Ars Magica - Phantasiare

Hey all, came awondering if the community was still around. I'm thinking of switching back to Ars Magica for our group again, which none of you are likely to recall, I play in a Fantasy Style setting...

Having long lost most of my notes, came onto the forums hoping there was still a copy of them somewhere, but seeing as that's the only post I can find, I guess it's back to scratch on building a Fantasy Setting ruleset for the game. Here's what I remember, if anyone wants to chip in (and by that, I mean help build, not attempt to tear down the idea by commenting how much better Mythic Europe is), I'd be happy for the input.

First, each player may choose a Race of beings to belong to. There are 3 basic races in the world, Dwarves, Elves, and Humans. Most Dwarves and Elves tend to lean towards Faerie Magic, particularly strong in their own Element to which they are attuned. Humans on the other hand, can be attuned to any Form.

Humans are the most dynamic/variable, and may have the Puissant (Form) as a free Virtue that does not count against your Virtue cap. Each of the other 2 races are more in tune to a particular element though, and receive a different sort of bonus based on the Element they are attuned to.

Elves. There are 4 types of Elves, each attuned to a particular Element.
Vodianyk are Elves particularly attuned to the Element of Water . They have Deft Form (Aquam) and Puissant (Aquam), which do not count against the number of Virtues a character may have.
Ljos Elves are particularly attuned to the Element of Fire , and receive Deft Form (Ignem) and Puissant (Ignem) as free Virtues which do not count against the number of Virtues a character may have.
Dokk Elves are attuned to Earth , and receive Deft Form (Terram) and Puissant (Terram) as free Virtues, which do not count against the number of Virtues a character may have.
Sylph are a type of Elf that are attuned to Air and receive Deft Form (Auram) and Puissant (Auram) as free Virtues, which do not count against the number of Virtues a character may have.

Dwarves. Similar to Elves, there are 4 types of Dwarves in the world, each attuned to a particular Element, and receive both the Deft Form Virtue, as well as the Puissant Virtue in their attuned Element, without it counting against the number of Virtues they may have.
Gnomes are attuned to Aquam .
Vuurverg are attuned to Ignem .
Dvergar are attuned to Earth .
Darrig are attuned to Air .

Characteristics are removed from the game, and replaced by Virtues and Flaws (Characteristics thus play no part in rolls) such as "Strong as an Ox" (can lift X amount of weight) "Weakling" (max amount of weight), etc.

Each person has to pick which "Realm", their Magic (or lack thereof) comes from. There are 3 of the 4 realms known in Ars Magica, Divine, Magical, Faerie, and a new one called Internal (in place of Infernal, AKA Chi). Each Realm has Strengths and Weaknesses. For the Strengths, the cost to raise the Art is as listed in the book, for Arts that are neither a Strength, nor a Weakness, the costs are doubled. For Arts that fall under Weaknesses, the cost of the Art is Quadruple. Below are the listed Strengths and Weaknesses of each Realm:

Divine Strengths: Creo, Perdo, Animal, Corpus, Mentem
Divine Acceptable: Intelligo, Muto, Aquam, Herbam, Terram (x2 costs)
Divine Weakness: Rego, Aurum, Ignem, Imaginem, Vim (x4 costs)

Internal Strengths: Muto, Rego, Animal, Corpus, Imaginem
Internal Acceptable: Creo, Aquam, Auram, Herbam, Terram (x2 costs)
Internal Weakness: Intelligo, Perdo, Ignem, Mentem, Vim (x4 costs)

Nature Strengths: Aquam, Auram, Herbam, Ignem, Terram
Nature Acceptable: Creo, Muto, Rego, Animal, Corpus (x2 costs)
Nature Weakness: Intelligo, Perdo, Imaginem, Mentem, Vim (x4 costs)

Magical Strength: Creo, Intelligo, Muto, Perdo, Rego
Magical Acceptable: Ignem, Imaginem, Mentem, Terram, Vim (x2 costs)
Magical Weakness: Animal, Aquam, Auram, Corpus, Herbam (x4 costs)

Each player receives 160 Experience to spend on Abilities, no ability may begin above a Score of 4 at Character Creation. There are NO Martial Abilities, that category does not exist in this setting. Code of Hermes does not exist as an ability either.

