Campaign Title: The Unknown Storm
System]: Ars Magica 5th Edition
# of Players: 4-5, but I already have three: JeanPatrick, Efaun, and Wits.
Deadline: I don't really know. I might set a deadline later if I feel somebody's taking too long, but heck, this is my first time SGing or doing a PbP, so I don't know how long it should take you guys or even how long I myself will need to prepare.
Starting Level: Five years post-Gauntlet. You guys all get one free Lesser Enchanted Device with a single level 25 or under effect, and can justify this however you like (usually, I imagine, as a gift from your parens).
Advancement Rules: I'm not sure what this means. Your five years post-Gauntlet will all use the normal 30 xp per year, subtract 10 per season of labwork. If this means something else, please tell me, I'll add more information.
Combat Rules: If this works for everyone, I'd like to use an instant messenger or group email or something at an agreed-upon time for our (rare) combats. This is mainly to avoid the game grinding to a halt during a combat. If this doesn't work... I'm not sure what I'll do.
Dice-Rolling Rules: I dunno. Most of me just wants to go by the honor system, but there's another part of me complaining about trusting people I've never met to tell me when they botch. Hmph. Let's just say honor system for now. You'll mostly roll your own dice, but I'll roll them in cases where doing so speeds up the game; for example, if we do combat by message after all, I might roll your Defense stress die for you, or if a dragon shoots fire at you I might roll your Qik+Athletics check to avoid it. Now, the big issue with doing this is magi and their fast-cast defenses. I guess I can just roll "just in case" and leave the options open to you to do something other than the action I rolled for (like dodging); I mean, rolling a few extra dice than I need to won't kill me, so I can afford to take action to speed things along in cases where things like fast-casting don't happen.
Special Rules: I don't have every single book ever released for Ars Magica 5th Edition, for which I apologize. I'll probably allow specific Virtues or Flaws from sources I don't have, so if you want one just describe it to me and ask. These are the sources I own: ArM5, Ancient Magic, Apprentices, all of the Realms of Power books, all of the Houses of Hermes books, a possibly-not-final version of tC&tC, Covenants, City & Guild, The Mysteries Revised, Art & Academe, Lords of Men, Broken Covenant of Calebais (never opened), Lion and the Lily (never opened), Living Covenant (never opened), Tales of Mythic Europe (never opened), Hedge Magic Revised Edition, and Rival Magic. If it's not from these sources, ask me about it. I'm totally willing to Houserule things in for character concepts, but I'm pretty sure most concepts are covered by the above books. I'm aware that not all of you own all the books that I've listed above. This is absolutely fine, and honestly I only listed them so you'd know what books I'm able to look through to verify your character choices; I won't be using all the books I just listed myself. Obviously, if you don't have ArM5, you're in trouble (that's the core rulebook, you need that!) but the only other book I really hope you all have access to is Covenants. We'll make it work if you don't, of course, but I really want to utilize all the Boons/Hooks, library rules, and especially laboratory personalization rules available in that book, and anybody who owns Covenants knows it wouldn't be very fair to let one player use the lab rules in covenants while another player can't given that they have a big impact on Lab Totals.
As for house rules, um... I don't know. I might end up house ruling on the spot in the future. One thing that does need to be clarified, however, because it's often ruled either way: the Aegis of the Hearth does have to Penetrate. Also, not sure if this really counts as a house-rule, but we'll be splitting the covenant Boons and Hooks half-and-half between the players' choice and my own.
Posting Rate: Twice a week minimum.
Absences: Tell me in advance if you'll be gone and I'll do what you ask of me with your character. If you just up and disappear, I'll NPC them for the rest of the adventure, play them as I believe you would, they very well might die, and if they don't die, I shall retreat them into their labs/the covenant library so you can advance them when you come back (with a good excuse for your disappearance!).
Writing Expectations: I want interesting things to read and respond to with each post, and would like some descriptive writing to go with it; try to avoid dialogue-only posts by adding description to how your character does and says things. However, I'm not expecting novel-grade writing either. Just give me a bit of effort, and I'll be satisfied.
Text Formatting: I want everybody to choose a dialogue color for their own magi and companions. Outside of that, as long as it's not difficult to read, do as you like with your typing. (So d[strike]o[/strike]n't do the previous two words, but [style=Helvetica]this is okay.[/style]
Plot- or Character-Driven: The saga will be almost entirely character-driven. I will have important plot-like things that occasionally mess with you for a couple of session-equivalents, but on the whole, this will be about you guys and the effects of your decisions.
Focus: Exploration, discovery, and growth, both in power and in person. You'll have opportunities to expand your covenant's relevance in the Hermetic scene, you'll see fantastic places and meet many powerful and interesting creatures, you'll encounter powerful and exotic traditions of spellcasters both within and outside the Order, and become much older, wiser, and more powerful over the course of the saga. There will be politics and combat, but I'd like those not to be the focus of the saga as a whole. And if possible, I'd really like to have as few stories as possible covering resource management... It just bores me. At the behest of the original request-er of this game, also, there will be some adventures by sea.
Character Types: Characters who will be willing to stick with this covenant in a place where no covenant has succeeded before through its thick and thins. Also, I'd prefer to avoid people who are too trigger-happy, especially with the Join or Die, because I'd like options other than combat to be explored rather than the saga becoming about a giant magical war. Which, don't get me wrong, could be an interesting saga and all, but it's not the kind I'd like to run here. Now, not being trigger-happy does NOT mean you have to be a good person. Feel free to play anything on the spectrum from a generous, kind-hearted, compassionate person who feeds orphans and defends the weak from their oppressors, to a selfish, mentally sick, conniving jerk who kicks puppies, keeps young girls as slaves, and practices diabolical sacrifice rituals for the sake of a Lab Total bonus. Characters having conflicting morals and interests is allowed, but try to keep it subtle; I don't want a conflict getting so bad that the covenant disbands over it. (Though in the case of the above example, you WILL get Marched if the larger Order finds out about your diabolism, so make sure you only share that with people you REALLY trust in-character... Being an abusive jerkwad isn't illegal, though, so of course feel free to do that.)
Campaign Description: The campaign will be taking place, tentatively, on the coast of the northern and colder parts of Scandinavia. This is an extremely vague placement as the area is very large, and much like all of Mythic Europe I don't know a whole lot about the place. I'll be making up a lot of information to suit the saga, but just know, you're by the sea, it's very snowy and icy everywhere for three seasons out of the year, and there will be several villages and travelling nomadic groups nearby. You've all gone there to set up a covenant, which is pretty much set up already by the start of the saga. All characters should already know each other, though how well they know each other is up to you players.
If there's anything else you want to know or have questions about, please ask. Let's have some fun!