Hard-to-Find Rules

  1. Reputation comes to mind
  2. Confidence points
  3. The ability chapter does not spell out all the rules governed by the abilities. i.e. Magic Theory of 3 is required to build a lab is in the lab section. Needing a language score of 4 to read a book, and a score of 5 to write a book is not there either.
  • Form Bonuses on page 77 are in a weird spot.

I think there should be three categories of magical limits, Greater Hermetic limits, lesser hermetic limits, and limits of the magic realm such as the limit of the Infernal which is true of all powers related to magic which often gets lost being as it is in the infernal section of the realms chapter. I don’t think any of the other hermetic limits fall into this category but I may be wrong.


Bringing something from a post accidentally placed in the errata thread to here:

A lot of people get confused by "study one of these Arts (that is, gain at least one experience point from study)" under Elemental Magic. If you dig deep enough, the answer is there: generating an Advancement Total from which you gain experience. But that takes a lot of digging to find that Advancement totals only arise from "a season in study" and confirmation that exposure is "by being exposed to the thing to be studied" and that an example of study is given as "perhaps from Adventure experience." Simply changing the parenthetical note to be about Advancement Total rather than what it currently is would clarify it immensely for people.


I think a nice 2-3 page detailed table of contents in the core rulebook would solve most of my issues.

Combat being on page 171 in a chapter called obstacles was strange enough to me that I added it to my table of contents. I get the why of it, but I would just call it Combat and it's own chapter.

Vis sources at the end of Realms of page 190 is strange to me. I would suggest all vis rules in one place, or if needed to be separate, put it in the covenant chapter.


The actual length of a Pace comes immediately to mind.


A pace is actually a standardized unit of measurement. There are four variants consisting of: United States, Ancient Roman, Byzantine, and Welsh. We can ignore the United States (didn't exist yet), Byzantine (not standardized between Greek States), and Welsh (limited to an extremely small area) versions.

The Ancient Roman Pace is the most likely distance referred to in AM. It was standardized in 29 BC and consisted of two complete steps, roughly 5 Roman feet. That works out to about 1.48 meters or 4 feet 10 inches. The Roman Mile was 1,000 Roman Paces, roughly 1,617 yards (1,479 m) in length.


That's all great - but its not in the book.

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You just proved Heru Kane's point. We know a pace is very nearly equal to a modern imperial yard, three feet. That you did not arrive at this despite it being written in a bunch of places in the book illustrates that the rule is a fairly hard-to-find rule.

I would include that a round is 6 seconds as well as a pace being 3 feet. For the pace, though, it could be worth a comment that setting it to 1 meter is close enough and might work better for many troupes.


Google tells me 2.5 ft, which comes up to a very handy 15.625 cubic feet for every cubic pace for calculating a base unit of terram.

You're just proving the point further. Google is very unlikely to give you an Ars Magica answer. Have you tried using Google to find the rules for a Talisman? ArM5 itself specifies that its pace is basically a yard. So we have a bunch of people demonstrating that this really is a hard-to-find rule. Heru Kane was definitely right to point it out as one.

p.112: ten paces per round (five feet per second)
p.172: A single combat round, consisting of one attack from every party to the combat, takes about six seconds.

p.113: one hundred paces (three hundred feet)

p.121: five paces (fifteen feet)


I think any ambiguity about "pace" is more that the players are being too 'smart' for their own good.

As far as I can see, there has never been any intent for "pace" in Ars Magica to be read as anything other than the common US definition. Ars Magica is written in standard US English. "Pace" just seems to have been picked because it sounds a bit more "ye olde" than "meter".

Likewise it is assumed that "minute" will be read in modern US English.

The difficulty arises when players realise that there are various archaic definitions of pace, and erroneously suppose that "pace" is meant to be read as part of an in-character measurement.


If you write «in-character standardised measurement» I am going to agree. Authentic in-character measurement is very rarely going to be standardised or as accurate as we are used to. And in this view there is no conflict between modern use and period use. The point is, sloppy measures work better narratively. And we who are brought up to think in metres, will treat a foot in the same way. It is the length of somebody's foot.

But you are absolutely right that this should be made clear in the core rules. And consistently treated. I have a feeling that some authors have been thinking in terms of accurate measures (ten rounds to a minute and a pace is a yards) and some in terms of narrative sloppiness (6-10 rounds to a minute and a pace is the length of a step).

Of course, if the players read the rules with the same sloppiness, it does not matter, but it only takes one engineering nerd to create tension in the troupe.

The ambiguity about "pace" is not so much an ambiguity as a lack of knowledge because it is hard to find the definition in the rules.
There are, as far as I know, no "common US defintion" of pace as a unit of length - it is most certainly not a unit of length one is likely to encounter on a regular basis.

There are many archaic definitions of pace, but the main reason to look those up is because one can't find a definition in the Ars Magica rules. (It is there, but very hard to find.)


A US Pace is actually standardized at 2.5'. Unless you are in the military, you are correct that you are unlikely to encounter it. Can we please take this discussion to a separate thread?

Created a thread for it here.

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Talisman rules are not so much hard-to-find as hard-to-understand. I bookemarked this post by Caribet ages ago, and it has been very useful:


And speaking of bookmarked posts this next one is a good explanation of Resistance from various sources:



Oh, in addition to the duration of a round being hard to find, I've seen a lot of people thrown off by how long Momentary can be. Many times it's a very brief duration. But frequently it's up to a round, and very in frequently it can be a little longer than a round. That's all in the core book (with errata), but many people seem unaware of it. It would be worth stating it explicitly in the description of Momentary.


How many paces can someone move in a round?

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That's in the advanced combat section of Lords of Men, on p. 120: (10 + Qik - Encumbrance) for a walk, doubled for hurrying, and quadrupled for running. I assume the answer is "whatever seems reasonable" if one is using the basic combat rules.

And yes, that's more than a little obscure if one hasn't read LoM.