[Sub Rosa] Issue #17's delicious autumn bounty

We pause in our preparations for the coming winter to enjoy the glorious bounty of Sub Rosa #17! This issue is packed with the fruits of the Provencal Tribunal and has a lovely cover from Elizabeth Porter:

Internal artwork was generously provided by Patrick Demo, Jeff Menges, Elizabeth Porter, Angela Taylor, Jason Tseng and we happily welcome newcomer Adrienne Hodge into the fold! There are 96 pages of wonder in this issue, with seven articles of supplementary material expanding on the Tribunal's people and places by Ben McFarland (Beyond Sand & Sea, Faith & Flame, Antagonists) detailing places like Flambeau's Cave and offering a storyframe for Himinis' tower. NPCs like the infamous Tres and the ghost of Val Negra, Abaddon see treatments, and Marko Faulkner (Faith & Flame, Grogs, Tales of Power) gives us an expanded look at the lost heart of House Flambeau. We're chock full of new magic this issue, offering a look at the new art of Tempus, and Andrew Breese gives us 100 new detailed spells and the associated Metacreator files, polished from the Iron-bound Tome. Ray Cochener investigates the more common magics that might exist in Mythic Europe, while Gerald Wylie explores that ubiquitous game locale, the Inn, offering great details, story seeds and NPCs for any Tribunal!

Additionally, this is the last installment of one particular reoccuring Sub Rosa column, but I won't spoil the surprise. So delve deeper with this issue and give your Mythic Europe a bit more detail-- with the art of Tempus, I'm sure you'll find the time. For now, we've got to get back to the hunt, as Sub Rosa #18 is going to be all about the beasties!

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.

Eight 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 #18 the first three reviewers of issue #17 still stands-- if you've got #17 and want #18 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.

Mark Rein-Hagan likes this issue, so that's good enough for me.

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I downloaded my issue and with it I found a folder called Iron bound tome spells which had some stuff including a compiled html help file and a sub folder named ArM5 that had a mall files of data.

It looks like a bunch of new spells. How do I make it work? At the moment my HTML help thing only brings up names with no associated information.

Edit: I now see that they're for metacreator. I gather that I'd have to get that thing working before I use the spells (I never have did get it to work properly and I havn't looked at it for years).

Yes, those are the metacreator files for the Iron-bound Tome spells in the issue. You would need to do that. But the spells are all in the issue?


Yep, your MC installation needs to be up and working as normal. If I did the packaging of the zip fileset correctly, you should be able to extract files for MetaCreator into your root folder for MetaCreator and the extrator should place the custom dataset for the spells into the right subfolders.

Then to access the updated spells in MC you add the dataset Ironbound template into MC just like adding another new dataset like Covenants, etc.

Or if you just want to read the spell descriptions directly you could just open the ironboundtomespells.chm file directly if your PC can view chm help files.

I've now got a fair hand at getting MC working on a range of hardware, if you want a hand let me know.

Review of # 17 by myself.

Under the rose: I'm learning that two books are out and I will need to buy them, that's very good. I'm looking forward to the subrosa 18 too.

From the line editor: the last one, since David will be out. He says Ars Magica 5th edition is complete. I wonder how we can consider that with some tribunals only detailled in previous editions. Since I only started with 5th, I don't have those and don't plan to buy them. I understand why they do not feel the need to re do it, but can we say it's complete? I'm unsure.

Werewolves of gevaudan : it provides a new type of character, werewolf with a story background and seeds.

Set piece: the inn : finally, an article about inn. Inns are location where players go often. My players often go in their room, and there, in the "private" room they are used to rent, they do magic stuff, flying away by the window in the animal form, or going out invisible by the back door. But now I can have some historical informations about what is in the inn and where to find it. It also come with some character sheets, for NPc (or PC ideas).

Flambeau cave : another mystical place we can use, like those described in Mythic places the book, linked to the faith and flame book.

An unfinished tower: himinis' legacy it explains a saga/story seed about a magus who would have found ways to integrate "defixio magic" in the hermetic magic. There are informations, in the model used in Legends of Hermès. As such, it's an additional potential legend we can use to further explore the hermetic history.

An art out of time: tempus Ouch. The title rings with "danger" but also "wanna play with time? here are your flaws!" With an introduction linked to the previous saga-seed, what most impressed me was the historical background on that form. If any "time-magic" should exist, it should be "credible" and those references, with real books and authors (I guess, I didn't check it myself) are excellent material for such purpose. The tempus form is by itself complicated. The author tried to prevent gamebreaking, but if he succeeded is left to your opinion. I'm not personaly sure I would use that because I'm sure there will be exploits with it.

Common magics discuss craft regarding laboratory and some things magi enjoy, like book-writing.

