So, a new theme, a new look, and a new year.  What’s happening this year on Games From Folktales?

I over committed myself last year: I think I wrote pieces for seven books, which is a few too many with a new baby. That left me little time for the blog. This year I’m probably taking things slower: I don’t have any books still in primary drafting at the moment. That should free up some time for side projects.

At the moment my plans, which may be interrupted by procrastination or the release of new Skyrim expansions, are:

  • The Shadows in The Smoke: I’ve discussed this before. I’m collecting ideas for a Regency Ars Magica setting. This is on the back-burner for a couple of other projects, though.
  • The Patient Art: This is 1220 Ars Magica. I’ve always felt that the Aquam Art received a raw deal. This little project is meant to make Aquam magi as exciting to play as those from the other Elemental Arts.
  • Stupor Mundi. This is the project I’ll need to tear into, because my research materials will arrive by interlibrary loan, and that will give me a couple of weeks to just devour 900 pages of material about Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Sicily and Marvel of the World.

On the Librivoxing front, I’m finishing off The Gladstone Colony, which was really interesting and I’m pleased to have done, but which, at the same time, I’m pleased to have done with. This year, to make life even harder for myself, my next solo will be volumes two and three of On War by Carl von Clausewitz. I have made an odd choice here, because there are good audio versions of more modern translations of Clausewitz available, and I know some in the gaming community can get them for free by hoisting the black flag. I, however, hope that by making a free, reasonable quality recording of Clausewitz available, I might help some other authors grasp his ideas. The process also forces me to really engage with the text, and I hope that will aid my writing.

7 replies on “A new look, and a new year

  1. The Shadows in the Smoke idea has me frothing with excitement. I’ve been thinking a fair bit about advancing time in my own games and what might have happened between the 13th Century and, say, the 16th.

    Do you see the Order of Hermes as continuing in the same form? What’s to stop them from dominating the world, besides the church, I mean?


    1. In what I’m writing the Order starts with Bacon or Newton, rather than continuing on. I have some ideas for the Hermetic Age of Discovery, from the 1220 timeline, but fundamentally I want to run a game where magic is all mysterious and new, and if you invent a spell which does some simple thing, like moving a corpse, there’s a good chance that you are the first person ever to do it. This means enemies are more mysterious too, because a guy stealing people’s watches with magic isn’t just using Unseen Porter. He’s doing something novel and interesting and maybe if you catch him, you’ll go light on him if he teaches it to you.

      So, I want a really small Order. In a documentary I was watching it mentions when the Royal Society goes from a handful of men to a room full of geniuses. That’s the bit where you lose the final polymaths and have the first people who recognizably specialise. That’s the point I want to work with. The whole history of Enlightened Magic is about forty people. Whatever you do is fascinating to these people, because no-one has done it before.


      1. Would you have no hints of an older mythic age at all? When I read the above post my immediate thought was “Holy shitsnacks, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.” I love the idea of a smaller order, when I was planning my ArM game I was thinking of setting it in Renaissance Europe (but didn’t for a number of very good reasons, this being my first ArM game being the big one), but this was a thing I wrote for myself to set the flavour:

        Note to Comte Lazarin Demarais

        I mulled over your suggestion of a wider concordat between us and I was prompted to recall that this experiment was carried out before. There was a Collegium, I believe it was called, years ago, comprised of many secretive groups across Europe, and a few others from farther afield. You remember we spoke of Albertus of Cologne? It was he who gathered those he encountered and forged a wider covenant. They would meet once every twenty years on a grand scale to discuss the allocation of territory, deal in rumours and assign apprentices.

        Alas, the Collegium fell in ruins. No one really knows what happened, there are whispers of treachery, an argument with dark powers, a curse, or worse, that one of them dabbled in black magic and trafficked with demons.

        There are less of us now than there was. That is all the more reason, at least in my eyes, to resurrect the Collegium, or to build something new and grander in its place. If that is your intention then you will have my support, Lazarin, for whatever it is worth.

        Reiner Eckert


        1. I had this idea that the Victorian, and later, drive to go digging in Egypt, instead of being basically an attempt to find sites mentioned in the Bible might be a quest for the first magicians. Neo-druidism is a reconstructed religion, sure, but antiquarians are busting mound tombs with shovels in the hope of finding something useful.

          People sense there’s trouble in the world. Napoleon is just a little bit too good at what he does. The French may have their own magical organisation. Why else invade Egypt and vandalise the Sphinx? There’s a lot of old magic out there, waiting to be systematized and made Scientific and Philosophical.

          Why don’t magical colleges already exist? Not sure…witch hunts? God? Silver Plague? Ascension into Faerie? Maybe they do and they just don’t want to mention it to you yet? Not sure…


  2. Looking good. Very interested in the Stupor Mundi ideas and will watch others with interest.

    The Clausewitz project sounds intriguing – I’ve heard about but not read him. I’ll try and check it out – I commute a fair way and something non work related to play in the car is always welcome.

    I’m still amazed you contributed to 7 books in one year… sheesh.


      1. Word from one of the other authors is that Stupor Mundi is already the name of a RuneQuest expansion, so I’ll be calling that project Mythic Sicily.


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