Fluff Text

I've always felt that Ars 5th ed didn't provide enough fluff text to give new players a good grounding on how Ars Magica really 'played'. What are your thoughts, and what sort of fluff fiction would you place in the book to become a book (Similar to WoD books) that is readable sheerly on its own merits?

I would place in: Characters who make a few enlightening quotes throughout the book, such as..

Aegyptus Says: "The most annoying wizard I ever met was a specialist with the arts of Creo and Vim. He couldn't do much else, he'd just send you into twilight as soon as blink. He hit me with it twice, and I lost a couple of seasons to him. Luckily, when walking the twilight roads, I learned a few tricks to protect against it, so the third time he probably regretted specialising his powers quite so much. And also for annoying me. Heh heh heh."

Incandarius Says: "Ignem. The Founders Art. The greatest of all the arts. The most destructive. With a good grasp of Ignem, neither fay, nor magic, nor mundane will resist your will. You will be a lord of destruction."

Just... no.

Reading the spell descriptions in the core book and Magi of Hermes you get a fairly good feeling of what any jkind of magic can do, and what specialist magi look like. The sample characters in the book also giver an idea of some magi and their capabilities. So I do not think this is really necessary myself. What is that makes you feel tha tis lacking? I might not be fully getting it ...

The game did dabble with this sort of thing. There's a Flambeau in SoI who does this.

Basically I loathe the classifications of fluff and crunch, because they tend to be used by people who think rules are good and setting bad. I agree that Ars is Extra Crunchy at the moment, but I don't know I'd tone it down with little character quotes. Maybe something like the florilegium in the Great White Book version of Nobilis?

:laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

Where is a thumbs up button for this post?

While I do enjoy fanfiction and even a well publish book that uses Ars as a source for the setting, I have to say I am glad they avoided some of the flavoring of the game with their own characters and stories and such. I was a bit thrown by a lack of more categorized and displaying of the Houses in the core book, expecting at least a page with the House build and their opinions and prejudices; but as I got deeper into the game, I came to understand how that just doesnt work for Ars.

There are too few magi for there to be overwhelming common sentiments and stereotypes. Sure some houses lean towards concepts, which I think is a by-product of the nature of RPG material to make classes, but Ars is skillfully guided away from being too heavy handed. ((well not really, it is at times a bit to boxy but I find it cute, like a crooked nose or a eyebrow with a scar))

EDITED to add this: The forums however are an excellent place for the authors and creators to give examples, flavor-out ideas, and all around provide the "fluff" ((don't think of it as bad, think of it as delightful sweet cream fluffed and whipped)) that some would seek in the books. These forums are an excellent way for people to experiment and display stories and ideas they have.

However there is one thing..... I wish never to see Darius ex annoyingly everwhere I look Flambeau. I understand that Flambeau are a basic template and can pretty much make entry level character creation easy.... ie. Flambeau are HAHAHHA I won't be insulting :smiling_imp: .........

...but come on, there has got to be some Jerbiton or Bjornaer or Mercere out there who could be doing something. Darius is just so.... uh, so.... bald. And so milite. And, ugh.... Flambeau.

HAAHAHAHAHHA........ I am being flippant for the sake of being silly.

I must admit to loving the little quotes and stories running through things like paranoia and shadowrun.
I don't see a problem with putting a line or two of 'fluff' text at the bottom of each page of the book say.

I don't see the need for an entire book however.

We get high-quality fluff text as it is, in the sidebars with examples in the supplements. The text where it describes how the player tries to do something and negotiates with the SG on what they're trying to do is always entertaining, particularly in The Church section for Pilgrimages.

I'm not really looking at an entire book of fluff text, just a theoretical excersize to add to the core book.

My personal experience with most of my players, and everyone I've talked to who hasn't played, don't 'get' the 5th ed book. I suspected that a bit of the fluff text that permeates the WoD books would 1. get more players in the zone and 2. sell more books.

Hey, I could be wrong. It's just a theory.

That could be cool to see more of. No 'specific characters' - just some general chatter.

I think there are two parts to the 'getting it' issue I've witnessed. The first is that Ars Magica lacks a tangible setting with goals to easily wrap your brain around. DnD is about raiding dungeons to get treasure. Shadowrun is about playing mercenaries who do (for lack of a better word) crime. Ars Magica is about a bunch of wizards.

The setting, which I love, is also intimidating. Mythic Europe is not fantasy-land - which is awesome but makes it harder to get in to. There's a reason Ars Magica has its 'must have a PhD in history to play' reputation.

Supporting text to highlight some of the more interesting aspects of this in bite-sized narrative chunks would be nice. Doing this in the form of florilegium is a nice way of such things supporting the text without breaking the flow of the core text. They also provide for handy markers when flicking through the books.

I for one don't tend to read the pages of story / fiction at the start of a chapter in WoD games or similar. I know others do; I do not. So for me personally adding something like that would be an unnecessary waste of print. I do read the small sidebar stories and commentary littered through the Shadowrun books, so if anything I'd prefer to see more of that.

The real meat of the issue as I see it, however, is how do you sell Ars Magica to new players such that they quickly grasp its nuances and depth, its cool setting and its play-style that feels very different to most other RPGs - and do that within just the context of the core rulebook and possibly one or at most two supporting documents available both for free and in easy-to-get locations. As any RPG product grows and develops over time, looking at how to quickly and effectively sell new base product rather than more expansion books to your existing market is obviously a question that comes up.

Is there elements of that now? Sure, or we wouldn't have new players coming to the game. Could it be done better? Probably. Are fluff text inserts worth the cost of printing in return for the amount of audience growth they provide? Is it too late to do that with 5th edition? Is the brand established enough that it would have reduced effectiveness in a future 6th edition?

I don't have any actual ideas on this, which is why I don't run an RPG publishing house. :slight_smile:

I have a standard reply to this:
"Oh no you don't! I only have a master's degree! (pause) [size=85]...and it's not even in history either[/size]"

... and we still let you post here? :unamused:

Be nice. I don't have any degree.

[sub]Of course, my father is an amateur archaeologist, and a friend of the various heads of archaeology departments at my city's universities...[/sub]

I also lack any sort of degree, yet I will make the claim that I am still better educated than most others who do have a degree.
Not only do they let me post here, but they let me contribute material to a book or two :smiley: