[Sub Rosa] Issue #16 emerges from Twilight!

We've emerged from the Magic Realm and all that place's varied realities with a fist full of discoveries. Sure, it's taken longer than we meant, but then, this issue is much longer than we wanted, too-- but you reap the benefits!

There's 128 pages of alternate reality goodness here, loaded with artwork from Jeff Menges, Angela Taylor, Elizabeth Porter, Jason Tseng, and Patrick Demo. We've got your usual words from Sub Rosa's organizers and Ars Magica's line editor. (That's half-again as big as issue #15!) Bob Karcher gives you an idea of his 16-18th century games run from the holy days of our people, Gencon, in faraway Indianapolis. We travel through time this issue, offering setting and adventure material for Ars Magica games in 550AD, 865AD, 1050AD, and 1470AD, with ideas from the pens of Mark Shirley, Timothy Ferguson, Tobias Wheeler, Berengar Drexel, Shane Appel, and forum regular Pelle Kofod.

Along with a series of leaps about the timeline, we've got a pile of Mythic Weapons from Vincent Garcia-Gomez, a third Bonisagus line from Mark Baker, and a breakdown of the Intangible Enchanter by Pelle Kofod. Sub Rosa staple, Vulcanis Argens, returns and there's darkness afoot in the walls of Donum Chanuti! There are maps, there are portraits, there is a pile of supplementary extra-setting homework for you in Mappa Mundi. All this, and you're guaranteed not to catch the Black Death, at least not from downloading an issue.

So don't wait, and take your saga into the past or into the fuuuuuuuture, but take it into the pages of Sub Rosa!

Wait, wait, wait...

We have changed how you get Sub Rosa, if only a little.

If you'd like to purchase an issue of Sub Rosa, send $4.50(US) for single issues, $13(US) for a troupe issue via paypal to subrosa@distantlandspublishing.com send and we'll shoot you a link to download your copy.

Six 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 #17 the first three reviewers of issue #16 still stands-- if you've got #16 and want #17 for free, let us know what you thought of this issue. Post your review and send us an email to subrosa@distantlandspublishing.com. We'll hook you up. So far, we've left at least one issue, but usually two on the table for the last three issues; you could buy this one and potentially not buy one again for a long long time, if you're willing to let us know what you think everytime.

Here's a map from wikimedia commons representing the 9th century Dniester and Volga routes of the Varangians, which might enhance Voventes Centennales:
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: ... routes.png

EDIT: This is not exactly a map, but it appears that the tomb of GuĂ°mundr's mother (from Voventes Centennales again) has been identified in Birka just when Subrosa 16 was released:
edition.cnn.com/2015/03/19/europ ... index.html


Here's a useful map of medieval Rome: emersonkent.com/map_archive/rome_270.htm - for playing Strange Alliances.

And here a view of Rome from 1346: Not so useful for play, but perhaps inspiring.


Thanks for these, One Shot! :slight_smile:


Just purchased, skim read, impressed. Nice work again.

The alternate history stuff is heaps of fun. The authors were awesome! I have an amazing desire to play early Britons resisting the Saxons now!

Pity my most evil magi got a bit downgraded to only selling his soul. Ahh well! :smiley:.

I'm delighted by this issue! I'm going to take a lot of ideas from the Black Plague setting for future story plots as my own saga slowly heads into the future...

I read through the 1470 campaign rules. Very interesting and logical path. I've been working on a 1520's campaign setting and found the some of the moves interesting ( blatant Gift and the Witches). I do think you could not go much beyond 1470 in ME without changing the physics to allow small arms and allowing the rest of the world to exist.

We did take a little artistic license with the depiction of powder-based projectile weapons; they are intended to be enchanted devices used either by the magus as a talisman (as on the front cover) or by companions (as in the internal artwork). Other than small arms, which remain difficult under the fictional physics of the world, Mark Shirley's article in Sub Rosa issue 4, covers advanced weapons pretty nicely.

Just my small dig on RAW setting. Great article. I was using similar ideas with the church and Bonisagus in my jump forward. I removed House Mercere for 200 years to isolate the Order where as the article increases basically removes Gentle Gift and increases Blatant Gift

Here is a good wikipedia article on the document collections on canon law around 1050: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collection ... 1139-50.29 . It might be useful with Strange Alliances.


