Hi everyone. Been a while.
I've managed to convince a bunch of friends to try some Ars Magica on. Most of them haven't even played a tabletop RPG before, and I've promised them a no-strings-attached first session.
I thought I'd provide characters and a setting and a task to solve, all of which would ideally be possible to bring to a conclusion within 5 hours or so.
Any tips? I though perhaps a team of grogs sent to do something for their covenant, maybe with a NPC guide (who may or may not be put out of business during). I just bought GotF, so it will probably be somewhere in Germany.
Do you have Faerie Stories? It's 4th Ed, but the story "The Short Way Home" is great for this kind of introduction. You can even use the grog templates in the 5th Ed book (and the Book of Mundane Beasts for the animals) to bring the characters up to date.
Even though it was designed for ArM4, Promises, promises looks like the perfect thing for you.
A good intro into ars magica could just be a short simple journey from their covenant to another for the tribunal meeting. Just run them through the basic concepts to let them wrap their heads around the game concepts and mechanics.
Letting them interact with travellers on the road, finding accomodation and the consequences of any attempt to perform magic. Having to deal with the effects of the gift, learning about discretion in the face of mortal authorities due to the Code can be hard for players who are more used to fireballing things on sight.
Add in some other aura's like a church which they pass on the way to demonstrate auras and harassment from a minor sprite on the edge of a faerie wood to demonstrate the protective effect of might.
Thanks guys. I've decided that I'm going to do this first session with grogs only, on some errand for their masters, remembering that the majority of the players have never played an RPG before and would probably be overwhelmed by magical rules. I'll probably give them a couple of simple magical tools though.
Recently I ran a "companion-only" story inspired by the lyrics of summer wine by Lee Hazlewood/Nancy Sinatra.
The troupe arrives in a small village on the eve of a celebration. One Character is seperated from the others while drinking a "summer wine".
He finally falls asleep
Next morning the entire village is gone and said characters really does have a head twice its size (literally!!! )
The resources given to the grogs (magic item=silver spurs, silver= dollar and a dime) are gone.
This leaves two options to them:
1.) Returning to their masters and tell them about their failiure.
2.) Seek out the fay that did all this by glamour to get a hold on the items.
The second one will result in some things to be done for the fay ranging from a contest to relocating a small church, what ever you think appropriate.
You could also give one of the more experienced players an apprentice who can do a few simple spells. But if this is the first time he plays Ars make sure that apprentice cannot cast spontanious magic. Otherwise it will get too complicated.