There is a poll requesting input on the next Tribunal books and it got me thinking about something else altogether…
What about Mythic Europe (3rd)?
ME is one of my all-time favorite books. It discusses each area in summary and then focuses in on details that allow someone enough information to create characters, conjure up plot ideas, and get a grasp of what is going on elsewhere in the world. It provides information on the upcoming decades of change and war in Europe and Near East. It identifies important individuals and nobles, academics and clergy; all of whom are of significant importance to the Middle Ages.
ME is also one of my favorite books because it drops OoH right in the middle of it with amazing stories and rumors. The section on Iberia describes street-by-street battles for cities in the south of the peninsula between Flambeau and the Moorish sahir. The Battle for the Tower of the Djinn!
The section on eastern Europe discusses Hungary and Poland, the best written summaries of those countries during this time that I’ve come across in Ars. Granted I lack Against the Dark but I think the way it goes on to describe the next couple decades (Mongols) and other things are extremely important.
Whenever I sit down to mess around with Ars Magica, I always have ME with me so I can pull it out and add something interesting to the background of an NPC. Or come up with a plotline that hinges on events in a faraway land.
ME 3rd is one of my all-time favorite books.
Now my pitch for 5th… no offense to the previous authors who did wonderful jobs but the 5th edition books have been incredibly detailed, maps of cities, listings of important people, chapters dedicated to plot ideas and the inset Story Hooks. All of these things make the 5th edition books stand on the shoulders of previous editions in detail and rich description.
My mind shudders at what they would do with ME 5th edition… a good general sourcebook for all of Mythic Europe with plot hooks, important cities and all sorts of other information tucked within the pages.
Yes indeedy… a new Mythic Europe is the way to go.
I think it could easily avoid duplicating existing books or boxing future tribunal-book authors into corners.
There's a lot of areas that could be painted in: events past 1220, more about the supernatural landscape, more about organizations that span across tribunals (I'd love some details on how redcaps operate), etc.
Hmmm, maybe I should re-read it? I bought it long time ago, when playing 4th ed, but never used it at all, apart from what I remembered for later play after that first and only read. I have only had my hands on it since then while moving house twice, and then again 2 weeks ago when I put my books in order according to editions.
Really a blast from the past. Not read it in ages myself. Should do it.
Still, it seems a neat idea. The coverage of transcontinental movements and organizations is a really good idea.
I can see it discussing the role of the Praecos, the redcap network and how the Grand Tribunals set precedents and shape the Order. The role of peregrination routes (somewhat different but related to that of the Church, like pointing out their mystical significance) and trade routes can be really a source of ideas. The vis economy of the order and other issues in trade and tribunal relationships can also be discussed as well as transborder conflicts, that exist all around. Macro conflicts that span several tribunals can also be important, like the 100 years war and the hermetic conflicts of conquest in the frontiers (Asia minor anyone?) or the disputes against mobile enemies like Davnalleus or the cases of Denmark and other conflicts.
Quite some potential without clashing with published tribunal-centric books.
I was mostly puzzled by the inclusion of the 100 years war, which IIRC is over a century into the future from standard ArM dates, and mixing historical events like this with wanting a description of how the Redcap network works across Mythic Europe and how Perigrinator magi travel.
Unless Mythic Europe for 3rd ed is riddled with either errors or simply things which aren't true in 5th ed, then the old book should be sufficient for a broad listing of history and geography.
I took Xavi's mention of the 100 years war to be an example and not necessarily a requirement. It's not like Xavi is writing a treatment, IMO, we're throwing out some ideas and see what sticks. It can be useful to see how the Order might influence the future.
If it seems broad and unfocused, well, it is. However, I would like to see a clear implementation of how Perigrinatores move through the Order, how the Redcaps operate, or at least someone else's ideas on how those things work. One of the things that is nice, but maddening is that the Order is presented to us in pieces, and not a whole system. I, for example, have some trouble with how certain Tribunals can even continue to operate as a political entity, let alone as a part of an Order, where every Tribunal has different customs, and not just slightly different, vastly different. Bringing those things together (if they are meant to be together) could be helpful. Or not. It might just be interesting.
True, in the future. Not that France and England had not been at each other's throat since the Conquest in 1066 or anything like that Capeto - Plantagenet conflict, if you prefer.
Those were only random ideas. AFAIK a standard tribunal (with fair and everything surrounding it) or other stuff has not been discussed in detail in 5th edition, and it could be useful stuff to have on hand. More than a repeat of how France rules its lands. But that would be my take on it: talking about pan-European stuff or border stuff, not a bird's eye of what tribunal books cover.
And since it is Mythic, I would reinforce the Mythic in the title: the Order as a whole and the supernatural. For the mundane we have other books.
Last night I took a look at my mythic europe book. Seems I was confusing it with the Medieval Handbook. The ME book is like a list of short descriptions of cities after a broad brushstroke take on the (modern) country or geographic area where they are in nowadays. Quite a different thing.
Don't the tribunal books include such town descriptions already? That was my impression, at least.
Even though I like the Mythic Europe book from 3rd edition too, I reread the Medieval Handbook recently, and found it very interesting for flavour, with many tidbits of information that could be used in 5th ed. Indeed, I could see a Medieval Handbook, "Hermetic World edition", for 5th. How does the Redcap network work, inter-Tribunal relationships, Grand Tribunals inner workings and so on. Instead of a monk, it could even be penned by a Redcap!
I like the idea of something that presents a broader-picture Hermetic landscape. We've had the House books to discuss the inner workings of each House, the Tribunal books to discuss the details of each (very different) Tribunal.
Something that ties them together would be grand. Stuff more about the Order at large - discussing trade of vis and services, messages, the relationships between the Tribunals at their borders, hospitality for travelling magi (and what one might expect), a 'typical' Tribunal - possibly with notes about specifics for each event.
Having the book cover (in passing or in detail) some of the 'big calendar' events and how these can impact the grander Order: the Verditius contents, the Gathering of Twelve Years, the Flambeau tourney. The resulting shift in populations of magi must have some impact that stretches beyond one house or even one Tribunal. Not to mention Grand Tribunal - how many magi attend? What else happens there?
Reprinting (and expanding upon) the various Domus Magna in one volume would be nice, too. These are places players are likely to visit in any saga.
So while it is something of a Medieval Handbook, one that puts a lot of focus on the Order of Hermes as a society would be neat.
Very easy link: make it an apprenticeship for a new redcap. A veteran tells him all the things he needs to know to operate in Mythic Europe. From mundane interaction through several areas to hermetic covenants, mundane and supernatural dangers, customs of the Order, the role of redcaps in all this mess, major routes of travel both for sea and land travel, major areas of conflict (so he does not get caught in them!), trade in information money books and vis et al, magic items used by redcaps, the importance of the actual Red Cap they carry, how the mundanes interact with you and how different covenants do it, what happens at tribunal (information gathering!!!) and where you can find hermetic problems and help. All added to a "life on the road" kind of approach. Not the most original, but it is easy to have a general view of the pan-European stuff through the eyes of a constant traveler with heavy involvement in hermetic stuff.
Not ;ythic Europe book for 5th in any case. Still, the ME book seems 100% usable in ArM5 without modifications. or any other medieval world game for that matter, since there are no rules to mess up the ambience of the book
The problem with ME is that it covers so much that each place is little detailed. Thus, it's close to useless if you want to exploit it in a particular Saga/area. Tribunal books look much more valueable to me. The MH was very nice to read, on the other hand.