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Legends of Hermes

From Project: Redcap

Legends of Hermes
Cover illustration for Legends of Hermes
Product Information
Rules Edition: Fifth Edition
Abbreviation: LoH
Product Type: Character sourcebook
Author(s): Timothy Ferguson (Thomae), Mark Lawford (Conciatta), Mark Shirley (Herisson), Neil Taylor (Fortunata), Erik Tyrrelll (Hermanus)
Publisher: Atlas Games
Product Number: AG0297
ISBN: 1-58978-121-X
Release date: June 2011
Format: Hardcover, 144 pages
Availability: Out of print; PDF available

Legends of Hermes is a supplement detailing five magi from the Order of Hermes' history. These may be the most detailed characters in the history of the game's publication as the book is what has become the standard 144 pages.

Subject and Content[edit]

The five chapters concern

All are historical characters from the history of the Order of Hermes, who are renowned for their deeds and achievements. Full details of their work and fates are revealed, and the chapters each provide material for many stories as player characters investigate their legacies. As such much of the material can not be summarised without spoilers: therefore the entries for the characters given are limited to what Legends of Hermes states is known to all in the Order about them.

Opinions and Reviews[edit]

Please feel free to add your own review below. It can be as short or as long as you like.

CJ Romer's Review[edit]

This book served a valuable purpose in expanding Hermetic History and the named magi of the Order of Hermes, and is also similar to Hermetic Projects in showing what can be done with the rules with highly focussed characters. While in a sense an "adventure book", the material is also interesting in developing and fleshing out the way the Order has developed: Conciatta of Bonisagus being particularly important in terms of showing us that the Founders lacked generic Vim spells against Realms, and explaining to some extent why spells like Ward Against the Faeries of the Mountain were originally developed.

-- Christian Jensen Romer

Xavi's Review[edit]

Maintainer's Note: User Xavi at the official forum posted this review on the Ars Magica forum and on Amazon.com; he has graciously given permission to post it here as well.

This product belongs to the Ars Magica 5th edition line. Here comes a reference I wrote in the Atlas Games forum. Some people asked me to post it here since they found it useful, so here it comes. Hope you find it useful as well :)

The book is basically an adventure book combined with a setting book, but one that leaves the old 2nd edition adventure books at ground level. It is about HERMETIC adventures. Old school adventures dealing going abroad and doing stuff to the bad guys, investigating dungeons and fighting your way there (or sneaking there, also allowed) but they are fairly straightforward adventures once you are set on the trail. A nice thing since it reduces the work for the Story Guide and I really like that. Also, it includes what looked bad until now: major hermetic breakthroughs. The breakthroughs so far were quite weak, consisting on integrating other magic systems into Hermetic Theory, but nothing put hints of what could be done to improve Hermetic Theory by itself. Now those are TRULY earth shaking paradigmatic breakthroughs. Conciattas and Herissons breakthroughs can reshape the Order. In different areas, but substantially in both cases.

Now on the chapters.

CONCIATTA I left this one for last, so I am only half way through it. It is the longest chapter by far, and the one that implies the longest commitment by the characters to develop in your saga. Stuff about Vim and how she integrated the realms in hermetic theory. it opens the door to REDUCE hermetic forms even further (for example, having all 4 elements as a single Form instead of 4) since there is precedent for it now. A clear sample of what a major breakthrough should mean instead of "but oh, I spent 20 years in the lab top achieve this breakthrough and now I can drink a tonic after casting some spells and recover a fatigue level". La Torre No Vista is a good place for a covenant if you are just starting your saga.

The chapter has 4 different adventures. I really liked the tower and city ones (gonna love the nighttime supernatural community of the city!! I must use that sometime), but the cave and convent ones did not cut it for me. There is a clear difference in power level in the first 3 adventures and the 4th. The first 3 can be done by any troupe with some social skills. The last one can be a death trap for a saga if not played right and the troupe is slightly overconfident.

FORTUNATA'S ISLAND OF SPIRITS A setting for the sanctum of a powerful spirit master that developed her own brand of magic and explored it fully. It is both useful as a potential covenant site and as a place of adventure. Her hermetic developments are also interesting for developing the path of mystery cults in your saga, even if I do not favor that kind of stuff myself; it shows how a magic system can develop slowly but surely. Most magic systems in ME would have developed following similar paths IMO. In this case this is linked to hermetic magic, but it can be linked to whatever you fancy

GARDEN OF HERISSON Cool Alice in wonderland adventure with the potential for some MAJOR impact in your saga if you integrate the breakthrough presented. Again, same case as Conciatta: a breakthrough worthy of that name. Seems that the line got hold of what major research can really achieve :) I think it is the most linear adventure design, and it might be difficult to cope with the players going on unexpected tangents but not bad, and the garden is just really cool.

SUNKEN LAB The lab of a guy obsessed with defences. For such a guy I found the lab to be fairly weak defensively, but it can still present a challenge to the unprepared visitor. It might be that the preparations that my PCs make to go on a Sunday stroll would leave a Delta Force strike team cowering in shame (black hawk included), but hey. the rewards you can get out of the adventure are great, but the interesting thing is the political ramifications. I would have placed some stuff on the roof of the lab, but that is me. Little nice old school "dungeon crawl" adventure. I have to say that if those are the sample defences of the home covenant of Hermanus, Lumen Australis would be like a nuclear missile silo compared to a kindergarten. Well, maybe not that much, but the sunken lab defences would have problems resisting dragon attacks on a regular basis.

Note: The author of the chapter (it is nice to have them around the forum) later explained that it was a *purposeful* design feature that the defences were not killer ones. IN still believe they could be slightly stronger without breaking the equilibrium, but his reasons are straight to the point and perfectly kosher.

FLYING CASTLE I LOVED IT!!! When the adventure tells you how the castle works I just laughed so hard! :D Oh the wonders of hubris and tongue in cheek!!! I can imagine Thomae laughing so hard at the heavyweights in the OoH xD Nice adventure that can bring you huge rewards. Suitable for all power levels and that is COOL. The rewards can be huge if you are a bunch of youngsters, and ok if you are older, but the old ones can still extract loads of important stuff from here. Much more high fantasy than the other adventures in some aspects, but cool none the less. The hooks into the adventure are where it could be slightly improved (why did you say you are going there? really? only for that?) but it is a cool thing.

-- Xavi


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