Hard-to-Find Rules

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.


Even though it is written in the core book, for some reason the Virtues The Enigma and Heartbeast do not state that you begin with a score of 1 in Enigmatic Wisdom or Heartbeast. It really should be stated within the Virtue description as that's the spot people will reference the most.

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The rules for Reputation are IIRC not optimally placed, as the description of what Reputation is and rules for changing reputation are in different places


How Size of a spell affect Size of creatures. It can be extrapolated easily enough, but there's only one mention of it and not where you'd expect (in the creatures section, rather than coupled with the Spell Size paragraphs)

The fact Concentration can be used to "redo" a failed roll. I have never seen it in play.

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I would agree this is a hard-to-find rule, but I think you've misread it. It's not that you can just use Concentration to redo a roll. It's that if you try to redo something, the SG may thrown in a requirement that you make a Concentration roll as well. E.g. You failed to pick the lock on your first attempt and decide to attempt again, so the SG asks you to roll Concentration to be able to do so. This is useful for things like preventing spamming of spells. However, I don't think I've seen anyone use it as the provided-for way to prevent spamming.


My apologies, I've abbreviated the rule. But indeed, I've never seen it used. It would be useful to have an external rule for "repeating failed feats", with a mention that Concentration helps with it - and abbreviate the rule again in the Concentration section. Either that, or provide more concrete examples of using the Ability in-play, to drive the point home.

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There's a note in Hedge Magic Revised (p. 94) that Living Conditions modifier for Aging rolls cannot exceed +10. This needs to be consolidated into the Aging rules.


It's a rule that applies to this specific effect, not a general rule. Therefore, it should stay with the specific effect.

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The way it is phrased, it is a general rule.
The actual wording is:
"The effects of the amulet are cumulative with other Living Conditions modifiers, but in no case may the total Living Conditions modifier exceed +10"

"no case" does cover the case where no amulet is involved at all, as well as the case where the Living Conditions modifer would exceed +10 even before applying the effect of an amulet.

Getting a Living Conditions modifier of +10 or higher without involving the arts of a Learned Magician is pretty difficult though. In fact, I don't think there is any way of doing that within the published rules.


You're deriving a general rule from a case specific restriction. What I read is a restriction on magically lifting the living condition beyond a certain level using SuSa, especially given that this effect is a result of a General guideline found in a chart that has guidelines for level 30, and that a +30 bonus to living condition would make hermetic longevity rituals look like a joke, not to mention that living condition modifiers stack with longevity rituals...

Covenant alone allows +2 LC from wages for a magi, with 3 healthy features, and the published virtues in that book stacking to also +10 LC from lab bonus. Adding Hermetic Projects, you get to +11.5 LC, and with custom items, you can go to the point where the GM says stop or you run out of creativity to justify improving your lab and sanctum. Of course, stacking all the applicable virtues from Covenant is probably a bad plan to start with, but with custom items coming in to compensate what makes no sense, a borderline obsessive magi could hit +10 or higher.

Edit: I don't disagree that limiting all this to +10 would be a fine rule. I just disagree that this is a rule that exists beyond SuSa.

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