The giants of castlenau : not sure if I understand correctly the combination "giant's gift" and "giant blood" (because I'm not seeing when they can use their power since they are naturally at size +2).. ah scrap it, it's suggestion, no mandatory virtues, okay. This part introduces a "mythic type of creature" from a region, with background and 2 npcs.

The divine of Provence: a lost angel since it's a variation about a saga plot, I didn't read it, waiting to read the original (published in Faith and flame) one. But anyway, having variation of stories is always interesting: it stimulaites the imagination.

Populating Provençal; finally! While reading faith and flame, I didn't find the magus Trey albeit he was described and should have been there, he wasn't. Now he has stats and I will maybe use the character in another saga. Since he uses a ex miscellanea tradition I never liked, nor felt interesting, I will carefully consider that character. I see he has been decided as being 55 years old, that I find a bit low considering what the background says about him. But we will see.

Spells from the iron bound tome : new spells. Yes! Always good to use! (come with a metacreator file, if you use it.) From what i quickly read, I'm dubitative about "Inhibit the selfish deviations of the warp": since my reading is that spells never give warping to their caster (if cast on him) or their target (lower t) if designed for him, I'm not sure what is the point of that spell.
Some spells will be debattable with your SG, but at least, you have now a reference to use, which is better than nothing.

Ruins, rumors & relationships - story hooks for provençal : it's about giving you links between books. "This story from that book + Provençal = fun to play", etc.

Val-Negra: rising from the ashes saga theme where the PCs did recover Val-Negra and have it as their covenant. I like that part, and especially the NPC Abbadon. For once, the magus seems powerful enough to justify his age. One thing: the author choose not to include his spell list. I guess why, but i'm curious how that should be handled because there is something "intriguing" in the idea that such a powerful magus may one time have that issue: having too much options, we simply forget some. I ran in that issue with some powerful NPCs, and used "classic" spell, forgetting I had invented "better" spells, because in a list of 100+ spells, you cannot, during a game-session, remember all and every of them! when a moment come (battle, certamen spell, ...) that you have to cast a spell for the NPC, it's so tempting to just go for a classic, which renders the NPC somewhat "forgettable" in his magic aspect, which is a profound shame for such archmagi who should, normally, give a sense of magical "uniqueness" if not power.

And that's it.

Let's meet again for another edition!
I didn't find any mappa mundi in this issue of SubRosa. Was all said in the previous editions? Neither was there any journal of Vulcanis Argens. I wanna know how that magus felt... it is intriguing!

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Review of #17

Under the Rose
Naturally the end of the Ars Magica line is the huge issue here. Regular forum users will recognize the general theme here: A strong community which still uses the material will keep the game vibrant and alive. And Sub Rosa is one of many possible ways to keep the game and the community alive.

From the Line Editor
The last official words from David Chart, which state a lot of the same as Under the Rose and what has been said on the forum. Mr Chart makes some good points: we can finally catch up with the material, plus the game won't become useless due to external sources or a new edition.

Werewolves of Gevaudan
The first article as part of this Provence themed issue tackles a well known - and loved or nhated - subject of werewolves. This region apparently has an abundance of stories and myths about wolves in some form, and the beauty of the subject is that such creatures can fit into many other locales as well. However this is not touched upon in the article with Provence being the theme. With the nice tie-ins to The Wolf Court from Mythic Locations we are once again reminded of the fact the the man-wolf mybrid is a staple of much later stories and thus anachronistic in Mythic Europe in the 13th century. Luckily this does not stop a good theme from being presented. Historical accuracy should not IMHO spoil the potential for great drama and stories. The article includes some historical and cultural background for this tribe of Magical Kin in Massif Central, hard rules for such characters and relevant powers, a sample character, plus two nice story seeds.

Set Piece: The Inn
This is the first piece of a promised series of archetypical locations for quick and easy use in a saga. Considering the fairly recent forum talk about support for new players this sounds really promising, and we hope to see many more. One wonders whether these will only cover mudane lcoations or some wth a supernatural twist as well?
First, the role of the lodging house in 13th century Mythic Europe is explained. The well-known and almost contrived tavern is a fantasy trope that makes no sense in smaller communities. However in larger towns and great cities, along trade- og pilgrimage routes etc. there would historically at this time be found inns.
The physical descriptions take into accoount regional variations plus the differences between a rural and an urban inn. The article makes many good points about potential hazards to spice up fights and physical actions inside the inn. Many good ideas for secrets and stories are presented. Finally a set of sample characters are presented.
All in all a good resource with quick to use material as well as notes about variations for use for other inns. An otherwise run of the mill visit to an inn has the potential to become an experience to remember or even a small story in itself.

