some do not. Those who do not have no obligation to you to follow the example of those of us that choose to explain ourselves.

Canon was not for you. If canon is distracting you, you are using the tool in a way it was not designed to be used and I'm sorry that's causing you hardship, but if you keep hitting your thumb with the hammer, and go on a carpentry forum to complain, the maker of hammers has some right to say "You aren't using it the way it was intended to be used."

In the interest of offering a brief humorous "time out" to what is an otherwise intensely passionate and serious discussion, I think this merits a smirk:

Actually it's only an established fantasy, my friend! :wink:

Ok. I have to say, I have been playing since ArM4, I've read through some older edition material, and I have to say, I'm ok with the changes. I like the new take. I'm ok with the modifications, I think they grow the setting in some interesting directions and I'm thrilled that I don't have to go back and dig through hundreds of pages and 20ish years of established canon if I want to write for Ars Magica. I like the fact that I just have to operate within the current edition, and frankly, I find the current edition pretty polished.

You're certainly entitled to be unhappy about modifications to the setting, but that sort of thing happens in game settings-- the reinvention, reimagining, revision that alters established canon is going to occur. No where do I see that you are obligated to incorporate those edits. Read through, see what you like, you don't like, pick and choose, take what you like, discard what you don't like and move on. Is this much protest really that necessary? I don't deny you may be frustrated and I don't want you to think that I discount your right to be upset about the changes-- but constant, vocal public venting gets tough. Take it up offline. Send a private message, talk about it in email correspondence, include those you think would enjoy it. When you do it here it becomes discordant noise that makes me not want to sift through the otherwise very useful forums and lists.

Yes, I'm not forced to read the threads, but as evidenced by this thread, topics don't always define the content of a thread. So if I want to avoid missing material that might hide in threads with unmatching titles, then I have to read through these sorts of posts to find the diamonds in the dross. I doubt I'm alone.

Just some thoughts...


I may get in trouble for saying this, but...

It's just a game. :slight_smile:

Seriously, one thing that I think is worth considering here is how far the books should be regarded as prescriptive. Personally, I've always seen them as a useful source of ideas, inspiration, and even suggestions for how to resolve matters on the occasions where it seems to be helpful to roll some dice. However, in our troupe we've never let canon get in the way of a good story.

There is nothing to stop players from keeping bits of the old canon that they liked. If you prefer the version of Flambeau history that involves our old friends Delendar and Reculed, then go with that. As long as everyone in the troupe is agreed on such points, then there is no major cause for concern, right?

When I wrote Blood and Sand, I did try to look out every supplement that made mention of things Levant-related and take account of them in what I wrote, but that stems from being an obssessive academic rather than from a sense that older canon had to be maintained. However, I think that was easier to do back in 4th edition days. There is just too much information now to assimilate, at least for the time commitment that most of us writers can afford. Most of us have other jobs that are our first concern; writing for the game doesn't pay a living wage. I think that David's decision to make a "clean break" was wise given the circumstances. It allowed authors to express their creativity without being forced to engage in a huge time commitment that they could not afford; in some cases a new synthesis of older canon ideas can be refreshing, but at times a complete revisioning of an idea can be even better, with the bonus of allowing the author to devote all their attention to this rather than tracking down or reading OOP supplements.

Personally, I prefer 5th edition. I think that the rules have been tightened up (barring a few concerns about dreaded pink dots and the like), the line is developing well with supplements being released in a more logical order, and yes, I prefer most of the changes that have been made to Hermetic history. If you don't then don't use them in your saga.

Just my two filus...

I think with each iteration of history, you gain a bit. If you do not like new views, don't use them. If you do not like old views, do not use those. In first edition, there was only one view, there was nothing to choose save your own imagination. Now there are as much as five views on the order you can use, which, to me, seems a lot richer than earlier iterations. I like to see a new take on, say Tremere, for now I can decide ahead what I want to use without having to make a whole lot up. I think it is good to change some things before you start a new line, for now you actually have something to tell in your new books. D20 has a way of making the same backgrounds with new numbers, Ars luckily has a new story that works well with the new numbers.

You guys...

I guess you just don't understand, and I can't make you understand. But it isn't just about me, you see? I want to make sure that Reculed and Delendos are never forgotten. I don't hold out hope of ressurecting them, but I now know I am not alone in my feelings, and I want to pass the Torch on to future players. It is simply what I have to do.

This prompts a serious look at what constitutes "canon" in a roleplaying game such as Ars Magica, and I'm led to conclude that analogies with canon in comic books, TV series and films are mistaken. In the latter canon comes from only one source, i.e. the authors, directors, writers, producers etc. In the former canon is a product of not only the books but also the players. A comic fan can wait to see whatever the creators of his favourite strip come up with next, whereas storyguides have no such luxury as the players are waiting to see what they come up with next.

