Coup d'etat! Coup d'etat!


A new campaign has risen from the ashes of the old!

Please continue the conversations from Chapter 3ooc here.

Repost of my original campaign outline:

The game will be set in the Iberian Peninsula. Note that I haven't read any published source material for Iberia in ArM, so I'm not sure how much of this is canon setting, or familiar to you all. The ArM setting is a particularly fertile period of history for Iberia, in that it marks the beginning of the Reconquista movement. The battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 turns the tide and Christians start reclaiming the peninsula from the Almohad Empire -- who, incidentally, had been slowly creeping across the land for the entire history of the OoH. The Order of Hermes was split three ways on the matter, with one group not-so-secretly allied to the Christian movement, another appreciating the Islamic culture and wishing to protect it, and the third attempting to stay neutral. In this game, Las Navas de Tolosa was a nigh-mythic battle of supernatural powers, with demons, hermetic magi and Arab magicians slinging power around like nobody's business.

Nearly 100 years ago, a charismatic magi built something of a personality cult of magi dedicated to protecting and studying Islamic culture. Fifty years later, a love triangle became a schism, the chain of associated covenants broke apart, and through the political divisiveness that followed, the path to Reconquista was opened. A few years ago, it was revealed that the personality cult leader, along with his most loyal followers, were all demon-tainted. The effort to track them down and stop them led to the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 AD.

Most of the pro-Islamic covenants are now tainted by suspicion of devil-worship. Both pro-Christian and pro-Islamic covenant memberships have been reduced to ash, and the careful balance of power in Iberia has been shattered, with the Christian alliance weakened but still more powerful. The sole surviving member of one covenant (ours) made a move out of political desperation -- an open call to magi, offering full membership in exchange for your voting sigil at the tribunal of 1214 AD. The other shattered covenants quickly mimicked the move.

Thus, an entire generation of young magi move into Iberia, for the offers made were appealing to any with a willingness to uproot themselves.

The battle was on July 16th, 1212 AD. The open calls for magi begin in Autumn, 1212.

What do you all think?

To combat my inexperience with the system, I'll want to heavily emphasize troupe-style play, with everyone taking a turn at the helm, running NPCs, grogs, and stories great or small. To help with this, and in contradiction to the current game, flaws which generate story options will be encouraged. Magi will have less than 5 years post-apprenticeship.

I was thinking that it'd be cool to have each player outline a companion concept, which other players pick up and run (for example, I would create Viscaria and specify that she has a traveling minstrel companion, which Fixer chooses to stat out and play). However, given the peculiarities of PbP, that may not be a good idea.

I was suggesting the Iron Magus criteria , because Erik Tyrrell is not noted for Monty Haul style largesse.
Anything he has put together will not be for power-gaming.

So yes , i would like to play also , but modify character flaws , if we can take Story Flaws and such as per the standard rules.

Would we be doing 5 year post-gauntlet characters?

I could do a Companion/Grog , but have had no real experience of Troupe Style play.
If we have a minstrel & a religious personage of whatever Faith ,
then a merchant-type , a son working with the family business ,
helping to manage a train of pack mules that deliver some supplies to the covenant.
Story Hooks such as several unmarried sisters that the harried father is trying to get dowries for.
Basically , someone who could sell clothing (on the side) that Serrano makes , as he has no Bargain skill to speak of.

If Guilds are something to factor in , then Serrano probably has to be a member of one.
Having to be a Journeyman to a senior Clothier could be amusing.

Not super keen on being part of a huge grab-bag of assorted magi , with dozens of npcs to compete with constantly.

Glad this isn't the end after all.

I lack that subtlety. I tend to run monsters, which may be defeated by means other than direct frontal assault. But monsters have feelings too, and should always have room to run, unless you're absolutely certain you've got them on toast. Backing a bear into a corner goes well, until the bear decides it wants to leave. That'll leave a scar.

I didn't mean the whole thing, just the bit about books to bring to the party,

and not as a replacement, but in addition to any library that will exist. The restricive cow and calf attached to them should prevent them from overpowering things. This would ensure that players have access to a limited supply of things they really want for their characters. Time to exploit them? That is another matter entirely.

Looks like it might be entertaining.


Seven Sisters For Seven Magi?

Me too, mein Freund, me too.

I haven't got a character yet, but I'm a quick creator.

More importantly, editing rights should be transferred to the alpha storyguide. Someone should write to the forum gods about this.

I call dibs on the Merchant Companion. I saw that and right away the first thing that came to mind was, "My dear Magus, have I got a deal for you!"

