New to ArM5 looking for suggestions for short game

I am tired of playing the same stuff with dnd and was looking for something a bit more open. I think I have found it in Arm5. I have bought the book and am still making my way threw it. I have talk the group into trying out ArM5 for at lest 4 sessions. I was thinking one session would be coven and character building. Then three sessions with about 3 hours of play each. I am looking for suggestions on good ways to show off this system in that time.
A quick question I had was what keeps a maga from casting a muto corpus on the companions to in cress there physical stats to the max?

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First it would be Creo Corpus, not Muto Corpus. But the answer to your question would be Warping. Also the extremely high level and Vis cost if the spells are cast as rituals.

That is not to say that people do not do it. On the contrary people often do it every chance they can get. But the warping points from non-ritual casting it makes it detrimental to the long term of the character and the requirement to have both fairly high Arts and a load of Vis means it is a specialized and expensive process for the ritual versions.

Short duration low level spells that provide a boost are safe (as long as the person has the majority of their time unaffected by them per season/year) but then you need to take the time to cast them. That is not something that is always possible before they are needed.

If you are looking at 12 hours, I wouldn't use that time with covenant building. Covenants are very much about the long term. If you are going to have the troupe style with grog/magi/companion for all the players, that will be a big time sink already. I'd suggest you build the covenant before the first session.

In a group I am in, some people decided their grog is one of the templates in a book, as we'd spent enough time building characters as it is.

Give a chance to showcase the difference between DnD and Ars Majica*. Have a bunch of brigands, whatever, and the magi just puts them all to sleep, or has all the nearby vines and leaves entangle all of them, or whatever. Make sure you have the brigands attack a magi with some crowd control. :slight_smile:

  • caveat - I am not saying Arm5 is better than DnD, or worse. They offer different experiences.

Character creation

Print off or write up the characters from the core rule book first. Character creation in this game is seriously fiddly and super time consuming. Get some buy in first, I've personally met a guy whose group gave up on Ars after trying to make the standard 5 characters per player.

If you do, only make a Magus, or a Companion per player. Use the grogs from the core rulebook. Don't even bother trying to balance the flaws unless someone actually wants to. They need 1 personality flaw, one story flaw, and magi need 1 hermetic flaw. Tell them to pick things they'd have fun playing.

Muto Corpus

Spells level 30 and higher always give the person a warping unless they are specifically designed for that person and only that person. Meaning Magi often design their spells to not give themselves no warping, but everyone else gets warping.

Thank you everyone for your help on this. It looked like it would be easy to make one wizard and one companion per player how long would you set aside for a new player to make their characters?

A real quick outline of what I am thinking about

Players are part of an autumn covenant brand new. The covenant has some trade with a village or a hamlet. The trade shipments have been hit by bandits. The covenant sends out the group to deal with the bandits.

The bandits keep coming back either new members or latterly. A little investigation will show the bandits are led by some sort of thing, pushing all the wealth to someone I the village or keeping it depending on the investigation rout taken.

Players will need to find some sort of way to deal with the thing. If that takes time they will help deal with bandits as their plan is being set up.

If people have a suggestion for the Thing I would like to hear it, and how does that sound as a tryout of the system any big points to add or take out?


One of the best and easiest introductions to the system at large is to run a short and simple adventure in which all of the players play (pre-built) Grogs. This will give them grounding in how the system works, with its die rolls, abilities, attributes, virtues and flaws. A little combat will round all that out.

If you want them to get a taste of how powerful the Magi are, have one travel along with them but in general be too busy with his own thing to actually worry about the goal they are sent to handle. When something stumps them they can bug the Magus who in a huff at being drawn from his goal brushes the barrier off like a speck of dust. It doesn't even have to be him doing it directly. He might hand them an enchanted item to use, some charged items, or just cast a few spells on them with a long enough duration to do what needs doing. Make sure all your players know that their Magi will be just as powerful.

At the end of the session the players should understand the structure and basics of the system, how ability and combat resolution works, and just how powerful Magi are. You can also ask them for ideas of what type of Magi they would like to play and what type of Covenant they would like to play in.

Taking those ideas, you can build rough templete Magi and a Covenant for them. Building a Magus from scratch is rough especially for someone who has never done it before. Having most of the work done so that they only have to make a few minor tweaks will make things much smoother. As for the Covenant you do not actually need hard stats for most of it. Description, rough number of covenfolk, names for the important ones, and a rough library (it can be only numbers, you do not need names of the individual books and authors).

After some play time, then the group can consider going whole hog. That would be spending a session to design a Covenant, then Magi from scratch. I would still recommend using pregen Companions and Grogs unless the group decides they like spending time building characters between sessions. In general you want the sessions to be playing with as much book keeping as possible done outside of that time. Otherwise you will find that little play happens during a session as everyone spends it calculating down time stuff.


Asking on OP's behalf since nobody's mentioned it. Are there any "jump start kits" for 5th ed. like there were for 4th?

If not, how confusing might it be for OP to run, say, "Promises, Promises" with access only to the 5th ed. books?

I only bring this up because it's the whole package: story, characters, and all you need of the covenant for purposes of the story. Even, as I recall, a bit of an example of Wizard's Twilight in the opening scene.

If you wish to start with a full 5th edition covenant, characters for that covenant, and an adventure, you should examine Semita Errabundi on the main Ars Magica page of Atlas Games .
Subtle and Quick to Anger is an ArM5 adventure for this covenant and its characters, written to demonstrate ArM5 on conventions.

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Make a magus OR companion. Since you buy skills and arts out of a pool of XP, it is seriously fiddly.

I recall an intro story about a "mother in law" that can turn into a genius loci at the end of the scenario, but can't locate it again.. Am I dreaming it?