Thoughts on Lords of Men, a question for the history experts


From what I hear, the next book out is Lords of Men, and I've been waiting since 5th edition was released for a book on nobles, knights and warfare (which I assume will all be in this book).

So, since my regular group is a bit.. dysfunctional, at least for playing Ars Magica (many of the great themes with Ars Magica are wasted on them, as they can't seem to get past the D&D-side of things...), I'm going to pitch a campaign idea for a different group of players, whom I believe could get a very good Ars Magica campaign off the ground. I was thinking of having a noble's court as one of the main focus points in the campaign. A place where many of the stories happen.

But where in Mythic Europe could this be? I usually want to keep as historically correct as possible, and not to disturb it too much. So are there any poltical bodies, large or small, in this time that are less well detailed, and could give more room for our stories without us having to change history too much?

I'm interested in places like the Stonehenge Tribunal, Rhine Tribunal, Thebes Tribunal (oh how I wish there could be a Thebes Tribunal book!) and the Levant Tribunal.

So, any suggestions? This is basically me asking for tips on how to start a new and improved campaign :slight_smile:



Depends on what you want. Any earl's (England), Elector count (Holy roman Empire) or Count (France, iberia) can be quite large, and those people tend to hold several castles and have lands in quite a few places. Even minor nombles have a knight entourage.

Do you want a covenant there? An idea of what court magicians could fit? The type of adventures?

If you want a Camelot-like environment, placing the guys near the forest of Dean is good. it is a large royal forest, and you can pretty much have anything you want inside it and in the nearby mountains. It is a region that borders with northern Wales as well (read: skirmishes). The diedne imprint in the region is bound to be strong.


One of my main ideas is to have it placed in the Levant, as one of the main themes will be the meeting of Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures. It depends on the players, though, since they will have to create their own covenant using the Covenants book. I find that, with my previous groups (which are all a combination of mostly the same players), the players don't want to do any of the work themselves, and I feel that Ars looses some of the really good stuff this way. I mean, then the players are purely reactive, not proactive. Does that make sense?

Anyway, the inspiration for this type of campaign actually came from the Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies, especially with the character's interactions with the courts of Edoras and Minas Tirith. They're not parts of the court, but by their own will or by chance, they would have great impact on these courts. The Companions in the saga would all be connected to this court, and the magi would live in their covenant nearby.

One of my favorite films, Kingdom of Heaven (the 4 hour long Director's Cut, that is) really sets a great mood for the type of campaign I would like. Themes about nobles, religion, intrigue, war, betrayal.. :slight_smile:


I made use of a similar theme in Constaninople set during the run up to the 4th Crusade , you have a lot of internal politics, complciated relationships with foreign courts etc. I started in about 1195 giving only 9 years before the Crusade but you could start earlier and whatever outcome you get from the crusade the city remains important and the centre for scheming and politics.
In the end IMS one fo the magi took out the crusading fleet with a casting tablet for Neptune's wrath making things even more complicated for everyone

Spain could be a good place for this sort of idea too.

Spain is partially controlled by a Muslim empire (reaching across from North Africa), and during the Ars Magica period Christian forces are re-conquering large portions of it. There are lots of newly minted Christian nobles controlling formerly Muslim areas, and a mix of Christian, Muslim and Jewish citizens. The territory is divided into a number of small(ish) kingdoms.

For what it is worth, below is the wikipedia timeline of the muslim presence in Iberia (Spain). It seems relatively accurate and might be a good place to start for further ideas and research.

Yup. Iberia is a good place as well. Sicily is another, if you want a more sedate environment. If you take that path (Iberia), talk to Marko Markoko and Firth5 ( think I am missing someone important... lachlan?): they have LOTS of info on iberia compiled for their sagas.


Thanks, lots of good ideas here. I will talk to the group. :slight_smile:


In my opinion, just my opinion, Mythic Iberia is the very best setting for an Ars Magica saga. Multiple cultures, adventure, romance, competing kingdoms, freeen cavaliers, and much more. You can carve out your own dominion, like El Cid did in Valencia. Spain is different from the rest of Europe. It is not as feudalized. Major landowners are not necessarilly nobles, and nobles don't always owe fealty to their king. Count Ortiz pretty much ruled his realm as an independant kindom.
One important point o remember is that the Reconquista is more of a political struggle than a religious one. Religion happens to be a political issue, but Christians and Moslems form alliances against other Christians and Moslems. For example, in 1222 the Moslem govenor of Valencia allies himself with the king of Castile. As a Umayyad, he is seeking to throw off the shackles of Almohade domination.


What about the Caribbean Tribunal? Magi of the Caribbean. Just saying.