Little Things I Miss From 4th

First off this is NOT a thread intended for complaining about ArM5 and what should or should not have been changed. I think that was probably done to death years ago.

Flipping through my ArM4 book I got a little nostalgic for some of the things that have been changed. It really struck me how much the game has changed.

Everyone knew Enigmatic Wisdom.

All the different values for Virtues and Flaws.

Intelligence the end all be all stat.

Concentration the end all be all skill.

The inability for a magus to step outside there covenant without violating the code somehow.

Weapon Stats for The Caber


5th edition has a problem with rules creep. Besides power there are A LOT of them. I might recall wrongly (probably do) but I do not remember the same rules creep there. There were other issues, of course, but not those ones.

I miss good ol' Davnalleus being more prominent.

IMS enigmatic wisdom was a thing for pot smokers and LSD eaters, not something for sane people so I do not recall that. Everybody could concentrate for sure, though!

I miss the Enigma being enigmatic.

And maybe it is me, but I had less the idea of my players being able to destroy the world if they felt like it on a boring Saturday morning, but that can easily be the fact that our 4th edition sagas did not progress as far as the 5th edition ones.


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I played a lot of 4th ed, with a saga lasting several real-world years and some 27 game-years. We saw a horrible power inflation with the Int+Concentration added to study quality. My maga had +3 Int, good Concentration and Book Learner and she surpassed the magi who had wanted a better spread of characteristics. We even had the house rule that a season whewre you do something like reading you roll a simple die for the ability used, if you roll more than the score you gain an exp. Lucky rolls gave my maga as a hard studier a lot of extra exp in Concentration.
Sure she had her weak points with other characteristics, but there was a feature of 4th ed Familiars where the magus and animal could exchange chacteristics, where one had better than the other. So she managed to trade with her fox to get good perception, quickness and dexterity and in turn gave it intelligence, strength, stamina and presence.

Yes as a long time 4th ed player I can get nostalgic as well, but tend to think 5th is better.

I liked the hyper-detail of books in WGRE. I tried to implement it for 5th (even more than Covenants does) but I always stop the nonsense. Sometimes I'm even nostalgic after the full-level advancement of d and 3rd ed. And the simplicity of libraries where only the Art or Ability is rated with stats, not eveyr single book. But we can't find a good way to do this.

While I think that 5th edition is far better than any previous edition, I do miss that ... uhm... sense of wonder that I got out of The Mysteries (the original, 4th edition book). But, mechanically, I like 5th edition better on virtually every point that's changed.

I miss vis being incredibly precious and valuable.

I miss not understanding the rules, even after the eighth time through, and so having to give up and just going with something which was fun, optimising be damned.

I miss being able to write Latin, but not speak it, or vice versa.

I miss the king having a Divine Might higher than most angels.

I miss how covenant virtues and flaws were separate, and rather than balancing them, you needed to take a set number of each in a manner approaching solving the Knapsack Problem.

I miss how arguing with people taught you more than going to lectures.

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From the 4th? I miss...





Oh, look, is that the time already?

From 2nd/3rd?
Magi not becomming all-powerful because a few years passed.
Abstracted books meaning I didn't need a list considerably longer than my arm to keep track of the books my character has read after a few years of play.
Changing the Nature of Vis - even though it was silly and unbalanced.
Criamon that were actually interesting and playable.
Arts not being based on XPs.
...A few details here and there

Tellus resumed my thoughts on previous editions as well.

From 4th, I forgot: The cover of the books. I prefered the vignetes in the portraits of the books in 4th. They were way more evocative to me than the current cartoonish/church glazed windowe look of the current books.



Good points. Although I've only actually played 4th ed of the early ones, I remember fondly starting out with reading 2nd ed in my early teens and was mesmerized with how different and almost revolutionary if you will it was compared to the RPGs that were hot and big back then. 3rd I've only recently read but the mechanics aren't that different from 2nd, it's just more dark and has demons in all shadows :wink:
Even 1st ed whcih I've also only recently acquired has something fun. It had a rule (made optional in the 2nd printing errata) that spells weren't always as efficient as you wanted. Advancement was per month not per season, and a spell invented had the intended level plus a simple die as final level. Each subsequent season spent perfecting allowed you to re-roll this to see if you could roll lower (you never came out worse than before). That made magic somewhat less streamlined and predictable. Although the oddities and drawbacks heavily outweigh the peculiarities IMHO.

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I miss:

weapon ranges (while fully understanding how it slowed combat down)

Libri Quaesitorum (spelling? Serfs Parma!). We had a load of these in my 4th ed saga, in particular a series called "The Theosiphus series", there was one for each art with a level set at 5 called Theosiphus talks at the Apprentice. Another series set for level 10 call Theosiphus talks with the Magi and another set at level 15 called Theosiphus listens politely to the Archmage. My players were quite gung ho in trying to collect the whole set.

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Actually, what I really the sense of wonder and excitement of a totally new and interesting concept of rpg, like I did when I first read my first ArM book - the 2nd ed core book back around '90.

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Ugh. I remember those. The munchkins in my party laid out a strict schedule for how we were to write those in order to maximise our learning and teaching potential. Any attempt to buck the out-of-character determined optimal path was greeted with hours of patiently re-explaining how it helped make the numbers largest.

On reflection, I don't actually miss 4th much. Or that party.

I miss permanent muto and Rego spells

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Why isn't Rego permanent now?
If I rego craft something it stays into what was created...

Permanent spells could be dispelled.You cannot dispel a boat made with rego magic since the magic is long gone.

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You can't dispel a Creo ritual either. :smiley:

Most of the old Permanent spells are now Instant rituals

This goes for creo spells, and some muto that now are creo, but far from all spells that could be made permanent in 4th.

I just remembered -- there is one rule from 4th edition that I sorely miss: the fact that nothing could be an Arcane Connection to more than one target.

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But does it make sense?

A (somewhat grizzly) example:
A finger is an AC to the person it grew on. I think we can all agree that this is reasonable enough?

Now, Alberto was initiated (not Initiated - purely socially, not mystically) into a small heretical sect.
Diabolists actually, if you want the details.
Now, as part of this, he had to cut one finger off a nun - then boil it in vnegar and dry it - he now wears in on a string around his neck always.
To him, it is a symbol of the pact between him and his master.
Would this "relic" then not reasonably be an AC to Alberto?

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I honestly don't believe an item can be an Arcane Connection to more than one thing at a time. Connections can change over time, as Tellus made an example. It isn't explicitly stated that an item can be an AC to only one thing, but it is stated:

To me that suggests that an AC may become a link to a different person/place/thing than it was originally, not that it can be a link to two things at once. There is no mention that it retains a link to the original person/place/thing.

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