Table Talk - Stealing the Future

I do not think chess is a bar game, given the description in HoH:TL. I'll think on it a bit today while BBQing

No, it Chess isnt' a bar game. I should have been clearer.

Chess is a tricky one. It should almost have it's own skill. The ArM5 game does not have a decent skill for it. While Leadership may be a decent option it does not capture enough about the game. Given the description in HoH:TL about the Tremere and chess, I would say that social skills are involved like Folk Ken, etiquette and possibly Guile. Since bar games are a part of the Carouse ability, chess could be part of another.

(rambling/brain storming ideas to follow) I would almost do an easy version and a more complicated version. Easy might be something like a Certamen start. Int plus another stat or skill that could be vetoed by your opponent. This way it becomes more personal like the description in HoH:TL yet still one roll. If you did not allow vetoing then each could use a social or intelligence skill that they wanted depending on the outcome they want. Fiona playing vs Clement might use Int + charm as she is trying to intrigue him into bed and Clement may use Folk Ken to learn something about Fiona ( like the Certamen technique).

A long version might have 3 phases (Opening, mid game, End Game) and be more like the debating rules from HoH:S using Leadership, Folk Ken and Guile ( or perhaps Etiquette). Not something I would do until I could really play around with it to see the balance.

Chess is kind of like a debate...

Kind of and not. It would be having the same debate over and over but the points (i.e. moves) of the debate may change. It is more limited that a debate in that there are rules that cannot be broken. Having a knowledge of previous games is a great help to an on going game in recognizing patterns quickly.

I vaguely remembered an ancient thread on this very topic, and managed to dig it up.

Basically, the answer is: Depends...what ability do you want to cover it? Not really a satisfactory answer, but honestly, "playing chess" doesn't fit neatly under any of the canonical abilities, so it more or less boils down to where did you learn to play and what kind of knowledge do you have of it? I, personally, am loathe to make new abilities will-he-nill-he, but I think this would be a very justifiable exception.

I dug up the same thread. I would not make a new ability. I would go with Int plus a limited number of skills depending on what you wanted to do. Leadership, Artes Liberales , Philosophiae, Concentration, Folk Ken, Guile, Charm. Perhaps Bargaining. Less about winning a game and more about the person.

I think Bargaining is probably the best use of an Ability for a game of chess. You are, simply put, negotiating with your opponent to get better positioning. Although, one could make a case for Intrigue, considering:

Vale Sodales!

At the invitation of Jonathan, I have begun working on an apprentice character, in the hope of joining the troupe. Roleplaying a character that young will be a nice challenge!

As for me, I'm a librarian in semi-retirement due to failed aging rolls at the ripe old age of 44. Not so good for my ability to get around, but my Enigmatic Wisdom score is doing well at least; it's something, eh? I live in Ohio (USA), with my beloved spouse of 15 years, three cats, a dog and a reef aquarium.

My Ars Magica experience is pretty rusty, since I mostly played back in the 3rd Edition days. I've kept (mostly) up with the books since, but only have occasionally found games to play in, so I'll probably need some nudging and corrections here and there.I'd appreciate it if you guys and gals could help me play within the rules, or suggest options I may not be aware of.

My knowledge of what mages are alive at this point in the timeline across the various Covenants is meager, I'm afraid, so those abilities will have to be filled in. Help would be greatly appreciated.

The above is a link to a picture of my character. She's a Skraeling (an Innu "native American" from Vinland) that stowed away on a longship out of curiosity, then found herself far out at sea when she woke up again. She's since been raised by a Custos at the Sinus Wodinis covenant (in southern Norway), which is nominally part of Novgorod but tends to keep in touch mostly with Crintera in the Rhine, it being dominated by the followers of Birna (and several thousand miles removed from the closest Novgorord tribunal).

One day, her accidental foster-father accompanied the mages of Sinus Wodinis to a meeting of the Elder Gild at Crintera to discuss the ongoing problems with the Northern Crusades along the Baltic coast. Little Chepi happily went along, since there wasn't really anyone suitable to take care of her at home and she'd shown she knew how to stay on people's good side. At Crintera, a visiting mage of the Irencilla covenant (a fellow member of the Elder Gild) noticed something he couldn't quite put his finger on, and decided to ask the Norse Bjornaer permission to talk with the little girl. Not only did she show a remarkable ability to express herself (in languages she could have only started to learn very recently) but she also showed the clear signs of the Gift - even if none of the coven folk or even the barn animals had noticed it before. Chepi also showed all the signs of being a sincere pagan at her very young age, which made for some practical problems in finding a suitable parens.

At this point, I'd like some input on how to best get her enrolled. There's ample possibilities, but many of them will hinge on the identity of various mages involved. Obviously, the Bjornaer at Sinus Wodinis and those at Crintera have a say in things, as well as the mage that discovered her Gift. It's also important to note that I have, on purpose, not yet made a choice for a House: I want this to be an in-character decision based on interaction with fellow discipuli, professors, visiters at Heviz, and so forth. One option would be to assign of Pralician to her, since her outlook on the world is coloured by the Faerie realm (she is firmly devoted to Freya, and she calls the faeries Manitou, but the underlying approach is there). On the other hand, she may be young enough that a straight apprenticeship will work: she's quick to pick up new information and very inquisitive.

So, there you have the basics. Let me know how it sounds to you all, and I can start to think about actual numbers.

Welcome aboard, sounds like an interesting concept. Given the introduction to House Bjornaer at Crintera she would seem a decent fit for that House except for her belief in pagan/faerie ways, which is something that they don't typically like. If the faerie ways are a bit too much of an obstacle I could see then House Merinita stepping in to repesent a child from such a far away land and with her beliefs.

I'm not sure if there's a Paradigm issue here or not; bringing in what sounds like a native American (living in Greenland maybe? How faw West does she truly come from?), but if you were to push the faerie angle it could be more represented perhaps by her being raised in the tips of Novgorod but perhaps also in a Ferie Regio as well? Just throwing some ideas out there.

Her tribe, the Innu (part of the Cree cultural group back then, and not the same at all as Inuit), live in southern and western Labrador. Vinland, the Norse name for their North American colony, covers settlements in modern Nova Scotia and along the southern coast of Labrador. There's some scant evidence that they had colonies in Maine as well, but nothing firm.

Mind, Chepi (aka Vanadís) is not actually of Faerie Blood - it is, as you indicated, mostly a question of paradigm. Would she be considered a hedge wizard? I don't know. If the Order fears that she would, they might look for a follower of Praxis to make sure her Gift isn't in danger. I'm definitely looking forward to interacting with all the various traditions!

She would not be a Hedge Wizard because she is a apprentice at a prestigious school that does not produce hedge wizards.

Within the paradigm of Mythic Europe, Vinland would really be Faerie, despite any historical knowledge to the contrary. The line is kind of drawn at Iceland.

Doesn't have to be strong faerie blood, but I was certainly thinking that the description was kind of faerie.

Does that mean that you could make a "reverse" character from what I had planned? A child that arrived with the Norsemen and spent time in Arcadia, since children slip through the boundaries of the realms so much more easily, back and forth?

The thing is, I want to work with the dichotomy between a human nature and a paradigm that is based heavily on a world where there the "old traditions" are real (ie Faerie), with the belief instilled in the character that the latter is what makes hermetic magic "tick". Faerie Blood would kind of defeat that struggle in it's infancy, so to speak. I guess a limited faerie upbringing might work, though. It's a tricky affair, for sure.

What would happen were the Norse (or anyone else) to build a church in Vinland? Could they even try and create a Dominion within the bounds of Arcadia?

I think faerie upbringing is a very good fit. Suppose that her Gift was manifest at birth, and her parents, hating her, threw her into the ocean, whereupon she was saved by the faeries and carried off to Vinland to grow up. Vinlanders behaved much differently than the Norse who attempted to colonize Vinland, right? So faerie upbringing can work. She has the ways she was taught, and there's very much a nature/nurture aspect that you can build upon.

She may not realize that she was with faeries, but mechanically taking the faerie upbringing flaw is very appropriate to represent that she's human and essentially reintegrating into human society.
Taking Faerie Lore with a specialty in Vinland is probably necessary, and eventually she'll come to understand the story she was a part of, and how that the Vinlanders were faeries. Again, this is a mechanical representation that she has the knowledge, but she doesn't necessarily know she has this knowledge. I can make faerie related rolls upon her behalf until such time as she figures it out and you want to start making those rolls. That part is up to you, though.

She does not need Fairy blood but can take Fairy Upbringing. I have a apprentice planed that would do just that. No fairy blood at all but have spent a long time in and with fairies. It is in HoH:MC There are other recommendations to take with it.

Edit: it is in HoH:MC.

The Vinland-as-Faerie approach has an interesting side-note, if I follow this through logically: the Vinlanders (in the stories that survived to our 21st century minds) were quite traditional, and several times actually reverted back to paganism after traveling there from Norway or the North Atlantic colonies. [Olof I "Skotkonung", King of Sweden in the early 11th century, for instance, is recorded as having reverted back to paganism under the influence of his Vinlander concubine Edla. Eymund, their son and a Jarl, was raised in Vinland by his mother's relatives, likewise as a pagan. Admittedly, this was by Snorre Sturluson, not the most reliable of sources, in the Saga of Olof Haraldsen.] That would work well with her having attended the worship of Freya in her infancy. They were just reliving stories in a world barely remembered, in a land that never was but always will be, but a child doesn't see it that way.

I'll have to store the idea of playing a skraeling for some other day, since I do like the concept, but for now I'll probably work with the proposed "reversed" idea: a child stowed on board at the Orkneys, discovered while far out at sea, and with Greenland no place for babies, transported all the way to Vinland where she was raised. She was returned to Norway, and there promptly given up to those eerie pagans at Sinus Wodinis, who might be able to handle this strange girl and her fey ways. From there on out, the story can unfold as previously thought of.

How does that sound?

As long as you can work with it, it's fine with me. My primary concern is helping you make a fun and interesting character while keeping within the framework of Mythic Europe.

As an aside, and not relative to my character - does this also mean that the Sami (aka "Lapps") are Faeries? Or, say, the people from Cathay...

The official line from David Chart, Line Editor for Ars Magica, is that Cathy is in the realm of the faeries. So, consistent with that approach, spices and silks and other goods from the Orient are faerie goods.

But this isn't as bad as it would seem, it's just another way of saying that these places are far away, and their customs of those locales differ greatly. Having them be Faerie actually makes it easier, because I can handwave away the language issues that come up in traveling to far off lands. The longer I game, the less interesting it is to focus on language differences as a plot device... Sometimes I will play lip service to it, and tend to pay more attention to it in ME.