Line Quality

If your knowledge of the published rules is all sixteen years and three companies out of date, it might be a good idea to refrain from making insulting generalisations on the current publisher's forum.

Pax Dei is not one of the highlights of the line's history, though, I'll grant you that. Realms of Power: the Divine is much better. :smiley:

It's not 16 yrs out of date. True, I haven't read the 5th ed rules--I've made that no secret. I didn't like the 4th ed rules with the one shining example of the Combat section (again, I've been upfront about that too) and if you can't take some criticism then you're in the wrong business. As for insulting generalizations I have already apologized for it (you quoted my apology, David) but maybe I should be more specific. I did not mean to specifically accuse any person or persons of sacrificing creativity and quality for sales figures, in fact I intended it to be a generalization. And my opinion. I had hoped Atlas Games would appreciate opinions from ArM players, not only the ones who follow every new publication as if the whole rich history of the game didn't exist.

I don't know any of the developers personally, or anybody's roleplaying history, but this quote from the Introduction to the 3rd ed (p. 25) sums up what this game is all about to me, and a few other players I know:

Sorry to offend you.

So, who did you accuse? Generic People at Atlas Games? Generic Authors working on Ars Books? Without even having read their work? I'm sorry, but this is a little too easy. It's like if I said "Americans and Frenchs are all dumbasses. But don't any people feel offended, I'm just talling about generic people". When you say things like that, you're bound to offend someone, and saying "it was a generalisation" is just an easy way out IMO.

BTW, for your opinion and criticism to be taken into account and considerated, they'd have to repose on something more solid than "I think books I never read are mostly full of useless banter". This sole fact disqualifies anything you might say on current books, be it praises or bashing.

Hmmm, I'm trying to be diplomatic here, but you and this David Chart are starting to piss me off just a bit. I have noted several times that I have read the 4th edition, and I have not criticized any aspect of the 5th edition because I haven't read it! As for my comments on the supplements I criticized the ones I read, and no others. Do you want a complete list and my review of each one, so we can lay blame on the appropriate party? People make generalizations, it's not an "easy way out". Like I said, if it offended anyone I already apologized. I've been attempting diplomacy, but apparently it's falling on deaf ears. I'm not going to say I think all the supplements were awesome, every single one, when I think the majority of the ones I've read SUCK A$$.

You did say that the last supplement you read was one published 16 years ago, so it was an easy mistake to make. If the most recent thing you read was the 4th ed rules, then you're only thirteen years out of date.

I'm not offended. However, I think that virtually all of the Fifth Edition authors read this forum, and an accusation of sacrificing quality for quantity applies to them, too. Hence my advice to be a bit more careful about how you put things. If you're making a generalisation about White Wolf supplements, say so. Personally, I think A Winter's Tale is utterly dreadful, in historical research, plotting, and basic concept, so it's not like I'm wedded to the idea that all ArM books ever are great.

As The Fixer said, someone has to have done it. And as long as you give the impression that your criticisms apply to current books, all the candidates are reading them. On this forum, you are saying this to the faces of the people involved. It's impolite. The Fixer's analogy is a good one.

Why do I need to do it in public rather than by PM? So that the authors know I'm standing up for them.

The opinion that a lot of the supplements published by a different company more than ten years ago sucked? Well, I certainly don't have a major problem with it, but it's not something I can do anything about. Since I've already spent the last eight years trying to produce better books than WW did, it's simply not useful.

What would be useful is telling us how we could get you to try ArM5. And then, your opinions on ArM5 books would be interesting.


I'd like to speak up for AM5.

It's far from perfect. I believe that its rules are beginning to show the strain of this many supplements.

But there have been a lot of supplements! The amount of work that has been put into this game and its scope simply takes my breath away. Most important, there has been a consistency of vision beginning with the rules and continuing through the supplements.

"Art and Academe" may be the pinnacle of the well-researched rpg supplement.

Should you like everything? No. I certainly do not. But this isn't the place for me to call out particular rules and game elements that I don't like, or even the ones that I do. AM is not for everyone, but if it is at all for you, this edition deserves your attention. AM4 was a mess, in my judgment. AM5 is different and better.

This is the best and most consistent version of Ars Magica yet.



Thanks, Ken.

(By the way, I split this bit into its own thread, because it was nothing to do with the true mind question.)

Please take a look at the fifth edition. It is, as has been said, the most consistent edition of the game. Everything hangs together far far better than any previous editions that I've played (I've done 'em all except first edition... many times).

And I've been fortunate enough to have seen behind the curtain, and even stitched a few things into it in my own small way, and I'm constantly envious of the talent working on the line, intimidated by the amount of thought, creativity, and research that goes into each release, and hugely grateful for a chance to be involved. It's been a steep learning curve but I'm humbled by the generosity of the other authors on the line.

That's not a get-out-of-jail-free card though; you don't get an easy ride just because you're a thoroughly bloody nice bloke (as the authors all are). I think it's entirely valid to voice your opinions on whatever's been published. Be as honest as you like. But the most demoralising thing to read is casual disregard bordering on contempt. Criticism that points to flaws, or asks searching questions is good. It's positive because it hopefully helps someone grow. But you can keep the other stuff.

Okay, I understand your comments are pitched to those old releases and not the current line of books, but I did have to read it twice to see whether it was directed at my hard-working friends or not. But please do go and invest in a few fifth edition books. Or borrow them from your local library. If nothing else, they're a cracking read and they'll inform you on the current high quality of the line.


OK, how do I report the line developer for posting an inappropriate person attack on a forum? I mean is this necessary? Yes, apparently Bash needs to learn, as I did, that any criticism of the line will be immediately met by harsh retribution by the many people here who feel strongly that whatever is published must be pure gold. There is, however, no cause for the line developer to make a entire separate public thread decrying someone for daring -rightly or wrongly - to voice a negative opinion. As for defending the authors... the authors need to toughen up. Some people are going to say your work sucks... and they may say it even if they haven't read your work. Worse, they may actually read your work and then say it sucks. Get over it. If you disagree with a post, disagree with it in the thread it was posted. If you feel a post is inappropriate, report it to the moderators.

For the record, I think some of the current line's supplements are pure gold... and I'm going to single out Arts and Academy here for high praise. I also think others are not to my taste (the Houses of Hermes and Realms of Power lines being examples). That's my opinion and I have a right to have it. You have a right to disagree and we discuss that disagreement at length. Hopefully we can do that with mutual courtesy and respect. If we can't... that's what moderators are for.

Bash, the problem wasnt critique, the problem is that you´re criticising something the current publishers has nothing to do with as if they did...

Indeed it is. And i´ve played 2nd, 3rd and 4th as well even if vastly differently in degree.

I think that the discussion here is not around whether ArM5 products can be criticised or not but about someone accusing editors and authors of prioritising sales volumes above product’s quality. Especially, when you are doing it based on products (and company decisions) in which those persons did not participate.

The decision of moving this subject out of the previous one also seems perfectly reasonable for me as this is a whole different discussion than the True Mind one.

Just as a side note, I also disagree with your statement:

I have never felt constrained to comment on what I dislike from the ArM5 books and, in all cases, I have seen that the authors and editors are very keen to any feedback provided, even when it is not positive.

This is wrong, at least to me.

The problem, at least to me, wasn't with him saying he didn't like some point of the rules or some supplements. There are enough people here who don't like something (wards anyone? Tremere?) here and there, and occasionnaly tell it without much problems). What I found shocking is that his attack, while virulent, was completely out of place and based on know knowledge whatsoever of current Ars Magica.

Just imagine you've worked on an Ars book, devoting a lot of time for little monetary gain, and this guy comes, tell you your work and that of your fellow authors is mostly useless banter designed to make money, only to confess later he's never read what you wrote. Wouldn't you find this shocking?
IMO, he has perfectly the right to hate, say, 5th edition Parma, or 5th edition Flambeau, 5th edition Wards or 5th edition mysteries... But he need to read them first.

Of course, maybe Bash didn't really knew that Ars had gone through a lot of changes since Atlas took the reins, and that nothing had really being accomplished since then, but then, he was very clumsy in his approach.

So, bash, here's my advice: Take a look at 5th ed, with its good and bad points. And then, come, and tell "I've hated that because ~ and think ~is better because ~", not unlike your current discussion on Parma. Not only should things go a little better, but this will provide interesting discussion, and give to the authors and line editor useful info and food for thought :wink:

I'd like to speak up in agreement with most of what Ovarwa said. The consistency and quality of ArM5 has impressed me. I'd also like to add two positive notes:

  1. There seems to be a goal of completeness. For example, every house was given its due. Another example: we have realm books for all four realms. I hope we keep going with the tribunals.
  2. I feel there has been a remarkable lack of rules bloat considering the number of supplements. For example, the book rules don't make many changes from the core book rules, but they give reasons for the core rules and a tiny bit of extra stuff. Sure, more stuff has been introduced, but I have felt that supplements have been more about flavor and working with the original rules and about adding to the original rules. I'm sure it helped that mysteries were in the original plans.


Frankly, no, I don't really see why I should toughen up, if the point of it is to allow clowns who have, from your example, not read my work, come into a forum which I frequent and tell me, effectively, to stop writing.

The Atlas forums exists to support their games. Telling the authors how much they suck may seem, to you, like the right of every poster on the internet, but actually it's no more your right to do this than to stand in the foyer of my library shouting at me that I suck.

This is not a public space. This is a private forum run by Atlas Games as part of their commercial interest, and you agreed when you signed the terms and conditions of use to be polite to the other users. If they are being offended by you, it's not their fault, and demands that they should let you, or anyone else, act against Atlas's commerical interest in Atlas's own place of business on the web are misguided.

Wow, what a mess.

Frankly - I think the ArM5 line is generally superb, the 4e line was generally so-so, and the 3e and earlier line I'm not really familiar with. But I'd like to be generous and assume that poor quality got in, when it did, because of poor judgment and ill-fated editorial practices and decisions, not because of a need to "pad" books. I don't attribute to malice what can be attributed to simple incompetence.

Interestingly, I see Art & Academe got high-praise here, whereas I see it as one of the most boring books in the line - well-made, perhaps, but so totally not what I'm looking for in an ArM game. In contrast, I'm just reading Faerie, and it has some brilliant ideas there. Just goes to show - you can't please everyone.


Let's not forget that the first post of this thread is an apology. Continuing this conversation in a manner that focuses on Bash really does make me uneasy, I don't personally see what else needs to be said.

Lucius, can you point me to some of the posts that you feel demonstrate harsh retribution for any criticism? (especially if they're mine)

No, because in my case it was quite a while ago. The new edition had just come out. I came on here, posted a few negative comments about things I didn't like and got shut down hard . I left these forums, put my rulebook on the shelf and stopped even looking at Ars Magica products for more than a year. After a while, my desire to try the new edition overwhelmed my dislike of certain parts of it and I started a 5th ed saga... which lead me back to the forums to ask some questions that came up in the saga. I have done my level best not to give voice to the things I dislike about 5th ed ever since. Generally I consider this forum to be an hostile environment to be dealt with only when absolutely necessary. I'm only posting now because I've obviously got a masochistic streak. :smiley:

People are going to say, sometimes to your face, that your work sucks. If they haven't read it, they don't know what they're talking about but they're still going to say it. If you let it bother you, you give them power. If you let is wash over you like the bad air that it is and get on with doing good work, no matter what some idiot on the 'net says, then you've got the power. So, yeah, I say toughen up, don't let the jerks get you down and do your best.

I don't disagree. That's why there are moderators. If you find a post offensive, inappropriate or in violation of the terms and conditions of use, you report it. For the company's line developer to start a thread going off on a poster for an inappropriate comment instead of dealing with it though the moderation system is, IMO, inappropriate and unprofessional.

When people behave inappropriately or immaturely, I tend not to respond and simply add them to my ignore list. I don't have the time or desire to engage in conversations with someone who is not polite or acts like a fool. Bash can go on my ignore list with Direwolf and Abe.

Having a well populated Ignore list myself, I think it's a wonderful feature of these forums. I do find, however, that sometimes the people I'm ignoring have some good ideas that I miss if I don't occasionally look at their posts anyway.

By suppressing comments you don't like sometimes you miss out on new perspectives that might spur positive change. :bulb: