Looking for ideas (NPCs, seeds, factions, etc) as a SG: Apocalyptic Mythic Europe


I'm the SG of a Saga that already has like 6 sessions. Players finish the first year and stop on the first Big City, I have lot of ideas, but I'm a big fan of internet brainstorming. My players don't even speak english, so don't have any fear on giving ideas of any type.

But, for giving ideas, I need to give context. This Saga is on a special setting, it is Mythic Europe, but not the normal one, so this post maybe is a little big. I start:

One [now two] years ago, the trumpets of the end of time sound on the air. It wasn't any of the apocalypsis the divine books talk. Demons, normally forced to mantain secrecy and being subtle around the divine, start to move against humanity directly. The divine protection given to the church and the royalty dissapear, the Dominion was no more and the earth was changed, cities and towns getting further away as the earth seems to get bigger.

That wasn't the end, as the faithfull try to stop the chaos, the Divine seems to punish further than the reasonable, angels coming to end the life of specific people, before dissapear without saving anyone.

In this chaos, the Order of Hermes dissapear. They Covenants still exist, some even are intact -but most are destroyed by the attack of demons or nobles-, but their members from the youngest redcap to the oldest archmagus dissapear with the trumpets. Hermetic Magic is dead, but their legacy -Covenants, Enchanted Items and other resources- still there.

The players are a group of UnGifted leaders of a "small" caravan [actually with 40 people] that start from the south of Italy. A failed apprentice, named Outis, presents with the rumor that Iberia is a safe land, her intentions are others [she wants a secure method to travel to Flambeu Domus Magna and see if there is something that can help this situation] but the players buy her rumor, and start the travel. [If someone wants more information about the players I can explain their characters, but I want the sensation that the world is independent to them until they interact]

This [two] year are eventful. And a lot of things have change. The ones I have in mind are:

  • Rome: The city was one of the cities were the chaos was major, blood and corruption engulf the city on the first month. Today, ironically, the things are more organized. A council of guildmasters formed directed by a mysterious figure. The council make a pact with a pair of demons, one Avenger of Evil as the leader of law and one Vessel of Iniquity as the leader of commerce. All of this is a plan of Lilith, the mysterious figure, that really controls the City. The City is, ironically, successful: Law is abided and even minor demons are punish for breaking it, not because that is just, but by the sadism of the sheriff; gender inequality is broken, not because progress or love, but because the Vessel don't care for gender of the avarice; the City is economically prosper, not because good commerce, but scams and early capistalism.

  • Napoli: The city is controlled by a council of Augustians, who protect the city with their arts. The council exist because of a girl that has the Gentle Gift and Unnaffected by the Gift at the same time, Augustian believe she is a reincarnation of Virgil in this difficult times, and so she becomes the leader pretty quick. She is a good humble girl, a little christian, that really don't want all the attention but understand why she is the one that can mantain the alliance between the mages to protect the city.

  • The Seeker Guild of Hermes: I want to change the name of this thing. Basically, this international guild is maded by the Companions and Grogs of Seekers, Pralixians and other adventurer mages. Is know that most grogs and Companions dissapear with their mages, but a important group that wasn't with their mage when the trumpets sounds still on the world looking for clues about how or why this people disappear. They have a advantage important for this times, more with the "enlargement of the earth": Instant communication and, in some cases, instant transportation. I will give special attention that I really want to see ideas for members of this Guild, how their relation with a now dissapear mage influence them on this times

I thing this is enough as a introduction to the weird thing I'm working this days. ANY idea is welcome to this setting: NPCs, factions, Covenants without people, villages, towns or cities affected by the end, or even simple adventure seeds. The players are really invested on the setting, and I want to make it the more rich possible.

Thanks for reading and your help! This is my first long post and, well, I'm not a native english speaker, so any error that needs to be corrected I can do it!

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The Apocalyse is a Christian concept.

So you should decide, whether you wish to use the Book of Revelations or Joachim of Fiore's Theology of the three Eras, and start from that decision.

You can also take a look at Dies Irae (DI) p.9ff The End of Time or Sub Rosa #20 p.49ff Franciscan Doubts, treating 1200's theology of the Apocalypse and the Antichrist well before Thomism.

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Thanks! But I'm looking for more internet/setting aligned ideas.

Even if "the apocalypse" is christian in nature, I know my players and most people don't think on the christian apocalypse when it is named, and so this apocalypse follows more conventional modern concept as "end of the world as we know it, with a post-apocalypsis soon to follow".

