Podcast news

I've just discovered that the newer version of Canva has native linking in it, so the bestiary from Games From Folktales I'm preparing for episode 250 will have links to the podcast episodes and blog posts referred to embedded in the document.

Currently it has 78 monsters in it, although one is a cheat (it's from the episode coming this Thursday). The episodes planned between now and then have 5 additional monsters, so that brings it to 83, which is a disappointingly indecisive number. There's one episode which is an empty slot, but I don't think it will get to 100 this time around.

As I've said, these are all from the blog: so you've seen them before. That being said, it's handy to have them in one place.

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Four epsiodes this week.


People tell me the best way to keep a podcast audience is to do podcasts on a regular schedule, but a lot of people are trapped at home and bored right now, so, I'm sending my spare episodes out for people to listen to.

Episode 233 (New England) has technical issue and I'll fix and post it tonight.

Episode 250 was meant to be the collected monsters of the previous 249 episodes, but that's just a tidyiness thing for me: I can send it out and then rework it to include everything for 275, so it will also go live tonight. It's 83 monsters you've seen before, but now they are all in the one place, so hopefully it will let you slap some scenarios together quickly for your zoom games.

I evaluate Games From Folktales every six months, to see if it is still worth doing. Currently it looks like it has about 40 regular listeners, which is fine. I know that doesn't sound like many compared to a big podcast, but basically if I had a chat with people at Grand Tribunal and 40 of you showed up, that would be magnificent, so I count it as good enough to keep going. The paetreons are still covering my hosting costs, so it only costs me time.

(My numbers are a bit higher than 40, but part of it is that when a new person joins, if they download the entire back catalogue, then on that day my downloads spike by a couple of hundred. I think 40 is a fair, conservative sort of number.)

There will be some delay on the episode transcripts, and especially, the monster stats, at https://timothyferguson.wordpress.com/

I'm one of those new subscribers who started listening to your podcast a few weeks ago and downloaded and listened to all the content in a short time. I've enjoyed it, and you can count me one more ongoing listener.

Edit: "You can count me one more ongoing listener." I originally wrote "you can't," which was a typo.

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Well, that's great! I hope you are enjoying it.

It's not really settled into a shape I like yet, this year. Basically my idea is to do one episode a month based on Mythic Venice, one a month based on the "King of Elfland's Daughter" to keep the Dunsany theme going, and then whatever other bits turn up in the other weeks.

Your Podcasts are great, I don’t get them immediately when they’re released, but I’m the download and listen in batch type.

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Yes, I am enjoying it, and I'm looking forward to hearing more on Mythic Venice!

Also, I just edited my earlier post. I accidentally wrote "you can't" instead of "you can," but it seems like you understood my intent.

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I admit I listened to them more when I had a backlog. It was awkward for me when I went to listen to episodes during a jog and it ended after four minutes. Heh. It forced me to look up more podcasts!
It's really made me want to run something in the Stonehenge Tribunal, though my group has commited to a long-haul long-form game in Thebes.

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So, tonight nine episodes went live.

This is deliberate. I wanted to push as much material out so people had something to have a look at while the whole Corona thing was going on.

The notes aren't up on the blog. Transcripts in the next couple of days, and stats...whenever?

I know the wise thing would have been to keep the 14 episodes (I think?) that went live this week in the can and either do them one a week, or at least one a day, but...why not? At worst I'll do a chapter of The King of Elfland';s Daughter a week, and it has thirty chapters. 8)


I listened to a few of them on my way to work (post office work is always going to be essential) and I really enjoyed the Masks episode. I also really enjoyed the earlier episode with the poem about Helen of Troy; I may try to work a Helen into the saga I’m running.

Thanks for making this podcast. It’s definitely the work that best made me love the potential of Ars Magica; and, I wouldn’t have this amazing, entertaining saga without it.

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ooh which episode is helen in? (I have never figured out how to listen to podcasts, so this might be the push I finally need)


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A poem about her is in the Teasdale 2 episode, which is number 228.

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The transcripts (no stats) for the nine new episodes are now up.

I started my recording for Librivox about Venice - the author has a slightly upsetting fixation on Venetian women. That being said, there are two items for shape and material bonuses already. That'll all come out eventually.

A new version of the Cornwall websupplement I put together is now up:

140 pages of free Ars material.

If I were doing it for Atlas I'd be a bit more terse with the folk stories, but you aren't paying by the page, so I've left some of them in. 8)

Note this works perfectly well with the Vanilla Covenant material David is offering over at Download "A Vanilla Covenant" in its last and ultimate version so that's another 52 pages of material. It is set directly north of Cornwall in the Bristol Channel. If you add in the Half-rembered monsters over at https://timothyferguson.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/half-remembered-monsters-1.pdf for another 81 pages, you've basically got a book, and all of it has come out this month. A covenant for beginners, a gazetter for your immediate region and a pile of weird monsters. It's almost like a newbie saga starter pack, and it's all free.

Thanks again to the paetrons of the podcast, and the people who collaborated on Vanilla Covenant.


Eight more little episodes went live tonight. Actually two of them are a bit substantial, in terms of time. One describes the mundane powers around Venice. The other is a short story from the 1920s which shows how Demoniacal Oppression would work in real life.

The other six are poems. One is meant to be origin material for a Spirit I'll stat up eventually. The rest are little sea poems you could use as plot hooks, by playing the episode to the players.

The things I didn't cover tonight and will come back to, and that may have been mentioned in the others:

  • Nerida: an odd succubus that pretends to be a water nymph that pretends to be a dead girl, needs a bit more writing. Her stats are pretty straightforward, but she's an odd one.
  • When I said the next episode was about a wand alternative for female magi in Venice, I meant the next Venice episode. 8)

Coming up:

  • March Evening has an odd creature that could be several different types of thing, so it'll take time to write up. I could just release the poem, but I'd like to think it through more first.

  • The New Pleasure is the second piece I've used by Khalil Gibrain. When a magus invents an entirely new way of thinking, an angel and a demon fight over if it is a virtue or a vice.

Love the Venice material and it’s led me to some questions. Venice magas use fans instead of wands. But most magi in Venice are not local; they are visiting their covenant’s local townhouse from their covenant’s actual location elsewhere in the tribunal. It seems unlikely a maga will make a fan for her talisman just to blend in on her occasional Venice visits.

Are there enough local magas to make this tradition visible? How many covnenants are wholly based in the city, do you think? Or, perhaps the political weight of Venice has led magas throughout the tribunal to make fan talismans, simply because that’s fashionable?

Venice, in some of the earlier editions, had chapter houses from multiple covenants and tribunals, permanently staffed. It was really hard to explain why this should be, actually, because in 1187 Venice is not the sort of place you'd expect magi to congregate. Constantinople would have been a better choice. That being said, 2nd edition had all kinds of problems with geography, so we'll make do with what we have.

To some degree I may need to cut my cloth to fit my needs here, much as if you are playing a game with a lot of mystery cults you need a bigger Order. So, yes, that the fashion has become widespread in Italy works for me. Also, I'd like some sort of sense that the faerie aura of the place makes something like a fan easier to enchant than a spindle, but I need to think that through. That is, the penalties and bonuses for spellcasting / enchantment may bend to a Local Law, which pushes the magi to fit in more.

I've not yet recorded the next chapter, but here's a quick spoiler / idea. When Venice was first beseiged, the ropes of their siege engines wore out fighting off the (Goths? Huns? need to check) so the women of Venice cut their hair, and used ropes of their hair in their catapaults*.

This cutting of the hair is a sacrifice, like the fingers and eyes we see in the Norse magicians, and having it as the tension element in a projectile weapon ties us again to the bow of Diana, which has been turning up with surprising regularity. There's also a sort of knight's favour aspect to locks of hair. Basically, thought, I can see player characters using lengths of their own hair to make the strings for their crossbows.*

  • Yes, I know that's physically impossible.

It's rare to find more than one monster in a poem, but I am fortunate to have just found four. (The prose poem is "Levana and the Ladies of Sorrow") by Thomas de Quincey.

As noted, I went wild in the start of the lockdown, letting all of my recorded episodes loose in a single week. Time to rebuild some depth in the roster. The future episodes look like this. Stars indicate stats.

J11 : The horological demon of Jules Verne.*
J18: Precious stones (Moonstone, Onyx, Opal)
J25 Venice : The First Doge
J2 : Ladies of Sorrow - Levana*
J9 Precious Stones (Haematite, Jacinth, Jasper)
J16 A Night in March - poem
J30 - The weapon of the urban Dianic cult
A6: Ladies of Sorrow - the Mother of Tears*
A13 Precious stones - Lapis Lazuli
A27: Venice : In which we find the hidden forest
S3: Ladies of Sorrow - The Mother of Sighs*
S10 Precious Stones - Rock Crystal and Ruby
S24 Venice - The Translation of San Marco
O1: Ladies of Sorrow: The Mother of Darkness*
O8: Precious Stones - Sapphire
O29: Venice - the Customs of Romance
N5 TBA- if I don't find another creature it will be the Horla
N12 Precious Stones - Serpentine and Topaz
N26: Venice - Another Lovestruck Romeo

Currently Episode 300 will be 31 December. Hopefully it will be a new version of Half-Remembered Monsters. At some point I want to do "The Erl-king's daughter" by Dunsany, but it is 30 chapters long, so I'm not sure how to do it without it swamping the blog or taking years.

As always, suggestions for episodes gratefully received.

I've decided to not divide the four cthonic goddesses. .This week's story has all 4 cthonic goddesses in it. They are not statted yet: I hope to do them once per month.

J23 was something I was working up for Magonomia, but I'll post here. It's about the provenance of toadstones and their uses in toading, which is a sort of traditional folk magic in the northeast of England. It does lead me to have to think about if posts for Magonomia (once the game is delivered in May next year) should be in the main GFF feed as a "column" of one episode per month, or if I should split them off to a separate feed and site. Thoughts very welcome.

Also, are people enjoying Venice? It's numbers are not great, but I think the material is solid. Libsyn says that everyone's numbers are down because of the lack of commuting in the US at the moment. Thoughts welcome.


The Venice stuff is my favorite part of the show!

Wait, Magonomia is happening? I heard the kickstarter failed and I assumed it wasn't coming out. If it is, is there any way I can financially support it?