Here is my review of that edition #16.

Under the rose : a bit of explanations, why this edition of subrosa presents us with settings before and after the "normal" period of time for the 5th edition game. I'm curious : does each edition move further in time? did 1st edition start in 1000 or something?

This edition will be mainly focused on "settings" adapted from the time. If you are interested by the normal setting, this subrosa will probably not give you much. Perhaps some background ideas (older settings) and breakthrough ideas (future). This issue is mainly using the same structure : presentation, virtues/flaws, houses, ideas of sagas, future events.

From the line editor back in march when this issue was out, some IRL events have marked the world i guess, and David's comment about how Ars is not talking about religions nor jauging them but only using a fictional versions of them, was certainly very accurate.

Britannia 550 AD probably the time setting I like the less; not by his content, but by his theme: there is no Order... hence all my source material about the Hermetic magic is irrelevant. The only thing I liked is the bit about Merlin.

The author gives a good outlook on what could have been the life of magi at the time.

BTW: Something in the presentation of subrosa seems to have changed too, for the first time (if it happened in a prior edition it's the first time I notice it): NPCs are given an insert on different pages (not in the normal text) for their stat. I guess it allows a easier print/copy and allow easy reference in IRL game.

The glamourous swamp a theme adventure about faerie and swamp. Classical but with the author's vision about goal of the faerie and background information as to "why" the faerie could be there and not move, and "how" the magi can save the day.

865 AD: "voventes centennales" I guess I forgot a lot about the background because I didn't remember that so much time has passed between first and second GT. Here we have the same idea: the order is new, and PCs' are in charge of a lot. On the bright side, much of breakthroughs are to be done soon (Vim upgrade, etc.).

The background of the game gave many ideas of topics for that tribunal (and saga) such as the lotharingian tribunal, the brittany-west frank tribunal boundaries conflict, etc.

Names of primi, covenants, at the time are provided.
What I liked a lot is the map of the Order at the time.

A pity, maybe, is that, due to the lack of official information, Diedne are set as NPCs. Nevertheless, the author suggest, if PCs are to be used, reference to subrosa 13 which dealt a lot with diedne house. I refer to my comment on that issue (a very good one !!) for more information.

From the Journal of Vulcanis argens our favored Verditius ambition/hubris puts him on the infernal journey... what a turn of events! To become the leader of his covenant, he pactises with the dark magus... I thought of that entry a very good depiction (does that said?) of the ambition/hubris combo with a driven flaw.
I like them. Once again, a very inspiring entry, with lots of ideas for adventures.

1050AD: the order shaken 1050 is the only era for which this edition provides 2 different settings. This one is dark with the peace acquired by the schism war about to be broken, rivalties are resurfacing (Normandy...)

1050AD: rest assured is an adventure in that setting.

1050AD: strange alliances : another setting for the era, more about integration and discussion with the powers (church and kings). That setting is quite more described, so maybe easier to use for those who are not pro's in history. I gues much of the setting could be used with the other version too.

Mythic weapons: using the "magic thing" chapter, the others invent "mythic weapons", that is weapons with might and powers. Why not. I liked the infernal axe :smiley:.

The third lineage: the cursed line ah, the lineages are back. This time, the linage is a bit more "cursed". I don't know if that is normal or not, because I didn't read all the detailed magi presented (I fear the "more and more and more twisted personalities" syndrom, while I expect some magi to be "normal" ones) but some magi have a curious "uninspired" name "pierre", "mark". Is the author running out of ideas? I hope not, but perhaps he will go explore another house for renewal.

BTW: I liked the art of this edition a lot.

1470 AD: after the plague : perhaps the most hard era to describe: the order must and had evolve, the author did a choice (erasing some houses, changing others) which may not appeal to all readers. I like the idea of the breakthrough "hiding the gift" even if I don't understand why it would have as consquence a diminution of labtotals and other magic practice (the parma didn't... as a hermetic breakthrough it's a bit lame).

Good description ingame of the plague. A lot of work done on the houses background.

Six strangers gather 'round a table : I haven't read that article since it's about IRL stuff (ars magica conventions) I will never be able to attend.

the intangible enchanter : a follow up about "the intangible assassin" article in issue 15, which was itself a followup of the hermetic projects idea.

Usual mappa mundi : as usual, links on the net about all those era's settings.

In the whole, a good issue, but better for those who want to go deeper about other eras than the normal one (1220+) for our games of Ars magica.

Thanks for taking the time to review this, Exar! We'll hook you up when #17 is done (which should be in the next couple of weeks, as we're asking for art)!


Issue #17 is on the horizon, just a few days away-- this is your last chance to review issue #16 and get a free copy of #17. Keep reviewing, and issue #16 could be the last issue you ever buy of Sub Rosa!


I was writing a review for that - guess I should finish it :slight_smile:

Very well:

Wow, 128 pages is a lot!

Clearly the Ars Magica community have people who'd like to give something back. But let's have a look, shall we?

From reading Under the Rose, the theme of this issue is the Order during different eras, which would be a very exciting read. I'm sure I'm not the only one to have considered playing Ars Magica during different periodes - clearly - and now here's some nice places to start. And that's not even all!

The words from the Line Editor are interesting enough, but I suppose unsurprising to anyone who obsessively reads every thread on this forum. Still, clear and well-stated.

Tobias Wheeler offers a very interesting interesting setting with his Britannia 550 AD article, though it does have one feature I must admit I strongly dislike. The setting uses standard Hermetic Magic, or at least something mechanically very close to what Bonisagus invents years later. I have always enjoyed that in Ars Magica, different magical traditions are indeed mechanically different, so this annoys me. It probably doesn't annoy everyone though, and does make adopting the setting easier.

The Glamorous Swamp is a nice little location to dump into a saga. It looks like it's inspired by the old Mythic Places. Not bad.

865 AD: Voventes Centennales is a set-up for playing in 865 AD, rather than 1220. And it is awesome. A low-research saga could just take this article and go. A high research saga could certainly use it to pick an area to play in and a place to start researching. I think I'm going to pitch this to my sodalis for our next Saga!
The Journal of Vulcanis Argens. A worthy read as always, if a tad darker than some entries. :slight_smile:

1050 AD: The Order Shaken. An article in two pieces. First a setting description, with an alternate Order, which shows off some disturbingly dispotical traits and an organization that should either please or worry house Tremere. This is followed bya story called Rest Assured, and is a nice little investigation with minor twists.

1050 AD: Strange Alliances. A fairly interesting saga set-up, with a focus on Rome and the politics surrounding the Holy See. It appears well researched and interesting, though I'll likely never use it - most members of my troupe seem like they would be utterly uninterested. Be sure to have you Church sourcebook nearby when you play!

Mythic Weapons: Presents a very clever way to use rules from RoP: M to solve what is often seen as a problem with Ars Magica - that legends are awash with magical weapons, but they are almost impossible to create under the rules. I will be [strike]stealing[/strike] adopting these I think, they're nicely solving a problem I had.

The Cursed Line. A new collection of bonisagus magi. This time with a darker theme. Some more creative than others.

1470 AD: After the Plague. I'm a bit unclear on how the increased frequency of the Blatant Gift makes magi move into the cities (the Pallium Magicum helps though), but otherwise this is a beautifully depressing alternate setting. Sagas in this setting should be significatly different from your oridinary, 'Ars Classic' sagas. Magi may well turn out weaker. Also included are a number of breakthroughs, as well as new options for range/duration/target. I like all but Container, which as always is really just a small Room.

Six Strangers: Some interesting ideas, but honestly, I don't think Ars Magica is a good convention game. The Saga is too important an element. Or perhaps I'm just old fashioned.

The Intangible Enchanter: The missing appendix to an older article. At times perhaps a little dry, but it works.

Mappa Mundi: Has its usual collection of useful links.

Thanks for taking the time to review Sub Rosa #16, Tellus!

We'll send you your links for SR#17 (as soon as it's ready) via PM or email, if you send us your email via PM. :slight_smile:


by PM would be nice, thank you :slight_smile: