For November - Ars Magica Solaris

This will be my project for NaGaDeMo.
In the far future, far beyond the year 1220, there lies a future among the planets once thought to be disks within the heavens that foretold the fates of mortals.
This main post will be used as a table of contents for further posts.
Feel free to post with your own comments, suggestions, or details you would be interested to see.

  1. An Overview of the Inhabitable Solar System
  2. The Planet Mercury
  3. The Planet Venus
  4. The Planet Mars
  5. The Belt of Vulcan
  6. The Planet Jupiter and its Moons
  7. The Planet Saturn and its Ring
  8. Old Earth
  9. Landscape of Mercury, and Story Hooks
  10. Landscape of Venus, and Story Hooks
  11. Landscape of Mars, and Story Hooks
  12. Landscape of The Belt of Vulcan, and Story Hooks
  13. Landscape of Jupiter and its Moons, and Story Hooks
  14. Landscape of Saturn and its Rings, and Story Hooks
  15. Landscape of Old Earth, and Story Hooks

An Overview of the Inhabitable Solar System

There are seven planets which mortal men now inhabit:

Mercury, Venus, Old Earth, Mars
The Belt of Vulcan
Jupiter, Saturn

Each of these places hold influence upon their residents, shaping the attitudes and cultures of those settled upon them. For example, Venusians are often amorous, indulding in fleeting loves and dalliances, while Martians are divided and warlike, seeking to be at the height of power among their own.

Time for each planet is stretched or compressed according to their movement around the sun.
For every year that passes on Earth, 4 years pass on Mercury, decreasing down to Saturn, in which for every year that passes on Earth, only 2 weeks pass.

The nature of motion is differing in the Luminiferous Aether, there is a type of motion not observed by Aristotle, confined by his Earthly perspective. In the Aether, objects of sufficient size and weight can the peculiar property of moving in a circular manner. The fact that each planet revolves around the sun in perfect accordance with this motion can only be evidence of the providence of God.

Furthermore, there is a new Range for magi who live on planets other than Old Earth, Projectile

The Projectile range allows one to cast forth a vessel of magic, which continues until it hits a designated substance (such as water, or flesh), or solid matter such as wood or earth. If the target struck is not compatible with the Form of the spell, the spell dissipates, wasting any efforts the magi put towards it. Targets which are distant or moving can be easily struck with the projectile. Targets which are distant and moving require calculations to ensure that the projectile strikes true. It is equivalent to Sight for purposes of calculating spell level.

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The Planet Mercury

For the Mercurians, the cataclysm on old earth is as distant as the building of the pyramids was to the magi of 1220, if not more so. From their perspective, over 4000 years have passed, and societies have risen fallen, and risen again.

The spirit of Mercury has caused its people to become, over the generations, possessed of a great capacity for construction, empire-building, but at the same time filled with wanderlust and impermanence. Indeed, it would be very accurate to call them mercurial.

Through the ages, however, Magi on Mercury have remained committed to preserving the Order of Hermes. The Order goes on, and its researches are ongoing. Though breakthroughs have been made by the score, they have also been lost, as the Order's memory has faltered against the millennia that have passed.

If your Magus was raised on Mercury, you may design an alteration of Magic Theory equivalent to a Minor Breakthrough, which is presumed to have been passed on to you by your master, or possibly developed later if you are post-Gauntlet.

The language of Mercury was originally Latin, however, language has had such a great amount of time to develop that Mercurian languages can no longer be considered similar to Latin for purposes of communication.

The Planet Venus

To the Venutians, the events which caused them to flee Old Earth occured 2000 years ago. Though the basic events have survived in the cultural memory, they have been mythologized, reinterpreted, and altered to fit the expectations of Venutian society as it has developed.

The spirit of Venus has led its people to become amorous and doting, and the two aspects of the Roman goddess Venus, the Lover and the Mother, have together resulted in a culture that views long chains of polygamous relationships as the norm , the sacrament of marriage being performed for any two, no matter their current marital status.

One notable feature of unknown source is the vast canal network of Venus, populated by gondoliers who are said to sing songs that can put even the most dour, leaden-hearted person in the mood for romance.

