Ars Magica 5th: The Price of Knowledge [3-4 Players]


Campaign Title: The Price of Knowledge
System: Ars Magica 5th Edition
# of Players: 3-4 players.

Deadline: Aiming to start play in early March
Starting Level: Shortly after Gauntlet. Characters should be built using only materials from the ArM5
Character Creation: Starting characters must be built using only the 5th Edition core book. That includes spells selection, although a few (1-2) spells may come from other sourcebooks, or custom-designed based on guidelines from the core book, may be allowed at the storyguide's discretion. The material presented in the Houses of Hermes trio of books (True Lineages, Societates and Mystery Cults) can be used as an inspiration for background, but the more mechanical aspects (virtues, flaws, spells, etc.) will not be used unless specifically allowed.
Advancement Rules: Standard apprenticeship. Advancement during play may be slowed down by the scarcity of resources.
Combat Rules: Mostly narrative, but combat will not be commonplace.
Dice-Rolling Rules: The storyguide will make all rolls.
Special Rules: A small number of House Rules will be in effect (see separate post). More could be added as needed and agreed upon by the troupe.

Posting Rate: Minimum twice a week. although I would like players to be able to post once or twice a day most times during the week. I seldom have time to post on weekends.
Absences: Players who disappear for more than 2 weeks before prior notification may see their characters be evicted from the covenant (or meet an untimely end).
Writing Expectations: I don't expect professional writing skills, but text should be written clearly with a minimum of abbreviations.
Text Formatting: Colored text for in-character speech, italics for thoughts. Out of character questions, comments or instructions should be clearly marked (such as "((OOC: This is out of character.))"

Plot- or Character-Driven: Mostly character-driven, although there will be some underlying plots. I will try to integrate historical elements into the saga as much as possible.
Focus: Personal growth and Hermetic politics.
Character Types: No companion-level characters at this time.

Campaign Description: A relatively low resource saga. A small groups of newly-Gauntleted magi join an existing covenant and most conform to its rules.

The Order of Hermes is made up of magi suspicious of each other and jealous of their power. They keep their secrets close, for knowledge is power. So they don't share books easily. Good books will be rarely copied (deals are usually made to gain access to them instead). Sources of raw vis are slowly disappearing throughout Mythic Europe, so they are guarded jealously and smaller sources are more valuable than in the early history of the Order. This forces magi to seek out places where vis can be found, even when such locations are less than ideal, so that they can secure them.

In this context, young magi looking for knowledge must accept many conditions in order to join well-established covenants and gain access to the accumulated knowledge and other resources. Covenants require obedience and service in exchange for access to their libraries. Sometimes, young magi try to establish a new covenants, pooling their resources. But the established covenants frown upon this and make their lives difficult, denying them accept to their libraries and contesting their sources of vis through political maneuvers.

Your magus is one of those willing to accept the rules of an established covenant to gain access to its resources. You just completed your apprenticeship and want to pursue your own research and goals. The covenant where you were apprenticed has only limited prospects for you, and you wish to explore other avenues. Your pater (or mater) informs you of a call for new magi from a large covenant, but you know that many others will try to secure a spot.

(This is a sister saga to The Price of Freedom, where young magi try to establish a new covenant in the same environment.)

Starting Resources: This is a relatively low resource saga. The covenant already exists and has a considerable library, but access to its contents is strictly controlled by senior magi. The covenant also has a fairly large number of vis sources, but it is in great demand so only a small amount of vis trickles down to junior magi. Forget about the build points system from Covenants.

Can your young magus make his mark and rise amongst the ranks? Is he or she ready to pay the price of knowledge?

A list of the saga's initial House Rules. More can be added later is needed and agreed upon by the troupe.


  • Rounding Totals: Whenever the rules don't specify how the result of a division should be rounded, all fractions are rounded down. For example, an Affinity applied to 5 xp (thus 7.5) will be rounded down to 7 xp, while a Fatigue-less spontaneous casting total of 4.8 will be rounded down to 4.