Dies Irae end of time is a important pillar on te creation of this setting, but also is the Castlevania Series on Netflix, my love for franchises as Fallout and so on.

It seems to me that you are going so far away from the average setting that you are not going to get too much from the forum. I think what motivates me (and so I guess at least some others) to engage with this kind of topic is to relate with my ongoing sagas (or planned ones). But with the Order and magic gone there is not much room for saga compatibility. :no_mouth:

I think of my group and wonder what would they say if I come and say "ok we are going to play Ars Magica with no magic!" and I think the answer would be something like "dude the book's title says Magica for a reason". And then they probably would burn me at the stake from having them read all these complicated chapters we are suddenly not going to use anymore.

If I were to plan such an adventure I wouldn't rip magic off just like that. What if not all magi are gone? What if the PCs are left behind? Then you could run the campaign with the ideas of then figuring out why them and no one else. Also they could have the goal of rebuilding the Order from scratch, which could be interesting. What would they change? Then they could find that they are not the only ways (I'm sure Tremere House will probably have a plan for that scenario, like they have for everything else).

Is interesting because the Saga planning started because my players feel that Hermetic Magic is too powerful and so the Saga become a little boring because every problem, even social ones, can be resolved by one spell (maybe my fault, but the boring sensation isn't in this 6 sessions of apocalypse), the problems that can't be resolved with magic -like the hermetic politics- were the ones that make for the most interesting adventures.

I will argue with your players that the game is "Ars Magica", not "Ars Hermetic". Hermetic Magic is dead, and the player character are UnGifted, but even in that scenario Supernatural Abilities, beings of Might, Methods and Powers, Enchanted Object, Non-Hermetic Arts, etc; are present on the play and players choose some of this options. The world still as magical as always (one can say that is even more magical because the rule of not intervention is gone and the interaction of the realm with the world is increase). I will even say that, having confirm that in fact there are three methods to obtain the Gift, no one wants the Gift between the players.

In any case, I can't force anyone to interact with this idea, but even simple ideas like "House Tremere should have a plan for this scenario" are welcome! I don't know what plan can they have, but is at least a start.

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Okay, a few thoughts:

I agree, House Tremere will have a plan. I'm imagining a few squads of trained warriors supported by enchanted items, sent out to secure Tremere valuables and in no mood for arguments. (Or maybe they'll be helpful!)

Or maybe they have some bound ghosts still pursuing the house agenda.

Speaking of ghosts, what is happening at The Cave of Twisting Shadows (Criamon Domus Magna)? It's full of ghosts that may have opinions about what has happened.

Any covenant that had a Verditius in it will have some loot of interest, but maybe it's guarded.

Flambeau and Tytalus magi are known to set up traps that go off when they die - on the assumption that they will be surrounded by enemies. Have these gone off?

Have all the Hermetic Apprentices vanished?

Around the edges of Mythic Europe, there are enemies of Christendom that may have been held back by the threat of the Hermetic Order, and now see their chance to invade - or investigate what's happened. This could be the Order of Odin, the Amazons, the Order of Suleiman or the Mongol horde.

One last thought: it sounds as if your campaign is planning to rattle along at a fast pace with not much downtime. So you might want to revise the experience point system, and allow multiple adventure EP awards in a single season.

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I'm curious what you have to say on this topic :slight_smile:

Ok, first I need to say that I play with the more loose rule about the Gift: The Gift is weird, and follow weird rules. A ungifted person can have all children gifted, except the 4°, and the neighbor can be Gifted and never have a gifted child. This make most magi become crazy in this investigation, because there isn't a starting point or basis for working on creating gifted people. With this in mind, the options are [players don't know any of this options, only know that the Saga has three options]:

  • Paimon Blessing: One major antagonist is Paimon, the demon, that is interfering on Earth on a subtle manner, pulling strings and giving blessings so the world is organized as he see fits. The goal is simple: A stable world where humanity still exist and the state of grace is reduced almost to non-existant. Players are a indirect tool, guided with clues and rumors to places were they can depose demons that aren't suiteable for the Paimon plan. At some time Paimon will want to give the False Gift to a member of the caravan, giving not only more power to them, but also being able to manipulate the effects of the blessed.

