New Players

May I suggest a stickied thread with advice and links for new players.

I've been playing ArsM for a number of years on and off and what I always find when introducing people to the game is "Oh dear that sounds too complicated". The RP aspect of Ars can be alot to take in so is there a decent beginners guide out there?
The best game I ever played was with a SG who gave out cheat sheets with a paragraph or two on what you know with your level of a particular knowledge. So right of the bat we had material we could use. Is there anyone out there who has this for Ars M and would like to share?

The reason I ask is I'm going to SG for the first time, and one of the players hasn't ever played and isn't great at systems, she can't read through my library (we all have small children so reading time is limited nowdays!) so I need a couple of A4 pages which I can say

  • This is what Ars M is about
  • These are the houses
  • These are some cool options
  • This is what each part of your character sheet is about
  • These are the rolls you're likely to have to make
  • DON'T PANIC (or perhaps that should be on the front?)

I'll apologise to all who say "Why didn't you just look in X or Y thread". I'm doing this on the queit,from work and so can't spend all day browsing...and partly that's the point of getting it stickied I guess :slight_smile:

Having a "Cheat Sheet" or an Ars Lite pdf sounds like a good idea.
My players work full-time (no kids or spouse) , but still dont/wont spend much time on reading rules.

Incomplete (my time is limited, as well). But a beginning. I hope someone better comes along and improves it:

What is a roleplaying game?
In a roleplaying game, a storyteller tells you a story – about life in the Middle Ages in this case. Unlike most stories, each you can steer the actions of a protagonist (or two) in the story, thereby shaping the outcome. Since you are not a medieval magician, your skills, values, age and gender can differ from the character you play. The character’s capabilities and possessions are written down in a character sheet – a piece of paper that says how good your character’s Latin skills are, how strong she is etc.
In critical situations (like when your character wants to slay a dragon), dice are usually rolled to see if he succeeds. The details of how to roll dice tend to be rather intricate – but your story guide can help you and the most important bits are explained in this text.

What is Ars Magica?
Ars Magica is a role-playing game set in Medieval Europe (year 1220). The difference to real medieval Europe is that medieval sorcerers, witches, fairies etc exist.
Since there is no real history of fantastic medieval magic, the game Ars Magica comes with a made-up background for the mystical elements of medieval Europe.
It is assumed that magi live together in covenants, centers of learning not unlike small monasteries. They surround themselves with servants, bodyguards (called grogs) and specialists (called companions). Since magi are academic creatures with little time for mundane worries, and because their magical talent – called the Gift – tends to scare normal people, those non-magical companions perform important roles as administrators and social contacts to normal medieval society.

What are the Houses of Hermes?
The game assumes that most magi are part of a union (or gild) that regulates behaviour among magi. This gild is called the Order of Hermes – and is based on 12 slightly different magical traditions, the so called Houses. Each house has slightly different interests:

House Bonisagus: This is a house whose research and diplomacy tries to strengthen the Order of Hermes.
House Guernicus: The Orders lawyers and judges.
House Mercere: The order’s messengers (some of which cannot use magic). Messengers are called redcaps.
House Tremere: An efficient military house – organized like a fascist state.
House Merinita: interested in fairies.
House Bjornaer: A house of shapeshifters.
House Criamon: A house of very strange mystic philosophers.
House Verditius: A house that is good at creating magical items.
House Flambeau: A house of knights and individual fighters
House Jerbiton: A house interested in art and mundane society.
House Tytalus: A house of devil’s advocates and pranksters.
House ex Miscellanea: A house of magi that perform strange and unclassifiable magics as are found with the wild wizards on the fringes of civilized European mage society.

How does magic work?
The game assumes that there are 10 nouns and 5 verbs that can be combined to describe almost anything you can imagine from throwing a lance of fire to conversing with trees.
They are given in Latin (because it sounds cooler), but here are the translations:

The nouns are (abbreviation given first):
An = Animal : deals with animals and animal products, like leather.
Aq = Aquam (water): deals with water, ice, and acid.
Au = Auram (air): deals with winds, air, gases, and lightning.
Co = Corpus: (body): deals with the human body
He = Herbam (herb): deals with plants and plant products, like a wooden door.
Ig = Ignem (fire): deals with fire, light, darkness, and cold
Im = Imaginem (perception): deals with illusions, and perception
Me = Mentem (mind): deals with the human mind, thoughts, emotions, and memories
Te = Terram (earth): deals with earth, stones, metals, and precious stones
Vi = Vim (magic): deals with magic

The verbs are:
Cr = Creo: I create (or improve, heal)
In = Intellego: I perceive
Mu = Muto: I change
Pe = Perdo: I destroy
Re = Rego: I rule (manipulate, control)

Sometimes, more than two words are needed – additional words are called requisites

Light your magus staff: Creo Ignem
See if someone is lying: Intellego Mentem
Causing a person to become impotent: Perdo Corpus
Fly: Rego Corpus
Change a person into a frog: Muto Corpus (Requisite: Animal)

Might I suggest you take a look at the "Welcome to Ars Magica" page over at Project: Redcap and consider editing it. It's a start but there is room for improvement. ... ars_magica

Thank you. Both good starts :slight_smile: