[Peripheral Code] Updated: Issue #2 is Out!

I am very happy to announce the first (Winter 2016) issue of Peripheral Code: Writing in the Margins of Ars Magica!

You can check it out for yourself here: rpgnow.com/product/201149/Peripheral-Code-1

Peripheral Code is my contribution to our shared effort to sustain the game we love as its 5th edition ends. It is the work of many hands, including:

  • Mark Lawford and Ben McFarland, who gave advice and whose wonderful magazine Sub Rosa served as inspiration.
  • Timothy Ferguson, who wrote up some thoughts on an alternative set of Founders for us all to enjoy.
  • Jeff Tidball, who updated us all on the progress of Magic Shoe, playing Ars Magica with the Gumshoe engine.
  • Jared Hunt, whose Wizard World rules are a hack of Ars Magica using the Apocalypse Engine.
  • James Seals, who wrote up a Magical Librarian for your games.
  • Jeremiah Wishon, whose proposed house rules for Automata make that mystery more useful and attractive to players.
  • Several other authors here on the forums, who contributed to the Bonisagus Folio of 1227.

And I filled out the magazine with some house rules for libraries and a pair of aggressive Flambeau magi to serve as straight-forward antagonists in your saga.

The first issue of Peripheral Code is 49 pages and $3.99; you can check it out at RPGNow here:

Keep an eye out for my call for submissions for our Spring 2017 issue!

EDIT: Some folks are having a hard time seeing the 6-page preview hosted at RPGNow. Accordingly, I have uploaded that preview to Drive and you can find it here: drive.google.com/open?id=0B_HDU ... WE1ZE9UZTg

EDIT: The second issue is also out! You can find it here: rpgnow.com/product/214432/Pe ... ummer-2017

Details in a separate post in this thread.

1 Like

Congratulations! Looking forward to picking this up over the weekend.

Thanks, Mark! And I'm really eager to see Sub Rosa 19.

Yoink! Just bought it and looking forward to reading it.

I've gotten into Ars Magica 5th ed after about a 6 year hiatus. (I've tried to start 2 campaigns since then, but they haven't gotten off the ground). I've greatly missed it. This remains my favorite RPG.

I've been buying a lot of the books in the past couple of months. At last count, there's Realms of Power: Faerie, Grogs, Apprentices, Against the Dark, Lands of the Nile, The Sundered Eagle, Hedge Magic, and The Cradle & the Crescent. It's a pleasure to read these books.

Thank you so much for your support! I hope you like it.

I'd never be able to play Ars if it weren't for video chat. No game store I visit has been able to muster players for it. Most are discouraged by the game's complexity and, honestly, all anyone seems to want to play is D&D. Which I also love, don't get me wrong. But it's not Ars.

If you try another campaign, pick up THROUGH THE AEGIS. It's incredibly useful and does so much of your work for you.

Through the Aegis is on my Christmas list, along with Antagonists and Thrice-Told Tales.

Would it be helpful to anyone if I posted mini-reviews of various Ars products? Say, a half-paragraph of each?
Or are most products old enough that I'm pretty much the last one to own them.

A lot of the regulars here have all the books they intend to buy. However, if you like writing reviews, and you would like to be more active in the Ars community, I'd love to include regular reviews in PERIPHERAL CODE.

If you're interested in writing something like that, contact me at Jason.tondro@gmail.com.

Quick question: why another fanzine than subrosa? why not just submit those contents there?

What are the reasons of a new format?

Seeing the content, the name is not related to the sort of information? I thought the name would mean that there would be ideas of decisions from the local Tribunals or Grand Tribunal, but apparently not. I'm curious then: why that name?

I go into more detail on this in my editorial (which you can read as part of the 6-page free preview at RPGNow), but the short answer is because Mark and Ben can only do so much. I myself have contributed to Sub Rosa, but it takes a long time to produce each issue. If I also publish a magazine, we can get twice as much Ars Magica material out there.

As to the name, the magazine is not canon, and our specific mandate is to "fill in the blank spaces" and write in the margins. We're unofficial; you can use what you like and ignore the rest. If Ars products published by Atlas Games are the Code of Hermes, we're Peripheral Code.

There's a short preview available at the link, which includes Jeff Tidball's update on "Magic Shoe".

The preview my computers (all 3 of them different) show me is a blank page. Well, on the positive side, there are no spelling mistakes. :mrgreen:

There are two ways to see the preview. There's a "quick preview" which uses Flash. Below the cover image is a link to a "full size" preview, which is PDF and easier to read. If neither of those work for you, pm me and I'll just send it to you!

Greetings all!

Well, I succumbed and bought it...and then read it!

...and then went ahead and downloaded Wizards World. What a bad influence Mr. Doctorcomics is turning out to be!

Excellent debut.

A question on "House Rules: Library": is there a subsystem for copying/borrowing/stealing? How would you determine the xp lost to the library (if lost) and gained by the scribe/raiding party? You'd still have to create the actual books, would you not, and their stats, in such cases, rather than "loot crate of books/copy 12xp in whatever".

I applaud Jeremiah Wishon's "Fixing Automata".

"Illuminations: the Folio of 1227" and "Magi of the Order: the Flamboni Brothers " are definitely the sort of writeups I prefer: relatively short, definitely useful, plug-n-play yet hook-filled, crunch well-married to fluff.

Doctorcomics, in your opinion, is "Through the Aegis" a good book? :stuck_out_tongue: "Insert plug here" :stuck_out_tongue:


It's true, I am the world's biggest fan of Through the Aegis.

I'm so glad you like the issue, and thank you for coming here and sharing. (If you would like to continue sharing, take the review you just wrote and paste it into the product review window at RPGNow!)

Raiding the library is an interesting question. That hasn't come up in my playtest yet, and it hadn't occurred to me. I think thieves are likely to have specific books in mind which, if stolen, could end up removing Virtues from or adding Flaws to the library as well as, as you note, deducting XP from the relevant Arts and Abilities. If you end up implementing something like that, I'd love to hear how it worked for you.

Again, I'm so gratified to hear you like what you purchased. Thank you sincerely for posting.

Ah, a handy little Christmas present to myself. Will enjoy reading this.

And, I'd just like to add my own vote for Through the Aegis: it's magnificent and incredibly useful.

After a couple of folks wrote to tell me the 6-page previews hosted by RPGNow were not displaying, I have uploaded that preview PDF to Drive.

You can see it here: drive.google.com/open?id=0B_HDU ... WE1ZE9UZTg

Thank you for the kind words!

Greetings! I found it an intriguing read. I tend to be less focused on variants or total-conversion than on expansions, but I thought there were some very interesting ideas presented. I'm also flattered that you're calling for readers to submit articles. I don't know if I can make the deadline for the next issue, but I will try to send in a piece for submission. The likeliest idea I will use is a faerie court I came up with: The Court of Roses. It's lord is a faerie fascinated with the idea of love.

A couple questions on the article:
Are submissions that don't provide a rules variant ok? As in, workable fully under the rules of Ars Magica 5th edition, without a variant or different rule?
Are the staff, line authors, etc, ok with the magazine? I don't want to think we're taking bread off their tables.

My one main issue is with the introduction, that states that Ars Magica is now in its winter. I thought that was a bit of a harsh statement. There are some incredible books out there, on a wide variety of aspects of Ars Magica, from alternate magic styles, to ways to make magi come alive, to locations, to institutions, to SG and player tools, to ideas and concepts. I feel it's a bit cruel, after they finally produced the last--for now--scheduled ARM 5th book, to say 'yup, Ars Magica is now officially in decline and stagnation.' I think the authors deserve more credit than that. I think it's more a case of, all the seeds have been planted. There's already a forest, now it's time for those last seeds to be watered and grow. And, for us to plant new seeds (As you outlined).
I suppose I agree with much of the substance of what you said, I just argue that calling it 'winter' takes a chomp out of the incredible effort the authors have put in.

All that having been said, assuming I haven't just blown my chances by insulting the editor of the fanzine, I'll be happy to start writing a tiny, tiny seed, to help give back to this great game.

First off, I'm delighted to hear you're interested in submitting. To answer your question: yes, articles that don't have any variant rules are perfectly okay. As examples, the Folio of 1227, Flamboni Brothers, and Athansius the Last Librarian are all perfectly straight foreward with no funny rules business in them. (Well, okay, the Librarian has a new flaw to represent his fear of open spaces. But that hardly counts.) Your idea for a Faerie court sounds excellent and I think readers would like to see it.

You asked if the staff and writers were okay with the fanzine. Yes. I wrote to Atlas before publishing anything, and you can see their support in the magazine because Jeff Tidball wrote a page for us on behalf of Atlas Games. Jeff and Cam Banks have been nothing but supportive. I wrote to the folks at SubRosa before I solicited a single article, because I have nothing but respect for that magazine and didn't want to step on anyone's toes.

You're right: my evaluation that Ars Magica as a game has entered Winter is controversial. As you know, since you read the editorial, I admit this straight up. Not everyone is going to agree with me. I would actually argue that the game has been in Winter before: there were some dark days at the end of the White Wolf era, and many of us wondered if the game would survive. But it did, and it came back better than ever. Winter isn't the end, it's just the lowest stage in the cycle. And I'd love to be proven wrong.

Don't worry about insulting me. Editors need to have thick skin. If you read the issue, liked it, and want to contribute, that's all I can hope for!

Do you have a non-use period, Jason?

So, for example, on Hermes Portal, I think I was asked not to use the material for anything else for a year.

I'm asking because I have the podcast now, and it's a treadmill. I might want to reuse my own article at some point, or even (after the Patreon page grants me unexpected and untold riches) license articles off other authors as scripts.)

That's a good question, Timothy. I do not have a no-reuse period, and I'll add that to the official guidelines. By all means, use that material on your podcast. By the way, I'll be plugging your podcast (along with all the other community-led Ars projects I know about) in next issue's editorial page.