Sub Rosa 11 Review

My very first review of the very first issue of Sub Rosa I've ever read, courtesy of Ben and Mark.

First, I must say I am impressed by the overall production and editing quality. While, I know any monkey with Pagemaker can but together a decent publication, but very few actually do. :smiley: So on the whole, kudos for that... though I did find that some of the background graphics (especially in the Outlawry article) intruded on the text making it a little hard to read in places.

As for the articles themselves, I admit I was very interested in this issue for three specific ones: Outlawry, Pregnancy and Training Packages for Magi. Those are the one's I've paid the most attention to so far. I'm not really interested in Building a Hermetic Architect or new Grog templates. I'll read the Journal of Vulcanus Argens when I have some time and am looking for something new to read.I'm curious about the adventure, but haven't had time to look at it closely yet. I'll update this review as I check out the other articles, but I wanted to comment on the one's I have read while the thoughts are fresh.

First, I loved Storyguide's Handbook: Outlawry by Gerald Wylie. I found it interesting, clearly written, with some great background which I personally will find very useful to my saga and some great new and modified flaws several of which I will probably be adopting.

In contrast, I hated Conception and Pregnancy by Cameron Weeden and Richard Wiles. Sorry, guys. First, the language use is article is just jarring to me... "accrue pregnancy" :question:. Second, and only slightly less jarring, are the mechanics which use percentile and other polyhedron dice for determining outcomes. Sure, I have those and I know how to use them, but this is for Ars Magica and it should use Ars Magica mechanics. Also, the article seems to simply ignore the pre-existing rules for childbirth found in Arts and Academy, which I think is a big mistake... not because those rules are so great but simply because they exist. Change them if you must, but don't just ignore them. On the whole, big disappointment with this one.

Finally, Training Packages for Magic by Mark Shirley... isn't bad but isn't as great I would have liked. First, I have to point out that the math for the Foundation Apprentice package Basic Grounding is wrong (it adds up to 59 exp instead of the 57 exp it should)... and since that's the very first one it shakes my confidence and makes me want to go through all the others and check the math. Secondly, the Magi packages seem a little too verbose. I know there is a lot that magi can do and it's a lot to cover, but I would have preferred a more concise layout. That said, I know I am going to be making extensive use of the this article in the very near future. I have an evil Necromancer and a whole covenant of astrologers I've been wanting to write up for ages. :smiley: So, I'll follow up on this with more thoughts after writing up a half dozen magi.

In conclusion, for my first venture into the world of Sub Rosa, I am favorably impressed so far. :smiley:

Thanks for taking the time to review Sub Rosa! I'm glad you've gotten a look at it, and can't wait to see your comments on the rest of the articles.


Body on the Shore... I'll admit, I've never met a published that I didn't have to do some work on to make work for me. It's the nature of the beast. Now, I like a good mystery and this definitely has the makings of a decent one. However, I do have a couple of issues with it.

The first is the layout of the adventure. I ultimately had to skip to the handouts at the end (which I only knew about because I browsed through the pages first) to finally find the hook and a general introduction to what was supposed to be going on. Lacking that, a lot of the adventure text doesn't make any sense at all. I would have liked to see a couple of more detailed explanatory paragraphs in the text right up front.

Second, the adventure feels more Gothic or Lovecraftian than Ars Magica. The very concept of the local knight marrying a village girl strikes a false cord with me. While reasonable, if slightly scandalous, in Victorian times it seems very wrong for the medieval setting. Also, the magical foes of the adventure seem far more appropriate to a Lovecraft story than an Ars Magica one... and are really almost superfluous. If I ran this adventure, I would probably replace them with a demon of some kind if not excise them altogether.

Thank you. I'll make sure he sees your comments.

I'll take that one. Looking back over it, I could have done a much tighter edit job on it and on reflection I don't think I did the boys justice for all the work they put in, so apologies for that one.

I agree. We finally have the means to sensibly and consistently advance PC and NPC magi that captures the richness of Hermetic endeavour. There are all sorts of uses for that. Now we just need another instalment covering hedge wizards and/or Hermetic rivals.

Good, I'm glad.