Question about Group composition


I am a french player and buy most of the 5th edition books that have been translated at the moment. That is, not all the content you english speakers got at your disposal.

I have the intent to start a group with casual players to play the Calebais campaign. All of them are veteran players from other Games.

Thus, all of them wants to play a magus in the same group, and none wants to dismiss to the role of playing companions. How can i handle this? Is it viable having two or three mages journeying togeteher?

Thanks by advance

I've done it before for single sessions, but not for a whole game. It's obviously more difficult to provide opposition but it isn't impossible. You'll have to keep an eye on down time so you can allow advancement,.

It wouldn't be my choice, but there's nothing particularly unworkable about the idea.

Ars Magica is my favorite game, but is this your players telling you in their own way that its not the game they want to play, i.e. by refusing to use its structure?

In the games I play in it is difficult to get everyone to take on a Companion, possibly because people want to play generalists that also have Busybody. This means it is difficult to avoid players having to talk to themselves in character(s).

For Mage heavy games we therefore tend to drift to Hermetic politics rather than miundane interactions as it means that the Magi ought to be the ones onstage.


My players usually play with 4 magus together. Sometimes they bring one or two grogs, but usually they consider them a liability because of their high power for combat and their non existent magic resistance. Two of the 4 magus are good in melee combat, and a third is a merinita impersonating nobility and has learned to use a sword, even if he is just pasable using it.

Conflicts are easier for them, even if we have had some close conflicts with published adventures.

one of my solutions is to have a game which emphasizes long term development, and enforce the rules about time usage decreasing the effects of lab experience and only gaining experience from one source at a time. Adventures are development sinks for magi compared to doing lab work, and realizing they can switch out a companion for some of the weaker adventures starts to register on their playing style.

In a previous saga, some players new to ArM had difficulties in adapting to multiple characters, and therefore always played their magi.

In my current saga I think we have very few companions, but grogs get used a lot. Players are careful in not sending their magi out all the time. But if they go adventuring, thay cant study or do labwork! I think things should even out over time.
But still I suggest ecouragnt players to design both a grog and a companion. Ideally, a companion who dislikes their magus, or has other interests. That way a player rarely has both magus and companion on the same adventure. When a story is introduced, players decide if their magi are sufficiently interested to go along, or is they want to play their companion instead, or a grog.
We have a House rule that any story must have at least two grogs along, so the grog-player isn't too alone. Grogs work better in groups, with the magi a bit distant, so they can trash-talk them :wink:
Also, encourage players to control 1-2 grogs of the ones brought along, even if playing a magus or companion. All character aren't necessarily active at the same time. Once you get to the place, magi want to sit down and think, or need to cast investigative magic. Grogs set up camp and go scouting. Parties quickly split up to do several things at once, so it's good to control several characters.
Being SG so much I don't have a companion, I think. I just play grogs if my maga does not attend.

Many thanks for your quick and helpful answers.

Adventures are not development sink per se. It depends. When the issue to solve is at 2-3 days of travel (which is more or less the area that my players control more tightly around the covenant), and you can solve the adventure and be back in less that 10 days, then you can have a season of lab work and still gain 5-10px instead of 2px of exposure.
It seems a really good deal unless you get injured or finally lose more time than intended.

Of course, that 2-3 day limit increases with Arcadian travel or magical transportation.

Bear in mind that you can only claim exp from one source during a season.
If a magus takes time away from lab or library - even if less than 10 days - he still must choose between Story Exp or the book study/ lab project + exposure.
Even if the adventure just takes literally hours, you spend the rest of the season consolidating what you’ve learned.

That is why I said “instead”.

But our adventures are usually 10px for less than a tenday. So getting those instead of 2px of exposure and inventing a spell the same season is usually the way to go.

The issue is that you cannot normally invent the spell as well as picking up those 10 experience, as the rules say you spend the remainder of the season reviewing what you learned to actually get those 10 experience.

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That is one way to read the rules, when I GM you can take adventure xp and do lab work, but at the same time travel times alone can run multiple weeks at medieval transportation abilities. Consider that walking is generally seven miles in a day- so the distance that you probably drive in city streets in 10 and a half minutes is a day's travel on foot. Horses are faster, but not by much since they are loaded down by riders or carriages and have to stop and rest and eat- which means extra costs for upkeep of those horses as well. The rules put a messenger (one person on horseback with some light papers as traveling 30 miles per day- these events will largely be skipped in the story but a short trip to a 60 mile distant location (1 hour by car each way at highway speeds) is now 4 days travel as part of your story if your covenant is not equipped with easy rapid transportation. Crossing a 10 day threshold and affecting lab totals is entirely probable, especially if you are slowed by bad weather.

Whooops! I completely missed that phrase. We have been doing it completely different. I suppose that that is our house rule now. Only a source of xp per season seems balanced. Using the rest of the season “consolidating” seems really silly.

Seven miles a day? That seems like a very slow pace. We walk at 5 km/ hour. Even if we only walk for 5 hours, a decently healthy group should walk at least 25 km.

And distances in Europe are really small, although yes, 4 day walk to travel to any place meaningful for the story sounds about right.

the first ever Ars game I played in used exactly this rule, and since I have been playing with roughly the same group ever since we have always employed it. We accept it is a house rule, and that it strongly encourages magi to get out and kick things, but we think it is fun! Definitely a house rule though.


Is there another? It says

I said you use "the remainder of the season reviewing what you learned," while the book says "the rest of the season consolidating what she learned." Considering I was paraphrasing by memory, I think I got pretty darn close.

And that is a house rule many people share.

For those who want a canonical workaround, here is what you can manage in canon: You can collect adventure experience once every two years and still manage 8 seasons of lab work or similar. The time consolidating what you've studied happens in those 10 days per season spread out over 2 years. You get 7 seasons of exposure and 1 season of adventure experience while managing 8 seasons of gain from the lab.

Of course, so many people house-rule things to allow adventure experience that a workaround like that is rather pointless. And, yes, the house rule does encourage getting involved with things.

I figure you can do lab work while still considering what happened on your adventure. You won't get xp from the lab but I don't see where you would have to spend the rest of the season sitting in a lotus position contemplating your adventure or grogs would never get adventure experience because they wouldn't be allowed that much leisure time.

As to walking speed is that trail hiking or walking on modern roads? For the most part travel conditions in Europe were far from ideal.

It's a great house rule, which is why so many use it.

If there is a 6th edition, hopefully just 5.5, I would suggest cutting down on adventure experience to make it something like 0-2 for something small and ramping up for something lasting the whole season, but allowing it as a bonus on top of whatever is done (e.g. you get exposure for your lab work plus a small bonus for that 3-day adventure. That way a short adventure is still rewarded while not having to make what I agree are annoying choices.

My magi tend to move much faster than people these days. Flight is easy enough to pull off a bunch of ways. And then there is instant travel.

And downsides to each as well- primarily in the chances of being spotted as something supernatural by a superstitious and fearful populous. Also requires a lot of magic if you are bringing a support group.