As an example, mention has been made of the background of House Flambeau and how it has been completely revised in Houses of Hermes: Societates. This kind of thing happens in roleplaying all the time, and not just when writers working on updates of sourcebooks contradict whatever was said in the original material. Let's take me as another example, and let's imagine that Ars Magica 5th edition is the only version of the game that I know. I read what it says in Chapter 1 about Tytalus forcing a negotiated settlement that leads to the creation of House Ex Miscellenea, and then, based upon what I read in Houses of Hermes: True Lineages, I decide that Pralix and her Ex Miscellenea lineage follow the necromantic/spirit mastery/theurgic tradition of Guorna, Tytalus and Tremere. I decide this lineage survives and becomes integral to my saga, and then Houses of Hermes: Societates appears and outlines a totally different version of the Lineage of Pralix (not to mention a version of Hermetic history that's truer to the 2nd edition in which Tytalus was already gone when Pralix broke away and Hariste and Trianoma negotiated with her)! Or, as another example, imagine I've just bought the 5th edition and I create a Gifted Mercere with an incredibly detailed background. Then I get True Lineages and find out that they should all be blood descendants of Mercere himself. My Mercere character isn't, and neither, I suspect, are countless other PCs and NPCs created since the Hermetic Houses were first introduced. What am I supposed to do?

I think there are three broad choices:

  1. Use the sourcebook material as read if you like it and it has no bearing on anything that's already been established in your saga;

  2. If there are contradictions, adapt or change what you can. For instance, I like the idea of an Ex Miscellenea tradition with the Comphrend Magic Ability and I may find a use for them somewhere, but they won't have any connection to Pralix. This brings me on to point 3...

  3. Anything you can't work into the canon that you have established for your game, ignore. For instance, my Durenmar isn't some Shangri-la type place, it's a Where Eagles Dare style castle on a great big chunk of rock sticking out of the Black Forest (what do you mean, you've never seen Where Eagles Dare? It should be compulsory for all GMS!). Similarly, if I've created a whole bunch of Gifted Mercere magi for my saga and firmly established that they have no blood ties whatsoever, I'm pretty much going to ignore huge chunks of the Mercere chapter in True Lineages.

To sum all this up, canon in roleplaying games is whatever GMs decide it ought to be. Sourcebooks can be great, but they cannot and should not take precedence over GMs' own ideas. They bloody well don't in my games, anyway.

Respectfully allow me to point out that I did not start this thread or the one it spawned off from. I am merely responding to a specific question that David asked in Open Forum. I answered him in Open Forum, and I also gave him a more personal response in private. He gave me a private reply, and it really meant a lot to me. I feel he finally understands me, even if the rest of you never ever will.

And with all due respect, that origin story was indeed cannon at the time. My Ultima Thule game was totally apocryphal. My whole view of Northern Europe was changed in GotF, but that did not bother me because that was purposefully an apocryphal saga. It was designed that way, we were all aware of it and accepted it.

My Iberia saga, which was at one time totally in cannon (though I did have significantly fewer demons), was grandest and longest lasting saga. And my every saga thereafter is based off of that first Iberian saga, even if it is just titles of books in the library. It was specifically designed to be incannon, and then it was unceremoniously dropped into apocrypha land.

It is pointlessly emo to try and explain what it all really meant to me, it represents a third of my life. But what I can say, and maybe you will understand this, is that I only want to play Flambeau magi. I want to be able to, say, move to California or England and find a new troupe to play with, and to be able to play my favorite without having to beg and convince the others that F# is better. Ben, you play Bjornaer magi, Niall, you favor Ex-Miscellanea and Hedge Wizards. You each have your preferred play niche. Me, I have memories, and I am forced to smile and dance in order to be able to play the magus I want to play.

And it honestly isn’t that bad. The Novus Mane troupe are the best bunch of new grognyards I have gamed with in a long time. These guys are great, and very accommodating. But what about the next troupe, and the next? Niall, if I coincidentally moved to your neighborhood and we became friends, and I wanted to join your current saga. Not a new one, the one you have going right now. Would I have to be descended from the lineage of Delendar or Laberius? Would you let me use old cannon to create my background?

All of you, ask yourselves that same question. That is my point.

I have a lot of points. I should comb my hair :laughing:

I think it is useful to distinct troupes, not only in what their canon is, but their style of play is different, their accomplishements often drastically change the world, so text book canon only would be quite useless. I do not think it different from playing in two groups of dnd, both with a different world. The base might be the same, and the base for Ars is more overlapping because the real world often has been done little harm (if the saga has not been going on too long), but some things change. As an alpha sg I would make different choices than Arjen, or Jonas. Even the same feature, like a Tribunal or a neighboring covenant would be very different because I would be very different. Let a saga run for a few years, and they would not be comparable, even with the same start and the same group. If you add another group, things will be even less similar.

I understand you, but I don't have the emotional investment in the setting history that you appear to have. These characters are not as important to my enjoyment of the game. The modification of the history doesn't bother me. And I don't worry about characters fading in and out between editions-- the mentor who is barely mentioned now might take a primary role in the next treatment of the material. And even if he isn't ever further detailed, that's ok, because anyone who plays long enough will likely nose through older material and discover the characters. They don't simply disappear.

What difference does it make if your game is canonical or apocryphal? It was still your game, it was still enjoyed, it still acts as a source of inspiration for you. None of that is taken away. You just qualify to your players, "I prefer to use the history for Flambeau provided in ToH:Iberia. If you don't have it, let me know and I'll copy the text for you." Everyone nods and says, "Oh, ok. Good to know. We'll play accordingly." Game on.

I'll actually play anything, I just chose this particular handle because I wasn't terribly inspired at the time and it was my character's name. But I see where you're coming from-- and I don't think any troupe would give you a hard time to about using one history or another if it's going to make the game that much more fun for you. In the overall scheme of the game, I don't know that it necessarily impacts all that much unless you want it to have an impact. I can appreciate that your saga had a profound value to you, and that changing of canon material related to that saga might be upsetting, but I don't think the constant commentary on the change is necessary or useful.

I say design what you like and we'll make it work from there.

Here's the thing, in my opinion... history is only as good as the historians record it. Histories can be wrong, they can be mistaken, they can think one thing when the truth is something completely different. That's ok. Just because one version says that the story happened one way and another edition says it happened another way doesn't mean I can't have it happen a third way. It's all a suggestion, it's all a tool to help tell the stories better and so I say use whatever works best for you. Wailing and pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth when something changes doesn't do any good. Change will happen but nothing prevents you from using the flavor of another edition. It doesn't make a saga or a supplement more or less valid. Just different. Different is ok.

Hell, no one's saga stays canonical after the first session, because they all spin off into different directions. The material gives us a baseline that we can all mold and shift and alter as we see fit, and any of those modifications is just as valid as another. Does it really demand all this interminable public heartache?

I'll let it go at that. You've certainly got a right to want to use one view of Flambeau over another, and I doubt any troupe would begrudge you the view you prefer. And we all know some forum members are displeased about the modifications to the canon. Do we need to be regularly reminded? Does it need to be hashed, rehashed, reassembled, hashed again, animated by some form of necromancy only to hashed one more time? Couldn't the differences be noted and we move on? ("You like X? Well in edition Y it was this, however in ArM5, it's that. I liked 'this' a little better because of A, B, and C, but many seem to like 'that.' YSMV.") Personally? I'd like to move on... I'd appreciate any replies be sent to me as a private message.



Ben, I just want to say that I indeed appreciate your sympathetic words. And if this topic dulls you, I am more than happy to talk about something else.

How about Wards? I have a new Ward House Rule that will revolutionize the game as we know it :wink:

Seen it, I like it. It emphasizes specialisation and preparation. My only regret is that it weakens Vim somewhat.

Vim can still use all purpose Wards, they are just not as effective. However, for Demons it is still top dog. To extend that rule, the Columbae can make generic wards that cut accross realms so long as they cover the same kind of creature. For example, a Columbae ward versus Dragons would affect both Magic and Infernal serpents. It would still have to suffer reduced penetration because it does not match both form and realm.

I'm with Ben on this one.'s an interesting saga seed: what if we took the RoP: S version of the history of House Flambeau and saw it as the version approved by the Queasitores, with the ToH: I version being the real history, suppressed for some reason? What do the Quaesitores find objectionable in it? Why is it being suppressed? Is this a sign of some deeper machinations...? :slight_smile:

Just an idea.

We now return you to your discussion on wards...

A very cool idea!

A rather broad overstatement, don't you think? I can see perfectly clearly where you're coming from. But to be honest...

Sorry, but quite possibly not. It really depends on what the old material says, and whether it fits in with the saga that I want to play in and/or run. In this case, I'm afraid I know absolutely nothing about Delender and Reculed as ToH: Iberia was never on my must-buy list. I figured I'd make stuff up myself about Mythic Spain if I really needed to and the background details about Flambeau in the WotC Houses of Hermes were always sufficient for my purposes. Anyway, if using the 3rd edition details didn't make any difference to my saga one way or the other, I'd say go ahead and make up whatever background you like. If using the material meant having to substantially change my views on Flambeau magi, their background, nature and role in the Order, I'd have to think about it a lot more seriously before agreeing to anything.

Lovely. :slight_smile:

I myself have always had the vague idea that all the material in the Fifth Edition Houses of Hermes books is written from the point of view of the magi who belong to that House in 1220, being what they tell their apprentices their Founder was like and so on. Certainly that's what I intended for House Mercere -- they tell everyone that all Gifted Merceres are descended from the Founder, no really they were, and that he was Mercury reborn, yes really. Was he? Were they? Well, I think it's safe to say that not all magi accept this story as the unadulterated truth. Likewise, why might Flambeau magi of the thirteenth century neglect to mention Flambeau's master, or say that Flambeau died peacefully in a monastery rather than spectacularly in battle against the sahirs? Maybe they do not want to offend the sahirs, or maybe they want to keep Flambeau's final resting place hidden, or maybe there is some bigger secret that must be kept, like that Flambeau was martyred or sold his soul to a demon. Oh, the exciting possibilities!