I'm just writing to let people know that I recently finally got sent
my copy of HoH: Societas, and had a read through.
Authors in Ars get very little credit. They don't get much of the way
of congratulations or feedback, or criticism (there is some, but not
So, I'm writing to say that I enjoyed HoH:S a great deal.
In particular, I thought the Tytalus section was evocative - the leper
magus and the conflicts. Not too sure about how Tasgillia was
presented (ie, the Tytalans aren't too apologetic about her??). Also,
if there is so much writing on Tytalus (letters, diaries, etc), why is
there a lot of mystery over the history of the Order, particularly to
do with whether the Founders were as powerful as their Hermetic
I liked the Flambeau stuff, but was disappointed to see an unnecessary
revision of earlier material regarding the death of Flambeau himself.
Why was this decision made? I smacks of the unnecessary edit to the
Primus of House Tremere (which Timothy and I have discussed before).
Not really sure about the "schools" - they are basically character
The Jerbiton section was interesting regarding the links to Greece,
but I felt the culture of the House then did not follow through. I
would have liked to see what happens when you use Greek to cast
Hermetic magic (did I miss that?). How did the Jerbiton manage to
fight off House Tremere?
Didn't get into much of the Ex Misc stuff.
Apart from that, I also want to commend Atlas for the quality of the
art, which, with a few exceptions, was of good to high quality.
I'll add my voice in extolling Societates: I enjoyed reading it, and re-reading it, very much. Its depictions of the Houses is inspiring and interesting, and it contains cool new rule-bits to top it all. Excellent.
A few more specific points -
I was especially imperssed with the description of the Tytalus mindset. The stoic ideas were very nicely detailed and really helped bring to life how Tytalus magi think and act.
Equally impressive was the description of Jerbiton magi and their relation to the East, which I found really poured character and content into the House.
There are a lot of great ideas in this book, these are just the two things that stood out the most for me.
Here, of course, you strike the really basic problem that I can't tell the authors of the Thebes or Transylvania books what to write (and that's not a spoiler or a reveal, I'm not aware of any Tribunal books coming up except LL).
The really boring answer to the Greek question is "In Ars, you can cast magic in whichever language you like." which personally I think is a lot less evocative than "Latin because it has been marked as the One True Language by God", but there you go. I didn't mention it, in sofar as I'm aware, because it's not an issue unless the authors of the theoretical books make it an issue.
In Pure PowerZ terms, the Jerbiton are a lot flatter than any of the other houses. That's deliberate: the idea is that magi can be fun to just play, and not care too much about optomising your scores, because realistically. not all magi would want to optimise their scores. They don't view the world from a gamerist perspective and it means that if you decide that you don't want to grind your character in the lab so that they level, you can just say "I'm a Jerbiton. I don't care about any of that." I hope they are still fun to play regardless.
Know I read about this in one of the books (not certain if it was the ex Misc section of Societes or Ancient Magic) - IIRC it stated that you can learn to cast in any language, and casting in non-latin usually makes it harder for other hermetic magi to identify the tech+form used. (in order to cast counterspells). I do believe that spells in different languages are considered similar but not equal - but don't quote me on that...
It's Ancient Magic in Eric Dahl's Adamic section, page 29.
IMO I'd basically assume that Jerbiton (and most magi of the Theban and probably the Levantine Tribunal) have access to casting in Greek through a Minor Breakthrough achieved early in the history of the Order and handwave from there as it's excellent flavour.
Jeremiah Genest's Theban Tribunal used this as a core concept and I think it fits really well - given that there's no indication we'll ever see a Theban Tribunal or Transylvanian Tribunal sourcebook, his net collection is as about (dutero)canonical as it's ever going to get...