Character Creation

Whereupon it becomes necessary to detail the specific requirements to create characters in this game, so shall I attempt to outline what is and is not allowed herein. Please understand that these rules, while firm at first, are not written in stone and are thus subject to change if the entirety of the troupe deems it necessary. I am prone to make mistakes from time to time, so your patience and understanding is appreciated.

I will attempt to keep a table of contents within this first post so that specific posts below can be easily jumped to.

I. The Basics
II. Magi, Post-Gauntlet
III. Companions/Grogs, Post-25
IV. Backgrounds/Virtues/Flaws

[center]The Basics[/center]
Allowed Material
This game will use the Ars Magica 5th edition set of rules. As such, nothing - and I do strictly mean NOTHING - from previous editions will be allowed. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Although we are using the 5th edition rules, not all material is allowed. To wit, only the following sources will be considered for use during character creation:

  • Ars Magica 5th Edition Core Rules
  • The Lion and the Lily
  • House of Hermes, Mystery Cults
  • Houses of Hermes, Societates
  • Houses of Hermes, True Lineages
  • Covenants

Nothing outside this list will be considered.

Number of Characters
ArM5 lends itself to troupe-style play, with characters being involved in any number of activities during a given season. I do not wish to have anyone sitting here for an extended period of time wondering when their character is going to be doing something, so everyone will need to create one of each type of character - magus/maga, companion, and grog.

Please keep in mind that this game will center upon your magus/maga, and they will be the primary characters you play. However, your companion and/or grog will be needed to jump in from time to time if your magus/maga is in the lab, the library, doing research...or if it comes up that they are being sent off to do something as a side story arc.

Basic Character Creation, Magi
All magi have their childhood through age 5, later life through age 10, and their apprenticeship through age 25. This means that all magi will have their native language, 45 XP for childhood, 75 XP for later life, 240 XP for Hermetic Arts/Abilities, and 120 levels of spells. Note that no magi at this point are allowed to have any spells that are of the 7th magnitude or higher.

Basic Character Creation, Companions and Grogs
All companions/grogs have their childhood through age 5, and later life through age 25. This means that all companions/grogs will have their native language, 45 XP for childhood, and 300 XP for later life.

[center]Magi, Post-Gauntlet[/center]
I have long felt that games that start with magi right out of Gauntlet have a tendency to be a little less than exciting. Sure, there's a whole new world of magic to discover. But it seems that the game gets too bogged down with people wanting to go to the lab instead of adventuring or politicking or what-have-you. So I want to give Magi the opportunity to have a couple of years post-Gauntlet to hone some skills or get into some trouble before the game starts.

Number of Years
After some careful consideration, I have decided that magi may age themselves however many years they wish. If you want to be fresh out of Gauntlet at 25 years old, so be it. If you wish to be a 90 years young arch-magus, so be it. Please keep in mind that aging is a thing, starting the Winter you reach 35; be careful about aging too much as you may find your magus incapable of doing much due to becoming crippled or worse.

Seasonal Activities
There are 4 seasons every year: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. During a single season, a magus/maga may perform one of the following activities:

  • Take a flat 10 XP
  • Work in the Lab (normal rules apply, including gaining Exposure XP)
  • Earn extra Vis wages (3 pawns of any technique or form, or combination thereof)
  • Do any activity that requires a season's worth of time, such as write a book, study Vis, etc. You will gain Exposure XP for these activities in addition to the result of that activity
  • Improve your lab (the normal rules found in Covenants apply for Refinement, Occupied Size, gaining Virtues/Flaws, etc.)

Keep in mind that when it comes to refining your lab, it takes 1 season to refine and then 1 season to instill any Virtues (although the Hidden Defect Flaw can be either gained or removed in the season of Refinement, should the dice indicate such). As a side note, all magi have their own, independent, separate buildings for their sanctums and labs. Therefore, all labs receive the Dedicated Building Virtue for free.

Yearly Activities
In a single year, a magus/maga may perform the following seasonal activities:

  • Take up to 3 seasons of flat XP advancement (30 XP)
  • Work up to 3 seasons in the lab
  • Earn one seasons' worth of Vis wages
  • Spend 1 season refining your lab
  • Spend 1 season instilling virtues in your lab
  • Spend 2 seasons performing other activities (writing a book, studying Vis, etc.)

Be aware that, while you as many seasons to advance your magus/maga as you'd like, some planning is necessary. Keep in mind that Exposure XP is gained when performing tasks (except taking flat XP), so it's not a total wash/loss should you decide to do one of those side activities. But be prepared to plan ahead for things.

Please note that all normal rules apply for any activities, which includes any/all dice rolls. I would prefer a link to whatever online dice roller you decide to use in your accounting for any/all activities that require said roll.

Characters who wish to initiate into one of the House Mystery Cults may do so with the following parameters:

  • Initiation costs 1 season, not including whatever requirements are needed to be able to initiate
  • You must fully document the entire Initiation Script, to include the magus who has the Virtue you are attempting to acquire.
  • The magus who is acting as your Mystagogue must be a canon magus. He or she can be from any Tribunal, but if they are not from the Normandy Tribunal, seeking them out costs 1 additional season for finding them and traveling to them.
  • You must Initiate into one of the cults/paths/roads/etc. from the Mystery Cults book; no custom cults are allowed.

Please note that all rules for Initiation must be followed, and all requirements must be met. If you do not meet the requirements, you cannot Initiate. And on this particular point, any dice rolls that are required to Initiate MUST be included here in your character application/thread.

No familiars will be allowed at the start of the game as this is a really good hook to roleplay. I'd rather go through story arcs that deal with you finding the particular animal and befriending it instead of just saying that you spent the time and bound it to you. This is such a great RP opportunity, and I'd rather not waste it with a couple of dice rolls and hand waving.

[center]Companions and Grogs, Post 25[/center]
Companion and Grog characters have the option to advance after the age of 25 using the rules set forth herein.

Number of Years
Companions and Grogs may advance any number of years that they wish. Please keep in mind that aging rules are in play, so after you hit the age of 35 you will have to start rolling for aging effects.

Seasonal Activities
There are 4 seasons in a single year: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. A Companion or Grog character may perform any one of the following activities in a single season:

  • Take a flat 10 XP
  • Do any activity that requires a season's worth of time, such as writing a book. You will gain Exposure XP in addition to whatever outcome the activity ends with.
  • Perform activities as required by Flaws/Virtues, such as Magister in Artibus

Yearly Activities
Companions and Grogs are required to spend 2 seasons per year working per the rules in core rule book. This "work" may be comprised of any activity in the core book, such as teaching or copying texts, and you do earn exposure XP for these 2 seasons. For the remaining 2 seasons, any of the activities posited above are applicable. Please note that all normal rules apply for any activities, which includes any/all dice rolls.

I am of the mind that what happens after the game starts is far more important than what happens to your characters before the game starts. I want to focus on what is/will be, rather than what was/may have been. To that end, I am requiring only the following elements in any background you wish to write up:

  • Birth place
  • Apprentice Covenant
  • Parens
  • 1 trial from your Gauntlet

That's a rather short list, and I'm hoping that it stays that way. Again, I'm not focused on what you've done, but you are going to do.

However, for all of the lack of background that is required, there are some things that you will have to write out for your character. Any Virtues or Flaws that have story seeds/hooks attached to them, such as Dark Secret, need to have a write-up to include all the high points for that Virtue/Flaw so that I can appropriately bring it up in-game when necessary. And I can't do that if I don't know what it is you are expecting.