(and it's only fitting, given the setting, that there's a good chance that the merchant might be a Deveel in disguise :laughing:)(and bonus cookies to whomever gets the reference)

I'm thinking each player would have their Magus, a Companion, and either one or two Shield Grogs (local, brought with them, or depends on the character?). The ftf campaign I was in, each magi had one, but the twilighted pbp I was in had two shield grogs per magus. Maybe that's something we can have a poll on? And have a separate Domesday thread in the new campaign forum that's just the grogs (the groom, chambermaids, the seneschal if he or she isn't a Companion, head cook, et cetera)

(ps - looks like the campaign got un-retired, at least temporarily, so we can continue discussing again! Yay!)

This is pretty much what i would like as well , hence my suggestion.

If we have 5 years post-gauntlet to develop characters ,
assuming 2 seasons of study per year and two free seasons ,
with 12 Quality 12 Tractatus & 01 at Quality 06 (or whatever).

Though , i'm fine with just having stuff to study from , if we get time.

Quick housekeeping question: I take at that we will be having the moderators open up a campaign thread for the new project? And who will be the moderator slash alpha storyguide? Amul? or someone else?

Gah. So many replies! Working from most recent...

I've asked the admins to transfer moderation of this forum to me, as the new alpha storyguide. We will continue using this campaign thread for the new game.

Note that I am going to be spending the next month out of town and away from my books.

It sounds to me like this is two separate questions:

  1. Players would like their magi to own things which require game mechanics, independent of the covenant creation system.

  2. Players would like to use an alternative post-apprenticeship system to advance their characters.

While I don't have a problem with the first issue conceptually, I have to wonder if there are game balance issues with letting everybody show up with 10-15 books. As for the second, I'm not experienced enough with the system to be inclined to deviate from it.

We're going to be designing a medium-power winter covenant in a more-mythic-than-gritty campaign, and players are welcome to use the core rules for advancing their characters season-by-season if they wish. Would your characters really be inclined to move to a different covenant/tribunal if they had the easy access to knowledge and power that you're suggesting?

Everything people have said so far seems to be a discussion of mechanical advantage. I'm more interested in the role-playing considerations. How many material resources would a typical journeyman of any industry have in this time period? What is an analogous amount of power for magi to have?

So would it be a myth-take for Viscaria to later use that merchant companion as her venditor?

Here's my tentative ruling:

Each Magus leaves their starting location in a traveling party of up to 10 individuals. This includes a fighting contingent capable of maintaining a 3-watch rotation (minimum of 3 fighter-types), 1 Companion-class character who considers that Magus a friend/ally, 1 optional Companion-class character which the Magus's player runs him/herself, and whatever grog-level retinue members the Magus desires. In-game, the Magus cannot determine the difference between Companions and Grogs -- that's a narrative difference. Players are free to detail as much or as little of their traveling companions as they desire.

Thus, at minimum, the Magus arrives with a fighter-type Companion and 2 shield grogs. A particularly martial Magus could arrive with a team of 9 fighters divided into 3 squads. A particularly mercantile Magus could arrive with 3 shield grogs, and 6 craft or merchant characters.

Sounds to me like we're well-suited to storyguide together, then :smiley:

Yes, standard character-generation rules for magi, companions and grogs. And up to 5 years post-gauntlet, which may be handled using any of the rules for post-apprenticeship advancement in the main rule book.

The key concept to understand about Troupe Style play is that, due to the high number of characters each player controls, it becomes easier to have your character(s) make "bad" choices for the good of the story.

That is entirely up to your discretion. What would be the most enjoyable for you to play?

In general, you will find that I am more receptive to counter-offers than complaints. What would you rather than than the grab-bag?

Stories require conflict, and there will be a pile of magi in Iberia one way or another. I suggested the decimation of experienced magi as a natural result of the core plot point of the setting : political upheaval caused by involvement in the religious war going on among the mundanes, and the discovery of infernalism on one or both sides. Also, it doesn't sound like Serrano will be invested in exploring Order of Hermes politics, so I'm not sure if it will really affect the character that much either way.

If you, or any player, wants to suggest a different setup which provides story seeds and conflict potential on a relatively level playing field, than I am absolutely interested and eager to hear them.

I've seconded amul's request to transfer moderator status to him by writing a PM to Michelle Nephew.

I have unstickied the threads. I recommend not deleting the old ones (but merely allowing them to sink to the bottom). It means little to me, but it mght reduce some of you to apprentice status if your posts disappear).

I also recommend that amul uses his new powers to create a rules thread in which no one else comments. This way, his decisions are easy to find and therefore easy to follow.

This is not a complaint , insofar as 30 years of gaming tells me what i do and dont like.
Unless you have many different npc magi with different specializations ,
their abilities dilute the unique quality of individual players , especially if the npcs drive the action.
Sometimes this just feels like railroading.
Having a couple of Senior Magi around giving orders isnt a problem , as that is expected.
Please remember , my actual time as an Ars Magica player is minimal.

Political Games , as in real life , are not my thing.
If politicking occurs , my general response is to simply support one person , right or wrong.
Sure , you can have my Sigil to vote with , no need to explain why you need it.
Though , as i understand it , the Covenant will accept anybody ,
so long as they hand-over their voting sigils at Tribunal.
Tytalus magi can feel free to call me doormat.

