Keeping you in Mythic Europe when you are not playi

I was recently listening to an interview with Mike Mearls, and he made this point:

Back when he was young, when he was bored, he'd think about his campaign, or write up characters, or whatever. Now, when he's bored, he just games on his phone. Therefore, the D&D plan is to have phone-accessible stuff you can do in their worlds when you are not actually playing. That's how their brand is going to work now: the game is the centre, and there's a heap of peripheral material which means that if you just have a bit of time, you can grab it and stay in their "world", even when you are not playing.

So, let's think about the Ars-sphere, and if it can do something like this, or even if something like this is desirable.

So, the spines of the Ars-sphere are basically this forum and In terms of new content...there's SR, the podcast, and a few blogs, and the annual project...and...?

What else do we have? What else would we -like-? I mean, as a fandom, are we wanting more fanfic, or more comic books, or more Youtubers, or more podcasts, or more blogs, or...what?

You mean to suggest that I should leave Mythic Europe for extended periodes of time?
But... WHY?

I think that Ars Magica is not a game that lends itself to phone-gaming easily, because the rulles are incredibly complex and you can't really do stuff without your books.

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I don't know about that. I find the rules far simpler and more consistent than rules for D&D, GURPS, etc. Sure, I don't remember the various bases for spells, but the rest isn't so tough. And with this forum and RPoL, I can access games via my smartphone. I think it lends itself better to the phone than do many others, especially with the wealth of information about 1200 or so available through google and other search engines.

See, Mike isn't actually playing D&D on his phone: he's playing some flappy bird type game.

His point is that when you are not playing, you should have entertainment options in their setting material, because their competitors are not other RPGs, they are pretty much everything on your portable entertainment device. Therefore, you';ll be getting D&D fiction / podcasts / comics / whatever, so that even when you are not playing, you are still involved in their sphere.

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So, what he is suggesting is that the guys at Atlas games make

little movies like
"Pralix examines Tytalus' rod" and "Mistress Daria, rego expert"


ringtones featuring
Gregorian chants

little games like
"Vis collecting"

and I suggest we call the social network

Gosh, I'm getting old! 8)

This is very true. One of my friends for a long time hated MtG because he felt like it was ruining RPGs. Not everyone was there so people would pull out decks, and then they wouldn't just stop when everyone arrived. Before that things would probably stay more focused on the RPG about to be played and on commenting on how late some people always are. So realizing that it is about competition for attention and time, not just within a product, is an important realization.

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... why does this remind me of a pub-conversation I wasn't ever there for, at the end of/after the last GTUK?

Oh yes, I remember that loathesome game and those years where it rampaged.
Your friend has my sympathies.

Imagine a mobile game where you made a covenant, recruited magi, built your library, collected vis, expanded your buildings and covenfolk, and had random events like "brought up on charges by a Quaesitor!" or "covenant infiltrated by a demon!" Every round would be one season.

Now imagine that game with multiplayer support, so you could borrow books from other players' libraries, form alliances, spy, and cast votes at Tribunals.

There would be little to no spell casting in such a game. It would be the "resource management and advancement" side of Ars Magica.

I'd play it.


I think there needs to somehow be a pretty central idea of spell casting. There's not much point building a library or collecting vis, or recruiting magi, if you are not casting spells?

Many people play online games solely for the simulation. They want to build their village, raise animals on the farm, bake their pies, whatever. It is about unlocking badges, exploring the map, and customizing your game field in a way that is aesthetically pleasing (and can be shown to others). As players, they never "do" anything except manage resources.

Many players of Ars find pleasure in advancing characters from year to hear, simply to see what the character and covenant will look like in year 12XX, to see how long it takes to build that Talisman or bind that familiar.

And, in fact, good game design would incorporate spells. When one of your magi learns "Conjuring the Wizard's Tower," this unlocks a new building which you can place on your map (if you have the vis!). Spells to secure your library and books, make your fields more fruitful, would work in a similar fashion.

Obviously designing such a mobile game would not be cheap or easy. It's more complex than Angry Birds, certainly. But it would feel like Ars Magica, at least in some sense.


This was what I meant. In this sort of game, you still need spells to do something; even if you aren't "casting them" using the traditional game mechanics.


Imagine a mobile game in which you begin play as a newly-Gauntleted magus in the Order with low scores in a few Arts. You engage in magical duels both PvP and PvE. As you win or lose, you gain more or fewer XP with which to raise your Arts, placing you in increasingly difficult brackets and allowing you to face new opponents. Acquire special abilities based on your House. Anticipate the strategy of your enemies based on THEIR House. The animations and graphics of the battle varies depending on which Art you choose, creating an incentive to learn and use all the Arts so that you can see all the cool animations. Acquire "Finishing moves" -- the single spell you cast on your enemy at the end of a successful duel, purely for bragging rights and to humiliate them in entertaining ways.

At last, Certamen has a use in the game, everyone can do it, and everyone has fun.

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I'd also like to discuss ideas which are less elaborate than a mobile game. We aren't likely to see another Black Chicken thing any time soon, and I'd like to focus us on things we might do as fans, not on "If only a millionare..." sorts of ideas.

Doesn't Coursera have a course on game programming? I looked at it, but as my current computer uses Windows 8 I didn't think I could run the software. - session currently running, hopefully again next year.

So yeah, "Indie game" is at the extreme edge of what's achievable.
More likely - Fan fiction - Timothy's memoirs of an extremely unreliable redcap are highly entertaining, I'm sure between us there's enough people who love writing who could make a good go of keeping people entertained with stories set in mythic europe.

Solo adventures - the old staple of 80s roleplaying, I've read a ton over the years - from classic FIghting Fantasy, the comical GrailQuest, reading two serialised ones in White Dwarf, bought the Tunnels & Trolls anniversary set. I may actually write a small sample one for November (I need an ambitious project for my annual November "start something big and fail 25% of the way through").

Activities around the side - CJ keeps proposing these as filler events for Grand Tribunal that keep not getting run, such as the Flying Ship contest (spend thirty minutes designing a mighty verditius object and then compare your designs with each other. Design things can result in ludicrous minimaxing, like with Trillion Credit Squadron in Traveller.

Another one CJ proposed was the redcap challenge - everyone designs a redcap. People would write a scene for a redcap to encounter. At the convention, the idea was you pick a table with a storyteller at, play through the scene (with a strict time limit) and see if you succeed (or survive). If you succeed at three different people's scenes, you are a worthy redcap. The aim was to fill time and let people try their hand at writing one little scene, so you didn't need to write a big scenario. This could be adapted so you have something to play if people haven't turned up on time - let someone play a grog event, or a redcap delivery, or a task for a mystery cult, so the first player to arrive gets a different gaming experience while the group turns up and gets ready.

Honestly when I'm not playing Ars Magica, most of my thoughts are devoted to coming up with story ideas or novel uses of the magic system (or occasionally, alternate magic systems). These are all fun activities, but not really anything you can share easily...

This was suggested before.
As things are currently, I think it goes like this:
Certamen against NPCs: should be easy enough to set up, probably as a php-thing accessed via browser, from a phone or just about anything else.
CErtamen against PCs: A bit more like this. Certainly doable, but I wouldn't even know how to phrase my querries atm.

Maybe you are guilty of scrying?
Or maybe an attendant of this particular gathering of Cheltemham locals plus Scandinavian envoys has a big mouth?
The movie titles mentioned above was the sort of thing CJ started making up when someone claimed he could never come up with themes and titles for 100 Ars publishments..."Debbie does Durenmar"...and so on.

Anyway, back on topic: In the absence of actually playing, thinking about characters and plitlines, writing things for personal use or for fanzines is an acceptabel substitute for me. For a time.
I doubt any online games or phone apps would fill any voids for me, not for long anyway. Those sorts of games quickly become too linear and repetetive for me. That's why I rpg to begin with (wait, is 'rpg' even a verb?).

But now imagine that it is a F2P and if you want to do more than an action/unit time you have to pay 15 Crystals. Your covenant generates just enough crystals to do an action a day, but you can not only buy crystals for extra actions, but also convert crystals to either mythic pounds or vis. And of course crystals get cheaper if you buy 99 at once vs 43...

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... I think that's how you start building infernal regiones ...