Ars Magica: Canaries Are Dying [3-6 Players]

Campaign Title: Canaries Are Dying

System: Ars Magica (5th Edition)

# of Players: Shooting for 3-6.

Deadline: About two-three weeks after I get enough players.

Starting Level: Magi should be anywhere from Gauntlet to 5-10 years out. Character creation uses the standard rules from the core rulebook (i.e. 30 points per year after Gauntlet, which may be used as xp for Arts or Abilities or as Spell Levels).

Advancement Rules: Grogs and Companions get standard 15 points per year (plus any adventure xp); Magi will use the standard seasonal advancement.

Combat Rules: I'm going to try to avoid combat if possible (because combat in PbP sucks). If we do devolve into combat, it will be resolved in the story thread, with (hopefully) no more than three days per combat round.

Dice-Rolling Rules: I'm actually quite fond of Invisible Castle. In the event that Invisible Castle has another extended down-time, players may make their own rolls or they may ask me to make them for them.

Special Rules: Although I have most (but not all) of the 5e books, character creation should be limited to the Core Rulebook and the three Houses of Hermes books. If there's something from one of the other books (that I have) that fits your character concept to a T, let me know and I'll think about it.

  • Background and setting information will be drawn heavily from Lion of the North as well.
  • The covenant itself will be a relatively collaborative effort, in that there are some things that the covenant must have but the players will have input in almost everything, using Covenants.
  • Disregard the bit in Character Creation on p. 32 about Twilight Points ("A typical magus also gains an average of two Twilight Points...per year.") If you want to give your magus Twilight Points (or Twilight Scars) you may, but it's not required.

Posting Rate: I have way too much time on my hands, so I'll likely be posting daily. I do want the players to be able to post a minimum of once a week. I'd prefer posting at least every two or three days, but I'm greedy that way.

Absences: If you're going to gone for a while, let me know and we can try to find a way around it. If you disappear without a trace, and don't respond to inquiries about your welfare, I'll have to find a way to write your character out of the saga until you return. I won't kill the character off because of a missing player...but this is the backside of nowhere – things happen.

Writing Expectations: Don't make my head hurt. I don't expect anyone else to be J.K. Rowling, but for the love of Mercere don't write like you're posting comments on a Lolcat, either. Something that I can read and understand the first time through works for me.

Text Formatting: I'm fond of magi writing in colored text (Fiona uses blue, Cygna uses red, for example). But even with that, I would like you to be sure we know who's saying what. Totally ooc comments or questions should go on their own line. I ask that you show the math on your dice rolls (for example, if Cygna is going to slap Liliana, it would look something like "Dex 0 + Brawl 1 + die roll of 1 (followed by die roll of 4, so 8 ) = 9." Although, if you're rolling for the same thing more than once in a row (such as Survival rolls when your characters are camping), you only need to show the detailed work the first time, unless there are any changes.

Plot- or Character-Driven: I may have one or two long-term ideas for what's going to happen, but it's going to be heavily character-driven.

Focus: The saga will be rather political, with the focus on how (or if) the characters can pull the Covenant back from the brink of collapse.

Character Types: The saga is set in Loch Leglean, which is dominated by Ex Misc. (If you play an ex Misc, at least come up with a name for your Tradition – the more fluff the better, like I did with Fiona's Tradition, the Daughters of Circe.

  • Flambeau are very unpopular, due to their plans to invade Scotland in pursuit of Brude Deathless (and anyone who got in their way). So, if you play a Flambeau, don't be surprised if the other magi t.p. his sanctum.
  • There's only one Quaesitor in Loch Leglean, and I believe I have a PC Quaesitor planning to play, more Guernicus magi.
  • No Mythic Companions (the ones with 20 points in Virtues and 10 in Flaws).
  • I would like players to have a magus and a Companion, in addition to as many grogs as you want. I prefer that players play the grogs they make (since I prefer to play my grogs myself), but I know a lot of people don't mind if their grogs go into the community pool. If you make a grog and want to play him yourself, note that on his character sheet.
  • Each magus and companion will have their own creation threads for creation and advancement notes, with a separate thread for their character sheets. Grogs will have a thread for their character sheets and another for discussion.

Campaign Description: Insula Canaria ("Dog Island") is an old-ish covenant situated on the south end of Loch Ness. Founded by a Criamon in 1145, it was prosperous for many years. Faileas ex Criamon dominated the covenant, however, and over time let the covenant decline while he focused on his own concerns. Faileas has disappeared, the apprentice he was obsessed with seeing Gauntleted had apparently replaced him and stands accused of diabolism when he's found, the covenant is down to their last vis source, and the apprentice pillaged the library upon his departure. And their mundane situation doesn't look much better. The three remaining magi have put out a call for fresh blood to try to revive the covenant they have called home for most, if not all, of their hermetic lives. And what has the giants so restless? Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to revive this dying covenant in the midst of the chaos that is Loch Leglean. The saga start date will be Spring of 1222.

