Ars Magica: Renaissance or Ars Magica: Modern?

Has anyone (Atlas Games or fans) ever done an Ars Magica: Renaissance or Ars Magica: Modern?

I believe there was an Ars Modernica project some ways back, but that was for an earlier edition.

For 3rd edition, absolutely.

Mage: The Ascension was, in 3rd edition era, Mythic Europe transposed to the 20th century - back when Mythic Europe and World of Darkness were one and the same, with a not-insignificant amount of lore dedicated to explaining how the explanation of the world in Mythic Europe was correct and also the modern world is correct at the same time, despite the two being wildly different.

I have not looked at the rennaisance mage game that came out, and I don't know how much lore translated across - but that was around the time Ars Magica and White Wolf went their seperate ways.

The semi-official stance on Ars Magica is, I believe, that the IP is about Mythic Europe in the 13th century. So you probably shouldn't hold your breath for any sourcebooks for later periods happening in the near future. A key aspect of the IP is that Mythic Europe and our world are very different places that just happen to closely resemble one another in the 13th century. The future for Mythic Europe is likely to be very different to our future. Or maybe it will pan out like ours does. That's part of the problem - any sourcebook would remove the questionmark, and thus nail down the IP in areas that really don't want or need to be nailed down.

I was thinking of a fan-project, but you're absolutely right, the official version was MtA.

IIRC it was just MtA in defferent make-up. WW later release a version of MtA for VtDark Ages, which had a much more 'Ars Magica' feel to it.

Project redcap's alternate settings section ( provides two links - to Pax Hermetica and to Ars Magica 2000. I also remember there was talk here about a Harry Dresden style saga, which kind-of Modern.

Renaissance is one of those things I keep thinking I'll get to eventually, and never do. 8)

What if, in some distant far off future, there is a 6th edition of Ars Magica, and the start date was bumped up to the late 14th century? Past the big plague and other disasters, at the dawn of reniasence, not too far as to utterly divorce the game from it's roots, but far enough forward that major changes & advancements can be figured in.

I love oMage and its ties to Ars Magica but I'm looking for a replacement for nMage, which disappointed me. I thought a modern game based on AM might cover some of the same territory but be more to my liking (and not be exactly like Old Mage).

Not necessarily. They could do something like White Wolf's Mirrors- present a mishmash of settings without declaring any one canonical.

Just one man's opinion but I'd be happier leaving Ars Magica set when it is and moving the modern stuff to a separate game line or one off sourcebook.

AM saga can easily span 100-200 years, therefore, I would gladly buy a book like "Future of the Order". Something filled with story ideas, some timelines ("Icelandic Wars"-style) related to Mongol Invasion, creation of Lotharingian Tribual, great plague, colonization of Ultima Thule and Novogrod, relations with Sahirs, new discoveries etc. Something just to keep the background dynamic, as the main Saga develops.

OK, so it seems such a setting does not already exist.

Lets see what it might look like.

We can assume the magic would have evolved a little. A modern setting MUST take better account of electricity (beyond merely lightning). So that has to fit in somewhere, maybe as a new form.

There should have been some major magical discoveries in the 800 years between mythic europe and now. If we assume one big magical evolution every century then we need 8 breakthroughs (either ancient magic integrated or original research) that have become a standard part of hermetic magic. What might they be?

As areas of wilderness fade, magic auras receed and magical beasties die off, we can assume some sort of Vis drought. How might the magi have adapted, have they found alternate means of generating vis, is this one of the breakthroughs they made.

Do the mages have the ability to make and use Regios now? This could provide for some excellent use of places from mythic europe and since plucked from reality and hidden away in regios where all kinds of mythic beasties, vis sources, etc might still exist.

Certainly we would expect a Vampire: The Masquerade style masquerade to conceal the presence and existence of mages from prying mortal eyes.

Would mages still be reclusive and ivory tower-ish or would they seek to control aspects of society, and if so, to what purpose.

What role would technology have on magic. Storing ones libraries on Flash drives is a given but might technocracy/Sons of Aether etc style mages use tech and magic combined?

How have the order adapted to globalisation and the worlds other magical traditions? Was there a global "Join or die" war or have they made peace with the non-european magi?

What houses might still be with us, and which might have died? Have the tytalus been exterminated for some foul deed, Were German Tytalus behind the Nazis? Do Hollywood Jerbiton try to bring magic to the big screen? Have the Bonisagus got their fingers in the European university system? Do the flambeau still go to war and if so, how to they disguise their magic? Were the Tremere behind the formation of the UN or do they keep themselves limited to the magical world?

So much potential!

I guess my first question for a Ren or modern setting would be: are you going to keep the science principles as per A&A, or allow the discoveries of the real world? Humors, specie, and earth at center of the universe come to mind.

I was thinking a bump of 200yrs, but the more the merrier! I wold imagine electricity as Vim (power), but I can see how it would be an aspect of an object of some other form: air/lightning = Auram, in metal wires = Terram, etc.
A lot of the wierd science from A&A carries over a few hundred years, and gets stranger.
As for incorporating new trends in magic, I was imagining some minor outer mysteries such as astrology and alchemy. Incorporate some Flaws as standard to tone magic down (buy them off as virtues).
History? I'll leave that debate for others.

