Sub Rosa #15 is here!

I think "crunchy" and "argumentative" means it's perfectly at home here!

Certainly. Sub Rosa's meant to be a space where boundaries can be pushed and experimental ideas can be explored. Sometimes that means crunchy, argumentative, both, or neither. :wink:


Are you still offering free copies for reviews?

We sure are-- I don't think we've seen one yet for issue #15, and #14 was the first time in many issues where we gave away all three.


Rat Magica was pretty cool and fun and inspirational. I think it was cute abd fun and quite playable. I kind of want yobplay it to be honest. I also liked that it was believable. It could happen and make sense.

I'm at work so I only read that so far.

Just a short bump to remind folks:

Heck, you can post your review in this thread, that's cool!



I'm going to start sending out feelers for artists for Sub Rosa #16 shortly, and there's still three free issues on the table for the first three reviews posted to either this thread or elsewhere on the internet-- you've just got to send us a note, pointing us to the review.



A short review of Sub Rosa #15 - since no-one else has done one yet!
Step by Step:

  • Under the Rose - A nice peek into the mind of one of the authors of Faith & Flame, though I'd have prefered if it had been signed.
  • From the Line Editor - It's always interesting to read what the Line Editor has to say, though by now, it's maybe a bit old news.
  • The Cattle Raid as a Story - Ah yes, the cattle raid! One of the most iconic stories of Ireland and to a lesser degree, Scotland. Littered with quotes from the classics, how could you not love this article? I've run the cattle raid as a story myself a few times, but much more thought has gone into this article than I ever invested into those raids. In many ways, it is more of a guide to writing and structuring stories than simply a guide to cattle raids - highly recommended. My only complaint is probably that it is suggested that a single raid can net you a Minor Source of Income, which I find perhaps overly generous. But that's a minor detail, not an actual issue.
  • Covenant Finances: An Alternative - I'll level with you all. I haven't been able to test this. Indeed I can barely get my troupe to use the system from Covenants, despite the fact that we use Metacreator, so we'd basically just have to keep track of how many characters were around. I think this article looks interesting, but I fear that the odds of ever getting to use it are effectively infinitesimal.
  • From the Journal of Vulcanis Argens - Always entertaining to read, though I never did find out if these were notes from someone's actual saga, or more traditional fiction set in Mythic Europe.
  • Rats Magica - I ... I'm not really sure what to think of this. It's an interesting variant of Ars Magica to be sure, but I'm a bit put off by some of the details (pawns of Vis being overly divisible, odd statement about the Vis cost of binding a familiar, and whatever the box about Rats as Familiars imply, all Familiars can explicitly assist in the lab) as well as the whole idea which is rather more high fantasy than I usually strive for in Ars Magica. Again, one of those articles that are interesting to read, but that I suspect I will never use.
  • The Second Lineage: Explorers of Time and Space - A collection of bonisagi. I like them. I could easily see some of them making appearances in my upcomming saga. Or even my current.
  • New Heresies: Fixed Arts - See, this is probably the reason why I've put off this review for so long. I want to say something nice about everyone. In this case I have to admit, I reject the premiss and I reject the proposed solution. Even if this was a relevant problem, which I would argue that it is not, it would be a meta-problem, to be fixed in meta and not in rules. YSMV.
  • The Body in the Bog - A story, which is always useful. Can be played as written, or plundered mercilessly for ideas.
  • Designing The Intangible Assassin - an otimization article, for Ars Magica? And building on a concept already discussed in Hermetic Projects, no less? And yet the authors must have felt a need for the article. The article itself is perhaps more mechanical in approach than I'd have prefered, but the authors do seem prepared to argue their points. No mention is made of the Wizard's Communion though. An interesting read I feel, if very focused, and with thorough examples.
  • Mythic Bloodlines: More than the Founders - Mythic Blood has always been one of those Virtues I never really knew what to do with. How could I be anything but pleased to see a series of articles full of suggestions for it?
  • Mappa Mundi - A few extra notes on Provencal and stuff that didn't make it into Faith and Flame. All in very short form sadly, as it's full of clever plothooks. I like it!

Thanks for taking the time to write a review, Tellus! That's the first one claimed for Issue #16 (which has the artists busily working away on it right now), and I know all the contributors appreciate the comments.

Still two more on the table for those willing to post their thoughts on the issue.

Thanks for the write-up.

So to confirm on the Journal of Vulcanis Argens... It is the highly-biased in-character journal of the Verditius I played from around 2004/5 through to 2009. Events as represented may not have happened exactly as in the game, but that's because he's an arrogant man with an over-developed sense of entitlement and fewer morals than he cares to recognise, turning vices to virtues at every step.

The articles are so far essentially what I wrote up during that game to share just with the others in the troupe. I'm coming to the end of those original pieces though so whatever continues will ultimately become new content based on my recollections of sessions that took place some years ago.

Of course, I might just bring the Vernal Inquisition and the fall of Donum Chanuti forward... Next issue is where things take a decidedly horrible turn.

Thank you for the enlightenment regarding Vulcanis Argens :slight_smile:

One last note, since we expect Sub Rosa #16 in the next couple of days (we had an artist enter twilight on us, but all good now!) and there are still two free copies of Sub Rosa available to anyone willing to review Sub Rosa #15!

Why not share your thoughts on this issue and get the next issue free? Heck, for $4.50, you could potentially end up getting every issue of Sub Rosa we put out from now until we quit-- for free! All you have to do is review the issue!


