I think we're all agreed that knowing what your players expect and hope for from a campaign is the key for success. And that the only way is to ask them.
So what specifically should you ask?
I put the following in front of my players for my last failed campaign. What else should I have asked?
ARS MAGIC QUESTIONAIRE
Please don’t be upset by the number of questions here. Try not to regard it as a job application more as a form for a dating agency: admittedly one that’s trying to get together five or six people rather than just two. I’m trying to put together a campaign that will appeal to as many of the prospective players as possible.
- ARS MAGICA EXPERIENCE:
How much experience have you had of ARS MAGICA? Have you run games, mostly played in them, done the whole multi-sagaguide troupe thing? How much of that was with fifth edition?
(Questions 2 and 3 omitted as they were about arrangements for the on-line gaming.)
- THE COVENANT
What sort of covenant would you like to play in? First of all season: A Spring Covenant where you’re setting things up on your own from scratch? Or something from a later season where you have more resources but also more supervision, duty and pre-existing tradition? If a Spring Covenant do you want to be really, really striking out on your own or do you want a patron to aid/annoy you? How wealthy do you want the covenant to be?
Then setting: far from human kind or in amongst them in a big way?
How strong do you want magic to be? The default value appears to be: strong but rare, mostly hidden from mortals. But we can go from ‘on its last legs and dying’ to ‘every petty lord has a Magic Sword inherited from his ancestors and dragons appear over the town every Tuesday’.
Each player will be required to generate a Magus and a Companion. (And you may end up making but not owning a Grog too.) Do you have any ideas about what you think would be fun to play? A House for your Magus? Motivations for both characters?
Please rate the following things from 1 (I don’t want that in the game at all) to 5 (If you don’t include this in the game I’m going home)
a. ROMANCE. Love and passion and eternal happiness or unhappiness depending.
b. COMBAT. Hacking and slaying from dealing with annoying bandits to besieging castles.
c. HERMETIC INTRIGUE. Politics and backstabbing and public relations. There’s bound to be a certain amount of this.
d. RELATIONS WITH THE MUNDANES.
e. RELATIONS WITH THE CHURCH
f. RELATIONS WITH THE FAIRIES
g. HUNTING DOWN DEMON-WORSHIPPERS
h. INVESTIGATION STORIES. Working for the Quaesitores or finding things out on your own behalf.
i. RESEARCH ON THE FRINGES OF HERMETIC MAGIC
j. JOURNEYS TO REMOTE PARTS OF THE MUNDANE WORLD
k. JOURNEYS TO THE OTHER WORLDS
m. HIGH MAGIC ADVENTURE.
Please list anything else you think is vital to an ARS MAGICA game that I have omitted.
Is that good enough? What more should I check for?