Marriage and Ars Magica

Hi folks,

I've been reading the forums here for a while now but have never posted. I'm pretty impressed by the answers given and the seriousness of topic disscussion.

Anyway the mage I rolled up is a Jerbiton w/ Gentle Gift and I have 3 children plus a wife. I was wondering what if anything you folks have done in your own games regarding marriage and magi children. I'm talking specifically non-gifted children.

In these times marraige is a huge deal for cementing relationships and bonds. But all I've found so far is that they are potential grogs/companions.

Can I marry my daughter to a impoverished knight?
Or my son to a merchant princes daughter?
My GM has said that he sees magi as an emerging middle class not unlike the merchant class.
It's not like the Order is a is to some extent but people know about it and no one dissapears because of it. And magi wear thier robes about marking them in public.
Is a magi marrying a mundane a breach of the code? I don't think so, but isn't it a contract with a mundane?

I look forward to the discussion.


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It depends on the kind of game you're in, doesn't it?

In some games, you got 3 points worth of Flaw out of the wife and kids, and that's all there is to it.

In others, they are story excuses. You know, the faeries stole your daughter, your son got into a fight with someone important, your demonic master needs an appropriate sacrifice, and so on.

In others they are resource.

And in still other games, they are characters in their own right, with motivations and all that. So yeah, they'll marry and if your magus is a person rather than a character, he'll want to get that right, with all the entanglements that implies.

I like the thrust of your questions, and the saga that supports them. The answers you get here to particulars will matter less than what you work out with your SG.



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The knight could possibly try to influence the character by threatening the daughter. The character will be in a sticky situation then.

My understanding is that marriage is an exchange of property under the law so a magi wouldn't be breaking the code any more then if he gave the knight a horse.

The character may want to use that argument to disassociate himself in the eyes of his soldales.

Other people may argue that his children are of his blood and thus an extention of him.

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As far as my children are concerned I did take the Close Family Ties flaw...but I hadn't really thought about it pertaining to them as opposed to my family I left behind mom/dad who happen to be lesser nobles in York.

I guess it seems to me and my SG as well that the game rings hollow when all your mundane children become the warriors and the bookbinders and marry the bakers and the turb captains.

If my daugther in the above example marries the impovershed knight and my covenant is wealthy I can provide a handsome dowry and perhaps giving me/the convenant more imfluence w/o actually breaking any rules?

Or my son marries the merchant princes daughter and then has a hand in the business...not for thieving but again influence sake...

Now I can see many problems that could arise as well...the biggest being mundanes that think that once they've married the magi's kid now has a pet magi. But that's really the fun of the game isn't it?

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Probably yes.
Depending on how magi is seen in status your dealings may be easier or harder though.

Even if they´re known as "just" scholars they will probably be closer to lowend nobility rather than any "middle class".
And if their magic is known then they will almost certainly be treated like lesser nobility(like nobles without any personal wealth or power, very suitably close to that impoverished knight of your example).

Well, thats a bit tricky, but a marriage contract would be with the son or daughter, not with the magi except if there is something between the parents of the couple as well...
But a contract by itself is no breach, its if the contract includes something that isnt permitted(which a normal marriage contract probably wont have), then its a breach.
Of course, even that might be "acceptable" if its kept secret, and if it ever becomes NOT secret, you have a magi in for plenty of trouble.

Certainly yes. But everytime you try to make use of that influence, be VERY careful because that IS treading on the edge of breaching the orders rules.

Absolutely! 8)

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I'll put in a vote of agreement with Direwolf and Ovara - if it makes your game more fun, then definitely go for it.

In my own saga I have an Ex Misc. maga whose tradition is a family claiming descent from a dragon sometime in the mythic past, which produces a magus every generation or two. It's effectively a mystery cult with a very specific entry requirement. In order to perpetuate itself, the family requires its magi to produce at least one child before they'll be taught the highest mysteries. The maga in question is getting more and more unwanted attention from family members wondering why she hasn't provided an heir yet.

Another magus (with the Gentle Gift) is serving as court wizard to a local faerie prince, and looks likely to marry the prince's (mortal, adopted) daughter. Since this girl has probably lived with the faeries since the Scotii kicked the Picts/Britons out of Galloway, I expect some stories about her coming to terms with ageing, people changing around her and so on.

A companion character is fleeing an arranged marriage across the Irish sea, but that's probably not what you're after.

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hey, in one of my Saga's, my companion character is a noble woman. She is sister to a count (another player's pc and owner of land next to covenant and through with all supplies reach covenant) and about to marry another count (Npc). She has arranged for her brother to be marrying the daughter of a duke and there is a whole lively mundane politics element going with the companions that the mages keep getting pulled into directly or indirectly.

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In an old game of mine, my Jerbition magus married the sister of a local Jarl (we were in Denmark). She annoyed me, so I made extensive use of Mentem magic to pacify her and get her out of my hair.

Suffice to say, in the long run we became estranged and divorced (perfectly okay according to the Danish law of the time).


In a version of Mythic Europe that at all resembles historical Europe, I think this sort of thing (children of magi marrying mundanes) would happen all the time. After all, a lot of magi would have kids -- let's face it, until the past few decades in RL everyone who wanted to start a family would do it well before that age.

I think the legal precedents and traditions of the Order would be perfectly prepared to deal with magi's kids getting married. And speaking now in meta-game terms, the most interesting policy is "it's fine, AS LONG AS you do not use those new family ties to mundanes to meddle in politics." Which may be easy or totally impossible depending on whose definition of "meddle" applies. :slight_smile:

In such way stories are motivated...

