Ars Magica Derived Games?

Looking at the threads on ArM6 and the GenCon panel, I am inspired to ask a question.

What different games, derived from Ars Magica, would you like to see? This might mean taking the Ars Magica rules to a new setting (high fantasy Hermetic magic), or using the setting with different rules (Fate Mythic Europe), or just using part of the setting or rules (Mythic Europe without the Order of Hermes or Hermetic magic). People have made suggestions along those lines, but I think the discussion tends to get distracted if they are presented as being possible new editions of Ars Magica. Given that Atlas is already producing games that use the setting with different rules, this is a discussion that might well be useful to them, as well as interesting to me.

I always thought the emphasis on troupe style play and the centrality of the Covenant to sagas would port well to an exploration-based Science-Fiction RPG. With the ship filling in for a covenant, leaders for magi, and colonists for grogs as it were.

Alternately, an Ars Magica style game in an Asian setting is something I always thought would be interesting to try. I know Mr. Ferguson claims China is undoable, but perhaps a neighbouring country, or a particular region might work,

I was recently thinking of working up a proposal for a co-op board game for ArM/Mythic Europe.

Another option is an adventure card game; mage, companion, and a filling number of grogs.

In general I suspect the social structure should be pushed, with the mage performing unique magical tasks, the companion oriented to sterotypical adventurer roll, and the grogs physical and combat oriented.

China is undoable in the Tribunal book style. 20 years ago in Uni. I did however run an Ars game based on James Clavell's "Noble House", which is basically a merchant empire run out of Hong Kong.

Well, with a simpler ruleset, I can see Ben or I doing the Sunidata thing.

Things I've thought about:
The Fall of Georgia to the Mongols.
Something involving the Royal Society.
A game with pirates.
A game where the druids fled to South America and kicked off the Aztecs.
I'm thinking hard about a superhero setting in turn of the millennium Amalfi, but it might work better as fiction.
Something with the whole Procopious/Justinian/Theodroa/Bellasarius knot of history.
A regency game.
A game set in the doomed colonies of Africa that the British set up after the Americans decided they'd prefer to take slaves to convicts, the failure of which led to the Botany Bay project.
The Botany Bay project, which was basically like the Mars expedition of its time.
Something involving John Fortune and tea.

I would like to write a standalone book version of Rats Magica (Sub Rosa 15) using Fate Accelerated for family roleplay.

The Gifted rats of Oakhollow are isolated from the Order and know almost nothing about it, making the book's self contained nature a perfect introduction for young players. The rats don't have Houses, but three or four lineages can be invented to create factions any kid who has seen Harry Potter or Avatar would recognize. The time scale is a week instead of a season, which is faster and more intuitive for kids. Rat wizards are fun to play, especially when they have to use their magic to fight off an aggressive Bee King (bee knights! Bee siege engines!) while sneaking into the abandoned labs of human wizards and avoiding his homicidal cat, the big black dog some Tytalus left behind, or the local Faeries.

I'm telling you, the right artist, and that book would be so awesome.

I don't know if I'd ever get to play a full book of Rats Magica, but I sure as hell would buy it!

At GTUK2014 we played a board game about the Schism War one of the participants had made...what was her name, Anna?
I thought that game was a very good idea.

And back since I first started playing Ars Magica there have been ideas for an 'Ars Modernica' floating around. Considering the change in how physics really work in the modern age Hermetic theory needs a total reworking. Plus the whole balance of the realms need to be thought over again. Between 13th century and now the Dominion would have first flourished along the expansion of the mundanes, but at some point I think the power started to shrink again, since religion some places play a smaller and smaller part. And this opens up for demons, faeries and magical creatures again. With wizards continuing to live in a hidden world.

Yeah, I enjoyed that board game too.

Time and opportunity have slipped past me at this stage, but I really would have invested in an Ars Magica card game. The resource management angle is built in to the setting, as are the range of personalities and factions. I can easily see a game around building a covenant (and reaching one or more win conditions) or castle, or regio, or whatever. Wizard war, certamen, harvesting vis, spells, would all find a place.

You get a hit of Mythic Europe/Order of Hermes goodness while limiting the RPG overhead.

Right, David Chart played the Diedne, you played the Tytalus I think, I played Flambeau and I-can't-remember-who played Tremere. And wasn't Sheila in it as well? The game had potential but I think it needed some tweaking still.

Sounds feasible, so a game where each player controls a covenant to be built up and managed? Perhaps the covenant seasons shoudl play a part as well, so all players don't start from spring. Some could start in other seasons, with more resources but more crises to manage.
Or it could be a board game a bit like Caylus but with each player being a magus developing a covenant while raking in personal gain.

I've been pondering creating an Ars card game for a while too. Thinking of Magi working together as a pseudo covenant, but also trying to be first amongst equals as well. The event cards challenge the players as a group to gain objective points, with side objectives, player wounds, and death as potential resolves. The player who reaches a threshold of points for a type of victory wins. Quaesitory, monsters, mundane politics, faction politics, power ups as event rewards. I can't get the turn based activity right.

