Content Suggestions needed for Ars Magica Video

We are drawing closer and closer to our fall crowdfunding date and the time has come to produce our campaign video!

The premise of this video is to showcase our product and highlight some of its features. We are lucky in the case of Ars Magica definitive to already know why its so great, but with so much content there, we want to know what you think is the biggest highlight of Ars Magica!

What are your favorite things about Ars Magica Fifth Edition? If you were telling a friend about the RPG, what 3 things would you want to make sure you included.
Furthermore, for video visuals we want to highlight parts of the book such as houses, mechanics, creatures, etc. What are some of your most favorite things you want depicted in the video?

We are eager to hear your thoughts as we know our passionate fanbase will help us come up with some wonderful ideas in order to make a video other, newer fans can use to quickly see why Ars Magica is an RPG worth investing in.

Thanks again!

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The three things I would highlight:

Designing your own spells!
Troupe play, and getting to have multiple characters!
Playing a saga over decades of time!

In the video, I would include the finest visuals of a medieval monster you can, such as a worm or a unicorn; a majestic looking tower that would be ideal for a covenant; something illuminated like a medieval manuscript.

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As above; designing your own spells is a big part of Ars; if you can imagine an effect, chances are you can make it into a spell. Lean into that and perhaps showcase some whacky personal spells.

Emphasis on Mythic Europe as a setting perhaps? Show the various Supernatural forces influencing some historical event or figure?

Perhaps a showcase of the various Houses and their basic gist as opposed to having "classes"? Houses might lean into certain archetypes, but there are countless ways to build a character.

...Honestly theres' too many great things to condense to just 3...

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Having been actively evangelising my rpg group on Ars Magica for the past year (and running some well recieved one shots), the best bits have been:
(1) The magic system! Goes without saying really, but the combination of flexibility with solid mechanical structure (rather than the "anything goes" flexibility of something like Whitehack) has been very appealing. The flavour of the magic system has also been a big hit, for players used to the broad magic schools of D&D, as it allows very distinctive magicians of the same power level.
(2) The setting! Not everyone in the group is a history buff, but everyone has enjoyed how distinctive it is to play in a historical setting with all the weird quirks that real history and folklore has. And for those in the group who are history buffs, they have taken great joy in using their irl knowledge to their advantage.
(3) Character types. I ran a one-shot with all magicians and another one with a mix of magi, companions, and grogs - the latter was actually a greater success because it's so fun to play up the power dynamics and differences in how magi vs mundanes approach problems. The grogs were also just hilarious - one of the players, getting used to the concept, described it as "the guys clapping the coconuts together in Monty Python", which is pretty accurate.

I always like a focus on the life of the covenant, so "slice of life" images would be fun. If creatures are highlighted, I'd want to see a focus on folkloric creatures not typically seen in an rpg - or a common rpg creature viewed very differently, like the book-hoarding dragon from RoP: Magic. The 4 Realms of Power and their interactions present a good visual opportunity too.

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Magic is a noun and a verb. You have a skill with Fire and a skill Create, so when you want to cast “Cavalcade of Napalm” or whatever, you add up your skills in Create Fire, roll a die, and if you hit the target number, you do it!

This game is set in our own 13th century, but with magic; legends are true, and fairies, demons, and dragons are around every corner.

Every player has two characters: a wizard, who probably spends a lot of their time in their tower inventing new spells and enchanting magic items, and a companion, who is an adventurer good at all the things wizards are bad at, like talking to people. You play whichever character is most appropriate for whatever scene you’re in. And if neither of your characters would be present, you can always play a grog, which is what this game calls the soldier bodyguards that project wizards and companions from harm.

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If you have the capacity, a 15 minute excerpt of a live play session showing how the game is played and showing some players switching between wizard and companion would go a long way towards illustrating that makes this game special.

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1- Dig into Historical What ifs
2- Get to do your own Magic within the Ars system and unlock your imagination
3- Build characters that will grow with you to great depth

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My three hits:

  • Mythic Europe: how the background manages to blend History and mythical facts, how the science is based on Aristotle & co.
  • Huge diversity of mages, between a Giant-Blooded Damhagh-Duidsan, a refined Hellenic Jerbiton and a crippled, master-crafted Verditius, there is no limit, and similarly for Covenants
  • The four Realms, quite well-defined, interacting with the day-to-day life of the commoners and the mages.

Synopsis for a short video:
First image: a map of Europe, medieval-style.
The camera fly over the map and get closer to a location. As the camera get closer, there is a transition from map-drawing style to "real" view of the location.
First location: a major city of Europe, with University, like Bologna. The camera follows a student that's coming from a lecture, carrying a large book. He is leaving the premises of the university and after a few twist and turns reach a large mansion, where he is let in from a backdoor. He goes into a secret, underground room under the mansion and handover his book to a clearly-looking mage character, in a magical lab. The mage gives a large purse of coins. (possibility of dialogue about availability of a recently received Greek book, request for existence of Arabic medical books...)
The pan-out, going back to the map look.
This time, the camera flies to Hibernia, in the countryside, on a hill, around a megalithic table, mages, edge wizards and a queue of commoners: one commoner at a time, they present their issue ("ma crops, suddenly, all things turn brown, and mistress Griselda , she said that's evil shenanigans behind it"; Griselda speaks "the signs I found point towards a curse from Sidhe of the Marsh"... the remains of the discussion become blurred).
A last pan-out, going back to the map look.
This time, the camera goes to Greece, on a island, to a covenant. The covenant is on the coast, with a large warehouse-turned into a laboratory. A mage is shouting instruction as a mast is raised in the center of a large vessel. As the mast is set in place, the mage carves various runes at its base. Then he shout "Everybody out! Release the mooring!" Then he whispers a few latin words and the cog slowly lift off.
From a balcony, two mages are looking at the flying ship and one asks "And how to thing our friends from House Guernicus are going to like that ? Will it more acceptable than the flying castle ?" The other replies "I believed Master Artificius thought of adding an Invisibility Cloak, but he mentioned something about some minor flaw..."

