Sub Rosa #12, Not Dead-- Hibernating!

Sub Rosa #12 has arrived!

Oh, sure, you might have suspected something terrible happened, and maybe there was an experiment gone wrong in the laboratory. But we rode out the event just fine, thank you, and bring you the wisdom of our collective experience with this issue of Sub Rosa!

What does that include? I'm glad you asked!

Once more, Sub Rosa brings you sixty pages (60!) of Ars Magica love. We've got adventures new and reenvisioned from veteran authors Jérôme Darmont and CJ Romer. We have more of Gerald Wylie's Storyguide's Handbook (now with tables!) and a look at the Kievan Rus by newcomer Elliot Smorodinsky. Ben McFarland brings you a Redcap companion you'll never want to leave home and ways to make your magi live longer. Mark Lawford's saga of Vulcanis Argens continues and Mappa Mundi looks at the books of other systems for inspiration with a pair of reviews that will have you making for your FLGS. We've packed this issue with all new and swoon-inducing artwork from the talented and generous Angela Taylor, Barrie James, Jason Tseng, and Patrick Demo. Under the Rose and David Chart round out the issue with News from the Line.

And to top it all off, we've got a super secret surprise waiting for you on the back cover. Trust me, you're going to want to know the shape of things to come.

So why are you waiting?

As always, if you'd like to pick up an issue of Sub Rosa, send $4.50(US) for single issues, $13(US) for a troupe issue via paypal to once you've completed your order. We're working to change this arrangement, and we'll post as soon as we have a better option. We've been somewhat preoccupied with things we cannot talk about, but you're going to love. We promise. Swear it, even. By our talismans. Trust us on this.

Four years into this, and you still need convincing? We've put together a short preview here!

Our policy of providing a free copy of issue #13 the first three reviewers of issue #12 still stands-- if you've got #12 and want #13 for free, let us know what you thought of this issue. Post your review and send us an email to We'll hook you up this summer. I expect these to go quick. :wink:


Yes, that little teaser on the back cover looks really tempting... :open_mouth: Can't wait for #13!

In the meanwhile, #12 looks really good and chock-full of interesting reading. I'm finishing it at the moment. Great work as usual, congrats!

i dont get the teaser inside the back cover.

Surely there have other suggestions along these lines before? Or are we talking about a sneak peek at an "official" Atlas expansion?

Just wanted to have a look at the preview but the download it is broken. Instead of a pdf file I get some strange link as dowload and renaming it to a .pdf ends up in a error that the file cant be downloaded.

I've just tried the link above and it takes me to the download page. I hit the download button and the file downloaded and opened fine. Could you try it again? See if it was a temporary problem? If it happens again, send me an email address in a private message through the board here and I'll send you the file as an attachment.

Or message me, too. I can assist as well. I've also tested it-- you should go to a download page, then you want to hit the green button labeled "download" and it should take care things.


I tryed again and sadly with the same resoult.
Ben got a PM from me with more details how it show to me.

Yes. As soon as he mails me, I'll send a copy of the preview to him directly.


EDIT: Sent!

Thanks Ben, I got the mail.

I've been ill and not had a chance to read mine yet properly but it looks like another great issue. Many thanks to Mark and Ben, and looking forward to number 13!

cj x

Thanks, CJ. I hope you enjoy it when you do get chance. And I hope you're feeling better.

As for issue 13, it's certainly an ambitious one, and one I'm really excited about. But we'll say no more just yet...

Just a bump as I head back into the text mines...

There's a free copy of SR#13 for the first three reviews of SR#12...

You know you want to.


OK, here's my (too long, I'm afraid) review for Sub Rosa #12:

In From the Line Editor, David Chart analyzes Ars Magica’s simulationist side (as opposed to its gamist or narrativist one, which are also there). Yes, this is related to the usual “there are too many rules for everything” criticism. I found this piece interesting (even though “simulationism” is out of fashion), and I agree when Mr. Chart says that, 25 years after its inception, Ars’ approach to roleplaying still works perfecty (even with tons of extra rules, for sure).

The Storyguide’s Handbook is devoted to Chance Encounters. I have a mixed feeling about this 15-page long feature. On the one side, I have on occasion felt the need to introduce a random encounter in my saga just to lighten up things a bit, so I find the article helpful. There are, however, lots of charts and tables and the whole thing seemed a bit confusing to me. Of course the main motivation behind these charts (turning any random encounter into a story, even if a minor one) is really worthwhile, and the “Ignore What You Don’t Like” rule makes up for any possible confusion. Also, taking into account the motivations and circumstances of the encountered creature(s) and the option of having an encounter based on some character's virtues or flaws, definitely removes from the equation any “I rolled a 28 so you meet 1D6 goblins” concept, which is nice. I’ll give it a try in my PCs’ next “easy” journey...

The Kievan Rus’ governance is a short piece about the complex system of ruling in Kievan Rus around 1220. If you have read The Dragon and the Bear (Ars 4th Ed.) some of the concepts will sound familiar. The three-headed system of government existing in the area receives some in-depth treatment that will be quite useful for any saga set in (or near) Novgorod. Finally, including a story seed for a mysterious and über-cool villain like Vseslav the Sorcerer (also appearing in TD&TB, by the way) is almost worth the whole piece by itself.

The next article, Love’s Labours Lost (or Kicking Darius of Flambeau up the Arse!), is the sleeper of the issue. A grog-only adventure set in a Tribunal, parodying Hercules’ Twelve Labors with constant twists and funny scenes. Even Darius himself makes an appearance, just to be kicked in the arse by a (suicidal) grog! This seems a perfect counterpoint for the seriousness and pomp of any Tribunal... Some of the labors are outright silly or hilarious (stealing a maga’s undergarments!), and other plainly devilish (I can picture a grog or two catching some nasty diseases in that cesspool...). The overall result is absolutely funny. Oh, and did I say that there’s no easy victory (or defeat) in this one?

From the Journal of Vulcanis Argens: This time, our merry gang is turned into little rodents and have a Faerie adventure full of bizarre meetings with... other animals, usually bigger than them. A weird piece that could inspire a couple encounters in Faerieland for any group.

Companion Piece: Lazar ben Yosef of Narbonne, a Redcap. Lazar is a Redcap with a widespread reputation as a good teacher throughout the Order. He takes his granddaughter with him everywhere he goes, and he charges a steep price for his services. However, those services may be worth the effort: Lazar is the proverbial teacher, reaching Source Quality totals around 30. Personally I found him a bit min-maxed, but I guess that’s the whole point. I know characters like him are relatively normal in some sagas, not in mine. My players would kill for having this character around even just one year in their covenant... Lazar is a good source for stories, no doubt.

Who wants to live forever: This article presents the optional rule of using Shape & Material bonus in your Longevity Ritual, as well as uses for dedicated vis and extraordinary vis with the same goal. Ways of implementing this, either as an initiation in a Fertilty Cult or a Minor Breakthrough in standard Magic Theory, are also discussed. Of course, the materials used in those rituals will have to be closely watched by the magus, since they could be easily used against him by enemies and such (so they become Hooks, in a way). The bonus gained can be quite hefty, by the way. Personally, I think using this in a saga would open up interesting ramifications: magi could make way better rituals at a younger age, which no doubt would affect the longevity ritual specialist market... Of course, this would also make a longer-lived Order in general.

Pilgrims of Darkness: This adventure won the scenario contest for Hermes Portal in 2002, and is presented here with the stats adapted for 5th Edition. I didn’t have the chance to read the original, but it’s a rather dark and sinister adventure around a pilgrimage that follows the “wrong” road, in every sense. The atmosphere is great, and the plot is flexible enough to create an unnerving voyage for the pilgrims. The final enemy is also quite cool, and my only issue with the adventure is that I might be a bit tricky to keep the characters unaware of “what is really going on” from a given point onward.

Mappa Mundi is quickly becoming one of my favorite sections in the magazine. You can always find something helpful in this page. In this case, two recommended readings from other systems: Merrie England and Crusaders of the Amber Coast. Both contain background information that can be applied to Mythic Europe. Having my saga set in the eastern side of the Rhine Tribunal with occasional forays into Novgorod, I’m specially interested in the second one...

Overall, #12 is another very solid issue. I would highlight specially the two adventures, each quite interesting, in its own (very different, in fact) style. Personally, artwork seemed a bit patchier than previous issues, but I can live with that (and some of the illustrations for Love’s Labours Lost were so funny!). As a technical suggestion/request for the nice folks at SR for future issues, would it be possible to add bookmarks for each section (which they probably already exist), and have the file display the bookmarks panel when opened? I think navigating the PDF would be much easier. (Not that it is specially difficult right now, but...).

Nice work!

Thanks for the review! (and especially thanks for the kind words about Loves Labours Lost - let me know if anyone runs the scenario, I'd love to hear how it works out. I still need to read the issue as I've been snowed under with work and unwell, but I plan ot do so very soon now!

cj x

Yes, thanks for the review-- we'll make sure to hook you up when SR#13 comes out! :smiley:


Because we got some art in for Sub Rosa #13 today from Angela and a few folks picked up a pile of back issues, which reminded me that I should give this one last bump-- we've only seen a review from Galdric, so there are two more free issues of Sub Rosa #13 waiting to be claimed by any two people willing to review #12!

Let us know what you think of this issue, and we'll give you the next issue on us!



One last bump, as there's still room for those reviewer's copies, and we've started getting a bit more art and manuscripts in for the #13 issue. :slight_smile:

Let us know what you think of #12, and the 13th House is on the House! :smiley: