One-shots / Quick start?

After my last post I took the plunge and invested in the 5E Corebook and some supplements. I am very happy with it and have been enjoying the read so far.

However I wonder if a quick start or one-shots wouldn't be a good idea before I do a campaign. However I have not found any to speak of, with pre-gen characters etc.

Now I already understand Ars Magica is probably the antithesis of a "one-shot game". Clearly it is designed for campaign play and that is it's strength. However how do the elders of this forum suggest I go about doing a quick game as a test-drive before we make characters, a covenant, etc?


What about Promises, Promises: a short ready-to-play adventure with premade characters, for free download?

I would also recommend the two 4ed freebies, if you are happy to do the 5ed conversion yourself.

Promises, Promises is a one-shot:
Nigrasaxa is a mini-saga:

I would recommend the latter, because it also introduces you to the downtime game, but that makes it a three-shot :slight_smile:

There are also the Stormrider and Return of the Stormrider supplements for previous versions, but unfortunately, I have not seen anything for 5ed.

Promises, Promises works with rules and background briefings on one page each: no need to convert them from 4th edition to 5th edition. :smirk:

Good point. Possibly tricky if you try to read up on 5ed rules at the same time, or if you want to continue the characters into a second story, but if all you want is a one-shot, you are right.

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.

Hello Tokkie. I understand you're new to 5E, but not new to Ars. I'm not sure whether your group knows the game very well. If they are well acquainted to Ars Magica, and you're just switching editions, you may wish to skip this post. If this is your attempt to introduce a new group, starting with a full character + companion + grog + covenant generation is probably a lot to handle for the average roleplayer until they have a grasp of the setting, so I would suggest step-by-step integration.

When I launched my home campaign, none of my players were familiar with the setting, I decided to introduce them as apprentice characters. I had them choose the following:
*Origin stories that were inspired by the example childhood found in Apprentice p.8. Some of these also came with their flaws (Outsider, or Sheltered / Troupe / Feral / Faerie Upbringing). I had explained where we would be playing, so the languages were handed out according to whether the player picked a background that was local or not.
*Then I had a chat about whether the player wanted a special lineage or not. Here I had a couple of options - virtues and flaws were added to the player sheet at that point according to those options. Two of my players ended up with Giant Blood and Faerie blood here - they were matched with tribunal-specific lore.
*Then I had them talk about whether they were looking to create a specific type of spellcaster. As they knew nothing about the setting at that point, these were fairly general tropes. I used that to coach them towards virtues, or to introduce specific mentor options to them during the first game.
*I had them pick attributes and personality traits;
*I explained the gift, and had them choose if Gentle Gift or Blatant Gift was important to them at this point in the game;
*Then I discussed virtues and flaws that would affect learning, since our first few games would be building up the magi, those virtues and flaws would impact during the background.

My campaign was set in the Theban tribunal, so the characters had options to choose from in terms of who mentored them, and our first game was pre-Tribunal apprentice interviews, with mentors assessing if the apprentice was a good fit, discussing what they could teach and bidding tokens. In some cases, their choices would end up with costing them virtues and flaws (Strong/Weak Parens, or virtues they would get taught during apprenticeship). Any other virtues were handled prior to gauntlet, so the players had some leisure time to fit stuff in their backstory. And instead of designing the covenant, part of the apprenticeship of the character was spent copying lab texts and summaes, or serving their mentors doing stuff like fixing arcane conncetions, who would reward them after their gauntlet with vis and mythic pounds depending on the number of seasons spent helping out. Mind you... this might not correspond to an apprenticeship anywhere, but as we were playing in the Theban tribunal, every covenant has a purpose to help, and that covenant's purpose was essentially to help the tribunal establish new covenants with apprentices they trained, so that's how I explained what we did. The only deus ex machina was that, by fate, every character apprentice ended up with magi masters from the same covenant.

I don't think I could have ran through character design and covenant design without getting players asking me to rewrite their first character after two games, or potentially losing their interest if they spent two games on character, companion, grog and covenant design choices before they cast their first spell. So I basically had them go through those choices during playtime.


Yes, this was my approach as well. Just get them playing and let them make bigger decisions later. I let them adjust their character for the first few sessions as they came to understand the Arts and abilities (e.g., "Oh I really like Aquam, can I swap my Aquam score with my Ignem score?").

The covenant and the grogs etc. are gradually introduced and developed over the saga, which also means players feel they know them better and are more invested.