Shadowsmith
 member, 155 posts
 Born in Wisconsin,
 I escaped into the World.
Thu 30 Mar 2017
at 23:18
Ars Magica in the 16th Century
Usually the setting for Ars Magica is Europe in the early 13th Century. I've got the idea for a saga set in the early 16th Century in the New World but I still have a lot to work out for it.
  • What changes need to happen within the Order? Can the Houses and Order be kept more or less intact?
  • What changes are needed to the relationship between mundane man and wizards? Has the Order withdrawn and become a hidden culture?
  • Gunpowder - how powerful should it be? This could be an equalizer between mundane man and wizards.
  • Native American magic? Would I need to work up all new traditions or can I just modify some of the existing Hedge Magic traditions?

I could see the Order jumping at the chance to rebuild in the New World. An escape from the power of the Dominion and the growing power of the mundane.

All in all, this is at best the vague outlines of an idea. I have a lot of work to do to flesh it out. What is the best forum here to discuss such an idea? Is there anyone interested in discussing such an odd saga?
witchdoctor
 member, 125 posts
Fri 31 Mar 2017
at 01:46
Ars Magica in the 16th Century
I'd be interested in exploring the ideas of a 16th century Ars world.  There are about a dozen different ways the world could spin given the presence of the magical, fae and infernal powers in play.
Shadowsmith
 member, 156 posts
 Born in Wisconsin,
 I escaped into the World.
Fri 31 Mar 2017
at 01:58
Ars Magica in the 16th Century
Yep. I would see the Faerie Powers losing ground along with Magic as the Dominion advances. The Infernal would likely have advanced as well, but not as much.

Then there is the mundane understanding of Experimental Philosophy. Three centuries would see huge advances here with improved understanding of astronomy and the beginnings of chemistry. The development of gunpowder would serve as a great equalizer between mundane and magical.

Does the advance of mankind's knowledge change the world? Or does Ars Magic stay with the 13th Century ideas of medicine and science?

Then in the New World, we encounter cultures that are more closely tied to Magic and Faerie again. No trappings of early industry to damage the environment.
witchdoctor
 member, 126 posts
Fri 31 Mar 2017
at 02:42
Ars Magica in the 16th Century
If you follow with previous editions of Ars, reality is a consensual matter and 'how things work' change and evolve as humans change their understanding of things.  The infernal would decline as the causes of disease, for instance, as superstition is replaced by reason.
One of the possible outcomes is a distinctly steampunk 16th century if magic becomes more mainstream.  Personally, I'd think that magic would stay an underground pursuit to avoid upsetting the Apple art too much...And to avoid exposing the tiny minority of Gifted practitioners to the scrutiny of the mundanes.  The Houses of the Order would change over the 400 years, some disappearing and maybe new ones arising as others fade into obscurity.

The discovery of the New World would spur a great rush to make new discoveries and exploit resources not too differently from the mundane empires, unfortunately....  As far as magic traditions amongst the indigenous peoples, there would be as great a diversity of hedge traditions as there is in the Old World.  There'd be plenty of vis to go around!
Alyse
 member, 556 posts
 Pretty, witty, and gay
 (married since 2011!)
Fri 31 Mar 2017
at 17:59
Ars Magica in the 16th Century
Of course, the magic of the indigenous people of the New World could make colonization a very difficult proposition. The New World equivalent of Faerie would likely be potent to an extent not previously encountered by the Order. There's also the fact that the first permanent European colony won't be established until the early 17th Century (Jamestown, Virginia in 1607). Unless you happen to build off stories of Norse settlement in Greenland and the Maritime Provinces of Canada, at least.
witchdoctor
 member, 127 posts
Fri 31 Mar 2017
at 18:46
Ars Magica in the 16th Century
There are hints of the New World in the 3rd edition Ars supplement Ice & Fire that covers Iceland and Greenland.  Indigenous magic would still be hedge magic compared to the might of the Order...Which would still likely run under the motto of "join or die" and with the prevailing attitudes of the day I'm afraid anyone not European would more likely fall into the ' or die' category.
A story of the first New World covenant would be interesting...Similar to the fringe Tribunals in the standard setting. Much more fantasy with a slight backdrop of history.
Alyse
 member, 558 posts
 Pretty, witty, and gay
 (married since 2011!)
Fri 31 Mar 2017
at 19:17
Re: Ars Magica in the 16th Century
witchdoctor:
Indigenous magic would still be hedge magic compared to the might of the Order.

Except the Order has zero might in the New World, and the spirit lodges of the First Nations I would place more on a par with the groups outlined in Rival Magic. The magical traditions of the indigenous peoples are both closer to the source of their power and possess a much longer history.
witchdoctor
 member, 128 posts
Fri 31 Mar 2017
at 20:05
Re: Ars Magica in the 16th Century
I'd agree that the indigenous magicians would have several advantages but overall, Parma Magica heavily weights things towards the Order.  How each group reacts to the other really boils down to who from the Order journeys to the New World and their motivations for doing so.
Shadowsmith
 member, 158 posts
 Born in Wisconsin,
 I escaped into the World.
Wed 5 Apr 2017
at 19:44
Re: Ars Magica in the 16th Century
So, thinking about how the Order would have changed over the centuries, I think I would go with the loss of two Houses. As mortal settlements continued to expand and the Dominion overwhelmed more and more of Faerie and Magic Auras, the Order withdrew from the mortal world. All Covenants exist hidden within regiones, usually Magic regiones but with some in Faerie or even Infernal regiones.

The mortal world has forgotten wizards for the most part. Various Perdo Mentem spells are used as needed to insure wizards remain forgotten.

House Guernicus has taken on an additional duty, they are the ones who remove Gifted children from mundane hands. They fake the death of the child then either destroy or alter the memories and emotions of those who could be problematic.

This withdrawal from mundane society shattered House Jerbiton. Some left the House and joined other Houses - usually Ex Miscellanea but a number found themselves in Criamon. The remaining members of the House died either due to Wizard's Wars or simply due to age as they stopped using Longevity Rituals or training apprentices.

House Bjornaer rejected the decision to withdraw from mundane society. They refused to give up their duty to protect the wilderness areas from the advance of human settlement. The Second Schism War lasted almost two decades, but by 1490, all of House Bjornaer was gone. A few Bjornaer magi survived by joining House Merintia and a small tradition remains within the House even now.

Both House Flambeau and House Tytalus lost a large number of members. Greatly weakened, there would be a number of magi pushing for the two Houses to merge and meld their traditions. House Tremere is solidly in favor of the merger.

The discovery of the New World gives the Order an opportunity to expand into lands untouched by the Dominion and Western culture. Magical ships are constructed and several Covenants are planned and set into motion. The PCs would be involved in one such colony/Covenant.
witchdoctor
 member, 129 posts
Wed 5 Apr 2017
at 22:45
Re: Ars Magica in the 16th Century
If we're 'spit-balling' the collapse of some Houses, I could certainly see Jerbiton and Mercere folding into a single house rather than Jerbiton collapsing into Ex Misc.  Jerbiton is too invested in the mundane world to just isolate themselves.  The blending of Jerbiton and Mercere would facilitate the withdrawal of the rest of the Order into hidden enclaves, lacunae and regios.  The blended house could serve the purpose of maintaining the still needed travel and trade between the isolated pockets of the Order and the trade, commerce and culture between the hidden and mundane worlds. Otherwise, it would seem that most of the Order enclaves would slide into Winter pretty quickly.

Think of them as the go-betweens.
Shadowsmith
 member, 159 posts
 Born in Wisconsin,
 I escaped into the World.
Wed 5 Apr 2017
at 23:20
Re: Ars Magica in the 16th Century
Yeah, you have a point there. But Gentle Gift would be almost required for magi of this blended House. They would likely get first pick of apprentices with the Gentle Gift.
witchdoctor
 member, 130 posts
Wed 5 Apr 2017
at 23:45
Re: Ars Magica in the 16th Century
  Mercere has mostly non-Gifted members and Jerbiton is already predominantly Gentle Gifted so that would likely continue without some Hermetic Breakthrough that blunts the effect of The Gift - even if it's only a temporary effect.
  I don't see that as a good, or even likely, option so they'd have to be Un or Gently Gifted to function well.  Temporal power and influence is also good to deter unwanted inquiry into the existence of the hidden Enclaves or into the Order.  I can't envision a scenario where the Order wouldn't be forced to have some organization like this in place and still survive.
kbdevil1a
 member, 42 posts
Mon 10 Apr 2017
at 01:07
Re: Ars Magica in the 16th Century
I would definitely be interested in this (I'm playing in another Ars Magica game of yours already). Another thing about the new world setting is that I think it would quickly become a destination for any hedge magicians who don't want to join the order, just as it did for lots of mundane criminals looking to start new lives
Alyse
 member, 563 posts
 Pretty, witty, and gay
 (married since 2011!)
Mon 10 Apr 2017
at 01:53
Re: Ars Magica in the 16th Century
kbdevil1a:
I think it would quickly become a destination for any hedge magicians who don't want to join the order, just as it did for lots of mundane criminals looking to start new lives

Criminals were not among the early colonists in North America in the 17th Century, you might be thinking Australia in the 19th (and few went there willingly). Hedge magician colonists also seem unlikely, unless it's runic magicians from the so-called 'Order Of Odin' settling in the Maritimes. What hedge magician has the resources to build ships, provision them, etc.?

This message was last edited by the user at 04:03, Mon 10 Apr.

kbdevil1a
 member, 44 posts
Mon 10 Apr 2017
at 03:07
Re: Ars Magica in the 16th Century
In reply to Alyse (msg # 14):

Lots of persecuted people went to the new world, long before the 19th century. Plenty of people who had committed crimes attempted to or did emigrate in order to distance themselves from law enforcement. Another example is Spanish and Portuguese Jews being forced into exile, many of whom left for the americas. I'm not saying Hedge Magicians would build their own ships, but they might be eager to distance themselves from the Order, so they could travel over on mundane vessels.

"New world" is also vague. There were plenty of Spanish colonies in the Caribbean. Spanish Florida was established in 1513.
Alyse
 member, 565 posts
 Pretty, witty, and gay
 (married since 2011!)
Mon 10 Apr 2017
at 04:45
Re: Ars Magica in the 16th Century
In reply to kbdevil1a (msg # 15):

Ponce de León only began his exploration of Florida in 1513, the colonization attempt did not come until 1521. He died of wounds sustained in that failed effort soon after returning to Havana, Cuba. The first permanent European settlement in the Caribbean, Santo Domingo on the island of Hispaniola, was established in 1496 (and reestablished in 1502 after the 1496 settlement was destroyed by a hurricane). The Spanish destroyed other attempts to settle in the region, as evinced by the fate of the Huguenot colony established on St. Kitts c. 1538, so we'd have to largely be Spanish in origin. Given that the Church went everywhere the Spanish did (good little Catholics that they were), evading the Dominion is not as easy as it would seem at first blush. Also, the indigenous peoples in the region of Spanish influence tended to be extremely hostile. It took the Spanish four years to conquer Cuba, and Mexico took three, In both cases, they had hundreds of foot-soldiers and dozens of cavalrymen at the command but losses were still horrific. No easy feat to conquer territory, even with magic.

This message was last edited by the user at 19:54, Mon 10 Apr.

AscendedMaster
 member, 169 posts
Mon 10 Apr 2017
at 18:29
Re: Ars Magica in the 16th Century
It seems to me that the Order would actually have expanded considerably and become explicitly Christian by the 16th century.

This is because of academic magic, one of the more notable hedge traditions. Its methods are very similar to Hermetic magic theory, several Mystery Cults in the Order and among the academics overlap, academics have luck and fate magic, would almost certainly independently develop a Parma Magica in 300 years, and the academics are not penalized by the Dominion.

The Order would be terrifically foolish not to incorporate academic magic into the Hermetic theory. It greatly expands Hermetic power and mitigates the Dominion penalty, meaning that magi could use the Dominion as protection from their greatest enemy, demons, as well as the Islamic sorcerers that would definitely accompany Turkish armies in their attempts to conquer Christendom.

Even if the Order as a whole didn't become overtly Christian this way, some of them certainly would. Even more notably, if such assimilation and merger was avoided despite the many benefits, the Church itself would then develop a massive tradition of powerful magi in the academics, as every university student is technically a member of the clergy. The supply of Gifted children of sufficient intellect to be decent magi would be extremely restricted by competition with the academics, who would be sponsored by the Church.

On other points, I think that guns would be a potent leveler between mundane lords and magi; early guns are unwieldy, but bullets move faster than humans can perceive, meaning that fast casting a defense against bullets would be nearly impossible. Further, cannons would easily level covenant fortifications. When the Order begins to openly counter with magic, the academic magi again emerge, specifically as wizards employed by nobles to protect their soldiers, guns, and powder from Hermetic magical attack.

It bears mentioning that competition for vis would be very intense, which would likely be the primary motivation for the Order to sponsor and encourage expeditions to the New World.

I also think that Hedge Witchcraft would probably be incorporated into Hermetic theory as well, from centuries of exposure if nothing else.
witchdoctor
 member, 131 posts
Tue 11 Apr 2017
at 02:03
Re: Ars Magica in the 16th Century
It's interesting to hear the various opinions on the future fate of the Order.  Each possible scenario filtered through the experiences of the prognosticator.  Each and every one just as viable or outlandish as the reader wants them to be.

An actual game along these lines would take an immense amount of work on the part of a Storyteller to pull off given the changes we'd all like to make to the game world...And that doesn't even include the historical research one would have to do.

On the side, I'd be interested in how the indigenous traditions would work.
Shadowsmith
 member, 160 posts
 Born in Wisconsin,
 I escaped into the World.
Tue 11 Apr 2017
at 02:55
Re: Ars Magica in the 16th Century
I admit my ideas for this game are somewhat influenced by Harry Potter. The use of regiones to hide from mundane society. Developing a parallel culture that hides from mundane threats.

I agree with AscendedMaster that Learned Magicians would likely be absorbed into the Order. While their Entreat the Powers virtue is very useful in dealing with the Dominion, it isn't foolproof. But it would be a useful tool in dealing with traditions without a similar ability.

All along I was thinking that guns would be a huge factor in this setting. Slugs don't have to worry about Penetration and will travel far too fast for a wizard to use fast casting to protect himself.

I'm less convinced the Order would completely assimilate into Christendom. By the early 16th century, there is significant corruption within the Church. The Reformation is right around the corner for a reason.

While I know that historic settlement in the New World didn't hit big until later, the Order has resources mundane society doesn't. Get just one Hermes' Portal established between a powerful covenant and the New World and things get interesting quickly.

Like witchdoctor, I'm very interested in the indigenous traditions. But, at this point I've got to say, I'm not going to be able to try running this for years if at all. Far too much work and thought have to go into it. I would basically have to write a Tribunal Book for the New World.

I am interested in continuing to discuss the idea, however. But I'm not sure this is the best place to continue the discussion.