Tag Archives: Ars Magica


Okay. One of the reasons I’m running behind on posts around here is because I’ve just been accepted into a doctoral program and my brain is a splode. Which is okay, really, because while there’s detritus and neural shrapnel hanging around, I’m still relatively in control of things.

It just means other things fall a bit by the wayside. (I aim to finish up my travel recap by the end of this month.) So I try to take care of these things piecemeal, here and there, as time allows. One of those things is continuing to fill in the Ars Magica campaign I’m still planning on running.

And to that end I have found The Medieval Bestiary, which has totally made my week. Not only does it help engender a medieval atmosphere in the thinking that I’m doing, the beasties are absolutely fantastic. Even the mundane ones. For instance, the pelican kills its young and revives them with its blood.

But for real fun, I’ll leave you with the Bonnacon (also known as a bonasus). This will somehow make an awful, awful appearance sometime. I’ll be sure to relate the results.


So much to do, so little time

Well. I’ve still got several days of European trip to recap, an Ars Magica game to gently construct, a doctoral program to get ready for, and by the beginning of next month I’ll be headed back to the US to help out my family for a few weeks.

I’ve been numbing my mind a bit with SWTOR, to be honest. The reasons for heading back to the US so soon after returning to Oz aren’t positive ones, though I sorely wish they were. And there’s the mildly building stress of going to school for the first time in eleven years.

Yeah. I’ve been numbing my brain a bit. I feel a little guilty about not writing at least the travelogues, but when it comes to something so reasonably easily accomplished, it feels like an overwhelming insurmountable thing. Couple that with realizing I’ve bitten off more than I can chew in my initial PhD proposal, and I collapse into a little gravity well of worry.

Well, I’m built for worrying. It’s innate. Like breathing. Inhale, fret. Exhale, brood. Repeat. This plays a huge role in how I make decisions in my life, for good or ill, but that’s its own post.

I don’t have any photos to share with you for this post, since I’m at work and don’t have any images on a thumb drive (I’m posting during my lunch break!). But I will try very hard to compose another entry for you all tonight, complete with pictures. It’ll probably take my mind off things, to be honest.

In other news

I can’t say it’s completely against my better judgment, because my better judgment usually isn’t around to get opposed to things. But I’m going to run an Ars Magica game.

I’ve got two players, possibly three, if the mister wants to get involved. I’ll be the main GM, with room for the other players to run some stories when they want to. I have to admit, I’m pretty excited, because I’m all about beginning things. Creating characters, storylines, projects.

I am absolutely awful at finishing them.

This doesn’t bode well for grad school, but I finished it successfully once, I’m sure I can do it again.

Anyway. We’re using 5th edition, and I’m setting it in Spain. This is mostly because I’ve got a decent handle on the history and culture, and I feel I can keep the atmosphere and setting clear and consistent. No D&D “10 x 20 foot room” for me.

I love RPGs. It’s not really comparable to anything, not even improv theater. I generally try to explain tabletop and LA RPGs as those cops ‘n’ robbers games we all played as kids, except someone is in charge of at least an outline for the story, and there are rules to prevent the inevitable “I killed you” “no you didn’t” “of yes I did” “oh no you didn’t!”

Rules. The bane of my existence. I’d make a rotten programmer because logic — well, logic and I have an uneasy truce. I’m a fan of intuition, fudging things out of laziness and service to the story. But that means, in a worst-case scenario, that I’m inconsistent. And that is nothing short of death for any game.

I’ve partly sorted out Champions, so I figure I can comprehend Ars. But studying the rules is hard. my brain goes on little jaunts into lovely day dream lands where I ruminate on the really cool hidden surprises I have in store for this particular Ars saga. I think about what I’ll have for dinner, or whether there’s a cat belly close enough to rub, or if I remember where I put my watch this time around.

If I could sort out a way to maintain internal consistency without resorting to mechanics at all, I would. But if I were that efficient, my logic circuits would be pretty strong and I wouldn’t fear the mighty ruleset. Which leaves me with no other option than to study, which is something I need to get done before my first classes start.

Plush die

I WANT THIS. I do. It's so...cuddly. Can you imagine a White Wolf game with these? You'd have to have a Chuck E. Cheese style ball pit for all the dice! (Courtesy ToyVault.)

And there’s that pesky SWTOR, too. I love MMOs (nowhere near as much as I love tabletop), but man do they just eat time.

As I said, the game is set in Spain. I’ve been to southern and central Spain, but a bit of fiddling with Google maps let me discover the lovely little township of Arnedillo. It’s got Roman baths, and thermal springs! That in itself is a story source. The covenant will not be very far away, perhaps half a day’s walk which is actually a shorter distance than it might seem, but up and down some steep mountainsides. The area is also amenable to grape growing, so wine will play a part somehow.


A small, medieval town. In existence since the 11th century, situated at the top of a ridge, with hot springs and Roman baths. I'd visit, if I were in Spain. (Courtesy Wikipedia.)

The covenant’s a winter one, but the local tribunal hasn’t heard from the covenant in nearly ten years. Hence an expedition of young magi who don’t have the clout to refuse. And there’s the start!

I suppose I could summarize games here, if there were interest. There’s a little wikia I’ve put together for the game, too, but it’s pretty sketchy at the moment. I do want to try to get some more of it filled in this weekend. We’ll see if thick summer weather will let me think straight enough to do it.

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