What to buy next?!

What should I buy next?

  • City & Guild
  • Ancient Magic
  • Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults
  • The Mysteries revised
  • Realm: Divine
  • Realm: Infernal
  • Tribunals of Hermes: Rome (3rd edition)

0 voters

OK, I've dived back into my ArM collection and have worked my way through ArM4, Wizards Grimoire, Hedge Magic, Shamans. I've even dragged my way painfully through A Midsummer Night's Dream. Then, courtesy of Ebay, I've merrily skipped my way through the extremely enjoyable ArM5 and HoH:True Lineages.

So the question is, what to buy next?! I'm very impressed with the choice of supplements for 5th edition, and I'm expecting the quality to be very good. But there's some older stuff I wouldn't mind getting, depending on whether there are any plans to re-write. I like options that extend our understanding of magic in Medieval Europe (I'm a big fan of magical metaphysics in game worlds), although Shamans and Hedge Magic have left me somewhat unsatisfied with their complete mechanical independence. Which makes me a little worried about the likes of Ancient magic and Mysteries - my heart wants them, but my head expects disappointment!

I'd very much welcome peoples' views. So I'm cheapening this intellectual and austere forum? Ah well, that's obviously my wizard's sigil :smiley:

(if it helps, here's the complete list of what I already have: ArM4, ArM5, HoH:TL, Faeries (3rd), Hedge Magic, Pax Dei, Maleficium, Wizards Grim, Four Seasons, Stonehenge, Iberia, Shamans... and possibly one or two others!)

I can't vote on your nice poll, because I really have to split my vote between Hoh:MC and TMRE :confused:

Hey webmaster, this forum REALLY needs multiple-choice polls. :frowning:

Well, it depends on which parts of the setting you are most interested to develop and explore. All 5th ed. supplements have been of overall excellent quality so far. If you are interested in exploring additional ways of mystical and character developments post-creation, I definitely recommend TMRE and HoH:MC first of all. Mysteries add a lot of nice options to enrich your character, both magically and socially, and IMO they almost reach the level of "additional corebook" stuff. The mechanics to learn new kinds of Hermetic and Supernatural abilities post-character creation are here and nowhere else. Plus, if you have already HoH:TL, it is good to complete the Houses rooster (along with the upcoming HoH: Societates next Spring). If you instead you are interested into exploring the impact that mythical religion and evil can have both on the setting and on hermetic magic, I definitively recommand both the Realms of Power. I have have to remark that they are way, way, way, better than the truly horrid, door-stopper Maleficium :unamused: and Pax Dei :angry: :imp: . If you have all that cash, I would even suggest you to buy mysteries and realms books together in one fell swoop, since they all complement each other in some ways and form a nice rooster of veroabundant mystical goodness. What I absolutely recommand anyway is always to buy the RoP:D/RoP:I and TMRE/HoH:MC couples together as they are heavily complementary.

Ancient Magic is quite nice if you are interested for a book of Indiana-Jones-like adventures to send your PC to unearth lost magical lore, and nice ideas on how to research to advance Hermetic magic (although the mysteries books, too, may be rather useful in this regard).

City and Guild is instead rather useful if you wish for addtional, extensive detail on city life, guild and artisan crafts, and creating a merchant enterprise.

So my suggestion is to buy HoH:MC and TMRE first, RoP:D and RoP:I second, or viceversa, according to whether you are most interested to send your mages into the path of the Mysteries, or see all the myriad ways both God and the Devil can mess with the lives of aforementioned mages. I have to remark that all these books are head and shoulder better than their 4th and 3rd ed. counterparts, and truly worth a bit of financial hardship to get them all. Then you may go either Ancient Magic or City and Guild, depending on whether you care most for "Indiana Jones, Mage", or "Gordon Gekko, Mage".

Unless you absolutely, truly have to run an extensive saga into the Rome Tribunal, ignore 3rd ed. stuff, or buy it at heavy discounts. Focus on getting the nice 5th. ed. books.

I these kind of polls where you can only dot one where you would have dotted 6 options! :imp:

All the 5ths are worth their bucks. I'd probably go for HoH:MC and TRME first (and they are a kind of a package), and from there I'd go on in the direction your are most interested in.

Damn, that was exactly what I was thinking. Better hide the next bank statement from my wife then.

This forum looks like it uses exactly the same engine as the Hero games forum, which does allow for multi-choice polls. Something else for the Atlas Games to do list :smiley:

HoH--True Lineages, and Mystery Cults...

They both expand the Mages, and make things MUCH more interesting for them...

Mysteries Revised
Guardians of the Forest--Unless you want to play in the Rhine..then you would need to bump this up above the Infernal book.
The Divine
City and Guilds..Makes a really good stab at a monetary system for AM5.

Actually, not one on my current to-do list. I've got ArM4, and I've got the old 2nd edition Covenants book, and I prefer the old system to the new. I had a flick through the Covenants book and I can see it does add more of the crunchy detail that I like, but definitely a very low priority. Unless that's the only book my FLS has in stock of course :slight_smile:

Mysteries revised and Mystery Cults are chock full of expansions to our understanding of magic in Mythic Europe in ways that are semi integrated into the magic of the order (so they are expansions of the main rule book magic system rather than mechanically independant).

Covenants has a laboratory personalization system that is an expansion of the main book system. I like it a bit better than the system in Wizard's grinmore revised edition (I never looked closely at the rules in the original wizard's grimore). The covenants system is a bit wacky with upkeep costs.

