Transforming Mythic Europe
An Ars Magica 5th Edition Sourcebook
Hermetic magic has the power to change the world. A magus fresh from apprenticeship can create a land to rule where there was nothing but ocean. Magic can replace much of the back-breaking labor typical of the medieval world. Even without changing their use of magic, magi could upend the structure of society by involving themselves in its problems and politics. But magi avoid such activities. They know the risks involved, and do nothing that might upset the status quo of Mythic Europe.
Except when they do.
This book describes the magic and activities necessary to transform Mythic Europe, whether by creating an island for magi to rule, integrating the Order of Hermes into wider society, or starting a technological revolution. None of the magic is particularly hard, nor does it rely on hidden secrets. Magi have not changed Europe because they have not yet chosen to... Your magi may choose differently.
Authors: Timothy Ferguson, Mark Lawford, and Mark Shirley
Due out in December, but I guess we don't have cover art (normal for this stage) so there is no page on our website yet. However, since the announcement has escaped into the wild, I'll put it on here as well. Can't say much more about the content at this point. Tease, tease, tease.
It's not really like Hermetic Projects, because as the blurb says, the magic is easy. The will to stand on the mountain and tempt the lightning is the bit that's different, IMO. 8)
I'm really glad this is coming out. My wife and I were on an indifferent canal cruise in Chester, discovering our prepaid high tea was burger rolls with (only) shredded cheese on them because they'd missed the bit about us being vegetarian until the last minute. We were going to see the lock mechanism in the canal and the tour operator told us we couldn't because it was raining. As one person all of the participants said to him that, no, like heck were we not having a quick look thank you (the English among us saying that if you never do things because of rain you never do anything, and the Australians saying that it's actually called mist if it doesn't have prominent downward force, because English rain is basically rubbish as rain goes) and so we got out and looked as another boat came past and a woman popped off and pulled the sluice open, and in that instant I thought. "Hey..."
Those of you who follow my blog might remember these photos from my trip:
Not really my thing
I prefer my Ars Magica less fantastical and more low-key. In my campaigns magic has always been mysterious, unreliable, subtle and unknown... things like flying ships and undead armies have no place in it.
This will be the third Ars magica book I have no real interest in, the other two being "Tales of Power" and "Hermetic Projects". I hope this isn't the direction all upcoming books will be heading into.
To those who enjoy that sort of thing, I hope this supplement is awesome
Totally my thing. I do understand a preference for lower key settings I've even enjoyed a few sagas along that line myself. But for me the beauty of ArM is this sort of high level play. IMOHO the rules don't just allow it, playing close to RAW it's not easy to avoid PC's eventually reaching world changing power.
What I love about the current crop of supplements is that they suggest ways for players to use that power as well as ways for SGs to challenge it.
What excites me about Transforming Mythic Europe, is the hint that it's about the sort of things that usually get fast "No that will never work!"'s from SG's. (My self included.)
What I love about Hermetic Projects is that the various projects within that book give you options. You don't have to use any of them if you don't want to. Or you can make a point of ticking them off the list, one-by-one. Want a covenant full of animal-rearing cadaverous assassins who build ships to sail the lava flows before building high for happiness (spot the reference...), then go ahead. Or, if you like, cherry-pick little bits from here or there to flesh out your world. Might you have word of a magus in far off Novgorod trying to build a tower to reach the heavens? As storyguide, you might consider this NPC attempt to be doomed, but you should still have enough material (I hope) to get your player magi drawn into the periphery before the tower ultimately falls as the affront to the natural order of things that it so obviously is.
Now, nobody is under any obligation to buy any of these books, but Hermetic Projects is, I hope, a pretty decent read in its own right and a rich vein of ideas and examples that might just prove useful. Personally, if I had to pick two of those projects that I'd find space for in my next saga, I think it would be the Hermetic Assassin and the Living Corpse. I might not follow those projects precisely, but there are some top-notch things in there that I just wouldn't have come up with. It's worth a look.
I was really pleased to see Hermetic Projects myself.
Does that mean our sagas are full of huge towers and living corpses inhabiting vulcanos?
No. But we did have the beginnings of a menagerie, including growing gems, which appearantly were "known" to multiply a-sexually under the earth.
We've been stealing effects from several chapters, mostly the Intangible Assasin and the Living Corpse, but generally not for the purposes suggested by those chapters.
Indeed I think the most-used spells from Projects have been Minute of Reckoning and Touch of the Lodestone for finding people.
But it has given people in my troupe great ideas and a much better understanding of how to invent an obsession for a magus and then go about carrying it out.
Which has made for some entertaining stories.