Any plans for a Ars Magica 5th Ed. pdf?

Allow me to begin by introducing myself and saying that I've have been a great fan of Ars Magica since being introduced to it with my first gaming group. That was back in the day of 2nd edition, with 3rd edition just being released. Until now, I've never failed to pick up a copy of the latest edition of the corebook, which is why I'm writing.

Even though I'm an old-school gamer that still loves the feel and smell of a new hardbound rpg book, I've recently become a fan of .pdf versions of games. One of the biggest reasons for that is that often times you can save a bit of coin (and let's face it, gaming is an expensive hobby) while another would be the fact that given the occurrence of errata, it's definitely easier to update a .pdf. I suppose errata is really only a concern for nitpickers like myself, but I definitely like to play knowing any holes in the system have been patched.

That being said, I was wondering if a .pdf version of the new Ars Magica was in the works? If so, how soon could we expect it? If no, then any particular reason for not doing so? Or will there be a 2nd printing with the current errata listed corrected?

I hope I'm not being too much of a bother with these questions, and I look foward to many more years of Ars Magica goodness.

I have no specific plans to do a 5th Edition core rulebook PDF. I might do it when we run out of the current printing and are waiting for the reprint.

I do expect that whenever we reprint, we'll be incorporating the errata into the 2nd printing, just as we did with the 1st/2nd printings of ArM4 way back when.

However, it's worth noting that we don't do a lot of updating to PDFs. If the 5th Ed. rulebook were in PDF, I doubt we would have made corrections to the file before now. It's easier to correct a PDF than a print book, true, but a book correction goes to hundreds or thousands of copies of the reprinted book, where a PDF may sell 0 to 10 copies per month. I don't think anything we've put in PDF has ever sold 100 copies in a month. (Mind you, our PDFs have so far only been titles already available in print.)

There is one technical obstacle that makes it non-trivial to do a PDF of 5th Edition, related to the color. (In the digital files, the orange second color is Magenta, which was necessary for properly working with the printer's PDF workflow; then the magenta-labeled plate was actually printed with the PMS ink.) It might be a lot of work to make a PDF version, and I"m not sure it's worth the investment of time. (A quick fix would be to do the PDF as black-and-white, though.)

Well, that definitely answers my questions. I appreciate your forthright response.

I'm inclined to wait until the 2nd printing to pick up 5th edition with the corrected errata, but with no idea how long that could be I'm not sure I could handle the wait. Having only recently returned to gaming from a "no local players" induced haitus, I'm definitely eager to jump right back into roleplaying. Ars Magica being first on that list, of course.

wanders off to order himself a copy of 5th edition

If you do decide to put out a .pdf while waiting for the reprint, I'll definitely purchase a copy the minute it's out. I know I'll be buying the corrected errata edition one way or another, be it .pdf or hardcover again.

I must admit that, while I like pdfs, I like the new hardcove format so much that I prefer to purchase the deadtree version. I didn't purchase the True Lineages pdf partly for that reason, and now I'm a proud owner of it in hardback :slight_smile:
Although I'm disappointed with the printing and page quality. They are far inferior to those of the core book.

If there would be an ArM5 pdf, I doubt I'll pick it up. I already have the book, and copying what little of it I need to have on the computer for my game by hand, as the need arises, is not so difficult, and won't be worth the 20$+ the pdf will surely cost.

Although I'm disappointed with the printing and page quality.
They are far inferior to those of the core book.

Could you elaborate?

True Lineages was printed by the same printer, on the same paper, and in fact on the very same printing press as the 5th Edition core rulebook. The only difference was 5th Ed. using two inks instead of one. What are the problems you've encountered?

(I have seen problems with The Divine, with inconsistent ink coverage on some pages in some copies...darker on one side of the page than the other -- something the press operator should have caught and re-done.)

The text is paler in some copies, and it is paler from one page to another within some copies. I noticed this in my author's copies, anyway. Even good copies have type that is less dark than the core rulebook.

Looking at it, you are right - I confused True Lineages with The Divine. My True Lineages copy is perfectly alright. The Divine copy I have is... well, I think the ink is too grainy and too thick at places. On page 6 I literally have an imprint of the "heaven and earth" title from page 7 (from being pressed on it). The font is also uneaven, on page 19 for example the right (extreme) column is very thick, as if it was bold except it's more grainy, with small speckles of ink throughout, like fine dirt. Passing the hand over it, one can literally feel the ink and how it rubs onto the hand.