Me!Me! I want to give this play-by-post business a go. I will happily play a mage of any house.

I see you have city & guild - is it OK if my companion and maybe a grog are tradesmen linked to the covenant?

I have it but haven't read it, so you might have to walk me through what you're doing with them.

As far as being tradesmen being linked to the covenant - shouldn't be a big problem, but they might have to spend some time on the road to make a decent profit, depending on what kind of merchants/craftsmen they are.

I have a request in to the staff for a forum for the game, hopefully we should be getting one soon so we can start hashing stuff out there. Until then, if you have any questions, feel free to send me a pm.

As told elsewhere, probably interested.

Will try to see if some nice character idea crops up.

Only problem I see is that I now tend to do asocial characters to explain my occasionnal lack of time, which isn't great in a political saga.

Probably going Ex Misc, Merinita or maybe Jerbiton.

I'm really rather flattered that you took my diabolical plan for Faileas and are running with it! I have a couple of questions about character generation

Are we using RAW character generation (for magi)? By that I mean 30xp/year post gauntlet, spells learned by spending XP, rather than as a lab activity?
One reason I chose to use 40 XP and require spells be purchased with XPs was to make lab work less punitive post gauntlet, but not let spell learning get out of hand[1]. Taking a season out for labwork removes 10 XP. That's a pretty big hit, and it actually makes labwork less likely to happen before play begins.

Throwing my character concept out for discussion: part of me wants to play a Flambeau who is coming to rehabilitate the House's image within the Loch Leglean Tribunal. I've got a few other concepts I'm playing around with, but none are really all that exciting to me. In a political saga and our combined frequent posting rate, well, mine was high until the kitchen renovation started, anyway... As I was saying, in a political saga, with a Flambeau trying to repair the damage that was previously done, well that one is kinda speaking to me the ways the others aren't.

[1] Spell learning as a lab activity post gauntlet requires an SG determination, whether a spell can be learned from an available lab text. I decided that it wasn't worth the trouble, and the XP effectively limited the total quantity of the spells that can be learned. One perverse effect of using XP to buy spells is that players tend to start with much higher level spells than by using labwork. For example, I want to learn a 35th level spell, and my LT is 36. By RAW character generation rules, I can learn it by spending 35 XP. If done as labwork, and I have a lab text, I can learn it in a season, effectively earning 35 XP. If no lab text is available, then it will take me 35 seasons to learn the darn spell, well, probably less than that, but you get the idea...

You're welcome. That whole thread was pretty good, and got my juices going.

Yep. 30 points per year, maximum spell level Te + Fo + Int + MT + 3. Oh, and I'm disregarding the thing about "typical" magi gaining 2 Twilight Points per year after Gauntlet. (I should probably go mention that in my original post, huh?)

I like it...and apparently, so does my mp3 player, which started playing Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor when I got to this part.

Also note Loch Leglean Tribunal of 1210 ruled: "Magus Erdras Tan-Gwyllt of Flambeau is cast out of the Order for setting her apprentice a gauntlet that kills several of her mortal enemies; the Tribunal absolves Magus Curwin, the former apprentice, and rules that magi are responsible for their apprentices even in gauntlet." Contrasted with an earlier ruling in Iberia that "during a gauntlet an apprentice is not yet a mage and cannot be held to the Code, but cannot be guided by his parens either," in the case of Trentus of Flambeau, who killed several mortals and burned two ships during his gauntlet in Barcelona in the 1160s.

Anyway, there are currently five Flambeau in Loch Leglean. They tend to be down along the English border, and align with Horsingas. Lots of raiding. Just fyi.

And the forum for the game is up and running! Vivat!


Love to have ya, mate, if you can work it into your schedule. Even if it's just part-time.

I can either create a new character or bring Nestor from Max's retired saga

Either way. I took a quick glance at Nestor, at least the "at gauntlet" sheet, and that should work. Then, if you want to make him older, you can advance him normally.

And it looks like I have, I believe, six people signed up. Keep an eye on this space in case I have any openings down the road.


I hate being a day late and a dollar short. Please keep me in mind if you there is open or extra space. I recently had a Loch Leglean tabletop saga wither and would love to play in your pbp saga.

If you wanted more foreign magi, I would proposed a young Tremere sent to this distant corner to watch for risks to the Order such as the expansion of the Order of Odin among the Western and Northern Isles or the anarchy of the local magi. It would be his first big assignment for the house post gauntlet. This would be a suspicious and seemingly grim mage accustomed to the forests and mountains of central Europe but eager to prove himself amongst the barbarians of the North. On the other hand, if your saga is in need of more local color, I could offer a Scottish Bjornaer-Otter with the personality that goes along with his heartbeast (Eat - Play - Nap in Sun - Play. . . . lab work sometime).

Thank you. If I do wind up needing another player, I'll send you a pm.

We find ourselves a player down. The saga is under way, but it is still early yet, and I doubt that I'll have much trouble working in any new characters.


Reading through the description of the covenant and your saga ideas, I am interested in participating, should there be room. A few notes are worth bringing up, though, just so you have a better idea regarding my background as a player.

  1. I have zero 5th Edition experience, although I have a slew of 3rd and some 4th Edition experience. It's also a little rusty, given that most of it was 15 years ago and more. My experience was also all tabletop based.
  2. I'm much used to the Troup system, although I have functioned as main storyteller in the past. Being primarily a player would suit me, though.
  3. I'm not a powergamer at all, although I tend to leverage social situations. There's a fair chance that I will end up with a character that, at least at the time of his or her Gauntlet, is relatively underpowered magic-wise - I dislike heavily specialised magi and magae, however good the excuse. Once the story unfolds, I might focus a bit more, since the saga is the real impetus - not my desire to create the first Perdo Corpus 85 spell.
  4. My interests are historical anthropology in all it's myriad forms, especially relating to belief systems. I'm a librarian by trade.
  5. English is not my native language, although I am comfortable writing it. The occasional error does occur, of course, and I ask for pardon in advance for any misunderstandings resulting from such.

If the above are acceptable to you and the Troup, I would like to be considered for a magus (or maga) and a companion. Please give me an indication whether the current covenant has a preference for (or against) certain Houses, or cultural backgrounds.

Yours in good faith,


PS. I have a keen interest in raptors, and the breeding pair of peregrins downtown from where I live are particularly splendid. Just thought you'd like to know :slight_smile: .

There is definitely room for more, as we are currently down a player or two. I take it you've already looked through the saga forum, so you have a rough idea of what the saga's about.

All players get one magus/maga and one companion, and all the grogs they can eat. If you do join, just introduce yourself in the appropriate thread (probably Table Talk), and make a character creation thread for your magus and one for your companion. (I don't always catch problems, and this also allows the troupe to point out problems they see, not just mechanics-wise, but potential rp/interaction problems). Grogs all go into the Grogs'r'Us thread. (A note about grogs – I, personally, prefer to play my own grogs as a player, and let the players have their "own" grogs in my saga; grogs made by former players, or grogs that their creators say anybody can play, I tag as "open" in the Character Sheets main post.)

I don't know what your posting schedule will be like, but I do want everyone to post at least once a week, and prefer either daily or every two or three days. If you're going to be away for a while, let us know (as, currently, one of the more active players is on vacation for a couple of weeks, but he gave us a heads-up).

Play-by-post doesn't lend itself real well to combat, so I try to avoid it. Not to say that there won't be some combat, but this isn't a combat-centered campaign. It's more role-play and character-driven.

I also try to run a year at a time (I have a semi-random rotation schedule for the magi and companions, so each one should be the focus of a seasonal story). This allows more players to beel more involved,and also dramatically speeds up the passage of time. The first pbp saga I played in never got out of the first day, and the second never got past the second – both after several months of play.

I don't have any particular preferences (as a gm) as to which house you should or shouldn't play. We currently have a Tytalus, a Verditius, and an ex Misc player-characters (the Bjornaer Quaesitore is on her way out), and a Bjornaer lab-rat, (deer heartbeast) a Nature Merinita, and a weather-witch ex Misc as established npcs.

If you have any questions, I'm pretty much always available, so feel free to shoot me a pm or an email, or post on the boards.

Thank you! I will add those threads to the forum, and we can continue from there.

Currently, I have the basics of a non-Gifted Redcap (companion) that's in need of a covenant. Things in the Rhine tribunal are a little hot under her feet at the moment. I'll post what I have written down for now and start thinking of a magus or maga.

Edit: It seems I do not have the option to either reply to, or add, threads on the game forum. Is that something you will have to flag me for?

Click on your name, that pulls up your user profile.

Toward the top left side, click on "User Control Panel."

Click on the "Usergroups" tab, second from the right.

Under groups, there should be a Memberships section, with a "Play By Post Players" section that has a button to the right. Click that little round dot. At the bottom of the page, there's a drop-down menu called "Select:" Select the "Join selected" option and hit "Submit."

That should do it for you, hopefully.

Thank you.

Following your advice solved the problem, and I have started posting in the saga's forum.