Frequently Asked Questions

Whereupon it becomes necessary to answer questions posited by the troupe, so shall this thread constitute answers for those questions that will come up frequently. I will try to keep a table of contents here in the first post so people may find groupings of similar questions easily.

I. General Saga Questions
II. Magi Character Creation Questions
III. Companion Character Creation Questions
IV. Grog Character Creation Questions
V. Covenant Questions

[center]General Saga Questions[/center]
What is the starting year for this game?
1220.

But if characters can be any age after Gauntlet, or beyond 25 for non-magi...
This means that every character was born in at least 1195.

What materials are allowed?
The ArM5 core rules, The Lion and the Lily, Societates, Mystery Cults, True Lineages, and Covenants (but only for the purposes of Refining and Instilling Virtues in a Laboratory).

What about Sub Rosa?
To limit the amount of exposure, as well as to not confuse things that are in books not explicitly named above, Sub Rosa is not allowed.

This game is in the Normandy Tribunal. What language(s) should our characters speak?
The language barrier is one of the most difficult and frustrating things in any game. Characters need to be able to speak to one another, and if they can't, then why are they even together?

Magi all must have Latin as it's required for these characters, so we don't have to worry about them speaking to one another. But as the game is situated in the Normandy Tribunal, and we must be able to communicate with all companions and grogs. Therefore, every character, regardless of "class" (Magi, Companion, Grog) must have either Normand French or French. There are enough similarities between these 2 languages that concepts and ideas can be gotten across, even if the subtle nuances cannot.

There's this really cool thing in a previous edition I'd like to use. Is that allowable?
No. Please try to find an equivalent in the current edition. If there is no equivalent in the current edition, you'll have to spend some of your time researching/inventing whatever it is you are looking for.

What kind of game is this going to be?
In a general sense, this will be about the PCs navigating their way through mythic Europe, taking on challenges presented to them from a variety of things. There will be role-play, exploration, research, politicking, and, of course, combat. I will state that the combat aspect of this game will probably not be as much as other fantasy games (such as D&D, for example), as this system lends itself far better to social and exploration activities. But combat will be a thing, and I'm hoping it will be well worth the wait in-between combat periods.

Ars Magica is troupe style, so who else is going to be running stories?
At the time of this writing, the only person who will be running the game is yours truly, Ghost. There are currently no plans to have others jump in and tell stories, but that may change throughout the course of running the game.

How long do you plan on running this game?
I am planning on it being a long-term game. That said, the game will run for as long as it runs.

What is the expected post rate?
I want to take this a bit slower than most other games, primarily because there is so much that can happen in this system. Characters will wander in and out, NPCs will do the same; the landscape of the area changes constantly, and I want players to be able to fully immerse and appreciate what is going on. Therefore, I will not expect a post rate greater than once or twice per week. If players post faster than that, I will respond faster than that. But I'd like to keep it to no less than 1-2 times per week please.

How are characters going to rotate in/out of the current story?
It should be stated that magi are the primary focus of this campaign, and as such, they will take center stage whenever possible. And unless a particular magus/maga is performing an activity that takes an entire season, they will be the primary character being run by a given player. Companions will be played when a player's magus/maga is involved in an activity that takes an entire season, while grogs will be played in the event both a magus/maga and a companion are not available.

With that said, players may bring their companions and grogs into any scene at any time, provided they do not forget that their magus is the primary focus. In fact, some players may find that they are able to play 2 or more of their characters at one time, and I will not object to that so long as the magus does not take a back seat to the companion or grog.

Will multiple stories be run at a single time?
At the time of this writing, I cannot answer that. While I have an opening story arc in mind, there is nothing to say that branching storylines won't be run concurrent to one another. So it's possible that this may happen.

[center]Magi Character Creation Questions[/center]
Instead of a full-fledged magus, can we create an Apprentice?
No. All magi have gone through Gauntlet.

What about creating a child who hasn't started their apprenticeship?
No. All magi have gone through Gauntlet.

I aged my Magus/Maga and he/she died. Do I have to start over?
No. Sometimes, a bad die roll can have a profound effect on your character, and advancing in age beyond 35 has its risks. If you advance beyond age 35 and your character dies due to age, regress that character 1 full year, removing all XP, benefits, penalties, etc., and stop right there. You will then get the chance to RP this character and hope for a better result in-game.

Are you firm on the "no familiars" rule to start?
No familiars to start. This is a serious RP opportunity to find and befriend the right beast.

But you're allowing initiation, which is also an RP opportunity.
The requirements for initiation are pretty tough to get through. Not to mention that initiation leans pretty strong towards a lot of mechanics, while finding and befriending a beast is more role-play through exploration. I won't deny that there are some RP opportunities for initiation, and if people wish to RP this instead of doing so during character creation, I'm all for it. But this game is about the PCs, not their familiars.

Can we go through multiple levels of initiation?
That depends entirely on how many years post-Gauntlet you want your magus/maga to be.

It says that initiation costs 1 season. So I only have to spend 1 season to initiate?
The act of going through initiation costs 1 season. You must meet all the requirements to go through initiation, which may mean you end up spending other seasons prior to this getting ready and meeting those requirements.

Do we have to spend all of the XP we earn in the post-gauntlet phase? For example, one of my arts is rather high, and to increase it I need a lot of XP.
No, you do not have to spend all of the XP earned. You can save as much or as little as you'd like.

Do Virtues/Flaws impact the amount of XP we earn during the post-Gauntlet phase?
Yes. Virtues and Flaws impact the amount of XP you earn in whatever way they normally would through the course of play. For example, if you have Elemental Magic and use a season to successfully study one of the elements, you do gain the 1 XP in each of the other 3 elements.

What about the flat 10 XP per season? How do Virtues/Flaws impact this?
They don't. By taking the flat 10 XP, you are effectively saying that you did something not otherwise accounted for, such as adventuring, that earned you XP. Because you are taking a flat amount, you do not get extra XP due to those Virtues/Flaws.

Where would we get raw Vis from if we wanted to study it?
You must spend a season earning Vis wages (which actually grants you 3 pawns), or you must have a Personal Vis Source that grants you Vis. There will be no allowance for using Covenant resources during character creation.

But that's going to cause a character to have to spend multiple years getting the Vis necessary to enchant devices.
If that's what it takes, that's what it takes. Keep in mind that the Covenant was founded in 1217, while some of your characters are going to have been through YEARS post-Gauntlet by that time.

What Tribunal do we have to be from?
You can be from any Tribunal that exists, although I would caution against coming from the Theban Tribunal due to their use of Greek instead of Latin.

Can we be a visiting magus/maga?
No. All magi live at the Covenant; you are not visiting from somewhere else.

I have ideas for multiple magi. Which one would be best for this game?
Whichever one you want to play. Create the character you want to play without worrying about what may or may not fit best in the game.

I have ideas for multiple magi. Can I create more than 1 magi?
Well, technically, you can. But you can only submit one for this game, so it's best that you don't do that.

But what if I create multiple magi instead of creating, say, the companion? Or the grog?
Everyone creates 1 magi, 1 companion, and 1 grog.

Is there any flexibility to the number of seasons we can spend performing specific activities?
While I'd rather we stick to the outline given, if you can give me a very compelling reason for your character to spend more than, say, 1 season in a given year improving your lab, I'll listen. Be warned that is not a guarantee that I'll lift the restriction, but rather me saying that I will listen to your reasoning and then give you a ruling.

[center]Companion Character Creation Questions[/center]
Is there an age limit for companion characters?
No, there is not. But be aware that you must roll for aging once you hit a specific age in this game.

Can I create a companion who is a child?
No. All companions are at least 25 years of age.

But I have this concept for a young companion...
No. All companions are at least 25 years of age.

So if a companion starts at age 25, and I decide to advance him like 10 years, he would be born in...
1190. The game starts in 1220, so work backwards from there for birth year.

I aged my Companion and he died. Do I have to start over?
No. Sometimes, a bad die roll can have a profound effect on your character, and advancing in age beyond 35 has its risks. If you advance beyond age 35 and your character dies due to age, regress that character 1 full year, removing all XP, benefits, penalties, etc., and stop right there. You will then get the chance to RP this character and hope for a better result in-game.

Do Virtues/Flaws impact the amount of XP we earn for seasonal activities?
Yes. If you have a Virtue or Flaw that impacts the amount of XP you gain for a seasonal activity such as studying or teaching, you earn that extra XP in the normal way you would in the course of the game.

What about the flat 10 XP per season? How do Virtues/Flaws impact this?
They don't. By taking the flat 10 XP, you are effectively saying that you did something not otherwise accounted for, such as adventuring, that earned you XP. Because you are taking a flat amount, you do not get extra XP due to those Virtues/Flaws.

I have ideas for multiple companions. Which one would be best for this game?
Whichever one you want to play. Create the character you want to play without worrying about what may or may not fit best in the game.

I have ideas for multiple companions. Can I create more than 1 companion?
Well, technically, you can. But you can only submit one for this game, so it's best that you don't do that.

But what if I create multiple companions instead of creating a grog?
Everyone creates 1 magi, 1 companion, and 1 grog.

[center]Grog Character Creation Questions[/center]
Is there an age limit for grog characters?
No, there is not. But be aware that you must roll for aging once you hit a specific age in this game.

Can I create a grog who is a child?
No. All grogs are at least 25 years of age.

But I have this concept for a young grog ...
No. All grogs are at least 25 years of age.

So if a grog starts at age 25, and I decide to advance him like 10 years, he would be born in...
1190. The game starts in 1220, so work backwards from there for birth year.

