Help Needed: Magi focused group

Hi all,

I have tired to introduce my gaming group to ArM5 twice now and failed.....and i really love the game. I've finally narrowed down a major fact of this is due to my players wanting to play their magi, and only their magi. Simply put, my players are not interested in playing companions or grogs or even familiars - they want to play their wizard.

We have a group of 5-6 players which meet regularly twice a week for games (currently L5R and V:tM), partly over Skype and partly in person. Do folks have any advice for running stories for a band of half a dozen magi on a regular basis? I'm comfortable enough to split the group up into 2, maybe 3 at a push, but it seems immersion breaking to have 2 simultaneous events happening every time to force the group to split up....i am comfortable enough running high powered games - our V:tM game is crazy high power and L5R we are currently Insight Rank 5 for those that know the game system - so we are all used to playing at the high end of things....

My current concept for the game has them taking over an autumn covenant, and pretty much glossing over resource management (books, silver, vis), as half of the group cant stand number crunching anyways. Currently, my 2 favoured plot archetypes would be hermetic politics and magic realm adventures....

Anyways, any advice would be greatly appreciated.


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Want high power?

  1. Wait for the upcoming book on high ppower stories. Just about to be released.

  2. Mongols. Just arriving in Euriope. Can you overcome ten thousand mongols on your doorstep? Really?

  3. Hermetic politics as you say

  4. Covenant is target by a tytalus archmage that wants to see them thrieve in conflict. Tossing dragons at them is just one of his plots, along with burning their library, reducing the main keep to rubble or ensuring all their potential allies are disposed against them. Difficult to be ubber when you canbnot feed yourself.

  5. Politics. Try to advance a certain agenda in the hermetic battleground. Reshaping the tribunals, making the rhine tribunal voting system into a order-wide system, declare valid the hunting of mundanes for sport, or try to build one of the projects in Hertmetic Projects. The tower or the volcano ones require a dedicated team of hermetics to pull off. ANd it is easy to draw stuff from there.

  6. Mundane interaction. If you need to convince someone (not ReMe them: convince) that they help you, a bunch of magi might not be the best option. Mundanes are there for a reason. Magi are really specialized, but hardly ever have any oidea of what really happens outside their covenant or how to poroperluy get information. You might be sitting half a mile from a vis source that give you 100 pawns per week, but if you are not aware of it it is like it did not exist.

In any case talk with the players and ask them what they want. To be in the middle of a battlezone, to be in a politics saga, to be in an explotation saga (Ultima THuke is a good place for that, or travelling towards the north pole in a magical ship, for example)...


Personally I think that companions and grogs are best introduced later on regardless. As the game gets rolling and the seasons start going by, the players will start wanting their magi to stay at home. Grogs are a good second character to introduce, companions are best left until the troupe concept is a bit more solid. Rushing into creating companions early can result in companions and magi that just don't gel well - and companions that end up getting no play time.

For a magi-focused group, if they are all fresh out of apprenticeship there will still be many things they can't do. A fresh-from-Gauntlet magus may seem fairly potent by comparison to other RPGs, but they really aren't potent by Ars Magica standards. They are unlikely to have decent penetration totals, or if they do they will likely be one-trick ponies and will -need- support from others.

Some ideas for sagas focused on the magi:

  • A group of junior wizards given responsibility for one wing of a much larger autumn covenant - being given regular missions and tasks by senior magi.
  • A group of junior wizards in a semi-isolated situation but with plenty to explore on their doorstep, such as a base-camp outside an ancient ruined covenant that is extremely isolated, so help is hard to come by.
  • Hermetic politics has already been mentioned
  • A team of junior hoplites assigned to travel with a senior hoplite. Tasked with entering places and killing things, primarily.
  • As above, only with a senior quaesitor instead - more investigations.

One thing I find lacking from easy reference for starting a game is a good reference to how potent a magus might get and at which stages of their lives. From my own observations, you can probably expect:

A magus fresh from gauntlet will have arts of around 7 in their five best, and nothing in the rest. A specialist might have their two primary arts up to 10, maybe even 12 at a push.
A magus at the end of their spring (~30 years post-apprenticeship) will have arts of around 14 for their five best arts, and 7 for all their other arts. Or if more specialist could have 20 in 2, 15 in 2 and the rest at 5.
A magus at the end of their summer (~60 years post-apprenticeship) will have arts of around 20 for their five best arts, and 10 for their other arts. Specialists might have their primary arts at around 25-28, with the rest still below 7.
A magus at the end of their autumn (~100 years post-apprenticeship) will have arts of around 24 in their five best arts, and 15ish in their other arts. Specialists will be skyrocketing up into the 30s or possibly even 40s with their primary arts, and even their weak arts are likely over 10.