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A blunt reality is Ars Majica is rules heavy in certain areas, with a larger amount of maths than most. I don't think I'd ever suggest Ars Majica as a first RPG, however, it's a great second RPG. I'm mentioning this as I thinks it's critical to not say things which may turn people off, when they realise they are not true. If I saw "easy to create characters", or "easy to jump right in to the game", I'd be concerned.

The three selling points for me are

  1. The most creative magic systems ever designed, allowing a level of creativity no other system can achieve.
  2. Whatever character a person can think of, it can be created, and stories can be made to involve them.
  3. The setting. By having it set in a world which is a magically warped version of our own, one can just read some history for inspiration. Any time a historian player points out an inaccuracy, the SG can say, true for Medieval Europe, however, this is Mythic Europe.
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While I don’t think it is a good idea to promote the links too much, I would highlight some of AMs features that found their way into the design of the later World of Darkness.

Namely the archetypal nature and variety of the Houses, along with other political structures of the Order of Hermes. AM is a great game for running political intrigue games, but also exploration, researching, horror and comedy. In Ars Magica, wizards come in all shapes and sizes.

It does still have, arguably, the best magic system in the rpg hobby and I’d also highlight that the verb/noun system has even been adopted into Harry Potter stories. Other innovations such as the three tiered character ‘classes’ and troupe play ought to be celebrated too.

Finally, the research levels that go into the Mythic Earth setting - again, arguably the most extensive in the hobby - makes it feel authentically medieval. Plenty of gamers will value this.

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Things I like, and think anyone considering the game should know about, include:

  1. The Magic System. This is probably the greatest creative problem solving tool ever put into the hands of TTRPG players. I really appreciate the flexibility of the magic while also providing a clear framework of how magic works.
  2. The Setting. The fact that ArM uses a historical setting and strives for authenticity sets it apart from most fantasy RPGs. The medieval paradigm sets ArM apart from other games with historical settings as well. For me, that creates an experience that feels more medieval than other games I've played.
  3. Troup Style Play. Having a large cast of characters (and the covenant they live in) appeals to me. It makes for a unique playing experience. It is easy to fit pretty much any character concept and it is very rare that a character has to tag along on some expedition they are poorly motivated to undertake.

Honorable mentions:

  1. Extremely flexible character creation. If you can think of a setting appropriate character concept you can probably make it work.
  2. Diegetic character progression. Character advancement doesn't happen arbitrarily. Every bit of it is earned through decisions made and actions taken by the characters.
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Also, of all the supplements ever released for Ars Magica, the ones that stand out for me as ‘must includes’ are:

  • The Mysteries - Authentic occult practices and philosophy of ‘real’ occult magic. I’d like these to be fully integrated as core rules.

  • The Medieval Bestiary - I just love how every animal, however mundane, are made to feel exotic and how each one has a little story idea given to it. Basically, include a medieval bestiary.

  • I’d also include Covenants but beyond the basic rules (which I expect may be in there already) what might be nice is an example of a pre-existing covenant, like Triamore or Mistridge. Also, include more pre-generated characters, with pictures.

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Troupe play differentiates ars magica, but given the complexities of character creation, it is not a selling point, and in my limited anecdotal experience, a failing point.

Like others, I'd highlight the Magic System, the Order of Hermes, and Mythic Europe (Make your own history!).

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I'm biased. The central importance of the Covenant as it's own psuedo-character is super unique and cool to me. Obviously the magic system is a huge selling point as well. I'd add Mythic Europe and Everyone Is a Wizard as additional points.

I'm definitely envisioning a high-quality animation based on medieval styles. Voiceovers from different characters.

  • Grog: Blacktower. This covenant, my refuge. The wizards here are creepy and untrustworthy, but they're the only place willing to hire me after my bastard uncle had me branded as a thief...
  • Grog2: Blacktower, my home and hearth. I grew up here. The magi are strange, but they treated my family well for generations, and I'm proud of serving them as my father and grandfather. They are eccentric, but powerful, and I know they'll make my family's life better for as long as I defend them.
  • Companion: something somethign talk about how they saved you from an angry demon.
  • young magi: blah blah voiceover about being the scion of a powerful magical line and ahving big goals.
  • elder magi: et cetera, ominous speech about having to hide the demons in the basement.
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At the front of ArM3 there was an intro where the King (I think) humbly entreated a Magus, who was disdainful and recounted the King's actions against him. I found it very appealing then and think it's a good starting point for a selling video now.

Optionally, present magicians, supernatural creatures, and other cross-game elements in comparison.

D&D: Let me see, did I prepare a spell for that?
ArM: Creo Ignem!

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