I would say, "don't confuse the setting with the game." The magic system adjusts sufficiently for values of history-- it's magic.

Keep the system, since it's fairly proven and elegant, and adjust the setting accordingly. You spin up some new rules for firearms, consider new forms, and very easily enter a Dresden Files-esque setting, if you want to go modern.


Not sure I agree with you there Leonis.

The magical system is based on philosophical ideas that historically fall out of favour. It also doesn't account for things that we have now, the prime example being electricity.

The magic should change as time passes as new discoveries are made (well done Bonisagus guys) and as society moves on. Why do thrown objects not have momentum being a good example.

You could always stick the magic system into a modern setting and have the practitioners ignore this and still use medieval thinking but that seems incoherent. Why would the bonisagus not try and continue to improve magic theory, would the magi really ignore modern science entirely? I prefer to think that many the magi would instead keep trying to adapt magic to better fit the world around them. As technology rumbles on and gathers speed, you can imagine the magi struggling to keep up with recent discoveries in quantum theory and how it applies to Regios, how Einstein-Rosen Bridges are linked to rego teleportation and so on.

The magi think it's based on certain philosophical ideas. That's how they've created their framework within the setting at the particular point in time. That doesn't mean the system requires an overhaul. The system can continue to work just as it does now, but you can change how magi think about it without altering it because you're dealing with perception.

Consider a motion picture. I push a button and the images flicker on the screen. I can believe that I'm flipping pages in an enormous book, or running film across a light, or sending 1's and 0's to powerful machine, or that there are tiny people who live in the box and perform for my amusement. If I can't alter the underlying mechanism, then it doesn't matter how I believe it works, because it just works. By the same token, it doesn't matter how magi believe magic works, it just works.

On metagame level, I am saying "your game mechanics are sound and effective, giving you an elegant means of creating a wide variety of effects in multiple ways. Don't screw with that." I'm not denying that the setting evolves as you move through history, but that's the setting. There's no need to muck with a solid system because you've altered the setting. The setting is not the game.


Agree with Ben +10
The mechanis are not based on medevial thought. They are based on whan a pair of stoners came up with around 20 years ago, with the goal of creating a flexible magic system that they could adjudicate by fiat.
What has evolved is a metagame reasoning behind the magic, basing it on ancient philosophy.
For a more modern setting, the magic rules from core RAW still work. Even keep some of the ancient flavor. It, magic after all. But modernisms can be easilly accomodated.
The tricky non-sequiter part comes when you involve extra material from source books like Mysteries. And mysteries should indeed include archaic thought.

And I keep saying it but no one listens. There are two ways to handle electricity. First is as a product or association with a specific Form, such as common in Auram and Terram. Lightning is Auram, representing the abundance of static electricity in the atmosphere. Current running through copper wires is Terram.
Or Vim. Vim = Power.
[i]CrVi35 Force Lightning[/i1
It is magic after all.

A more modern way of thinking might result in lightning being categorized into Ignem (energy). It can still be produced through Auram as a "by-product" of natural phenomena, but controlling it would be Ignem.

Just a thought.

Whatever you do with the magic, you don't want to change it too much. You still want that recognisably academic and hermetic style of magic. The ancient roots and vast wealth of hermetic tradition and resources in a modern setting of smartphones and internet could really make or a fun game.

With Mages living well over a century you can imagine the generational gaps between the young apprentice, raised on MTV and cartoons learning ancient magics from a man who once attended Queen Victorias funeral. Fussy old mages struggling to master the most basic of IT applications as the young apprentices scan the entirety of Durenmars library and make copies for all their friends.

A game that played heavily upon those kind of issues of change could be really good.

MtA, some the later books.

+5 Gribble
+5 Vepasian

For an old magus in the modern day, much of the "weird science" of ArM would still be close to what they were raised upon. Astronomy would be different, but mystical astronomy (astrology) would be much the same.
MtA could be a good resource to mine ideas. But I myself would see how I could do the mix different.
"I'm an old magus. I bind a spirit in my laptop to handle all that technikity muck for me. A minor spirit. These techity gadgets come and go like newspapers.
Now that was an invention! A magic newspaper that updated itself continuously! Where did I put that...?"

Of course, gramps never thought of using a software spirit that he can transer as he upgrades. He just enchants the actual material machine to get around his Achronistic flaw (he only has the minor version).

And no technocracy. Maybe a little mix with world government. The Brits have their "Ministry of Magic", well we Yanks can have a "department of Arcane" or the "Senate Occult Committe".
I remember this one Heinlien story involving a magic shop, an undercover FBI wizard, a witch, a devil, and a bunch of other strangeness. And Walo! That was a good story.
Id be interested in a modern Ars, but it would have to be substantially different from MtA in flavor and style. Not so dark. Maybe a little. Maybe a bit campy or quirky. Warping instead of Paradox. Magic is more subdued but more versitile, less powerful but less wild. Those guys from the middle ages, legends say they were powerful, but they have all warped right out of existance. The new magic is easier to learn and has a lot of little mysteries and new features, and it is safer. But it is slower, and the really high level powerful effects are harder to pull off and require preparation.