These estimates are conservative. Chances are player magi will push past these figures - depending on the saga possibly well past these figures. The point of this is to highlight that fresh-from-gauntlet magi are scrubs - they will lose certamen more often than not, they will need to run and hide from someone playing wizards war against them - unless the person in question is of similar age.

It also means older magi are not going to treat them with respect. They will likely get about as much respect as a modern teenager gets from a senior law partner in most cases - i.e. roughly none.

As such, don't be afraid to treat them like level 1 characters. Have senior people send them out on adventures. Don't overload them with 2-3 adventures a season - let them have the time to study up and develop into older magi.

Edit: oh, and...

Have each player create (or pick a template) shield grog for their own magus and have that grog travel with them in most cases. Magi are squishy, don't be afraid to seriously wound or kill magi who don't take proper precautions. You don't need to have a fully detailed character sheet for each grog - my saga had the rule of if you didn't have a grog character sheet, your grog used one of the template stats from the core book. The up-side here was no character maintenance, the down-side no character progression.

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This is a big question. I think generally there are two solutions: to have the magi function as a "Special Missions Team" for some organization or NPC, or to have a "Dangerous Location" where adventure periodically erupts affecting all the PCs. Otherwise, I see no reason why so many PC magi will regularly go adventuring together, especially if they comprise all of the covenant. Along those lines, I can think of:

Special Missions Team:

  1. Superiors: covenant custom or lack of trust in PC's capabilities leads to the NPCs in charge of the covenant sending the PCs in-force.

  2. Inquisition Team: A hoplite/quaesitor team working in the service of the Magvillus Council, the local Chief Quesitor, or some other source of Hermetic authority. The PCs may actually belong to different covenants, and just meet-up when called upon.

  3. Special Ops Unit: Some Hermetic power emplys the PCS; this is not a "police" saga, but has other interests in heart. This can be a House, such as a (not-Tremere-only) vexillation of House Tremere (e.g. dealing with dealing with non-Hermetic potential threats to the Order), a team set up by House Mercere to provide magical muscle to deal with troubles Redcaps face, a Jerbiton League supported and headed by the Primus (e.g. to support the rightful return or Empire), a Milites group of mystery cult (a la The Round Table/Stone of Creation one from TMRE) supported by House Flambeau, a team escorting Bonisagus magi Seekers to dangerous locations. It can be an open Mystery Cult, such as the Legion of Mithras (fighting for Mithraic ideals?), Cult of Mercury (recovering Mercurian magic?), or even a political party/gild, e.g. the Wilderists/Hawthorn Gild employing the party and backing them up, as needed, in Tribunal.

  4. Cabal: Similar to the above, but without the Hermetic/Legal protection. Operations likely needed to be kept covert, and may be illegal or unpopular. This includes a Jerbiton League to return the Empire (meddling with mundanes), a Tytalus Cabal to unshackle the Titans, a Merinita secret support of a new pagan/faerie religion, an Ash Giild special force harassing faeries and hedge wizards, or so on. This can also be headed by non-Hermetic powers, e.g. an angel leading the PCs towards discovering Holy Magic and spreading it in the Order, a Faerie God leading a pagan revival, a Titan or the Great Forest Spirit leading the group to unshackle the titans and/or unite the great Hercynian forest spirit, or a tangential magus or some other engimatic figure sending them on seemingly unrelated adventures that neverthless manage to be connected at the end. Of course, it can also be led by a demon, but supposedly that's not what your players want.

Dangerous Locale:

  1. Periodic Danger: The site changes or has some threat appear with regularity - perhaps each Winter the witch-queen of the north launches an attack on Europe through this pass in the mountains, which the PCs must stop. Perhaps every time the stars align, the area gets traported to a random place in the Magic REalm.

