The Witches in the Wood
This is going to be a 5th Edition Ars Magica game. We’ll be playing online – we can negotiate the specifics of software (Skype, IRC, AIM, &c.) and time (I’m on the East Coast of the USA) once a group has been established, but it will NOT be Play-by-Post. Play-by-Post works great for a lot of people, but for me the pace is always off. Play will be at least biweekly, and hopefully weekly if we can manage it.
As this is aiming to be the story of a Covenant, I’m aiming for a long-haul game. Do not let this put you off if you don’t think you want to make a very long-term commitment. The nature of Ars Magica and the kind of stories it tells makes it very friendly for both short-term and long-term players.
We will be taking advantage of SOME elements of troupe style play. I am primarily going to be the Storyguide. I will not have my own PC Magus in the covenant, and I will be the one primarily narrating stories and refereeing the rules. However, I am A) constantly going to be seeking player-driven storylines to use, B) very carefully going to be monitoring the goals and ambitions of your characters and incorporating them into plots, and C) not opposed to sitting back occasionally if one of the players badly wants to run a “Guest Story”. In such instances I would take over playing a grog or a companion-class character.
I am by temperament an academic and a historian. You will notice as we get going that in setting up this game I have done a large amount of research to try to recreate the turn-of-the-Millennium world. I do NOT expect the same obsessive level of academic research from you. However, I do expect a commitment to the medieval paradigm. Reading a little bit (even just on Wikipedia) about European life in the 10th & 11th centuries would certainly not be time ill-spent if you want to get involved in this game.
The Short Version:
England in the late 10th century, shortly before the Schism War.
The Long Version:
As the Homepage states, the game will be starting in the year 986. The stories I want to be a part of telling require starting from that period, progressing through the Schism and its fallout in Hermetic politics, and the Conquest and its fallout in “Mundane” politics. (For the curious – the starting year was selected because it is exactly 1000 years before my birth-year)
Because of the change in starting year, it is impotant to note that the setting of this campaign is rather different from the canonical one. For one thing, in this earlier era, the Tribunals are different. Some regions (the Levant, Russia, Ireland, southern Spain) do not yet have a substantial Hermetic presence. For another thing, the Covenants within each Tribunal will be different. (I am sticking close to ‘canonical’ Covenants and Famous Magi where it makes sense to me, but am not binding myself to that absolutely.)
Geographically, the Saga will take place in the Tribunal of Britain, which maps to the whole of the British Isles. Specifically, I envision a covenant settled in the Wychwood region of the south Midlands. In addition to a perfectly thematic name, it offers a wonderfully rich location for telling stories, on the border between the Danelaw and the Kingdom of the English. (And did I mention it’s right near the town of Oxford?)
The 10th and 11th centuries were brutal times by modern civilized standards. I do not intend to put a clean and pretty face on this brutality. However, I do not intend either to dwell upon the fundamental rottenness – the executions, the mutilations and terrors of war will be present, but will remain in the ‘background’. The tone is dark, but not ‘grimdark’ – balance in all things.
If you take George R.R. Martin’s works, and gently pass over some of his grimmest elements, you’ll have about the right idea. Dark and political, but not simply disgusting.
As I allude to on the Saga Home Page and also above, the main story I am interested in telling is of the birth and growth of a new Covenant. Your magi will have the opportunity to shape their new home right from the very beginning. Under their guidance the Covenant will blossom into a true power in the Hermetic world – the nature of that power being determined by the quirks, goals and machinations of your Magi.
I recognize that the success of this goal will depend in no small part on the enthusiasm of the players and the success of our chemistry, but what I ultimately would love to see happen is a ‘dynastic’ story that takes the Covenant from its founding around 986 down to the Canonical Date of 1220 – or even beyond. Each player would get to play two or more generations of Magi, and many generations of companions and grogs would walk through the halls of the Covenant.
Again, this is a farsighted, half-fantastic goal – if I only get to play out a single lifetime worth of mages, or even less, I’ll still be satisfied. And if not all of the initial players are able to stick around for the whole journey – that’s ok too!
The “Speed” of this Saga will mostly be what the core book calls ‘Pulsed’. In those first few years while the Covenant is first being established, things will progress quite slowly, I have no doubt. But once you are up and running, it may well be the case that you have four stories in a single year followed by two years – or more! – of quiet advancement and study.
If this looks like a game you want to play, then send me a message. Talk to me about what you like about Ars Magica, what kind of characters you’d be interested in playing and what stories they could be involved in, what your previous experiences have been, and so on and so forth.
I wait to hear from you.