Ideas for a Regio

Hey there

My name is Alexander and I am new to this board, though not new to Ars Magica. It's been a while since I played it, but luckily we just started up a new saga.

The saga is placed in the Rhine Gorge (as taken from Guardians of the Forest), though we made up a new covenant and covenant site for our saga... we didn't want to risk taking the first 10 sessions to just get a covenant. Anyway, the covenant has two major hooks - Castle and Regio.

The covenant lies on top of a rock outcropping overlooking the Rhine, the players took over a robber baron's castle... which he didn't fight that hard to keep as a rather powerful magical aura had appeared on and around the outcropping. This happened when some marker stones (stones with pagan symbols, perhaps grave markers) where uncovered by the river at the foot of the rock. When this happened the few caves leading into the rock (facing the river) also became deeper and things started coming out from them. This is a regio and I am looking for help in making it an interesting site to explore for the players.

What we have established for the Regio so far:
The first level of it is just the caves. There's not much in there, except for perhaps a few cave paintings.
Ghosts have wandered out from the caves and caused trouble for the covenant.
The aura of the covenant and the first level is 5.

... and that's pretty much it, so there are lots of possibilities.

The idea that I am currently messing around with is as follows:
It's not actually a rock, it's a fossilized egg. It could have hatched into a great dragon, but it never did. Perhaps God changed it's plan so it no longer included dragons hatching from eggs the size of 10 storey buildings, perhaps something killed it. It was likely moved into the Rhine Gorge in the last ice age, coming from somewhere else. Not it is buried in earth, sorrounded by other rocks. It has been uncovered at various points in the history of the Rhine Gorge.
Dragons don't just die though, especially not those that never got to hatch. The rock generates a powerful magical aura (lvl 5) and within it lies a regio. The uppermost level of this regio is the dead dragon's dreams. In it's dreams it has hatched and is living a good life in the world that was... tens of thousands of years ago. It likely populates this world with creatures drawn from species memories or from the impressions it aborbs from those near or within the egg. It's a very lonely world, it cannot dream up other dragons and it doesn't really know that it is dead... at least not on a concious level.
There are several levels of this regio.
The first one, the one that can be entered simply by going into the caves, is filled with ancient paintings and the remains of pagan offerings - left to appease the Gods or the dragon.
One of the levels in the Regio is a grave site, filled with caverns where the remains of the dead lies. I'm thinking there should be signs of many different burial traditions, showing how OLD this thing truly is. This level should also be the primary source of the ghosts.
Other levels of the regio could mimic the dragon's dream world - those are the dreams of the people buried within the egg. They wander around in the world as they remember it, some of them aware that they are trapped there and cannot go too far from the egg... some of them content with this, some of them not. Those who are not content try to escape, but as soon as they leave the level of their dream world they become ghosts... unless they slip into one of the other dream worlds or the dragon's. This is rare though, they can't really comprehend the other levels of the regio and the real world is no nicer to them. I'm thinking there should be a number of different regio levels (2-3 ish), each representing a different culture and epoch: Stone age hunters, bronze age river traders, roman settlers, etc.

So what kind of stories could be told around this?
One seed is the ghosts - they are causing trouble for the covenant. Getting them to be content with the dream world they are trapped in or destroying them might be an option. They can also be a valuable source of information - actually meeting a dead member of the Cult of Mercury that was buried with could be interesting and enlightening.
There is certainly vis to be found in the cave. The covenant has hidden resources twice (500 pts), we agreed that some of those would be undiscovered items and vis sources within the caves.
There is the dragon itself - it is not an evil or malicious creature. It is extremely powerful within the regio and might be able to travel outside it... but would start falling apart without a magic aura to sustain it. After all, it was never born. Most of all it is lonely, naive, and a little sad. If it discovers that it is dead, then it could go on a rampage. Finding some way to resolve it's loneliness would gain the covenant a very powerful ally... and a very attractive location for their labs (I'm thinking that the upper level should be a lvl 9 regio).
Exploring the different dream worlds could be interesting, though it needs to something other than just sight seeing. Seeking out the buried people in the dream world for information is an obvious hook, it might also be necessary to enter them in order to deal with some of the ghosts.

Whew, this ended up being a long post. Thanks for sticking with it. I am looking for any kind of feedback on the above - ideas, criticism, rule options, etc. Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

Welcome on board :slight_smile:

Great idea! I like it. What I dislike is the fact that the dragon is dead. Maybe it was about to die instead? And to prevent it it decided to transfer his life force into the regio. So the dragon has never been born in the material world, but instead is a creature of pure magic (spirit): an inhabitant of the magic realm. There he is perfectly alive as a magical spirit.

This would give more credibility to the dram landscape of the regio. It is just filtered species and stuff from the parcel of the Magic Realm that the dragon spirit inhabits. Being able to manifest in the real world for a while (and so,m having to be apearsed with offerings) is an option as well. Maybe he became a daimon and can generate an aspect to go around, but since he never was truly alive his Aspects are rather weak, and lose power really.