I would like to know if taking The Gentle Gift will be a significant advantage.
Mostly seems to get played , for The Gifted , as just a -03 Social Penalty.
It is the only Major Hermetic Virtue that has no game mechanic advantage.
As a suggestion , if you got some extra xp to spend on social skills
or a free Minor , General Virtue to go with it.

Alright, I think I understand what your concern is. Please let me know if you feel I still don't understand.

I have no intention of detailing and running every young magi who shows up to the Iberian Tribunal. Instead, my intention was to create an atmosphere of potential and freedom that is in actuality sharply curtailed by the petty bickering of several older magi. The individual stories, and the campaign overall, will be shaped by the players -- their motivations will drive the campaign, their Story Flaws will be obvious seeds for stories, and any competitors they may face will be on the same footing.

It seems like you and I are just as new to Ars Magica, and both of us has a lot of experience with what we don't like about gaming. We're figuring this out together.

To adjustment my earlier statement, since I seem to have misunderstood you: I'm far less likely to misunderstand your point if you say "Instead of X, could we have Y?" Especially in a text-only format, offering dichotomous comparisons will help me understand your nuances much better.

What sort of stories do you envision for Serrano?

I guess that depends on the nature of the stories you choose to play. The chapter reference which describes the difference between familiar and unfamiliar Magi with different types of Gifts, and the examples they give of the different scenarios they encounter, is my only reference point. I intend to refer to it as the definitive guide. If your magus is going to interact with new faces a lot, then yes, it will avoid a lot of problems for him. If you only intend him to interact through formally-introduced characters, established relationships, and proxies, then no, there's not much advantage.

That game involves levels of power I barely understand. While I look forward to playing at that power level at some point, I can't really imagine incorporating it into this game.

Okay, referencing the chart for Covenant creation in the main book, pg 71, and extrapolating the differences between Low and Medium power, how about instead of the minimum party size I mentioned before, I instead say that each Magus shows up with up to 9 people and 150 Covenant Build Points. Build points may be spent to convert members of your party into Specialists.

How does that sound?

Hrm. 15 years seems like a huge amount of time, compared to the average campaign length that I've seen on the forums. On the other hand, I can see how having all the Masters Of Dark And Terrible Might you knew die, and get replaced by a fresh bunch of sinister seeming strangers....yeah, makes sense to me.

You might further note the affect that Specialists have on Prevailing Loyalty. We'll have to work out how those traveling companions of yours work into this mess.

If players want to focus on this aspect of the campaign settings, we can certainly have stories about it. If you want to handwave it, somebody might bring a specialist in to deal with the problem for them, and it can just be a number on the accounting sheet (eg, Plus 27 MP for attitude adjustments).

One of my biggest problems with ArM is my obsession with doing ALL the math it says I COULD do. We shouldn't fall into that trap. We should pick which parts of the system we want to play with because we think they're fun.


Can we move to using a wiki and good-old-fashioned email. Ray and I were involved in a campaign (that foundered, due to the ill health of the SG) that used a Wetpaint-wiki and a yahoo (or similar) group. The wiki was very easy to use (and I'm not a techno-whizz), and one could put hyperlinks from place to place, making navigation around MUCH simpler than this behemoth.

Have a look at what we did (along with the SG and some others):


That too, as well as House Rules everyone may not agree upon.
I quoted it as I thought you wanted background ressources (like, mentionning some characters), not crossover material.

I don't care much, although the impact of these ressources will vary depending on local ones. For exemple, if there are few covenfolks present, our party members will form the bulk of the covenant. If not, they may get diluted in the mass. I tend to favor the first approach, though, since our covenfolk will then be much more real to us than just random numbers

Up to 9 persons will be a shore to create, though :laughing:

Well, if you follow covenant rules on prevailing loyalties, it takes quite some time anyway.

We may, or not, have stories about gift and covenant loyalty. I think we should at least keep track of it somewhat, because it's an interesting piece of background. If you want and if we flesh out the covenant entirely, I can do it with metacreator.

What I'd like, though, is for the gift to work as in the corebook, and be a real social problem, all the more so if there is a gentle-gifted magus abroad, or even companions. These are supposed to deal with the mundanes, not the guy-who-is-a-serial-rapist-I'm-sure (but which I might let sleep in the stables if he bypasses that -3 penalty and pays me a lot).

This sometimes happens to me on other sites. I can usually go back and retrieve my text through firefox. But when writing a large piece, I copy it before posting, just in case.

Anything longer than a quick line, I tend to either write out first in my word processor and cut-and-paste onto here, or turn off the touchpad on my laptop (since mine has a tendency to pretend that I clicked on wherever the cursor happens to be at the moment, which can be rather frustrating).

amul once spoke of obsidian portal.