I'm new to Ars Magica and working my way through the 5th Edition rulebook. I have a pretty basic question.
Although it is reasonably clear when you use a Stress die, there don't seem to be any guidelines, that I have discovered so far, on when you use a Simple die instead of a Stress die
Can someone point me in the direction of where I can find such guidelines
A simple die is used when something is not done in a stressful situation and is not itself a stressful thing to do. So, for example, if you're trying to forage while you're in no rush and can just go back to town, that would involve a simple die. However, being in a serene setting won't help you when performing any of the Goetic Arts because they are themselves always inherently stressful.
Yes, I know what a simple die is, there just seem to be no guidelines on when to use it, or any real point in using it, as far as I can see
As far as I can see on page 6 of the rules it defines what a simple die is, but does not explain anywhere when it is used
Can you point me to elsewhere in the rules where use of a Simple dice is explained
Actually, if you roll a 1 on your stress die, and roll again, the next die rolled is, by the definition on page 6, a Simple die. Rolling a 1 again on that die allows you to multiply the end result and roll another Simple die, and so one.....
I don't have any real problems with the various dice, it was just that the Simple die use was not really explained. I downloaded the free 4th Edition and it had a much better explanation, plus, being a PDF, I could search it for examples
They were. There was a whole playtest group of Ars Magica novices in the final round. They just didn't have any problem with this bit.
You say that you're clear on when you use a stress die. Since there are only two types of die, I'm not quite sure what you are confused about with respect to simple dice: you use them when you don't use a stress die.
When to use each die is also addressed throughout the book, for example under spell basics, on page 81. The majority of formulae also specify which type of die to use. (See pages 168, 170, 171, and 179 for examples.) You possibly haven't got to that bit yet.
1a) I'm walking to town. I'm short on cash, so I see if I can find some food out here in the wilderness for free. If I fail, it's no big deal, I'll just have to spend a coin to eat when I get to town. Simple Die.
1b) We're out in the middle of nowhere. Our food is gone. We will start losing fatigue and/or body levels if I don't find food. Stress die.
Spell: Circling Winds of Protection (an improved version that has Duration: Sun)
2a) I'm at home in my covenant, but going out into the countryside today. I know there are bandits out there. In fact, I want to hunt them down for raiding my supply wagon. I know they use bows. I will cast my all-day Circling Winds of Protection spell. If I fail, no big deal, I'll just try again until I get it right. Simple Die.
2b) I see the bandits advancing on us. Some are drawing arrows to shoot at us from their bows. I have to cast this spell now if I want protection. Stress Die.
3a) The street is deserted. I have a lookout. I have all the time I need to pick this lock. If I fail the roll, I guess it's beyond my ability. Maybe then I'll just smash the lock with my hammer. Simple Die.
3b) I need to pick this lock right now, to get through this door quickly. I can hear the guard coming. I'm out past curfew, and I don't want to explain to them why. Stress die.
It has been our group's experience that some magi have a bunch of spells that they will cast on themselves or their comrades (protective spells, perception-enhancing spells, etc) if they know they're going out on an adventure. If you have time to cast them in peace and quiet, it can be a simple die (or, if your casting total is high enough, don't even bother with the die).
We are now in danger of arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin
Last night at a regular RPG session I got our group (none of have played AM before) to read page 6 of the rules and tell me what you used a Simple die for. Not one could give an answer. I then showed them the 4th edition explanation and the light dawned .... I shall rest my case there