Briefly - I played a lot of Ars Magica 3rd edition, and a decent amount of 4th edition through college. I have played a number of games on and off in between then and now - I am 30 - and my wife and I want to give Ars Magica 5th edition a go.
We have no gaming group, it is just her and I. We have played a bunch of other games in this fashion with good success. Since I have been away from Ars Magica for a while I wanted to get some forum feedback on if any of you have run games with one SG and one player. If so, do you have any advice/tips on what made your game fun and successful? Are there any supplements that you would recommend for such a game?
I did a game like this, once. It actually went pretty well.
It seemed to run best as a kind of limited troupe-style: both of us had characters. There were no big epic plots, just various little stories centered on the covenant.
With few players and thus fewer characters to keep track of, you can advance more quickly, too. Take advantage of that: it's neat to get to the point where you can play each other's apprentices, as the next generation for the Covenant.
Pay extra attention to story flaws and covenant hooks, and be sure to run stories based on them for the other player. Also, don't be over-cautious. Crazy results from botches and lab experiments can push stories in unexpected directions, or create new ones.
Mystery cults are well-suited to either single-player gaming, as well.
Look at Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults, or The Mysteries: Revised Edition, if you're thinking about picking up books and you don't have them already. Initiation quests are a good source of stories.
I am currently running this sort of game. This is my first attempt at an Ars Magica game and you have already thought of the first bit of advice I would have suggested which is to ask the advice of the folks on this forum.
I wanted the campaign to be a bit of a puzzle but not to feel too linear, like I am leading the player along and I have to force him into my story because it is the only way to go. The best way I can think of to achieve that is to have many different possibilities of things that can happen but thats a lot of ideas to prepare so it's nice to be able to pop on here and go "Hey, guys, what would you do if THIS happened?..." Some stuff wont get used but it adds depth, I think. You can break down your story into chapters like an outline but let the player fill in the details by the decisions they make.
Do you think that a single magus could survive and prosper in a game? Assuming they have a few decent companions and grogs - is it wiser to let the player play an accelerated magus, or just to play a character created per the rules?
I am just looking for some opinions here. I am a long-time GM but a fairly new SG so I a may fail to scale a single-player game properly.