Hehe, "lies and secrets" for issue 20 theme is already noted in my personal subrosa index! I'm very eagerly loooking forward for that!
So I just read subrosa 19 and here is my review of it... almost 1 year after the issue of 18, number 19 has made us waiting a lot (first announced during summer 16, remember? ^^)...
It's written during the time I read It because my reactions are most honestly transcribed and because I have not a lot of time those days.
This issue is 84 pages long, which for subrosa is the average (which I calculate at 84 precisely...).
Under the rose
Great news, sub rosa is not finished. It was something I wondered: since the line is finished, would the fanzine stop as well, besides seeing the new one - Peripheral code - emerges, and asking myself if it would be sub rosa replacement in a great scheme of fanzine authors... but no. Yes!
Oh, they do mention the new fanzine, quite interesting. I'm wondering if PC 1 speaks of SR too. I guess it does.
direct from atlas game
Well in the line of the past, Jeff Tidball words. He speaks about "magic shoe", a new project of atlas game using setting of Mythic Europe + Gumshoe...
I'm sorry, what is gumshoe? I have NO idea. Okay maybe it is this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GUMSHOE_System but well, I'm not sure. Anyway, it seems to be about investigation, and that, as horror, are two things I found Ars not to be very interesting to try. Magi are just not fit for this, and so... well. Okay, okay.
Ah an article about achronistic touches. I have had SG's using that for long, and while not doing it on purpose, I used magic devices to emulate a terminator/Shrike (from Hyperion's cantos) creature/being.
Here it is about colonization of the north america and a "missing colony" who seems to disappear and reapper in Mythic Europe. The thing I like is all the setting/ideas, but what I would have a hard time to explain is the gun (muskeet) thing. How does it fit with magic theory? i have no clue at all. I know that on these forums there have been a lot of threads discussing that, but I don't remember any conclusion, except "it doesn't quite fit in the medieval paradigm and the 10 forms". Too bad it seems not adressed. Gerald Wylie to the rescue for a next issue? .
Hum. It is a tool out and in game. In game, it is covered by some gameplay mechanics (which the author refers to since it's in official books).
Out game, you can build it, as does this particular Storyteller. I know my group will never use this and I'm not really the handyman so let's go and check what it can be used for.
- planning stories. Okay, it's like the table in RoP faerie from which you get 3 things, add them up and create a theme.
- playing stories : I get where the author is going, but definitely not my style.
I like my stories to be inserted in a grand order of things: NPCs (minor or major) do things because of causes, and what they do have consequences, known or not to the PCs. Time goes, time comes back, and if the PCs do not deal with the consequences when it is feasable the consequences come hard and try to take them down, as would life.
This kind of setting means I have a long and hard time managing what I call the "saga verse" : I have to use a relationship-chart (I use kumu.io for it but cannot show you a printscreen since some players of mine are also reading it... and that relationship chart contains all the intrigues, facts and whatever between NPC and PCs known or not!). Think of that as a "police chart" with persons, and threads between them, like in your favored movies.
Additionnaly I have a timetable, starting from the 13th century before JC and running up to the future (15th century as of now, but the future is only meant as "should happen" because the players can disrupt that).
Before every session, I read the time table and check the chart. I focus mainly on the time period the PCs are currently in. After every session, I update those two tools.
Considering that, I have flexibility to play during the session, but I must be consistent with the setting. So virtually, I could use that kind of tool to decide how a story go, but then would need to tweak the result to match my setting. My personal action is the reverse: check the options which match my setting, and decide what would be interesting for the story.
Anyway, it is always interesting to see how other SGs use and play the game!
PS : i really like the idea of the tool itself. I will use it as a resource ingame to pass coded information. I need to think about it.
The Friends of the apacei of vinilandia: a mystery cult
Those are magi who enter a cult which is more about the travels and exploration of the fringe of the order. They publish their discoveries and may have trouble with locals. In short: another mystery cult (in the sens of secret society, not a house...).
As NPC, they form a solid cult the SG can use to get adventures seed and temptations to the players.
As PC, it's good for a player who would want to focus on exploration. A seeker would be fitting for the cult.
The focus being mainly north that would allow a SG to introduce traditions from the north in play.
I think I will use it one time, at some point. The names are sufficiently odd to attract attention and curiosity.
Come with 2 ready to use NPC. Always good!
Stepping away from d10 by Gerald Wylie
Interesting fact: a player IRL started to complain the die has too much impact on abilities roll. Now I'm reading that and... first premise: not erasing random roll. I can agree to that. If not using random, the game may be a bit boring because only narrative based, and all players are not equal in this matter.
He explains different alternatives. While there are some I immediatly discarded for my personal taste (the d20...) I would go for a 1d6 option, if there wasn't the immediate downside: too easy to botch, too easy for great success.
It is an issue I have in Starwars d6 game where there was such a "special dice" involved. We used an ars magica thing by saying: "you must reroll the d6 and check if you confirm the botch (1) or the reroll (6).
In conclusion: I appreciate the effort, but for my own taste, I will stick to the d10 theory. If I want abilities to have more influence on rolls, I can decide beforehand that some actions /knowledge require a base score in that ability and that without it, you cannot get what you want to have. This would encourage players to invest in abilities and not just rely on dice rolls or good caracteristics.
Anyone reading the manga One Piece? That's skypiea for you, but Ars magica edition!
I will definitely use that setting: who would not want to go on an adventure on a land on the clouds? .
Set piece : the mill
Oh, another article by Gerald Wylie, this time about the mill.
Those articles are always fully detailled, background stuff and all. For those SGs who like to use the "every day" approach and close to the companions/grogs, it's always interesting. You have setting, NPCs, story seeds... everything you want to run a story about a mill with ease.
I take a great interest in the pieces of background, but never find use for those in my games.
Wow, I developped prescience. Gerald DO speak a bit about "fire and explosions". Okay, not to the point of speaking of firearms in Ars Setting like I wanted after reading a previous article, but well. /D that is good for me!
A saga of minor magics
It develops on the idea to make a saga about hedge wizards instead of hermetic ones. This article analyzes the advantages and the differences. For example, for an hermetic magus, magical plants have few interest... they can have better with a CrHe or CrCo ritual spell. But what if you are not an hermetic magus?
What if you play the hedge wizard wanting to live near an hermetic covenant? that time, you are not the powerful, you are the feeble.
It's a very interesting article because it may allow you to discover the game again, by another way. Same fundamentals, same ambiance, same mysteries, but new options and limitations!
Thanks for this article, I may not need it, but if one day I feel tired of playing an hermetic wizard, I would very well decide this approach.
Since it is a long article - it covers almost 18 pages - I cannot stress the work done by the author enough : he did reference the traditions in annex of his article.
Very great job done, there, sir.
A setting piece in Brittania, with names, peoples, places, maps. All you can need if you decide to play an adventure of saga there.
And, well, that's it.
There is no mappa mundi this time and we will certainly have a difficult time the next time, to decipher the lies and secrets which will lie in the next issue... hoping that it will not be in one year, because one year is (too) long!
Keep doing your best works, we like it!