So I've been trying to think up alternate settings that maintain the core of Ars Magica. So my ideas have been to keep the Order of Hermes in Mythic Europe but to alter an event or two or something else in some significant way to shake things up. This lets me keep almost all of Ars Magica intact while putting a very different flavor on things. One of my latest ideas was more around a group of magi than a very large change elsewhere, though I could imagine serious consequences. Imagine if a few Bonisagii and maybe a Tytalus or a Pralician or similar banded together behind the Bonisagii in an attempt to integrate far more magic into Hermetic theory. They set up a secretive covenant. They find, kidnap, and mind control Gifted members of other traditions. They force those magi to open several Gifted youths Arts. Then they work together to make sure they have sufficient lab totals to open the youths Hermetic Arts. They could use the mind-controlled magi to do a little teaching of the apprentices, but those mind-controlled magi would be killed off once their usefulness was done. The players would be these former apprentices (just passed gauntlet), who were working as lab assistants with their parens to integrate all this magic, and their parens would expect continued support.
If you were playing one of these former apprentices, what would be the most interesting other tradition (Magic, not other Realms. From HMRE, Rival Magic, TC&TC, etc.) to have and why? I'm trying to get a feeling for what might be fun combinations, combinations that might interest players and not just be experience sinks.
Of course, if this were figured out by some of those other traditions, they might try to destroy the Order. There are lots of directions this might head, including the marching of these parens or support for these parens. If the parens were marched for inviting a big attack on the Order, the new player magi might well be ostracized. Or maybe the other traditions find out what happened when the players start looking for teachers from these other traditions. Or maybe this had been in response to some big attack in the first place and was an attempt to shore up the weaknesses in Hermetic theory so the Order would be that much more powerful as it rises from the ashes. Lots of possibilities...
If being a part of this forum has taught me anything about Hermetic magi, it would be that everything is easier than it seems. Presumably this also applies to finding and mind-controlling a Jotun for a season.
It depends on what kind of game you want to run for your players.
Look carefully at the beginning of the history of the Order. We have a few events to pick from right there:
1.) There is no Sundering and House Tremere dominates the Order - was there even a schism war, instead of a simple Diedne Purge?
2.) The corruption of House Tytalus - becomes an even bigger problem than realizes and mestasices in the form of the whole House going Rogue and forming a rival, diabolical Order that actively fights a guerilla war with the rest of the OoH.
3.) Early rulings on the Code, or even a different Code of Hermes to begin with would change the shape of the Order.
What is it that you would like about mixing Muspelli with a Hermetic Magus?
Yes, that's what I was saying. I think there are a lot of little ways to tinker with things to come up with all sorts of very different feeling sagas that can still use the bulk of the published material. This can really enliven things for those who feel like Mythic Europe has been played out repeatedly but who still want to play Hermetic magi using Ars Magica and taking advantage of all Ars Magica has to offer.
But my OP wasn't asking about those. Rather, if you got to play a magus who had been trained in another tradition and also trained in Hermetic magic, which other tradition(s) would you find most interesting to mix with Hermetic magic and why?
I have always thought that it would be nice to use the hedge and rival magics.
So: Bonisagus invented the Parma and was well on his way to inventing Hermetic Magic proper when the amazon lady (Viaea?) stole his research. Instead of only a couple of things, she stole the whole lot.
Bonisagus cursed in rage, as he'd lost decades of research. He started again after some years but died before it was over. Everything else remains; each of the founders had a different style, and those styles were never fully turned into Hermetic Arts. The Parma was still taught, and is common in the order.
Merinita magi might be Faerie Magicians, Jerbiton might be Virgillian, Flambeau elementalists, Tremere as Sihr variants, etc etc.
Other than being from diverse traditions with resources being perhaps more scarce, the game would be similar in scope. Less earth shattering magic at higher ages though.
Another alternative is to have the Integration relative to Realm Power as described in Legend of Hermes (I believe it is the Tower of Vineria ? - but serf's Parma).
It doesn't look like much, but the ability to work magic in every aura (according to the Realm knowledge of the magus) is a big deal. No need to be scared of Divine Aura, you can practice your magic without problem. Sure, you still suffers from the Gift, but how much more meddling you can do by being invisible in a crowd and influencing leaders, guild members and such.
Of course the Code need to be modified to allow such interaction, but magi can really be power behind the throne. Religious leaders and such will still have a form of protection coming from Divine power, but who cares if you can manipulate their underlings or whole crowd.
It won't be big flashy spells or more powerful spells, but more gearing towards a "Mascarade" type setting, where the power is slowly building up in the Order's Hands. Maybe Houses lay claims on country/ies or regions and they have there own Code instead of the current setting of Tribunal.
Then you can rewrite the history where nobles waging wars again each other are just magi trying to secure mythic location for aura, vis and whatnot.