Newcomer doubts

Hello guys!

My name is Guilherme, I'm 27 and I've
been playing D&D since I was 16.
Currently I'm a little bit bored with the
same kind of stories and game system
every time I play, so I started to think
about playing ArM.

The problems are:

  1. I'm from southern Brazil, and I'm not
    a very skilled English-Speaker, neither
    are my friends. Actually, it's my first
    time posting in a foreign discussion
    forum. There is no ArM material in
    Portuguese AFAIK.

  2. My friends are lazy players. They
    don't want to read the rules, so each
    detail should be explained by me. With
    that in mind, I don't know which edition
    I should stick with. IMO, ArM4 is cooler
    than 5th edition. It has a more attractive
    feeling and art pictures but more
    complex rules, while ArM5 seems easier
    to newcomers. (But I agree the ArM5
    Virtues & Flaws system, with Major and
    Minor Virtues and flaws, is much better
    than the ArM4's.)

  3. Why in 5th edition the covenant
    creation rules have changed? I like the
    way they were generated in 4th edition.
    Can I create a covenant for a 5th edition
    saga using the rules for 4th edition

  4. I have a roughly sketched saga idea
    in my mind, but I would like to receive
    some tips and hints. In the Proven├žal
    Tribunal the PC set a spring or summer
    covenant - I don't know yet - and they
    must choose to be allies to Mistridge or
    Windgraven (I have read The Stormrider
    and a brief part of the Mistridge
    supplement for the 3rd edition).
    Meanwhile they have to deal with the
    fall of a renegade angel from the sky
    into a forest near the covenant, which
    may cause the covenant to loose its
    aura or even the Aegis. While on Earth
    the angel, very wounded, looks like any
    men besides its wings, but can't use
    most of its powers, like turns invisible
    for who he doesn't want to be seen.

Regardless of who they choose to ally,
the rival covenant would be interested
in the fallen angel or in the breach in the
defenses of the PC covenant, or both.
But why would an angel be exiled from
heaven? I was thinking in something
like the upcoming Cathars' Crusade, but
I don't know how to develop this link.

Any sugestions?

  1. Your English seems fairly good to me. I've seen much worse on these and other message boards. That said, I have seen Brazilian/Portuguese/Galician players on the Atlas Forum who might be able to provide some kind of assistance. That said, I believe you are correct and that Ars Magica has only been officially translated into Polish, French, and Spanish.

  2. This is ultimately a judgment call. I personally like 5E better, but there are certainly valid reasons for choosing 4E.

  3. Don't recall the 4E rules well enough to comment.

  4. Sounds like a reasonable start for an Ars Magica saga. Faith & Flame might step on your toes a bit if you decide to use that supplement, but the offending parts should be easy enough to ignore. As for the angel, perhaps the schism in the local dominion is adversely affecting his powers (or seeming to do so as part of some inscrutable divine plan)

  1. Welcome. Don't worry about your English - we are several non-native speakers, and your written english appears to be fine.

  2. Lazy players are a curse which many of us have to live with. Now, as for the 4th vs 5th edition, I must admit, I can only recommend the 5th edition, or going way back. The 4th edition was (in my eyes) an abominable mess. I do agree about the art in the 5th edition core book though. bad choices were made.

  3. Every edition has had it's own rules for creating ovenants, except the first edition. If you like the 4th edition way, feel free to generate a 5th edition covenant using 4th rules - differences are likely to be fairly minor as I recall. That said, I think the 5th edition covenant creation system is much simpler and in many ways more interesting. Especially the way many boons are like Story Flaws in that they need not disadvantage you as much as be a cause of stories. And stories really is the currency of RPGs, in my experience.

  4. Awesome!

I once was part of a game that ran for over a year where everyone else in the game but me worked for either Atlas games or FFG. I still had to shoulder the lion's share of the rules work.

As for 4th versus fifth edition. From the perspective of the rules fourth isn't at all my least favorite of the five editions (it's right in the middle) but it is the edition that I'm least likely to run because all of the things that it does well are done even better in fifth edition, and fifth edition was made with great attention to correcting the weak points of fourth so while it has its good points there is no one aspect of it that I prefer to fifth. (As for art, fourth had several pieces in it that I cared for not at all. I think third edition had the best art).