.. You'd have to repeat the review process for each new issue though, right? Because what that sentence looks like is a warning that Sub Rosa will end soon, and I really hope that's not the case?

Sub Rosa is not ending.

You would need to review each issue as it came out.

Trust me. I want to run Sub Rosa to at least issue #24.


And way beyond that, I hope. :wink:

Well, 16 is out any time now, so let's take 24 as the next big milestone and see where we go from there. Just getting to 24 will probably take a few years, although I suspect issues 17 through 24 won't be quite as big or complex as 16 turned out to be.

I really thought I had reviewed it but it appears that I didn't.

So here is my review for those who care :

Under the rose:
a classical review of books. Since I hadn't the chance to own any newer supplement from Contested Isles, I'm sad i couldn't more understand the praise to Faith and Flame.

From the line editor: well it's a bit more centred on a IRL event (grand tribunal UK) so I was not concerned. Since it also speaks of a new book I do not own I'm curious. Sadly my store in Belgium doesn't sell anymore Ars Magica products and the french amazon has no new book :frowning:. (And with the french translation of Ars Magica, which I'm not really interested in, i'm not sure it will have it ever...)

SG handbok: cattle raid as a story: It is primarly about the Contested Isle book but well with a bit of imagination, we can adapt it to other tribunals. I'm not sure I will use it in our current IRL saga, but anyway it gives clear prospects about it and answer some questions (why, what, how, how to get away, etc.) you could have forgotten when writing a story.
Always good to have at hand if any need occurs.

Covenant finances: an alternative : even if I didn't use it, and if for hermetic book trading I had started my own thing with its manual (but stopped 3 years ago... already 3 years...) I'm always interested in reading other players vision on the "finances" part of a covenant.

From the journal of Vulcanis Argens is the story continued. As usual, it gives a story from which ideas for scenarios can be brought to your mind. Names, places, interactions... it's like the old tale you could use to create your next intrigue.

Rats Magica apparently the main focus of this issue. So I read it with pleasure... and it was delicious. An abandoned covenant peupled by rats with the Gift, due to an ancient accident, what a wonderful idea, I like that a lot. It gives a lot of story opportunities. Maybe the theme (parody/comic) may not suit all saga, but it is definitely worth the reading. I loved Socrates!

The second Lineage : explorers of time and space following the first lineage in issue #14, it explains new bonisagi magi from the creation of the Order. I may be blind but I never found what was "magic realm magic" breakthrouhg. Maybe it is the RoP:tM magic or nother thing. Anyway, the magi are all interesting. You may not use them according to your saga tone, but they have flavour, like that magi who will write about ALL, but will ever write HORRIBLY, thinking he will one day write the most beautiful book ever.

NEw heresis : fixed arts Interesting collection of house rule. My alpha SG will not use any of them, but I enjoyed the reading. I'm not sure I approve of it, but is worth the time because the author clearly thought about his idea through the end. I liked the premise but I think the way of doing it is too restrictive. IMO i would have said 2 arts at +12 for a specialists, 4 at +6 for a semi specialist and 8 at +3. Of course, I could do it my way in my saga, but it was just to say.

The body in the bog is a story to play. I must say even if I have nothing against the story, it's the kind of story which I would have a hard time using. Indeed, I like to place all my stories on a red line which will be the common final endgoal of my saga as beta SG, and that story is too disconnected from the grand stories I usually have in mind that I can't use it as is. I should have some work to bring it. As a standalone scenario it is interesting because it can use magi and companion. Too often are the scenario for magi only or where magi have no interest to take part (except the always valid "let's play a game !" meta reasoning). Here, a spirit threat is more likely to bring them in the game, with their servants (companion) already in it.

The intangible assassin : following Hermetic projects idea, the authors looked into the matter. I like what they write, which rejoin what I thought (flawless magic miam!)

Mythic bloodlines: more than the founders : I think i read a post or another article in a previous ars magica fanzine with the same idea: presenting many mythic bloodlines for the magi wanting to use mythic blood major virtue. Good ideas here. I will never use that major virtue, but for NPC, always fun to have at hand.

Mappa mundi : centered on the proven├žal region. Did I mention I do not have faith and flame? anyway, interesting names of locations, to look for on the web.

And that's it folks!

I'm glad you liked the Rats, Exar!

DId you get the "rats" idea by playing with "arts" word?

The original inspiration was "Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh", which I first saw when I was a boy and later read. The rightfully-famous SF short story "Flowers for Algernon" provided the name for the lineage of Aux Gernon; when I found out that means "with whiskers" I about died laughing. The rat-themed horror movie "Willard", its remake, and its sequel "Ben", provided some names. I did name it Rats Magica as a partial anagram for Ars Magica but also because it makes more sense that way. Many have referred to it as "Ars Ratica," which makes no sense to me. (They're magic rats, folks, not the Art of Rats or the Rat Art.)

The whole article really came together near the end, when I realized that the accelerated lifespan I had given them made the rats perfect for magical experimentation. In other words, they really are magical lab rats, in the Hermetic sense. At that moment, I realized I had done something right. Some have dismissed the article as purely funny or comedic, but I don't see them that way at all. There is a very distinguished body of literature with mouse and rat protagonists (the stories at the top of my post are just the tip of the iceberg), and that's because mice and rats are the ultimate underdogs. They are completely powerless, and that makes them fantastic protagonists (often literally so).

If I ever get the chance to run Ars Magica for kids, I am totally going to run it as a Rats Magica campaign.