  2. Intemittent Danger: The site comes to danger due to the actions of an antagonist or just randomly, with alarming regularity. Perhaps the site is a Faerie aura, that gets attacked regularly by a feuding court. Perhaps it is a Magical locale that is plagued by adulterations of Criamon magi; it is the place adulterations go to die.... Perhaps the covenant sits on the site of an ancient battle, and ghosts and disease demons often break free to trouble the living. Perhaps it sits on a Cthonic gateway to Cthulhu horrors, for that matter, or a hell-mouth (Buffy Ars Maguca for the win!).

Hmm. That's all the ideas I could think of in a flash. I hope one proves useful, for someone.



Mundane problems can work at any level. Lots of room for debate and any decision will have repercussions beyond what a ReMe-spell can fix. A few suggestions:

  • the village priest is lax in his duties and the more pious covenfolk starts to preach. Perhaps the bishop will visit later on.
  • A grudge amongst the covenfolk, two clans who can't see eye to eye and causing all sorts of trouble.
  • the magi are asked to judge a complicated case. Such as a gifted coven folk accused for a horrible crime.

Thanks guys for the quick responses :slight_smile:

I like concept of a special ops team - the idea of drawing together magi from different covenants is very novel - think it may be a touch too much work, but a very interesting idea!

I'd probably avoid crazy danger of the month - a lot of our group arent combat nuts, last time round, only 1 guy designed a combat flambeau (admittedly, another designed a character that could sink entire islands, but his magic lacked....skirmish level magic shall we say)

The problem we found with magi just out of apprenticeship were they were so weak, a couple of the companions we far more effective than the magi - a hunter/archer fellow was far more dangerous against the Might 10 magic beast with his bow and the street merchant with his Way of the Land (urban) was far more effective at social encounters than our gentle gifted maga. Which led really to the answer -why are we playing these crappy mages again?

I admit that I dont like campaign setups where by the players are the escorts to some NPC of authority or fame - as the tendency to push problems onto the NPC comes up too often or the PCs feel they cant do anything with the NPCs (aka mine) approval. Or every story has the important guy somehow occupied, which again i find immersion breaking :frowning: We've run into this kind of problem before with the classic L5R setups of Yoriki for Magistrates or Yojimbo for Imperial Cartographers...

I really like the idea of just grabbing a template grog from the book for your shield grog, that makes things a lot simpler.

I like the Tytalus archmage idea - its very funny.

Please keep suggestions coming, Im sure Im not the only green SG that finds this kinda thing useful :slight_smile:


What about combining them?

Bad things loom ahead. It is undefined, but all the seers of the order of hermes and beyond are predicting cataclismic events. It is foretold that most of the Order of Hermes might disappear.

A grand tribunal of the Order of Hermes awards a tytalus archmage the mission of preparing a strike team able to deal with such situations. It must be flexible, able both to strike hard, move in diverse environments and research new ways of dealing with the dangers ahead in innivative ways. The tytalus is old, and is not expected to resist twilight for more than (say) 15 years. Now he selects this team of young and promising magi and decides to train them to overcome the future dangers... the tytalus way.

So he sends them on quests sends quests TO THEM, and in general puts them through all kinds of trouble to prepare them for the worse times to come. They will hate him, since he is basically putting them under siege sometimes, sending them in what looks like impossible tasks and making their lives lesss secure than they could be, in general.

If you want a rival covenant, another team might be being prepared somewhere else. And they also want to shine.


that is a fantastic saga concept!

I may very well use that to some degree or another (originally, one of the senior magi was going to be a Perdo Flambeau Hoplite, that may be tweaked a little now).


Great ideas everyone! I'll try to contribute a couple more ideas...

Make them embark into some grandiose quest that needs magic to succeed, but can't be solved just with magic. My last saga, which was divided into paralel sagas, had one of them about finding the Holy Grial. Lots of exotic places to visit, plenty of adventure, quite a few things that could only be solved with magic and, it being a Divine thing, quite a few that couldn't be solved with magic alone. For a twist, have the main driving force behind the project be a demon who can't pursue the quest himself for obvious reasons, and just want proxies to remove the Holy Grail from its Divinely protected resting place so he can destroy it once it's out into the world. When I played that, the finale was grandiose, and one of the characters even decided to "retire" and stay at the Grial's resting place protecting it for all eternity, a la Indiana Jones.