Character Creation

  • Sourcebooks: Starting characters must be built using only the 5th Edition core rules. That includes spells selection, although a few (1-2) spells may come from other sourcebooks, or custom-designed based on guidelines from the core book, may be allowed at the storyguide's discretion. The material presented in the Houses of Hermes trio of books (True Lineages, Societates and Mystery Cults) can be used as an inspiration for background, but the more mechanical aspects (virtues, flaws, spells, etc.) will not be used unless specifically allowed.
  • Area Lore: Every character must start play with at a score of 1 in an Area Lore, representing the environment in which he lived. This may be from childhood experience, linked to the covenant where he was apprenticed, the place where he worked, etc.


  • Area Lore Mutability: The knowledge of a specific area where a character lives can be slowly transformed into knowledge of a new area when he moves. For every year that a character spends in a new environment, he can transfer 5 xp from an Area Lore that he already had into another Area Lore. This has no impact on the amount of experience the character earns during the year. This is optional and at the choice of the player, but is subject to troupe approval.

Hermetic Magic

  • Penetration: Penetration can be negative. This does not prevent the effect from affecting a mundane creature, but any form of magic resistance will block it, even if it is 0.
  • Requisites: There is no need for a requisite to cover the form of a talisman when the magus is touching it. So a magus with a sword talisman who casts Seven-League Stride does not need to include a Terram requisite to bring it along. The same is true for a familiar who is of small size (-3 or less) in its natural shape (i.e. not because of a power or spell).


  • Talisman: A talisman is considered to be part of the magus when he is touching it. As a result, a shapechanging magus can transform his talisman along with himself. A magus with the Bjornaer, Shapeshifter or Skinchanger virtue can do this automatically. A magus using a spell does not need to add a requisite for the Form(s) of the talisman. However, when the talisman is transformed that way, the magus cannot use its attunements, nor activate any effect enchanted into it.


  • Aegis of the Hearth: Needs to penetrate in order to prevent a creature from entering the Aegis. It still penalizes the powers of a creature able to enter it.
  • Aegis of the Hearth: Does not blow down Parma Magica, or suppress an active power or spell entering it.
  • Aegis of the Hearth: If the Aegis is stronger than the level of an effect from an enchanted item foreign to the Aegis, the effect fails to activate. The level of effect excludes all enchantment modifications, except for those for Penetration. So a wand enchanted with a Pilum of Fire (lvl 20), usable 12 times a day (+4 lvl) with +10 Penetration (+5 lvl) is considered to have an effect level of 25. So it would work within a level 25 Aegis, but fails to activate in a stronger Aegis.

This sounds very interesting to me. Any information about the covenant we are going to be joining or physical location where it will be so I can start thinking of a character concept?

At this time, a character concept is all that I want. One or two sentences describing the basic idea behind the character. If I can see it working, then we can move forward to actual character design.

As for the covenant and physical location, this is the letter that the Young magi will have seen circulated around:

Completely out of character, I would encourage players to create characters that are not local to the Tribunal. After a while, having all of the magi "just happen" to have been born in the region where the covenant (or chapter house in this case) is established begins to feel contrived. In any case, Fengheld is known to have chapter houses in fairly distant places -- including one that is outside of the Rhine Tribunal.

In character, the covenant is not disclosing the actual location of the new chapter house to the new magi just yet. :smiling_imp:

Character concept: A Welsh, hunchbacked, goblin blooded (coblynau), Merinita magus with an affinity for terram magic. He prefers dark and creepy things and shady hermetic politics.

If you do not like this concept, I have a couple more I have been thinking about.

Works for me. Dark and creepy is certainly something I can deal with, and fits my vision of faeries. :smiling_imp:

I'm still waiting to see if there are more people interested in joining the game. I'm a bit surprised, as usually there are quite a few looking to join a saga before asking for a sub-forum. Maybe things are a just slow at the moment.

I'm interested but I may be a little slower than usual at posting the coming weeks.

I'm pondering over a character concept though, and I have two different at the moment in my mind.
First, a Flambeau magus from Iceland or Scandinavia, Mythic Blood from a frost giant and an expert in Perdo Ignem. May have Hedge Wizard as flaw. The problem I see with this concept is that he gets too combat-oriented in a political saga, but I have a few twists in mind to make him want to strive towards becoming more civil and social.

The second character concept is a gentle-gifted Romani originating from Constantinople. Jerbiton would probably suit best but I really like the concept of a gentle-gifted and social Flambeau. This character might suit better for a political saga though.

I'd like to join, if there's room for a Vim-focused magus. He'd be from Frisia and a Seeker of House Bonisagus who is keenly aware of the dwindling of vis sources and wants to find out why it's happening and to do something about it. If he can. He's no political mastermind, but savvy enough to know that he'll need to be cautious in how he goes about this goal. He's also aware that a freshly-gauntleted magus will need all the help, resources and further training he can get to have a chance at success.

Any of those concepts could work, although going with the Scandinavian frost giant would be a bit more difficult for me. I'd rather keep the far north a strange and dangerous place where magi don't visit much, rather than something familiar where they grew up.

Note that although the saga will be more politically oriented, there will be plenty of opportunities for a more action-oriented magus to shine. After all, as the saga starts, the young magi will have to establish and grow a new chapter house. With numerous seasons of services to perform. So it would be relatively easy to assign tasks to each based on their abilities. Politics will emerge more as they become established within the covenant's structure.

I'll go with the Romani character then. I'm going to try and see what I can get out from a gentle-gifted Flambeau to start with. I have a concept in my mind but I have no idea if it works in game terms, virtue and flaw-wise especially.

If you don't mind playing with me again, I'd be happy to join.

If that's ok, I'll probably play an Ibis Bjornaer from Iberian tribunal focusing primarily on elemental magic (probably aquam/auram mostly). He will be interested in hermetic politics related to the protection of the wild and will try to use the special rulings on "The Forest" to expand it to any place with a magic aura/and or a inhabited with a strong magical spirit.

Sounds good to me. :smiley:

Hi Emelric,

That works as a concept. :smiley:

As we now have 4 players, I am closing the saga to new applications for the moment.

I will be requesting a new sub-forum for the saga today. You can work on your individual magi in the meantime, but no need to post them here. I'd advise you to focus on background information and personal history of your characters, as that is, for me, the most important and defining part. Stats are just stats.


We have a forum!

I have created a character creation topic for each of the players. I would ask you to begin by posting your character concept there -- as outlined in this thread -- before moving on to a more detailed character.

I will start populating the forum with other topics today, such as House Rules, Cosmology, Dramatis Persona, etc. For now I am not posting anything about the covenant and the chapter house. That will be an in-play surprise. :mrgreen:

We have 2 openings for the saga. The new magi would initially be assigned to the chapter house as visiting peregrinators, with a possibility of becoming members of Fengheld being held in front of them as an incentive to perform favours for the elder magi.

See the first post of this thread for the saga's parameters and house rules.


I would like to join if there's space. Fengheld looks like an interesting place to play. Let me take a look at the forum and check what people are playing so I choose something different.

Hi darkwing,

The chapter house would certainly benefit from having a PC magus with the Gentle Gift. My NPC magus has it, but I prefer to keep him out of most stories. Which doesn't mean that you have to gop that way. There are certainly many possible stories that do not require a Gentle Gift.

Let me know! :slight_smile:

tempting. The fact that I didn't post right away only shows how tempting...

Which PC magi are still active?

Hi Pralix!

The active PC magi are Renatus Bjornaer (bitter) and Ludovicus of Bonisagus (Emelric).

The NPC magus is Renatus of Jerbiton, a disfigured magus specialized in the growth of plants.