Flambeau's Cave:
This article offers some very nice Flambeau the Founder material which did not make into the final Provence issue. Here we learn about the cave in which Flambeau perfected his signature spell and the text touches upon some of this illustrious Founder's history - while still keeping a lot of things sufficiently open to allow for various Troupe interpretations and variations.
The physical setting is a mystrious cave hidden deep in the forbidding Pyrenees. When both harsh terrain, occasionally foul weather, or fire-breathing drakes can kill you off in the search for Flambeau's legacy the place can certainly be said to be challenging. But what is more important is the huge potential in the things to be found in the cave! The Adulteration of Flambeau is a disaster waiting to be let loose. And his research offers huge potential for learning but also requires research and adaptation of one's own to understand the material predating the unified Hermetic theory. Both issues are politically hot potatos and offer a lot for fighters, politicans, and scholars as well. A very interesting article for a Provence saga, adding nicely to the Tribunal book, especially for sagas using House Flambeau as a main theme.

An Unfinished Tower: Himnis' Legacy
This article delves into the subject of renowned Verditius Himnis the Mad, who has been succeeded by a confraternity seeking his lost works. Himnis was paranoid and arrogant so he hid his best works, leaving behind clues which only the brughtest, true followers could find, and left behind plenty of dead-ends and dangerous curses to dissuade the unworthy. The secrets contain initiation scripts needed to continue Himnis' line of mysteries.
The article features ideas for how clues are cleverly hidden and how they can be followed. It does not go into needless detail with codes and ciphers but instead focuses on opening the door for a Storyguide to run storylines along this. There is plenty of explanation of how the search has progressed before and how it may proceeed. And also about how things can go wrong if the wrong people find the scripts.
A sample character seeking the secrets is included, as well as a sample location with traps, curses, solutions etc. The possible loot from Himnis' caches include scripts to learn Defixione magis as well as the previously unheard of Hermetic Form of Tempus. This latter matter is touched upon in the following article.

An Art out of Time: Tempus
This acticle deals with theHermetic Form of Temput which Himnis the Mad of House Verditius is said to have discovered. Or will at some point in time. Or...
However great this can of worms may seem the article delicately mitigates the potentially huge impact which mind-bogglingly poking with time could be by limiting itself to a single, continuous timeline. Himnis' breaktrough can send people back in time, and let then return to where they left, never forward in time.
Three options for integrating this into sagas are presented, to allow for flexibility and variation in using this in a saga. Some defintions of time are explained here as well as how this is in fact possible with how the Magic Realm works. Guidelines and sample spells for Tempus magic is included to make this usable straight from the article to a saga. I'll leave deeper analysis of this subject to other.

Common Magics:
This article tackles the subject of crafts and arts further than City & Guild and Art & Academe already has, as well as ties these features into the lab personalization rules from Covenants. Related to how the mundane craftsman changes the nature of raw materials when working them into a finished item, craftsmen and artists with supernatural inclination can be utitlized by magi to further improve their labs and by adding firther details to these mechanics. Great stuff for those Troupes who like to immerse themselves into myriads of details and micro-management in order to create unique labs and features.

The Giants of Calstlenau:
This is the second article featuring fine material which could have been in the Provence book, with another tribe of Magical Kin to complement the Werewolves from earlier. It seems historically and much later than the Ars Magica timeframe burial mounds containing remains of very large humanoids had been found.
This tribe of Magical Kin are humanoids of normal size with the power to temporarily grow in size, enabling them to mesh normally with society while maintaining their special powers granted to them by the blood of their forefathers. Good potential for grogs or companions here, especially if the character is not a loner but retains ties to his clan or tribe. The article is complete with sample character and story seeds.

The Divine of Provence: A Lost Angel
This article comes with a clear warning, as it deals with a potetial variation of the overall plotline of the Provence Tribunal as published. As it risks spoiling a lot of things I shall not go into detail in this review. I'll leave it to the individual reader to choose whether or not to read it.

Populating the Provence:
This article presents three characters which did not make the final cut for the tribunal book for various reasons: A golem, a stayr, and finally Tres the Rusticani architecht behind the destruction of Mistridge.

Spells from the Iron-Bound Tome:
This article features a collection of spells. The in-game explanation is that they represent collections of spells magi want to share but did not make the cut into a Bonisagus folio. Meanwhile in the real world the author mentions they are spells which either use existing core book guidelines where no example spells have been seen yet, implied guidelines, examples from the forum or actual play, and even new guidelines designed to cover gaps. The article is clearly marked with the disclaimer that not all people agree with or interpret in the way as the author. I'm sure it will spark all manner of discussions on the forum.

Story Hooks for Provencale:
Yet another bonus package to the generous bundle in this issue, complementing the already story-packed tribunal book. This article deals with additional covenants, ruined covenant sites, and potential new covenant sites. Considering many of the Schism War's battles were fought here it makes sense. A nicely varied and creative bunch of sites are presented here. Also there is a story seed about a potentially new Burgundian Tribunal as orchestrated by an enterprising Tylaus magus. A nice parallel to the putative Lotharingian Tribunal mentioned in both Guardians of the Forest as well as Lion & Lily. But beware, the ghost of Diedne still looms here with some of the options and hooks in this article! There is also mention of several adventures from Tales of Mythic Europe as well as from previous issues of Sub Rosa which would be highly appropriate for this tribunal.

