Ars Magica 5E: Et Potestatem Magnam... (3-4 Players)

I'll start this off by saying that I am highly interested in running an Ars Magica campaign. I mean, of course I am; I wouldn't be putting up this planning thread otherwise, right? Right.

Anyhow, I signed up for the site, read through a lot of my books, had a bit of an argument with someone here...and then life got in the way. But the urge to run a game didn't go away, and I squirreled away some time here and there to keep reading and to keep thinking and to keep dreaming about magi. And now that life has calmed down and I've got the free time, I decided it was time to come back, ease myself back into the community here...and then say to heck with easing back in and just jump in with both feet and no life preserver. So I give to you all my attempt to run an ArM5 game, here, on the ArM boards.

I would ask that people please ask questions if you've got them. I will state up front that I don't know everything there is to know about this system, but I also cannot learn if I'm not being tasked with answering questions.

If I can get at least 3 people interested, I will get the request for the game board in. At that point I'll be able to put up the entirety of the character generation rules and covenant information so we can get started on the game.

And before I forget...thank you all, in advance, for at least taking the time to read this. :slight_smile:

Campaign Title: Et Potestatem Magnam...
System: Ars Magica 5th Edition
# of Players: Preferably 3-4, but will consider a 5th if the concept/characters are compelling enough.
Deadline: We can discuss this if/when we get enough interest and the forum is up and running. Magi will need to be finished first, with Companions and Grogs following slightly behind.
Starting Level: Magi will be 28 years old (Childhood to 5, Later Life to 10, Apprenticeship to 25, 3 years post-Gauntlet). Companions and Grogs will start at age 25 (Childhood to 5, Later Life to 25), but may advance to any age pre-game they wish. Keep in mind aging rules apply.
Advancement Rules: As per the canon rules. There will be some special stuff for pre-game advancement, but nothing too extraordinary.
Combat Rules: PbP Combat is tricky, to say the least. Combat in Ars Magica adds extra layers to that. I'd like to keep things simple and flowing for the sake of the story, and am open to suggestions on how to do that without players losing core mechanics or feeling like they aren't participating.
Dice-Rolling Rules: I'd expect players to roll their own dice for actions or spells, but there may be times where I'll roll things. This will be done only to keep the game flowing and not to disrupt the action.
Special Rules: Character creation will have some special stuff to it, most notably advancing post-Gauntlet for Magi. I want to allow as much as possible, but there's a firm NO on ROP Divine, Faerie, and Infernal. ArM5, Lion/Lily, HoH are all approved without need to ask. Anything beyond those three are ok, but I'd strongly ask that people give me a heads up so I can review things. If I'm prepared, the game is better for it.
Posting Rate: No less than once per week. The more you post, the more I respond.
Absences: All absences that are known about ahead of time (vacations, holidays, etc.) should just be posted with an expected return date, and your characters will be NPC'ed until you return. Emergencies notwithstanding, extended absences of 2+ weeks with no notice that you were going to be gone may result in your character not just being NPC'ed, but removed from the game until you return. These characters will lose AT LEAST 1 season's worth of time for not being around, and they do not get the benefit of performing activities in that season. It's harsh, but PbP is slow to begin with, and I want to keep things flowing.
Writing Expectations: Low to moderate. We're telling a story, so I expect people to be able to have some writing skill. I'm not expecting a novella or an in-depth dissertation with every post. But you should be able to be coherent and grammatically correct.
Text Formatting: I'm not going to be picky on formatting, other than speech should be bolded and internal thoughts italicized. I would like to ask, however, that the first line of any in-character post be the character's name; this helps me understand who is doing what.
Plot- or Character-Driven: This may not be a popular response, but I plan on starting with The Broken Covenant of Calebais. I do want to allow the players to drive their own story hooks/seeds as well.
Focus: That's going to depend upon what the characters/players are looking for. While I have a beginning story arc and activities that are related to that, I want the players to decide what they want to be involved in after that. Do they want to go politicking? Are they interested in wielding phenomenal cosmic power? Are they looking for a familiar? Taking on apprentices? After the opening story, it's up to the troupe as a whole to decide what they want to focus on.
Character Types: The best advice I can give here is to create the character you want to play. With 3 of the 4 ROP books disallowed, most of the concepts I don't want are already barred (Divine Magi, Infernalists, Faeries). I will state that all characters are in the Normandy Tribunal, and are members of their home covenant. Not visitors, not outsiders, not wandering troubadors looking for a good time. But as posted above, I should at least be given warning about stuff outside the stated allowed material so I can review first. I don't know everything, and I may come across stuff that might be a tad too complicated for me once I'm aware of it.
Campaign Description: A young Spring covenant in an idyllic mountain setting is shaking off the snow from winter, its inhabitants coming out of their labs and barracks. The Spring Equinox brings with it not only a feast to celebrate the coming year, but the seasonal Magi Council...and a few guests with business the Tribunal and other magi in the order want to see done.
Tribunal: Normandy. The Lion and the Lily is mentioned above, but I'm giving the exact tribunal so there is no confusion.
Covenant: We are going to use the sample canon Covenant of Semita Errabunda, with a few slight modifications. The Covenant will be located near the base Mont Pincon, which is about 20 miles south/southwest of Caen in the Normandy Tribunal.
Game Rating: I'm adding this one to the list of stuff to post about here. This is PbP, and we should try to keep it PG-13. Not necessarily E (for everyone), but close enough so that the casual observer and hard-core gamer can both enjoy what's happening.

more information about which tribunal and about the covenant would be useful...
also is there a particular reason this covenant has 3+ magi who were apprenticed at the same time, gauntleted at the same time, and are the exact same age?

I made the assumption that stating The Lion and the Lily would indicate the Normandy Tribunal, but I can certainly add that to the first post so everyone is on the same page.

I plan on using the canon sample Covenant Semita Errabunda with a few slight changes. I'm not as up-to-speed on building a Covenant from scratch as I should be, so I have to use one that exists. But as with the Tribunal, I can add this to the first post to avoid confusion!

None that I can think of. Probably more of a fluke than anything else, although now that you mention it I might have to come up with a story seed dealing with Hermetic Numerology and the number 3 and the age of 28...

I am interested.

The sample covenant whose regio connects all over Europe but where all characters are from Normandy?
I fear I must decline or I will feel compelled to invent busses to drive through these plot holes.

I'd ask you to reconsider that stance please. Just because it CAN connect all over Europe doesn't mean that it connects where you want it to go. Not to mention that we can alter that particular piece of things so that the Regio exists but doesn't wander like that.

It isn't just the one point. Everyone being the same age, the slapdash way of putting together published supplements without consideration for how or whether they fit. I'm one of the more AR players in this game and I believe it would drive me nuts.

While I respect the decision - not every game is for every player - can I ask what you mean about the bolded statement in your post? I'm not following what you mean here, and I'd like to find out why you think there isn't any consideration for how things are put together.

The Normandy tribunal is one defined by a scarcity of magical resources, but you have a covenant with a regio of 5 and a second level of 7, which touches on the rest of the continent which you are trying to specifically exclude. Broken Covenant of Calebais -while I do not have it- is critiqued as being a poor choice for a starting group specifically because of the overwhelming power level of the magic within. It is also supposed to be about a powerful covenant which fell 5 years ago, but with the way the Normandy tribunal distributes vis resources most of its resources would have already been plundered by other covenants aside from what vis stores and magic items actually remain within since all vis sources are publicly recorded, and books are pretty much possessed by the Tribunal.
It really feels like you grabbed a random scenario, a random tribunal, and a random covenant and decided to use those instead of doing any actual work at being a storyteller.

And now I'm reminded of why I left these boards in the first place, apart from the real life stuff that cropped up.

Forget it. I wanted to run a game, but instead of getting any actual help I get talked down to by yet another ArM elitist. You don't know me, and you have no clue what I'm capable of as a storyteller. You are not the end-all of what is or is not acceptable in a game. There's nothing in the rules that says changes can't be made to anything, yet I'm being insulted for wanting to do something. My apologies for intruding upon your personal forum. I'm sorry that I wanted to use a Tribunal that I think is cool and has potential when I obviously didn't ask your explicit permission.

I'm done here. I'll ask everyone to disregard this thread. I'll go elsewhere and run a game where people don't have this condescending attitude towards newcomers and outsiders.

Which is exactly why I didn't go into such detail until you asked my opinion, which is all this is. There is nothing about what you are "allowed" to do. I had already stated that I wasn't interested in your game, you wanted to know why. I mentioned that I am at a certain extreme of preferences for a game, then you asked my to further explain my opinion. You virtually begged for the harshest criticism I had for your game then throw a tantrum when I give it to you. Run your game, ignore my opinion. But might I suggest in the future that you not ask questions where you can't handle the answers.

The answers I can handle. Your elitist, condescending tone and attitude are what's irritating. Not to mention you insulting my abilities as a storyteller without even knowing me. You could have simply said something like "I don't care for the Tribunal" or "I don't care for the story arc" or something similar without effectively telling me I'm wrong would have gone a long way. I even stated, up front, that not all games are for all players.

Next time, you might want to consider not being a dick to new people on the forum.

I honestly don't think silveroak was misbehaving. Your reaction on the other hand let me withdraw the interest I expressed earlier.

Posting interest.

You have a typo calling out 25 years of apprenticeship rather than 15.

You had to ask twice to get my "elitist" tone. I could have said all kinds of things, but they simply weren't the truth. Like I said, I tend towards one extreme of the spectrum of players, and you might well have people who are more interested because I am not interested. But when you keep digging until you find something to be insulted by, I do not feel responsible for your feelings getting hurt. You could have dropped it when I said I wasn't interested.

OK, dude, just stop. You bringing legitimate criticism isn't the issue. It's that you are being specifically insulting.

There was no good reason for you to write this other than to make them feel bad. The commentary up to that point was just opinion on the game, that was all fine. But when you finish off by throwing an insult straight into their face then you are just being a jerk. I shouldn't have to tell you that.

It was the opinion he asked for. Yes, it was being a jerk, but it wasn't just being a jerk. It was part of the impression I had and the issue I had with the way the game was set up. Believe me it is a criticism I have with regard to films all the time and there is no writer present in those cases for me to hurt.

So, you are saying it's my fault you were intentionally a dick to me? Wow.

Again, you could have given the answer without the character insult. THAT is what got to me, not your reasoning for being uninterested.

Interested in playing the game. Is it a coincidence that a similar game is advertised on mythweavers?

It seems I may actually owe silveroak an apology on this one. I've been informed twice now in as many days that I don't have what it takes to run an Ars game. And the second one was by another person who has no clue of my ability to run a game, but he pointed out that I might have difficulty with the rules as I'm missing things that others are pointing out and I'm having to correct.

Based on that, it's entirely possible I don't have what it takes to do this. I'm going to step back and evaluate my own abilities for a bit before moving on with this.

And if silveroak is may be right. Doesn't excuse the lack of tact with which you delivered the message, but the message may have been right all along.