Ars Magica as a form of literature?

I've been wondering if a group of players could write an online novel using ArM5.

This would require players who are not as power-hungry as the average player is (to the point where sacrificing a player to make a story better becomes a real option). It would also require a supreme command of English, a clear separation of in character and ooc comments. A willingness to take over other characters and to have your character taken over by other players would be mandatory. Dice wouldn't be relevant at all - dramatically appropriate failure could win more xp than bland and boring success. Character creation would not focus on numbers, but on character traits: This would make it easy for other players to take over your character (with a veto option). Since intimate knowledge of the other players' characters would be required, a small group (using basic rules only) might do this best.

I think using the past tense might help the notion of writing such a novel.

I am not a native speaker myself, but I wonder if it is possible.

If there are people interested in such an experiment (preferably people who speak an excellent English), I would open a thread in "players wanted". Right now, this is just a thought.

A detailed historic background would be required (I'd suggest the region west of Lake Constance in the Rhine Tribunal), because there are plenty of castles and monasteries and lots of sources.

I could totally write fiction using the Ars Magica setting. I would use Spain or Scandinavia, as those are the two areas I am most familiar with and the ones that excite me the most. I don't think I could do it as a game though, or even based off of an actual game. I would write such stories (short stories or novel) using the literature formula, which does not always work well for a game.

I hope that you mean "to the point where sacrificing a character becomes a real option":shock:

I also think you sell the average player short a;most all of the folks that I play with would eat up the opportunity to play out a good death scene for their character and, by and large, we're pretty mechanics focused.

No time for the novel my self. Sorry.

Sacrificing a player? Uh oh, it's a Jack Chick tract.

I tend to object to novels set in game settings, especially written by players. Aside from being the Ultimate Quest of Ultimate Nerdity, they universally suck, and suck a lot. Unless it was a player with an absolutely awesome degree of understanding of the setting and historical period it wouldn't fit the game, and unless that player was a truly great writer it wouldn't be any fun to read.

Hey, you Ars Magica writers, go write some fiction for it!

I am a truly great writer, I must humbly admit. However, I would bend the setting a bit to fit the story. Moreso though, I would write it as a story that exists within a story. Kind of like 300 (the only reason I mention that awesome film is because it appeals to my Spartan heritage :laughing:). That whole movie was actually the supposed narrative of the sole survivor, and thus all achronisms and embellishments could be said to be his doing. My thought was to write a story about Delendos, and claim it is a tale shared by magi, but not necessarilly true or accurate (or depending on the actual game rules) within that context.

Might I add that the RJ Salvatore books stand out as excellent in comparison to the dredges of awful game-based novels out there.

Given they're dredge compared to fantasy literature in general, that's not saying much.

I think exceptionally long Saga's can write themselves and become excellent. As long as the stories are good, the players have depth and develop, there are arcs, motivations and intrigues as well as dramatic and social interaction.

For example using written and unwritten sources our saga would contain the following elements.

Major Plot Arcs

Black Death
Founding a Covenant
Deadly Legacy
Twelfth Night
the Return of Damhan-allaidh
Midsummer Nights Dream

It would contain the following characters (amongst others)

The Pompous Tremere whose ability to make enemies and alienate people is only less as damaging as when his luck always seems to fail him
The Ruthless Flambeau with the worst taste in women and an absolute adherence to his own code of honour.


The Fearie knight confused where she is not considered the equal of the other knights.
The Muslim Warrior-Scholar-physician-Poet plagued by a powerful 'companion' from his home lands.
The Spanish Relic Theif with too great a taste for politcs.

plus dozens of grogs many of whom have their own stories.

in response there are protagonists in the form of

A politically savvy group of elder magi
The women of the Flambeau
A group of Nearby monks with a dark agenda

There is such a rich depth of story here that it could form MANY books and tales.


Dude! I did! I wrote for both the fiction competitions!

And I mentioned the Daughters of Urbastis in one, and a genius locus in another, before either were Just Another Bit of Setting and were Novel and Cool.

sacrificing characters, I wanted to say

LINK, please! (With your writing style, and your knowledge this must be good)

I did not think of writing this by myself. I thought of using the normal online-saga modus (multiple writers, but with less focus on your own character, more-troupe style)

Oh, hey, I never knew.
Link it away.

Actually, I still have all the text files for the Fiction 1998 edition (I was copy editor for it) that I could post if there were no copyright issues. There might not be, but then again there might. How about this instead, I'll bring my copy to the next Grand Tribunal, and you can come and read it there? :stuck_out_tongue:

(I'm pretty sure the authors retain their copyrights, though, so maybe Timothy will post his own for you. David Chart did one too.)

What if we collectively participated in a new fan fiction event? Maybbe a contest, or maybe just for fun. Perhaps Alex would be willing to consider a special Sub Rosa Fiction issue?