How could that be unless first had no rules for covenants? (I seem to recall that it did)


  1. Your English seems excellent to me. I play the game mostly in Hebrew (my native tongue), that isn't a problem. You will have to do some reading in English (mainly) if you want to play the game, but you can certainly limit yourself to just the core book (or more, if you want) and that's enough.

  2. I actually think ArM5 is simpler is several ways than ArM4. This is especially so in combat and in the way magic works in combat, as well as in the laboratory rules (which are more uniform). Spell design is more complicated in some ways, but simpler in others. Covenant design is MUCH simpler in ArM5, I'm not sure about character design.

I believe 3E was a simple and great system. Very atmospheric, too. 4E was a mess of lots of rules, and 5e is more streamlined 4E. So I would recommend either sticking to 3E, or filing off some of the complications from 5e and using it (this means some house rules, but hey - if your players aren't going to read the book, you might as well alter it to suit you). I would only play 4E if the fact that it's a free PDF was important. I, for one, would choose to play a slightly-simplified 5E: you not only get a better game, IMO, but also get to use all the great supplements that Atlas releases, which can be a great asset.

  1. 5E is simpler and serves to help you actually define and shape your saga, especially if you take to heart the core book's comment that the provided Hooks and Boons are only examples. But you can certainly use the 4E covenant system in a 5E game if you prefer; I see no issue with that. The only thing to be careful of is how many magical resources - raw vis stocks and sources and books, mostly - you are giving the PCs in comparison with how many you want them to have at the beginning of the saga; but that's something you should always consider, in ArM5 as well as in ArM4.

  2. That's cool. I think the 3E Mistridge supplement may be most useful to you, but it looks like you have enough to wing it without it too.

Assuming you want to keep the Cathars Divine, here is one suggestion to connect them to the angel: he was expelled from heaven for over-zealously protecting the Cathars, instead of allowing men to make their own choices. The story can get from there to either Infernal corruption as he slowly returns to acting to aid the Cathars, perhaps even inadvertently creating a Cathar sect around himself, showing a distinct lack of faith in His plan; or else a story of redemption, as the angel is shown the error of his ways by the PCs and regains his Faith in God's plan. Mix for best results.

You're right, it did. It's been a while since I last opened that book.
So yeah, each edition has had it's own Covenant creation system.

Not surprised really.

It is my least favorite version, but then, hand on heart, I haven't played that much first edition.

Agreed, mostly.


Welcome, Guilherme! Nice to know there is an Ars group a couple of states south from here.

I don't have anywhere near the experience with Ars that I wish I had, but it seems that you have the language barrier well covered anyway.

Unfortunately, I never had a chance to play AM3, just to read the books. However, I did (and still do) really enjoy the art style as well as the organization of the (few) tribunal books.

Thank you all for the comments and advices. Specially YR7's sugestion about the angel and the cathars.
I'm glad to know that my English (Talking to Roleplayers) 3 is not too bad at all. :smiley:

So, you have convinced me to pick up the 5th edition as my choice.
And since my players aren't gonna read the book, I can modify the hard-to-understand rules to suit me better.

Dantas, It's good to know that there are more ArM players in our country. Just a few people know this rpg here.
If it don't bothers you, I'm gonna look for you if some rule appears to be too difficult to me.

Sure. I take it that you have already visited the Project Redcap? I find it an enormous help. I have began to translate a (very) few of its articles, maybe you could direct me towards any that you find more of a priority.

As an aside, Ars Magica has by a very generous reading been translated into Portuguese back in 2000 or so. But the consensus is that the translation was simply disastrous.

As it turns out, information on that edition is difficult to find. I'm not sure it even had an ISBN. But I put what I did find out in the Redcap article recently anyway: ... Ars_Magica

Yep. I have been reading the project redcap since I came here, mostly the FAQ and random stuff. It's very useful!
I would like to help you translating some of the articles, but since I don't have a PC or notebook, it would be very hard to.

I have heard about this ArM translation, but it seems to be so poor that I've disregarded it.

4: Remember that the magi getting involved is potentially politically tricky. If the angel is cast out from Heaven, then the Order of Hermes might accuse anyone who helps him of Dealing With Demons. Fun!