When is Sunrise/Sunset?

Another question:
If you go far north you will have midnight sun (in the summer) or no sunrise at all (in the winter). This should be true and observed in mythic europe. Even as far south as England the difference between night and day is quite significant near the equinox (EDIT: solstice, not equinox!).

E.g. If you travel to the far end of Norway(witch should be within the borders of mythic europe imo) there will be a 45 day period with no sunset in the summer and a 45 day period with no sunrise in the winter.

  • How do you think this should be handled?

And Diameter lasts a different amount of time, too.

But at least in those cases we can be consistent easily enough. I don't mind the variability in Sun and Diameter that we see. It's the inconsistency with the ground that gets me.


Well as far as mithic europe (and before) knew about astrology i can asure with no doubt that regadless whether you are, on a hill, a valley or a cave. The sunsetting will happend when the sun cross the horizon .

I think Jim Butcher's Dresden Files best articulated how I understand this. Consider sunrise (and sunset) as a magical event, more than merely a physical one. The transition from light to dark or dark to light is a wave of magical energy. As the wave passes over, the magic beneath is washed away. Some magic can resist the wave, because it is stronger or because it is sustained by some other source that preserves it... but that magic that it vulnerable to it, is washed away by it.

So the question is, has that wave, that passage from light to dark happened. It doesn't matter if you are inside or in a cave underground because the force of the wave, the power of the movement from light to dark or dark to light, washes over the whole world. You don't have to see it or be exposed to it for it to happen. The magical event that is sunrise or sunset happens, regardless of where you are. It isn't about the light touching you. It's about the cycles of magical energy moving over the world.

Pedantic comment (sorry): equinox is when night and day have equal length. The big difference is near the solstices that begin summer and winter.

Dude. I never thought of that.
Now I'm a little freaked out :laughing:

'ells yes. I was thinking the same thing having just picked up a new Dresden book this morning. :smiley:

Butcher has a fairly useful grasp on the story of magic as well as having a gamer's background that helps in presenting stories that are useful in RPG settings. Especially in regards to Ars. His take on magic can often be a inspiration and story seed all in one.

On a side note, how do my fellow Ars player tell time in their games? New thread?

While I totally agree that historically there was an understanding of sunrise happening at different times in different places there is at least one example in RAW that suggests it is not wholly true in-setting.

The Fenicil ritual that cursed house Deidne was timed to complete just after dawn so as to catch as many Deidnes as possible without their Parmas.

The Ritual was presumably cast at Magvillus. If the variation of sunrise and sunset was radically different from place to place there would be very few if any Deidne experiencing sunrise at the same time as the Domus Magnus of house Guernicus in the on a mountain in Italy.

Well, they couold have timed it so that it completed at dawn where Diedne magi were the most concentrated...

Supposedly they tried to get within half a diameter (1 minute) after sunrise. My back of a matchbook calculations say that in Great Briton the time of sunrise moves about a minute every 7-10 miles east to west not to mention elevation. Seams to be a pretty hard target to hit.

Some of this does come down to which definition of horizon we use. I suppose we could use astronomy's "rational horizon" to define sunrise and sunset. That would avoid all issues of being underground, in a valley, on a mountain, etc. in a nice way. I would think it would make sense to magi that magic follows something astronomical rather than something observed slightly differently.

As for the Diedne, I figured they weren't so spread throughout the Order. Meanwhile, unless someone is really diligent, if they're at home they may not get their Parma Magica up as soon as possible. That could easily lend several minutes of leeway, perhaps even fifteen or so. If the diedne covenants were clustered enough, that could put a big dent in their power even with different sunrise/sunset times. Also, I figure it's good to attack at someone else's sunrise/sunset while not at your own. Then you don't need to worry about your own Parma Magica and active spells, but they do.


Just found the relevant text I was thinking of.
The timeline in HoH:TL on pg144 year 1014

And the Sidebar on pg77.

It certainly sounds like the ritual was performed in South Eastern Italy. So even assuming they could catch a few Deidne with their pants down for as long as 20 minutes after sunrise, that still means they could only expect to catch those Deidne west of Pontenza Italy yet east of say Warsaw Poland. Magi who waited 20 minutes to put up their Parma while fighting a vicious war with most of the rest of the Order of Hermes. The one circumstance I'm sure most Magi would work overtime to raise their Parmas.

So by "some" do you think the author meant, "The few Deidne who might be scattered about a narrow band of Eastern Europe who take their sweet time to raise their Parmas despite being deep in enemy territory." or "Those Deidne worldwide who, despite being involved in a vicous war, don't arrange to raise their most potent protection ASAFP."

To me this is at least one check in the box for RAW setting having sunrise happen at the same time everywhere. Not that I've every played it that way.

You're reading a big assumption into this. It doesn't say local sunrise where the ritual was cast or anything specific like that. It could just as well mean the ritual was finished half a diameter after sunrise where the majority of Diedne were located at the time. That would seem to be reasonably consistent with the Diedne not having their Parma Magica active.

I figure it's likely the Diedne were relatively huddled together for protection (everyone get under a couple great Aegis spells) and they probably tried to start their Parma Magica rituals to get their protection back up as soon after sunrise/sunset as they reasonably could, though some would be in situations where they might be forced to wait a short bit longer. But a lot of them probably didn't have their Parma Magica rituals finished until closer to a diameter after sunrise/sunset typically.

I would accept your conclusion if I accepted the assumption, but I don't.


Just my opinion, but I think you guys are really overthinking this...