It's the final day of November and that means that a few posters on the Posts-a-day sub-forum are complete or coming close to completing their projects. Namely Argentius, Racconmask, and darkwing (sorry if I forgot anyone, I'll edit the post if you notify me). Here on the main forums, I'd like to hear what the community thinks of these posts and what contributors have to say about the projects they've worked on. I'll quote my final thoughts on Sahirs here in the opening post.
A month later and I have a few things to say about sahirs as a whole. I began this post-a-day as a way to both contribute something to fellow sahir enthusiasts and live out my desire for a sahir campaign. Although that desire is months off (I have to finish my current campaign with my players first), I feel that this experience has made me ready to know what I should expect and what I should instill into players new to sahirs.
One thing that I feel disappointed in is the rigidness of Solomonic Travel. Although it does do a lot of groundbreaking work, there is nothing special that can be done with the art as a whole without creating new guidelines through experimentation. On the flip side, the flexibility and range of other solomonic arts (namely Alchemy and Astrology) is pretty spectacular, especially since a nearly limitless amount of effects are derived from only a single box of guidelines. Between these two feelings are the arts of solomonic physic and storytelling, which I feel are good enough to stand on there own. Perhaps illusions shouldn't need to penetrate magic resistance considering how much of a problem penetration is for sahirs, although this could easily be remedied with spirits of high might and penetration.
I hope that this topic brought attention to what I believe is a overlooked part of Ars Magica, the non-hermetic side. Many thanks to those in the community who have been reading these and providing feedback, either on here at the forum or on the discord.
I've finished my 30 spirits one (well there are 30 posts at least, only 25 are actually spirits as I started to run low on ideas and time).
As with the one I did last year, I did the project mostly as a reason to push myself to complete something I'd been fiddling with for my own use. Unfortunately I then realised that of the spirits I had already made most weren't suitable as they were too saga specific! A few thoughts I had over the course of the month:
- Making spirits is both easier and harder than making beings from the other realms. Unlike the other realms magic spirits don't inherently have a reason to interact with characters so they need to be written to have a plausible essential nature that also will make them do things that affect the player characters, or a reason for characters to choose to interact with them (otherwise they are essentially just scenery). It's harder to fit magic spirits into a story than even other magical creatures (at least a magic animal can default to having the motivations of an animal, a spirit is completely divorced from mundane motivations). On the other hand as they aren't inherently bound to any real beliefs (mythological or religious) there is a lot of freedom in what they can be and do.
- A natural motivation for intelligent spirits would seem to be to accrue vis, in order to grow (and perhaps eventually become a named spirit). That gives them something of a gameplay niche in terms of interacting with magi - faeries want your vitality, demons to corrupt your soul, angels to save your soul, and magic spirits want your vis. That might be straying a bit far from the "essential nature" aspect of spirits though.
- Spirits as presented in RoP:M are mostly tied to pretty concrete things - a rock, a fire, a plant, etc. More abstract spirits exist, but the only examples are Genii Locorum and other Daimones (and Lugrae but they only get a very short description). I found myself kind of wishing there was a middle ground - not quite a named spirit but bigger in scope than the lesser spirits. Examples might include: an eidolon of a value shared by a community (e.g. "The Spirit of Verdi's Hubris" or something); guardian spirits of buildings, or of households/families; tutelaries (spirits of a settlement). I tried to leave this out of the project though as it's maybe not compatible with a strict reading of RoP:M, but I might include spirits like this in my own saga.
- I like Lugrae/Banes as spirits that are attracted by or which cause unpleasant things, but it seems like there ought to be a positive counterpart. Having opposing spirits of, for example, disease and health keeps it so that magic auras are normal to live in unless an "imbalance" occurs. It seems to me if only Banes exist without an opposite then magic auras would be very dangerous to live in for anyone without magic resistance.
- How do neo-mercurians view magic spirits? Have they actually revived/preserved aspects of Roman religion about Genii Locorum, Lares, and other minor gods, or do they focus purely on daimones and Mercury? Acting as a kind of "spirit medium" for covenants could be an interesting niche for some of the overtly pagan mercurian magi.
This year I deliberately aimed for something as straightforward as possible, as I knew trying to stat creatures or grogs this year would fail as I wouldn't have enough time.
Vis sources are always needed as every covenant needs several at creation, and there's always room for more on adventures. I added plenty of vim vis sources, as covenants need enough of this to spend on their Aegis, enchanting, and the rest.
I may add a few more entries in December if I have any good ideas, as I'm not sure I want to commit to doing another 30 vis sources next year. I'll need to come up with something else next year.