Acting and storytelling

I've been having a hard time figuring out what skill Acting and Oration would fit under.

I'd rather like to avoid yet another Ability: Charm, Guile, and Leadership and Languages are all being purchased.

In A&A creating art requires a specific craft or profession.
The example of a poet is Communication + Craft: Poetry.
Merinita Charm Magic gives a Communication + Language for a poem. Example has an ease factor 9 for the charm. The initiation script of memorising a 5000 line work and writing a unique work that impresses a powerful Faerie... int + language and com + language... Art of Memory is an EF 18 for a 100 page missive.

The former is for Artistic Quality and the Later just to make something that works, I'm guessing. The latter just seems a bit inconsistent. Btw I'm not trying to be a poop head pointing out inconsistencies.

One of the specialisations for a language is "poetry" another is "storytelling". So I would think those are used? In some places language is used... for magic, but then Acting or Wriring plays are different?

Anyway A&A gives a minstrel example. As Proffesion: minstrel and Craft: poetry, but there is no mention of the abilities Music or Artes Liberales: Music. No wonder I think bards all sound bad! :laughing:

Meanwhile Artes Liberales is Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy, literacy, logic, and rhetoric as well as Music. The first three all are tied to mysteries that all just need Artes Liberales.

So I understand not wanting to make the artistic quality based on Artes Liberales as well. The example in A&A of Juggling performers are Dex + profession... (not throwing or Athletics or Legerdemain) It could explain why i never have fun at the renaissance fair, entertaining people is harder than Astronomy.

Are these inconsistencies or is it that the same task falls under multiple skills?

tldr: the point of all this is to figure out what Acting is. I want a thespian Magus or storyteller.

Profession: Storyteller exists, and can be used by Merinita using Story Magic and also by bards in Ireland.

Actually, you can use Profession: (whatever job you like) and check with your troupe it covers what you want it to - several groups have houseruled what Profession: Soldier does for their saga, and I've played in a saga where Profession: Sailor could be used for just about anything ship or rope related.

Guile is defined as "Telling convincing lies, as well as feigning emotion, belief or frame of mind" - sounds pretty much like what modern acting is defined as, so a magus who wants to give naturalistic performances would want this.

Inspirational (the virtue) would definitely apply.

Artes Liberales (rhetoric) is defined in the core book as knowledge of the tricks orators use, rather than the ability to use them - the only places AL:rhetoric seems to come into play is for academic debates, tytalan debates and the closely related rules in Transforming Mythic Europe for debating at Tribunal, and preaching.

To be fair, you often get this "should this be a specific profession or craft or does it come under another ability" question coming up, and just like in every roleplaying game there's always room for flexibility by the storyguide in which abilities to allow and what penalty to apply for similar but not quite exact skills. If your magus wants to get up on a stage and perform, take Profession: Actor and discuss what you want it to cover with your troupe. If your magus wants to feign emotions and be a master of disguise, take Guile.

Thespian isn't exactly a 13th century profession: there are actors in passion plays, but these are amateurs, who do not expect to live by it.

So best stick to Profession: Storyteller or Profession: Juggler then.


Thespian is the modern term so I can comunicate. I know the latins were way behind and dominated by the church shutting down secular plays and music. Those that Traveled did tawdry plays at best. Hence the character concept. An old storyteller watching his art disappear.

+3 Pedantic Essential Flaw ?

So... like... thats how many Abilities though? On one hand the game is flexible, on the other it's deflating. I'll spare you the rant.

I had hoped I missed something, but it really is that disappointing.

Page 28 RoP:M ... after spending 20 pages describing something cool, but mechanically impossible and a really dumb idea since the massive warping points you get...

"Most Magi are not particularly interested in the Realm of Magic."

Sums up the game.

Like Criamon want to solve puzzles and learn the mysteries of the universe by literally sitting in a dark cave ala Plato's Allegory. I hope the Cave of Shadows was an ironic joke.

Also Verditius are all dwarves.

It is not about terminology: professional traveling actors in 13th century Europe just do not result from literature of the time.

Yes, you can play a white raven professional actor who just flies under the radar: nobody forbids it. But asking how to model one with Abilities explicitly mentioned in the books is a stretch then. Far better ask your troupe how to model him: once the anachronism is accepted, the rest is easy.


EDIT: Top notch practical 13th century European oration is covered here: A&A p.13f Preaching and TC p.130 box Preaching. Mendicant preachers in the 13th century convinced the other clergy to learn practical oration - not Artes Liberales rhetorics - from them. So they must have been really good.

What anachronism?

He isn't out of place in the Theban Tribunal or Arabia. Sigh. Just as I feared. Lame.

The purpose is to make a Faerie Magic version of a Numerology Book and Rotes using The Souda. 10th century encyclopaedia of story and character elements, origins, etc. The idea being that with an enchanted version a character could have a massive amount of charms to select from as well as templates for Rote story spells made up of common elements. So as far as the acting and storytelling go, they are analogous to Arithmetic for the Numerologist, one for the spontaneous charm and the other for performing the piece.

It's just frustrating. Artes Liberales needs broken up.

What would he stage there? Name some plays in Greek, Arabic or Persian known and played in the 13th century. Just claiming there are some is ... lame. Imagining ancient Greek theatre classics still being played is a blatant anachronism.

In Latin Europe there are at least Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim, Vitalis of Blois, and the Ludus de Antichristo.

But in Greek, Arabic or Persian you won't find any AFAICS. Start your own research here.

The 13th century in Christian and Muslim countries is very rich in epic and courtly poetry, and very poor in available plays. So some professional rhapsodes, elocutionists and orators found a living, but professional actors are white ravens at the very best: I don't know of any.


The Souda has very little to do with theatre, but lots with grammar, literary history and biography.

This would be a new subsystem of Ars rules, hence something to discuss and agree with your troupe anyway.

Which piece? The Souda is basically a lexicon, not a compendium of pieces to play-act or even recite. Relying on Profession: Storyteller with a Free Expression Virtue to generate some stories worthy to tell from Souda entries might catch with your troupe, though.

Mixing proposals for new rules subsystems with half-researched history tidbits is a recipe for trouble in most RPGs - but in ArM5 with its established standards it is a recipe for disaster.


The Souda has more to do with the art and history of storytelling than the example of The Bible for Numerology. Talk about anachronisms it's not until 1202 Fibonacci introduces the backwards Latins to Hindu-Arabic digits in his Liber Abaci.

Unless the Numerology mystery is using Roman numerals, lol.

In Byzantium in 1220, not hilljack west Europe, theatre is slowly coming back. It flounders under the Latins because they're backward, but over the 13th century Greek Vernacular is increasingly used, which makes it more accessible. Christian plays are the bulk of it. Off the top of my head I forget when romantic comedy's start becoming popular, may be 14th century /shrug.

Theatre proper isn't my interest as much as a Storyteller that can put on a role to read a few lines etc.

Literary history and Lexicon of the Souda is exactly what is needed for a Numerology equivalent for Charm/Story/Symbol Magic. Doing spontaneous charms will require a lexicon and encyclopaedia for reference. Like having an encyclopaedic history of herbs, dishes, and chefs of cooking while cooking.

Play with semantics more, pedantic much? Would it kill you to acknowledge that a social character requires 3 extra abilities to do things where as Artes Liberales includes way too much?

Artes Liberales is used for way the heck too much. Then again the reason why is a bunch of mysteries use a knowledge area it covers. It just covers too much.

It requires less experience points for an academic to master Geometry and Arithmetic than to master pottery. Pottery requires Proffesion Potter, Craft Pottery, and Area Lore (pottery). One to be a Proffesional and know the tools, another to actually make pottery, and the last for knowledge of pottery and legends and popular subject matter for the pottery.

A minstal or bard is going to be worse needing more Languages and more Area Lore. If you want to make art as a Magus all you need is Finesse, which is obnoxious and should be thrown out. Master Pottery, Craft Mechanical, Craft clocks, sculpture everything with one skill, Finesse.

