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News from Atlas Games


Faith & Flame Hooks: The Dragon Snail of Bayonne

Known throughout Mythic Europe for its shipbuilding and whaling traditions, the port of Bayonne in Aquitaine is also troubled by a darker reputation. Nearby, a monstrous beast known locally as Lou Carcolh is the source of numerous tales of brave knights and foolhardy magi being swallowed alive and never seen again. Folk witches among the Basque people know enough to steer clear of the beast, but are quite ready to pass along details about the location of its lair to brave and foolhardy souls who wish to test their mettle.

The magus Acumenis, of House Ex Miscellanea, has this to say of the Lou Carcolh in his journal:
It was a vast creature, lumbering and vicious. Oblivious to us as we hid, its head was like a dragon with a beard of tentacles, a mouth of sword-like fangs. Its neck became that of a snail and its body disappeared within an enormous shell. It left a trail of thick slime in its wake, rolling over the broken wagons as if they were nothing. The mule, however, was not so fortunate, and its cries were quickly silenced after the tentacles shot forth and pulled it bleating into that ravenous maw. I can only hope the monster wasn't an immature beast.

Learn more about the Lou Carcolh, its magical qualities and powers, and the Basque folk witches who may or may not be complicit with the beast in Faith & Flame: The Provençal Tribunal sourcebook for Ars Magica Fifth Edition, now available.

Faith & Flame was written by Erik Dahl, Mark Faulkner, Lachie Hayes, Ben McFarland, and Christian Jensen Romer. Cover illustration by Christian St. Pierre; interior illustration by Jason Cole, Jenna Fowler, Susan Knowles, Jeff Menges, and Christian St. Pierre, with cartography by Matt Ryan.

Faith & Flame: The Provençal Tribunal is Now in Stores

New Tribunal books for Ars Magica Fifth Edition are always highly anticipated, and Faith & Flame: The Provençal Tribunal is no exception. The lands of the Languedoc have been a central element of the history of Mythic Europe since the earliest editions of the game, but never before have they been so thoroughly detailed and explored.

Each Ars Magica Tribunal book features one of the 13 regions of Mythic Europe, as organized by the magical Order of Hermes. Everything that players and storyguides need to know in order to tell rich and engaging stories in those regions is provided, from important personalities, rulers, and historical figures to dangerous monsters and cunning adversaries. On top of all of that, the culture, history, and geography of the Tribunal is presented in an easy-to-use reference.

Fans of Ars Magica may uncover dozens of references to the game's past editions in Faith & Flame. The lost covenant of Val-Negra, for example, is revealed in its terrible ruined glory. Fans of magical fantasy will appreciate such monsters as the legendary Tarrasque, illustrated in this volume by cover artist Christian St. Pierre. Armchair historians should revel in the book's insight into Basque culture and folklore, to say nothing of the fallout of the Albigensian Crusade.

With new rules, mystical traditions, monsters, and lore, Faith & Flame is a must-have sourcebook for any Ars Magica Fifth Edition fan.

You Can Say That Again: Medieval Language in Story Games

Many Atlas Games products call on players to tell a story of some kind, whether it's backstory for a horrible turn of events in Gloom or bringing tales of the magical and mysterious to life in one of our roleplaying games.

The language we use can make those stories more immersive. This is especially true for games played in another historical period. Whether you're in Ars Magica's Mythic Europe or a fairytale of your own construction in Once Upon a Time, medieval terms might be just the thing to spice up your next game.

Costumes at your typical Renaissance festival include elements from the Middle Ages to modern fantasy; our game Ren Faire pokes fun at these fashion inconsistencies. But what you hear at a Renaissance festival is usually Renaissance or Elizabethan (Shakespearean) language, so rest assured that your “milords” and “prithees” fit with the advertised time period.

Medieval language is something different, though. Fortuantely, there are excellent sources for medieval vocabulary on- and offline. The Scriptorium has an excellent glossary that includes technical terms for armor and castle-building, as well as many terms for everyday life, such as:
  • fletcher: if you know someone with this last name, their medieval ancestors made arrows.
  • enceinte: the area inside a castle's protective wall; this word is also the modern French word for "pregnant" (another kind of protective wall around a valuable area, if you think about it).
  • gallon: a unit of liquid measurement with different amounts for water, wine, and beer.
  • hide: a portion of land that can sustain one farmer's family for a year, about 140 acres.
  • motte: a mound of earth built around a structure for defense; not to be confused with a moat, which is a ditch that may be empty or filled with water.
  • scrivener: a person who could write new compositions, such as letters or legal documents; a scribe, however, only copied other works, and may even be illiterate.
And if your adventures in Mythic Europe get a little raunchy from time to time, this chart offers many helpful metaphors for the world's oldest pastime. You can be sure people in the mid-14th century did as much swiving and japing as their descendants do today. However, the best hope for some privacy in the Middle Ages was often outdoors, as evoked by giving someone a green gown, which refers to the grass stains often sustained by open-air lovers. Novels like Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett and Hild by Nicola Griffith also bring the medieval world to life through period language and vivid descriptions.

Even if you find the words too difficult to work into your games and stories, you may learn a thing or two about modern words and phrases. For instance, a baby's bassinet is named for an armored helmet whose visor looks similar to the little hood that pulls up on the crib. And the fighting pell, a post used as a swordfighting practice dummy, gives us a way to tackle a problem: pell-mell.

Jonathan Tweet's Kickstarter

Jonathan Tweet, of Over the Edge fame (among others), is Kickstarting a fantastic kids book about Evolution … but it ends TOMORROW 6pm PST. Check it out, download a preview, support it now!

Love and Angst at @AtlasGames

We're looking forward to our big Gloom spotlight event at the Geek & Sundry Lounge at Comic-Con. Keith Baker will be there hosting a small cadre of lucky Gloom fans, who'll play with Geek & Sundry luminaries and friends including Nika Harper, Boyan Radakovich, Pat Rothfuss, Tigermonkey, Neil McNeil, Becca Canote, Cristina Viseu, Craig Cackowski, and Hal Lublin. Up for grabs, among other things, will be a hand-crafted set of oversized Gloom story cards.

The event's almost full, but don't be too distressed… because we're not done putting people on the guest list.

Interested in joining us? Then clear your Comic-Con schedule on Friday the 25th from 1:00–2:30. Then, jump on Twitter and tell the world why you love Gloom. Or, speak out about why Gloom ties you up in knots. Better yet, do both.

Use the hashtag #GloomLove or #GloomAngst, depending, and mention @atlasgames. We'll pick our favorites on Tuesday. Make sure you follow us, because we'll inform winners by Twitter DM.

Speak out for your health. Speak out for your sanity. But most importantly, speak out because you want  to play Gloom with Keith Baker and Geek & Sundry.

We'll see you at Comic-Con!

Follow us with your favorite social media!

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