House Rules

Hey all, so I was just wondering on some of the house rules and hacks and other such changes that one may create in Ars Magica games. One of the things I always liked was when publishers come out with rule or setting variant books and other such options. And so it made me think of asking you all what sort of things you might have implemented or want to implement and stuff.

I will start by sharing two of my ideas.

Mystical Immunity - Being aligned with a Realm (and the Gift counts) provides immunity to Warping through living in a high aura, by being affected, and by being under a high or continual mystical effect. (Thus, basically, Warping can only be gained by botching a roll with a mystical ability).

I like this idea cause to me the idea of a person who utilizes magical effects so easily and naturally should not have a problem living in a place with heavy magic and stuff. I like the potential of getting warped due to a failure in a magical act, but not just being around a place. (Plus, the game already breaks this rule in three ways, the Aegis, the Parma Magica, and Familiar bonding; so I don't feel so bad.)

Social Protection - It is the Opening of the Arts technique that provides the ability to ignore the social penalties for having the Gift in others and oneself (not, as it is currently the Parma Magica). The major change to this is that it means Apprentices are just as immune to the nature of the Gift as the full magi are themselves, with no worry or need to extend shields or teach the Parma Magica. And thus apprentices can work with magi other than themselves, other apprentices, and all other such things without having to worry about supposedly hating each other cause of the Gift.

I don't think this changes much since in canon most master's will extend their shield on to their apprentices. Masters still might provide part of the Parma to their apprentices, cause otherwise they have no greater levels of magic resistance yet (as they don't know the Parma Magica). This could potentially expand the number of apprentices magi take, or create schools and stuff, but really its easy to say such things weren't done or failed due to other reasons (including social and political).

I wouldn't mind hearing the thoughts of others on these, but really, I even more would like to hear what other sorts of modifications (both major and minor) you all have come up with to the system.

Thanks for reading and I hope you guys have some interest in a topic such as this. :slight_smile:

On Mystical Immunity THIS IS HUGE!!! It removes Warping from Longevity Ritual, dramatically increasing the lifespan of Magi. That said, I thought being aligned did remove 'high aura' from the list of Warping sources...

On Social Protection: I agree with your analysis for the most part. It should be noted that each tradition has their own 'Opening' ritual and therefore non-Hermetics cannot benefit from this. Personally, I'd say that it only ignores the penalty from Hermetic aligned Gifts.

Thanks on your thoughts. :slight_smile:

Mystical Immunity - Yeah, I recognize the fact its huge. But the thing is that the game already breaks it, in the ways that I mentioned. And yes you say, high aura is already something that the Gifted don't have to worry about (I added it for completeness sake to be honest) so the game already recognizes that one is connected with magic. My issue is that being in a place like say Hogwarts, with its various constant magical effects or even something like the Weasely Residence would cause Warping to the magi that live inside it. I don't like that. I think a mage should not have a problem with magical energy around them and stuff. And really the fact that the game already made allowances for the Aegis and the Parma and even familiars (for fun reasons mostly probably) shows to me that even they aren't so strict on it.)

As for longevity rituals, I don't mind it allowing them to live longer. Though botches and worries and stuff like that still limit how long one could potentially live.

Social Protection - Yep, which is why I think its a nifty way to go about it. And really it kind of already only effects those who have been opened using the Hermetic version since its not a double edged ability. In other words the Hermetic is immune to feeling the problem of another due to his defenses but said other wizard still feels 'bad' around the Hermetic cause he doesn't have a defense.

I just moved it to a different location and thus allow even apprentices to have the social immunity and thus it opens more stories than it closes, in my estimation.

Interesting suggestions.

I actually like the idea that wizards get warped by their magic, that they become twisted and lose their humanity and become beings of magic. So instead of offering immunity to Warping, I'd go the other way around: have Warping be incurred by the familiar bond and the Parma. I'd even suggest having magi accrue Warping virtues and flaws like any mundane in addition to Twilight; perhaps opening up the virtues and flaws from Realms of Power: Magic for such Warping-related virtues and flaws.

I'd also suggest retiring any character that reaches Warping 10. Currently, there is no limit to the amount of Warping one can accrue. I suggest a heavily-warped character should either find a way into a corresponding Realm, or somehow suffer a "Final-Twilight" like end upon reaching Warping 10.

If you do go with less Warping, the main effect would be that magic would arguably be much older. I think that's not a very good idea since magi are too old for the setting as-is - both because they live to see to much history, and because they have way too much time to grow in power. I don't like it when the NPCs go "Oh, the Schism War... yes, I remember, I was just starting to kick my Ignem to the 30s back then - you know, youngster's stuff, the basics - when...".

As for the social immunity thing - this I like. The idea that the Parma protects one from the social effects of the gift doesn't really work, and your suggestion does. I'd suggest that opening the Arts bestows the "Unaffected by the Gift" virtue, and would extend that Virtue to nearly all other Magical traditions and creatures. By aligning more strongly with the Magic Realm, you are no longer repelled by its manifestation.

