Alexis Kennedy gives Ars a good review in his podcast.

The episode is called "The Kilns of Smorgasbord". It was a formative game for him.


Here’s the episode. The Ars Magica talk is about 49 minutes in.


Thanks. I have no idea who either of these people are, always good to see some ars magica discussed in the wild. I read quite a good Exalted 3e sorcery fan supplement, and it had a "this is not ars magica" line when discussed the themes of exalted sorcery.

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Do you have a link to this? Because E3 really needs that!

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Oh, he's a game designer. Wrote the core parts of "Fallen London" and "Sunless Sea". Wrote the Horizon Signal event chain for Stellaris. Had a column about game design for a while. Had a #MeToo moment that I've only ever heard his side of, so trigger warning for people there. The result was he severed ties with Fallen London and set up a computer game design studio with his girlfriend (now wife) and they've done some interesting games. I've not played the new one which is about being the curator of a magical library in Cornwall ("Book of Hours") but it seems to be in my wheelhouse thematically.. I tried the previous one (Cultist simulator) and it was fun but I couldn't grok how to play it proficiently.


I have the file downloaded, but genuinely can't find the link again. For anyone who wants the Exalted 3e Sorcery (Custom) supplement that casually mentions Ars magica in the intro, I put it on my google drive.

Also on a quick google, I found this.
The Art of Sorcery: 3e Sorcery Homebrew Content (Discontinued) - Google Docs

If the links don't work, let me know and I'll try re uploading them, or people can email me.


Book of Hours is very Ars Magica, only set in the 1920s. You spend your time cataloguing and reading books, creating magical artifacts, and uncovering the secret history of the library and its former librarians. What its missing is recruitment, apprenticeship, and so on.

Interestingly, their setting is covered by a community licence, so anyone can develop an rpg using it.


I also didn't get Cultist simulator, I'd get stuck in loops where I could keep everything stable but go no further, I eventually lost patience. I was told that the fun of the game was in the discovery, so I avoided reading any guides and lost interest...

I didn't enjoy sunless sea that much, but I think that I just didn't get it.


Sounds like Ars Magica was a strong inspiration for the game then.


"I'm not sure it's still in print."

Well, that rather summarises Ars Magica's basic problem.

His description of it as "flawed but brilliant" suggests that he hasn't seen ArM5. :wink:


Cultist Simulator is an excellent exercise is running your head into a wall for hours until you figure out what works.
Now that the wiki is out, it is much more sane than at release, but I enjoyed both experiences.
This game eats beginners, but the glory of finally beating it is amazing for the long paths that it took.

Sunless sea is one of my all time favourite games. In it, life is nasty, brutish and short, but imo this adds to the insane setting to create one of my favourite gameplay loops in gaming. Play at your own risk, but it does not value your time, so best played in marathon sessions on long holidays or when ill.

Book of Hours is my favourite game by Alexis; however. The gameplay is more polished, the difficulty isn't as oppressive, and the setting of an occult library is gorgeous. I bought it at release, and am continuing to love how it is evolving. Many quality of life improvements have been made, and a new DLC is coming out soon. The "occult" system is similar to Ars Magica in so much as each book requires a piece of lore of a specific 'magnitude' to be able to understand it, which can be augmented by tools, food and drink, and other means. It is not for everyone, but I will recommend it to be played first if one is interested.

Oh, and he released a rpg set in the universe of cultist sim and book of hours, The Lady Afterwards
set in 1920's Alexandria.
So, anyone up to convert the adventure to Ars?