Bear with me here. This is just a whimsical idea.
I have been on this retro kick lately. I will spare you the jargon. Suffice to say I am playing an old version of D&D that includes material written by John Nephew.
I have taken an interest in "clones" and this vibrant creative writing community. Different takes on the idea, cloning different mechanics, but all based on the older version of that game. Now remember, Ars Magica has its origin as an optional magic system for that game. Or something like that. Said author went on to rewrite that other game. I have nothing against it, but this stuff is inspired by several versions previous.
Which leads me to Dungeon Crawl Classics, a clone that uses a die roll for magic and interesting arcane dangers. There is also this thing the call the 0 level funnel, in which you create a few shucks, send them to their doom, and the one that survives becomes your character.
Bear with me. This is a screwy idea fusing concepts of Ars Magica to two or three retro games.
You start the saga with one Magus of the Order of Hermes (9th level magic user), one companion (9th level anything else), and 4 Grogs (o level nobodys, one may become an apprentice or companion if they live long enough).
Go ahead. Tear the idea to shreds. I enjoyed the thought and the process of writing it down for others to read.