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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Jan 2007

    Default Ars Magica thread

    does anyone on the forum play/has played the Ars Magica game? I am very interested in the magic system and considering purchasing the most recent edition (5th I think)...

    I am looking for people who want to share their experiences playing this game with me, too, so don't be shy... If I decide to purchase it and there is interest, I might start a game (in RL and/or in the GitP forum).

    Cheers,
    C
    "The sage rules by emptying hearts and stuffing bellies, weakening ambitions and strengthening bones..." ---Daodejing

    "Few things exist that are as deafening as silence" --- Mario Benedetti

    "You can't predict what happens in life, but that's no reason to retreat from it" --- Rikus, to Sadira, in "The Cerulean Storm"

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DeathQuaker's Avatar

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    Default Re: Ars Magica thread

    It's been awhile, but I played in a brief Ars Magica game several years ago... I believe it was 4th Edition, not the latest. Sorry I can't provide explicit details, but I remember generally that it wasn't the MOST intuitive system in the world, but it was pretty decent. I recall the magic system was pretty creative (and I believe an earlier edition informed on a basic level how they designed the magick system in Mage: The Ascension)

    I really liked the "true" medieval flavor the game attempts to capture. It's not fluffy high fantasy, it's magic in the real old world, and it has a darker and more mythical flavor to it than, say, something like D&D. If someone else came along to run it, I'd certainly love to play it again.

    You'd definitely need a good GM to run it, as I somewhat recall some philosophical edges that are best brought out by a thoughtful GM. A dungeon crawler RPG it is not.
    And the best thing you ever done for me is to help me take my life less seriously. It's only life, after all.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Ars Magica thread

    Ars Magica is the greatest game ever bar none. Fifth edition is the best edition of Ars Magica for almost all uses. (second edition with its simplicity does a few things better with regard to getting folks rolling quickly).

    I've been running games of it off and on since 1988 so I can't give a great deal of newbie perspective on the game but I can share what some relative newcomers I've GMed recently said.

    The detailed character creation system (detailed is one of the options, vs simple and extremely complex) is not at all an easy thing for folks to handle.

    The magic system is even better than the hype makes it sound.

    You'll want to plan your stories so there are seasons and even years of down time between episodes. This takes a different approach to plot construction than most games.

    All of the fifth edition supplemental material is very solid. But, as with almost all games, you don't really need it. I use almost all of it but I'm a bit of a zealot so I may not be a good model for you to follow.

    This message board will probably be more helpful with specific questions:http://www.atlas-games.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=4

    I've got twenty years worth of games to relate so doing so would be exceedingly impractical. Let me tell you the structure of my last game.

    The four Magi PC's (The default manner of playing the game has each player develop two characters, a magus and a non-magus. With this default setup there aren't more than two wizards in play at any time very often just one. The other players are playing their non magus character or perhaps someone else) were because of their location spared from the magical disaster that ripped Ireland out of the 12th century Europe and into an Ireland sized pocket world. Through exploration, fighting ancient monsters, Unraveling forign magics, beating off demonic sorcerers, and hard work in their laboratory and libraries, the characters crafted a plan and developed appropriate magics to return Ireland to the real world before it was destroyed. (Here's my ecstatic about the last session post) http://www.atlas-games.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2231

    A big deal about as is how the characters very much shape the magic that they cast. Certainly there are spells which are commonly known throughout the order, but the combinations of a magus character's fifteen magical art scores, their virtues and flaws, and their situation make magic much much more personalized than in other games. A character is expected to design spells specifically to take advantage of their own strengths and cover for their weaknesses. In fact in my experience about two thirds of the magic that is cast in games is "spontaneous magic" where a character makes up a spell on the spot. These spells are a good bit less than half as powerful as the best spells that a character can learn in a particular area but a character's ability to create just the spell he needs makes it more useful.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Ars Magica thread

    I've been playing in an Ars Magica game although it's just using the rules, not the setting.

    The combat system is more realistic compared to other systems like D&D. The more hurt you get the worse you are at fighting as all dice rolls take a penalty based on wounds. In other systems you fight at 100% until you drop.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ars Magica thread

    I only played 3rd (which was a lot of fun).
    What did they change in 5th?

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ars Magica thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    I only played 3rd (which was a lot of fun).
    What did they change in 5th?
    They rationalised a bunch of stuff, they jiggered with Penetration so it's now reduced by the Level of the spell you cast (so smaller spells penetrate better: good in theory, sucks when you realize that the best way to fight monsters is with the Sight-range Level 1 PeVi spells stripping all their Might away from horizon distance).

    They massively simplified the book rules, which I think is a good thing, and Virtues/Flaws are now just Major/Minor instead of having fixed point costs.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ars Magica thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    I only played 3rd (which was a lot of fun).
    What did they change in 5th?
    They got rid of the "standard deviation index". The information you wanted was +/-5 sigma from the page number listed.

    They also fixed a lot of the combat rules. Armor doesn't make you more dead now.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Orc in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Ars Magica thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan_Hemmens View Post
    They rationalised a bunch of stuff, they jiggered with Penetration so it's now reduced by the Level of the spell you cast (so smaller spells penetrate better: good in theory, sucks when you realize that the best way to fight monsters is with the Sight-range Level 1 PeVi spells stripping all their Might away from horizon distance).
    Casting weak spells that slowly weaken your opponants is gold all of the way through. In previous editions the best way to fight creatures was with a level 80 range sight might stripping spell which ensured that foes suffered instant existence failure when they come in contact with the PC's. Now there is an opportunity to have conflicts that last more than one round. Multi cast Ball of Abyssal Flames isn't the end all for your combat needs. Pillum of fire is now prety cool.

    You do realize that a level 1 sight range might stripper will remove exactly 0 points of might don't you? (yes I can recognize hyperbole I just choose not to)

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ars Magica thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrrell View Post
    You do realize that a level 1 sight range might stripper will remove exactly 0 points of might don't you? (yes I can recognize hyperbole I just choose not to)
    Actually I don't think it does, because of the weird way that Magnitude works below Level 5.

    A level 5 spell does 5 points of damage at range Touch (or something). Then 4 goes to Voice, and 3 to Sight or something.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ars Magica thread

    Quote Originally Posted by holywhippet View Post
    I've been playing in an Ars Magica game although it's just using the rules, not the setting.

    The combat system is more realistic compared to other systems like D&D. The more hurt you get the worse you are at fighting as all dice rolls take a penalty based on wounds. In other systems you fight at 100% until you drop.
    Minor nitpick: in GURPS you take a penalty to all IQ and Dex checks made after you get injured equal to the damage taken.
    Dub Club in the Playground
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ars Magica thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimp View Post
    Minor nitpick: in GURPS you take a penalty to all IQ and Dex checks made after you get injured equal to the damage taken.
    If we really want to go down that road...

    In all White Wolf games you take incremental penalties as you get injured.
    In Burning Wheel injuries cause penalties and take a really, really long time to heal.
    In Riddle of Steel damage is location-specific, hindering, and has a real chance of killing you a week later.
    In Weapons of the Gods being injured gives you massive dice roll penalties (even though it's supposed to be a freaking Wuxia game...)

    Most games don't use the "Fine, Fine, Fine, Dead" model of HP.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ars Magica thread

    if anybody is interested, the 4th edition of Ars Magica is a free download on the atlas game site (i Think, just google "ars magica pdf" to find it)

    Very solid system, for a while I worked to do a "ars magica- 2000 AD" ars magica played in a modern setting, never completed it cause laziness but it was definetly possible.
    I don't make the crazy rules, I just twist them to my purpose

    "...the Perilious Path of Crushing Doom"
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Orc in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Ars Magica thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan_Hemmens View Post
    Actually I don't think it does, because of the weird way that Magnitude works below Level 5.
    You got me, I made assumptions about ignoring the weirdness when these guidelines are applied below level 5.

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