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I do think that the non-gifted children of Magi present an interesting problem. Consider the issue of social class and the fact that for most ME inhabitants, the possibilities for class mobility are near nill. The 'class' of Magi at a covenant pretty much in line with 'noble' (although there are differing details of course). So you have a child of a 'noble' who can't ever be 'noble' in the same way. Knowing how inheritance and class are so interwoven in the broader society, the basic societal 'instincts' about class and inheritance are very much muddied in the case of Magi.

As far as who they could marry... the story must rule. That being said, I imagine that as 'wild cards' of the social system, the possibilities would abound. The notion that they would be married off to others at the covenant doesn't detract in my opinion. Social stories from 'within' the covenant can be very meaningful to protagonists indeed. In my view the marriage is a significant enough of a life event for any PC that the SG should find ways to make it an interesting story. I also think that it's probably much more likely for the children of magi to marry within a covenant in general. Since inheritance and class are a bit muddied they are more likely to marry for love and this is more likely to happen within the social circles within a covenant and it's immediate environs.

Of course,... there is the practice of developing ties among more distant nobles by marrying their children together. Perhaps there is a matchmaker Jerbiton or Merinita out there that arranges matches between covenants. It could be that the size of the population of non-gifted magi might be small enough to make this impractical. Also, given that the population within the order varies wildly by age, the population of 'magi' who have non-gifted children would vary wildly in terms of how long ago they had their children and how old they are now. "Marriageable age" for a woman in ME is quite a narrow window measured against their parent.

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Thumper that is an awesome concept!! The match-maker Jerbiton! I might just pillage that for my own character.

I've designed myself to be a VERY social Jerbiton that plans to have my fingers in the tribunal/Order politics. And your idea might fit perfectly as a little side project while I travel to various covenants.

I have thought that even a magi's ungifted children has thier blood and perhaps a child or grandchild might be gifted in the future. Even if this were not true it might be believed by some magi anyway. (Nothing I've read suggests this besides the Mercere line strongly urging them to have as many children as they can before they take their longevity potion, and even that might only suggest that they themselves have a chance to have gifted children.)

That's a great thought!


In my game, relatives of magi (including spouses and children) are prime sources of coven folk. I’ve found it discourages them from using their guards like they’re disposable if they’re the son/nephew/grand-whatever of a fellow magi. Also it seems to solve the ‘where do you get coven folk/skilled craftsmen’ problem, you breed them. It's also made it easier to get apprentices without trauma or guilt, just take the family (or more often key members) along.


I'm not sure why I didn't respond to this earlier (maybe I missed it somehow) but this is the sort of thing I'm thinking I want my covenant to get involved in...

My magi wants the Order and mundane society to mesh.
We'll see if we all get marched fori t!

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Get ALMOST marched instead, much more fun in the long run probably. :wink:

heheh I said it seems like such a huge waste of resources to just have yer kid marry the butchers daughter and learn to guard magi. Now here and there it would be a huge bonus, but every child? Seems like such a waste.

You might find some inspiration in the (probably incomplete) descendance of Cortolis Ex Miscellanea, formerly of Jerbiton: ... s&lang=eng .

Gifted children of Cortolis became his apprentice, including the infamous Conquérant, who turned out to be influenced by the devil. For the ungifted, one particularly strong daughter became his shield grog (family loyalty at its peek!). The one he had with his familiar probably counts as a companion. It was great fun storyguiding these stories. 8)

Well, we will likely see some issues on this in our saga as our Criamon maga is intending to have children. Of course there is now a Duke and a Countess both promising to find her a good husband (while she just want to have child with another magus for better chance of gifted kid).

Mundane interference has a different meaning in our saga. The Mages are trying to avoid it like the plague and the mundanes are interfering with them. Yesterday's session had the Fertility maga that has been earning a reputation as a mundane midwife (the one that nobles should use) and was closely befriended by the noble companion, put on the spot by the nobles promising to find her a good spouse and she not having a single way to really decline the honor.

In Ad Fons, Wirth, who is married, just had a child (well, technically, it happened 4 years ago), so I guess we'll see, if the game goes on long enough.
Mundane or not, however, he'll love his child equally :smiley:

In one of the games I am playing in two of the magi have had children and are trying to combine the life of the nobility with being a mage, one of the companions has had 8 children over the last 18 years. some of which are gifted and being trained up as magi the rest are being groomed to take places in the covenant .

One of the other magi has ambitions to father about 50 children preferably with other magi as part of a craxy scheme to investigate inheritance of the gift . (Or some other crazy scheme it is hard to tell )

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I've been really excited to play Ars Magica for quite some time and the people that are attracted to the game (and post here) excited me further.

Anyway I brought up the point (in referance to the possiblility above) of the gift being passed on to another playe rin my story, and he had been thinking on this himself. He stated that most probably there is a secret (or not) society of magi that are tracking magi and thier children and the geaneology of all of them as much as they can in order to track all of that data!

I had to agree that it was likely given the way things are now...
That by itself is a neat concept.

Say my jerbiton starts to pose marriage proposals not only for his kids but day some one shows up and ----is mad because of the meddling in the lines...or offers membership in the secret order or...offers data on unknown magi children...maybe dead magi and their mundane lines but says no more other than "I thought you might find these lineages useful"

Great side story stuff!!!

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