The people of Venus themselves are extremely empathetic. Venutians can take the Free General Flaw Venutian Empathy. This allows them to understand what others, including animals, are feeling beneath a surface level read. However, Venutians quickly come to feel this way themselves, proportionately to the strength of the emotion. For example, if interacting with someone who is very frightened but putting on a brave face, the Venutian will begin to panic, not even knowing what the person is frightened of.

The planet Venus itself seems to reject and detest base metals, and this influences Magi raised on Venus. Blades of iron will dull very quickly, walls of bronze will be very easily destroyed, and metal in general tends to fail the test of time, corroding quickly and becoming useless.
Magi from Venus must take the Free Hermetic Virtue Venutian Magic, which has a few effects.

Venutian Magic
Mentem effects which target an Individual and cause or encourage love, kindness, or peace, may, at the choice of the caster, instead target a Group, with no increase in magnitude.
The base individual of base metals, such as iron, and precious metals such as gold are reversed, so that the base individual of iron is one tenth of a cubic foot, and the base individual of gold is one cubic foot.
Finally affecting base metals with Terram requires three additional magnitudes instead of two.

Double post for today, as my internet connection went out for a while yesterday when I was planning to post.

The Planet Mars

To the people of Mars, 500 years have passed since the farrago that caused Old Earth to be a place Magi can no longer inhabit, and the reason why it occurred is clear: those who were in power were too weak and trusting to see it coming, and the only way it could have been stopped was a ruthless and swift military intervention.

The spirit of Mars has commanded its people to strong warriors, able to kill at a moments notice with no remorse.

The concept of love on Mars is very different from the love of other planets. Though it is still largely based on mutual trust, the most attractive aspect of a person is their power and prowess. Men and women who are strong in one aspect but weak in another will seek a partner who is strong in the aspect in which they are weak and vice versa, to better themselves and create a more powerful unit in so doing. Children, if they are loved, are loved for the ways their parents envision they will be strong.

City-states rule the landscape in a churn of warfare, politicking, and displays of economic superiority. Instead of trade between city-states, there is a carefully coordinated reciprocation of grand gifts to in order to demonstrate superiority.

There are many city-states that have attempted to rise to the status of empire, however the hearts of Martians refuse to bend to any that cannot consistently assert authority, so a fledgling empire that grows beyond a few cities quickly fin themselves spread thin, and then overthrown.

Martians can take the Martian Spirit Free Flaw, which grants them +2 to any rolls that involve defying unrightful authority, and a -3 to any rolls that involve complying with unrightful authority, even if complying would be a really good idea for all involved.

Finally, the Martian landscape is rich in iron, and seems to strengthen base metals. Blades of iron stay sharp for far longer than they should, walls of bronze stand proud and tall against even the mightiest weapons, and metal in general defies the ravages of time, as the monument erected upon the arrival at Mars still stands gleaming and pristine. This affinity for metal is born to those Gifted raised on Mars.

Martian Magic
Mentem effects which target an Individual and cause or encourage anger, boldness, and battle, may, at the choice of the caster, instead target a Group, with no increase in magnitude.
The base individual of base metal, such as iron, is the same as stone, namely, a cubic pace.
The base individual of precious metal, such as gold, is the same as gemstone.
Finally, affecting base metals with Terram requires only one additional magnitude, instead of two.

The Belt of Vulcan

The Belt of Vulcan is perhaps the strangest place for people to live, and it's people have adapted over the 250 years they have been here.

The spirit of Vulcan pushes its people to be dutiful, hard-working, and determined.

On their arrival, a powerful maga cast a spell which enabled the people there to breathe the lumeniferous aether as if it were air, and this enchantment, combined with the natural effects of aether, have changed the people here. They are extraordinarily fair-skinned. Some even visibly shown their veins, muscles, and organs under their skin, putting off those who are not used to the oddity.

To live and survive, Vulcanites have invented many tools useful to the task of pulling individual pieces of rock together, bringing them together to form pieces of land which are suitable for farming on. On other planets, mundanes can potentially survive without the need for wizards, but in the Belt, the need for Magus intervention is constant. To make crops grow, to rescue people that have fallen from rocks, and to provide the water so necessary to life, all of these things are dependant upon the wizards, leading to a system wherein wizards have replaced the old nobility.

