I couldn't help noticing that Rival Magic's ToC bears a striking resemblance to that of Hedge Magic, with very little mention of the antagonism towards the OoH as alluded to in the selltext. Consequently, I'm no longer quite sure what to expect from this project What do the rest of you think it'll look like?
I think some of the background looks very cool. Unfortunately, a set of competing "Noun + Verb" magic systems has zero appeal to me. After 20 years we're still fighting about how Hermetic Magic should work. I don't see any reason to switch to complex and only newly playtested competing magic.
I don't have a problem with alternate magical traditions per se (they sell, I'm told), but I'm not entirely sure how it fits in with the stated function of this book. After writing the OP it occurred to me that mechanical bits are easier to fit into a ToC than flavour and story and that perhaps this has skewed my perspective on the issue...
I think you'll find that the sell-text is a more accurate reflection of the tone of this book than the TOC for exactly the reasons you state. The book does describe in detail the magic of four non-Hermetic traditions (it wouldn't fulfill its purpose if it did not), but it also makes them clear rivals of the Order and provides saga opportunities for including them.
I would like to know how common these traditions are. In case on saga based in Provence and Normandy, I don't see an opportunity to use any of these as an enemy. Soquotra is too far, Amazons too (and they are too mythic for me), maybe Muspelli if players venture north. Augustian Brotherhood can be interesting if they are active outside Italy. I also wonder if we will see references to rival traditions in future supplements.
I said the same thing when the Alpha Storyguide said that we might be playtesting it. (The table of contents were posted the next day, so I doubt it will be a playtest if they show up)
The thing is, it is hard to have robust traditions in the middle of mythic Europe which are equal in power to Hermetic Magi, where the tradition is in conflict with Hermetic magi without explaining why it has not been a bigger deal in the history of the order.
Since this is all in the TOC...
The rival groups know about the Order, and some of them have been keeping a careful eye on it since...well, before the Schism War. "Too far away." doesn't make sense when the Order is active. It's like saying the US was too far away to spy on before the Spanish-American War.
Don't always think "fistfights", think "Cold War" or "West Wing" in some cases, and you'll see that the rivals have potential that's distinctly different from the Hedge Traditions.
IT's kind of a pity that the plot hook that had a Soqotran war party turning up in Savoy didn't make it through to the finished product. I'll offer it to Sub Rosa after the book is out. 8)
"Cold War" - now that looks better I'm waiting in aticipation anyway
Why too mythic? I dont know anything about how it gets portrayed in the book, but the myth is almost certainly based on fact, or rather facts about 3(at least) different people that got mixed up into the myth, remove a bit of exaggeration and hype and you´re probably not too far from reality, and should be close enough for a "mythic europe" version...
If its a problem with women warriors, maybe you should take a few peeks at the Hausa-people, whose cavalry tended to be more female than not, the Zulu all-female spear regiments, or the central Asian peoples where female archers were common and likely is the original main point of origin of the the myth.
In short, you can pretty much bend the myth any which way you want to have it in your game.
You exactly get what I mean. Nation of female warriors is OK in Asia or amongst Zulu. But this is Mythic Europe and I view it as more, well... Knights of the Round Table and Paladins of Charlemagne style. While female warriors are not unknown (as well historically as 'mythically') they are an exceptions, not something ecountered regularly. And I have my own ideas for this geographical area
Anyway, Matt Ryan did a very good job in previous supplement he has written and it is possible that I will change my mind when I'll read RM
By Amazones and the ways for a conflict i'll say only one thing: Viea, the thief and infamed Trianoma's sister, to ther'll be ways and reasons for conflicts (directs or colds).
Well, far more so historically than up until around the last 2 decades. Before i studied it some, i thought the bit about exceptions were true, i found reality to be a lot less monolithic however.
Ah alright, not so much "too mythical" as "WRONG myth" then. Thats totally your choice of course how you want to set up the gameworld. The comment just looked odd as it was.
Well, there were the Celts, some of which probably had something like "equal opportunities".
Boadicea taking up arms wasnt considered an oddity for example. It was uncommon but not unheard of or restricted against. The legacy of that lived on for a looong time in Ireland. And the way they spread over Europe means there´s every chance for that legacy to be alive elsewhere in the standard gamedate.
Jean D´Arc probably had more problems due to age than due to gender...
There may have been female only units among the Spartans(ref Arachidamia) as well...
Anyway, im getting away from the point i wanted to make...
The most extreme versions of the "amazon myth" is so severe that i agree that its more than a little tough to have it fit in into a game, however dont forget that there´s no reason that you cant use one of the more realistic versions or simply nudge it as far as you want.
For example, a region with a bunch of villages that has a strong cultural legacy from one of the Celtic "not gender restrictive" tribes... No need to go extreme, just that they might have a sizable minority of women as soldiers or guards as well as officials could make them stand out compared to the surroundings. And a cultural heritage might include a magical heritage, and so, i manage to include the myth in a very realistic way...
Yep, you are quite right, sir! That's it!
Boadica is truly a great woman-warrior but does not fit into XIII century, as well as Celts - these times were long gone. However, I do remember something about militant knightly order formed especially for woman in Spain, but, sadly, I do not remeber details. There are also some plates depicting fighting woman at Talhoffer's "Fechtbuch" - it is XV century, but, well... anyway, if I would want to role-play woman warriors in middle ages, I would rather go into this direction rather than amazons or celts.
It is only my point of view - however, discussions are fun
Oh, is she in the TOC?
Yes - you can choose your friends, but not your family. The Order has a sister, and she's a violent headcase who doesn't agree with some of your lifestyle choices.
Ah, you mean Order de la Hacha? Order of the Hatchet. Created specifically for the women who broke the siege of Tortossa 1149. Unknown if it took in any new members beyond the original ones or if it died out with them.
Then there´s the "Order of the glorious Saint Mary" instigated in 1233. First religious order of knighthood to accept females with the official title militissa(knight). Trashed in the 16th century by a pope who didnt like them.
There was some order in the Netherlands and one in UK who also knighted women, somehwhere between 1 and 2 hundred up to sometime in 15th century.
The French language even has a specific word for female knight "chevaleresse" as opposed to "chevalière" which is the wife of a knight. I never could find out what happened to the titles if a lady knight wed but remained the holder of the knightly title herself.
Interestingly, and amusingly, there were also some monastic orders who accepted women as guards/soldiers.
So, nuns with guns for real! :mrgreen:
There´s also the Sister hospitallers but they´re a very different thing and then the consores of the Teutonic order, but the latter were almost exclusively more assistants or servants, but there may have been a few exceptions. Few of the above were in any way directly associated with combat.
There were women in the Knights Templars almost from the start, but knowledge is rather shifty about their exact position, rights or duties. There, most seem to be associates similar to the Teutonic consores.
There´s actually lots LOTS more, but thats the only part of my old notes that i found.
Thanks, DW, that's awesome!!!
DW - Excellent! Really interesting post!
I've never heard about women acting as guards in monastic order, but that would made presence of women grogs in covenants purely acceptable from a historical point of view Generally, I think that the position of women in Medieval/Mythic Europe should get some coverage in AM product line - I've noticed that gaming groups that are less versed in history tend to fall towards one of two extremieties - women are either just sitting at home, caring for children (if older) or acting as wenches and strumpets (younger) or they take completely emancipated, AD&Dish fantasy style.
Moving back to Amazons - I'm still unconvinced. While woman warriors are acceptable, the nation of of woman warrior-wizards with slaves can be too much IMS. I would be afraid to introduce them - I'm almost sure that (possibly due to my perverted sense of humour) some ribald topics or, at least, ribald mood, can appear during the game session. So, frankly speaking, I would prefer to keep Amazons in some Faerie regio and see some other group covered as an Enemy for Order of Hermes. Like, in example, Mongol Shamans that are coming from the east and will strike in 20 years.... :>
Leaving aside the question of whether warrior women are appropriate, what's the inspiration for Amazons as powerful wizards? I can't recall any legends that emphasize their magical abilities.
Really any wise and powerfull nation/race/city inspired by gods (or goddess like the Amazones) have "magic" power because their occult lore. By that the Seekers look for ancient nations first of all.
Some of them were buried and theirs tombs ascred, and anothers bored divine children, included some with Hermes.
I think the Amazon's magical power (assuming their magic IS powerful of course) probably stems more from their connection to proto-hermetic Viea than anything in the original source material though I suppose some sort of magical connection to the Cult of Artemis/Diana might be appropriate as well...