Divine Realm, Dominion and Religion


Okay I am a new member of the forums, though not a new member to Ars Magica which is a game that I have owned for years now, though I have not plaid yet. I am mostly a DM-ST, GM, whatever, in my dealings wiht games and that colors how I look at the book. For the most part I get the vast majority of Ars Magica, its rules and its settings, though there are some areas that I am still trying to figure out. (Which is what laid me to a gigantic shopping spree where I bought pretty much every 4th ed tribunal book and all but one 5th ed book, but that is neither here nor there. :slight_smile: )

Anyway, my question lies in the Divine Realm, its Dominion and religions that are right. Okay, so am I correct in stating that pretty much any religion that has a single all encompassing source of divinity (whatever that name might be) could be considered a proper religion under the Divine? This could include a faith that has never ever been in touch or contact with Christianity, Judaism or Islam, right?

Could a made up (in out of game terms) religion practiced by an ancient peoples in the middle of nowhere where there was a single Creator who formed the universe, even if it has no trappings of Christianity at all, be considered right under the fluff of the Divine Realm?

And couldn't said religion actually be okay with the Gift and Magic, which would necessitate a close relationship between their ancient magical orders and the divine savants of the kingdom?

I just am having a hard time truly focusing on this, thanks in part to the Divine Realm's mainstay inclusion of Christianity in every aspect of its tapestry of formation.

Has anybody on this forums created an alternate religion that works under the rules of the Divine Order? And if so, has any such belief system been posted here on the forums?

Basically, my question is open ended, I just need a more thorough understanding of the Divine Realm than I get from the books so far (including the Divine Realm book, which I own). Any help would be appreciated.


I think the most important thing about Ars Magica is that it's your game, so you should play it the way you want to. So if you want to change something like how the Divine Realm works or to introduce a new fictional religion, then I say go for it.

What you suggest is true, in so far as the people who wrote the game wanted to get across the idea that all the monotheistic religions are "right" to some extent and/or the Divine in-game transcends the boundaries of the real-world religions represented there. I think this is necessary from a playability perspective because once real-world religions come into the game, there's a real chance of causing religious arguments and offending people on all sides. That just hurts people's gaming groups and the community as a whole.

To me part of the appeal of Ars Magica is the pseudo-historical setting. The real-world religions are part of that because they were deeply embedded in the culture of historical Europe, more so than I think a modern American can easily get his head around. So I think having the Mythic Church (and ArM players tend to forget there were two churches in medieval Europe, not one: the Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox) and Mythic Judaism and Mythic Islam are important to the feel of Mythic Europe.

That said, if you want to introduce your own imaginary religion I think it would work fine in terms of the rules and could fit easily into the game. Are you think of this as a religion for the player characters to follow, as kind of a minority or secret religion in the world, or do you want this new religion to be a major force (perhaps the only organized religion) in your world? In the latter case, you're changing the Mythic Europe setting quite a bit, which is fine of course. I think ArM makes a perfectly great fantasy game even if you play it in a completely different setting like Middle Earth or Glorantha.

I am not aware of any rules anybody has worked out for an alternative religion. I am not sure how much rules support it would need in terms of mechanics and numbers; where development would be needed in my opinion would be in the description and societal impact of the religion.

The way I look at it is that:

a)the Divine exists and is more powerful than the other realms. Whether the Divine created the other realms or not is unspecified. Whether or not the other realms are ultimately subservient to the Divine is also unspecified. Characters in-game may think that they know the answers to these sort of questions. Some characters might be right. Some characters are surely wrong.
b) Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all human institutions.
c) One of the purposes of these human institutions is the organised worship of the Divine.
d) The Divine responds favourably to this worship.
e) The human institutions have opinions about what the Divine is and what sort of worship is expected, etc. The human institutions are right about some things, and wrong about others, but they generally think that they are right about everything.
f) Individuals and other organisations can also worship the Divine. The mainstream organisations (Christianity, Judaism or Islam) will surely take a dim view of this. In reality, other individuals or organisations are no more or less likely to be correct in their thoughts about the Divine.
g) Individuals and other organisations may think that they worship something other than the Divine when in fact, in reality, they do worship the Divine. The great Sun God, may really be another aspect of the Divine.
h) Alternatively, other individuals or organisations may think that they worship the Divine, when in reality they worship something else. The great Sun God, may really be a demon, faerie or magical creature.
i) Magi (and some other characters) can detect the realm alignment of auras and spell-like effects. And so individuals like magi are unlikely to mistake a faerie for an angel or God, for example (or vice versa). Unless the magus is really looking at a demon (as magi cannot discern the illusions of demons).

Thanks for the comments both of you, I very much appreciate it.


I had actually the thought that the players would discover an ancient site of a long ago people, way pre-Christianity, and heck, even pre-Judaism (which says something about their time period) which worshiped an entity they called Talanus, which they embodied as a Sun God with both Creator and Destroyer aspects. What would be interesting is that the info they found would have them discover that this religion was as protected by the Dominion as the current religions. Also interesting, from a perspective of magical power, is that they were a society where the Divine and the Magic were actually capable of working in peace together, in that magical research was not hampered by Divine Aura. In fact, research of Magic that was aligned with the spiritual teachings of Talanus actually received a bonus in the Divine Aura. This created a nice close connection between the society's priests and its magi. This could cause some interesting plot points and story and campaign ideas and could lead to the development of some interesting Major Breakthroughs.

But your right, I would not run a game in Mythic Europe and create a new dominant religion, so much of the setting is based on certain real world concepts, which includes the existence of the Church and its actions in the world. I am just trying to figure the best way to work with that, the existence of magic and the power superiority of the divine. I find that the idea of there being multiple religions that work and are protected by the Dominion to be fascinating and worth the intellectual and setting-making pursuit. :slight_smile:


Thank you for that, it actually is a very nice breakdown of the way things are organized. Highly useful as well in how it aids me in getting a clearer picture of how the Divine organizes itself. Figuring out the way the setting work and how one of its major forms of existence is contained within it is important to getting a full view of the setting and the world of Ars Magica.


Its funny but now I will have to create an all-encompassing totally containing view on how the Divine, Magic, Faerie and Infernal Realms all connect to each other. And this view will become as 'true' as it can be. I don't actually find this limiting because I think it opens ideas for me to run more organized campaigns with information being able to be presented to the players as piecemeal revelations. Especially if I use the idea of the religion I presented above and say that in many ways the faith and belief of the ancient peoples is actually quite close to the entire all-encompassing truth.

I agree with all that this is indeed how the Divine officially works - as long as you worship one god, and this god is sufficiently close to the Divine (Creator of All, for example - worshipping satan won't work...), you'll be aligned with the Divine. This goes for made-up religions, even made-up ones within the setting (there is a story hook about Merinitia magi trying to artificailly create a religion more amicable to Faerie in GotF).

The problem I see with integrating Magic and the Divine, however, is that the Dominion is the same regardless of faith. So Magic is goind to get squashed. The only way to combine the two (within the rules/guidelines), IMO, is through something like Holy Magic, whcih basically makes all the magi Divine character in many ways. Yuck.

You mentioned you had the Divine book; did you take a look at the section on Holy Magic? It might be suitable to use for what you want to do, since it would allow for Magic that is fully integrated with the Divine.

I remember discussions on the old White Wolf forums over yen years about True Faith and whether a character could have True Faith in Satan or inanimate objects.

My view is that the answer is "no". The Divine Realm is the only truly "authentic" Realm and concerned with the salvation of the soul through worship of God. A "made up" religion - even one focusing on a single universal creator - is not an authentic faith. Having a religion where (for example) Zeus is the only creator God and all the other Olympians are angels would not be Divine in my view. Religions that are fantastical or pagan in nature are from the Faerie Realm.

That said, you could get some pretty unusual religions by looking at some of the gnostic faiths - many of these would be considered Divine. Divine religions do not necessarily need to be Abrahamic - for example, the Platonists benefited from the Divine, as did Zoroastrians.

You could do this quite easily by having your PCs come across Zoroastrian relics. The Zoroastrians pre-dated Judaism by a few hundred years, and their priests were called "magoi" (which is where the word "magi" comes from). They were the religion of the Persian Empire.

See here: subrosamagazine.org/?page_id ... oduct_id=1



Your comments are appreciated, and yeah you make a good point. I too am not exactly that pleased with taking away the relative independence of the Gift's magic and making it one with the Divine. Mostly due to my preconceived notions of the religions and stuff. That said I think if certain ideas and maybe an hermetic breakthrough (because while I understand and accept that Miracles and that which is direct from the Creator cannot be stopped, most acts of the Divine are not direct from the Creator) could occur that removes certain penalties for mages using their magic in Dominion auras, well a lot of my issues are kind of resolved.


Yep I have looked at it and it is pretty interesting and quite useful. I am not sure I want something so completely magic altering, just a small minor virtue that lets one be connected with the Divine so that its aura's aid and not hinder magic work. But it is a good idea and I will be reading over it in more detail.

alex white

Well I meant made up as in I outside of the game makes it up, not made up as people inside the game universe made it up. It would be a natural and real religion of an ancient society long predating the current religion of Christianity. Not something that is fabricated by a magi who decided that Christianity isn't good enough. The Divine Realm book does mention how Sol Invictus was considered a Divine Realm empowered religion, and that came from the Roman Gods.

What it seems to be is that it is clear at each edge what is Divine and what is Magic and what is Faerie, but when you get closer to the middle, certain religions might appear to have Magic or Faerie roots but actually work with the Divine. Now this can be because the Creator has decided to adopt it as his own, because it lies close to his teachings, or it can be because of something else, which lies mostly in the realm of ST fiat, or so it seems. :slight_smile:

The fact that Zoroastrians benefited from the divine is one of those features that has me smiling and clapping my hands in glee. And wanting more and more official information. I think being able to actually see how other religions can be Divine beyond the three main ones and their offshoots is a quite useful and good thing.

I remember thinking, just days ago actually, when my copy of the Divine Realm book arrived, that I really really wanted more information on Zoroastrians, in the same vein that the other three major religions got. I think that sort of things would have been extremely useful and in a way smart, cause it would have provided more basis for what it means to be a Divine Realm religion that is not one of the three Abrahamic faiths. So seeing that the research that I would have had to do was already done and already related to fifth edition Ars Magica, well, was too good to pass up.

So after seeing your link tonight I followed it and bought it, though my copy has yet to arrive in my email, though I expect that it is because I ordered it after midnight and most people are not up when I am. hehe

But yeah, I think seeing that might provide me with some more information (even if I don't use it all) that I could use to get accomplished that which I wish to accomplish. So thanks.

PS. By the way Alex, following your link I noticed two prices for Sub Rosa articles, and I didn't see an answer to this on the site which is why I am asked her. The four something is for one particular magaizne volume right? (in this case I beleive it was 3). The second one, the one over ten, the one called troupe, is that for all currently published ones and those that come afterward, or just current and forward, or just current and before? I am not entirely sure. I am also not even sure if any new ones are being made. hehe