The Planet Jupiter

The People of Jupiter have seen a mere 80 years since the Calamity on Earth. Though the majority have forgiven, or forgotten, the old magi on Jupiter still look down upon the magi of House Criamon.

The spirit of Jupiter has pushed its people towards jollity and haughtiness. Those from Jupiter are often convinced of their natural superiority.

Though Jupiter itself is habitable, this requires great work and investment on the part of magi. Most people choose to live on one of the many moons of Jupiter, each one providing a goodly amount of inhabitable space.

The earth of Jupiter itself is hard to comprehend for one who has not witnessed it. The highest layer is almost gaseous, though one can "swim" in it with a great deal of effort. The next layer is much like water, the next quicksand, the next mud, and so on, getting progressively thicker without truly solidifying, until one reaches a layer where one seems to float, gently bobbing. The earth, is, strangely, perfectly breathable, though this requires some effort at lower layers, and is greatly discomforting to those not accustomed to it.

The Magi of Jupiter have not been under its influence long enough to develop any unique practice of magic.

The Planet Saturn

The people of Saturn have only seen 40 years go by. The calamity on Old Earth is alive and burning in their minds. Those who show Criamon stigmata, or who even express Criamon sympathies, are likely to find themselves on the wrong end of a pitchfork, or even worse, a Wizard's March.

In the short time of settlement, Saturn has had little time to affect those people who live in it's influence. The limited number of people born in the 40 years since arrival have been unconcerned and fatalistic, taking little pleasure in life, seeming to live only because dying would be bothersome.

Society on Saturn exists solely upon its ring. Buildings can be found spotted across the bottom and top of the ring, though only sparsely, as mundanes are relatively dependent upon magi for building material, though water and farmable land is plentiful on the ring.

The ring itself is split into three sections. There are two pieces of land, both extraordinarily wide, with a vast, shallow ocean dividing these inner and outer land rings.

The earth of the planet is much like that of Jupiter, save for one important factor : The earth of Saturn is deadly to breathe in.

The Magi of Saturn have not been developed any unique practices influenced by Saturn.

Old Earth

Earth has changed since the cataclysm. What used to be, the feudal warring states has felt a massive upheaval. A large piece of the moon came down and poisoned the ocean, and further pieces fell to the ground, corrupting the minds of men and the matter of earth. Strange, invisible beasts with glowing eyes and teeth stalked the world. Out of this disaster, the church rose like a soaring phoenix, the divine bolstering its faithful in their hour of greatest need. Divine auras grew incredibly as number of those with True Faith blossomed like flowers in a garden. Before long, the world was entirely under the control of the Holy Roman Empire as the power of the Dominion in the face of magic-draining Lunar auras became evident.

There were still Magi on Earth, however. In the face of this encroaching Dominion, there were three camps: some hid in regios around the world, some converted, and became holy magi for the Holy Roman Empire, and some took flight, preferring to see what may be wrought in other spheres beyond Earth. Dominion auras and Sainthood grew. Within a few centuries, all but the most isolated or tainted places had an Aura strong enough to cause warping, creating a virtuous cycle reinforcing devoutness and holiness though Divine Warping.

Those who hid in regios came to refer to themselves as the hidden order. They have spread themselves throughout Africa and Eurasia, seeking out new regios to hide in. Because of this distance, transportation and teleportation magics have become incredibly important, all the better to avoid the difficulties of living and travelling in strong divine Auras

Those who chose to adapt, variously known as the Holy Magi, the Gifted Clerics, the Wisemen, and many more, continued there lives much as before, though in service to the HRE now. Squabbles are common enough, of course, but they are often prosecuted through mundane or scholarly means, as the Holy Magic they now wield refuses to bend itself to conflicts of pride.

Holy Magi have made and ubiquitously spread two innovations : firstly, they no longer need to perform magic as if they were casting spells silently and subtly. There is no penalty to casting with holy magic, and there is no need to roll Theology to cast correctly. Secondly, the Solomonic Arts (RoP: D insert page number here) have been thoroughly distributed throughout the Holy Order, and it is rare to find a Magus that does not at least know one or two rings.

The Landscape of Mercury

Mercury is dominated by a red, clay based terra, perfect for making bricks, but not ideal for growing crops. There are pockets of more fertile soil near coasts which make have made up the founding cornerstones of many past empires. Everywhere one looks, there is a vast, intricate web of roads, many in good repair despite their age, and many leading to places of unknown relevance in the modern day.

The Mercere house, such as it is, has a great amount of influence on mundane society, as the rule of the code requiring non-interference with the mundanes has grown disused over the vast amount of time which has passed.

The planet Mercury was largely barren before the arrival of mankind, the only notable plant being a red and green clover-like plant which is an extremely effective purgative on humans, and from which quicksilver can be extracted. The plants and animals which have arrived with mankind have been influenced by the spirit of Mercury, and have changed with no interference from human breeding, and no seeming of magical warping. Horses have split into swift, six-legged steeds and pegasi, crows have develop symbols of Odin upon their backs as they mature, and the honey produced by bees shines and flows like quicksilver.

All animals on Mercury have become universally more clever. Whatever their cunning would be on Earth, increase this by 2. If this would give a cunning of 5 or greater, they instead gain an intelligence of -2. Humans on Mercury are also more clever, the human average for intelligence is +1 instead of zero. After purchasing Characteristics and applying virtues and flaws, add an additional +1 Intelligence. In this way, the maximum and minimum intelligence for a Mercurian human is +6 and -4 respectively.

Story Hooks on Mercury

Archivus of Bonisagus wishes to recover artifacts from a ruin near his covenant, without exposing himself to any risks. He is very insistent on the possible rewards of such a trip, not only to his efforts, but to those of the players. He is less likely to mention the dangerous magical effects which still run haywire to this day, and the instability inherent in a structure that is over 2 millenia old.

Something has caused repeated disturbances to the road network, and House Mercere is growing tired of using resources to fix a road that will just break in a year or so. This poses a problem for the covenant, as this road is the quickest route to the covenant, meaning its permanent closure would mean months of delay for both ingoing AND outgoing mail. It is up to the covenant to solve the problem before House Mercere gives up entirely on fixing the problem. Has a rival Magus been dedicating the past few years to making the covenants lives miserable? Has a Daimon of Earthquakes taken up a new favorite location to raise havoc nearby? Or perhaps the spirit of Mercury is attempting to dislodge something which may be important to the future of Mercury...

The Al-Jahiz Crater Tribunal has been racked with debate for the past century : Should Magi be once more prohibited from interfering with mundanes, or should that part of the code be done away with all together? The pro-interference side has been putting together family trees for as many mundanes as possible to prove that all mundanes on Mercury are the descendants of covenfolk, and therefore, not strictly mundane. The anti-interference side is seeking to prove that interfering with mundanes has brought their wrath down upon the Order in the Past. How else could it be that 4 millenia have passed, and Hermetic Magic is still more or less the same as it was when mankind first arrived on Mercury?

I'm still working, jurt easily distracted. For now, some miscellenea :slightly_smiling_face:

À group of Flambeau Magi attempted to colonize the sun long ago, believing that their immunity to and mastery of fire would allow them to carve out a place perfect for themselves. Their expirement was a mixed success. They succeeded in creating their portal the sun, but rather than the firey land they were hoping for, they received a blast of fiery energy so intense that it reduced their covenant, and the surrounding countryside, to so much glass and ash. What can be gained from studying this grisly scene?

Rumour has it that some particularly eccentric Verditious Magi chose not to use the portal magic their brethren had used, but to create a ship which could sail the Aetheric seas, gathering what resources they require from the Belt of Vulcan, and trading with the planets as necessary.

The Portal Spell itself, the foundation of interplanetary travel is little understood. It uses the projectile range, and the art of Rego Aether to convey its users instantly to the destination. Casters must calculate the trajectory of the self and their target, making it a risky endevour, and interplanetary travel somewhat rare. A society of Magi is seeking to simplify the calculations required, and take the chance out of travel, bringing about a revolution as humanity connects itself faster than ever before.

