Dearest Ars Magica authors:
I've been playing ArM since its 3rd edition and I still really love it. The 5th edition gives a lot of detail and structure the previous editions lacked of. We have almost all the tribunals detailed, also, which is great. The latest, Faith and Flame, is wonderful and full of ideas, and it's one of the best works I have read. The same to others 5th edition Tribunal books.
BUT there's something REALLY FRUSTRATING: Why, for Hermes' shake, there's not any statistic of the covenants' libraries in the 5th edition tribunal books???
3rd and 4th edition tribunal books had the libraries, the auras, the Aegis, etc, detailed, AND THAT WAS GREAT. It's a very useful reference when our players want to interchange books with another covenant or negotiate studying in it.
So, why cannot we have that information for the 5th ed tribunal books?
I'm afraid the answer could be something like: "Because that way every troupe can personalize the libraries to the level of power of their saga".
If that's the answer, please, please, please understand that it's DEEPLY FRUSTRATING. Tribunal books should be complete reference books. They have always been in previous editions, and I don't understand why in 5th, by far the best edition, we don't have them. They should be books from which the Storyteller takes ALL THE BORING INFORMATION (statistics, I mean) that it's really hard to make from the scratch so that it doesn't hamper the game. Here I talk about libraries, but also applies to magi's statistics (almost absent from the tribunal books either).
When a Tribunal book is published, the authors define a lot of plots, and we, as Storytellers, take them or not, modify them or not. They help us a lot because that way we taste the true flavour of the tribunal. Well, that's great. Couldn't we have the same for the covenants' statistics? Once we had them, we could modify them if we feel them too powerful or too weak. But at least we would have something to work on.
I know a library implies a large list of books that it's hard to elaborate. Because of that, it should be enough to have several guides in the supplements to use each covenant library. The Durenmar library has general rules about how to get information, for example. That kind of orientation would be great.
To give another example, I don't know what books to design for Aedes Mercurii (in the Provenzal tribunal), a very old covenant that should have a big library. I have found myself in front of the players with a book detailing the tribunal but having to improvise the library they have, with my best poker face when they asked to study with them.
I think there's a common error (not only in Ars Magica but in many RPGs) that is to consider that is good not to give information to game masters and players in order to "not restrict their creativity". No, folks, that's not it. If I spend my money in a book I expect to have all the important information inside. I am mature enough to discard what I don't like. But if the author says me: "No, look, I didn't design the spells/monsters/city/NPCs in this book you have just bought because it's better that you create them your own way", then I get really annoyed and think I wasted my money and my time.
Well, that is my complain. Sorry if I sounded hard, because I didn't intended to. I think that the rest of the content of the tribunal books is really, really great. A wonderful work. But the library subject is, indeed, annoying.