  • The last initiation: The mystery of why the Order dissapear is one that even me as a SG don't know, I'm waiting to hear the theories of players based on abandon Covenants and theories of NPCs to see what theory I give the reason. But the Order of this setting was a little more advanced [mostly to justify more types fo rewards]. Is rumored that in Durenmar there is a text that explain a investigation to gain the Gift, this investigation is real and complete, and in fact was used one time before the apocalypse (maybe is related, maybe no). The problem is that Durenmar exact ubication is loss with the change on the Earth. The Mercer Portals that exist today are weirdly warped, and horrifiyng creatures of magic come from them, so the Seeker Guild is on conflict about what to do with them, people that enters the portals to Durenmar never come back, so the decision this days is destroying them.

  • The transplant: There is a pseudo-antagonist that is a infernally tainted witch that dedicates to medicine studies, she wants to discover how to imbue the powers and capacities of one creature to another, basically chimeras. Her has a series of advancements [I don't have exact mechanics for this girl, but the idea is that she gives Virtues with magic similar to Learned Magicians related to the blood and parts of what she cut open, so she can give you a Power of a creature as a Minor or Major Power only if she puts parts or blood of that creature inside you] and the end of the world is in fact very good for her less ethical methods of investigation. She has a theory on the Gift having a physical part, and that a transplant of the Gift is possible. If players wants to help her, somethng that will need to sacrifice a lot of Gifted people and a travel to the Magic Realm, she can finally complete her research and transplant the Gift of one person to another.

I'm also thinking on how to integrate the Divine and the faerie homunculi to this options, but this three are the ones planned.


This is something I don't think. But ghost and daimons still exist, in the case of Daimons they are less interested on interfering, but ghost can give interesting insight. The Cave of Twisting Shadows probably will don't know exactly what happens, but they sure will have opinion, advice and maybe initiations. I will work more on this.

Yep, this give credit to the idea that magi died for those that understand hermetic theory without being members of the Order. But isn't the most spread rumor, neither it is a total proff with the weirdness of their dissapear.

I have mixed feelings, so I'm working on this. My idea for now is that they don't dissapear but die on the chaos. I find interesting the idea of the players finding a hermetic survivor by the technicallity that apprentices aren't members of the Order, but also I fear that will diminish the impact of its dissapearence.

I want to integrate this things when the players stablish on Iberia and start a more Covenant-Like part of the Saga. In any case, the apocalypse is world wide, so all this factions are confronting the situation with their magic and organization at their own pace.

For this last one, the idea of my description was a poor excuse, but accepted by my players, to make the travel more lenghty than a normal Europe. So they players have one Season every "travel interval" and from one to three adventures between this intervals. I let Adventure Experience by combined with Seasonal experience, and not as a replacement anyway [I always like the idea of players characters and adventurers learning more than others].

Really thanks for all this commentary!

I don't make commentary on the Tremere and Verditius thing because I don't have another answer than "that's true, I will work on that!", but I appreciate it and will work on it.

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Well that's a concern many people have shared and worked around before. Have you considered playing with the Difficult Arts houserule? (arts developing as abilities, in 5xp steps). Maybe magic shifted to that.

Anyway please don't think that I'm looking down to your campaign. I was just making sure there would be some involvement in this topic. Whenever I say something is hardly happening then it happens, that and caffeine immunity are my two superpowers :smiley:

Anyway I'm glad you liked the "House Tremere have a plan for that" thing. I think I can follow up that thread for a while. Being the most organized, planning and resourceful house, having a tribunal just for them and including, before your apocalypse, a whole bunch of mundanes already included in the structure, I think it's quite probably that these mundanes step up and take advantage of all the resources they have at hand. Which are many. I'd start by taking a look at De Domo Tremeris. A quite fearsome army could arise if the mundanes of the House adapted Doctrine to mundane means (specially if they also take advantage of the enchantments the House stores for situations not so different than this one).

That sounds a bit unbalanced: why Hermetic Arts dissapear, but Non-Hermetic Arts? As written, most of non-hermetic arts seem like a change of coordinates and scope in magic. For example Gruagach Arts can roughly be translated as an incomplete combination of hermetic arts. I can't see why gruagach magic would survive were hermetic magic doesn't.

Which does not mean that I'm asking for you to also remove non-hermetic arts: there are two ways to handle logical problems, the boring way which is to flat everything down saying "ok, no magic at all then, hermetic or not", and the fun one, which is asking "ok, then what exactly happened?", using it to tickle the imagination and making that mystery part of the saga.