You can build a temple where the castle stands, only on a higher level of the regio. A crude pagan temple made with wood, not greek. The temple could be dedicated to a lizard or fire god. Maybe it is still inhabited by an aging priest that has become a magical human but that is approaching dissolution (death) rather fast, to prevent the characters to "milk" him too much for past information. Or maybe he just does not have much information since he was just a local priest of the dragon

The dragon can easily "play" with anoyone that enters the higher levels of the regio. He can send out some of his minions to harass them. Maybe he wants knowledge of the world and is willing to trade for it. After the players have shown their worth passing over some obstacles and performing some quests, that is.

Just some random thoughts. :slight_smile: Hoipe that helps. There are great minds around here, so you are bound to get good suggestions from other posters. Have a great saga!


Hi Alexander, good to have you here. And great to hear about a new saga! So you've just started this one? It sounds full of high-fantasy elements to explore, which funnily enough is what we're trying to do in my current saga. But I think you've pipped us. We have a sleeping dragon somewhere out under the marsh, but I love the idea of the dragon's egg.

But here's what I'd do:

Don't treat the egg as "fossilized" as it doesn't feel very mythic or medieval to me. It just happens to be a vast stone egg. Stranger things have happened.
I'd leave aside things like ice ages and species memories for the same reason.
And I'd have the dragon alive. It makes the dreams thing easier to explain, grasp, and manipulate. And there's always the threat that it could wake up and destroy everything in the process.

But apart from that, I'd use it.

One way I'd explore this is to make some decisions about what the world of the Dragon was during it's conception. More high fantasy? Different magical races, etc? Perhaps a lesser dragon race of bipedal lizard servants? Then populate the world of the dragon's dream with these decisions. That way you'll have a logical universe for the dreamworld, and it won't be amorphous... just very different from the mundane realm.

When the egg is uncovered and the magic aura/regio appears.... does this have other repercussions in the mundane world? Perhaps this triggers other occurences? Is this the first sign of a pending apocolypse? Seekers suddenly appear at the covenants doorstep wanting access to the regio. Something deep within the dragon's dream has gone awry and needs to be fixed. Or there's a seeker that's been waiting for the SIGN (the appearance of the regio), and now desires to go in and retrieve an ancient artifact. The players get to race him to the finish, through a series of quests.

I really like the idea, and I hope you keep us posted.

Cool. The dragon being alive has quite a few potential. You have a sword of damocles over your covenant (and the whole tribunal, perhaps). When things go awry or the dragon has a nightmare you MUST go there and soothe it, otherwise it might wake up and hatch! :stuck_out_tongue:

I had imagined the realm of the dragon as a vast wilderness area, but having it with populations as well and the lizzies living there is a good idea. Or a mix of it all.

The mad seekers knocking on your door is too good a source of stories ("road" covenant hook) to ignore as well.


Thanks for the quick replies guys, this is a nice welcome.

Very nice idea that the egg still has the potential to hatch. Even though there are caves carved into it, it is a magical creature powerful enough to undo that and hatch again... the cave openings "healing" would be the first sign of this.

I wasn't planning on having the dream world be amorphous, it is going to be a high powered magical aura with some special properties - like the limit of vis not applying in there. The world in there is not constantly changing, it is a world that the dragon created out of boredom, I guess. Though the world in there can still be shaped by the dragon, so it having nightmares might be a very very bad thing for those inhabiting the egg.

You are right that neither ice ages, fossils, or species memories are very medieval. I'll keep those out of the picture. How the egg got there will be an unsolved mystery.

The saga is actually not going to be high fantasy, at least not in general. The other hooks for the covenant are generally mundane - castle, road. I hope that we can have a good contrast - when there is magic it tends to be very magical. When we go into the mundane world, it is very medieval.

What the egg's appearance or reactivation means for the world and the local area is a good issue. The obvious part is that is has created a magical aura that extends into the rhine. This could have some repurcussions as elementals start living in the river and harassing sailors. People could come and question the newly settled wizards if they have anything to do with it.

Having it be a sign of some kind... hmmm... one of the companions is actually a crusader who never got to the war because his visions showed him he had another purpose and led him to the covenant. This could be important. Perhaps a demon or devil is going to attempt to corrupt the dragon which would be a huge disaster. Could indeed trigger the apocalypse. The crusader has been led there to help the mages stop the demon.

I think this is a fantastic idea, especially the cult site spawning ghosts of the various dead which have been interred there.

I too do not like the idea of the dragon being dead. Perhaps as a magical creature, it has an independent existence in the Magical Realm, and the egg is the physical manifestation of an unsuccessful attempt to move to the mundane realm. This opens up a variety of possibilities, from the regio essentially being a big, leaky portal to the magical realm (with magical power and occasional denziens finding their way out), which would allow the dragon to be elsewhere but still interested in the regio, to the dragon being trapped inside the regio, not able to get to the mundane or magical realms, the victim of a halfway-successful move. Perhaps the move is going to complete any time now, and he will really be in the mundane realm, but I think I much prefer the tension off him being trapped, but powerful within his demense. Perhaps the regio starts moving at some point, spawning new levels, with items and places moving from one level to another. If part of the covenant gets moved on to a regio level, does that bode well for the dragon's intents towards the magi? (I am suggesting no, but, in the case of great danger and a good relationship, perhaps this could be a potent protective move.