Have them be the spear-head of the Order in new and unknown lands. Plenty of exotic, and you can get away with lots of magical stuff that wouldn't float in feudal Europe. You would have plenty of opportunities for exploration and wonder, as well as diplomatic stuff with magical locals, both creatures and magicians, which seems reasonable that would have to be done by magi. Maybe middle-east with The Cradle and the Crescent, though it's probably too civilized for that. Russian would probably make for a more interesting place with its mythology of Zmey dragons and the mongols at the gates. Scandinavia also seems ripe for that kind of scenario, with all the viking background, epic saga folklore and the whole pagan versus christian conflict almost out of the way, but still lurking in the background. Or you could go all crazy and head them South of the Sun into post-Sahara Africa, maybe up the Nile or down the western coast.

I have just started a Saga with the very same kind of a players.
They hate the book keeping exercise Ars magica can become easily and it was one of their concern I had to take over and diminish for them.

So we started a Saga where next to the Mages only magical companions (2) are included at the beginning... not counting the Tytalus Necromanta's silent companions.

I used a special setting to start of the whole story.

  • Winter Covenant's last member is calling the Mages, one by one, to attend her on her deathbed to get what they deserve as heritage.
    We are playing in the Stonehenge Tribunal and all knows what is going to happen if they don't reach and become part of the Covenant in time, as Blackthorn will descend upon the carcass in it's gluttonous hunger to claim all, which is moveable.

The very first games are about how they start to work together and get to know what the other can do. All members are basically 5 years after Gauntlet, still without serious connection with another Covenant.

Built in a couple of story hooks:

  • Neighboring Lord is in secret a Lych and the Winter covenant was providing him with a temporary cure, keeping him on the leash, which of course the new comers doesn't know about and the Lord is not so forthcoming about the issue, but threatening (in a friendly way) to keep the deal or else...
  • The Faerie Road has been cut of by monks building their home there as another Lord is in feud with the local Fairies. The Guardian of the Road, the Faerie knight (Companion level character) will plead for help from the Merinita Mage to help remove the monastery so the death can be given final rest at the see.
  • Covenant's library was transformed not to allow books to leave the hall... giving the players a good reason to stay for the opportunity to learn.
  • A still beating Drake heart is the major vis source, and the transformed drake is posing as a convenient bandit leader helping the Winter Covenant's last Apprentice... a hook I introduced after the players said they don't want to play with Companions. So the Companions became story hooks. :laughing:
  • The last Apprentice was created with Ancient Magic - Fertility (?), has inbuilt Vim vis source virtue (the name of the Virtue eludes my memory) and knows the special triggers for all the magical items left behind.
  • Covenant is built next to a Stone Circle, the old Magi has submerged the Stone Circle to the bottom of a lake, they have created, so deep that sunlight or moonlight never to reach and power it.
    Of course the dying wish from the last Master is nothing else, but to keep the Covenant's secrets and don't allow anyone to take away her last Masterwork: the apprentice.

and really... without knowing and by chance ... I have selected the geographic center of England to host the Covenant. :open_mouth: I do hope my beloved Ars Magica writers are not intending to use the same spot for the lost / last Diedne Covenant. :smiley: The place was conveniently far away from all other Covenants in Stonehenge.

I could step away from this coincidence and decided to make the center story for the Saga. The Stone Circle has similar powers as it is mentioned in the M:tA Verbena book, as it can be used as a quick travel road across the country. Perfect to introduce further story hooks for the Hoplita Flambeau with Visions and the Ex Misc, who wants to become the Ex Misc House's Quesitor. This is the perfect way for the The Waimie to use the same fast-travel method. Allowing me to introduce her and her brood as the main antagonist threatening all Covenants in Stonehenge.
Of course, when the Mages will start to use the ancient travel magic, it will also lead the serpents to the other Covenants Vis sources... and the players will be blamed first for stealing Vis... starting the whole political game and the how-to-avoid Quesitors to ask nasty questions. :smiling_imp:

So I used the above for a full Mage game as a setting. I hope you like it and will help you in your Saga.

Sounds like it should work.

And who knows how many schamans they bring with their armies? Or exactly what they can do... :smiling_imp:

In that case, change the rules for Apprenticeship XP, the default IS on the low side anyway. You could for example base the Apprenticeship XP on the "After Apprenticeship" level of XP per year. ( ie get 450 total instead of 360 )
I also often recommend giving 75XP for childhood instead of the canon 45.

