SUB ROSA #2
In Sub rosa #3 Ben McFarland made a review like this one, but better written IMO, so feel free to disregard what I am saying here
News from the line editor (David Chart)
David brings us a review of Art and Acadme. I loved A&A, so I read this eagerly, and it did not disappoint me. Once again, and inside look at the book that brings you some impressions of the “why” of some decisions and approaches. Nice read.
The Grand Tribunal 2007 (Neil Taylor)
A 1 page about the Grand Tribunal event in Cheltenham. After reading the mini-report I can only say that I would have loved to attend.
Mythic Europe: Real Places (Alex Sandison)
A story about a cave in the real world and a story linked to it. The story hook is extremely easy to adapt to other locations if you do not play in England. The story potential of this source is really usable material.
The Path of the Circle (Timothy Fergusson & Mark Shirley)
I have a special dislike of the Criamons. I love what Timothy Fergusson has done with other parts of the canon, but not with the Criamons. As such I could not appreciate much this extra path. For me defining the Enigma has been one of the worst things to happen in Ars Magica 5th edition, but I am sure other people would love it. I much preferred the open-ended Enigma, with every Criamon defining his own search of “the meaning of magic” (“the Enigma” in my vision) and deciding on their own methodology to do so.
However, I liked one thing: this path allows you to play around with creation of creatures in “Frankenstein mode”, and that opens a nice avenue of research and growth for a character. I would play such a magus gladly (in fact, there is exactly this kind of Mage in Magi of Hermes) and this can give you some rough guidelines on how to do it. I would not make you need to be initiated in this mystery nor be a Criamon to do that, but that is me. As I said, I am not neutral about this.
End of the Hohenstaufen Part II (Michael de Verteuil)
After the great introduction of the precious issue, we get to the real end of the saga. AND IT IS GREAT!!! Playing through it would be a really cool thing to do. Since this is a review done MUCH later than the article, I would say that this is a cool story to link with the Augustan Brotherhood from Rival Magic, if it is not done yet in their background. I have not read Rival Magic yet, so I cannot tell from direct experience.
Wheostan the Old (Mark Lawford)
Do you want to get some information and you do not know where to get it? Well, you can go to 2 places in SR#2: Jarod’s Cave or ask Wheostan the Old. The story of Wheostan is both classy in a faerie tale mood, and fitting the setting IMO, so it is a good character. He also happens to be a hermetic magus. If your setting passes over the existence of hermetic wizards, this guy can exist as well. He is the paradigmatic augur from the gipsy fair and a character that can spice up your research. A nice story hook that you can rely to cause trouble and bring stories to your covenant. Remember that your enemies can use Wheostan as a source of information as well to learn things about you….
Beasts of the realm (Ben McFarland)
A bestiary for 3 supernatural creatures: Griffin, Basilisk and Siren. The siren is the “classical” one that we all think about: half woman, half fish, not the “other”, probably more mythically-accurate siren type. All 3 are well defined and with cool rules to support their powers.
Templars Apotropaics (Alex White)
After the purely mundane monk order, we get the first alternative of the Templars by Alex White: an alliance between magi and the Church (or part of the Church) to fight against the forces of the Infernal realm. It is a nice story, but as I mentioned in my previous review of SR#1 I prefer the mundane-only version. I had not read the old Pax Dei nor the Infernal from 3rd edition, so the Apotropaics were only a small reference in ROP:I to me. I consider this to be the weakest of the versions of the templars presented, but usable none the less. It is a good adaptation in case you want to run a hermetic-oriented Templar force.
Jarod’s Cave (Phil Chase)
Jarod’s cave is a nice place to get information. It has a nice mystical feel. It is purely hermetic, and I am unsure how it is supposed to be achievable with hermetic magic (living ghost mystery?), but it is cool. As with wheostan, it has the potential to be used with a multiplicity of people, but its use is much more limited: 3 questions per magus once per year. As a souce of information, it is cool I plan on using it in the future.
Hope you find this useful.