Ancient magic is a book about taking mysteries of the ancient world (the language of Adam, the writings of Ptolomy, the necromancers of ancient Caanan, etc.) and integrating them into the magic of the order. SO it has some mechanically indepentant systems (such as the rules for running an ancient Hyperborean mage, or creating the automotons of Heron of Alexandria) bu tall of the systems also have integration with hermetic magic.

Realms of Power Divine and Realms of Power Infernal present a mechanical framework of "methods and Powers" that is used to present large numbers of dispirate holy and unholy magical traditions in a fairly unified way. The method and power system is quite similar to the technique/form system of hermetics but different enough that you'd probabaly call it mechanically independant. Each book also presents a tradition that is truely mechanically independant my guess is that the authors had a particular story element myth or archetype that htey couldn't fit neatly into the method/power system so they decided to "do it right" rather than prune it into systemic unity. The Divine has Ars Notoria - attaining the Seven Seals of Soloman. The Infernal book has Ars Goetia - Summoning spirits and doing nasty infernal things to and with them.

I voted for Myeteries, but that's just because that's how my mind and games work. I can see that the House book might work for you if you have people who really love those Houses.

I mean, they are all good and all fun, but I think Mysteries really stands out.

Yeah, but it doesn't matter much, because, according to my experience, now that both books are available, a fan should better do his financial best to buy these books together if at all feasible, since they can be understood and used so much better if read and kept on the table back-to-back. Apart from some social structure info and general character creation guidelines on Mystery Cult Houses (and some otherwise generally useful bit such as guidelines on shapeshifters), they are really the two halves of a same book.

To be honest; The Mysteries didn't really stand out for me - we didn't click. HOH:MC/TL, on the other hand, did.

While RoP:Divine and Infernal are both very good and flavoursome. And City & Guild (ROP:Mundanes? :unamused: ).

All of them. Even Rome!

But the The Mysteries and Ancient Magic are, for me, a wealth of new ideas and new avenues to take your players down. Those two books alone could support a saga's worth of stories.

If you don't mind the ever-present, all-powerful, all-meddling demons... :open_mouth:

So, so very true, my point was just that if you buy HoH:MC and TMRE separately you'll probably do yourself a disservice. Those books are truly meant to be read and used together. If you truly wish to gorge yourself on story ideas and mystic goodness, buy TMRE, AnM, and HoH:MC and happy feasting.

In regards to Rome, I'll rate the tribunal books by my order of preference.

Guardians of the Forrest
Blood and Sand
Heirs to Merlin
Dragon and the Bear
Sanctuary of Ice (sorry Tim)
Lion of the North

It's not that there isn't anything redeeming about Rome, it's that there isn't as much there as in the other books and the mood seems to short both high adventure epic stories of wonder and medieval historical influence in favor of "demons demons everyware and not a hope to think".

I think I would make the same list as Erik, but puting Lion of the North at the top of the list.

Depending on how much you want non-hetrmetic traditions, Ancient magic might be food for your plate or not. I am using part of it in an indirect way in my starting saga (the ptolemaic coordinates, discovered by an other covenant and probably norse runes if the campaign goes the way I plan... something that never happens :wink:) but it is not really "necessary" in the usual setting of ArM.

Infernal is good if you want to introduce religion in your saga. I found that the info provided by the ArM5 rulebook was OK for me when it came to christian story seed (in fact, it was amazing) so I didn't find the divine that useful. The guardians of the forest supplement suffers from the chamber pot nailing issue, but it is a good and worthwile supplement for a well done tribunal book.

I think I would recommend the Mystery Cults first since it deals with the core of the game: the order of hermes and it is bound to have heaps of potential story seeds in the text. Sadly i9t is the only supplement I lack :frowning: So I ccannot say how good it is. I was happy with the True Lineages book, and I guess this one is as good, though. the only think I didn't like was to know the exact num,ber of magi of each house. I hate this sort of number precission, but obviously you can always drop that number from your saga completely. I ahve done that in mine.



[quote="Erik Tyrrell"]
In regards to Rome, I'll rate the tribunal books by my order of preference.
Sanctuary of Ice (sorry Tim)


No worries: the subsequent reworking of the Houses, particularly Criamon and Jerbiton, and the movement of the idea of chapter houses into the Rhine, weakens this book somewhat. It was novel at the time, but the line's moved on and a lot of the "new" ideas in it have been picked up and used for later, more developed things. Also, I'd put GotF, because it works seemlessly with the new edition, and HtM ahead of it myself. "Blood and Sand" and "Dragon and the Bear" would get ahead, IMO, if you are playing in their regions, only. I think for a saga not set in any of the three tribunals, DatB is stronger if you want the Mongols, and BaS is stronger if you want a strong Arabic flabvour, but if you are closer to vanilla, then SoI is probnably better, in terms of developing your character's elders and so on.

Hey Xavi: what is the "chamber pot nailing issue" that you speak of? I don't think I've heard that expression before.

"Chamber pot nailing" is an expression that basically means that things are described in such detail (down to the chamber pots present) that there is not much scope for improvisation without remaking significant parts of the setting: too much detail, in general.

It is an expression used massively in the berserklist (AKA Berkley ArM email list).

Clear as mud? :slight_smile:



I see. Nah, your explanation makes sense, and I can see where that ivew comes from. Me, I like that level of detail, since I change/modify things a ton, but even with that thought, the book was very specific about a lot of issues.