Sources of Ancient Area Lore

I'm looking at Ancient Magic, and I'm trying to figure out what good sources for "Ancient" Area Lores are. And for some of them, trying to figure out what the actual Area Lores should even be to begin with. Has anyone had any success dealing with this?

Canaan Lore and Ancient Mesopotamia Lore aren't really problems, there's lots of good suggestions in the book. It's the stuff to combine the sub-parts of Adamic that are throwing me.

For Semitic I would assume you need "Ancient Israel Lore(?)," which you can probably get a decent amount of from Christian and Jewish sources, similar to Canaan Lore?

For Hamitic it outright states in a sidebar that you need Ancient Egyptian Lore. Not sure what the appropriate 13th century sources would be, but at least I'm not guessing on even the name.

Scythian and Cainite I'm just flat out not sure about, not even what they are called. For Canite, I guess you could fudge it and allow "Ancient Greece Lore" to work, but I would think that it would need to be a culture that is somehow more encompassing? Some sort of "Ancient Mediterranean Europe Lore," since you need to get both Greek and Latin in there?

And yes, I'm aware that you only need two of these to progress. I'd still like to have a plan no matter which way things bounce.

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I would think that the normal Area Lore abilities include the history of the area. More difficult rolls perhaps than if you had studied ancient history specifically, but it should still work.

That might be viable if rolls were involved, but they are not. It's a true or false, you have it or you don't situation. And the only actual worked example in the book specifies "Area Lore (Ancient Egypt)."

Summon ghosts.


For Cainite, I allowed "Adriatic Lore" - if you know the history of the cultures bordering that sea, you can figure out how the languages diverged from Cainite, and it also comes in handy for dealing with Venice and its schemes across that sea.

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We have an adamic thread running through our saga, so this is something I've considered a bit. Here's a few ideas:

  • Books of ancient history. Finding a book specifically about, for example, ancient Egypt is difficult but not impossible in Mythic Europe. For example Manetho's Aegyptica would probably be a summa in Ancient Egypt Lore. Does an intact copy survive in the 13th century? Probably not, but there are lots of surviving works which quote it and could be studied. Mechanically they'd probably be lower quality tractatus vs the high quality summa of the original. Look at what sources survive to the modern day and work back to the 13th century is how I would go about this.
  • Books that contain ancient history. These are books ostensibly on other topics but which quote or reference other (perhaps lost) books about other things. E.g. Clement of Alexandria's Christian writings contain extensive quotes from earlier writers about pagan gods. I'd suggest that works like these can be studied as if they were a tractatus on the quoted topic, but with a drastic reduction in quality (a -6, or -9 maybe. Or divide by 2 or 3).
  • Realia (they are in the library bit of Covenants). A collection of mundane objects that can be studied as a tractatus, and can be studied again each time the collection grows to the next level. This is essentially a mechanic for archaeology, if you think about it. Each pristine artefact recovered adds to the realia. This is no way to get to the higher scores, though - you need 128 high quality artefacts just to get to a score of 3 in the ability from the realia alone!
  • For Ancient Egypt specifically there were (all Islamic) scholars in the period who allegedly could read hieroglyphics. It's possible in Mythic Europe you could learn the script from one of them and study ancient temples and tomb inscriptions directly (large tombs can be treated as great works as described in Covenants).
  • As others have said, necromancy is a good approach. In our saga the magus looking into Adamic actually ended up researching Canaanite necromancy too, in an effort to be able to summon ancient ghosts and learn about the ancient world from them.

Also Lore wise for Scythian and Cainite it does describe the origin region, even if no specific lore is named. "Between the Black and Caspian sea" for Scythian, so Ancient Caucasia Lore or just Ancient Scythia Lore would work. For Cainite it just says they travelled "around the Caspian sea into the far north" which implies they lived east and/or south of it originally. Ancient Parthia Lore, or Ancient Bactria Lore might be appropriate.


Those are all really good ideas, but I particularly like this one. The idea of having to go full archeologist appeals to me.

That is actually highly dependent on how fast you study the collection. It is far more effective to delay the start of using a Realia until it has gained some degree of size, since the total size determines both the Quality and how many times it can be studied. 128 items is enough to give a Quality of 8. If studied as fast as possible while raising to that level, it gives a total of 36 XP (1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8). If not studied until that total, it gives 64 XP (8x8).

A Magus would be well served to delay for at least a little while, since the value raises rapidly early on. Getting to Quality 4 only requires a total of 8 items in the collection. Delaying until that point before starting to use it will net a total of 16 XP (4x4) which is enough to get a score of 2. If you delay until there are 32 items in the collection, it can provide 36 XP (6x6) which will get you to a score of 3 with some left over.

Significatos, another option from Covenants, is something else that might prove useful in studying for a Hermetic Integration. The last line in that section is "Some such sites produce special insights, rather than experience points." While not useful for gaining Ancient Area Lore, it could provide a source of insight into integrating the type of magic if the location is strongly related to that type of magic. For example an ancient cave used for generations might be used to provide an insight into fertility magic.

This is a good point, but it's a bit odd isn't it? Like, you wouldn't expect an archaeologist to go on dozens of digs and amass a huge collection of artefacts but avoid studying any of them until he has a big enough collection, would you? On the other hand you wouldn't expect that someone studying a finished collection could somehow learn more from it than the person who actually collected it.

I hadn't considered this quirk of the mechanics before. Maybe a good way to represent building a collection is to have the magus study the collection as it grows (and only get the lesser amount of xp) but also allow some xp from the act of collecting? Adventure xp from expeditions can go towards the ability of the realia, or if it doesn't warrant an actual adventure then the magus gets 2 exposure xp in the ability?

If you do that and say, build a collection of 128 artefacts over a period of years while occasionally dedicating a season to growing the collection (and getting 2 exposure xp each time) - it only takes 14 seasons to make up the deficit. You might actually end up with a higher level in the ability than the realia alone can impart. Which makes a certain amount of sense.

Gradual growth makes more sense to me than "I have somehow assembled the finest collection of Egyptian antiquities in the world despite having pointedly avoided learning anything from them, excuse me while I spend 2 years studying them and become an expert.". Although if you stick with RAW that's definitely the smart way to go about it!


Depending on what it is you have a collection of, it is very possible that you will be collecting more than one example per outing. Egyptian antiquities for example you might only gain one or two at some digs, while you might find a dozen or more at another. If you only find one per outing/adventure, then unless that becomes the sole focus of the saga you will never get past maybe Quality 4. So the overall Quality of the collection will not always raise a single step at a time, especially early on.

Figuring out some why for the collector to close the gap between how much experience they earn and how much experience someone who studies the collection later would be a useful HR when the collection is for an ability that has no other really accessible source. Allowing then to use Exposure or Adventure XP gained during the seasons of collection on the ability would be the easiest and least HR'ly way. Actually it would not really even be a HR since each season would have been spent collecting and reviewing all the pieces which would most likely include a great many of not high enough quality to include in the collection.

Even limited to 2 XP per season of collection work, the person growing the collection will most likely end up with a higher Ability score than is possible for someone who studies the finished collection to the maximum extent possible.