Also the option to have XP bonus Virtues give their bonus during creation as well, i usually handle this by simply saying that they activate on average once per year. So Book Learner would give 45 XP extra during Apprenticeship. (limited by reason of course, you can´t get a bonus form BL before you can read and have access to books and so on)

Another option, that you´re clearly already looking at, is to use a seriously powerful background, like your Autumn covenant. Give it a majorly good library, plenty of Vis and lots of money for highend labs and characters will not be weak for long even if they start out such.
You could for example provide roughly L6/Q25 books for most/all Arts, then L10/Q21 for several/all Arts, topping it off with L15/Q16 and L20/Q11 books for some Arts. This would make it easy for players to advance their PCs quickly.
If that´s not enough for you, ignore the L/Q limit in RAW. Just dont go TOO overboard or it will just look totally munckin.

Just don´t forget, even a magi whose Art scores seems low, can generally still do some pretty amazing stuff.

The past day I have been re-writing the library for the players - initially, every Art had its Primer, Foundation, and Pillar, plus half a dozen or so tractatus of sound to excellent quality. I was halfway through naming them all.....however, after jumping round some links on redcap, came across one house rule that I suddenly find fantastic - remove summa from the game, leaving only tractatus mechanics for books. I felt that it offered a number of benefits for the game but mostly simply reduces the numbers of advancement rules for my players.

Interesting idea for increasing the base XP for pre-gauntlet, hadnt considered it - I'd still be inclined to keep the Art scores limited to 10 or less (or perhaps 15 or less, but thats the power gamer in me talking). Been re-reading HoH:TL again, remembering how complicated hermetic law can be.....not sure my players would enjoy that much detail, but i enjoy the read. Did remember about Tremere Vexillations - they could be a useful tool for gathering together a group of magi while having senior magi giving them orders - plus our group is familiar enough with Tremere are 2 of them work for House Tremere in our V:tM game thats been running for 2 no problems there maybe....


Seems we are not the only ones that have done that. Nice to know :slight_smile:

I like your setting DerWish :slight_smile:


I wrote a (truly massive) guide to starting a new Ars game that I never posted anywhere. I can probably put it up here but I think the mods might be a little annoyed with me :smiley:. I can send it to you if you PM me. I'm assuming your players aren't opposed to actually being in a covenant.

Some armchair advice:

  1. Players want to play magi? let them. Troupe play is fine, but follow Kid Gloves advice on this one. Allow companions to happen a little more naturally later on. The players need to make their mark as magi. Young Magi tend to have seasons to spare regardless.

  2. Current idea: Certainly possible, though I wouldn't gloss over book management. My suggestion for an easier sell would be -

Spring (or Winter) Covenant with a Spring library. This will mean that a lot of initial adventures will need to be organised and completed by the magi immediately, establishing their characters. If the PC's get to feel they are gaining ownership and control over their covenant they will invest in it.

Limit the library because it forces them to trade, negotiate and do adventures for other covenants to get books.

Hermetic Politics: I've never been in a game of Ars Magica where this didn't come up somewhere, regardless of what boons and hooks the covenant has. I find this a difficult one to put on new magi because the players themselves haven't invested in it or brought it on themselves, and freshly gaunteted magi are for the most part too weak to bother with. If you do run with this, what is it about the location, place, or characters that causes there to be issues prior to the PC's bringing it on themselves?

  1. High power will happen in time. Magi need time. Give them time. Don't hit them with too many adventures (After the first few, at least.). Let them have a few years to do their thing.

  2. Weak Magi from apprenticeship: I would advise against houseruling this in terms of XP. Beginning magi might be (slightly) weaker than their companion counterparts. This is... inaccurate as Magi are usually more capable in more fields than companions, but avoid the problem by not having companions and you'll be right.

Powerful gauntleted magi: My suggestion is for magi to look into 3 - 5 arts only, and make liberal use of the Minor or Major magical focus virtues. This virtue is super cool for newbie players because its not complex and makes them awesome at something.

Magi vs. Companion power level: Yeah, get past year 1 and magi will outstrip companions with ease. Follow the 'Don't use companions to begin with' and you'll be right.

  1. Writing the library: I have a giant library page where the entries go 'Creo: 10/10. Intellegox2 10/10. I don't name them, saves me lots of time :smiley:. It's the lab texts that take the time anyway.

