Other settings

I was curious about other Ars saga's here. Does everyone use mythic europe? anyone tried a fantasy setting? I had a short game I ran in Harn but it didn't last long as I ran out of steam. But i'd like to hear from others if they have some good suggestions. Maybe a setting out of the ordinary.

I'd be more than willing to play in an alternate setting, but the amount of work required to create a rich background would be prohibitive to running it.

I suppose other published systems (like Harn) could provide a good jumping-off point, but the SG would have to work REALLY hard to fill things in.

Having said all that, I think I saw some "Ars Fantasia" stuff on Redcap.org. Maybe that would be a good place for you to start looking.


I considered running in a setting based on Bernard Cornwell's Arthurian trilogy. It's set in England, probably around 400 - 500 AD, when the Anglo-Saxons slowly moved into England and the Britons declined (with Arthur, of course, defending the Britons from invasion). The trilogy offers a rich setting, including a detailed description of the different kingdoms and personalities of their rulers, descriptions of battle tactics and warfare, and the rise of Christianity and decline of the Celtic religion. If you read the three novels, you'll have done all the research you need for your setting.

See The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell.

On a side note, Daily Life in Chaucer's England by Jeff Singman offers wonderful detail on how everyday people spent their lives in Medieval England, and can be easily extrapolated to the rest of Europe.

Long ago, I had a page up dedicated to some ideas for running Ars Magica in alternate settings. But it never really got past the idea stage, so I dropped it. Maybe I should dust it off - it would be nice if that kind of thing could get fleshed out. (John Nephew, you need to finally publish Stalenric!)

As I recall, the pages I had posted considered things like:

  1. Adopting Ars Magica to Middle Earth. There was some discussion on the Berkeley list about the "Blue Wizards" who disappeared in the East and the "Order" they formed...and how this might be the basis of a new Order set in Tolkien's world.

  2. Adopting ArM to Gary Gygax's "Aerth." (This was, after all, the early 90's, and the Mythus game was still out! :confused: ) Since Aerth was our Earth with all of the fantastic mythological cultures added back in, it seemed like a fitting place to run with the Paradigm...

  3. Similarly, being a fantastic "almost historical" setting, I had some ideas up about using the swashbuckling Lace & Steel setting with ArM. Mittelmarch was a land with satyrs and centaurs, rapiers and plumed hats, and a Christian Church and devils and faeries and magic. So it seemed like a great candidate to "Ars up" a swashbuckling game. L&S had a great card dueling system, so I had some preliminary ideas on using that within the ArM framework.

Doubtless there were others. We need a page with things like this and Klaus' great ideas!


Harn would be straightforward: the Shek-Pavar and the Order are close twins. You'd loose (presumably) the effect of the Dominion on Hermetic Magic. Perhaps Harn is where the Order fled after the fall of magic on Earth! I seem to recall that in canonical Harn Earth is a desolate machine world devoid of magic.

Lace & Steel has the advantage of keeping the Church and adding the weird and fantastical.

If you wanted to work harder you could import the Order to a Napoleonic world. Based on SORCERY & CECILIA perhaps (a chocalate pot as a focus?) or even better JONATHON STRANGE AND MR NORRELL which is an excellent source book for ideas on Merinita/Faire campaigns.

Re: Jonathan Norell and Mr Strange

An excellent example. I highly recommend the book for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which is a possible answer to "What could happen to the Order in 500 years" Not that that question is answered positively, but could serve as an example of The Order in deepest, darkest Winter.


A couple of years ago, I had some friends in LA who set their Ars Magica Saga during the Arthurian period, merging it with the Pendragon setting. They house ruled that it was pre-order (i.e. pre-parma but lots or ReVi), but kept forms and techniques since they are such a big part of the magic. They also formed the "Order of Merlin" to defend Britain from the Germanic hordes. If I remember their emails, the PCs were responsible for finding Arthur the Boy King and later enchanting the sword excalibur.

Like any long running game, people moved, got married, went away to school and they even temporarily lost the cottage where they played due to a land dispute. :imp: I dont know what the status of the game is now, but it sounded fun. On the other hand, my saga is running in the classic setting of the Albigensian Crusade with the Abby of St. Martin du Canigou as the covenant site.

And there's A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA just begging for an ARS MAGICA treatment...

And there's those Barbara Hambly books....

(Hits self hard over head as an ARS MAGICA based version of the HARRY POTTER universe comes to mind...)


Bad gamer! Badbadbadbadbad! No dice for you!


A Victorian era campaign would be neat. Especially if you can incorporate some steampunk into it.

One guy who used to play Ars with my group was trying to put together an Ars - Gurps Goblins hybrid. He was quite excited about it and it sounds like it could be fun... if you're into that kind of thing.

Still, it shows that the core Ars idea, that magic system, travels well and is exciting enough to want to include in other unrelated games.

I had actually slogged my way through of shoehorning the ArsM rules into the setting of "Skies of Arcadia", a fave Console RPG of mine. I actually got about 3/4ths of the way through...

And then 5th Edition came out, and things I thought I had thought out needed to be re-thought out, and I got a biiiiig headache doing it. :slight_smile:


Been there, done that. It was actually rather amusing. Fun cola & pizza game.

Cor we did set it during WW I as a backdrop which rather reduced the Whimsy.

I like the novels of Jack Vance and his Lyonesse trilogy comes in my mind.
This setting is based on the 6th century Europe but the location is the mystical Elder-isles near Bretagne. I like the traditional and fantasy fairies, ogres, druids, etc. The world is very vivid like in his every work.

This is a fantasy story and suitable for low powered wizards and his companions. There is no order of wizards thus the covenant-based story should be altered some way. But there are rules how the wizards should behave and Murgen, the most powerful archmagus ensure this is kept.

I found the ArM rules very suitable to this setting and started to work out some rules in the hope I might be able playing in there.

Wheel of Time.

Done this a fair share actually. Mostly one focusing on the children of the light and their role when they are not out harassing main-characters. :slight_smile:

The Black Company :smiley:.

Powerful magic, grim and gritty universe... It needs a little rewrinting of the rules but is easily done.

Wait, wait, wait...

This is actually pretty cool! I think it would make a pretty damn interesting saga/setting. An alternate future history of the Order where you play an apprentice going to school at the order's training academy.

You would make a 6-10 year old character and then play a year or so for every session/advenutre. It could be quite well done I think. The hard part would be not having a Parma since you wouldn't learn it until your 15th year finals...

Ahh, but it's a breach of the Code to not extend your Parma to cover your apprentice, since otherwise the social penalties of the Gift make dealing with you unbearable. Might take some creative magics in a large class, but still...
Potter was something of a revelation for me; I couldn't quite get Ars Magica to work until I realized that it was the perfect formula. Storylines are set over years; characters develop their skills in the lab but take time away to have adventures; numerous minor characters pop in and out but are defined well enough that they're still memorable...


Guess this means I need to get back to work on my Regency Magica write-up... :wink:

A few years ago we played a couple of sagas in a modern setting. We drew heavily on the WoD setting for inspiration but rewrote it significantly.

You'll find a write-up here:

geocities.com/sanctumhr/Spec ... intro.html