Virtues and Flaws remain mostly unchanged, just a much shorter list since any Virtue or Flaw that deals with Lab Totals (which don't exist), or Covenant (which don't exist) would be pointless. Similarly, there are no Houses, so Edges that give you access to a House are also not allowed. The Gift does not exist, and is instead replaced with a Major Flaw of Ungifted (no magical talent, no buying of Magic Arts). Additionally, there are many new Virtues and Flaws that allow for the non-mechanics improvement of Characteristic traits; such as the afore mentioned "Strong as an Ox", "Weakling", Etc. (Will flush these out later).

Now, one of the most important part... your 'place' in the Realm. Each person has 160 Experience Points they can spend on Martial Arts and Magical Arts. How you allocate those points determines what "Class" you fall into in your Realm, and once your "Class" is determined, additional "Maneuvers" may be available to you (Maneuvers are the Martial version of Spells).

The Magic Art tree is unchanged with the Techniques of Creo, Intelligo, Muto, Perdo, and Rego, and with the Forms of Animal, Aquam, Auram, Corpus, Herbam, Ignem, Imaginem, Mentem, Terram and Vim. The Martial Art Tree is similar with 4 Techniques of Attack, Defend, Power, and Speed, and 12 Forms, 8 which are Melee based of: Unarmed, Clubs, Polearms, Flails, 1H Blades, 2H Blades, 1H Heavy, 2H Heavy, Bows, Crossbows, Slings, and Thrown.

While anyone can, without a maneuver, make an attack, damage, and defense roll, using a maneuver to do so will allow for more gregarious results.

Other than these character creation/advancement costs, the Magic part of a Fantasy setting remains unchanged with one minor exception. Due to the increased costs, and the number of Requirement spells, You may double your score in any Requirement to see if you qualify to learn/cast the spell.

The costs for advancing Martial Arts is the same as for raising Magic Arts, and the 160 points must be shared between the two, resulting in much weaker starting characters than the default Ars Magica system. Keep track of how many points you spend on your Magic Art. If you spend more than 120 points on the Magic Art, you become the arcane subcategory of the Realm you are affiliated with. If you spend 40 or fewer points on Magic Art, you become the martial subcategory of the Realm you are affiliated with. Otherwise, you become the Mixed subcategory of the Realm you are affiliated with. Mixed get more Maneuver options than Arcane, and Martials get more Maneuver options than Mixed. Ie: Rangers have more Ranged Combat Maneuvers than a Druid will ever have access to, and Elementalists have very few Combat Maneuvers of any sort they can select from, even if they later greatly improve their Martial Art scores.

The following Table is the list of the Martial | Mixed | Arcane
Divine: Paladin | Cleric | Priest
Faerie: Ranger | Druid | Elementalist
Magic: Warrior | Mystic | Wizard
Internal: Samurai | Ninja | Wujen

Everyone also receives a number of points to spend on Spells and Martial Maneuvers equal to the number of points they spent on Arcane Arts and Martial Arts. So, if you spent 120 points on Martial Arts, you received 120 points to spend on Martial Maneuvers.

My main problem is, while I remember all these rules, having made them myself, and played them for years, is I forget all the Maneuvers. I need to rebuild the list, and maybe come up with better ones...

I know we changed the Mechanics of Damage in where Damage capped at Light unless you had a Maneuver (under /Power) that allowed you to exceed Light, and similarly there were /Defense maneuvers that allowed you to negate levels of Damage, down to Light... but I need to rebuild that part of the system from memory, and based on Maneuvers, may even improve upon the system if possible...

Admittedly, I'm kinda remembering as I type here, and trying to put the pieces back together, so please forgive me if I come across as slightly disjointed in my post. I'll clean this up into a word/pdf document before I start the Character Creation process with my group, and share that document if there's an interest in these forums. Again, the purpose of this post is to get help building the Maneuvers, and possibly revamping these particular rules to something better. Whilst I appreciate that an apparent 90% of players (particularly on the Forums, at least in years past) prefer Mythic Europe to a D&D style fantasy setting, I'd like to, please, keep this focused on what to do to improve upon this system. If you oppose the idea, we'll all know due to the silence on this particular thread, but I'm hoping for active input personally. :slight_smile:

Haven't read your message in full yet, so no comments on that yet. However, maybe you might have use for this:


It is a list of all your posts (accessible through your user profile) and the threads they were related to. You should find what you posted in the forums there :slight_smile:


Yep, that's how I found the link at the top of my post... :stuck_out_tongue:

Ok, here begins my work on maneuvers... many of the maneuvers will likely seem a bit copy/paste of others, across weapon forms, but that's to be expected... Basically, before we look at Maneuvers, we need to understand the difference in game mechanics from the ARM5 mechanics. All damage is capped at Light, all weapons have a default of +1 damage (maneuvers increase that to past the cap, to compensate for the lack of a Strength Characteristic that increases damage).