Coincidentally, if we were to really take this theme seriously we would need to let Magical creatures essentially have the Gift (minus to social interactions with mundanes) as well; it doesn't really make sense that the Gifted suffer from this, but creatures do not. Similarly, we would need to change the flavor text of how a Magical aura feels - to mundanes, a high Magical aura should feel deceptive and wrong, untrustworthy, foreign and frightening. Because it doesn't make sense that the Gifted (and, in this house rule, Magical creatures) feel this way yet the aura itself has a totally different vibe. This is quite unlike what a Magical aura feels like in-setting! And is in fact much closer to how the Infernal feels. You can reason yourself this way into thinking all of Magic is an Infernal scheme and all magic is False; or into dropping the Infernal Realm altogether, uniting it with Magic and uniting tartarus and Hell.

So I guess what I'm saying is that the social effects of the Gift don't make a lot of sense :smiley:

More generally -

I love house rules :slight_smile: I made a huge list of them and put it on the wiki (with some input others kindly shared on this board): ... ouse_Rules

My favorite among them is probably the "Eternal Spirits" rule: some things, principally spirits of all sorts, cannot be destroyed. Thus you can't ever destroy a demon (although you can imprison it, or banish it to hell), or a titan (although you can imprison it in tartarus, or turn it to an island), or a ghost (although you can send it back to its afterlife), or so on.

My current House Rules can be found at The big one is "All spell guidelines (and levels) are multiplied by 2." :smiley:


Social Protection: Sure, why not?

Mystical Immunity: Utterly Broken. Not in the sense of "it's too powerful," but in the sense that AM5 design deliberately limits the ability of magi to stack lots of magical effects on themselves. This is not a coincidental feature, but obviously a fundamental design goal. With good reason. Of course you want to stack lots of magical effects. But unless you want a saga in which companions and grogs are even less important, it's a Bad Idea. If you do want that kind of saga, then great! Set a baseline of no Gift penalty, give everyone Mystical Immunity. Otherwise, I think it utterly disproportionate, and fundamentally broken.



Eh. Just put it into a familiar bond. You can stack them and keep em' on all day long, no problem.

I like it too. I never liked the idea that magicians without Parma (meaning outside the OOH) were unable by nature to get along. It feels like an afterthought thrown in to compensate for the fact that the defensive nature of Parma isn't as effective as it should be.

I've for a long time considered supernatural beings to be unaffected by the Gift. Many of them still react badly to wizards, recognizing them as the sort of manipulative bastards that one should stay away from. :smiley:

I very much agree with this.

I don't go for the Mystical Immunity suggestion though. If I were to minimize warping it would be the effect on inanimate objects and the environment in itself. The gradual effect on magi feels right.


Yes, this is the surprising exception to the general rule. Still, doing this costs vis and has a single point of failure. It also becomes impossible for a group of magi, each with different spells, to power each other up.



The reason I underlined a portion of your statement is that my understanding of the matter is that is untrue. Hogwarts & the Weasely Residence would suffer warping (because, as the targets of the effect, that happens) but the inhabitants aren't targeted, and therefore don't need to worry about it.
To try and show my reasoning; if you cast a (powerful) spell to a start a fire, the people warmed by that fire are not subject to warping. Same if you use magic to heat a stone castle in winter; the inhabitants get the benefit without the risk


lol In fact, it seems pretty clear that Hogwarts is heavily Warped. This is not a normal place. Its covenfolk, also not so normal.

Yes, a place may be warped. But the Gifted people inside it shouldn't be. And according to the rules being inside an area of intense magic cast by a high level ritual or spell counts for warping. With the exception of living in an aura or living within an Aegis. But being inside a ward or other magical sort of condition could in fact cause people to get warping. And by people I mean the Magi.

Honestly, it seems that most people kind of do a part of what I wanted already - they don't have Magi get Warping for living in places with high level of magic weaved into the structure or enchanted into objects or made into power systems and stuff. Which I think from reading the core book itself seems like it would cause warping.

I am fine with mundanes getting warping from being in an magical spell rich environment, I am fine with the building itself getting warping. But I am not fine with the idea that beings aligned with said Realm would have any limitation on having magic around or in or by their being. Hence why I did what I did.


Also, I would never play that a supernatural creature has any form of issue with the Gift (well maybe if said creature took a flaw that made them susceptible) but that dragon you are facing might be angry cause its a dragon, not cause he is in front of a bunch of Gifted characters.

I'm fine with the whole the Gift causes people to find the person bizarre, and I am even fine with the whole nature of even those with the Gift feel that tension with others, which is why previous magic groups were weak and divided. But from a player perspective, I have no interest in one mage not being able to get along with another mage cause their Gift makes each other feel wonky. This element already exists, its part of Parma Magica, all I did was move it to the Opening so that apprentices get it as well and so environments with multiple apprentices can still exist without each having the Parma automatically said to exist around them.

(Though, that gives me an idea, a modified Parma which the master 'casts' each day on his student which gives them a lesser form of Parma Magica; it will work till the apprentice becomes a mage and is taught the secrets of how to activate it themselves. hmmm)

It really depends on who is affected by or under the influence of the spell. Just because a spell, no matter how powerful, is cast in the "area" does not warp anybody. Best read ArM5 p.167f, especially what I have copied below.

The important thing is again, whether the "people" - magi or not - are affected by the ward "or other magical sort of condition". A being warded from something, also by T: Circle spells, is affected as it is targeted. Whether a being is warped by an aura depends on its alignment with that aura, and in particular the realm of its mystical abilities, if it has some.