  2. Removing Summa: I advise against house ruling a system until you have complete familiarity with it. (This house rule I have no problem with in particular, just advice in general.)

  3. Just to restate this -the one important thing that Ars Magica has over any other RPG is the fact that time is important. I cannot stress enough that you must allow time to pass - at whatever rate you like - but it must pass. Wizards don't achieve their goals in days, but in decades or even centuries.

  4. Finally, for the first 10 - 15 years the game is often 'Can I?', such as 'Can I slay the dragon?' or 'How can I?' Later on, it tends to be 'How should I?' or most interestingly...'Why should I?'

First time round, I started the game where the players needed to revive the winter covenant, so needed find new supplies of silver, recover the library etc - but they didnt enjoy that, found it boring to go hunting for income sources (silver and vis) and no one is really interested in playing librarian in our group.

I was introduced to ArM4 a little over 10 years ago now - my original SG had a little material publish in one of the 4e supplements i think. I've briefly joined a few PbP games, but I miss actually chatting and im impatient for posts, then drop off the radar randomly when rl gets crazy so i find them difficult to commit to. As for playing round with rules....I house rule my games massively and have even a complete original rules system that is just entering its 2nd play test campaign. My group is used to me messing with rules :smiley:

I actually really enjoying working out the library atm, and even thinking of writing 1 or 2 sentences for each book for flavor - i doubt my players will read the lot, but even if it helps a little, i dont mind, plus is serves as a good source of story inspiration :slight_smile:

As for the overall concept for the game - a slight twist on the Rome Tribunal (and book) - Venice has its own covenant, and much like Venice, acts as a sort of neutral ground, hosting Tribunal meetings, so unless magi are out travelling , they are already at Tribunal when it comes around. And when i say in Venice, I really mean in the city proper, along the Great Canal, as outside of the Covenant's regio, they are in a Divine Aura (I originally missed how much this would shackle magi in comparison to companions in our first game). Rome has several big Covenants, including Hacro and Magvillus, so there are lots politics involved. The covenant will begin at least on good terms with the doge and the church in Venice, but that could easily deteriorate dependant on character actions.

And I have no trouble allowing time to pass, as I plan on running things as a pulsed saga - my V:tM is going on 150 years or so, we're now in 2144.....starting from 1990....

I am currently trying to envision how to have an overall purpose for the players without railroading their character choices. I already have plans for a military horror game for L5R in the spring, so I want to avoid the Military-ish special ops teams, but still wanna have the group have a solid direction beyond lets get a couple of my players are huge powergamers, while another 2 are complete opposites, just caring about the story....


Ask the players what the purpose of their characters is! And if you want them to have a common purpose, make sure that you all discuss it and make up characters who naturally have such a common purpose.

A natural default common purpose is usually "maintaining and advancing the covenant". But you sound like you want something more focused than that. Seeking a particular ancient mystery, enslaving the local faerie king, founding a new House/Tribunal, hunting demons, etc are all possible ideas. And remember that the characters don't have to necessarily be optimised around this goal; it's what they want to do, not necessarily what they are good at.

Also, I find that you can get a lot of story out of player characters who have slightly divergent goals, or disagreements over methods. Minor sources of disagreements that the player characters can bicker over, and fight periodic Certamen over are great. But try to avoid disagreements that are likely to escalate to Wizard War (unless, of course, the troupe is comfortable with the risk of PvP kills).


So if your players really want to ignore companions in favor of their magi, and if you guys really want high-power, and if you guys really want to gloss over resources, why not just pull out all the stops?

Since there are no companions, might as well let everyone have gentle gift for free.

Just because rules have starting characters emerge from apprenticeship with 240 experience points and 120 levels of spells, doesn't mean that you can't multiply these numbers by 10 if you so choose. This does not need to be in any way consistent with power growth after apprenticeship, because the mystical experience of opening the arts and the 15 seasons can be hand waved to be a unique series of events. you can also allow characters to start with a Parma as high as you like.

If you enjoy creating books for your library, by all means go for it. But you could also simply rule that there's always a book that provides some number of experience points available, and you can name them as characters check them out of the library. I would normally suggest 10, but if you prefer 20 that's fine too. Or if you like dice, start with a base of 3 to 15 and roll a die every time a player reaches for a new book.

Similarly, if you want to account for covenant resources, sure. But if you're in the realm of high-power, there is no need to concern yourself about the little things.

