How to rebuild a civilisation

Hi All,
Some friends and I are putting together a mystery cult to guard knowledge so that when european civilisation falls not everything is lost.
As great libraries and empires have fallen or been lost in the past we are going to make several archives scattered around europe. These will have everything needed to teach the basics of education and various professions. The only question is what to put in it?

Obviously texts are easy to do, as they are simple to copy and age well - but there is no mechanism in AM5 for learning from nothing. The people who stumble on these archives may not speak the same languages, and almost certainly won't be educated. How do you teach some random peasant to read, without having a teacher?

We could maybe have some sort of automata, perhaps a bound ghost. Could we come up with a series of books which take someone from illiterate to literate?

Enchanted stones (durable) with linked triggered rego mentem and creo mentem effects that put the knowledge of reading and writing in the heads of their victims and compel them to practice and drill so that they form memories of the knowledge that last after the creo mentem effects expire.

This runs close to the proscription from creo mentem creating inscribed and procedural memories.

There are effects for translation of language and to discern meaning in Ars core, so could an effect be designed lift a simple idea or concept from somebodies mind, and then explain that concept back into their by referencing their current knowledge but with a different language. It could also be extrapolated slightly bu suggesting related alternatives, or different forms of the same idea. I was thinking that as Pato's Forms can also apply to ideas, it might have a setting appropriate approach.

As the observer stands in front of the device it repeatedly offers similar ideas, translations, and expansions of their thoughts back into their mind.

Slow teaching through segways and questions, using the languages and concepts in the archive's language rather than the observer's own language. Like a form of stepped Q&A where slowly over time their knowledge grows.

Perhaps like the obelisk from 2001.

With enough time the device will advance the creatures thinking to the point where they can comprehend the languages in the archive, and also have a broader context for the information. The observer can start from an illiterate base and develop over time.

(it is a little crazy, but I didn't want the effect to force a change of mind which might expire. Rather to encourage learning toward the preselected language. Then they can read as they desire.)

I don't think that it could do that. Magic can't think. I see Thoughts within Babel as taking meaning from the target's minds and giving it to the caster's brain. The caster does all of the translating.

Hmm, I disagree. Magic can (or should be able to, imho) translate automatically in an enchanted device.
Drawing a reference from another truer "Form" is a stretch, but translation seems to be well within the game effect examples. Perhaps this is getting into the meta of "how" for ArM rather than "what".

Have a look at the summary of ArM5 rules on automatic translation on TME p.99f Magic Can Neither Read Nor Understand.
In particular

Of course this should not force you to change your campaigns.


I don't have TME, but RAW is RAW. Darn. Start binding spirits or creatures as endless translators I suppose. leverage of a mind that cannot "pass" again.

I'd also suggest binding ghosts/spirits and using Mentem enchantments to make and allow them to teach language and literacy. Implanting the desire to learn in the finder's mind is a good idea.

Arguably, CrMe enchantments can create such an artificial mind. Even if this is rejected, it may apply to automata, who can then be used to teach Latin and Artes Liberales without the shady binding aspect.


How's this:
(1) Find a volunteer in your cult: preferably one with a penchant for elementary school mastery.
(2) Have him learn Thoughts within Babble.
(3) 'Initiate' him to Living Ghost (TMRE p.70f).
(4) Becoming a Living Ghost binds your volunteer to Haunt the cult library.
(5) As a dedicated cultist he will from now on use Thoughts within Babble to communicate with hapless 'peasants' stumbling in, and to teach those he doesn't scare out of their mind in Artes Liberales (Grammar) and Latin.

Hmm - finding the cult library and school master a few centuries later looks like an Ars adventure. Or an Hollywood horror cinema trope.


Would a faery with the power to "Grant" Puissant Artes Liberales and Latin work?

This is a nice idea, but wouldn't we have to put the archive in a magical aura, otherwise the ghost would get acclimitization? If there was a strong aura someone might have built a covenant there already. I was thinking of areas with no aura or small divine ones - near a village in the mountains etc.

I'm not sure if puissant can give you a knowledge you don't already have a score in...

I know that automata can be given craft skills, maybe profession ones, but I'm not sure about interractive skills like teaching someone.

Though we could make a device which is like a projector - we record a real teacher teaching a class and display that image using CrIm.

We could probably do them as enchanted devices which each store a certain amount of recording and the device switches between them when they finish - like a multi-stack cd player.

I like this idea but how close do you think it would get to producing warping?

I think the effect of the Living Ghost preserves it against acclimitization. It's still somewhat vulnerable to enviromental changes though.

Agreed. A strict reading of automata does not allow this. Sadly.

Long term solution, but a faerie instructor who lends abilities (with interest) for something like 30 years could allow for very efficient passing down of academic abilities, though it means each generation will spend their last few years not remembering the skills they used all of their lives.

So a society where every old person has Altzheimers?

What of a Realia? Are they limited to Arts?
If not, since they don't rely on words, you could use these to teach latin and Artes Liberales to someone.


What sort of things would be in such a realia though?