Attack Heavy Weapons Guidelines (Heavy Weapons are any weapons that have a Shaft and a compact head which is at least twice as heavy as the shaft itself. Ie: Hammers, Axes, and Maces)
Level 1 -
Level 2 - +2 Damage
Level 3 -
Level 4 - +3 Damage,
Level 5 - Make Called Shot to Arms, Legs or Torso or reduce Soak from Armour by 2.
Level 10 - +4 Damage (Note: this is the default damage of a Battle Axe)
Level 15 - Sacrifice Defense by 6 to improve Offense and Soak by 3 each.
Level 20 - +5 Damage
Level 25 - Make Called Shot to reduce Soak from Armour by 4
Level 30 - +6 Damage
Level 35 - Sacrifice Defense by 8 to improve Offense and Soak by 4 each.
Level 40 - +7 Damage
Level 45 -
Level 50 - +8 Damage, Make Called Shot to reduce Soak from Armour by 6

Maneuvers (quick notes)

Level 5 : Heavy Headed Due to the weight of your Axe, Hammer or Mace, other weapons may not use their Defense to parry your attack unless their Defense Form Score is equal to or higher than your Attack Form Score.
Level 5 : Berserk Rage (-4 Defense, +2 to following Attack Rolls and Damage Rolls until Berserk Rage ends See Berserk Virtue in ARM5 for how to activate/end the Rage)
Level 10 : Intimidate May attempt to intimidate opponent with a flashy display of skill. If Attack Form is higher than Opponent's, Opponent suffers an additional -2 to attack rolls from hesitation.
Level 15 : Bear's Anger (-6 Defense, +3 to following Attack Rolls and Damage Rolls until Berserk Rage ends See Berserk Virtue in ARM5 for how to activate/end the Rage)
Level 30 : Inspire May attempt to Inspire allies with flashy display of skill. Allies within 10 feet of you receive a +2 to attack rolls if their Attack Form score is lower than yours.
Level 35 : Cold Fury (-8 Defense, +4 to following Attack Rolls and Damage Rolls until Berserk Rage ends See Berserk Virtue in ARM5 for how to activate/end the Rage)

Defense Heavy Weapon Guidelines
(To be filled, includes Decreasing Damage Levels down 1, 2 or 3 levels, the ability to block Ranged attacks at level 40ish?, The ability to "bodyguard/Yojimbo" individuals, or even multiple individuals at higher levels, Adding bonus values to Soak rolls for when defense isn't enough)

Power Heavy Weapon Guidelines
(To be filled, includes the ability to Cleave into 2ndary target(s) for half damage, Increase Damage levels past light to Deadly at level 50ish (still requires enough damage to actually cause death), ability to permanently reduce Soak value of armour.

Speed Heavy Weapon Guidelines
(To be filled, includes the ability to attack more than once in a turn, to avoid being surprised, to offset penalities for multi-attacking in a single turn)

NOTE: Need to insure a need/desire to raise Techniques instead of just Form for that single weapon users will cling to. Applying comparisons of Techniques is one step taken, via the Intimidate and Inspiration maneuvers... alternate solutions may be required.

How does this work?

Damage isn't cumulative, wound penalties are.

It means that it doesn't matter what you roll on the Damage Table, you only do a Light Wound (-1 penalty). While this does mean you can't actually kill anyone at the lower levels, in this game, if their penalties reach a score equal or greater than their pre-roll score, they are incapacitated (coup d'grace always works). Generally speaking, as soon as an obvious winner is identified, combat is over since the result is just a collection of more penalties. Since these are all House Rules, and to date I'm the only one to use the rules as the GM, I generally "kill" an NPC if it becomes obvious that they are going to lose, unless I want them to survive, in which case I give them an 'out' (smoke bomb, ethereal, etc...) When a player on the other hand, realizes he's definitely going to lose, he tends to either surrender or flee or heroically fall to a knee or somesuch, and requests death rather than surrender (which is rarely granted :stuck_out_tongue:).

The hard part is that, this has always been a set of House Rules with a lot of it never having entered text format since I've never shared the complete rules with anyone; giving me the option to wing things a bit if my mechanics dont match the desired outcome. Trying to solidify the rules a bit more this time around...