I aged my Grog and he died. Do I have to start over?
No. Sometimes, a bad die roll can have a profound effect on your character, and advancing in age beyond 35 has its risks. If you advance beyond age 35 and your character dies due to age, regress that character 1 full year, removing all XP, benefits, penalties, etc., and stop right there. You will then get the chance to RP this character and hope for a better result in-game.

Do Virtues/Flaws impact the amount of XP we earn for seasonal activities?
Yes. If you have a Virtue or Flaw that impacts the amount of XP you gain for a seasonal activity such as studying or teaching, you earn that extra XP in the normal way you would in the course of the game.

I have ideas for multiple grogs . Which one would be best for this game?
Whichever one you want to play. Create the character you want to play without worrying about what may or may not fit best in the game.

I have ideas for multiple grogs. Can I create more than 1 grog?
Well, technically, you can. But you can only submit one for this game, so it's best that you don't do that.

But what if I create multiple grogs instead of creating a companion?
Everyone creates 1 magi, 1 companion, and 1 grog.

[center]Covenant Questions[/center]
Where is the Covenant located?
Southwest of Caen, in Normandy, several thousand feet up the side of Mont Pin├žon.

When was the Covenant founded?
1217

Who founded the Covenant?
A group of magi from the Normandy Tribunal. Specifically included in that list are Jerome ex Jerbiton (Confluensis) and Thormod (Montverte). There are a couple of magi from the Rhine tribunal who helped, most notably Ricardus ex Bonisagus (Durenmar).

Where did the Covenant get all of its library books and lab texts? What about the enchanted items?
Gifts bestowed upon you by the founders and their home Covenants to help you get up and running the right way. While magic is still a guarded secret, and people generally don't like to part with things they may have spent years working on, nobody in the Tribunal wants another Covenant - especially one that might contain their own Apprentices - to fail.

What are the sources of income for the Covenant, and how much money does the Covenant make in a given year?
The primary source of income for the Covenant is agriculture, while the secondary source of income is mining. The Covenant made, in the year 1219, a profit of 100 mythic pounds of silver.

So, the Covenant has 100 mythic pounds of silver in her treasury? Or she made that last year and is broke?
The Covenant has 100 mythic pounds of silver in her treasury.

So does this also translate to the Vis stores?
Yes. The amount of Vis stores shown in the Covenant thread are what the Covenant currently has on hand.

When do we know how much money the Covenant has made this year? And how much Vis is added to her stores?
At the end of the Winter season we will determine how much silver the Covenant made in 1220. As for the Vis, we will have to play that by ear; some of the Vis can be gained only once per year, while some of it can be gained every season.

How much does it cost to run the Covenant for a year?
100 mythic pounds. Which is exactly what she has in her treasury. At the end of the Winter season, we will determine how much money she made in 1220. Anything in excess of 100 mythic pounds earned is added to her treasury, while any shortcomings have to come out of her treasury. So we could have more than 100 mythic pounds in her treasury to start 1221...or we could have less. More means the Covenant is growing, while less means we have issues to deal with in-game.

I'm still confused as to when the Vis sources can be picked over?
This will happen in-game for the most part. For example, the golden rabbit only happens at the end of Spring or the beginning of Summer, so you'll have to actually attempt to catch the rabbit to get the stores. The pebbles at the crumbling rock face can be harvested all year long, up to 5 pawns in a single year.

Does the Covenant have any specialists?
Yes. Johann is a metalsmith and miner who the Covenant has hired to lead the stone quarries and the mining of ore. The Covenant has also hired Angelique, a farmer and winemaker who is adept at handling the agricultural side of things.

Are there rules for the use of library books or lab texts?
With there being only 1 copy of each, any book or text must be checked out so we know who has what. Until there are multiple copies of things, this is how it must be.

Who is in charge of the library?
A mundane is in charge of the mundane books (books that are not related to magic in any way). But we will need a specialist or companion - or even a magus/maga PC - to be in charge of the magical texts.

What about the Vis stores? Who is in charge of those?
Again, we will need a specialist or companion - or a magus/maga PC - to be in charge of these.

What are the rules for using the Library Lamp or the Fire Guardian? Are they limited to being used in specific places?
The Library Lamp is for use in either the Library or the Magi Council room only; it is not permitted to be anywhere other than in these 2 places. And to be used in the Magi Council room, a council meeting must be in progress.

The Fire Guardian is for use in the library only as it is a protective measure against fire. Fire is the most damaging thing that can happen in a library, and as such it needs to be there to prevent any fires from breaking out and destroying the books.

Where is the Mappa Mundi located?
In the Magi Council room. Generally speaking, only the magi of the Covenant use this item, and at that it's only used during council meetings when discussing events taking place.

What are the relationships with the surrounding mundane communities like?
It can be assumed that you have a neutral relationship with any existing mundane communities. Neither good nor bad, but a mutual trust that the Covenant and the mundane city/town/village have the same interest in living your lives without harming the other.