The reason for posing the thread is to try and find a solution to a problem which makes certain things impossible because of poor modelling of the abilities and experience costs. I'm not here just to complain, I'd like to find errata or house rules which fix the problem so I don't have to reinvent the wheel. Though suggestions would be cool if I do need to make my own house rules.

Edit: I'm a doofus. Reread Abilities. Language covers Artistic compositions in the language, telling existing tales with verve and passion, while Knowlege of stories is covered by "appropriate Lore".

So then Enchanting Storytelling and Performance Storytelling use the appropriate language. Knowledge to create charms on the fly would then be Area Lore or Artes Liberales (grammar)?

You are dreaming. Start studying Byzantine literature from this article and see, that there is no Byzantine Greek theatre in the 13th century.

Try to name one with reference - just to see that you cannot.

Shrug indeed. Cretan renaissance literature around 1600 comprises plays - but clearly not romantic comedy.

So let's lay your 13th century Greek Thespians to rest once and for all.


A key problem for travelling players is that Europe isn't a coin economy yet. How do you charge admission, or pas the hat around, when the basic unit of value is the sack of flour? Royal courts can have entertainers, because they can buy entertainment in bulk.

As the Viking invasions ceased in the middle of the 11th century A.D., liturgical drama had spread from Russia to Scandinavia to Italy. Only in Muslim-occupied Spain were liturgical dramas not presented at all. Despite the large number of liturgical dramas that have survived from the period, many churches would have only performed one or two per year and a larger number never performed any at all.[8]

The Feast of Fools was especially important in the development of comedy. The festival inverted the status of the lesser clergy and allowed them to ridicule their superiors and the routine of church life. Sometimes plays were staged as part of the occasion and a certain amount of burlesque and comedy may have entered the liturgical drama as a result of its influence.[9]

Performance of religious plays outside of the church began sometime in the 12th century through a traditionally accepted process of merging shorter liturgical dramas into longer plays which were then translated into vernacular and performed by laymen and thus accessible to a wider segment of society inclusive of the working class. The use of vernacular enabled drama to be understood and enjoyed by a larger audience. The Mystery of Adam (1150) gives credence to this theory as its detailed stage direction suggest that it was staged outdoors. A number of other plays from the period survive, including La Seinte Resurrection (Norman), The Play of the Magi Kings (Spanish), and Sponsus (French).

Economic and political changes in the High Middle Ages led to the formation of guilds and the growth of towns, and this would lead to significant changes for theatre starting in this time and continuing into in the Late Middle Ages. Trade guilds began to perform plays, usually religiously based, and often dealing with a biblical story that referenced their profession. For instance, a baker's guild would perform a reenactment of the Last Supper.[10] In the British Isles, plays were produced in some 127 different towns during the Middle Ages. These vernacular "mystery plays" were written in cycles of a large number of plays: York (48 plays), Chester (24), Wakefield (32) and Unknown (42). A larger number of plays survive from France and Germany in this period and some type of religious dramas were performed in nearly every European country in the Late Middle Ages. Many of these plays contained comedy, devils, villains and clowns.[11]

Coinage was the basic form of money in Byzantium, although credit existed: archival documents indicate that both banking and bankers were not as primitive as has sometimes been implied.[50] The Byzantine Empire was capable of making a durable monetary system function for more than a thousand years, from Constantine I to 1453, because of its relative flexibility. Money was both product and instrument of a complex and developed financial and fiscal organization that contributed to the economic integration of its territory.[51]

The traditional image of Byzantine Greek merchants as unenterprising benefactors of state aid is beginning to change for that of mobile, pro-active agents.[56] The merchant class, particularly that of Constantinople, became a force of its own that could, at times, even threaten the Emperor as it did in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.[57] This was achieved through efficient use of credit and other monetary innovations. Merchants invested surplus funds in financial products called chreokoinonia (χρεοκοινωνία), the equivalent and perhaps ancestor of the later Italian commenda.[57]

Yes Western Europe Latins were country bumpkin dirt farmers.

Where as Byzantium had a flourishing economy, a middle(merchants) class, a massive silk trade that doesn't decline until the Venicians cause issue in 1100s. The 4th crusade well... Introduced Latins to culture.

Idgf about Western Europe. "Thespian" as I said was a modern word I was using to comunicate, pedantic #%*€.

The heck is wrong with people on these forums? And a writer of the game wants to come out and #%¥~€ on a player? Wtf?

Last time I was at Origins there were two massive rooms of Shadowrun, and one dinky table in the back of hell for Ars Magica. Atlas employee, no joke, asks the experienced players to not be pedantic about history or Latin. Unprompted within the first 30 seconds he says this and follows it with "it's why we can't keep players". Then no %=€<># 5 minutes in the most excited dude to play Ars... because he can't get games going... starts correcting every new player and is told 3 times to stop before we just pack up out of time. Because this pedantic f won't stfu and play a fantasy game.

Yup. Players get sick of the circle jerk. Ok you're right, jumpn Jesus on a pogo stick no reason to be $&@/ about it. I had wanted a conversation about MECHANICS. The post was about [size=200]MECHANICS[/size].

Explain how Numerology works without Fibonacci introducing Latins to Hindu-Arabic digits. Enlighten me.

Okay, if the profession would be an anachronism... then we have a character who is an anachronism. The Order of Hermes is chock full of anachronisms and that's okay. I'm pretty sure the Grogs expansion book even has a minor flaw where a character can be lost in time from Ancient Greece, if a player wants to be a theatre actor. Or maybe they have a Faerie Upbringing and lived in/near a regio that recreated a theatre from ancient times. Or maybe they're a perfectly sane Jerbiton mage who wants to resurrect a style of art which is thought to be lost. The resulting character might be considered "weird", but they already are a wizard or work for one, they were going to be considered weird regardless.

If other players are being pedantic, it may be worth asking why they consider a historic anachronism disruptive to their campaign. If their reason is valid, they can work with the rest of the party to create a compromise instead of fighting. If they continue to be bothered by the detail, they might not be playing with the right group for them. The core book's GM tips say that the group should agree on how much historical accuracy is important to them, and it sounds like that particular convention game skipped that step. As a (minor) part of the community, I apologize if one of my sodales has been unpleasant.

On topic: I'd say if you want your character to be an actor, the easiest way to do it is just give them a dang Profession. I do not own my own copy of A&A yet, so without any expanded mechanics for creating art, that's how I'd build a character for that.

When it started I thought Enchanting (Ability) and Performance Magic(Ability) didn't apply to professions. They don't apply to Language, however they both use "storytelling" as examples and 'storytelling' is a language specialty. I was trying to avoid buying yet more skills and being way underpowered compared to the Magus that has a million mistories based off Artes Liberales.

What I'm running with is Craft and a generic Performance is Language, with a secondary Leadership roll if trying to inspire, Guile if feigning other Emotions. Basing the mystery off Language. The quest for Story Magic is based off Language.

So the mystery "Story Book Magic" is Numerology that uses an encyclopaedia/lexicon or a chronicle (chronicles were popular to write). Substitute Artes Liberales(Arithmetic) with Language(storytelling), it caps out 7 (6 with a specialisation), so I'm thinking a Particular Language + Particular Lore would be fine. Replace MT with FM.

Then you can design Tropes... story telling equivalent to Rotes :laughing:

Spells have variable charm slots when creating. To make it more generic 'Artistic Ability' is what's used for Tropes Lab Total. Artistic Quality of an existing piece the caster made is usable, though limit once ever used for a lab Total or something idk.

Then Casting Score depends on 'Performance Ability', silent and no gesture casting allows one to do a symbolic nod to the performance ability. Though if they want to add an actual artistic expression, they need to do enact or recite the charm. Charm bonus added to Casting Total, not Casting Score. All spells created are Faerie aligned.

Then Story Book Magic really it's "(Ability) Book Magic", Enchanting (Ability), Performance (Ability) replaces Story Magic if desired. I think it's too good for a minor, and not good enough for a major. Or maybe it is because of Charm flexibility.