But what I'd really like is at least one book on Mythic China. The Song Dynasty was in power in the 13th century, and there's a lot of great history just in the Song Dynasty that could produce some serious story seeds:
First government in world history to formally issue bank notes or true paper money;
First know usage of gunpowder;
First government to create a standing naval fleet;
First discernment of true north using a compass.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. You've got thousands of years of culture and refinement in the Chinese empire up to this point, several new religions to play with (Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, to name a few), a host of new abilities to introduce (tea ceremony, paper-making, calligraphy, to name a few), and a host of military traditions to draw from.
I think that Mythic China is one of the few places that is untapped and waiting to be written about for Ars Magica. Does the Order of Hermes even exist here? What faerie/divine/infernal powers operate here? If the Diedne disappeared instead of died out (as many suspect), are there any in China?
Just a few quick thoughts on this, of course. I'm not a polished author, but I'm willing to put my 2 cents in on any project that deals with Mythic China!
I've felt the need for this kind of stuff for a long time. I would add to the list a complete reference of existing rules, meaning an index, not a compilation. I would very gladly like to help with this, Tim. May I be of assistance? I would really like to help make this one happen, so if you can use some help, let me know and I'll give you my e-mail or whatever works best.
The list of Magi from across the books - are you going to only include those Magi with full write-ups, or will you also pay a bit of homage to those who have at least a mention in the books? I know a lot of Covenants mention that they have several other Magi beyond what's written up, so I'm just curious.
Also, if you are going to list out the Magi...any chance someone is going to do a full write-up on the structure of each House? Primus, Domus Magna, lineage, etc.? I know that information is also spread out across the books, and I'm curious to know if I'm the only one interested in knowing this?
The reason Project: Redcap is a wiki to enable and facilitate this sort of thing. I suppose keeping these lists in a spreadsheet or whatever is useful, but I think putting it in the Wiki would be significantly more useful. Can you send me what you have? I will gladly enter some of it into the wiki and then there's a good chance some other people will pitch in.
If you look at the wiki page for House Bonisagus, that gives you an idea of what I'm going for, but it is very incomplete because only two or three people have added content to that page so far.
The lists of magi and covenants are mostly done (although primitive), pending a current Through the Aegis update (and I should include some material from the HoH books). They are only notes with reference index - I will continue to reasonably respect copyright. I will not copy extended stats or descriptions.*
The list of magi does include placeholders for the popularly named Unknown Mage of House Unknown.
*If a Grimoire project does go forward, it should be done with due respect to Atlas' copyright.
I wasn't asking about a full write-up for each magus. I was asking if someone was going to list each house, then list each magus from each house, then list who the primus and domus magna were for each house. And then, if know, how the lineage filters through (sodales to apprentice).
I would not expect someone to do a full grimoire due to copyright issues.
I would then like to participate by trying to write up a complete reference index of rules accross the books. If you don't mind, Tim, I'll do that at Project Redcap, which will be an easier way to go about it (and available for the public, as well).
Please PM me if I can be of help in any way, helping you learn the wiki or understanding/improving how things are organized. I will also snag Tim's spreadsheets and do a bit of data entry myself, if that is OK with Tim.
Project: Redcap allows files so I would be very glad to host a copy of the files there, as well as putting content into the wiki.
I will not lie to you, I'm entirely unfamiliar with authoring things, but as others have said my help is available to be requisitioned.
As for what we should write, I have two main answers for this. One is based on practicality, the other is based on an idea that I find exciting and which is one of the few things not already well-covered in the books.
For the practical thought, I think we should focus on consolidating what we've got and then expanding our horizons. Mythic China or a similar area would, in my opinion, be a perfect opportunity to try out new subsystems, new rules tidbits, things, in order to figure out which parts of what we don't have might hold appeal and which parts we can prove are best ignored, and to see how certain things might potentially work if tweaked for a 6th Edition, for those of you who are still getting on about that.
[strike]For the idea I like... What if we wrote a supplement about cataclysmic events, how those would effect Europe as a whole, and how sagas might be played differently with troupes either at the forefront of these events or trying to survive in the background while everything is going to hell (perhaps literally)? Y'know, like, "here are some tips for the political and ideological situation if Ragnarok happens," or "this is how the Order of Hermes would likely treat the beginning of the Apocalypse as Hell and Heaven begin their final war." That sort of thing. I just think it would be majorly cool.[/strike] By gods, I'm an idiot, ignore me. Just like me to see the announcement that this is literally on the line only after I post that I think it would be interesting.
But yeah. I'll help with whatever is decided upon.
I was under the impression that one of the authors had taken a look at doing a Mythic China, and determined that there were a number of issues, including the fact that the magic system stopped working if the magi in question got sick. (Sure, you don't NEED historical verisimilitude, but having balanced chi was apparently a central tenant of the system.)
On the future history side: a discussion of breakthroughs that would be likely to occur over the next 300 years - such as Double-entry bookkeeping and the number 0, or the full integration of Hedge Magic into the Order: the history behind them (ie, how it was developed originally), likely sources of Insight, and their effect on the game system. Basically "Ancient Magics", but looking forward towards the Renaissance.
This is basically an alternate way of putting out the history books, as it modularizes the changes to the game mechanics. (I suppose it could also be done backwards, in that it could identify how many recent integrations have occurred, and by whom. Which we've done a bit on in the forums, of course.)
Not one, there were three of us, and we did get about 40 000 words into drafting.
For mine, the fact that your magic stops working if you get sick is a feature not a flaw. 8)
The problems were, as I recall:
If we write at the scale where Ireland is a single book, then China is a set of about 40 volumes. Europe's not a continent, it's a peninsula that's about half the size of a single Chinese province that gets to call itself a continent because they came up with the name.
There's a lot of magical stuff going on in China. A heap. More than you can possibly use. When whole traditions shrink down to a line, so they all fit, does this work or is it terrible?
Do you want to be killing and vis-sucking the gods of people who are real and alive and all? I mean, are you happy with the equivalent of carving up Jesus and selling powdered Jesus?
You can do China without doing China. There -are- Chinese sorcerers in Mythic Europe now. The Roland stories are actual in Ars now, because the castle of the big villain magus is in Between Sand and Sea, as is his magical tradition. That means Angelica, Princess of Cathay, is in play. Personally I think Trianoma is Chinese.
Freed of the physical limits of the books, I can kind of see an alternate founders book based on Baldwin of Bath, and Ganieda (Merlin's sister), and Angelica, and so on. Not that that's what I'm proposing...
Cathay was used for China & India back then. Most Europeans didn't know/understand there was a difference. Now Mythic India, while awesome and something I'd want to bring into Ars Magica, is also a bit beyond the pale. Not quite as large as China, but yeah...
Even if I'd like to run Prester John's Kingdom as a Divine Regio in Mythic India.
What? It is exactly where Mythic Europe thinks it is. Just 'above' standard reality. Of course, I'm unsure & uncomfortable with how to handle Hinduism in universe.
Still, Chinese Trianoma was worth the poking of the Tim Lord with the Mythic Cathay idea.
I'd like to know which tradition in BSaS you are referring too, if that is alright.
Alternate versions of the Order will always be appreciated. That said, what are you proposing, Lord Ferguson?
I'm proposing we do a big, public, communal writing project so that it's clear the edition is not really, dead, just waiting for the stars to come right.
The thing is, it only works if a cluster of authors are enthused to work together. There's no point me saying "Hey guys let's all do X! Because I want to do X!". As we have seen on Vaults of the Order and the collaborative fiction thing: that doesn't get the quantum of work together that leads to success.
So, I'm hoping some of the others chip in, and say "You know...I'd write X." until we get to a team big enough to work from. And that's why I'm not suggesting things myself: I've tried that and it doesn't work, because my enthusiasms are too far from the centre of what the community wants to do.
Well, the current (meta) version of Mythic European monotheism is roughly analogous to Hinduism, in the sense that Hinduism is ultimately a number of sub-religions all woven together through a generalized theological and cultural framework. It's just that the theologians of the Indus river valley did it intentionally, as opposed to having it be done by game designers.
The main issue would seem to be reincarnation - in the sense that it's objective Mythic fact that souls go to heaven or hell upon death, whereas in Hinduism we get into the whole Wheel of Suffering/try to escape thing. And the whole dharma/karma thing seems pretty intrinsic to the belief system that you'd have to get creative in order to meld the two. But other than that? I don't necessarily see any more of an issue of handling it as the way Christianity/Islam/Judiasm has been. (Or any of the pagan religions, really.)