Ars under a Microscope - expanding the Covenant's History

The campaign I am running currently revolves around the PCs re-establishing a Winter Covenant in the Rhine Tribunal - based on the Island of Fehrman in North Germany, I designed the covenant for them (as they asked me to) and gave them the sheet - but this didn't really enthral my players, and I found it hard to think up adventures I knew would appeal to them to find 'hidden resources' and other such things.

So, we got together and decided to play a game of Microscope - a system for co-operative world building that develops a timeline that everyone gets a say in. We also did this in a growing state of inebriation.

Never the less, it produced a lot of interesting ideas and I thought it might be something other groups might want to look at as a way of fleshing out particular bits of history in your game and giving your players additional input into plot hooks and adventures whilst also giving them an intimate general knowledge of that history - so long as they are good enough to separate out in character and out of character knowledge.

If anyone wants to see the fruits of our labour my group have agreed I should post the google sheet we used for you to look at

Has anyone else used other games to supplement their Ars games?

I love the Microscope idea. I've thought about similar things, and wondered if it would suit what is a relatively short time period. (My impression was that Microscope was designed for top-level ranges in the order of thousands of years.)

Your summary looks very cool.

The base Microscope is effectively designed for very long history, but there are a few tweeks proposed to adapt the base system to family history (quite appropriate for the Order), time travel and other more specific types of "history".

So I think it is a great tool for any lasting campaign (Ars or not) to start by crafting the history of the world with all the players so it helps them to get into the background.

Could someone give a link to the Microscope game itself (as in rules, not outcome) so some of us who haven't heard of it can follow this?

Googling for "microscope rpg" brought me to:, which appears to me to be the right place.

Yep - thats the one.

My group are also planning on playing a game of Kingdom by the same people to further develop some more back story - I'll share the results here if they were any good

Years ago I regularly played with a group that was into White Wolf's World of Darkness games (Vampire: The Masquerade, and Changeling: The Dreaming, primarily). At that time I considered using White Wolf's Storyteller system for Ars Magica. Mage: The Ascension would have worked pretty well since the magic system was inspired by Ars Magica's. Alas, the group disbanded after a year of playing Changeling, which was quite fun, by the way.