Val-Negra: Rising from the Ashes
This very interesting article is a saga setup elaborating on the material from Faith & Flame regarding the once great covenant of Val-Negra. Due to the massive scope of this historical and dramatic place the article notes that only select points are treated in detail, leaving room for customization by individual Troupes. The article assumes the reader has already read the material in Faith & Flame.

Thank you both for the reviews! We'll be sure to send you issue #18 as soon as it's ready. :smiley:


I'm glad you liked some of the extra Provencal material and "the Burgundian Tribunal" Story Seed... I was sad to see that latter idea get cut particularly but as you can see, even though it's a packed supplement, we still had a lot of great material left over that we hoped would see the light of day. Marko's extra Val-Negra material and write up of Abaddon is great I agree and even though it was too controversial to include in canon, Ben's Himinis work and the Art of Tempus rules deserved to be presented to the community.

Kudos to Ben and Mark for achieving this feat. Bravo good sirs!

BTW for those wishing for even more Provencal material, there's a few other cut pieces, characters and some design notes including an expanded version of [b]Portus Termini[/b], located over here, hosted on my (now somewhat neglected) blog, My Life as a Grog. Maybe I should dig out some more material from my cut-files...

May I also humbly suggest you enjoy all this material with the newly released PDF of Faith and Flame available from e23 / Warehouse 23?

I know I will be :smiley:

Still time for someone to snag the last free issue out there... Sub Rosa #18 is coming together, and looks to be a big one!


Sub Rosa 17 – a review by Simon Cornelius
First off, there is a great COLOUR cover from Elizabeth Porter that fits well with the theme of the issue, which is the Provencal Tribunal.
Inevitably there is an elegiac touch in David Chart’s “From the Line Editor” but he makes the strong but obvious point that Ars Magica 5 can and will continue to be played and the size of the canon means that only the most active of group will have come anywhere close to exhausting the material available. The editorial, Under the Rose, looks at Sub Rosa in the future and also addresses whether the organisation behind SR can publish ArM books – not legally is the answer.
Werewolves of Gevaudan – I can see this being useful if I ever rekindle my saga and one of the mages decides to return home to central France.
Set Piece - The Inn – well-written description of an inn - nothing very original there – but then some story hooks and ideas, and well thought-out characters with stats, which I think is the most useful part of this article.
Flambeau’s Cave – a short piece and unsurprisingly quite how power – this was at one time the founder’s sanctum – so might not fit your saga. Alternatively your saga may have a different take on Flambeau. There are some ideas here that could be used elsewhere however.
An Unfinished Tower: Himinis’ Legacy – some nice linked sites described here and not necessarily too powerful. The mage character provided is interesting in that it takes a Verditius and gives them quite a few of the unique virtues and flaws – I’ll have to look up quite a few of them.
An Art out of Time: Tempus – a whole new form. Scary.
The Divine of Provence: A Lost Angel – a short adjunct to one of the saga seeds in Faith and Flame.
Populating Provencal – Three NPCs with story seeds. One is about a Faun Lord which could be translated to anywhere with vineyards.
Spells from the Iron-Bound Tome – 18 pages of new spells using largely using published or implied guidelines but with some new ones and all in area perhaps neglected by existing sources; what’s not to like?
Runes, Rumours, and Relationships: Story Hooks for Provencal – a couple of lost covenants and a selection of sites and character sketches add up to some more ideas but nothing that can be used without some work. That means this will not solve your “what can I challenge them this weekend” problem at 11pm on a Friday night.
Val-Negra: Rising from the Ashes – a saga to take venerable and lost Val-Negra from deep winter into spring. Faith and Flame is needed as the base on which to add this saga idea: to my mind this is not a saga expansion transferrable elsewhere. It is not surprisingly “high powered” but the detail provided here sets up the story arc and the political and other relationships of the evolving covenant. There are characters and magical creatures described. This is a major article.

Overall – this is a strongly themed issue and if Provencal Tribunal is not your saga then it will be a little less useful than if that Tribunal features strongly. Equally some of the material is very “high powered” so again less useful if your saga is not like that. However, if Provencal IS the location for your saga then you cannot miss this issue. Moreover, Sub Rosa is always excellent value for money and this is a bumper issue in terms of page count, packed with interesting ideas transferrable to any saga: in short, it is a bargain and everyone should buy a copy.

Thanks for the short & sweet review-- we'll be sure to hook you up with issue #18 when it's ready, and artwork's rolling in for it.