This is an unofficial review of Sub Rosa #10. By that I mean: I did a review for #9 and got a free copy of #10 out of it. I could do the same again and get a #11, and so on, but I want to encourage others to do reviews. So, I'll pay for #11 when it comes out, and someone else can do a review of #10 to get a free #11.
Part 0: The Artwork
It's been noted by others, so all I'm doing is concurring: The art of Sub Rosa #10 is very pretty. I don't consider myself competent to say anything more in-depth than that.
Part 1: From the Line Editor
Is there anyone who isn't looking forward to Grogs, coming out this July? Of course, David Chart's reminder about the value of Open Calls is probably more important.
Part 2: The Storyguide's Handbook: The Dramatic Journey, by Gerald Wylie
I suspect that my playstyle would clash badly with Mr. Wylie. Nonetheless he makes some very good points.
One thing I'd do, especially for new players, is have a list of "this is what is traditionally normal for the various social class, and this is what is traditionally normal for the various Houses". Players who aren't sure what to do then have something to either lean on for inspiration or rebel against, as they please. Another advantage is that, people being people, there ought to be no end of characters in Mythic Europe who quietly break whatever personal restrictions they feel are most onerous. These behaviors, being emotional and irrational, can drive stories.
One thing to note: Experienced players, with a strong sense of their own agency, can and do shatter the plans of a Storyguide. If you have players who do this, don't plan for an end. Make sure you know the agendas of the significant NPC participants, keep things moving, try to keep up but don't bring in Grudge Monsters, and remember that you should only grow the ever-more-horrifying reputation of the PCs if they get caught, leave witnesses alive, or leave too much evidence behind.
Part 3: Designing the Hermetic Shipwright, by Mark Lawford
First off: Bad Artist! No biscuit!
See, the thing about Rego Craft spells is that if you pay attention to the description of how they work, they are not in the style of "use telekinesis in place of tools". Therefore, the very cool Jedi Shipwright on page 14 isn't how it works. (It ought to be. First Verditius I ever designed was a mason-type who essentially sunk his hand into the stone and altered it into the desired shape by concentrating, via Re(Mu)Te.)
When it comes to building out the magus, let me just say: Every magus should at least think about using CrCo and CrMe to permanently boost important stats. It may take decades to arrange the necessary vis, and if you end up casting from a tablet you're running a bit of a risk, but the advantages make it worth considering.
In any event, Mr. Lawford is absolutely correct about his choice of House for the Shipwright - or at least he is as long as no clever Boni is able to Original Research the Elder Runes. If that ever happens, Verdi magi are still potentially the best, but the gap will have narrowed considerably.
As to the article itself, I like everything he has to say except the idea of waiting to take a familiar. The value of a familiar is based on how much Magic Theory it knows. My recommendation: Get one, teach it to read, and have it start studying Magic Theory. You can take time off to empower the bond when you have better scores, and in a few years it can add 5 or more to your lab total. Much better than a Forge companion.
Part 4: From the Journal of Vulcanis Argens, by Mark Lawford(I think)
My favorite part of these excerpts was the sense of "Oh, CRAP!" that came through when Vulcanis discovered what he discovered.
Part 5: The Cult of Silvanus, by David Stavely
An interesting pre-Christian cult that you can use if playing in Stonehenge. Alternately, members of the cult could find themselves displaced to the Continent and set up new luci. Given that they engage in agricultural protectionism, the process of setting up could have economic implications that take a generation to quiet down, unless the PCs do something about it.
Part 6: Stormbreaker, by Guy Leopold
The very first thing that catches my eye is the idea of adding extra botch dice to future social rolls if the PCs run roughshod over the affected NPCs. This - this is great. Botch dice don't matter too much as long as you don't have to make a botch check, but when that happens they can bring about utter disaster. An excellent way to represent passions and resentments simmering beneath the surface.
By the way, better hope that the magi don't have a L40 ReHe sight-range ship-moving effect. If they do have that kind of utility spell, they can probably stop the crash from happening.
I will also note that it may be some time before the PCs decide to go hunting for the creator of the ship, and they might easily decide to give up when people start asking for those 10-pound bribes.
Part 7: Twilight Scars, by Ben McFarland
Beautiful, nasty, and a very good reason to spend time mastering combat spells. Check this out for all sorts of wonderfully evil ideas.