Also non-hermetic arts to exist can open a wide range of full options. Gruagach, witches, all the minor sorcerers out there would be no more under the Order's boot. Which makes me think of another returning theme that you could use there: wouldn't it the perfect time for Dahman Allaidh to make his comeback?

But of course if we get into returning themes and comebacks, what about House Diedne? Are they gone too? Or could this all just be their revenge? (I like this idea way too much. I'm quite in love with the 13th House but I always found their inclusion in sagas so underpowered. But this right here is gold for a Diedne's return campaign).

Finally what if some magus out there managed to survive? What would that mean in a world with no Order? Wouldn't he be the most powerful human being? I can see some kind of Witch King of Angmar creature coming out of that.


I didn't know this document, it seems very resourceful, probably transylvania start to see some changes in this times by mundanes following this text.

This is in fact intentional and a source of debate in-setting. Hermetic Magicians [and redcaps] don't dissapear because they were magical, but because they were the Order. Learned Magicians specially are looking for Hermetic remmants and have a lot of debate about why the Order is dead but not them, the folk witches or the Augustians. In summary the theories are:

  • Hermetic Order provokes the apocalypse. Maybe by hubris, infernal corruption or simple stupidity, but the rumor about the Initiation to the Gift and some infernalist texts discover on some Covenants support this idea, the Order is dead because they were the ones that start this end.

  • Hermetic Order runs from the apocalypse, to Twillight or something similar. This explain the lack of bodies and the magic nature of the horrors that come from Durenmar by the Mercere Portals, is not about they being killed but they forcing their way to Twillight or the Magic Realm with strong magic, running from the danger.

  • Hermetic Order was destroyed first because they were the most powerful problem, maybe target by God or by Hell, but this theory is maded by fatalist and low-self steem wizards, that saw how powerful Hermetic Magic can be and how the end destroy them for that power. There isn't possibility to fight back.

  • Hermetic Order still exist, but they are very secretive looking for a solution for this problem. They still on earth, but maybe on Regios or similar, creating a spell that will stop this madness. This is, in fact, the core believe of the Seeker Guild, they reject the idea of the Order being defeat by this.

Players are starting to work and think on this theories, and I'm attentive to what they start to come up, so maybe more theories will exist on the future.

Yep, this is part of the plans I have on my mind, without the Order a lot of traditions can expand and take advantage of the situation, some even look for Hermetic ruins for knowledge and integration material. The Diedne thing is something I don't think a lot but I like the approximation, probably something for new theories and a pair of clues.

This is my problem also with the Diedne being directly involved on the dead of the Order: I don't know if making that one magus [or even apprentice] is alive will make the dissapearence of the Order less impactful, and its appareance will push a lot forward on the answer of "why the Order?"

Thanks for all the ideas, I have a lot to think about this. Any other commentary is welcome!


Not sure if I maybe read this too fast and someone else has already suggested this, but the obvious linking point between formal hermetic magi is the Oath of Hermes itself. If that, as a lifelong binding act, is considered as an Arcane Connection to each member of the Order, then it is conceivable that something has happened which specifically targets the Oath and all who have taken it.
One obvious development of this idea is a direct attack on the Order, an idea which practically begs for a Diedne’s Revenge approach, although any group sufficiently opposed to the Order could be responsible.
Another possibility is that some would-be do-gooder or demagogue within the Order was trying to create an effect encompassing the entire Order, and there are as many possible reasons as there are magi; strengthen the Order in some way, such as causing something to happen to anyone who breaks their Oath, or gaining control over the Order, or even attempting to change Hermetic Magic, e.g. circumvent a Hermetic Limit, by changing the mind of every active user in the same way at the same time, or save the Order from some foe by making everyone else think all the wizards are gone; even the most committed zealot will not pursue someone who (they believe) no longer exists! Did the attempt fail spectacularly, or succeed (with some unforeseen consequences)? How was this done, and what clues did the attempt leave behind? (A hard look around Durenmar and the Fane of the Founders in particular, might be revealing!)


I think something like the Symbol Range and Target, as seen in the Merinita Mystery of Symbolic Magic (HoH:MC p99), might work for targeting anyone who has sworn a specific Oath. The problem would be that would still leave all the apprentices. Another possibility would be some sort of variant Bloodline target around magical lineages and using like a bone from Bonisagus or whatever. This option would leave out any non-Hermetics in the Order. Anyway, just a couple ideas I thought of from Big Bad John’s post.