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Venus Hooks

A Venutian petty lord or lady has realized that one of their scion has been performing extremely cruel actions, perhaps even as harsh as torturing people for fun. Word has gotten around of these actions, and though the noble wants the situation dealt with, they cannot deal with problem their self without committing some faux pas or another. To permanently deal with the problem, the noble wants the players to render the child unable to rule. If one of the players is playing a Venutian character, they will understand that the noble does not want the child grievously harmed or killed, otherwise it may take some questioning to confirm the noble's intentions.

The players have killed (or grievously harmed) the scion of a local petty noble, perhaps accidentally, perhaps after hearing of cruel and vengeful deeds done by said scion. The noble is honor bound to call a manhunt upon the players, and either inflict the same injury upon each of them, or kill them. During their escape from the city, they find a box, stocked with enough supplies to make a trip to a rather far away safe-house, marked on a map included in the box. Do they follow the map? Who might be waiting there for them? A grateful would-be assassin who was intent on revenging their self on the scion? A petty noble who mourns the death, but understands the need? Or a petty noble who seeking revenge against the players for slaying their beloved scion?

The local rakehell, Eros, has a reputation as a peerless lover; once one has spent a night with them, no other person can ever satisfy. A player is approached by this rake, and whether or not they spend the night together, word gets around that the two have been seen together. Shortly afterward, they are approached by a comically large amount of people throughout the days, each asking if Eros had given them a particular token of affection. Some are seeking locks of hair, other scarves, earrings, amulets, brooches, underthings, shoes, makeup compacts, and any other number of personal items. Some investigation reveals that they are ensorcelled not by pleasant evenings with Eros, but rather actual magic. Each of them believes that if they receive the promised personal effect, they will be freed of the curse placed upon them. Is Eros a Faerie, feeding upon the feelings of frustrations these jilted lovers feel? Is Eros a malicious hedge magician whose power is fueled by feelings of longing and frustration? Or is Eros an Infernal demon, hoping to push people towards greater sins of Lust in desperate attempts to sate their frustrations?

Mars Hook

Hunting is very popular on Mars; the native creatures of Mars tend to be vicious though. The most feared (and revered) beast of all is the Iron Boar. As fearsome and tough as their namesakes, their hunting is usually at the behest of the king or queen of a city, competing with other cities to see who can take down an Iron Boar with the fewest hunters, and the fewest casualties. Cautious nobles may send as many as 6 dozen men and hounds, while particularly brave or confidant nobles may send as few as 3 dozen. The naive lord of a city wishes to hunt an Iron Boar with only a dozen men, including himself. None seek to dissuade him, due to his particularly choleric temperament. He is seeking aid from the greatest hunters and warriors, and even employs other resources to seek the aid of the mystically inclined.

Following a legendary hunt, a local king has found himself as the head of a city-state yearning to take control of their neighbors and exert their dominance. Though this burgeoning nation-state will likely dissolve within a decade or two, it still presents immense problems to the players, whose covenant (or an important goal) is in the area, will be much impacted by mundane resources being confiscated to fuel expansion efforts, and perhaps even the king comes to feel the players are a threat to his power, or a resource to be exploited.

Belt of Vulcan Hooks

Resources are scarce in the Belt, except for two: ore-rich rock and ice. In the Belt, they spontaneously generate in small amounts, usually as clouds of dust, but occasionally as rocky accretions, ranging from pebbles to island sized boulders. Typically, covenants will dedicate at least one season to collecting these in order to increase the livable space and water supply. In addition, Terram and Aquam vis are relatively easy to harvest , by using Rego magic to compress these into forms that capture sunlight well, and suspending them in special positions.

Covenants usually gather as much mass as possible in order to farm and achieve as much independence as possible. However, one Covenant has found or created a sizeable source of Herbam Vis, and, not requiring farmland, compressed as much of their island's mass as possible into vis, and has begun to operate in a piratical manner, using Rego Terram to move their island, stealing the ice and rock from underneath other covenants noses.