Rules That Should Be Core

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4 has a personal economy system where you have a job or occupation or other income source, and you have a basic amount of pocket money per time period. You start the session with that money; all of your other money is spent on expenses. You can spend your pocket money on whatever you like, but it's usually not much. Catch: in the time between adventures, all your money is spent. You start the next adventure with your usual money.

You can spend 'found' treasure on durable goods, and you keep those, but the cash goes away.

Normal world add an investment option to that and it sounds very reasonable, it could even work for ars magica except that the investment aspect would be a bit different for a medieval period, and there should probably be a tie in to social consequences of "misspending" you money that can be recovered from. (you spent money on bribing a thief for information instead of paying your tithes? Scandalous!)

5 posts were split to a new topic: Cultural Norms and Ars Magica

Controversial suggestion: Include House Diedne as an option for player characters ie. make a sidebar saying something like: If you want to alter the Schism war so House Diedne survived, these are the options, virtues, number of magi, primus/prima etc for House Diedne in 1220.
Add a short blurb about how/why they weren't destroyed - more latinised, less pagan etc.

In other words - it doesn't have to be canon they survived (it probably never will), but some info and suggestions for how the hermetic landscape etc might look with them as a living house would be nice.

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I agree it should be an option, not that it should be core.

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Maybe in a future new modules, who knows...

I think that goes against the spirit of the 5th edition. The basic idea is that House Diedne is a myth and a recurring theme, and that you can use House Diedne however you like. If you define it in core, that freedom goes away.

I think it would need options and possibilities, either to be used or as suggestions and ideas of how to build your own House Diedne. But of course Sub Rosa #13: The Thirteenth House Unearthed! did exactly that. Honestly I think that's the better place to do it.


I really do like Sub Rosa nr 13 :slightly_smiling_face:

My suggestion is not that every single thing should be set in stone - it'd just be nice if we got a frame work like: Prima/Primus, numbers in 1220, how did the Schism war conclude if they surive and are still a part of the order. Virtues and a few suggestions for culture and initiations. Nothing about ppl have to use it, or that you can't adjust.

We know they were good with spontaneous magic and probably some other "Druid" related virtues/mysteries - why not pop a few of those down in a, noted, "sidebar - optional rule". Some of us would like that "official" help :slight_smile:

I'm not sure where this should be but I honestly think Virtues need to be reorganized. Especially the Hermetic Virtue category. Basically, there are Hermetic Virtues that are Hermetic due to being social, part of the Order of Hermes, and there are Hermetic Virtues that are Hermetic due to being magical. I don't think the former should limit the later, and vis versa. (I also don't think Virtues and Flaws needing to balance is a great thing either, but that is houserule territory as I doubt they would even think of changing that).

Additionally, and I am pretty sure this was stated above, but the ways to initiate more Virtues in play and such totally needs to be in the Core.


Yes. Things got really messy in a bunch of places. For instance, there are many things that cannot grant Hermetic Virtues, but those same Hermetic ones are available as non-Hermetic, Supernatural Virtues, too. Oops.

With 20-20 hindsight, I would have called them "Tradition Virtues" or something like that. Different traditions would have access to different subsets of them. Then there is no reason to do all this later fiddling with consequences that were overlooked.


Generally agree. Particularly, there needs to be a divide between

  • social Virtues/Flaws for members of the Order of Hermes (e.g. Colens Arcanorum, Gild Trained),
  • Hermetic Virtues/Flaws for users of Hermetic Magic specifically (e.g. Affinity with Mentem),
  • and "Hermetic" Virtues/Flaws for Gifted magic users of any (or no!) tradition (e.g. Gentle/Blatant Gift).

The usual language found in Hedge Magic is something along the lines of "you may take Hermetic Virtues and Flaws, if they are appropriate to your abilities", and that works fine, but it has two weird consequences:

  • It's listed in the rules for specific traditions individually, meaning that while it applies to members of (nearly?) every hedge, rival, and non-hermetic tradition, it doesn't apply to e.g. an untrained Gifted person who's managed to learn a couple supernatural abilities in the normal way. And being unable to make your Second Sight/Animal Ken village weirdo Inoffensive to Animals seems very silly.
  • Learned Magicians for sure, and I think the virtue-granting traditions in general, can't temporarily grant themselves the Gentle Gift, but can temporarily grant everyone around them Unaffected By The Gift, which just feels counterintuitive and severely against tone.

But honestly I think "reorganize virtue categorization" should go in the Errata thread?


I know that this is unorthodox, but here goes:

I think that the core rulebook should be split into two: one focussing on rules (which would have a little bit more of the the different Realm books, Grogs and Covenant added) and one focussing on hermetic mages. While in principle one could just make a bigger book, I think two 144 page books are more practical at the gaming table (if in person gaming ever becomes a thing again) as it can be more easily shared between players/story teller.

The rulebook:
The core book should include more help for new storytellers*, Chapter 16 is hidden at the every end of the book and is comparatively short. I feel like more advice should be dispensed for fresh story tellers, as adventure design for ArM is very different from the standard dungeon crawler style RPGs (which boil down to series of fights and convenient calibration levels so that the fight can be "fair"). Maybe having a preset adventure to give people an idea of what the game might be about and what to plan for.
In general I find that there is too little information on any of the realms in the core book, too little animal stats, too little on faeries... In general chapters 12 onwards are too short to be of much use.
This would represent chapters 1,3,4,5,6 and 10-16. The Hermetic virtues/flaws should be contained

The Mage book:
This would cover Chapters 2, some of 4 and 7-9. However going into a lot more details about what a mage is. It would contain the virtue/flaws which are mage specific.
The Core book is too light on information on the OoH, the code of Hermes, quaestior positions/duties, how a Tribunal might run. All this should be in the main book, rather than hidden away in the house chapters of various houses (or in the Tribunal's case in the Rhine book).The basics for the mystery houses should also be there (for example, there are next to no animal stats in the main book, which kind of sucks for a potential Bjornaer who might want stats for their animal form). I realise that much of this addressed in the further expansion books, but if people want to just try the game it's fine buying the core book, but asking them to buy 3 Mage books, 4 realm books, one tribunal book etc makes it a really large investment. One need only check the ars magica subreddit to find people asking which books to buy.

I think that overall the base books should be made more accessible to new players, which would help the community grow. I am quite aware that more information on the infernal realm in the core book is of little use to a grognard who owns every infernal book since 2nd ed, but more players would be nice.

*I am working on tidying up the notes from my own Rhine Gorge Saga, and to make them accessible, to help new storytellers to get started, as well as capitalising on all the reading that I did as part of my prep.


I think the most "core" thing should be a modern Table of Content. Recent books are so much easier to navigate! Doubling-down on this, there should be a global index/ToC for all the books. It should be online and updated when mistakes are found.

The many pages for sample characters, creatures et al. should be pulled out and moved to online PDF or into Semita Errabunda. They have more value as appetizers. Doing this clean up frees many pages for useful content such as initiation and Houses.


I would also love a PDF that had clicky-links from the table of contents or the index to the appropriate page.


Even in the pdf versions (or at least the version I have) the bookmarks are a bit lacking. I actually went in and did my own bookmarks for it because things I was looking up all the time (spell guidelines, virtues/flaws) only had bookmarks for the start of the chapter. A minor problem in the grand scheme, but the time saved really does add up over multiple sessions.

If you were really going whole hog with the pdf version you could have a hyperlinked table of contents and also some hyperlinks in the body text itself whenever it refers to something complicated (like a formula) that's located somewhere non-obvious elsewhere in the book.


Oh yes, you are definitely right, that would make life much easier!

I second the need for a "modern" ToC in the main book, just like those found in the later books. And also would find it very interesting to have a "combined" ToC for all books.

IMHO it might even be interesting from a marketing standpoint to have this combined ToC available for free as a PDF, as it could wet somebody's appetite for a certain book without making the actual content available for free.

A cross-book index of rules would also be extremely useful, as there are particualr rules scattered all accross the several books, and one can't always remember where they were.

The rules for breeding and training animals were in Lords of Men, right? Nope, chapter VII of Hermetic Projects, The Menagerie of Magical Beasts. Oh, so the rules for debates must be in Art & Academe, right? Nope again. Then maybe, since they're mostly used in trials during Tribunals, they're in the Guernicus section of True Lineages? Nope, nope, nope, they're in page 90 of Societates, in the Tytalus section of the book. It goes on and on.

Not complaining about what authors did, mind you. Their work is amazing. Just proposing that an exhaustive index of specific rules and a reference to where they're found would be inmensely useful!


Does anyone have other suggestions? This has been very useful.

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Some basic apprentice training rules, including types of virtues that are teachable, the "average" hermetic apprenticeship, and the penalties for virtue teachings after arts have been trained. Just the simple stuff from apprentices and then redirect to apprentices for details.

We know hermetic virtues are teachable from Apprentices, but lore implies Gentle Gift isn't teachable, so confusion there. Some puissants appear teachable by virtue of being House Virtues, but can't be taught raw. A clarification on what specifically can and can't be taught, or a call out that it's a Troupe decision w recommendations, would be helpful


26 posts were split to a new topic: Teaching the Gentle Gift