As for a common purpose, what about England? Your covenant – that is, the player characters – rule and defend England, with the king as a pliable figurehead. What do you want to do with it? so one day might be court intrigue, another day might be dealing with faerie problems, another might be dealing with those pesky Scots, and their Magi rulers. if you prefer a lower powered saga, then your PCs can be the Scots instead of the English.



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Doing library maintenance can be a pain in the butt - especially for a small group. There's nothing wrong with having the library somewhat undefined and letting it develop, as Ken says.

For example, if the library has 2000 levels worth of lab texts (a lot!), just record that number somewhere and turn it into a list of proper lab texts as and when people go looking for them.

Also, while the players may well just play their magi they should still probably live in a covenant. There can be lots of nameless grogs doing their thing that work for the player magi (or their superiors) without each one needing a name, stats, etc. If all you have is stats for magi and names for their shield grogs (who use a template from the book), that's enough to play.

What you will likely find is the group will itself move away from purely-magus adventures and start bringing in more grog/companion adventures over time. Young magi run out into the world because they're newbs. Older magi send younger magi or grogs/companions out into the world for them and stay at home on their lab projects. This will just happen without you having to do/force anything. Trust me. :slight_smile:

This is both useful and a bit problematic but if it suits you, go for it. Just remember that you will probably need many more books to be handled in total.
And that you loose out on getting any very high Quality books for quick lowend learning.
And players will have to buy/aquire all those books as well, which means spending more time on it one way or another.

Basically it´s a tradeoff depending on what you want for the story. It doesn´t really reduce the rules or the amount of book keeping any however.

If someone wants to have a single Art really high, let them, it just makes them highly specialised, it´s usually not a serious advantage anyway. Or many times even an advantage at all. For example, it can greatly hinder what kind of spells you can start with, while also severely reducing a characters ability to use Spontaneous magic to cover a lack of proper spells.
Having one Te and one Fo at 10 each (at a total of 110XP ) is usually much better than having a single Art at 20 (at a total of 210XP, reducing XP you can use elsewhere by 100, enough that it hurts a lot ).

Ah, nice to see there are other such groups.

And an original system? Way to go! :smiley:
I´ve never finalised any of my own original systems even if a few are playable(barely), so i know how much goes into completing one.

From the 2nd time we attempted run - allowing a fresh magus to start with Arts at any level is definitely off the table - one of my power gamers went Cr30 - and that was all his arts...but it meant he could happily spont cast a lot of Cr and his fire magic still had enough punch to deal with mundanes and minor might creatures with ease - tho that was partly my fault as I wanted to simplify the creation rules, dumping all starting XP into 1 pool, instead of early/later childhood and apprentice XP pools.....not my best idea and wont be repeating that one....tho i admit my usual starting specialists aim to have their focus at 15 (as i often specialise in one art, not a pair)

As for the library, each art has between 6-12 books on it of Qu11+, that should keep even the specialist occupied for a couple of years, so my players can enjoy other stories before needing to look for new resources. Plus, I have a rule where there is an 'almost unlimited' amount of vain tractatus in the library (just to fill it out), between Qu 5 to 7. Only drawback for a player using that is its poor quality and they have to name the book so it can added to the library list. I have a little house rule for writing Quality, where the Teaching Ability is included and some things removed - makes young magi unlikely to get their publication noticed, makes for a nice side goal for a magus if they want to be a famous author, instead of starting out as one of the great authors of the order right out of apprenticeship, as I find that quite immersion breaking too.

If memory serves, one of the earlier editions used abstract libraries? Cant remember now. I like the 'feel' of having a developed library, as I think it adds depth to the covenant, but that might be myself, and probably not my, it really is mostly for my benefit, not theirs :frowning:

In our V:tM game, the players have access to subordinates that we often use for the entire story (ghouls) - but as my wife says, they are still belonging to her vampire, which makes a big difference between that and having a companions which is often designed to specificly not be involved with your magus.

I must admit that I often play things mostly as the gentle gift, unless a player takes balant gift.

I'm hoping that as my group played a fairly successful short game of Mage (i wasnt GM'ing), we can shift things over to ArM without too much hassle - we dont have metacreator, but Im trying to put together a spreadsheet to make character creation a little easier (we use spreadsheets for most of our games)


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