Pros and Cons of non-Hermetic Games?

Let's say you had an opportunity to play in a game where instead of magi, all of the main wizardly types were Gifted Hedge Magicians of one type (Gruagachan, Learned Magician, Folk Witch, so on). Which would you prefer between all said mains getting Unaffected by the Gift for free? And what would your reasons be for choosing to play or not play in such a game?

I'm not following what you're asking here.

The other question...
Hermetic magic is the raison d'etre for Ars Magica. Not to knock the alternative magic systems that have been developed. They are all cool and offer something, but Ars Magica is known for Hermetic Magi, and to not be prevented from playing a magus is...challenging.
Why do you want to run that kind of game?

My tastes don't often lean towards games where all of the PC's are stongly encouraged to distrust one another. I do like an occasional game of Paranoia and I'd be eager to try short game of amber but long term I want to feel comradery with my fellow players and having the characters at one another's throats makes this harder. So yes give the characters some way to ignore the gift. (Is that your question?)

It's not the game I'd choose to run. I'm not yet tired of Hermetics and their really cool magic.

For the most part I'll choose a game based a lot more factors than what sort of a character I get to play. In a vacuum of other information, the question is sort of absurd (Would you enjoy an unspecified meal if it were served on light blue plates? The plates aren't the most important part of my meal decision, likewise with the characters in my game decision). I'd tell you that I the idea of playing non hermetic magi does appeal to me so I would based on that fact alone like to play in such a game, (compared to say a game where I know even less about the characters) yet it isn't as appealing a factor to me as a Hermetic magi game.

Jonathan: What the question you referenced meant: I imagine a big reason people wouldn't be ecstatic about playing non-Order Gifted characters is the hardwired requirement to hate each other. Would you be more or less amicable to the idea of playing a Gifted non-Hermetic character if you had access to a way around that, like pre-stolen Parma or all the magus-equivalents getting Unaffected by the Gift for free?

Huh. I'd always cared more for Ars Magica's setting and how the different groups' powers and social positions allow them to interact with the world than Hermetic magic in specific. Hermetic magic is really fun and you can do a lot with it, don't get me wrong, but the Order of Hermes has its special place in the setting largely due to how its magic works and other magic systems have their places in the setting due to how their powers interact with the setting, so if I wanted to run a saga where the main focus was getting a first-person perspective on a certain group or part of the setting, it doesn't make sense to just transpose Hermetic magic to a different group than Hermetic magi for the players to keep using it.

There are also a few mechanical reasons; for example, SGing for non-Hermetic characters helps me gain experience with them so I can more effectively make my own in future sagas that are once again Hermetic but have contact with NPC hedge wizards. The hedge groups are also, somewhat interestingly, much more likely to fit into the standard ideals for Hermetic magi in terms of affecting creatures with Might, which feels like it will be more thematic in certain cases; depending on the tone and themes you're intending to explore with your saga, focusing on the consequences of the actions of the magi who easily and carelessly killed a pagan god due to being too young to grasp the consequences can yield enough stories that the relative unimpressiveness of the foe doesn't matter. On the other hand, other saga styles support pagan gods being challenges for groups of elder magicians, which certainly doesn't work in the context of Hermetic magic.

And I admit, there's perhaps some bias here too; I don't tend to share the belief that non-Hermetic magic systems are inherently less interesting or fun than Hermetic ones, and in some cases I consider them downright cool both in function and the societal standing of the magicians who use them, which makes me want to SG for characters in that society with that magic rather than Hermetic magi in the Order.

Hope I've satisfied your curiosity regarding my position.

Erik: Yeah, I agree with you on the inherent distrust thing, and that was the question I was asking. And yeah, I know there are many other factors, but I was just trying to gather some opinions on the affect of this particular factor on your decision of whether or not to play. Thanks for your input!

The group of total Ars players is pretty small. The group of Ars players who want to be limited to non Hermetic magi is smaller still. I wouldn't object to playing some other tradition, but I'd prefer to play a magus of the Order. If I could do both, somehow, that would be the bees knees.

I wasn't trying to suggest that the other systems are less interesting, but like Erik, I find I have plenty to explore with Hermetic magic. One game I'm playing online I had the opportunity to pick up a folk witch character, and I almost did it, except my main magus is a corpus specialist, and there is just too much overlap.

I like the idea of playing a Hedge Magic game. The main draw, for me, would be exploring the rich Mythic aspects of the setting without the heavy guns that Hermetic magic brings to bear, thus leaning more on wit, alliances/politics, and mythic/story elements to win the day.

The downside is not getting to play with Ars Magica's wonderful magic system, instead being limited to ones I don't really like. (Or know much, to be fair.)

Of all the hedge traditions, I'll probably choose those of the Muspelli (of Rival Magic), just because I like their flavor. Barring that, Cunning-folk (a la Learned Magician).

Do Sahirs count?

I'm not much for summoner types myself, but they certainly count. I mean, the non-Hermetic Sahirs do, not the ones who joined the Order and reside in Ex Miscellanea.

Yeah, I like the exclusion of the Hermetic "big guns" too, personally, for many of the same reasons.

Really? You don't like the other systems? There are certain ones I don't like, such as Elementalism and Virgillian Magic (the type practiced by the Augustan Brotherhood), but all in all I find most of them pretty interesting and creative.

You're a Muspelli fan? They're certainly interesting, but my favorite is probably the Gruagachan, with vanilla Learned Magicians and Soqotran Sorcerers tying for second. Muspelli have the most creative fatigue system and are really awesome if you're big on characters who can put elaborate schemes to good use, though. And yeah, they have some pretty awesome flavor.

What this would be is a somewhat lower-powered game. Crushing armies with a single spell, running roughshod over mundanes, and baring fangs at gods and archangels are the stuff of Hermetic magi, and the only things that keep Hermetic magi from running roughshod over Mythic Europe are other Hermetic magi and a few other mighty powers. Hedge wizards (barring certain infernalists and Divine mystics) have to worry about witch hunts and angry lords, because a knight will slay a sorcerer with his blade almost as easily as a lesser man. Sahir-alchemists and vitkir are stronger when it comes to that, but that's "a warrior alchemist or vitkir will defeat a knight," not "a warrior alchemist or vitkir will overwhelm a force of knights," at least not until the sahir masters Sihr enough to call on some really powerful afrit.

So that's one pro; you'll be telling different kinds of stories. Also, it'll be in the shadow of the Order of Hermes, which can make for as many stories as you and your troupe want; the Order probably won't muscle in on you, but they just might if you make a nuisance of yourself, and you probably don't want to fight over vis with them.

Sure. Artes Liberales is fairly well developed and popular where they come from, so a lot of them are numerate. And the abacus is well known as well... :wink:

I have written out character for ... most of the Rival Magic tradition, as well as half of the Hedge Magic traditions.
And the Sahirs of tC&tC.

I like 'em.

I have always wanted to play a game with a Folk Witch who lived in the wilderness providing support to his local community or a Learned Magician who serves as a Court Wizard to some lord or noble or king or something. I always liked the idea of Elementalists and the utilization of the magical energies that moved around the world. The background story concept of being trapped underground or in some high element environment and the only way to escape is to learn magic and get out, which begs who trapped the character and what do they want. The Soqotran Sorcerers are cool as well cause of the fact that magic is major on the island and that magic users basically rule, the nature of the familiars they get is cool as well.

I think that there is a lot of potential to play such characters, though I think that the Order of Hermes itself has to be downplayed for the game to work. Or it has to be set in such a place as say Ireland where local wizards exist in common enough numbers and have some sort of official parlay with the Order. But yeah, it could be cool to play such a thing as this.

I would say that something needs to be implemented that blocks the social effect of the Gift effecting other magic users with the Gift, which I know is something that Parma Magica does and hedge wizards would not have. But if was to play in a game with other players I wouldn't want to have to constantly pretend that I have to worry about the other character hating me or stabbing me or whatever, the game would move to a crawl.

No downplaying necessary for Soqotran Sorcerers. They're cool because they don't have to worry too much about such far-away neighbors. Soqotran Sorcerers are altogether neat, especially since with their Perpetual duration they can make minor magic items incredibly quickly. Which is, you know, somewhat fitting if you ask me, very thematic for how they live their lives. If they're travelling and want to give somebody they met on the way a magical trinket, they can just make it on the spot, which is swell if you ask me.

I do like Folk Witches. A Magic Theory that's actually called a Theory, several thematic abilities like flying on broomsticks and giving curses, and an interesting way of dealing with Abilities and their kitchens makes them feel quite a bit like the homier witches to the regality of Hermetic wizards.

Also, Soqotra has useful mechanisms for avoiding mutual hatred from the Gift. Sorcerers usually don't meet in person, but through spirits, and so they build a working relationship before the Gift becomes a problem.

I never actually played with any of them. And I am currently suffering from a computer crash so my (pdf-only, almost) Ars Magica library isn't accessible too, so i'm working from vague memories (Failed-Spirit-Master's Parma?). But generally I love the idea of hedge magic systems but find them to make less sense and be far too inflexible in comparison with Hermetic magic. My favorite is actually the Method & Power system from RoP:D and RoP:I, or maybe the Goetic Arts (but these are too ill-defined; spirits just have Powers that vary too much). Not quite hedge magic, I know, but still.

I generally do find them interesting and creative. But they are usually in that uncanny valley of being too complex to run easily as NPCs and too limited for me to want to run them as PCs.

I LOVE the flavor of the Muspelli. I also like some aspects of their magic, such as their awesome warping and their big "feasts" that they use to power their spells. I don't really care for the complicated way they need to prepare and scheme in advance, though, no. I don't like that they basically need to cast their spells in advance instead of in-scene, and that their targets are so limited; and the combination is very limiting. Still, I'd swallow it to follow the cool flavor. Though i'd petition the group to modify the rules if possible, to extend their playability as PCs.

My second favorites are probably the Folk Witches. Enough of a range to be fairly flexible while still being fairly intuitive and based on sensible Supernatural Abilities and good flavor. Still far less powerful or flexible compared to Hermetic magic, of course, but broad enough that playing one you can have some versatility and playing a coven you can cover your bases.