It works well with almost anything. Other than possibly murder hobos.
It works so well that with some of the people I play with, Covenant is the goto-word for "stuff that ties the group together", be it a starship or a planetary government - or a muddy village surrounded by rice paddies, owned by a single family of samurai (PCs).

I've thought that abstracting the covenant rules would be interesting where the players represent people who live in some community, say a city or tribe, and that community's well-being depended on the outcome of the various dealings of the characters. I got the idea while reading The Three Musketeers and it seemed to me that one-upping other groups so your city gets the upper hand over that other group's city seemed interesting.

The other idea along similar lines would be where the "covenant" was a Celtic/Germanic tribe in Roman times and the character's adventures helped/hindered their home tribe.

These seem more like separate Ars 'flavors' rather than full-fledged games, but that's my 2p.


Ars Magica: Renaissance.

Mythic Earth in the time of Leonardo Da Vinci, Vlad The Impaler, Machiavelli and John Dee.

I'd like the game to allow for more variable settings, but I think I have ranted enough about this to make that opinion well known.

There are aspects of Ars Magica that would make great sub-games. Certamen might make a great card game (akin to Magic), particularly if the concept of Certamen with more that two magi is possible, while Tribunals would be fun when run as a political boardgame. Both of these could even be used to optionally replace the rules in the ArM core book.

Vis-based economy could also make great board games, with various players trying to gather as much raw vis (through extraction, vis hunt, trading) as they can (with the opportunity of spending it to gain temporary of permanent advantages) to fulfill some specific goal.

As someone else mentioned, the concept of the covenant can be ported to various settings -- sci-fi spaceship, a colony, a city, a tribe. Replace magic with technology, genetics or faith, and you can port most of the rules into a different setting. A few tweaks to the setting and you can port them to a different time/cultural setting (Viking, Roman, Greek, New World, Pirates, Western) or even universe (Avatar, Star Trek, Marvel superheroes).

Well, I don't know if any of these would really fit into a "stand-alone game", but - I basically want everything David Chart said: high-magic ars magica, ars magica without the order of hermes, and fate ars magica. :slight_smile:

I do not like any of these ideas. Jut my opinion, but my opinion determines how I spend money and how I reccomend others spend theirs. So...

Changed my mind.
Meditating upon it, I can see how the setting can be marketed in various interesting ways. Board games, card games, books, comics, tv, computer games, etceteras. It carries brand recognition. The setting is what is trademark able. Rules for a game cannot be copyrighted. The setting can. The setting is what I cherish more than the rules. So ideas that can help it prosper and grow are good things.

The most attractive thing about Ars Magica to me is the Mythic Europe setting, and the best thing about that setting is how well it handles the supernatural – by which I mean different magical and occult traditions, spirits and magical creatures, Faerie, and the Divine and the Infernal. It is sensitive to the nuances of real, historical traditions which make most other RPG treatments look crude in comparison. Secondarily the line is good at producing books with a high level of historical accuracy, and drawing on history to portray interesting environments which allow a wide range of stories to take place. Taken together, the setting with the rules in support facilitate what some people used to call ‘culture games’, immersive sandbox play in an internally-consistent but alien environment. In the case of Mythic Europe this environment is drawn from our own history, making real what people believed at a particular point in time – which makes the setting both more accessible and more complex than most fantasy settings, both of which I see as key features. To my mind, while the Order of Hermes with its houses and covenants provides a way into that setting, it also feels contrived, and it is a means to an end rather than an end in itself.

I would love to see other Mythic Europe games made in the spirit of Ars Magica (and preferably using roughly similar rules, which I think are very serviceable, if a bit too complex for my tastes when it comes to Hermetic magic). In particular I would love to see games set in Ancient Greece, post-Roman Britain, Viking age Scandinavia, Ancient Egypt and pre-Roman Celtic Britain or Gaul. As has already been mentioned, a Renaissance game would be good as well. I think Mythic Europe games in these settings could be a lot stronger than other published games with those settings. I ran a Dark Age Arthurian game drawing on Ars Magica rules and supplements because I thought that worked better than Pendragon and GURPS. I have run a Vikings game similarly because I think Ars Magica with its fourth edition supplements handles the period and culture better than Fate of the Norns, Yggdrasil, and RuneQuest Vikings.

Covenants make sense to me as a common traditional social living arrangement of magicians.

Houses seem somewhat artificial - an Order made up of lineages, cults, societies and traditions makes sense, again to me. Much of the structure of the Order is built around Houses, but future versions of Mythic Europe may loosen that up.

Tribunals also make a certain amount of sense - gatherings of magicians to address common issues and disputes, from geographically defined areas with soft and even fluid borders.

Mythic Europe is a good setting with a lot of potential, and I am disappointed as a fan and professional on an ongoing basis that more has not been done to expand into fiction and other media.